Friday, July 29, 2011
As a kid, I wasn't much into organized sports. My family was into cars and boats and things that go vroooom. In high school I played tennis, took ballet class, worked a part-time job and was in band. Being in band, specifically pep band, meant I had to attend some sporting events. But believe me, I was there when I needed to be and out of there as soon as we were done. I was into art, dance, working and hanging with my friends.
Weekends with my family meant doing things like boating, yard work, house work, snowmobiling, visiting grandparents, shopping...anything. My dad was a truck driver so he was gone all week. The weekends were family time and that never included watching sports. It just wasn't something we were interested in.
When I went to college, my weekends were filled with projects for art classes, working, hanging out with friends and if possible just relaxing with a good book or movie. It wasn't until I met my now husband that I started watching sports. He loves football and basketball, college and pro. Sunday's at college for him were all about hanging out with the boys watching football, drinking, eating pizza or Taco Bell, not showering and laughing at those of us who would actually be working on projects/homework. I certainly had plenty of other things to do on Sunday's than hang out with a bunch of smelly, foul-mouthed boys eating junk food.
There were Sundays, though, when I would be hungover(after a night out with said boys) and laying around eating junk food and watching TV sounded fantastic. It was these Sundays that made me realize something. Sometimes, laying around doing nothing can be ok! Being a busy-body this was quite the revelation. Sundays don't have to be filled with activities?? You really can go a whole day without showering or changing out of your PJ's?? Well now, football didn't sound so bad anymore. I could get into this!
But, it wasn't until I started watching football with my husbands entire family that I really understood how fun football season could be.
My husband's family are huge Packer fans. My first Packer party with them was very overwhelming. I knew by this point that they were loud people, but OH MY GOD do they yell loud when they watch football. Yelling at the TV when something bad happens, running around high-fiving each other every time something good happens, it was chaos. At this point I still wasn't a confirmed Packer fan. I really had only sort of come to grips with the fact that football was now part of my life and I wasn't ready to make allegiances to any team. Plus, I was from Minnesota. My FIL was a Vikings fan(also from MN) and somehow he had turned my husbands oldest brother into a Vikings fan. But the rest of the family were all true Wisconsinites and they were Packer fans. So the battle began...could my FIL convince me to be a Vikings fan or would the rest of the family turn me into a Packer fan??
I eventually learned more about the Pack. They are the only fan-owned team, won the first Superbowl, have an open air stadium in freaking Wisconsin, have sold out all the games since forever, have a crazy ridiculous waiting list for season tickets....and have some of the best, most obnoxious, most loyal fans ever. So I finally admitted to being a Packer fan, bought myself a team shirt and was high-fiving with the best of 'em.
So there it is in a not-so-short nutshell. I am excited for the upcoming season, we are defending champs, after all! I'm looking forward to lots of Sundays spent on my couch or a friends couch or at the Packer bar across the river. Are there better things I could be doing with my Sundays?? Maybe. But I'm happy to be blogging, watching football and drinking a Bloody. Sounds like a good day to me!
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Well, growing up, I had exactly zero interest in sports of any kind.
I sure as hell didn't play sports - I was the girl in gym class that couldn't participate due to period cramps 3 weeks out of the month. Except for that one deluded afternoon in jr high when I thought I would try out for the basketball team - until I saw just how much running was involved.
I did not run.
But growing up in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada - even being completely anti-sports - there is no escaping the pervasiveness of hockey in our culture. If anybody knows anything about Edmonton, it's that we have a giant mall and the Edmonton Oilers.
The team that Wayne Gretzky built.
Detroit may call itself Hockeytown - but I have never seen a city more obsessed with the game, and their team, than Edmonton. We not only have radio call-in shows strictly devoted to the Edmonton Oilers, these shows (note: not one radio show...multiple radio shows) run 5 days/week throughout the entire year. Trust me when I say that there isn't much going on in the hockey world in August, yet the fans in Edmonton can take the tiniest piece of information and beat it to death for days**.
But I did really well maintaining my no-sports-ever stance; I would quickly change the subject when the Oilers were, inevitably, brought up, and I would roll my eyes anytime someone insisted that "this is our year to go all the way to the Cup!".
Until I met Wilzie.
Wilzie is a hockey savant. He can tell you who was in the net for game 6 of our Stanley Cup run in 1984/85 and how many saves he made. He can tell who we picked in the 3rd round of the 1996 draft. He can tell you that in the trade for Mark Messier to the New York Rangers in 1991, we got Bernie Nichols, Steven Rice and Louie Debrusk in return (otherwise known as the worst trade in history).
And because I loved him, I stopped rolling my eyes and started to listen.
And then I started to get it - hockey was actually pretty cool. It's a fast-paced, exciting sport, where being "good in the locker room" was just as important as being good on the ice. And now, 11 years later, I am a hockey-enthusiast; an Edmonton Oilers season ticket holder who will change the station on the radio so I can actually listen to those never-ending hockey call-in shows.
Though I still can't pick out an offside call to save my life.
*I realize that you're probably not wondering that at all, but I needed some way to seamlessly segue into how I started loving sports.
**The big story this week is that a player - Theo Peckham - is changing his jersey number from 49 to 25.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Growing up I danced. My mom wanted me to turn into a mini version of her, cheerleader and beauty queen. But, mom was also a PE teacher, so I was still going to be in sports, she just wanted me to play with dolls. Even at six years old I knew better for myself, dolls were not where it was at. I begged to play soccer. They stuck me at goalie, and I hated it. Then I wanted to play softball. I did that for a good long while, but after I quit pitching and they stuck me in the outfield, I was done. I threw tennis and volleyball in there somewhere. After awhile, I was done. Nothing really did it for me. Then I met the guy around the corner who coached for some basketball team. My dad and Coach A became friends and he wanted us to go to the games. So the family packed up and headed to the arena to watch some basketball. My brother had begun playing the game, so he knew what was going on. Mom and dad were excited. I had no clue, but I knew something really cool was going on down on the court and I needed to know more.
I picked up a basketball and the parents began teaching. I join a local league and was sold. I wasn't the best player by any means, but I loved the game.
Then Coach A's team started getting some really good players. Some of my friends even had posters of the players in their rooms. I'll never forget seeing Jason Kidd for the first time on a poster, and thinking . . . . I recognize him! He's one of the players that Coach A gives us tickets to go see!
From then on I knew it was something magical. I loved being on the court. I loved going to games. I even enjoyed watching my brothers' teams. (Older boys who were cute may have influenced that one.) I should also note that my brother played every sport imaginable. I was either playing in a game or a spectator at a game every single day of each summer. I even used to keep score for his baseball games.
I played basketball in high school, but had to quit because the coaches and I didn't get along. I wasn't good enough to play varsity anyways. I still went to games, I even started to love football. Yes, I was the girl who had paint all over at the high school games. I wore my boyfriends' numbers. All of my guy friends were on the football team.
All sports still hold a special place in my heart, I even did track after I quit basketball. However, that game left an imprint on me. My dad and I used to go shoot hoops in our alley. He had the perfect hook shot. (Being almost 6'5" and shooting over a 5'something girl might have had something to do with it.) It was a way to actually connect with my mom, we didn't get along very well back then. I got to watch cute boys at my brother's games. It was a lifestyle in our house.
I quit dance after 10 years, but basketball has remained a constant in my life. It's my number one. I'll go to any sporting event (except boxing or wrestling), I miss college football when it's off season, but I crave basketball. All the time. The best part? It all started with the Dallas Mavericks. And my loyalty was just paid off. I love this game.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Between elementary school, middle school and 9th grade gym classes I learned two things. I hated balls and I hated them flying at my face..
Seriously... I can vividly remember a few sports I liked, until I had an issue with balls. Third grade, I got busted in the face with a basketball during drills in gym class, DONE! Middle School I got knocked in the shin with a field hockey stick [no pads, it was a county school afterall] DONE! Skateboarding to keep up with the boys I had the hots for, busted knee on the asphalt, SCREW THIS! The only sport I excelled at was volleyball. I loved it! It was the one sport I was able to feel aggressive, and strong but by the time high school rolled around I feared trying out due to the fact that all the most popular girls were on that team, and I chickened out. I always had a fear of ruining a game for the team. Running in the wrong direction, or scoring by accident for the other team. It's a very irrational fear I know but it freaked me out enough to keep me from going out for the team. While I will still play with basketballs, more so the act of getting blitzed at Dave and Busters and just tossing the bball into the hoop for tickets than actual sport. I do fancy myself a great shot in those situations and often in the instance of winning a silly stuffed animal at a local amusement park - but that really isn't skill it all boils down to finding out which rim is large enough to fit the ball - I'm on to you carni-freaks!
During this time in high school I started to watch bits and pieces of the schools basketball and football games. While the Dance Team didn't perform at the football games we usually went to support our team together. Basketball half time shows were our time to shine and over the course of two years I started to pick-up on the fact that not only were the players cute, but they had a lot of skill. It was at this time I started to watch College Basketball. When I was in high school one player was king, Michael Jordan. And I was obsessed. I immediately became a huge Bulls fan, Puffy Starter Jacket with a Bull and all, and then went back to his roots to become a Carolina Tarheels fan. At this time a lot of the neighborhood boys were into Michael and the Bulls as well as the Tarheels so it just all worked out for me. Not to mention a few guys I was friends with in high school liked the same teams and it finally gave me that IN to not just be the girl they sat next to in class... but one of the guys. I realized the more you liked stuff guys were into, the more they'd talk to you and less uncomfortable it was to have conversations with them. This later bit me in the ass, becoming "One of the Guys" but this isn't a "dating blog" it's a sports blog so let's move on!
I owe my love for football to a former friends husband. If it wasn't for him I would have never started watching Steeler football. And I've grown to love them more and more! Over the years I've gotten a lot of slack for being a Steelers fan in Raven's territory, and even Redskins territory, but to be honest it's OK. I do root for the Skins and support them, and I support other local teams like the Baltimore Orioles. I have had a huge crush on Cal Ripken for as long as I can remember, and I love the Washington Capitals. I have a great story about them that I will share one day with all of you. I love the Washington Wizards, even though I would rather them still be named The Bullets and while I don't know everything there is to know about sports, I'm learning more everyday. The important thing is my passion, and that eventually I'll know as much as I can about each sport.
The last addition in my long list of mashed up sports team love is my support of the Alabama Crimson Tide football team. I moved to Alabama almost 7 years ago to be with my fiance, Mike [newly engaged over here], and I knew upon moving here I had to choose a side. You're either an Alabama fan, or an Auburn fan, or you're left in the dust. I quickly chose the University of Alabama as my favorite Bama team and I never looked back. Red after all is one of my favorite colors! Fast forward to my 7th year living here and I am all geared up for this season. When I moved here Mike didn't give a crap about sports or football. By our second year living together I had gotten him fully into Steelers football. This lead to us starting to watch and support Alabama football as well.
With the count down to football season looming close, and the agreements being made I look forward to writing about the football season, about great tailgating recipes and possibly getting more into college basketball and other sports along the way! If the other ladies start to pipe up about fitness I may chime in with that too. Sister is trying to work on her fitness now.
Thanks for reading - ROLL TIDE and GO STEELERS!
Give me your best Roethlisberger joke, I've probably already heard it.
I want to go on record right now saying that I am Pro-Manning, just putting that out there.
And no, I will not give out my address I already have a subscription to HATER-ADE Weekly, thanks.
Monday, July 25, 2011
According to "experts" players will begin heading back on Wednesday starting the transition period to re-certify as a union (without a union, player benefits cannot be negotiated). IF all goes according to plan, the new League year will start Saturday, including free agency. A process normally spanning the majority of the off-season will now take place over the course of days/weeks.
I'll be curious to see just how well the league handles what I picture to be a giant clusterf--k. Keeping up with the Niners moves will be difficult enough, let alone the rest of the league. I'm praying my team finally grows some balls (lost the small pair they had when they kept Alex Smith) and we hear Asomugha's name mentioned as the focus of our Free Agency this year.
Most importantly though, I want the game back! I want to know I'll have my Lazy Sunday's and tailgating at Candlestick while the team still plays in San Francisco, not some city away from the bay. I want to smell the garlic fries, beer breath and salty ocean "breeze." I want to laugh at the bitter fan sitting behind me. I want to reminisce on Singletary's crazy sayings, and maybe even miss his defensive mindset. I want to lose my voice from yelling at the refs, players, coaches, owners, and announcers. I actually want Joe Buck back (what? I know!) and, dare I say it, Chris Collinsworth? Eh, maybe I won't go that far.
Please, just give me my game!
Friday, July 22, 2011
So...HAPPY CHAMPAGNE FRIDAY! Pop a cork, put your feet up, and feel the salty breeze brush your face (isn't that 583729% better than skimming over this during your microwaved lunch in a partitioned cubicle? Thought so. Cue the Jimmy Buffet).
Tasked with spinning a story of how I first got into sports, I was instantly stuck. I don't remember exactly. I know that the University of Kentucky Wildcat was on at least 1/2 of my wardrobe as a WeeAlly. Then there was the basketball goal in the driveway. And not one of those half-assed goals with the sand in the base either. I watched one Saturday as Army Dad dug the hole in the ground (and, if memory serves, put me in it to show how deep it was) and then cemented the thing into the Bluegrass soil. The house may blow away in a tornado, but that basketball goal will outlive us all.
A head of cotton-white hair with double cowlicks and a gap between my front teeth made me one of the less desirables in my neighborhood. But I had the indestructible basketball goal. Goal in cement outranks gappy teeth and a fro. My basketball goal brought all the boys to the yard. Even as I watched from my bedroom window, I knew that in this one microscopic way, I was popular. Thanks Dad...for the sweat and the cement.
And that's how I began my love and healthy respect for James Naismith's game of ball and bucket. Games of H-O-R-S-E with Dad after dinner. Practicing my lay-ups for team try-outs in middle school. Missing it all when my parents divorced and we moved out of the house with the frayed net and worn rim.
I tried to play soccer once. Let me tell you something about that sport. Practices and games begin when it's still spitting freezing rain in Kentucky. And everything starts early...like 8 AM on a Saturday morning...when the rest of the world is dreaming of crisp waffles and warm maple syrup. And you're out there wiping rain from your eyes, defending a goal when you would rather be watching Fraggle Rock. Screw that. Do you know why basketball games start at 1 PM, at the earliest? Because that is polite. Soccer is for insomniacs. That's not me. Also, when you play a sport outdoors, in the rain, there is a chance you will catch something. Like pneumonia. My parents tried to off me once but I caught on to their evil plot and quickly handed in my cleats and shin guards. I'm too smart to die of a respiratory disease on a soccer field.
Soccer players have very tights
Also...in high school, they made me run a mile before basketball practice and I decided that was barbaric. So I took up tennis. I could stuff balls up my underwear and grunt like a man. What's not to love? But by the time I graduated, I was trading in my tennis skirts for halter tops and cans of balls for fraternity boys. Tailgating was infinitely more enjoyable than actually sweating and exercising. And if I asked enough questions about the sport, I could land more free drinks (attention college boys: she doesn't care about what the line judge's job is. She wants you to buy her a mojito. Save your breath and open your wallet. Just sayin'). Except...after awhile I began to understand and, gasp, enjoy the game. And then I started yelling louder than the guys. And coaching from my couch. And embarrassing my boyfriends.
So, I married a man who would rather watch Discovery Channel than Sunday night's game, but doesn't mind when I cry over a loss to West Virginia (it might have been more painful than losing to Duke). And, from time to time, he will even take me to a game because he realizes that the way to a woman's heart is sometimes through the end zone. He has learned that being an athletic supporter is not such a hard job after all.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Hi...I'm Shana. I get to talk sports with my grandfather all the time...but I'm so excited to have a new place to talk about my teams and share my opinions with other chicks. Isn't Hutch brilliant for coming up with this concept?
So I'm here to tell you how I first got into sports. I'll give you a hint...it was because of the boys...
Sports have been part of my life since I was really young. I remember my dad and grandfather trying to teach me how to hit a wiffle ball at the age of five and my grandfather trying repeatedly to teach me how to swing a golf club properly. My dad and grandfather tried their best...but being clumsy and uncoordinated, I never actually mastered either of those games…or tennis…or lacrosse…and as I got older, it became clear that I was destined to be a spectator, rather than a player.
I started out as a reluctant fan...my parents dragging me to Mets games often. I complained in the beginning, but the more we went, the more I liked it. I learned the game and I got to know the players and started to look forward to the games. My love of baseball never faded...though my allegiance did switch from the Mets to the Yankees. It's true that I haven't forgiven them for getting rid of my man, Joe Torre...and I can't stand Alex Rodriguez's face...but I will always love the Yanks.
Somewhere between middle school and high school, I realized that knowing about sports gives you a good reason to talk to boys...and a reason for them to keep talking to you. For my 12 year old, boy crazy self that's all I needed to be hooked forever.
My love of boys...or of one boy, in particular...has also led me to recently become a reluctant football fan. Last year, my boyfriend J bought bought season tickets to the NY Giants and he took me to every game. I never liked football...I just never really got it...but I figured since I was going to the games, I should start asking some questions and trying to figure it out. I haven't got it down yet and I still ask a lot of questions, but I'm starting to enjoy the games more. Now I pay more attention to what's happening on the field rather than people watching...and one Sunday, I even watched a game on TV while J was out!
So there you have...I was a boy crazy tween who turned into a chick that loves basketball, baseball...and maybe football.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Ahem, ok. First of all, I would like to congratulate Hutch on this new site and concept. I think it's brilliant. I would also like to congratulate her on the size of her huge balls. Yes, her huge balls. There are not many people who invite SurferWife to contribute to a site AND say, "Don't censor yourself." On top of that, she is allowing me the first post, after hers. Talk about just throwing shit against a wall and seeing if it sticks.
Alright, so I am really here to give you a little insight into my sports life and how it came to be. As much as I enjoy speaking of Hutch's private parts, I'll discontinue that now. Like many, my dad watched sports. I always remember a baseball or football game blaring on the boob tube and me whining incessantly for him to change it over to Rainbow Brite or MTV because the Rock With Me video with Michael Jackson's sequin suit was probably on one of our 13 basic cable channels. To which my dad would respond, "No, The Superbowl Shuffle is about to re-air. Besides, I don't want to get up to change the channel."
There you have it. My love of watching sports grew out of being a child of the 80's with no remote control and sheer laziness on my mine and my father's part.
As I got older, I found I couldn't take my eyes off the kid in my class who could play any sport and play it well. In jr. high, I would miss my bus in order to stay and watch the baseball team practice. I would walk down to the beach to watch those same boys do Jr. Lifeguards and then head out for a surf afterwards with their friends. In high school, big shocker, I dated a football player who also surfed.
And then there was The Surfer. I was smitten at age 12 with my future husband. He didn't play organized sports because he was an ocean guy and his number one love was a good wave. How very Dylan McKay of him. *Swoon*
As any good groupie would do, I studied and learned all these sports that these hot guys played. Go figure, I actually enjoyed watching these sports. When a gaggle of us girls would go to a high school football game, I actually watched and cared about the score and the plays and well, their butts. I'm pretty sure I was every boy's mother's worst nightmare.
Enter Karma, Stage Right.
I have a son. I have a very athletically inclined son. He plays tackle football and baseball. He surfs real waves on a real board and just completed his first session of Jr. Lifeguards. While my heart swells with overwhelming pride at his abilities, I am realizing I am raising THEEEE boy that I set my sights on and didn't stop until my claws were firmly dug in.
I will slap a bitch. I don't care if she's 9.
This is my son, Jason, whom we shall refer to as The Ace from here on out. He's a pitcher and 1st baseman. A linebacker and fullback. A surfer and swimmer. You give the kid a ball or any tool required to play any sport and he can do it. And do it well. You will find posts from me highlighting his sports. Probably mostly about the idiotic parents I encounter on the sidelines, because let's face it. That's the juicy shit.
In addition, you will find me posting on The Surfer and his triathlon skills. He's one of those guys that completes a half ironman with a damn smile on his face. Meanwhile, I am his number one fan in the crowd, hooting and hollering with Dorito crumbs chillin' in my cleavage. Thanks to him, I feel fat, will follow and report on all things Surfing (ASP World Tour), Triathlon, and Hockey. Go Red Wings. Yes, I am from San Diego. I know I just said hockey. And Red Wings. Just go with it, ok?
Lastly, you will find me posting about the Chargers. Scratch that, you will find me passionately cussing out Norv Turner. Life as a Chargers and Padres fan is not an easy one, but someone has to live it.
With booze in her hand.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
We moved to a small town, only rivaled by Texas in their love for football, outside of Sacramento* before my formative kindergarten year. At the time, I didn't know anything about sports other than gymnastics (pretty sure I had just mastered the cartwheel). Sundays in the fall weren't spent at church. Gasp! I know. Instead, I sat in the family room watching my parents and/or grandmother pray and yell at the TV like the people on the other side could actually hear them. Crazy, right? Clearly they're not going to respond back to you.
The union of my Mom and new Dad came with Niners season tickets. I had no idea what this would mean to my life at the time. A few years after we moved, I went to my first pre-season game. I looked around at all these beer drinking, garlic fry eating (may not have had the fries yet, but not the point) men yelling at the refs and coaches, just like my family did to the TV. I had to know why! Every Sunday, for the remainder of the season I asked questions. LOTS of questions. My grandmother, who watched us during home games, taught me almost everything I know about the basics of the game. I then spent all of elementary, jr. high, and high school arguing with any boy I could find about football. Sometimes even winning. In college, I finally realized there were others like me!
But what about the Pops?
He lived in Southern California during my younger days. Far from the obviously superior NorCal teams. During one visit in 3rd grade, the Giants happened to be in town. Of course we had to go. The Pops, brave man that he is, bought me a Giants hat to wear to my first ever baseball game. At Dodgers Stadium. I stepped down in to the outfield bleachers, happy and excited to see the game!
The happiness lasted almost until we reached our seats. The ten Dodgers fans who actually made it to the game by the 1st inning saw a wee little rival and decided...fresh meat! My Pops is not a small guy, or even medium. These people dared to harass me with him standing right there? The immediate hatred came almost too naturally for me. They witnessed the birth of a Giants fan that night. 20 years later the Franchise rewarded us all.
Thus concludes the story of my two dads, without whom, I never would have fallen for sports as hard as I did. A love affair that continues to this day.
|View from our seats during last night's game. Giants beat the Dodgers 5-0!|
Regardless of the Dodger's situation, I still love the rivalry and the W.
*I'd talk about life growing up with the Kings, but that's more of a depressing story.
Monday, July 18, 2011
Monday through Friday we'll cover everything from youth sports to the NFL. Don't expect an unbiased view, but each of us live in different cities across the U.S. and Canada so the passionately biased views will at least be varied! If you disagree, feel free to comment, just try to play nice.
Contributing to the site will be me (Hutch), Ally, Aunt BT, Cathy, Fojoy, Kelly, Maegan, Shana and SurferWife. You can find out more about us HERE, or by clicking "Meet the Chicks" above.
Any questions? Email hutchfromthesidelines [at] gmail [dot] com. or ask us on Twitter HERE.
We may be chicks, but we know our sports.