Monday, October 31, 2011

Warrior Dash - NorCal

After this weekend I have a new found respect for Cathy and Road Rules/Challenge peeps.  When Cathy showed pics and talked about her time, I thought sure, I'll sign up for Warrior Dash when it comes to California. Wrangle a few friends of mine in and we were ready to go.  I just ran 4 miles on Thursday so the 3-ish mile dash would be no big deal, right? Hah! The obstacles combined with running in the heat kicked my ass! BUT, I SURVIVED! I just wanted to cross the finish line, and I did!

Here's a look at my experience through photos:

Putting on the first!

The before shot, all nice and clean
Soooo Hot (want to touch the hynie?)
and LOTS of dust with very little shade

Most proud of this obstacle, I have ZERO upper body strength

Didn't think the fire would be as hot as it was. Yes, blonde.

Waiting for the mud pit, all the obstacles had lines.
I wasn't complaining

Swamp thing?

And of course I had to throw in some jazz hands!

The After, Hot right?

Repleneshing, BBQ Beef Sandwich = Delish
And Go Niners!!! 6-1, what up?!

With our Warrior Hats before taking off, can you spot me?

Lessons Learned: This race was no joke! I strongly dislike running in the heat so we're signing up for a morning time next year and I will be doing some sort of training (outside of running) beforehand.  The key takeaway? I WILL be signing up again! No matter how much it kicked my ass I can't wait to improve. And yes, we're already planning our costumes for next year!

Friday, October 28, 2011

too much pink? not if i have anything to say about it.

All month, the contributors here at From the Sidelines have gone Pink, and it looks like its up to me to close out Breast Cancer Awareness Month with my own pink post...

Like many of the other chicks here, I have been touched by this terrible plague and will be forever changed because of it.

My Husband's Mom died of breast cancer almost 9 years ago, 4 months before our wedding. Her last words to me were "Take care of him."

So every October, when Wilzie drags me out of bed at 6am on a Sunday morning to volunteer at the Run for the Cure, I don't complain. I smile at him as I make sure he has his gloves and we head out to join the thousands of other people who show up in the city square to feel like they are making a difference.

The Run for the Cure is an amazing fundraising event - everywhere you look, there are people that just want to do something. To empower themselves against a disease that seems unbeatable.

They wear costumes and wigs and uniforms - all in pink to show their support to those who are fighting, and they display their tattoos in memory of those they have lost.

There is such a feeling of camaraderie among the crowd of people. Everyone milling around and chatting - the positive energy making up for the negative temperatures.

Wilzie likes to volunteer position of choice is right in the middle of the action - at the information booth. He likes to be a part of the crowd, to see the crazy team names and chat with the participants.

He knows why they run.

He knows too well.

All the runners wear bibs that announce "I'm running for..." and they each get a chance to fill in that blank:

"...My Mom"
"...Linda, Iveigh, and Rita"
"...a future without breast cancer"
" daughter"
"...all the boobies"

I enjoy being in the middle of the action too, but I prefer to work at the finish line. Handing out water and congratulations to everyone that passes underneath that banner.

When I see a woman wearing a pink t-shirt (which signifies a breast cancer survivor), her hair not yet grown back, cross the finish line my heart swells and my eyes fill with tears. Her family and friends there to help her and cheer her and hug her. Their pride in their mother/sister/friend showing in their smiles and their tears as they marvel at her strength.

Every year, once the run is over and crowd thins out, I say a prayer and hope that we made a difference.

I hope that next year there are more strong women crossing that finish line and less of them that have to leave their sons for someone else to take care of.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Even the Losers Get Lucky Sometimes

The University of Kentucky has never been much of a football school. A legacy of winning and first round draft players in our basketball program? Absolutely. But football is what we play until it's time for tip-off. The only exception to that would be in the late 90's when Tim Couch and Coach Rich Brooks carried us to 4 Music City Bowls (winning 3 of those) and the Liberty Bowl in 2009. But a tournament named after a fruit or a flower? Yeah...never gonna happen. And I have always been fine with that because I know that October brings Big Blue Madness (which fans have taken to a whole new level with all of the camping out for days just to get tickets. To an exhibition game. I'm not exaggerating. DAYS.) and the new year always ushers in a tough schedule of SEC games. If we could trade in our football season for 2 basketball seasons, we would probably all unanimously agree to that.

But this sentiment has never rung more true than this year. The 2011 football season has been filled with embarrassing losses and mortifying statistics. It's hard to unconditionally support a team when they don't make a single touchdown the entire game (seriously, they made an interception in the game against University of SC and although they were under 20 yards from their own end zone, they ended up having to kick it for the points because they couldn't run it in. And that, folks, are the only points they made the entire game). The 24-17 loss against University of Louisville (our state rivalry) was disappointing but not unexpected. The team who claims victory usually alternates between the 2 schools. But the 35-7 loss against LSU and the 54-3 loss against USC had fans calling for Coach Joker Phillips' head on a cheese tray. And how he is doing so poorly with a team that was recruited by a coach who took us to consecutive bowl games is beyond our collective comprehension. After receiving a sympathy invitation to the Compass Bowl (how do you get invited to a bowl game after a 6-7 season anyway??), we all had higher hopes for the 2011 season. But hopes are like Waterford easily smashed into a million unrecognizable pieces.

The city newspaper is so disgusted, they've started covering basketball. In October.

But last Saturday was different. As Shana has already covered so well, we won one. Hallelujah, pass the bourbon, we're taking a ride on the sin wagon. It was a good day. We didn't even bother to stroll into the stadium until almost half-time. What was the point? To watch Morgan Newton look about in slow motion while he tries to identify someone who could maybe catch a pass and then be sacked over and over and over again? Meh. Mimosas taste better than defeat. But then the canons started firing. And several times over we heard TouchDOOOOOOWWWNNNNNN, Kentucky! Which is vastly different than when they announce points scored by the other team. That normally sounds like touchdownjacksonvillestate. So, we drained our cups and hightailed it to our seats in the 100 section. 

They looked good and aggressive...

They ran for interceptions...

and in general played so well that the cheerleaders took a break to readjust their tiniest tumblers and make post-game party plans.  

After a delightful half-time show and the crowning of our ivory-white Homecoming Court (apparently, a black man can be President but cannot be U.K. Homecoming King...sadly...diversity is not one of our defining characteristics), the teams took to the field once again, filled with piss and vinegar and the will to win. Warm-up kicks were right on target

and I was reminded of how inflexible I truly am. My hamstrings saw that and laughed until they wet themselves. 

Winning by 20 points meant that the cheerleaders didn't have to work quite so hard to fire up the C-A-T-S, Cats, Cats, Cats! cheer

and Big Blue, as he is apparently being called now, could kick it with the dance team instead of working the crowd and flailing about...

At one point, we had become so comfortable in our lead that even the O-line was waving their hands to fire up the crowd. I guess they play better bubble-wrapped in the sweet sound of "YOU CAN DO IT."

But it seems to have worked because they ran and shoved their way to one more  "TOUCHDOOOOOWWWNNNNN, KENTUCKY!" 

Final score: 38-14. 

Thank you, boys in blue...for bringing your A game, even when playing a I-AA team. A win is a win, even when it is against a team that belongs to the division below. It makes the wait for November pass a little more quickly.

**And Shana was spot on. Our cheerleaders are kind of a big deal. 18 NCAA championships under their belt. No wonder they look a little underwhelmed by the burly men in spandex who can't seem to get the job done most of the time.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

This is how they do it in Kentucky...

I don't have much experience with college football. I went to NYU...we didn't have a football team. While my friends at other schools were painting their faces with their team colors and spending their Saturdays tailgating and cheering their teams on, I was...well, not doing that. Lately, I've been feeling like I missed out on something awesome by not having that college football experience.

Lucky for me...I happened to be in Kentucky this weekend with Allyson and Hutch and Allyson decided to give me the college football experience that I never the University of Kentucky Wildcats game on Saturday.

We started out at Fan Outfitters...THE place to buy all things UK. We got t-shirts and face tattoos and earrings. Once we were fully dressed in our UK blue and white, we made a necessary stop at Liquor Barn for the makings of mimosas. Then we headed to the stadium.

We went to a tailgate party being thrown by some friends of Ally's where we paired our mimosas with some really delicious food and cupcakes.

When the game started, we headed into the stadium and Ally warned us not to expect much. Apparently, the Wildcats are having a pretty rough season and have been losing quite a bit. With our expectations low, we found our seats...and were pleasantly surprised to see that the Wildcats were winning. We watched what turned out to be an excellent game and we cheered the Wildcats to a 38 to 14 victory!

And we learned some things along the way as well. Like...

Kentucky fans party with great enthusiasm...

This guy was so funny. He shook his butt to every song they played. He was actually more entertaining to watch than the dance team.

The cheerleaders actually win more national championships than the football team...

They were pretty great...although there were a few times that they seemed to have lost their way. At one point, a girl was walking around with a cardboard fence...but since she lost her corresponding "D" it really didn't make a lot of sense.

Oh...and if you are going to talk smack about how bad the team might want to make sure you aren't sitting with one of the players' mom. Which is exactly what we were doing. (We're really sorry Mrs. George!)

I must first college football experience was a great one. Thanks so much to Allyson for making it happen.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The pink flair trickles down to Pop Warner Football

Pop Warner Football doesn't get a whole lot cuter than this.

The Ace is on the bottom left of the picture

Not only do our guys feel like the NFL players in October, but they are supporting awareness for Breast Cancer Research while scoring their touchdowns.  The three captains of this game,  appraoching the opposition to represent their team with pride.  And pink socks.

The Ace on the right and his buddy on the left

There's not a set of guys out there that can pull this pink off as well as this team.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Gator Hater

While I'm off experiencing the wonder that is Kentucky, with Ally and Shana, I thought it only fitting to have one of my University of Kentucky-fan friends fill in.  Seeing as I only know two (as a Syracuse grad/fan I think the limit is 3), and I'll be drinking with one, I asked the other if she'd be willing.  Since she's clearly awesome, of course she said yes.  We wish she could have been with us, but I guess this will do.  Meet Amanda, from It's Blogworthy, a UK fan living in the land of Gators (with the cutest future Gator Hater of a kid)...

Growing up, my only experience with football was when my parents went to Marshall University football games every fall. My grandma came over to babysit us, we went out to eat. It was great fun. I loved football.

Then in college I went to one singular game to watch my sorority sister receive her homecoming crown. I stayed for one half and then went back to my friend's house to drink beer.
No, wait. I went to one other game besides that homecoming game. I stayed for 10 minutes and left because it was too hot (and then went back to my friend's house to drink beer.)

Any and all other football games in college were spent in the parking lot tailgating. It was great fun. I loved football.
Nobody will ever confuse me with a sports fan, that's for sure.
Then, in a twist of fate, I met my husband, who Paula-Abdul-dancing-with-the-cat-opposite-attract-fashion (and yes, I just threw a 90s music reference in here because that's how I do), loved attending games as much as I disliked attending them. And on top of that, he was a Kentucky fan -- one of the most passionate and occasionally volatile types of sports fans out there.So, six years ago, I began my life as a sports wife.

In Kentucky, basketball is King. The cold winters keep kids indoors shooting hoops for four months out of the year -- or in front of their TVs watching the Cats. If it's not a 20 point blowout, it's a loss. If they aren't a first seed in the tournament, they were robbed. If their dressers aren't filled with blue shirts then -- well, that will never happen, because most Cats fans have enough blue tshirts to clothe a small army. Basically, I've learned three things in my six years partnered up with my Cats fan:  games should probably be watched in private and not around other people (unless they are also Cats fans);  hide all the remotes unless you want to buy more after they are smashed into oblivion; and don't talk to them about football, because they will change the subject. Probably to basketball.

Almost four years ago, my husband and I moved to Gainesville, Florida, and if you're an SEC fan you'll know immediately why that's a problem -- it's the home of SEC rivals, the Florida Gators. Don't think we didn't talk about that ad naseum before we moved.
The differences between the two schools were clear almost immediately. Down here, football rules the roost. Teams who come to the Swamp don't win -- only Gators come out alive. The same, however, doesn't apply for the O'Connell Center, where the Gators play basketball....I guess because it's not as swampy.

Gator fans talk about football as much as Cats fans talk about basketball, and are just as passionate. We went to a Kentucky/Florida football game a few years ago and were cussed at, stared at and pushed -- YES PUSHED. We were all, "Really, people? If we get a field goal it'll be a miracle. Making fun of Kentucky football is like making fun of a child because he can't tie his shoes." We did get a field goal that game -- and that was it.

Living in a football town has its benefits, though. We can always get tickets to the Kentucky/Florida basketball game and we tend to have a few more than three points. Most games we've won, and have refrained from swearing at or pushing anybody.

Now we're raising our little boy here in Gainesville, and we're starting him early. He loves basketball and already has a closet full of blue clothes. He might have been born in Florida, but his blue runs blue.

Do you love football or basketball? 

Friday, October 21, 2011

An All Woman Medical Team - You know it!

A few weeks ago I worked a Freesytle Motocross event in Pomona, CA. 
Or as we like to call it, PRO-mona.  It was at the LA County Fair, last weekend, as is the tradition.
Here is my Chocolate Covered Bacon!
When I say "worked" I mean provided medical coverage for, like bumps bruises, taping some owies, and being on call for "the big one".  The one where some one crashes and is all discomboobilated.  I love it, it's awesome!
Yes, he's vertical

The thing that stuck out to me about it this year was the fact that it was an all-chick crew.

Oh yeah, baby.  You know it!

Ready for Action

I work with a company called 2 The Rescue.  We do specifically action sports event coverage.  There's Coleen, the one that runs the show, she is an EMT in SD, Debbie is Massage Therapist Extraordinaire with her own joint in Medina, OH, and me.
We are the main main.  Others come and "play", as we call it, when we have larger events, but by and large, it's mostly 2 of us or all 3.

Here we are in 2007 before I had my oldest.   I think we were in Phoenix.  There was an event going on with BMX, Skateboarding and a FMX demo.  How mama's, no?

So as I am sitting beside a dirt track in 90 degree heat in OCTOBER, I am thinking about how awesome it is that times have changed.  True, we have a relationship with the tour big wigs, we've been with them for quite a few years now, traveling and what not.  But still.  
There was a time not so long ago, and I'm sure the opinion is still out there, that women are not as good of medical providers as men.  Especially in trauma.  

Who freaking gives birth?  Do you think that is not traumatic??  

C'est moi.
And it's very true that some people can just innately handle trauma and blood and guts and bones sticking out and some can't.  But that applies to both men and women.  I have seen plenty a doctor (MD) looks like a deer in the headlights when someone is gravely injured.  I have seen men and women freak out at the violence of a crash.  
Somehow, the sounds of motorcycles buzzing over my head is oddly soothing.  You learn to listen, you learn what certain sounds mean, a rev here and a silence there.  

Earth mover.

I am proud to part of an all woman medical team.  We know what to do, work well together, respect each others parts and roles.  We put our egos aside to help others.  It's fun.  It makes for a fun work environment.  

I know, novel. 
This week I'm off to Venice Beach for a skateboarding event!  Woot! 
Follow more action at Beyond The Bandaids or @byndthebandaids on twitter

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Have you seen the Race?

I'm going to remind you again that it's October. That means breast cancer awareness month. Yes, I know. You're getting flooded with this message. Heck, you're probably rolling your eyes at the computer screen right now thinking, why are they talking about this on a sports blog? Yeah, I used to do that too. I won't lie, every now and then I still do it. Mostly because certain places focus on the wearing of the color pink, instead of actually doing something for the pink (aka donating or volunteering for the Susan G. Komen Foundation - for example).

I used to be one of them. I used to just wear the pink ribbon and think I was doing something. Then, my grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer, in her eighties. Luckily she was able to go into remission, and because of people being a part of breast cancer awareness and giving money to fund research, that was able to happen. I figured out that just wearing pink wasn't going to cut it. But, it sure did help people recognize the good cause. NFL, hopefully you're donating money to research instead of just having your players wear pink; MLB and anyone else, same thing.

At the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, you see thousands of women wearing their survivor shirts. The smiles they have, participating in something that may have helped fund a medicine that put them into remission. The Race touches lives, and perhaps will one day help fund a cure for this terrible disease.

Want to know the craziest thing though? Every age, every weight, every gender (I say every gender, because I'm not really sure what gender you call a cross dresser, cause he/she was walking too, so I'm being vague and not judging - heck, his/her legs were smoking hot), and any other type of category you can associate with was there. Just to be a part of it and support someone they loved.

I honestly used to think I wasn't in enough shape to be a part of a 5k. Heck, running wise I'm not. I was going to the gym every day this summer, but then work go so busy I couldn't find the time. So, I watched people walk by during the Race and was so proud of them. Not just proud because of why they were there, but that they were getting up off their couch and walking or running this 5k. Yes, the fundraising part is awesome. But, the fact that they went and made the 3.2 mile distance is something to be proud of. And the best part is, you don't even need to train for it. Just get up and walk. You walk every day. You are in good enough shape, and if you're struggling, just count it as a work out. If you want to train to run it, train. Run it. I've seen walkers beat runners, but the fact that they finish running it is amazing. I hope those people are extra proud of themselves.

This is something you can be a part of. Do some good for breast cancer research, but also get out and do good for you. The Race for the Cure is beneficial to you, and everyone that will benefit from research the fundraising supports. Which in reality is everyone, because everyone is a risk (yes, even men). So be active and fight, and check yourself. It's worth it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

posture correction week 1: righty-tighty

I had been psyching myself up for weeks about starting my new regimen for posture correction with Rob at Complete Body Care, but when I walked into the gym on the day of my assessment, my nerves had almost gotten the better of me. My heart was pounding and I was sweating and we hadn't even hit the gym yet.

I was about to get my picture taken in my underwear.

I don't even let Baconhound take pictures of me in my underwear!

But, in the interest of my well-being and your entertainment, I took a deep breath and disrobed.

I tried to act nonchalant, like standing around in my bra was an every day occurrence, while Rob positioned me for the alignment pictures. When I was lined up correctly, he told me to take a deep breath, let it out* and...CLICK. Then I turned to the side, got lined up, another deep breath, and...CLICK.

"That wasn't so painful, was it?" Rob joked.

"Not physically..."

I quickly put my shirt on and we looked over the pictures as he judged analyzed my posture.

It seems that my whole body shifts to the right - my spine runs parallel to the laser (which you can't really see in the first picture, but its easy to tell that I am shifted more to the right of the grid), my shoulders are hunched (shocker), and my hips jut, a lot.

And just when I thought the fun was over, Rob took my measurements.

Calf - 17" / Thigh - 24.5" / Hips 42.5" / Stomach 37.5" / Chest 42"

Then we hit the gym.

Our first session wasn't really about working out - it was about finding out what my body can do.**

Rob tested my balance and he evaluated the strength and mobility of my left side vs my right side. After every movement, he would ask what I felt and how it differed from the opposite side. He would explain to me what was happening with my muscles and point out what needs to be focused on to improve the overall capabilities of my body.

What I learned from this is that I am not only right-side dominant, but my left side might as well be paralyzed. It is completely useless. Like spinning rims on a 1983 Ford Fiesta, my left side is just there for show.

So after discovering that my whole body naturally leans to the right, and that my right side practices total domination over my left...does this mean I have to start supporting Sarah Palin???


After the left/right assessment, Rob shifted his focus to my abs (yay!). There he discovered that I have a weak core (thanks for nothing, Pilates!), and he knew the perfect way to remedy that...

He had me lie down on my back and when I was completely defenceless, Rob said, " know I"m a boxer, right?" and turned and walked into another room. When he came back through the doorway, he was pulling on boxing gloves. And he was smiling. Devilishly.

Then he proceeded to punch me in the stomach for 3 minutes.

OK, so he wasn't punching hard, and it was in 30 second increments, and it was actually pretty effective (I really had to tighten my core just to reduce the jiggle), but still...he was punching me! In the stomach!!

So ended my first session with Rob.

And it will only get better...Rob sent me an email warning advising me that next week, he's bringing the video camera****!

God help me.

the Taskmaster, himself

*I wasn't even allowed to suck my stomach in! Apparently these pictures need to be "real" and "natural"

**hint: its really bendy***

***no, its really not

***I really hope he means just for the training and not for the massage

Respect. For everyone.

Today kind of snuck up on me. I was sitting at home Sunday night reveling in another Green Bay Packers win (undefeated world champs, baby) when suddenly it hit me "Crap! I have to get a post ready for Tuesday."

Hmm...what to write about? The Brewers heading to the World Series! NOPE. They lost. Please send your condolences to my husband and the entire state of Wisconsin. Fantasy Football? Maybe, but does everyone really want to hear how badly I'm sucking this year? Probs not.

Monday afternoon I was still at a loss. So I did what any good social media nerd would do, I sent out a tweet for help.

One person answered my plea. Seriously, you guys, nobody listens to me anymore.

My first thought was "I know nothing about Indy Car racing". But the more I thought about it the more I realized I didn't have to write about Indy Car racing, I had to write about the human factor. Actually I don't even know if that's the correct term. The human aspect? Humanity? Whatever I'm trying to say I think you know what I mean.

Sports "figures" are human beings, with parents and kids and dogs. Just because most of them make enough money to never have to worry about paying the bills each month doesn't mean that they aren't somebody.

Everything I've read about Dan Wheldon paints him as a wonderful person. A caring husband and father, a great friend and an all around good guy. However, because he's a sports figure, people will view him as only that. Take a look at this comment I saw on a story about Dan and his wife getting matching tattoos the night before his crash:


Are. You. Kidding. Me! He's still a real person. He died. It is a tragedy! Yes, his career presented a certain risk, but that doesn't make his death any less tragic. We all take calculated risks everyday. If a plane crashes and people die we don't say "Well that's what they get for thinking they could fly! Idiots".

I'm not trying to do a whole "Athletes! They're just like us!" post, but I just want people to remember that celebrities and entertainers and athletes are people and when they die they leave behind loved ones. We have no right to say they "deserved" it because their careers put them in harms way. Their lives are important and deserve to be treated with respect.

I sincerely extend my deepest condolences to Dan Wheldon's family and friends. As they mourn his death I hope they don't see any of the ugliness like that comment above, but instead are comforted by the fact that he was a good man and touched many lives.

Monday, October 17, 2011

America's Favorite Pastime?

I love baseball season.

The spring air transitioning into summer and then fall

Hot Dogs, Garlic Fries, Beer and Cracker Jacks

"Beat LA!" chants

Hot players in uniforms that actually show off their bodies instead of hiding it

But really, beyond the Giant's, Red Sox and occasional feel-good story, I honestly don't give a shit.  I haven't watched a single full game of this year's playoffs and won't be too disappointed if I miss the World Series altogether. Outside of the Brewers, it's been a whole lot of "So what?"  Yankees are out so I don't even have a team to hate.  No one to like and no one to hate equals a whole lot of meh.

Football, however, is a completely different experience for me.  I will watch every playoff game and I can sit around on a Sunday and watch every game, regardless of who's playing.  Granted this season's been a lot more enjoyable with the Niners complete turnaround.  Really, who saw that coming? And Harbaugh? Best post-game interviews! Ever. Period. Exclamation point.

I can't figure out the difference in baseball and football. Number of games? Pace of the game? Drama on/off the field? I really do love both sports, just not equally when my teams aren't playing.

P.S. Detroit's been a bit down on their luck lately, but this reaction? Just wow.  RELAX, guy! Also, another reason I love Harbaugh. The chest bump attempt is classic!

Friday, October 14, 2011

the prodigal son returns

I'm sure the word "fan" was created to describe the hockey crowd in Edmonton, because that's exactly what we are - fanatics. And if the Edmonton hockey fans love you, they will love you forever.

Unless, of course, you commit the horrific sin of wanting to leave. It doesn't matter the reason - more money, better climate, stable family life - if a player wants to leave the team/city, they will be hated with a fierceness reserved for child molesters and Edmonton defectors. Should that player be unfortunate enough to return to Edmonton to play against the Oilers, regardless of how popular they were when they played here, they will be met by a chorus of merciless "Boos" every time they touch the puck.

Every. Single. Time.

The best example of this was with Ryan Smyth (one of my, personal, all time favourite Oilers).

Smytty was drafted here in 1994 and was the city's (and the team's) biggest booster. He wasn't a super-star, power-forward by any means, but he was scrappy, had lots of grit, and sported one heck of a mullet - all qualities that are held in high regards here in Edmonton.

Edmonton Fans LOVED Ryan Smyth, and Smytty loved Edmonton right back.

He was always the last player to leave the ice during the pre-game warm-up, and he would pick 3 pucks out of the net and toss them over the glass to fans (usually kids) vying for a glimpse of their favourite player.

During the Oiler's playoff run in 2006, Smytty became the backbone of the team. He was beaten up and broken down, he got a couple of broken teeth and several stitches in his mouth. He left everything he had on the ice, and then he went back to the dressing room and geared the rest of team up for another period/game/series.

This was a video made during the 2006 playoff spoofing Ryan Smyth's endless cheerleading.

To so many fans, Smytty was the Edmonton Oilers.

And then he wasn't.

In 2006/07, contract negotiations broke down, neither side would budge and they couldn't bridge the $100,000 gap between their offers. When it became apparent that he was going to peddle his wares around the NHL for the highest bidder, the Oilers traded him at the deadline.

And after a tearful speech at the airport, Smytty was gone.

The next year, at his first game back in Edmonton as a member of the Colorado Avalanche, the organization played a heart-warming video tribute to Smytty to celebrate his many years with the team. He cried, we cried, everyone in the building gave him a standing ovation, and cheered his name.

Until the first time he touched the puck and the "Boos" filled the arena.

Sometimes, I just don't understand this city.

But now he's back - an Edmonton Oiler once again - and all is forgiven. The first game of the season, after the pre-game skate, Smytty grabbed three pucks from the net and tossed them into the crowd, and when he was introduced, the crowd once again stood for him and cheered with all their collective might.

Our Smytty was home, where he belonged, and we could just pretend that the last 4 years never even happened.

Do you hold a grudge when players want to leave your team? Would you welcome them back with open arms?