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Posts Tagged ‘sports’

I felt like a traitor

I went to my very first postseason game ever yesterday, and it wasn’t even for the Phillies.

Granted, that would have been hard to do, considering they were effectively eliminated months ago. (Though, officially, it’s only been a couple weeks.)

But I digress.

Yesterday I went to the Nats-Cardinals game – Game 3 of the NLDS, and the first postseason home game for the Nationals – and I cheered for the Nats.

It didn’t feel right.

It didn’t feel natural.

It didn’t feel as intense.

But it did feel like the lesser of two evils.

If my Phillies weren’t in the same division as the Nats, I wouldn’t have thought twice about rooting for the home team. But they are, so I did.

The Cardinals, however, killed our posteason last year, and I can hold a grudge with the best of them.

Even so, my Nats cheers just weren’t heartfelt, and I tried to explain it to Husband.

I feel dirty. I don’t like cheering for a division rival.

Husband understood. He didn’t try to convince me otherwise, and he nodded (without explicitly agreeing) when I rationalized.

I can’t root for the Cardinals; they beat us last year. And it’s not like the Nats beat out the Phillies for the division. We were never really in the running.

In the end, though, my reasoning – sound or not – didn’t matter. The Nats lost to the Cards, and I realized the only slight silver lining of not having your own team in the postseason: I wasn’t sad about the loss.

Last year, when the Phillies were in the NLDS, my emotions were tied up in each and every game. And I cried when we lost the series.

This year, I won’t cry either way. I’ll cheer for a good game, and get goosebumps when I see all of the “Legends are born in October” commercials. And I won’t be emotionally drained by the end of the month.

But truth be told, I’d always rather be in the running and risk the heartbreak, than not be in the game at all.

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My dearest Phillies,

I have but one request for you this weekend, and it is simple: please do not get swept by the Nationals.

I understand that they’re looking pretty good so far. I can admit that Harper is fun to watch. And you’ll forgive me if I still have a soft spot for Jayson Werth and his beard.

I’ll use any excuse to put this photo in a post. Even if the facial hair isn’t current.

BUT you have to win this weekend – at least one game.

They’re trying to psych you out with this “Take Back the Park” campaign, but I think we all know that the fan ratio will still be in Philly’s favor.

And don’t you want to win for your traveling and transplant fans?

Now, I’ll be honest. It probably wouldn’t be my choice to have Kendrick facing off against Strasburg, but maybe you’ll surprise me. Maybe you’ll score the way you did against the Braves. Stranger things have happened. (See: Nationals in first place in the NL East.)

I also want to take a moment to apologize. I won’t be able to be at the games this weekend, because I’ll be back in the hometown (running Broad Street!) where you know that everyone will be rooting for you.

I will be cheering my little heart out, possibly with obscenities, depending on how everything unfolds.

So please, guys, please make me proud. I really only want to use obscenities in a happy way.

Love,

Elizabeth

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Hear me out.

Before you scoff, think about all the life lessons you can learn from the Mighty Ducks franchise. (And by franchise, I mean the first two movies. The third was forgettable, at best.) They may be more applicable than you realize.

1) Ducks fly together. It’s simple, really. Your friends have your back through thick or thin, peewee hockey or the Junior Goodwill Games.

2) Don’t quack at your boss unless you’re prepared to forfeit your job. It’s generally frowned upon in the work place, though I don’t know that for a fact since I’ve been too nervous to try it out on El Jefe. Quacking with friends, however, is an awesome way to get fired up. I’ve debated trying to encourage it on my softball team, but I don’t think it would fly. (Ha!)

3) Contrary to what Will Smith sang, the bad guys always dress in black. The Hawks, Team Iceland – both in black, both bullies. Coincidence? I think not. That said, there’s always hope for them. Even Gunnar Stahl had a nice word for the Ducks after the game.

4) “Two minutes, well worth it.” Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time. And be prepared to defend your convictions, even if they put you in the penalty box.

5) Learning in the classroom must be supplemented by on-the-street experience. It teaches you to think outside the box and embrace new ideas – like the knucklepuck.

6) Being called a “cake eater” is not a good thing. To me, this is counter-intuitive. If you call me a cake eater and I’m actually eating cake, I think, “Indeed! And it’s delicious!” If you call me a cake eater and I’m not actually eating cake at the time, well, then it just feels like you’re being a tease and I start thinking about cake. So I probably wouldn’t have responded appropriately to Terri’s insults.

7) And finally, sometimes awkward ducklings really do grow into very attractive swans.

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Last year in the weeks preceding March Madness, I decided that I wanted to care more about my bracket. In order to do that, I decided that I should have a college basketball team to root for and care about and follow (before the bracket teams were determined).

But who?

Hopkins had a fantastic team…but it was Division III. Not eligible.

Because I’m in DC, there were suggestions that I pull for Georgetown. But…I go to GW (even if I don’t follow GW sports).

I eventually settled on a hometown team. I chose a school who I’d grown up hearing about. I also have several friends who have gone there, at least one of whom was closely affiliated with the basketball program.

So I told BNF. “I think I’m going to go with Villanova as my team.” I explained my reasoning; it wasn’t because they’d been good that year, I just wanted someone to care about.

You can’t.”

I can’t what?

You can’t just pick a team. That’s not how it works.

But I just did.

No. You either root for the team where you went to school —

But you didn’t go to UCLA! You’re not following your own rules!

OR you root for the team that you grew up cheering for.

Well, I grew up hearing about Villanova. Why doesn’t that count?

Because it doesn’t.

So you’re telling me that if I don’t pick a team as a child, and I don’t go to a Division I school, then I never get to have a college basketball team?

Yep. Pretty much.”

So I caved. I lost my desire to care about the tournament and chose my bracket at random.

And this year? Well, I did the same thing (mostly out of laziness).

But I’m curious – is BNF’s logic sound?

Are there some sort of college-basketball-cheering rules that I just never knew about before? And what about all those kids (like me) who didn’t grow up cheering, and didn’t go to a UNC or Georgetown or Maryland etc?

Personally, I think his logic is flawed. But what do I know?

Besides, it’s lacrosse season anyway.

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Usually, once my Eagles are out of the playoffs (or never even make it), my NFL interest is limited to the Super Bowl. I can appreciate a good post-season game if it’s on, but I don’t especially care who wins, one way or the other.

But this upcoming weekend – Tebow vs. Brady – has piqued my interest.

For starters, we’ll be in Boston visiting friends. I should be rooting for the home team. Especially considering our host has pinned the fate of the universe on the outcome of this game.

The thing is, I just love me an underdog.

Throughout the season I’ve been fascinated, not necessarily with Tebow, but with the fact that people care so much what his motivation is. I suppose it makes for good press – or at least gives people something to write about each week – but it does get old after a while.

Because of all that press, though, I’d really love to see Tebow keep on shocking people. Starting with the Patriots.

I have nothing personal against the team. Except maybe the 2005 Super Bowl and the most recent Eagles-Pats match-up. But really. Nothing personal. I just want Tom Brady to be able to go and spend a little more time at home and with his kids. Is that so wrong?

So, while it definitely won’t be the popular decision in Boston this weekend, I’ll be pulling for an upset. (Sorry, friends.) Preferably one that ends like the Broncos-Steelers game, but you can’t plan for things like that.

Unless you’re Disney.

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My dearest Phillies,

You know I love you, right? And you should know how proud I am of you for a) clinching the National League East, b) clinching the National League record, and c) currently having the best record in all of baseball. These are not small feats, and I understand that. But you’ve set the bar high for me these past few years, and now I need you to live up to it.

There is no question that 98 wins is an accomplishment, but think how awesome 100 would be! And even better than that? 102. I know you can eclipse the current franchise record. I know you can.

Honestly, I thought you’d at least be at 100 by now. No one counted on you getting swept by the Nationals. And I’m not happy about that, but maybe you just needed to get it out of your system. I’d rather it happen now than later.

There are six games left for you to show the Mets and the Braves why you’re going to the postseason and they’re not. (Well, at least one isn’t. But it’ll be two if St. Louis has anything to say about it.)

The point is this: please win. Please play like the team that I know you are. Play like the team that clinched its postseason spot before anyone else and has the best pitching rotation in the game. Play like the best team in the league.

I promise that I’ll love you no matter what.

You should know, though, that not living up to your full potential could earn you a spot on my shit list. Kendrick, you know what that’s like.

But I will still love you.

Your biggest fan,

Elizabeth

P.S. The next time you pop champagne in the clubhouse, can I please come? I’m really good at celebrations.

Just think about it.

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I don’t have the arm strength,” I said. “And I can’t aim my hit.

Excuses excuses.

Since last year (really, since I joined the team), I’ve been trying to hit a home run. I can get on base, and I’ve even had extra-base hits. But that home run was proving to be annoyingly elusive.

The boyfriend-now-fiance (BNF) advised that I should try hitting to right field, because I’d have a better shot that way (even though, as I mentioned, I can’t aim). So yesterday during warm-up, I took a few hits and aimed as best I could. I hit a soft shot out that way and told DVo, the pitcher, “That’s where I’m going to have to hit my home run, if I have any shot at getting it.

And then came our first at bats.

As soon as I made contact I knew I had an extra-base hit. And once I stepped on second, and saw my base coaches waving me on, I felt the grin overpower my face and I knew I’d make it home. Even if I had to pummel the catcher to be safe (which I didn’t).

In fact, all the way down the third base line I was yelling, “I got my home run!” and practically skipping onto home.

First at bat of the game. First home run ever. And our first win of the season. It’s kind of like the runner’s high – lasting longer than I ever expected.

And now, as Memo said, I don’t have any excuses for not finishing my 25 list in full.

So does driving up to Baltimore this weekend count as a road trip?

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There are plenty of times that I get frustrated with my job – the people, the bureaucracy, the day-to-day blah – but today’s not one of those days. Because whenever there are BIG sporting events on, the office management comes through. During March Madness, we had screens set up in the conference room showing the games. We had an office-wide bracket pool going as well.

Now, we have the World Cup. Because they understand that there are about seven of us (okay, okay, maybe ten) who feel that they must see this game between the US and Algeria. We’re not content to follow this one on ESPN’s GameCast, or just listen on the radio. And we could leave for the bar, but having it on in the office is much more convenient.

So, in just a few minutes, we’ll gather in the conference room, pick a good seat, and get ready to cheer or curse, yell at the players or yell at the ref, and take an early break from work for 90 minutes (plus stoppage and half time).

And if our shouting distracts people who are actually being productive? Well, then maybe they should have thought about that before they decided to skip the game.

Note: If you want a little more background on the Cup so far, Marie has a lovely recap.

Extra note: If you don’t really care about the World Cup, well, then you’d probably appreciate this Simpson’s video that the boyfriend showed me this past weekend (I couldn’t find the complete video, so you get two parts, same episode):

Update: Goooooooooooooooal US! For the win! In extra time! My throat may hurt for the rest of the day from screaming, but it’s totally worth it.

Did you watch? Did you cheer? Will you watch them play on Saturday? Gotta love the adrenaline rush…

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I wrote before about how I wanted to get more invested in this World Cup. I wanted to know more, watch more of the games, and delve into the history of the teams a bit. And I have to say, after this initial World Cup weekend, I’d call the endeavor a success so far. I didn’t join the crowds in Dupont, though it looked like the screens were a huge hit, but I watched and cheered as Argentina beat Nigeria, the U.S. held their own, and Germany walked (or ran) all over Australia. And I might have even watched one of the games on my computer here, this morning. (Shh…don’t tell El Jefe.)

I wore the jersey in support, but as I walked around Adams Morgan before the game I thought, I really hope no one says anything, because I know next to nothing about the team. That is, however, no longer true.

But I can feel myself getting caught up in the excitement. It’s interesting to see who everyone (who cares) roots for. Whether it’s family ties, time spent abroad, or the love of a particular player – everyone has their team. And it’s a kind of intensity that’s different than other sports, because there’s so much national pride tied up in the game.

I may not be ready to go out and by a Donovan jersey (or one for any of the other U.S. players I discovered, thanks to Gawker, via the boyfriend), but there’s an appreciation this year that I didn’t completely feel four years ago. And I think that could make all the difference in watching the matches this time around.

I’m already set to watch Italy vs. Paraguay in a couple hours.

Now, I know Marie is with me in watching these, but is anyone else getting caught up in World Cup fever? You know you want to…

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I’m usually much more of a New Year’s Resolutions girl, but I hear that quarter-life crises are slightly less daunting if you have some sort of plan. So, in honor of turning the big 2-5 today (why, yes, I am shamelessly blogging about my birthday, on my birthday), I’ve come up with a little list of things that I hope to accomplish before June 11, 2011.

And I fully expect you to hold me accountable. Please and thank you.

So, in the year of 25, in no particular order, I want to…

1) …volunteer somewhere in DC, preferably with kids. Any suggestions (and/or company) are more than welcome.

2) …hit a home run during softball.

3) …run a race with an average pace that’s under 10 minutes, something I haven’t been able to do since I hurt my hip in December.

4) …finish all the books I’ve started, that I got halfway through and left for something else. There are about 6-7 right now.

5) …finish my first year of grad school, which really should take care of itself, but you never know.

6) …go skydiving.

7) …get a bike and become comfortable riding in the street. Because I find that terrifying.

8 ) …learn how to change a tire. And other car maintenance tricks necessities.

9) …get a new tattoo (or two).

10) …start taking Chinese again. Or at least brushing up on what I’ve already learned. I should be able to say more than, “This is my mom, dad, and little brother,” “I love you,” and, “I don’t know.”

11) …ride a motorcycle.

12) …run the Marine Corps Marathon faster than I did the National Marathon. So, something under 4:58:57.

13) …be more outgoing. Whether that means attending more blogger happy hours, emailing a bloggy crush, or just generally introducing myself to new people – this is a hard one for me.

14) …prove to my boss that I do deserve a promotion – even before I complete my MA.

15) …finally go hiking out at Great Falls.

16) …make a more concerted effort to visit friends who live in New York. It should be so easy, and yet I think I’ve visited once in about 3 years. I’m a bad friend.

17) …go on a road trip. Destination negotiable.

18) …get more comfortable cooking from scratch and experimenting in the kitchen.

19) …learn how to play pool better – or, at the very least, learn how to break so that the balls actually move.

20) …run a race in a new state. I’ve run in Massachusetts, New York (if you count bandit races), Pennsylvania, Maryland, DC (I know, I know – not a state), and Virginia. Maybe it’s time to explore something other than the East Coast.

21) …get an iPhone. My plan is up in February, so either Verizon better come out with something that lets me play Words with Friends, or I’m switching to AT&T.

22) …find a church in DC that I’m comfortable going to. It was such a big part of my life growing up, but I haven’t found one that I love down here.

23) …watch JB get married/be in my first wedding!

24) …rent a car. Just because I can.

25) …participate in an underwear run. I mean, I do run to look better naked, after all.

And because you always have to have that extra special bonus one for good luck:

26) …meet a Phillies player! I realize that this isn’t so much of a 25-goal, as it is a life dream, but that’s why it’s the bonus. Because it would just be icing on the cake.

*swoon*

I’m sure you’ll hear more about these as they either get checked off or I realize, what the hell was I thinking? But either way, it should be an interesting year.

Happy Friday!

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