Tag Archives: sports

29 Before 29

15 Sep
Birthday girls

Birthday girls

I happen to share my birth date with one of my closest friends in New York, Quincey. A while back the two of us were talking about possible ideas for our birthday. We laughed and said we should do a week-long celebration dedicated to the amazingness that is us. But the more we talked about it, the more it made complete sense.

Our birth date happens to be marred by a national tragedy which over time has affected celebrations negatively. In addition to that, we both moved a lot as kids and spent many childhood birthdays in a new town without friends. So this was the year to make up for it. Cabaret, Karaoke, Softball, $1 beers, Ice Cream Cake, Cupcakes, Shake Shack, Happy Hour, Czech Beer Garden, Dancing. This was a week-long celebration for the ages, and my liver, stomach, legs, vocal chords are still recovering.

Now that life is slipping into normalcy, it’s time to embrace the new year’s list. I dropped some things that just weren’t happening. I brought back some recurring standards. And as far as new items go, I went big and small. Some overly ambitious and some devastatingly simple.

THE STANDARDS

1. Visit a new state- 13 down, 37 to go!

2. Visit a new country- Due to my supposed risk averse nature, I was unable to travel last year. But this year my goal is somewhere in Central America. I have to break in that new passport.

3. Visit a new baseball stadium- I’m so close to so many stadiums, it’s a crying shame that my number is so low. 7/30.

4. Read Catch-22– Every year I dedicate myself to reading one classic that I’m embarrassed about not having read.

5. Make Jambalaya- My new recipe challenge for the year.

6. Eat Ox Tail- My new adventurous food choice of the year.

7. Eat Ethiopian- You really can’t have too many adventurous food options. I’d be happy with doing an entire list of food.

LEFTOVERS FROM LISTS OF YESTERYEAR

8. Be an extra in a TV show or movie***

9. Go Scuba Diving***

10. Go Sailing***

11. Go to a Gun Range***

12. Do a Juice Cleanse**

13. Go to a Dog Show**

14. Visit a Whiskey Distillery**

15. Go to a Live Taping*- My new goal for this is to see “Last Week Tonight” with John Oliver. I have such a nerd crush on him.

16. Ride a Mechanical Bull*

17. Take a Trapeze Class*

18. Eat at Serendipity*

19. Go to a Monster Truck Show*

THE NEW LIST

20. Sing at Live Band Karaoke- I love singing karaoke. Some might even call it a passion. A week ago, I delivered a drunken, impassioned performance of “All That Jazz.” I’m ready to step up my karaoke game.

Duet with Quincey

Duet with Quincey

21. Paint Nite- I know this is suburban and faux-creative, but I want to do it. I want to somehow paint a pretty picture and pretend I’m an artiste.

22. Go sky diving- I hesitated putting this on the list. I’ve hesitated putting it on for years. I’m concerned I might pee myself or have a similar humiliating experience.

23. Fencing Lesson- I took an archery lesson a couple of months ago. If the place wasn’t so far from me, I would have considered going back. Something so fun about medieval weaponry.

24. Learn to play the ukelele- I learned that my paternal grandfather used to play the ukelele. It’s a family tradition I’d like to carry on.

25. Go whale watching- I didn’t realize how much I wanted to do this until I missed an opportunity last week. I want to experience the majesty of those mammals.

26. Do a knitting donation project- I took down my “Pay for someone’s meal” item, because I’m just too shy. But I wanted to replace it with something charitable.

27. Go white water rafting- I fear this will go the way of my go scuba diving item. It’ll never happen.

28. Visit a horse ranch- I’ve recently started working with horses, and I forgot how deep my love for them runs.

29. Visit the United Nations- I had to add one New York touristy option.

 

 

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28 Before 28: Go to Roller Derby

13 Apr
Melis and I at the free photobooth before the match.

Melis and I at the free photobooth before the match.

In my 28th year of life, I’m attempting to do 28 new things. Full list here.

I’m a huge fan of any form of female badassery. And as an avid sports fan, it does bother me a twinge that women’s leagues are ignored in favor of men’s. Men can be amazing sports gods, and women can just be fans.

Tis not the case in roller derby!

Two of my closest lady friends and I went to our first Gotham Girls Roller Derby bout last night. Other than seeing the movie “Whip It” I had no idea what to expect.

Manhattan Mayhem's Jeer-leaders.

Manhattan Mayhem’s Jeer-leaders.

The pageantry of it was by far the best part. The bout we watched was Manhattan Mayhem vs. Bronx Gridlock. Each team had their own Jeer-leaders who would throw beads into the crowd and helped little kids attending make signs for their favorite players. All of the players adopt incredible names such as Sweets McBacon, Full Metal Jackie, and Mayday Malone. Even the refs had fun names like Ref in Peace and TestosteRON Jeremy. I’ve been brainstorming a name for myself  and have only come up with Whammy Wilson, although it’s a work in progress.

Beginning of the jam.

Beginning of the jam.

The derby itself was a little confusing, and we spent a lot of time trying to figure out why teams were getting the points they were. I also assumed there would be more skating. Most “jams” had one skater called a “jammer” trying to push through members of the other team without getting pushed off the track. Once they broke through, they would skate one lap and be allotted points. So most of the time we were watching the skaters not move much, just pushing each other back and forth. I wish I understood the rules better. I think I would have enjoyed it much more.

Hula hoop halftime show.

Hula hoop halftime show.

But I still enjoyed it immensely and want to go more regularly. I found myself cheering for Bronx Gridlock, because I fancy myself an outer borough girl. But my heart and residence has been in Queens, and I’m looking forward to becoming an avid fan of the Queens of Pain. Maybe one day, even becoming a player.

 

Bandwagon

16 Dec
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You’re in Seahawks Country.

I am first and foremost, a baseball fan. I’ve spent seven baseball seasons, hopelessly devoted to the Seattle Mariners. I spend six months out of the year checking on baseball blogs, watching games, tracking team standings. But it leaves the other six months of the year lacking. I have been trying to get into football the last couple of years, but it hasn’t happened for me.

This year things have changed. I watched a couple of playoff games last year and saw that the Seattle Seahawks were becoming a viable team. Before this season started, I started dating a dashing young man who knows oodles about sports. We spend our Sundays watching football, him explaining a lot of the little nuances of the game to me. I read articles here and there about the team. And I’m enjoying it so much! The Seahawks are amazing this year. Russel Wilson is incredible. Our defense is unstoppable. Marshawn Lynch seems to fly through the air over the other team’s defensive line. It is the first time in my 27 years that I have had the pleasure of supporting a successful team.

Yesterday, that dashing young man took me to the Seahawks/Giants game at MetLife Stadium. Decked out in our Russel Wilson jerseys, we tailgated in lot J8 under a flag that deemed that area Seahawks country. We were surrounded my hundreds of other fans in Jerseys, hats, scarves, tutus, chanting “Go Hawks!”, taking Seahawks-colored Jello shots.

While waiting in line for the Porta-Potty, the man standing behind me asked if I was from Seattle. I told him I was.

“But you live in New York, and still follow the Seahawks?” he asked.
“I’m more of a Mariner fan, but this season, I’ve gotten more into…”
“Oh, so you’re a bandwagon fan?”
“She’s more of a Seattle fan,” my boyfriend said, defending me.

But I had nothing to say back. I’ve been called a bandwagon fan before, but I have always laughed it off as ridiculous. I’ve been following the Mariners through six painful, losing seasons after all. But this man had a point. I only became a Seahawks fan during their winning season. Was I bandwagon?

I brooded on this. And it comes down to what makes up fan loyalty? The Mariners I fell in love with in 2007 are not the same team they are now. Felix Hernandez is about all that’s left from back then, and it’s only six years ago. It has a lot to do with the city. I dream of Seattle and feel pride of anything good that comes from there. But being a fan is a unique kind of loyalty. For one reason or another, a fan picks a team and sticks with them. They believe in them, follow them. Every fan has a unique story as to why that team is theirs.

I hate when Bandwagon is a term that fans throw around in exasperation. It reminds me of a child on a playground retorting, “Oh yeah, well your stupid!” It’s the easy thing to say. Your a fan of a team that’s better than mine? Well, then you must be bandwagon. To me bandwagon is a fan who lacks that loyalty, who doesn’t dedicate themself to a team, who chooses their team superficially due to popularity or style. I met a Yankee fan at a Seattle Mariner’s game who asked me if Joe DiMaggio was on the team or not. THAT’S bandwagon.

I have dedicated my loyalty to an amazing team, from the greatest city in this country. The fact that they happen to be on their way to a Super Bowl championship, well, that’s just icing on the cake.

2013 All Star Game

23 Jul

2013-07-16 16.32.38On a breezy summer evening, we sat out on a terrace sipping beer.

“So what are you doing for the All Star Game?” he asked me.
“Actually nothing. I’m going over to my friend’s apartment to watch ‘Whose Line is it Anyways.’ What are you doing for the All Star Game?”
“Oh, we might go to McFadden’s to watch it. But I was thinking about getting tickets.”
“Wow, that’s awesome.”
“Sooooo, you’re pretty set in your plans, don’t think you could go with me?”
“Wait, what? No, I could totally go. You know me and baseball. I’d love to go.”
“But what about your friends?”
“They’ll get over it.”

So I got to go to the 2013 All Star Game! When I heard the game was going to be at CitiField in Queens, of course I wanted to go. Mathematically speaking, the odds of being in the same city of the 30 options when an All Star Game is happening just doesn’t seem like it would happen to me again. But I also didn’t think it was possible to get tickets. Then two days before the game, I get invited to go! Dream come true!

We got to the stadium around 4:30, before the gates opened. Once we were inside the gates, it was like a carnival. So many baseball players, so many stars. We went down to watch batting practice and ogle the stars. For two baseball fans, it was exciting to point out all the awesome players before us. Including the most awesome baseball player ever, my beloved Felix Hernandez…

The King himself.

The King himself.

Some bullet points from my All-Star experience!

  • So many fans! As we wandered around the stadium, we made an attempt to find a fan from every team, which was a lot more entertaining than it sounds. We almost did it except for one stupid team that apparently doesn’t have any fans, anywhere. The San Diego Padres. I’m disappointed in you, San Diego. Very disappointed.
  • Neil Diamond came out of nowhere to sing “Sweet Caroline.” While this is a traditionally Red Sox experience, it was fun to sing along to it in a New York stadium.
  • Really hard to cheer for any one team playing. Most pitching/batting matchups were between players that I liked with near-equal enthusiasm. It was a constant win-win situation. Either a pitcher I like gets a strikeout, or a batter I like gets a hit!
  • Prince Fielder got a triple. Bahahahahaha! Prince Fielder got a triple! That chubby man can run!
  • A moving dedication to Mariano Rivera. Even though I’m a firm Yankee hater, Mariano Rivera is a great pitcher with an astounding career, and he deserved the honor or warming up on an empty field to thunderous applause.
  • They had a mascot race with different goofy mascots running around the warning track. It made me giggle.

An amazing night. A great experience for any baseball fan. I feel like such a lucky girl that I got to go.

Beautiful Citi Field

Beautiful Citi Field

27 Before 27: Go to a Hockey Game

2 Apr

2013-04-01 19.09.58 In my 27th year of life, I’m attempting to do 27 new things. Full list here.

Going to a hockey game was a high priority for me on this year’s list. I like sports, and nothing beats going to a sporting event live. I didn’t (still don’t) know a ton about hockey, but it seemed fast paced and exciting. I panicked there for a while during the lockout, then I panicked because all of a sudden it was April. But, alas, I found my way to a New Jersey Devils game.

I’m an underdog kind of lady. I like the idea of a team that is somewhat hapless, somewhat less funded, more like me. I must admit, though, that I know next to nothing about hockey, but the New York Rangers come off like a Yankees sort of team, all Madison Square Garden and all. The Devils are endearing to me, because they’re in Newark and that seems like an underdog kind of town. Plus the Prudential Center (more affectionately known as the Rock) is a beautiful arena.

The first thing I noticed as the game began was how difficult and athletic hockey looks. I’ve played my fair share of sports and defending, passing, goal attempts, keeping track of who on your team is open are all difficult tasks enough. These guys are doing it on ice! Hockey is an aggressive sport with a lot of fights and slamming into one another, but it is also graceful and impressive. The way they maneuver around one another, pass, shoot the puck. Hypnotizing. I don’t think I ever felt that awe-struck watching hockey on television.

The New Jersey Devils are also a lot of fun. The reason to follow a team is the camaraderie of the fan base. In any sport, players, coaches, championships, controversies will all come and go. The reason anyone stays faithful to a specific team is because of the community that you become a part of. I liked the raucous nature of the Devils fans. They had a chant that went simply, “Ranger suck, Flyers swallow.” They weren’t playing either team that night. Just chanting it to remind themselves.

But, hands down, the best part of the night was during one of the intermissions after period one where they let little league hockey players play. Their jerseys were down to their ankles! Unreasonably adorable. I’m ovulating just thinking about it.

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Tailgating: Or how I learned to stop worrying and love football

16 Oct

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Last Saturday night, I met up with a group of friends at the Washington Husky bar to watch the UW vs. UO football game. Over beers, my friends Patty and Grant started asking me if I wanted to go with them to the New York Giants game the next morning. They had asked me previously, but I absolutely could not afford it. But, it was getting down to crunch time, and no one had bought the tickets, so they offered to give them to me, so that they wouldn’t go to waste. It was too good a deal to turn down. So we drank through the crushing defeat of the Huskies and headed to the UCLA bar to meet up with our other Pac-12 friends and watch UCLA get crushed as well. All in all, we drunkenly stumbled out of the bar at 2AM. As I headed into the subway station, Grant called after me to remind me that we were all meeting at Penn Station at 9:30AM the next morning. Awesome.

I got home around three, and my alarm went off at 8AM. I head to Penn Station so that we can all catch the train to New Jersey together. This is when I learned that both New York football teams play in the same stadium, and that stadium is in New Jersey. Confusing, right? The train is full of Giants fans, so we know we’re headed in the right direction. Patty and I are sipping coffee, trying to numb the hangover, while everyone else on the train is doing jello shots and chugging beer…at 10AM.

Part of the package we had signed up for was a pre-game tailgating extravaganza. I was told there would be unlimited food and alcohol, but I was convinced that there was no way I’d be drinking that day. I definitely needed a burger or two for energy, but I had every intention of passing on the booze. Once we arrived at the stadium, we began the journey through the parking lot of MetLife Stadium toward section L8, where our tailgating party was. It was a world of which I have never seen before. People had campers, barbeques, Giants canopies, DJ booths, portable grills, seats, buffets. What?!?! How have I never partaken in this sort of thing before? People do this every week? Football fans are pretty legit.

We arrive at our section, and it’s incredible. I think I might have muttered the word “magical” a couple of times. There was a full bar, with coolers and coolers of beer, fifths of every alcohol imaginable. And food, oh God, so much food. Cheeseburgers, breakfast sandwiches, Buffalo chicken, pulled pork, meatballs, sauerkraut, hot dogs, perogies, steak sandwiches. The grills were running constantly. And there were waitresses walking around with trays of everything. You didn’t even have to leave your canopy if you didn’t want to.

Needless to say, I ate…and drank. I still can’t believe I was capable of imbibing even more beer, but it was just there, and Grant and Patty don’t let you say no to more drinks. It was cloudy and about 50 degrees and that parking lot. I had worn layers, but not nearly enough and was rather cold. When it started to rain, Patty and I were able to secure two large trash bags. We ripped holes in the top and wore them as make-shift ponchos. I felt a little silly, but oh so much warmer. A couple of people in our tailgating group reassured me that I was football-chic and a garbage bag is a sign of honor. A guy selling Giants hats was walking around, offering 2 for $15. Patty and I each bought a royal blue one to make our football outfits complete.

Giants Chic

We finally headed into the stadium to watch the game. The rain came and went, and Patty was very diligent about scolding me about when to take my bag off and put it on. I know the basics of football, and our seats weren’t too bad. I got really into the game, and lo and behold we won, by a lot. The Giants have a rookie punt returner (look at me with my football knowledge!) named David Wilson. Before this game, the only Giants player I knew of was Eli Manning. I only know who Eli Manning is because his name comes up a lot in the New York Times crossword and the Dunkin Donuts I frequent has a cardboard cutout of him holding a delicious breakfast sandwich. So I enter the stadium, hearing rows of people behind me screaming, “Wilsoooooooon!” a la “Castaway” with Tom Hanks. As I am fond of other Wilsons, he became my guy, and I cheered him on as much as I could.

“So, is it official? Are you a Giants fan now?” Patty asked me.
“Oh, definitely!” I easily responded.
“You know, ” my friend Gian piped in. “The Jets are really the New York underdog.”
I pondered this for a moment. I’ve followed underdogs my whole life. I’ve never experienced a winning rally with a winning team. I love me an underdog, and my long-standing love of the Seattle Mariners is my biggest defense against ever being called a bandwagon fan.
“No, I’ve put my time in. Nothing against the Jets, but I’m a Giants fan.”
“After all,” Patty added pointing to my new Giants hat. “You have made the financial investment.”

So, let’s go Giants…let’s go.