That Wimpy Deer?

22 06 2010

For over a hundred years, Americans have looked forward to summer.  It’s the time of picnics, barbecues, and keeping your neighbors up late because the sun just went down and there’s no way it could possibly be 11 o’clock already.  But even more than these things, summer is the season of America’s pastime: littering on beaches.

Ok, also baseball.  And while it makes about as much sense to the rest of the world as cricket does to us, this great sport is an icon of our nation.  People still speak in hushed whispers about how great Willie Mays was, and it’s not just because their voices are hoarse from screaming at their idiot of a manager who pulled a double switch in the eighth inning just to get a lefty-lefty match up.

This is Serious Business.

We love our teams, and we root them on with rabid enthusiasm (or perhaps gangrenous enthusiasm, depending on who’s in the left field bleachers today) no matter what happens.  Win or lose, a true fan will always support his team even when they can’t hit or pitch to save their lives.  This is one of the main reasons baseball fans are morons.  Any sane human being would eventually get tired of spending money and time and energy supporting a bunch of people that can’t do their job.

But these are not average people.  These are “fanatics”, which is a long version of the well-known word “idiots.”  These people are not fazed by failure and futility.  To put it another way, these are people who pay money to park in a huge lot so they can walk for a while to a place where they’ll pay more money to join a crowded, noisy, beer-sodden group of fellow idiots in the dumbest activity scientists have observed in humans outside of Las Vegas:  The Wave.

If you don’t know what The Wave is, I will describe it for you in layman’s terms.  The Wave is where, in a big game with a close score, some of the fans get bored.  This is because they think of baseball as something they deserve to enjoy no matter how little they understand what is going on.  They paid money to get here.  Good money.  They’re not exactly sure how much money, because by this time they’ve mortgaged their house to buy another beer for their bros (who drank all their beer back in the parking lot as everyone knows you are supposed to do) and the finances are getting a little murky.  Either way, these fans knows that they should be having fun, and the stupid pitchers are certainly not helping.  It’s time someone did something about this stupid score that has stayed in single digits, so it’s time for The Wave.

First, a fan (or “idiot”) might stand up and start shouting in the ears of the naive fools who bought tickets in the outfield seats but expected to enjoy watching the game.  They’ll shout, “HEY EVERYBODY, LET’S DO THE WAVE!”  This might cause some murmurs, but it usually doesn’t work initially.  Then, this same fan will stumble out of his row, knocking over sodas onto those same naive saps who were trying to keep score.  The fan will then start running back and forth in front of some more naive saps who just expected to be able to watch the game without seeing a shirtless (he ripped off his tank top on the way down the stairs) fan screaming and running back and forth in front of your view.  “HEY EVERYBODY, WHEN I RUN, WE DO THE WAVE!  READY OK GO!”  The idiot (or “moron”) will then run, waving his hands, and most of the people will then stand up as he passes, either to participate in this vaguely interesting communal activity, or in order to keep watching the game, which has been obscured by a bunch of people standing up for absolutely no reason (it was a nice diving stop by the shortstop, according to the replay).  The rest of the stadium will then join in and keep The Wave going all around the ballpark, either because they are enthralled by the sudden commotion (much like wild geese) or because they are also trying to stick their heads over the stupid people in front of them (much like wild geese at a giraffe convention). In this way, The Wave has become one of the staples of enjoying a baseball game, right alongside peanuts, the 7th Inning Stretch, and parking lot knife fights.  (Watch out for the 7th inning stretch, though.  Teen pop stars can cause some major harm.)

But really, baseball is something to be enjoyed, no matter how you choose to do it.  Whether you’re cheering on a star pitcher who’s striking out ten batters a night, painting your face the color of your favorite team, or doing the wave alongside your best buddies (and in front of your new worst enemies), this game is something wonderful.  Something special.

And I’d like to keep watching it if you don’t mind.  Sit down, or we’ve got a Cutco date in the parking lot.

El Cupo De Mundo

16 06 2010

Watching the best soccer players on the earth striking a cross directly into the crossbar by the flying goalkeeper is one of the better things about life on this planet.

Carry on.

Planning a Party for Yourself

3 06 2010

Is way more stressful than planning someone else’s

Seriously.  I’m kinda Freakin’ Out here.  What if it’s not fun?  What if people feel I don’t pay attention to them?  What if people are offended by all my jokes about leprous lobsters?  What if people are offended by lobsters, period?  What if the lobsters I invite are offended by the people whom I didn’t invite?

You see, there’s really so very much that could go wrong.

* * *

Watched Takashi Saito come within one out of what would have been a very poignant save against the Blue Crew, tonight.  Instead, he pulled him hammy (I think) somethin’ fierce, and had to give way to some Braves reliever after getting an 0-2 count on Russell Martin.  Man, I felt bad for him.  We miss you, Sammy.


24 05 2010

Boys will be foul-mouthed boys

The Mighty Ducks embodies everything I desired as a kid:  Glory through accomplishing something incredibly difficult, the admiration of my peers, and a sweet early 90s soundtrack.  Also hockey.  This sport, for some reason, really holds a lot of fascination for me.  Sports in general always have, but hockey seems to contain the smooth, rapid flashes of proficiency in an unparalleled manner.

I came to terms with the fact that I’ll probably never gain any great, lasting glory through any accomplishment in sports a long time ago, but I always think, when watching Mike Modano (or Michael Modano, as he’s credited in Mighty Ducks) glide up the ice, that if it were me out there being watching by millions of people, I’d somehow enjoy it more than anyone else.  I’ve loved competition my whole life (even as far back as playing chess with Dad on that old civil war set he has somewhere), but I finally had to realize a few months ago that competition is just the tiniest taste of greatness through accomplishment…but I’ll always savor those few moments I did have.  Not because they’re somehow more honorable than real battles fought against real enemies (and really, how can fighting another human truly be something to rejoice over wholeheartedly?), but because they’re more innocent.  Such fun can only be had in community, and community is just a taste of the greatest relationship we’ll ever know.

Hackey Pickshure

4 11 2009

This is a picture of the motley hockey crew we had last week.  (I’ll be back with more regular updates later this week — Work, you know.)


Youth is Wasted by the Young

27 10 2009

I’ve been raised, deliberately or otherwise, to view Sunday as a day to relish. For me, this has usually involved sports.  Whether it was the pre-service touch football games in the parking lot, church softball team practices, evening bowling games with friends in San Luis, or even wiffleball games in Grandma’s back yard with John,  (I still have a cool scar–two, actually–from one of those) I’ve always enjoyed a bit of friendly competition on Sundays.  Lately, I’ve been playing soccer with some miscellaneous cohorts in the afternoon, and  I have occasionally indulged in frisbee later in the evening to boot.  Yesterday, however, I inadvertently planned a veritable deluge of sports for myself.  My buddy Corey had planned a good-sized inline hockey game at around 5 or so in Chino Hills.  Since I usually don’t play soccer much past 4, and I wasn’t planning on playing ultimate frisbee with Andrew and co. until 9, I figured I could squeeze in brief showers before the latter two events and just stay energized through pure gumption and a couple of Powerades.

Turns out, I don’t have gumption any more.  I think I used it all up around sophomore year of college, which is also the last time I remember drinking more than one Powerade at a time.  There’s a reason for that.

So, of course, Sunday afternoon arrived warm, with mid-eighties temperatures and a sweltering soccer field beckoning my naive legs to their doom.   However, I’ve conditioned the old tree trunks to take their share of punishment when it comes to football, and a couple hours’ worth of play left them tired, but sweating gracefully.  If only I had been able to see theirs tears of pain amidst the glistening perspiration.

As soon as I walked into the apartment at about 4:30, I could tell I was in for some trouble.  My muscles were beginning to tighten up, and I was less confident than usual that my standard calisthenics and stretching would prevent them from taking a quick five on the 30 minute drive to the hockey rink.  I showered, making the water as hot as possible in a miserably futile effort to keep the ol’ gams elasticized, and picked up some liquid electrolytes on my way over to Chino Hills.

Let me say now that the drive over was extremely pleasant.  As I gave my body no choice but to relax and enjoy the cooling evening air and diminishing sunlight, I began to feel peaceful.  Life is good.  I’m just sitting here, listening to the radio, driving past the unicorn palace on my way to my first NHL practice.  Oh, right, I’m dreaming.  Thanks for the wake up honk, jerk.  Ahem.

(I didn’t really fall asleep, but I very much wanted to.  It was that pleasant.)

I lackadaisically* carried my stick, skates and such over to the rink, and was greeted by an enthusiastic cheer from the Red Wing Jerseyed Corey.  Seeing hockey jerseys moving at full flight always gives me the itch to revisit my Flippos days, and here was one of the few times in recent memory that I had a chance to respond to that call.  The anticipation to hop onto the rink as fast as humanly possible was intermittently tempered by my knowledge that I hadn’t played more than once within the past two years, and that my body was not exactly ripe for intense physical activity.  Thankfully, I learned to stop listening to my body a long time ago.  What does a stupid hunk of mostly-water-filled carbon know anyway?

The play was good, all things considered.  My passing was good, but foolish at times.  I also cannot stickhandle at any decent speed to save my life, and my slapshot resembles badminton more than hockey.  However, I did beat Kyle the Goalie with a nice head fake and wrist shot to the far side fairly early on, which helped to ease the chagrin that set in as the evening wore on and my severely limited skill set quickly began to erode alongside my lung capacity.  When 8 came around, I knew I had to go, prior engagement notwithstanding.  My body and lungs were begging for mercy, and I knew better than to ignore their pleas this time.  I bid farewell to the boys, and rather gingerly loaded up my car for the drive back.

As my tender frame informed me of each and every pebble my tires felt on the freeway, I tried to soothe my back/quads/hamstrings groans with the only medication I had available:  Powerade.  I think I envisioned the sugary liquid coursing through my veins and purging my body of the evil lactic acid I could feel welling up all too quickly.  Instead, it just felt like I was drinking Powerade when I needed a sauna (sa-OO-nah, according to some people) and acupuncture for an hour.  Which I did.

(If you need a frame of reference for my condition, just know that hearing the Angels end their season through multiple errors and discombobulation failed to ease my pain one iota.)

When I straggled into our apartment this time, I looked at my roommate, Cory, and made my decision:  I was not leaving this apartment again tonight.  After text messaging Andrew to inform him of my prodigality, the following conversation (inspired by real events) ensued:

“Cory, are you still wanting to go play ultimate?”

“Well, I was kind of planning on it, yeah.”

“Ok, well, I’m not gonna go.  I can’t move like forfty percent of my muscles, including, apparently, the muscle you use to come up with real percentages.”

“Oh, that’s ok.  I actually need to get some stuff done anyway.  What are you…Robert?”

I had shed my clothes, gear and way too much time not bathing in steaming hot water.  I filled our tub with steaming hot water, and plunged myself into its depths armed solely with what Micah called a “teen hockey romance novel.”  Well sure, if you only read the back cover.  Man, wise up.

And so ended my day of indulgence.  Andrew came by later on to chastise me for said truancy, and I made bachelor food to replenish the billion carbohydrates I had burned.  To all those that say youth is wasted on the young, I urge you to look no further than this entry’s titular truism, and bow at my athlete’s feet.

Wait, that didn’t come out right.

*Spelled that word right the first time.  Take that, creepy spelling bee kids on TV.

Not Again

19 10 2009

Listening to Vin Scully call this one was like listening to your beloved grandfather telling you about your parents’ death in an airplane crash as he watched it happen on television