Why that Game is Not the End of the World

That would be the Bulls game last night.

  1. With no hockey and no basketball, I can finally finish that biography of Albert Einstein.  Seriously.  Haven’t been reading enough.
  2. I am going to be on the road a lot next month.  I wouldn’t like to be separated from my Lucky Couch when my team is in the Finals.
  3. If we had to lose that series, I rather prefer The Choke.  It gives the team something to be mad about next year.
The truth is that it was a great season and there is every reason to believe that the Bulls are on their way up and not the other way around.  If it hadn’t been for the team that took them out, I wouldn’t feel badly about it at all.
So.  Go Mavs.

Why I Love (Many) Sports

Today at work, I asked a pack of guys which would be more important – watching the 4th quarter of the Bulls game tonight, or watching the 1st period of the Blackhawks game. They are running concurrently tonight.  The response was unanimous:

Blackhawks.

My mother disagrees. If you really want to hear the story behind this discussion, you can stay after class, but it made me think about the different reasons people enjoy watching sports. I had to explain it to one of my nerd friends once:

  1. It is a contest in which I get to root for someone. Picking a side is fun. Good guys and bad guys. 
  2. That rooting for someone is often regional. A form of community spirit.
  3. Sometimes, I just need to scream about something. I believe I have mentioned that I scream so much during football that my cat is afraid of the theme song for Monday Night Football. Sports are a socially acceptable thing to scream about.  (It is also a socially acceptable reason to drink to excess, but I wouldn’t know anything about that.)
  4. It is a relatively safe subject when one is required to converse with strangers.
  5. It is a relatively safe subject when one is inclined to pick a fight with friends or family.

Example: Great Aunt Bev is from Michigan. As in Detroit.  As in Pistons.  One Christmas Day, the Bulls were playing..someone..and Aunt Bev made a couple of rather snarky comments about Michael Jordan. My brother, age 12 or 13, shouted (in his best Monty Python voice) “Burn the Witch!!”

And he got away with it.

For me, sports are great fun when my teams are winning, and not too hard to shake off when they aren’t. (I believe Joy said it takes half of Monday morning for me to get over a bad Bears loss.) A low risk emotional investment.

And tonight, I have two teams in the playoffs.

It is So On

My office had a Bears Day – wear your team gear to the office – on Friday.  Well, you don’t have to tell me twice.  I wore my lucky Brian Urlacher jersey.  And because one can’t clomp around in the office wearing one’s snow boots (and the heels I keep under my desk would look silly), I ran around on Friday wearing my slippers.

Toward the end of the day, a colleague laughed at my jersey, asking from whom I had borrowed it.  I was clearly a couple of sizes too big.  I hadn’t borrowed it from anyone.  But I’ve lost some weight since I bought it.  It seemed like time to get a new one.

As any sports fan knows, jerseys can get really expensive really quickly.  The best quality, with the names and numbers sewn on can run $250.00.

Not in the budget.  But Kohl’s had some replicas on sale and I picked one up on Saturday.  Matt Forte.  Now to the dilemma:

This is not your average Sunday.  This is the playoffs.  Would wearing the new Matt Forte jersey upset the delicate balance of mojo?  Should I just do my laundry and wear No. 54?

Ultimately, I decided that if the Bears couldn’t manage that minor shift in my ritual, I didn’t want them playing the Pack next week, anyway.

And I was too lazy to do laundry last night.  Obviously, it turned out just fine.  And now hear this:

Everyone.  No more talking until next Sunday.  Not one more word.

Thanksgiving Activities

You know, when you don’t have a house full of people, Thanksgiving can get pretty busy.  This was my day:

Woke up at the regular time, dawdled for awhile and headed over to the rescue to lend a hand.  Good thing because an order of bird toys had arrived.  I spent a couple of hours going back and forth between rooms, cleaning cages, hanging new toys, and salvaging parts from old toys (in case they can be re-used).  Karen is my friend because she knew I was out of town when the order was placed, but she picked up some extras of our favorites for me.  Bird toys are really expensive, so one should really not miss an opportunity to pick some up wholesale.

At 10:30 or so, I stopped at Starbucks.  Businesses that are open on the holiday make me really happy.  The strip mall by my house was absolutely packed.  It looked like the Jewel, Starbucks, McDonalds, and Einstein Bagels were all open.  I placed my order and went over to the pick up counter.  The guy asked if I wanted whipped cream on my drinks.  I declined and thanked him for asking.  Then I said, “In case no one has told you today, I really appreciate that you are working on the holiday.”

He paused.  “…Um.  No.. No one has said that to me today.  Thanks.”

That’s really too bad.

I went home, grabbed the newspaper wih the Black Friday ads and went upstairs to plan some strategy.  I found the one for Michael’s, the craft store.  Open from 5pm to 9pm tonight and 30% off your entire purchase.  Right when every one was eating.  And then ready to die from being stuffed.

But wait.  There are only two of us.  We can eat whenever we want. 

I convinced my mother to cook the turkey early.  We were still watching the Lions game when we sat down.  (Note:  Whatever the outcome, that was a good game.  I don’t want to hear any more of this debate about booting the Lions from the Thanksgiving program.)  And had already placed a Christmas order on Amazon.

Then I took a nap.  Ha.

I got to Michael’s a few minutes after five.  There were people, but it wasn’t too bad a crowd.  I still managed to spend nearly an hour wandering around.  I filled a basket with supplies and went to check out.  I started hearing the manager shouting orders to people – mostly about how to manage coupons and how much worse it would be tomorrow.  I also thanked the lady at the register for working on the holiday.  Can I tell you?  Her face lit up. 

About that time I started hearing mothers yelling at children and was ready to leave.

Anne’s Law:  Black Friday is not for amateurs or children.  Leave the kids at home tomorrow.

Walking back to my car, I saw that Steak and Shake was open.  (Yeah, yeah.  Of course Steak and Shake was open.)  I drove through and picked up a couple of peppermint chip milk shakes.  Again, I told the drive through guy that I appreciated his working on the holiday.  Again, it was clear that no one else had said as much to him today.

Moral of the Story:

Seriously, gang.  Tomorrow, when the whole world goes insane, please say something nice to the staff.  They are having a longer, harder day than you are.  And they aren’t being paid enough for it.

Mid Season Report

You know, when the talking heads get their hands on a sports statistic, they do not shut up about it.  This week’s, during the Bears game, we learned that the Bears quarterback, Jay Cutler, is the most blitzed in the NFL.  The other teams just love to send seven or eight guys across the line to try to kill him.  They do it 48% of the time.  That was an interesting statistic.  The first time.

You know what else they told us?  The Bears are terrible on third down, terrible in the red zone, and have a great defense that is really good at creating turnovers.  They say this like it is news.  As if the Bears were ever fabulous on third down, or even in the red zone. 

People.  The last time the Bears went to the freakin’ Super Bowl, it was because the defense created turnovers and the offense….managed.  (That, and we drafted this kid named Devin that has a bit of a knack for special teams.)  These are the universal truths regarding the Chicago Bears.

This season there has been a lot of talk about the injuries, particularly head injuries caused by helmet-tohelmet hits.  This week, we also learned about things that are scarier than your QB going out with a concussion.  That would be Julius Peppers hitting the quarterback and not getting up.  Which my mother noted isn’t as scary as the possibility of Brian Urlacher not getting up after a play.  And five minutes after that discussion, we saw the Colts’ Austin Collie take a hit that landed him immobilized on a stretcher and carted off this field.  Phil Simms just said that he was sitting up in the locker room and they think it is just a concussion.

Tangent:  Miss Janis, a friend of our family, grew up in England and doesn’t quite get football.  But she is a good sport and watches games with us when she is at our house on holidays.  A good dozen times a game, she will see someone hit and gasp in despair and we almost automatically tell her, “He’s fine.  Look – he bounced right up!”  Even I am not feeling non-chalant about it right now.

Anyway.  If you had told me in August that after eight weeks, the Bears would have a record of 5 and 3, tied with the Packers at the top of the Division, I would have been thrilled.  I do not feel thrilled.

Maybe next week, after we beat those Vikings, (and stay healthy while doing it) I will feel thrilled.

Poor Cat

The Blackhawks ceremony was on the television while I put away my laundry.  (Yeah, yeah.  Exciting Saturday night.  Shut up.)  When they introduced the commissioner, the crown booed. 

A Chicago crowd booed the commissioner of the NHL.  Not cool.

I shouted, “Hey!”  at the television.  And the cat bolted off my bed and out of the room.  I felt badly, as the game wasn’t even on yet. 

He just walked back in the room, stopped in the doorway and gave me a hard look.   I said, “It’s ok, Spooky.  It’s only hockey.”  He flipped his tail in the air, turned around and stalked out.

Honestly – I’m not that bad with hockey.

Why el Futbol Americano is the Best Sport

Because a girl can reasonably watch every single game of the season. 

One game a week.  I can plan my life around that for six months.  Of course, I have to exchange my Writers’ Theatre tickets because someone forgot the date of the bloody Super Bowl.  But that’s what I’m saying – it can be done.

Also, there are only a few channels that broadcast pro football.  Fox and CBS have the early games, NBC has the late game and ESPN has Monday night.  Although now that I am thinking about it, I don’t quite have a handle on Thursday games.  And I better figure it out because I am going to be in Fargo for ours.

But hockey.  Geez.  They just dropped the puck because the game is out west.  You know I’m not staying up for this.  (Ooooh.  Score!  Who the heck is Bryan Bickell?)  And.  The games are on odd channels, so I have to go to the website and find the name of the channel (Versus) and then figure out where that is on DirectTV (603 for future reference).  Basketball isn’t quite as bad, as the Bulls land on WGN a lot, but still – the West Coast games. 

And for the love of All that Does Not Suck, we have two baseball teams!

Sixteen Games.  Three weeks of playoffs.  Super Bowl.  Done.