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January 13, 2011

The winter of my sports' content

By Nancy Pickard

One night last week I found myself resorting to desperate measures.

The Boston Celtics basketball team was playing that night, and I couldn’t get it on tv, so I read along with a liveblog of the game.

Read that ^^^ again:  I followed along on my computer as other fans who were watching the game wrote comments about it.  Comments like, “Woah!” and “Raaaay!” and “Gogogo!”  For two hours, I followed this brilliant commentary.  That’s pathetic, right?  And crazy, I’m pretty sure.

I wasn’t even participating!  Just reading along.

I think I’ve lost my mind over sports.

It could have something to do with my admiration for, uh, athletic skill:



Okay, it could be that ^^^, but really, I blame success.  The Celtics are having a great season, give or take injuries.  The Kansas City Chiefs went to the play-offs.  I’m still boggled over that, and I don’t even care how bad they lost in that single play-off game.  They’re division champs, and they were in the play-offs!  The mind reels.  And if all that is not enough, my Missouri University Tigers and Kansas Jayhawks are also lookin’ good in hoops.  For a strictly fair-weather fan like me, this is blue skies and sunny days and Florida in the winter.

I really only like sports when my teams are winning, so I barely qualify as a fan to people who are true blue.  Still, I’m happiest when I have teams to follow, probably because I have such happy “live” memories in regard to sports.  My very happiest memories of my dad are of going with him—and just him—to Kansas City Blues baseball games when I was a little girl.  We’d park on somebody’s lawn, pay our buck, and walk hand in hand to the general admission seats on the first base line.

My next best memory was of a Chiefs’ playoff game in the same old stadium. There was snow and cold and we lost, but it was glorious, that whole big crowd shoved in together.

And have you ever been to a women's roller derby?  Woohoo, talk about fun!


And then there were the soccer games with my son.

I loved being a soccer mom, loved it, loved it, loved the Church of the Holy Soccer Ball on Sunday mornings, really liked the other parents, loved the out-of-town tournaments and listening to my son and his buddies giggle in the car, loved the search for the inevitable Applebee’s in every town.

I don’t go to games anymore, but the joy is back.


I love watching great quarterbacks nail impossible passes into the arms of  receivers making impossible grabs.  I love watching the best basketball players make awesome passes to each other that end up being thrillingly dunked.  I loved watching Tiger Woods beat the field, and I loved watching Rafael Nadal finally win the U.S. Open, and was there anything better than seeing that U.S. Women’s Soccer Team win the World Cup? 

It may just be that what I really love is seeing people. . . who do things really well. . . do those things, whether they’re authors or ice skaters, chefs or fashion designers, high jumpers or artists.

 Whatever the underlying reason, this is the winter of my sports content.  Purr.

 So what’s your spectator sports story?

 Maybe you’re an athlete, yourself?

Even if you’re not a baller, do you love sports?

Maybe you couldn’t care less?

Or maybe you hate them with the fire of a thousand tailgate barbeques?

Here’s your chance to brag, weep, vent!  And remember, there’s always next season. . .

Did you hear a word I said, or are you still looking at that photo of Rafa?







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I'm am a fourth generation St. Louis Cardinals fan. In my family if you aren't a Cardinals fan you get kicked out. It's a very important question that gets asked early in a relationship. You don't have to be a fan to marry into the family, but you have to act like one during the season. :) I always swore that if St. Louis ever played Kansas City in the World Series I'd go to a game even if I had to take out a loan to do it. Then came 1985 and the I-70 Series, St. Louis and Kansas City I was thrilled. Unfortunately my six week old baby got seriously ill. He ended up in the hospital. So hubby and I watched the series in a hospital room. My little guy recovered quickly and we were able to to enjoy the games, and I wouldn't have been anywhere else, but I'll always regret not being able to make it to a game.

I remember going to midget wrestling with my great-grandmother . . .

I only watched hockey when I was a kid so I could snuggle with my dad.

Post more pictures maybe I will become a sports fan!

gaylin, lol. Yes, that picture could launch a thousand new sports fans.

Using hockey as an excuse to snuggle with your dad? Awww.

KD, how frightening for you and your husband. At least your son will always know where your priorities lie!

There must be something wrong with me...I am still at the picture of my boys...GO CELTICS...I, too, love to watch people who do what they love, the best that they can! Sometimes it's your kid, sometimes it's somebody else. What greater reward in life is doing something great! I guess that's why I like sports and reading! I think I found my something in parenting...for now! Great blog Nancy...GO CELTICS!

P to the S...my tale is really my daugher's...she played basketball since she could walk,travel leagues, AAU, high school and college...Many wonderful and not so wonderful moments...but always life lessons. She's now coaching in college. It's her passion! How wonderful to do something you love....some people never find it!

I really like sports when I see them live, and my favorite two to watch are ice hockey and polo. Got to go see quite a bit of both when I was a kid staying with my cousins in Buffalo, so I still have a soft spot for the Sabres.

I'm sorry. What--? Uh--? I'm still looking at---hang on while I while the drool from my chin---Raphael Nadal.

As for sports, the Steelers play at 4:30 on Saturday. After that, I can talk sports in general.

No offense Nancy, but I was once dragged to a basketball game (college, LSU vs. Tulane, big rivalry) by my little brother, and the game went into triple overtime. Triple! It was more excruciating than childbirth, which we discussed yesterday.

My sons were swimmers. I grew to like swim meets. There is no touching and the participants remain clean. In my mind, the perfect sport.

NancyM, you are a woman of strong focus. That's our story for you and we're stickin' to it. That photo is kind of. . .mind-altering.

Ice hockey and polo! Cornelia, you've landed on two sports I've never watched in more than brief glimpses. I think I'd love them if I gave them a try.

Nora, yes! To watch somebody get to do what they love. Sigh. Pretty wonderful. To get to be that person? Highs and lows, misery and joy, and sooo lucky.
And p to the s for you. . .you may wonder why a Missouri/Kansas girl loves the Celtics? It's because of Paul Pierce, my fav Kansas Jayhawks player of all time. So proud he's captain!

Ramona, lol! "no touching and the participants remain clean" That's hilarious. Truly, I understand. I well remember the days before I didn't like football (I was out of college before somebody explained first downs to me. "Oh!") I'm not interested usually, either, unless a particular team or sports figure or event captures me.

I grew up under Friday Night Lights and I still love high school football.

I am on hiatus from the Steelers this season (maybe for the duration) and I have to say - no offense to any NFL fans - when you learn too much about almost anything, it's tough to enjoy it.

Kathy, sausage making--never pretty.

I was never coordinated enough to play sports well, but I'm an avid spectator of HS & College Football. We cheer for PeeWee teams (a nephew plays, and my youngest daughter cheers for 4 separate teams for her grade this year.)

I went to both state Colleges (OU & OSU), had a sibling that OU and another OSU. We are truly a house divided. We cheer for all our state teams except when they play each other.

Growing up, my dad played Fast-Pitch Softball and he was very good. (He could pitch a softball underhanded at over 100 mph into his late 40s. Played until his 50s.) Every family vacation except for one (Disneyland) was in some way tied to a softball game or tournament.

Back in the 70's I watched Steelers football every week when my family gathered around the TV. I still remember the joy of watching Franco Harris, Lynn Swann, Terry Bradshaw, Mean Joe Green, and Rocky Blier (sp)as they played each week. Then, joy of joys, superbowl wins. We went to a preseason football game one time when my uncle who has season tickets gave us the opportunity, but I grew away from football. The joy has never returned.

Back then we also watched and listened to the Pittsburgh Pirate games from spring to fall. I'll never forget the first Pirate Baseball game I attended at Forbes Field. We were in the right field bleachers right behind Roberto Clemente. He was incredible to watch. When 3 Rivers Stadium opened we went to a few games a year during my teenage years, but watching baseball there wasn't any fun. I grew away from baseball.

For the past 24 years I've been subjected to Pittsburgh Penguin hockey. My husband became a fan of the game in the late 80's, then he drew my daughter into his obsession. They spent a brief hiatus, in the late 90's, away from the sport, but since 2003 they've been just as rabid as ever. I live for the few months of summer when I don't have to listen to hockey talk. They get all excited when I know the answer to hockey questions people ask. They think I'm a fan. It's just the constant exposure having taught me what's what. They just don't understand, I could care less about hockey.

Don't get me wrong. I'm happy their happy, but sports in general leave me cold. I'm not even a fair weather fan. Football just leaves me cold. I probably could get back into baseball if the Pirates management ever seemed to care about their team. We have been to a couple of games at PNC Park and it's a fantastic place to watch the game.

But contradictorily I have a love for sports themed movies. Especially those based on real life events. I watched and loved the recent HBO Penguins/Capitals 24/7. I suppose you could say I like 'reel' life drama with a few sports highlights thrown in for good measure.

Philadelphia fans have a burning love for their sports teams. And will spend as much time as you give them telling you everything that's wrong with the players, the coaches, the officials, the stadium, the food, the weather, the traffic...

My favorite story is one of an Eagles football game, where the fans were doing their usual enthusiastic tail-gating in the parking lot. (I swear, the elaborate setups some of them have for this is astounding. I saw one where the people had a huge tent, a large TV, and a satellite dish.) Anyway, after several hours of drinking, grilling, eating, and drinking, the fans got ready to go into the stadium for the game. They pushed their grill under the truck. It was a charcoal grill. With the charcoal/ashes still in it. Which stay hot for quite a while. Sometime in the first or second quarter, it blew up the truck and six cars around it.

In Syracuse, where I grew up, the world revolved around the University sports teams. Those from my hometown who have moved to other states are still rabid Syracuse fans, especially basketball. Most people who see me in a Syracuse sweatshirt think I went to college there (if only) - they don't understand the whole town wears them, not just alumni.

Thanks for a jump start to my heart this morning, Nancy. Whooeee, that guy's hot.

My dad was a huge baseball fan, even umpired Little League (despite the fact that his own, LL-aged kids were girls--who couldn't play in the 50's), but he never took us to a game. My first husband was, and still is, a rabid fan of the Bengals, who got their start just a year before we got married. I grew to resent them, let's just say. Also never went to a game with him.

The sports I've enjoyed the most were either games played by friends or family members, especially my own daughters, or the ice hockey games a friend used to invite me to, before we were both married to other people. I just loved going to the hockey games, and because it wasn't very popular here the seats were always great, usually rinkside, up front and close to the action. Which there is a lot of in hockey. None of this standing around waiting stuff.

My girls played soccer, basketball, and ran track and cross-country. Track and cross require a commitment on the part of any parent who wants to see their child compete! Some of the meets last forever.

The one sport I could easily get into and become a major fan of is not played in the US. When Holly was in Sydney, Australia for a semester we went to visit her and she arranged for us to go with her and some friends to see a footy game. Oh. My. Goodness. It's the craziest game ever, and so much fun, you can't believe it. A combination of soccer, football, and field hockey, played on a massive oval field, and with no timeouts. They literally play it like soccer, but with what looks like a football. We saw Syndey play the Kangaroos, or somebody, and it was a blast.

They are serious about their footy over there. The stadium was built for the Olympics, and there is almost no parking, only 10,000 spaces for a stadium that holds 83,500 people. You take a train from the lovely Victoria Station in Sydney, and the terminus is Olympic Stadium--which is spectacular, by the way. Your ticket to the event includes the train ride, which is so sensible, isn't it? In front of the stadium, on the plaza, is a wonderful sculpture garden with painted and decorated poles engraved with the names of everyone who participated in the Sydney Olympics. Across from that is a plaza full of food and souvenir vendors. The food was fantastic, too.

I still don't understand the nuances of football, soccer, and ice hockey. But enjoy the Atlanta Braves and the NY Mets. Fell in love with the Amazin' Mets back when Casey Stengal was coaching them. Even used to score the games. And of course ACC basketball, although less so now that the league's expanded. All the same, GO HEELS!

Stunned by that photo. Speechless.

Celtics all the way! But, I have to admit that I was a huge Lakers fan when we lived in LA. It was during the years when Kareem and Magic were playing, and my husband had season tickets. They were beautiful to watch! But when they played the Celtics, I was a mess! Now we're back in Boston, and I am free to be myself again. I'm thrilled that we ended up with Shaq.

Brunonia, I'd have been a huge Lakers fan in those days, too. Shaq is such a fun Celtic!

Harley? ::snaps fingers in front of her eyes:: Nope, she's still out.

Margaret, Duke went down!

Karen, footy? I'd never heard of it before today, and it sounds like fun.

Laura, I remember that story of the tailgate that went south, lol.

peach, my sports love has waxed and waned over my lifetime, but I'll say one thing that pretty much brought it all back was having a sports-loving son. I can talk to him about sports, while his dad, who hates them, can't. I'm just lucky that I actually do love them, though. Or maybe I'm lucky that we usually have at least one really good team to follow. (Thank you, KU hoops.)

Marcia, oh, man, a house divided by sports in Oklahoma is treacherous territory. :)

I was never a big sports fan. When my sons played soccer, I loved the games and never missed one. I am still a soccer fan - World Cup was this past summer and I saw or listened to all the matches in June and July. (I felt like I was going through withdrawal symptoms for the first couple of weeks after World Cup was over!)

Soccer is the ideal sport to watch: each half is 45 minutes long, with a 15 minute break in the middle. There aren't a lot of rules to confuse me (although I will say there have been times when the ref was blind). The "beautiful game" is aptly named. It is a beautiful game.

Commenting to my DH: "Hey there's a barechested tennis player on my favorite blog, today"
DH: "Is it a girl?"
Me: "No."
DH: "Oh.."

I am now free to move around the blogs.
Thanks, Nancy M!

Oh, he'a a tennis player . . . blink blink

To quote Jack Buck, "The best sport in the world is winning baseball."

I loved going to Cardinals games with my father. I discovered as an adult why my brother and I saw Bob Gibson pitch so often. A Gibson game was the perfect game for my father to take his sons to. With Gibson pitching, the Cardinals were likely to win and the game would be over in about two hours. Toss in hamburgers at Dooley's and it was a perfect day.

In the winter of 2001, I was a brand new father. The Rams were scoring 40 points a game. There were two games when the Rams punted less than twice in the game. Princess One learned to raise her arms for a touchdown.

A friend of my parents had a feeling the Cardinals were going to go places in 1982. They bought season tickets for that year and the Cardinals ended up winning the World Series. My parents were offered playoff tickets. They offered them to me and my brother, and we said, "No you go." Ozzie Smith hit one left handed home run in his career. It was that night.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBvHhcTffgU about three minutes in.

Go Crazy!

That is not what Jack meant.

What is this thing you call *sports*?

I'm a St. Louis Cardinals' fan -- when they're winning. I love sitting in the stands at minor league baseball games. Those are a real game, without the fancy scoreboards and "skybox" stadiums.
Rafa could definitely turn me into a sports spectator.

I meant "those are real games." My eyes are still crossed after looking at Rafa.

I think that I am suffering from the "Marian the Librarian" syndrome. I forgot to drool over Rafa, and went to Wikipedia to find out all the sports data and what his motivation is and why is he teasing us with that towel?

Oh, my God, look at that hunk!! Does it matter that I'm old enough to be his mother?? Oh, let's see, who wrote the blog today? Oh, NANCY P! HI, Nancy!

To answer the question...the question...the question...what was it again?

(Is that guy an athlete or something? Today's topic seems to have something to do with sports. Does he have a father, an uncle...? Does he like older women?)

Um, oh yeah, the question: I'm not much of a sports fan; I'm way too clumsy to be an athlete; as a kid, I was always the last person chosen to be on a team for any neighborhood sports (and I was secretly relieved).

Baseball was always very important in my dad's family; to be more specific, supporting the Yankees was always very important in my dad's family. As far as his remaining siblings are concerned there is NO OTHER TEAM. (When an uncle died a couple of years ago, his obit stated that he was a lifelong Yankees fan.)When I was growing up their biggest opponents were the Brooklyn Dodgers. My dad said that anyone who rooted for any team other than the Yankees, particularly if the person was a Dodgers fan, was a "dirty Commie".

My siblings and I didn't particularly enjoy being at the home of our paternal grandparents during baseball season: the kids were expected to "sit down and be quiet; the game is on."

(What is that cutie pie's name again? What does he have to do with today's topic? Do you have any additional pictures of him?)

I can enjoy watching something in person, although I rarely attend sporting events. I will NEVER watch, in person or on TV, a football game!I would rather have unanesthetized dental work done than watch five minutes of football! (hasn't someone else here recently said something similar?) My dentist would probably be shocked to read this; he thinks I hate him.

When I was in college I used to enjoy going to basketball games. I just can't get involved in any game that I see on TV. The players don't seem real. I do, oddly enough, enjoy watching the Olympics, whether it's the Summer Olympics or the Winter Olympics. My favorite to watch is Figure Skating; I've been an avid figure skating fan since I was a small child. As an adult, I attempted to take figure skating lessons but just could not manage it. I was recently talking with some other people who took lessons with me, or who went skating with me a couple of times a week. Everyone's memory of that time period is that "Deb hung onto the wall the entire time, and panicked when she made it over to the part of the rink where there was about four feet of no wall to hang on to." This has given me a HUGE appreciation for how hard skaters must work and for how disciplined they are.

I'm a true blue fan of Tennessee Vols football, the games for which you hand down tickets in the family. My nephew has my mom and dad's account that started @1948. Until 2006, the stadium had 104,000+ seats. Now the number is more like 102,500 with the addition of club seats and a terrace level. It's still the fourth largest stadium in the US.

My son goes to WVU, and one of the factors for his choosing that university was the strong football program. Now he's really into hockey because of the large number of Penguin fans in his fraternity. However, I don't know if he pulls for the Caps or the Penguins. Some day I'll have to ask him.

I'm not a huge pro ball fan, but I really like Orioles baseball. The stadium is gorgeous, and though the team hasn't been a big winner in a while, the games are fun. We had partial season tickets when Cal Ripken played and were there two nights before he achieved the record for most consecutive games played. The stadium was packed, and if you could call a crowd electric, it would describe the excitement of the attendees that night and the whole week.

For pro football, I'm pulling for the Ravens (sorry Nancy P.), because they are based nearby. I change my allegiances fairly easily as the pool of teams shrinks. I'm first a fan of the Colts, since that's where Peyton Manning plays. He was a winning quarterback for the TN Vols and has a huge TN following. Next are the Redskins, since they're my husband's favorite team from childhood, but they aren't big winners this year. So now I'm a temporary fan of the Ravens.

Hey Laura, I saw a similar car fire at a Clemson football game. It was Parents Weekend and my husband and I were waaayyyyy high up on the upper deck. I don't remember what quarter the game was in, but out in the distance in the tailgating area, someone around us spotted smoke. Then we saw flames. Then we heard sirens. Apparently a grill with hot coals had turned over and caught a few cars on fire.

I'm enjoying the responses as well as the original post. Rafa is quite the hunk, isn't he? I love sports though watching hockey makes me dizzy. I have a soft spot in my heart for the one magical year we spent in the Boston Area, so I root for the Patriots, the Red Sox and the Celtics. But I have my heart in San Francisco, so every year, I suffered through the Giants' season. This year, they made it! I actually think I'm still in shock. So I plan to suffer through another season. I have to admit I have a soft spot for the Steelers too. I lived in Pa, for a while and they had all those great players-it was fun! And the Roberto Clemente Bridge is wonderful-thank God for television!

I'm with Holly. My disconnect with sports is so extreme that they provide no distraction at all. I used to grade papers while a boyfriend watched football, no problem. Once students came into my classroom discussing hockey. "Oh, I'm not that familiar with ballgames." They explained about pucks . . . I had thoughtful students.
They weren't wild about my solution to football, though -- give each team its own ball so they can stop fighting over it. "You just don't get it, Miss Garrett." No, I really don't.

Sports? Only if I have a warm fuzzy couch of a man next to me uncorking wine.
Otherwise I don't much care for men making millions of dollars while people are homeless.
Just saying.

I apologize for the wet blanket response to everyone's enthusiasm.
I'm in the arts and the arts are just as if not more athletic and important to the world of people being expressive community oriented than football.
It just irks me.
Sorry again.

Oprah just revealed that at her lowest point in life she ate thirty pounds of Mac and Cheese.
OMIGOD..who knew that Mac and Cheese could cure depression..gotta load up on that stuff!

At one sitting?? Okay, surely not. 30 pounds of mac and cheese at one sitting is physically impossible. Right? Right?

That's okay, xena. It's okay to vent in any direction about sports today!

Back later. You're making me laugh with the Rafa drooling and smile at the family sports stories.

I am with Xena, I think some of those mega-sports bucks could be funnelled into the arts and the world would be a better place. Now a good live theatre play that involved Rafa with his shirt off, my kind of arts and sports!

I was never a competitive child, maybe that is why sports never caught my interest.

Wait, 30 pounds of mac and cheese - how many homeless would that have fed!

Ah, Nancy. You, too, are in the ABD group? (And nice of you not to mention that we stole Roy back from KU.)

Re: Mac and Cheese..details are still unfolding.
Suspicious empty shells formerly containing pasta shells caused thousands of Chicagoans clamoring for their pasta fix.
More of this breaking news at five, six, ten and eleven!

I agree with Elaine - minor league baseball games are a lot of fun, and a lot less expensive. We try to hit a Reading Phillies game at least once a season. They have something going on all the time - my husband and I were quite bemused at the guy dressed up like a piece of lettuce, throwing t-shirts from the field. And the other guy, launching wrapped hot dogs from a gun into the stands. Good times.

I also agree with Becky about the Orioles' stadium. Great place. The new Phillies one is pretty sweet, too.

I probably wouldn't sit down and watch a game if I was home alone. But my husband is a huge fan, especially of baseball and football, so it's hard not to get sucked in. I like going to the games too - the atmosphere is great.

A little tease..Oprah has been swamped with endorsement offers for the soothing Mac and Cheese helpings that she consumed. Can this woman become any richer???

Sorry. I'm not here to comment. Just came back to get another look at Raphael. (We're on a first name basis now. I have switched teams. Ramona and Harley can have Blond Bond all to themselves.) Just ignore me while I sit here and stare at my screen.

The few sports that I did participate were short lived.
Badminton, because I was too short and broom-ball because my nemesis, Monica, tripped me on purpose with the broom.
Skated a lot in my childhood and have loved Ice Skating during the Olympics.
Skiing was replaced by sledding and sitting around the fire.
Early memories of baseball were watching the local neighborhood teams at the park.
I have watched pro football..go Ottawa Rough riders and Angel and Dodger baseball games.
But the best memories were when Mickey Mantle played in the sixties.

I'm going to print out "Raffie's" photo and take it home with me...maybe sleep with it under my pillow...

What gorgeous...eyes...he has.

I'm something of an exercise fanatic (translation: "gym rat") because I don't need to remember (or try to understand) the rules of any game, and again, I cannot stress enough how uncoordinated I am. But now I'm wondering: what kind of sport does my "Raffie" play, and does he take on students? Is it possible to have one-on-one instructions from him? Just asking...

lol! Deb, he is the best male tennis player in the world, the man who unseated, as it were, Roger Federer. He's Spanish. He even seems to be a nice guy. Go to Google images and meet your new tennis pro. :D


Eyes, eh? Sure, I buy that. *nodding*

Xena, I'm with you, all the way. In the recent vote to keep the tax breaks for the wealthiest 1%, a good chunk of those people were overpaid, bratty sports figures. (And overpaid, bratty on-air rabblerousers). Why did they need a tax break, I ask you?

This country needs a good old-fashioned shot in the arm of common sense.

Tennis . . . hmm, I never was good at tennis either. Maybe I just needed the right teacher?

storyteller Mary, we could get a group lesson. Or, no, maybe not?

Back off, girls. I'm telling you, he's MINE. And I will use some roller derby moves on you if you get too close.

I remember traveling with my father by train to see college football games In Iowa City, Iowa. I liked being with my very busy father more than the football. I think one thing sports do is give fathers and sons something they can talk about without arguing,

Warren, and daughters, too. We've seen this father/child/sports thing several times in the comments today. Really, without sports, my dad--who was very shy--and I had almost nothing to say to each other, which made me sad and about which I could do very little--except talk about baseball and college football. Bless sports!

Nancy, you're cracking me up! ::putting on my skates::

Just a warning, Nancy M..,my tennis teacher can beat up your tennis teacher..and he makes a mean Mac and Cheese casserole too..

Girls, girls! Do I have to send you to your rooms? Which is a good idea, and then I could lock the doors, and tiptoe off to tennis. . .

I used to love watching Olympic gymnastics until I noticed that it was more contortionist that gym and the girls either looked in pain or uncomfortable. Is it just me or have the smiles and comradery disappeared from a lot of sports.

I did love badminton in high-school, one of the few things an underweight geeky girl could do (at least this one). Oh, and I had one summer of synchronized swimming . . . Neither of these are big spectator sports.

Nancy P, can we bring our tennis teacher in our room with us...a time out, maybe?

So sorry, Marie, but he'll be having milk and cookies in the kitchen with me.

Nancy P, you are cruel..

OOH, SO behind!! ANd, ::patting hair into place:: getting ready for the PLAYOFFS. ( I live in New England, remember. La dee dah, la dee dah.)

I was on the HS volleyball team back when they had 4 periods and unlimited scoring instead of today's scoring system. Our team would win by huge margins and always won the championship. I practiced faithfully but was pretty horrible. I got to play in one game for about 1 minute (I think we were ahead by about 50 or 60 points) which was quite a thrill. I was pretty busy my senior year and decided not to go out for the team. The coach was quite the diplomat when I talked to her (she also knew my family) and said she understood if I didn't have time.She managed to say with a straight face that I probably wouldn't have made the varsity since the whole "A" team was returning. Truth be told I wouldn't have made a "D" team but I will always remember her kindness. I was so horribly uncoordinated she probably saved me years of humiliation by only letting me in that one game. Small town, small school you knew everyone. Girls' volleyball and boys basketball were our claim to fame. No football team.

Caught on the picture.

Big fan here of sports movies but not of actual team sports, even though I come from a serious football family. Give me a mountain climber, a runner, a lone wolf, every time.

Kathy....there is quite an ugly side to sports...you found it?

Diane, that is a sweet story.

Barbara, one of the things I love about following individual extreme athletics is that they sometimes report having interesting hallucinatory or out-of-body experiences. Team athletes do, too, come to think of it. Pushing the body seems to push the mind out of its usual boundaries at times. There was a terrific book about this phenomenon years ago, if I can just think of the name of it. By Michael Murphy, the founder of Esalen. Ah! IN THE ZONE is the name of it.

Nancy, in the future I usually use espn.com's Gamecast feature whenever I can't watch the Bengals game, and I'm betting they have something similar for NBA. It isn't live-action, but it shows every play and score in a sort of "Xs and Os" manner. Definitely not as good, but better than trying to decipher fans' comments!

The "footy" my mom (Karen in Ohio) mentioned was Oz-rules football. Around Australia, footy can refer to soccer (football to the rest of the world), Oz-rules football or occasionally rugby, of which there are also two types in Australia: the one the rest of the world plays, and Australian rugby which is less violent, stops after every tackle and generally takes the fun out of rugby. The Oz-rules football is really pretty crazy; they must bounce the ball every 10 meters or so and to pass the ball they do a sort of volleyball-type hit in which the ball is held in one hand and "bumped" by the other hand. At each end of the field are four posts of differing heights, but I don't remember the scoring system. I believe we went to see the Sydney Swans vs the West Coast Eagles.

I don't usually spend a lot of time online reading blogs or article unless the are about football or cycling. So this quite the unexpected bonus to come across this post.

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