Half and half — September 9, 2021

Half and half

You’ve probably heard that half the fun is getting there.

When it comes to vacations and road trips, I believe this to be true. Indeed, there have been plenty of times when I’ve laughed ‘til it hurt whilst en route to my destination with trusted traveling companions.

When it comes to sports, I’ve struggled with the half the fun is getting there concept. Sure, I applaud my teams at the end of their respective seasons. But depending on which team wins the championship, I might also yell obscenities until my throat hurts whilst flinging sharp objects at the TV.

This is especially true when it comes to the NFL because He Who Shall Not Be Named and/or The Team That Shall Not Be Named frequently win.

My hatred – yes, hatred – for them cannot be healthy or normal. Yet, there we are. And every season that ends with He Who Shall Not Be Named and/or The Team That Shall Not Be Named hoisting the Lombardi Trophy also ends with me swearing off the league because I can no longer handle such pain in my life.

I cut the cord soon after the NFL season ended – my decision was unrelated to football — which meant I no longer had access to the NFL Network. That helped steel my resolve.

Then, as it has every year in my life, August happened. And as I have done every other year, I started searching the NFL Network for preseason football once I bid farewell to July. Oh, yeah, about that. The streaming service I selected added the network on Aug. 1, and I’m one of those people who watch preseason football. I do not restrict my viewings to my favorite teams. I watched an Eagles-Jets preseason game and then told my fellow football fans about the exciting last-second Hail Mary pass the Jets nth-string quarterback threw.

Their responses went something like this: “Is this a plea for help?” “Have you had a stroke?” “Exciting and Jets do not belong in the same sentence. Who are you?”

I’m a woman of an advanced age who enjoys the NFL. That’s who I am. And this year, I’m going to take it game-by-game and week-by-week. I’m not going to start thinking about the playoffs – the playoffs! – in September. I’m going to enjoy the ride. I’ll have half the fun during the seasons and then we’ll see what happens afterward.

Perhaps I’ll have the other half of my promised fun or perhaps I’ll yell obscenities until my throat hurts whilst flinging sharp objects at the TV.

This post originally appeared in the Appalachian News-Express.

Be a good sport — August 4, 2021

Be a good sport

I know people have different interests, but if I live to be Master Yoda’s age, I’ll never understand why everyone in the galaxy doesn’t watch the Olympics.

Sure, one could argue that the entire Olympics enterprise is corrupt. But when I ask folks about their anti-Olympics feelings, some say they don’t like sports whilst others say they don’t like Olympics-style sports.

If you don’t enjoy sports, then the Olympics is marketed for you. The coverage is full of stories of orphaned athletes who considered limping away from their respective sport, but decided to risk their bodies for one more shot at an elusive medal. And all for love of country or athletics or to honor an ailing coach or a sick goat. These stories are designed to tug at your heart and make you care who wins the BMX freestyle race even if you’re not quite sure what BMX freestyle is.

If you only enjoy the big-name sports, then you’ll be happy to know the Games have been featuring basketball, baseball, and soccer for decades. In fact, I recorded the Slovenia-Spain basketball game and watched it at my leisure.

No, that is not a misprint. No, the game was not played in the medal round. Yes, such is my madness for the Games.

Golf was added a few years ago, too, but as much as I heart the Olympics, I draw the line at golf. When NBC switched to it the other night, my hand reached for the remote.

I’m also not a fan of soccer – except during the Olympics and World Cup – but I kept up with a men’s match between Egypt and Mexico. At one point during the match, my great-niece walked in front of the TV and I almost asked her to move. Longtime readers of this-here space will realize how out-of-character such behavior would have been for me.

As with Olympics in the past, I checked out handball – it’s a combination of basketball and soccer – as well as table tennis and badminton. One of the announcers pronounced both ns in badminton and I cannot stress how much that triggered me.

I watched men’s synchronized diving finals like I had money on the results. By the way, male divers and female beach volleyball players compete practically in the nude. Perhaps that will persuade you to tune into the Games.

Of course, there are only a few days left for you to do so. Swimming, my favorite part of the Summer Olympics, ended Saturday. I had several breakdowns during close races. I might have lost consciousness once. Or twice. Perhaps a few times.

As I say as the Games come to a close every time, I don’t know what I will do when they’re over. Wait. What’s that? The Winter Games start in six months?

This post originally appeared in the Appalachian News-Express.

A case of the sads — February 3, 2021

A case of the sads

You know how some people proclaim the end of daylight saving time to be the worst day of the year?

Yeah, I’m not that person. Except for a meltdown I experienced as a wee lass one year when time either sprang forward or fell back, I’ve never really cared that much about the beginning and/or end of daylight saving time. (Well, that’s not entirely true. I don’t enjoy losing an hour’s worth of sleep when it begins in the spring.)

Anyway, the way I see it, we have the same amount of daylight in one 24-hour period no matter what time it is, so what’s with all the complaining?

I’m also not one of those people who proclaims the onset of winter to be the worst time of the year. After all, I enjoy cold weather and snow.

But you know what I consider to be the worst time of the year? Now, also known as the end of football season.

Of course, one NFL game remains to be played, but seeing as how He Who Shall Not Be Named will be playing in said game, football season ended for me last Sunday night. Since then, the world has seemed a little darker and a little sadder.

I’m not the only person in pain. A fellow football fan told me the end of football season upends her Sunday afternoon schedule. With a catch in her voice, she pleaded, “I nap during some of those games.”

See, the struggle is real. I’ve found myself reaching for the remote to turn the TV to a game or to the sports channels so I could listen to humans talk about a game, only to stop myself with a reminder that it no longer matters. It’s over.

Sure, a huge trade occurred this past weekend, but we have to wait seven agonizingly long months to see how the trade plays out on the field.

What are we supposed to do during those seven months? Not nap on Sundays?

Oh, you might be asking yourself, “Self, why did she have a meltdown when time changed?”

Who knows? I was a sensitive lass. Indeed, from what I’ve been told, the time change meltdown didn’t come close to approaching the meltdown I experienced whilst watching a movie called “A Girl Named Sooner.”

Or the one I had last week when my team lost to He Who Shall Not Be Named’s team.

This post originally appeared in the Appalachian News-Express.

A world of good — July 1, 2018

A world of good

Although I’m known as a fan of sport, soccer barely makes my top 10 sports to watch. For starters, I don’t understand the rules. Oh, I get the gist – the players endeavor to kick the ball into the net. Otherwise, it looks to me like a bunch of people running around a field.

Once whilst watching a match with my beloved niece, I asked her what the announcer meant when he said a player had been offsides. When she explained that the player had gone over the line, I stared at the TV, squinting to find the line. “It’s not a line drawn on the field,” she said, exasperated at my ignorance.

Another one of my issues with the sport is the lack of scoring. It’s not unusual for soccer matches to end in scoreless ties (or in soccer parlance, nil-nil). Whilst I acknowledge that football games can also end in ties, I also acknowledge my belief that players should stay out there until somebody wins.

What’s more, there’s a lot of what’s known as diving in men’s soccer. In other words, players tend to fall to the ground and flop around like death is imminent if another player so much as looks at them. They remain writhing on the field as precious game minutes expire. But as soon as the referee calls a penalty – or refuses to recognize their histrionics – they hop up and virtually skip across the field. By the way, this phenomenon doesn’t occur nearly as often in women’s soccer, but it is on the rise in the NBA.

Despite all of the above, I have a touch of low-grade World Cup fever. I check the scores and standings and keep up with matches when I can. Of course, I haven’t failed to notice that when I’m in the same room as a televised match, either performing light housekeeping, writing, or concentrating all my attention on the match, no one scores. But let me step out of the room for a bio break or to check on my cat army, and the ball will find its way into the net, unleashing pandemonium among the fans.

Indeed, fan enthusiasm is the aspect I most enjoy about the World Cup. It’s as if every match reaches the level of the NCAA championship game multiplied by they Super Bowl. In a world that can be so dark and depressing, the passion soccer fans demonstrate for their sport makes my heart smile.

This post originally appeared in the Appalachian News-Express.