Category Archives: Sportsfan

My Mom, the Sportsfan

My mom has never really liked watching TV, but she’s really started getting into basketball (both college and NBA) in the past few years.  I love it.  Especially during times like the playoffs when she gets really fired up and puts her 13-year-old girl’s texting abilities to use.

Here’s our text history over the past couple weeks:

May 6

Mom: Lakers SUCK!

May 9

Mom: Is M Gasol related to P Gasol?

Me: Yes! Brothers!

Mom: M has his head in gear this game…unlike P yesterday

Me: M is also younger, better looking, and potentially more talented.  Plus he doesn’t play for LA.

Mom: Yup.  All good points.  But he is kinda tubby… I should talk!

Today, May 15

Mom: R u watching BB?

Me: Oh, thanks for reminding me!

Mom: Do you think Bosch is gay?

Me: No, although I never thought about it.  Why do you ask?

Mom: Weak chin.

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Filed under I am not making this up., Sportsfan, Sweet Home Montana

I Love My Ducks

I can’t get enough of this song or this video.

I would like to marry the guy who raps on the mini tractor. Also, Puddles with a rim spinning might be the greatest thing ever.

GO DUCKS!

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Filed under MeTube, Sportsfan

Science Cheerleaders

My friend Bonnie shared this article the other day about “Science Cheerleaders,” a group of former and current professional NFL and NBA cheerleaders who are also scientists and engineers.  They recently performed at the U.S. Science and Engineering Festival to encourage people, specifically young women, to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math:

Although I understand where so much of the stereotypes and criticism of cheerleaders comes from, I still think this is an awesome concept.  Jezebel.com covered the topic, saying, “Science shouldn’t have to be sexed-up to make it an acceptable career choice for women, but hopefully the message girls take from the Science Cheerleaders is that your attractiveness is not a reflection on your intelligence.”  I agree with them, but as a girl who has always been good at math and science, I think there’s another important part to this message, which is that you can excel in “nerdy” subjects and still be girly.  You don’t have to be, obviously, but sometimes, as female nerds, we don’t realize we have a choice.  Sometimes in middle school and high school we feel pigeonholed.  Everyone is given a label (nerd, football player, cheerleader, druggie, hippie) and then expected to play their part.  It took me a long time to figure out that I could pick and choose from various stereotypes, INCLUDING the “girly” one without accepting the whole package.  There were a few years in college when I had acrylic nails and got them “done” regularly, not because I was a super girly-girl overly-concerned with my appearance, but because I wasn’t really girly and having fancy nails made me feel good and a little rebellious.  I liked that I could rock my naturally curly hair and hooded sweatshirts every day but still have some feminine touches like manicures and matching accessories that made me feel good.  To this day, I sort of like the way people react when I tell them I majored in math.  I like defying their stereotypes.  And I really wish someone had told me when I was thirteen that I could spend time on my hair and dance and do neurology research, without having to choose.

Now I’m just hoping they start some sort of program for science professionals who want to be BlazerDancers.

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Filed under About Me, Deep Thoughts, MeTube, Sportsfan

Happy Fall!

Fall in Portland has been beautiful this year. We even had a few days this week with beautiful sunny and almost downright warm weather! This post is rather belated, but I wanted to post about the most perfect Fall day I had a few weeks ago with some friends.

First, we went to a pumpkin patch because, after all, it’s decorative gourd season, motherfuckers.

None of us were super into the whole picking-out-a-pumpkin thing, but my friend Kallyn is actually grown-up enough to decorate her apartment seasonally, so she picked up a few extra gourds:

The rest of us were really there for the apple cider donuts (AMAZING!) and the corn maze.  Somehow, our group of five split once we entered the maze.  Galen and I made it to the end and waited for Kallyn, Sarah and Ryan:

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Sunglasses in October! Can you even believe it?

But apparently they were lost somewhere, taking photos:

Galen and I actually went back through the maze, from finish to start, and still couldn’t find them. Thank goodness for cell phones. I have no idea what people did in corn mazes in the 80’s!

Anyway, after our day at the farm, Galen and I headed back to town to catch the University of Montana v. Portland State football game. It wasn’t nearly as much fun as these games usually are, mostly because it was at a suburban high school football stadium instead of the usual field downtown (which is under construction for our MLS team in 2011). It was still a good time, though, and U of M won (in the last few seconds!), which made it even better.

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In true small-town fashion, I ran into a few people I knew and lots of others I used to know.

The Grizzlies come to Portland every other year for football, and I think this was the fourth game I’ve attended here.  The other three times, the Montana tailgate party (set up by Portland people) ran out of beer early.  This time, there were only two lines for beer in the entire stadium, which were longer than the length of the field.  Apparently, there were also only two bathrooms – one men’s, one women’s – in the place.  If Portland wants to keep hosting the University of Montana, they’re going to need a cultural lesson or two about small town football games.

We had a great time, though, and an all-around fantastic fall day.

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Filed under Sportsfan, Sweet Home Montana

I Pledge Allegiance

Five methods of choosing your allegiance to professional* sports teams:

1. Grow up in the city of the team. This is a no-brainer, but doesn’t apply to those of us who grew up in states with no professional sports, so we had to…

2. Move to cities with professional teams. Not that this is a good way to choose a city to live in, although it is how my brother Peter wanted me to choose where I went to college. He told me I should go to Macalester in Minnesota because the Timberwolves were better than the Blazers. I’m continuing a long-standing tradition here and making fun of how amazingly wrong he was.

3. If the first two don’t work for you, you might have to randomly choose teams. For instance, I decided in middle school to be a 49ers fan because the fact that I was born in San Francisco made me feel special. I felt that Niners fans and I had a common bond. I’m sure some of them were born there, too! I’m pretty sure Pete randomly chose his teams as well, because he somehow ended up a fan of the Bulls, Steelers and Red Sox growing up. This option might also be called “bandwagoning.” Which leads me to the next option…

4. Absorb the preferences of the people around you. I didn’t know a whole lot about professional sports growing up (and I don’t know a whole lot more today), but I knew my brother and my dad were into them, so I rooted for the same teams they did. This is why, to this day, I still choose UNC to go WAY FURTHER in the NCAA tournament every year than any rational person should. And I’ve lost a fair amount of money on them over the years. Pete loved everything Michael Jordan ever touched, which included the Tar Heels. Plus, my grandma lived in North Carolina, so we had an in when it came to merchandise.  #4 also explains why I own a Boston Red Sox hat (many extended family members are fans) and a University of Oregon sweatshirt (tons of my friends went there). It’s the reason I have an inexplicable soft-spot for the Celtics (my dad loved Larry Bird and the old Boston Garden) and a horrible distaste for anything related to the Pistons (my dad always thought they were jerks).

5. If that’s not your style, though, you can always root for the rivals of your family’s team(s). My friend Kara is a DIE-HARD Cowboys fan because she grew up with a dad and a brother who were all about the 49ers in the early nineties. Wanting to simultaneously make things interesting and piss them off, she rooted for their rivals. Unfortunately, once she was in, she couldn’t get out.

All of this leads me to the San Francisco Giants. When I started dating Galen, I told him, in all seriousness, that everything I learned about the rules of baseball I learned from playing competitive kickball.  I mean, I understood the concept of swinging the bat and running around the bases… But if it weren’t for my kickball league, I never would have known what “tagging up” was or understood the relationship between fouls and strikes.

Galen grew up in the East Bay with a dad who taught all three of his children a lot about sports, particularly Giants baseball and Cal football.  Galen used a mix of methods #1 and #5 to become an Oakland A’s fan with a Giants problem.  I am told that Bay Area baseball is an anomaly in that it doesn’t polarize people the way you would think.  In fact, a barista at Starbucks today explained to me that everyone in the Bay prefers either the Giants or the A’s, but they would totally still root for the other as a second favorite.  “It’s not like the Raiders-Niners thing,” he told me, “where you might get stabbed by the other team’s fans.”

So I’ve continued my habit of #4 bandwagoning and decided to get into the Giants and A’s, even though I own a Red Sox hat.  I went to Spring Training in Arizona with Galen’s family in March and got to see a Giants game (with Tim Lincecum pitching).  All season, Galen has patiently answered my elementary questions about perfect games and no hitters and closers and errors.  We watched a few games on TV.  Then the Giants made it to the semis and things got interesting.

One thing I haven’t explained yet is that my boyfriend is hilariously superstitions when it comes to sports.  Up until about a month ago, I thought we were on the same page – you wear your team’s colors and hope you don’t say anything to jinx the team.  Now I realize that it’s totally different with him.  You are not supposed to discuss the possibility of winning or losing until it has already happened.  Sometimes exceptions can be made, but ONLY if you’re pessimistic (i.e. you can talk about the possibility of losing but not winning).  That way you can’t possibly jinx them; only get what you expected.

Before Game 5 of the Phillies-Giants series, when the Giants were leading 3 games to 1, I let it slip that the only Phillies win happened to coincide with the one day I wore my Giants shirt that Galen had bought me at Spring Training.  He then politely suggested that I only wear it on non-game days.

Also, Galen and his dad went to Game 1 of the World Series in San Francisco last week, where Galen purchased a hat for himself and a (totally rad) sweatshirt for me.  I later found out that the next day when he was watching Game 2 on TV, he “figured out a system” wherein wearing the hat forward during the bottom of the inning was good luck, but he had to turn it around and wear it backward for the top of the next inning so he didn’t give the good luck to Texas.  This is why San Francisco won Game 2, in case anyone was wondering.

So, I’ve been wanting to post for a week about the World Series and how cool it is that I got to see the Giants at Spring Training in person and now they’re in the World Series, but I was terrified I might ruin it!  What if I posted something about how I wanted Galen to be Brian Wilson for Halloween and I could be Tim Lincecum**, but then they lost the series?  It would be my fault.  I was even worried about wearing the sweatshirt he bought me, until he and his dad told me it would be okay if I did.  It’s like someone giving you a voodoo doll to use as a pincushion without explaining to you what your needles could be doing.

So after the game last night, I texted Galen from class (where I was refreshing the score on my phone every 10 seconds while trying to focus on the lecture) to congratulate him on his 2nd favorite team winning the pennant.  He responded, “Does not compute.”  Apparently even when he wears his hat the right way and I wear my sweatshirt and we make the baseball gods happy and the Giants win, he’s still skeptical.

* Obviously, college sports are a totally different matter.

** This idea was shot down because he didn’t want to make anyone think he was bandwagoning.  Apparently, he doesn’t wear his bandwagon proudly like I do.

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Filed under Boys are Dumb, Girls are Crazy, Sportsfan

She is Ironman

Do you know what an Ironman triathlon is?

It’s a 2.4 mile swim, then a 112 mile bike ride, followed by a full marathon.  You know the cyclists that do century bike rides?  And the runners that do marathons?  Imagine doing both of those in one day AFTER swimming 2.4 miles.  That’s an Ironman.

See this?

That’s an Ironman, too.

Last weekend, my friend Julie and I drove to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, to watch our friend Kara compete in Ironman CDA.  It was the most amazing, humbling, exhausting, mind-blowing, utterly overwhelming event I’ve ever witnessed.

We made a few signs:

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(In case it isn’t clear, Kara is a University of Oregon alum)

Then, we found a course map and made sure to be at all the right places in all the right times. This involved getting up at 4 AM to get to Coeur d’Alene Lake to watch the swim:

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This is what 2400 swimmers starting at the exact same moment looks like.

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She finished both 1.2-mile laps in about 1 hour and 30 minutes total:

Then it was onto the bike:

She’s on Mile 112 at this point.  Looks pretty good, eh?

After 7 and a half hours on the bike and transitioning to the run, she still looked like she was just out for a Sunday afternoon jog:

It was incredible.  She crossed the finish line at 10:35 PM, after 140.6 miles and 15 and a half hours:

Congratulations, Kara.  I am so, so proud and happy for you.

Now, welcome back to the world of the socially-active and well-rested.

(Special thanks go to Kara’s boyfriend Todd – pictured above in orange – for taking the really great photos).

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Filed under Sportsfan, Travel

I got a Fever…

When I tell people I’m going to visit Galen in Umatilla for the weekend, they often ask me what we do there. I tell them that we usually spend a lot of time on the couch watching sports or movies, sleeping in and going out for meals in nearby Hermiston. Sometimes he’ll have a project or errands we’ll do together, but they’re mostly low-key weekends. I really like it – it’s nice to have down time every once in a while.

But we also try to get the true North-Central Oregon “Experience” as often as possible. Last summer we were two of the most enthusiastic participants in Umatilla Landing Days (note: actually only lasts one day) and have since attended a library/city hall grand opening (yep – same building) and explored the so-called “Nature Trails” the Army Corps of Engineers built by the banks of the Columbia (details for another post). We’ve even driven to Pendleton to visit the Pendleton Woolen Mills and hope to pick some Hermiston watermelons this summer.

So this past weekend, Galen suggested we drive up to Tri-Cities to check out their Indoor Football League team, the Fever. He noted that they would be facing off against the Outlaws from Billings, MT. I was obviously going to be rooting on the Fever.

For those of you who don’t know what makes IFL football different from the football you’re used to, here’s what you need to know:

  • the field is 50 yards long by 28 yards wide.
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  • “dasher boards” made of high-density foam mark the sidelines, which helps remind the crowd that this field has a day job as a hockey rink
  • the goal posts are skinnier (10 feet wide by 20 feet tall) and hung from the arena ceiling
  • each team may have one coach on the field during play (but not IN play, obviously). I’m assuming this is because they can’t pace anywhere else.
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  • kickoffs are made from the goal line
  • each team has 8 players on the field
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  • field goals are still 3 points, but drop-kick field goals are 4 points

So, you know, pretty much like the weirdest, most foreign and fake-looking version of football you can think of. You half expect Mickey Mouse to be out there in a jersey. But that’s where you’re in for a treat:

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you: Torch!

Yep, the Fever’s mascot is a giant football with arms and legs, wearing a Fever jersey and a ‘do rag with flames on it.  I combined these two photos to try to give you an idea of his dancing, but there’s really no way to describe a dancing football with T-Rex arms and a permanent open-mouthed scowl – you just have to see it for yourself.  Galen and I took about 18 photos of Torch because everything he did was amazing.

Then we decided we needed to meet him.  We chased him around the stadium for about 15 minutes.  It was sort of like a real-world version of Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?  We were asking people if they’d seen him and following their leads.  Occasionally we’d pop into the stadium to search for him and try to get to wherever he was – but he somehow disappeared as soon as we got there.  When we finally found him, he was walking away from us and we didn’t know how to get his attention.  He had some sort of handler or agent with him, so I said, “Hey, guys!”  But they didn’t hear me.  I looked to Galen for help, but he was clearly starstruck and unable to speak.  I tried again.  “Hey… Torch!”  He turned around.

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We’ve got the Fever.

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