The Better Story

February 17, 2010

Leading up to the Women’s Snowboard Cross final in the Olympics yesterday, all the talk on NBC was about Lindsey Jacobellis and her redemption arc. Telegenic young U.S. athlete making up for the boneheaded hotdog move that caused her to fall and throw away a certain gold in the final in the Torino games four years ago.

But there was a better story right in front of them. A more heartwarming story. Vancouver-area native Maelle Ricker had been in that same final four years ago. And unlike Jacobellis, Ricker didn’t walk away from the hill with egg on her face. Maelle was airlifted off the hill after a scary crash the product of trying too hard to win.

When I finally heard that story last night (belatedly told in midcompetition by NBC talking heads looking for some redemptive quality for the final once their golden girl choice had failed again), I had no trouble cheering for the Canadian snowboarder to take the gold she won with an aggressive but controlled ride.

While Jacobellis post competition was trying to sell herself as having learned a lesson because at least she didn’t just quit in the consolation heat like she normally would (why, how noble of you angelic one!), Ricker was celebrating a home field hard fought victory.

Maybe by the time Jacobellis finds her way to the other side of 30 she’ll have figured out what it means not to take the competition for granted.

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Why I’m Rooting for the Blackhawks

April 30, 2009

Now that the hometown Flyers are eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs, what keeps me watching? Well, I think I’d watch no matter who was playing. I just love hockey that much. But I’m watching with added excitement this year because I still have a rooting interest. For whom? For the Chicago Blackhawks.

Why? Well that’s easy to answer.

First, I’m from Illinois. Then, it’s the crest on the sweater. The renaissance of a once moribund franchise. It is the determination and execution of a plan by a man who had years to stew about what should be done and finally got to do it (he’s my favorite Rocky!). It’s the long-suffering fans who were desperate for a reason to keep supporting their team and when they finally got an owner who cared about them and cared about winning they came back with open hearts and embraced the team that finally was there to embrace them in return. It’s the young players–Kane, Toews, Byfuglien–and the old ones–Havlat, Khabi–and the in between–Sharpie, who couldn’t be more likeable and turned out to be a heck of a player, Mr. Hitchcock.

So starting tonight it’s yet another chapter in the remarkable rebirth of a legendary hockey franchise. GO HAWKS!


Flyers Town Meeting 2009

April 8, 2009

Last year’s Flyers Season Ticket Holder Town Hall was a revelation. Who knew that a major, big city sports team would, or could, find a way to interact meaningfully at the management level with the fans. But the Flyers have refined their format to fine art. So for the second year in a row, I was able to speak with, question, hear from Flyers brass.

This year again we started with a quick meal in the Lexus Club. Then we moved on to sessions with Peter Luukko and Shawn Tilger, Premium Seating and Parking, Chris Pryor and Don Luce, Paul Holmgren, and John Stevens (who was on the road for the session I attended last year). Read the rest of this entry »


The Wrestler

January 9, 2009

I just saw “The Wrestler” after having it recommended to me by a critic friend I trust and after seeing the impressive trailer and I’m not sure whether I liked it or not. The theater was full so I couldn’t move away from the 12-year-old guy disguised as a late-20s adult on a date. I knew during the trailers he was bad news because he did that stupid adolescent giggling at the romantic scenes, giggling at the gay movie, giggling at the emotion scenes in the trailers. I wanted to do the perfect escape move and disable his gonads for the rest of his worthless life.

Also, if you are a guy with less than a 2-hour bladder. Don’t go to the movies. Wait until you find it on cable.

But other than that it was $9 well spent. I was impressed with Mickey Rourke. Disturbed by Marissa Tomei. And not nearly impressed by Evan Rachel Wood’s character (although I think I believed the actress) as everyone I’ve read.

I think I suffer from the unrealistic expectations. Everyone seems to think this is the best sports movie EVER. But I don’t see it as a sports movie. Never will it be more clear to you that wrestling isn’t a sport. And in order to explain the parts that don’t ring true to me on the personal front, I’d have to spoil, which I don’t want to do.

So, I can’t recommend it. But I wouldn’t try to discourage you if you feel compelled. Maybe you’ll be lucky and sit next to a grown up. Then the experience may be a whole different thing.


Phinally!

October 29, 2008

It isn’t quite what it would have been if they’d done it when I was attending every single Phillies home game, like maybe 1993. Oh if they’d won the World Series that year I’d have ended up in intensive care.

But here I am, in my frigid living room (kept cold so I could share in the atmosphere of the Cit without having to shell out $900 for the right to stand there) drinking a flute of asti spumante. Yes, there have been cheers, whoops, shouts, curling up in a ball of anxiety, and tears of pure joy.


Seven for Seven

October 27, 2008

Yes, today may be the day that the Phils finally blow the tinfoil hats off the silly curse promoters. But before we revel in the potential fulfillment of our sports dreams, the weekend just past deserves some celebration all its own.

I started out this weekend hoping for a nearly impossible run–seven for seven from my favorite teams. And this is how it went:

  • After just enough of a break to let Flyers fans get home, Penn State beat Ohio State in the Horseshoe in Columbus for the first time in 30 years, keeping hopes of a championship run alive.
  • Overlapping the PSU game by only a little, because of the rain, the Phils won an exciting game 3 of the World Series over the Tampa Bay Rays, setting off fireworks at 1:47am.
  • Sunday started with a stunning Liverpool win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, where Chelsea hadn’t lost in 86 matches. This moved the Reds into first place in the Premiership and legitimizes their league championship hopes. I realize this doesn’t fit an amazing Philadelphia sports weekend. But you’ll note this is MY amazing sports weekend. Sadly, the game was not even available PPV. So of all the events of the weekend, I didn’t get to see this one.
  • Then the Eagles beat Atlanta making it hard for Eagles tailgaters to follow instructions and leave immediately after the game, so the parking lots would be ready for Phillies fans.

If you’re anything like me, you are exhausted and happy and looking forward to losing your mind tonight. It couldn’t happen to a more fiercely loyal, frustratingly pessimistic fanbase. None of that curse stuff today. None of the woe is me stuff. No complaining about perceived weaknesses. This is the day to take down the walls around your heart and let it beat for the Phillies. Love them right to a historic victory. Enjoy the ride!


A Challenge for Us All

October 17, 2008

One of my favorite on-line places to hang out is Tomato Nation, where Sars gives great advice and occasionally rants about baseball. (I’ll forgive her for being a Yankee fan–I think she may have been born that way.)

Each year for the past few she and her “awesome” readers have supported teachers’ projects through Donor’s Choose. If you follow that link, and scroll just a few projects down, you’ll see a high-poverty school is in need of about $300 worth of basketballs and other basketball-related equipment. Donations through Donors Choose are 100% tax deductible and you can donate as little as a dollar. Believe me, little donations add up fast.

And as a special treat for those of us who follow the antics of the inimitable Sars, donors through her bloggers’ challenge get her closer to her goal of $100,000 donated by her readers and supporters. If that goal is reached, Sars will dress up as a tomato and dance at the White House. If you wonder what a dancing tomato looks like, check out last year’s Donor’s Choose tomato dance at Rockefeller Center.

You know as well as I do how much sports can mean to keeping high-risk kids in school. So click on that link up there, give some dough, and maybe noodle around in the site a bit to find more places to give.