I’m not like them
But I can pretend
The sun is gone
But I have a light
The day is done
But I’m having fun
I think I’m dumb
Or maybe just happy
Think I’m just happy
For the first time since 2013, I didn’t attend a live football game, where the Seahawks were one of the teams playing. This season, each city we were eager to see a football game in (Charlotte, Chicago, Denver) were out of the question due to timing conflicts. The other games played in Seattle, which has become an even year visiting phenomenon for us, just didn’t work. Sure, there were tons of cities we wanted to visit, and the home city of our preferred football team was always open. Not to mention, a fun-ass time that would be hosted by the booster club in London by the UK Seahawkers.
In 2014, we went to Seattle. Baltimore was our 2015 trip. We went to MetLife across the river AND CenturyLink in 2016. Another MetLife trip in 2017. But nothing in 2018.
So, we sat it out this year. We sat out traveling for football season for the first time since 2014, and we embraced our role as out-of-market fans. Instead of going on a cross country flight and eating great food over at Pike Place Market and drinking some fancy cocktails over in Belltown, or hitting up Bush Garden for some beers post-CenturyLink, we instead shared our Sundays with our friends at Carlow East on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. (Although I think having a Seahawks bar in Manhattan would make more sense on the Upper WEST Side…after all, the Pacific Northwest is the UWS of the United States.)
Carlow East and the NYCeahawks are nothing to shake a stick at, though. In fact, I think no one from the Pacific Northwest can challenge the authenticity of the 12-ing that occurs there. The chants, the coordinated claps, the high-fives from total strangers who become your best friends and family for a 60 minute duration. They are all so very real. Visitors from out of town are always amazed by how loud we can be. It’s like CenturyLink II. And whether its #BlueFriday or #VictoryMonday, wearing a Hawks shirt or hat or hoodie, as I am wont to do while working outdoors, elicits a random “Go Hawks!” or fist pump from a stranger. Hell, in 2017, someone even STOPPED me on the street after shouting in solidarity after a particularly dramatic Hawks win, to show me a video from the game as he had BEEN there the day before. In Seattle.
It’s a special thing, being a NYCHawk.
But I wonder, if maybe, I’m just a bit stupid for getting emotionally involved in sports. Like, what is my life worth that I get involved so intimately with the teams in my life…be it Rangers, or Mets, or Seahawks, even St John’s these days (which is mostly for my husband, who is a Johnnie). That all I do is get my hopes up and dashed with disappointment?
It’s different, being a disappointed football fan. You only get 16 times a year to have your highs and low, and potentially more if you are lucky enough to root for a team that makes the playoffs.
My heart is broke
But I have some glue
Help me inhale
And mend it with you
We’ll float around
And hang out on clouds
Then we’ll come down
And have a hangover, have a hangover
This year had highs and lows as is wont to happen in the context of a football season. Starting 0-2, nearly every “expert” lamented the death of the LOB, and eulogies were written for the PCJS Seattle Seahawks era. QPD. The “Dynasty that Never Was.” Yeah. I called bullshit.
Yet what was NOT said was that the team was shifting away from being a defense oriented team to building around the offense, mostly around the franchise quarterback, Russell Wilson. What on earth is wrong that THAT? I would get so frustrated watching him scramble around with virtually no protection from his offensive team. And let’s not go there that last year was a field goal here or extra point there from being a completely different ending.
So sure. Defense may “win championships,” as the old adage says. But you can’t win if you don’t score. You don’t score without offense. Or until you score. Or something.
I didn’t buy into the rebuild. But what I saw after a few games was a bit…disheartening. After the 0-2 start, they pulled themselves out of that hole. Yet I truly believe they could have won a lot more had they not played to the level of their competition each game. How many games were decided on a last second “walk off” field goal by Sebastian Janikowski? Or a close call loss against the LA teams (Rams and Chargers), that in my opinion could have easily gone the other way and been W’s in the column. Playing to the level of their competition made me feel as though the team believed in the rebuild. And that got me angry. It’s okay to play over your heads or to your full potential and win decisively. No really. It’s a thing, and it’s all right.
Rebuilds are not a bad thing, though. Acknowledge it, we’re adults, we can handle them. Ask me how I feel about a rebuild in Flushing. And I’m going through one now with my hockey team. Rebuilds can be fun too, especially seeing the results come to fruition. I never bought into the Seattle rebuild, though. This Seattle football team was meant to be a playoff team this year. What kills me is that they could have been MORE, instead of a one-and-done wild card team against a Cowboys team that quite frankly was not a superior team to the Seahawks. Cowboys won. Seahawks lost. And somewhere, Richard Sherman laughs. My hockey team sucks. It’s how many days till pitchers and catchers? It’s winter, and I’m fucking BORED with it already.
Skin the sun
The soul is cheap
Wish me luck
Soothe the burn
Wake me up
The fact that I can actually feel real feelings for a football team, which was unheard of not too long ago…that I can be disappointed when one of my teams underachieves or I can truly feel that in my heart….this is what is truly remarkable in my eyes.
Some days I want to give up sports for knitting.
And then I say, well that’s a dumb idea. So I put my jerseys away for another year. I go back to eating bad carbs and junk food during the Super Bowl. Maybe have a hangover the next day. Mostly, I’ll be happy because it means baseball is right around the corner.
Sunny days, everybody loves them
Tell me baby, can you stand the rain?
Storms will come
This we know for sure (This we know for sure)
Can you stand the rain? ~ New Edition, “Can You Stand The Rain?”
We are in the middle of winter. There was snow last night; there was sunny weather today.
The weekend of the Super Bowl, it rained. It rained so much, I joked that I needed a canoe to get around. Pretty sure I saw one floating down Broadway. Of course, I needed to be outside, taking care of pets and not hunkering down, eating bad carbs and watching a game where I had a healthy hate for both teams.
Being a dog walker can be fun and on bad days, when you love your pets, it can make them not so bad. On a rainy day though, that separates the true believers from the poseurs.
And since my last post, which celebrated the life of my beloved furry baby, Cassie, I spent some time not only mourning her loss, but also mourning the loss of my sports teams. Which was very palatable. At least in the past, I’ve had sports as escapism. With the Seahawks puttering out at the end of the season, the Rangers basically in back-up-the-truck mode now, and the Mets being not so cautiously optimistic for 2018, these teams haven’t done much to make me forget my pain.
This also marked the first year I haven’t seen the Seahawks in a postseason since I started following them in earnest. Someone told me, though, early in the hockey season, that I better hope the Seahawks do something because the Rangers were looking maddeningly frustrating.
Well, I seem to not be able to exist without my teams frustrating me, so I figured bring it on. Plus, out of all my teams, the Seahawks always leave me pleasantly surprised. And the Rangers, well, we can find a way for them to make it to the playoffs. Right?
It seems like Ray Ramirez’ golden shit touch has infiltrated my teams. Well, the Seahawks since nearly everyone was injured, and it was tough to come out of that hole.
The last day of the season, they were officially eliminated from making it to the postseason, before they even officially lost a nail-biting heartbreaker of a game. I suppose it was fitting. 2017 was a shitty year for me personally, it was motherfucking cold that day, and it was New Years’ Eve. 2018 had to be better by definition.
Then New Years’ Day, the Rangers played a Winter Classic game at my baseball summer home, CitiField. If it was fucking freezing here, on Manhattan Island, it was probably polar vortex meets Antarctica gusts in Queens.
The Rangers won. It was ice cold, but they played red hot that day. If I felt concerned and not at all hopeful of their play, I felt like despite the unnerving weather, they had given us hope.
Turns out, it was the last time I felt any hope about this team’s performance. Everything has gone downhill since. As of February 18th, they lost 15 games out of their last 21. Oof. And the worst part is that letter to the fans, talking about a rebuild? It was sent on February 8th! 10 fucking days ago. As we like to say on Twitter, back up the fucking truck, and they made it official in writing. But it just seemed to have gotten worse and worse as time goes on.
#NYR HC Alain Vigneault: “This is definitely not a pleasant time for us. But again, you have to keep doing your jobs, both players and coaches, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
— Sean Hartnett (@HartnettHockey) February 18, 2018
So let’s talk about AV for a second, who had the understatement of the year above. I notoriously defended and called myself a Terry Collins apologist while he was with the Mets. It wasn’t his fault he was given mostly shit to work with in his years as Mets manager. AV though, I’m sure Sonny from A Bronx Tale would have a word with him about “wasted talent.” For a team that made it to the Stanley Cup Final in 2013-14, and all the way to Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Final in 2014-15, he has managed to not get the best of his team in his time as head coach. Even in those years when they seemed destined for something big. That’s a problem. Especially with an aging Henrik Lundqvist.
Above all, Henke does not deserve this shit.
The first one on the flat bed truck is AV. But Henrik must go too, for the betterment of himself and the team. Unfortunately I cannot see the team being a success without sending him someplace else to potentially win. And talk about squandering a talent while he was there.
No great goaltender can win The Stanley Cup on his own. Hasek won his first career Stanley Cup at age 37 and on a loaded Red Wings team that included Lidstrom and Chelios. Brodeur needed Niedermayer and Stevens to win his three Cups. What HOF d-man has Lundqvist ever played with?
— Sean Hartnett (@HartnettHockey) February 18, 2018
When I was younger, I didn’t know much about what went into building a team, any team, be it baseball or football, even hockey. I remember my dad making a rationalization about a player saying “You could build around him, though.” The way I taught myself about sports is the way I relate to it, and I could relate to building around a player. I guess it’s apropos that an MLB Network documentary on Field Of Dreams, where the saying “if you build it, they will come” was coined, is playing in the background now. Because if you build it, they will come. And by “they,” it means talent and by “they will come,” means making the team attractive enough for players to want to be there.
I hate to see Henrik Lundqvist be the sacrificial lamb here. And I know his contract terms might be a bit onerous right now. It leaves basically everyone else to go elsewhere. Yet, when it comes to the Rangers, how many times have we seen our all-stars go elsewhere and win? Marian Gaborik. The centerpieces that brought Rick Nash to New York. Shit, even Ryan Callahan played in a Stanley Cup Final after he was traded. Why is this? Do we become too impatient for a rebuild that we sacrifice the future for the immediate gratification? And guess what? We still don’t fucking win. Because you have one guy, and you can’t even fucking build right around him…it’s gonna be a problem long-term.
So it’s painful to watch. But you know what, I’m back to what feels right. And by “right,” I mean all my teams disappoint me again. I have incredibly low expectations now. This is what I am used to. Sigh.
As a dog walker, I spent a lot of time outdoors. I’m exposed to many different elements, I battle bad sinus infections in cold weather, and I have to wrestle dog shit out of the jaws of pups unwilling to relinquish said shit. When it rains, no one wants to go outside. This separates the real people who love their work though from the babies.
Riding out a rain delay at a baseball game? It sucks! If you don’t like rain in the Pacific Northwest, you probably are better off not living there or attending an outdoor sporting event there.
After rain, you may be lucky enough to see a rainbow. You can have a beautiful sunset once the rain stops. Weather can become bearably cool after a rainfall. Flowers and grass and all kinds of vegetation grows after rain.
If you can stand the rain, somewhere over the proverbial rainbow, dreams of your team winning a championship can come true. So you wait it out. The storm will pass, eventually.
Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more
~ In My Life, Beatles
Memories work in curious ways. Some of us remember every detail of a certain moment. The human mind will work in ways that may add or take away from either pleasant or painful memories. Some of us remember things that happen to others in vivid picturesque quality. Sometimes it’s an event we all remember and what we were doing at that time.
But I think what’s most curious is what a person’s first childhood memory is. That tells a lot about what type of person they are, how old they are and even give insight to their personality as to how they reacted to it.
December 8th is a significant date for my memories. It’s my godmother’s (Mom’s best friend) birthday, for one. Several years ago, I went to a hockey game and found Gabby, the loudmouthed New York Ranger fan. So each year not only do I think of my Aunt Pam (who is still a significant figure in my life), we often have Gabby’s preferred meal of fried chicken and some kind of potato. Hey, it’s only weird if it doesn’t work.
Yet, my oldest childhood memory surrounds one of the most memorable in just any kind of history, whether it’s popular culture or just general world events. The day John Winston Ono Lennon was brutally murdered in front of his home on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
I was only four years old, but I was two weeks away from my fifth birthday at that point. What I remember most was being in my mom’s car, listening to all the radio stations playing Beatles’ and John Lennon solo tunes. I didn’t know much about the Beatles when I was four. But I do know my parents loved them. I also remember being at my grandparents that day, and every television show had some kind of John Lennon tribute. I’m not sure I knew was a “tribute” actually was at almost five years old. But I do remember it being a sad and solemn day.
But out of death comes life. Sounds cliche, but it is true. John Lennon was no longer with us, but his music and art lived on in many different forms. I remember watching the Imagine documentary at 13 years old. My dad buying Julian’s album several years after John’s death, and remarking on the son’s songwriting and singing ability. The rumors that Paul, George and Ringo would tour with Julian. I always thought it was a good thing that they let the Beatles go with John. It wouldn’t be right to do things as “the Beatles,” making them a sideshow act. It was always those four.
I moved not too far from where John lived and was subsequently murdered. I try to every year make it over to Strawberry Fields on John’s birthday and life celebration on 12/8 to sing some Beatles’ and Lennon songs. Knowing that maybe I won’t see total peace and love in my lifetime, but for a brief moment we can Imagine it to be true. I hopped by Central Park to sing a few songs with the group the day I went to the Ranger game where Gabby was “born.”
I’ve often said that sports has been escapism for me. Music has been a form of creativity and sometimes inspires me in ways sports simply cannot. Sometimes, they intersect here on Gal For All Seasons. And like knowing my first childhood memory was surrounded by a musician I deeply admire and whose artistry I loved, sports and music often give me comfort in my life.
Death is a part of life, but life does indeed move on. Lennon was with us 40 years, and has been gone 37 years. Even my sports teams who have lived and been born again — 1986 Mets, 1994 Rangers — have probably more significance now or as much as they did when they were current. Though my first memory was entrenched in a very sad world event that shocked many, sports and music have brought me incredible joy and passion ever since.
In recent years, I’ve been able to follow another one of my passions: pet care. When I was younger, I thought I might be a veterinarian, but being the empath I am, I don’t think I could bear to see any animal in pain. As much as vets help them, I just didn’t think I could be a funeral director either. But I got to work with dogs and cats in providing their care, and I still had my cats, Cassie and Napoleon Dynamite, at home to keep me company (and most often, on my toes).
Cassie’s been with me since 2002. She was separated from her litter and was yowling for food and attention at two weeks old behind my old Jersey City apartment. We found a nursing mother and litter, she stayed with them, she was weaned and became my cat and life mate at about eight weeks old.
She and I went through a lot together. She lived with me for 15 years through six different apartments and in four different cities. Napoleon Dynamite Kitty joined our family in 2005. They didn’t always get along, but thank goodness for Jackson Galaxy in helping get them to at least coexist in our small space. There was a bad break up somewhere in there, and then a fun and happy marriage to her Pawppy.
As I relate to my earliest childhood memory, I related her life to certain sports milestones. She came into my life in the Mo Vaughn Mets era. She was there for three postseason runs for the Mets, the late season collapse in 2007, with both cats wondering why I paced so much watching late season games, needing every game to be a win.
I made the decision to move to New York City in 2008 after spending lots of time in the city due to work and play related to sports social media. I remember when she went hiding after I celebrated a Rangers postseason win a little too loudly during their 2012 run. And I’m pretty sure both cats wondered why I threw a box of perfectly good Domino’s boneless Buffalo chicken nuggets after Russell Wilson threw an interception in the last moments of Super Bowl 49.
She was a nurse when husbo couldn’t go to an early season Mets game in 2011 due to an illness, so she stayed in bed with him while I was able to go. She’d get annoyed when I wanted to sit on the same couch with her during a game, so I could, you know, watch said game. Or when I was trying to write a blog post or even Tweet from my desktop, she’d be like, I’m sitting on *MY* computer chair, Meowmmy. “I only let you sit on it when I say so,” her saucer-like eyes seemed to be telling me.
I’d like to think she was happiest in my latest home on 84th Street, where I finally feel connected to the city, my life and maybe that every shitty decision I made since 2009 came to some kind of pass. She had big windows and wide windowsills to lay on. As she got older (and fatter…), she couldn’t jump as high or as much as she wanted to. Earlier this year, we had an Asdrubal Cabrera bobblehead Mets giveaway. We kept the bobblehead AND the box. Cassie decided the box was a perch in which she’d alternately lay her head to watch the birds who sometimes congregated outside our windows. Or where I’d set her food dish, so that she’d eat her dinner before her greedy brother tried to say, “Yo, you gonna eat that?”
A. Bartlett Giamatti once said that baseball is designed to break your heart. Being a pet parent does that too. Along with bringing joy and if you’re lucky euphoria and laughter. We have no control over game outcomes, only our teams can do that. Sometimes as pet parents, we need to make difficult but necessary decisions to ensure that they are not in pain.
At 1:05 pm on Saturday, December 9th, we said goodbye to Cassiopeia Cat Cooper. Cassie. Poo Kitty. CCC. She was 15 years old. She was a sweet but sassy girl who had strong opinions about everything. She wasn’t always the friendliest cat, but she was a good cat and friend. I like to think I gave her a good life, and that she was happy when she crossed. In turn, as pet parents, we know we have the option to give them a peaceful and painless death. Unfortunately, we had to exercise that option today.
I noticed on Wednesday, she seemed a little off. Thursday, I was concerned. By that evening, I had decided to take her to the emergency vet. She wasn’t able to come home.
Death is an inevitable part of life. And today is the kind of day we always dread as pet parents. Yet it is a necessary evil. I brought her to the hospital on the anniversary of John Lennon’s death. Due to my life and memories I think of this event every year, even without the multiple tributes. Now I have a very personal reason of pain and loss to memorialize it as well.
Music and sports have helped me get through a lot of pain and heartache in my life. (And we all know sports have contributed to a lot of that heartache as well.) Cassie has been a great companion. Through the ups and downs in life and sports and art, I could come home knowing she’d be there (along with the boy cat). Eventually, I know I will instinctively stop trying to look for where she is hiding in the house. So will Napoleon.
Until then, I’ll give Napoleon a few extra love scritches, watch the Sounders, Rangers and Seahawks, and know that one day I will wake up, and this pain won’t be the first thing I think of. (And hey, if the Seahawks could win this weekend, that wouldn’t hurt either.)
Some pets leave an indelible paw print on your heart. I had Cody when I was growing up. And Cassie was my companion animal for my adult years. I will miss her for the rest of my days.
In my life, Cassie, I love you more.
Cassiopeia Cat “Cassie” Cooper
April 4, 2002 – December 9, 2017
Summer nights and long warm days
Are stolen as the old moon falls
My mirror shows another face
Another place to hide it all
Another place to hide it all
Sleeping with a full moon blanket
Sand and feathers for my head
Dreams have never been the answer
And dreams have never made my bed
Dreams have never made my bed
Now I wanna fly above the storm
But you can’t grow feathers in the rain
And the naked floor is cold as hell
This naked floor reminds me
Oh the naked floor reminds me
And then there’s Soundgarden and the Seattle “sound” of the ’90s. I disliked Nirvana, but I loved the other significant bands that grew out of that era. That summer, Soundgarden’s Superunknown was a significant portion of my playlist (before I even knew it was a term).
I also had great joy. The Rangers won a championship. I had a new set of friends. I dated a lot of cute boys. I went to a lot of concerts. I borrowed my mom’s car (without permission) to go to Woodstock. Now, that was a fun summer. Two dark albums though got to the heart of my conflicting feelings, feelings in dealing with the inevitable changes that were happening in my life whether I liked it or not. The Crow soundtrack still makes me sit and listen, which was a biggie that year. And there was Superunknown, through several moves and maybe someone “borrowing” and never returning it, it’s been misplaced. I haven’t listened to it in years, unfortunately.
My next thought was sadness. While it’s always sad to lose a rock icon, you can’t help but think due to his age, that he still had more to do and more to say in this lifetime. His music catalog is what remains, his art will live on and blah blah blah.
I couldn’t help but feel connected to a song that die hard Cornell fans would know about, but also one that struck me at a very poignant time in my life.
If I should be short on words
And long on things to say
Could you crawl into my world
And take me worlds away?
Should I be beside myself
And not even stay
And I’m lost behind
Words I’ll never find
And I’m left behind
As seasons roll on by– Chris Cornell, Seasons
‘Darling, you were wonderful, you really were quite good
I enjoyed it, though, of course, no one understood
a word of what was going on, they didn’t have a clue
They couldn’t understand your sense of humour like I do’
You’re much too kind
I smiled with murder on my mind
There’s something to be said about when things click on all cylinders for a team. Especially teams of mine, when I’m so used to disappointment and ennui. I’ve been fortunate for the last few seasons with the Mets, that I don’t feel too down when they got off to a not-so-hot start this season. And the Seahawks. well, I almost feel bad that I haven’t suffered for years like most of their fans have. But I know dips and valleys happen in sports. It’s cyclical.
By clicking on all cylinders, all aspects have to operate soundly. Teams are a “sum of its parts,” as we like to say. Sure, you can have an outstanding individual, but it’s not everything. Depth is an aspect to consider. Having proper backups. Regulars need to operate at a high level. Injuries happen, but one should not be enough to bring the entire team down. All the way up to the coaching. No excuses! Blah blah blah.
The anger that usually comes about for me while watching my teams doesn’t usually come out until the spring. I equate this time of the year to when the Rangers are in the playoffs. Last year, I knew they weren’t going to make it far. So I didn’t get too angry. I reserved that for the Mets and their shitty handling of injuries in 2016.
Yet, my husband pointed out that while the Rangers have had an unusually successful regular season, and they’ve made the playoffs every year since after we got married (I don’t count 2010, the year we actually got married, because we got married after they didn’t make the playoffs), I’m still mad at everyone.
I consider myself a very happy person. Sports fandom can make a person crazy. I’ve often maintained that all I want is for my teams to do is be competitive, and then making the postseason will ultimately be a reward for said competitiveness. Out of all the teams I root for, I’ve said that the Rangers would’ve been my first guess on winning a championship in the near term. (Note: I said that five years ago).
Yet, every year my frustrations of not winning it all gets the best of me. Though, on the surface, they are having a very well-maintained successful stretch. And every year, I walk away disappointed, even though I’ve gotten what I’ve wanted, technically.
Why am I so angry?
‘You have a certain quality which really is unique
Expressionless, such irony, although your voice is weak
It doesn’t really matter ’cause the music is so loud
Of course it’s all on tape but no one will find out’
You hated me too
but not as much as I hated you
Well, to be fair, it’s games like yesterday’s that get to me.
YOU DON’T SCORE FIVE FUCKING GOALS AND LOSE THE FUCKING GAME IN OVERTIME THAT YOU WERE WINNING IN THE THIRD, YOU FUCKING ASSHOLES.
So yeah. Because it’s all I fucking deal with in rooting for this goddamn team. Being good, but not great. Getting to the dance, only to not show up when it counts.
Remember this gem from 2015, when the Rangers tied up a 2nd round playoff game late in the 3rd period only to have the Capitals surprise score a goal, not sending the game to OT anyway?! It was the one fucking time I was actually rooting for a playoff OT game.
And when the Rangers allowed Ottawa to tie it up late in the 3rd, with an extra skater (not to mention the shit show that barely allowed them to keep a two-goal lead intact), I joked about that game in 2015.
I went to a game in 2015 when NYR tied it and Caps went ahead like 3 seconds later in 3rd. That could happen now. Yeah NOT
— The Coop (@Coopz22) April 29, 2017
But did the Rangers come back? No. As my dad later texted me, it was about as worse of a loss as he can remember for a long time. Me too. Momentum typically doesn’t carry over in hockey like it does in say, baseball. But if playoffs are a crapshoot anyway, and that means Ottawa is now on a hot streak, are they now the team “who gets the hottest?”
If so, then fuck us all.
And who knew that of my teams playing at this point of the year, it’s the Mets who would be my darlings?? (NOTE: I started writing this post before the shitshow of a game started on Sunday).
Then we posed for pictures with the competition winners
and argued about the hotel rooms and where to go for dinner
and someone said: ‘It’s fabulous you’re still around today
You’ve both made such a little go a very long way’
I also told my dad in that same text that I’ve just about had it with Alain Vigneault. He has no clue how to get the most out of this team at ALL.
The only reason the Rangers made it as far as the Stanley Cup Final in 2014 was guys like Martin St. Louis and the heart of other players. They overachieved that ONE year. Though they have had relative success in his years as head coach, they have consistently underachieved after that. And if they don’t make this series interesting and at the very least win, it will be another squandered year.
I have maintained that the Rangers have squandered away Henrik Lundqvist’s talents and his best years. He turned 35 earlier this year. He is not getting any younger.
By squandering his best years, the coaches and front office have squandered OUR chances of seeing a Rangers’ Stanley Cup championship and subsequent parade.
If you want to know why I get so angry and curse up a storm on Twitter, THAT is why. As a fan, yeah, it fucking sucks that I’m used to seeing my teams fall short every goddamn fucking year. But what I really hate is wasted talent. Squandering away Hank’s best years doesn’t do him or the team or the people who support them any good. And they’ve certainly failed him.
By failing him, we have also been failed. That is why I am the way I am, as a sports fan.
Yesterday, when I was mad
and quite prepared to give up everything
admitting I don’t believe
in anyone’s sincerity, and that’s what’s really got to me
Then when I was lonely
I thought again and changed my mind
The Pet Shop Boys saved my sanity in 2015, and they saved me yesterday.
While walking home from that game against the Capitals, I purposely didn’t want to listen to Pet Shop Boys (my go-to album during the hockey playoffs is Very, explained here). Yet, my iPod knew how I was feeling and put up another song of theirs, “What Have I Done to Deserve This?” It inspired me to write again, and try to reconcile how I felt about the ending of that game.
The Rangers ended up winning the series. Momentum didn’t of the Capitals at the end of that game didn’t change the narrative of the series.
And outside of sports, I typically reserve my anger to go towards the MTA here in New York City.
Yet, I went to go pick up dinner after the game and took a much needed moment to myself. Listening to my music, what comes on? Oh, my iPod knew once again what I needed to hear. It was a song off my favorite Pet Shop Boys album. And thankfully, one that didn’t inspire a title for a post on this site.
I guess my parable in life is this. I don’t get too jacked up about small stuff. Like waiting in line. Have you ever been standing in a line, and the person in front of you starts complaining about the line. I mean, what the fuck are you gonna do about it, am I right? I remember once a woman was complaining about a line at a bank (back in the day, when we actually stood in line to transact in banks). She asked why I was so calm. I said, “Look, when I walk out of here, I’m never going to remember waiting an extra five minutes at this bank. In fact, I’ll be in my car going to my next destination.” She told me that she liked that philosophy and got quiet. I mean, I’m certain I never saw that woman again. So I wonder how she took it to heart. But think about it. Is it something you can control? No. Let it go.
(My husband would disagree, as he thinks I’m very impatient. That’s not entirely true. I have my moments. And usually in my defense, he sees me upset about losing time with the shitty transit system here which is where he gets this).
I purposely wrote this post the day after the loss, because now Saturday is “Yesterday.” And yesterday, I was “mad.” I figure at this point a Rangers’ devastating loss in the playoffs is my penance, and something I just need to deal with because I didn’t think they’d sweep the Senators or any team, for that matter. But I mean, I was pretty pissed off.
Admitting I don’t believe in this team is tough, because I do believe in them. Russell Wilson once said, “Why Not Us?” And I often think that about my teams when they have a chance to win something.
But I would be really sad if they blew their chance. If they blew Henrik’s chance. And anyone else. Even if AV wins something, that’s fine. I can handle a coach I can’t stand getting a ring.
I got lonely without sports to watch and realizing we have to wait till Tuesday to see another hockey game.
I thought again, then changed my mind.
These mist covered mountains
Are a home now for me
But my home is the lowlands
And always will be
Someday you’ll return to
Your valleys and your farms
And you’ll no longer burn to be
Brothers in arms
~ Dire Straits, Brothers in Arms
Prior to the multiple hats I wear now in my professional life, back in the dizzay, I worked in financial services. One of my old bosses was an Brit via Australia, and we used to talk about music a lot. We liked a lot of the same bands. We talked about the “best shows” we’ve ever been to, and he told me that hands down, the best show he ever saw was in Sydney and it was Dire Straits.
And his passion really came through when he talked about the show. Plus I loved the way he said it. “Di-uh Straits.” But Dire Straits…the “Money For Nothing, chicks for free” band?
To this day, whenever I hear a Dire Straits song, I think of my former boss and his description of the show. So imagine my surprise when I was on a flight to Seattle to not only celebrate the husband’s birthday but to see the Seahawks play a Monday Night Football game, the media and entertainment system in my seat had the Brothers in Arms album on demand to listen to while we flew cross-country. I guess I forgot how good their songs were. Very 80s. “You play the guitar on the MTV.” But I had it on as background music, which of course leads me to think. Think about my past, my future. Even on my present time, as I was heading to my spiritual home in the Pacific North-left.
I left the comfort of my home with a very certain and hopeful present and left Seattle on a vibe that had a very uncertain and shaky future. As our trip overlapped with an election that rocked my very core, but started with an amazing nail-biting and dramatic Seahawks win. Sure…we are still feeling the after-effects. Nothing has changed, but everything has. Have you ever felt that before?
Seeing the “Brothers in Arms” the Seattle Seahawks, it made me think. About the importance of being a team, being around people you love, having each other, focusing on the desirable end-result, and most of all, what linking arms can do to provide one with a hopeful future.
Now look at them yo-yo’s that’s the way you do it
You play the guitar on the M.T.V.
That ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it
Money for nothin’ and your chicks for free.
Now that ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it
Lemme tell ya, them guys ain’t dumb
~ Dire Straits, Money For Nothing
There are many tired narratives with watching the Seahawks and most noticeably reading about them. Many experts count them out. Oh and the whole playing bad against east coast teams, especially on the east coast and early Pacific hours. But this was a home game against the Buffalo Bills…a decent team that beat a Tom Brady-less New England Patriots earlier this season…but most of all, has one of my all-time faves, Rex Ryan, along with twin brother Rob, happens to be running the show there.
There wasn’t a conflict per se, for me. But I did remark at one point that I felt like my weird-ass crush on Rex would somehow torture me during the game (only a little, but it did). I never cared for the Bills.
We also had a conflict between the marrieds. See, we’ve never seen the Seahawks lose while watching them live and in person. Going to Seattle against the Bills, a team that “beat the Patriots,” as hubby liked to point out, was going to not be easy. I didn’t think it would be easy either. But I did think the Hawks would win.
It was Ed’s birthday. They HAD to win.
He got the action, he got the motion
Yeah the boy can play
Turning all the night time into the day
~ Dire Straits, Walk of Life
I turned into a Seahawks supporter sitting in a totally different uniform and actually supporting a team that Rex Ryan was coach of back in 2012. I’ve had friends that lived in Seattle not caring about football or thinking they also liked a team that had no idea that a fan base could be like the 12s. I don’t think I can put it into words, which is unfortunate, you know, being someone who blogs about the goddamn team. You just have to go to a game to see it yourself.
You’re forever changed.
I mean, look at those faces above. So youthful and hopeful…and then after the 12s and the loudest stadium EVAR gets to you, you kind of lose your fucking mind.
Prior to becoming a 12, I didn’t care much for football. I didn’t have a family of fanatics. Football was NEVER a Sunday thing in my household growing up. I couldn’t relate to it. If you know me, baseball was always my one true passion and love. In my adult years, I worked on Sundays, and then just up till a few years ago, I worked during the east coast games. So it’s easier for me to follow a west coast team, go figure.
Now, I’m enjoying the game, learning about the history of the game, and mostly how teams come together.
There is something very special going on in the Emerald City. I was just remarking a few days ago that there will be SEVERAL Ring of Honor candidates from this team in the future. During the game against Arizona earlier on, I said that “This is almost like Largent’s game against Miami in 1983.” I’ve paid my dues in such a short amount of time. It’s a passion that’s different and like no other.
Surprise that a team that caused a “controversy” by openly discussing taking a knee, like rival Colin Kaepernick did, but deciding against it, linking arms instead. Well, linking arms is a parable for this team.
The boys who can play are Doug and Jimmy and Richard and Bobby and Tyler, and most of all Russell, and everyone who is supposed to contribute is contributing.
In this game against Buffalo, we had tremendous showings by Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham, two guys we need to play well in order to win. The chemistry with the team is just sick.
There’s so many different worlds
So many different suns
And we have just one world
But we live in different ones~ Dire Straits, Brothers in Arms
On paper, the Seahawks won. But the events on the field while watching it, it was probably a lot more dramatic than it had to be. I mean, it literally went right to the very last second. Ed kept trying to get video of how loud the 12s can be on 4th down, yet Bills kept converting. He did get the video successfully…on the very last play of the game. I said..are you KIDDING ME?! PUT THE FUCKING CAMERA AWAY!!!
But he was right, I was wrong and most of all, despite having less than TWENTY MINUTES OF TOTAL POSSESSION TIME in the game (seriously: the numbers don’t lie above), the Hawks won.
It was Ed’s birthday and our fifth live game, and we are 5-0 and the Seahawks are mowing down their competition.
It was a win, but it felt hollow.
But a win is a win, and we take it.
Tuesday was Election Day. The nastiness and stress that had preceded it and what lingers has made me even have to take a break from Facebook just because it’s been so bad. I went to Seattle thinking the worst that could happen would be a Seahawks loss. I went to bed Tuesday night drunk on Seahawks margaritas (seriously, the double margarita was in a Seahawks glass) and woke up Wednesday in my spiritual home, not wanting to face the day.
It rained in New York on that Wednesday. It stopped raining long enough to give us a very beautiful dusk and sunset in Seattle.
But besides the beacon of the Space Needle that still beckons me, I saw that like baseball did in my youth, the Seattle Seahawks can provide me with enough escapism from the real life that I desperately want to escape.
On a non-game day, the area by CenturyLink Field and Safeco Field is pretty dead. Stark contrast from the craziness we experience on our marches to the stadium. Fans are probably just as focused as the team is. We are able to get some unobstructed photos of the players outside the stadium. Seeing Bobby and Doug and Jimmy make my heart soar. There is hope, there is fantasy. Life can get better and we can expect better of ourselves. Just ask Doug, whom I personally believe is the heart and soul of this team, what he thinks of his Brothers in Arms.
I may have been leaving the next day to approach a New York that was changing. At least I am saying goodbye to my Seahawks, and I don’t know when I’ll see them again in person.
Unfortunately a trip that we would have liked to take this weekend to Tampa was kibboshed because of my job that keeps me in town on holiday weekends.
Here I am again in this mean old town
And you’re so far away from me
And where are you when the sun goes down
You’re so far away from me
~ Dire Straits, So Far Away
I landed to chaos in New York. My phone had about a million text messages, all work-related. What was supposed to be a relatively slow Veteran’s Day blew up, and I had to hit the ground running. My first thought was…and I’m serious…”What would Russell Wilson do?”
I knew he’d say, “There’s no time to sleep, Coop.”
So Ed and I have another successful and not to mention fun Seattle trip in the books. It’s our fourth time in the city, and third game at CenturyLink (two of our all time wins took place in road stadiums).
Yet, I see the real work needs to be done in the real world. Whether it’s with my work, or in the country or societal changes, this Seahawks team has taught me that despite any difference, despite any disagreements, we can enact positive change, starting from within.
Now the sun’s gone to hell and
The moon’s riding high
Let me bid you farewell
Every man has to die
But it’s written in the starlight
And every line in your palm
We are fools to make war
On our brothers in arms~ Dire Straits, Brothers in Arms
In a time that I can see becoming tumultuous, rough and even getting worse before getting better, I can hear Richard Sherman telling us we can be better as the team rallies around him and jumps up and down.
If people tell Jimmy Graham that his injury from last year is supposed to impact his game negatively this year, I’m going to be like Jimmy…and against all odds, catch that fucking ball with one goddamn finger.
And in this topsy-turvy world, if I can see Russell Wilson and Doug Baldwin switching up their comfort zones and still managing to lift each other up…we can too.
Dire Straits, man. Who knew my fucking former boss’ favorite show would be an inspiration to a painful blog post that took me nearly three fucking weeks to write?
In this crazy-ass time, I choose to be a 12. I choose to be like a Seahawk.
#WeAre12. Go Hawks.
I think I might take Russell Wilson for granted.
There. I said it.
It’s not because he’s positioning himself to be an elite QB. It’s not because he won a Super Bowl title in his very second year of playing professional football.
It’s because since I follow him so closely, it’s not a “rare treat” to see him in person as much as, say, someone who follows the local teams here in New York.
Prior to last Sunday’s game against the New York Jets, many Jets and local pundits were pooh-poohing Wilson’s not only effectiveness, but that of the Legion of Boom and much-glowed about defense of Seattle was not all *that*.
I thought they were all crazy. I mean, roll my eyes kind of crazy. Certainly if you watched this team as closely as Ed and I do, you’d see there is nothing overrated about Wilson or Richard Sherman or Doug Baldwin or Jimmy Graham…and that Seattle gets help even from role players, like Tanner McEvoy.
Plus…Did they seriously believe the Jets were a superior team? The last time I seriously followed the Jets, Rex Ryan was the head coach, Mark Sanchez was the starting QB, Tim Tebow was the BACKUP, and I literally turned into a Seattle fan at CenturyLink as we saw them play there.
Lastly, this was the first time back at MetLife Stadium since, well, Super Bowl XLVIII. So there’s that.
Why am I going through all this back story? Basically because prior to the Seahawks visiting New York for the first time since winning SB48, a few notable “hot takes” said in not so many words that the Seahawks were overrated and especially that quarterback of theirs. Seeing only his weekly highlights, of course, focus on his amazing footwork and his running game…stuff that quarterbacks aren’t supposed to rely on.
— Manish Mehta (@MMehtaNYDN) October 1, 2016
According to Mehta, prior to week four, “Wilson isn’t nearly as awesome as his Puget Sound loyalists believe, so it’s ludicrous to think that he’ll be able to hobble into MetLife Stadium on a gimpy left knee and right ankle on Sunday and have his way with the Jets.”
There is also this “narrative” that the Hawks don’t seem to do well not just on the road…but on the east coast or “10 am PST” start times. (And touching on Russell’s leg and knee issues, which were legit concerns going into the week…yet when no backup QB was called to replace him…I knew we were in biz and we’d be seeing him on Sunday).
Pete Prisco felt the wrath of 12s with his lazy journalism on these narratives prior to week four.
“This is a long trip for the Seahawks, and Russell Wilson is battling a knee injury. How healthy will he be against a good Jets front? The interesting battle will be to see if Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick can battle back against a good Seattle defense. I think he does. Jets take it,” Prisco wrote.
I’m sure you’ve figured out by now that the so-called “experts” in New York and Seattle haters were wrong, dead wrong.
Hawks won 27-17. I was surprised it was that close, but considering the Jets gave up towards the end (even after scoring an accidental touchdown at one point!), maybe they just took it easy? Why blow them out when they have a week off? (And you know, not kill our ELITE QB AMIRITE?!)
During the game, we had a lot of fun. New York fans are known as being tough as nails. But you don’t fuck with a 12.
That poor bastard from the NY Daily News is getting eaten alive. LOL Bless his heart… #DontMessWithRuss
— DaynaOG (@DaynaOG) October 2, 2016
@MaryL1973 nah. You never bet against the Seahawks. That was your first mistake
— The Coop (@Coopz22) October 2, 2016
BTW whoever wrote or said that Russell Wilson was “overrated” or “hurt” or “not that good” needs to go sit on a drum stick and fucking SPIN
— The Coop (@Coopz22) October 2, 2016
You’d think after 48, the legend of Russell Wilson might have grown. Yet, people are looking at him in the Northeast like they’ve finally SAW him. Now, watch out.
Let’s recap what an awesome display we’ve seen, not just on Sunday, but going into the Bye week in week five.
Russell Wilson now has 25 games with 2+ pass TDs & 0 INTs, the most in NFL history in a player’s 1st 5 seasons to begin a career pic.twitter.com/eA4V05YlJw
— Randall Liu (@RLiuNFL) October 2, 2016
Some words from a friend…
@Coopz22: Finally seeing Wilson in person was a treat. He’s a goddamn maestro back there. Perfect poise, calm feet, pinpoint accuracy. Damn.
— Jerry Beach (@JerryBeach73) October 3, 2016
In case you didn’t get it the first time…DangeRuss got the last laugh.
— Head & Shoulders (@Headshoulders) October 3, 2016
I can’t say it’s anything surprising to Seahawks fans. We know what we have in Russell. It was also refreshing to see Jimmy Graham being utilized to his fullest potential. Also…12s travel well. I’m fortunate I live so close. We were well-represented. SEA! HAWKS!
What I wasn’t expecting was the defeatist attitude coming from Gang Green. It was shocking since I know so many Jets fans, and they are die hard to say the least.
— Alan (@AlanLern) October 3, 2016
I can’t believe what a sad state of affairs it’s been since I crossed enemy lines. Michael Bennett even said something to the effect that 12s would have never left when the Jets fans were leaving in droves. I remember at one point thinking the Jets were still in the game (and I was more positive about going into the game than my copilot on the NJ Transit). There’s no way I would have left if the shoe were on the other foot.
Play to the crowd with your big hit sound
And they won’t simmer won’t simmer, won’t simmer down
Play to the crowd
Play to the crowd
Play yeah yeah
It’s in the way you’re always hiding from the light
Fast off to heaven just like Moses on a motorbike
No revolution maybe someone somewhere else
Could show you something new to help you
With the ups and downs
I want to break it down
Break it down again
In fear of jinxing things, I’ve been to four Seahawks games in person. They’ve won all four. I’m very fortunate, but I do know once the odds are raised, I have a better chance of seeing them lose. I realize how fortunate I am to root for this team. Thank you all for accepting me into the fold.
(Good 12s Twitter follows include: @DaynaOG, @DKSB17, @hipeegrl…also @Studi_metsimus if you can get over the geeky baseball stuff he posts).
Yet, going out on a high note on such a big stage has made people not only shut up, but now realize, hey! The Pacific Northwest has got a machine here, and they show no intentions of slowing down.
Is it Week Six yet?!
Some may come and some may go
We shall surely pass
When the one that left us here
Returns for us at last
We are but a moment’s sunlight
Fading in the grass
~ The Youngbloods, Get Together
I usually approach the last home game of the regular baseball season with sadness but joy. But as I related here, this season was very different. In fact, it was quite possibly one of the saddest and weirdest weeks of baseball if I can ever remember.
I described what went on with my team, and the perspective I had with watching them after they closed their regular home season.
We anticipated some sad news that was about to happen: Vin Scully, voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers, was retiring. His last home game we knew would be Sunday, September 25.
What we didn’t know was that we would awake that day to some horrific news that crushed Major League Baseball, and that was the death of young phenom, former Rookie of the Year and All-Star pitcher, Jose Fernandez, who died in a tragic boating accident early Sunday morning. The story could end right there, and it would be tragic. Yet, it was more so not just because of his age and the potential he had to be one of the all-time greats, but because we also knew his back story. How he attempted to defect from Cuba four times, and the last time when he was successful he dove into the rough waters to save his own mother, who had fallen overboard. And the news that he had just announced mere days before his death that he and his girlfriend were expecting a baby girl.
I don’t think my generation can even come close to thinking or feeling any loss like this that hit so close to home. I guess maybe when Clemente died in 1972. Yet, that was in the offseason. I’m sure that it didn’t make the fact he was gone any less tragic. Two others passed during the season, Thurman Munson and Darryl Kile, that all sent shockwaves.
Nick Adenhart was killed in a drunk driving accident after his very first start as an Angel in 2009. The Adenhart happened early in the season, and yet the pain was still so very raw when I happened to visit Angel Stadium late that same season.
But also I couldn’t help but be reminded of Bobby Ojeda, who was the lone survivor in a boating accident that took two of his teammates in 1993, Steve Olin and Tim Crews of the Cleveland Indians. Mets fan favorite Ojeda rarely talks about the incident, has endured flashbacks since and describes the feelings he’s had since as a “black pit.”
Baseball is a family that we can feel as spectators, but the close knit communities really hit close to home.
We saw Keith Hernandez break down on the air, talking about how the time to talk to your loved ones is now, mentioning his good friend Bobby O. Gary Cohen cracked after the memorial service on Monday at Marlins Park. Dee Gordon visibly cried as he ran the bases after hitting a home run off of Bartolo Colon on Monday night. Many teams around baseball had ways of honoring Fernandez, whether it was creating jerseys in his honor, writing his initials on their caps…there was something special about Jose.
And now he’s gone.
I think I only saw him pitch once at CitiField. He did have one year that he was out due to injury. We saw him on the parade route for the All-Star Game in 2013, which was held here in New York. The time was short, sweet and oh so memorable. There wasn’t a person in baseball he didn’t touch and namely, his Cuban compadres (like Yoenis Cespedes, who apparently didn’t even know him all that well, but had a fellow Cuban bond automatically).
— crawly’s cub kingdom (@crawlyscubs) September 25, 2016
— SportsNet New York (@SNYtv) September 25, 2016
Sadly, I have to say I don’t think I appreciated him enough when he played. Some of it had to do with the fact that he played for our enemy but also he was out for an entire season of his short career. I didn’t make it a point to see any games against the Mets when he started. Sadly, that was all my loss. I’ve had this sort of regret cast a pall over several instances in my life. I said earlier this year that I always regretted never seeing the Ramones when I had a chance. After Glenn Frey died, I lamented the fact that I had never seen the Eagles. I had plenty of chances to do either. I just didn’t.
Seems silly to think this way. It just never occurred to me that they might be gone one day. I said as much early this year, when Frey passed away.
And especially in the case of Jose Fernandez, it is the idea of wasted talent like Sonny talked about in Bronx Tale that will probably haunt me as I get older.
What added another level of sadness was that we were losing Vin Scully, who we knew was retiring. When I was in college, someone told me that when her mother was a little girl, she said that she had no idea that anyone else besides Franklin Delano Roosevelt could have been President, since he had been all of her life (till he passed). It didn’t occur to me that Scully would ever want to retire. I guess there comes a time for everything though.
Luckily, for me, I’ve had the opportunity to hear Scully. As a Mets fan, you can’t help but think about the 1986 World Series that he called. Famously said after the Game Six heroics, after allowing the fans’ reaction do the talking for him, he said…if a picture is worth a thousand words, you have seen about a million!
If you are reading this because you follow me for the Mets…tell me the thought of that quote in Scully’s voice did not put a big smile on your face. I know it always does for me.
I had a tough time getting through Sunday. It was supposed to be a happy time for us fans, celebrating our team and their accomplishments. Yet, the moment was so much bigger than any shellacking of the Phillies could be for me.
Not one person had a harsh word for Fernandez, and later we celebrated Vin.
I had felt sick to my stomach most of the day. Then we got home and finished watching the Dodger game, which ended on a walk off. Because Vin Scully’s last game had to have additional baseball at no extra cost.
Of course it did.
I smiled. As the Dodgers not only celebrated their walkoff win, but their NL West championship clinching, they took a moment to honor Vin. As he addressed the crowd, he should have warned me, thatt I was about to cry as audio of him serenading the crowd with the song “Wind Beneath My Wings” played in the background.
Oh come on Vin, we really can’t do this today!!! 😭😭😭😭😭😭
— The Coop (@Coopz22) September 25, 2016
This has been a really rough day and of course this Vin Scully tribute to the fans is not helping 😢
— The Coop (@Coopz22) September 25, 2016
I can’t actually believe that after the horrific way Sunday had started for baseball fans everywhere, I finally broke down and cried during Vin Scully’s last stand.
Baseball has brought generations of fans and families together. Families we choose. Families by blood. Yet, the biggest family in baseball are the actual teams, and how each player feels loss. We seem to think that these guys are robots. They are not. This was evident by how everyone came together and lifted one another up to get through this difficult time.
While our hearts broke for the loss of Jose Fernandez, baseball players lost a friend, a brother, a teammate or fellow countryman. We said so long to Vin Scully, but his voice will be alive I’m sure in many Dodger classics.
I have to say, it was such an odd day of loss and feelings I won’t forget for quite some time.
What I will most remember is how we all came together as a family to say some sad goodbyes and saw just how healing and good that baseball could do.
By the time we got to Woodstock, we were half a million strong,
And everywhere was a song and a celebration.
And I dreamed I saw the bomber jet planes riding shotgun in the sky,
Turning into butterflies above our nation.
We are stardust, we are golden, we are billion year old carbon,
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.
Today marks the 47th anniversary of Woodstock, the music festival in upstate New York, held at Yasgur’s Farm.
Three days of peace, love and music.
I had a Woodstock of my own, just a few weeks ago, in Cooperstown. We celebrated the induction of new members Michael Joseph Piazza, enshrined as a New York Met, and George Kenneth “Ken” Griffey, Jr, forever a Seattle Mariner.
For baseball fans, baseball’s holy grail is Cooperstown and the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Prior to four weekends ago, I was there last in 1992, there to celebrate the first ever Met to be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame, and that was George Thomas Seaver.
Up until that time a few weekends ago, as big a baseball fan as my husband is, he’d never been there, period. I had at least been there twice before: once when I was seven (and really way too young to appreciate it) and in 1992, when I was 16, and there was construction going on, so I didn’t get to see a lot of it.
All I can say is…give yourself about a day. And maybe go in late fall or in the winter, when nobody is in Cooperstown.
Because EVERYBODY was in Cooperstown on the weekend of July 22-24.
What I feel is special about the two ceremonies I’ve been to in Cooperstown were not only celebrating the two Mets who have gone in, but I also had the distinction of seeing two players go in who were the first ever as a representative of that team (and both with the first name “George” and did not go by that name). I think that is pretty fuckin cool.
I would call it my Woodstock. A place where generations get together and not only love each other right now, but celebrate something they are passionate about. In 1969, it was peace and music. In 2016, it was New York baseball and the Pacific Northwest.
In accordance with most Hall of Fame traditions, Piazza’s number was retired by the Mets a week later, and Junior’s was retired by the Mariners (and in an unprecedented move, 24 can no longer be worn by anyone in the Mariners organization, even the minor leagues) while I was taking another baseball trip in Detroit.
I wanted to wait to write about it…but I had a lot going on. I got sick about a week after we returned from Cooperstown, and then I had another trip to take (which was probably ill-advised, but I got it done).
A few things stood out.
Everyone came together and picked each other up where they left off. It was really quite amazing and really the definition of a community. See the picture of the wacky Mets fans above? That’s myself, my dad, Ed, and our friends Tracey and Maria with her son Antonio. We all found our ways of getting up there. If someone didn’t have a room, we shared our room. Someone didn’t have a way to get around? We piled into a car to get from point A to point B. (We did a lot of driving…and cursing too…that was mostly me though….well, maybe my #SistersInObscenity joined in too). Too lazy to go out to eat? Get Taco Bell from a shady town in upstate New York! Hotel breakfast sucks? DUNKIN FOR ALL!
Want a snack? Go into Maria’s bag. Want a blue or orange Gatorade? We got the cooler over there. Put anything you want in there.
Water. Water water water water. It was hot. Oppressive. Believe me when I say…there is no heat or humidity on this planet than when you are by a lake.
I’m mildly obsessed with Barry Larkin and Johnny Lee Bench. I’m going to have to go into an entire blog post of why I will always lament that Larkin was never a Met. And as for Bench, I had a thing for him while watching the Baseball Bunch back in the day. But I kind of forgot about that till I visited Cincinnati last year.
Seeing baseball heroes up close and personal at the Main Street parade gave us all the warm and fuzzies. Juan Marichal simulated a leg kick when people chanted at him. Randy Johnson filmed US.
I had no idea how many people I actually knew. I ran into so many people on the streets, at the parade randomly, and at the Clark Field where the ceremony actually was held (and you’d think with 50,000 people, you wouldn’t be as visible). It was like a family reunion. A Summer Family reunion.
All we needed was a few jam bands and a peace pipe to pass around, and it’s Woodstock all over again.
My dad turned around to give me a high five as soon as Piazza started to give his speech. We’ve seen many special things together, including Seaver and Piazza going into the HOF, as well as many concerts like seeing Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney multiple times.
Since I got married, Ed and I have been to multiple stadiums together. I’ve been to 23 total, he 18 . Since we got married, we’ve hit 17 of those stadiums he’s been to. It’s pretty amazing. We’ve even visited a few of them multiple times.
One of those cities and stadiums we’ve adopted as our own was Seattle.
While we are Blue and Orange through and through, there is something really special about the city of Seattle to us. To hear Ken Griffey Jr’s speech on how proud he was to be a Seattle Mariner, plus his number retirement in Seattle (where they brought out all the Seattle sports greats like Steve Largent, Cortez Kennedy, Spencer Haywood, Gary Payton to honor him).
I know what Piazza did for the Mets in the late 90s and early aughts. But I seriously sobbed during the Griffey part of the ceremony and got nothing but the feels when it came to my second city honoring him.
I don’t know what about baseball reduces us to sobs. Listening to Junior talk about how much he loved Jay Buhner, every time, gets me right in the feels. Piazza, when talking about his family, just shows how much of baseball takes a village to be successful.
And up to this weekend, I really didn’t think I played well with others. It turns out I just need to coin new curse words to be a real team player.
Then can I walk beside you
I have come here to lose the smog
And I feel to be a cog in something turning
Well maybe it is just the time of year
Or maybe it’s the time of man
I don’t know who l am
But you know life is for learning
I wasn’t around for Woodstock. As a Mets fan, I know it was a super special time to be alive in 1969. It meant that the underdog could win. It meant that something bigger than themselves can bring people together.
And though I had gone up for a few sets in Woodstock 1994, I had a hard time trying to figure out what Crosby Stills and Nash were singing about, and what Joni Mitchell had written about that historic weekend in upstate New York that shut down the New York Thruway.
Experiencing the Hall of Fame ceremony this year was a special time. I won’t soon forget it. But this was our Woodstock. We were merely billion year old carbon.
Dreaming of the Queen
visiting for tea
You and her and I
and Lady Di
The Queen said: ‘I’m aghast
Love never seems to last
however hard you try’
And Di replied that
‘There are no more lovers left alive
No one has survived
so there are no more lovers left alive
and that’s why love has died
Yes, it’s true
Look, it’s happened to me and you
If you’re into reading your dreams, a dream about a queen or meeting someone in power (royalty) can take on certain meaning. One of the encapsulating summaries I read on the topic was this:
If you’re a queen in your dream, it’s likely that you have an as-yet unrealized desire for power, influence, and increased social standing or status. If you’re present in the dream but someone else is queen, especially someone you know, you may be expressing repressed envy for that person, or more specifically, qualities that this person embodies that make them fit and right to be a queen. (Your Dream Interpretation)
The Pet Shop Boys on their Very album had a song called “Dreaming of the Queen.” I realize now that the title and most of the lyrics were intentional, that they had used the parable of meeting both Queen Elizabeth and Princess Diana, using dream sequences like being in the nude (I thought it might have been an Emperor’s New Clothes reference, but we’ve all had dreams about being naked in situations that didn’t warrant such an outfit). Even the song itself was about waking up from a dream, inconsolable that love had died.
This song was written over 23 years ago. The album made a huge impact on me, personally, in the spring and summer of 1994.
This was the last time the Rangers won the Stanley Cup.
The album framed my first year of college, and was rounded out by Princess Diana’s tragic death as I was about to start my senior year.
Both the Rangers and Diana had an enormous impact on my life, and two events that I often intertwine with those life events. (Think of when Kennedy was shot, or where you were on 9-11).
As it all ended yesterday…I was at a bachelorette party, for one of my best college girl friends.
Fitting, as though one chapter of life was beginning, another one was ending for the New York Rangers. And it all started when I was in college.
It was appropriate, in my opinion, given how the year would pan out.
Then carriages arrived
We stood and said good-bye
Diana dried her eyes
and looked surprised
For I was in the nude
The old Queen disapproved
but people laughed and asked
I’ve been prepared for several months that they would not be out of the first round alive this year. While I felt I was mostly being facetious and at best, putting up a defense mechanism for the team performance, I didn’t think they would go without at least the most minimal of a fight.
Even we saw signs back in November, when my gal pal, Tracey, and I went to a Rangers game. I buy a few tickets from NotJeffGorton each year, and this was my first game of the year.
It was a few weeks after the Mets had lost the World Series. I was still feeling the sting, but the Rangers and Seahawks were doing well. It was a bunch of good distractions, to say the least.
The Rangers were actually doing pretty well at the time. There were weird things going on in this specific game. Rangers were hardly taking any shots. Refs were calling penalties on imaginary fouls. Tracey and I were having fun being snarky bitches, making comments a la Statler and Waldorf in the stands.
The Rangers ended up winning, definitively that game. However, a Rangers blogger made a comment, basically about how the Rangers didn’t win enough for his liking. That somehow, a 3-0 win in a game where they were getting called left and right on penalties wasn’t enough.
I started laughing. Like come on, dude.
I do remember that same person in February commenting during a Rangers struggle stretch, saying that “he knew they were *this* bad back in November.” To which another smart ass hockey fan responded about him being a hockey hipster, “I knew they were bad before anyone else did.”
It was funny. But maybe, just maybe, the hockey hipster was onto something. Usually, those hipsters, even if it’s not popular opinion, can see things the rest of us cannot.
No one likes being naked in public. We try to wear clothes, even in the hottest of situations, but the Rangers’ uniforms were exposing a some very weak links. And they were slowly but surely being exposed.
I remember this was also around the time I started to say, they’d be eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.
Just because I was prepared for it didn’t mean I was ready. It still stung.
I woke up in a sweatDesolate
For there were no more lovers left aliveNo one had survivedSo there were no more lovers left aliveAnd that’s why love had diedYes, it’s trueLook, it’s happened to me and you