football

As Seasons Roll On By

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
Sunday, May 21, 2017.  We are well into the Eastern Conference Final of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  I’m sure most of you are well aware that my team, the New York Rangers, did not make it past the second round.  I wasn’t going to write about it, make it all “okay” or anything typical of what you are to see here on Gal For All Seasons.  I kind of did the Five Stages of Grief, but backwards.  I let everyone know that once the Rangers lost Game Five, after gutting out two wins on home ice to get the series against Ottawa 2-2, that I had made peace with the outcome.  And late into the game, it appeared as though that outcome was a loss.  And it was.
Then literally the next day, I had sadness, and anger came and went.  As I said, I did my five stages in my own unique way.
So once again, I see a team that is not mine playing for a trophy that each season that passes, seems more and more unlikely that I will see this generation win a Stanley Cup.  I don’t want to get peaceful about it and say it’s all good, because it’s not.  As I was saying to NotJeff and Will the night they were eliminated, we will be the same assholes next year who watch and don’t see another championship.  Because I can pretty much guarantee that they won’t do right by Henrik Lundqvist and won’t win while he is on the team.
That, my friends, is acceptance.
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
Yet, this time of the year, while baseball is in full swing, I get nostalgic.  If you have been following this site as long as I’ve had it up and running, you will know that the Pet Shop Boys hold a place near and dear to my heart when it comes to watching Rangers playoff hockey.  Which is odd because I highly doubt when they wrote and produced the album “Very,” they had an 18 year old hockey fan in mind.
But mostly, I get to thinking.  Not so much nostalgia, but what my life was like as a fan of a team that won a title.  Sure, the Seahawks won one not too long ago.  But I felt as though I was on the peripheral, that I hadn’t yet quite paid my dues.  And when the Mets won in 1986, I was 10 years old.  I had only been a fan three years at that point, sure.  But I certainly had no idea that to be a Mets fan, there is usually a lot of pain involved in the process.
With the Rangers though, it’s more an exercise in futility really.
I’ve been thinking a lot about 1994 lately, and it has nothing to do with the Rangers.  Certainly, that was a significant event in my life that year, including graduating from high school and going away to college.  A coming of age process for sure, and the Pet Shop Boys were a huge soundtrack in my life then.
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).

Black Hole Sun.  Day I Tried To Live.  Fell On Black Days.  Some of it very dark, dreary (much like the weather that inspires the Seattle 1990s sound).  Heavy.  I’d belt that shit out as I drove like no one’s business.
I went through a lot that year, personally.  My high school sweetheart and I called it quits after being together since freshman year, I was going through some home turmoil because I was leaving to go to school,

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.

But I loved Chris Cornell’s voice.  I still have a copy of Singles, the quintessential early ’90s movie soundtrack that was required listening of Generation X.
When I heard about the death of Chris Cornell last week, I thought of several things.  Of course, the first thought was loss, and my own regret of having never seen him or Soundgarden live when I had the chance.  (Note to self: your rock gods do indeed pass away at some point).
I thought about that summer when I really started to listen to different music and go to different shows.  And I realize I always tie in my love of sports and music together.

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

Three years ago, the Rangers made it to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since that fateful 1993-94 season.  I was at a weird spot in my life, professionally.  I was building a business, participating in the “sharing” economy, and not very sure of what my next steps were.  Huge difference from when I was 18 years old, ready to face the world and pretty much thought I knew everything.  (Spoiler alert: I didn’t).  Though they were down in the series 3-0, I had a chance to jump at discounted tickets (in the sense that they were nearly a grand less than they were before game three).  I went with my friend Joanne, and they won their only game, a home game.  Even though I had a lot of tumult in my professional life (and subsequent personal life), I just knew I had to go to that game.  Mostly because I was pushing 20 the last time they made it, and I was then pushing 40.  I didn’t want to be 60 the next time they made it, regretful I didn’t take my shot in 2014 to see them play live in a Stanley Cup Final.
In the hot late spring of ’94, I spent a lot of time traveling to the city to watch the Stanley Cup Final games with my dad.  On my way home, I’d listen to bands like Rage Against The Machine, Violent Femmes, Live, Pet Shop Boys, Mother Love Bone, Green Day.  Different styles, yet they totally made sense to me.
Each year, I think about the pain and agony that ultimately succumbed to absolute joy, only to have things change so dramatically by leaving home and starting school.  Basically, I went from comfort to not knowing shit.  But I’d get in the car, put on some Pearl Jam or Soundgarden, and I was ready to get introspective.
I think about that time, and wonder if I’ll ever have that payoff again with my team.  Any of my teams.  Which is why I turn to that year (1994) a lot in my writing.  Basically because it’s something I have.  But it was also a year that I grew, as a person, and the Rangers and music made me that way.
And I’m lost behind
Words I’ll never find
And I’m left behind
As seasons roll on by
Chris Cornell, Seasons
Another sports season has come and gone in the life of the Gal For All Seasons.  I spend 365 days a year obsessed about where and how I will watch my games, or figure out a way to get to find out what’s happening.  One of the struggles I had with being a blogger who followed sports was thinking about my angle for when I would write about it.  I spent a few days after the Rangers were eliminated wondering if I would ever want to talk about it.
I thought about how I can think about football season and when my next trip to Seattle will be.  While some people may wonder how it was easy to jump ship at a later age to a different team and city, it wasn’t difficult for me.  I often say I was born to be a Mets and Rangers fan.  But I was meant to be a Seattle Seahawks fan because of my ties to a city I didnt know I had.
A big part of that why is my association with music and sports is so closely intertwined.  One of my first thoughts on hearing Chris Cornell’s death was how my Seattle friends would feel, and what the city would do to honor one of their sons who put the city on the map, musically.
Seasons change, and people change and grow.  Chris Cornell’s “Seasons” changed me in ways I had no idea how, until today.  It was a song on the Singles soundtrack, and believe me, if you’ve made it this far, you can wonder how I can be “short on words and long on things to say.”
Every year that I am reflecting on a season that could’ve been, I will think of potential of years, time and people lost.  I’ll think of thought processes I’ve shed that make me evolve and not exist.  How my life has changed dramatically in ways in 10 years, let alone since I was 18 years old.  It’s not good or bad, just different from what I expected.  And that’s okay.
Music and sports though, that’s the one constant I can rely on.  Sure, each year I shake off losses, but as I get older, I realize how finite our time is here on Earth.  And wonder if I’ll get that euphoric feeling again of sharing in that moment of a great win.  And the seasons get harder to pass, and I’m not getting any younger.  But it makes me feel as though the journey will ultimately make it worthwhile.
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Baseball Bacons

Baseball Broads Sitting in Shea Seats Together

It’s the holiday season.

We’re smack dab in the heart of football season, with playoffs upon us and must-win games with the Jets and the Giants next weekend (oh, did I mention that they’re facing EACH OTHER?? Yes, I’ll need to stay off Twitter for fear of feeding the trolls).

Yet this week, I have a “59 Days Still Pitchers and Catchers” Party to attend.  Over the weekend, it was also a celebration of my birthday and Dee’s birthday, officially, at Strawberry’s Grill in Douglaston, NY.  Of course, this is Darryl Strawberry’s namesake restaurant, run by him and his family, with Mets and Yankees themes throughout the restaurant (he did play for the Evil Empire after all).

Baseball is the Kevin Bacon of life: we are all just six degrees of separation from it all.

I detailed in my post from last week, The Decemberists, about Dee and I going to a football game for our birthdays.  For years, we always hated that we had to be relegated to staying indoors for our birthdays because it’s so cold.  That we always wanted to celebrate our birthdays at a baseball game but while we could say “It’s our birthday” any other day, it’s not truly the same.

When life gives you lemons, we make lemonade.  Look on the bright side.  There’s Christmas in July.  Life is full of these hokey little cliches that infiltrate our lives.  We may celebrate birthdays or Christmas or whatever denominational holiday you observe, but why does baseball get shafted?  No, seriously.  If we need a little Christmas right this very minute, why can’t baseball be alive and well in the winter time?

I’m not talking about winter ball.  For those of us who don’t celebrate holidays or maybe just observe whatever for the sake of observing, most of us can subscribe to celebrating baseball 24/7/265.

Poet Laureate of Flushing, Greg Prince, attended the Second Annual Coop Dee Ville Birthday Spectacular and was also in attendance for the inaugural party in 2010.  He once said that “Every poseur wants to be at Opening Day. Closing Day is a rite for the secret society of baseball fanatics.”  While “Closing Day” allows us to reflect on the season at hand and think about the what-might-have-beens, Closing Day has an aura of sadness around it.  Opening Day has all the hope of a New Year, a new rotation around the sun.  Yet, conversely, it provides hope, Closing Day that is.  It provides us with the idea that our team can get better, and we can become better fans as well, subsequently better people.  Is that true? Is that hokey?  Who knows?  All I know is that I don’t believe in Santa Claus…but I do believe in baseball.

My birthday happens to coincide with the winter solstice.  The days start getting shorter right before, then start getting longer and longer.  Pessimists dwell on the lack of daylight.  I like to dwell on the fact that the days will only get brighter from here on in.

And isn’t that what our problems have been with our birthdays before we met, Dee??  We focused on the fact that our birthdays get overshadowed by the larger and all-encompassing holiday season.  Not on what we do have: lasting and fulfilling relationships, mostly from being sports fans.  I met my husband by being a Mets fan.  And most of the attendees at the soiree on Saturday night were less than Six Degrees of Separation from my being a Mets fan.

There’s my dad, who was there.  As legend had it, I was in the womb rocking out to Rosalita while my mom attended a Bruce Springsteen concert.  When I was out of the womb, my dad sat crying in front of the television on June 15, 1977.  I used to mock him for it, but now I understand.  I haven’t had that moment as a Mets fan, but I have been betrayed by my ownership team like Dad once was.  But he made me a Mets fan, for better or for worse.

As a Mets fan, I liked to write about baseball.  I started following blogs in 2004, and started my own in 2007.  As a result, I became part of the Mets-erati, the “Lost Generation” or “Jazz Age” versions of baseball writers.  Greg Prince of Faith and Fear in Flushing introduced me to the Chapmans, who have enriched my life to the extent that they are my family, not just my “summer” family.  The Chapmans introduced me to friend Phil, another Mets fan who introduces me to several adult beverages and road races.  I guess they’re like my Yin and Yang.  Bad influences too, but bad-in-a-good way.

 

My associations with the Chapmans and Greg also gained me a friend in DyHrdMet from Remembering Shea, a collective of Mets memories, honoring the past and making sense of the present.  We may be told to get over the past, but DyHrdMet appreciates the balance of what history and romanticism means to a Mets fan.

From blogging made me part of a die-hard crew of Mets fans who act like we survived a war or something.  There’s always some kind of tie that binds us, and DyHrdMet does that, but it also gained me a friend from the Twitterverse in Richie S from Random Mets Thoughts.  We are Mets fans, we are music fans…but most of all, he is a dad who made his daughter a Mets fan.  I’m sure she sometimes feels the same way about that fact like the way I do with my dad and the Mets: we equally love and hate them both at times (the team and our dads for introducing us to this life of sometimes-Jobian-existence).  Richie fits right in with the rest of us, obsessing about the Mets in a mid-winter board meeting as he called our soiree.

 

From Twitter and blogging, I met Nik Kolidas, who is a damn fine musician, but also a knowledgeable Mets fan and blogger.  From these ties, I started writing at KinersKorner.com, and we started our own podcast The Kult of Mets Personalities.  It’s a roundtable of fun and funny people who understand the bigger picture of Mets fandom and baseball fanaticism.

Social media added another layer of Mets fandom to the next level.  While blogging may have exposed our thoughts, Facebook and Twitter among others have provided our hearts as well.  Alvin and Anne Marie are both Mets and New York Rangers fans.  Jason is another friend who is a hockey fan (Devils – boo! but Mets fan too).  So I have not only gained new Mets fans in the mix, I have people I can watch and go to hockey games with.  Sweet.

Lastly, I invited a friend I’ve known for years, Martin, to my shindig.  He had hurt his ankle early in the week and didn’t know if he’d be able to make it.  He said after a few days of rest, he had cabin fever and wanted to come.  As he came, everyone wanted to know his baseball affiliation.  He said, “I’m a Mets fan too.  But that’s because Coop tells me to be one.”  Another one bites the dust, kids.

I met Ed through outlets like Metsmerized Online and Facebook subsequently.  We got married.  Good for us.  But as a result, I met other people through the Metsmerized community.  I met my soul sister Dee through those channels, but I also gained two other people as a result of knowing her:  mother Arlene, whom I refer to affectionately as “Aunt Arl” but also her best friend from childhood, Angie.  They often say that life is full of happy accidents.  Seriously, how much of it can be truly planned if it’s so unpredictable?  But I never knew that being a baseball fan would get me a husband, a best friend and de facto sister, someone I look on as a mother, and a new friend to boot.  Happy accidents, indeed.

   

Then bring that back ’round to my dad, Mr. E or Mr. Coop or Eddy or Alan Eddy Cooper Jug Band leader.  My dad knows everyone.  I can’t tell you how many times as a kid we’d walk into a store, and he’d spend 20 minutes chatting someone up about something.  He’s not one of those “weirdos” you want to look the other way on the train.  But if he can find that connecting quality with someone, you’ll have a friend for life.  Dad was amazed looking around at the cast of characters at Strawberry’s on Saturday night.  If you think about it, Darryl Strawberry played for the Mets, and we all loved Straw.  As a result, he opens a sports bar in Queens, home of the Mets.  A bunch of Mets fans meet in a roundabout yet seemingly so simple we wonder why it took so long to begin with.  As a result, we act like army buddies.  Dad said, “This is different than in the ’70s and ’80s.  We didn’t have cell phones or Facebook.  But we did have bars.”

During the night, another guest who should have been there but was 3000 miles away, brother from another mother and concerned Mets fan Senor Solly, kept jumping into conversations.  He’s never met my dad, but he helped me serenade my dad for his birthday this year.  Senor Solly has not met the majority of us, physically (my dad was amazed my husband and I were the only people, actually), but he’s touched our lives in numerous ways.  Simply by being a Mets fan.  And by Sharon telling him to go fuck himself.

Baseball is an amazing sport.  It brings people together, whether or not you’re affiliated with the same team.  I got overwhelmed at one point thinking about how my life has changed so dramatically in the past decade or so simply by the baseball team I root for.  They drive us nuts sometimes, but I often say that the best times to be a Mets fan is during the down years because that gives you character and introduces you to characters.  No one can ever say we’re not devoted.  At the same time, it’s the middle of winter, there are football playoff implications, there is hockey to be watched (and even watched Bradley Richards score a dramatic .01 of a second left in the game winning goal against Phoenix on Saturday), we had birthdays to celebrate and holidays to worry about.  We talked baseball.

Maybe world peace is a distant phenomenon that can’t ever be attained due to the natural aggression of human nature.  Eh, that’s a bit overdramatic.  Maybe if baseball were the universal language, it could get us to that point.

Kevin Bacon may own the whole six degrees thing in cinema.  But baseball owns the six degrees of life.  Therefore, baseball is the Kevin Bacon of life.

And we all love bacon. AmIRite?

Bears and Bacon on a Stick

Remain Calm! ALL IS WELL! The motto of Mets fans.

The Decemberists

Football games in December, especially in the northeast, midwest and any place typically north, are well-known to be cold.  We’ve been fortunate in New York this season though.  On days that you would expect to be just cold (not even factoring in “bitter” or “wind chill”), it’s been balmy and dare-I-say “unseasonable” weather.  My dream is to someday live in San Francisco, and we’ve been blessed with Bay Area-like weather.

Of course, not on the day I was scheduled to go a game.  But as you see, my friend and I dressed appropriately.  A few years ago, I read an article about dressing for games during the playoffs at Lambeau Field.  I remember the guy had like 10 different layers, but most importantly, thermals with the butt flap.  We don’t have it that bad, at least, not yet.  But for me, I had thermals on, a sweatshirt, my Jets jersey, jeans, a North Face, a scarf, and I had gloves.  I didn’t really need the gloves, and I had a hat for a break-in-case-of-emergency.  My friend wore her Jets cap though, for reasons other than weather (I’ll get to that in a minute).

Dee, who posts for Metscellaneous, and I met a few years ago.  Brought together by our love for the Mets (and baseball), we realized we had some eerie things in common.  We’re both only children, we like to write (which is technically how we met), we both don’t like raw tomatoes (but we like tomato-products…I have a hard time explaining this to other people, but luckily, she gets it), we love margaritas and chain restaurants (don’t judge), and we’re both born in December.  It’s irony, really, because we are not WINTER folks (though, that is her last name..again, irony), but we can identify with the season and having our birthdays overshadowed by everyone else getting into the holiday spirit.

I never got the whole “this is your Christmas AND birthday gift,” mainly because I’m an only child and my parents never were torn in other directions.  What we did get, though, was the whole nightmare of trying to plan birthday parties that were convenient for your friends, family and kids’ parents.  I have a better appreciation for it now as an adult.  But now since we’re adults, we’re taking matters into our own hands.  We not only decided to have a joint birthday party and “share” our friends and the wealth of having a December birthday (and some people can get territorial about their friends, go figure), we said, hey, we can’t go to a baseball game for our birthdays…but we CAN go to a football game.

So December 11th it was, against the Kansas City Chiefs.  I was so concerned about buying tickets for this game, yet we were told at the tailgate we went to that we could have easily waited till that week and gotten super-cheap tickets in the upper levels.  It ended up not mattering either way, and I’ll get to that later.

So first things first, we meet at Penn Station, me with coffees in hand and we chill for the train to Secaucus, and transfer to Meadowlands.  We’re there before 10:30 am.  That may seem early but when you’re tailgating, the time passes very quickly.

I went to the same tailgate I attended back in October, when I went to the game against the Dolphins.  My friend Kevin is part of a tailgate group, where they basically have a communistic set up of beverages, snacks, real food, and then other wares, like chairs and wood-burning stoves.  Kevin is married to another baseball chick I know, Sharon, and she came to celebrate our birthdays (since this was the birthday game).  Sharon ended up going to the game, which wasn’t part of the original plan, but it ended up benefiting us for several reasons.  One is that we love Sharon and she’s a lot of fun to hang out with…the other is that later on, we got to sit with Kevin and a few of his friends in the 200 level.

 

Dee and I were greeted with a strawberry margarita (courtesy of Kevin’s battery-operated margarita maker), and there were comforts of home such as yummy food and wood-burning stoves.  We didn’t really need it though, since you can see I lost my scarf and had my coat al fresco after a bit (plus I was drinking a frozen alcoholic drink).  The guy on top of the truck was leading us in a J-E-T-S chant, and the dude in the middle of our photo is Frank, the ringleader of the L11 tailgate.  There was also a filming of a television show that these dudes were pitching to Food Network, for I guess best tailgate burger.  Frank was the winner of the golden spatula.

I wanted to get there earlier, after all there were huevos rancheros on the menu there, because two and a half hours does go by quickly.  After all, times flies when you’re having fun.  It came time to go into the stadium and root for the Jets.  It was Dee’s first live football game, after all.  And yes, I’m trying to set a record for the most “after alls,” in one paragraph.

Our seats weren’t terrible, but because they were underneath the lights, we got dripped on! (It rained here midweek, but I guess the sun shining brightly for days afterwards led it to melt any ice that may have formed).  I felt like I was back in the Mezzanine at Shea, when you were underneath the awning, even if it had rained like a week before, if there was a puddle, you got dripped on.

 

 

We had a pretty good view of the field, more so than my first game of the season where I was behind the goal post.  Don’t get me wrong: those seats were awesome on the 100 level, and my friend basically just gave the ticket to me so he wouldn’t eat it.  But the drawback here were the drips…Dee had to put on her hat so that it wouldn’t drip on her head! We had a good view of Fireman Ed here (as evidenced above), but the crowd really wasn’t going strong till later in the first quarter.

Sharon told us her husband had some empties by him, and we should head down there.  Good thing we did!  We stayed there the second half, and for the rest of the game.  Look how sweet these seats were!!

 

 

We had a better view of Fireman Ed, who basically has carte blanche to do anything at JetLife Stadium.

As for the game, yeah, it was a blowout, and as well it should have been.  There wasn’t much to say except Mark Brunell came in the game eventually to relieve Sanchez, since there was no point in keeping him in there.  The Jets are now in control of their own destiny too, as far as playoffs go.  That can be a good or bad thing.  Mostly good, since they don’t have to rely on other teams losing, but then they have to depend on winning and we all know how well that can go sometimes.  I have an impeccable record for Jets games though, and now so does Dee.

When we walked out, we had another post-game tailgate to hit with another December baby, the friend we affectionately refer to as Woooooo because of his greeting on social media networks.  He is the consummate host, offering us beers, different types of foods (rice and beans, london broil, bison burgers, dogs)…there was even a birthday cake, since his is coming up this week. Sure, the cake was half-eaten by the time we got there, but it was still yummy nonetheless, and a great capper of the evening.

 

NJ Transit is ass-backwards as far as game day travel is, but we had a finite time to return which was 5:48, the last train out of dodge.  Of course, they kept us waiting and waiting and waiting, and the train Dee wanted to take back was missed by literally two minutes.  Not to fret, we decided to go outside to get some hot cocoa at Dunkin’ Donuts.  She casually mentions, yeah I’d like to see the tree.  I say, hey, what else do we have to do tonight.  So after the game, we pranced all over the city and did touristy things and made the day even more complete.

 

(Some bears made a special appearance)

As we walked towards the L7 tailgate after the game, I asked Dee what she thought about the game.  It’s a different atmosphere than a baseball game, for sure, she said.  She did say she almost liked it a bit better than baseball.  I can understand.  Nothing will ever replace my love for a spring or summer day game or even a night game, socializing with friends, drinking booze, eating nachos.  But it can get diluted for me, which is sad, but it is what it is.  Like Dee, we go to way many more baseball games.  This has to do with proximity, availability and the number of games.  I get a little jaded at times simply because I go to many games.  I can take it for granted.

Football games are special though.  There aren’t many, but there’s a lot of commitment in going to a game.  Woooooo told us there was a friend of his in the tailgate who drove up every weekend from Washington, D.C.  D.C.!!!!  I bitch and moan about NJ Transit having a pain in the ass schedule on game days.  This is especially dedicated for tailgaters too, like Wooooo and Sports Yenta (whom I met yesterday, oy!) and Frank and Kevin and everyone else.  Thank you all for hosting us and making our birthday game special.

Dee and I were bonded by birthdays and baseball, and always hated that we couldn’t spend our birthdays going to baseball games.  What a crock!  We should have been grateful for what we did have, and that’s football…but then again, we are Jets fans, so that could have something to do with it.  But now we have our own tradition and are making it our own.  So as I’ve said before, I not only gained a baseball friend, I gained a baseball sister.

So happy, happy birthday to my dearest Dee.  May all your wishes come true, and I hope you look back on this game with as much fondness as I do you!

Proceed With Caution

The Rangers are proceeding “with caution” in regards to Marc Staal’s concussion symptoms.  What surprises me is that post-concussion syndrome stuff is being addressed from a hit he took on the ice in February (by his brother, ironically), and he sat all summer with this.  I mean, nothing against Staal, I hope he takes care of himself and is back on the ice before we know it.  My problem, though, is with the treatment, not just of hockey players but of players who are prone to concussions, specifically due to big hits and subsequent brain injuries.

I know I discussed this the other day in my post on hockey’s dark side.  But it’s not just hockey, football players get concussions as a matter of course almost and now even baseball players (notably, Jason Bay in 2010 ran into a wall and missed the entire season, and it took him a good half-season to get back into things, and even Ryan Church who was on the Mets in 2008 flew cross-country with a brain injury before experiencing post-concussion symptoms) are joining in on the non-fun.

I guess because of Eric Lindros, and two of my favorite players of all-time Pat LaFontaine and ’94 Ranger great Mike Richter had to retire prematurely due to post-concussion syndrome, I am a little gunshy about hearing things like “proceeding with caution” (which is a good thing) to “flying with the team to Stockholm” (bad thing), which is what they are talking about doing with Staal.  Look, I know Staal’s health is critical to the team’s health.  But if they are truly to proceed with caution, wouldn’t flying to Stockholm be in effect a bad idea? I would hate, you know, to see the Rangers put money over the health of one of their best players.

Maybe I’m just being overly cautious myself or feeling that way anyway, since a blogger-with-shitty-opinions’ opinions don’t weigh much on the organizational health of my favorite hockey team.  I guess in a summer where several hockey players died tragically indirectly or perhaps more directly to head injuries sustained on the ice, and former NFL player Dave Duerson took his own life with a suicide note attached saying to donate his brain to the NFL Bank…causing other NFL alums and writers to speak out on behalf of players who become depressed because of diminished capacity after suffering long-term concussion effects, and causing non-pro levels to listen with care about potential backlash due to concussive symptoms…I mean, these are “tough guys” who are supposed to take it “like a man” and not complain, but the truth is, these guys are hurting.  It’s in their nature to not speak up, or therefore look like a pansy.  The fact of the matter is, it is a problem, and someone needs to think about it.

Perhaps it is I,though, who is thinking overly cautious, or putting a value on the effects of this stuff.  I guess when I’ve seen so much of this in all the sports I watch, and then cringe each time Jason Bay has to get too close to a wall, or Mike Richter has to retire before his time…I guess I can think that flying Staal across the ocean to play in two games when he’s been sitting on this injury for SEVEN MONTHS is a bit excessive and he can sit out the first few games of the season.

Aint No Shit Talker Like a Football Shit Talker

I’m certainly not reinventing the wheel by writing about football players who talk smack.  I happen to love it though, and I don’t really care about what people think about people backing their shit up or whatever.  I think it’s one of the great things that makes football football.  The anticipation of week to week, between games, there’s not much to do but practice and talk to the media.

Of course, when talking to the media, words can get twisted…or strategically placed to cause some friction.

One has to be living under a rock if one is not aware that there are high expectations placed on the Jets this year.  It’s easy to pick on them because they haven’t exactly won anything or made it far but not quite enough.  Trust me, as a Jets fan, I am well aware of this concept.  Even last week, the Twitterverse was blowing up at their play, only to come from behind and beat the Cowboys.  For their opponent this week, the Jacksonville Jaguars, it would be a feather in their cap for beating the big green machine.

Then Jaguars WR Jason Hill had to say that Darrelle Revis is a product of the New York hype.

Oh, brother.

I suppose that Hill is one of those aforementioned rock-dwellers who is unaware that Revis is pretty a much of a product of his OWN hype and styling, and is one of the most popular members on the team (and on Twitter).   How does Revis respond?  Oh, that he basically doesn’t know “Who that dude is.”

Do I think it will spill over into the field?  No.  Because at the end of the day, these guys get paid millions of dollars to take their lumps in the media and on the field.  But the funny thing to me, being with the spacing of games, is that a shit talker in the NFL is much different than the MLB, even NHL.  I know that if someone were to say something about, I don’t know, Jose Reyes (like the Phillies did monumentally in 2008), the media would be all over it, dragging it all over.  With the games being once a week, it’s just a build up, it’s done with as soon as the final gun goes off.

But it’s entertaining to sit and watch, both the game, and the pregame shit talk that occurs.