NFL

Brothers In Arms

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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
Dedication devotion
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.

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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
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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.

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It rained in New York on that Wednesday.  It stopped raining long enough to give us a very beautiful dusk and sunset in Seattle.

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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.

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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

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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.

Break It Down Again

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.

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.

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.

Some words from a friend…

In case you didn’t get it the first time…DangeRuss got the last laugh.

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.

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?!

‘Cos It Already Is

My dad was in attendance at Shea Stadium when the Mets mounted one of the biggest comebacks in baseball history in “Game Six.”  If anyone says “game six,” whether or not they are a Mets fan, you know they are referring to the World Series Game Six in 1986.

We were also at Shea in 2006 when the Mets were playing the Cards in the NLCS game seven.  After Carlos Beltran struck out looking to end the game and sent the St. Louis Cardinals to the World Series, we had gone separate ways to leave that motherfucker as quickly as possible.

My cell phone rang as I walked to the train.  It was Dad.  He made the first train out of dodge.  He said, “I was there for one miracle. I didn’t think there would be another.”

If you recall, the Mets came back to score three runs in extra innings to beat the Red Sox in a game that would’ve brought a championship to Boston for the first time since 1918.  In 2006, fortunes changes when Yadier Molina hit a devastating home run for the go ahead in the ninth inning, in a game that was tied for-fucking-ever. 

Even when the Mets had put tying runs on base in the bottom of the ninth, you had ’86 game six in your head.  But you also remembered that this team was not the ’86 team. And then Wainwright threw his curve.

But whether you are a Mets fan or a Red Sox or even an Arizona Cardinals fan, you believe till the very last second.  Because it’s never quite over till it’s over.

I started thinking of the game in 2006 as I watched the Seahawks in their matchup against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.  While the Panthers looked as though they were a team headed for destiny all season, if anyone who follows football knows that if any team was going to stop that, it would be Seattle.  And I’m not even saying that as a fan of the team and someone who has followed them through really no choice of my own (I married into it and really couldn’t care less about watching football games on TV) for over five years at this point.  I’m saying that because there’s something special about Seahawks “devil magic.”

We saw it in the NFC Championship game last year when everyone was salivating over Russell Wilson looking almost “human.”  They came back and won.  But they lost Super Bowl 49 on a controversial last play call.   Most 12s have moved on.  Mostly because we knew that was not our destiny.

Yay, if any team was going to knock down the Panthers a notch or two, it would be Seattle.

But the only team they were beating was themselves.

I was okay with it.

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I’ve been kind of in hiding since the Mets lost the World Series.  Looking back, I think I was very much in denial about the outcome of it.  It was tough because of the deja vu of the series (it reminded me a lot of the New York Rangers Stanley Cup run in 2014).  It was tough because the team I had gotten so used to fighting back tooth and nail in each game did not do so.  I also knew it was the last time I’d see Daniel Murphy is a Mets uniform.  Now that was way more upsetting than losing the World Series.  They could theoretically be back.  But I wanted Daniel Murphy to be a lifelong Met.  Now he’s a National.

I even went to a Seahawks game where they were the visiting team, in Baltimore.  I didn’t even want to write about it though it was quite possibly one of the most fun sports road trips I had taken in my life, but also in such a short time period (when I visited Cincinnati in September to follow the Mets).  Sometimes, I do lose perspective and forget how good I have it as a sports fan, that I have the ability to travel and do things to support my teams.  This trip was not one of those times.  I told Ed after the game that I was so happy he had brought this wonderful team into my life.

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12341219_10153717735675900_4882726763268094010_n   In happier times...and after yesterday's game...

Ed and I got married in 2010.  From a sports perspective, I’ve seen three Rangers visits to the Eastern Conference Final, and they won only one of those to advance to the big dance.  I know Ed has not been too happy with how the Utah Jazz have performed (and I used to root for them back in the day, because I loved Stockton but also I didn’t want to be a Chicago Bulls fan, like every fan in America was back then).  The Mets were more mediocre with the exception of this year when they actually looked like world beaters.  To say the majority of our teams have let us down is an understatement.  Especially being a Mets fan, you get used to it.

The Seahawks have been interesting.  Though I had attended Jets games and even wore my Mark Sanchez jersey that I still have laying around somewhere (that I also wore to my first visit at CenturyLink Field in 2012), I followed Seattle more because whenever they were on, Ed made it a point to watch them.  As I told Michelle MsDodgrBlu yesterday, I didn’t care about football for a very long for two reasons: one, my dad is a Jets fan, and I just didn’t care about watching football (baseball was a lot easier for me to understand and enjoy).  The other is that while the rest of America gets to lounge around, watch TV and drink beer and eat wings on Sundays, I worked for several years in my adulthood on Sundays, so I missed many games.  It just was not a priority to me.

If you ask Ed or super fan Ramona, Seahawks blogger whose posts on being a 12 I truly enjoy, being a Seahawks fan for several years almost mirrored mine as being a Mets fan.  Years of ennui, and the times of joy were also sort of peppered with disappointment along the way.  When Ed gave me my Steve Largent lesson, he described him as being both the “Ed Kranepool and Tom Seaver of the Hawks” (longest tenured and “Franchise” player to boot).  Yet, I’d almost equate Largent with a Mike Piazza type, the truly talented guy who never won a championship (oh and that’s another bright spot for being a Mets fan in these last few weeks: Mike Piazza will be wearing a Mets cap in Cooperstown).

In contrast with the time period I’ve been following, since late 2010, I’ve witnessed such Seahawks stuff of legend, like “Beast Quake” and breaking the Guinness Book of World Records for noise, and even the NFC Championship game last year against Green Bay and the shanked field goal attempt in Minneapolis last weekend…yes, I’ve kind of borne witness to some really crazy shit in my time.  If they ever become “basic” I don’t know what I’ll do (that’s almost a joke…basic will be either winning or losing a game regularly without drama or some shit).  The wild part?  I wouldn’t have even called myself a “12” or a “fan” at that point.  I was just casual.  It was visiting Seattle that I really got the essence of being a football fan and why people were crazy about the sport.

Despite all you hear about New Yorkers being crazy and the “best fans,” we are not without our faults or worse (need I remind people that I almost had to break up SEVERAL fights amongst Rangers fans in the playoffs last year), I was forever changed visiting Seattle.  I can only imagine what it would be like in Pittsburgh or Green Bay where I know their football is almost like a religion.  But there was something special about the city too.  I visit other cities to do things.  I go to Seattle to just be.  Very similar to how I am at home in New York City.

I found my home.

My second home, but home nonetheless.

I’ll stick around.

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So take your lessons hard and stay with him
And when your car crash comes, don’t be misled
Convince yourself that everything is alright
‘Cos it already is
Yeah it already is

~ Pete Yorn, For Nancy (‘Cos It Already Is)

My feelings on the football season could almost be washed away very quickly.  Maybe it’s from my years of being a sports realist and knowing that my team cannot win everything every single year.  Maybe it’s because I know my teams will lose some games, and they will win some games, but maybe just maybe we will have some fun along the way.  And there has been a lot of fun along the way.

When the Seahawks were down 31-0 at the end of the first half (seriously), I thought…as long as there is light, there is hope.  And I don’t care what anyone says, I’m certain the Panthers had fear that the Seahawks’ devil magic was going to work once again.

What I felt for the Mets as they approached game five in the NLDS this year was that, win or lose, I knew they left it all out there.  Then they won the series.  Then they swept the NLCS.  You wanna know why I felt nothing after they lost the World Series?  Because once again, the team that has disappointed me over the years returned.  This was the Mets team I knew and came to love.  Only love can break your heart, as the saying goes.  Sure, I was hurt, but the realist in me says, well, what do you expect, Coop?

The disappointment set in because they didn’t leave it on the field.  They basically laid down and died.  The only thing that will fix that is by winning in 2016.  And I’ll leave it at that.

I was sad yesterday as the Seahawks couldn’t win, sure.  I was sad, yet hopeful.  As I told Ramona on her Instagram account later, I felt a lot better right after the loss, but it got hard over time.  I guess at that point, I knew there was nothing else that could be done.  They left it all out on the field, though.  They didn’t lay down and die.  And really, how many teams would have down 31-0 at the half??

As a fan, you really can’t ask for more than that.

But hours after the game ended, it set in again.  Like last year after the Super Bowl loss, it wasn’t the losing and HOW they lost that got to me.  It was the loss of that awesome and fun team.  I was sad because football season goes on, like life always does, but the Seahawks season did not.  So goes life, again.

I go to a hockey game Tuesday night, and Ed will be joining me for the first time in several years.  Cursing about the New York Rangers is a state of mind for me.  In a few weeks, pitchers and catchers report.  Then we will have baseball and summer and all the good stuff that comes along with it, plus an amazing trip to Cooperstown that not only will honor one of my own, but Seattle’s favorite son Junior.  Then football season will start again and maybe a miracle Mets run again?  Maybe?

Yeah.  Everything is all right.

‘Cos it already is.

Women And Children “First?” No, Not Really

donald-reilly-women-and-children-first-i-mean-come-on-new-yorker-cartoonI was involved in an abusive relationship.  Two, actually.

Possibly more if you think about the emotional abuse I’ve endured being in a relationship with a person who is not so secure within themselves that they take it out on someone they allegedly “love” by using their words which can hurt just as much as open fists at times.

For arguments sake, let’s just say I can contribute a thing or two about the #WhyIStayed hashtag.  When it happened, though, there is a bit of Stockholm Syndrome, and defense mechanisms coming into play.  When I really think about #WhyIStayed, I think the defense mechanisms go back to possibly prehistoric caveman times.  Any moment of weakness would make you prey, would make you a target.  Telling people to mind their own business or push people away who truly care happen because you do start to believe the hype.  You start to believe the things you are told, that you are worthless, a pathetic little shit, ugly, fat, no one will believe you/want you/love you as much as I do.

Though you may see me on Twitter or social media forums making fun of my teams and taking out frustrations by using expletives; in general, I am a pretty happy person.  I have my moments, but a lot of it has to do a lot with limiting beliefs that we are conditioned to believe by our loved ones.  For better or for worse, we are taught to believe stuff for our “own good.”

Though I think every single person I know can add something of value to this discussion, the statistics show it is overwhelmingly women who are taught this.  Perhaps it’s because we are associated with more “emotion” in our rationale, our thinking with our hearts rather than our heads (which, by the way, is complete bullshit, there is something to be said about using your “female intuition.”  Which by the way, has only failed me because my survival defense mechanisms talk me out of what is normally always the right thing for myself).

Statistics also show that in an abusive relationship, it takes women especially seven attempts to either leave or ask for help before doing it for good.

Studies show that when women “recant,” it’s not because they’ve “lied” or are “looking for attention,” but rather they are sweet talked out of it by their significant others, because they do not want to see their loved one or children’s father or whomever to be in trouble.  How many times do we hear “He’ll never do it again,” or “it was just this once,” when it rarely ever is?

I suggest we give up this ignorant and arrogant thinking that all she has to do is leave.

It’s more complicated than that.

I’m sure by now, you’ve seen the articles, many opinions and the video of former Baltimore Raven Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee/now-wife Janay in an elevator, knocking her unconscious.  We’ll hear the apologists who saw the video of the entire incident ask, “Well, she pushed him.” Or, “She might have **said** something to provoke him?”  “What did she DO to provoke him?”

The victim who was knocked unconscious and APOLOGIZED for “her role” in it has to also play defense for her very visible, beloved by many, public figure of a husband.  Who by all accounts is this super/wonderful/straight up good guy who would never ever do something like this, ever.

Well, guess what? He did.  And while we do not know what goes on behind closed doors, I can give you the story right here.  And it may or may not describe the tenure of their relationship, since I do not pretend to know what goes on behind their specific closed doors, but I can assure you of this.

(Mostly) Women (I do know that men can be abused too) involved in physically abusive relationships have nowhere to turn.  If you look at a public figure who seems to have everything going for then — fortune, fame, name recognition, respect for their contributions to society — you also have to believe that there are other factors involved.

I stayed in a seven year emotionally abusive and exhausting relationship because it was bigger than myself.  There were many other factors than myself.  I figured, if I could just “get through this one thing, then we can move on with our lives and be happy again,” seems misinformed and bullshit right now.  But I can tell you at the time, it made perfect sense.  It wasn’t about me.  There were other factors involved.  Luckily, I didn’t have children.  Oh and the second he was unhappy with how I looked or with how I was spending my time socially, he was the one who left.

But that was emotional.  And I found someone who adores me and doesn’t keep me isolated from my friends who bring out the best in me.  Believe me, no one appreciates having a healthy relationship that we actually enjoy each others company.

In situations like this, I can presume — and I could be very wrong — that Janay Rice probably is scared to leave, or fears her husband might do something to her or keep her away from her child.  Since he has the money and means to do so.  This is how abusers draw people in.  They control their money, they control their friends, but have an impact of being charming and drawing people in as well.  This is why we have a culture of abuse.  We are not supposed to talk about it, and people think that if they work with someone or see someone in a public setting or have an image they project, that this is the person they are being presented with.

It’s time to start talking about it.  And it’s time to start having a real discourse about it, and realize it’s not as simple as, “Well, it can’t be *that* bad if she hasn’t left him yet.”

Trust me.  Like life, it is hell of a lot more complicated than that.

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I grew up in an era where it was okay to spank your children.

I’m not sure if it was “okay,” per se.  Ask any child who grew up with one Italian parent, or an Italian grandparent, and they’ll talk about the “wooden spoon.”  Most of us chuckle and nod in agreement.  I was about 10 years old though, when my mother literally chased me into my bedroom to spank me for doing something, I told her to count to ten before laying a finger on me.  She never spanked me again.

I’m not gonna say, “Well I grew up just fine, and I was beaten.  There’s a sense of entitlement in this generatio and damned you whipper snappers and blah blah blah.”   But I’m gonna ask, with the news of Adrian Peterson using a switch to beat his two year old child…

On what planet does a child, at any age, let alone a TODDLER, deserves to get their pants taken down, and beaten on bare skin his private parts, backside and mostly his entire body?  None.  Absolutely not.

In fact, short of gutting an animal alive (which in that case, the child is a sociopath and needs to be institutionalized, immediately), no child deserves that.   Not only physical wounds but emotional trust issues to deal with his entire life.  The people who are supposed to be protecting him are doing this for his “own good.”

Yes, I grew up in an era where spanking your child for discipline was considered okay.  Adrian Peterson is nine years younger than I am.  How, exactly, was he raised that he has so much anger…towards a two year old?

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For years and years, the general public has turned a blind eye to child abuse and domestic violence either accusations or flat-out proof that it has occurred.  This is not a sports and entertainment specific thing.  It’s a cultural thing.  We are conditioned to never talk about it.  The victims are afraid to speak.  One writer I know through social media channels, Julie DiCaro, has written some definitive posts on domestic violence, in response to arrests and suspensions and public outcry when it happens with beloved and respected sports figures.  A few days ago, as a former lawyer dealing with domestic violence victims, she wrote a post targeting the NFL Commissioner and what she wanted him to know about domestic violence.  It’s an important topic to discuss.  But also to listen to.

I was in an abusive relationship.  And even after my high school sweetheart, who beat me with his hands and his words regularly, I could only extricate myself from when he decided to find a new girlfriend.  And even when I tried to move on from all that pain and anguish, he STILL managed to call me a slut and a whore and damage my reputation when I wanted to see other people.

Thank goodness I was able to go away to college and get out of that fishbowl of high school.

Amplify those feelings by about a million when you are dealing with being in a relationship with a person adored by millions.  A person, by the way, who has control over finances, has lawyers and agents and more backup than his significant other could even imagine.  Try getting out of that.  Especially if there is a money control factor.  Who is going to feed my child?  How am I going to make a living?

DiCaro’s post detailed what five things that one needs to consider in cases like this.  The most important part to consider in the post is that once abuse happens in a public setting, IT HAS ALREADY OCCURRED MULTIPLE TIMES BEHIND CLOSED DOORS.

Amplify that by the fact that probably she is protecting her child, and protecting herself.  How do we know he hasn’t told her that if she leaves, he’ll kill her or find her and take away her kids?  Again, I don’t know the intimate details of their relationship.

All we know is that in domestic violence cases, the victim is typically isolated, and charmed into making the situation go away with law enforcement officials.

It’s arrogant of us to think it’s just as simple as “just leaving.”  It’s not.

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My friend Rebecca has brought up an interesting talking point about what correlation is there between being in a “violent” sport and abuse situations.  This past week, we have had two incredibly public figures involved in legal situations where a woman or child has been abused with proof to back up the allegations.  This is not just a talking point in American sports, like football or baseball (Mets fans may remember when former Phillies pitcher Brett Myers punched his wife with a closed fist on the street in Boston).  This is a pervasive element of American culture that needs to be discussed.  We are no longer in caveman culture or prehistoric times that any sign of weakness meant a predator was going to take your food or shelter or eat your young.  We live in a civilized society that still brushes it away.

Perhaps figures like Ray Rice or Adrian Peterson or Brett Myers may cause us to point and laugh, say they are nothing but a piece of shit for beating a woman or child.  But what exactly is being done about the millions of other women and children or anyone being abused on a regular basis?  These incidences may bring up the discussion, but until we realize that domestic violence or child abuse is just NOT OKAY and it is NOT NORMAL AT ALL, this is still going on behind closed doors.

It is not as simple as “just leaving.” There is years of mind control, and just control in general over human interactions, financial.

Women like Janay Rice need our support.  I had a friend ask me, “How do YOU know she doesn’t have any one to turn to?”  Well, she has me there, I don’t know.  But based on what Julie DiCaro as a lawyer who represented domestic violence victims, and repeated behaviors, I’m going to guess that she’s trying to keep things together for the sake of other things.  Or perhaps, she has been conditioned to fear what she doesn’t know, that staying in what she DOES know is easier.

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I am not beating a feminist drum.  Yet, I am just so shocked that we live in a day and age where still women are portrayed to be stupid and dependent on men and treated with arrogance by other women.

This week, a story hit the wires (that I had talked about extensively on my podcast) about the Senior Vice President of Ticket Sales for the New York Mets, Leigh Castergine, has sued the Mets and most specifically Jeff Wilpon (part of the Sterling Equities group that owns the Mets, along with his father, Fred, and Uncle Saul Katz).  Why?  Well, it wasn’t for underperformance.  I can tell you right off that her team was almost literally selling ice to eskimos.  Mostly in part because the inept ownership built the team on false profits and lack of understanding Ponzi schemes.

The lawsuit alleges she was discriminated against because she was unmarried and pregnant.  Complete with Mr. Wilpon making comments about her not being married, and telling her with witnesses in the room that she could make more money if she was only married.

Someone told me, “Nobody is that dumb.”  Yet, people who have met Jeff Wilpon do say, he’s fucking clueless.

I guess I don’t want to reinvent the wheel here, but goddamn it, when will it just be okay to live your fucking personal life and not have your superiors at work use it as an excuse to get rid of you?  No matter what Castergine did (and I can tell you – I never felt more valued as a season ticket holder than under her leadership, so thank you for that, Leigh), she was pissing in the wind.  Season ticket holders were being bled, people were downgrading their ticket plans, and in general weren’t going to Mets games.  Why?  BECAUSE THE OWNERS HAVE DONE SHIT TO IMPROVE THE TEAM.

So the fallguy is now a single mom who was targeted as such.  Give me a break.  What fucking year is this?

I worked in banking.  Women who have taken time off to attend to themselves and their children after giving birth, one of the most traumatic things a woman can do, are unfairly targeted and find that their jobs are divvied up and changed when they return in 90 days or so.

Legend had it at one bank I worked at, a woman was promoted to a senior facing role in a leadership team.  She apparently knew she was pregnant but hid it while she built a team.  It was evident though after a few months, and she was literally going into a C-Section surgery, while on a conference call, telling her team, “Okay, I will call back in a few hours.”

This is what women have to do.  Sacrifice one thing for another.  And before you tell me, “Well, isn’t it dedication to her craft? Maybe more women should be like her.”  Remember that if a dude was getting hernia surgery or ball surgery or a colonsocopy, I’m sure he’d milk that shit for what it’s worth.

The good news is that perhaps this law suit will force the Wilpons to sell the team.  All I want is for Leigh Castergine to have her job back.  Nothing but class acts under her leadership.  More than I can say for our fucking owners.

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When Titanic hit the fateful iceberg, the mantra was “Women and children first.”  John Jacob Astor, the richest man on the voyage, went down with the ship but his wife and unborn child were spared.  He offered to pay the hand to go with her.  He was denied.  Instead, he sacrificed himself for his wife and child to survive.

We’ve gone from men holding doors open for women, offering their seats on the train to being “good manners” and a proper way to handle themselves, to women declaring that they “don’t need feminism.”  Which is ironic because I realize that without feminism, I would not be able to share my views in an open forum.

Perhaps the first step in having this discussion is HAVING the discussion.  To have abuse and domestic violence not be taboo but ugly parts of real life.  To realize that life for victims is not as simple as “taking your shit and leaving,” but rather multiple layers that have to do with protecting themselves and their loved ones.

Yes we’ve gone from knowing domestic violence and abuse is wrong, but we still have women apologizing for their part in it.

That’s not “conditioning” to fear your attacker?

Give me a break.

Don’t Let Them Take Our Bags!!

no_bags_allowed I am a girl.

I am a woman.

I carry a handbag.  I have several of them.  I never understood how I could accumulate so much stuff, but hey, I’m like a Girl Scout: always prepared.  I have my wallet, sure.  I have keys, I carry around a sample of Advil (not for me, necessarily, but for other people. Because you just don’t know).  Tissues.  Gum, mints.  I have emergency supplies of feminine products.  Because trust me, no woman should be without access to that stuff.  I have a hairbrush, maybe some lip gloss.  My phone, charger (both car and traditional electrical outlet).  Diffferent types of passes, like my Metrocard or even a ZipCard in case I need a car.

When I go to a sporting event, I usually have a smaller bag with me, one that’s across my body, and not a shoulder bag in the traditional sense.  One that doesn’t weigh like 90 lbs, but one that is able to give me basic needs. Like a small wallet, my keys, my phone, a charger if it fits, and my tickets since of course you can never get into your section without a check or interrogation, depending on the section you are seated.

In case you were not aware (I am aware, I just didn’t give a shit enough to write about it at first), the NFL across the board prohibited traditional handbags or types of carry-alls that typically women (let’s be fair, some men do too) bring into stadiums.  I guess the people who implemented this fabulous idea (note: sarcasm) didn’t really think that up to four hours is a long enough time to go without certain items, like tampons or maxipads.  Oh, sure, people can bring in clear bags.  But who wants all their personal shit out in the open?  I mean, they are called “discrete” products for a reason.

I have not been to a football game this year, I plan to, but I am not sure how successful or unsuccessful this practice has been. But I’m guessing that if it does save the time, aggravation and “security” aspect of the games, perhaps this can be implemented across the board in all sports.

I say FUCK that.  It’s more than just “where will I put my tampons” issue. It’s for anyone who wants to be remotely comfortable at a sporting event for several hours.  I’m standing up for everyone who has ever brought a bag into a stadium setting.  And not just one to carry personal belongings.  There are bags that carry cameras and other items that are not banned in games.  Where do you plan to carry these items?

The rule is flawed for several reasons.  I’ll try to enumerate each of them, if I can.  But I’m sure I’ll forget some.

1.) It provides the bias that most fans are driving to games.  Football games, perhaps, since they are mostly held on Sundays.  In the New York City area, I can take public transit.  I can’t exactly leave things that I may need for a game (unless I have a friend there with a car that I can pitch my shit). But it’s routinely a bad idea to leave anything of potential value — even the teams say they cannot be personally responsible for any theft on their property).  Think about it.  This is New York, it gets cold here.  I have to carry blankets or layers.  Sometimes we get lucky, and we have mild winters.  But Green Bay, Chicago, where the second the calendars turn, it’s colder than a mofo. I’m sure relaxed bag restrictions would work in their favor.

2.) It provides the bias that most fans are coming straight from home. How many people do you know, in a major metropolitan area, are able to have enough time to go from work, to home, to a game, being able to safely put their items in a place before going?  Not many!  I carry a large city bag, as I call it, since I work for myself and go from meeting to meeting.  Sometimes, I don’t have time to go home before going to a game.  Someone like my husband travels somewhat of a distance via mass transit.  He certainly wouldn’t have enough time to drop his stuff off and change.  Like many folks, we carry stuff via bag to work.  Where the hell do we plan to leave these things if we don’t have a car and/or time to do that? You’ll have more people opting to go straight home, and staying there.

3.) Sure, this rule unfairly targets women, who usually carry some kind of handbag…but men carry bags too.  I’m not talking about “murses,” my husband, as an example, carries his lunch, reading materials, keys for work, and maybe some other preparatory stuff.  What’s he supposed to do with that stuff?  If there are restrictions on bags, then the things we are allowed to bring into the stadium, like water, snacks, soft drinks, aren’t too far behind.  Most people do not have lockers they can leave their stuff in overnight, either.  Some days I work, and have a big bag that I carry with me.  If I can’t lock it up anywhere, I have no choice but to bring it to a game with me.  I dont like it, but what else can I do?

4.) Cameras.  I have friends who have like professional looking cameras and like taking pics at sporting events with different lenses.  Sure, we’re just regular Joe Schmoes, but they’re called spectator sports for a reason.  I don’t see anything contrary, but if this rule applies to people with cameras, they’re screwed.

There seem to be looser restrictions on those who need to carry diaper bags, as an example, or even medications.  But I truly believe these rules, overall, serve one segment of the population: the glorified Paul Blarts who work one fucking day a week and don’t want to do their jobs.  Quicker lines, my big fat ass.  They’ll still manage to take their sweet ass time making sure fans get in for kickoff.  Here are two novel ideas: go in a little earlier, or have more people at the bag check (there are express and “local” lines at entrances…they were working fine).  I can’t tell you, even at a baseball game, when they have basically two people wanding people or patting down and one person doing bag checks.  PEOPLE DO BRING BAGS TO GAMES.  Stop being cheapskates and pay more personnel to do their jobs.

Lastly, look at the type of items I numbered that we typically use bags for.  Soft drinks, blankets, sweatshirts, snacks.  You know what I think?  It’s a profit thing. You can’t bring things into the stadium?  BUY THEM SUCKAS!!!!! They’ve been doing it for years at baseball games for water and drinks, why not extend it to basically anything else?  Seriously, where the fuck else you gonna go??  You can’t leave and get re-entry.  (I also find it very telling that they suggest logo bags for the clear bags. Really, guys?)

I know I may jump to conclusions, and perhaps if more people complain about the restrictions, they’ll knock it off.  Chances are, if successful, it could be implemented across the board for all sports.  That’s bad.  It unfairly penalizes people who HAVE LIVES, and often can’t make a handoff.  I feel like if more people aren’t talking about this, Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, among others, could easily follow suit.  Problem here, is that they have more than 16 games per year.

And it unfairly penalizes the fan who wants to spend their discretionary income at sporting events.

Soooooo Not Ready

Every year it’s the “ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL???” question that’s thrown around.

And I am SO not ready.

But I’m getting there.

Hubby and I were planning to go to the Mets game all along, on Gameday one for the NFL (though technically it DID start last Wednesday).

I had planned on writing this prior to going to the game today, but wasn’t in the mood to start up the computer (it was the Sunday morning after doing a 15 mile training run).  This is how lazy I am getting.

So we go to the baseball game.  But for good measure, I wore my Jets shirt.  You know, to be a good football fan.  Maybe THAT would get me in the mood to deal with things.

But then I managed to get bits and pieces of the game throughout the baseball game.  Funny, the stadium was practically empty, and the only time the crowd got roused up was when they posted updates on the Jets game.

Then when it was over, I was happy.  The Mets outcome was almost secondary.

My husband is a Seahawks fan.  We decided to head to a local bar to watch the game.

Our first stop was a local British pub that is a Mets-friendly bar, and the bartender told us that every Sunday the NHL package shows all games.  Till we realized that it was a Panthers bar.  Moving right along, we find another bar that has only ONE television on the Seahawks/Cardinals game.

That about did it.

So if I wasn’t ready for football yet, I am now.  All in all, the sports day could have been better for me.  The Mets could have won, and my husband could have gone home happy instead of disappointed that the Seahawks couldn’t win.

But it was good to see that I could turn it on in a flash.   I mean, it’s one game a week.  I can handle that.  I think.

Little Miss Sunshine: Super Bowl 46

So there you have it, folks.  Another football season is complete, with the Super Bowl ending just around 10 pm EST yesterday.

As a Jets fan, I was joking around for the past two weeks that I was rooting for a meteor or an epicenter to form in Indianapolis.  The reality is, though, while watching the game, my hatred for the New England Patriots kind of surpassed anything that I’d ever felt.  I can’t say I was rooting for them to lose, but I felt I snickered more at their misery and mistakes more than anything else.   When the game was official, I knew that the Schadenfreude delight was now complete.

I had a Stan Marsh moment too at one point: I learned something on Super Bowl Sunday.

I learned that I was a football fan.  I watched the game, and I enjoyed it.  I’ve always said that football is the sport I care the least about, but I found the Super Bowl fun and entertaining, and I was able to eat bad carbs and get away with it.

This is the first Super Bowl that I’ve covered here at Gal For All Seasons, since I’ve only been writing since basically the beginning of football season in 2011.  So maybe I’ll incorporate this every year into the Super Bowl recap.

In the movie Little Miss Sunshine, Olive’s father, played by Greg Kinnear, is a pseudo-motivational speaker.  His philosophy is coined on taking the steps of being a “Winner.”  He starts off the movie by saying, “There are two people in this world: winners and losers.”  The same could be said about sports, obviously, and the Super Bowl is a one-and-done game.  So I’m channeling my inner Little Miss Sunshine today.  Some of the winners and losers may be obvious, but I’m going to have fun with it, as only Coop can do.

WINNER:  Tom Coughlin.

At the beginning of the game, I mentioned to the group I was watching with, that he looked like he aged about 30 years this season.  Talk about a year of ups and downs.  Now he’ll be enshrined in Giants history as one of the best there ever was.

WINNER:  Eli Manning.

This was a no-brainer.  I’ve said all along that I’ve felt that Manning is overrated.  I’ll probably get killed for this, but I still do (you can thank the chemistry of his offensive line for the win last night…not to discount his performance, as he came through when the team needed him most which is more than we can say for the other team).  That said, he’s finally gotten out of the shadow of Peyton…literally.  During this first matchup in 2008, all that was shown was Peyton watching his little brother.  They were in his HOME FIELD…and everyone mentioned that Peyton wasn’t shown once on the broadcast.

Manning may be overrated.  But he’s an overrated QB with two rings.  And will get the respect he deserves, singularly.

WINNER:  Victor Cruz.

I love this guy!  How can one not have fun watching him play?

LOSER:  Bill Belichick.

Cheaters NEVER win, Bill.  I also reacted to Belichick’s vision on screen the way Bluto did to seeing Kent Dorfman’s face on the screen in Animal House.  “AGGGHHHHHHH!”

WINNER: Wes Welker.

Welker has gotten a lot of heat for dropping a crucial pass that could have sealed the fate of the Pats.  He took the criticism, and the blame for it.  He took the high road.  He didn’t need to.  The reality is, it was a poor throw from Brady.  Skip Bayless argued that Brady is one of the most accurate passers of his generation…but it was Brady who made a poor throw to Welker.

At the end of the day, I go back to my original argument.  That this game was the Patriots to lose.  The Giants had absolutely no pressure on them.  And look what happened: they made a somewhat blah game exciting at the end, and they won.

LOSER:  Tom Brady.

BWAH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!

Okay.  I’m done.

BWAH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!

No seriously.  I’m done now.

LOSER:  Gisele Bündchen.

BWAH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!

I’m not a religious person.  But I really dislike when people use their power of prayer for trivialities in life, when there is legitimate suffering in the world.  Especially rich people who have everything.  And don’t get me started on Tim Tebow.  But Gisele’s email heard ’round the world: “Please pray for my Tommy.”  Could you get any more insincere than that?  Here are two people, each independently wealthy in their own right, “praying” for a Super Bowl win?  Get bent.

But it gets better.  Apparently, Gisele had some choice words for her Tommy’s teammates after the loss.  “My husband cannot [expletive deleted] throw the ball and catch the [expletive deleted] ball at the same time.”  I know Brady is one of the best there is, but come on…like he hasn’t choked the same exact fucking game away twice?

Gisele, you seem like an intelligent business woman.  But please keep your mouth shut about your husband’s profession.  It makes all women look bad.

LOSER:  This broad.

Speaking of making all women look bad, Stacey Tavor Merwin has set the feminist movement back at least 45 years by emasculating her husband to the extent that when they got married last year, her husband (who makes a livelihood of sports photography) mentioned that there will be a chance that the Super Bowl might fall on their anniversary.  So what does she do?  Create a hubbub reminiscent of Bridezillas.  And insist they go out on one of the biggest sports nights of the year…and writes about the wifely sacrifices SHE needs to make.  Like walking the dog.  Big fucking whoop.  It’s like the old Chris Rock bit that used to say, “I take care of my kids.”  Yeah, you want a cookie?  YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR KIDS.  And you’re supposed to take the dog out on walks. And if your husband wants to watch the Super Bowl, you could compromise and go out to dinner the night before…or have some kind of special weekend away. I know from being married, it’s about the other 364 days a year, not just that one day of the year.

Women like her need to get over themselves.

Read Kristine Reese’s post on that in The Green Room from Sunday.  Her take on it is better than anything I could ever say.

WINNER:  Womankind.

I was in a house watching the game with a ratio of 3 women: 1 man.  Take that, Ms. Merwin. (And her husband could have totally joined us)

WINNER:  Kelly Clarkson.

Clarkson nailed the Star Spangled Banner.  Some singers make the National Anthem more about “them” and their vocal styles, as opposed to making Francis Scott Key proud, with the way it’s supposed to be sung.

LOSER:  The vicious media.

Kelly Clarkson is a healthy role model for women everywhere.  Because she doesn’t weight 75 lbs is cause for vicious attacks on her body.  She’s healthy.  She looks phenomenal.  Leave it alone, the criticism gets old.

LOSER:  The Half-time Show.

I am a child of the ’80s.  I like dating myself to the extent that I can tell people, “I remember music BEFORE Madonna.”  Like her or not, Madonna helped change the face of music, she changed fashion, she changed the face of pop culture and she changed the face of women and sexual notions.  I was cautiously optimistic about her half-time show, as I’ve heard her shows are very detailed.

She started out strong, got bored in the middle and it ended okay.  But I felt like that episode of The Simpsons, where Homer was watching Bachman Turner Overdrive play and he kept yelling, “TAKIN’ CARE OF BUSINESS!! TAKIN’ CARE OF BUSINESS!!”  To which they said, well, that’s all the crowd wants to hear anyway…so they break into TCB, to which Homer yells out, “GET TO THE GOOD PART!!”

Yeah.  That was how I felt watching that.  While I know Madonna has evolved over the course of her career, let’s be fair: people want to hear the ’80s shit.  If she had stuck to that, I think it would have been a lot better.

LOSERS: Sore winners.

I am a Jets fan.  I probably weighed the pros and cons of this Super Bowl a few times.  I wasn’t going to root for anything, but the Patriots losing did make me smile a little.  The Jets had nothing to do with the games.  They haven’t even friggin played since New Year’s Day.  But sore winners still make it a point to bring up the Jets’ faults.  Again, what the fuck does that have to do with anything?  And most Jets fans were happy about how it turned out last night.  Those who feel the need to bring that up don’t deserve to be happy about their team’s win.  Fuck them and the white horse they rode in on.

WINNER: New York

My mom once pointed out to me that I have an unnatural hate towards all things Boston.  That’s not true.  I don’t dislike the Red Sox.  You know, that whole “enemy of my enemy is my friend” BS.  In 2004, I was pleased as punch when Boston knocked out the Yankees and then went on to win the World Series (mostly as a baseball historian).  But I never liked the town of Boston.  It aggravates me to the point that I just trash it when I’m there.  My mom tells me I have a New York City complex.  While that may be true, the reality is, Boston doesn’t make it any better by contributing to the whole “inferiority complex” thing.  Like Philly. I also have an unnatural hate towards all things New England.  Not lobster.  Or New England clam chowda.  But Connecticut: HATE.  Massachusetts:  Hate hate hate.  I’m sure if I visited Vermont or New Hampshire, I’d find a reason to hate them too.

So New England – Fuck you!  Take a cue from what it’s like to be from a REAL metropolis.

Hitting Close To Home

I have friends who are Mets and Reds fans.  I know someone who is a Flyers AND Isles fan.  I have a good friend from the West Coast who is an Oakland A’s fan and a Mets fan (Hi Jess!).

I don’t get it.  I have enough trouble following my one baseball team around the country, and some people are following two, maybe three for each sport!  And it’s not like these people I know who root for these teams have had marginal success over the years.

Something in common for those teams though: They’re geographically insignificant to each fanbase.  Rooting for geographically close teams in the same sport, though, is beyond my method of comprehension.  Mets AND Yankees.  Jets AND Giants.  I feel like there is too much of a conflict of interest, even if, as the saying goes, these teams don’t impact one another directly.

I’ve been fortunate.  Two of my teams won championships in a very short amount of time in my fandom.  Whether they will again in my lifetime remains to be seen.  The Jets constantly tease me and it pisses me off.  Part of my 11-year old mind in 1987 told me to become a Giants fan.  I guess being naive and not understanding the futility of being both a Mets and Jets fan (and Rangers, who at the time, hadn’t won a championship since 1940), I thought they’d just win some other time.

By 2008, I had some choice words for my dad.  “It’s bad enough you’ve made me a Mets and a Rangers fan…but a JETS fan?  What were you thinking?”  Like most of 1969, I’m sure my dad rooted for them in a drug-induced haze and just stayed because he knew nothing else.  But the Giants on my watch have won three Super Bowls, and the Jets none.  But I don’t root for the Giants.  They’re not my team.

Throughout my football fandom, though, I never hated the Giants.  They had more success than us.  Hell, my friend Sully over at Sully Baseball says that New York gets this aura of “championship town,” but it’s hard when you’re a Mets, Jets or Rangers fan (though the Mets and Rangers did have ONE parade in my lifetime) because it’s mostly Yankees and Giants.  So naturally, like many Yankee “fans” I know (because I know fans without the quotes), it’s easy, in my opinion, to root for the Giants because they’ve won many championships.  Especially in my lifetime.  I get angry with my dad and I get upset with myself.  Because goddammit, I couldn’t even make a sport I’m the least invested in easy for myself.

People who root for the Mets and Yankees…okay.  TOTALLY don’t get it.  The rivalry doesn’t make as much sense as it did when it was clearly the NL town versus the AL town, but it’s deeply rooted in history.

Now, most Mets fans had the nine layers of hell series in 2009, when the hated Phillies faced the hated Yankees.  I didn’t watch.  Scenarios occurred that I was happy with, like Cole Hamels being exposed to be the bitch he was, Jimmy Rollins shutting the hell up and Chase Utley owning the Yankees (I’m one of the few Mets fans who actually likes Utley).  But there were some fans who felt the need to root for the one or the other.  Why?  WE HATE BOTH OF THOSE TEAMS.  WHY WOULD WE ROOT FOR ANY SIDE OF IT?  I was rooting for an epicenter to form at Yankee Stadium and suck both teams in and they never got to play.

But there were still some fans who momentarily forgot that they should never ever say the “Lets Go Yankees” chant, because they feel the need to root for someone.  What’s worse, some of these folks became the dreaded “homers” that these fanbases consider their own.  I call those people “frontrunners.”  Just to have something to cheer for.  But it’s more than just cheering.  It’s being happy AND reveling in the victory like it’s your own.  Is it a water cooler topic?  Is it a bragging rights thing?  If these teams are hated so much, why bother cheering at all?  Either way, as fans of a rival, whether manufactured or not, it doesn’t make sense to me.

Now this gets me to the Super Bowl.  Once again, we are faced with a dilemma, if you will, as Jets fans.  The hated Patriots face the Giants.  Notice I didn’t say “hated” Giants.  Because I don’t hate them.  For whatever reason, Giants fans have taken a HUGE dislike to the Jets fan population, at least those who are vocal on Twitter.

So most recently, it’s Giants fans who have made a Jets/Giants rivalry a “real” one, when it never was one.  Or maybe it was bubbling underneath and needed to come up.  Why would I actively root for a team that dislikes my fan base so much?  There are exceptions to every rule, but you get my drift.  It’s a Super Bowl where I could care less really about the teams.

It goes to the whole rooting for two teams.  I don’t get it.  Especially teams so geographically close.  My husband is a Seattle Seahawks fan.  If they went to a Super Bowl, and they weren’t playing my team, I’d be thrilled and excited.  The Seahawks don’t matter to me.  The Giants do and it’s geography, not to mention the success they’ve had in playoffs that the Jets do not have.  It’s easy to root for them and don’t deny it.

I do not buy the “Jets/Giants rivalry isn’t anything like Mets/Yankees.”  If one is a Jets AND Giants fan, one is taking the easy way out because chances are, you will have a local team to support when the going gets going.

This is not a Miss Manners post on who to root for.  Just don’t be a homer.  I don’t like the Patriots, but I respect them.  I don’t dislike the Giants, but I respect them.  It’s an easy situation for me.  I’ll watch the game.  I’ll eat carbs.  And that’s it.

A fan is someone who sticks with their team through the good, bad and ugly, and doesn’t cherry pick a team to root for during the playoffs.   I would say that besides being a Mets/Yankees “fan,” a Jets/Giants “fan” is more of the same, since the Giants have had more success than the Jets ever had or look to have.  It’s an insurance policy, plain and simple.  If it was easy, we’d all be Yankees fans, and we’d all be Giants fans (in New York of course…and Boston fans need to stop complaining!).

And I still don’t get it.  I don’t know.  Must not be in my DNA.

IDK

I am a Jets fan.  I’ve made that clear on several occasions.  Hell, I even have a blog dedicated to my fandom of three teams, one of which is the Jets.  But football is a curious sport.  I came around late on football, although I always followed the Jets, it took me a long time to get into the rivalries and playoffs implications and having to pay attention to what other teams do.  Football is really for the ADD addled masses of our society.  It’s a one day thing (potentially spilling over to Mondays), and it gives you an excuse to drink beer, eat wings and go to bars on Sunday.  Not that a nice girl like me does things like that.

Okay.  You can stop laughing now.

Anyway, my point is, I never got Jets and Giants hating on each other.  I mean, whatever, I don’t dislike the Giants, I don’t exactly go out and buy their logo-emblazoned stuff, but I know many Giants fans and always am happy to see them happy.  This year, while watching Jets/Giants, I was at my mom’s.  Her boyfriend is a Giants fan (though if you ask me, he’s just a big NFC guy, he’ll make a special exception to the Baltimore Ravens because he likes their stadium.  Go figure).  She asked me what it was like watching a game with a Giants fan.  I shrugged.  He isn’t an idiot on Twitter, talking shit like they won the fucking Super Bowl.  But I was fine with it.  Besides, I knew the Jets season was over, win or lose.  It could have been, I dunno, the Packers for all I cared and I still would have felt “whatever” about it.

So now, I am walking around New York City, and EVERYWHERE I look, there is some kind of Giants thing around.  Whether it’s a booster, or someone posting a photo of Times Square, the Empire State Building…it’s everywhere.  This isn’t sour grapes or jealousy, it’s just something I thought of.  I was either ignorant to it or just maybe I was thinking of not jinxing anything (Yeah, remember what I said about the whole neuroses of sports fans earlier? I didn’t eat ANYTHING that was remotely Boston related when they played New England last year, and I also wouldn’t eat Heinz ketchup during the conference championship against Pittsburgh…yeah, I know)…but I don’t remember all this hullabaloo last year.

Yes, I know that the Jets practically “guaranteed” a Super Bowl entry.  I also like to point out that Mark Messier “guaranteed” a Rangers win almost 18 years ago, and ever since then, EVERYONE has “guaranteed” a win of fill-in-the-blank.  So whatever haterade coming towards the Jets is deserved.  But I seriously don’t remember such a big deal being made over the Jets last year.  I’d have barely known about it, except, I was a fan and the bar around the corner had beer specials.

I was talking to my Jets blogging touchstone, Jon Presser, earlier on Twitter, and we started off talking about the Mets, then I asked if there was this much attention being paid to the Jets last year.

I got a kick out of that.  After all, I’ve seen it myself.  I really don’t get it.  Football fans can hate whomever they want, but I’m sure there are teams that Jets fans should hate, and they’re not in the NFC.  I also don’t mind when Jets fans root for “New York,” though I don’t particularly do that myself.  Depending on the matchups, I decide who I am rooting for.  But that’s besides the point.  My issue is that Rex Ryan has said he doesn’t want the Jets to be “little brother” in this town.  They fell short, but I see what he means.  It wouldn’t have friggin mattered if the Jets went to the Super Bowl or won last year.  Because they didn’t make it this year, and the Giants are one game away from it, well, that is everything.  I know, woe is us, but I can’t catch a goddamn break with my teams. UGH!

When I said I didn’t dislike the Giants or their fans, yet it seems there’s an incredible amount of hatred towards the team in green, this was the response I got.

Well, look, here it is.  I wish my friends who root for the Giants the best of luck.  All I know is I will be a happy camper-ette if the Patriots lose.  Like Jon said, would the hypocrites come to roost, or because the team wasn’t expected to “do anything” this year, and they’re in the championship game, does it mean it was a success?

IDK.  But according to those same folks, the Jets not making it past the AFC conference game two years in a row meant nothing.  Well, I have to agree.  I would have liked it to go further and they didn’t do shit this year.  But if NYG’s don’t make it to the big show after Sunday, I don’t want to hear it.  Goddammit, anyway.

Giving Thanks

This might have been a phone conversation I had with my dad the other night.

Me: “So I’ll be seeing my friends Fred and Jenn this weekend.”

Dad: “Fred Solomon??? Man, I feel like I know that guy.”

Funny, because “Solly,” as we like to call him, has never met my dad (neither has his wife, Jenn).  Yet, because of this wonderful thing called social media and Facebook, it’s introduced me to a universe of friends that I probably would not have known otherwise.

And at the root of it?  It’s our shared fandom of certain teams.

Fans at a Jets game (From L to R): Kevin, Coop, Mr. E and Kace

When I was a kid, my dad would take me Mets games at Shea Stadium.  Mr. E, as we call him, has a natural approachable and friendly personality.  Anyone who meets him loves him.  He’s just the right mixture of lovably wacky and heart-of-gold.  This weekend, he turns 60. He’s showed me what it’s like to be a die-hard fan of sports and what it takes to be a friend.

I’ve probably loved him and hated him equally for making me a Mets, Jets and Rangers fan though.

Yet, when we used to go to these games, he’d go with his best friend, affectionately known as “Uncle Gene,” and I’d tag along.  They’d keep me occupied with Cracker Jacks, fountain sodas and ice cream (did I mention how hyper I’d be at these games too?).  They used to sit in a section with these guys Dominic, Rob and Mike.  You’d never know it, but they just met and socialized at the games.  They always seemed like they knew each forever.  But it was sports.  Sports is what drew them together, and what was an initial common bond.

Sadly, they lost touch over the years, but I can’t tell you how many times Dominic, Rob and Mike popped into a conversation with Mr. E or Uncle Gene while we talked about going to Mets games.  I always remembered though that I loved the in-the-trenches humor that Mets fans have, and it kept me around, even in down times because it was always a common thread we have.

My dad also got me going to Rangers hockey games and into the Jets a long time ago.  After the Giants won the Super Bowl in 2008, I said, “It’s bad enough that you made me a Mets and a Rangers fan…but a JETS FAN???”  Pops took me to my first Mets baseball game and Rangers hockey game…but I took him to his first Jets game last year.  So I guess one good turn deserves another.

Mets Fans at AT&T Park (From L to R): Ed, Coop, Senor Solly and Mrs. Senor Solly

So this brings me back to Fred and Jenn, or Senor Solly and Mrs. Senor Solly.  I don’t know if I’d know them outside of sports.  I’d like to think somehow our paths would have crossed but outside of our mutual fandom, sadly I don’t think that would be the case.  So even when my teams are horrible and they suck and they piss me off, I have the relationships and bonds I’ve formed as a result of them.  Yet, because my dad has been “introduced” to them as a result of tools like Facebook or even about me bringing them up in conversation, they are kind of like my versions of Dominic, Rob and Mike.  Though maybe if Facebook existed back in the ’80s, we wouldn’t be wondering “What happened to those guys??” and maybe seeing them at games more regularly.  Last we heard, Dominic got married and was living in Greenwich, Connecticut, and had two kids.  That was back in 1994.  His kids might have graduated college by now.

This is the time of the year we are supposed to give thanks to what we have and friend we have met and for our family, but most of all I am thankful that my dad got me into sports.  I may get mad at him for rooting in exercises in futility sometimes…yet, I also know the thrill of winning, which is why I stick around and it makes the bad times worth it.

But most of all, it got me to meet some lovely people over the years.  If you are not a sports fan, then perhaps this is a bit out of the realm of your comfort zone.  There may be common bonds you form with different groups of people.  For us, we get together, and bitch about our teams, and reminisce about the good ol’ days, and then we find we have more in common than we ever thought.