Washington Capitals

What Have I Done To Deserve This?

Coop is officially too old for this shit.

Coop is officially too old for this shit.

My life is an open book.  My sports fandom, especially if you follow me on Twitter, is worn on my sleeve.  I live and breathe (and sometimes, have a mild heart attack) with every win or loss.

Over the years, baseball has gotten easier for me to handle, mostly because I’m not expecting much from the Mets.  My reactions good or bad is usually of the, “My, what a lovely surprise” variety.

I never gave a crap about football until recently.  Even so, the stakes are a little bit higher because there are fewer games.  Even the playoffs are a one-and-done type of deal.  Don’t let the door hit ya on your way out either.

Hockey has always been a different animal for me.  The game is so fast paced, and because of that, I can be very reactionary.  My reactions are incredibly visceral.  You go crazy and cheer a goal.  You goad two goons fighting.  You boo the opposing team’s star center.

Every so often (okay, more like, every day of my life being a sports fan), I want to give it all up.  You know what? Just FUCK IT ALL, and I’ll take up a hobby that’s boring and doesn’t leave me feeling all empty inside.  Like knitting.

Last night’s shit sandwich of a game against the Washington Capitals was one of those nights that knitting really seems like a good hobby for me to take up now.  I am getting way too old for this shit.

*************************************

It’s that time of the year, folks.  It’s the time of the year where two of my favorite sports collide and overlap.  Prioritizing hockey games over baseball games now, because it’s the Cup.  Rather, because…playoffs.  These games are clearly not of the One-and-Done variety like football, but the high stakes of elimination are evident in every game.  Lose one game, I am a big sour puss.  If the Rangers can firm up a victorious round before the seven games…AWESOME!  Go to seven, I will hate everything and everybody.  No offense.  I just take this time of the year very seriously.

Don't Keep Calm

This is usually every other word that comes out of my word. Actually, just “fuck.”

I’ve mentioned previously that in the playoffs, not only have the Rangers faced the Washington Capitals an extraordinary amount in the playoffs, I’ve seen them play the Caps an extraordinary amount.  I saw a game in 2011 that the Rangers lost in OT.  A game, I will point out, they should have won in regulation.

I saw another game in 2012.  A year, by the way, the Rangers made it all the way to the Eastern Conference series.  They lost THAT game.

When NotGlen Sather invited me to the 2013 playoffs, I initially told him no.  Not that I could not or did not want to go.  I absolutely won’t turn down a ticket that he graciously paid for (but had a cancellation, I believe).  I told him, I couldn’t bear the burden of a loss.  The Rangers were down 2-0 in the series.  That game was a “must win.”  He said, he’d take his chances with me.  And they won.  They ended up taking the series too.

So I thought, maybe that dragon was slayed.  I dislike the Capitals a lot because of this playoff history.  But as I said last night in a tweet, I’d have straight up died before Game Two had this series been against the Islanders.  Don’t get me wrong: I’d have enjoyed it.  I preferred it, actually.  But I don’t think I would last long.

Anyway, I was telling my dad how positive I felt going into this series.  If you know me and follow me, you know that is the LAST thing I think about with this team.  Even though they won the President’s Trophy, it is simply not enough.  It’s #CupOrBust for me in 2015.  Otherwise, this year will be an ultimate disappointment.  There, I said it.

But I told my dad, I felt as though the playoffs were just a formality.  (I also said that about the Seahawks this year.  They did make it to the Super Bowl.  The ending wasn’t what I wanted…but I digress.)

Then I made the cardinal mistake of mentioning that I felt like the Rangers would be a little “rusty” having had no hockey for almost an entire week.

The game was interesting from the get-go.  The Rangers certainly had their opportunities early on in the game.  When Ovechkin gets a “surprise” goal (meaning: no one really believed it went in), I found it hard to believe that would be the only goal scored until late third period.

What’s more: the Rangers did not bring their A-game.  AT ALL.  Missed set ups and passes, futile breakaways.  Of course, there’s the inevitable save here and there by Braden Holtby.  But still, there were plenty opportunities, hardly any were fruitful.

The crowd was in rare form.  For all the renovations have done regarding the fan experience, some people have complained that the fans don’t do *enough*, they are too quiet, etc.  I beg to differ.  Before opening face off, the crowd was raucous and fun.  It reminded me of the old days.

The guys sitting behind me, though, they had a difference of opinion. An alcohol-induced opinion, for sure, but opinions nonetheless about how bad the fans were. In fact, one of them generated a laugh from me when he said in so many words that all the fans were doing amounted to “playing with their dicks.” If you follow me on Twitter, you know those words have come out of my own mouth from time to time. When they started picking fights with other Rangers fans (Seriously…YOUSE ARE ROOTING FOR THE SAME TEAM), it was time for the bros to go.

Right after they were tossed from the game though, a miracle happened…The Rangers finally scored! Who cares they tied up the game late in regulation…they scored!

But looking back at the entire evening, the fact that the Capitals scored the go ahead goal with less than 2 seconds left in the game, it was pure poetry.

Whether it’s the week off, missing Mats Zuccarello, Rick Nash and Martin St. Louis taking a dump, I’m not sure.  Something was certainly off this entire game.

Anyone who says the Rangers should have won that game clearly knows nothing about hockey nor watched the game.  They had no business winning that game.  Even if they did, sure I’d be in a better mood than I have been all day, it certainly would have been in spite of their previous play.

Seriously, they lost significant leads in the Stanley Cup fucking Final last year, and this year, they let their guard down in Round Two.  I may have felt at the beginning of the game that it was merely a formality to play these games.  I mean, that’s how confident I felt as a fan in this series.  Now, not so much.  I hope Alain Vigneault threw the book at these assholes.

*************************************

I bought you drinks, I brought you flowers
I read your books and talked for hours
Every day so many drinks
such pretty flowers, so tell me
What have I, what have I, what have I done to deserve this?
What have I, what have I, what have I done to deserve this?

Every year around this time, I get a little nostalgic.  The summer of my 18th year, I discovered the Pet Shop Boys, and one my “desert island albums” is an album that come out the year before, Very.  I wrote about this at length last year during their run to the Stanley Cup Final.

When I was in California a few weeks ago, I was on a train from Sacramento to Oakland while the Rangers played in game two against the Pittsburgh Penguins.  It was the only game the Rangers lost in the first round.  I was joking around that on my playlist, a song from Very came on shuffle.  We had this one.

For some reason, I have not felt like listening to the album this time around.  Which surprises me because as sure as death and taxes and the Rangers being in the playoffs on the road to the Stanley Cup, I listen to Pet Shop Boys Very.

Last night, though, after walking a zombie march essentially from the Garden to the Port Authority Bus Station (where my dad had taken the bus from New Jersey several hours before), I felt like listening to some music on the train ride home.

A Pet Shop Boys oldie came on.

“What have I, what have I, what have I done to deserve this?,” the familiar refrain repeated.

Yeah, I thought, what the fuck exactly have I done to deserve being in sports futility????

Seriously, I had great luck, rooting for teams that hadn’t won championships in a long time, and being a fan for like five minutes in the grand scheme of things, they win championships.  The Mets and Rangers won in short periods of time in relation to my becoming a fan.

And yet, each year, something happens that raises my disappointment to an art form.

While I don’t believe the point of sports is to win but rather to entertain (and Flying Spaghetti Monster knows, I’ve been entertained more often than not with these bar raising disappointments), I’d still like a bone thrown my way.

And I can only surmise that after last night’s shit show, things can only go UP from here.

So please, get out of the bathroom, stop taking a shit, and just fucking PLAY BETTER.

You assholes.

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A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Swamp…

Since I can barely string a coherent thought, here are some hits from the Coop.

My reaction to last 15 seconds of Rangers and Capitals game.


(In response to my begging him to come on the Gal For All Seasons podcast)

Holy Sheepshit and Balls commentary!

Crazy 3s

One of the drawbacks of being a hockey and baseball fan is that if one sports is in the playoffs, it impacts the start of the season of the other.

In fact, I gave up following basketball because of the conflict it would provide between hockey playoffs.  See, back in the 1990s, I used to follow the Utah Jazz, mostly for the John Stockton and Karl Malone combo.  Once they retired, I kind of lost interest.  Then again, the strike in hockey kind of threw me off for a while.  Then the Mets collapsing two years in a row brought me back.

Now, it’s special.  I’m married and as irony would have it, he’s a Utah Jazz fan.  He never cared much for hockey till I started making him watch.  So I guess it’s up to me to be the open one, and allow him to watch the basketball games on television.  They are in this market though, so it’s not often.

Till the crazy threes happened recently.  The Rangers are in the playoffs, and making it interesting.  The Mets are also an interesting and fun team to watch, and we’re both big baseball and Mets fans.  And then, there’s Maude, or rather, the Utah Jazz.  See, they were in the playoffs too.  Unfortunately, they were eliminated last night.

But the weekend proved interesting.  Our two year wedding anniversary was on Saturday, coincidentally, it’s also Cinco de Mayo (because we need an excuse to drink margaritas on our anniversary).  This year was also nuts because hubby, being a comic book geek, had Free Comic Book Day, which falls on the first Saturday of May every year.

 

Tom Seaver Bobbleheads being brought into the Jackie Robinson Rotunda prior to the game.

It was also Tom Seaver bobblehead day for the 4 pm start at CitiField, and the Rangers were playing the Capitals at 12:30 pm. Throw in the Utah Jazz later that night, and we had ourselves a party.

To say it was a busy day would be an understatement.

It started with me picking up breakfast from our favorite diner to bring to him as he waited in line at comic book day.  Because the line was very long about 2 hours before the place opened, they started to let people in earlier than the open.  So we were able to bring breakfast to the park and eat like normal people, and not on the sidewalk.

From there, though, we had some time to kill.  It was off to CitiField to hang at McFadden’s to claim our seats for the Ranger game.

 

The first two periods flew by, but I needed to actually go into the stadium twice.

A friend couldn’t make the game, so I needed to pick up a ticket for him that he called in for me, and I went into the stadium, twice.  Even as I found out the Rangers lost.

Son of beech.  Sheet.

From there, we met up with some friends who wanted to buy us celebratory margaritas.  How could we say no?  From there, it was to the Taqueria to get our margs, and from there, to our seats.  Then there’s the game.  Which took FOREVER and a day to finish, but it finished.

But since we were running around since the word “go” in the morning, our Cinco de Mayo/anniversary celebrations were cut short by me after the Mets game.

In fact, I was up in the Caesar’s Club for the last few innings to stay warm and recharge my batteries, both on my phone and for myself.  Plus hubby was able to find a Nieuwenhuis shirt in the bullpen store on the Excelsior level…I just want to point out there were plenty there, but you still can’t find Niese.

 

I was just so friggin tired.  Plus, the Jazz was game was on at night, and he wanted to watch.  Which hubby was more than happy to eat tacos and tortilla chips from the local greasy taco spoon and watch.

So for those of you keeping track at home, Saturday was Rangers – L, Mets – W, Jazz, – L.

Leading to Monday, it was a three-peat of extraordinary measures.  The Mets game was starting at 7, Rangers 7:30, and the Jazz somewhere around there (needless to say, their preference was a little low on the totem pole…sorry honey).

The Mets game looked like it was going to be annoying, a Roy Halladay start, and Jonathon Niese not his normal self at first (but he recovered, thank goodness).  I thought we were lucky to get A hit let alone a run.  I mean, it’s Halladay.

But things got interesting.  When I turned on the Ranger game, the Mets started to come back and they tied the game after being down 2-0.  Meanwhile, the Rangers allowed to be tied at one point, 1-1.

The Jazz were in the background, on the computer, with hubby following the CBS Sports scores.  Since between hockey intermissions, we turned the Mets game back on.

Something funny happened on the way to the Garden though.  Early in the third period, the Capitals went ahead 2-1.  The Rangers meanwhile decided to do their best impression of Ice Capades.  But here’s the kicker though.  For me, though I watched the game, and I wasn’t very happy with how the Rangers were playing, I had an eerie sense of calm over me.  Like, I wasn’t worried.  I figured, even if the Rangers lost, they’d just win the next two games.  THAT’S HOW MUCH I BELIEVE IN THE TEAM.

But then there’s Maude…

A penalty working in the favor of the Rangers?  Just seconds away from regulation being done?  Brad Richards, king of the last minute dramatics, scores the tying goal, and I was never happier to see overtime, ever.

I told my husband to not turn the Mets game on just yet.  I guess I was being paranoid, like, I didn’t want the goal to be waived off because I turned off the game.  Yes, I’m weird.

But then, Twitter blew up in my Mets people.  “JORDANY VALDESPIN!”  “SHADES OF OMIR SANTOS.”  Most Mets fans remember when Omir Santos took Jonathan Papelbon to school in 2009, when he hit a go-ahead home run in the 9th inning, leading to a blown game opportunity for Papelshmir.

I yell, “Ohmygoodness, honey, turnonthemetsturnonthemets TURN ON THE METS!!”

He had no idea.  He was shocked, I was like – whoa.  Imagine how happy he’d be if the Jazz won?

The Jazz, meanwhile, were one game away from elimination from the San Antonio Spurs, who had thus far dominated the series.  Meanwhile, I was just glowing from the Rangers.

I knew, then, that I must have felt some kind of energy.  Like, it would be okay for them no matter what.

Then.  It happened.

Marc Staal scores the game winning goal, overtime is over, and the Rangers are suddenly up three games to two, and it’s like 1986 all over again for me.

I related that last night’s win was like Game Six for the Mets vs Red Sox.  It was to an extent that I had given up hope that the Rangers would win, they would head into DC losing the series, and they would have to lean on the flair for the dramatics.

Not anymore.

The Mets won, the Rangers won…The Jazz, sadly, lost their game and the season last night.  But it’s okay.

I mean, maybe not for hubby.  But at least now, we won’t have to worry about fitting that crazy three into our schedule now.

They say two’s company, but three’s a crowd.  And perhaps in a way it’s like that for spring sports, especially if you have many horses in different races.

We had several ways to get these games, get these scores, but we managed to make it work.  And make it fun too.

Holtby Sheepshit and Balls

Because the Caps lost in triple overtime, does that mean they suck?  Does it mean Braden Holtby sucks?  Does it mean Henrik’s better?  If the Rangers lost, would they have sucked and Caps would have been world beaters?

It’s one of those existential thoughts, I think, akin to that tree falling in the forest and whether it makes a noise or not.  Although, I do have a few regular readers of this site who would agree with the last question, after all they’re nothing but no-good stinkin Devils fans who take glee in rooting against the Rangers. (Meanwhile, I’m rooting for a meteor).

But I digress.

Last night was one for the ages.  It was really a play of mettle and fortitude, mostly from the goaltending aspect.  Which I guess in baseball, there’s the pitcher’s duel.  What is a tight game that goes into multiple playoff OTs called?  A goaltender spat?  I mean, after two overtimes, I was seeing double and I wasn’t even playing, yet someone like Ryan McDonagh played almost a full hour in nearly 120 minutes of playing time.  Then there’s Stu Bickel, who watched about 114 minutes from the end of the bench.

But this was one not of outlast versus outplayed.  Neither team particularly outplayed one another.  In fact, it was a lot of hitting posts, crossbeams, deflections, but the biggest show of them all was from the goal posts themselves, and who was manning them.

King Henrik was making me shout “Oh My Henrik!” and Holtby made me utter a “HOLTBY sheepshit and balls” during the game.  In fact, one of the sweetest things during the broadcast was seeing Holtby’s parents in the stands, with his mom covering her face and looking through her hands, like I would while I’m watching Dexter or a Mets game.

But my question is simple.  If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there, does it make a sound?  And if the Rangers lost a game in triple overtime does that mean they suck?

And the answer is, no.  In fact, I think for Saturday’s game, they really will need to up the ante.  Because this Holtby kid is special.  He’s got something good going for him, least of it being having two of the coolest parents on planet earth.  If anyone knows them and if they’ll be in New York for Game five, tell them I’d like to buy them a drink! They were class acts all the way, and even as Marian Gaborik decided to grace us with his presence with the game winner, Holtby’s mom cheered the effort.

SHE CHEERED THE EFFORT.

How cool is that?

In a night of bizarro sports, where Jered Weaver held the Minnesota Twins to as many hits as Albert Pujols has home runs, and where I saw every hockey fanatic on Twitter talking about the triple overtime game — the first of its kind this year — with gusto…no matter who their team affiliation is…I just have to say…

Holy sheepshit and balls.

Only the Names Have Changed

Back then, the names on the jerseys were Messier, Leetch, Graves, Richter.  There might have been a Gilbert or Ratelle jersey in the mix.  I might have even seen a Gartner jersey.

Now, the jerseys say Gaborik, Callahan, Richards, Lundqvist.

This, of course, is my trip to TGI Friday’s on 34th St and 8th Avenue, a few blocks north of the Garden.

Gabby the Ranger bear anxiously awaits the opening faceoff while dining at Friday's.

It’s sacrilegious you know, since I do live in New York City, to go to of all places a chain restaurant that merely serves to set itself up as a tourist trap.  Well, bear in mind that once upon a time I actually was one of those…yes, I was a tourist.  I was also 18 years old, not of legal drinking age, and when the Rangers won the Cup in 1994, my dad and I wanted to be near the celebrations.  I could only imagine what places like Mustang Harry’s or Blarney Rock were like in 1994.  All I know is, when I walk past this Friday’s, I get the warm fuzzies, knowing my dad and I were there for the final three games of the series against Vancouver which led to the moment that would last a lifetime, as Sam Rosen called it.  (And by the way, I will miss him for the rest of the playoffs, which are of course to be determined to go as long as they do with how the Rangers perform.)

So Dad and I got a chance to go to the playoffs.  We went last year, to a crushing loss in overtime to the Capitals, and I was thinking this may deja vu all over again.  See, we went to home game two (which is what these are labeled as on the ticket), and I was also coming down with a cold in 2011.  This year, I had a full blown cold, but I’m feeling better now, thank you very much.  The Rangers lost that game in overtime, when Henrik Lundqvist did his best impression of a closer in a non-save situation, as he was fronted a three goal lead, and still managed to give up four unanswered.

I hemmed and hawed.  I wanted to go to a game, but for all I know, it could have been a sweep (it won’t be) and tickets to game five would be moot.  So I threw caution to the wind, and invited Dad and we went.

Dad and I were joking around during game seven in the last series, when I said I should go back to Friday’s for old time’s sake.  Try to get some good energy.  When I told him we were going to game two, I said we should go there for a pregame.

My dad hasn’t touched alcohol in years, but he feels at home at a bar.  It’s odd because he just gravitates towards people, and well, where do people congregate?  A bar!  I drink, as you all know, but since I was under the weather, I wasn’t feeling it.  So we split an appetizer and two soft drinks.  It didn’t break the bank, but we got a kick out of the $19 cheeseburger.

Shit.  Don’t people know you can walk like eight blocks up to Shake Shack for a fraction of cost?  And it’s a far superior burger?

Dad was pretty anxious to get in, about an hour before.  He needed to get his game face on, and so did I.  I also introduced Marian Gaborik, aka Gabby Bear, to playoff hockey.  She was born in December during a game in the Team Store, so this is her first experience.  As we walked into the security bag check, the usher said, “Oh I see we’ve got our mascot here.”  He lifted her out of the bag, and she yelled, “YAAAAAAAHHHHHH!” as she’s wont to do during a game, especially after a goal.  She’s a wild one, all right, like her mom.  She loves junk food, especially french fries and chips (of any kind), is a brawler unlike her namesake.

 

The 50 or so minutes we had to kill before the game went quickly, as before I knew it, John Amirante was out psyching up the crowd during his rousing rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.

   

But I guess the rally towels they handed out as we walked into the arena were only good for show, as the Rangers quickly found themselves in a 2-0 hole.  That literally should have been a 1-0 at best deficit, but Henrik decided to get fancy at one point.  Do what you do best, Henke: guard the fucking net.

But they managed to tie it up by coming from behind, only to lose on a bullshit call with a bullshit penalty.  It was like the refs wanted to keep the Capitals in the game.  Although they were in it.

I didn’t think of this as a wrenching or crushing loss.  It was just a loss.  Not like last year as I sat there, with a bad chest cold coming on, wanting to die as they went into OT, where they shouldn’t have been anyway.  I knew the series was over, although technically, it took the Caps a game to finish that deed off.

Tonight was different.  I guess after such a stressful first round, you don’t sweat the small stuff.  You’re going to win some games, you’re going to lose some games.  Shit happens.  Both teams played equally well.  The Caps may scare me, but I think the Rangers can take ’em, and let last season seem like a fluke.  In fact, it only shows this won’t be nearly as easy as we thought.  It will be interesting.  It will be a challenge.

It will be what hockey playoffs are supposed to be.

Yet, I’ve come a long way, because I didn’t have to stay at Friday’s to watch the game, I was able to actually go to the game.

Fridays might not have changed all that much, though.  In fact, my dad pointed out the brass rail that some crazy homeless dude who got into the bar almost tore off the wall during the Rangers wins.  “He Shoots! He SCORES!” the guy kept yelling, as he was falling all over the place.

But instead of “TGI Fridays” it’s branded as “Fridays.”  The names on the jerseys may show Messier, Leetch or Richter, but there are Callahan, Gaborik and Lundqvist.

A new generation, but same old Rangers fans.  And only the names have changed on the back of the jerseys.  The excitement and the heart of playoff hockey still rings true 18 years later.

Running on Rangers

We’re hitting the home stretch of regular season hockey games, especially for the Rangers as it seems they are playing a game every other day.  Originally, I had two games to go to: Sunday, March 11, and Friday, March 23.  Also odd because I rarely do two games in a month, much less miss a month of live games.  That’s what happened this year.  I had tickets to the Rangers/Devils game in February at home, but I sold my tickets for a hefty ransom.  Hey, if I can make some money off the supply/demand issue at those games, I’ll take advantage of it.

But then I had a friend who came into town this weekend.  Our story is kind of funny, like many in this world.  We went to school together.  We had a lot of the same friends, but I don’t remember hanging out with her solely.  (If I did, I apologize, ha ha).  I didn’t know she was a Rangers fan till a few years ago, when we reconnected on Facebook, as many are wont to do, especially due to our mutual friends.  Another layer that added to our friendship was that we were long distance runners; I’m still a novice, she’s definitely more experienced (not to mention, faster!) than I am.  She gets the intensity that goes into both the fan perspective and being an accidental athlete.

This is my friend Aimee. When she found out she was chosen in the NYC Half lottery, like I was, she needed a place to stay.  ***HI!!!***  But it’s all good.  I love having guests and if I can help them save some money and stay in a cool neighborhood, that works for me (they also need to like cats though but that’s no problem for Aimee – she has three).

Anyway, a few weeks before the half, Aimee realized that the Rangers were playing a home game the night before the race.  She decided that though we like to keep things low key the night before a race, she rarely makes visits to the city anymore for games, and she couldn’t give up an opportunity to go to a game when she happened to be in town.

So then, there were three.  Three games, for me, in the month of March now.

Originally I had planned on writing about this recap after the game on he 23rd.  Yet, the two games had such differentials that I felt the need to go over it now.  The first game was a dramatic overtime win with the help of the RUN-BMC line (Brad Richards, Marian Gaborik and Carl Hagelin) and most specifically an almost literal last second goal in sudden death by Gaborik.

 

The game on Saturday was almost a killjoy.  Former Washington Capital goalie now on the Colorado Avalanche, Semyon Varlamov, absolutely stupified Rangers goal scorers.  I forget the exact amount, but it was like 41 shots-on-goal to the Avalanche’s like 20.  I am not joking.  Henrik Lundqvist had a bad game, by giving up two goals.  The Rangers offensive unit was worse and couldn’t help their goalie.  Turns out this wasn’t the first time Varlamov has done this to the Blueshirts.  During the game Aimee had asked that question, whether he had given us trouble in the past.  Well, the answer was yes.  And the worst part was that Mats Zuccarello’s first goal was almost forgotten because of the unprecedented performance.

We didn’t let that bad news get us down for our race Sunday morning.  We had to be at Central Park before 7 am, so for runners with rituals, we need to be up earlier than THAT.  By 5 am, we were up and at ’em, George McFaddam.  And you know, the Rangers loss didn’t translate into a grumpy run for me.  My friend Chuck always says that he likes when I run angry.  I don’t know if I’m necessarily an “angry” runner.  I know when people piss me off on the course, I get that way.

The corral took over 40 minutes to even get to the starting line.  By 8:15 I was heading to the first mile.

Roughly, the first half of the course takes place in Central Park, killer hills and all.  I train there, though, so I feel like I have an advantage to some who don’t train there.  Of course, if you’re a good runner and fast, then you have all the advantage in the world!

The course brings you through the heart of Manhattan – Times Square, then runs downtown to South Street Seaport.  I admit to dragging but I knew my husband would be meeting me at designated places on the course, with some words of encouragement and photos.  Mostly, with bears.

If you don’t follow my husband on Twitter, or on his blog, you should be.  He’s one of the most generous and creative people I’ve ever known.  I often say that he serves as my personal assistant, water boy and photographer for my races.  If the shoe was on the other foot, I’m not sure I’d do the same thing.  But he brought along three bears to cheer me on — Angel, a Mets bear; Nicky, the running bear; and Gabby, the Ranger bear.

Gabby greeted me at Mile 12 with this sign.

 

I couldn’t help but laugh when I saw it (hence the picture next to it).  Needless to say I had a big smile on my face, and I knew even though I was dragging, getting to Mile 13 would be a piece of cake because I had the back wind and momentum to power me forward.

I run to a music mix of Paul McCartney’s greatest hits, Abbey Road, Sgt. Peppers, and usually it brings me to Paul McCartney and the Wings’ Band on the Run.  The second song of my music mix is Jet, and the second song on the Band on the Run album is the same.  So I hear some of the same songs twice.  Not to worry though, as these songs are welcome and I don’t get sick of them.  But I was being guided into the finish line by Jet once again.

When I saw my husband and my friend snapping my pics at the end, I was inspired.  I was inspired by the song, by the runners, by my sports affiliations.  Before each Jets game, some of the players go out, looking like planes and zooming onto the field.  So I do that.

Sometimes my teams disappoint me.  Yet I believe in momentum and that power that carries you forward into the finish line for every season, every day, in every part of our lives.  The Jets gave me a bit of inspiration, the Mets have shaped my life, and the Rangers have made it possible for me to be thankful that I am a sports fan at this point in my life.

There are things in life that give you momentum.  For me, the running has given me a distraction from the daily stuff in life that could keep me down, like rejection.  Other times, sports have given me the opportunity to connect with people I never would have, or reconnect with people I’ve known for a long time but on a different level.

 

These pictures represent the fact that sports has brought to me some of the most special people I’ve ever met, or brought me to another level with others.  Both of the women in the pics with me were brought together, on some level, from sports.  Sharon for baseball, Aimee for hockey.  Then all three of us are runners, and we are each others own support network!

Thank you New York, and thank you sports!