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nice to meet you, Football

I never thought one day I’d become a football fan. So far I’ve only watched part of last NFL season through to the Super Bowl and then I started from the beginning of this NFL season. I have so much more to learn about the sport, but I am enjoying every minute of it. But amazingly, what I found is watching football is surprisingly not just a way to pass the time in an entertaining fashion; it is also a way to heal from grief.

Obviously there is nothing or no one who could ever replace my dad, but I think it helps that he was a basketball fan and knew nothing about football. Maybe my brain doesn’t think of him every time I watch like it would if I turned on an NBA game (which I haven’t lately). Maybe it’s also because he’s not the one explaining the game to me and I can’t feel his energy as he is engrossed in watching a game. My brain on football is totally experiencing something new and something I have to figure out on my own with the help of some friends. Yes, this time I attribute getting into football to friends, whereas getting into basketball I attribute to my dad.

It’s just funny that I used to think football was so not me and there’s no way I could be friends with anyone who was a die-hard fan. In the present tense I have a favorite team, I’m following my favorite team on Twitter, I watch my favorite team’s locker room speeches on YouTube, I read up on articles on my favorite team, when my favorite team is playing, if I can’t watch them on TV, I pull up the ESPN website to keep up with the score and refresh the page all throughout the game, but most of all, I find myself doing research on the team members in my free time. I look up their history, their stats, their age, their weight, etc. I’m basically fascinated by football players and their lives. I do this research in anticipation for the next game, to predict the outcome. They look like men going to war every time they play. It’s exciting. I guess I understand how fantasy football got started.

And now every week it’s been exciting to have something to look forward to, to have something to scream about, even if it’s just at the TV or to an ESPN gamecast page on a laptop. Watching football is something that brings something happy into my life again, that appeases the waterworks in me every time I lay my head down at night and I think of my dad. I haven’t figured out what kind of way it is to heal from grief, good or bad or something else, but watching football is certainly one way to heal from grief.

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Tennis Is Who We Were

We used to play tennis. We were both bad at it, but I’d like to think you were better at it than me because I sucked at every sport and had no muscle. (Still don’t.) That and back then I always automatically thought you were better at any sport than me. We mostly just wanted to see each other so we could laugh and talk about boys, especially our crushes. Crushes was a taboo topic around our parents. Well, mostly it was your crushes because I was too proud to admit I even had a crush on anybody. You would always get it out of me though. You were good at playing detective. The ‘rents would keep chatting when we got back to my house so you and I would pretend to be asleep on the floor in my room so your dad would let you sleep over. He got irritated every time we did that, but he always caved. We were best friends and he liked that you were best friends with someone like me. The one reason your dad liked us being best friends ended up being the one reason why we are no longer friends, let alone best friends. Now I don’t know where you live, who you are, or which one of those boys you ended up with.

We used to play tennis. You were good at it and I was horrible at it by comparison. You were on the team at school and you found out I couldn’t serve the ball. You made a face every time, but you never made fun of me for my lack of dexterity. You were active and would be bouncing off the walls at my house if we didn’t go to the courts and play. Our moms would chat the night away because they were best friends. (Still are.) We mostly just wanted to visit with each other and play our roles of big sister and little brother. I wasn’t afraid to play terribly in front of you, even when you made fun of my music, which you secretly liked too. We were siblings. You’re picky with your meat and you’re picky with your girls. Now you’re married to the girl of your dreams and I went to your wedding about two years ago and you spun me around for one dance and I couldn’t be happier for you.

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sights and sounds

These nights I’ve really appreciated opening the windows while holding off on turning on the A/C just yet. It’s not officially summer! One thing I’ve noticed is all the sounds become amplified. The dogs barking, moms telling their kids to play safely or that it’s time to come in soon, cars driving by, bullfrogs croaking, crickets chirping, drunk party people laughing, water splashing from a neighbor’s pool, geese honking, planes buzzing, dirt bikes dancing, and many other sounds I can’t name. But do you know what it all sounds like to me once all put together? A professional baseball game. Yup. Don’t ask me how I came up with that. It was just the first thing that popped into my head and stuck as I sat and listened like Buddha. It’s like I’m hearing a game from sitting way up in the nosebleed section and all the sounds from out the window are competing to come up with the score or what the announcer is saying or the blimp flying up overhead the stadium or the crowd cheering when it’s a good hit or when someone starts slurping their ice cold Coke like they are filming a mukbang. Open your window when it’s cool at night. Sit by it and listen. I swear you can almost hear the peanut guy.

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body language

Sometimes I like trying different fonts on for size. In a weird way it’s my vocal ritual before going on stage except with writing. So would that make it my scribbling ritual? I don’t know what I’m talking about…story of my life…

The most exciting football game to watch is one where you know both teams. And by know I mean either are a fan or have lived there. And by football game I mean NFL specifically. Those that know me will know exactly which two teams I’m talking about. But for reasons I don’t want to reveal, I’m not going to get specific on here just now. You feel conflicted – you like both teams, but which one should win?

I’ll tell you the secret. When the first team scores a touchdown, use your stomach as a barometer. It’ll tell you who you’re secretly rooting for even if you think it’s a different team. The first time it does a backflip, you’ll know. Or if your stomach gets upset when the other team is at first and goal, you’ll know. Then pay attention to your eyes to corroborate what your stomach already knows. Your eyes will follow the team it cares about just slightly more than the other one.

Pretty soon your brain joins in – it runs the stats on how many times that team has made it to the Super Bowl and how many times it won. And as the game goes on, your hands and arms form the gestures the clearly indicate the team whose side you’ve taken.

 

 

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racehorse

Aren’t we all racehorses to a certain extent? We eat, sleep, study, go to work, and clean up all so we can win a race at the end of all the routines. Yes, I know. Some people don’t follow routines and don’t let the MAN dictate what they do daily. Or, as Wonder Woman put it, not let a watch tell you what to do. Actually when I ran into that clip on YouTube the other day, I thought about. We let time tell us what to do. When to get up, go to bed, take a shower, eat, take a nap, go to work, etc. But is it so much time telling us what to do as our bodies? If we don’t sleep, our bodies will let us know the consequences. We are biologically programmed. (I know, a lot of times what I say doesn’t make sense, but just follow me on this.) If we don’t eat or take care of our bodies, we get sick. If we don’t have the resources to take care of ourselves, we lose the race. So we sleep, eat, go to work, and do whatever it takes to keep going in this race. We just all have different levels of motivation running through our veins and depending on the levels is what decides who excels in the race and who will be the runt of the litter. We take our water breaks when we go on vacation or take a day off from work. But as long as we are breathing, we have to keep racing.

I think how well you do also depends on if you have blinders on or not. All the comparing yourself to others slows you down. In some cases, removing the blinders for a moment makes you realize you aren’t even running the same race as the person you were comparing yourself to. Funny, huh? The joke’s on you when that happens. No one wants that to happen to them, though because then you know you’ve spent way too much time caring what other people think. So I think it would be cool if in every single lane next to us is just another version of us. In other words, if we only raced against ourselves, we would look more towards self-improvement than race against people we don’t know or an idea that only exists as fiction. It would be easier to find the best version of ourselves without all the distractions.

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$6,000 seat at the Royals vs. Orioles game

By now everyone knows the Royals beat the Orioles. I haven’t sat down to watch, no, I haven’t watched a professional baseball game in a long time. But I did recently watch the penultimate game between Royals and Orioles before Orioles were defeated. (And since Cardinals lost too, birds will not be fighting birds, according to my mother.) I sat down on the couch with my mother, ate peanuts and watched the game. We started watching in the middle and then to the end. Royals were up, but the part of the game we saw no one scored. It was a frustrating game for me to watch, to say the least.

I thought about why I watched the game in the first place. MLB is usually boring for me to watch. I bet baseball is more fun to play than watch. (That probably goes for all sports, but I have a lot of fun watching basketball and football without the need to play it to make it interesting to me.) I know, I know. Baseball is the biggest sport in America, yet I’m not really a fan. Well, professional baseball players are too good! They either catch the ball before a batter even gets the chance to run or pitch a ball that is impossible to hit. This results in a lot of inaction for a viewer to watch. And if you attend a game and get a seat far, far away, what do you get to see? Sitting closer is more fun I’m sure, but there’s still not a lot of action going on because the players are too good.

At least if you’re at a bar or at home in front of the TV you can let someone else do the zooming in for you and you’ll get a much better seat for a lot cheaper. My dad wanted to take me to a game, but he said some of the best seats costs $6,000 per ticket and even the worst ones cost at least $100 or so. So the reason why this particular game was a big deal to me was because of who was playing. I’m from Baltimore and I have family now in KC. Enough said. I realized that sometimes, if you’re not a big sports watcher, if you have a team you are rooting for, you can get just as involved in the game as a regular fan.

Watching on TV I saw a lot of blue and some orange. I even saw two brave souls in orange sitting in the first row and while a sea of blue were cheering, they were looking out poker faced, sitting down. I got addicted to the peanuts and kept my eyes glued to the screen like I was eating popcorn at the movies instead. I was a silent KC traitor, hoping that my hometown team was going to score and feeling dejected when they didn’t. My mom didn’t even realize the game was over, that’s how boring it was to her. I had to explain to her that that was the end of the game and there’s a reason why Royals fans are cheering. “That’s it?” she exclaimed. “Not a single point after all that?!” I shook my head.

But I’ll tell you what. We had fun. I had my peanuts, I was watching the game with my mom, I didn’t think about anything else for the moment and we were on a comfy couch with our TV screen zooming in for us and it felt just as good as the $6,000 seat.