Category Archives: les sports

Skol Vikings! (or not really)

Today: My very first NFL game.  How it has taken me 26 years to get to the Metrodome for a Vikings game I will never really know.  I mean, if I was someone who was totally clueless about football, it would make sense.  But after four years on the high school cheerleading squad and another four years of Gopher season tickets, there is no method to the madness.

On Friday night, Billy called me so we could talk about what the game was really going to be like.  That maybe most of the attendees would not be from The Cities.  I think really, the heart of the message is that Vikings games are sort of like the State Fair.  Except with more alcohol, less animals and everyone is twinning.

Oddly, the only Vikings shirt I own (and the only one I have EVER owned) is this Youth Large shirt I snagged at Target before my Birthright trip.  The packing list indicated that we should pack a piece from our hometown to be worn on the day that we visited a grade school for our day of service.

I assumed that part of this would probably involve leaving the shirts, baseball hats, etc. behind so that the children could have them.

Vikes 001

Clearly I was incorrect.

Pre-game we grabbed a drink.  Marcus gave me a few different options and I ended up choosing Hubert’s because it sounded like it would be the busiest/most rambunctious.

I was really heartset on a Bloody Mary for some reason this morning.

Vikes 003

It mostly tasted like vodka and salty.  Had I known that the bloody mary mix was coming out of the same soda gun as the orange juice for screwdrivers, I may have reconsidered.

This was also the point at which I observed to Marcus that most of my fellow female bar goers had what could only be described as Very Sensible Hairstyles.

Translation: Nothing below the chin.

I know that if you’re from MN, you already Know About The Metrodome.

Vikes 002

But for those of you who are not local, our football stadium is covered with an inflatable dome .  The whole building is actually pressurized, and if you go out the wrong door, you will actually get sucked out.

Not kidding.  That actually happened to me as a 5-year-old.

Vikes 004

I couldn’t resist grabbing this snap, because I’m fairly certain that this is the first step towards Man Purses For All.

Vikes 005

You may be wondering if that man is carrying a handheld fanny pack but please trust me.  He is not.

In terms of how the actual game went, it was not pretty.

Vikes 006

We threw an interception in the first minute or two of the game and then we just kept on digging.

But there were redemptive moments.  Like this Dome Dog (even though it went by some other secret name).

Vikes 007

And the trash-talking 10-year-old behind us who kept on getting hushed by his mother.

We ended up leaving at the top of the 4th quarter because really all of it was just Too Much To Bear.  There may have been another interception situation as well – the heart can only take so much.

As we were walking out of the stadium, I kissed my hand and touched one of the walls.  They’ll be tearing the Metrodome down once the season is over as a part of the new Vikings’ stadium project.

Vikes 008

It may have been my first NFL game, but that stadium is where as a kindergartener I played “We’re Going to Win Twins” on the violin on the baseball field along with the rest of the Wayzata Strings before one of the Twins games.  Where I captained the cheerleading squad the year that Billy dressed for the championship game and we lost to Minnetonka.  Where I watched in the stands the next year when my brother became part of Wayzata’s first state championship football team.  That turf is where I stood on the football field as a third generation Gopher and a part of the University of Minnesota 2008 Homecoming Court during coronation.

For all that I have never intentionally placed any building outside of my home into my life, that one has seen some big things.

So I had to say goodbye.

Advertisements

Let the Games Begin!

I feel like I’ve thrown y’all nothing but sulkiness for the past few days, so thank you for sticking with me, kittens!  I just know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.  Will we see it until Monday or Tuesday?  Speculative.  But we know that it’s there.

In the meantime, while we continue to slog through this mess (I’ve almost bested an entire roll of toilet paper – it’s my impromptu Kleenex), please know that your kind words and remedies mean the world to me.

When I rolled out of bed this morning I felt Not Worse.  While that’s obviously not as good as Getting Better, it’s far more desirable than Worse.

Not Worse meant that I could probably make an attempt at an honest-to-goodness social life, so today’s Big Event was attending a friend’s 30th birthday party.

Yes, 30 is a big deal.  But Marcus and I were especially excited to attend because they had orchestrated a rather epic Olympics-themed party.

For context, there was an opening ceremony, complete with a torch run into the stadium and a lighting of The Official Torch Of Our Games.

Go Big Or Go Home.

One event is good, but lots of events are better.  Obviously.  So, Marcus and I competed together as team ciete ses (I didn’t take spanish in high school so I’m now under the impression that what I actually intended to write was…cienta seis) in the events of Bocce, Frisbee, Bean Bag Toss, Ladder Golf, Hammerschlagen and Beer Pong.

I meant to take pictures of all of the “arenas” to give you a real feel for what we were contending with, but I waited a little bit too long if you know what I mean.

I walked away with this snap instead.

NOT AN ACTUAL EVENT.

Also unpictured and unplanned events: Set A Cinderblock On Top Of The Hammerschlagen Stump And Hose It Off In The Direction Of The Spectators AND Try To Use A Machete And An Axe Instead Of The Hammerschlagen Hammer.

Sometimes things start to deteriorate and it’s your job to just hang on, right?

We ended up in a four-way tie for first and got eliminated in the play-offs after a ferocious round of Bean Bag Toss.  I can truly say that it’s the first time I’ve ever really tried at that game or have played it sober.  So I guess you could chalk this one up as a night of firsts.

What’s the most elaborately-themed birthday party you’ve ever attended?

What’s your favorite backyard game to play?

Take me out…

Today we headed over to Target Field to catch a Twins game, as per Adam’s birthday wish for some quality sibling time.

I’ve been to a fair number of Twins games in my day, but I hadn’t been to one since they moved to Target Field last spring.  Even though I’m really not the biggest fan of baseball, I couldn’t wait to take the whole experience in.  Because as pretty much any red-blooded American will tell you, outdoor baseball is where it’s at.

We started out with standing-room only tickets because we wanted to do a little bit of stadium wandering touring.  AND, even though the games bring in big crowds, there are always empty blocks of seats that you can slip-in to halfway through the game.

There are so many places to watch/stand, that we had fun wandering a bit and then stopping to check-out the game from a new angle.

It was a low-commitment way to spectate 😉

After conquering the lower level, it only seemed right that once we made the climb to the upper deck.  Translation: Smaller Players, Prettier Views.

No, we didn’t plan to have matching hats.  The Universe is to blame for that one.

How do I know that Adam and Michelle know me too well?  They thought to take a separate foot-shot, since they know my biggest pet peeve is being photographed footless when it’s a full-body shot.

What no one warned me about before the game, is that while you’re there, you’ll see everyone you know.

Like Nina.  Or possibly your brother and a cousin (or two!).

Just call it The Great Minnesota Get Together.  Except with a four-hour time limit.  And sort of fun-sized.

Apparently this is to be expected.  You had better believe that next time we catch a game, I’ll be prepared to meet my kindergarten teacher and an extremely enthusiastic third cousin, once removed.  Because even though you thought that chapter of your life was closed, this is where everyone starts to come out of the woodwork.

When is the last time you went to a baseball game?  Do you like watching them?

Truth be told, I’m absolutely not a baseball spectator, but I really wanted to see the new stadium (and rock Adam’s birthday wish!).

Does your city tend to have outdoor or indoor stadiums?

In Minnesota, for pro-sports, you’re FAR more likely to find an indoor stadium than an outdoor one.  But in the past few years, we’ve opened a couple of outdoor spaces, so I think that maybe we’re starting to come around to the idea?

Two Birds/One Stone

I’ve been dying to make soup from scratch but really haven’t had the time.  So when I realized I had an extra moment before lunch today, I busted out my copy of Nigella Express (I so love her and her style of cooking) and made a pot of Minestrone in Minutes.

It was delicious and was a great excuse to start using up the box of jumbo macaroni noodles that have been lurking in our pantry for the last year.

Speaking of which, I’m still not entirely clear as to where that box came from or how it has managed to miss out on a one-way trip to the food shelf.

So it wasn’t a totally noble pursuit, it was more of a two birds/one stone-type of thing.  But in the spirit of cooking out of the pantry, can you blame me?

As much as I like to cook at home, I hate cooking when I know that I’m going to have to travel with my dish.  In all seriousness, I’m always scared to death that they’re going to slosh on the upholstery or slide off the seat.

To that end, when I found out that we would be driving across town for this year’s Superbowl celebrations, I decided to action Molly’s Artichoke Dip.

I am A Fan of utilizing colored stoneware in the kitchen. Marcus will be the first to tell you that we basically have an infestation.

Delicious.  Easy to prepare in advance.  No danger of sloshing.

Since the Vikings have never been to the Superbowl in my lifetime, it’s safe to say that intentionally or not, Marcus and I always find ourselves at Superbowl parties with semi-apathetic commercial-watchers.

I think I’d fall into that camp even if the Vikings were playing.  It’s a personal philosophy sort of thing.  I’ve felt a close sense of kinship to the Budweiser Clydesdales since elementary school.  You can’t break a bond like that.

With that in mind, I decided to take a fashion risk.

I know, I know. Christmas socks! In the month of love!

Living on the edge.  Right here.

But when I’m needing a pair of socks that slide comfortably into my boots, these are just the trick.  And they seemed somewhat more appropriate than the pair with the rainbow of reindeer heads on them.

Call it the lesser of two evils.

Do you wear holiday-themed socks year-round?

When you’re bringing a dish to a party, how do you determine whether it’s transportable?

Superbowl Beatdown: Did you watch?  Did you care?  Are you in it for the players?  The game?  The commercials?  The food?

Issues addressed.

This we know to be true: Last weekend was not kind to my fingernails.  They endured all manner of horrifying chipping that left me on Monday, quite frankly, totally ashamed of my hands for the first time in my life.

Consider that issue addressed.

An issue that’s not been addressed?

My eyes.

I’m not sure if it’s the mascara I bought last week, the fact that running after work seems to heat-seal whatever amount of make-up remains on my person to my face, or the fact that I think the skin underneath my eyes is allergic to sweating.  But that skin underneath my eyes?  Not sexy.  Unless you’re into elephant skin.

See, I’m painfully minimalist when it comes to skin-care routines.  My body is a perfect environment.  But this.  This.  THIS.  I am simply at a loss as to what one does in this sort of situation.

I’ve sworn off eyeliner since Saturday, which I think gives me a really effortless “beach-y natural” look, composed of blush, bronzer, eye shadow and one blink’s worth of mascara.

What the rest of the world sees: A girl who is in a bad, bad place.

Operation: Face Lotion has begun.

On the bright side, since I had the day off yesterday, after all of our errands-running and re-settling in, I finally got to go and watch Marcus’ kickball team, Blue Steel play.

I wish I could say that the game was riveting, but this is what happened instead…

Roxy, the Teacup Chihuahua

Puppy Patrol

I’m just going to throw this out there, and y’all can throw it back…But I truly did not envision my first chihuahua-toting experience as being perched on-top of a cooler, sans-makeup clutching a Miller Lite in a baseball glove turned makeshift-can coozie.

I mean, at least I was wearing pink, but that’s just not how I saw it all playing out.

RE: Lament to the State of Hockey

To: Don Lucia

From: Gopher Men’s Hockey Fans

RE: Lament to the State of Hockey

Dear Sir:

What the H – E – double hockey stick is going on with your boys this season? From minimal leadership on the ice, bad passing, pathetic sickness, injuries, and overall lack of a team out there, it’s very difficult as a hockey fan to put up with this much longer. Yes, it’s true that the band is fun, although the idiot sophomores still don’t know the cheers and have hence changed the words out of stupidity (from crease to asshole mind you), and it’s also true that we do have some absolutely amazing players, but in the long run, team spirit and great players don’t win games.

The highlight of the first half of the season would be Hoeffel, yet with his SoHo inspired mononucleosis and Bariball’s injury, it pretty much leaves Cepis to take the reins of the team. Granted, our lone non-Minnesota is truly one of us at heart, are you seriously banking on this 5’8” junior to carry you through to the tournament? Oh yeah, we forgot, your team isn’t ranked, so maybe just carry you through until the first round of the WCHA tournament instead. And since when is UMD ranked first in the WCHA? You’re gonna let the Dogs run you into the ground? They’re the Dogs! With a season of 12-12-2 overall, and 7-9-2 in the WCHA, it’s awful to think that your guys can’t even keep a conference record of .500.

You’re the Gophers for Ice sake! 19 players on the team have been drafted! Something’s obviously not working, so we request a changeup. (We’re omitting the UND series; somehow we think Kangas must have been surrounded by angels during those games. That was wicked amazing.) Perhaps trying out new leadership? Baby boy Tony doesn’t exactly strike me as doing his job this season so far. Go back to the basics of passing? Perhaps tattoo plays on the players hands? There’s really nothing else to study in Business Education classes.

We look forward to seeing the results this weekend against Alaska. And wepromise to continue to show up, chant the appropriate words during the cheers, and sport our jerseys with pride from the past and for our hockey empire. However, the band is on their own since their cheer set ups are awful and always off so that the fans purposely can’t set up timings right.

FurtherHelgeson could be Martha’s son…we’re just saying…

-Emily

The Roid-Age

This is probably coming up late in comparison to the news cycle but I feel very passionately about this topic. Earlier in the year Mark McGwire finally admitted to using steroids while playing baseball.  Last year baseball fans learned that Alex Rodriguez was also on a list of past users. At the time these performance enhancing drugs were not
against the rules of baseball. I am still left frustrated with the justifications that these players offer when they try to justify their use. Often times their response is that they were trying to stay competitive or get healthy faster. The bottom line is that these players were looking for competitive advantage and short cuts.

The discovery of how wide performance enhancing drugs were used in Professional Baseball throws into question one of baseball’s basic premises, statistics. Baseball is a game of records and statistics.  Fans can tell you the significance of certain numbers. Some examples are 61 and 755,  (Roger Maris’s record for home runs in a single season Hank Aaron’s record for career home runs). But now these numbers are contaminated. Sitting above Maris are; Sammy Sosa (63), Sammy Sosa (64), Mark McGwire (65), Sammy Sosa (66), Mark McGwire (70), Barry Bonds (73). Ahead of Aaron is only Bonds with 762 career home runs.

These cheaters have ruined one baseball fans’ favorite parts of the sport of baseball. They have taken away the value of statistics in baseball and thrown a cloud over many other ball players. In the past there were telltale signs of a steroid user. The oversized forehead, the massive rapid bulking up. With Rodriguez’s admission of steroid use shows us that, as fans, we cannot trust professional athletes to be playing these games honestly.

As a fan of sports, especially baseball, this saddens me for two reasons. I enjoy watching competition and performance enhancing drugs cheapen competition. The more frustrating aspect is that kids look up to athletes as people to idolize and imitate as they play the same games. They see these professionals cheat and cut corners and learn that this is an appropriate way to behave.

I would like to thank all steroid users, their self-serving motives to cut corners and be the best have cheapened one of the most ancient human pass-times, sports.

-Brian