Archive for the 'Sports' Category

At Least I Have No Regrets

Posted in family fun, Sports on April 1st, 2011 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Spring break is over, and for me it flew by- and it was wonderful.  I had my concerns about being so tired and keeping 4 kids from getting bored and restless, and those fears mounted last week when I saw the weather forecast – 40s all week, scarce sunshine, and maybe even a little snow.  I was especially concerned that spring break would be my own personal forecast to what summer break will be like because hard as I try not to, I have times where I dread the summer a little bit.

For one thing, there is a wonderful Christian camp that we’ve been hearing about from a friend, and we’ve been trying to let our kids go for years now, but it hasn’t worked out for one reason or another.  This year, it seems that the dates will work, but the fees are a little steep, and the 45-minute trip to the camp x4 (there-back-there-back for two kids) might hurt the wallet a little bit with the price of gas the way it is.  Add to that a trip to Nashville Indiana with extended family – SO fun, but 8 more hours of driving, plus groceries and supplies to buy, plus 4 round-trips to South Bend Indiana, and I calculated my mileage from July 4-23 at 1388 – That’s one thousand eighty-eight miles in 20 days.  Factor in our van’s crummy gas mileage and all the pregnant lady bathroom stops, and OUCH.  But then I got to thinking about it, and I think I’d rather spend my July driving around the tri-state area than locked away in my air-conditioning with 4 rambunctious kiddos.  As I said, the trip to Nashville will be lots of fun, and most expenses have been paid thanks to a generous Christmas gift.  So what if I have to miss the 4th of July fireworks for one year (next year we do have to pick a different date though guys if you are reading this 🙂 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays!).  And the trips to South Bend mean that Grandma is taking the kids – so that means fun for them, and a break for us.  So what if it’s not all 4 kids gone at the same time anymore – that’s just one of the small trade-offs for having such a large (wonderful) family.  And I’m STOKED that the kids finally get to go to this camp – they are so excited too!  So what if we have to  leave Nashville at 5am just to drive the 4 hours to get Sammie there on time?  But the main reason for optimism for summer vacation was spring break – it was awesome, and it flew by.

For me, the month of March dragged on and on, and I think much of it had to do with my prenatal dr. appointment on the 31st.  I just could not wait.  Part of it was excitement – this stage of pregnancy is tough  in a different way than the rest of it because many of the changes are internal, and you have nothing to show for it.  I spend my time looking up sketches of what my baby might look like these days, but unless you count fatigue, nausea, moodiness, or tears, there aren’t any outward signs to get excited about – and no, leftover baggage from previous kids does not count as a “baby bump”.  Also, I’ve been extra worried about this pregnancy – I can’t put my finger on it, maybe it’s that stupid stat I heard somewhere that keeps sticking in my brain –  “1 out of 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage”.  This is my 5th pregnancy, so that panics me.  I wish I didn’t read the news so much.  Maybe the worry is because of how incredibly difficult this pregnancy has been on me (and my family) compared to the others.  Whatever it is, I’ve been especially panicked, but I’ve been building a great relationship with my new doctor – she is very understanding and so much more of a problem solver than my previous doctor.  But either way, spring break saw me at my prenatal, and everything looks great!  Baby is measuring at exactly 12 weeks, right where s(he) should be.  AND…  I got to see her (him) dance!!  The baby keeps sneaking us ultrasounds – I wasn’t scheduled for one, but the heartbeat couldn’t be detected (my understanding doctor warned me of this ahead of time, or I would have panicked.  Again.), so she took me into the ultrasound room.  There, we saw baby on the screen, and my little 2-inch miracle was dancing – I saw her legs moving and everything!  I keep thinking and saying “she” and “her”, but don’t place any bets – I’ve been known to be wrong about my children’s genders in the past –  before they’re born, of course, sheesh.

So I took the kids to the zoo on Monday of this spring break, and last night I’m still on cloud nine from seeing my baby dance, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I could not resist going back to the zoo on the last day of our season’s pass.  We aren’t going to renew because as much as I love the zoo, it feels like a waste to renew right before summer, especially when I’m pregnant and (probably?) won’t feel like going as much.  And I know I won’t be able to go after my surgery for a month or so…  So I took the kids to the zoo not once, but twice this spring break, and I didn’t even feel like I was going to keel over by the end of today, which means that my first trimester fatigue might be fading (afraid to get too excited).  I even  took an extra kid with me to the zoo both days, a gamble that paid off both times since we all had a blast – even if I was late getting Ellyn home today (that’s why I didn’t stop to chat Justj – I’ve been kicking myself ever since.  I really wanted to see your daughters!  But I was late, and you just don’t expect to run into a friend 60 miles from home so I was caught off-guard).

So yes, I missed the Chicago Cubs opening day game taking my kids to the zoo, and I’m proud of it!  Nevermind that I was looking forward to that game for months.  Hubby recorded it for me, and I watched it as soon as I got home anyway.  And I’m telling you what, the Cubs did not play badly (except for Dempster – if I still cussed he would be on my you-know-what-list), but they lost.  But as I said, they did not play badly, so there is MUCH hope for the season – you can’t tell anything decisive on opening day.  Well, except for last year but we’ll leave that out of it.  But the best part is, I have no regrets.  I can’t imagine how I would have felt had I missed my last chance to take my kids to the zoo in order to watch a game where the Cubs lost.

Super decision on my part, and if this spring break was any kind of predictor for summer vacation, BRING IT ON!

I Want To Be A Glass Is Half-Full Kind Of Person

Posted in Sports on March 30th, 2011 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

…so I’ll start with the Cubs.  Because goodness knows in my own life, being an optimist is too exhausting.  I wake up feeling crummy, determined to make the best of my day, only to have had to step in to referree not less than 10 fights before I even make it to lunch.  And I’m not talking about MY lunch – that comes much later (if I’m lucky)  after I’ve served up umpteen helpings, cleaned up infinite messes, and responded to various other distress calls.  But the point is that at a time where I could really use my time and energy to focus on me and growing a healthy baby, much of  said time and energy is wasted on what feels like mundane, pointless referring and the like.

But with  the Chicago Cubs opening day mere HOURS away (ok, dozens of hours, but still countable by hours!), I came across the following article which did indeed fill me with cautious optimism  – not for my own summer, no, for there is no doubt  I’m going to feel like a huge pregnant balloon, warm beyond reason, lazy beyond doubt.  I know that I will have 4 little kids to chase around, and I will have to pry myself out of my chair a little earlier in the chase if I’m going to have any hope of catching them to stop the trouble or keep them out of danger.  The optimism isn’t for me  – it’s for the Chicago Cubs.  If you’re a Cubs fan, read the following, and tell me if you agree.  I especially like the line that says, “…allow me to put on the ol’ rose-colored glasses and search out reasons to be hopeful that 2011 will be a better year than 2010 for us Cubs fans.  For one, it can’t be much worse.”

Excellent point, that.  After all, I had to write off my Cubbies after watching what was the debacle they called opening day last year.  Not that I ever tend to give up on the team, I am a Cubs fan affter all, but well, if you saw them play, er um, “play” baseball on opening day of 2010, then you would agree.  Check out the rest of the reasons for optimism here as written by Bob Warja for the Bleacher Report @ bleacherreport.com:

10 Reasons for Cautious Optimism for the Chicago Cubs in 2011

And GO CUBS!!!

Goodbye To Ron Santo

Posted in Sports on December 3rd, 2010 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

People who don’t pay much attention to baseball and the MLB, particularly the Chicago Cubs, might not realize who Ron Santo is or that he is gone.

Ron Santo, legendary Chicago Cubs supporter, has passed away at the age of 70.  Gaining popularity first as a player then as an outspoken sportscaster, Ron Santo became the voice and face of the Chicago Cubs in recent years.  Always saying what was on his mind, Santo’s gravelly voice was the easiest way to find that Cubs game on WGN radio 720 in a hurry.  As a Cubs fan, I will miss it.

Sadly, Ron Santo did not live to see himself inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, nor did he see his beloved Cubbies win the World Series.  If you’d like to read more about Ron Santo or about his crusade against juvenile diabetes, here is an article in the suburban Chicago newspaper, The Daily Herald.

Condolences and prayers to the Santo family.

From T-Ball To The MLB

Posted in Sports on June 8th, 2010 and tagged , , , , ,

Ok, so it’s doubtful that our 6-year-old daughter Sammie is headed for the MLB after having had her first day of T-Ball today.  If sports skills and hand-eye coordination are hereditary, my kids are definitely not inheriting those traits from their mother’s side.  I wouldn’t mind having a kid in the MLB, but it’s not going to be something I’m pushing for or aiming toward, especially given my lack of athleticism.  But Sammie has been very excited about starting T-Ball for weeks, and we like to let our kids try as many activities as we can afford to take them to (time AND money-wise) so they can see what they like and where their strengths lie.  Sammie brought home the T-Ball flier a few months ago and said she wanted to join.  Of course, this is coming from the same kid who said the same thing about wrestling in the winter, but we knew she had no idea what that was about, and she was talked into doing Brownies instead.  So I was worried that she would get to T-Ball today and decide it wasn’t for her and want to quit on the first day.  But luckily, she seemed to have liked her first day of T-Ball.  We try to keep by the guideline in this family that once you sign up for something, you stick with it for the duration of your commitment.  You don’t have to sign up again, but you should fulfill your original obligation.

When we arrived at the ball field today, the head coach (and coincidentally also a  fellow small group leader for our church youth group) gave a spiel about how the 20th pick in the MLB draft last night was from our town and began in our same T-Ball program, hence my blog post title.  Our local guy was picked by the Boston Red Sox, a funny twist of irony for his father, the lifelong Yankees fan.  While immediate relation is enough to convert some lifelong Yankees fans to Red Sox fans overnight, whether the small town / county connection is enough for others remains to be seen.   😉

From what I saw, Sammie did a good job today in T-Ball.  She didn’t catch every one (any?) of the ground balls that were hit her way, but it was her first time ever trying anything of the sort, and she gave it her best shot.  She tried everything that was suggested by the coach, and didn’t sit out any of the activities.  She had fun, and as long as she sticks with it, I think T-Ball will serve the purpose for which we intended: a fun activity that gets Sammie out of the house for a few hours a week this month so the kids don’t kill each other – and she learns the fundamentals of baseball at the same time!

And our pastor thought of our family when our church had extra tickets for an upcoming Toledo Mud Hens game (minor league baseball), so I think this will enhance Sammie’s appreciation of that as well – looking forward to it!!

Here’s a video – I apologize if it’s hard to see, but the team went way out into the field, and I could barely see them let alone tape them when I had an almost 2-year-old and a 3-year-old to chase at the same time.  At one point, the camera dips down to catch my almost 2-year-old as he ran crazy – thought I’d tape him since I couldn’t seem to film Sammie playing any baseball.  She’s the one in the yellow shirt, and if you watch until  the end, she does throw a ball.

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Something New

Posted in Sports on April 19th, 2010 and tagged , , , , , , ,

We were looking for a family-friendly activity to do with our kids on Saturday.  The zoo was out since we’re chaperoning a Girl Scout field trip there next Saturday.  Our original plan was to take our very  furry and smelly dog to get groomed, but when we called around for prices, the quotes were much more than we wanted to spend on something that will just have to be done again in a few months.

So my husband searched around and found this: Roller Derby.  Do you remember Roller Derby?  It was popular in the 70’s and 80’s, and there was a recent movie about it called Whip It, which was also Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut.  We saw the movie not too long ago, and it was enjoyable, but now I’m going to have to watch it again after seeing the sport played live.

Roller Derby is a sport played on roller skates by women.  I asked my husband why men don’t play, and he said they’d get carried away with the aggressiveness and kill each other.  I think there are some men’s leagues, but they aren’t professional like the women’s league.  So anyway, a basic game of Roller Derby has two periods separated by a halftime.  Each period has several “jams”.  Basic game play consists of a pack of skaters skating around a circular track.  There is one “jammer” on each team, and she is supposed to break through the other teams’ pack of players, scoring a point for each opposing team member she passes.  There’s more to it, but those are the basics.  The action is fast, the sport can be brutal, and fights occasionally break out.  It’s a lot of fun to watch!!  Especially if you’re brave enough to sit in the “suicide seats” where you sit on the floor next to the track.  Our friends were brave enough to try, and they came out in one piece!  If you are interested in watching a bout or maybe even trying out to be a Derby Girl, check out the website of the WFTDA – Women’s Flat Track Derby Association – they have a list of teams so you can find one near you.  Here is a video from their website explaining the very basics of Roller Derby:

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It was a great time – fun for the whole family, and I highly recommend it as something different to do.  Tickets are pretty cheap – we paid $12 for each adult and $7 for my oldest daughter – the rest of the kids (5 and younger) were free.  For that, we got about 5 hours of entertainment.  The atmosphere is family friendly (despite some of the dirty innuendos some of the players’ names imply that would go right over most kids’ heads), and there are clowns running around providing additional entertainment.  At halftime, my kids got to go out in the arena and play a racing game with the clowns, and they also do skits and make free balloon animals.  Each kid gets  a little noise maker when they walk in the door, and they also have a Hokey Pokey time and do the bit where they throw beach balls around the audience.  While it was family friendly, my little ones were bored at times (they didn’t understand the sport) and our little guy, who is not even 2, kept us from watching much of the action with his shenanigans.  The lady who was waiting for me to finish with the changing table in the bathroom said, “I’m never bringing her to something like this again!” as she pointed to her little girl who looked about my son’s age.  So you might want to prepare yourself with lots of snacks, activities, and candy if you bring your kids.  The kids ended up having a lot of fun, mostly because of all the yummy concessions Dad bought them and the little toys they got to take home.  Hubby and I are going to check out a bout sometime for date night without the kids though so we can actually get into it and watch the game.  And hopefully, there will be closer scores with a little more excitement –  we witnessed two  blowouts.  In the first game, the Fort Wayne SWAT team got creamed by a team from Rockford, IL (where we used to live, what a coincidence!), and we left the second game early since it was getting late and the score was Fort Wayne – 154, Dayton – 13.  OUCH!!

Thoughts (from a PO’ed Cubs fan) On Opening Day…

Posted in Sports on April 5th, 2010 and tagged ,

Well, this was going to be a blog post where I was going to stay upbeat.  I was going to talk about the positives and (as it became apparent) the negatives of the 2010 Chicago Cubs team, but I was going to do it as sort of an objective sportscaster…  until the bottom dropped out, and I realized, for the first time on the opening day of a season, that the Chicago Cubs might just have to be written off in APRIL…

There have been seasons where the Cubs look great – they might make me nervous, but even in those years, providing they get a few lucky breaks and play some great baseball, they have a chance to make it into the post-season, if not the World Series.  And then there are the years where they can be completely written off; years where even the most optimistic of true fans can tell that our beloved Cubbies won’t get much further than the dog days of summer, if we’re lucky.  I remember a year when I had to write off the Cubs in May.  It was late May, but May, nonetheless, but it had become apparent to me that the Cubs were not going anywhere and that I had better explore the idea of a back-up team; not because I love the Cubs any less after all of their failures but simply because I love baseball, and I needed to have a team to follow into the post-season…

But I digress…  back to today; the Cubs 2010 season-opener…

First inning was great – the Cubs were up 3-0…  until the Braves got their turn to bat, and Zambrano (the famous hot-tempered Cubs pitcher) fell apart.  While he did deliver on his promise to curtail his outbursts, that didn’t stop him from choking.  First the Cubs lost a fly ball in left field between 3 players – one of those ‘who’s-gonna-get-it-anyone-but-me’ scenarios that should not exist in games where the players get paid millions of dollars to play baseball.  Next, in the bottom half of the same first inning, Zambrano gave up a homerun, got an error (with an idiotic play – the ball got through the infield, but good fielding managed to make up for it and got the out at first.  Apparently, Zambrano, who was covering first, got so high off the save of the play that he decided to throw to third base to get the runner, but he was so hepped up on his save at first that he overthrew third and got himself an error, which led the Braves to score – UGH).  So back to my list of things Zambrano did wrong…  So then, in his trademark frustration, Zambrano proceeds to bean a batter with the ball and give up yet another homerun – and he was finally out of the game, but at least he left the field tantrumless, per his promise…  at least?!?

Then I find myself at the top of the 5th inning when there is a double play on the Cubs – a line drive was hit, but the runner at first couldn’t get back to the base in time – terrible base-running!!  Honestly, it looked worse than spring training out there!!  Again, these guys get paid millions for this?!?  WHERE is the coaching?  I find myself wondering, just like I did at the end of last season – has Lou Piniella just given up?  But isn’t it too early in the season for that?!?

Next, to end the top of the 5th inning – Nate McCloud (on the Braves) makes a great catch – it was a great hit by the Cubs, but the Braves seem to have a team – why can’t WE catch balls like that?!?

And then, at the top of the 6th – McCloud makes a diving catch…  but wait, he drops it.  He picks it up so quickly that the umps rule the ball caught and runners out – Kudos to Cubs coach Lou for not losing it and abstaining from performing one of his famous dirt-kicking tantrums, which is more than I can say for myself…  total crap, and a few choice words were said in my living room…  but to my credit, the kids were upstairs.

Bottom of the 7th – some Cubs pitcher named Samardzija walks 3 in a row but still gets to stay in the game somehow – maybe the team really does think it’s still spring training?  Then there is a huge error, but thankfully, I had to go to the bathroom so I missed it.  Good thing too, I haven’t yet learned how to control my cussing during baseball and my kids were still awake…  And then…  what’s THAT?  Someone hits a ball way back into the outfield which bounces into the stands, and the ball is played wrong, plus the throw to third is terrible…  And that’s it, I’m done.  I’ll watch the rest of the game and maybe offer some final thoughts, but the bottom line is this – I am sad to say that the Chicago Cubs did not show up to play baseball today.

At least the Detroit Tigers, a team I chose long ago to be my back-up team due to their close proximity to where I live plus the fact that they are in the division of my nemesis team, the Chicago White Sox, won their opening game, albeit against the Kansas City pushovers.

And as for the Cubs…
It’s not about the 11 run deficit; the fact that the Cubs lost 16-5.  If they had tried, been well-coached, and played good baseball, it would just be me here pouting.  Fact is, they played terribly.  It’s one thing to have a bad game; that can be forgiven.  But when you’re a team who has so many dedicated fans, and you have so much to prove…  how can you possibly recover from a debut this horrible?  The Chicago Cubs looked like they don’t even know how to play baseball.

I do have a tendency to over-dramatize things, so here is my plea to what I fear are the hopeless 2010 Chicago Cubs:

Surprise me.  PLEASE.

**An addendum…  After this sorry excuse of a baseball game, I did a google search for ‘cubs logo sad clown face’ – thinking it would be easy for me to find a Chicago Cubs logo that someone had morphed into a sad clown face -after over 100 years of disappointment, does it really seem that far-fetched?  I did not find what I was looking for, but I found this amusing blog entry instead

OPENING DAY IS HERE!!!

Posted in Sports on April 5th, 2010 and tagged , , ,

GO CUBS!!!
GO CUBS!!!
GO CUBS!!!

Well, I just went to check my countdown timer on my blog site; it should say there are mere hours left until the Chicago Cubs open their 2010 season…  but I can’t find the countdown timer on my site.  And I can’t find it in the widgets section either.  Since I have two kids fighting and one crawling around on the dining room table, I think it will be quicker to just write a little post about the opening day of baseball – I don’t include last night since the Cubs didn’t play 🙂 – rather than try to fiddle around with the countdown widget.

So YAY!!  Baseball season is finally here, and the Cubs open against the Braves today at 3:10pm Chicago time – I have made arrangements to shirk my responsibilities of making dinner, and hopefully the kids will be good for the first hour of the game until my husband comes home from work.  I don’t expect to watch all of the games or even most of them, but I figured I deserved a bit of a break for opening day – hey, it’s been a LONG winter without baseball, as always!!

GO CUBS!!!
GO CUBS!!!
GO CUBS!!!

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(oh yeah, and GO Indians – just because they are an Ohio team who just happen to play the White Sux Sox today!!)

Almost Time…

Posted in Sports on March 18th, 2010 and tagged , , , , , , , ,

Well, baseball season is almost upon us finally, and I’m really starting to get the itch – not that I’ll be able to watch many games anyway since when we’re actually home to watch tv it’s dominated by Noggin and the Disney Channel…  but I can dream, right?

So the other day, I did a search on youtube.com for “Cubs baseball” so I could give my son an early taste of what he’ll hopefully enjoy watching with me all summer.  I found a gem of a song by Steve Goodman, a grammy-winning artist who passed away from leukemia at the age of 36.  Mr. Goodman was a die-hard Chicago Cubs fan his entire life, and sadly, his favorite team never made it to the playoffs during his lifetime.  They appeared in the World Series in 1945, 3 years before Goodman was born, and then they clinched the Eastern Division title for the National League in 1984 – securing a place in the post-season just 4 days after Steve Goodman passed away.

I always knew about Steve Goodman from the awesome song, “Go Cubs Go”, a song they play at Wrigley Field after every Cubs win.  I seem to remember hearing the song over the intercom at the end of a school day one year when I was growing up – principal must have been a Cubs fan…

But anyway, in addition to “Go Cubs Go”, Goodman penned and performed other musical works of art; some about the Cubs, some about Chicago, and some about neither.  Here is the one I found today and enjoyed, however bittersweet its title and message “A Dying Cubs Fan’s Last Request”.  I chose to post this version of it, rather than the one that shows Steve Goodman singing it on the rooftops of Wrigley – that’s just too sad.

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And just so that this post doesn’t end on a down note, here is the old favorite “Go Cubs Go” – let’s hope this is the year the Cubs make Steve Goodman proud!

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CUBS OPENING DAY – 17 DAYS, SOME ODD HOURS – GO CUBBIES!!!

Year One

Posted in Sports on February 20th, 2010 and tagged , , , , , ,

Because I was born and raised in the Chicago area, I still peruse the online suburban newspaper; I guess it’s to get my news “fix” because let’s face it – good news is boring.  The more serious or tragic the news, the more interesting it is, and my local daily newspaper just doesn’t do it for me – I mean, local news is interesting, but not in the same way.  So lately as I’ve been reading Chicago news, I couldn’t help but notice these all over the place:

So what is the deal?  What is Year 1?  It’s no secret that the Chicago Cubs are under the new management team of the Ricketts family this year, so I’m sure it has something to  do with that.  And it’s an unfortunate reality that the Chicago Cubs are also the team in baseball to have been without a World Series title the longest…  so I guess management figures that maybe if they just reset time altogether and start from the beginning, the Cubs might have a shot this year.  Two or three months from now, we will have a clearer outlook as to how the “new” team can really play.  But what if the Cubs go nowhere this year, and we fans find ourselves chanting our infamous October mantra, “Maybe next year…” – what then?  Will 2011 be Year 2?  Let’s hope we don’t have to find out.  GO CUBBIES!

GOOD LUCK BEARS!

Posted in Kids, Sports on November 6th, 2009 and tagged , , , ,

I don’t have any kids in high school yet, but when I grew up, high school football was a big deal, so I’ve been kind of following the local high school football team since we moved here, even though there wasn’t far to follow them…  until now.  Our Golden Bears will travel  down to Columbus TONIGHT for their first high school football playoff game in school history!!

BEST OF LUCK GUYS – YOUR TOWN IS BEHIND YOU!!!