Parents know what it’s like to rush from work to ball games and school events. Maybe you don’t have to be there, but it’s the right thing to do.
I was already destined to be late for a lacrosse game this week because it was all the way in Amsterdam and scheduled to start at 4:30. It didn’t help to get out of work an hour late, but I said I’d be there. After driving like hell to get there, I rolled in with seven minutes left in the fourth quarter.
But my son’s team looked a bit smaller for some reason — and the coach, who can usually be heard from the parking lot, seemed oddly reserved. Maybe some of the kids couldn’t make it. Weird. And did the coach finally give himself laryngitis. Could be.
When the clock wound down and the PA announcer intoned, “And the final score… Amsterdam 6, LaSalle 9.”
Wait… LaSalle? I’m at the wrong game!
I’d been told early that morning that it was in Amsterdam — and don’t you know that Amsterdam’s uniforms are the same purple and gold as our own? It looked like I was in the right place, and I was so blissfully ignorant that I even took some pictures.
I have no idea who this kid is…
So… eventually I figured out that the game was actually in Schenectady.
The take away here is always check and double check and check again. No big deal, though. I was at somebody’s game, and I guess that’s worth something.
The warmest room in our house is the half bath on the first floor. The heat pours into this closet-sized space like nobody’s business — and even when the rest of the house is freezing, the tiny bathroom is delightful. Could I put a TV in there, maybe?
This has also become our go-to spot for drying gloves, hats, and soaked running shoes, so naturally when my son came home drenched from lacrosse practice, I neatly arranged his gear in front of the heating register.
The next morning I opened the door to stench so horrid I nearly retched. For a second I though maybe one of the cats peed in there — or ALL of the cats – but no, this terrible smell was wafting up from the lacrosse gear.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Under normal circumstances the stuff doesn’t smell great, but it’s acceptable; the application of heat unleashed a monster.
I’ve finally shaken that stink out of my head and learned a valuable lesson about drying athletic equipment: if you put wet, sweaty things in a hot little box don’t be surprised when you open the door.
I remember the afternoon that my freshman football coach, Mr. Redden, yelled at me, “Madeo! Do you want to be a lawyer?” This was after I tried to explain why I’d done something stupid like missing a block or forgetting a play.
To Tom Redden, high school gym teacher and officer in the Marine Reserves, a man who could climb the gym ropes upside down with his feet pointing at the ceiling, this was what lawyers did, stood there and tried to explain doing something stupid. And he didn’t really want to hear it.
But what he said struck a nerve. I stopped by my guidance counsellor’s office and borrowed his copy of the LSAT study guide. For a month or two I browsed through the thick book, trying to work through its complicated logic and reasoning questions. Eventually I kind of forgot about it.
The truth is, I never got much in the way of career advice, and that’s how I ended up working in TV. Fast forward to 2013.
Broccoli in garlic sauce is my go-to meal when it comes to Chinese takeout. I figure the healthful benefits of broccoli balance the oily goodness of the brown sauce and we come out even. Like most people, I shrug off what I find in fortune cookies, but this one took me aback. Suddenly, I was standing in the huddle at practice and Mr. Redden’s voice was echoing in my head. “Madeo! Do you want to be a lawyer?” Holy crap, did I miss something?
You can’t expect teenagers to know what they want to do for the rest of their lives, and maybe trying to talk to them about careers is a waste of time. But now it seems the only solid career counseling I ever had was from Mr. Redden and a fortune cookie. Better than nothing, I guess. Pass the soy sauce.
Yes, ski areas are one of those places where you wish everyone would act more like you, for then the world would be a better place.
The majority of the folks you find on the ski slopes are pleasant, normal people — but for some reason the sport seems to attract a fair number of d-bags. Fortunately, it’s easier to spot them these days because they are all talking loudly on their cell phones in the lift line or, god help me, on the ski lift.
One of my pet peeves has always been people who fail to remove the old lift tickets from their jacket, wearing them like badges of honor of their exploits. That may soon be a thing of the past as places like Jiminy Peak replace the ubiquitous paper tickets with RFID cards that you keep in your pocket. Now you move up to a gate that reads your card and allows you access to the lift.
You might think that some people would resist this, and maybe punch a hole in their RFID card so they can dangle it from their jacket; according to the FAQ, this is a bad idea:
Holes must never be punched in the Axess Jiminy Cards. The card has an antenna inside that surrounds the RFID tag. Any damage to the surrounding antenna will render the card inactive and the card must be replaced. A replacement fee may be required.
Not to worry; these cards and electronic readers are very safe for people with pacemakers — but just in case:
Guests with pacemakers must not wear their lift access media cards near the heart when passing through the gate and a distance of 8 to 12 inches should be observed in the case of queues and while passing through the gate. If vertigo or sickness is experienced, get out of the direct vicinity of the gate or device.
Oh, if only we could figure out a way to make these cards jam cell phone signals. Then we’d be making some progress.
At the end of a long football season it’s easy to dismiss Sunday’s Jets-Bills contest as meaningless — but to the players it didn’t seem meaningless, nor to to the fans who came out on a cold and blustery day to cheer.
After spending most of the night out on ambulance calls I trudged to Buffalo with my tailgating supplies and a Joe Willie Namath jersey. The taunting I got for wearing Jets green was mostly good natured — and nothing compared to the razzing handed out to Jets faithful wearing Sanchez jerseys. They were greeted with shouts of “DIRTY SANCHEZ!” Look it up.
Here I am with Captain Buffalo. He’s on the right.
If nothing else, I’m a pragmatist. One Bills fan shouted, “You’re going to lose!” I thought about that for a second and yelled back, “You’re right!” This got a good laugh, as have the Jets all season long.
We were about as high up in the stadium as you could get – nearly the top row — but mercifully sheltered from the wind. And because we were up so high, I was not a targeted by those tossing snowballs, many of whom were escorted from the stadium by sharp-eyed security guards.
Fandom is a mysterious thing. There were lots of empty seats on Sunday, but many more were filled. In the parking lots tailgaters struggled in the wind to cook and enjoy the hours before the game, partying like it was a warm September day.
Part of me was a little happy that the Jets lost. There’s nothing better than the walk out to your car in a sea of celebration — even if it isn’t your team who won.
This must have been the most perfect tailgating spot ever: right up against a wide stretch of sidewalk where we’d have plenty of room to spread out our stuff — and close to a row of sparkling clean portable toilets.
Being next to the toilets brought a steady flow of interesting people to our corner of the parking lot at MetLife Stadium as we got ready for the Jets home opener. Several stopped by to comment on my son’s Bills jersey.
But even though there were five relatively clean toilets right there, the dudes next to us insisted on dashing across the road to pee in the bushes. As the traffic picked up this got more interesting to watch, especially since these guys — and folks, I’m going out on a limb here — may have had a drink or two.
Draw your own conclusions about why men like urinating outside, but meanwhile let us turn to the strange case of Rob Koebel.
Mr. Koebel “resigned” from his job as an investigative reporter at WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee after being arrested for public urination. Koebel has not had the best year ever; in July his ex-wife published a book called Love Isn’t Supposed to Hurt, which chronicles her abusive first marriage and her ex-husband’s “violent, profanity-laced tirades.”
This did not happen at Sunday’s Packers game, but outside an Apple store. There aren’t enough police in Wisconsin to arrest everyone urinating publicly in the Lambeau Field parking lot.
I see a lot of people with those 13.1 stickers on the back of their cars, indicating that they’ve run a half-marathon. Whenever I see one I think, “Oh, you ran a half marathon. What, you couldn’t handle a whole marathon?” For me, 13.1 was the easy half.
Look, a 13.1 mile race is not for lightweights, but is it bumper sticker-worthy like a full marathon? Not really. The marathon is an iconic distance that is pretty much regarded as the apex of distance races. To most runners, finishing your first marathon is like summiting Mount Everest. Do people go around bragging about making it half way up Mount Everest? No.
So my running friends, please give it a rest. Save the bumper sticker for when you do something truly epic, and that would be a marathon.
Me? I’ll never run another marathon, but I always a nice half 10k.
We took in a polo match in Saratoga on Sunday. We were not rubbing elbows with the swells, but across the field among the unwashed rabble in the tailgating section.
The action is often obscure, frequently too far away to tell what’s going on. But when the horses thunder to your side of the field it’s thrilling. I’m not sure we Americans take polo seriously, but let me tell you: racing around on a horse while swinging mallets is pretty darn serious, if not downright badass. One guy plunged off his horse right in front of us and landed with a thud. He was up and back on his mount in a flash and off after the ball.
When the teams aren’t jostling right in front of you there’s plenty of time to eat and drink. Saratoga Polo’s rules state that you may not bring in your own alcohol, but most of the spectators viewed this as more of a challenge than an edict; everywhere I went folks were pouring drinks into innocuous looking cups. Not me; I would never empty a grape juice bottle and fill it with wine or pour a beer into a Nagalene water bottle. Never.
I usually like to break out the grill for tailgates, but served up cold fare at polo. While I find boasting (and braggarts) distasteful, I will make an exception here to note my prowess at building sandwiches. On Sunday it was grilled chicken and eggplant, avocado, roasted red peppers, romaine, and curry mayonaise all piled on a baguette. Mmmm…
And finally, for those of you who are not Honeymooner’s fans, this will explain the title of this post.
There’s a parking space in hell reserved for Jerry Sandusky. I hope it’s right next to Joe Paterno’s.
Paterno’s family is urging us to remember all the good things JoePa did during his 61 years at Penn State. In a statement issued after the release of Louis Freeh’s Penn State investigation, they said, “The idea that any sane, responsible adult would knowingly cover up for a child predator is impossible to accept.” Well, at least they got that right.
Then all this got me thinking about Pete Rose.
Rose, arguably one of the best and most memorable baseball players of all time will forever live in the shadow of his gambling trouble. Breaking the rules and his lifetime suspension from baseball will always be cited before his on-field accomplishments.
While I don’t condone what Rose did, his were victimless crimes. Compare that to Joe Paterno, who covered up for the child rapist who was running amok on the fringes of his legendary football program.
Personally, I find it hard to forgive people who allow children to be raped, but I’m funny that way.
There are a small group of guys at every lacrosse game — middle aged, normal in every aspect — who are the loudest people in the stands. They gather on the top row of the bleachers at midfield and shout, and shout, and shout. It’s terrific that people show up and support their team; lacrosse games are not an event like Friday night football, so it’s good to see an enthusiastic crowd.
But like everything, sometimes it goes too far.
I was at a game recently where the loud guys crossed from cheering for their squad to taunting individual players on the opposing team. For example, a shot on goal would sail high and they’d yell, “Hey, number 11! Nice job!”
That’s not cool.
Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that adults don’t know what’s appropriate and what is not. I used to coach in a youth soccer rec league, a place where we barely kept score, and parents would sometimes yell at the teenage refs officiating the game. Unbelievable.
Look, you want to go to an NFL game and scream out ridiculous sh*t for three hours, have at it — but these are just kids, so do us all a favor and keep it to cheering for your team. And if you can’t do that, just shut up.