My Football Education

21 11 2013

Growing up, my football education began with watching my dad watch a football game at my yin yin’s house (my grandmother on my dad’s side) after we had had a great Chinese meal, one that I still haven’t been able to find at any Chinese restaurant.  We had to wait until the football game ended before heading to my other grandma’s house, and all I could think of was, ‘How can this game be going on for so long?  It says 5 minutes left!  And it’s been 20 minutes!’

My second experience with football was in Grade 12 when our high school got a football team and in honour of the first home game, school was let out early, in hopes that everyone would go watch the game.  And I thought, ‘really?  School gets out early for a football game?  What about the arts?’

My first year of University I went to the annual Shrum Bowl, the SFU vs UBC big rival game.  And I really just remember that we went to cheer on my friend on the cheerleading team and that I questioned my judgement to wear a skirt to a football game in October…in Vancouver…

A couple years later I went to my first CFL game after getting a couple extra tickets when I was working at Big Sisters.   I took one of my guy friends, because I figured if I was going to go to a game, I might as well take someone who could explain it to me.  Again, all I remember is telling my friend that we had to buy beer and hot dogs, because, ‘isn’t that what one does at a football game?’.  

Finally, at age 30, I get it.  I took my husband to a Seahawks vs Vikings game for his birthday.  We left with friends and neighbours at 10am, were drinking local craft beer by 10:30am at a pub that has free hot dogs on game day, and rode the wave of the crowds around the stadium to make it just in time for kick off.

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Century Link on Game Day

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Moments before Kick Off

I cheered, I jumped, I screamed out ‘Interference!’ and ‘I need to see an Interception and a Touch Down!  That’s all I’m asking for!’.  We high five’d everyone around us, jokingly mocked the Vikings fans around us (all in good fun), and drank beer and ate foot long hot dogs.

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Touch Down!

We stood in the rain and cheered on Russell Wilson as he led the Seahawks to a 41 to 20 victory.

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Seahawks Win! And the crowd takes the field!

And, like all good Sunday Football game days, I was hung over by 6pm and ready for bed at 7pm.

I’ve never watched more football in my life, and this time, I actually watched the game.

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Wrestle….What?

28 04 2013

 

 

 

I should probably have mentioned what the purpose was of this pilgrimage to New York.   And although I have to say that for myself, the journey was much more entertaining and rewarding than the final destination….try telling that to a fourteen year old who is on his way to WrestleMania.  Also, try telling him that WWE Wrestling isn’t 100% real….those conversations don’t go to well…or rather they go round and round in circles, until I give up and hope this  fanatic fascination is just a phase (and that it ends soon).

And so, I graciously said, ‘No, don’t worry about me. You guys go…I’m sure I can find ‘something’ to do in NYC’.  So the boys headed to Metlife Stadium, without me.  You can imagine my waves of disappointment and the crocodile tears I cried (kidding).  I prepared them as best I could – tickets in hand, pocket hand warmers, toques, gloves, jackets, etc.  Because who thought it was a good idea to have a show at an outdoor arena in the beginning of April in the NorthEast?  The entire week prior to the show we kept an eye on the weather forecast.  At one point it said 38 degrees, but feels like 34 degrees.  Umm, not even the flames shooting from the stage are going to keep you warm in those temperatures.

But, the weather warmed up a little bit, it only kind of rained on them, and surprisingly the flames shooting from the stage did create a little warmth (and possibly singed some eyebrows).  The crowds cheered and heckled as the matches began, one after another, and crowd favorites The Undertaker, The Rock, John Cena, etc. made their way into the ring and battled a completely fair and in no way staged fight.

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But, although not my cup of tea, there must be something special happening that attracts over 75,000 people to sit in the cold, bring their own homemade signs, scream their voices out and watch grown men battle in shortie shorts.





A True Seattle Weekend

27 11 2012

I’m not going to say that I embraced American Thanksgiving full steam ahead…….but there did seem to be a lot of turkey, pumpkin flavoured things (Caramel Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie from Sunset Magazine) and more football than I thought I would ever see.  There was way too much food over a four day period, drinks-a-flowing, a mean game of Jenga and Taboo, and plenty of friends to enjoy it with.

But what made this holiday weekend memorable were the True Seattle activities.

I don’t know who isn’t excited for wildlife sightings,  but in West Seattle, besides Orca Whale sightings (which we did not see, although they did visit this weekend) the next best thing to see is a seal pup resting on the shore.   And this little guy was giving Nathan ‘goo goo’ eyes.

West Seattle Seal Pup

We got to enjoy a private tour of Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners on Saturday.  From the very top of the stadium with rooftop views of the city and waterscapes, to walking on the field and hanging out in the home team dug out, and everything in between.

Safeco Field

 

On the Field. In the Dugout.

To end a weekend where the rained stopped and the sunshine came out to play.  We spent the evening at the Seattle Symphony for a performance by Brandi Carlile with the Symphony at Benaroya Hall.  Amazing Performance.  Amazing Acoustics.  

And what Monday morning is complete without a little bit of a Squid Fishing expedition?  More of a spectator this time, but just wait until next time!

Squid Fishing ‘Catch’

I’m starting to feel like a true Seattlite!

 

 





Just You, Me, and the Balloons

7 10 2011

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to top the excitement, smiles and general ‘happy’ feelings that the Balloon Fiesta photos were able to inspire in people, but hopefully I can give you a solid follow up post.

The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta is noted as the World’s Most Photographed event but even the best photos can’t compare to the sounds and sights of floating balloons launching every minute.  The whooshing sound of the flames heating up the air, the whistles in the background signaling yet another balloon being launched and the silence of the floating balloons.

For everyone who has never been to the Balloon Fiesta, for those who haven’t been back in years, or even for those that were there and are still on a balloon high, hopefully my little blackberry videos (I’m sorry) can give you a sense of the experience.





We Found Them!

5 10 2011

Who would think that you could go to Albuquerque, NM on the first day of the Balloon Fiesta and not see a single hot air balloon?  The live news reports showed balloon after balloon being launched at 7am and an estimated 600+ balloons participating in the Mass Ascension.

It’s simple really.  All you have to do is head down to Albuquerque around 11am, when the temperature is rising and all of the balloons have landed and been scooped up by their Chase Crews already.

So you can imagine my skepticism when we planned on heading down to the Balloon Fiesta the second day to watch the Morning Glow and Mass Ascension.  On the drive we joked about there being a conspiracy and that the news coverage was actually from past years.   Even when we arrived on the festival grounds, in the dark, I still wasn’t sure what to expect since there were only one or two balloons being inflated.

Yes, I clapped like crazy when the 10 Dawn Patrol balloons lit up and launched to start the day off.  But this in no way prepared me for the next two hours.

Row after row of ‘sleeping giants’ started to appear out of no where.

These balloons are huge.  It doesn’t seem possible that they can creep up on you, but they do.  And it doesn’t seem like you should be able to have free reign to walk around while all of this is happening.  But this is a full participation event.  You can walk around the balloons as they are being inflated, look straight inside the balloons, help hold down the basket before it launches, get shoo’d aside by the “Zebra” (balloon launching official), and pretty much stand in awe as balloon after balloon launch in all directions right beside you and right over your head.  I even had a balloon lean on me as it was being inflated.

As each balloon launched in front of me I felt it my duty to clap, yell, and wave at the pilot and crew as they floated overhead.  It was almost sensory overload and after 2 hours, we decided to head out and try to find a viewing spot to see the balloons dip down to skim the surface of the Rio Grande River.

Although we weren’t able to get to the exact spot the balloons were touching down (it’s hard to predict the whims of the wind), the further we got from the actual event grounds, the more surreal the hundreds of balloons in the sky looked.

This post was “Freshly Pressed” on October 6, 2011. 

 

 





It’s Worth It

3 10 2011

There is an art to attending large scale events.  Jostling crowds, heavy traffic, cold weather, over-priced vendor food and outhouses.  It can make a lot of people want to stay home and avoid all of the craziness altogether.  You can talk yourself into staying at home and tell yourself, ‘mmmm is it really worth it?  All the hassle.  It’s probably better to just watch the coverage from home.’

Yes.  It is much easier to avoid the 4am wake up call, the steady line of traffic into the event grounds, the pre-dawn chill, and everything else that goes hand in hand with large events.  But, you would miss out on the feeling of anticipation, the tingle at the back of your neck as you jump out of the car and head to the event, the feeling of camaraderie with people from all over the world that you’re sharing an experience with, the smell of cinnamon, coffee, breakfast burritos and most importantly, you would miss out on the feeling of amazement that you are seeing what you’re seeing and experiencing what you’re experiencing.

The trick:  Wake up early and suck it up!  You only get stuck in traffic when you try to go when everyone else is going to the event.  You only get stuck in a crowd when you join an already established crowd….you need to get there first!  And head to the event ready to take in everything that you can and let yourself be as excited as a kid on Christmas morning, clapping, whooping, and waving alongside everyone else.

40 years of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta and I’m sure it never gets old to listen to the countdown before seeing ten hot air balloons lined up in a row light up against the black sky and then launch one by one until they are up in the air twinkling like Christmas tree lights as they dazzle the crowd with a flicker burn.

 





GO Canucks GO

1 06 2011

Even in the USA I found me some CBC.  I’M READY FOR THE GAME!!!