Could it be that Hannah Montana has it all figured out?
This week in general has been all about the sheen coming off people. Michael Phelps hit a bong. Obama isn’t flawless. A-Rod juiced. Politician’s owe back taxes. Jessica Simpson’s has apparently been eating ice cream on the side.
It seems that not only do we went exceptional outcomes but those providing them better damn well be exceptional also. This is reminding me of a great line from a great show, Judging Amy. In it, Tyne Daley who played the straight talking social worker, Maxine Gray, had this exchange:
Board Member: We’re a little concerned that your director is a drug addict. Maxine Gray: No, my director is a former drug addict. I myself am a former high school student, and everyone here used to poop in your pants. What’s your point?
If you’re from the Burgh this is old news, but if you live outside of The Steel City then you probably haven’t heard of the group, The Pop Rocks. A pre-teen rock group outside Pittsburgh, PA, they remade Pat Benatar’s classic, “Heartbreaker” adding their own Steeler inspired lyrics.
The Pop Rocks, from left: Elektra Davis, Connor McCandless, Drew Santa, Elijah Davis, Courtney Brown, Sara Santa.
Jack Black would be proud. These kids can really rock. I love how this chick can hit all of Pat’s high notes and the fact that the violinist jams out at the end.
If men in uniform are more your cup of tea, then enjoy this Steeler Fever from an F-15 flying high above the mountains of Afghanistan:
And if you’re old school when it comes to the Steelers then it doesn’t get better than Happy Louie’s Pittsburgh Steeler’s Polka:
Of course, watching a game isn’t as fun as watching it with the sound down so you can blast Myron Cope from your radio. Cope died last February so we’ll have to do our best to enjoy Sunday’s game without him. (If you’ve ever wondered what Pittsburgheeze sounds like, watch this video about the late, great Myron Cope.)
So why all the fuss for not only this team and this sport, but this cast of Pittsburgh characters? It’s a fair question. A few weeks ago as a matter of fact, a non-sports fan, friend of mine mocked me for my loyalty to this team of my youth. She thinks sports are silly and not worth so much of our time and attention.
I explained to her that back in the 1970’s the Steelers won 4 Super Bowls and the Pittsburgh Pirates won two World Series pennants in that decade. In 1979 alone, the Steelers won the Super Bowl and the Pirates won the World Series in the same year! That’s pretty extraordinary for any town, but for the Pittsburgh area at that time, an area where steel mills were closing, employment rates were sky rocketing and population numbers were dwindling, we were winners and ultimately respected.
No matter what was going on, we would gather around a crappy TV in our hand me down clothes, turn on the game, pour a bag of generic chips into a chipped bowl and be not only fans but official residents of The City of Champions.
That’s why professional sports matter. As the economy hits the skids once again, this Sunday someone down on their luck is going to proudly proclaim that their team is a winner and ultimately, even for a brief moment, will feel like a winner by association. If you ask me that deserves a “Yoy”. Actually as Myron Cope would say, that deserves a “Double Yoy!”
I’m back from my first Nascar extravaganza. Nascar is such a huge sport but a lot of people, like me, don’t get it. I wanted to get it. I vowed to be opened minded. Yet, before we even entered the gate, this is what I saw:
Not just a coin slot, but a CARPETED coin slot. As you can imagine, I was a little frightened. I took a deep breath and entered the venue.
Since Nascar is so huge, I was expecting a pretty fancy track. Basically, the Richmond International Racewayis a gigantic set of aluminum bleachers surrounding a 3/4th mile sized track. Picture going to a high school football game but without the team.
Like high school, you can cruise the perimeter of the track if you want to stretch your legs or feel the wind in your hair. And just like high school, you can head under the bleachers to smoke or buy beer. But unlike regular sporting events you can actually smoke up in the main seats and bring in your own beer to save money.
I could count on one hand how many people of color I saw. Most of the brown people were simply white folks with killer tans, so with the exception of about a handful of African-American fans it was a “whites only” crowd which seemed odd.
So we found our seats, and settled in. After the paratroopers sailed into the infield the entire crowd bowed their heads in prayer. Again, not something you see or hear at most sporting events. Protection for the drivers was asked of the father, the son AND the holy ghost before the entire crowd said, “Amen” in unison.
The Star Spangled Banner was sung and once the announcer said, “Gentlemen, start your engines”, the real fun began:
Unless you work on an aircraft carrier, you haven’t experience decibel levels of this magnitude. Roadies of rock groups work in a monastery compared to a raceway. Thus, you need ear plugs or headphones. However headphones aren’t merely for ear protection, but can be plugged into radios so that fans can listen in on the conversations between pitt bosses and drivers. Some folks even have video screens allowing them to view any camera angle they choose while listening in on their favorite drivers. This is key to thoroughly enjoying the evening.
There’s definitely a strategy going on, but since you can’t see the entire track or hear an announcer, you need to know what’s going on when the leader pack is on the oppositte side of the track. This is where the radios and video feeds come into play. To fully participate in a Nascar race up close and personal, you need the inside information. Another big part of the strategy is the obvious — Clearly, everyone is waiting for a wreck.
Not a serious one, mind you. No one wants the driver to die, they just want a wreck to cause enough chaos to get the caution flag waived. This allows the pack to tighten up and give those trailing the leader the opportunity to make their move once the race gets going again.
Figuring this all out gave me something to do and helped me to better enjoy the race. Of course, some folks will never be satisfied.
Jarin spent 75% of the evening playing her Nintendo DS game.
Even so, we had a good time.
In my previous post I was worried about staying up so late. So in case you were wondering, you can sleep at a raceway.
So today is a HUGE day. Today I experience my first NASCAR race. Yep. Me and 149,999 other people will be watching cars zip by in all of their colorful, corporate sponsored glory.
So far, I have no idea how this works. Why anyone would sit with ear plugs inserted to watch blurry cars while inhaling toxic exhaust fumes and burnt rubber is beyond me. Yet this race has been sold out for months and it’s 9:00AM and I’m sure folks are already up in Richmond tailgating for the damn thing. So there’s got to be something to it.
I’m usually asleep by 10:00PM. I don’t know how I’m going to stay awake for the entire thing. I’ve slept through fireworks, loud movies and part of the encore at a Springsteen concert (sorry Boss). I’m fairly certain that I can sleep through NASCAR. And I’m also fairly certan that if I do, I’ll risk a major ass kicking from all the crazed NASCAR fans that will be surrounding me. I’m thinking that bringing a book is a bad idea as well.
My brother John and his fiance Annette are going with us and as NASCAR veterans they will walk us through the day. They’ve made it very clear that we haven’t lived yet and will be a changed family come tomorrow. I’ll be sure to fill you in.
There’s a big movement happening in my town. Sure lacrosse has been growing around here for years and now that the Beckham’s have come to America professional soccer may finally become a bigger sport in the states, but trust me, the next big thing to take off across the land… Adult Co-Ed Kickball.
Yep, you heard me. Kickball is kicking ass.
My neighbor told me about it last summer. He had been working out and getting in shape for a big game last year. I thought I had heard him wrong, but no. He was talking kickball. They had a league, kept stats and I’m guessing an end of year banquet where they perhaps handed out trophies.
Tomorrow at noon in Baker Park, they’ll mix fun and a good cause when FACKA (Frederick Adult Co-Ed Kickball Association) hosts kickballers from Montgomery County for a charity fundraiser, all-star game.
All-stars? I love it! This league has already grown from 140 to 250 players and they expect to double in size by next year. They now play under the lights, so all the DC commuters have time to get home, eat and s-t-r-e-t-c-h before they throw down on the kickball diamond.
WAKA, otherwise known as the, WORLD adult kickball Association is celebrating it’s 10th year. Soon this will be an olympic event folks and remember that you heard about it here.
I absolutely loved kickball as a kid. It was the one sport that anyone could do and do well. You got picked for teams based on skill not gender. It didn’t matter if you were sporting Welcome Back Kotter, “Up your nose with a rubber hose” knee socks and a Dorothy Hamel haircut. If you could kick it over to the 4-square court or bounce the ball off the monkey bars at Wolfdale School, you were in. Like Flynn.
So take a moment, close your eyes are remember the fun, funky, and twangy, “THWANK” sound of your foot connecting with a red, rubber kickball.