sports

Wing-Woman Needed

Posted on Updated on

Nostalgia. So many feelings came rushing back to me in the course of an afternoon, I don’t know where to begin. It was an afternoon of observations. Observations of interest, some of my own intellectual notice, and some are just plain silly thoughts.

Spend a moment or two inside my head…

“Saying that men talk about baseball in order to avoid talking about their feelings is the same as saying that women talk about their feelings in order to avoid talking about baseball.”

So here’s the deal then, Deborah Tannen, one who has taken to demystifying the mother tongue. I need someone to talk to about my feelings.

Quite an intelligent woman

Prepare yourself: My mind is about to be unleashed…

Here the thought bubbles come…

Back in high school. Remember freaking high school? I was named Most Spirited during my senior year. Decked out in red, white and blue, and now I’m decking out in maroon and gold. But what do I miss most about heading to the football games? A football cheering buddy. Someone who high-fivedme, yelled at me when I was cheering too close to their ear, and someone who poked me in the shoulder whenever they caught sight of a nice pair of buns in tight football pants.

The more outrageous the outfit, the better the spirit!

No way in hell would I go back to high school. Too many raging hormones in myself and in every one else. Literally. High schoolers, especially high school girls, are bat shit crazy. I used to be one of those bat shit crazy girls.

Mean Girls. Enough said.

I went all during high school without a boyfriend. Well, that’s not true. Me and the smartest boy in class were a couple for a while there. Then. I headed off to Australia for three weeks over the summer, and I came back and blatantly didn’t know where we stood. Neither did he. So what did we do? We ignored each other. Bam. No boyfriend for me. Did I really care at the time? Hell no! I was a freak of nature who had big dreams of being a Hollywood starlet by 18. I had bigger things to worry about.

I have some reading to do.

My unfulfilled dream? I always wanted to date an athlete. To wear his jersey, to cheer him on during each and every game, maybe share a celebratory kiss after their glorious win. Pointing to the Jumbotron, and screaming, “That’s my boyfriend!” Mostly, I just wanted to wear his jersey during game days. I don’t need to tell you how good I look in a football jersey. Throw in an awesome, messy up-do and I am rocking the athletic look.

He can be an Olympic athlete. That’d be fine by me.

I miss sports. Being a part of a team, and still being my own self. Bringing my own flair and charm to the court, and letting out my rage. Seriously, I miss dominating on the tennis court. The self-hating attitude when I didn’t run fast enough? Not so much. However, I sure had nice, lean legs from all those sprints…

Bring on the timed sprinting drills.

There was a kid practicing parallel parking in the lot next to where my car happened to be. I stood there and recalled my days of practicing the same thing, except with hay bales my dad set up for me in our front yard. The advantages of living on a farm. An overabundance of hay bales.

Literally everywhere you look.

You know what else I miss? Showing cattle at the county fair. Getting up at 4 am to wash my cattle sucked since they only ever had freezing cold water for us to use, but the early morning nap I’d reward myself with after everyone was fed and settling into fresh bedding was worth it.

It’s always 20x warmer sleeping next to your show cow on a chilly evening

I always feel more beautiful whenever I set my feet back on the farm ground. When I feel more beautiful, I feel like I can conquer the world. Thanks to two special bartenders last night (you know who you are, lucky reader.)

Smouldering eyes included.

Wearing power suits, clicking high heels out of the elevator, my own office, and a full lunch hour where I could actually LEAVE to get things done…I love it. I love my new job. Returning to the old stomping grounds was a treat, although I had to remind myself not to go behind the front desk and get to work.

I get to wear outfits like this to all my meetings!

An even better treat? Seeing everyone I used to work with. Oh yes, this included my two favorite bartenders. A Cosmo on the house, and throw in a glass of Riesling? I’m down even more so. Getting walked to my car reminded me of a few things. How much I miss having friends of the male sex, how to be treated like a lady, and the spark of intrigue that lights my gut when certain glances are thrown my way.

Oh yea, the zinging sensations are still very much there.

Oh yes, I’m asking for trouble and the scenarios have been played out in my head. Thank goodness my fingers don’t have minds of their own when my cell phone is around. But wouldn’t it be great if there was a tap on my sliding glass doors, pull back the curtain and there stood Josh Duhamel? He seriously makes me oozy all over with lust. Have you looked into those eyes? Probably not since you’re wrinkling an eyebrow at me wondering what the hell it feels like to be “oozy with lust.”

First my jaw would drop…and then I’d open the door, and not stop touching him.

I don’t like being alone, and waking up from dreams where I’m being showered with love and affection to a world where I am so incredibly alone in the romance department is terrible disheartening. It could be said that I have loved and lost. It’s true. A break-up means losing one you love in a very special way.

It’s over, and it’s literally ripping me a apart right here, right now.

My heart may still be hurting a year later. Ridiculous, yes. It’s been a year. Yet, the world has decided to throw more couples than I can handle in front of my face and it makes me hate myself a little bit more. And the wedding engagements on Facebook. I may delete my account until the new year.

Seriously. Another one?

Stay strong, Jedi. There is someone out there for all of us, The road is simply longer and lonelier for some of us.

God bless the broken road.

Sporting Good Luck

Posted on Updated on

I haven’t written in too long, and I only have a limited amount time for my catch-up here, so let’s get down to it.

Don’t make me open a can of whoop-ass right now.

Hockey games and martini’s go together so, so, so WELL! I have season tickets with  my sister, but due to a destination bachelorette party her friends planned for her, she was away for the first home hockey game of the season. Plus it was season opener. How dare she?! (I was invited to this party, but alas, I had to work. So more hockey for me!)

Always and forever my first hockey team love!

I asked a guy to go with me whom I’ve had drinks with before. He more than happily agreed, and we had quite a good time. I forgot how refreshing it is to go on a date with someone who actually enjoys sporting events as much as I do. No crude marks for wearing my team’s jersey, or for going crazy when we made a goal, or getting annoyed when I yelled at the refs for their crappy calls. It was SO NICE.

As much as I admire the Queen, you gotta be able to scream your lungs out when it’s tied at the end of the 3rd period.

After the game and fighting the swarming mobs of cars trying to get out the parking lot as quickly as I was attempting, we met up at nice little classy bar for a few drinks. A couple of cucumber presses later, and I am falling down the single step separating our table from the actual floor. No, I was not drunk, but I certainly was tipsy. So sue me! Tucked away in a little corner, it only helped the mood when he pulled me in for a kiss of his own.

Can you resist the heat?

Oh my goodness, I just got goosebumps remembering it.

“I honestly believe there is absolutely nothing like going to bed with a good book. Or a friend who’s read one.”

Naughty, naughty Phyllis Diller, the doyenne of domestic comedy.

She looks harmless now…

No, neither of us went home with the other. We have higher morals and standards than that (and it was only the 2nd date.) But he did kiss me good night again while we parted ways on the street corner. How much romantic does it get?

Gotcha again! There were no stormtroopers around, otherwise I would have had a fight on my hands!

Agin with the goosebumps. Oh-oh-oh!

I have so many things to get done for the wedding in the next three weeks that I literally can’t think about romancing or romancing for that matter. I simply have too many obligations right now, and I certainly need to get on the ball if I’m going to get ‘Maid of Honor’ printed onto a layering tank top on time. Ultimate MOH fantasy? A crisis has occurred on the morning of the wedding, and I rip open the front of my button-down shirt (because everyone knows when you go to the salon to get your hair done, you wear a button-down shirt so you don’t have to pull a shirt up and over your head hence wrecking your hair!) and beneath the shirt is my flashing ‘MOH’ shirt, and I run to the rescue with my nifty emergency kit, and I save the day!

Maid of Honor to the rescue!!!! Da-da-da DAAAAAAAA!

AND THE CROWD GOES WILD!

Alas, I really hope that doesn’t happen. The wedding day needs to go smoothly. God only knows what else He has in store for that day other than what we’re all expecting.

And for the first time tonight, I’m happy it’s not my wedding day in three weeks!

On that note I’m going to be taking off now so I can meet some old friends for a very late dinner. Since the hockey game, I’ve turned into a total athletics junkie. So what else are you supposed to do…but show your team spirit?!

Here are a few ways for you to extend your athletic cheer!

*So adorable! Hand-dipped football strawberries!

Almost TOO adorable to eat. Almost.

*Add sporty style to your favorite bottles of vino.

These would make me want to drink more.

*Cute cutting board is made from durable bamboo.

And when your team loses, feel free to hack away at it!

*Make charming football cupcakes with this decorating kit!

Cupcake decorating really is an art form.

*Grill up a great time. Cuisinart’s”Petit Gourmet” portable tabletop model is perfect for tailgating!

Wherever I can eat a grilled steak, I’m a happy woman 🙂

Sweet dreams, my friends, and this Jedi is bursting with adventures to share and lessons learned.

Until next time…Charge On!

A Jedi’s work is never done.

*Say Cheese!*

Posted on Updated on

Let me rattle off a few names here:

Michael Phelps

AKA Thorp-edo!

Gabby Douglas

Part of the Fab Five

Serena Williams

I refer to her as the Beast of the Court.

Missy Franklin

The Newbie

Ryan Lochte

Sexiest Olympian Alive

What do they all have in common? All of them are gold medalists of this go-around of the Olympic games. London 2012 has been kind to them, and they have walked way victorious in a variety of ways, and not just with a circle of medal around their necks. Although, I will admit, that alone is pretty damn cool.

I wish I had one of those.

As I’ve described in the last how many posts, I’ve become quite the Olympics junkie. When the games end, I’m going to be incredibly distraught. What will I do with myself? What am I going to watch on TV? How can I have a reason to scan the swimming crowds for Ryan Lochte’s face without looking and feeling like a complete idiot? When I’m caught Googling him for the 50th time, I will no longer have an excuse as to why I’m staring at his beautiful, cool blue eyes.

I mean, just look at him!

But this is not my personal crisis at the moment.

What has been equally rewarding of watching these Olympics is not just finding new eye candy to drool over. It’s seeing others openly bare their pride for their country. They’re up on those podiums, accepting the highest honor their sport can offer, and all in the name of their country. Talk about patriotism! It’s not just proving you’re the best in any given event. The World championship is slightly different from the Olympics when it comes down to what winning means to an athlete. Just like when I played tennis; winning the conference has a whole new feeling compared to winning a home meet. Or winning on Parent’s Night held a different significance than winning during any regular home match.

There’s a difference in pride, and there’s a difference in who’s watching you compete.

The Olympics? It’s the equivalent to the Hunger Games of Panem (minus the children killing children part.) The whole world is watching. Every play, every move, and every word you speak, is heard by everyone around the globe. You’re representing yourself, yes, along with your athletic capabilities. But you’re also representing your country. That is a huge responsibility and not one to be taken lightly. It’s an even bigger deal when the whole world is ready to criticise something, anything.

It doesn’t matter from what country you hail. Somebody is going to have a negative comment or two, whether you were pitch perfect or not. The United States is a prime example, and it’s a bit tricky when it comes to the US of A. I can’t say we’re hugely popular with many people in the world right now. A foreigner might not have a problem with me until I mention the small detail that I’m an American. Not everyone is like this, but many countries and their people are not too fond of us.

Some say we are the Bane of society.

In the running for most popular country, the United States is not winning the gold medal there.

Regardless, I am proud to call myself an American. I don’t care what other countries say. What my government doesn’t isn’t necessarily a reflection of my personal beliefs, or what I feel is the right thing to do. Convincing many of that idea is a battle royale of its own, but we’ll leave that topic of conversation for another time and place.

“The harder they hit, the more encouraged I get.”

The wonderful words of Hillary Clinton, our current U.S. Secretary of State. Could we change her words up a tiny bit to make it relevant to the Olympics? Can we say the more medals we win, the bigger the target on our backs? So why add fuel to the fire by not showing appreciation for the country you stand there and represent?

Seriously…please run for President again. Pretty please?

Here’s what I’m getting at. There are countries competing in the Olympics who do not like us as a nation for many, many reasons, whatever they may be. If I were competing in the Olympics, I honestly would want to work as an ambassador for my country, not just for my sporting event and my accomplishments. Winning the gold is a huge deal, and when I’m standing on that podium (this is my fantasy, so back off!), I want others to see not only the pride and hard work I have invested in this sport, but I also want the world to see how happy I am to represent my country in these world games.

Who wouldn’t want to be a part of this spectacle?

With that in mind, here’s my personal crisis of the day: Why are our athletes not showing that pride on the podium? How can they show it, you might ask. For starters, you might want to smile and actually look at the flag of your nation being raised in your honor. Maybe, just maybe, you could mouth the words to your national anthem. If for some reason you have no clue what the words are, try mouthing the same thing over and over again. I don’t even care if its Old McDonald Had a Farm. Just make your lips move so we think you’re singing along! It has become my biggest pet peeve to see our elite athletes not even attempt to show their appreciation for their nation or the support of their fellow countrymen. I know for a fact A LOT of us are cheering you on from across the Atlantic. The least you can do is smile and let us know you’re grateful.

Michelle Kwan was always proud of who and what she represented. Take a leaf out of her book!

As much as I rag on Michael Phelps for being slightly an ogre and how Ryan Lochte beats him hands down in the body department, he still stood with his eyes fixed on the American flag as he received his 20th medal the other night, and, dare I mention it, he smiled so broadly and so happily when the final notes rang out, I just know he was feeling a rush of emotions only he could understand. Even his mother stood in the audience singing her heart out.

Look closely, but you’ll see him mouthing the words and actually smiling!

Ryan Lochte. You already know I love him, but my respect for him leaped meters when I saw him singing to the national anthem when he beat Phelps in what already seems like ages ago earlier in the Olympic games this past week.

Nothing like letting your country know you’re thankful.

Serena Williams. She stood proudly with the American flag behind her this morning as she won  her first gold medal in the singles’ division for tennis. As for how she spoke and acted during her first interview right after the win, that’s a whole other story. What I’ll say now is this: You’ve been playing this game for a long, long time. Since you were a teenager and you are now in your 30s. When you win a major title or competition, I don’t think you should be acting like a 13-year-old still. Accept the win with pride, grace, and dignity. Don’t stand there and say, “OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG THE GOOOOOOLD” the whole time. Anyways, I’ll rant about her later.

You could try to control that hair a little bit,

The one I do want to rant about is Gabby Douglas. I am incredibly happy she won the women’s all-around gymnastics competition. I think it’s great, especially with how difficult the sport is. I would certainly fall off that balance beam if I tried doing flips and kicks like that. But when it came to the medal stand, she looked anything but enthused. When the national anthem played? Her eyes were everywhere BUT on the American flag. While I understand how enormous that moment would feel, I’d like to compare Douglas to Missy Franklin. Both were first time Olympians and both girls are incredibly young (Douglas is 16 and Franklin is 17), but yet Franklin glued her eyes that flag and she sang her little winning heart out. When the anthem ended, she wiped away a few tears that managed to escape. You can’t tell me Douglas was too distracted because of her age to pay attention to what was happening. Her eyes were everywhere, she didn’t smile once during the entire 2 minute song, and don’t even ask if she sang.

This is how you accept a medal!

She didn’t. If I had to put a word on her, it would be stoic, but not really in a good way. Honestly? She almost looked bored.

Do you see a smile on that face? I sure don’t.

Her teammate who didn’t qualify for the all-around competition looked far more excited for Douglas’ win than Douglas herself. And let me also add that she stood out like a sore thumb at the team competition when the U.S. took gold, and all of her teammates are staring at the flag, singing to glory to their nation. Just sayin’…

Seriously, she’s the only one not smiling or even hinting at a smile.

To be fair, Douglas isn’t the only one who has done this. There are other athletes I’ve watching, and not just ones hailing from the USA, but from other countries, too. And while I might not like these other counties as much as my own, I still think they should put in the effort to at least pretend to acknowledge who and what they represent while standing with an honoring medal around their neck.

Enough of the serious chatter. I’m ready to share my Fabulous Friday with you, and here is what made my day better than average to start off my weekend:

Fabulous Look:

I’m a fan of the swimming trunks look, courtesy of Nike, these days,

Fabulous Feature:

His eyes, that jaw line, THAT FACE…I’m in love 🙂

Fabulous Idea:

Hanging Christmas lights in your hallways for a soft, ambient lighting. How cool!

Fabulous Baby Gear:

My own little R2-D2. How can you not love this?

Fabulous Bikini:

The anchor detailing is adorable.

Fabulous Explanation:

Fabulous Sweat Top:

Enough said.

Fabulous Sexy Time:

Hellooooooo Handsome!

Fabulous Bite:

Mini glasses of milk with little chocolate chip cookies!

Fabulous Quote:

Fabulous Library:

One word: AWESOME.

Fabulous Container:

Very handy to have on one’s nightstand for jewelry and loose pocket change.

Fabulous Kick-Ass Lady:

USA’s Walsh for the beach volleyball

Fabulous Adult Living:

Ummm best thing ever? Adult Capri Suns – Vodka mixed with lemonade inside a giant plastic bag with a straw poked in through the top. Yummy!

Fabulous Themed Wedding:

Batman for the win!

I hope your weekend is finding you well and putting you into new adventures like never before. Me? I’ve been working like a dog. I’ve been putting in more hours now that I have a full-time job about to start versus when I was simply looking. Funny how the worlds works.

Right now I think I just need a nap.

Happy Olympics Weekend: Take 2!

These look delicious!

Hello, I am the Modern Jedi, and I am an Olympics Junkie.

Posted on

Raise your hand if you’ve turned into a snarling, drooling, foaming at the mouth addict to the Summer 2012 Olympics taking place in London at this exact moment in time?

Or busting metal out of your knuckles?

No one? Anyone? Are you sure?

No, my hand isn’t in the air, either.

BUT…I have become a total Olympics Junkie since the opening ceremony took place last Friday evening. And, yes, I didn’t capitalize the word ‘junkie.’ It’s only fair I pay my dues to what I have become and wear it like a patch on my sleeve with pride.

It’s still the good ol’ red, white and blue!

One of my friends commented the other day about how watching the Olympics makes them feel more patriotic than any other time of their lives. Watching members of our country compete against our rival countries (like those dang French in the swimming competitions who knocked my beloved Ryan Lochte out of medaling yesterday and pushing him into 4th place…just shy of a medal. Dang you, Frenchies!!), it really does lift something in the spirit.

I clapped and screamed so loudly, one of my coworkers asked if I was doing okay.

As I watched the women’s gymnastics team achieve gold for the first time since the Magnificent Seven, I felt a different sort of pang resonate through my chest. It was a pang of longing.

Why do athletes always take a picture of themselves biting the medal? I never got that one…But you go Fab Five!

I miss competing. Plain and simple. I miss the rush of adrenaline that let me know something exciting was about to happen, and the result totally rested on my shoulders.

At that point, I could only hope I’d trained long enough and hard enough to face my opponent. Tennis, once again, pops into my mind. That sport, for me, will always hold a special place in my heart. My high school was small, and barely had a sports team of any kind. Somehow, we managed to amass enough students every year. Well, upon my entering high school, I knew I wanted to play basketball. Tennis, on the other hand, was something my cousin convinced me to try out the summer before I entered official high school status. It didn’t hurt that my sister also played on the team for a few years prior to my entry into high school, so naturally, I wanted to follow in her footsteps (but discreetly. No one likes to admit they did something because their sister made it look cool!)

Don’t tell anyone, but…

A long story short, I was hooked after my first summer lesson. So when “try-outs” for the team came up later in the summer, I got a call from the coach asking if I wanted to see what a couple of practices would be like, and make my decision to be on the team from there.

You should know up front that there as no C-Team or JV squad for this tennis team. When you joined the team, you were playing at the varsity level immediately, and for someone who had never touched a racquet prior to that summer lesson, it was slightly terrifying.

Step right up and show us what you can do with that racquet. Oh, man…

Even more terrifying? Being placed at 3rd singles for my first match ever. I was playing opponents who had been playing for 5+ years, and literally would kill me if I got in the way of the ball without my racquet to deflect its speeding orb-like self.

I won’t lie. It sucked at the time. I knew I wasn’t the best of players, but I also knew I was better than what my scores reflected. I considered it a victory when my side of the score cards shined with a game or two in my favor, and not big fat zeros. 6-0, 6-0. I never hated a score total so much in my life.

You love to hate them, but they control the game.

Like I said, it sucked at the time. But I was too young and dumb to acknowledge the training and skill sets I was picking up right away from playing opponents way beyond my skill set. As I grew older with the sport and my own personal skills began to expand, the tides were turning. I was suddenly that player other teams hated to play. My years of being pounded into the tennis pavement paid off. I became one of the best players in the conference. It took a lot of patience, a lot of practice, and a lot of beatings to reach the skill set I eventually entered the season with my senior and final year of high school. Now, to say I was undefeated that season would be a total lie. I was beaten a handful of times, but the beautiful part is that it wasn’t by complete shut-out.

I made myself a promise when I advanced to the 2nd singles position: If I was bound to lose, I would win at least 2 games every set and not go down with a shut-out. It kept me swinging, that’s for sure. When I assumed the 1st singles position, it became my goal to shut out players the way I had been shut-out all those years ago.

I never hesitated to celebrate a good point, especially after establishing myself as a force to be reckoned with on that court.

You know what? I achieved that goal a number of times. My time had come, and I wasn’t about to forget it.

“It’s straight from the horse’s mouth.Not that I’m saying I’m a horse.”

We only like to tell it how it is, don’t we, Victoria Beckham, the erstwhile “Posh Spice”. She may have been talking about her autobiography with those words, and I guess in a way, so am I. Tennis is a part of my life, so consider this a fleeting story in a long, long, not-even-close-to-being-completed autobiography about, well…me!

Still hard to believe she was one of the Spice Girls back in the 90s.

So, how does this tie in with the Olympics?

There’s a point to this, I promise.

Like previously stated, I miss the competition. I miss the mental preparation needed prior to the event. Seeing the athletes sitting and watching/cheering on their teammates with their ear buds tucked safely in their ears…I used to do that. I needed ten minutes of “me” time before stepping out on the court. I miss the routine. I miss the physical and mental discipline.

I miss giving everything I have on that court, and I mean, EVERYTHING. Down to injuries and tears.

I need to find myself an adult sports team. Now that I have a Big Girl Job and everything, I have my evenings to train, and a fighting spirit that just don’t quit. I’m always looking to prove myself. Maybe I could be on the national tennis circuit yet.

I don’t care how, but I miss being beaten to a pulp physically only to return and do it all over again the next day.

I think it’s okay for me to hold on to that longing, the want to be a part of a team again, the want to be disciplined enough to take the reins on my own but also have a bigger picture in mind. SO…with that in mind, I realize it’s been awhile, but here’s my latest installment of ‘Hey, It’s Okay’s”

Ready? Set! *Bang* (That’s a starting gun, just so you know 🙂 )

Hey, It’s Okay…

… If all your future baby names come from celebs. Cate? Shia? Adorable, right?

Suri still remains one of my faves.

… To know what only four out of the 12 keys on your key chain actually go to.

Who needs this many keys, anyways?

… To still be forwarding people that ridiculous “Talking Twin Babies” YouTube video. Funny on the first or the dozenth viewing.

… To pretend you’re getting in shape for your wedding even when there’s no ring on your finger. Really, whatever motivates you.

I’m going to be in a wedding come November. Same difference. I could lie and say I am the one getting married. Everyone confuses me and my sister for twins anyways.

… To make everyone else turn around, walk 10 paces and sing cheesy Bon Jovi songs while you attempt to pee in the woods.

A squad of stormtroopers singing Bon Jovi would be hysterical.

… If one hot dog is pretty much never enough.

Hot dogs and summer just go hand in hand, especially at baseball games.

… To ask him to kick in for your birth control pills. More than OK!

I really don’t think the boys need a mini-me running around either. It’s for both your sakes.

… To look up, realize you and your significant other are both on your phones and totally feel like those people.

Put them away, idiots.

… Not to have the foggiest idea how to talk to a three-year-old.

Just let him do his thing…

We still have a lot of summer left ahead of us, and I intend to fully grasp each day with a new fervor. It’s amazing how knowing I have a new job starting in a few weeks has totally changed my perspective on things. I go to and leave work totally smiling, and it’s incredible.

One nice thing? Soon, I’ll be buying myself a new laptop, so when I get home from work, pop a beer and snack a little bit, I can sit down on my porch, open my computer, and blog away, be done in like 1.5 hours, and still have time left in the evening to go out and do a few things yet.

Like watching the sunset at my leisure, and not through a pane of glass window panes!

How nice will that be?

Until then, I’m glued to this schedule and to my TV. Every glimpse I can have of Ryan Lochte these days, I’m taking it. Damn, how someone can look so good in a swim cap and swimming trunks is beyond me.

Mr. Lochte, you keep doing what you’re doing, and I’ll keep watching and cheering from my living room. You’ve got a fan in me, sir. (And half the country’s female population, I’m sure.)

“You got it,” he says with a wink and a charming smile.

But they don’t really count 😉

Wink, Wink, Mr. Lochte.

The Epitome of Grace Shall Be Summed Up in One Name: Michelle Kwan

Posted on Updated on

Last night while out to dinner of $5.00 burgers and an extra platter of onion rings with my sister (a rare occurrence, I know, and yes, it was totally delicious. Gotta love the week before Aunt Flow comes for a visit!), we stumbled upon a topic I would have marked in my mind as forgotten except for my sister’s reminder of how much we used obsess over this topic. The topic in question is in regards to a particular athletic endeavor. Which one you might ask?

I guess we were have a girlie ‘Dudes’ night.

Let me tell you in two words…

Figure skating.

Nancy Kerrigan…Another skating great.

I know the exact reason why the sport has fallen off my radar as of recently. There’s no longevity in any of the skaters anymore.

Sure, one wins a major competition, she moves on to the next, maybe comes in second place, and then she’s done. You never hear from her again. Take the case of Sarah Hughes. She placed 2nd or 3rd in a lot of competitions leading up to the Olympics in Salt Lake City. But, then, on a total fluke (this is my opinion and my opinion only, mind you), she wins the gold medal. Next thing you know, she’s declaring herself retired from the sport at 19 years old and she is no longer competitively skating.

She took home the bronze. So close, and yet, so far.

What the hell was all those years of early morning training sessions, hardly a social life, a limited diet, and more training sessions for if you are retiring at 19. Hello! Get back out there, skate your ass off, qualify for the next Olympics, and defend your title! The gold medal is the highest honor one can receive in any sport. Yeah, a fluke of a day where the top contenders both have an off day on the ice may be the reason why you won, but still. It’s a freaking gold medal that no one can ever take away from you or the history books.

So you were on a Wheaties box for a few weeks…How many Nationals have you won?

There is one figure skater who always captured my heart, and she still does to this very day: Michelle Kwan.

Years later, I still love her and her signature move.

Salt Lake City was meant to be her year. After winning the silver at Nagano, she was primed and ready to sweep the ice with her style and grace, only to be caught off-guard by whatever it was on that day. She ended up walking away with the bronze medal. Still without a gold to her name.

Kwan is a lot like me in my current trend of life. Let me explain…she prepared her whole life for one moment, a moment that I’m sure she dreamed about all during her years of skating competitions, training sessions, and sleepless nights in her room. Throughout the triumphs and tears of her skating career, she had an ultimate goal. Something every athlete hopes to achieve, and that is the Olympic gold medal and to be the best of the best. For a few moments, anyways. Winning the gold medal may not have been her prime focus, but at one point or another, it was a goal of hers in which to achieve.

Go for the gold or go home!

Instead, at both Olympics, she won the silver and the bronze. In 2006, when the Olympics were in Italy, she had the go-ahead to be on the American team after undergoing several physical evaluations and petitioning her rightful spot on the team due to a few untimely injuries. But, it wasn’t meant to be. Right before the Olympics were to start, Kwan withdrew due to the very injury she worked so hard to heal. Shortly after that, she retired herself from the sport of competitive  figure skating.

She did, however, continue to pursue her education. Good girl.

I read the announcement on Yahoo! News of all places, and I just sat there. After screaming at the computer screen, of course.

“People ask me how it feels to lose the gold. I tell them, I didn’t lose the gold; I won the silver.”

Try and beat her record of 8 National Championship titles. Go ahead…I dare you to try!

Inspiring words I need to remember more often than not, spoken by the Olympic figure skater herself. Michelle Kwan: You brought such grace and beauty and spunk to a sport. She literally oozed passion each and every time she took the ice. I literally held my breath whenever she took the ice, and that’s saying something.

The last time I held my breath for a sporting event? Probably when Melanie Oudin took out Maria Sharapova in the 2009 U.S. Open.

The fire plug who came to play.

With the summer Olympics taking place in London in the not-so-distant future, it’s hard not to recount all the times you fell in love with an athlete or athletic performance. I’m not going to lie. The winter Olympics tend to get my blood flowing a little faster than the summer events, but they are still thrilling regardless.

While sprinting, high jumping skateboarding, long distance running, and the high bar are all athletic endeavors in their own personal rights, there is only one sport that comes to mind which combines the mastery of gracefulness along with the technical difficulties of jumps, spins, turns, and sometimes (but usually in the men’s division) full-front body flips. That, my friends, is figure skating.

All hail the King and Queen, the Duke and Duchess!

While lightsaber dueling and tennis also bear a trace of mastering technical skills. Not just anyone can pull out a slice serve on the first try, and if they do, they don’t understand what it is they are actually doing. The moment they stop to think about the mechanics of their natural motions, they lose whatever power they had. One doesn’t simply pick up a lightsaber and know how to use the different forms of lightsaber combat, be it the basic form of Shii-Cho or the very advanced and hard to master Form 7 Juyo. The moment you stop to dissect the motions of your lightsaber, you lost the power within, too.

Only the best of the best master Juyo.

Mental tricks. Killers, I tell you.

The sad realization I’ve come to? I’ve lost interest in figure skating a lot compared to what I used to dedicate in terms of time to the watching of this particular sport. When I was a teenager and my sister and I still lived at home (back on the farm!), entire Saturday afternoons were spent watching both the men’s and women’s programs. Short programs, long programs, free skates, exhibition skates…we watched all of it. We commented on everything. The outfits, the songs, the movements, the jumps, the competition, the scores skater’s received, and the commentary of the commentators themselves.

By the way, one of thee most annoying things of watching figure skating, or any sport for the matter, is when the commentators feel the need to say something about everything little thing. Can we watch the program in silence and appreciate what is happening before us? Even if you’re watching it live, it’s annoying to hear what they have to say duringthe performance. Just shut up already! I don’t care what she had to say three competitions ago about this particular move! Not at the moment she’s executing it, anyways!

Just look at those outfits. Do you think they can execute the moves quite like they did in practice? They look quite restricting. What do you think, Scott?

I wonder if Scott Hamilton is still commentating these days…It’s been a long time since I’ve watched a full-length figure skating competition on TV. I don’t recognize anybody’s names anymore. My own fault, yes, since I’ve stopped keeping tabs on the sport and its competitors, but at the same time, no one has captured the magic evenly remotely close like Michelle Kwan did. She’s a legend in her own right.

The little shrimp that could jump and skate. Gotta love him.

I suppose I could aim to be like her, even if I’m always coming in second place. I can only imagine how she wrestled with herself for weeks, months, years (I’m sure!) following the 1998 Nagano Olympics. Kwan should have taken the gold that year. Hands down. While little Miss Tara Lipinski had a spring to her jumps, she did not hold an artistic candle to Kwan’s performance that night. I will never forget watching Kwan break into tears the moment her music stopped and she struck her final pose of her long program.

Can I get a ‘Hell Yeah!’?

I didn’t understand it at the time. I was a youngster myself, and as I watched her burst into tears, I remember asking my sister why Kwan was so sad. She hadn’t fallen once during her program. So, why was she crying? My sister answered me, but what she said, I don’t remember. But, now I know.

It was simply a beautiful performance. One for a lifetime, and she knew just how good she was.

The numbers from Nagano speak for themselves.

I get chills just thinking about it.

Michelle Kwan has the heart of a champion. She will always be a champion in my heart.

A pure heart of gold.

In case you’ve forgotten just how damn good an ice skater she was, I’m leaving you with her Nagano performance. Enjoy, and be reminded of those who find beauty in the world and dedicate their passion to that beauty.

And because I like her so much and can’t resist, here’s her performance from the 2005 National competition.

Smoke’em

Posted on

At one point in my life, I did consider myself a fit individual. Calling me athletic, in shape, or raring to go at all time wasn’t far out of the question. Upon catching sight of my body figure, it wasn’t out of the question to assume I could go the distance. If there is something I can credit myself for, it’s that I truly do have a spirit inside me that does not let me quit.

This isn’t me. But it should be. Look at that muscle tone!

It’s as if I have a little voice inside my yelling, “Don’t you dare quit. What’s it going to look like if you quit now? If you stop, you’re not going to live up to the potential you do have. You’re better than this. You’re better than this kid next to you. You’re 10 times better than the kid barely holding the lead on you…AND YOU CAN’T PASS HIM?”

Yup. That’s my inner dialogue when I’m competing. Everybody around me instantly becomes a guy. I can be playing a hard-core game of girls-only basketball, and I’ll only refer to my opponents as men. It’s the competitor in me.

Oh, so you’re in the lead…That’s not good enough!

When I played tennis, I had a soundtrack that played in my head at all times. Every song was hard rock, heavy metal, or extremely epic. Think the final battle song from King Arthur or the track titled Mombasa from Inception. I often put ordinary tasks to tracks like this in my head.

What does this have to do with anything? As I’m watching these people run the Half-Mile and the actual marathon, I already thinking about the music I’d have on my Ipod as I ran this race (if I ever actually convinced myself to run the damn marathon to begin with, which is a far cry from reality.) As I’m watching hundreds of people run by, I’m listing the songs in my head which our appear on my running playlist for 13.1 miles. Ridiculous length to run all at once, but at the same time, it’s also the ultimate test for human strength.

So I envision myself in battle when I’m working out. What’s wrong with that?

Like I said, I once considered myself a highly athletic person. Worked out on my own accord, I actually pushed myself to become physically and mentally better (There’s a reason I love and hate tennis as much as I do, and half of it is completely the mental game.) But I’m sitting on the sidewalk, drinking a little mimosa I had concocted before venturing out to watch the races, and there are people who are in the prime of their 60s, some visibly fighting the battle known as weight loss and this was their proclamation the weight would not win. People, who judging merely on their appearance, look rough and out of shape. These people were running this time-honored marathon, and there I was, drinking a mimosa, cheering them on.

I was doing my part, cheering them on because they took on a feat that I don’t see myself taking on any time soon. I used to be a runner…only to stay in shape for tennis the following fall. Now, I run out of breath running across the parking lot. But I’m watching these people who I know I’m in better shape than on a natural basis…and they’re running freaking 13.1 miles in about 2 hours time!

Pound that pavement like it’s the enemy you’ve always wanted to punch in the face.

If I’ve ever had my competitive side rise up out of me, it was then. I wanted to jump up and sprint across that finish line. See, I was one of those runners who always had a little bit more to give at the very end of a race, no matter how long it was. I always managed to pick up the pace just enough to give everyone a last run for their money. I don’t like anyone feel safe for too long in a competition.

If anything, this will push me to get into better shape. The top 10 finishers of the actual marathon were all tinier than sticks. They were less than twigs….I feel like if there was a massive hurricane-like wind, they wouldn’t stand a chance. Literally, they were the size of my pinky. On the flip side, the women were ripped. The skin on their abs looked so tight it might rip off their body at any second, but not in a good way. Like nasty rip off. Their arms alone also made me never want to piss them off in a bar fight.

I should be a race because of my nose…it would help me win.

Who am I kidding, though. If they’re serious runners, I’m not going to find them at the bar. Throw down at a fitness club, perhaps?

“I used to think drinking was the only way to be happy. Now I know there is no way to be happy.”

A world filled with alcohol is simply not enough for Laura Kightlinger, the comedic charmer that she is.

Sober? Or dropping like its hot?

It’s been a helluva week, so my Friday maybe wasn’t as Fabulous as I would’ve liked, but it was Fabulous none the less. Here are my Fabulous Fridays:

Fabulous Note:

Fabulous Smile:

One little touch is all it takes…

Fabulous Mantra:

Fabulous Cheat Treat:

So, you can’t exactly eat the whole thing…but it sure will take your mind off those calories.

Fabulous Room:

Now, all I need is a singing, dancing lobster.

The beer tents are calling my name. Only time will tell if I can resist them this weekend.

We’ve all done it.

Be safe, and May the Force be with you.

Didn’t you know? He’s the new safety patrol in these parts. Careful….he’s always watching.