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Posts Tagged ‘sports’

In St. Louis, MO there are few things we do well. However, this isn’t a post about my city and the poverty, crime, or education. Nay, this is a post about stuff St. Louis does well. Well, 1 thing in particular. No, I’m not goint to talk about Toasted Ravioli, Washers, or Gooey Butter Cake. I am going to talk about Cardinals baseball.

As a kid growing up in the 80’s & 90’s I can remember as far back as my mind allows being a Cardinal fan. I had all their baseball cards, could mimic their batting stances, and pretty much ate, drank, slept baseball during the summer. After my formative years however, I moved away from the city and lost a bit of touch with the team. I could no longer recite stats of the 2nd string catcher or for that matter go to a game without it being a big ordeal. When I was in college however, I regained that passion for the game, thanks no other to the drug induced slug-fest that was the 1998 season and Mark McGwire ripped off 70 HRs. While he and others were essentially ruining the game, they were saving it at the same time (well at least for me they were saving it). From that season on, I had regained my love for Cardinal baseball and carried it out through my 20’s. As of the last 4 or 5 years however having kids and all that goes along with that has taken precident over Cards baseball. I will gladly give up the TV now so my 3 year old can watch a show for the 30th time as long as it keeps her happy. With this, I am steadily missing more and more games per year. This is also the case with going to games. It was not unusual for me to go to 10 – 15 games a season when I was in my 20s. But as mentioned above my attendence is declining. So much this year that I didn’t think I was going to make a single game. A Cardinal sin? (yes that was terrible)

Well, that all changed Sunday when my daughter got tickets through her school to go to the game. At first, I was a little weary of it since my wife wouldn’t be going and I was dragging along my Sister-in-Law’s boyfriend. He’s a good dude but what 26 year old wants to go to a baseball game with a guy way past his prime and 2 kids that can scream bloody hell at a moment’s notice? But excitement struck me when I loaded up the car with the girls on our way to the game. You see, this wasn’t just an insignificant Sunday game in late August against the Pirates. No this was both of my kid’s first baseball game. Ever. It is a historic day in their lives.

This is excitement

So with this sudden excitement on my part coupled with the fact that my kids think they are going to see actual Pirates, this made to be an amazing day for them (and me). The game was actually pretty sloppy in the first few innings but therere were a ton of runs and the girls were well on their way to a sugar induced coma. To my surprise they made it until the 7th inning stretch. However, the wheels were falling off pretty quickly. So we decicded to get while the gettin was good. A quick side note, the Cards ended up winning 7-4.

 
This is somewhere around mid-sugar high

Today was an awesome day at the ballpark with my kids (and sister-in-laws boyfriend). I remembered why I loved baseball when I was a kid and I can only hope my kids love it growing up and possibly marry a player so I am set for life.

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A while back I wrote a somewhat controversial post regarding my thought to the whole minimalist/barefoot phenomenon that was occurring in the world of running these days.  I didn’t do any research on the subject to keep my opinions my own and as outspoken as possible. To save you some time (and since my job blocks wordpress I can’t do much editing & adding a pingback), my summary went like this: Barefoot running doesn’t make sense to me and that regardless of foot strike you are placing the same amount of stress on your body just in a different place. To further the point I also commented that shoes are awesome and they help considerably. It is similar to my wife’s thought on epidurals “If the technology is there, use it.”

My opinion on this matter started when I first got into running. It was in 2006 I weighed 272 lbs. I wanted to do this running thing the right way so I got fitted for shoes at a specialty running store which will remain nameless but I won’t go back there. Also, I’ve learned the art of internet scouring to find the the best deal. They did the whole gait analysis and charged me $130 for a pair of Brooks Beasts since I was a fat over-pronator. The shoes were a step up from what I was wearing and I liked them at first. I did notice that whenever I would up the miles (at this time anything over 4 miles was a long run) the medial (inside) part of my knees would hurt. I figured this was normal since the shoes were now providing support where I didn’t have it before. After running with those shoes for a year the pain didn’t go away, but it didn’t get worse either. I went out on a limb and for my next pair bought some New Balance 991’s which were a bit more neutral. There was no knee pain with these shoes. Hmmm.

​Fast forward to 2010 & 2011 and I am running in Brooks Adrenaline GTS 9’s which are a shoe that provide moderate support for over-pronators. I really like these shoes. I’ve had no real issues with them and as my experience with the other pair of Brooks, they hold up very well.

Well, when I wrote that previous article I promised that I would keep an open mind about the minimal thing since there was so much feedback telling me I was wrong. I kept my promise. By a stroke of luck and a need from some trail shoes, I found a pair of New Balance 101’s on sale to get into this minimal thing. I don’t think that there are any arguments that the NB101s are pretty minimal especially when compared to my previous shoes. I’ve started out slow with them and have noticed that my calves are getting a better workout when running and there is a “difference” in the way my knees feel. It’s a good difference. They feel a bit looser after I run with the NB101s. I’ve also taken the NB101s out to the track and did some speed work with them, they were awesome for that environment too.

Finally, I have purchased “Born to Run” which I have been told is the greatest running book ever. I haven’t started on it yet because I am knee deep in the “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” series and I don’t want to break up those books. So, I have a feeling my research will be picking up once I crack that sucker open.

So, after a couple months I have gone from Minimal Skeptic to Casual Minimal Tester-Outer and I like this progression I am seeing. Its too early to say that I am hooked and that minimal running is the thing for me but my mind is a bit more open.

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I’m sitting here preparing myself to watch the final game of the college basketball season between Butler and UConn. I’m pretty confident Butler will win (which means you should bet on the Huskies) and I’m a little pissy about the whole thing.   People are all excited this year because a bunch of teams with no business making the Final Four made the Final Four. People eat this crap up. I don’t.

To be frank, I’m an Ohio State fan. I didn’t go there, so I’m not a tattoo-sporting, Dead Schembechlers-listening-to type fan, but they have been my college sports rooting interest for as long as I can remember (calm down: I grew up in Ohio, I’m not one of those guys who like UNC and Duke even though they’ve never set foot in a state that ends in Carolina). I grew up hating Michigan, and I always will, unless of course — God forbid — one of my kids gets a scholarship there. Even talked the Missus into a Buckeyes-themed Christmas card.

The 2009 Family Christmas Card

Go Bucks, Michigan Sucks.

This means that, at least in the intercollegiate context, I don’t much care for underdogs. I like big, sports-factory schools to kick the crap out of little schools all season long, and I like for those little schools to make a nice little paycheck and be happy to tell their alumni they’re gonna be on TV. However, the last couple of years — largely due to the NBA’s age limit (players must be out of high school for at least one full year before they can enter the draft) — the smaller schools have been doing really well in the tournament. And that kind of bites, especially for the schools that have been overpaying their players these last few years with nothing to show for it.

Hopefully with the NBA’s labor lockout looming we’ll get to see some top talent stay in school next year so everyone’s bracket will make it through the first round without getting broken in half. Until I can say go Buckeyes again (which is hopefully only 5 games into football season), go Bulldogs.

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When I was in high school, I was an avid soccer player. In this context, by “avid” I mean that I played a lot, not that I was good. I was blessed to go to a school small enough they couldn’t cut people, and by the time I was a senior I was a starter, a captain, and All-Ohio (Academic, anyway).

Anyway, since then, I’ve largely stopped running (and moving when possible) so I’m a little out of shape. About 2 years ago I answered an online ad for an indoor soccer team needing a goalie. I didn’t play goalie (or “keeper” as some “football” snobs call the position) for my high school team but had played a few games in the net for a club team I was on, so I thought it would be a great way to get back into it slowly (as goalies obviously move less than other players).

I bought some shinguards, some cleats, and some gloves, and played for about a year. My team was great, in all fairness, considering some of them were really, REALLY good at soccer. It would have been very easy to get frustrated with me (as I’m barely, BARELY adequate). I had a great time, but didn’t get into great shape. After about 6 months I told them to look for another goalie, as I just couldn’t commit to the hour every week (I am, after all, a bid-ness man first and foremost). Shortly thereafter they found one, and I enjoyed some much needed time off.

A few weeks ago the team reached back out to me. Apparently after I left they hopped up a division (not surprising since they had a real goalie) and then their new goalie got hurt so they dropped back down a division. As all of them are in average shape, they’re perfectly content running all over the field and NOT having people kick things at their heads as hard as possible. Suckers. Anyway, I missed the game (which is a huge contributor to success) so I jumped at the opportunity generated by the injury of my replacement.

Since coming back we’ve had three games, and we’ve won all three. It took me a little while to remember the rules, and to get my sea legs back, but this week I was pretty awesome for a thirty-something fat guy playing out of position with a bunch of youngsters who started out better than I am. So I’m having fun.

I’m also painfully, painfully sore. Both wrists are messed up and the first three steps after any period of sitting are sort of half-leaning forward. But I made some great saves, some great drop kicks, and nobody has cussed me out since I came back.

If this is what winning feels like, call me Charlie Sheen.

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