Monthly Archives: January 2009

Invisible Phil and Mediocre Ray

(Photo from Boston.com)

That picture reminds me of the final scene of Anchorman, the one we’re treated to if we sit through the credits. “We are laughing and we are very good friends. Good buddies sharing a special moment. Laughing and enjoying our friendship, and someday we’ll look back on this with much fondness.”

And why shouldn’t they be? Things are good in Bruins land. Especially good last night after taking down Mighty Ovechkin and the Capitals in overtime thanks to a David Krecji redirect on the power play. Positively delightful! More so, I’d venture, because the brother and I were in attendance. A Christmas present from his sister, you see. Last year I gave him Sidney Crosby and the Penguins, this year, Ovechkin. Who’s a good sister?

However, the evening was made especially wondrous with the addition of the gentleman seated behind us. Right in front of the row of Pee Wee players. (It’s not a Bruins game if you’re more than three rows away from a Pee Wee team. Trust me on this one.) But the gentleman right in front of them was…let’s call him Sports Fan Archetype B2. He is, to put it simply, the kind of guy I always end up sitting next to at sports bars. The guy who leans in a little too close, talks a bit too loudly and always needs to impress you with his knowledge, most of it erroneous. He’s the kind of guy who never shuts up, annoys his friends with his constant chatter and laughs with his mouth open and full of half masticated chicken fingers. He’s special is what he is. And he was seated right behind us.

I knew it was going to be an excellent time when he, half soused to begin the game, leaned across his friends and loudly asked, “But here’s my question, okay? How good was Ray Bourque really?” I could feel Kevin tense immediately. There are certain things you don’t say to a member of the Merrill family. One is “Even if you don’t like the guy, you gotta respect Derek Jeter.” Another is “Calm down, it’s just a game.” And finally, you never, ever, ever, under any circumstances question the greatness of Ray Bourque/Tom Brady/Cam Neely. It’s just not done.

“I mean,” the guy continued, “was he betta than Bobby Orr? I dunno. Don’t think so. I mean, was he even betta than Chara? I’m not sure he was.”

Kev, under his breath, “22 seasons, 18 All-Star games and 4 Norris Trophies is pretty fucking good. Chara doesn’t have a Norris. Also, shut up, you’re an idiot.”

At this point, I was, of course, laughing and waiting for the fisticuffs to begin.

“I’m just not sold,” the guy continued, “I don’t think he was that good. I mean, what’d he eva do?”

Kev, gesturing to the rafters, “There’s only ten retired numbers up there. Team’s been around since 1923. I think he’s PRETTY FUCKING GOOD.”

At which point the Capitals scored a goal and we had more important things to focus on. Like making fun of Ovechkin’s hair.

“You know,” I said, bringing it back to Bourque-Gate, “He’s up there somewhere,” I gestured to the press boxes, “Maybe this gentlemen would like to take it up with him personally?”

“Neely’s up there too,” Kev added, “pacing and high-fiving people and wondering why current players are such wusses.”

At which point we both took a moment to remember Cam Neely fondly. “Do you think,” I asked, “that when they show old highlight films on the scoreboard between periods, Neely watches them from the press box and gets all fired up and says ‘Fuck it. Get me some skates!'”

“Of course he does,” Kev agreed.

The game proceeded apace with the Capitals and Bruins trading goals. Some fancy goaltending from Thomas also illustrated why he was an All-Star and the winning goalie in the All-Star game for the second year in a row. An impressive feat not erased by the fact that, upon taking the ice to begin the third period, he tripped over the dasher and took a header and went sprawling onto the ice. But pratfalls are always amusing.

The guy behind us, however, would not keep quiet. An hour and a half he went on about his fantasy baseball team last year, all the while trying to convince his reluctant friends to join a league with him this season.

“But here’s the thing, okay?” he said, “A lot of good stuff has happened to me this year, right? I’m not gonna lie. But the best day? The best day was when I won my fantasy baseball league. That was fuckin’ sweet.”

“We must learn from this man,” I said to Kev, “He clearly has much to teach us.”

What we learned, among other things, was that this gentlemen had a powerful and somewhat embarrassing crush on Shane Victorino, that he believes that Ichiro and Ryan Braun play on the same team (Kev: “Not even a little bit.”), and that Jason Varitek is an asshole for not moving to Japan. Also? Carl Crawford? Not faster than this guy. No way, no how. This guy could beat Crawford in the forty two out of three times. His friends, I suspect, were really beginning to regret asking him along.

The game, at this point, had gone to overtime. Which, as you know, is very exciting. Hockey being what it is and all.

“You know,” the guy said, “Fucking Kessel’s been all but invisible this game. What the fuck’s he done?”

“He’s not invisible,” Kev said, “I can see him in his suit in the third row. Where he’s sitting BECAUSE HE HAS MONO.”

“Which, I believe,” I said, “they made an announcement about before the game.”

“Correct.”

“So we are dealing with a rocket scientist here.”

“Yes. Maybe Ichiro can take up some of Phil Kessel’s slack?” Kev said, “Lazy asshole.”

On the power play, Krecji found the net and the B’s took it in overtime. Which is huge in the standings but is also exciting because, as Kev’s girlfriend has declared definitively, “at least they know how to shoot this year. That was the problem last year. They didn’t know how to shoot.”

“So,” I said to Kevin, “What did we learn tonight?”

“We learned that Ray Bourque wasn’t really that good,” he said.

“And that Phil Kessel is a lazy, loafing asshole.”

“And that Ichiro and his teammate will save us all.”

“Shane Victorino,” I added, “A love story in three acts.”

Aside from the lessons imparted on us from our friend in balcony 319, we also learned that the Bruins? The Bruins are for real. Granted, last night marked the return of Lucic (I share my inappropriate crush with at least half the middle-aged male fans in attendance if our matching Lucic number tees were to be believed), Andrew Ference and Patrice Bergeron. Bergeron, showing no ill effects from his concussion, was also the inspiration for the free posters they handed out before the game, “Lord of the Rink. The Return of Patrice Bergeron.” I saved mine for Chrissy as a belated birthday present because she has a powerful crush on Bergeron and he looks extra-smoldery in the picture.

So yes, winning is fun. Winning in overtime is perhaps even more fun. And being first in the standings? Is perhaps the most fun of all. The Bruins are a fun ride this year, and a somewhat unexpected one. And I plan on enjoying it. With our without commentary from the peanut gallery.

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Yes, but what about the wings?

The thing about not having a horse in the race, per se, is that in the seemingly interminable two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, you find yourself less and less interested in reading the endless stream of articles on Kurt Warner’s Benjamin Button-like reverse aging process or the Will He or Won’t He discussions of Hines Wards’ playing state. (He will, I’m sure of it). When you don’t really have a rooting interest, you find yourself far more concerned with seating assignments on Sunday and more than a little distressed about the rumored hot wing shortage. Because, look, you can have a Super Bowl with or without a Jesus-loving quarterback. And you can have one with or without a wide receiver prone to fits of tears. But you absolutely cannot have one without hot wings. This is America, people! And hot wings are the lifeblood! Won’t someone think of the children?

Or, perhaps more fairly, won’t someone think of the embittered Patriots fan left to watch the Super Bowl in a room full of foaming at the mouth Steelers fans? Won’t someone think of everyone’s continued well-being by providing a spicy, salty and all around delicious meat product for her to cram in her mouth (watch it, smartasses, my mom reads this) to prevent her from making untoward comments about the idiocy of Terrible Towels (vs. Sham-Wows! Who you got?), and forever damaging her friendship with said Steelers fans? A girl needs her wings, people. This is all I’m saying.

However, despite my frequent ranting on this here site, I am actually a kind and loving person. As such, I have realized that it’s in my best interest – karmically at least – to root for a team rather than against one. So I’ve decided that I will drive the “I want to discuss current events with Larry Fitzgerald over some Earl Grey tea” bus for the foreseeable future. Because doesn’t he seem like a delightful fellow? Like someone who’d call you up and tell you he just got tickets to the new independent film opening at the art theater and would you like to go with him and perhaps enjoy some delicious crepes beforehand? Also? He is really good at football. Which is perhaps more important in this context than his ability to run mental circles around Ben Roethlisberger with a game of Connect 4.

Sebastian – dear, sweet, bundle of nerves Sebastian – thinks the Steelers are going to have a bigger problem with Anquan Boldin because Fitzgerald will be used primarily as a decoy, I guess. Perhaps his usefulness will come in much the same way as Ed Reed’s did in the Divisional Game against the Titans wherein it was the job of at least four people to hog-tie and sit on Reed and keep him from disrupting the offense, thus leaving at least three other Ravens free to run wild. I suppose we’ll see in due time, though Boldin’s recent hissy fits about being taken out of the game during game-winning drives really reek of T.O.-ness and practically clamor for their own reality show. Who knows? Maybe we’ll see a commercial for it at halftime. Coming soon to Fox: Disgruntled House. Starring Anquan Boldin, Terrell Owens and Stephon Marbury, with Joe Torre as the landlord.

I know only two things with certainty regarding this year’s Super Bowl: 1) Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band as a halftime show is positively inspired and may be the best thing to happen all night and 2) there better be some wings. Or I’ll eat Sebastian.

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Regarding the Footballs

(Photo from NYTimes.com)

That photo hopefully represents visions of the future.

Apologies for the unplanned hiatus, kids. Some things can’t be helped. I do so hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and that your new year is progressing apace.

Now, in regards to the football, allow me to say this in reference to our dearly departed New England Patriots. Firstly, we haven’t the right to complain, as Patriots fans about the way this season played out. When our football Baby Jesus went down in Week 1, we began operating under some newly managed expectations and every win that came henceforth was sort of like gravy. So to end the season with an 11-5 record with an untested backup, half a running game, and defense that wasn’t only elderly but also held together with popsicle sticks and airplane glue is pretty actually okay. Because the thing is, you don’t get to win every year. That’s not how the rules go. There really is no such thing as “fair” in sports. Also, considering the schizophrenic nature of the team this year, there’s every chance they would have lost in the first round of the playoffs or, barring a miracle, lost to the Steelers or Colts in a later round. And that, my friends, would have sent this Zen-like attitude of mine right out the proverbial window and caused me to kick a homeless man to death with rage. And no one wants this. So you see, it’s really better this way.

The Giants/Jets/Ravens/Steelers fans I’ve mentioned this to claim I am the only New England fan to express such a balanced, logical opinion. Again, either I’m just tired of spewing anger and vitriol in the direction of the Jets (who are, I would venture, even more unhappy), or the Super Bowl that didn’t happen has left me dead inside. I guess we’ll see.

Now, as to the remaining teams in the playoffs, I have picked my horse and my horse wears purple. That’s not something I necessarily agree with, sartorially speaking when it comes to sports teams, but my reasons are thusly: 1) my best friend is from Baltimore and has offered to bear Ed Reed’s children. Someone is going to have to babysit. 2) Arizona isn’t a really, real football team, right? Though I did enjoy seeing the absurdly overrated Jake Delhomme go all Favre-ian with the pics the other day. Still, Arizona is in a whole different time zone, and in my head, they’re still an expansion team. And yes, I know that isn’t even remotely close to true. 3) I got no beef with Philadelphia but, you know, they don’t really excite me that much either, and 4) in a game between Pure, Distilled Evil and the Pittsburgh Steelers, I’m either choosing Evil or abstaining from choosing and getting drunk instead. Such are my feelings toward the Steelers despite the fact that I have many friends who bleed black and gold (which they should really have looked at by a professional, by the way). So, after considering these many rational and well thought out reasons, I’ve decided that it’s a good thing I look great in purple.

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention with an evil little laugh that I enjoyed seeing Eli sent packing yesterday. Because I’m petty, what can I say?

So, who you got?

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I am not dead

Dear Peoples,

Rest assured, I am not dead. The Patriots didn’t kill me. The Jets didn’t kill me. The Dolphins, try as they might, also didn’t kill me. Nor was I felled by the death flu that struck nearly everyone I’ve been associated with in the past week. Christmas and New Year’s Eve and the rampant alcoholism associated therewith also did not do me in.

The Bruins might actually be keeping me alive, come to think of it.

All that said, I apologize for my absence and promise to return posthaste with all kinds of snark and such for the new year. In the meantime, I ask you this question: Do you think the Red Sox, in signing Brad Penny, actually believe they’ve signed Derek Lowe as it’s a well-known fact that they’ve spent the past few years morphing into the same person. Yay or nay? And if so, why?

My best thoughts to all of you for the new year. I wouldn’t be here without you all.

~Kristen

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