For most of my life I wasn’t really a “Sports” person. I was never that good at sports and generally speaking, never had much in common with people who were. This stemmed from a variety of things, in no small part with my K-12 school, which at least at the time cared far more about athletics than it did academics, and also with the extreme arrogance and narcissism of those who were good at sports (nearly all of whom have went on to do.. er.. well.. nothing). So I had the resentful fat kid stance towards most sports. Sure, I’d watch sports on TV – sometimes, mainly football and for a time racing with the Midwest-required dashes of basketball and baseball, but overall, I wasn’t a sports person.
That pretty much continued all through K-12, through my Community College years and then, yes, even through my Big Ten University years (in fact said Big Ten school’s “athletic” crowd probably only served to reinvigorate my dislike of sports). While I did start watching more football during this time frame, to say I was interested in sports on a weekly, let alone daily basis was an extreme stretch.
It all started to change when I went to a school that didn’t really talk so much about its sports, a school which spends far, far, far more time, money, and energy on academics than it does athletics. And then, only when I was in the least sports-centric all of all my institutions (with the exception of the community college, which was consumed by the sports mania of the another local Big Ten school) did I start to become interested in sports. I started watching more football, returned to watching some basketball, and added in hockey. I also went to my first collegiate sporting events since becoming a college student, including football, hockey, and basketball. Further, since starting at Harvard I’ve seen my first professional NBA, MLB, and NHL games.
So yeah, I guess you could say I now have a weekly interest in sports – and while I’m currently in a moral conflict other whether I can continue to watch the NFL given its complete and total lack of care towards (and in fact cover-up of) long-term player health, I do enjoy the Bengahs, as well as other league teams such as the Bruins, and of course, I always root for Harvard and/or Boston College, and sometimes even Purdue.
All of which brings me up to this past weekend, which was probably one of the more sport-centric weekends I’ve had in awhile. But it didn’t start with sports, no, it started with squirrels, snow, and beer.
One thing I like about squirrels (and if it wasn’t obvious by now there are 100s of things I like about them) is how they climb utility poles and bark at things.
I like listening to them. It’s weird, because generally speaking I hate other things’ noise – especially people and their dog-extensions. However, squirrels have never bothered me, even when they bark for hours – which they sometimes do. It’s also kind of impressive that they can even climb during the winter, given how fat they are.
Ok so maybe that particular squirrel isn’t super fat, but it might be because he/she lives in the law school’s “Squirrel Metropolis” and therefore has a lot of noms competition.
This time we went with the No Sugar added Triple Cherry Nut Classic Tin, which includes Bing, Rainier, and Totally Tart cherries mixed with roasted pistachios and almonds. We’re still eating on it, and it’s very yummy (though too many nuts and berries = savage poots).
And while cherries might make you think of summer, it’s still very much winter here in Boston. In fact, we’ve recently gotten two snow storms (and it’s lightly snowing even as I type this).
During one of the snow storms, Thomas II’s doorman seems to have vanished. I don’t know if he is on leave, or is off killing someone.
By and large these couple of storms haven’t been too bad, definitely nothing like last year, but Valentino loves them regardless (I’m not sure how Thomas II feels).
I like the snow storms (within reason) so long as I can just relax inside, preferably when it’s warm and I have coffee.
Of course law school rarely allows for much relaxing as I am being summoned six days a week of late, however not all outings are boring, some are actually a lot of fun! As a start to the weekend SB and I met up with Aunt Train for the first time this year and it felt long overdue. Everyone had decided on a place down in Boston Proper called the Black Rose (which we had actually walked by during Thanksgiving – small world), so I had to go do a bit of snow trekking.
The plus side is that I got to test out my new boots and also it was a really thick and wet snow, so it made just about everything but the streets and sidewalks look gorgeous.
While I don’t like the slush and grime pools that spring up everywhere, by and large I do like the way the area looks after a good snow.
Since it was a busy Friday for SB and I, everyone was heading to the Black Rose from different directions: Aunt Train from work, SB from her internship, and me from my clinic.
Aunt Train arrived first by a long shot, then SB, and meanwhile I was riding the Red Line downtown and then beginning my walk to the Black Rose from the station.
While the snow was actively being cleared, the wind was pretty terrible, so I was happy when I finally arrived at the noms place.
Of course once I arrived it wasn’t really food time per se (sure, we got nachos), but rather it was beer time.
Before it was all said and done I’d had:
And I “paired” them with the aforementioned nachos, a lobster roll (I hadn’t had one since Salem) [SB and Aunt Train both got Fish and Chips], and then SB I finished everything off with a “Nutty Irishman” which was coffee blended with Francesca Hazelnut and Bailey’s! All in all it was a great drinking session with food and good company and conversation, as always. It also served as a great start to the weekend.
The next day we went out and picked up some groceries at Whole Foods, where we also spotted a cookie from a baker who was either showing some dark humor, or is actually spiteful, the world may never know.
We also went to the Wine and Cheese Cask and picked up some beers since we hadn’t need to get any the night before – I’ll highlight them in a moment.
The big highlight of Saturday was a Boston Bruins game! This part-Christmas present, part-Valetino’s birthday present came courtesy of Meem (and also a cool dude on Ebay, but Meem paid). Neither SB nor I had been to an NHL game before, and while we all (especially Valentino) are Bruins fans, we hadn’t went to a game yet because of the cost involved (remembering we paid very little for the NBA game, and I’d paid nothing for the MLB game). Fortunately, Meem rode to the rescue and got us tickets!
The Bruins were going up against the Buffalo Sabres, and while I don’t really know either team’s record that well, I looked up some stats and it seemed like it would be a good match-up. Our seats were definitely “nosebleed” for TD Garden, but they really weren’t bad at all – we were only like 3 rows from the very top of the arena and I didn’t feel any less enjoyment because of it, nor did Valentino.
Before too long (but a little late of course) the pre-game festivities started:
And not too long after that, our first NHL game had begun!
While we were going to enjoy the game one way or another, SB and I were suffering from a “Hockey Curse” in that every hockey game we’d gone to our respective teams had either tied, tied-again, or lost. So, we were quite ready for a win. End score aside, it was a great game to watch. Valentino (and me) also enjoyed the guys who game out to clean the rink (in-between the big ice polishing cars of course).
It was like choreographed janitors.
The first period show was also great, it involved little-bitty players and the Bruins mascot Blades the Bruin as a referee, what’s not to love?
Valentino seemed especially thrilled with Blades the Bruin, namely because he doesn’t meet many other bears in Boston, especially during hibernation time.
I honestly have no idea who “won” in this bitty player game, but it looks like everyone was enjoying themselves, I certainly know the three of us were.
After the bitty blades were gone, it was time to get the second period started.
While the night wasn’t especially fight-heavy, there was a sizable pileup during the second period.
The second period show wasn’t quite as “cute” as the first, as it involved a guy spectacularly failing.
Basically he had 3-4 shots (can’t remember specifically) to hit the puck into the goal, and each shot was from progressively further away – and with progressively better prizes (and the final shot gave the chance to win everything). Despite his cowboy hat (he was from Texas, go figure) and the odds being better than during the ludicrous BC contest – he managed to miss every single shot. Every one. Of course in fairness I
probably undoubtedly would have as well.
However, the Bruins didn’t miss a shot where it counted. The game had went into overtime, it was 1-1 and things were pretty intense. With the NHL, overtime is a “sudden death” setup, wherein the first team to score wins and if no one scores during OT, then it’s a tie. Well, a bit into overtime a Bruin got fouled by Saber (he got overtly shoved away from what would have been a nice goal setup). So he got to take a one-on-one penalty shot against the Sabres’ goalie – if he made it, the Bruins would win.
And he made it – and there was much rejoicing.
It was pretty awesome, and Bostonians being the Bostonians they are, the place went collectively apeshit and at one point some random dude ran by giving high fives to seemingly everyone in existence – probably even some melancholy Sabres fans. Of course a lot of people drink at these games (which is insane because beers range from 10.75 – 12.75$ for a little plastic cup, and I saw some people get at least four cups, seriously), so maybe it’s not too surprising that there was some jovial craziness.
SB and I were thrilled, both because goals in hockey (especially shoot-outs) are genuinely exciting and also because we’d broken our “hockey curse!” Between the three of us I think Valentino was the good luck charm.
After letting the bulk of the crowds clear out of the arena we started making our way home. Of course this meant that we got to be moo-cows on our way to the subway station.
Fortunately we got pretty lucky with our train timing, and while the trains were crowded, we’d swept through most of the rush at the station to get out in advance of the craziness. Once back at Harvard Station we walked by a girl doing a really cool electric violin performance with lights and everything. I’m not sure if this is a usual thing, or if it had something to do with the (then upcoming) Lunar New Year, either way, it was cool enough that I took a picture of it.
The next day the sports fun continued, except this time from the comfort of our own home. The occasion? Super Bowl 50 of course! We were prepped and ready. In fact we’d planned like a week in advance in order to ensure that we got good avocados. In some ways prepping for the Super Bowl is kind of like prepping for a natural disaster, except everyone hoards the junk food instead of the bread and milk.
It was also time to bust out those beers we had got the day before (in fairness I’d already had one after the Bruins game, but it makes more sense to mention them now).
If you’ve followed this blog for any amount of time, you’ll know I have a love-hate relationship with fruit beers. They can either been done well (or really well), or really badly. This beer was definitely done well. It’s pretty straightforward, it’s an IPA brewed with grapefruit juice and and grapefruit peel. So if you like IPAs and you like grapefruit – well that really has no bearing on this beer, since the two combined are a very different beast. But I liked it, a lot. I think part of that is 6.30% ABV, which while above average for an American beer, is low(ish) for a fruit beer, and also that the grapefruit errs on the side of “tart” rather than sweet.
This interesting beer had two things going for it. First, it was the first time in years that I’d had a beer with cactus in (though the last time barely counts as it was the totally not memorable Michelob Ultra Fruit Lime Cactus – Anheuser-Busch) – but don’t mention this to Little Friend or the Three Amigos. Second, it was also my first ever Gose beer, which is a top-fermented beer with at least 50% malted wheat that is known for it’s tartness. Knowing that, I guess a Gose is a good choice for a cactus and grapefruit beer. While I didn’t like it quite as much as the Grapefruit IPA, I did like this beer and would definitely get it again, and at only 4.5% ABV it’s quite drinkable.
With our beers and food in hand, it was time to get the game started!
For those who live in a cave with no wi-fi, and for those aliens who find the satellite this blog is stored on in the distant future (and who somehow read English), Super Bowl 50 (but not “L” because that’s too complicated for us Murkans) took place on Sunday, February 7th, 2016 – it was played at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California and the teams were the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers.
Our house was unequivocally rooting for the Broncos, and by that I mean we were unequivocally rooting for Peyton Manning. “Good Guy” Peyton was paired up against the much younger and very different Cam Newton. While Peyton is probably about to ride off into the sunset, Newton still has a lot of NFL life left in him, so on that aspect alone I’d generally want the “Old Dog” to win out over the “Young Pup.” But there was more to it than that:
If Peyton won it would be his 200 NFL career win – the most of all time; He’d also be the only QB to win the Superbowl for two different teams; He’d also be the oldest QB to start the Superbowl (he is 39); He’d also be the oldest starting QB to win the Superbowl (duh); He’d also tie his little brother (Eli Manning) for Superbowl Rings; He’d also be the first QB to reach the Superbowl with four different coaches; and lastly, he’d win Superbowl 50, which is more special because we value numbers like 50 more than numbers like 49 or 51.
Needless to say, there was plenty to root for when it came to Peyton – and as he plays for the Broncos, that was the team of choice for our house.
And, continuing our string of luck from the night before, it was the Broncos who emerged triumphant, 24-10. I will say, neither team played great, and it was really the Broncos defense that won that game, but it wasn’t a “boring” Superbowl as peppered in there were things such as the longest punt return in Superbowl history (61 yards, Jordan Norwood of the Broncos), and Cam Newton getting obliterated over and over.
But really, Superbowl 50 was more about Peyton Manning retiring as champion of the world (and freeing up more time for SNL skits) than it really was about the game itself. So when Peyton won, everyone in our house was happy.
Tristen did have some feels later at the thought of his favorite player retiring, but I think we were all in agreement that this was a good time for him to do so, and also to drink Budweiser. And although Peyton has not officially announced his retirement as of me writing this post, most of the signs are pointing to him doing so, and it really it just makes all sorts of sense. While I like Peyton, I also think it’s time for him to join the football pantheon in the sky and starting coaching, or managing, or announcing (or maybe some combination of the three).
Since our team had won, we were up later than usual for a Sunday night watching all the post game stuff and feeling good about ourselves despite doing nothing but sit on a couch and eat food all night. That caught up to me the next morning, as did the snow – yeah, that second storm I mentioned had arrived.
In fairness it wasn’t horrible, but It really was not how I wanted to start my Monday. The biting wind and ice were actually far worse than the accumulating snow. But, as always, I made it to school and then got to listen to depressing legal stuff while looking out at the depressing gray outdoors.
It ended up snowing all day, but at least on this Monday I was done at 5pm, so I wasn’t out too late.
Since then, it’s sort of went into this “snow a little” —> stop —> “snow a little” —> stop, pattern. While there hasn’t been much additional accumulation, it’s been snowing just enough to keep things nasty and icy. This has been made worse by the fact that it’s getting progressively colder, in fact by this coming Sunday it’s supposed to be windy (as usual) with a high of 12 degrees. Oh what fun! (Valentino has no complaints). I’ll continue to put my boots, long johns, two pairs of gloves (yes, at once), two pairs of socks (yes, at once), patched jeans, under shirt, long-sleeve shirt, jacket, balaclava, and two toboggans (yes, at once) to good work!
[Side Note: If you mention wearing a toboggan out here, be prepared for people to be confused as to why you are wearing a sled – I’ve since learned that a “toboggan,” when applied to a knit cap is solidly a central-Midwest and Southern thing.]
However, to counteract the cold (if only emotionally), SB and I have some fun things planned for this weekend. It’s SB’s Birthday, Valentino’s Birthday, and Valentine’s Day – all in one weekend! However, I’ll save those fun adventures for next post.
For now I have to get back to school and clinic work, which, as always, makes that weekend seem too far away. 🙂
Until next time,