Monday, February 22, 2010

All I am saying is, give curling a chance

I was all ready to share at considerable length the story of one man's struggle to survive sports purgatory for yet another year. You may recall sports purgatory is the barren wasteland of the sports year, lasting from the end of college football until the beginning of fantasy baseball, with a couple of oases included in the form of National Signing Day and March Madness.

Highlights were to include, and pretty much be limited to, iTunes adding Eddie Murphy's Party All The Time at long last! Though I know by mentioning that, I risk you rushing to the iTunes store immediately and never coming back.

But something happened on the way to that blog post. A new oasis emerged from the British Columbian countryside. And that something was the Olympics. Perhaps you've heard of them.

Oh, twas a shrewd move by Bob Costas to schedule the Winter Olympics right in the midst of this yearly sports abyss. It's like a get-out-of-purgatory-free card. And more thankful I could not be, as I've been able to add three hours of curling viewing and google-imaging Julia Mancuso to my daily routine of Wii and... breathing.

What? Let he who has never clicked to enlarge an image of Lindsey Vonn throw the first stone.

Speaking of throwing stones, is it just me or does curling seem to be on like five times as much as any other sport? I've watched so much curling that now when I close my eyes, all I can see are those curling rings -- green outer circle, white middle circle, and blue inner circle. They're etched in my brain.

I'm learning curling terms -- the button, the hack, in-turn, out-turn, guard, draw, freeze, peel, biter, in the house, and my favorite: shot-rock. One thing I really like about curling is that it's one of the few Olympic sports I could still possibly medal in at my age. Think about it, if I devoted my entire life to curling for the next four years... who knows? Although I tried playing a curling game I found online last week to help me learn the rules. Didn't help.

I actually had a 45-minute conversation about curling with Axl last night. I'm not sure I've ever had a 45-minute conversation about a single topic other than Alabama football in my entire life. Actually, scratch that. I just remembered my sometimes rather intense discussions about General Hospital with the Darryls.

Something I'm always curious about during the Olympics is where they find some of these announcers. They're experts on all these rather obscure sports, and fairly competent broadcasters as well. My question is, what do they do the other three years and fifty weeks between Olympics? I mean, is curling televised somewhere in the world year-round? And if so, how do I get that channel?

I prefer the sports where there is a tangible way of keeping score or time rather than the sports based on judging. I especially enjoy watching the splits as a skier or luger makes their way down the course, just a few hundredths of a second ahead or behind the leader. But while I enjoy watching the luge, I have no idea what makes one luger better than another. The luge announcer the other night was like, "Oh, he lifted his arm slightly in that turn. That's gonna cost him." What?

Another of the more interesting comments I've heard this Olympics was, "He started luging when he was ten." How does that even happen? Do they luge in gym class? Was the kid outside sledding with his friends one day when the Bela Karolyi of luge was driving by, saw the kid and spotted something special? Or is it like piano lessons, where the parents push the kid to luge even though he doesn't want to? "No, Ma. I don't wanna go down the icy track at eighty miles an hour." (For some reason, I just said that in an Eric Cartman voice.) "You'll luge and you'll like it! Now get in there!" Actually, that might make a good Lifetime movie, or ABC Afterschool Special. That is, if they had made ABC Afterschool Specials after 1996.

Finally, there is ice hockey. For reasons I'm not entirely sure of, ice hockey in the Olympics is the sport that makes me feel the most proud and patriotic. Maybe it's because we're never one of the favorites. And I'm sure it has something to do with the Miracle On Ice. Whatever it is, I was cheering and chanting as the United States skated to a 5-3 upset of Canada last night. "U-S-A! U-S-A!"

But the most inspirational story of these games had to be Wednesday night when Carrot Top -- who after a failed career as an aging comedian decided to take up snowboarding -- brought home gold in the half pipe.

Anyway, just a few more days until the games come to an end. At that point, it'll only be a month or so until baseball, which doesn't do a lot for me except that it also means fantasy baseball. Then at least I'll have my spreadsheets to keep me busy.

"My girl wants to party all the time, party all the time, party all the time..."

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Who goes bowling at one o'clock on a Saturday?

Friday marked the passing of another year in the life of Bone. As I commemorated the occasion, my Dad commiserated, "You're not a year older, you're only a day older than you were yesterday." Which sounded pretty good until I realized that I was on day number thirteen thousand, five hundred fourteen.

Phew. That's a lot of times hitting the snooze button.

It also reminded me of one of my favorite all-time George Costanza quotes: "If you take everything I've accomplished in my entire life and condense it down into one day, it looks decent!"

In other birthday weekend news of note, Wolfgang had started texting early in the week asking if I wanted to come bowling Saturday at 1 PM to meet his new girlfriend. My first (and second, and third) reaction was, "Who goes bowling at one o'clock on Saturday afternoon?" Not to mention that Wolfgang had pretty much dumped LJ and I since acquiring said girlfriend and I hadn't seen him in three weeks. But mainly, I just kept thinking, "Who goes bowling at one o'clock on Saturday afternoon?" So I resisited. Still, he was oddly persistent and would not relent until, at last, I acquiesced.

Or to shorten that paragraph, I went bowling Saturday.

As I pulled into the parking lot of the bowling alley, I saw my sister's vehicle. What is my sister doing--- Ahhhhhhhhhhhh! Before I could even finish my thought, I knew. It was a surprise party for Bone. They fooled me! Augh! I was lied to by people I trusted!

It turned out to be quite the event. Worlds collided somewhat as the Darryls met the parents, which was... awkward at best. There was also the second meeting of Nephew Bone and the godson. They mostly stared as they appeared to be sizing each other up. It was kinda like when Godzilla first meets King Kong.

Some people were hesitant to bowl at first, but Nephew Bone finally got the ball rolling. Literally. He used a bowling ramp. And someone had to put the ball on top of it. And most of the time he didn't wait around to see how many pins he knocked down. But he did push the ball down the ramp.

Even my Dad bowled! He said he hadn't been since he was 17 or 18, which I think is true. Or he could have just been making up excuses for his score, I'm not sure. It was hard to tell which one of them had more fun. I'm gonna go with Nephew Bone, but it was close.

I had a good day on the lanes. There was just the right amount of oil on the ball and pizza grease on my fingers. Wanting to set a good example for Nephew Bone, and with images of all my bowling heroes -- Norm Duke, Kelly Kulick, and of course, Walter Ray Williams, Jr. -- running through my head, I threw a 186-179-161 series. They gave me a real bowling pin and three balloons! Turns out that was for my birthday and not for my bowling performance, but still.

Also, AMF Bowling Centers apparently has their own syndicated radio station. They were giving shout-outs throughout the day to people having birthday bowling parties all across the country. Of course, most of them were under 16. But let's not nitpick. Besides, it helps to answer the question, "Who goes bowling at one o'clock on a Saturday afternoon?" Apparently, 14-year-old Megan from Grand Rapids and all her friends.

Finally, I would be remiss if I failed to mention that I also got a Wii this weekend. I figure that's right in keeping with my tendency to be on the trailing edge of technology. I could foresee 2011 being the year I finally get a DVR. OK, maybe 2012.

By the way, does it seem odd to anybody but me that all the other people in the Wii bowling center have no legs?

Anyway, that was my weekend: a Wii and a birthday party at the bowling alley. A day older? Yes. A day more mature? Maybe next year.

"Too old to be wild and free still. Too young to be over the hill. Should try to grow up but who knows where to start..."

Friday, February 05, 2010

Pride goeth before (and after) a fall

The improbable sequence of events that led to me googling "how to get blood out of clothes" is unimportant and rather unremarkable. Nevertheless, before the blog paparazzi buries me beneath a mountain of rumor and innuendo, allow me to elucidate.

I went to a basketball game. Walking up the bleachers, I banged my head on an unfortunately placed electrical box which was mounted to the underside of one of the support beams that runs across the coliseum. Not wanting to cause a scene (read: suffer any further embarrassment), I shook it off and sat down.

Well, I evidently misunderestimated the severity of the blow. An hour later, noticing it was still hurting, I rubbed my head and felt something wet. I'd run into a friend at the game, so as we were leaving I took off my cap and got her to assess the damage. At the time, I wasn't quite able to place the look on her face. But in hindsight, I now know it as the I'm-really-trying-not-to-alarm-you-but-how-are-you-still-standing-because-there-is-blood-spurting-out-of-your-head look.

Oh, I exaggerate. A little. It was just a tiny lava-like trail of blood streaming down my head. I felt like Rocky. The worst part was that I had quite a bit of blood on my cap, which was white. If it had been a shirt, I wouldn't have cared, I would have just thrown it away. But this was my favorite Bama cap. This was serious.

By the way, you come across some odd and interesting things googling "how to get blood out of clothes." Things you would rather not have known. Things like, "Karen and I opted to have our children born at home, so naturally we have had to deal with a lot of blood." Ugh.

The next day, as fate devilishly licked her lips, I was scheduled to run a 5K in Nashville. Not knowing much about head trauma, but seeing that the bleeding had mostly stopped and there was only a little seepage now, I just assumed I'd be OK. And I figured if I did pass out, I'd at least have my weekly blog entry whenever I did finally regain my facilities.

And so, I ran. With a bandage on my head, I ran. I felt like Rocky, again. Not for any particular reason, mind you, I just always kinda feel like Rocky.

In other running news, I think I've just about talked myself into doing a half marathon at some point this year. And I figure if I put it on my blog, it will be more likely to happen, because everything I put on my blog happens. Well, except for that year-end post that I never quite got around to. And the decade retrospective...

I know some of you are probably saying, Bone are you crazy? Whatever would possess someone to run 13.1 miles voluntarily? Is it some deep-down, burning desire to push myself to the very limits of what I am physically and mentally capable of, and beyond? Child, please!

I'll tell you what it is.

When I got home from my 5K, I was feeling pretty good about myself and my time of 23:03. Then, the next day arrived... as days are wont to do. And one of my Facebook friends posted that she had run a half marathon.

A girl!!!

And so, I am going to do the half marathon for the same reason that many men have done things that didn't always make good sense down through the ages: pure, old-fashioned stubborn male pride.

And please pray for my sake that she never decides to run a full marathon.

For now, I'm off to find some baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and meat tenderizer. Hopefully, one of these tips works. I guess if nothing else, I'll be all stocked up for the next science fair. Or home childbirth.

"I just need some time, some time to get away, from all these rumors. I can't take it no more. My best friend said there's one out now about me and the girl next door..."