552 miles... 1 million more smiles.

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Thursday, September 30, 2004

Depleted Receivers Hinder Girlie Men

The Girlie Men Express suffered its first loss of the Frozen Tundra Fantasy Football season, as the Kirksville Vikings took advantage of a hobbled Girlie receiving corps.

The Vikings outscored the Express by 29 points in week three, on their way to a 173.3-152.2 victory.

Wide Receiver Brandon Lloyd missed the third-week matchup with the Vikings, with a Grade-1 tear of his groin. Tight End Desmond Clark was also unable to play with an ankle injury. The Express acquired Johnny Morton to fill the receiver role.

The Girlie Men injury bug wasn't limited to receivers only. Running back Domanick Davis was injured early in the weekend matchup, and NFL MVP Steve McNair suffered a bruised sternum on the field.

Running back Ahman Green led the Girlie Men attack. His solid performance, however, was overshadowed by both Warrick Dunn and Randy Moss of the Vikings. Dunn tallied 25.4 points, and Moss racked up 30.9 for Kirksville.

In order to alleviate some of the squad's injury problems, the Girlie Men have signed running back/return specialist Jamal Robertson and quarterback David Carr.

The Girlie Men Express (2-1) will seek to rebound from its first loss of the season when the squad faces the Kirksville Cornfed (1-2) in week four. The Cornfed are riding a two-game losing streak, despite boasting the third-highest scoring player in the league, quarterback Payton Manning.


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Sunday, September 26, 2004

Week In Review

The lazy blogger returns.

So, I didn't blog much this week... I'd like to say that it was because I was busy... and I was, to an extent. But at the same time, I wasn't that busy. Just preoccupied. I'll try to summarize my week day-by-day, though some days were pretty uneventful.


Like I said, some days were pretty uneventful. Worked late because of Monday Night Football. I did, unbelievably, have some actual social interaction with other people. Cory and I went out for our dinner break with a couple co-workers, Mary Beth and Vanessa (a.k.a "Nessakaboobie." Don't ask).

After the football game ended, I had to head out to complete shopping for Cory's birthday (Tuesday). There's only one 24-hour grocery store in the vicinity of our apartment, so at 1 a.m., I was off to the Winn-Dixie. Bought stuff for Cory's birthday cake. Then, I had to swing by Wal-Mart to pick up Cory's third and final birthday present, the Star Wars Trilogy DVD, which came out on Tuesday, so I couldn't buy it until after midnight.

Got home around 2:15 a.m. Went to bed.


Cory's 28th birthday. Got up at about 9:30 am to start making his cake, in hopes that it would be finished by noon before he had to go to work. I was making a cookies-n-cream ice cream cake. So, I had to bake the cake part first. Got it all mixed, got it in the oven by about 10:15. Check the cake at 10:45. Nowhere near done. Check again at 10:52. Still nowhere near done. Somewhere in the process, my oven decides to shut itself off. No Joke. Since it was still hot in the oven every time I checked on the cake, I didn't realize it was off for quite some time. Finally, I make the discovery, finish baking the cake. It took about an hour and a half. And I still had to wait for the cake to cool before I could add the ice cream.

Needless to say, it wasn't done before noon. In fact, it wasn't done before 2pm when I had to leave for work.

A side note here. I was at work, bitching about my cake-baking fiasco, and one of my co-workers who overheard my rant actually said (and I quote), "Uhhh... Maybe your problem is that you were trying to make an ice cream cake in an oven. Duh!"

Now I admit... I'm blonde, and sometimes I act pretty blonde. But she wasn't being sarcastic. She was being completely serious. Do I come off as that stupid? For God's sake, I have a Master's Degree and a standing invitation to MENSA! But apparently, I'm too dumb to understand that you can't bake ice cream and keep it cold at the same time.

I calmly explained to my co-worker that if you don't have cake in an ice cream cake, all you have is ice cream. And that's not a cake.

Anyway, we went out to Texas Roadhouse for our dinner break. It's one of Cory's favorites.

Cory's other b-day presents, if you're interested... a couple of books:
Wilco: Learning How to Die

The cake was finally finished at about midnight. It was pretty good, though I'm not big on ice cream cake, or cookies-n-cream flavor.


"My Saturday."
Since Cory had to put in some hours at work this weekend, he got to take four hours off on Wednesday. We didn't do anything special... just slept in and then went shopping for a little while.

After Cory got off work, we went to the dollar theater to see "I Robot." I was really kind of expecting the worst, so I was actually pleasantly surprised at how good it was.


I really didn't do much of anything all day long. I've been working on a painting of the Columbus Riverwalk, and finished it on Thursday night. I don't think it's that great, but Cory thinks it's pretty.


Sports Overtime. Football, Football, and more Football.
One funny thing happened. I was shooting the Brookstone/Taylor County game, and early in the first quarter, the Taylor County quarterback was running the ball on a bootleg towards my sideline. The QB was heading straight for me, and the Brookstone defender was heading straight for him. If he missed the tackle, then the QB could have busted out a pretty nice run, and perhaps even scored a touchdown... so I was backing up very slowly in order to keep rolling on the play.

The Quarterback ran out of bounds right in front of me, the defender crashed into him, I tried to jump back to avoid getting hit as well, and there I went, ass-over-teakettle. The camera shot was pretty funny... Collision, sky, my feet, my hair, my intern (laughing and saying "are you ok?"), then grass. My arm was twisted all the way around, and about 20 people asked me if I was ok. I was, at the time. Today (Saturday), my back, shoulders, and bum are killing me.

Of course, the photographer from our competition got beautiful video of my embarrassing moment. By the time I got back to work, I already had an email from one of their anchors (Blaine), making a smart-ass remarks about my tumble. The subject line of the email? "Ouch!"


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Thursday, September 23, 2004

Girlie Men Remain Unbeaten

Despite scoring just one touchdown, the fledgling Girlie Men Express emerged Monday night with a victory in the Frozen Tundra League. The Girlie Men defeated Chuck's Senior Citizens 205-188 for the Express' second win in as many weeks.

Coach/General Manager "The Sportslady's" team trailed by six points entering Monday night, but RB Brian Westbrook responded with a balanced performance on the gridiron. Westbrook rushed for 69 yards, and added five receptions for another 69 yards to clinch a the win for the Girlie Men.

The Express, who scored six touchdowns in their opener, managed one lone trip to the end zone this weekend. Quarterback Steve McNair, struggling in his first two games with the Girlies, carried the ball on a one-yard run for the team's lone touchdown.

Jason Elam added two field goals in the Express effort.

The Girlie Men have named running back Domanick Davis as "Girlie Man of the Week" after his 173-yard performance against the Seniors Citizens.

The Seniors scored four touchdowns in their loss, including a 51-yard interception return in a stellar defensive performance. The Seniors weakness came in its receiving game. Plaxico Burress, Justin McCareins and Dennis Northcutt combined for a mere 57 yards as Chuck's Senior Citizens dropped to 0-2. The squad's receiving corps received another blow over the weekend, as starting tight end Kellen Winslow, Jr. suffered a broken leg. The rookie will be out for at least two months.

In week three, the Girlie Men (2-0) will face Rich Gannon and the Kirksville Vikings (1-1).


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Tuesday, September 21, 2004

The Wait Is Over

Due to overwhelming interest in my fantasy football team, The Girlie Men Express, I've made it easier than ever to access information about this imaginary gridiron juggernaut.

Now, you can visit the official website of The Girlie Men Express.


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Sunday, September 19, 2004

Arrr, Matey!

Ahoy! It's International Talk Like A Pirate Day! Shiver me timbers! So quaff some grog, hoist the jolly roger, and celebrate, ye land lubbers!

If you don't know how to talk like a pirate, you can go to the English to Pirate translator.

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Arrrr! (Part 2)

In celebration of ITLAPD, some pirate humor, stolen from the above website:

Top Ten Pickup lines for use on International Talk Like a Pirate Day
10 . Avast, me proud beauty! Wanna know why my Roger is so Jolly?
9. Have ya ever met a man with a real yardarm?
8. Come on up and see me urchins.
7. Yes, that is a hornpipe in my pocket and I am happy to see you.
6. I'd love to drop anchor in your lagoon.
5. Pardon me, but would ya mind if I fired me cannon through your porthole?
4. How'd you like to scrape the barnacles off of me rudder?
3. Ya know, darlin’, I’m 97 percent chum free.
2. Well blow me down?
1. Prepare to be boarded.

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Girlie Men Waive Williams

On Wednesday, the Girlie Men Express announced a roster move designed to improve the squad's struggling receiving corps. The team released wide receiver Reggie Williams, and acquired Ricky Proehl off the waiver wire.

"Reggie is a solid ballplayer, and we're very sorry to see him go," said Girlie Men coach/GM "The Sportslady." "We wish the best for him, and hope that he finds his way with another team soon."

Sportslady admitted that her team's ongoing dispute with WR Keenan McCardell had a direct impact on Williams' release.

"With one of our top receivers still holding out, we need to find a player who can fill some very big shoes. Reggie simply wasn't getting enough receptions to fill that void."

"I've always been a fan of Ricky Proehl. He did some great things for the Rams when they won the Super Bowl in 2001. I'm hoping he can provide some important third-down yardage for the Girlies."

Proehl is expected to be in uniform for the Girlie Men Express (1-0) on Sunday, when they face Chuck's Senior Citizens (0-1).


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Ivan-a Be Alone

Hurricane Ivan came and went without incident here in Columbus. Apparently, about 5,000 households lost power. Ours, thankfully, was not one of them. Of course, had we not loaded up on bottled water and batteries, we'd still be sitting in the dark. I decided that the bottled water and batteries were kind of like hurricane insurance. Kind of like bringing your umbrella to a baseball game. Bring your umbrella, and you won't need it. Leave it in the car, and you'll be sitting in a downpour for two hours.

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Thursday, September 16, 2004

Ivan-a Go Away

We're starting to feel the effects of Hurricane Ivan here in Columbus. It was very cloudy all day, and it rained on and off most of the day, though never very hard. Really, we're all pretty thankful that he's hitting further west than the original models showed. On Sunday, everyone was expecting Ivan to make landfall somewhere near Panama City, only about 175 miles away.

He's expected to hit in the next few hours, somewhere between Mobile and Pensacola. Already it's much windier around here, and if you look at a map, you can see that the nasty rain is only about 20 miles from us right now.

Its kind of weird to look at our local weather radar. Usually when you watch a weather forecast, you can see the weather moving from west to east. Not during a hurricane. The weather is moving from the southeast to the northwest. Very strange.

I spent much of the day today trying to hunt down hurricane provisions. I figure, we're supposed to get much, much worse weather than Hurricane Frances brought us, so the odds of losing power again are pretty good. The stores today were packed with people loading up on batteries and bottled water. Forget about flashlights. Everyone was already sold out late on Tuesday. I managed to find a couple cheapie ones at the Dollar Tree. They're pretty poor quality, but good enough to keep in the bathroom so we don't trip over anything.

Our chief meterologist says that we'll have winds from about 20-30 mph tomorrow... with gusts as high as 55 mph. The Weather Channel says gusts up to 70 mph. Either way, not good. That's why I thought I'd better blog tonight. Who knows if I'll have a working computer in the next few days.

So, as you flip past the weather channel this weekend, think of us.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Stupid, Stupid Hurricane (Pt. 2)

So, with another stupid hurricane on the way, Frances still wreaks havoc on my life.

Nearly two weeks ago, I splurged on a couple new pairs of glasses. Because I wanted to have them treated with scratch-proof stuff and anti-glare stuff, Eyeglass World was going to have to ship the frames to their corporate headquarters.

Their headquarters, I may add, are in Palm Beach County (Lake Worth), Florida.

The last couple days I've been trying to call Eyeglass World, and they haven't been answering their phones. I drove over there today, and discovered their corporate headquarters have been closed for a week because of storm damage, preventing them from being able to do any business.

So my new glasses still probably won't be ready for another week... probably about the time that Columbus will be leveled by Hurricane Ivan.

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Girlie Men Triumph Over Queens

The Girlie Men Express won its first victory in league history this weekend, with a solid 217-160 victory over the KV Casino Queens of Kirksville, Mo.

"The Sportslady" got off to a rough start in her debut as a fantasy football coach/general manager. The Casino Queens led by as many as 40 points on Sunday, thanks in part to a stellar performance by KV quarterback Tom Brady. The University of Michigan graduate passed for over 300 yards and three touchdowns.

Girlie Men quarterback Steve "Air" McNair couldn't keep up the pace, managing just one touchdown pass and 73 yards in the air.

Instead, the Express won with a solid ground attack. Running backs Bryan Westbrook and Domanick Davis combined for over 200 yards and two touchdowns, along with an additional 112 yards in receptions.

The Girlie Men had already clinched a victory over the Queens before star running back Ahman Green entered the game. Green had the strongest performance of the weekend, with two rushing touchdowns, one touchdown reception, and 116 total yards.

The Casino Queens loss also came at a price. Wide receiver Charles Rogers suffered a broken collarbone in the first quarter. He'll be out for the remainder of the season.

The "Sportslady" was satisfied with her team's performance in the opening week, though she acknowledged that there was plenty of room for improvement. "We only scored 25 points between three wide receivers. I hope that the team can work out our differences with Keenan McCardell in the near future. He's not an asset to us if he's sitting on the bench every week."

The Girlie Men (1-0) will take on Chuck's Senior Citizens (0-1) in week two of the Frozen Tundra fantasy season. The Seniors are led by running back Tiki Barber.


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Saturday, September 11, 2004

No Class

For the last three years I've lived here, I've been living in a friend-less, activity-less vaccuum. For ages, I've been planning on taking a pottery class. The problem is that the classes are always offered at night, and I work nights. So I have to wait for a class that's open on one of my nights off. Though this happens on occasion, I usually don't find out about the class until after the first session has been held.

Well, Thursday night, I showed up, ready for my first pottery class... and nobody else was there. I was the only student, so they had to cancel the damn class. Crap.

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I Like Spike

Ok, I know it's "The Network for Men," but Spike TV has really appealed to me for the last week. It started on Labor Day, when I noticed a "CSI" marathon. Special for the holiday, I assumed.

Imagine my delight when I discovered it was a week-long "Best of CSI" marathon! The cable in the O&O household has been locked on channel 42 all week.

Something funny happened last night, though. We were watching the beginning of an episode, and they were scrolling the names of the guest actors, and I jumped up and pointed at the TV and said "Holy Sh*t, I know Todd Tesen!"

This was back in my speech-team days, and Todd was the uber-cool guy on Eastern Michigan University's team. My freshman year, he won prose interpretation at the national tournament. But, to be perfectly honest, he was most memorable because in addition to being a phenomenally talented actor, he was also downright sexy. Every woman on the circut (and a lot of the men) had the hots for him. He was also a fairly nice guy, and a lot of fun to hang out with, which made him even more appealing.

So, of course, I had to watch the episode. Perhaps you've seen it, since it was from this season: A female prison inmate turns up dead. A little test determines she's pregnant, and the CSI folks discover she'd been doing the wild monkey dance with the prison bus driver, played by you-know-who.

The second Todd's character appeared, I recognized him... not by his appearance, but by his voice. Strange, huh? I haven't seen this guy in probably 13 years, and I recognize his voice. The really strange thing is that when I saw him, I wasn't even sure it was him. The facial expressions looked right, but he didn't even look that familiar.

The really weird thing is that I'd seen the middle of the episode before, including his big scene in the interrogation room. I remembered the scene, even remembered thinking that the guy was a good actor... but when I saw it the first time, I had no clue I knew him.

Weird, huh? He was also in "Hulk," it turns out, and I didn't realize it was him when I saw that movie, either. And it was such a horrible movie that I'm not sure I could sit through it again. I guess I'll just have to wait until Spike TV does a bad comic book movie marathon. It can't be far away.


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Thursday, September 09, 2004

This is Only a Test

Last week, our sports intern said something about how fast I type. I said, "Sure, I type fast, but I don't type very accurately."

Another confession. I got a D in typing class in high school. Do schools even offer typing class anymore? Probably not.

I went to high school before computers became a normal household item. Most kids I knew had electric typewriters at home. We didn't. When I had an assignment that needed to be typed, I had to go in to work with my dad on the weekend and type it there.

Needless to say, my typing skills were less than spectacular. After a full semester of Typing I, I was up to 15 words a minute. Pathetic? Yep. But much better than the 8wpm I was managing before the class.

Last night, I decided to take an online typing test. Actually, I took several tests. I discovered that I average somewhere between 63 and 78 wpm. Not too shabby.

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And Now for Something Completely Different

Now that I've looked up Zach Braff on IMDB, it's time to look up someone else. Try looking up my name. You get two of us: One who is a danish film star, most famous for her portrayal of Medea. The other one is me, not at all famous for this film.

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Busy as a Bee

Confession time. Most times, when I get a day off from work, I don't do anything. Actually, that's not quite true. I don't do much. I sleep late, lie in bed and watch my soap, don't shower until 3:00 in the afternoon or so, catch up on reading and email, then dress like a slob, run to the grocery store, and make dinner in time for Cory's break at 6:45. On really, really motivated days, I might do laundry at our apartment complex laundry room.

So today was a change of pace. I actually had things to do. First, a dentist appointment. I really like my dentist, but he had a new hygenist who was really, really friendly. I feel like I got her whole life story while she was sticking pointy metal objects into my mouth. I've never liked that forced and immediate intimacy that you sometimes develop with a complete stranger. Like on an airplane. You'll tell a complete stranger on an airplane more about yourself than you'd tell a coworker you've known for five years. I don't like knowing that this woman's dog has a leg-humping problem. I don't think the word "hump" should enter a conversation until you've known someone for at least a week. Give me a politician that makes the one-week-hump-moratorium a part of his platform, and he's got my vote.

My dentist, by the way, keeps pressuring me to get a retainer to take care of my snaggletooth. Despite thousands of dollars of junior high school orthodonture, I have one bottom tooth that's kind of sneaking behind the rest of my front bottom teeth. The first several times I went to his office, I told him that I was waiting to pay off my student loan before I committed to any major cosmetic dental work. Now that's paid off (thanks to Jan and Steve), and I don't have a good excuse any more. I did just fork over $280 for two new pairs of glasses, but that was a bit more of an immediate need.

So after the dentist appointment, I had a haircut on the schedule. Thankfully, I located Matt, the hairdresser of my dreams, a few weeks ago. He disappeared about three months back, and I went into crisis mode. Turns out, he now works at a salon about three blocks away from work. Go figure.

So, I was driving down Macon Road on my way to the salon, and this car starts creeping out into the road. This is a pretty busy part of Macon Road, where it's six lanes across with a left-turn lane in the middle. Now, I understand that sometimes on a busy street, you have to creep out a little so you can get a head start on the oncoming traffic... but this woman had crept out to the point that she was blocking my lane. So I slowed down a little, and she pulled out right in front of me. Thank goodness I'd slowed down.

Unfortunately, the car in the lane next to mine hadn't slowed. She realized this way too late, and he hit the rear of her car pretty hard after she pulled out in front of him. Her car kind of spun into the left-turn lane, but we he was only driving about 25 mph, so it wasn't a horrifying sight. Still, it all happened right in front of me. The guy, talking on his cell phone even after impact. The woman, looking in her mirror, realizing she just caused an accident with a state vehicle, pounding her steering wheel in frustration. I was a little rattled after witnessing the whole thing, and pulled into a nearby gas station. They seemed to have everything under control, so off I went for my haircut.

Matt seemed delighted to see me. He was rather disappointed in the current state of my hair, but we remedied that by chopping about three inches off. It's shorter and much sassier now... like it was the first time he cut my hair. Damn, I love that guy.

Oddly enough, he wasn't the only "Matt" to materialize in my life today. I got home and had an email from an old friend who's in Atlanta for the week with his wife. We're trying to work out a meeting for coffee or lunch or something before they leave town. I hope we can work something out, because I haven't seen him since I moved away from Mount Pleasant, Michigan, more than ten years ago.

Then, to cap it all off, Cory and I went to a movie tonight. We actually shelled out the big bucks for a first-run flick: Garden State. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it. I guess it's kind of "The Graduate" for the 2004 crowd. Zach Braff did a nice little job on his first indie film. He even has a blog, which I feel I must plug, since it gave me a little amusement.

All in all, quite a busy day for your sportslady couch potato. I'll try not to overextend myself again tomorrow.


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Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Stupid, Stupid Hurricane

To make matters worse (see below) Monday was supposed to be a really good day... the start to a really good week. First of all, the ABC college football game was postponed because of Hurricane Frances. That meant that I wouldn't have to work late... always a bonus, considering that Monday Night Football starts next week, meaning seventeen straight Mondays when I'm working until at least 1:30 am.

After the 6:00 newscast ended, Cory showed back up at the station. Turns out the power was out at our apartment, the start of major power outages across the city. The remnants of Now-Tropical Storm Frances had brought some pretty big gusts of wind and rain to our area, and power lines were down everywhere. So, on his day off, Cory was stuck either: a) sitting at home in the dark, or b) at work on a holiday. He chose work, hung out, watched tv, and messed around on the computer.

For the next several hours, we called home every fifteen minutes or so, hoping that the answering machine would kick in, a clear indicator that power had returned. No luck. Once I had exhausted all of my weekly busy work, it was about 1am, and we resigned ourselves to returning home and sitting around in the dark. For normal people, a dark house at 1am wouldn't be a problem. They'd just go to bed. But we're not normal. For us, that would be the equivelant of going to bed at seven or eight at night.

So we got home, and lit every candle in the apartment. That, in itself, was a little strange. I'm sure that my female readers can associate with this. See, whenever a holiday rolls around, and a friend doesn't know what to give me, they purchase a nice scented candle. Vanilla, peach, mulberry, pine. You name it, I've got it. I rarely burn them. Last night, they were all lit at once. The apartment looked like an 18th century whorehouse and smelled like a bizarre produce section.

How did we kill time? We played Trivial Pursuit by candlelight. Cory won. I was still trying to get my yellow (history) pie piece.

In case you're curious, his question was, "What continent's macrozamia tree lives for 7,000 years?" Even if you know nothing about botany, at least there's a 1-in-6 shot of getting it right. He guessed Australia, which was the correct answer.

The power came on at 9:30 this morning. Stupid hurricane.


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Welcome to My Nightmare

For the first time in the nearly four years I've been here, I finally lost it. I had a hissy fit at work.

I was in the quasi-privacy of the sports office (ok... not at all private, actually, since our office was moved several months ago to a high-traffic area) and I started to have a little nervous breakdown. I won't go into the ugly details, because, to be honest, the cause of my temper tantrum really wasn't a big deal. As I told one of my many co-workers who overheard my fit, "It had been building up since the disaster on Friday night, and I finally just lost it." To be honest, it had actually been building up for about four years.

Fortunately for me, and unfortunately for Cory, he was visiting me at work at the time. Poor thing, he had nothing better to do on a holiday than to go in to work and visit his girlfriend. He was rewarded by two minutes of me shouting and turning red.

He took me for a drive, listened to me scream and bitch and blubber, then drove me down the street to Longhorn Steakhouse for an enormous, gooey, chocolatey treat. It didn't make the world all better, but it did keep me from going postal.

When I returned to work, several people who'd witnessed my breakdown came by to check and see if I was ok. Of course, the people who royally pissed me off went along, blissfully unaware that they'd upset me at all.

The worst part? I felt sick to my stomach and couldn't concentrate the rest of the night. I felt crappy enough to call in sick today for just the second time in the four years I've been here.


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Monday, September 06, 2004

Wedding Tips

When the bride shows up crying at the reception, claiming that she "feels fat," there may be a good reason.

Like, for example, a towering display of saturated fat disguised as a wedding cake.

Nothin' says class like Hostess snack cakes at the most important day of your life.


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Your Tax Dollars at Work

The folks at the pentagon have found a new mission. Apparently ensuring national security just wasn't keeping them busy enough.

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Sunday, September 05, 2004

Let the Bitch-Fest Begin

With the kickoff of college football season this weekend, it's official: My life is once again hell. The last two days on air have been two of the worst days I've had since coming to Columbus... and that's really saying a lot, considering some of the days I've had here.

I don't have the energy to hash out the details... and I'm sure you don't want to hear them.

The good news? We don't have a 6pm show on Sunday. That means I only have to do three sportscasts instead of four. Oh happy day.


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Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Going for the Gold

You'd think it would happen much more often, but every now and then, my job as a professional sportslady allows me to do or see something really, really cool.

Superbowl XXXIV, for example. But that took weeks of planning.

Yesterday, something really awesome happened purely by surprise. I got to get up close and personal with a handful of Olympic Medals.

The day started out as a typical Tuesday during the football season, with a trip to Auburn for the weekly media conference. But the AU media relations office had planned a special guest, Kirsty Coventry, a three-medal winner in Athens. Pretty cool, right?

We talked for about fifteen minutes, about swimming, her complete set of medals (Gold in the 200 Backstroke, Silver in the 1oo Back, and Bronze in the 200 Indivudual Medley), her trip home to Zimbabwe, and much more.

Zimbabwe? Don't let the blond hair and blue eyes fool you. Auburn's big medalist in the Olympics wasn't swimming for team USA, but for her native Zimbabwe, where she's a third generation native. Coventry singlehandedly tripled the nation's all time medal output with her performance in Athens.

But even more special than her Olympic performance is the way that her nation has rallied around her. If you don't know anything about Zimbabwe, I'll summarize briefly. Land reform has caused an enormous rift between blacks and whites. Colonial whites own something like 60% of the farmland, even though they represent just a small percent of the population. President Mugabe's solution to the economic crisis was to ordered the seizure of white-owned farms without compensation. All white farmers were, in essence, evicted. Sure, he's righting a wrong, and in his eyes, the end justifies the means, I suppose. Unfortunately, since then, the country's failing economy has gotten even worse. Inflation is something like 500%, and the country's inexperienced farmers have caused nationwide famine. More than a quarter of the nation's population has fled their homeland.

A funny thing has happened, though. Coventry, a white woman, has become a national hero-- or as an article in the Zimbabwe Standard called her, "A Light in the Darkness."

After she claimed her gold medal, the Zimbabwe government flew her back to Harare. She was greeted by thousands of cheering fans, mostly black. People lined the streets to thank her for bringing pride back to their nation. Coventry and her parents were even dinner guests of President Mugabe, a situation that I suspect was much more tense than she let on.

She's still stunned that she's become an ambassador to peace (albeit briefly) in her nation. There's apparently, even talk of making a national stamp with her picture on it.

The medals, by the way, are absolutely beautiful. She hasn't put them on since her trip to Harare. On the other hand, she says that hasn't stopped everyone else she knows from trying them on. I settled for just touching the ribbon. In a way, I feel like the medals themselves are sacred, not to be touched by lazy slobs like me.

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There is Justice...

There's just something very comforting about the phrase "largest loss in the 101-year history of the Yankees."

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