Wide Right, Music City Miracle & 13 Seconds: Being a Fan

I’m replaying the game in my mind, but this time, instead of ‘wide right’, the pigskin sails between the uprights and the Buffalo Bills win Super Bowl XXV in 1991.

I’m replaying it in my mind, and instead of a Nashville ‘miracle’ in 2000, the throwback is correctly ruled a forward pass and disallowed. The Bills win and continue their march to Super Bowl XXXIV.

The 13 seconds on the clock harmlessly expire with the Bills beating the Chiefs to advance to the next round as heavy favorites for Super Bowl LVI, here in 2022. That’s how I see it, when I replay it in my mind, my way.

If only it was that simple.

If only it was that simple, Bill Buckner stops the ground ball from going between his legs and my beloved Red Sox win the ‘86 World Series instead of waiting another 18 years.

If only it was that simple, Brett Hull’s winning goal in triple overtime of a Stanley Cup final in ‘99 is ruled ‘no goal’ *, my Buffalo Sabres go on to win the coveted Cup. They still haven’t won it.

All Curtis Strange had to do was par the 18th hole at Oak Hill for Team USA to win the ‘95 Ryder Cup. He didn’t, a pall fell over the course while the Euros danced in celebration, and the short walk home was devastatingly long. If only it was that simple.

Winning, like Life, just isn’t that simple. As fans, we know it all too well. Losses are gut wrenching, especially when the contest looked won, only to have “defeat snatched from the jaws of victory”. Nevertheless, we continue to follow our favorites, mourning the losses and celebrating the victories. As sport fans, we come to grip with the good and bad and wait for another day, a different fate, a better one.

And there are better ones!

“Do you believe in miracles” became a classic sports call in the 1980 Olympics when the underdog US team went on to beat the Russians and Fins to win gold. A wonderful moment for Team USA Hockey fans

My Buffalo Bills roared back from a 35-3 deficit to beat the Houston Oilers in the greatest comeback ever in NFL history on a cold January day in 1993. What a moment!

The Boston Red Sox defeated arch rival NY Yankees 4 games to 3 after trailing 3 games to 0, then moved on to win the 2004 World Series.

Sportscaster Jim McKay described sports as ‘the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat‘, so it is with fans who experienced both. And when the season is done, all that’s left are the high and low memories of close calls and ‘what ifs’ . Collectively, we share with other fans the universal mantra…

“WAIT UNTIL NEXT YEAR!”

Steve B (srbottch.com)

for Pete Springer (petespringerauthor.WordPress.com) and sport fans everywhere

* the Brett Hull call that won the game was correct

The ‘Barre’ Chronicles…with a twist 

Barre-1st position

I stood at the barre, toed-out, alone in my masculinity and surrounded by a rainbow of colors, women in their exercise tights and tops. And me, with skinny legs in baggy gym shorts and a wrinkled cotton t-shirt with the logo of a local beer manufacturer, I’m the tallest, oldest, and only male ‘at the barre’, a consummate ‘fish out of water’.

Nevertheless, I would not be deterred. 

That was weeks ago and I’ve been ‘hitting the barre’ twice weekly since then. Still in loose shorts but more confident in knowing and doing the routine. First and second position are second nature to me, I wobble a bit on the relève but show good flexibility on the plié, as I squat low, then lower.

And in that two-a-week regiment, I’m seeing more muscular quads, thickening thighs, and firm buttocks with each passing class. But enough about my classmates, my own physiology is improving, as well.  The legs are stronger, my posture has improved and my hair is growing back…(two of three are true).

Barre exercise incorporates some ballet, yoga, balance and weight-bearing movements, using hand weights, balls, bands and the ever-present ballet barre, with multiple repetitions. The muscle ‘burn’ is often intense but momentary, while the feeling of accomplishment is exhilarating and enduring. Completing a routine often becomes an issue of mind over matter and I smile with an inner arrogance, knowing that I’m pushing myself to new limits. What I lack in grace or style, I make up with grimaces and grunts.

Exercise is like that, isn’t it?  Push yourself to reach a level, then reset to do better. The discipline to persevere and the resulting accomplishment are their own rewards.  The occasional injury is a nagging byproduct, a temporary interference.

Our instructor counts down, repetition after repetition, and when we think we’re done, she orders up, “One more rep, yes?”  In an earlier life I would have shouted, “Yes, Drill Sergeant!”. But, now, I just grin, grunt and go on the best I can.

Barre is part of the smorgasbord of exercise classes at my local JCC.  Along with Yoga. Tai-Chi Easy, some boxing and the pool, I feel myself getting a bit leaner and stronger.

And, if my alpha friends find it strange that I’m the only male in a class of women doing curtsy reps at a barre instead arm wrestling at a real bar, I just boldly offer them high fives, aggressive chest bumps and a declaration of the classic John Candy/Steve Martin line…

“How ‘bout them Bears!” *

Barre, Releve

Srbottch.Com

*Planes, Trains and Automobiles

“Ice Fishing” in The Meadowbrook…A Tale of Sorts

It’s been a lean winter for ‘ice fishing in the Meadowbrook’…

…unlike last season, when the ‘giants’ were so plentiful, I could practically ‘fish’ from my window.  Hopes were raised with a recent storm that put an abundant snow cover on my roof. But Mother Nature’s tepid temps have dashed any chance of ‘landing’ a big one, now.

As I sit in the mid winter comfort of my sun porch, I’m disappointed by the rapid snow melt, rivulets of water cascading off my roof and streaming down my gutters like a Spring trout stream, ruining any opportunity for a good ‘catch’.  Yet, at the same time, I feel a sense of relief and contentment.

After all, ‘ice fishing in the Meadowbrook’ is fraught with challenges and danger.  ‘Casting about’ a lengthy aluminum roof rake with frozen feeling fingers, and numb toes precariously gripping the icy rungs of a metal ladder, is not a sport for the timid.

Clearing these ‘monsters’ from roof and gutters requires strength, dexterity and the fortitude to take an ‘avalanche’ of snow smack in the face.  If not careful or quick enough to dodge it, the glacial barrage will catch your collar and trespass down your neck, soaking the  long-johns you struggled to pull on earlier to avoid this very thing, a cold damp body.

This was my challenge last winter.  Miserably chilled, I continued my quest for a trophy ‘keeper’, because that’s what a fisherman does: goes after the prize.

After working the roof and watching ‘throwaways’ slide by on their way to the ground, the elusive ‘monster’ finally appeared from behind the last snow barrier. It was the ‘big one’, the one that nearly ripped off my gutter, where it spawned and grew like an ancient stalactite.

Clearing a path with a cautious drag of the rake across snow covered shingles,  the ‘catch of the season’ suddenly lurched forward and hurtled toward me like a bobsled. The extended ladder absorbed the hit and saved it from ‘getting away’. As wet, cold and slippery as it was, I wrapped my arm around it and made a triumphant but careful retreat to the ground.

A 10 pounder, maybe 20. I smiled through lips so cold and cracked, they bled. Fishing for trophies isn’t easy, ‘ice fishing in the Meadowbrook’ neighborhood is as challenging as it gets. But the bragging rights you earn are worth every frost bitten digit you can’t feel.

Now?  Now, it’s trophy time!

Ice Fishing

Every season can’t be as fruitful as the winter of ’14/’15, thankfully!

srbottch

dedicated to all who try to keep ice out of their gutters and survive to tell about it, we’re a hearty group