Muscly CFL Footballers Drinking Egg Smoothies Make The Best Housemates. Just In Case You Were Wondering.

I lived with a CFL footballer. Not like lived with as in passing him in the kitchen on my way to the bathroom in the middle of the night being all “Hey Craig, having your 2 AM egg smoothie? Nice. Well I have to pee”, but more like lived with in the same heritage home that had been divided into apartments. Although the egg smoothie bit is totally true, his wife wrote about it on her blog. Apparently footballers get up in the middle of the night and down a glass of a dozen raw eggs. I found this deeply upsetting because

  1. That would give me a wicked stomachache and heartburn
  2. If I’m up in the middle of the night, it had better be for the purposes of consuming something delicious, like my husband’s lunch.

Even though Craig and I were in separate apartments, it still totally counts. I lived with a footballer, that makes me 3,000% more sporty than before. Really ask me about anything athletic- I’ll know the answer as long as it’s “What colour is a football?” and “Why are there names on the back of jerseys?”

Also, I saw Craig a lot. Mostly when he would walk past my son and I while we were playing on the lawn, with me completely entombed in my sun protective gear looking like I was on my way to rob a bank that had a rule requiring people wear large hats. Craig, for his part would wave, say “Hello” and act normal, like he always lived with women vampires. I would then wave back while holding a Bubble Guppy and possibly pull down my buff so my voice wasn’t muffled to ask how he was. Regardless, Craig the footballer was super nice which was not what I was expecting.

For starters, he’s the size of a house. I’m fairly certain that once I heard him get stuck in the doorway when he forgot to turn sideways to exit his apartment. No doubt his poor wife had to call the nice European couple next door to help pull him out.

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In my mind it was exactly like this but instead of a cuddly bear, it was a giant, muscly footballer. Also his wife is significantly more comely than rabbit. Photo Credit : deviantart.com

This hunch was confirmed when Craig showed me the tennis ball that he had hung from the ceiling to remind himself to duck before entering the bathroom because he bumped his head on the doorframe so often. Heritage homes were not designed with men the size of houses in mind.

Between his physique and career choice, I half expected him to be constantly pulling the legs off of creatures as a demonstration of his strength because he LOOKED like a man that could do that. Like some Gaston come to life, who would, in addition to eating five dozen eggs, would remove the limbs of eight dozen crabs and fry them up as a snack.

Given that Craig is a celebrity who appears on national television, I also expected him to be aloof; instead, when I asked him if he would sign a ball, he offered to take it in for the whole team to sign it! I NEVER would have thought to ask for this. For starters, I thought that kind of thing only happened to people with either a terminal illness or a lot of money. While my vampire-ism is unsightly, it’s not deadly, and being a stay at home mom is not the highest paying job I’ve held.

As it was, I had already purchased a ball. A basketball, because my Dad thinks I’m funny, and likes my jokes. And while all of the Blue Bombers’ signatures would have been neat, I didn’t live with all of them. And only Craig attempted to high-five my son. So his signature seemed far cooler to me.

Hence why Craig very kindly inscribed his name and number on a basketball for me, along with the message “I hope your grandsons know more about football than your daughter.”20180627_181224

This may possibly be the only photo of Craig on the internet holding a basketball. Also, he forgot to angle himself in the doorway, so when he flexed his biceps after the picture was taken, he became lodged in the doorway again. It took a crow bar and a container of bacon grease to get him out.

Also please note how humble this man is, the message is written in tiny letters, as if he expected me to take it to all the other celebrity athletes I know to have them sign too. Happy belated Father’s day Dad, this may also be your birthday gift because I’m desperately disorganized.

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The Time I Played Sports Ball

Once upon a time, when I thought that short shorts were appropriate winter attire, I played football. During my third year of university I was a nose tackle for an all-girl team. My justification for joining the team was I could run and . . .  I could run. The fact that I didn’t know or understand the rules to the game and had no other athletic abilities to contribute besides this was immaterial.

This was how I found myself crouched with one hand behind my back and the other on the ground, waiting to grab the ball and pass it to more skilled ladies behind me. The umpire, or whatever the person was orchestrated football games would shout “Third down” or “second down” and I would hold my confused self still and think “down to what?” and then the buzzer would sound or maybe it was a whistle and I would grab the ball.

This is the birdie right? (Photo Credit : championacademyrochester.org)

This is the birdie right? (Photo Credit : championacademyrochester.org)

What came after that was always confusing, there were many different plays that I was supposed to memorize but since I was preoccupied with understanding what the heck was going on in the game, I never learned them. Then I would run as fast as I could, watching for the ball and praying that it wouldn’t be thrown to me because I hadn’t learned how to catch.

My understanding of the rules was shoddy at best. I thought the defense’s job was to continually hold the offense in one place for the entire hour and that we would only be given a break if a touchdown was scored by the other team. Happily, I received lots of breaks.

Along with not knowing the rules to the game I was deficient in the other elements of football playing. Based on my limited observation of athletics, it seemed that fighting and trash talking comprised a large part of organized sports. As I stood at five foot two inches at best, fighting seemed unwise and like a good way to be smushed when I was paired with a girl who approached six feet in height. And I felt bad throwing insults at the other players because they were doing their best. Not to mention that their best was far better than mine.  So at the start line? At the line of aggression? At the scuttle line?

The cuddle line? That one makes sense- these men are getting ready to hug the HELL out of each other. (Photo Credit : Wikipedia)

The cuddle line? That one makes sense- these men are getting ready to hug the HELL out of each other. (Photo Credit : Wikipedia)

When all the female footballers would line up, right before the referee or whoever it was called start or whistled or blew the fog horn, I would spew nonsense. “How many elbows do you have?” I would cheerfully ask the growling girl across from me. “What?” she would falter and her defense would weaken for the moment that I needed to push past her and run the only play I knew “the fly” which was in essence running as far and as fast as you can past the other team then turning around to watch for the ball that I couldn’t catch. Or I would change it up “Watch your toes, I have a wooden leg” I would cry as I moved through the tussling line of ladies.

My football career culminated in a game that was played on a freezing November evening. My parents came to witness my twenty-three seconds of glory, which was the amount of time it took for the opposing team to score eighteen points. Sometimes reflecting back to these halcyon days, I think to myself, perhaps I shall take up another equally absurd sport that I don’t understand like boxing or lacrosse.

Naked in Public: The Nature Edition

Tis the season for stand up paddleboarding, a time when Canadians shuck off their parkas, then pack up and head to the local provincial park to balance on flat pieces of fibre glass. Paddling my way down a river is one of my favourite ways to pass a late spring morning. The fact that this sport is the sexy, new activity that every celebrity is trying, of course adds to my enjoyment.

(Photo Credit : celebuzz.com)

Of course I look exactly like this while paddling on the river. Except that I’m not in Hawaii. Or that tall. And I don’t own cute bathing suits. Ok this looks nothing like me paddleboarding. (Photo Credit : celebuzz.com)

Tragically it does not add to my canine companion’s enjoyment of the activity. Although I would counter that if Maddie was given a paddle, her love of the sport would increase exponentially. Yesterday found me peacefully making my way up the river, Maddie perched on the nose of my board, staring balefully at me, her doggy eyes questioning when we would head back. On a separate piece of fibreglass paddled my friend Natalie*. 

There is one thing that you need to know about Natalie; she is the most organized person on the face of the planet. On this day my friend had packed; a towel for the beach, dry clothes in case she became sweaty or fell in and sunscreen even though she applied a coating to her entire person before venturing out of the house. By contrast I brought; Maddie, a doggy lifejacket and the slightly off colour dog towel to dry Maddie off afterward.  I have no doubt that if I had chosen to perch Maddie on Natalie’s board, the public nudity would never have occurred. In life, some people are destined to make good decisions while the rest of us get to flounder about and watch. I really wish I didn’t watch so often.

So there Maddie and I are, paddling along. Well, I was paddling and Maddie was trying to telepathically communicate how much she hates paddleboarding, when the little dog shifts, loses her balance and falls in the river. The little King Charles Cavalier can swim, however dogs don’t come with handles whereas lifejackets do, thus she was wearing hers. Grabbing hold of the polyester handhold, I removed her squirming form from the water and placed the dog gently back on the nose of the board. 

As you can see, Maddie loves water. (Photo Credit: northofthegrid.com)

As you can see, Maddie loves water. (Photo Credit: northofthegrid.com)

There Maddie sat, miserable and now sopping. However it was a warm day, so I hoped she would dry quickly. Glancing down a couple minutes later, I realized her little doggy haunches were shaking violently. The only thing I had with me on the board was the now soaked dog towel. A brighter person like Natalie might have stowed such an item on the back of the board, where there was little danger of contact with sopping wet water dogs.

So I did what any sane, animal loving person would do. In the middle of the river I started to strip. Off came my sweater. I wrapped it around Maddie’s tiny back, the sleeves I secured around her stick thin legs. She continued to shiver. 

I had no choice. “Don’t look back” I cried to Natalie, not so much for my dignity but to save my friend from the shock of seeing my doughy, pasty, white torso on the serene river as I removed my shirt. “I wasn’t going to” was her reply. In Natalie’s world stripping to save animals from hypothermia is never a possibility because precautions like hot water bottles and extra, dry blankets would have been packed in water-tight Ziploc bags.

Standing on the bright yellow board in my bra, my chalk coloured, winter skin almost fluorescent in the sunlight, I contemplated whether I could reasonably remove my pants to warm the poor, still shivering creature in front of me. I concluded that while the lifejacket would cover my nude mid section, I couldn’t expose the world to my discounted, moss green, lacy underwear which makes it appear as though my butt is growing lichens. Natalie and I continued to paddle for a bit, with Natalie shielding her eyes from the reflection of the sun flashing off my pure white arms. 

I don't bear any resemblance to Taylor Swift but my backend looks  exactly like this in my discounted underpants. (Photo Credit : www.mv.com)

I don’t bear any resemblance to Taylor Swift but my backend looks exactly like this in my discounted underpants. (Photo Credit : http://www.mv.com)

Arriving back at the dock with a dog is always a bit of a scene to begin with. Maddie dries herself by running back and forth and then stopping intermittently to give her little body a vigorous shake. Having just watched her shiver violently for almost an hour, I didn’t want to deprive her of this joy so I neglected to put her lead back on. So I dock, then off goes Maddie, freed from her floating fibre glass prison, my damp shirts trailing behind her, leaving me to attempt to help dock the paddleboard with a young ranger, my pasty muffin tops bulging out of the lifejacket as I scrunched myself up and scrambled on to the dock.

“I’m going to need some private naked time in your storage shed.” I said to the park ranger as I called Maddie out from behind the wall of lifejackets and oars.Trying to be discrete, despite the situation, I grabbed my shirt from where it had fallen on the dock and marched towards the open shed, with Maddie’s lead in the other hand. Natalie stood nearby, no doubt searching the crowd for a new friend.

*Names have been changed to protect the identities of people who are detail oriented and thorough enough to carry out a hit without being caught or suspected in response to having their name published on the internet.

The Makings Of A Fan

Michael Card

 Pure white snow reflects 90% of sunlight. Bald white heads reflect 97% of arena light. (Michael Card Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I attended my second Leaf’s game in Toronto last month. I can’t really tell you much about the first Leaf’s game I attended, I spent the evening sitting on the floor of our cushy box playing Mancala with my sister. Eleven and nine respectively we peaked our heads up only once to observe the arena below us. Our contribution to the hockey discussion? “Wow, look at all the bald guys.”

My father was not impressed, it was the first and last hockey game we were taken to. Fast forward seventeen years, I’m sitting next to my husband, way up in the nosebleeds of the Air Canada Centre. I’ve now lost count of the number of hockey games I’ve attended. NHL, OHL, AHL, I’ve been to them all. Upper row, balconies, boxes, I’ve sat everywhere. The last hockey game I saw before the Leafs was an OHL game. Roscoe my husband had bought us seats right next to the boards. I jumped in terror every time the players slammed into the seemingly insubstantial pieces of wood and metal in front of us, certain that I was about to have a brawling six foot two athlete in my lap the next moment.

Having been afflicted with both ants in the pants and itchy feet for most of my life, my husband and I have an agreement at sporting events; I need to sit for the first half and then I may wander away to explore the arena and return in time for the last five minutes of play.

My primary attraction and love of attending sporting events stems from one thing: peanuts. Where else in the world can you shell then consume an entire bag of peanuts without looking like a glutton or a really poor houseguest? Outside of sleazy bars I mean, but seeing as I am married and fall asleep no later than 8:30 PM most nights, those aren’t places that I frequent.

Before every game Roscoe buys me a bag of peanuts, we find our seats and then I sit happily shelling my snack for a good forty minutes. Longer in the states, I swear their bags are larger. In return I am supposed to stay in my seat for the first half of the game, cheer when I am supposed to cheer meaning when other people around us are, pretend that I know or at the very least recognize the Hockey Night In Canada song rather than asking “What is everyone singing?” and finally not get upset and feel badly for the other team when they’re losing and then cheer for them. Up until last weekend this was what I thought of and looked forward to every time Roscoe gleefully announced that we had tickets: peanuts.

However this night was different, although I still loved eating the peanuts I didn’t get up out of my seat at intermission, I actually sat and tried to understand the game. After three years of marriage, and thus sitting through countless games I’ve picked up on a number of vital rules in hockey.

  1. There are five players on the ice per team at any time, plus a goalie.
  2. People get very excited when there is a fight, it is important that your team gets the most punches in.
  3. The buzzer only sounds when the home team scores a goal.

Please note that last rule is SUPER confusing for someone who had no idea where the puck was and now can’t figure out why the crowd is upset.

 

Last month I discovered that if I focused, I was able to follow the puck. I still might lose it occasionally but I was no longer scanning the entire rink trying to figure out what was going on or what I had missed.

English: View from the back row (standing room...

Our fabulous view from the nosebleeds. We paid a couple hundred dollars  and signed in blood that we would hand over our first born child for these seats. This sounds unreasonable but the people two rows below us promised two decades of indentured servitude for their seats. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Leaf’s scored three goals that night, and I saw every single one of them. Not only that but I saw the numerous close saves Reimer made. For those of you who are new to hockey Reimer is the Leaf’s goalie. Also, in sports players are referred to by their last names. Suddenly I was no longer relying on the loud guy in our section to know when to take a sharp intake of breath (Will they score?)  or a small cheer (Great save!) or a really loud cheer (Goal!). I actually understood the whole thing.

Roscoe of course was mystified, all he saw was his normally full of beans wife suddenly sitting stock still next to him. “Are you ok?” he poked me in the shoulder. “Yes” I replied curtly, his question made me completely lose track of the puck. Then later on a nervously posed “Are you getting tired?”  “No, I’m fine.” Once again I was equally curt, but only because I’d just realized that players pass the puck to one another. Before that night the movement of the puck had seemed completely random to me, just a small black dot traveling in a series of bizarre zig zags across an expanse of white.

All at once when Roscoe made an annoyed comment of “The Leaf’s are playing poorly.” I could understand why. The Leafs are a team, teams have to work together in order to accomplish things, when the Leafs play well, they pass the puck to one another and don’t give it up to the opposing team.

Now to a seasoned hockey fan all of this sounds very basic, but to a person who has never once played a team sport with any sort of regularity and skill it was a breakthrough. I found myself enjoying being in the seats and not just because the nine year old in front of us wearing a Bruins hat decided to yell “Leafs suck!” in response to the chorus of “Bruins suck” and was promptly flicked in the ear by her Dad. My enjoyment was from realizing that I could actually see who the Bruins could pass to and when there was an opportunity to shoot on the net.

As the third period drew to a close and the Leafs lost their two point lead, I was absorbed by the excitement and tension in the crowd. When the Bruins scored their second point although I didn’t boo because in my mind that is always rude and the least Canadian and sportsman like thing to do, I did feel a drop in my stomach from disappointment. The whole arena was awash in blue and white. In my own blue “Gilmour” jersey, I became one of them.

Pulling on jerseys had almost been an afterthought as we left the house that day. Roscoe was wearing his white jersey signed by Eric Lindross. He had held up another white jersey to match his but the men’s size medium had swamped my tiny frame. Sitting at the bottom of the drawer was a blue child’s jersey Roscoe had received for his eighth birthday. This of course fit almost perfectly when I wore it over a sweater and another shirt. Now standing in the sea of blue and white jerseys which I was a part of, I suddenly wanted desperately for this group of fans to experience the elation of a win. Silently I willed Reimer to be vigilant, for the defense to pass pucks away from the net. As the clock buzzed signaling the end of the game, cheering and shouts of joy swept across the Air Canada Centre. My husband stood next to me “Yes! Yes!” He pumped his fists into the air. Dejected Bruins fans filed out as Leaf’s fans high fived one another, reliving the last minute saves of the game. Although I couldn’t actually comment on the number of bald men in attendance, I enjoyed this Leaf’s game possibly even more than my first.