Hope Springs Eternal

Masha

Every year at this time I have the same internal debate. I don’t want to be a Cub fan. No, I just can’t take it anymore. I hate the off season drama about the roof-top seats. I hate the team stats. I hate our overall record in the World Series. I want to be proud of my team’s accomplishments in September. I want to be a fan of a winning organization; a team that makes good solid trade decisions, one that has a history of winning (or at least winning once every 100 years or so…), one that has an established farm system. Yes, that’s it. I’m going to change my allegiance to a team that’s closer to where I live now. One that wins every once in a while. One that doesn’t choke in the clutch. I’ve had it with the struggles, the jokes, the disappointment. I’m done. Yup, happens every February, around the time that the catchers and pitchers are reporting and Pat is making his standard joke about everyone having a chance at the pennant this year. So far in my life, I’ve attempted to become a fan of the San Francisco Giants, the San Diego Padres, the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the Colorado Rockies; all dependent on which team was closest to where I was living at the time.

And yet, after all the debate, on Opening Day, I’m there in my Ryne Sandberg jersey, wishing I had a dog and an Old Style. I cheer for the Cubs. I can’t deny it. I want to change, really I do. But then the 8-year old takes over during the first game and old allegiances will not be denied, despite the ongoing pain of living with a vocal St. Louis Cardinal fan. I’m sure you’ll hear more about that…

So hope springs eternal. We have an exceptional management team now (c’mon Teddy…), a new manager, an owner that is willing to spend money, and everyone has a chance at the pennant now, right?

Pat

My first inclination was to give my wife a hard time about the Cubs. But I just can’t do it on the eve of Valentine’s day. Plus, I know I am lucky to have been raised in St. Louis. In my first MLB game in 1960, Stan Musial hit a tenth inning walk off home run. I was a Cardinal fan for life and for over fifty years they have been a very sound organization. But I was also raised with the St. Louis Football Cardinals. That hasn’t been that wonderful. The Seventies were not bad. They have had some good years, but all and all there were many years where it seemed they did everything wrong. Like Masha, I toyed with changing teams, like the Broncos since we live in Denver. But we are both loyal fans and we just can’t do it. We are stuck with our teams and we will be rewarded for it. The Arizona Caardinals are looking pretty strong and for sticking with the Cubs, Masha will one day get her World Series championship.  That’s just how being a sports fan works.

My dream for next year

Pat

There are only two teams left in the NFL Season. Everybody except Denver and Seattle are looking already to next year. I am one of them. I have a grand dream for next year. I am an Arizona Cardinal fan. I go back to the St.Louis Cardinals of the late 60s and early 70s with Jim Hart, Mel Gray, Terry Metcalf, Dierdorf and Dobler and Jim Bakken hitting last-second field goals. That team had limited success but were fun to watch. That was the start of Air Coryell and his legacy of offensive coaching. Since then they have moved to Arizona and given me a lot of long winters with a few light spots and the 2008 Super Bowl.

But in 2013, the organization seemed to have a strong direction toward winning and really did accomplish some goals for the season – enough for me to dream of a huge season in 2014. One accomplishment was holding the Superbowl bound Seattle Seahawks to 10 points and being the first team to beat them in Seattle in two years. So I am using that success to fuel really big dreams for 2014.

So my dream for next year is that the Cardinals improve just enough to truly compete in the very tough NFC West. Now known as the NFC Best. I just made that up! So they go on to win the division and home field throughout the playoffs. Tough as they are at home, they go on to win each playoff game and go to the Superbowl, also at home. That’s right the 2015 Superbowl is at The University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale Arizona, the home of the Arizona Cardinals. A home game Superbowl and with all the hoopla, the Cardinals go ahead and win their first Superbowl Championship ever! Hey if you’re going to dream, you just as well go all the way!

Here we are dreaming of next year and the 2014 Superbowl hasn’t even been played yet.  Since I live in Denver, and I tend to dislike the Seattle Seahawks,  GO BRONCOS!!!!!

Masha

C’mon people, let him have this little dream. And since my Niners are also in the NFC Best, I have to support the new label… Bruce Arians has brought a breath of fresh air to Arizona and depending on how the draft goes, next year could be a big year for Arizona. But it doesn’t appear to me that Mr. Martin in Seattle or Mr. Kaepernick in San Francisco are fading away, and I don’t doubt that Jeff Fisher is putting something together in St. Louis. Should be a great 2014-2015 season in the NFL.

Palm-sweating and excitement

Masha

Today is a bit bittersweet for me. Usually, we find ourselves sitting on the couch yelling at the TV, involved in mystery-named bowl games where we don’t really know any of the athletes. But we still yell and wonder about the state of BCS football. We wonder aloud when college will admit that they are the minor leagues for the NFL. We religiously watch the Rose Parade and the “big bowls” and argue the merits of who made the NFL playoffs. It is a week of sports overload, one game leading into another, a banquet of delights and amazement, with the spice of poor officiating.

But today is different. Today I just finished the final touches on packing for a vacation where there will be no internet, no TV, no wi-fi. Instead I have more insect repellant than I’ve ever owned at one time. I have moleskin for blisters I’m sure will form. I have hats, and sunscreen, and masks and fins and did I mention an excessive amount of insect repellant? And I’m excited for a wonderful vacation.

And I’m terrified. I’ve never been away from my smartphone/computer for more than 36 hours (yes, yes, I know, it’s good to unplug, no nagging here…). My palms are sweating at the thought of no internet connectivity. My internet sports addiction pokes at me with the glee of an apocalyptic zombie, tasting fresh meat already and knowing it can torture me before finally finishing me off. What? No ‘I’ll just google that guy,’ or ‘how many yards did he have last week?’ No NFL Mobile. No Sportscenter. I’m hyperventilating just thinking about this.

So Happy Chrismahanukwanzikah dear followers, and Happy New Year 2014. Next Sunday I’ll have my 49ers t-shirt on, coated in insect repellant. Pat will have his Arizona Cardinals Fitzgerald jersey on and we’ll be cheering to the sports gods that somehow we’ll learn a score or two before we return to the US.

See you all in January!