In Defence of Other

It goes without saying that Twitter is a wonderful tool. It connects people, creates friendships, promotes businesses, encourages adventure and exploration, allows the user to see things in the world they otherwise wouldn’t. And it also harbours bullies and better-thans.

What’s a Better-Than you ask? Anyone who believes that what they do, love, eat, drink, etc is leaps and bounds better than what you do, love, eat, drink etc, simply because the two are not the same. Some prime examples? You enjoy a cold Bud after a long day of yard work. How pathetic are YOU? You should be drinking the latest and greatest local craft beer because all the cool kids are and they sure as shit are going to make fun of you for drinking something as bottom-of-the-barrel as a Bud. Even though you like Bud. Then theres the coffee drinkers. GOD FORBID you stop in at a Tim Hortons. GOD. FORBID. You should be drinking the more expensive, rarely open, out of the way, its-better-because-we’ve-convinced-you-its-better coffee. Except for one thing. When you wake up at 4:30 in the morning and head to work at 5:10, Mr High Falutin coffee maker is neither open nor on your way to work. And some people? I know this will be shocking, but some people actually just like Tims. They are not the devil spawn or the bottom feeders. They just want an inexpensive, ok cup of coffee. And guess what? That’s OK. Oh, you live in a newer neighbourhood with small trees and lots of houses? How sad for you. You must have ZERO ambition and must be SO WILLING to settle for average. Actually, our home and our street are both equally amazing, full of kids running around outside all day long and families that, yes, get this, families that KNOW EACH OTHER. You don’t need to be living in good old River Heights or Wolesely to have a family-centric neighbourhood full of good people who look out for each other.

I think the best one out of the bunch though? That would be taste in music/food/restaurants etc. Not dining at the latest, locally owned bistro? You pathetic Earls-monkey. Not buying your groceries at the specialty store and making instagram-worthy dinners? Heathen. You listen to WHO? NO ONE LIKES THEM you fool.

How about this. How about we all like what we like? How about we stop trying to make people feel embarrassed or belittled just for liking something OTHER than what YOU like? How about that hey? Wouldn’t that be neat. Because I live in a developed neighbourhood, I drink Tim Hortons coffee, I enjoy a cold Bud if its put in front of me, I eat at Boston Pizza, I listen to Eminem, and I cook basic, good old meals that I photograph only to prove to my mother that I actually DO cook now. So you and me? We’re not that different. I don’t care where you live or what you eat or who you listen to. Just so long as you enjoy it all to the fullest. That’s it. That’s all.

Dear Winnipeg Blue Bomber Organization,

You don’t know me, not personally, but I am a fan. Yes, still.

I just wanted you to know that we, the collective “we”, do not hate you. Contrary to popular belief, and the overwhelming impression given on twitter, you do indeed have fans left. We’re just a little quieter than the rowdies who love to hear the sound of their own voices and spout their coaching prowess and high school football stats online. Because much like your team, your players, coaches and management, we’re tired of being crapped on for showing support to a struggling team, for staying positive and refusing to bash them. Please do not take that for naiveté or ignorance though. We KNOW there is work to be done. Oh lordy, is there work to be done. But we the few, are the firm believers that feel there are enough “fans” hollering the negative that perhaps, just maybe, the team could use a little positivity.

We’re the ones who quietly but proudly still don our Bomber gear at work on Casual Fridays. We’re the ones with the Alex Suber screen savers, the BB pinnies up on the wall of our offices, the Bomber logo on our phones. We’re the ones NOT regretting our Bomber licence plates or season tickets. We’re the ones filling the stands with hope and staying till the time runs out, win or lose. We’re still here. Answering “The Bombers, who else?” when questioned on who we will cheer for this week.

I am a fan of the New Orleans Saints also. So as you can imagine, last year was a tough one to be a sports fan. I know loss, in the fans sense of the word. I know you can’t win everything all the time. I know you don’t always have a good game, a good season, even a mediocre season. I also know you can come back from shitty times. I know great things can be born out of low moments. You’re on the right track, fellas. Its a slow process, its a rebuild from the ground up. I can see the movements, the changes, the position switches, the new kids in town. You’re on the right track. We’ve derailed enough, lets stay on that track.

I was walking in Safeway a few weeks ago and a stranger, a total stranger, said to me “Wow, you’re pretty brave to be wearing that sweatshirt”. I had to stop for a second and think, hey, was I secretly transported to Regina? DUDE. I’m in Winnipeg. This is our team. What the hell are you talking about? I replied with, “They’re our boys, you have to support our boys”. He muttered an “I suppose” and walked away. Really? In our OWN CITY?

At work I am known as the face of optimism when it comes to Bomber pride. People think I’m crazy. I’ve been called delusional. I’ve been admired for my dedication. I’ve been questioned on how much I actually could possibly know about the team to still be so positive and hopeful. And I surprise just about all but the lowest of naysayers. Because I know the game. Though they generally go away when I say “They are our home team. Who the hell else are you going to cheer for??”. I have one co-worker who will come up to me before each game and request the usual. “Tell me something positive going in, Char.” So I do. I always have something. Some stat, some new player, some kid off of the injury list ready to ball again. He walks away satisfied, perhaps not anymore hopeful but a little less negative.

So there you go, Bombers. We’re still out there. We see Ford ready to plow through men twice his size. We see Max Hall and his potential (because yes, he has potential). We see Alex Hall and Bryant Turner ready and dying to keep us at the top of the Sack Leader list. We see Suber and Johnson and Washington flying, grabbing, switching roles and making plays. We see Markett, the newbie, making ground, making a place for himself. We see our two new big men, Knapp and Jones, in town for four days, expected to know the playbook and somehow managing to give Hall a little more time to make those passes that seemed to just find their rightful owners more often than not. And speaking of rightful owners, can we just talk about Kelly for a minute? Sky High Kelly, grabbing shit out of nowhere. We see our star, our fave, our veteran who doesn’t want to be anywhere but Winnipeg, Edwards, throwing his body around to catch whatever comes in his general direction. My word that man. Please lets just keep that man.

We see this and more. We get bummed when a loss comes our way, just like the negative nellies out there. But we know. We know you’re trying. We know you’re making decisions that you think, in the heat of the moment, are the right ones. We’ve all been there. And yes, it sucks knowing you have lost again. But we’re still here and we’re staying. We see the moves being made behind the scenes. The releases. The acquiring of new talent. Boltus, Brown, Kelly, Sims Walker, Knapp, Jones, and the mighty Bellefeuille who, while the losses have still come, seems to be able to make things happen every now and then. We see the potential now. And for those of us with common sense and patience, we see what this might bring us next year. That’s right. Next year. Not this week. Not right now. Next year people.

So now, when you’re on Twitter or reading those god awful comments on the online newspaper stories, remember this. Not everyone thinks you need to fire every coach and coordinator under the sun. Not everyone thinks the stadium was a waste of money. Not everyone wants to run you all out of town with pitchforks and burning sticks. Just the loud ones do. Us quiet ones? Well, you’ll hear us. At every game. Raising the decibel levels. Because where we are quietly supportive behind a screen, we are loud and mighty at the very moment when you need us to be.

Thanks guys, we got your back.
Go Blue.

The Passing Of Days

This summer has flown by like a jet plane overhead. It was there, you could see it and hear it, but it was gone in the blink of an eye. While it seemed we crammed much into it and got much out of it, its like school just ended a week ago and starts again next week.

Maybe its because Pat worked in the city all summer and it wasn’t broken into weeks of him being here and then him being gone? Maybe it was the lack of “work from home” days due to a crazy busy year end for me? And at the same time, it was enhanced by the “work from home” days, days where I got to watch McK run out the door after a lazy wake-up period and then see her sporadically pop-in throughout the day for food and drink. I don’t know what it was, all I know is summer as it is referred to in our house, is over. School starts, routine starts, schedule starts, early nights start. I like it. And at the same time, its a bummer that it felt like such a brief moment in time.

While this summer was not full of outings, trips here and there, playdate upon playdate, it was filled with simple, old school fun. Running outside when you see one of your friends out there. Hearing the doorbell ring all day, everyone asking to play. Sitting on the porch as the sun set, watching skateboards and bikes whizz by. Sprinklers on, bathing suits on, smiles on. You can’t plan that. It just happens on our street.

I bought McKinley a watch and set the timer for the same time each day. If I didn’t do that, I don’t entirely know when she would come blasting through the door, sweaty and exhausted, time for one last snack before heading to bed. I can’t count how many evenings I have gone door to door, trying to figure out which street pal’s house she ended up in. Its always the last one I check. “Is McKinley here?”. “No, I think they all went to so-and-so’s”. The watch was the best ten bucks I spent this summer.

With all that was going on for us work-wise, we still managed to have some awesome family fun. A week out at Hecla, trips to SkyZone with her friends, a few beach days, some late night ice cream dates once dad has gone to bed…and of course….shopping.

As far as a summer goes, you can’t beat that. Quick or not, its what hot days and warm night are made of.

Swaggerville, Reincarnate

Once upon a time our Bomber defence created a brand all unto themselves and low and behold, Winnipeg bought in. Swaggerville was born and like any good regime, they had their loyal subjects, ready to defend the name, the brand, the band of brothers. Last year, the Mayor of Swaggerville was ousted. Exiled to none other than the mortal enemy. The defence that once ruled all the land from the SK border to the ON border faltered, their play was not what it should be. Their spirit was not a candle burning bright but rather a flame, snuffed, trying desperatly to relight itself in a blustery windstorm, otherwise known as the Upheaval of a Team.

No one spoke much of Swaggerville as the year went on. There were whiffs of it here and there, with attempts to reignite the brand loyalty but lacking the play on field from which the Swag-storm originally erupted. And with a paltry season over, the residents of Swaggerville quietly snuck away in the night, without a word to their loyal followers who hoped that next year, Mayor or not, they could proudly wave the flag once again.

Fast forward to the beginning of the season, 2013. Loss of a key member of the Swaggerville team. Not a wild promoter of much other than himself. And suddenly, S-Ville is down to two major players, both with potential leadership blood running through their veins, both wanting to rebirth their Swaggerville nation, both knowing that deep down they have what it takes. Will new members emerge? Will Swaggerville show up on the field this year? Will the rookies jump on board and remind the veterans what it feels like to truly LOVE what they do and remind them of what it feels like to feel truly BLESSED to do it every day? Will they remind them that they have thousands of people who bought into their belief system that our defence, these men, are worthy of this brand, this loyalty? I sure hope so.

I remember a time when we would tout, “Swaggerville, population 30,000″. I remember that I thought that was pretty darn cool. If not Swaggerville, then at least lets get back to that place where we can say, “Bomber fandom, population 30,000″.

Go Blue.

Crossing The Line…..The Finish Line

I used to avoid the idea of entering running races because I never wanted to be the one that came in last. And then it dawned on me. Someone has to be last. And so what if its me? Who cares what your time is or your rank? You finished something a good 90% of the population in your city did not even bother to wake up for. First, last, or somewhere in between, you gave ‘er shit and got ‘er done and lookee here, you have the t-shirt to show for it.

I read a tweet the other day that someone wrote about not bothering with a race because they feared they’d be last and couldn’t stomach it. The tweet was written by a person who is a very seasoned runner, clearly not used to anything but top ranking, and the idea of being in the back of the pack with us lowly “slow pokes” was reason enough to lace up on their own elsewhere, so as not to be embarrassed that someone might lump them in the same group as us. For shame. It makes me think that they are the type that would snicker when they see a heavier person out there walking/jogging/TRYING.

It prompted an “Unfollow”. True athletes support each other, are proud of each others effort and accomplishments. True athletes realize that waking up every day to slug it out with the pavement or the treadmill or the weights is an unending commitment and know that as long as they are out there trying, then they’re “one of us”. True athletes know that trying is the very best you can do. So long as you are trying, you are, in your own way, kicking ass. So long as you are trying, you are, in your own way, an athlete.

So to the tweeter who couldn’t possibly enter anything that might make them push themselves, possibly face the fact that theres always room for improvement, I say this: I may come in last, but I am not on the couch. I am not in bed. I am not sitting on my ass doing nothing. I am out here, with you, running, just like you are. And I’m trying my best. “Last” is better than “Did Not Finish”, which trumps “Did Not Start”.

The Thing About Muscles

A few things I have learned this week about muscles:

1) You require your tricep muscle to accurately apply mascara. You can use opposite hand to securely hold mascara-wand-holding-arms-elbow to steady application. And then be thankful you only wear mascara and do not need to repeat this.
2) You require your chest muscles to turn corners in your car, and you particularly need them to parallel park. This one I took for granted until I realized how many turns it took to get to work, get home, get to my girls school and park the car. Our city is made up of constant turns.
3) You require your quads to lower yourself on to a chair or toilet, this is especially true in the dark, in the middle of the night, when the seat is freezing cold.
4) You also require your quads to get back up off of said chair or toilet. You may let out an “oompf” at this point.
5) You require both your biceps and your triceps to raise your arms high enough to wash your own hair. If you know this in advance, you can plan to have a helper onsite. Or get comfortable with not washing your hair for a few days.

Its kind of cool, how all these little moves use all of these different parts of your body. And that working them out properly leaves THEM feeling sore and YOU feeling, well, them. When your muscles are sore a day or so after a workout, it means they are repairing the damage from the workout. And in repair is where gains are made and strength is created. So I will suffer through the messy mascara eyes, driving like an old granny, grimacing as I lower into any seat of any kind and washing only the lower third of my hair because I know I did good. I have made gains. I have gotten stronger.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

Things change. They change constantly. Even when, perhaps, you don’t want them to.

Schedules. Ever changing. I am currently getting up at 5am to workout. I determined that if I was going to actually workout and stick to it, I needed to be doing it at a time of day where there were NO other distractions. No supper to be made, no groceries to go get, no Coronation Street about to start. Now granted, my warm and ever-so-cozy bed is a GIANT distraction but I feel like I’ve told enough people that I am doing this that it literally forces me to get up. That and the fact that Pat is already up and downstairs, getting ready for work. I also remind myself of all of the things I have to get done after work and realize that, welp, I’m up, may as well saunter on downstairs, have my coffee, head to the basement, lace up them bright orange kicks, turn the tv on to Sports Centre and sweat the morning away.

The coolest part about working out first thing? Well, there are 3 really. One, when I come upstairs after, the house is starting to shine with the rising sun. I don’t need the lights turned on. I can shuffle around making lunches in the natural, beautiful, early light of day. Two, I am done. I am done for the day and don’t even have to THINK about rationalizing to myself why I *might* not workout after work. Its done. Done-diddly-done-done-done. And thats pretty cool. And three? By the time I sit down and have my second cup of coffee, post-shower, watching my girl have breakfast and finish homework, I marvel at the realization that I have been both awake and productive for nearly three hours already. That’s pretty mind-blowing.

Granted, as our schedule changed to become what it currently is, I know that just as quickly it can change again and become something else altogether. But I have proven to myself that I can adapt to these changes, I can make them work in such a fashion that my health will remain a priority, and that I don’t have to necessarily LIKE it, to stick to it. *yawwwwnnnnnn*