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.

Football-Moms Kick Ass

Screw soccer-moms and hockey-moms. Football-Mom’s is where its at!

Yesterday my sweet little 9 year old declared that she was ready to get into a sport and that sport, my friends, is football.

*whooping and hollaring on the inside people!!!*

Now I have not forced football on her. I will admit I keep the channel on the games I want to watch and don’t let her change it lest she want to lose a finger but as far as PLAYING it, she came up with that all on her own. And I fully support this. I went online because I had no idea if there even WAS a girls league in Winnipeg and it turns out there is. We’re not sure the calibre or skill level required of the girls but it looks fun, not everyone looks enormous and a few of them even look McK-size. She. Is. Pumped.

I have not outwardly expressed my inner joy at her decision to want to try the game just in case its ridiculously expensive or of a higher level that she is wanting to play at but believe you me, when we find out all the details and everything falls into place, I will be one wide-grinnin’ son of a gun!

I will not yell any coaching from the sidelines. I will not boo or badmouth the opposing team. I will simply be the loudest, proudest mom in the stands. In fact, I will bring the noise of 86000 fans, a noise that still rings clear in my ears from December, and I will make sure she feels that out there, turf under her feet, enemy in her sights, hut, hut, hut.

Being a Fan is Hard on the Heart

I have two teams. My local team, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, and my NFL team, the New Orleans Saints. They are both filled with wonderfully talented and athletic people and are both kind of, well, not doing so good this year.

The Bombers have had a rough year. They did not win many games, they saw their coach get fired mid-year, they are under the rule of a GM who does not seem to really have a plan or a single good idea and they essentially have fallen apart in a glorious fashion. Their number one quarterback is not-entirely-lovingly referred to as “the Glass Quarterback” and his main skill on the field seems to be getting hurt. He knows what to do, when to do it, and HOW to do it. But instead of executing those three things, he just seems to take on the role of the tackling dummy, only its game time. And he is supposed to throw the ball. Not get hit with it still in his hands. The nubmer two QB is a firecracker that looks like he has what it takes to be great but he is young and full of too much pep and just wings it out there, forgetting that there is a playbook for a reason. He handles the ball beautifully but oftentimes it looks like he just closes his eyes and wills himself to throw the ball as far and as hard as he can and hope that someone catches it. Suffice it to say, he has become our short yardage master, putting his body through hell for the good of the team. The number three QB has shown a decent level of patience, a decent level of  skill, a decent level of ability to learn but an odd penchant for throwing the ball to people in jerseys that do not etirely resemble ours at incredibly inopportune times. Like when we are toe to toe with the end zone.

Our defence grew to be quite famous last year, they created a movement and exuded pride and confidence. And they are trying this year. I believe that. But when only 10% of your team is giving that hard, it doesn’t add up to a winning mathematical equation. The GM/coach combo let go of some amazing players this year, whether it be due to money or not, and the retiring of some of our key players hurt us on the field but you think would help us in the pocketbook. Which in turn, should have helped us retain some of our key guys. But it didn’t. The office/strategy part of the year was a messy messy pile of poo that left nearly everyone in the city calling for their heads. The new coach was thrown into the mix and considering what was crapped into his lap, he’s done ok. They’ve won a couple, lost a few, and blew their last hope for a playoff bid. But all in all, I think he’ll be a decent coach once he is given some solid players to work with and some sense of permanence with what he has in front of him.

But on Saturday afternoon, watching their playoff hopes slip away, I thought not of what it felt like as a fan and tried instead to think of what it would feel like as a player who has made it through all of their turmoil this year. And tried to think of the level of expectation everyone had of them despite all of that turmoil. And I knew that I would cheer for them till the last second of the game and when they take the field for the first time next year I will be there, cheering just as loud. Of COURSE I will be.

After every weekend, people at work always bug me for still being a fan. I don’t understand these people. If you’re a fan, you’re a fan. No? If you only cheer for them when they win, then you’re not a fan. If you decide they SUCK when they lose, then you’re not a fan. If you can’t believe you even wasted your precious time going to the game, then you’re not a fan. If you badmouth them publicly and ridicule them for even trying, then you’re definitely not a fan. 

Some people say its their JOB to win, they get PAID to win. Yes, true enough, they are paid to go out there and do their best and as a result, bring home a win. But tell me this, people who say that. Have you never had a bad day? Have you never failed at work, even once? Have you never sucked at something you tried to do, even though you put your whole heart into it? Thats what I thought. Only guess what, YOU don’t have the whole city shitting on you all at once when it happens to you.

Some people call me crazy. I prefer die hard.

Go Blue!

Fantasies Galore

Drew Brees. I would have to say that yes, Drew Brees is a major contributor to my fantasy. Also, Jimmy Graham. Mmmmmm….tall, athletic Jimmy. Oh oh, and Darren Sproles, with those massively muscular thighs…..yesssss.

Fantasy Football Team that is.

Only I didn’t get Drew in the draft so he stays firmly planted in the, ummm, other type of fantasy.

For the first time ever I accepted the daunting task of signing up for our work Fantasy Football. I told my pal that I would definitely join but they would have to be VERY patient with me and explain it all to me as we go. And thus far, they have been. However, the ins and outs of how the player-picking draft worked were a little fuzzy to me, right up to draft night. So there I sat, hunched over my dining room table at 9:30 at night with my laptop open, trying desperately to log on to the site, messaging him saying “The hell, dude??”. After a quick IT intervention I was logged on, staring at a screen full of hundreds of names, some that I easily recognized, some that I had never  heard of  before. And then BOOM the countdown appeared on my screen, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… and it was all systems GO. Time to learn-as-we-draft. I quickly realized I could categorize the players by position, that the defence came as a whole, not individual players, that you need back ups for bye weeks, and that you probably shouldn’t pick too many players from the same team because those bye weeks I just mentioned, will kill you in the points if all your guys are off at the same time and you don’t have good back ups.

I realized I could start pulling guys over to my “dream roster” and made a list worth about a catrillion dollars in salaries and wondered why no one else wanted these guys. And then I watched them magically disappear from my dream roster. What? Where were they going? Whats going on? And then it dawned on me. I am 12th in line to actually “acquire” these guys. And slowly, one by one, they are being STOLEN from me. I watched Drew Brees blow away. Watched Victor Cruz salsa on to someone elses roster. Watched Garrett Hartley get punted from my list. And then I put my game face on. Ok bitches, you wanna play like that? Shit just got serious. Game. On.

So I totally love my roster. I took a chance on Payton Manning, aka The Neck. I snagged my slam-dunk Jimmy Graham and lightning-feet Darren Sproles. I have a decent kicker (San Fran, HOLLA!) and my defence is RUN by none other than dance-for-me-baby Ray Lewis. I have not traded, cut or otherwise disposed of any of my initial choices. I stand by them and only ever put in a back-up player if one is needed due to injury or a bye week (which, I might add, you need to stay on top of lest you get screwed). They are my team, my McKs Picks. And I love them like I was paying them. I am 2 and 2 for wins and losses and some players surprise me and some disappoint but either way, they are all mine and I am not giving them up to anyone. There is nothing in this virtual football world that you could offer me that would make me want to give you Jimmy or Mario or Mike. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Well…….maybe if you offered me Drew, but other than that, you can keep your trade offers and your waivers and all that other stuff that I still don’t entirely understand and just leave me and my team alone.

There’s very little trash talk, I’m usually the instigator (I can be a weeeeeeee bit annoying that way), and I realize now that I am probably very fortunate that some people in our league do not have work cell phones because given the ability to text or messages my thoughts in “the moment”, I would likely be bugging the shit out of them. All. Weekend. Long. This would, more often than not, bite me in the ass by the time the game is over as I am a little premature in my team/player bashing and usually end up getting hammered. But I am not too worried one way or the other. As long as theres football, I am a happy camper.

A happy camper with 97 projected points this week, oh yeah, uh-huh, you know it! Take THAT! Suckers.