For the love of Boston

I wanted to write something last night. But I couldn’t. Like many of you, I went through a series of emotions ranging from heartbreak to anger to numbness. Instead, I waited until my kids were in bed, sobbed over the footage on CBC, and then listened to Vin Scully because baseball seemed like the only thing that made sense at that moment. Sports helping us heal: yes, we’ve been here before.

I knew one person who participated in Monday’s Boston Marathon. Some of us with even stronger ties to the city were deeply upset and concerned about family members down there. The person I know is OK. A lot of people are not.

This wasn’t the post about Boston I wanted to write. You see, I had a chance to visit Boston for the very first time last month, thanks to a work-related conference. The city left a lasting impression with me. My disdain for the Red Sox may be well documented here, but in the two nights I stayed in Boston in a quaint hotel on Newbury Street, not far from where Monday’s tragedy took place, I became a huge fan. I love the people, its passion for its sports teams, every grungy alley and gorgeous brownstone. I snagged a terrific seat for the Celtics game that week when the Raptors were in town. 10 rows from courtside. Unbelievable. I have a pile of pictures I’ve been meaning to share on this site, of the game, of Kevin Garnett’s massive frame, of Fenway and the photo of Old Hoss Radbourne I found at this great sports bar on Boylston Street. But life happened, and now this.

I’m not from Massachusetts, not a Red Sox fan, not even American, so I feel a bit like I’m talking out of my ass. But I am a runner, and I am friends with some wonderful Americans (including these Ladies… ), so Monday’s events nevertheless left me shaken and heartbroken. I never once felt uneasy walking through Boston’s downtown core. Maybe it was the friendliness of its people or how it spoke to my Irish heritage, but the city really felt like home. The morning I arrived I took the wrong Green Line train and got lost, but I never once felt uncomfortable. I walked by Copley Square after the basketball game completely confident that nothing bad would happen to me, which I’m sure was the same feeling those runners and spectators and volunteers had yesterday.

So I promise that sometime soon, I will post those pictures. We need to remember why Boston is such a damn fine town, and how it will continue to be. And I will come back to Copley Square, and I’ll bring my kids. And I will continue to run, just like so many did yesterday and today in solidarity. And I will try not to be so angry about what happened, because in a time of need a city wrapped its caring arms around frightened and wounded strangers. You can’t stay angry when there is love.

Phoenix Coyotes Keith Yandle

TGIF: New York is a Basketball Town?

In a year in which New York has not one, but two playoff bound teams (although as I type I’m watching one of those teams blow their thirteen game winning streak), could Madison Square Garden lose its lease?  I’m a Knicks fan, but I’m kind of intrigued by the possibility of a city actually forcing their professional team to move in favor of better infrastructure (even though I’m sure  us taxpayers will probably finance a good chunk of that move, should it come to pass).

Hockey Gifs Galore!

BladesofSteel

Hi, my name is Raven, and I’m addicted to HOCKEY GIFS!! Seriously, .gifs in general are the best thing the internet has invented. Somehow, the stupidest of moments caught on tape can bring such joy to my life. Recently, I was introduced to Tumblr, a.k.a. the home of .gifs. It’s such a wonderful place where I’ve found so many many many awesome .gifs. I, of course, love the hockey ones, specifically any featuring Washington Capitals players. So without further ado, I bring you some of my favorite hockey .gifs.

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Supporting women’s athletics, not just paying lip service (Go Badger Women’s Hockey!)

I’m absolutely loving this column Val Ackerman is doing over at ESPNW where she is speaking to prominent male sports executives about the future of women’s sports. It’s at once fascinating, heartening and upsetting. Her most recent is with recent Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke. Burke is probably best known around these parts for his no bigotry stance – he’s one of the few high-level executives out there consistently saying all the right things about why skin color, sexual orientation and really anything other than your athletic ability shouldn’t matter on the playing field.

Ackerman talks to Burke about the rapid growth of women’s hockey. I’m a huge women’s hockey fan and supporter and this was the first I’d heard that Burke was, as well, so I’m always happy to hear that high level men’s execs are also behind the women. I started wanting to break down some of the things Burke says, but ultimately, this quote of his is really what it comes down to for me:

Don’t just say you support Title IX, don’t just say you support women’s athletics; buy a ticket, bring your family. Buy a sponsorship on a team, put some money behind this thing, help it grow. If you really believe in women’s sports, there’s an opportunity to show it in a very direct way. Fans vote with their feet. Show up at a game.

– Brian Burke

I can’t stress enough how important this is and I’m going to go ahead and call each and every one of your out. When was the last time you went to a women’s college or professional game? Do you donate to your local college’s scholarship programs? Buy season tickets? Go to a game? Even at the high school level? Do you support fund raisers or pay admission?

If you do, do you drag your friends along? Do you extol the virtues of your favorite game or team? Do you introduce your friends and family to a sport or team they’re not familiar with and get them as excited about it as you are? Do you take your sister or niece or grandkid to as many different sports as you can and foster their love in a way that we didn’t get when we were little?

Because I didn’t used to do that and this year I made a concerted effort to change that. I’ve always been a hugely vocal supporter of Wisconsin women’s hockey, but I’d never put my money where my mouth was before now.

Follow the jump for more on Badger women’s hockey, Team USA and $5 world class talent
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Hump Day Hotties: NHL Trade Deadline

RyanMiller

Did you know that the Sabres acquired the draft pick they used to draft Ryan Miller from the Florida Panthers in 1999? Well, now you do.

To commemorate today’s impending NHL Trade Deadline, I’m celebrating what used to be my favorite day of the year (it’s been uninteresting the past couple seasons) with some NHL hotties that have been dealt at the trade deadline over the past few seasons.

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