Who do we love? Kevin Durant, David Robertson and WVU Baseball

First off, we send our love and thoughts and prayers to all affected by the events of the past few days (I say “days” knowing that other states have been reeling from these terrible storms). Knowing that we have team members with close ties to Oklahoma, I cannot begin to imagine how difficult this has been, and as such, I find it hard to post about anything cheerfully sporty under the circumstances. But to paraphrase the great Fred Rogers, when terrible things happen, you look for the helpers. Here’s a few worth mentioning today: Continue reading

Memories of Royals broadcaster Fred White

The Royals announced on Wednesday that former radio broadcaster Fred White died of complications from melanoma. This came just 24 hours after White announced that he’d be retiring from his post-broadcasting role with the team, which was to help build up and maintain the vast Royals Radio Network.

Fred White. Picture from the Kansas City Star.

I grew up with two parents and three older brothers, so it’s not like I was lacking for childhood presences. But Fred White, along with Denny Mathews, were a profound staple of my childhood summers. Continue reading

How to Deal

AdamLevineTheVoice

This is how I deal with bad sports: Adam Levine.

Like Lady Bee, I’m still reeling from watching my beloved hockey team, the Washington Capitals, crash and burn on Monday night. It’s so bad, that I can’t even watch hockey. I know, it’s really bad. Since I’m used to this annual heartbreak, I can’t understand why, this year, I’m so depressed about it.

It’s not like the Caps don’t do this to me every single year. This year I was so indifferent about hockey. I was mad about the lockout, but as a season ticket holder, I was excited to get back to Verizon Center and spend time with my hockey family. That was what I looked forward to: happy hours, victory beers, inside hockey jokes, good times with friends and making fun of our players – not so much the hockey.

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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

Hit & Run: Seriously, I’m OK, you guys!

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(Photo: Getty Images)

First of all, many thanks to my friends (including Games Mistress and various members of Red Sox Nation) for pulling me out of my Pinstriped Spiral of Gloom last Friday morning after receiving word that Mariano Rivera suffered a season-and-possibly-career-ending torn ACL last Thursday while shagging fly balls in Kansas City. Honestly, there is nothing like a devastating injury to a beloved future Hall of Famer to remind you who your truest friends in baseball are. Red Sox fans and I may be bitter frenemies when wins are on the line, but when something like this happens, we all feel for the biggest fans of the affected team and athlete. So thanks you guys – you are the best!

And what a difference a day made. It wasn’t long until Rivera’s competitive nature bounced back as he declared to reporters “I’m coming back. Write it down in big letters. I’m not going out like this.” So it won’t be long until you can go back to hating my kind again, Red Sox Nation (know that I say this with love). It’s been reported that three doctors at two hospitals examined his knee today, so hopefully surgery and rehab go smoothly enough to get him back on the mound in 2013. Until then, it’s the Soriano-Robertson Show from here on out. Continue reading

Ski in peace, Sarah

PhotobucketI admit that until last week, when the news broke about her terrible accident, I didn’t know very much about freestyle skier Sarah Burke. I deeply regret this, because if anyone deserved a You Go Girl post from this site, it was this fine Canadian: multiple Winter X Games gold medalist, first woman to land a 1080 in competition, awesomely gutsy athlete. Dig deeper, and you will discover that Sarah had an amazing commitment to the development of her sport, from coaching teenage girls in her home province of British Columbia to successfully lobbying to get the halfpipe included in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. Sadly, she’ll never have the chance to ski that course, but she has left behind an incredible legacy. I’m not just talking about the Winter Games – I’m also referring to the fact that as per her wishes, her organs and tissues were donated so that others may have a second chance to live life as fully as Sarah did.

Here’s a glimpse of Sarah’s life work. You’ll never see a nicer tribute!

A Sarah Burke tribute video. from Downtofilm. on Vimeo.

By the way, if you wish to contribute to the fund set up to assist Sarah’s family with her medical bill, you can do so here.

Ladies… Linkups: Busy Sports Week Edition

St. Louis Cardinals Chris Carpenter

Hockey season is in full swing, I’m 6-and-0 in the Ladies… Fantasy Football League (what the @#$!), the World Series begins Wednesday and in the NBA…yeaaaah, anyway, it’s a busy sports week here at Ladies… I promise I’ll return to some NHL Hotness Profiles soon, but in the meantime, enjoy these stories written by other people:

  • Too soon to talk about an undefeated season for the Pack! Too soon! [ESPN]
  • Carson Palmer, welcome to the Raiders. [Yahoo! Sports]
  • Phil Kessel is your first NHL Star of the Week. Be afraid. Be very afraid. [Puck Daddy]
  • Some thoughts about the horrific accident that claimed the life of Dan Wheldon. [NBC Sports]
  • The Rangers return to the Big Dance. [MLB.com]
  • And your Game 1 starter for the Cards is… [StLToday.com]

Finally, I have to tell you I came thisclose to buying these tonight, until I realized that I probably wouldn’t receive them in time for Hallowe’en. Are they not awesome? If only I could hop into my invisible jet and pick them up myself in Pennsylvania.

A tough summer for NHL fans

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(Photo: Getty Images)

Former NHL enforcer Wade Belak was found dead in his Toronto condo Wednesday. He was 35. He is also the third NHL enforcer we’ve lost in the last four months. In May, Derek Boogaard of the New York Rangers died of an overdose of booze and pills, alone in his apartment in Minneapolis. A few weeks ago, Rick Rypien of the Winnipeg Jets, who lived with depression was found dead at his home in Crowsnest Pass, Alberta.

Belak spent time in Calgary, Florida, Toronto and Nashville. His busiest season was 2002-03 when he scored an NHL career high 9 points for the Leafs. But Belak wasn’t about lighting the lamp: he also logged in 196 penalty minutes that year. He retired this past season after he cleared waivers but wasn’t picked up by a club. He was forging a broadcasting career, was set to appear on CBC’s Battle of the Blades, and as my pal Amanda at Inside Smashville notes, had trained to be a volunteer firefighter in Tennesse.

It’s been a tough summer for NHL fans, but no question, it’s been a nightmare for the loved ones of these three athletes. It will be a while before we know why we lost Belak, and it’s easy make some semblance of a connection with his death and the loss of Boogaard and Rypien: three young men, all hockey tough guys, silently dealing with the mental game of being a professional athlete and living with injuries.

Regardless of what we learn in the coming days, I just hope for this: that we talk more openly about eliminating the stigma of mental illness and getting people – athletes included – the help and support they need. And “we” includes the NHLPA. The Canadian Mental Health Association cites that “one in every five Canadian adults under age 65 will have a mental health problem”. Assuming there are just under 1000 guys playing in the NHL, do the math: the odds are fairly good that there are a number of hockey players who live with mood or anxiety disorders, and may be abusing drugs or alcohol to self-medicate. Instead of being quick to judge these guys for having so much too soon, we need to show compassion.

We at Ladies… send our thoughts and prayers to Wade’s family.

UPDATE: In an interview with the CBC, Wade’s mother Lorraine confirmed that her son suffered from depression. The NHL and NHLPA released a joint statement Thursday in response to these recent off-ice deaths and have committed to “examining…the factors that may have contributed to these events, and to determining whether concrete steps can be taken to enhance player welfare and minimize the likelihood of such events taking place.”

The Good in Everyone

Bruins

A Bruins fan sets things right for a reeling city. You can find this image and others in a Facebook album called "The Real Face of Vancouver" by Andy Fang. (retrieved from Canada.com)

I hope you realize that we are better than this.

I signed off from our Stanley Cup Game 7 liveblog after glancing at a burning vehicle on the CBC and went to bed not even considering for a moment that actions would escalate the way they did.

As a Canadian, I was horrified, shocked, disgusted, angry. But mostly, I felt sorry for the friends I know who live in that beautiful city. Because as embarrassed and upset as most Canadians were, those emotions paled compared to how British Columbians were feeling.

I was also upset at the blame being place on Vancouver’s police. Really, if you want to place the blame on anyone, how about starting with the neanderthals who actually created this mess.

Thursday morning should have been all about celebrating a team that hoisted the Cup for the first time in nearly 40 years. Instead, it was focused on violence, looting, and a provocative photo of a couple locked in an embrace on the ground while surrounded by riot police.

Forget that. Nothing makes me prouder as a Canadian, hockey fan and human being to see images like this. Sure, it speaks to the power of social media. But let’s give credit where credit is due: these are good souls who have stepped up to help a city heal.

We can draw lessons from these smiling faces in Canucks and Bruins sweaters, armed with plastic bags and latex gloves. We can also learn from British Columbians like Betty Fox, who carried on her son Terry’s legacy and raised important funds for cancer research through activities such as the annual Terry Fox Run held throughout Canada. Betty passed away on Friday after suffering from complications from diabetes and arthritis. Reports say she was in her early 70s.

Betty Fox

(Photo: Canadian Press)

Hurtful actions and tragedy can be overcome through simple acts of generosity and kindness. Canadians all knew of Betty and were touched and inspired by her commitment to carry on the fight against cancer in her son’s memory. We can also be proud of and be inspired by those faces on the streets of downtown Vancouver, whose names we may not know but whose actions speak louder than words.

This is what being Canadian is all about.

Ladies… Links: Something To Read So You Can Ignore Don Cherry

Bruins

The Bruins Saturday night in Vancouver. Boston will try to get back into the Stanley Cup Final series tonight with Game 3 at home. (Photo: Getty Images)

Just a quick hit to give you something to read between periods tonight.

Know how I always talk about the East Coast’s love for all things Boston? Here’s an article from the Globe and Mail that backs up my point, but only to a certain extent. See, what I got out of this was a) Bruins fans in the Maritimes consist of old guys who are missing their own teeth and b) the Maritimes consist solely of Nova Scotia…oh, wait, they threw PEI a bone. So this story drove me crazy all day. Yeah, I know it’s customary for Canadians in my part of the country to kvetch about how the rest of Canada views us. When national publications talk East Coast, they’re really just talking about Halifax (so we think). And the national CBC is even worse, as when they talk about the East, it seems to end at the Quebec border. Grrr.

So here’s a footnote to that Globe article. New Brunswick is home to two Bruins greats: Don Sweeney, who spent the better part of 15 seasons with Boston, and Willie O’Ree, who broke the NHL colour barrier. For the record, I know far more Bruins fans out here than actual Canucks fans (apologies to those cheering them on because they’re the last Canadian team standing).

And many of them are women.

Here’s something to make you smile, speaking of Boston: one kid honouring his uncle’s memory with an assist from the Red Sox. I can’t hate on them when they agree to do stuff like this.

This is from a few days ago, but Star Wars fans will enjoy this tale from our pal Andrew Bucholtz at Sporting Madness.

And now back to some seriousness: keep Nathan Horton in your thoughts, OK? God, I hate seeing anyone being carried off on a stretcher.

Hit and Run: You Suck, Albert

Guess who was SO excited to snag Albert Pujols on her fantasy team (in large part because one of the “people” drafting in front of her was Lady Bee’s dog, Daisy, but that’s another story) only to see him have one of his worst season starts ever?

Albert himself doesn’t seem worried and he has historically broken out of his slumps in spectacular fashion, so I’m sure it’s just a matter of being patient.  However, given my excellent record of jinxing things I write about on this blog let’s just try this:

Albert Pujols is so bad right now, you guys.  I think maybe he’s finally over the hill.  Or maybe the pressure of his contract year is getting to him.  Whatever the case, I don’t see him breaking out of this slump any time soon.

Moving on to things which don’t directly affect any of my teams (which usually nullifies any jinxes or reverse jinxes)….

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Four things we loved about Wild Card Weekend

Chiefs

Judging from the seating, 14 is the loneliest number. (Photo: Getty Images)

For a few of us, like Ladies… Fantasy Football League winner Games Mistress CuteSports*, it was a fun weekend of NFL Playoff goodness. The other girls are just waiting until Opening Day.

*this is what happens when you file a post way past your bedtime

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So THAT happened.

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I don’t even know if this should be an Advent Calendar of Hotness post or what. I’m a Phillies fan and I still don’t know what just happened. All I know is that Cliff Lee turned down a whole shit-ton of money, and I know that the rotation is absolutely disgusting and I DON’T UNDERSTAND THIS.

I went to my first baseball game in 1993 when the Phillies played the Rockies. Back then, the Phillies literally gave away tickets to games in packages of hot dogs. Seriously, I remember 14 year old Maggie negotiating with her dad that if we bought TWO packages of hot dogs, my siblings could come to the game, and if we bought THREE, Mom could come too.

Halladay.
Hamels.
Oswalt.

…And Lee?

I can’t even.

Look, I know the world hates the Phillies and everything because they’re the new Red Sox or Yankees or Patriots or whatever, but this is…mindblowing.

R.I.P. Pat Burns

Former Devils coach Pat Burns lost his long battle with cancer Friday in Sherbrooke, Quebec. The three-time Jack Adams trophy winner was 58.

We profiled Pat back in March at the announcement for the hockey arena being built in his name in the Eastern Townships. His last public appearance was last month when he attended the groundbreaking ceremony.

The recent Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony reignited the debate that Pat should have been included in this year’s class. There’s no point in resuming that discussion. Anyone who followed the Habs, Leafs, Bruins or Devils during Pat’s career is well aware of his legacy, his passion for the game, his commitment to community and family, his fighting spirit. We don’t need the HHOF to acknowledge what we as hockey fans knew all these years. He’s there – he was there in our eyes a long time ago.

We extend our thoughts to Pat’s loved ones.

Support for the ‘stache

Yankees

Just try to top the "State Trooper Giambi" look, as sported by Mike Mussina a few years back.

It’s been well-documented that we at Ladies… have a love/hate/complicated relationship with the moustache (and why is it so often associated with the mullet?), but this is clearly a case in which we wholeheartedly support its existence. As you may be aware, we are halfway through Movember, a movement designed to bring awareness to men’s health and specifically prostate cancer.

Community support always makes our hearts melt, so we salute the numerous athletes who have taken up the moustachioed cause. Continue reading

Your 2010-11 NHL Hotness Preview: Pacific Division

Coyotes

(Wicked Cool Photo of Ilya Bryzgalov: Getty Images)

Yeah, I suppose most sports sites do their previews before the season starts. But we think different here at Ladies… Also, we’re hella busy and I needed a few days to deal with that whole ALCS outcome, obviously. I spent the weekend doing a lot of intentional walking. I trust Girardi did the same.

Let’s focus on hockey now, shall we? The Pacific Division, y’all!

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Ladies and Gentlemen…

…Roy Halladay. Do I even need to say anything else?

HI EVERYONE ROY HALLADAY THREW A NO HITTER IN HIS FIRST POSTSEASON APPEARANCE AND I HAVE LOST THE ABILITY TO USE PUNCTUATION

PS IT WAS ONLY THE SECOND ONE IN A LITTLE THING WE LIKE TO CALL HISTORY

PS NUMBAH TWO: OH AND HE THREW A PERFECT GAME THIS YEAR ALREADY.

For real, I kind of think my husband would be okay if I left him for Roy. Actually, I kind of think he might leave me for Roy. I’m not sure I blame him.

So, about that espnW thing…

ESPN, for women. We’d be remiss as Ladies… if we didn’t weigh in on this ridiculous idea that’s apparently a real thing, and not an Onion article.

Click for source...made by Miss Minda

Miss Minda: Apparently we aren’t smart enough to understand the real ESPN, because it belongs to our dads, our boyfriends, and that cute guy at work we’re always trying to impress.

Games Mistress: What’s kind of worrying me is Continue reading

Reason 127 why Steve Nash is a wonderful human being

Terry FoxI’m not one to make assumptions, but I’ll go out on a limb and state that I’m quite certain there isn’t a Canadian born before 1975 that wasn’t moved by Terry Fox.

Here at home, Fox is considered one of our greatest. He wasn’t a hockey player, a politician, a writer or a rock star. Terry was just one of us, except that he lost a leg to cancer in the prime of his life, and then spent his remaining time on earth running across Canada to raise funds and awareness of the disease (and, sadly, fighting the cancer that would cut his marathon – and life – all too short). So, yeah, he transcended that ordinary guy role and became an inspiration for millions.

I have two vivid childhood memories of Terry Fox: a campy but cool 1980 jingle promoting his Marathon of Hope on television, and footage of his funeral on CBC. I was at my grandmother’s that summer, and I remember reflecting how unfair it was that he was taken from us so soon when we were just getting to know him. Here I am 29 years later, and I am still amazed at the legacy Terry left Canadians. And we’re still running for him.

Steve Nash is about my age and was as equally moved during that era, so much that he co-directed a new movie about Terry’s life, Into The Wind, which premiered at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival. Terry’s story has been told several times through print and film, although I’m unsure how many times his life has been examined through the lens of another athlete, let alone one as prolific as Nash.

The film is part of ESPN’s “30 for 30″ series and will premiere September 28 on the network. If you’re unaware of Terry’s story, please tune in. I don’t imagine that Nash will be breaking new cinematic ground or finding a future beyond the NBA, but give him credit for his desire to share this story of one of Canada’s most beloved icons. And I will promise you this: you will be moved.

Girls in the Dugout

Chelsea Baker and Joe Niekro in 2006

The last year my brothers played Coach Pitch in Little League, their team was assigned two girls.  This was no big sweat for the head coach (my dad) — not only had he begun his long and varied youth sports coaching career with a stint as my soccer coach, he’d also coached kindergarten teeball, which in our area was co-ed.  What did surprise him, though, was that only one girl showed up to practice. After a week or two,  Dad mentioned to this girl’s mother that she wasn’t supposed to be the only one on the team.

“Oh, I know,” the mom said, “she didn’t want to come after what happened last year.”  Apparently the girls had also been assigned to the same team the year before  – only that head coach had done everything he could to make it clear he did not want girls on his team, from making them go last in every single drill to only playing them the minimum amount of innings required by Little League rules.  Both girls (who, I remind you, were eight years old at the time) stuck it out the full season, but now the other girl couldn’t bear to even try again.

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A fire still Burns

Pat Burns 2010

There are few things in life more devastating than watching cancer slowly steal away a loved one. There are also few things more beautiful or inspiring than the emergence of the human spirit when facing death head on.

I found it difficult to watch the coverage of former NHL coach Pat Burns speaking at a special event on Friday in Quebec’s Eastern Townships – without sobbing, anyway. A new hockey arena is being built in Stanstead to replace an aging facility. The Pat Burns Arena will serve the surrounding towns along the Quebec-Vermont border and is expected to be completed by 2011. Sadly, Burns will most likely never see it open.

Burns has been quietly battling terminal lung cancer. It is his third fight with the disease – he was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2004 when his New Jersey Devils were in the first round of the NHL playoffs. He fought liver cancer in 2005. This time, as you are probably aware, he is forgoing treatment.

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We interrupt this hiatus for…uh, wrestling.

Okay, we know we’re on vacation and everything, but sometimes something so unspeakably awesome happens that we just have to say something.

Today? Mick Foley happened.

Let’s catch up on Mick Foley, shall we? He’s gone by ‘Mankind’ and ‘Cactus Jack’ and ‘Dude Love’. He’s wrestled using a baseball bat covered in barbed wire and once lost two thirds of his ear in the ropes. Oh, and his finisher before he retired from the WWE was Mr. Socko: a dirty sweatsock shoved into the mouths of his opponents. We are not making that up.

But that’s Mick Foley the performer. Mick Foley the wrestler. Mick Foley the showman.

Mick Foley the person?

Is donating the ENTIRETY of his latest book’s profits to Children’s Fund International (benefiting rape victims in the Sierra Leone) and RAINN, the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network.

Oh, and he’s volunteering his time to work as an online counselor for RAINN’s support line.

We ladies may ogle, and we may joke, but in the end, we are a bunch of women writing about sports. We’re women.

We may not ever write about wrestling ever again, but we’re women. And as women, we salute Mick Foley.

And now we’re back on vacation.

Oh, look! Another lesson in how to train your girlfriend-bot!

So on my commute home, I decided to play around on Twitter, where I stumbled across this gem. How to Get Your Girlfriend Into Sports.

Now, leaving aside that the obvious answer to this time-honored problem of being a sports nut partnered with someone who doesn’t enjoy the old athletic display is to just date someone who likes sports. God, men (and women) of the world, if sports are important enough that you have to condition your partner into liking them, FIND SOMEONE WHO ALREADY LIKES SPORTS. Your partner is not a puppy. Don’t train them like one. God.

Let’s address this nonsense point by point, shall we?

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It’s MILLER TIME!!

USA! USA!

Apologies to our own Lady Bee in advance, but we’re not just talkin’ country pride here. We’re talkin’ hometown pride. That’s right – the Buffalo Sabres’ own RYAN MILLER is a force to be reckoned with, and that means you, Canada! 45 shots on goal is impressive and all, but Ry’s stopping 42 of them and helping Team USA on to a 5-3 win over Canada this past Sunday is even more impressive in my book. More after the jump on the, well, crap that my hometown hero had to go through leading up to that kick ass night.

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How Sweet the Sting…

It’s been a little gloom and doom in the bomber household these past few days…

You see there was this semi-important professional sporting match on Sunday, and despite my best efforts of yelling and screaming at the tv, my boys did not come away with that Lombardi trophy.

While I hold no ill will towards those gents in black and gold, I can’t help but wallow in my loss.

It got me thinking about championships and fandom- more specifically what impacts us more, the wins or losses?

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An exercise in drawing cartoon hearts.

So by now, you may have seen this profile of Saints linebacker Scott Fujita.

If you’re me, you’ve now spent the last twenty minutes drawing hearts around his name while daydreaming about skipping through New Orleans hand-in hand and dispensing bon mots about social justice and equality.

Then again, if you’re a normal person, you thought ‘Huh, cool.’ and went on with your daily life.

Let’s just jot down the reasons why Scott Fujita is my new boyfriend who just doesn’t know it yet, shall we? Continue reading

Because sometimes it’s hard to think about the game…

(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Sometimes, I just wonder how people can do it.

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Pierre Garcon’s outward focus may be on this Sunday’s AFC Championship Game against the New York Jets, but we know where his heart will be – with his relatives in Haiti, relatives he has yet to hear from in the wake of the January 12th earthquake that crumbled Port-au-Prince and surrounding regions.

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