Thursday, December 30, 2010

Soccer Junk Dot Com

My friend Lisa went to Tokyo and brought me back soccer chopsticks.


I haven’t yet had occasion to use them, but I will. I do have an issue with them though: they feature a boy kicking a soccer ball with great gusto, and a girl kicking a...star? Aren’t young Japanese girls allowed to kick soccer balls? She looks pretty angry about kicking the star, as evidenced by her downturned mouth. The boy doesn’t have a mouth so I have no way of knowing how he feels about kicking the soccer ball. Perhaps he feels smug, since he got to kick the ball, while his sister had to kick a lousy star.

My sister Meg brought me an iphone protector that has the image of soccer on the back.I use it constantly. I am a clumsy, clumsy person who, according to my friends, should probably wear a helmet all the time, even just walking around—so let’s face it, using this is a good idea for someone like me. I also like the fact that when people see me use it on the skytrain since my knee operation and I’ve got my cane, they might realize that I have a sports injury and would not look upon me with such intense pity. (Although, truth be told, I don’t mind intense pity if it means I get a seat.)

These items I received are just some of the soccer paraphernalia that is out there. Of course, there are lots of useful things--jerseys and cleats and balls and things-- but I am talking about the true soccer junk one can buy online. Some examples:

Christmas stuff is very prevalent in online searches at this time of year. Worldsoccershop.com features some soccer tree ornaments: both blonde and what the site calls “multicultural” boys and girls playing soccer are easy to find.No matter what their nationality though, these soccer figures apparently don’t understand how to play soccer—why does each one have an arm raised, as though they want to ask questions? Perhaps they are keen to ask “Why is my arm up?” For those who don’t like the cute-sy Christmas ornaments, this same page also shows that one can buy a 3 pack of Manchester City tree ornaments featuring the team’s official logo, at its full price of $9.99; however, the Chelsea team ornaments are inexplicably on sale for $5.99. I guess these items are overstocked, and are not being purchased? For shame, Chelsea fans, for shame.



Café press features a set of shark soccer mugs you can buy for a mere $48. Why so expensive? Why sharks with soccer balls? Who knows? But the advertising copy suggests we should all “wake up and smell the advantages of this space saving stackable mug set”. Hmm.





Soccerstuffnmore.com features more in the soccer/beverage area: a “soccer happy mug” for only $7.00, which it assures you would be “an excellent choice for your favourite coach!” The mug has huge feet topped with half a soccer ball....I am not entirely sure which part of it is the ‘happy’ part. I’m not deluded enough that I think that I am anyone’s favourite coach, but I still hope no one ever buys this for me.



This site also features a “Stove Pipe Hat”, claiming “soccer novelties do not get any better than this”. I beg to differ, but at least the price is low: $5.00.








There's more! I also found a “soccer post-it note holder”.
Gone are the days of paying a surly teenager minimum wage to hold your post-it notes—a real plus in this tough economy-- when for a mere $9.95, your post-it notes can be held by this device. (The ad for this item spells soccer with an extra “c”, as in socccer. I think the extra c is for crap.) The website it comes from is entitled soccerjunk.com, which is an apt name, really.






And guess what else? You can even buy soccer condoms. A company named Pasante claims to be “putting the fun back into penetration” with their Halo Soccer condoms. (Wait—had someone taken the fun out of penetration? No one told me.) There are six designs to choose from and you get 144 condoms in a package. 144 condoms? In one package? Oh my.

When you get tired of using up all those condoms, you may wish to relax into some soccer furniture. There are these funky designs, made from recycled soccer balls (on the right) ...or for those with less esoteric tastes, this soccer chair (on the left) claims that is has “milky-soft leather-like fabric” that can be “easily cleaned” and will provide “many years of comfort and joy”. Hmm. Perhaps you could use the soccer condoms and the soccer chair together...


This is all just a sampling, of course. What my research has shown me is that with enough money and time and an internet connection, by this time next year, you could be completely outfitted in soccer clothing and crap from head to foot, including soccer bra, panties, pants, shirt, earrings, bracelets, necklace, contact lenses, stove pipe hat, necktie, socks, and shoes. Dressed thusly, you could relax in your soccer chair with a soccer blanket in front of your Christmas tree, which would be lit with soccer ball lights and decorated with soccer player ornaments of various ethnicities (although dubious playing abilities), eating off of soccer plates and drinking out of soccer/shark mugs. A soccer device could be nearby, holding your post-it notes at the ready. And the soccer condoms….well, how and when you would choose to use those is up to you.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Jesus Kicks

It's almost Christmas-- who has time to write blogs? I have decided that even though I am not religious, I know some of you are, so I give you this: Jesus doing a bicycle kick. I especially like it that he is wearing shin pads. Who would kick Jesus in the shins?

Impressive, right? Bicycle kicks are hard. Man, that Jesus could do anything.

Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Tabletop Karate Chop

The place I go for physio is covered in framed sports team pictures and team jerseys, all with handwritten notes of thanks from players who are now presumably injury free, and back doing their sport of choice. This is a good thing, because it is a reminder that you won’t be doing this kind of tedious rote exercise forever, and the annoying stuff that you’re doing right now isn’t permanently replacing fun kinds of exercise, like, uh, soccer.

The people working there are all impossibly fit and cheerful, and laugh as they see your face when they tell you to do 150 squats, hamstring and butt lifts, or to kneel on your knee mere weeks after someone cut and drilled into it. Unlike us regular folks, none of them have ever been injured; they look like the kind of people who treat their bodies as finely tuned machines, which they re-energize with fuel every two hours by perhaps eating a half a cup of chickpeas or a handful of kumquats, or a spoonful of mashed yeast. Travis, my physiotherapist, does iron man triathlons in 12 hours. How frustrating it must be for him to deal with us mere mortals all day who refuel with beer and bacon sandwiches. But he tries with us, he really tries.

The other day, Travis pulled a rope ladder out of a drawer and showed it to me after I’d been riding the stationary bike for a while. “Are we escaping to somewhere?” I asked hopefully.

Alas, no. He put the rope ladder on the ground and asked me to walk along inside it, stepping in each square with one footstep. While he watched. Frowning. When I finished, he said “Okay, do it again.”

I did. Then he said “Try lifting your injured leg higher, like marching.” Apparently, he explained, I’ve been dragging my injured leg around like a suitcase with wheels, and my hurt leg needed to do some work of its own, by marching. I get the idea behind it. But I feel I don’t speak only for myself when I say that sweaty, limping people who do not look especially great in workout gear aren’t too keen on being watched and frowned at while they march in squares under fluorescent lights.

After the marching, he was still frowning. “Okay, now try sideways,” he said. At this point, when I realized I was both sidestepping and goosestepping through the flat rope ladder, I might have scoffed, because Travis tried to make light of what he’d asked me to do. “Think of it like dancing,” he said. “I learned all my best dance moves by doing exactly what you’re doing right now.”

Stepping 12 steps to one side, and then back again? “Travis, you must be a terrible dancer,” I said.

“What?! No way,” he said. “You haven’t seen my tabletop karate chop.”

“That’s true,” I admitted.

Even with all the frowning, I’m so thankful he taught me to walk again. And in a few months, he’ll teach me to run again, and then soccer is just around the corner. I was thinking of taking him some xmas cookies as a thank you, but then I realized that surely he would never eat anything unhealthy like that. I’m thinking I'll just put the cookies together with my thank you note and frame them and he can hang them in the physio room with all the jerseys.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Not That There's Anything Wrong With That

Recently I ran across an Onion News video about soccer and I was thrilled, mostly because I am a lazy, lazy blogger and I hoped it meant I could repost it on my blog and wouldn’t have to write anything this week. It was pretty disappointing though. After the promising headline “Soccer Officially Announces It Is Gay”, I ended up only snickering a little at the idea that “deep down, soccer is about a bunch of guys running around, not touching a polka-dot ball with their hands…”, and yawning at the usual easy swipes that can be made at David Beckham.

I got the sense that someone there at the usually humourous Onion just threw the video together quickly and angrily when they found out that the U.S. didn’t get chosen as the host country for World Cup 2022, as they had hoped. Sour grapes. But calling soccer gay? What are they, jealous 9 year old boys? That’s not insulting; it’s pretty normal these days to be gay— I mean, there are gay people everywhere and in every sport.

The video clips they used from soccer were so...regular. The players didn’t look foppish or anything, they were just uh, playing soccer. Besides, don’t they know that there is a wealth of “gayish” (not that there’s anything wrong with that) photos of famous soccer players they could have used? For example:

There's this one:


or this one:


And here's another:



Now, in case you are starting to get worried that perhaps the Onion is right and everything about soccer is gay, I give you this. I don't like to perpetuate stereotypes but must admit that no self-respecting gay man or woman that I know would give themselves this haircut.



But, let's finish with a winner:

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Feed Me Peeled Grapes

Sophie cried the other day when we had all the snow and she found out her soccer game was cancelled again. Literally, tears and everything. “I haven’t played in almost two weeks!” she sobbed.

I sat on her bed, with my bum leg bent as much as it would go (which isn’t much) and fixed her with the devil stare I have perfected in the ten years since I became a parent. How I managed to hold in what I was thinking (something along the lines of ‘Are you joking?! Shut the f-- up! ‘), I have no idea; as it was, I believe I said “Soph, babe—enough. No crying. How do you think I feel?”

Although she stopped crying and hugged me, it was not my proudest parenting moment. She is allowed to have her own suffering and I don’t get to one-up her suffering with mine (which, by the way, is clearly worse.) And I totally get where she was coming from. All I wanted to do was sob along with her, and then possibly knock the stuff clear off her dresser for dramatic effect, and then look up at the sky and scream “Why?” like in the bridge of the Cee Lo song with the unprintable title. Then perhaps, minions would come out of nowhere, with deep, deep sympathy in their eyes, and rub my feet gently, brush my hair, and feed me peeled grapes, all the while murmuring in hushed tones about how much I was suffering since I haven't played soccer in six months.

But nothing happened.

Instead, I hugged Sophie back and limped downstairs and watched Glee. It was not almost as good as playing soccer. Nothing is.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Point/Counterpoint: When Are You Going to Finish Writing Your Damn Guest Blog vs. When I'm Good and Ready

The Onion news often has articles called Point/Counterpoint which delve into two sides of an issue. I thought it would be fun to write one of these about soccer coaching with someone, so back on Sept 27 I asked my ex-boyfriend Jim to guest blog about it for me, since he has been coaching his sons for many years and I am a newbie coach for my daughter. It didn’t turn out exactly the way I planned, but here are the results.

POINT
When Are You Going to Finish Writing Your Damn Guest Blog

By Cathy Collis, victim of recent ACL Reconstruction knee surgery

So sometimes, people ask other people to do things, and they, like, just don’t do them. I’m not talking about any one particular incident or anything, just putting the idea out there. Like let’s imagine for a second that someone has recently had knee surgery, and they’re battling through doing even the basic necessities of life, like showering and stuff, and then someone else with perfectly good knees and all the time in the world to go for bike rides breezily agrees to guest write something for the first person's blog—can you imagine the relief that provides for the original person, knowing they don’t have to write their own blog for a week? Considering they are on some seriously addictive painkillers and are not supposed to operate heavy machinery? But wait! Then he doesn’t do that thing. Months go by. He uses lame excuses, like work, and his kids having the chicken pox, and coaching soccer.

Clearly the original person should have known better than to ask the kind of person who would make plans to take his girlfriend to Olive Garden, and then later bail on those plans by saying he felt sick—only for the girlfriend to find out later that he was fine and at the pub with his buddies for a guys night thing. Even if that thing was 18 years ago.

Just saying. Hypothetically.

PS. Does anyone want to buy some leftover painkillers?

COUNTERPOINT
When I’m Good and Ready

By Jim Martell, ex-boyfriend

First of all, I am a beautiful, flawed middle-aged man with a host of emotional disabilities and only the most tenuous grasp on my sanity, but I am fairly sure that when my doctor tells me I am not supposed to operate heavy machinery he is not referring to a computer keyboard. In any case, I am easily overwhelmed when I have multiple tasks concurrently on my “to do” list. I become paralyzed, curl into a metaphorical ball and proceed with none of the work, regardless of impending deadlines and negative consequences. The one thing I always show up for is my soccer coaching duties: coaching kids is interactive, physical, and (at this level) uncomplicated. Frustratingly, my younger son’s routine on game days is as follows:

Pre-game: “Do I HAVE to go to soccer todaaaay?”

Half-time: “Is it almost OVER? I’m sooooo tired!”

Post-game: “I’m glad THAT’s over for another week!”

Why is his immediate reaction always avoidance? He’s not the best player on the team, but certainly not the worst. It fills me with dread at times that he would rather “not do” than “do.” I worry that this lack of engagement will spill over into all aspects of his life, that he will never develop a healthy enthusiasm for anything, and that I am failing as a parent by not instilling in him a sense of urgency to get going on something. Anything.

My suspicion is that he is probably feeling just like his dad: overwhelmed. But he doesn’t have a family to feed, a house and yard to maintain, bills to pay, teams to coach...or a guest blog to write. On the other hand, he does have school to attend, homework to do, extracurricular lessons, chores, personal relationships to maintain with his family and friends. Maybe on Saturday mornings, he just wants to be left alone to have a rest. I know how he feels.

I can never get everything done, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be able to get anything done. I feel like everywhere I look, I see someone whom I am letting down: wife, kids, boss, friends...I just cannot seem to spring into action. But at least now I have obliged my ex-girlfriend by spending fifteen minutes on this. That’s got to count for something, even if it probably doesn’t make up for the Olive Garden thing.

Sure wish I had some prescription painkillers.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Lentil Salads be Damned!

Walking by a newsstand the other day I saw a magazine called Fit over 40, and since I reached that milestone relatively recently, I decided to have a look at it. It’s filled with earnest looking women in their lululemon gear, grinning idiotically as they do various yoga poses or grip tiny stainless steel weights. (So this is my demographic. I hope they don’t miss me.)

I flipped right through to the end of the magazine, so I know there was no page in it with a gasping woman bent over, leaning on her knees in the driving rain, while wearing an ill-fitting yellow pinney, as I would have been at soccer six months ago. I should point out that in this particular memory I was also smiling idiotically, laughing really, but it’s because I had just run down the wing and done a splendid cross to Ron, who headed it into the net, and since it was his first goal since he had started playing with us, he was so excited that he was jumping and whooping it up like a kid.

The Fit over 40 healthy lentil salad recipes also don’t compare to the two pints I sometimes used to knock back after soccer either.

So…the only thing that's comparable between 40 year old me and the 40 year old women in the magazine is the smiling.

But now really, who was having more fun?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Alternate Tweets for Cristiano Ronaldo

So, I just joined twitter and decided to follow, amongst other famous people, Cristiano Ronaldo. In case you didn’t know, he’s rather attractive, the world’s highest paid soccer player-- he has over a million followers-- and is the most boring tweeter in the world.

I’ve only been on there for a few weeks, but all I’ve seen him post is plain-old boring blah stuff (“going to bed before a big game”), self-promotional fluff (“buy these new cleats I designed” or “check out my new Armani ad”) or scores (“Real Madrid 2, AC Milan 2” ) Yawn. Granted, he is amazing at soccer, but he can’t be amazing at everything-- so now I like to imagine him as some kind of cro-magnon caveman in front of the computer monitor, his pretty face contorted into a buck-toothed guffaw while he picks up his keyboard and his mouse and slowly bangs them together while trying to tweet. (This image I have was solidified when I read about that fact that his son was the result of a one night stand he had with a waitress in New York, whom witnesses say he seduced by walking up to her directly and saying only one delightfully romantic line: “Me, you, f-ck, f-ck”. That’s a direct quote. I’m serious. Look it up.)

In any case, shouldn’t he spice up the tweets? Doesn’t he have some obligation to entertain those millions of followers? He could at least expand them by using the full 140 character limit. He’s got to tweak those tweets. To that end, I’ve written some suggested alterations for him to try out.

Instead of :

“Check out my new cleats...”

I like:

“Buy my new Ronaldo cleats. You won’t play better, but if you do buy them, I’ll be able to buy that 4th Ferrari I’ve really been needing.”

Instead of :

“Heading to bed before the big game”

I like:

“Spent the day counting the $ I’ve made, but couldn’t finish--so I pushed some piles of eruos together to make a pillow and fell asleep.”

And of course, instead of:

“Real Madrid 2, AC Milan 2”

I like:

“I use only four words to say the score, and I use only four words to score with a woman. Impressive, no?”

I’m still working on one for the Armani ad. Here it is. I was thinking something along the lines of:

"Check out my new Armani ad. Maybe you can tell me why I'm doing crunches while standing up."

Thoughts?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Dia-Blog

This is a 3 minute movie I made from the transcript of an actual conversation I had with my husband Steve about sports. The program strips all the nuances and sarcasm from my delivery so I come across as a stone cold biatch, but I think it's okay because I got to make myself look like Keira Knightley. Also, I got to force Steve to wear a tie which he would never do in real life.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Beckham on Ellen

I like Beckham and Ellen even more now....please watch.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

You're So Vein


I am in the patient area of the hospital, waiting for my knee surgery. I am wearing two thin blue bathrobes, one forwards and one backwards, with papery blue shower caps on my feet-- and nothing else. At least 7 other people in here are already dressed this way, and we are reading free metro newspapers while the TV is playing, inexplicably, 100 Huntley Street. I definitely feel a little vulnerable dressed like this, with nothing to hold up my naughty bits--to strap me in, as it were-- but I suppose the gowns aren’t exactly form fitting, and most of us in this room are in the same predicament. I find myself bending my knee a lot while I sit there, because I can. I know soon I won’t be able to. I am a long way from the soccer field now.

After I get settled into my hospital bed, a young anaesthetist comes over to set up my IV. I explain to him that last time I had an operation, they didn’t have the easiest time with this part. We look at my hands and arms and he agrees – I don’t have a lot of visible veins. I can tell he’s a student, since he’s so thorough – he listens to my heart, and my breathing, and then he asks me to open my mouth to see how wide it can open. (Is it just me, or does that last request seem a bit dodgy?)

As he messes around with his needles and tubes and things, he smiles and holds my hand and asks, looking into my eyes, “If you weren’t here, what would you be doing today?”

I am a busy married woman of a certain age. No one ever holds my hand and gazes at me, asking me questions like this. We start chatting a lot about the Sutton Place Hotel, where I used to work – and to someone else, it would probably appear that he and I are having a ‘moment’. He’s holding my hand and rubbing my wrist, and saying how he recently went to the chocoholic buffet there at the hotel. More gentle wrist rubbing. Why does it feel like we should be sitting across from each other at a romantic candlelit restaurant? I’m wishing I had my wedding ring back on.....and then wham – suddenly there’s a big needle in my wrist, and beside the needle, a tube is being inserted. What was all that talk about chocolate? Dang, he was totally playing me. I can hear him now, telling the other students -- dude-- the older women - talk to them about chocolate, you should see the dreamy look they get in their eyes. Then you’re free and clear to jab them. He walks away and makes notes on my chart and walks past without smiling. I guess our little moment is over.

His boss comes over a few minutes later to check on my IV and says it is fine. He also asks me to open my mouth as wide as I can. What’s with these guys? He explains, unprompted, that they need to know how wide I can open my mouth because they’re going to be putting an anaesthesia tube down my throat. Oh. The boss also asks, less suggestively, if I have any loose teeth.

“Uh, no.” Apparently they don’t want to knock any of those out with the anaesthesia tube either. Wait. Just how hard are they jamming the tube down there?

He tells me I look nervous. I want to tell him that it could be because they are going to put me under and then attack me with a tooth-busting tube, but instead I say “I’m about to have knee surgery, you know.” I say it behind my hand, confidentially, and he plays along with “Oh, you don’t say?” and we all have a laugh. It isn’t funny at all, of course. I guess I am nervous.

Eventually as my bed is wheeled into the operating room, a nurse introduces himself as Brett. He comes out and grabs my hand—and I decide I am not falling for anything this time, I am watching this one-- but I don’t see him holding any sharp objects to poke me with. Brett speaks in the exact same accent as the character Chase on House. It makes me glad he is the hand-holding nurse. The room is impossibly bright, way, way too bright – and there are at least 8 people in there.

I ask Brett, “Are all of you going to be working on me?”

“Of course! And there’s a student watching. ” The student waves, but I can’t wave back. My anaesthetist chocoholic buffet guy and his boss are there, and they are now holding my other hand and worrying about my IV input spot.

The next thing I know I am waking up shuddering and shaking like a junkie in the recovery room and my knee really hurts, and my operation is finished. How did that all happen so fast? Apparently the operation took 2 hours, but it felt like less than a minute. Anaesthesia is crazy powerful.

Once I finish my anaesthesia comedown, I start to take stock of things. First thing: oh good, they did the correct leg. Whew! Second thing: my IV spot is no longer where it used to be, but instead, there is the beginning of an enormous Oreo cookie-sized black bruise beginning to form there. I check the other arm – there is dark bruising and a hole on the back of my hand there too – but still, no bandage – and finally in the crook of my other arm, I see it – the remnants of a third IV spot, the one they actually used. They had to move it twice during surgery.

Damn chocoholic buffet guy. Shouldn’t he have been studying instead of skipping class and visiting expensive hotel dessert bars?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

That week with the shoe


Starting Thursday I’ll be on crutches for two weeks. Ever done this? I have and I must tell you, I am not super excited. To put myself in the crutching frame of mind, I googled pictures of people on crutches and found all sorts of crazy stuff:

- I found a picture of a teenage girl on crutches, on her skateboard. She had her bandaged leg on the skateboard, steadied herself with her crutches, and pushed with her good leg.

- I found more than one picture of a stripper, stripping while on crutches.

- I found pictures of Jessica Alba, Baby Spice, and Lady Gaga on crutches.

- And I found tons and tons of pictures of soccer players on crutches. Beckham in particular. Did the guy stay at home at all when he was hurt, or just crutch around for the paparazzi?

Dear god, what am I doing? This is madness. Last time I had ACL surgery on my other knee I was 28. Back then my mom chastised me for recklessly playing soccer and hurting myself by saying “You’re not 18 anymore, you know.” Now I desperately wish I was that young, young, 28 year old again.

Plus I keep remembering this horrible week I had during my last ACL injury that I now think of as that week with the shoe. We were living in Victoria and Steve had just started going to SFU and was gone except for weekends. I worked full time in an office at a hotel with a pretty strict dress code. When I hurt my knee, getting ready for work and even crutching down to the car and driving myself to work was okay, but shoes were a huge issue. My knee hurt too much to bend it. My foot also swelled up to the size of a small football. One week, before he left for the ferry late on a Sunday night, Steve jammed a ballet flat on my foot and I slept with it on that night…..and then I kinda kept it on until he came back on Friday and he took it off.

I know.

I couldn’t take that damn shoe off for five days because I couldn’t reach it. And even if I had managed to pry it off with a crutch, how would I have jammed it back on to my gnarly foot by myself? I was not going to go to work in my office with bare feet. When I showered, I had to sit on a chair in the shower and stick my leg out of the curtain, so it wouldn’t get wet. The toe of the shoe got caught on the blankets all the time when I tried to sleep. At the end of a long day, taking off a suit while unable to bend my leg and wearing a shoe was not the most graceful thing. (No wonder that crutching stripper in the photo looks a little awkward.)

After it had happened and I could laugh about it, I told this story to some friends and co-workers who felt bad I hadn’t asked them for help. They said “Oh my god! I would have come and taken off your shoe for you– why didn’t you call me?” but really, think about this for a minute – you’ve wedged your sweaty swollen bare foot into a leather shoe for several days - would you want your friends to smell-- I mean see you like that? I think not.

It’s not going to be like that this time, right? Everything is going to be fine, right? I may have just the teensiest amount of pre-surgery jitters.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Battle with Transvestites


Once when I was practicing penalty kicks with Roger and I scored a particularly sweet swisher in the upper left corner, he asked “Cathy, how do you get so much power behind your kick? How can I teach the girls team I’m coaching to kick that hard?” My first reaction, which I did not express to Roger, was “um, have you looked at me?”

I am not exactly a delicate flower.

Of course, I’m not one of those scary soccer women I sometimes used to play against, the ones with full, thick moustaches who hork big mouthfuls of spit on the grass between plays. I wear makeup. Once or twice, I have watched Grey’s Anatomy. I know most of the words to the songs in the Sound of Music. But I also love sports and I have very big, powerful legs.

Now big strong legs are not good for very many things. They are not good for pool parties, days at the beach, looking hot in jeans, wearing shorts of any kind, kicky little summer dresses, trying on bathing suits, or pencil skirts, or being thought of as cute, or dainty or sweet. But they are good for kicking. Big feet – same thing. I have to do battle with transvestites to get any nice shoes in my size and routinely choose footwear that makes my feet look smaller, not because it is comfortable. But big feet can help you control the ball.

My screwed up physique is engineered so that I am supposed to play soccer, the way those tiny, thin little things are meant to be gymnasts or the way that lithe, long necked girls are meant to be ballerinas. That’s not to say that all the women on the soccer field are strong girls like me – we get those skinny types too.

They just can’t kick as hard. Sorry Roger.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Knee Scars

I’ve had ACL surgery once already, years ago. It was also from a soccer injury. I asked the kids to draw a picture of that knee now so you could see the scar: the big colourful one that makes my knee look like a centipede crawling on a 2 by 4 is Sophie’s and is not an exact rendering of my leg, but pretty close. Hannah’s is smaller and more detailed, and she has insinuated that not only do I have cankles, but also numerous rainbow and flower tattoos on my leg. I don’t. (Well, the cankles, maybe.) I bet she’d probably have drawn a unicorn on there if she had time. I didn’t want to put an actual photo of my leg up there. I don’t know if you can handle seeing it.

The reason my knee looks so gross is that it got infected. After the surgery, the doctor ignored my calls asking for more painkillers. For ten days. (It had to be re-operated on. This is why the scar is worse than other ACL scars.) He admitted later he should have listened to me, but said that doctors have to account for the ‘wimp factor’ and he thought I was just being cranky. He also offered to pay for plastic surgery to make it look nicer, but said that he didn’t think I seemed like I “was the type of girl who cared about stuff like that.” It took me a long time to realize how insulting a comment like that was.

It’s less than two weeks now til I get my other knee done. I wonder what the scar will look like? They’ve changed the operation in the last 13 years so it will probably be different. Maybe I’ll do something like what my mother in law did after her hip replacement – she got a tattoo nearby the scar. She was 68 at the time, I believe, and she said “I’m tired of people asking about my scar at the pool. Now they say ‘What’s that?!’” Her tattoo is of cherry blossoms. I think it’s so cool she had it done at that age. The only thing is that she says it hurt more than childbirth, and I am getting really bloody tired of having pain anywhere around my knees.

If I get one, mine will not be flowers or rainbows or unicorns. I kind of like what Becks has done. Look closely...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Blind Soccer

As soon as I start to feel wistful and wimpy and sorry for myself for not getting to play soccer, my sister sends me this link about blind soccer players. There’s a World Blind Football Championship played every few years (this year Brazil was the winner). It’s really inspiring to watch and makes me feel exceptionally guilty for complaining about my temporary injury.

If you’re like me, and wondering ‘how on earth would blind soccer work?', I’ll give you the short version. The players use a ball that has bearings in it so they can hear it coming. There’s no throw-ins, and they play on smaller fields. The goalies can see. (In the clip I watched, the goalies seem perhaps even more psycho angry when they got scored on than some of the FIFA World Cup goalies – I guess you feel like a pretty serious knob when you can see, and you’re using a smaller net than usual, and a blind player can still score on you. I even saw one goalie score an own goal. Hee hee.)

It’s all very carefully edited on youtube, of course, so we don’t see what must be part of it-- the moments when everyone is standing around and no one has the ball. (The sighted goalie has to stay in his goalie box, otherwise, I’d imagine he’d be tempted to run up and swipe it from people all the time.) I was at first a bit disappointed that I saw only individual scoring efforts—you know, someone dribbling up with the ball, and dekeing around the defenders by himself to score, rather than give and go passes—but then I had to remind myself dude, they’re blind. It’s easy to forget because they’re very good.

If I was in charge of blind soccer, there’s only a few things I would change. First of all, why must they wear those masks that look like they’ve been cut out of sanitary pads? I understand the idea of wearing a mask, naturally, because some blind people have slightly more sight than others and this could provide an obvious advantage, but can’t they make the masks cool and black, like something Batman might wear? It would be much sexier. Also, the trophy they win in the end – does it have to look like a clear glass vase someone picked up at the dollar store? I know they’re blind, but they just won the blind World Cup. Let’s give them an actual trophy. And lastly, let’s not spray them with champagne in the end, when they do win. The poor fellows just stand there kind of sadly, getting wet, because they can’t see enough to know how to escape the spray, and they’re not frolicking in the joy of it, they’re just putting up with it.

Otherwise, it’s all good. You should watch it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I'm Gonna Be Sedated


It has been 100 days since I last played soccer. (I counted.) During this dull, dull, period in my life, some minor things have changed for the better - my toenails, for example. They look amazing. The other day I had to cut them. They didn’t just turn black and fall off. Is this how normal people deal with their feet? I never knew.

But 100 days, come on, that’s, like, forever. Have I earned the right to rant and complain? Maybe. Do I miss playing? Absolutely. I have taken the liberty of making a list of things I miss about playing soccer:

I miss sunny, cool Wednesday mornings and being outside, laughing with my friends.

I miss listening to Rudie Can’t Fail by the Clash. (This was the song I always listened to before I played because I superstitiously thought it was keeping me from getting injured. Now every time I hear it, I have to turn it off. I even miss the naïve feeling that a song could somehow protect me….)

I even miss having handfuls of little black rubber things in my cleats after I take them off when I’ve played on the turf. (But I must admit, my vacuum cleaner works a lot better now that it isn’t clogged with that stuff all the time.)

I miss running up and down a field in unison with a whole field of players while we follow the play. Wait - Did I just say I miss running? Well, that kind of running, yes.

I miss feeling guilty about not taking a turn in goal because I suck at it.

I do not miss that numbnuts who plays left wing. I ran into him in Starbucks the other day and he talked my ear off about the World Cup, and he is still annoying.

I miss sitting in the pub after soccer and drinking Sleeman’s Honey Brown on Monday nights.

I miss that feeling of FREEEEEEE when I left the house on a Monday or Thursday night, with someone else watching the kids, where I could crank up the music in the car, and run around with a ball like a kid and escape being a tired old mom for a while.

I miss how we’d be on the field, running, and one of the guys would belch loudly after drinking too much water, and then yell loudly, ‘Cathy!” as if I’d done it.

I miss taking corner kicks. I saw so many lousy corner kicks in the World Cup. What were they doing?! Maybe if my surgery goes well, in four years, at the next one, I’ll be able to help them out....

I do not miss putting on my neoprene brace when it was still sweaty from playing soccer the day before. It was like having to wear a wet bathing suit. Ick.

I miss showing up a little early on Wednesday mornings and practicing penalty kicks on the turf. My god, I was good at that. Sometimes, now, I feel I can do some things somewhat successfully. I could cook something and it might taste not bad, or I could teach something in my class and my students might really get it, or I could write something okayish and people might like it– but that – kicking penalty kicks – I know I was good at that. I miss knowing I was really, really good at something.

My surgery is scheduled for October 14. Soon, right? Not soon enough.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Soccer Mom II

Stereotypes suck. People don't like to be placed into oversimplified categories of others who are supposedly just like themselves. I like to imagine, for instance, that there are cops who don’t care for donuts, or Mexican folks who do not wear sombreros. As a soccer player and a mom, I am particularly troubled by the stereotype of the Soccer Mom.

Now I know some political pundits feel we probably need a patronizing term describing white, middle class suburban moms whose main duty in life is to drive their kids to after school activities in a minivan, but can’t they be called something else? Minivan Moms? At least that has alliteration.

In my last blog I posted the Family Guy clip in which a soccer mom is mistaken for a man, perhaps due to her deep gravelly voice, hairs sprouting from her chin, or the way she knocks Peter’s beer out of his hand. If you look hard enough, there are definitely some other dodgy profiles of soccer moms you will find in pop culture. Some examples:

• there is a Soccer Mom movie starring Emily Osment (the lesser known sister of Haley Joel Osment of Sixth Sense fame). I can’t necessarily give this movie a definite thumbs down because I refused to rent it after reading in its review that it was “warm-hearted”, and its story was a “wacky charade”. Sounds terrifying. I think we can all agree that things that are described as ‘wacky’ should be avoided whenever possible.

• I found a book of soccer mom poetry (!) called “Suburban Antacid: Poetry for Soccer Moms”. The blurb called it ‘the perfect cure for….those with spouses who don’t replenish the toilet paper'. Barf. It had a wacky (see above) cartoon of a driving mom on the front. I believe used copies were available to buy on Amazon for 1 cent each. Shocking.

• There is a minor character in a Tom and Jerry’s cartoon whose name is Soccer Mom. She describes her ‘likes’ in life as casseroles, gardening and Thomas Kinkade paintings. She then drives into quicksand and is unable to make any decisions about how to save herself without her car’s Onstar system. Unfortunately if I were to be drawn as a cartoon, I would look exactly like her. Here she is (see the resemblance?) , and in case you are lucky enough not to know about Thomas Kinkade, here is one of his paintings:









So I move that we get rid of the negative stereotype of the soccer mom. Can we still call it soccer mom, but have some actual soccer associated with the term? I’ll go first:

I'm a soccer mom! My 'likes' in life are:
- kicking things (if it can’t be a soccer ball, I also don’t mind kicking either casseroles or Thomas Kinkade paintings)
- ranting when things don’t go my way
- sleeping.

You?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Soccer Mom

I wanted to write something about the term Soccer Mom but I got totally distracted by this clip...


Friday, August 27, 2010

The Boys V

One night at the pub after soccer, instead of the usual sports, all the TVs in the room simultaneously start showing Factory Girl, the movie with Sienna Miller about Andy Warhol. It’s pretty artsy and there’s lots of nudity, and it also inexplicably stars Jimmy Fallon. (Thankfully he is clothed.) There’s a scene where they’re in The Factory, and suddenly there are topless women on every screen, everywhere in the pub.

“Oh,” says one fellow. “Boobs.”

And Jimmy Fallon,” I point out.

Jimmy Fallon?” One guy says with mock excitement, dramatically turning around to catch a glimpse of a TV. We laugh.

They start to debate the quality of the boobs on the other side of the table. “Hey,” says Chris, after a minute. “There are ladies present.”

We all look around to find the ladies. Even I look around.

“And Cathy,” says Steve.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Soccer Nerd

The Facebook ads have us all figured out, don’t they? Before my 40th birthday, I was getting suggestions for yummy mummy product samples for women 35-39. Now the ads say “Over 40?” and promise to make me look like Jennifer Aniston. Today my Facebook ads are suggesting microbrewed beer (good), cupcakes (what a tremendous idea!) a personal trainer (mildly insulting) and a manicure (is there a camera in my computer or something? How do they know I need a manicure, and that I have needed one since about 1984? Do I now need to type with my knuckles to hide my shame?) Like you, I never click on these ads. But then there was the one that said “Think you know soccer?” Well, that one had me. Yes, I do, Facebook. And since there was a chance to win some money, I clicked on it. Big mistake.

It was a short quiz and I failed it miserably. Turns out I don’t know how many metres are between the goalposts and the penalty kick spot (although I could whomp a decent penalty kick, with either my left or right foot, before I got hurt). I have no clue who the USA’s coach was during the 2006 FIFA World Cup. I knew that Zinedine Zidane was the French player who head butted someone and got sent off in that same World Cup, and that that was the end of his career, but that was such big news I bet my mom knows that. (Full disclosure: after writing this, I actually called my mom to ask her if she knew that, and she did not. She knew there was an incident where someone head-butted someone else in soccer, but she couldn’t remember who it was. When I told her his name, she howled. “What a name!” But bear in mind my mom is 69, not a sports fan, and never watches ‘the TeeVee’, unless it is Antiques Roadshow.)

Worse still is that I had to enter my cell phone number to take part in the quiz, and then the company started constantly texting me with new quizzes to take-- quizzes about who was on Letterman last week and all sorts of things that have nothing to do with soccer-- and using up all my pay-as-you-go minutes. Jerks. Just what I needed: a constant reminder that I don’t know what I’m talking about, and a bigger cell-phone bill.

But now that I am hurt and can’t actually play, and because I may have this slightly competitive nature, I got to thinking about this soccer quiz and wondered if I could perhaps do better than I had done before. I did watch a lot of the World Cup. So, I googled ‘soccer quiz’ and I found about a million hits. One website I checked, www.soccernerd.com, features only soccer quizzes and challenges you to ‘find out if you are a bigger soccer nerd than your friends.’ (No need to take the quiz to discern that. Of course I am.)

I took one quiz and instantly regretted it. When you score incorrectly, it says “Wrong” in big bold letters at the top of the page, and since that happened a lot, it wasn’t great for my fragile ego. Granted, I did get some answers right (sample correctly answered question: Where will the 2010 World Cup be held? Maybe you should update some of the questions, there, soccernerd.) And I felt somewhat superior when I saw the poor grammar used in some of the questions (Which English team plays there games at Anfield stadium?) I decided to rally and play a few more rounds but I did not really improve, and then was told I couldn’t keep playing and move up to the next level unless I got a higher score. How much higher? I checked and today’s top scorer has amassed over 282,000 points. Granted, he played for longer than I did (I am going to go ahead and assume he was a he), but you know how many points I had? Four. And at least two of those points were from flukey, multiple choice answers.

So I can’t play soccer and I can’t win a soccer quiz. Obviously I am a different kind of soccer nerd. I know it is morning, but I think I’ve earned the right to eat a cupcake and wash it down with a microbeer, just as long as I hide my hideous fingernails and use my knuckles to open the bottle. The personal trainer will have to wait. I’m injured, you know.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Dog Days of Summer

My friend Geeta told me her dog has had knee problems and had both of her ACLs repaired. Her dog! Did you even know dogs had knees? It makes me think of that Seinfeld episode when Kramer stopped trusting doctors and got dog medicine instead...



So I decided to do a little research into this for myself. I know I’ll be waiting at least 4 more months for human knee surgery, and really, shouldn’t I explore all my options? Do dogs have to wait for surgery like we do? Since they often don’t have health insurance, how much does it cost? And most importantly, would I have to have my butt shaved, like Geeta’s dog did, if I had the vet do the surgery?

What I discovered is that there are two different dog ACL surgeries….one is called TPLO and it is a lot like the human version in some ways in that it involves using screws and drilling into the bone. The cost: only $2600. The other one replaces the torn ligament with fishing wire, and it is considered less invasive. One vet interviewed says he has been doing 3 or 4 of these surgeries a week for decades. The cost of this one: $500! There does not appear to be any significant wait time for either surgery. Dang! Dogs have it good.

There appear to be some compromises one must make in choosing the veterinary option, however. One’s butt, indeed, must be shaved for the surgery to take place. It appears to be quite embarrassing for the dog in the photos I’ve seen, but then again, my butt isn’t quite as hairy, or openly on display as a dogs’ is, and could probably be covered up by clothing. I might have to also endure a neck cone, although perhaps this would be negotiable as I can be fairly certain I wouldn’t be tempted to bite my stitches. Another letdown: my walking would be restricted to leash walking only for 4 – 6 weeks. Although dog collars and leashes on people aren’t really my thing, if it meant getting back to playing soccer sooner, I might be able to endure it. Stairs are usually a problem for dogs as well, during their recovery period. Vets recommend that you roll up a towel into a long rope, loop it around the dog’s stomach, and then lift their butt in the air while they use their ‘hands’ to go up stairs. This one might be the trickiest of all, especially when I’m at the Skytrain station on my way to work downtown. I’m not sure I could find anyone to help me, but then again, I haven’t checked Craigslist.

Of course, some naturopathic vets suggest surgery could be avoided by changing your diet and using more natural therapies to assist with repair and blood flow to the injured knee. Licorice, rhubarb, and pineapple are said to be helpful. I think they were talking about the herbal version of licorice, but I doubt I’d like that so I’m thinking of riding my bike down to 7-11 to get some twizzlers as soon as I finish writing this. I could whip them into a smoothie with the other stuff, throw in some doggie kibble, and maybe avoid the whole thing altogether. What do you think?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Cluster Cuss

No, this is not an eye test. We really tried to make this image large enough...sorry. Put on your glasses, or else click on this a few times to make the image larger.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Open Letter to Soccer Douchebags - Guest Post by Man of Mystery


When I am standing on a soccer field watching my children play, the last thing I ever want to hear is your grating voice.

I understand that you taught Pele and you were Ronaldinho’s personal mentor. I comprehend that your skills were at some point in time, “phenomenal” (and without a doubt still are), without you having to explain it to anyone and everyone within earshot. I do not doubt that your 5 foot 5 stature weighing in at 300lbs does indeed do little to mask the professional soccer prowess that is but barely contained within your 6-twinkie-at-a-time eating frame.

What I would like you to understand with all due respect and politeness is that I don’t give a crap. I am only there because my children are there. I’m not standing there because I like to stand in open fields during a downpour of rain. I’m not standing there because I like to suffer heatstroke and sunburn in bright sunshine all day long. And the last time I checked, I’m not there to be regaled ad nauseum by tales of your derring-do on the soccer field both real or imagined, past, present or future.

I am there because it is my duty as a father to be there for my children and take part in their activities. As well I take joy in their accomplishments and their joy makes me that much more joyous. Alas not everything on the field can be joyous all the time and again that’s where I come in to commiserate with their pitfalls and sorrows. You see this is something that I both HAVE to and WANT to do. Interacting with you on the other hand, there, Al Bundy… not so much.

I would take it as a personal favor to me and mine if you would stop your retarded comments about the skills or lack thereof, of any and all 8 year old players on the field, whether they be on your own child’s team or the opposing team.

It’s a game, they’re children, they’re here to learn and they’re here to play. It’s hard to do that with you screaming from the sidelines with your armchair coaching. If you would but stop and take a quick look around you’d probably recognize two people, one on either side- they’d be the respective team’s coaches. It’s not the World Cup. Do you see grown men running around faking injuries and dropping from imaginary invisible pianos falling on their heads? Relax yourself already. When it comes to children playing organized sports, really, if you’re THAT keen on winning, you should just go and buy a penis enlargement pump, then seek more private climes. Whatever it is, DO SOMETHING OTHER THAN MAKE ME HEAR YOUR VOICE INCESSANT OR SO HELP ME AT SOME POINT I’LL CHOKE YOU OUT WITH ONE OF YOUR OWN…I mean.. think of the children, yeah.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

MRI


“Hello, I’d like to book an MRI.”

“Okay, when would you like it?”

“How about next Wednesday at 5pm?”

“Okay. What’s your name?”

That’s it? When I call my regular doctor, I don’t get to just choose a day and time. I often have to wait days and days. I also notice that I don’t feel rushed on the phone booking this either, the way I do with the endlessly overworked medical assistants at my doctor’s office-- I always feel guilty bothering them because they are so busy. Here, after the receptionist gets my name, she uses my name. Over and over. Even for someone like me, who teaches customer service techniques in my hotel management classes, it was a bit much.

“My name is Cathy Collis.”

“Okay, Cathy, and have you ever had an MRI before?”

“No.”

“And Cathy what part of your body do you need to have scanned?”

“My right knee.”

“Have you ever had knee surgery before, Cathy?” And on and on and on. You get the picture. I had to answer a lot of medical questions. She must have used my name 25 times in the phone call.

Today was the day. I drove up and parked the car in the parking lot at Granville and 16th, and choked a bit at the $9.00 parking fee I’d have to pay for an hour and a half of parking. But then I realized that I’m paying $900 for the MRI, so their thinking must be that patients won’t complain: that’s just 1% of that cost of the procedure. I make my way into the building and once again the difference between a private clinic like this and my regular doctor’s office is startling.

Here, the carpet in the entryway is plush. The doors to the clinic are made of really heavy glass, with rounded stainless steel handles. I feel as though I’m walking into a spa. And indeed, that is exactly what it looks like. The walls are painted with a pattern of stripes of various widths in shades of pale blue, cream, taupe, and chocolate brown. The floor is a dark brown bamboo, and is completely free of scratches. There are real oil paintings on the wall. The baseboards are deep and white and not one of them has a scuff or mark of any kind. The ceiling light came from Restoration Hardware, I’m almost sure of it. The chairs are chocolate brown ultrasuede and very, very clean. The magazines on the coffee table are all lined up in rows.

I ask to use the bathroom, which is down the hall. This is easily the nicest medical bathroom I have ever visited – everything is clean and newly tiled, and the paper towel dispenser allows me as many paper towels as I want. Plus, the mirror and lighting make me look tanned and thinner than usual. Perhaps I will move in here.

I’m early, so I decide to look at CMI’s brochure. All the actors on it look quite old. Do I look that old? They also look considerably more well off than I do in my t-shirt, yoga pants and flip flops. The woman’s haircut and colour is expensive and the guy even has a sweater draped over his shoulders with the arms knotted at the neck. They are standing on a dock, at the seaside, presumably having just stumbled off of their private yacht, on their way to get an MRI for fun. They don’t look as if they need it.

Not only is she not overworked, the receptionist begins to make small talk with me about the weather. Then promptly at 5:03, I get called in by the MRI technician. She leads me to a little changing room with a door that locks, which also features flattering lighting and a mirror, with a leather covered bench and hooks for my purse and clothes. I change into my paper gown (Some things never change; everything up to that point had seemed so lush I half expected to be handed a silky lingerie bathrobe instead.) She locks up my things in the little change room. Then we go over to this area that has a door that appears to be an enormous bank vault. I think for a moment that this must be where they keep all the money they charge for these MRIs, but no -- inside is the MRI machine.

It looks like a huge, round, suntanning bed. I climb in as instructed by my technican, who is also named Cathy, and she asks me what radio station I would like to listen to during my procedure, and hands me headphones and a thing that looks like a turkey baster on a cord, and says if I need anything during the MRI I can squeeze the bulbous part to ring for her. And we’re off!

She leaves the room of course, and goes into her little glass cage area. Gently, I slide into the machine just like the patients do on House, although mercifully it is just my legs and not my whole body in there. She starts talking to me on the headphones. “Everything okay, Cathy?”

Yes, of course, I think to myself. I am lying down in a dimly lit, air conditioned room. How stressed out can I get? “Yup.”

“Okay, Cathy,” Again, with the names! “Are you warm enough?”

“Yes.”

“Is the music loud enough, Cathy?”

“Yes.” Although I can’t hear it much because you keep interrupting it.

“Okay, we’re going to get started.” She says. And then, a second later, because she forgot to say it before, she comes back on the headphones again and just says “Cathy.” Is it some kind of rule here? The name thing is really over the top, especially since she has the same name as me, which always makes saying it even more awkward.

Suddenly the noise is really loud. Loud like an alarm telling you to get out of a building. It is startling and I start to panic and breathe a little faster and then I remember that I’m not supposed to move at all. What about breathing? Of course, I am sure it is fine if I breathe, they can’t expect me not to breathe for 25 minutes, for god’s sakes, but it is just so expensive, and I don’t want to come out at the end of this thing and have them tell me “It didn’t work because you breathed. That will be an extra $900 please.”

The noise goes off after a few minutes and she checks on me again. “Everything okay, Cathy?”

“Yes.” Although I realize it is just now that I can hear the music again. They can’t possibly have expected me to hear the radio over the sound of that machine.

This same routine goes on for 25 minutes. Sometimes the machine sounds more like the beginning of a punk metal song and other times it sounds like a horrible alarm. And just lying there, you can’t help but start to think of a few things, for example, why is this machine so huge? It is just taking an image of my leg. Shouldn’t something this big and loud also be able to fix my leg? When I think of all the technology in my iphone, and how small it is, it makes me wonder what kind of technology is in this enormous thing? The letters on the front of the machine, right above my face, spell out the unfortunate brand name of “SEIMEN” and each of the letters is as big as my iphone.

The front sides of the MRI machine also have some kind of buttons that light up. I can’t turn and look at them though, since I’m terrified of moving. The lights seem a bit much. Couldn’t they have gone with a machine without lighted buttons and knocked 50 bucks off the price? Since I can’t see them, I have to imagine what the buttons say. Perhaps “Cancer”. And “More cancer.” Maybe there’s a button that says “your knee will be fine if you push this.” If only I had peripheral vision like a horse. I’d push that button in a heartbeat.

And this is the crux of the whole thing, really. I feel guilty as hell paying for an MRI instead of waiting for my turn with the free medical system. I know that at my regular doctor’s office not only does no one use my name, but the floor has 30 year old linoleum and ugly wooden benches with orange knit upholstery that wouldn’t look out of place in a 1978 campervan. The baseboards there are rubber and the lighting is hideous and fluorescent and dreadfully unflattering. There are no tasteful oil paintings but freebee posters explaining your anatomy. But I believe in it. I want to be like everyone else and be able to walk in there without paying. But I will do anything to fix my knee so I can play again. I am old and cannot wait years to play soccer. It is my thing. You must have a thing too, right? So please don’t judge me.

Friday, July 16, 2010

An Announcement to Make: England Wins!

There is a gaping hole in my life where the World Cup used to be. But I also really miss the World Cup announcers. The English fellows who did the play-by-play had such an elegant way of talking, that I began to write down some of the things they said. Here is a montage (who doesn’t love a montage?) of some of their better comments, taken from a variety of games. For the full effect, imagine this being read aloud by an upper class English gentleman, something like Hugh Grant before the prostitute thing. Okay, scratch that – how about a male version of Emma Thompson? Got your accent ready? Read on:

“Here’s Boateng with a silky touch....this is a game with really sumptuous qualities. Their football is fascinating, breathtaking, enthralling at times.....There’s no rhythm to the England game at the moment....given away cheaply by Rooney....this is a rather ponderous buildup that isn’t going to bring England any reward. It’s all pretty untidy and shapeless.....well there’s Gerard showing a little bit of industry as he makes strides toward the Algeria goal.....he’ll not be dispossessed. This was meant to be a sumptuous feast, but we’re still munching on the bread rolls. Well there’s an encouraging ball....now it’s coming to a bit of a boil....it looks like there’s a little bit of an argy-bargy down there on the touchline. There’s the predictable quintet in the 18 yard box.“

Isn’t it lovely? One of them even used the word obdurate. Can’t all announcers talk like this? I want them to narrate my life as I wander around watering the garden. “Here she goes....well those geraniums are looking a little worse for wear....she seems a bit troubled by her right knee as she steps over the hose.....I believe she’s spraying a squirrel there.....well she’s certainly thwarted his ambitions....”

I wanted to compare the World Cup announcers to another sportscaster so I decided on Don Cherry. (It’s much harder to find a comparable soccer sportscaster in this country, so he seemed like the best option.) This is taken from a Coach’s Corner this spring, and isn’t a montage but a direct quote. Now, I know you know Don Cherry’s voice already. Perhaps it already haunts you at night while you try to sleep. I found it fun to put on a bit of a rednecky accent instead. Read this while pretending you have buck teeth, a bit like Cletis from the Simpsons cartoons.

“Now watch this one. It’s exactly the same thing. What a guy! Look at dis. What a hockey player. Look at him. He does that. Remember you guys in Vancouver, it’s the same thing – little (incomprehensible mumble) look at that. Zinger in. What a hockey player!”

England may not have won the World Cup, and Canada may not have even made it to the Cup at all, but I think we know who won this contest.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Paul the Octopus and his World Cup Predictions


Have you heard about Paul, the Octopus living in a German aquarium who has successfully predicted the outcome of 100% of this year’s World Cup games? Neither had I, until I read about it on Facebook. Yup, this soccer loving cephalopod chooses his food from different feeding boxes marked with flags from World Cup teams and so far, has amazing odds at choosing who will win in certain matches. In this Sunday’s final, he has predicted Spain will win. Yippee!

Why on earth would something like this start? Obviously, the octopus feeders at the aquarium have something to do with it, but after reading up on octopuses (yup, it is actually octopuses, not octopi, you can go ahead and look it up), I realize there are a lot of connections to make between an octopus and this year’s World Cup. For example:

Because he chose Spain as the ultimate winner, as I have done in my World Cup Pool, I can see why Wikipedia says octopuses are highly intelligent. And I learned that Paul, like all octopuses, moves by jet propulsion – much like Carlos Puyol did when he scored that delicious header against Germany on Wednesday – there’s just no other explanation of how he flew through the air like that. (Of course, an octopus also has a ‘hard beak’ which is another thing which allows an easy comparison with Carlos Puyol, but perhaps I should leave that one alone for now.) Also, octopuses have keen eyesight like the Spanish goalie, Iker Casillas, who has made some amazing saves. I could go on and on.

There’s always a chance I may be slightly biased in finding Paul the Octopus to be so gifted, since I do want Spain to win. I must admit that if Paul had predicted the Netherlands as the ultimate winners this Sunday, I would have written a comparison, backed up with facts, that both an octopus and the Netherlands soccer team are known to be spineless, tend to flee quickly and have a short life expectancy.

Kidding aside, do you think perhaps the biggest joke is on us? An octopus has arms bearing two rows of suckers, and you have to admit that Paul the Octopus has sucked in a lot of soccer fans with his predictions. Including me. ¡ Vaya Espaňa!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Torn Meniscus

Torn meniscus are my two newest hated words. To torture myself I decided to make a list of other words that can be made up of the letters in these two words. They include, but are not limited to: cuss, mess, smite, scorn, crime, not nice, and sucs. (Okay, not really a word, but close, and the sentiment is there.) Coincidence? I think not. `

I hate being injured! It is a beautiful Wednesday morning, not too hot - and my kids are busy going swimming with some friends, and I bet there is a huge turnout of people at the soccer field this morning, and I am inside, fretting and typing.

You know how you break up with someone and every song on the radio is a perfect reminder of how much you are suffering? That is how it feels to be in my house and not be allowed to play soccer. Please, look past the dirt and watch my pain-soaked photo essay of how soccer is everywhere.

It started off innocently enough, since I was reading the paper on my couch, and I look over at my coffee table and see this, the bookmark my kids gave me as a gift. It has a tiny little soccer ball dangling from it...



Grr...at the other end of the coffee table is the infamous 'finger soccer' set, now missing one of the soccer balls. I think the cat may have eaten it.



To get away from all this soccer taunting me, I hobble up the stairs to my room, and guess what is on my bedside table? A stack of soccer books!



Fine, down to the family room it is. But curses, no World Cup games for a few more days. And what's this? Perhaps the soft Ikea soccer ball the kids and I used to punt around! (It is looking a little worse for wear. I think I might have spilled some beer on it when I saw David Villa score for Spain yesterday.)



In the kitchen I stumble across this soccer keychain on top of my microwave. It came with a bottle of South African wine I bought a month ago, before I got injured. The wine is, of course, long gone. But the theme is really emerging now. Soccer is everywhere. And what colour is my kitchen? Black and white, of course.



All I need to do is look down. This is my kitchen floor. (I probably should have washed my floor before I took this - don't look too closely.) Have you ever seen a floor that looked more like a soccer ball? Dang....



And now we are just in a complete, sneaky, black and white soccer hate spiral. Look at this bag, that I need to take back to Tina (my soccer friend)-



Soccerish, right? And also these balloons, leftover from Soph's birthday party? They're just sitting on the ground, asking to be kicked. And they're black and white.



No soccer for three weeks means my brain has begun to rot. (Not so fun fact: rot is another word that can be made from the letters in Torn Meniscus.) It's right there in black and white. This sucs!