1

Blades of (non) Glory

skating

When I was growing up and watching the Winter Olympics, I wanted to be a figure skater. When you’re a young girl, that’s the best sport ever. Plus, two of the best US figure skaters at the time were Asian American. So naturally I wanted to be like them. There was one small catch: I’d never been ice skating before.

In fact I didn’t get to go ice skating until senior(?) year in high school. And it actually wasn’t horrible. I mean there was no way I could ever see myself doing a jump and landing on that tiny blade but it was fun to get out on the ice. I remember having a good time with my friends skating around the rink. I did it again in college too and once again remember enjoying myself as I was actually pretty good at moving around the rink at a decent pace.

Fast forward to this past week.

It appears that winter sports and I just don’t seem to mix anymore.

We already know how I don’t ski, though I gave it a shot. Well, this past week I went ice skating due to a friend’s birthday. Even though it’d been about a year and a half since I last went to our local rink, I wasn’t worried about it. After all, I have a 100% record of NOT falling on the ice. I know, it’s hard to believe but it’s actually true!

I was a little nervous because the worst part is always when you get on the ice for the first time. But then, that feeling of being terrified never really went away. The weird part was I found myself unable to really move on the ice.

Believe it or not, I can actually skate. You wouldn’t have guessed it from that night but I used to be able to move pretty darn well, at least being able to hold my own. But yet that night, I found myself lapping the rink exactly six times in 60 minutes. Yep. It took me ten minutes to get around the rink each time.

Michelle Kwan I was not that night.

More like this instead

I think it’s the fear of falling and not being in control. I hate that feeling. It’s also probably the fear of breaking my ankle and it’s a risk I’d rather not take. I just could not get my feet to move faster than a turtle’s pace no matter how much I wanted to.

The strange part is that two years ago, I went ice skating at that exact same rink and I was perfectly fine. To be honest I think part of it was due to not feeling like I had to one up someone anymore. When you already feel like you’re the worst at something among all your friends, instead of trying to do better, I think I just sort of give up. But when I’m with someone who is worse than me (especially if there’s a hidden motive), I feel the urge to out do them and it motivates me to do better.

This is not to say at all that I didn’t have fun. I actually did. Trying to concentrate on not falling was quite the challenge. I think though that unless something drastic happens, my ice skating days are probably numbered. It is ok. I gave it my best shot and I’m ok with it.

Advertisements
0

My (non) adventures in skiing

Winter has arrived and with it come ski season.

You know that time of year when people get excited to go down a mountain with two planks strapped on their feet and two poles in their hand.

I’ve gone skiing once in my life. It might probably the only time in my life.

I’m a huge fan of watching skiing during the Olympics. I enjoy watching all the downhill events as well as the freestyle skiing events. I can give or take cross-country but that’s mainly because the US isn’t really good at it so I have no real incentive to watch.

Skiing was not something we did in my family growing up. Both my parent are from countries where snow just does not exist therefore they are not big fans of it. Snow was a hindrance that needed to be shoveled away immediately and not something to play in. Therefore they saw no reason as to why we should pay money to play in snow. Plus we lived at least 4 hours away from the nearest ski resort so it really was out of the question. My youth group never went on skiing trips and I was never invited by any of my friends to go with them so I went 29 years without ever seeing skiing in person.

Honestly it never really was that big of a deal to me missing out on it. Now snowboarding I would have loved to have done because that just seems really cool and the people who snowboard are even cooler.

Then I moved up to the Northern Virginia area and the group of friends I was in had nearly everyone being a hard core skier. Like these are folks that get season passes to the resorts around here, go on ski trips almost every weekend, all own their own skis, and go out for trips out west just to ski. Most of them either grew up in snowy areas where they had to ski (or die) or their families growing up placed skiing as a priority and so they learned at a young age. Clearly I was not in their league.

But as I was trying to do a bunch of stuff before turning 30, skiing once was on the list of things to do. I was invited with a group of friends to go out to western Maryland to a ski resort. Seeing as how I was the ONLY person in the entire group who didn’t know how to ski, I decided to sign up for lessons. First I went out and bought ski pants and ski socks (because normal socks won’t cut it). The lessons were kind of a joke. I barely learned how to do anything in that hour but what do you expect when you’re not paying for personal lessons. Two of my friends (who are rather good skiers) decided to accompany me on my first (and only) trip down the mountain on whatever the easiest slopes were.

I knew I was going to be in for a rough time when I fell down while we were STANDING in line. I then fell getting off the ski lift.

We proceeded to go down the mountain where I just kept falling over and over again. My problem was that it felt like I was going super fast (which I really wasn’t) and that I was going to either a) fall off the side of the mountain or b) keep running into people. Falling isn’t fun at all. You get snow down your pants and getting up is really hard when you’re not used to wearing ski boots. I honestly was afraid I was going to break my ankle again getting up. Plus the goggles I was wearing kept fogging up plus they were fogging up my glasses inside so I could barely see.

I was about 3/4 down the mountain and had fallen down yet again when I just was tired of it all and refused to get up. The following conversation may be more dramatic than what actually happened.

D: I can’t get up. Just leave me.
C. You have to get up. You can’t stay here.
D: Just leave me, I can’t do this anymore.
C: (getting frustrated) Just get up. You’re almost there.
D: No. I’m done. I hate this. *keeps sitting*
C: YOU GET UP RIGHT NOW. YOU GET UP OR YOU WON’T EAT. GET UP NOW!
D: (tries to get up but keeps falling so C has to help her) …..ok

And we eventually got down the mountain (I fell again) and I called it a day.

There’s no photographic evidence of me skiing (thank the Lord), at least not to my knowledge. And I’m perfectly fine with that. I was very sore afterwards.

I just don’t see myself doing it again. It’s an expensive sport and from where I live, you have to travel several hours to be able to do this. Plus it’s a time sensitive activity as it can only be done a few months of the year. I honestly just cannot justify the expenses for it. Do I feel a bit left out because it literally feels like 95% of my friends ski and I don’t? Yes. But then I’ve realized that I’ve tried it and I don’t like it so there’s no point in me wasting money in making myself miserable. I’m NEVER going to catch up with my friends unless I go and pay for high quality lessons and then spend pretty much every day skiing which is never going to happen.

So I’m perfectly content with going snow tubing (THAT’S fun) and/or staying in the cabin by the fireplace drinking my hot cocoa while everyone else goes to ski. Sure I wish I could join them but I’ve accepted this lot in my life. And I’m perfectly ok with it.

3

Run Deborah RUN!

Because I’m publicly stating this on the internet, I therefore hold the internet responsible for holding me accountable to my word.

I’m going to start running.

Yes, yes. I know there’s a TON of you who do this already. Some of you are super religious about it. The USPS has nothing on you. Neither rain or snow or ANYTHING will stop you. I remember during Snowmegeddon back in 2010 when there was a white out and you could barely make out the reporter standing outside in at least 5 feet of snow. They were telling people to NOT go outside at all under any circumstances but sure enough in the background there were people outside running because they ABSOLUTELY HAD TO.

There are many benefits to running. I don’t need to go into any of them because I’m sure you’re all aware.

I’m planning on using a Couch to 5k program. While I go to the gym every now and then, it’s not enough that I feel like I could sprint a mile immediately on my first day. I’ve been asked by my friends to sign up for a 5k in September so that can be m goal but we’ll see.

Running 5ks is super trendy these days. There are so many different themes and groups that you can support while running. I’m not even going to list those because there are just SO FREAKIN MANY.

Why is it so hard to start? I can just give you a couple of excuses I’ve pulled on people. It’s hot outside. I don’t have time. I’m tired. It’s going to hurt. It’s dangerous. Blah blah blah. I could come up with excuses until I’m blue in the face. But I’m not anymore.

Because I actually want to do this. I want to be healthier and feel good about myself. And also be able to accomplish something that will benefit me in the long run.

Plus if I start training to run now, if/when the zombie apocalypse takes place, I’ll be able to at least outrun them. I mean, I can’t shoot them with a bow and arrow yet. (YET) But I’ll be able to run away from them.

So pending world disaster tomorrow, I’ll be starting my couch to 5k tomorrow. Feel free to email, tweet, Facebook, leave comments….encourage me if you want. I’ll most likely need them.

3

World Cup Fever

Unless you’ve managed to somehow avoid all the internet and human contact over the past couple weeks other than this blog (I’d be highly flattered but also super confused) or you JUST DON’T CARE, the World Cup is happening!

For me, the World Cup is only second to the Olympics in terms of giddiness over watching sports for me.

I never got the chance to play soccer growing up because my parents only let us play one sport (and I’m such a stellar basketball player!) and I also wore glasses growing up.

The first World Cup I watched was in 1994 which was held in the US. That was an exciting time. Alexi Lalas, Marcelo Balboa. Cobi Jones. Tab Ramos. Tony Meola. That was the year that we somehow managed to get into the second round after Columbia scored their own goal in our game (and the poor dude got killed afterwards) and then during the second round Tab Ramos got elbowed in the head by the Brazilian player. Even though we lost that game, that entire World Cup got me really interested in the game.

Then women’s soccer got really popular as well and I so desperately wished that I could have played. In my high school. the cool kids played soccer.

As I got older, I realized that soccer is not a popular sport in this country. I’m not going to go into that because everyone has their reasons of why they don’t like it. What I do think is annoying is the fact that people can’t seem to just accept that it’s ok to like different things. If people enjoy one sport, let them and stop trying to talk about why it’s a stupid sport. I’m not here to convince you of why you should like it. I’m just excited to talk about something I like (and well it’s my blog).

Something that I also really like about soccer is how diverse the audience is. It’s an international sport so all different nationalities get involved in cheering. You really can’t say that for a lot of other sports.

Here’s the thing. I know we’re not going to win the World Cup unless a miracle happens. It’s going to be a while before we get REALLY good, if that ever happens. However at the same time, it’s been obvious. Our team is getting better! And there’s more interest!

This video is from the last World Cup but it still makes me smile whenever I watch it.

I went to a sports bar in downtown Reston yesterday to watch the US/Germany game and it was PACKED. Standing room only. They wouldn’t let people in due to being overcrowded. I was apparently one of the last people they let in and even then I was allowed past the steps in the entrance. Which was perfectly fine for me as I was next to the ledge and could rest my arms for the entire game and had perfect vision of TVs. But folks who left for smoke breaks during halftime weren’t even allowed to come back in. That’s how full it was.

It was the first time I’ve watched a World Cup game in a public setting so the excitement was so much greater. Also the stress level increased by 1000. I really wish we had scored a goal because I would have loved to have been able to cheer with so many folks. Those two last-minute attempts did get the heart racing with the cheers and then the groans. It was a really fun time. And I was even by myself and still had a great time.

Much like the Olympics, people get excited every four years for this event. All the other events in the Olympics take place every year but it’s not given a lot of coverage except for during that time period. And that’s when folks get excited. For me, watching the World Cup is exciting because I get to cheer for my country, watch a bunch of hot guys run around a field (hey, I can enjoy that), and enjoy a sport that I really like.

One of the goals on my next bucket list is to watch the US team win a game in another public setting. (Aiming low because I really don’t feel like I’ll ever be able to make it to a real life game.) Maybe I can cross off that goal next week?

I BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WIN!

1

Celeb Fangirling: NASCAR Edition

When you first meet me, there are probably many assumptions you will make about me and some will be dead on right and others so wrong that you will feel embarrassed that you assumed. However there is one assumption that almost no one ever makes about me because you would just never think that about me. (I also realize that by telling you this, I can’t use this when playing “2 Facts and a Lie” anymore.)

I like NASCAR.

I know. I know.  I don’t fit the demographics of your typical NASCAR fan.  AT ALL. But I do. While I’m not the HUGE fan I used to be years ago, it’s still entertaining for me to watch every now and then. I check up with the race stats and news, see what drivers are in the running for the Chase, find out who has switched teams and gotten new endorsements. Sponsorships have always been interesting because sport has so much product placement, more so than any other sport I believe.

I’ve never actually been to a race and I doubt that I will get a chance to in my lifetime (and I kind of doubt I would fit in if I actually got the chance). However I have been to the Bristol Motor Speedway and I did get to drive on the track. Granted it was during the Christmas lights show and we were going like 10mph but it was an awesome opportunity. And the banking on those tracks is REALLY steep. It’s basically like visiting a Roman coliseum.

I also did enjoy Talledega Nights and Cars for being NASCAR themed movies and because I got a lot of the in jokes.

Though I’m going to have to admit this. My reasons for why I started liking NASCAR are rather dubious. Fine, let’s just admit it. Back in 2002, I started watching NASCAR because I thought Dale Earnhardt Jr. was hot. It was summer and I had a broken ankle and couldn’t move around easily. And I remember one Sunday when I couldn’t go to church and I was stuck lying on the couch. I turned on the TV and since we didn’t have cable, I had limited options and there was a NASCAR race on. I started watching. Then they showed clips of the drivers. And I’m like. Oh hey that guy is cute. And thus, it began.

I basically became a Dale Jr. groupie for the better half of two years. I watched every race. I did my research on him. I bought and read his book. It was an awesome time. I really got to understand racing and became involved in that whole culture. Much like folks do fantasy football, I did fantasy driving leagues. I had to know about ALL the driver to see which one would be best each week and how they would do for the whole season. I learned about trades and what went on during off season.

I was such a big fan that I won passes to meet him when he came to Norfolk in 2002 for arena car racing. I was so excited. I had my calendar all ready for him to sign. And I knew what I was going to say to him. I was in college at the time so I was going to say something like “Oh, you should come to Virginia Tech and party with us sometime.” Because you know he totally would have. (*sarcasm*) Instead in typical awkward Deborah fashion, what came out was “You’re hotter in person than you are on TV!” His response “Um….thanks.” And then this picture was taken.

dale jr

Can you feel the awkwardness? Because I still can. How many Asian fans does he really have? He probably remembered that for awhile. I ruined my chances!

As I’ve gotten older, I realized realistically, Dale Jr. and I probably would not have matched well. He’s a lot older than I am and he’s….more Southern than I normally like. He still sounds like a great guy to hang around. And actually I’m looking back at pictures of him from 2002-2004 and he looks a lot better NOW than he did back then. Then again my tastes have changed a lot since then.

But my affiliations have since moved on to his teammate. Kasey Kahne. I mean….come on.

And

And

Because it’s not just me who feels this way:

Though just like with Josh Groban, what is it with all the older woman?

And he’s also a good driver as well. The first year he raced in the Sprint Cup he got Rookie of the Year, he finished 4th in 2012, and he’s had 16 wins and 127 top ten finishes in races. He’s very good at what he does. And it doesn’t hurt he’s easy on the eyes too.

The fun part is that now with social media, I can follow both these guys on Twitter to see what they’re up to. While I haven’t gotten a response back from either of them yet, (Dale Jr might still remember me and thus avoiding) it’s still cool to be able to connect in ways one couldn’t beforehand.

All this to say that I do enjoy watching races. NASCAR does have a stereotype to it, but if you take the time it’s actually pretty fun to watch. You can make all the jokes you want. I am secure in my liking of this.

Enhanced by Zemanta
0

The Olympics are Here! GO SPORTS!

You guys! It’s finally here! The Olympics! YAY! To get you in the mood…..

Upfront disclaimer: I am fully aware of the protests and the situation with the games being held in Russia. I respect the decision to boycott watching the games. This post is more focused on the Olympics in general.

I am an Olympic lover. I love sports in general. I can watch football, college basketball, tennis, heck even NASCAR and be super excited. But the Olympics are the Holy Grail of sports watching for me. It’s a wonderful hybrid for a person like me who enjoys sports and history.

I have no memory of watching the Olympics until 1992. Whether or not we watched it before, I have no idea. But when the 1992 Winter Games came on, I remembered my family being glued to the TV especially when Kristi Yamaguchi won the gold medal in ladies figure skating. And since then the Olympic Games has always been a viewing staple in my life. While I was at home my family was hooked to the TV. When I was away for college in 2002, even though I didn’t have my own TV in my dorm room, I still somehow found ways to watch the games.

If this blog is still running in 2016, I’ll talk about the summer games then, which I do love. But as this is 2014 and it’s the winter games, that’s what we’ll be talking about.

The Opening Ceremonies, while boring to most, I find very exciting. This is where I learned a lot about the culture of each host country. Plus the parade of nations is how I basically learned geography. Thanks to the Olympics, I was the only kid in my fourth grade class that could name countries that had been part of the former Soviet Union.

There may still be a small part of me that likes to pretend I am a world-class athlete and can represent my country at the Olympics and win a gold medal. For years it used to be skiing. And then I actually tried out skiing for the first time and I realized yeah there ain’t no way I can make it down a mountain that fast.

I love watching so many of the sports. This is probably the only time every four years that I will sit down and watch an entire hockey game. Also when else do you get to watch bobsled, skeleton, or luge? And will someone please explain to me the purpose of two-man luge and why only men compete and what is the benefit of having them lie on top of each other?

Snowboarding is one of my favorite sports to watch because it seems so cool and I wish I could do that so badly. But really I know I can’t so it’s just fun to enjoy. Speed skating can be a lot of fun. There’s this Dan Jansen Visa commercial that gets me EVERY TIME I watch it. Because Morgan Freeman’s voice elicits tears.

Short track speed skating brings out the most adrenaline though. Have you seen one of these races? It’s basically roller derby on ice. People fall. You don’t know who’s going to win. We shout so much at the TV during these races. It’s basically the equivalent of the swimming races in my book. Why? Because the unexpected happens. Exhibit A:

And then there’s the crown jewel of the Winter Olympics. Figure skating. I LOVE watching figure skating. I cannot imagine though how on earth they can do all those jumps and land on one foot on that skinny blade and not break their ankle constantly. But it’s so beautiful to watch. And so much drama. SO MUCH.

Plus every Olympics, there’s always an Olympic crush. I think last year it was either a snowboarder or Evan Lysacek. But as I get older, the athletes get younger. But for now, I’ll be glued to my TV and computer as I enjoy these games and cheer on my country. USA! USA! USA!

Enhanced by Zemanta