Category Archives: Sports

Cool Confusion

This week my paper did a feature story on people learning to ice skate at the local rink. I thought it was appropriate to write a column about the subject.

*Once again, kudos if you get the reference in the title.

As a native Chicagoan, it’s probably fair to say I’m more acclimated to winter, and everything that comes with it, than most people. That’s why I was shocked, offended even, to learn that many of my co-workers and neighbors have little to no interest in hockey and even worse, legitimate fears of ice skating.

Apparently, this is terrifying.

The sports staff at the Mercury has made its indifference to hockey known on several occasions, so I won’t bother with those poor, lost individuals. However, I was more surprised to find that ice skating brings about anxiety in several Mercury staff members.

During the weekly meeting, our editor Bill Felber suggested an ice-skating story to reporter Paul Harris. Harris was open to the idea but made it known that he and ice skating don’t mix. He noted that the ice is hard and when he inevitably falls, he must also worry about a hand being sliced by and errant skate.

It was a little dramatic.

News editor Javier Gonzalez and reporter Bryan Richardson, two Houstonians, also admitted wariness toward ice skating. Richardson bragged that, at the very least, he could avoid falling (so long as he goes no faster than a snail’s pace around the rink), while Gonzalez seemed to want nothing to do with frozen sheets of water.

I have no idea what he's doing, but I'm certain he got beat up afterward.

This was all strange to me having grown up in the suburbs of Chicago where high schools have hockey teams and every other town has an ice rink, including my high school and my home town. I learned to skate at a very early age, such an early age that I had to call my mother to get an approximation.

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On the Right Side of the Rivalry

I wrote my third column for the Mercury last weekend, and since I don’t have an idea for a post, I’m re-purposing it for my blog. It’s about growing up as a Cardinals fan in Cubs territory.

I’ve never been in a war, or on a top-secret mission for that matter, but for 18 years of my life I lived behind enemy lines. I grew up as a St. Louis Cardinals fan in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.

Most people find my choice in baseball fandom strange, while others find it borderline perverse. Still, others find it just plain confusing. New acquaintances often ask me, “How is that even possible?” Well, dear readers, I’ll tell you.

My mom is a native Chicagoan, however; my dad is from a small town called Beardstown. It’s located in central Illinois on the bank of the Illinois River. And in a time before hundreds of channels and before the Internet—way before the Internet—it was a place where my dad listened to St. Louis radio stations, and read the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Being an athlete and sports fan in general, my dad started following the Cardinals. He told me about how he sat in his room, with a transistor radio, listening to broadcast legends Jack Buck and Harry Caray (before he moved over to the dark side) call Redbirds games. He even saw them play at Sportsman’s Park, the predecessor to the original Busch Stadium, a couple times. One of those times he saw the late, great Roberto Clemente hit a homerun so far and so hard it dented the scoreboard. And Clemente didn’t need steroids to do it either.

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