posts tagged with 'sports'

spectator sport

Zion is interested in baseball. Not enough to want to join a team—or rather, his interest in baseball is outweighed by his lack of interest in participating in organized activities—but he and I have had lots of fun playing catch since he got his new mitt for his birthday. We're throwing that hardball hard! So when I let him know that the Lexington Blue Sox season was starting up June 1 he was thrilled to hear that we could go to a game. How about opening day?! Unfortunately, the opening day yesterday was rained out (I don't know how the players felt about it, but two boys at my house were very disappointed!). But that just meant that tonight was opening day instead, so at 7:30—when we'd usually be doing bedtime!—Zion, Elijah and I headed to Lexington to be sports fans.

Zion and Elijah sleepily watching baseball from aluminium bleachers

night game

We aren't usually, you know. I don't think any of the boys have been to more than two sporting events where they don't know anyone playing. So we were excited to see that Lexington on a Thursday evening plays host to a wide variety of sporting contests and practices. In the few minutes before the baseball started we were able to take in some soccer, softball, and even cricket! Unfortunately there wasn't anyone on the skate park. Not many people in the stands for the Blue Sox either; I kind of expected a crowd, but never mind, we had our pick of seats in the tiny bleachers. Not that the boys stayed there long: after an inning of attention they left to watch the game in between bouts of active play. Which makes sense! How can you watch those skilled athletes at work without wanting to get in there with some athletics yourself?

And they sure were good. My favorite was watching the throws all the way across the diamond from third to first, like laser beams. Way harder than me and Zion throw! Zion liked that the catcher could throw to second from his knees. This hitting was fun too, starting with a solo home run in the first inning. That fence is far away! The Blue Sox dominated, scoring 11 in the first four innings; we had to leave then since it was way past my bedtime, but no worries because that was all the scoring they did so we didn't miss anything exciting. The Bulldogs got one run in the eighth, but that was it. The Blue Sox have been the league champions the last two or three years, and it looks like they might be on the road to another title. And we were there at the start!


playing ball

For his birthday Zion got a street hockey goal. A week or two ago Elijah was bored and in an effort to get him moving I offered to play handball with him—meaning we could take turns trying to throw a dodgeball past each other into the goal. It was actually super fun, and before long Zion was drawn into the action. I vaguely remembered the game of "team handball" from middle school gym, so we mostly just made up rules, but it seemed to work fine. This we finally had the chance to play a full game, with our school friends, and it was fantastic. We played for about an hour—kids, and the three adults too—and got a great workout while also figuring out tricks and strategies for the game. And I'm proud to say that Harvey and Zion were the only kids able to stick it out for the entire time! (Elijah was there for a lot of it too... he and a few other kids just needed a few timeouts elsewhere.) The rules we came up with are pretty similar to the rules of the real game, only we didn't allow dribbling (nor would the ball we were using even be able to bounce on grass). And we played a half-court version, because we only had one goal and to keep break-aways from getting out of hand. It was a hit, and the boys are excited to play again soon. After we recover from today's game, that is!

olympic review

We're done with the Olympics. Even if the events aren't done themselves, we need to cancel our free trial of television over the internet tomorrow morning. I'm definitely glad we could watch for the couple weeks we did, but I'm also glad we don't have TV most of the time. The unskippable commercials are unbearable! And when I can watch TV, it's hard not to sometimes when I'm tired. Now without that temptation I'll have lots more time to surf the internet!

We spent the most time watching curling, since it's fascinating and always on. I think the hockey was my favorite, but hockey games are really too long to fit into my life and I never had any real sense of how the tournament was going. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed snowboard cross and ski cross—I guess seven heats of two minute races for an event is about how long my attention span can handle! And we wished we were able to watch more short track speed skating and cross country. But man were there a lot of options. And now there are fewer in our house, and I think that's a good thing.

a winter sport or three

My first notice of the Winter Olympics came when someone asked me if I was boycotting because of China's horrible civil rights record and the muzzling of athletes who wanted to talk about it. Since I had no concept of how I could watch any of it even if I wanted to, I said that I supposed I was. But with the idea planted in my brain, I couldn't stop thinking of the seductive appeal of speedskating, freestyle skiing, and curling... even biathalon! So when, in a conversation with Leah, she suggested that it wouldn't be a big deal if we weren't able to find a way to watch it, I... didn't didn't immediately express robust agreement. And then, being amazing at finding out how to do things, she got us hooked up with a free trial of Youtube TV.

So now we can watch all the winter sports we want to, which is of course very exciting. So exciting, in fact, that it beat out Saturday's adventure in all three boys' Monday morning journal writing. I remember my parents borrowing (renting?) a TV in 1988 so we could watch the Summer Olympics in Seoul, and how at 11 I was quite interested in being connected to the world of international sporting competition (though I don't know how much of the sports I actually watch; all I really recall is the opening ceremony). It'll be interesting to see how long, in 2022, our interest will last: there's a lot of kind of boring down time in the broadcasts, and ever so many hours of sports still to come. But for now, even though we deplore China's oppression of minorities and lots of other things, we're on board with watching! But don't worry, we won't give Youtube, or NBC, or anybody else any money for it.

just like our woods

I may not watch television or follow baseball any more, but I do more than my share of staring at sports on screens—mostly cycling on youtube or Redbull TV. Downhill mountain biking is my favorite, and I've been enjoying it for two seasons now. Shortened seasons, though, since naturally the pandemic made things hard for the organizers of the UCI Downhill World Cup series. And as it happens all of the races last season and the first four this summer were in Europe, so I got used to seeing the action taking place in the picturesque Alps. But this week the last two races of the season are taking place in West Virginia, and this afternoon was the first practice runs. And it looks just like the woods where we ride! I hadn't registered how different the high-altitude forests of Austria, Italy, and Switzerland are to the ones I'm used to: that's just what mountain bike courses on TV looked like. But now they're going to be riding the deciduous forest of the Eastern US, just like I do! I can't wait to watch the race action.

watching sports

A long time ago (so long I can't be bothered to track it down in the blog archives) I declared that I was done with watching sports on television. Which before long meant I was done with following them altogether, because after we got rid of our tv 11 years ago now we discovered that without a cable subscription you can't stream sports without paying for them. Which of course I would never do. It mostly improves my life: paying attention to sports takes a lot of time and emotional energy. I'm much healthier now that I don't have any idea what the Red Sox are doing (really! Until I wrote this sentence it hadn't even occurred to me that baseball might be being played this summer!). But over the past few months sports awareness has been creeping back in.

The first thing I payed attention to a little bit was the America's Cup. Fortunately, they wanted hundreds of dollars to stream it, so I was saved from watching live and only took in the action via highlights on YouTube. SailGP, on the other hand, is live on Youtube, so that's taken up a couple weekends lately. Most recently my attention has been drawn to cycling. Downhill is the most fun; I got the Red Bull TV ap for my phone to watch it, but an even better way to get absorbed in the excitement of World Cup downhill events is all the different folks putting out content on Youtube. From newsy outfits like Pinkbike and Vital MTB, to teams like The Syndicate, to individuals like Wyn Masters and—my favorite—Bernard Kerr. With all those different ways to watch I really feel like I get a complete view of the event... super fun!

Then of course there's also this road race going on in France. I wouldn't have been aware of it but for Youtube's recommendation engine, but now I am. NBC won't let me watch livestreams or even full race replays, but that's probably good because I don't have five hours a day to devote to following the action (I haven't since that time when Harvey was a baby). Even the half-hour extended recaps are more time that I should be devoting to broadcast entertainment, given everthing else that I should be working on. But it's nice to be able to talk about a sports thing with friends, as I did on Tuesday evening. Plus an MTB boy is in the Yellow Jersey now!


practice makes progress

Despite many moments feeling really busy lately, when I reflect on it we've also had more time to work on some things than we do in our regular life. We're all practicing music. Last week Harvey put in all sorts of work on cycling no-handed, and now can do it quite casually. Zion doesn't want to be left behind, so he's practicing too: he can now turn no-handed, though he's not solid on pedaling. Today Lijah also joined the bike work, though his hands were firmly on the handlebars as he practiced coasting on a bike with no training wheels. We're also doing ball sports. Several days of intensive run-the-bases games improved Harvey and Zion's throwing and catching quite a bit (in that case the competitive aspect led to lots more improvement than many hours of casual catch). The last couple days the lawn was too wet to run on, so we played in the street with the playground ball and practiced basketball passes and dribbling, and volleyball serves and passes (we have a long way to go on volleyball!). It's all very exciting!