Archives for category: Misadventure

I recognize that I will not fully appreciate this until later, but I’ll do my best now.

A Saturday morning, legs crossed, one foot pressed against the boards. On the other side of the wood and glass, hockey players circled the rink—tall, bulky, padded black-and-goldfish on skates. They largely focused on their drills, motivated by short blasts of a whistle. But they snuck occasional looks, grins, stick-on-glass taps to the 100 or so of us on hand. I saw my favorite guys. The new guys. The boys, 18 or 19 years old, fighting for what amounts to a roster spot two seasons from now.

The buzz I’d expected to sense during my trip to Fort Myers back in March was finally here—six months late, different sport, right at home in Boston. This is what training camp is supposed to feel like: Players are competing for their spots, proving their worth, while diehards show up with their smuggled-in bagels to sit around, talk shop with fellow junkies, and get sneak previews of lines and pairings from vantage points significantly closer than anything they’ll experience during game play.

I made my way around the rink to take in the view from the other side, feeling my late morning stretch into an early afternoon. My later plans were much more flexible than the Bruins’ schedule, and I was reluctant to leave without seeing my favorite player skate in the second session. No stress in the preseason.

Two subway lines later, I navigated a collegiate crowd I’d spent the past month avoiding. Harvard Square wasn’t as congested as I’d feared it would be. That said, it would still be a few weeks before I’d return with any sense of regularity. But Harvard’s running shop was the easiest to visit on the way home and Mark Stuart had led to a time crunch. I was in and out in seven minutes: running socks, the sports beans that would give me a carbohydrate boost during long runs, and a couple other odds and ends I would never have imagined needing even a year ago.

Two hours later, the socks were on and the beans were tucked into the back pouch of my hydration belt, along with my cell phone, keys, transit pass, credit card, license, and health insurance card.

(Once you’ve cleared at least two hours in your schedule for running purposes, you ought to be prepared for anything.)

The route felt shorter this time. Perhaps it was that I felt stronger this time. I suspected that it was a combination of the two. Regardless, the doubt about whether I would be able to reach the twenty mile milestone had come and gone, replaced with focus and the flood of endorphins that kept my feet moving in time to the Ryan Adams song playing on my iPod. It was my first genuine runner’s high of the season. And it propelled me through Somerville, Cambridge, and Boston.

For twenty miles.

After the endorphin high faded and the muscle stiffness set in—albeit not nearly as badly as I’d anticipated—I sat on my couch, toasting the day with a glass of pumpkin beer and vanilla vodka while discussing how much fun was going to be had picking apples the next day …

… after getting out of work at Fenway Park.

Again, I recognize that I will not fully appreciate this until later. That said, I’m certainly doing my best right now.


Operation: Supergirl
Mission Accomplished

I could tell you about how the first three miles of my race on Sunday were actually downright pleasant – that the skies were overcast and there was a breeze that, coupled with the 9 a.m. start time, helped me forget that I was running on a day expected to reach the 90s. That the sun came out during the loop back, which wound us through the surprisingly quaint town square of Foxborough and past cheering fans waving signs. That there was a glorious saint of a woman who sat on her lawn in a chair, grinning as she squeezed the handle on her hose and sprayed us grateful runners with ice cold water as we moved past.

But I’d rather just tell you about the end.

After six miles, my friend Kim and I (who had wound up running within sight of each other over the course of the entire 1oK) kept telling ourselves to converse a little bit of energy. “Wait for it. Wait for it,” we repeated as we watched the lights and stands of Gillette Stadium grow larger and larger. We held back as we ran past Bill Rodgers, who was cheering on fans near the back entrance to the stadium parking lot. We held back as I tried to find “Crazy Train” on my iPod, settling for “Motownphilly” instead. And we held back as we wound our way around the final bends…

…through Gate 8…

…and as we approached The Helmet.

And then, after slapping the side of The Helmet like we’ve seen them do from our various spots in the stands over the years, Kim and I emerged from the tunnel, arms raised, and then booked it. An all-out, leave-it-on-the-field 50-yard dash where we blew past our fellow runners and raced each other to the end. We crossed the finish line at the same time. Kim unleashed her best Randy Moss and we dropped to make Welker-approved snow angels in the endzone (verdict: awesome, yet scratchy and HOT on the turf in July).

That dash – and 10K that preceded it – left me breathless in the short term. It put me out of commission later in the day, when I took what was supposed to be an hour-long break from barbecue and revelry and fell asleep until 2 a.m. But it was a moment of pure fun and adrenaline in which I had such a sudden spike of runner’s high, feeling strong, powerful, and amazingly alive.

I’m kind of a dork. By “kind of,” I mean “very much, almost embarrassingly only not really.” On Wednesday evening, I sat in my usual spot at the Garden for the first time this hockey postseason. I was unaware of the fact that I would soon be experiencing two overtimes and one of the most thrilling (read: exciting, panic-inducing) games I’ve seen in person (second only to this one). As I watched the Bruins warming up, I snapped photos (thinking about how I need to start shopping around for a new camera), happened across this …

… and laughed to myself. Oh, look at this. My Stanley Cup Playoff experience can now Begin. GET IT? I’m hilarious.

I watched Friday night’s poor showing in Buffalo from my living room, where friends had come together for dinner, drinks, and sports. We watched the Bruins lose, then changed the channel so as to watch the Celtics win, then changed again to cheer on the Red Sox. This is one of the best times of year for a Boston fan–I have to hope that I experience it again in October. As for now, however, it’s all about gearing up for Game 6 on Monday night.

***

I spent a rare Fenway-free Saturday in Dorchester, standing on scaffolding as I helped to paint a house. As part of Rebuilding Boston Together, I had the chance to enjoy the sunshine, meet new people, and do something nice for someone else. I didn’t realize that I’d wind up reaching a whole new level of existence as a Bostonian. As I adjusted my hat, put on my protective eyeglasses, and worked with my paint roller, the DJ in the back yard cued up “I’m Shipping Up to Boston.” Painting a house in Dot to the Dropkick Murphys? Holy Boston, Batman.

***

Victoria: I’ve decided. I’m jumping out of a plane.
Meg: Oh no. What’s going on today? Vent. I’m here.
V: No, I mean for fun. I’m jumping out of a plane. Skydiving.
M: OH! OMG. I thought you were saying you were having a rough day!

Thanks to Groupon, I bought a package that will enable me to finally cross skydiving off my to do list. Jumping out of a plane at 10,500 feet? To say that I’m excited is an understatement.

October 2004 brings many things to mind for people, particularly those who live in the Northeast. Glee. Disbelief. Tears. Miracles. Curses. Coffee. Bleary eyes. Relief. Misery–if you like pinstripes. Coffee.

(Yes, I mentioned coffee twice. Those were late nights and early mornings.)

In addition to the obvious things that come to mind–duck boats, deadlines, and comebacks–October 2004 brings two things to mind . I think of the way the crowd with whom I watched Game 4 groaned when the second out was recorded in the bottom of the ninth inning–victory was so close, but we’d all been trained to expect the worst in such situations. We all reacted in the exact same way.

The other thing that comes to mind, however, has nothing to do with baseball. I think of Crossfire.

Back in October, while the Yankees were confidently dismantling the Sox in the ALCS, Beth and I were in DC for a long weekend. It had been my first trip to Washington since moving back to Vermont and we were each catching up with our various Washington connections. It was at the end of a Capitol tour–when I was busy laughing over how much I remembered from my own Cap tour-giving days–that someone approached us with a question:

Would we be interested in two complimentary tickets to that afternoon’s taping of Crossfire?

Let’s stop and pause for laughter. Crossfire. During vacation.

Needless to say, we declined. We enjoyed most of the rest of the visit, if you ignore the debacle that was watching the Sox hit rock bottom during a night out at the Brass Monkey, and then we returned to Vermont.

That’s when we heard about the episode of Crossfire we’d missed. And the guest that day. The same guest who was on the cover of Rolling Stone I’d brought with me on the trip. The man who rivaled Josh Lyman for top status as my intellectual crush.

My reaction to this realization, as you’d understand, was displeasure. Epic, FML, why-do-the-fates-hate-me displeasure.

Ever since, I’ve tried to make things right again, to get my Jon Stewart moment.

Five and a half years–and two Red Sox world championships–later, my moment arrived. After an early morning, a bus ride, dashes through the rain, and a few hours spent standing in line across from a furniture shop in Hell’s Kitchen, I got my Jon Stewart fix.

It was worth the wait.

To understand just how sensational the experience of attending a Daily Show with Jon Stewart taping was, look over my description of the day again. T ride, bus ride, walking in rain, subway ride, more walking, hours standing in line, 35 minutes of Daily Show taping, immediate post-taping walk to Times Square, subway ride, bus ride, T ride home. I left my apartment sometime around 6 am and returned around 1 am. All for 35 minutes of sharp and savvy filming. And it was worth every moment of travel. And while the talent performing was impressive enough, it was seeing Stewart watch the news that was my favorite part. He was into every single moment, whether the camera was on him or not.

And he was on, from the moment he bounded out onto the set for the pre-show Q&A. Sharp, witty, brilliantly sarcastic, and just what I’d hoped he would be.

Five a half years after the Crossfire Incident of 2004, much has changed in my life. And yet I’m still the girl who’s giggling over the anchor of a fake news show. And he’s still duking it out with Josh Lyman for top spot on my intellectual crush list.

Some things don’t change. Nor would I want them to.

Sox

IMG_2748

Dustin Pedroia

Palms

“I mean this as a compliment,” I said, settling into my seat at Flour, the South End bakery a short walk from the brownstone where Nicole and I used to live with one awesome cat and one pitiful excuse for a human being. I now live across the river; she now lives halfway across the country. “If I were with anyone else and all this had happened today, it would be an epic fail. But given that it’s you, it’s fantastic.”

Five minutes into our afternoon together, I’d taken a tumble on ice and sustained the jams to both of my wrists and arms that made it difficult to lift my bag, take off my jacket, open the car door and just about anything else I wanted to do. She’d sustained her own injury, with blood appearing on her leg. We were both exhausted, had nearly gotten lost traveling in the city, couldn’t find a quarter for the meter to save our lives and had hit our heads against car windows and walls.

We were walking distasters – which means that we’d bascially taken all of the misadventures and injuries we’ve always encountered together and condensed them into one glorious, fabulous screw-up of an afternoon.

I had one of my favorite people sitting across the table. I was enjoying banana bread, she had a cupcake. Despite the fact that I couldn’t lift my latte without wincing, things felt just right.