A Team of Heroes

There are a lot of words you could use to describe the 2016 Cleveland Indians: “overachieving”, “scrappy”, “tough” and “enthusiastic” are just a few that come to mind.

But what’s impressed me most this season (besides Tyler Naquin’s inside-the-park home run) is how there’s not just ‘one guy’ on this team doing all the heavy lifting.  Sportswriters and broadcasters love to talk about how ‘so-and-so’ has strapped this team on his back and taken them to new heights.  Not this bunch.

One night the heroics are Jason Kipnis’ or Mike Napoli’s.  The next night it’s a great outing by Trevor Bauer or Corey (“Klubot”) Kluber.  Or an outstanding outing (with a save, where appropriate) from any one of the bullpen.  A dazzling defensive play by Francisco Lindor.  An unexpected home run from any of the guys in the bottom third of the order.  There’s no one guy on this team who makes things happen.  This team makes things happen, and that’s what has been so great about this season and especially this post-season.

That’s why I’ve got a feeling that what ESPN called “The Little Engine That Could” — will. That’s why I expect to be standing out in a cold October or November day watching the guys go by on cars or buses or whatever with about a million of my closest friends.

Right now, there’s the Blue Jays to watch out for.  I’m hearing the same things about Toronto that I heard about Boston.  Watch out for their hitting.  Their pitchers are unhittable. It didn’t stop us before.  I am cautiously optimistic (and occasionally superstitious) that we can do it again, and go on to the World Series.

Whoever we’re up against then, they’ll face not just one hero, but a team of them, made up of:

  • Mike Napoli’s leadership
  • Jason Kipnis’ hitting
  • Corey Kluber’s emotions (yes, that’s a joke)
  • Rajai Davis’ quiet confidence
  • Lonnie Chisenhall’s aim with a tray of Gatorade cups
  • Francisco Lindor’s enthusiasm and exuberance (and great defense)

and everything and everyone else who has contributed to this game, including Cookie Carrosco and Michael Brantley, who were in the locker room in Boston during the ALDS finish there, and Danny Salazar and the crew working away in Arizona in case they’re needed before the final win.

And as an Indians’ fan who has followed this team since she was 11 (in 1972) through a handful of ups and an awful lot of downs, that’s good enough for me.


Saturday night wasn’t all right for the Habs …

Well, the NHL 2013 season is underway. Saturday night’s Habs-Leafs game was a disappointment (for us, anyway).  To say the least.

There I was, all in my new Habs toque and my newish t-shirt actually going out to watch the game because the wifi in our building didn’t work.  A message from a Quebecois friend of mine about watching (a pleasure to hear from him), a moving and spirited opening ceremony, the Habs hit the ice — and it was 2011 all over again.

All the received wisdom from last season made it out that the problem with the Habs originated behind the bench.  I’ll admit that Jacques Martin’s “I’m-an-extra-from-Walking-Dead-who-can-write-and-is-too-lazy-to-gnaw-on-the-living” act got old real fast. But was it really all his fault?

Besides, if he was the problem he was made out to be, shouldn’t SOMETHING have changed when Randy Cunneyworth took over? I really doubt RC’s not being a Francophone was all that much of an issue to anyone but the PQ – there aren’t that many Francophones on the team, and if they wanted to be snarled at in French, all they had to do was take the Métro out to Beaudry station and ask, in English, to buy an all-day pass. Easy as poutine.

Yes, I know not everyone was playing somewhere else while negotiations dragged on (or didn’t happen). Yes, I know there really wasn’t much of a training camp or any preseason.  But you know what? That applies to the Leafs, too, and last night they didn’t let it get in the way of their play. The Habs, on the other hand, were disappointingly lackluster.

I do want to acknowledge the contribution of the refs during the game – although it would probably be more fitting if a Leafs fan did that, since most of the calls went Toronto’s way. But the officiating we will have with us always, and if you know that’s a factor, you do your best to play in a way that makes it a non-issue.  Like clearing the puck, better puck handling, getting more shots on goal and scoring.  Little things like that.

Obviously, things could improve. One game is a little early for panic, even in Montréal. Especially for me, conditioned from my earliest recollection to be resigned to teams that play almost well enough. (I think they start training us in the cradle here in Northeast Ohio.)  It’s just that the talent’s there, the front office was cleared of Pierre Gauthier, Jacques Martin’s not behind the bench, and there’s no real and obvious reason why this team shouldn’t have improved.

Once upon a time, there was a hockey team who came on the ice with attitude, expected to win and usually did. I think they were called the Montréal Canadiens. I hope they show up Tuesday night – I miss ‘em.

This time, the “H” does stand for Habs! :) (also hockey)

I am a passionate Montréal Canadiens fan.

The Canadiens are also known as the Habs. “Habs” is short for “habitants” or “the people” — the name given to the original settlers of New France.  The nickname is generally believed to be an accident — another owner believed that the “H” in the logo stood for “Habitants” and it stuck. However…

To see what he meant — that’s the team logo below.

The owner’s mistake was and still is common. A lot of people assume that the “H” in the middle stands for Habs,  but it doesn’t.  It stands for “hockey” — as in le Club de hockey Canadien, which is the official team name.  We also call it “Les Canadiens (or Le Canadien), Le Bleu-Blanc-Rouge, La Sainte-Flanelle,Le Tricolore, Les Glorieux (or Nos Glorieux), Les Habitants, Le CH and Le Grand Club” (thanks for the full list, Wikipedia!).  Sometimes, when the season’s as bad as this one was, we may also call the team (or at least certain players or front office personnel) other, far more colorful names. 🙂

You’re probably wondering how a lifelong Northeast Ohioan with no ties to Québec could become a fan of a team she has never had the good fortune to see play in person. (I will next season — just watch!!!).  I wrote a blog post about it you can read here.

For the record, my favorite player right now is Tomas Plekanec (if any of my regular friends read this, I can see the eyerolling and hear the “no? really?” in charming sarcastic tones now). 🙂  Guy Lafleur would be next among historical players and I’d have to think about who else to include.

Our season ended (with a defeat of the Leefs… YAY!) Sunday but hopefully we’ll get a great new GM and coach and next year will be different.


Weight Loss, Round II: Oh, and by the way…

By good rights, I should be posting this on Wednesday, but I anticipate a strange week this week, so I probably won’t get a chance then.

So… I’m pleased to say that my (very gradual) weight loss continues.  I haven’t had a particularly good week or so eating wise, and I’ve (not intentionally, but due to circumstances) not been working out as much, but I am definitely down. Right now, I’m just below where I was at my “low water” mark last summer, so now it’s “onward and downward”, so to speak. It’s my intention to work out at work this week, plus I hope to get a ‘second shift’ in at the Y on Tuesday and Thursday.  I’ve managed to get to a couple of water aerobics classes and liked them very much.  It was funny — the first time I went, I got out of the pool thinking, “Gee, that didn’t seem as hard as I expected,” a sentiment that lasted until I got up the next morning and realized how much work I had really put it.  The water carries some of the load, making it a rather deceptive process.

Saturday I came to work briefly and walked on the treadmill/did the elliptical.  I’m sorry, but no one is going to convince me that the elliptical is easier and less work than the treadmill.  I just don’t believe it.  I’m working longer and at a higher level on the elliptical than I did before, and the stupid thing’s trying to tell me that 20 minutes on it (I split my 40-minute workout between the two) is about a third of the calories of the treadmill workout.  Not a chance. I mean, with the elliptical, you’re moving your arms as well as your legs. I don’t see how it can be less work.

Oh, well.  In the meantime, I think my fantasy football team lost again — at least this week it was closer.  My fantasy hockey league drafts on October 3, and I’m looking forward to that, if only because it also means we’re just three days away at that point from the real thing starting. I<3 my Habs.  (I suppose I should post a warning on Twitter and FB for the non-fans… )

Still praying for my friend.  Really storming heaven on this one.  The thought that I might lose this person is absolutely devastating to me. Please help this special being, Lord.

And for all the rest of you, hope you are well, too.  Always have time to listen and care if you’re not. {{hugs}}

(since 9/7/2011: .97%; since 3/1/2011: 7.11%)

Turn out the light, the season’s over …

Well, thus endeth the 2010-2011 NHL season.

Hope, (as I said on FB), that I have enough class to congratulate the victors, even if the words tend to stick in my throat.

Congratulations, Boston. Just don’t get too used to having that trophy.  We’re going to need it back in Montréal next year — for the (ahem) 25th time.

In the meantime, I have to say that I’m as disappointed in the people in Vancouver who rioted as I was in the idiots who pretended to be fans and rioted in Montréal last year. In a lot of ways, this has not been a good year for professional hockey and I hope that 2011-2012 will be better.  Hope. Not expect.

p.s.  How do we go about impeaching Gary Bettman?

Weight Loss, Round II: Week 2

(I will try to blog about something else occasionally! :))

Well, here we are, week 2. The good news is the number went down again … not a ton, but more than just a little. The bad news (if there is any) is that I didn’t get to exercise much last week, due to a combination of being exceedingly tired for some odd reason and being at home and away from facilities.  However, I did sign up at the Euclid Y and plan to get the schedule and go to the Lyndhurst Y also. And since I’m back at work now, after 4 days of working at home, I’ll be able to get out and about, either walking out or walking on the treadmill.  Also, I’ll have weights here and hopefully some better equipment at Lyndhurst Y.  The best Y would be Avon’s, since it’s brand new, but that’s way too far to go.

The other good news is that I have been able to keep on my eating track, which is way (weigh? :)) better news, seeing as how that’s always been my bête noire. Every week – no, every day – that I succeed in passing up something I shouldn’t have and I stick to the plan is a victory for me, and seeing the scale  go down and not up, or not stay put, is exciting and a very happy thing.

I’m hoping that the Canucks can put the Bruins away tonight – someone will be hoisting Lord Stanley tonight and I really don’t want it to be Boston, both as a Habs fan and as an honorary Canadian. 🙂 Long past time it came back to Canada. Just sayin’.

And in other news: I have joined a group of other unpublished authors to do a “publicity” e-book of our work. We call ourselves the Clan of the Flying Pens, and our website is at: www.theclanoftheflyingpens.weebly.com. This is going to be FUN!

(since 6/8/2011: .73%; since 3/1/2011: 2.54%)

Hockey Fans, Stand Up …

During the NHL playoffs, while the Habs were still in it, a restaurant owner in Montréal put up a poster rooting on the home team.  The NHL struck back and fined him 1000$CA per day for the time it was up, resulting in an 89,000$CA fine.  You can read more about it here:  http://montreal.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20110516/mtl_basha_110516/20110516/%3Fhub%3DMontrealHome

I find this incredible.

I don’t think any other major sports league pulls this kind of garbage.  Through the 90s, when the Indians were winning, the Plain Dealer used to print banners in the paper that everyone in town hung in their windows … and a lot of people did their own.  Never heard that the MLB fined anyone.  Dick Jacobs didn’t send people out to force them to change their decorations.

And when the Browns were good (in the Kosar days), people wrote songs and they got played on the radio and no one seemed to mind. Fans dressed up like “dawgs” in the stands and cheered “Go Browns!” — a cry echoed on Browns paraphenalia of every description, on the signs and flags and posters visible on every office building and business … the statues outside the Federal Reserve Bank wore Browns helmets (and maybe “jerseys”, altho I can’t be sure about that, my memory being what it is) … guess what? No fine from the NFL.  No ‘cease and desist’ from the team.

Finally, when the Cavs were winning with LeQuitness, there were signs and tees and you name it — the name was EVERYWHERE (LeBron’s and the team’s) — and not a peep from the NBA. The Cavs didn’t see the need to tear down anyone’s stuff (well, except for the giant Nike sign after His Loserness left).

The NHL’s only outpost in Cleveland — the “we lasted for two years andthen  became the North Stars” Barons of the 1970s — probably wished someone would put up a sign or two.

I have been a Canadiens fan for over 30 years. I love my Habs and I love Hockey … but there’s a reason why the NHL’s product is #4 (or lower — if you include Nascar) here in the States.  Someone in the NHL needs to buy a clue, and learn that you don’t grow a sport by chasing down the fans and taking money from them for imaginary offenses. Whether it’s going after the car dealership in Vancouver for supporting the ‘Nucks, this restaurant owner, or the Montreal Gazette’s Hockey Inside/Out blog (formerly Habs Inside/Out — but the NHL claims that’s copyrighted, too), you need to figure out what’s really copyright violation (like the people on EBay counterfeiting stuff) and what’s an honest expression of fandom.

GO HABS GO! Vive le bleu, blanc et rouge!

Sue me, NHL.  I dare you.