Tag Archives: sports

Can’t Work; Gone Camping

29 May

I’m approaching my foretold destiny as a child of the forest.

By “foretold”, I’m referring to my having told you before. Though, I’ve also told you I’m a well-ripening cat lady so it appears I’ve laid out before you two possible Jackies: forest child hippie commune Jackie and shut-in cat lady Jackie.

I know no other futures.

The thing is, this year has been doing funny things to me. Ever since I committed to a 365 Fitness challenge, (I believe it’s formally dubbed “Project Fat Ass 365“), I’ve been getting out more often. I mean, I kind of have to. I was doing Jillian Michaels for a while there (and still do when I have need to crush a can with my butt cheeks) but working out is a lot better if I keep my options open. Lately, that has meant biking a lot.

A really cool thing happened in Pittsburgh recently- a bike trail that runs the length of here to D.C. called The Great Allegheny Passage was completed. Well, technically it will be complete in two weeks when everyone plans to celebrate it. Anyway, it’s just a few miles from my place, runs along the water, features several pedestrian bridges and even serves as home to a Bald Eagle. I discovered it after volunteering for Bike Pittsburgh a few weeks ago and am having a hard time getting things in life done because I’d rather be riding the trail. Oh yes, that’s right – you heard me: I’m having a hard time being a responsible adult because I’d rather be biking.

I don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner. Biking is the perfect activity for a hermit. You move quickly through the space so no one can notice your fat jiggle while you exercise or see your face long enough to recognize you. It’s acceptable to practice biking alone and since everyone you pass gives you a nice smile and a flick of a nod, you kind of feel like you’re being social. Well, you kind of feel like if you do it once in a while, your skin won’t be so pasty and your eyes look so terrified all the time.

Part of the grand allure of The Great Allegheny Passage is that it makes a nice substitute for hiking The Appalachian Trail. I’ve often told myself I should just put my stuff in storage, select a good trail name, and make like a nomad until I understand all the mysteries of life and/or get eaten by a bear. Of course, my parents are terrified that I’m more likely to be bear food than to be enlightened and when I consider the requirements of the situation, such as buying a bunch of hiking gear, leaving my job for about a year, and somehow managing to pay for all my junk in the meantime, well, I go back in my apartment and play Fat Princess some more.


This gem was done by TheGrossUncle, who has a pretty groovy collection of work over at thegrossuncle.com.

This gem was done by TheGrossUncle, who has a pretty groovy collection of work over at thegrossuncle.com.

But this bike trail would just require that I take a vacation, a few hundred dollars, and head into the woods with all the bike equipment I already own. Plus, Dave said today that he’s getting the itch to get rid of a few things and go buy a bike. And since we all know that Dave is the king of the forest, his doing so would mean that I can bike and hike and camp to my heart’s delight and while I’m busy getting all enlightened, he can tend to the bear fighting.

That’s where he’d rather be anyway. I could strip him of everything but his underwear and drop him off in the woods only to come back three days later and discover him the king of some man tribe, complete with forts, trolleys, and a fully-fledged hunter-gatherer society.

When presented with these fantastic possibilities, I find it difficult to focus on daily tasks like work and hobbies taking showers. 

So for now, there are two potential Jackies: forest hippie child and shut-in cat lady. Maybe my life is about being the latter and constantly seeking the former. I have been hexed with the struggle. This is my burden and I share it now with you.

Quickly: to the forest! 


The End of an Era

10 Nov

Last night, Joe Paterno was handed a letter saying he was fired fifteen minutes before a press conference where it was announced.

A man gives his entire life to an employer and is fired in a letter after he already opted to retire at the end of the season.

Whatever your opinion on the Sandusky Scandal at Penn State University is, make no mistake that this is a study in the power of the media, who put Paterno at the forefront (who it was agreed he did no legal wrongdoing) but allowed Curley to take administrative leave and Shultz to step down on his own, who both failed to take Paterno’s report to the next level and then lied to a grand jury about it.  Later, Curley chose to resign as well.  Why did everyone get an ultimatum from the Board but Paterno? They didn’t get letters; they got their legal fees covered by PSU.

By the way, McQueary, the man who saw Sandusky raping a child with his own eyes, still works there as well. 

I tried to write about other things today; honest.   But hey, instead of reading me today, read an article or two on this situation.  It’s a dynamic and dangerous monster.

Back to the regular business tomorrow, folks.  Thanks for letting me take a break from the typical topics to address something about which I feel very strongly. 

Feel free to discuss your thoughts on the situation, whatever they may be, so long as they’re addressed respectfully.

Why Joe Paterno Shouldn’t Have to Leave

9 Nov

You can call Joe Paterno a coward and I wouldn’t disagree with you.

You can say that if Paterno would have followed through on his report, Jerry Sandusky would have been a sexual predator behind bars instead of a sexual predator roaming campus, luring young boys, and living in the comforts that his Penn State job provided him. You can say that because of the way the allegations against Sandusky were handled, the Penn State name has been tarnished, a cloud has been invited to hover over the famously successful football program, and a myriad of students and alumni are ashamed and disgusted. And again, I wouldn’t disagree with you.

But Joe Paterno shouldn’t have to leave his job unless he wants to; of this I am certain.

For the record, I don’t follow football and I didn’t go to Penn State.  

For those of you unaware of the news that has swept over Happy Valley these past several days, I advise you to Google Jerry Sandusky.  Or if you prefer (and think you can handle the wincing you will undoubtedly do as you read it), here is the Grand Jury Report on the matter.  It’s unpleasant.   It’s the story of young boys being treated badly by a man lacking integrity.

To put it mildly.

There is a rapidly growing consensus that because Paterno did what was required of him by law and no more, he should not stay on as coach of the Penn State football team.  The number of media outlets calling for Joe Paterno’s resignation and/or touting his moral failure include The Tribune Review, the Star-LedgerSports IllustratedNBC SportsESPN RadioThe Altoona Mirror, and a myriad of others.

Perhaps the loudest resonating of these is that of The Patriot News Editorial Board, which featured a front page stating: “There are the obligations we all have to uphold the law. There are then the obligations we all have to do what is right.”

I entirely disagree.

We don’t have any obligation to do what is right.  As a society, we have agreed that we have an obligation to do what is law.  Though we would like to think that people feel morally obligated one way or another above and beyond the call of the law, the fact remains that our obligation insomuch as that we can be held accountable and hold others accountable stops where the law stops.  We are only obligated to do what is required of us, which is exactly what Joe Paterno did.  Having had a report brought to him about Sandusky’s alleged sexually inappropriate act, he reported the matter to his superiors – one of whom (Schulz) was an administrative head of the campus police.

But people don’t disagree that he did what was legally required of him.  In fact, both the Attorney General and the PA State Police Commissioner stated that there has been no legal wrongdoing on the part of Paterno.  The problem is that people believe that when nothing came of the report, Paterno should have done more.   He should have gone above and beyond what was simply required of him and met a higher standard – a super-legal standard – a moralstandard.

For failing this, call him a coward – fine.  Say that he has morally failed – fair.  But you cannot take away a man’s job because of either of those reasons.   

The graduate assistant saw a young boy being raped with his own eyes and yet we do not focus our wrath on him.  Paterno reported the incident to his superiors, who were legally obligated to report it.  They did not.  And yet we are not content to focus our wrath only on them.   We want Joe, because while we agree that he did what was required of him, we believe that what was required of him was not enough. 

I believe that’s our problem as a society, not his. If we want to hold people to a higher standard, then we must improve the state of our legislation.  We must require more of people.  We must see to it that the bare minimum is enough.  Because in examples such as this, that is all people will do and it fails to protect the innocent.

I don’t believe Paterno should have to leave his post as the PSU football coach because I don’t think we should be in the business of asking people to leave their jobs because they fail morally.  Yes, I think he could have and should have done more.  Yes, I think there’s something wrong with the structure of report within the University’s guidelines.  Yes, I think that had something more been done, a plethora of boys could have been spared alleged victimization by Sandusky.

But I don’t think Penn State can implement a reporting structure that has clearly failed and then penalize one of its employees when they fail to go above and beyond that reporting structure.   Likewise, we cannot agree that Paterno did nothing illegal and seek punishment nonetheless.

Joe Paterno did what was required of him and no more.  He could have, and he should have.  We can call him a coward, we can say that he morally failed, but we should not call on him to resign.  

Update: Paterno announced that he would retire at the end of the season in the wake of the PSU scandal, saying that that Board need not spend any time on figuring out how to handle the situation because they had more important matters to address. Sadly, the Board of Trustees at PSU fired Joe Paterno via a hand-delivered letter on Wednesday, November 9th.

Yo Ho, Yo Ho, It’s a Pirates Life for Me

19 Jul

Last night, I became a true American.

There are many things I’m trying for the first time this year as a result of my Lollipop Tuesday series.   Some are surprising new forays into the underbelly of society, and some are just things I never experienced because I’m a crotchety old coot.  Last night I ticked another of the latter off the bucket list by attending my first baseball game.

Happy Lollipop Tuesday, ladies and gentlemen.

Pirates vs. Cardinals

Photo by "_rockinfree". Click to check out their Flickr Photostream.

I have to say — I was incredibly surprised at how much I enjoyed the experience.   For starters, up until this year the Bucs have sucked pretty hard.  Pittsburgh has some pretty hardcore (and admittedly obnoxious) fans, but even the steeliest ‘burgher had a hard time mustering an ounce of pride for the team with the longest consecutive losing streak in baseball history (18!) .

Besides being tickled to see the Buccaneers soar to the top of the division, the entire experience was littered with good times.  I arrived a bit after 7pm to see a few balls thrown before a torrential downpour brought the game to a long halt.

You’d think that in 2011 there would be some sort of high-tech method for protecting the ball field from rain, but there isn’t.  It’s just a an energetic pit crew pulling a huge tarp over the grass, and it’s highly entertaining.  What, with all the bright yellow boots and the raking and dirt buckets and puddle dispersing, who needs to watch the game to have a good time?

At about 10:00, the game got up and running again and I was privy to a host of activities I wasn’t expecting.  Like the Buccaneer Brigade: a team of women armed with canons that launch t-shirts and hot dogs at the audience.  Or a pierogi race.  Literally – 4 giant costumed pierogies racing each other around the field.  And watching the ocassional foul ball or wiener smack an unsuspecting patron in the schnoz never got old.

Who knew there was so much activity at a ball game that had nothing to do with actually playing? Not this girl.

I have to admit the food is pretty darn delicious.   Even with the national anthem at the top of the game and the fireworks behind the American flag when we won, I couldn’t cross the threshold to truly embracing my inner Americana until I chowed down on a footlong hot dog.

True Americans eat hogs.

Of course, I’m actually Native American so my idea of returning to my American roots should be more like eating a buffalo burger. But I digress.

To be honest, I really didn’t expect to have a good time last night.  I expected to sit there and pay my dues and try to learn a thing or two from the two baseball veterans I brought with me.  As it turned out, I learned a lot of interesting strategy hubbub about the game and was content enough to sit in the rain for 2 hours until it started up again.  In fact, I might go back.

After all, I’m curious as to what getting hit by a hot dog shot out of a canon feels like.

This Is Steeler Nation (Yinz)

5 Feb

One of the many incredible things about the city of Pittsburgh is that it is always  excited about the Steelers.  Regardless of whether or not we make it to the Super Bowl, we have shops all around town solely dedicated to the love of the big, hairy team and they are always busy.   I must admit that the thrill of tomorrow’s game got me in such a hype that I ventured into one of the most famous of the Steelers gear outlets in The Strip District for a few Terrible Towels.  Because a Pittsburgher – or any true Steelers fan for that matter – cannot be seen in a social setting where cheering for Pittsburgh is taking place without the use of the Terrible Towel.  It’s borderline treason.  There are guards on every bridge into the city (which is a lot for a city that holds the world record for most bridges), ready to take those whom have committed this near-crime to the Allegheny County Jail for questioning of their loyalty.
I am not a native Pittsburgher.  I moved here from Central PA for school and have lovingly hung out ever since.  It has a little to do with it being the Most Livable City in the nation, and a lot more to do with how lovable it is.   It’ s just big enough to do big things and small enough to make you feel like you live in a town.   It’s chock full of museums, art, theater, and community members who really, truly care about people – and has the enormous, free, often-used Schenley Park nestled inside.  It’s a very residential-based city – bustling with a variety of ma and pa shops.   Perhaps my favorite quality is that each neighborhood within the city’s reach has its own entirely unique culture: Shadyside for its luxurious flair, Southside for its earthy, party-hard approach, Oakland for its superfluity of hopeful, energetic college students, Squirrel Hill, for having so many practicing Orthodox Jews that the Dunkin’ Donuts is kosher… It really is a wonderful place to live, full of adventure and life.    Once you stay for any extended period of time, it’s difficult to not just settle down and make a life out of it.  It’s just so darn lovable.
So you have to understand that Pittsburgh fans are fans like no other.  They’re rowdy, in your face, and obnoxious about their steely loyalty.   I have a close friend – let’s call her Peach – who said she hated the Steelers simply because of their fans.  And you know what? I entirely understand where she’s coming from.  Because I was there for the latest Super Bowl win – I actually stood outside for 5 minutes straight listening to the collective screaming from inside every house in a 10 mile radius.
And then I swiftly made my way to Oakland to watch a couch be set on fire.
So I get it – we’re excitable.  But we’re just so stoked to have something to get behind together – the colors Black and Gold.
So I’d like to share with you a few glimpses of Pittsburgh’s pride.   The first is above – the marquee on my local movie theater.  I don’t believe it needs an explanation.
I could have easily taken snapshots of anyone on the executive floor at work today to share as the second glimpse- each one donned a very fashionable Steelers getup.  Because as much as it’s important to look professional, you best not show up the workday before the Super Bowl without your black and gold.
And then there’s the school system.  When I moved here for school, I was shocked at how my teachers would offer extra credit to students who wore a Steelers jersey the class before a game.  Unable to afford an official jersey, I was mostly ticked that I couldn’t get an extra half point.   But this year, the Pittsburgh Public School System has taken it even further – by making a preemptive call that Monday morning constitutes a two hour delay.
In addition, I’ve included a picture below of St. Clair Hospital’s newest additions to the world wrapped in Terrible Towels in celebration of the Steelers going to the Super Bowl.  It’s a tradition that started in 2008 and is proudly maintained.

Little Steeler Babies

So there you have it – my take on the lovable, hateable, always loyal Steeler fandom.   We don’t mean to be obnoxious; it’s just that we’re too into the Steelers to notice that we are.  I hope you can understand. 

Take a moment and check out Lynn Cullen’s take on the Green Bay / Pittsburgh match up.   He hails from Wisconsin but is firmly nestled in the ‘burgh and this article from the Pittsburgh City Paper painted Green Bay in a light that made me almost root for them.   Because they’re pretty darn lovable too.  


This is real.


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