Cleveland Sports

This clock. Oh, this clock. Let me backtrack for a moment.

I was born and bred in Cleveland. I’ve lived in a few different places since I left home, but Cleveland will always be in my blood. One of the ways in which I get reminded of that is EVERY SINGLE MAJOR SPORTS SEASON, which pretty much is year-round. Cleveland is famously bad at sports — the last major championships won were the Browns NFL Championship (this was PRE-Superbowl!) in 1964 and the Indians’ World Series in 1948. Someone who could reasonably say they remember the Indians winning the World Series would be around 70 years old now.

It’s not just that we don’t win, it’s that we don’t win in heartbreaking fashion — here’s a great infographic to illustrate the depth of our despair. One of the most (if not the most) gut-wrenching parts of our history is when the Browns left in 1995.

Cleveland was on an upswing in Fall 1995 — the world-famous, I. M. Pei-designed Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum had just opened its doors and the Indians had posted the best regular season record in baseball at 100-44 and subsequently made it to the World Series for the first time since 1954 (spoiler alert: they lost.). Then, on November 6, Browns owner Art Modell announced that it was no longer financially viable to keep the Browns in Cleveland. He was taking football, arguably the country’s most beloved sport, out of Cleveland. It would be four years before we’d have a new team, and even then, it was an expansion team — our team was leaving forever for Baltimore, where they’d become the Ravens. Yes, the Ravens, the team who drafted Ray Lewis the very next spring, won the Superbowl five years later, and have been in the playoffs seven times since then, culminating in last season, when they won the Superbowl for a SECOND time. It’s enough to make you vomit.

But you know what? We don’t do that. I mean, sure, grousing about sports is part of being a Clevelander, but the people we are? We temper it with a sneaking sense of hope and optimism, which brings me back to the clock. When football left Cleveland in its dust, this clock was installed at Tower City, our downtown mall. It was a countdown of how many days there were till football came back to us, and served as a reminder that as bad as it gets (and again, look at that infographic. It’s been BAD.), we’ll always keep looking forward.

Maybe this season will be the season, you never know, and we can’t give up. Cleveland fans don’t leave before the game’s over, which is way more than I can say for fans of other teams, including fans of my beloved USC Trojans, sorry to say. Of course Cleveland fans would love it if our teams would just friggin’ win more, or more to the point, win when it counts (the Indians seem to delight in playing their best baseball in the first month of the season, and then not making the playoffs). But we would also never ever abandon our team for a more winning one. Since leaving home, I’ve primarily lived in Seattle and LA, and when asked if I’ll root for those teams, my reply is always, “Sure, I’m totally a Mariners/Seahawks/Sonics (sorry, Seattle)/Dodgers/Lakers/Clippers fan, except when they’re playing Cleveland,” which, come on, is only fair.

So all of that is to say that when I saw this video this morning, I felt for this kid, but also felt a sense of disgust.
[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6rw2w2NNTs%5D
Cry your tears, kid, then buck up and stand by your goddamned team. It’s what we’d do in Cleveland, and it’s only right.

(Photo courtesy of The Cincinnati Enquirer)

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LA Kings Kisscam

I generally deplore forced public affection. Not that I dislike any public affection — I certainly engage in it myself, and I think it’s sweet to see people spontaneously showing their love for one another. But that’s just the thing: it’s sweet because it’s spontaneous. Thankfully, I’m with a dude that agrees with me — below is his reaction to when people started clinking on their glasses at our wedding reception.

After he shot out that look, we quickly kissed and there were no more calls to “KISS ALREADY,” thank god. (don’t even get me started on how incredibly cringeworthy I find big public proposals.)

But you guys, you guys: the LA Kings Kisscam from their Game 7 against San Jose last night might have turned me. Come for the insane sweetness of the David/Harper Beckham kiss at 1:09; stay for the hilarious kiss-a-thon at 0:33 where a lady kisses FIVE guys, but ends up shafting the guy behind her (not like that, ew); and finish strong with the adorable Kings uber-fans at 1:46 who apparently are a regular feature on the Kisscam. Aww indeed.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2f32zx0kjA%5D

PS Kings won! Go, Kings! Beat the Red Wings/Blackhawks!

(Photo by Stephanie Cristalli)

Parental Leave




Evan sent me an article today on the differences between the Danish and American healthcare systems/social policies, and it made me curious about the specific lengths of parental leave in various countries. I had heard anecdotally about how very different it is in other countries, but to see the actual numbers was a total gut-punch.

According to Wikipedia (because, duh), the US is one of only four countries (the others are Liberia, Papua New Guinea, and Swaziland) that guarantees exactly zero days of paid maternity leave and — of course — zero days of paid paternity leave).

I am choosing to not be depressed at this. When I went on maternity leave, I was lucky to be in a situation where I was able to cobble together 16 weeks of vacation days, sick days, state disability (note that California is one of the few US states that mandates some paid leave for new parents), and disability from my insurance company — even then, I wasn’t being fully paid, and I spent quite a bit of time during my leave on the phone with various agencies to ensure that everything went smoothly. Even more fortuitously for us, Evan was in a flexible-enough work situation that he was able to take four weeks off, followed by being on call for the rest of my THE-BABY-WON’T-STOP-CRYING-EVER emergencies. We were, and are, very very lucky indeed.

But if we ever decide to go down that path again, I can’t say I won’t be pulling up this list again, as a guide for where we should probably move to first. Maybe Denmark? Sweden? Or if we don’t want to venture too far from home, Canada offers new parents 35 weeks to split between them (in addition to 15 weeks of maternity leave), which sounds pretty good, eh? See, I’m a natural already!

(All photos of us taken during those first 16 weeks of Zoe’s life.)

Convos with my 2-year-old

Zoe will be 2 in July, and these days, depending on the moment, she’s either a complete delight or a total terror. Thankfully, at this age, both extremes are still kinda hilarious to us. One funny thing that she does now is this: whenever she can’t manage something on her own, like open a jar, turn a doorknob, or peel a sticker off the page, she grabs my hand, carefully puts it on the offending item, and then looks at me expectantly (sometimes, she exclaims, “OUT!”).

The bossiness will be strong in that one, that’s for sure.

So this adorable video is like a glimpse into my near, near future. Eek! Keep me in your thoughts, people.

PS for those interested in more toddler sass, make sure you follow the hilarious Honest Toddler account!

Star Trek: Into Darkness

Evan and I did something bad last week. Not, like, cosmically-evil-bad, not even in-any-way-illegal bad. More like the type of thing that you tell little kids about and they all intone “OOOOOOOH!” in unison, but still want to hear about: we played hooky from work for a few hours and snuck off to a movie!

Our regular sitter is gone for a few weeks, and rather than dip into the well of our backup sitters during the start of the busy summer movie season, we reserved a few quiet hours last Friday and suited up (not really, thank god) for a Star Trek matinee. And man alive, am I glad we did! I’d been feeling pretty grumpy about the quality of movies we’d seen recently (42, blah. Iron Man, ugh. Gatsby, gorgeous, but ick.), and while, yes, the latest Star Trek is ridden with more plot holes than a macramé plant holder, it’s also a lot of damn fun.

These don’t hurt:

But for my money, the best part of the whole experience is the sheer scenery-chewing gusto with which Benedict Cumberbatch* embraces every single line he’s given. A sneak peek:


It’s not just his delightful over-enunciation and Rickman-esque bass tones — he’s a truly delightful adversary, one whose magnetism leaves the protagonists’ and our heads spinning just enough that we don’t notice the extent of his evil strategizing (or lack thereof, at times!). He’s definitely the most memorable movie villain I’ve seen in years, and Cumberbatch’s portrayal is enough to recommend the movie, though, for sure, it has plenty of other exhilaratingly enjoyable bits.

All in all, totally recommended, even if you don’t have the added excitement of playing hooky added to your viewing experience!

* As already noted by all who’ve encountered him, Benedict Cumberbatch really is a phenomenal name, made more so by his (largely female) fandom, who of course are known as Cumberbitches. Ha!

(Top photo courtesy of Kellidaisy.com, bottom two courtesy of Tumblr)

The Baby Bachelor

So this may be only the second-best Bachelor parody out there, but it provided both today’s guffaw-till-I-cry moment of the day* and the very real hope that my kid will be much easier to understand in just six months or so!

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oavg_YqE7w8%5D

* Isn’t it weird how much we expect this now? Pre-internet, I feel like I had a laugh-till-my-stomach-hurt moment maybe once every two weeks or so, and now, it’s seriously daily. Have I grown much better at finding things that tickle my funny bone, or am I just supremely sillier than I used to be?

(Photo courtesy of Someecards)