Batsh*t Crazy

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Some people love professional football (American or the other kind), basketball, hockey and/or baseball.  Translation… love = go batsh*t crazy for.  They plunge into a deep and wide valley of depression when the season is over.  The Internet provides a critical, possibly life saving service to these diehard (translation… diehard = batsh*t crazy) fans.  They‘re able to connect with other like-minded (translation… like-minded = batsh*t crazy) fans via email, message boards and social media.  They can immerse themselves into an alternate reality, like a 14 year old with World of Warcraft, that appears to decrease the anxiety of the wait until the start of new season.  My husband is one of these types.  I’m thankful.  It keeps him off the streets.

Some people live for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament and the chance to relieve Warren Buffett of (say it like Dr. Evil) “one billion dollars” with their bracket selections.  This year I got ten correct picks out of a possible sixty three.  Banner year for me.

Some people have been in a state of ultimate bliss since the World Cup started on June 12th.  The “every four year” type of event allows for forty seven months of depression and hysteria-building.  That’s pretty special.

I watched the USA vs. Belgium match last week at a very crowded, hot, stinky bar.  I’m on the wagon, was at least 15 years older than the next oldest person there, had to stand up the entire game crammed up against a very large sweaty man who was drunk, and the USA lost.  It pretty much sucked for me.  I did win $36 in an idiot proof random pool though.  That notched me up to being okay with it all…

Add Wimbledon (OMG) into the mix and some people out there have been chain smoking since Sunday they’re so positively orgasmic.

But honestly, none of the above can even remotely compare to the greatest sporting event in the entire universe which started last Saturday.  I see heads nodding out there in total agreement…

The Tour de France! Ta da!

(cue cricket sounds…)

No really – it is!  Everyday for three weeks in July, I’m glued to the TV set for 5 to 6 hours starting at 6:30 AM or so to be able to watch it live.  It’s way better when you watch it live.   Except for the commercials.   You get really tired of the same seven commercials after three weeks.

Of course I DVR the entire thing as well.  You never know when you might need to revisit a particularly interesting section of cobbles that caused three cyclists to brake their collar bones.  Or see moronic, idiotic fans get mowed down again while trying to take selfies in the middle of the road with their backs to 200 charging cyclists.  It’s all great fun!

My son’s to blame. He became interested in cycling as a hobby during the late 2000’s and was smitten. Instead of a daughter-in-law, I have three-bikes-in-law – road, time trial and mountain.  And two grandkittens.  I think that’s going to be it from him.

He started watching the Tour de France right before he took up cycling.  It inspired him.  I started watching it with him for a little “mother-son” bonding time.  But it all seemed a bit silly – grown men riding bikes trying to beat each other to Paris over three weeks. It would have taken them a lot less time to get there if they had taken a direct route, but they went all over kingdom come to finally end up in Paris.  What was up with that?  I did, however, love the breathtaking scenery on many of the stages and those fit young men in their little biking shorts.  Hey – I’m old, not dead!  Aging gracefully my ass…

Over the course of the next two years, I learned the real skinny about professional cycling.  The Tour de France (and other similar cycling races) is an athletic symphony blending world class talent, strength, skill, courage, daring, strategy, dedication and intelligence in the perfect song of sport.  I’m not biased.  Really.

Expect to hear more from me on this in the next three weeks.

Cycling = Best. Sport. Ever.

Yeah – I’m batsh*t crazy.

I Wanna Hold Your Musette!

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I was young when “Meet the Beatles” was released in the U.S.  Just barely ten years old.  I’m pretty sure I watched the Beatles on The Ed “really big shoo” Sullivan Show in February, 1964. But I’m also pretty sure I didn’t understand Beatlemania, and why all those girls were screaming and crying and ripping their hair out.  But the Fab Four faced some pretty stiff competition for attention in my ten year old life – the formidable likes of Julie Andrews, Colorforms and my Barbie!

A couple years later, I got it.  The Monkees exploded onto TV in 1966.  I was totally smitten.  Beatles smeatles – THESE guys had talent and no funny accents.  Classic!  I used to pass notes – a quaint, ancient form of texting – in school with a fellow Monkee lover.  We drew little pictures in the corners of our notes of Mikes’ cute little wool hat, ever present on his head.  Now I wonder if his head ever got hot.

I even saw them in “concert”.  I’m still not sure who actually played the instruments, but ignorance is bliss and I screamed until I had no voice.

I’d forgotten how it felt to have that primitive, star struck, visceral response that reduces you to squealing mass of tongue tied tween.  Until last summer…

I went to the Tour de France.

I’ll pause for a minute to let that sink in…

If you’re not a professional cycling fan, you won’t get it.  I’m not even sure I get it.  I don’t even ride a bike.

All I know is that I became a quivering, teeny bopping mess all over again.  I saw, live and in person, the professional cyclists I greatly admire and knew only from my Mac and flat screen TV!   Incredibly talented, world class athletes in the most grueling endurance sporting event in the world, and some of them were standing right beside me.

On the outside, I played it cool.  Most of the time.

Inside, I was a roiling, tumultuous, star struck twelve year old who just wanted to squeal, “OMG, is that Marcel Kittel sitting over there?”  and  “OMG, there’s Peter Sagan!!” and “OMG…Jens! Jens!! JENS!!!”  And sometimes, despite attempts to control myself, it just came squealing out – quietly – anyway.  I couldn’t help it.

My 36 year old Australian TDF roommate didn’t know what to make of me.  I think I scared her a little.  So, okay…you know you’re really kind of nuts if you out-crazy an Aussie cycling fan, right?  I think I scared myself a little.

But boy, did it feel good to be so thrilled and excited and passionate about something on such a gut level!  To give yourself the permission to feel that innocent joy and limitless possiblity of your youth again after so many years.  Catnip for the soul.  Fountain of youth for the spirit.  Definitely NOT aging gracefully!

Amgen Tour of California this year anybody?  I promise, I’ll try to control myself.

Or not.