Although I am a couch potato with no equal, I love to read the sports pages and have been reading them for 30 years. I started when I found myself seated next to middle age men at dinner with absolutely nothing to talk about. These guys terrified me. I was 22. I assumed, mostly rightly, that they might like to talk about sports as their other interest, finance and investments, was not something I wanted to talk about at dinner. That was my twenties: small children and stockbrokers at dinner.
So I begin to read the sports pages and find out quickly that I can't just talk the latest information. If I am going to be a real talker, I must know the stats. Sigh. Okay, so I started learning the stats and with my fairly good memory, was able to talk the latest stories, opine highly on the portentions, and back up my keen observations with the stats. Such an avid sports enthusiast I am. Right. Well, it got me through another then another business dinner as my husband's career began to build. Good thing I'm not married to him no more.
But I still read the sports pages and even, no this is true, Sports Illustrated and that ESPN Magazine. I like 'em both. What I like is the poetry and the prose. Oh I hear you laughing and I hear those snorts, just don't think I don't. Snickers carry. But know this: I think sports writers are the best writers of any publication--this is something that I have watched and tested for 30 years now and with my sharp analytical skills and phenomenal expertise in sports, I tell you this with complete certainty: sports writers and the sports pages are the best.
They just call it--there is no couching what they saw, positioning the missed shot or lost opportunity, and no matter what, always, ALWAYS, someone wins, someone loses. Can't spin that. There is nuthin' gray about the sports. The writers know this and just lay it all down. Most of them also love the game and what they write about is the game so they don't take themselves seriously and THAT I really like.
Anyway, my beloved Portland Pilots Women's Soccer team finds themselves on their way to the College Cup, a carnation of the NCAA sports marketing group, as the Final Four, its previous name, is a thing reserved only for basketball. Let's just get all this straight, for crying out loud. And I think it's okay with the Pilots, because no matter what they're calling it, the Pilots just want to play. They've got a Dream Team this year; no injuries, no fights, no ambition in adequacies. They got a whole locker room full of MVPs. But there is one girl, a little, tiny girl, that really has climbed into my heart and wanders around my head still, even though it was last Friday night that I saw her play.
Lindsey Huie is one tough mama. She can make the big play, she can block the big shot, she can blast up, she can run right back, she can kick the length of the sideline. She is little tiny and has one great set of feet. The thing that's interesting to me about her is that she plays with marked dispassion. She doesn't scream. Her face doesn't contort; she rarely clenches her fists; she never spits. She moves though her game and plays team with a cold-bloodedness that is eery and a little unsettling. Soccer players are rock and roll folks; they sweat, they pant, they bite their lip, they yell, they wave their arms, they kick everything in sight. And that's either on or off the field. But not this kid. She just goes out there and guts out what needs to happen. And she knows exactly everything that her teammates need and sees that they get it.
A guy from The Oregonian writes a great story about her in the Sunday paper. Turns out "Huie's calm in the soccer storm stems from her tumultuous childhood; not much ratlles her on a soccer field." The guy then puts down what I think could be the quote of the century:
"I am thankful for the life I've had, she said. I wasn't spoon-fed like a lot fo private school kids who fall apart when things go wrong. I think I am more prepared to deal with things."
This is in the paper! Say, Lindsey, the guy asks her, What about the final four? What about the match up with Penn State, the only other unbeaten team in the nation? Isn't that going to be a really tough game? She replies,
"I say it's better to be us than somebody else."
He closes with the comment that it's good to be Lindsey Huie, too. Brilliant! He puts this kid and her story away with a finesse that only comes from telling it like it is. Win/lose. Missed/made. Bing/bang. And that's what I like about sports writers and the sports pages: it's just fine to be yourself and when it's working really well, it's better to be you than anybody else in the world....
for DFO, who reports back on the game and if the shot was made
The 'Kan EWA