All posts tagged: Sports & Outdoors

Green on the Green: Learning Golf at 59

Amy hits the green on the Kissing Camels Course in Colorado Springs last month. (Photo courtesy of the author) The ball sat high on the tee, as if waiting patiently while I ran through my mental checklist.  Lean forward – but not too much. Bend your knees – but not too much.  Turn your hips and shoulders – but not your head. Follow through – definitely follow through. I swung the club, anticipating the thwack! that signals a solid drive. Nope. Not a sound, except the swoosh of my driver pushing the air.  This frustrating scenario is a familiar one, as I have recently set about learning the torturous sport of golf.  It feels weird to be an absolute beginner at age 59. I’m a veteran at so many things at this point: writing, marriage, mothering, and yoga, to name a few. But in the realm of golf, a true beginner is what I am indeed, right down to having to learn the anatomy of a golf club. (Who knew there was a heel and …

ESPN the Magazine Shutters

Block & Tackle: My Role in Redefining Sports Journalism

At a fancy Manhattan restaurant, over a very mid-90’s seared tuna salad, I make an impassioned pitch to be the creative director of a sports magazine. I tell the editor-in-chief, Gary Hoenig, that his startup needs a new visual presence and that I am the man for the job.  Gary has an overwhelming aura — a true New Yorker and a bear of a man. I’ve been drawn to his warmth, intelligence, and egalitarian approach since we started discussing my potential role at a new publication called ESPN The Magazine. The idea of working with an editor who wants to bring a little wit and self-deprecation to the world of sports is appealing. And it somehow feels like I’ve known him my whole life. Gary asks for another baguette (this was pre-Atkins), and I am suddenly desperate for him to take me to a Knicks game and buy me a hot dog.  But wait. Sports? I’ve spent five years designing Metropolis, an architecture and design publication whose latest cover featured a modern $95 toilet brush. Designing …

The Necessary Hell of Exercise

I played rugby in college and was the captain of the team my senior year, but my time as a rugger was cut short when I tore my ACL and had to have reconstructive knee surgery. If I stopped here and didn’t say anything else, you might be left with an image of me as an athlete — and I wouldn’t mind being thought of that way — but my tragic flaw is that I am painfully honest, especially when it’s at my own expense. The truth is that I am not, nor have I ever been, athletic. I played one season of T-ball in kindergarten, and a highlight reel would consist of that time I stood too close to the batter and took a bat to the head and the occasion in which I slid into first base on my face. I did play volleyball in seventh grade, but only because my mom made me — and I quit two weeks later because I took a ball to the mouth. And I hated the …

Mother of Game: Lessons from the Sidelines

(Graphic: Helen Jane Hearn/TueNight.com) I sat in the gym with my ass flattening on the wood bleacher. This occasionally alternated with sitting on soccer fields where the same ass is suspended more forgivingly in a camp chair. It’s a butt-annihilator, but I prefer the gym. I have no memory of what I did during weekends before basketball and soccer fused themselves to my being like an exoskeleton. Was I at the theater? Pickling breakfast radishes? Whatever I was doing didn’t include camp chairs — a product both nifty and humiliating. My son’s team was getting crushed. This was local basketball and different from the travel team he also plays for — this one has volunteer coaches with a gentle vibe. Not harrowing. But feelings creep in. There are impotent frustrations. If only they did this, they’d be winning. If only I could shout some advice to my son, Griffin and the other kids, this game would turn around. I’ve never played basketball, not a single game, but I’m convinced I’d coach to victory. The previous …

The Second Set: A SAHM Puts Her Tennis Game to Work

Kate on the tennis court. (Photo courtesy of Kate Goldberg) I charge down the line and join my doubles partner at the net. We are prepared to crush anything that comes our way. It’s a glorious spring day and we are dominating our first match of the season. Our opponent sends a lob in my direction, but unfortunately (for her) it doesn’t catch enough height to clear my head. I rotate my body sideways, point upward to locate the ball in the glistening sun and wind my tennis racquet around in perfect form before delivering the devastating overhead shot that could win us the game. “Deeeeep,” our opponent calls from the other side of the net. “Are you freakin’ kidding me,” I say, under my breath, certain that the ball was way inside the line. My partner Chrissy runs over, tells me to “shake it off” (who the hell is she, Taylor Swift?) and convinces me to keep playing. We win the match on the next point, shake hands with the ladies we just defeated …

Margit’s Note: Games People Play

(Graphic: Helen Jane Hearn/TueNight.com) Stretched out on the shag carpet with your pals, you’re Operating. All eyes are on Kim, who is delicately attempting to pincer the Charley Horse, quivering and steadying when BLEEP! The nose is ablaze. HA! Let me show you how it’s done, SHAKEY. It’s the first time you ever talk smack. You feel a little bad about it. (Nah, not really — that’s 48-year-old you talking.) There will be more smack to come in life. On the field hockey field, getting in your opponent’s head and then losing. Dramatically. Driving to the away game explaining to your 10-year-old daughter that you can’t always win, but there’s something called sportsmanship. (Sportspersonship?) Or, you can’t always win, but you keep trying. Even when the other person is across the way waving their giant “Number 1” foam finger in your face, you don’t quit. You try to get better. And sometimes you have to wait for your “J-Mac” moment to shine. There are valuable life lessons in every game — whether played with a …

TueNight Labels Nancy Gonzales

The Unapologetic Soccer Mom. Got a Problem?

Nancy Gonzalez (circled), Soccer Mom (Photo: Courtesy Nancy Gonzalez/TueNight.com) You’ve probably seen the Soccer Mom video that explains the three different types of soccer moms: the one that sits and reads a magazine or book and has no concept of the game; the overprotective mom slathering sunscreen on her kids, with orange slices at the ready during half time; and the one that knows every detail and every player in the game. The last, while well-intentioned, is probably the most annoying of the three. And that’s me. I am a Soccer Mom of the highest degree. I didn’t start out that way, hell, I didn’t even know much about the game. I’m a creative type, a graphic designer who would spend more time making elaborate birthday cards for my kids or sifting through estate sales for fantastic, bizarre finds. When my daughter was in the second grade, my husband was our daughter’s coach and I’d just stand on the sidelines yelling, “Go Purple People Eaters!” or “Go [insert team name].” But after a few years of …

I Joined a Rollerderby Team at 46

(Photo courtesy Shelly Rabuse) Here’s the thing: Most weekdays I’m a website designer, jewelry crafter and mom with a 13-year-old daughter and a husband who works in finance. And while I live in the suburbs of Philly, I’m not your typical 46-year-old suburban mom. On weekends I like to “jam,” throw “whips” and “booty block.” And by jam, I don’t mean canning up strawberries. This kind of jamming. I’m a brand new member of the Penn Jersey Roller Derby team. How did I get here? My history of roller derby goes something like this: Philadelphia Warrior: One Saturday afternoon, when I was 14-years-old-ish, I happened to be watching roller derby on a black-and-white TV in my room. My dad came in, flipped out and told me “you aren’t supposed to be watching that junk.” Remember, in the ’70s, women’s roller derby was more like pro-wrestling with women really slugging each other. Some of the same people in those leagues — like the Philadelphia Warriors — are now our coaches. It wasn’t like I had any …

Margit’s Note: We’ve Got Game

Ah, gym class. The girl driving down the court for the reverse layup. The girl smoking clove cigarettes behind the bleachers. You might have been one or the other, or a combination of both. We have a love/hate relationship with sports, after all. We love to run, we hate to run, we love the game, we’d rather be reading a book. But thank god we have the option. Here at TueNight HQ we’ve been talking a lot about Title IX — the landmark civil rights law that allowed for (among other things) girls to get a fair shake in athletics. Enacted in 1972, it’s about as old as we are. And many of us — and our children, nieces, sisters — have directly benefitted from it. So this week we’re looking at the subject of Sport, a word that connotes frivolity and leisure as much as it does competition. We like to think we’re good sports. Bethanne Patrick gives us two books that offer what it takes to win in Front to Backlist. We have two stories …

Football & Me: Where is the Love?

Lee Corso (left) as “Big Al” and Kirk Herbstreit on ESPN. (Photo: TueNight’s TV Sett) It’s that time of year again. Every year, around Labor Day, a virus creeps into my household (and 99.9% of America’s households), settling into its primary host: a television screen. In an effort to try to understand this phenomenon, I’ll occasionally stand in front of this screen, watching colorful dots of moving, huddling figures grouping to the left, then to the right and then to the left again. Accompanying this is a persistent, roaring noise that crescendos as the swirl of dots mash into each other or break-off from the pack. Usually this culminates in a piercing whistle. “Honey, can you please move, I’m trying to watch the game.” Football season. The time when my husband deeply considers the value of buying an NFL Sunday Ticket (access to every single football game). A time when the couch becomes something to be negotiated. And as hard as I try (ok, I don’t try that hard), I can’t seem to follow the …

Tri Hard: How I Woke Up to “Go Time”

Before the start of my first triathlon, I had a couple of random thoughts. As I waded into the Hudson River, the first was that the water looked really murky, and equally disgusting. The second was, “Oh, just get over it.” Dipping my body down into the brown water, I put my face under for just a second. The water was cold through my wetsuit, and my feet squished on something underneath through my dive socks. Ewww. When did the jock in me get this precious? In our black wetsuits and yellow swim caps, bouncing up and down in the water, all of us women in the first wave looked nearly identical.  I remember thinking how comical it must appear from the shore. Waiting for the horn to sound, I looked quickly up at the beach to see my husband, family, and friends, who had come to cheer me on. Like a distant safety blanket. *** At some point in my mid-40s, I began to notice myself aging at a rate that seemed like hyperspeed. …