loving, living and losing…or grace

What a Super Bowl Sunday! Just like NBC’s exceptional marathon coverage began early in the day, I started early, too. Everything turned out lovely except for the outcome I wanted. So, my dearly beloved Patriots lost. Heavy sigh.

Congratulations to the Giants and the fans of New York. But, I’ve ended up changing a lot of this original post due to the articles, tweets and news reports I have read and tried to digest today. Also, a quick thank you for all the nice emails, messages and tweets. I’m going to be fine.

(ADHD moment: AstroTurf makes a great tablecloth! I’ll definitely be using it for Kentucky Derby Day.)

As a follow-up to my last post, I feel that I need to add a few lines about every day sportsmanship, or as I like to call it, every day grace. Watching a close game like this can bring out the best or the worst in someone. It is more widely damaging when the worst is brought out in influential characters with a wider audience. A sports loss is disappointing and heartbreaking, but it is also where loyalty begins. When you choose to participate as a spectator and take it upon yourself to root for a specific team, you commit to being a fan. And, as with every commitment, there is a risk of disappointment.

 

Taking a risk is living. I would take disappointment, heartbreak and just the rush of putting myself out there and trying, over feeling like I never truly LIVED. (And, FYI, you can mimic that rush just by walking into your local “Zumba” class.)

Think of the great lengths we go through to create all of the Santa magic for our kids. Why not go to those lengths everyday for yourself? There is a great quote by Diane Ackerman , “I don’t want to get to the end of life and find that I lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.” I thought about this quote deeply as I committed to starting this blog. Living the “width” of life is one of the best descriptions I can give of “Living Lola”.

Why would I take the time to do anything and not add my own, special “Lola” flair. I am suited up. I am here to play full-out. And, dance at half-time!

Today, I am not embarrassed or humiliated by my team. I am disappointed by the finger-pointing, blame game that has ensued in the media.

The New England Patriots will endure the negativity. Even, Giselle is being criticized. “Vogue-ing” for 30 years, Madonna is never immune. But, you can’t say that any of them aren’t putting themselves out there. They are all living full-out.

The “haters” are out in full force. But, it is just so obvious that the haters are the ones that are stuck. They can’t take the risk.  They haven’t learned to live full-out. Sure, it’s easier to not suit up. It is definitely less scary.

Oh, but to live a wide life!

 Patriots, thank you for a great season. We got to cheer you on into February. Most teams were out of it by the New Year. But once again, we we’re AFC Champs.

And it was sweet!

I would be remiss if I didn’t share one Super Bowl recipe …

Lola’s Mini Corn Dog’s

1 cup course ground cornmeal

1 1/2 cups of Pioneer pancake mix

1 egg

3/4-1 cup of milk

2 TBS of olive oil

Heat oil to 350. (Larkin says peanut oil works best, we used canola) Cut hot dogs into bite size pieces. Dredge in batter and place into hot oil. Cook until golden brown.

Note: The batter was so good that Larkin and my brother-in-law, Tim, just had to deep fry a slider. Yep. They really did.

A Woman’s Ode to Football

I love football. And, this is the big week.

It is particularly big for me since my home team is playing. Well, my “other home”, New England. My love for the Patriots is no big surprise to my Twitter followers. But, many here in Houston, Texas just don’t understand. Also, it makes sense for me to cheer for a state in which we pay property taxes and will pay a total of 4 Boston universities/college tuitions.

I have been watching football as long as I can remember because my dad watched football. When I was 8, I started drill team. Until I was 20 years old, there wasn’t a football season that went by that I wasn’t dancing at a half-time show somewhere in Texas.

I still remember the head coach of our local youth football team, facing 65 little girls, explaining football fundamentals to us, just so we would know why we were showing up every Saturday morning, to sit in the bleachers in our sparkly uniforms and cheer on our “Space Bandits”. I was 10.  I knew all of the players, some were my neighbors, so it was easy to watch and cheer on my fellow classmates.

If you grew up in Houston during “Luv Ya’ Blue”, then you remember how we all had our hearts broken as our Houston Oilers fell to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1978…and again in 1979. I can still remember complaining to my dad that it was so “unfair” that we had to play in Pittsburgh with all of those cheering fans waving their yellow towels. That is when I learned about home field advantage.

My husband isn’t a big football fan, but he puts up with me as I yell at the TV every week in the fall. I only seasoned my kids with the big sporting events…Super Bowl, NBA Houston Rockets “Repeat”, the World Series, the Olympics…as they were growing up, but their own childhoods were too busy to really keep up with any regularity. But, still, I couldn’t believe it when Houston lost the Oilers in 1997. What was a Sunday without the background white noise of a distant stadium filled with muffled cheers and ref whistles? (Larkin, don’t EVEN say golf!)

Enter Drew Blesdoe and the 1997 New England Patriots. (Yes, I cheered for them before Tom Brady. So tread lightly before injecting some ‘UGG Model’ joke here.) I happened to see the game where they, too, fell to the Steelers’ “Iron Curtain” for the AFC divisional title. Those hideous “Terrible Towels” again.

When Jordan went to Boston for college in 2008, she was already steeped in “Patriot Nation”. But, I had no idea how the love of ALL sports would take hold of her in that perfect Boston breeding ground for sports tradition and loyalty. I just sat back and watched like a proud dad…I mean, mom.

I don’t need to waste your time getting you up to speed on what the Pats have accomplished in the past decade with Belichick and Brady. Let me just say, it has been awesome. And, okay, okay. Tom Brady is beautiful.

During the holidays, my stepdaughter Nicole and her recently engaged friends, Dorian and Griffin, were visiting from Austin. I was talking about my love of the game with this young man and he begged me to “please explain this to her!” gesturing towards his beautiful fiancee. So here you go, Griff. Consider it a pre-wedding gift.

To Dorian and all women who feel like the NFL is competing for your attention on Sundays, (and Monday night, and Thursday night) I would just say, go with it. There is so much more than just a bunch of guys tackling each other. There is sportsmanship, community building of cities large and small; there is a human story behind each one of those players, out on the field or on the sidelines. And, we all have a story.

That is what we are watching. That is what I am watching.

That, and Tom Brady.