Saturday, October 15, 2011

Being 40: Fan vs. Heckler

Fan: a person with a liking and enthusiasm for something, such as a band or sports team.
Terms that can be used in place of "fan" (synonyms): aficionado, supporter, devotee, enthusiast, fanatic, lover, admirer, backer, friend, promoter, follower, expert, patron, champion, etc.

Heckler: a person who causes repeated emotional pain, distress, or annoyance to another
Terms that can be used in place of "heckler" (synonyms): belittler, mocker, needler, harasser, insulter, attacker, trash-talker, victimizer, taunter, persecutor, torturer, etc.

Are you a fan or a heckler? I believe there is a time and place for a little heckling now and then. Mid-season when the game gets a little slow, it's fun to spark a "conversation" between the crowd and the opposing team's outfielder or to bang on the boards at hockey game when the other team's big fighter passes by. However, as the fan of any team, it is important to put more energy into your team than it is to throw all of your focus and attention into the opposing team.

Who am I to dictate fan behavior? What makes me an expert? Well, I've not only been a fan for most of my life but I was an athlete through college and for the past 20 years, I have been a coach. I understand sports. I understand motivation. I fully understand the difference between support and harassment.

Last night, during the NLCS game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Milwaukee Brewers, a row of "Cardinal fans" in the right field bleachers spent the first 3 innings heckling Corey Hart, berating their own team and screaming in my ear. If you watched the game you know that Jaime Garcia pitched a gem through the first three innings but he was not exempt from those "fans" disappointment. Matt Holliday broke out of his short-lived hitting slump by racking up three hits last night but he apparently didn't hustle enough in the outfield for those "fans." They were rude and disrespectful.

The saddest part of the entire situation was that those "fans" were a father and four young boys. The father demonstrated the art of annoying nearby fans by shaking his rally towel over their heads and near their faces. The kids followed suit. The father stood up and screamed at the top of his lungs "Corey Hart you suck" over and over. The kids followed suit. He yelled at other fans around him. And the kids, once again, followed suit. They were like little bullies in training.

Who are you when the game is on the line or when your team is in the playoffs? Better yet, who are you when your team is 10 games out of first or your pitcher can't find the strike zone? Are you the fan or are you the heckler? Are you the supporter or the bully? Whoever you are, your kids are watching. The children around you are paying attention. And they are imitating you. They are becoming you.

You can be a fan who tosses out a good one-liner now and then. And you can certainly get vocal in the bleachers! But recognize that if you are a heckler sitting in the right field bleachers and your 13 year old son tells me to shut my mouth and sit down, you won't be a heckler in the right field bleachers for very long.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Being 40: Top Ten Differences Between Me & Nyjer Morgan

The 2011 NLCS shouldn't be about the bad or ridiculous behavior of one Milwaukee Brewer but it's always fun to have someone on the other team that riles you up a little bit and fuels the fire you have for your team. Kind of the same way that Nyjer Morgan dislikes the whole St. Louis Cardinals team. 

Just for fun I thought I'd see if Nyjer and I could be friends in another situation. Honestly, I did find some similarities. We are both loud. We are both confident. We have both dropped the F-bomb in a moment of excitement.  On the other hand, there are some pretty big differences. Here are the top ten differences between me and Nyjer Morgan.

10. Let's get the obvious ones out of the way. He's a man. I am a woman. He's not so tall. I am very tall. He's a cancer. I'm a Pisces.

9.  Nyjer hates the Cardinals. I love the Cardinals.

8.  Nyjer not only chews tobacco but he also throws it at people. I'd rather chew on cake or ice cream (as evident by my fabulous physique)and I am certainly not wasting it throwing it at other people.

7.  I respect the police. Nyjer taunts them.
Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

6. Nyjer has four alter egos: Tony Plush, Tony Hush, Tony Tombstone and Tony Gumble. I am just me. And I think that's enough.

5. I can spell.

4. I don't have to break into BEAST MODE to do my job well.

3.I don't have to steal the microphone to be heard. I am frequently hired to be on the mic. (

2. I've never been spanked by Pujols.

(US Presswire)

1. My team has won the World Series 10 times.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Being 40:Visiting the Dentist

Jamming the metal hook between my wisdom tooth and my gums, the dental hygienist lectured me about the importance of visiting the dentist every six months. "It's not so we can remove the tarter from the back of your teeth Michele; it's so we can clear out the bacteria that grows in the gums and prevent gum disease," she said. Again, she dug into my gums with her metal tool. I felt like she was trying to hurt me so I wouldn't wait so long the next time. Granted, it had been two years...
But it's hard for me to make a visit to the dentist a priority. The older you get and the more responsibility you have, the more likely you are to push things to the back burner that aren't really urgent needs. I have never had a cavity. I have had two tooth aches in my lifetime. Both ended up being related to my sinuses. So the dentist... well... I don't really think of him very often. He's a nice man. He's hygienists are marginally kind. But I don't feel an urgency to visit them.

When I have a free moment that might be a good time slot for a doctor of some kind, I am more likely to see someone who can fix one of the many things that do ail me, like my creaking knees or my sore neck or... these ridiculous sinuses. DENTIST is at the bottom of the list.

The fact that I can go every two or three years and get out of there in under 45 minutes with clean teeth, a new toothbrush and some floss that I will likely only use after I've eaten ribs or corn on the cob, does not make the dentist's chances of getting a little Michele time any better.

And, for the record, ripping my gums apart with a metal hook in an effort to demonstrate how painful gum disease might be is a sure fire way for me to toss that 6 month reminder card in the trash on my way to the car.