On First Loves – when those first loves are sports teams

How do you choose a sports team? Some simply find you. I’m a Detroit Tigers fan, even if I don’t follow baseball, and a Detroit Lions fan, because that’s where I grew up. I’m a Detroit Pistons fan when they’re relevant even if the sound of sneakers squeaking on the hardwood floors drives me mad, and I’m a Detroit Red Wings fan because I inherited that from my mom and my grandpa.

I’m a Nashville SC fan because the club (soccer – or football – teams are clubs if we’re being proper) started just as I was looking for one, and it was the first time Nashville truly felt like home. (Even if I don’t actually live in Nashville.)

But I’ve always wanted an English Premier League club, and during my first search I selected Arsenal. I could tell you that it was because Fever Pitch (the book and original movie version) was about the them. I could say that it was because I looked at all the clubs in the league at the time and decided, yes, that’s my club. But mostly my friend Jon chose Arsenal after looking at all the clubs, and I backed up my decision to follow him with Fever Pitch.

Then I learned Liverpool had a great tradition of singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and I regretted my decision to support Arsenal. Tottenham has a cockerel on their crest and it was better than the Arsenal cannon. Leicester City was promoted in 2014 and I chose them as my “recently promoted club” to cheer on from instant relegation, then in the 2015-16 season they were the champions. Football is weird.

Then as seagulls are my favorite bird, I started supporting Brighton & Hove Albion this past season, while also cheering on Liverpool because you’ll never walk alone and Tottenham because I liked the rooster.  Arsenal was a hard club to cheer on. Arsène Wenger may be a legend, but I became a fan long after the glory years. So in the back of my mind I always offered,  maybe when Wenger leaves, I’ll follow Arsenal again.

Wenger’s gone now, and I found myself inexplicably drawn back to a club I never knew I loved until I’d left them. So after considering this for a bit, I decided to forget all those clubs I’d been flirting with over the past few years and go back to my first love. Arsenal.

Is there any rhyme or reason to it? Not at all. That’s the beauty of love. It doesn’t always make sense nor does it have to.

Would Arsenal have me back?

Of course it will, it’s a football club.

The Ballad of Monster the Cat (Or, I am a Dirty Liar)

A couple of months ago I posted the following to Facebook, without preamble:

Please advise: This really ugly stray cat has shown up at my house. It’s kind of deformed. But really, really friendly. I named it Monster because it’s so ugly it’s kind of cute.

Do I take in the new cat?

I then helpfully added a photo to show off the ugliness of said cat.


My friends’ reactions ranged from amused, confused, and a few well-meaning people who told me that possums are not cats and I should not let it into my house. But I went on, talking about how my indoor cats weren’t necessarily taking to the outdoor cat, attempting to fight my newest pet through my sliding glass doors.

Then Monster disappeared, and I was sad that I hadn’t seen him for a few days. My mom, in particular, gave the completely unhelpful tip that she’d seen Monster dead on the side of the road. So callous, I tell you.

But then there was a real Monster sighting, as I spotted him as I was driving (very much alive) and I recognized his ugly mug instantly! I was, relieved, of course, that my new cat was alive and kicking.

Then the news got even better, as Monster showed up in my yard and it was revealed that not only was Monster not a he, but a she, but she also had kittens!


I offered them free to a good home, once they were old enough, and even provided a photo from a coworker of a newly adopted kitten crawling up her husband’s arm. It was glorious.

Meanwhile, my mom was trying to figure out if one of my coworker’s had really come by my place to secure a “kitten” of her own, and wondering just what I was up to.

All was revealed on Mother’s Day, when I gifted my mother a beautiful, homemade card.


Because yes, I convinced my mom that there was a possum and her babies living in my backyard, just to play the not-so-long con myself, as retribution.

After all, why not?

So! If you were following this saga on Facebook, and wondering what in the world ever happened to Monster… sorry? I meant to write about this sooner.

Also, you’re all amazing for just going along with my unexplained weirdness. I love you.

When the Devil Makes You Examine Your Non-Belief


 Over a decade ago now, in an attempt to rescue my floundering faith, I set about reading the Bible cover to cover. Ironically, or perhaps fittingly, the last vestiges of that faith left during the book of Exodus, when Pharaoh, overwhelmed by the plagues repeatedly repents, only for God to harden his heart each time until at last the Egyptians lose their firstborn children and livestock, just so God’s power is made known.

We’re taught that story in Sunday school, I’d known it for years. But even though I kept reading after that, I knew then that I no longer believed. And at the time, it made me terribly sad, but like I said, that was over a decade ago. I now consider myself an agnostic atheist. I don’t believe that there’s a god, but I also realize that I cannot know that as a matter of fact.

There’s a show currently airing on Fox called Lucifer that’s loosely based on a comic book, in which the devil takes a break from ruling hell and vacations in Los Angeles, cause where else would he go than the city of angels? The show is part cop procedural, part supernatural and never really takes itself too seriously even while dealing with religious themes.

I love it.

So I think that’s why I felt sucker punched during this Monday’s episode when Lucifer delivers a glorious rant towards God, questioning that divine plan that many believers hold onto, and how everyone seems to come out on the losing end. I was instantly transported back to my reading of Exodus, wondering how I was supposed to hold onto faith when God brought upon the slaughter of the firstborn children even after Pharaoh was willing to relent of his own volition.

I imagine that people who were never religious to begin with might not have felt so strongly about it, and well, there’s a group of people who are religious trying to boycott it off the air, but for a non-believer who once believed, I knew that beautifully melancholic feeling.

So there’s a certain irony to the fact that a comic book show about the devil managed what a couple dozen Christian movies have failed to do; made me think about faith.

I hope to hell it gets renewed for a second season.

(And yeah, I know what I did there.)

How (Not) to Draft a Fantasy Soccer Team

Back in 2010 I was working at a bookstore and my coworkers decided to start a fantasy football league, which they immediately attempted to get me to join. I told them, no, I didn’t know anything about football, except that my team, the Detroit Lions, never did too well.

They were undeterred, and eventually I relented, drafting my team based on important qualities such as who they played for (the Lions ranked number one in this case) or their resemblence to giant teddy bears (Arian Foster) or having an amazing name (Legedu Naanee.)

I won the league.

Flash forward a few years, and I don’t expect to repeat that success playing fantasy MLS, but my goal is really to get into the United States’ version of professional soccer, which is difficult. Especially when compared to say, the Premier League of the Brits with its promotion and relegation that keeps the league fluid. But I’m going to give it a shot.

I chose my team a few years back, the Columbus Crew, because their colors are black and yellow and match my Hufflepuff scarf that my mom made me. I’ve never truly followed them, however, so I was pretty surprised last year when they made it to the finals in the playoffs. Didn’t win, but I’m not the type of supporter who gives up on a team for not winning championships. I’m the sort of supporter who just doesn’t pay attention.

Until this year.

Some friends created a fantasy MLS league, and in an attempt to learn more about the players and teams, I immediately began my research. This is my team. We’re decidedly average in points thus far, but who cares about points? There are more important characteristics to a fantasy soccer team.

Continue reading

I am my Mother’s Daughter


My mom, well before she was my mom. Clearly.

When I was a kid, first learning about the Civil War in school, my mom dropped a bombshell on me. “Your grandmother worked for Abraham Lincoln,” she told me, suggesting that I ask her what it was like working for the President. I was astounded. I may not have known the term “primary source” at that age, or for that matter had any concept of time whatsoever, but I sure wanted to know what the White House was like.

So, at my mother’s urging, I asked my grandma for her own recollections of the time. And that went about as well as you would expect it to when you ask a woman to personally recall a time period over 120 years prior to the current date. What I remember most though was being disappointed that I wasn’t going to hear a firsthand account. I imagine I was probably excited when I asked, only to have that enthusiasm fade very, very quickly.

* * *

Of course, for having been so willing to age my grandma by quite a bit, my mom wasn’t so eager to age herself. I was taught as a child that if anyone asked me how old she was, I was to say 28 and leave it at that. We practiced.

“How old am I?” she asked.

“28 and leave it at that!” I dutifully replied, a little smartass in the making.

I have since learned how time works.

* * *

I suppose I was a gullible child. I mean, my mom did have me referring to her as “Beautiful Mommie Dearest” for quite some time during my youth.

We would be at the grocery store, and if I asked if we could get some cookies, I had a much better chance of those cookies ending up in the cart if I phrased the question, “Can we get some cookies please, beautiful mommie dearest?” I have no idea what other people thought when they heard me, or my sister, or my childhood best friend referring to my mom as such, but the experience taught me two important things about my mother:

  1. My mom has a twisted sense of humor.
  2. My mom can be a very, very patient woman.

I didn’t learn who the Mommie Dearest was until I was in college, at least ten years after the idea had first popped into my mom’s head to have us call her that. I came home one weekend, absolutely boggling at the revelation.

“Mom, do you know who Joan Crawford was?” I asked, rather naively. And my mother, who had waited a decade, finally got to see the look of abject horror cross my face as I realized that yes, my mom did know all about Mommie Dearest.

Once I saw the humor in it, my mom reached legendary status in my eyes.

* * *

I’ve inherited that quirky, twisted sense of humor, something that I’ve always been grateful for. I’d like to believe I’m slightly less gullible these days, but if there’s anyone who can get me going for a while, it’s my mom.

A few years ago, while maintaining an old blog of mine, I suggested to my mom that she start blogging. Eventually she decided to, and now she keeps her own blog going as she researches our family history. (It’s sadly lacking in stories of my grandmother working for the Great Emancipator, however.) Her blog has well outlasted my previous one, and the other day, as I was rambling on about how I was getting ready to play fantasy soccer for the first time, and my criteria for choosing the players who will be on my team when the season starts, my mom said, “You should really blog about that.”

And so I will, now that I’ve started a new blog.

Also, today is my mom’s birthday. Happy birthday, Mom!

She’s 28, and we’ll just leave it at that.