Please Excuse My Obsession, I Just Rediscovered My Passion

habsTwo years ago the Stanley Cup Playoffs were not fun for me. I resented at least 5 teams for the dumbest of dumb reasons. Let’s just say that I was adjusting to being in my first and current relationship. I was feeling out his friends and figuring out why he liked certain things that I did. His friendships with fans of numerous other teams were very strong. There is of course nothing wrong with that which I now know. But I was new and they had been around and had been through a lot with him before I ever came along. I had the wrong impression that my duty was to compete with them for his attention. But I now know that I should have been trying to get to know his friends and hope that they could someday be my friends too.

I was an immature 19 year old girl who knew nothing about relationships.

Thankfully two years later I no longer feel that way. I want to make up for lost times of getting to know Dan’s hockey friends and make up for lost times of not watching hockey games because of feelings of resentment, competition, and jealousy.

And on to the positives!

I am completely and totally swept up in an obsession with the Stanley Cup playoffs right now. I have watched at least parts of every game so far. It is all I think about lately. It’s just so good to be back.

I am thankful that I am able to watch this much hockey. Easter break helped and so does this semester of college coming close to an end.

I just can’t say enough about how passionate I am about the sport again. It has nothing to do with the Flyers either. They are just a bonus that makes me even happier than I already am. I know that I come off as a weirdo to family and some friends when all I have been doing for about a week is watching every hockey game on tv, but life is about doing what makes YOU happy.

I have a lot of regrets about how I treated hockey the past two years. I wish I could get the two years back because being miserable and grumpy about certain teams winning or being rooted for was just so immature and pathetic. How could I even think that way? Now I’m just grateful that I snapped out of it. I can watch all the games I want without feeling bitterness. I have rooting interests in some of the series, but they’re for normal reasons such as actually rivalries and wanting players I like to win or new teams to win.

Having something you are passionate about is very important. For me it has been hockey for 11 years now. I should have never abandoned that. I was dumb and deleted a twitter I had a lot of friends with so I could secretly not follow people I thought I was in competition with. I missed out on games. And I ruined games that I did watch.

But I should not dwell on the past and past regrets. I am back and that is all that matters. So please excuse my obsession! I will be tweeting every game I tune into. I will be posting selfies in all my hockey apparel. I will opt to stay home so I can watch hockey instead. I will sacrifice sleep and maybe some studying too. I will remember why I loved this wonderful game to begin with. I have rediscovered my passion for the sport of hockey and going all in during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. There’s no turning back now. This is who I am and I am absolutely ecstatic that I have found myself again.

Focus on the healthy, not the weight

For the past month or so, I have been trying to lose weight. I’ve tried different exercise routines and different “diets.” But I realized the problem is that my goal has been nothing but to lose weight.

This does nothing but put needless pressure on myself. Honestly, being a 21 year old college student is a more difficult time in life than many would expect. The school work is difficult and the pressure to figure out your future before it’s too late is scary. The focus is not just towards senior year, it’s towards a career and a future. So why add stress?

Being healthy is the best decision you can every make in life. But it should not be about losing weight, counting calories, and killing yourself at the gym. Healthy is way more than that.

Personally, I consider there to be 6 forms of health that we should all try to prioritize starting with the obvious. When you get these things in check, life will be so much easier and happier:

1. Physical
This does not mean you have to set a strict workout schedule each week and force yourself to bust your butt at the gym. This means not sitting around all day long. Many of us spend a lot of time sitting at school or work because we have no choice. This contributes to a lot of unhealthiness. It is important to stay active. So go for a daily walk when you have the time, do some yoga, dance around to music while cleaning or cooking, actively play with pets and kids. Any form of physical activity is great. It’s not all about the gym.

2. Food/Drink
Honestly, I am a firm believer in living a little. You will never see me cut out wings and pizza from my diet. I love and enjoy food too much. But you can turn your diet around easily without sacrificing everything that you love. Cut out soda, drink PLENTY of water. Have healthy snacks during the week, go for smaller portions, give up fast food and limit eating out. Allow yourself to have foods that you love but in smaller and less frequent amounts. Any small change will bring about big results. Cutting out soda and eating more home cooked meals alone will change so much.

3. Emotional/Mental
Being emotionally and mentally healthy is HUGE. If you are struggling with these two, talk to people. You are never alone. There is always someone willing to listen and help. If it’s something less serious, find an outlet for when you feel stressed, annoyed, or down. Listen to music, watch your favorite sport or tv show, cuddle with a loved one or pet, go for a walk. It is important to not downplay your emotions or shove them away. Listen to how you are feeling and decide what will make you feel better and if there is a problem that needs to be solved. If something needs to be solved, watching something or walking won’t take care of it. In that case, map it out, write about, talk it out. You WILL figure it out.

4. Relationships
It is so important to have family, friends, and loved ones to spend time with, talk to, and just be with. Treat those people like they are special and they will do the same to you. Never take important people for granted. Think before arguing or making an issue out of something silly. Make sure you are thankful for those that you have and you will be less inclined to be so negative if they do something that frustrates you. And if they do frustrate you, communicate. If they are making you insanely happy, tell them. Keep in touch with people you love and learn to appreciate them. Hard times and happy times are both so much better when you have someone or multiple people to share your thoughts and feelings with.

5. Time Spent
How you spend your free time is actually so important for your healthy. When you aren’t busy working and going to school, you need to give yourself time to relax and to have time. Everyone needs a social life. Everyone needs something they are passionate about. Be sure to remember those two things. You will wear yourself down so bad if you are constantly working and stressing. Get out and go somewhere with people, watch a movie, take up a hobby. Life is meant to be enjoyed. And believe it or not, enjoying life is a huge part of being healthy.

6. Being Happy
Of course, you can’t be happy all the time. But it is important to strive to find something happy in each day or week. Smile to make yourself feel better. Don’t take life so seriously. Don’t sweat the small things. You have the power to let yourself be happy. No one can take that away from you. 

Confessions of a Happy Girl Who Can’t Handle the Stress Right Now

I would consider myself a happy and very lucky person. I have everything you need: a wonderful family, caring friends, and a loving boyfriend. Let us also add to that a perfect companion in my cat because yes, even Lucy makes my world complete. I also have things I am passionate about that keep me going such as writing (of course), sports, music, and working on being physically healthy.

Unfortunately there is just one problem. When I have any second alone: when I’m lying in bed, have the house to myself, or commute on a bus for meetings at school, all I can think about is stress. This stress leads to anxiety which leads to ulcers, headaches, insomnia, panic attacks, crying, or emotional eating. How can I be so stressed if I live such a happy life? It’s all about the uncertainty of the future. I am getting towards the end of my junior year of college. Since I attained a 4.0 the past two semesters, I have put all the pressure in the world on myself to do it again. Every assignment, test, paper, project has to be perfect. That is really just the stresses of the near future, not the distant future like everything else revolves around.

Aside from the stress on grades is the stress to start a career after college. I’m terrified that I will not find a job after I graduate. I’ve made it my number one priority and am going to be actively searching hard and often, but I still fear for the worst. What ties into that is my fear that I won’t get an internship position through my school in the fall. Without an internship, I have no confidence that I will be able to get a job.

I know I am only 21 but I have so many goals after I graduate:

1. Find a job
2. Get my license
3. Move out
4. Hopefully plan a wedding

Why the rush? It’s just my list of goals and dreams that I want to accomplish next. It’s not the end of the world if I can’t accomplish all of them in the next few years, but I have put a lot of pressure on myself so that I can do everything in my power to meet those goals.

My goals are great to have, and it will be wonderful if I can accomplish them, but the thought of those aforementioned goals is already ripping me apart. I get scared that everything will fall to pieces or that I’m ruining my chances of meeting my goals by messing up minor decisions.

No matter how hard I try, once I am alone, I cannot escape my negative thoughts. Things are great, but the anxiety and side effects that come from stressing about the future are absolutely ripping me apart right now.

Here’s to Hockey Weekend Across America

Unfortunately, we are about a week removed from team USA’s heart- breaking loss to Canada during the semifinal round of the Olympic Games. And we all know that was followed by a brutal loss to Finland in the bronze medal game.

While this was and still is devastating for even the least dedicated USA hockey fans, this weekend is a cause for celebration of the wonderful sport of hockey and its fan-base in the United States.

USA hockey has come such a long way. The sport of hockey in general has come a long way in the United States. The talent level of players today is causing more and more people to become interested in the wonderful sport of hockey. American-born players such as Jonathan Quick, Patrick Kane, and Joe Pavelski have either helped to build up a fan following in non traditional markets or in the case of Patrick Kane, have revitalized the sport in a large sports hub.

Players of this talent level will not only attract fans to arenas and to their televisions. But they are going to get kids and even adults who have never played hockey to think “Hey, he’s an American hockey player and the star of an NHL team. Maybe hockey could be for me too!”

It does not even necessarily have to be American-born players helping hockey to gain ground in the US. Look at Sidney Crosby and Teemu Selanne. It is incredible how talented they are what they are able to do to help grow the sport in markets that were not always huge for hockey.

Because of these players and countless others, we are able to celebrate this weekend. Hockey was born in Canada, but thanks to Canada, people in the United States are really starting to catch hockey fever.

So what can you do to celebrate this weekend? Here’s the website! http://www.hockeyweekendacrossamerica.com/

Start tomorrow by wearing your favorite hockey jersey and share it on social media. Show your pride and let people know why you love that player or team or both!

Saturday? Get out and play. Play on a pond, go skating at a rink, shoot pucks in your driveway. What’s not to love about that?

On Sunday you can share your hockey hero. It doesn’t necessarily have to be something deep and personal. Who got you into the sport? Who are you able to enjoy it most with?

And most importantly check out some games in any form. Go to a minor league game for cheap. Go to an NHL game if you can afford it. And if money is tight, (which I’m sure it is for many of us) watch the numerous games on tv this weekend.

Hockey is a fantastic sport. Of course there are plenty of sports to love and enjoy. I myself am a huge football fan and someone who associates summer with baseball games. But for just this weekend at least, dedicate it to spreading your love for hockey. Dedicate it to sharing your story and to watching or playing hockey.

Personally, I know it’s not always easy to stay dedicated. School and work get in the way often, but this weekend I am promising myself that I will relax and get back the passion I developed for hockey over 10 years ago. It takes a backseat to much more important things throughout the year, but this weekend is all about hockey.

A Fan’s Take on Team USA (Part 1)

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Forwards: Joe Pavelski, Zach Parise, Derek Stepan, Ryan Kesler, James van Riemsdyk, Dustin Brown, Ryan Callahan, Paul Stastny, Blake Wheeler, David Backes, Max Pacioretty, T.J. Oshie, Phil Kessel, Patrick Kane

Defensemen: Cam Fowler, John Carlson, Paul Martin, Ryan Suter, Kevin Shattenkirk, Ryan McDonagh, Brooks Orpik, Justin Faulk

Goaltenders: Jonathan Quick, Jimmy Howard, Ryan Miller

Ever since the announcement of the final roster on January 1st, there has been a lot of disappoint expressed in who did and did not make USA’s men’s Olympic roster. Of course, it is true that maybe some players with more points or more goals, or all around better talent did not make the team, but that does not mean that they necessarily deserved to be on the team. Sometimes it is not all about putting together a group of all stars. It’s all about looking for the players who fit in.

When you look at a lot of teams, the theme is the same. It’s why Claude Giroux did not make team Canada. Should he have made the team due to pure talent? Of course. But something this year seems to be different.  No one expected USA’s 2010 team to play for gold. They did not have all the best players, but they had the perfect players.

So with USA set to commence play Thursday morning (EST), I thought I would take the three days leading up to that game as a chance to look at this team in a positive light. They may not be the most stacked team, and they’re not a favorite to win gold, but these players were chosen for a reason. And I don’t think anyone would be surprised to see USA battling for a medal again these Olympics.

To keep things short, I’ll start with the goaltenders today:

Jimmy Howard
Howard was one of the most controversial players to make the team this year. His numbers have not been good at all. The frustration with him making the team is valid, but at the same time, he’s not going to see any action anyway. This doesn’t necessarily count as an excuse, but he was certainly one of the top 5 choices for the final 3 spots. That is one thing that cannot be taken away from him. In addition, a defining characteristic for Howard is that he has more playoff experience than the other guys competing with him for the third spot. He knows what it’s like to play when it matters most.

Jonathan Quick
There are so many positive things to say about Quick. He is just a year and a half removed from his tremendous performance for the LA Kings as they won the Cup in 2012 and he was rightfully awarded with the Conn Smythe Trophy. He is young for a goaltender, but so talented. His GAA numbers for the Kings in the past two seasons speak for themselves (1.41 and 1.86). Quick could shine as a starter or he could be an outstanding goaltender for Ryan Miller to have as his backup.

Ryan Miller
Ryan Miller is consistently being talked about as one of the best goaltenders this NHL season. His numbers may not be tremendous, but he does not have much talent in front of him in Buffalo. What he does is gives a mediocre team chances to win. And what can you possibly have against the 2010 Olympic Hockey MVP? Miller was incredible for team USA. He has earned this spot. He has the international experience, the playoff experience, and the consistent strong play leading in to these Olympics.

— When it comes down to it, Miller and Quick are two unbelievably talented goaltenders. It’s hard to think of anything negative about either of them. The whole roster as a whole may not be made up of superstars, but these guys themselves are superstars. It’s hard to think of more than that two countries who have equal goaltending.  

I’m sorry, but I’m just not a numbers girl

There are many topics in hockey which are debated on a daily basis. One of the more recent topics is the use of corsi and any other advanced stats as a means to analyze teams and players alike.

Some use these statistics as the only way to analyze anything in hockey anymore. Others simply cannot stand the advanced stats. Then there is a likely small group of fans who will use advanced stats sometimes but not to analyze everything.

I would say that I am in the group of those who cannot stand advanced stats. I’ve looked into the meaning of corsi and have looked up stats, but to me it’s just too much. I respect those who put hard work into keeping track of the stats and know how to use them. But I personally will cringe when I see any form of advanced stats on my twitter timeline. Call me close-minded or ignorant, fair enough. But it’s just not my thing.There are a lot of things I trust myself on observing when I watch hockey. If I’m working on a blog post for TCL Flyers, I take notes. I don’t just remember goals, shots, points, etc. I like to remember how they happened, what caused them, and what they meant. Hockey is a wonderful game that is entertaining to watch even when your team may not be one of the best in the league. Numbers to me, clog up the joy of hockey and the watching experience of the sport with rules for which player is good and which player isn’t.

I watch hockey as a fan first and foremost. I have my own opinions of players that come for a variety of reasons. I can make a strong case for why one guy on the Flyers is not as terrible as people think or I can make a case for the exact opposite without using advanced stats. Will it be 100% mathematically and factually correct? Of course not, but that is never my goal. Last week I got on a kick of observing Luke Schenn and seeing for myself if he is as terrible as every Flyers fan thinks. I have a potential blog aligned. It will not have a whole lot of numbers and there is room for opinion, but that is what I like about the game of hockey. It would honestly be boring if we all watched the game as robots and only used numbers to explain something.

Personally I grew out of touch with hockey in 2012 and continued that over into last season. Recently I’ve gotten the passion back for the sport but know there are certain things that can easily kill it: people using numbers to shoot down what I see in a player or team, serious twitter fights, Mark Streit not covering his man.

The ideal night for me involves having fun while watching hockey and enjoying the sport for what it is. There are so many intangibles that go into everything. And we all have our own opinions about different players and teams. I’d rather not let numbers crush my views on things or kill my optimism. If I can’t watch hockey with passion and optimism, I don’t want to watch at all.

Eagles fans, you were great to me!

photo(2)My football allegiances do not make much sense. I am an Arizona Cardinals fan living in Philadelphia. So any chance I get to watch the Cards some place other than my laptop is a fantastic but extremely rare opportunity. Last Sunday I got to see them in person for the second time. But this time I had to face some fears in order to do so.

Last year, my first every Cardinals game was at Metlife Stadium in New Jersey where they played the New York Jets. I had no real issue with fans being rude since it was an inter-conference game, but the fans still did not appeal to me. Most were drunk and made no sense. It seemed like they cared more about yelling and drinking than watching football.

But we all know what gets said about Eagles fans: they’re rude and nasty. They drink and do nothing but curse and trash talk. And they are not welcoming at all if you are a fan of any other team.

On Sunday I learned that this is not necessarily the case.

I arrived in the morning to tailgate with my boyfriend Dan (an Eagles fan) and we met our friend John (also an Eagles fan) in one of the many parking lots in South Philly. I was honestly afraid to come out of Dan’s car in my red Larry Fitz Cardinals jersey and my Cardinals hat. I thought everyone would automatically hate me.

We ended up making friends with the group of Eagles fans tailgating next to us and they were even nice to me and had no problem saying hello and shaking my hand. That helped a lot, but I was still terrified to enter the Linc.

While walking over, I noticed a guy in a Kevin Kolb Cardinals  jersey, one in a Pat Tillman jersey, and a little boy in a Cards hat. I wanted to high five them all because I thought they would be the only ones to accept me.

After going through security, the man who was supposed to scan my ticket gave me a hard time but he was only teasing and making fun jokes. He still told me to enjoy the game. Once we got in and to our level, I had a mini panic attack because I was in a sea of midnight green but saw only one other red jersey. To calm down I walked over to a wall to lean on where all of my thoughts ended up changing.

A worker at the Linc saw me and started talking to me. He asked where I was from, about the Cards game the previous week, and about Larry Fitzgerald. He even asked where I was sitting so he could make sure that I was safe and no one caused trouble with me. He wished me good luck as he left. And right after that nice man left, a random fan walked by asking where I was from. I told him Philly and he laughed and wished me good luck.

Upon arriving to our section I was only met by one comment that bothered me. But it did not fit in with my experiences of the day so it is not worth mentioning.

Of course I was the only Cardinals fan in my section, but I was not harassed or cursed at at all. A girl and her boyfriend were sitting next to me and we ended up bonding during the game. Was she drunk? Yes, but she was so nice and told me what an awesome fan I was. We talked about our lives and our hair and ended up hugging at the end of the game.

Even in the womens bathroom while washing or drying my hands I was met with smiles and politeness.

Any workers I walked by smiled at me as well. I did not feel any negative energy from anyone.

There was a guy a section over and rows back who was absolutely hilarious. When the Eagles would get a first down, he would run to where I was sitting and make the first down symbol to me. He teased me throughout the game but it was all in good fun.

The only time I felt unwelcome during the game was when the Eagles had a big lead on the Cardinals and I felt alone and sad because my team was losing and everyone around me was absolutely ecstatic.

So I’d like to thank Eagles fans for helping to change my opinion of their fan base on Sunday. I had so much fun at the game despite my team losing a crucial one. I felt so welcomed and so well liked. I would not have expected this at all, but I am so very thankful that I was treated with so much respect and kindness. You guys rock! But I still hope Fitz destroys you when we meet in AZ next season ;)