Spring in the Springs

I accomplished something major this weekend, guys. I walked around downtown Colorado Springs.

Now, I realize this sounds super dumb. But I've lived here for almost two years and hadn't done the "wander around aimlessly" thing that I love to do in cities. Granted, downtown Colorado Springs isn't really what I'd consider a city, but I pass some cool-looking buildings on my drive to and from work. And I'm a sucker for a good photo op. And I figure that, a) Colorado Springs is so small that I should know every square inch of it, and b) I should stop complaining about living in a small city until I actually give myself a chance to get to know it. (It was also a really good excuse to stop into Coffee and Tea Zone and have my first bubble tea in almost two years. It was glorious and far overdue.)

Though I'm downtown every weekday and deal with rush hour, downtown during the weekend is a bit ghost town-ish. I had the parking garage more or less to myself, and I only saw a handful of people while I was walking around. It made for some cool, eerily-deserted pictures!

I actually didn't really walk that far; I just went out the opposite site of the parking garage and walked a sort of loop in the opposite direction of where I normally go. But look at all the different architectural styles! I never really noticed what an eclectic mix this city has going on, from that statuesque style I love to the gross Brutalist style I love to hate. (Seriously, I once wrote a paper about Brutalism because it's so ugly and I hate it so much. #logic) There's definitely more to explore, so I want to make downtown excursions a regular thing. I really do love the aimless wandering, and I already feel more affectionate towards the city, even just after a quick walk. So that's a huge win!

How do you feel more at home in an adopted city?

Travel Tuesday

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Miracle Monday: The Best Things We Learned From The Fantasy Camp Webisodes

This Monday is a little bit bittersweet. Why? Because the Miracle on Ice Fantasy Camp is happening as we speak, and I'm not there. If I could've gotten there through sheer will, I would've. But alas, I'm a recent college grad with the small salary and large student loans to show for it. Hopefully I'll be able to afford a spot at a future incarnation of the camp -- within a decade would be nice -- but until then, I'll just be here. Pretending I'm not jealous of everyone that's there. Sigh.

ANYWAY, the good folks over at the fantasy camp sure know how to throw a broke fan a bone; since Thanksgiving, they've been producing weekly webisodes with some of the players. Do you know how exciting it was to go from reading decades-old articles to getting brand new videos every single week? Seriously, I don't think you understand just how wonderful this was. But with the camp finally upon us, the webisodes are at an end (unless they decide to film stuff at camp, which I TOTALLY wouldn't be opposed to). So as a farewell, here are some of the best things these webisodes taught us.

1. The Boston/Minnesota rivalry is still alive and well... but it appears that it's become a one-sided affair. I mean, Minnesotans are literally known for being nice so I'm not sure why there's any mistrust there, but Dave Silk and Mike Eruzione throw some shade. It's fantastic.

2. At the beginning of the gold medal game, Mike Ramsey "had no legs" because he was so nervous and felt so much pressure. So maybe this helps explain why that first period was so lame? :) (That doesn't explain why all the other first periods were so lame, though…)

3. Rob McClanahan used to call Neal Broten "Mouse" because "he squeaked like a mouse." I'd read various stories that said things about how Neal's voice was high-pitched ("his voice had barely made it to puberty" being one of the more memorable descriptions), but oh my gosh, this is my favorite thing in the world. I'm never going to stop laughing about it. (This whole webisode gets an honorable mention, though. Other nicknames include Big Baby and Koho and Grumpy and Beef Wellington, and I just laugh my way through the whole thing.)

4. Buzz Schneider likes baseball. He really, really likes baseball.

And then when he did a Twitter takeover I asked him about it, and the conversation we had is probably the best thing that's ever happened to me.

This happened in November and I'm still not over it.

5. There's A Story from the Olympics involving John Harrington sneaking his future wife into his room in the Olympic village. While the events of that story were not spoken about on camera, I have since discovered what happened, and it's a thousand times funnier than I thought it would be.

6. I already knew that Buzz Schneider's son played his character in Miracle, but I did NOT know that John Harrington (a former college hockey coach) had recruited Nate Miller to play for him. Nate ended up at another school, but they kept in touch. So Bah got a call from this kid, like, "Hey coach, I got cast as you!" LOL, amazing.

7. Mark Pavelich would carry around his guitar and sing Bob Dylan songs for his teammates. The guy is literally known for being silent and not wanting to speak or be the center of attention, yet he was the resident troubadour of the group. It blows my mind a little bit. I'm obsessed. Thank you, Dave Christian, for putting this information out into the universe. [praise hands emoji]

8. Everything they said about Bob Suter.

9. This. This is extremely important.

Hey, it's been quite a good run, in my totally unbiased opinion. And dates for next year's camp have been announced already, so I've already started looking forward to the fun stuff we could potentially be getting. ;)

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Ya Gotta Believe

Well, this is the last day of the Around the Horn linkup. :( I'm pretty bummed about it. I really like having an excuse to talk about baseball. I vote for more sports linkups in the future! Make it happen, blog world!

Anyway, today's prompt is favorite team and a World Series prediction. Unfortunately, I have a very simple answer for that.

Favorite team: Mets.
World Series prediction: Mets.

Remember that time I went to a game and there was a walk-off home run to get the love of my life off the hook for a loss? [praise hands emoji]

BUT let me explain. Well, there's really no explanation for why I'm a Mets fan. That was an accident. My mom is a Mets fan and my dad is a Yankees fan, and when my brother and I were little, he decided to be a Yankees fan. So I decided to be a Mets fan just to make things fair. But really, there's nothing fair about being a Mets fan when you're a kid watching the Yankees win a fistful of World Series rings. (I do, however, have the world's biggest underdog complex, so I wouldn't know what to do with one championship. And apparently fans with low expectations are the happiest. So maybe the Mets and I are a match made in sports heaven even though I really kind of hate them a lot. Go figure.)

The Mets have been pretty terrible for the majority of my life, minus their one World Series appearance in 2000. They lost. To the Yankees. We don't talk about it. Wanna know what else we don't talk about?

It was a very, very dark time.

But an unwritten rule of Mets fandom? Blind, unrelenting, absurd optimism.

See, back in 1973, Tug McGraw screamed "ya gotta believe!" during a locker room speech that sparked a run to the division title. Tack that onto the "Amazin' Mets" of 1969, and at the beginning of every season it's all, "this year is our year!!!!" and "ya gotta believe!!!!" and "amazin' again [insert year]!!!!!" That usually lasts no more than a couple of weeks, because… well, it's the Mets. Let's be real.

But with opening day creeping closer… dare I say that I'm legitimately optimistic about this season? Their record is nothing out of this world (currently 13-10), but all of the wins have felt phenomenal and none of the losses have felt ominous. Plus they've absolutely crushed the Yankees twice in the last few days. Plus they're currently ahead of all other teams in the NL East. Plus

Who is this team and what have they done with the Mets?

So, hey, amazin' again 2015! And here's an unrelated picture I took of R.A. Dickey back in the good ol' days, because #tbt (and because I love him).

Kasey At The Bat

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The Home Tour | Where I've Lived

I spent the first 18 years of my life living in one place. (Well, my parents and I moved when I was around three, but even then we only moved a town over.) But since leaving home in 2009, I've lived in three extremely different places. I've taken to calling myself "semi-nomadic" ...though now that I've been in Colorado for almost two years (omg?!), I might be losing that label! In any case, I thought it'd be kind of cool to take a look at all the places I've called home.

My permanent home base (i.e. where I grew up and my parents still live) is Baldwin, a suburb of New York City. People tend to think of Long Island as rich and glitzy, a la the Hamptons, but Baldwin is solidly middle-class. On paper it's really nothing special. A lot of it is pretty blah, there aren't any attractions and there's really not much to do. But honestly? I'm so grateful to have grown up there. I got all the benefits of suburban life (a backyard to play in, our local park in walking distance from my house, a pretty safe and quiet neighborhood) mixed in with incredible diversity (my high school is 50% black!), with the bonus of the greatest city in the world less than an hour away. I was so cultured without ever living anywhere else, which is something I couldn't be more thankful for. Baldwin really shaped me into a well-rounded person.

My next stop was Coral Gables, Florida, to attend the University of Miami. I don't think one can truly understand Florida without having lived there; northern Florida is like the deep south, but southern Florida is like a mix between Long Island and Cuba. (You think I'm joking? Go into a store in Miami and start speaking Spanish.) Coral Gables in itself is equally strange, with some super ritzy areas and some super sketchy areas. Campus is, like, smack in the middle. It's a suburb that you really need a car to get around in and, as I was car-less, I spent a lot of time getting aggravated by the terrible public transportation and the occasional Zip-Car. I wish I'd explored Miami more, but I'm still happy with my taste of Florida living. It was like living in a sauna. Or a rainforest. And sometimes I still crave plantains and yucca.

While I was still going to school at Miami, I spent five months living in London for study abroad. I've covered that topic pretty extensively already but, as always, it bears repeating. I adored living in London. It was my first time living in a city, with two tube stops each less than five minutes away from my flat, and it was where I discovered that I'm truly a city girl at heart. I adored having the whole city at my disposal; adventure or culture or simply a new experience was always right around the corner. And I loved living in the East End -- it's gritty and multicultural and steeped in fascinating history. Such a cool place to live. I'll stop rambling now, but suffice it to say I'd live there again in a heartbeat.

I currently live in Colorado Springs, Colorado, which is technically a city but certainly doesn't fit into my definition of the word! There are about five square blocks of "downtown," if that, and my office building that's six stories is one of the taller buildings. And with the closest big city (Denver) upwards of an hour's drive away, I'm feeling a little stifled. But I will never -- honestly, never -- get tired of looking at the mountains. I've always lived closer to the beach than the mountains, so moving out here was eye-opening in a phenomenal way. Nature is amazing.

All of this makes me wonder where I'll be heading next. I guess only time will tell!

Where's the most interesting place you've lived?

Travel Tuesday

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Miracle Monday: Superlatives, Part 2

Happy Monday! Is everyone ready for the second half of superlatives? I've got to say, this has been so much fun. I really wish I could make it last another few weeks, but you know what they say about too much of a good thing. Alas. (Click here if you missed part one!)

While several other guys on this team have been called Picassos on ice, Eric here was the true creative-type artist of the group. He'd have random streaks of brilliance, and then equally as random streaks of nothing. But when he was brilliant, his hockey was like a work of art. He'd often confuse his own teammates with his unpredictability on the ice, and he even had the head-in-the-clouds, quirky personality stereotypical of artists. So, really, the ice was his canvas!

Mac here has just about everything you'd find in a president: an insanely brilliant mind, the ability to be friends with athletes and academics alike, good looks, business smarts, interview skills and an ease in front of the camera, and the ambition and ceaseless drive to make things happen. The more I think about it, the more surprised I am that he hasn't held a public office yet. With this man in the Oval Office, we'd all be in very good hands!

The job of a dad is to be a support system, and Janny fits that to a T. As the backup goalie he didn't play very often, so his role became that of supporting his teammates. He sharpened skates and had words of encouragement for teammates who had a bad shift, pushed Jim Craig to the top of his game, and was all-around just there for everybody. And he always did it happily.

If everyone in the world was more like Buzz, I firmly believe there'd be no wars. Seriously. He's always warm and humble and giving, and was often the focus of Herb's abuse because Herb knew that not much would get to him. On top of all that, the U.S. government has already sent him to Turkey to teach hockey, and he still keeps in touch with some of the kids he coached. I mean, come on. Give the man an award.

It may seem odd to award Best Athlete on a team of athletes, but let's look at Rammer's resume. In high school he was a state tennis champion, an All-City football player, and the best hockey defenseman in the state. Then he attended the University of Minnesota, working his way from junior varsity to varsity starter in less than a season; was the first American ever taken in the first round of the NHL draft; was a starting defenseman on the gold medal-winning Olympic team, where he was known for his aggressive hitting and offensive style of play; and went on to a 17-year NHL career (including four all-star game appearances). The dude could play.

Wellsy had to hustle for his entire life, largely because being a smaller athlete ain't no walk in the park. From the time he was a kid he had to work to prove himself against the odds, even starting college on a partial scholarship before becoming one of the best scorers in the country. He had to bust his butt to make the Olympic roster, and then once on the roster he had to bust his butt to make the team. And then after the Olympics, he had to bust his butt to take his life back after a debilitating injury. His work ethic is tireless!

Guys, Silky's ability to better himself is truly inspirational. As a hockey player he wasn't the best skater, and Herb frequently told him so, but he worked on it relentlessly. He started the Olympics on the fourth line, but managed to play so impressively (even scoring the team's first goal of the Olympics!) that he played the whole medal round on the first line, with the fastest skaters. And when he started struggling with alcoholism, he attacked the problem and turned his life around. Nowadays he competes in triathlons and is in better shape than he was 15 years ago. Amazing.

This is almost a cop-out, because it's just so easy. Ken was known for his solid, dependable presence on the blue line, and goalies loved playing behind him because they could rely on him so completely. I mean, there's a reason he won an Olympic gold medal and four Stanley Cups in four years. There's also a reason why he spent his entire career, from his days as a player right up to Director of Pro Scouting, with a single NHL franchise: Ken Morrow is as reliable as they come.

Jim Craig is a pretty amazing human being. Not only has he befriended some of the Russian players (pictured is Vladimir Myshkin), but he's also incredibly aware of his role on the team and the responsibility he holds. Instead of hogging the attention, he takes so much care to appreciate his teammates and ensure that some of the unsung heroes get recognition. At the 35th anniversary reunion alone, he went out of his way to draw attention to the accomplishments of Steve Janaszak, Eric Strobel and Neal Broten in lieu of himself. Like I said, amazing.

Look at Steve's game face. Is that not the face of someone you'd trust to lead you into battle? Steve was known for being brooding and intense, not saying much but always looking like something was brewing under the surface. He was able to basically score goals at will and simultaneously had the reputation of being a good fighter: so basically, he was the ultimate package. Herb often singled him out for abuse, just to round out the revolutionary stereotype. And he's a pilot. That's a good skill for a revolutionary to have, right? :P

And that concludes our superlative adventure!

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