Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Regular Ski Bunny

Last winter I went skiing for the first time ever and had an absolute blast! It was a ton of fun. A group of friends from my ward went to Brighton for their 2 for 1 night skiing deal. Preston also came up from Provo to go boarding.
My friend Erin was so great and gave me a couple lessons on the bunny hill to get me going. She must have been a really good teacher because after just 3 times down the bunny hill we decided to hit the big slopes. I was so surprised and happy that I picked it up so quickly, it made it a lot more fun and I came away resolved to go skiing more often.

It didn't really happen, because I haven't gone again until this year. But again, I had such a fun time! I think my friends Kate and Shelby and I are going to try to go to The Canyons sometime this winter.

Basically, I'm a regular ski bunny :)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Wait is Over!!

I've always loved the San Francisco Giants.

My dad grew up in the Bay Area and, although it probably made more sense to be an Oakland fan because of proximity and their winning record during his teen years, he chose to support the Giants and stuck with them through thick and thin. So it was only natural that he pass on his love for the men in Orange and Black to his kids. I remember him making sure we knew the difference between the 'good' baseball Giants as opposed to the 'bad' football Giants. I wore Giants shirts and collected books and memorabilia. I loved to watch Matt Williams, Will Clark, JT Snow, and Kurt Manwaring. I collected their cards. In fact, I still have a whole stack of them, in perfect shape, practically untouched from when I first bought them in the 90's. I made a special effort to care for those, almost never going through them because I didn’t want to bend the corners. “Miracle at Candlestick” has been proudly displayed on my bookshelf since that season in 1993. I still have my Matt Williams figurine, and remember how sad I was when he moved to Arizona. When I found out a high school teammate of mine was Dusty Baker’s niece, I wasted no time asking for memorabilia. I remember going to my first Giants game at Candlestick Park in July 1996. They were playing the Colorado Rockies. We sat behind right field under the mezzanine and, like any game at Candlestick, it was bitter cold. The fog coming up from the bay was so heavy it almost felt like rain. In fact, I remembered it as rain until my dad reminded me of that thick, thick mist, probably known only to those who have experienced it in San Francisco.

(Preston and I; Train ‘em young!)

I have never even thought about cheering for another team. While some fans turn their back on their childhood teams, not me. When it comes to Major League Baseball, I will always bleed orange and black.

One blogger said, “Real San Francisco Giants fans carry baggage and lots of it, including a half-century of wait-until-next-years and a Game 6 that left a hole in their heart the size of a World Series ring” (http://articles.sfgate.com/2010-10-06/news/24113535_1_juan-uribe-buster-posey-fans)

While I may not be old enough to have experienced over 50 years of pain watching a Giants team that was usually ok, or even pretty good, but never quite good enough -- I am old enough to remember the pain of 2002. October -- the San Francisco Giants vs the Anaheim Angels. I remember I had a Young Women's activity the night of game 5, but luckily I had a leader (good 'ol Sis. Rosenkrantz) that loved baseball as much as I did and turned on the game for my friend Melissa Cowles and I.

For game 6 - that game of awful games - I was out of town for a soccer tournament with the Tabagators. The night of the game we went to dinner as a team. It was practically torture having the TV in the bar where I couldn’t see it, even though I had some parents periodically checking the score for me. I was staying with Raquel Bray and the second we got back to the hotel, I turned the game on. I watched in horror as we blew a 5-0 lead with only a couple innings left to play. In fact I remember thinking at the time, "We had a World Series win in our pocket. In our pocket! But no, we just had to take it out and play with it and now we've lost it!" Sure, I knew we still had a chance to win it in game 7, but I also knew how hard that would be, playing in Anaheim and coming right off a disheartening loss like game 6. Mr. Bray turned game 7 on the radio for the drive home on Sunday. I sat in the back, wanting to cry as I listened, knowing more with each scoreless inning that we would lose.

My family had an Angels helmet that we would play with growing up. Where we got it or why in the world we kept it I have no idea. But for Halloween 2002, with the heartbreaking loss still very fresh in our minds, we took that helmet and stuck a butcher knife through it. Then, in our front yard turned 'cemetery' we gave it a place a top our 'tomb of the unknown Angels fan.' It may seem morbid, but hey, we were ticked. Ever since I’ve had an almost subconscious hatred of the Angels that people don’t usually understand. It’s not like they’re the Dodgers. But they did enough damage that year to justify my feelings.

Rule No. 1 for those jumping on the SF Giants bandwagon: "They need to know how it hurt in 2002.” (http://articles.sfgate.com/2010-10-06/news/24113535_1_juan-uribe-buster-posey-fans)

So you can imagine my extreme pride and joy this season when my Giants won the World Series for the first time since coming to San Francisco in 1958!!

I live in Utah and don't have cable, so I wasn't able to watch many of the mid-season games. I checked their record every once in a while and about midway through the season it didn't look like they were doing so hot, about 50%.

"Giants baseball. Torture.” The phrase stuck, defining a season that included four straight months out of first place and 52 games won or lost by one run. (http://articles.sfgate.com/2010-10-06/news/24113535_1_juan-uribe-buster-posey-fans)

But starting in September things started turning around. My dad gave me a call and told me they were only one game away from winning their division. What?! Then started the checking of scores daily rather than weekly or monthly. Sure enough they beat the SD Padres to win the Western Division!

I couldn't watch most of the Atlanta series (no cable), but my dad kept me posted. I watched the Giants win game 1 against the Phillies. Game 2 was a Saturday night and the ward was over at my bishop’s house for dinner. I wore my Giants jersey and asked to have the game turned on in the basement. This guy that I didn’t even know really ticked me off by saying he was going for the Phillies because they had the best chance against the Yankees. Well, boo yah! 1. The Yankees didn’t make it to the WS anyway, and 2. I don’t see your Red Sox anywhere either. Off soap box. Well, we got past the Phillies, kicking Roy Halladay and the rest of their pitching superstars’ trash. I watched the last game of that series at the Old Chicago restaurant in Boise, Idaho where my hockey team was eating dinner after a tournament game. I don’t think I paid attention to anyone around me the whole time. Although I did look away long enough to take this picture
When they got the last out I jumped up with a resounding, “Yesss!” It was probably a little embarrassing, but I didn’t care. The Giants were going to the World Series! Their first postseason appearance since 2002, playing the Texas Rangers.

(My Halloween costume)

The morning of Game 5, the San Francisco Chronicle stated my feelings perfectly: “The Giants (we’re checking, this might be a dream) are on the verge of bringing home the biggest party since the glory days of the 49ers.”

BJ and Preston came over for one game of the series, and Melissa Cowles came over for another one. I love that Melissa is also a Giants fan. They won game 1 and absolutely destroyed them in game 2! I talked to my dad that night. Even after a 9-0 win we couldn’t get too excited. My dad said, “You know, I’ve been disappointed so many times that I’m not even going to entertain the thought that we could win. I just have to take it one game at a time.” But when they won game 4 in Texas we couldn’t help but get excited, only ONE MORE!

Part of me wanted them to win in San Fran, in front of their home crowd, but hey I would take a win any way they delivered it! I watched Game 5 all by myself and, after not wanting to believe it until it actually happened, THE GIANTS WON!!! It didn’t matter that I was alone, I celebrated as if there was a party all around me!

After the game, and after answering all the texts from friends congratulating me on my teams triumph, I called my dad. We talked for hours about our memories of cheering for the Giants, the history of the team, and not believing it had actually happened. I mean, my dad had waited for this moment...well...his entire life.


I thought this blogger really captured the feelings of many Giants fans so I’ll end with his summary of the season: “There’s been a lot of publicity about Giants Torture. With their great pitching and so so hitting, their games are often nail biters. I never considered myself tortured by the G-Men, but I never started a season thinking, this could be the year. I always knew better.

This year, when the boys made the playoffs, I was right there with the “experts”, if they’re lucky, they might squeak by the Braves, but they’re gonna get killed by the Phillies. The Phillies after all have great pitching AND great hitting. But hey, it’s the Giants and they did their best.

Then I watched in awe as the pitching took over and dominated every series they were in. I breathed into a paper bag a couple times, got up and walked around the room, looked way, and clenched fists and jaw, and when it became really tense, it was.. as they say.. torture.

And it was great.

So for the first time in my life, my team has won the World Series.

I think, for the first time, all of us fans of the Orange and Black will have the same thing on our minds.

This IS the year.