THE MYSTERIOUS ZAMBONI AND IT’S MAGICAL HEALING POWERS

Well it’s chuck the puck season and that is exciting. I love the irony of watching a winter sport in June. You start your adventure in the summer, enter the arena where suddenly it’s winter, then leave and immediately start sweating because your layers are way too much for the humidity of the late evening air. It’s like time traveling, but without leaving the present in any form. The only real downfall is the attire portion. How do you plan for it? Short answer: you don’t.

Hockey is a great sport. I recently got very into it and my only regret is that I didn’t give it enough love during my youth. It’s all the best parts of football, soccer, and lacrosse and then on ice. Fights, goals, strategy, big hits, fast pace, shots, penalties, referees constantly in the way, dope jerseys, sticks, skates, and, of course, alcohol. Well, not for the players, but for myself anyway. Why I spent my whole life counting down from February to September to see grown men destroy each other when all along I could have been getting a hit fix all the way through June, I’ll never know.

As a whole, hockey is much more exciting in person then on television. I think most sports are this way. Baseball, for sure, should only ever be watched in person where you can be distracted by more enticing elements like the food stands, the bouncy castles, the fast pitch games, and, of course, the fresh beer. But I digress. Hockey games are lit. Especially during playoff season. For starters, the advanced graphics that teams are now displaying on the ice is unreal. One of my favorite parts of technology. Because on ice, it just looks cooler than it ever will on a basketball court. Sorry, not sorry.

In person, you also get access to the crowds. If you have never had the pleasure of experiencing a sporting event at a packed stadium cheering alongside tens of thousands of your new best friends, you are missing out. I scream, you scream, we all scream the same thing! Usually a team chant or a consensus disapproval of the referee’s latest call. There are also t-shirt tosses and if you haven’t caught a t-shirt in your life, try harder. There is no greater feeling than overpaying for great seats and getting a free, probably $10 at most, t-shirt. It’s rewarding in a unique way.

Specifically in hockey, you also get the enjoyment of watching the Zamboni do its thing in between each period. Talk about magic on ice. You take something scratched, rough, and in need of love and polish it in the most efficient, systematic, and peaceful way possible. Quite the amazing contraption that I wish someone would scale down and produce for my hardwood floors at home.

Zambonis are the definition of ASMR in the sports world. No other event has as satisfying of a ritual. Zero argument here, it’s simply a fact. As fun as the game itself is to watch, I find it hard to tear myself out of my seat for a refill when the zambonis are out. They take the most curious circle path around the rink, but somehow it works. Gets me every single time. Is no one else as amused as I am? It’s on the same level as the MOVING WALKWAY magic in airports. Stop and smell the roses. Stop and watch the zamboni. Truly the little things that can change your whole mood.

Think about it for a second. Something often overlooked, or never even seen, while spectators fight each other to get refills on the food and drinks. Or while waiting in the interminably long bathroom lines. Why don’t we plan this better? I mean, we’re all best friends for the night, but not when it comes to lines. Regardless, I notice. And I love it. And I am here for it. And I will promote the ceremonial Zamboni presentation every game.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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ALL OF MY EMOTIONS DURING A HALF MARATHON

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: running sucks. I do not enjoy running. I do not look forward to going on a run. I do not wake up excited for a workout involving a run. I do not like the monotony of it. I do not need the knee and shin pain that comes from a run. I do not want a constant reminder that my endurance levels are maybe not in an adequate range. Yet, I do it anyways. Because I know that it’s a great workout and because I’ve been doing it since high school, which was long enough ago for me to technically be a 10,000 hour expert at it. But it’s not a desire of mine to quickly move my legs, struggle to breathe, and give everyone I pass a mental image of me trying not to die.

It’s no secret that there have been times in my life where my decisions have been questionable. A bit of a head scratcher, if you will. Normally it’s other people who are confused by what I do. Recently, however, I shocked myself, which doesn’t happen as often as you would think. Despite some of my previous posts. In a weird twist, I agreed to run, not one, but two half marathons with some people that I care very much about. TWO?! What is wrong with me? That alone is cause for concern given how long a half marathon is, and my current struggle to complete a run that’s a mere third of that distance.

Here’s the kicker, this is not my first half marathon. No, sadly I agreed to run one a few years ago and I hated it. When I say I hated it, I was on the verge of tears near the end of it. Not because I’m an overly emotional person, but because it was a traumatizing experience. Now here we are, in the year of the vaccine and a hope for normalcy, and one of my first big decisions is to suffer through 13.1 miles of pain. Again. Twice. Why? We don’t know. Do I have regrets? More than you know, but I’m no flake so here we are. Can you get PTSD from a bad run? I certainly think so! I’m no medical expert, but let’s go through all of my emotions from half marathon numero uno to make my case:

Anxiety

13.1 miles is a long way in a car. On foot, you might as well be running to the moon. I was nervous about my ability to complete the race.

Excitement

Ok, yes, I was a tad bit excited about earning my 13.1 sticker so all the fake ones I’d bought could be validated.

Regret

Nothing makes you question your decisions like standing at the starting line knowing you have to run 13.1 miles in the woods on a 4 mile loop. Might as well get back in the car now.

Resentment

I’m not ashamed to admit that I felt some resentment for the person who convinced me to run the race at about the 5K mark.

Sadness

Also at the 5K mark, I felt a giant wave of sadness knowing that I had 10 miles to go. Which is still a long way in a motorized vehicle. On foot, might as well be walking through the whole Sahara.

Confusion

Somewhere on the second loop, I forgot how far I’d gone and thought I was almost done. Only to be told that I had 4 more miles. And I wasn’t 100% sure what my name was at that point.

Fear

You ever go for a run in the woods and wonder if there’s a serial killer just lurking about waiting to kidnap you? Thank you CRIMINAL MINDS for that! But also, I lost most of the other runners on loop 2 so it was just me and my confused thoughts hoping to make it out alive.

Regret, Again

Let’s be honest, this was the underlying feeling for the whole race. Specifically, though, near the 10 mile mark I hated myself. I hated running. I hated the race organizers. I hated the people who were so happily cheering like I wasn’t trying to simply survive. I was in a mood.

Anger

You know that feeling when you are trying to just finish something and when you do, after a giant struggle, you find that other people finished it easily, in a third of the time, with seemingly little effort? What a fun time.

Relief

I did feel a lot of relief when I finished. Mostly since I promised myself that I would never, ever, ever run a half marathon again. A promise that I broke. Now I’m internally conflicted. Who even am I anymore? We don’t know.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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DEAR TRIVIA: I THOUGHT I WAS SMART, THANK YOU FOR THE EGO CHECK

Have you ever wondered how smart you are? Not book smart, per se, but life smart? How much general knowledge do you contain about things that may, or may not, be helpful to you in some capacity throughout life? If your answer is no, then why even continue? I have to believe you can guess where this post is going and it’s pretty much strictly for anyone ever who thought, I need to prove my brain skills against strangers at a local bar on a weeknight – AKA trivia night.

I know for a fact that my general knowledge, and overall trivia skills, are pretty much worthless. There isn’t a lot of room in my head for random tidbits of things. Because it’s full of other items like how to do my job, how much I love my dog, figuring out how to feed myself a healthy amount of times each day, remembering to do chores, memorizing every single Chipotle location within 15 miles of where I live, etc. You know, crucial survival skills basically. 

However, my job title makes people believe that somehow my IQ is at least average, if not exponentially above that mark. And so they frequently tell me how smart I am. Which causes some internal dilemmas until my ego takes over and I make poor decisions … like smack talking other trivia teams. Despite knowing deep in my soul that I’m not able to back it up. Remember growing up when there would be kids who would crush school and kids who would crush life? Book smart versus street smart. And I always believed you were somewhere on that spectrum. Until I became an adult with free evenings and friends.

There is a third type of smart, I’ve learned. Trivia smart. This is a person who just knows things. Not current things necessarily. Not political things necessarily. Not natural events necessarily. Not history necessarily. Not even sports necessarily. No. These people know stuff in every possible category over all of eternity. How?! I genuinely want to know so I can stop losing and embarrassing myself every Tuesday night. 

For starters, where are you getting this information? Google? Reddit? The newspaper? I honestly don’t know. I scroll through the major news headlines every day and have yet to contribute to a current events conversation in one of my group chats because the stuff they talk about I have to re-research. And by the time I have any facts the convo has taken a massive diversion and I’m just confused again. It’s a cycle of playing catch-up and not in a good way.

My next question for these trivia geniuses, is how do you retain this information? My boss has to remind me every morning of our daily standup meeting and I’ve been working there for months. One would think that I would have learned how to open my calendar by now, and yet here we are. Especially if it’s some random fact. That usually goes in one ear and out the other. If you asked me 15 minutes after reading it what the statue’s name was and why it was taken down, it would be a good day if I answered half of those questions. Maybe I never really learned how to “read”? Because it seems to me like I read to get something over with and other people read to learn. So clearly one of us is doing it wrong and one of us is winning trivia. I’ll let you figure out who goes where in that equation.

On the bright side, every trivia team needs that person who is simply there for entertainment, friendship, and alcohol. I am that person. I own that spot on the team. I’m also great at writing their answers down. So they don’t have to stop eating the plate of nachos in front of them. My greatest contribution to my team thus far, has been embellishing us with a name worthy of all the trophies. Not saying that I nailed it, but like, I absolutely nailed it and we are iconically the best-named team each week. No big deal, I’m kind of great at being creative, though apparently not as great at knowing useful things. You decide which is more fun.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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DEAR CFP: STOP SHOWING RERUNS

Everyone loves a rerun. Sometimes. Sometimes everyone loves a rerun. And those times are not all of the time, nor are they in all things. Thus the definition of the word sometimes. At least eloquently refactored in a concise, millennial way. The legit Google definition is ‘occasionally, rather than all the time’ so I guess my version was actually more verbose. Which, in hindsight, one sentence later, is surprisingly fitting for the millennials as a generation.

English lesson aside, we all have reruns that we look forward to, some that we feel indifferent about, and others that we would be fine never seeing again. For example, all the Schitt’s Creek and Parks and Recreation episodes in the world could never be played enough and we will always stand up our friends for a good television marathon of those shows. Historic sporting events are hit or miss, depending on your level of emotional involvement, the overall outcome of the game, how long ago it occurred, and what our social calendar looks like at the time of the showing. Then, of course, there’s the no fly zone which includes making the same dating mistake multiple times, never learning how to study in college and continuing to use the ‘D is for degree’ mindset, and eating the entire piece of cheesecake from The (one and only) Cheesecake Factory by yourself. Again. And ending up not being able to eat for 24 hours. Again.

So we get it, right? Reruns are only as exciting as the context that comes with them. The College Football Playoff is not that context. For all who were wondering. Is anyone still enjoying it at this point? Other than the 3 schools that make the championship game year after year obviously. As a fan, however, this is not doing it for me anymore to be honest. We get it. Alabama, Clemson, and Ohio State have political pull, and maybe a lot of under the table money (I’m not here to judge), flowing to the ranking committee placing them in the top four each year. 

The problem here is that the top four, and only the top four, even get a chance at making the national title game. And that feels a bit unfair to the teams who happen to be in lesser known conferences. I don’t want to see the predictable. I want Cinderellas. I want upsets. I want an underdog to pull for. Which is clearly why the CFP will never compare to March Madness. Because unless you roll with the tide, think orange and purple is an acceptable color combination, or secretly enjoy sporting your love for Mary Jane, you don’t care about last night’s supposedly biggest game of the year. 

Don’t get me wrong, those teams are good. Clearly. But let’s back up a second and think about all the reasons that Ohio State shouldn’t have even been in the playoffs. Reason one: Ohio State did not play 6 regular season Big Ten games. Nope! They only played 5 so the playoff committee was like, all these other teams have double digit games, but sure put Brutus up in the top four. Reason two: Ohio State was not technically eligible for the Big Ten championship game, and thus, not eligible for the CFP. Say it ain’t so! Oh yes, the Big Ten Conference, as a whole, decided to waive it’s (up until that point) very strict 6 game limit to be eligible for the title game so that OSU could play. In place of Indiana, so Hoosiers fans, my heart is with you during this tough time. Reason three: other than the Clemson win in the semi-finals, I’m not convinced that a new challenger would not have knocked off the Buckeyes based on their measly 6 game record. Few of which were blowout wins, might I add.

Ok, enough hating on the Bucks for now. Let’s examine Clemson and Alabama. Sure, we know that both are capable of winning against teams in their conference. Shocker … since the ACC is not a football conference despite their best trash talking efforts and the SEC has been on the decline in recent years. The real football power conferences are the B10, Pac 12, and Big 12. Fight me. What would happen if the playoff included more than one rotating team? My guess, we would not always see one of the Three Musketeers playing in mid-January.

While we’re hating on the CFP, let’s talk about how a four team playoff is, frankly, a joke. It was always a joke. Since 2015 and the first year of this system. Before going further, I have to say that college football has long needed a better system for determining a national championship. Other than having whoever happened to be one of the top two teams duke it out. A playoff, for example. Similar to how every other sport does it. But four teams?! Who was in charge of that? Eighth at a minimum! If we really want a true champion, though, it really needs to hit the sweet sixteen mark. That’s over half the top 25. We’ll see how crimson, orange, and red fare against the full rainbow then.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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THE EMOTIONAL ROLLERCOASTER OF BEING A SPORTS FAN

The sports industry is massive. Everyone puts out a different estimate of its total worth because, if the government has taught us anything, it’s that agreement is not a correct answer, but everyone has the value somewhere in the billions. With a ‘b’. That wasn’t a typo. So it’s kind of a big deal. A LOT of people are invested, physically, monetarily, and emotionally. If you aren’t one of those people, you might not understand anything that I’m about to write.

Let me backup for a second, though, how can you not be a sports fan? What do you do with your time if it isn’t spent screaming at people through the television? People who obviously can hear you and care about your opinions on your performance. Also, everything is a sport now. The traditional ball, basket, and jersey don’t always apply anymore. Do you do nothing? If you don’t consider yourself a sports fan, why not try one of these “hobbies-that-are-somehow-considered-a-sport”:

  • Wife-Carrying – like a road trip but on feet with the passengers on your back
  • Ferret-Legging – think ants in your pants, then up the danger component by turning the ants into an angry, scared, trapped ferret
  • Yukigassen – simply a massive snowball fight
  • Bog Snorkeling – because the most fascinating species live at the bottom of a bog
  • Cheese Rolling – one would think that Wisconsin invented this, but no, our brothers from another mother across the ocean started this. Careful though, the cheese can get up to 70 MPH
  • Competitive Sleeping – a single player game invented in California, probably by a millennial
  • Extreme Ironing – take this already fun chore and do it on top of a moving vehicle
  • Face Slapping – great way to relieve stress, or anger
  • Giant Pumpkin Kayaking – if you don’t like kayaking you clearly have never done it in a massive pumpkin that’s been carved out
  • Lawn Mower Racing – if high speed BMX frightens you, play it safe in a low speed lawn mower
  • Toe Wrestling – for those with ridiculous control over every single toe’s movement, this is for you

See, there’s something for literally everyone! No more excuses, you are a sports fan. Now that we’ve settled this debate – being a sports fan is emotionally exhausting. The mood you’re in each day is a direct correlation for how your team performed the night before. Oh, your team was off? Then you should be in a GREAT mood. Why would you not be? They didn’t lose. They didn’t play like a youth recreational team. They didn’t forget to step off the plane. They didn’t score for the other team. Life is good, your team is good, everything is peachy. 

On the other hand, coming off a loss can go one of two ways. Was it a good loss? You feel alright then. They played well. They weren’t expected to win. They fought hard and look poised to make a run at some point. Was it a bad loss? An upset perhaps? A rivalry game? Everyone else better hide because the feelings are about to hit the fan. I mean, really! How can you lose to THAT team?! Were you trying to throw the game?! The refs were terrible, though, so at least we have that. But still what the actual hell were they thinking?

Thank goodness it ends after the season. Uh, no sorry that’s highly incorrect. The off-season and pre-season are almost more stressful. In the immediate off-season, you’re either one of the lucky ones on a championship high, or you fall with the majority into the long wait of regret, frustration, and disappointment. As pre-season approaches, your fan ego gets stoked to the MAX and every piece of press can be turned into good press … at least in your mind. You get so hyped and talk a big game to all your friends, co-workers, doctors, strangers, etc. And a big ego never gets crushed. Never. So you’ll ride that high through the first-week funding games and then be slammed back down to reality. For the love of the game, repeat this cycle infinitely.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who is a sports fan and seems to be forever in a salty mood, do a quick check on how their team is performing. I bet it’s sub-par. Then pass this along so they can understand that everyone is the same. Thanks for reading!


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DEAR NCAA: DID YOU FORGET THAT YOU’RE IN CHARGE?

It’s a weird world that we live in now. Surely, I can’t be the only one who feels this way? The NCAA has become a major pushover, TikTok is the hottest black market drug in the social media world, and butterflies apparently have a lifespan of 3 – 5 days. How cruel is that … 3 – 5 days?! Some of them are born without a mouth, and thus without the ability to eat. If that doesn’t traumatize you, do you even have a soul? I, for one, would be devastated if I finally glowed up out of my caterpillar-looking self and couldn’t eat. Ever again. What’s the point of being beautiful if you can’t eat food? Not a tradeoff I would take. In fact, I would probably be ok looking like Shrek as long as I could have my midnight Cheez-Its. He has Fiona, an entire swamp, multiple children, and a talking donkey. Oh, and food, obviously. 

Maybe that’s why King Farquaad is always so angry? Instead of eating gingerbread, he maims them and throws them away. Tragic. Kind of like what’s happening with collegiate athletics’ supposed juggernaut of a leadership entity. Recently, there’s been a push for them to take a step back from every single potentially political, disruptive, or triggering decision in favor of ambiguity. That’s fun. Instead of being the bad parent, they would rather be best friends with all of their children. The problem here, though, is that you can’t be a good parent without knowing when to lay down the law. Drop the hammer. Let your children cry it out in their cribs all night if that’s what it takes. Because, eventually, they will stop.

Watching an authoritative organization try to make everyone happy is like watching a ticking bomb. I’m guessing, I’ve never watched a ticking bomb. I choose not to put myself in those situations. For safety. The longer you do nothing, the closer you are to the explosion. And when you’re one group trying to hoard off the (dead) masses, it becomes a lot like the epic battle of WINTERFELL. Except without the Hollywood underdog win. Why does everyone hate the NCAA? Quite simply, because they’ve become soft.

They do a lot, but at the end of the day, their responsibility is to govern member organizations. Now, in their defense, they are definitely governing. But they’re copying the wrong example of a government. Pushing decisions off and hoping they resolve themselves is not proactive, or reactive. It’s passive. And no one wants a passive leader. We put you in charge for a reason. Because we, the people, don’t want to make these decisions. Should we play sports this fall? Well that feels a lot like something that needs to be dictated across the board. Whatever ridiculousness is happening right now with conferences, and schools, making their own choices is a recipe for a riot. 

Nebraska thinks they’re Notre Dame. College students are starting petitions to undermine their conference decisions. Parents are getting involved and you know you’ve lost control when parents are talking to ESPN. Parents are arguably one of the worst parts of all sports from youth up through professional. The last thing anybody wants, sports fans or not, is to turn on SportsCenter and hear commentary from the parent of a second string Linebacker. Your child is now an adult. They need to fight their own battles. Better yet, let the coaching staff do their jobs and fight those battles for the team.

I don’t blame the parents, though, for being upset and not wanting their kid to miss an opportunity. I don’t blame the players for wanting to play. I don’t blame the coaching staff for wanting answers. All of the blame can be easily put in one place. No matter what you do, people are going to be upset. That’s just life. Trying to play every angle, however, leads to everyone being pissed at you. Especially since you can’t really crown a champion with over half of the contenders not currently having a season. That’s like saying Florida State won March Madness because they won the ACC Championship. LOL please! They weren’t even the most competitive conference. Now feels like a good spot for me to step back from this post before my competitive troll side emerges. In a move of pure authority, I’m ending it.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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NO, I’M SORRY, LIFE DOESN’T GIVE OUT PARTICIPATION TROPHIES – GROW UP

Where did we go wrong? The next generation of “adults” have been raised to believe that everyone is a winner. Um … everyone is not a winner. There has to be a loser. That’s how this works. I understand that all of us aren’t into sports, but that’s no excuse not to brace your children for the reality that is life. If we all got what we wanted just for waking up and putting on clothes, though, the world would be chaos. Everyone would be in their dream job, married to their celebrity crush, and financially very well off.

For those of us born before 2000, we can remember a time when there was no gray zone. If you didn’t win, you lost. And you may have been sad, you may have cried, but you learned from that. You learned that you had to be better. Or you would not win. You would not get a trophy just for being there and taking the team picture.  No one would lie to you about your potential in that particular field. Life was good.

Then, at some point earlier this century, someone decided that their kid was not a loser. And no one could tell them that they were a loser. Parents started putting their children’s feelings in a perfect little bubble so they could never be sad. But then school started, and those kids had a social awakening and life, as they knew it, was over. Enter the participation trophy. Return the sheltered children to where they belong – in a fantasy. In my head, the participation trophy is something that will be heavily examined by the future humans of Earth. Much like our fascination with the caveman and their discovery of fire.

In my (limited) experience as an adult, here is how the real world works once one outgrows their youth, laid out in several fun and traumatizing scenarios:

  • Missed Project Deadline
    • You get in trouble because you let the team down!
    • Possibly fired, depending on the level of recurrence
  • Declined for a Promotion
    • Suck it up buttercup – they don’t care about your tears!
    • You will not be receiving one
  • Late to Work
    • You get in trouble because you let the team down!
    • Possibly fired, depending on the level of recurrence
  • Waiting in Line for the New iPhone, but they Run Out
    • Suck it up buttercup – they don’t care about your tears!
    • You will not be receiving one
  • Failure to Meet your Goals
    • You get in trouble because you let the team down!
    • Possibly fired, depending on the level of recurrence
  • Rejected by Your Crush
    • Suck it up buttercup – they don’t care about your tears!
    • You will not be dating them

In summary, you get in trouble, possibly fired, and have to suck it up because the world doesn’t care about your tears. I could go on, but I believe those get my point across. Participation does not teach lessons, it prevents important lessons from being learned. And outside of youth recreational competitions (sports, spelling bees, science fairs, chess tournaments, mini golf, the arcade down the street, etc.), it doesn’t really apply. Losing is a good thing! It’s an external factor giving immediate feedback that what we did did not work. Which leads to progress and change and, eventually, winning! For real, though, like in a way that you actually earned. And that is the most rewarding feeling ever.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who actively promotes the “participation” game, tell them to stop it! Or, better yet, share this informative post with them so they can understand why they should stop it. The kids will thank you, but more importantly the world will thank you. Thanks for reading!


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