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Sept. 16, 1995 I married FSU Football and never looked back.

September 10, 2010

My first Florida State Football Game: Sept. 16,1995 FSU v. N.C. State. FSU won 77- 17.  

I had just transferred from the University at Buffalo to Florida State University. Starting my Junior year of College and attending my first major college football game. I had bought the game day tee shirt at Bill’s Bookstore, my roomie and hallmates were ready to go and it was 95 degrees outside, no wind and 100% humidity. I thought “this is football season?”. From a born and raised upstate NY girl this whole football in shorts and dying of heat things was an oddity.

I had always been a fan of Football. When I was in Buffalo, the Bills were on their “let’s go to the Super Bowl and lose every game streak.”  I knew the game, I asked questions from my male friends. I wasn’t going to watch football for the social aspect. I was watching for pancakes, interceptions and that beautiful connection that is made when the QB and the WR are spot on with each other! I was watching for the sport of it, the competition. It helped however, that at that time FSU was pretty much laying a beat down on everyone.

I remember walking into Doak and the people, OMG the people. I had never seen this many people in one spot before. Tailgating, cheering, laughter, it was contagious. As we got to our section of the seats I can vividly remember walking in that hallway and having the field presented right before me. This stadium half filled, and my heart at that moment fell in love. I can close my eyes and picture this game, the fans, the heat, the beat down we laid on N.C. State. What was not to love I was attending one of the top ranked colleges in football and the excitement was overwhelming.  And before me was legendary Coach Bobby Bowden! I fell and I fell hard. Right there I pledged my undying love to those Seminoles of Florida State.

Between 1997-1999 I worked for the Athletic Dept at FSU as a tutor & mentor for the football team. I learned a lot from those boys. A lot about what they go through as student athletes and a lot about the game. This was invaluable experience. I also got a signed football from our National Championship team out of it as well. But that was a bonus for my time spent with Coles, the Rooster, Montrae Holland and many others (and Coach Lilly, what a crush I had on him.)

As the 1990’s came to a close, the 1999 National Championship trophy securely in hand, my beloved Noles, started their slow descend to the “middle class” ranks of college football. I remained a loyal fan, even having season tickets from 2000-2002. I would travel from Ft. Lauderdale to Tallahassee to see my Noles, win or lose.

2002-2006 – was a dark time for my Seminoles, but I didn’t miss a game. I was a devoted fan no matter what. I shed a lot of tears during these years and said a lot of words my grandmother shouldn’t hear fall out of my mouth. Nonetheless I was devoted. 

 In 2007 I moved back to Tallahassee and was asked to join the Extra Point Club. An all women’s club founded in the 70’s by Ann Bowden. Ever wonder who paints those spears around Doak Campbell on the side walks? Well, EPC does. We do lots of things, but that is for another post, another time. EPC got me once again involved with FSU Football on a personal level. For Fan Day 2008 I was with the Running Backs and Dexter Carter. Dexter Carter!! The best 3 hours of my life in 2008. I was also granted one of few opportunities bestowed upon a Nole by having my picture taken with Renegade & Osceola on the Field of the Homecoming game in 2008. Currently that picture sits on my mantel with Bobby Bowdens signature proudly displayed on it.

2008 I moved to the hated land of the UF Gators. I continued to wear my Garnet and Gold as much as possible even in enemy territory. My love has never wavered. I have lived the last two years hearing from Gator Fans about the demise of Bobby Bowden’s coaching career and the lack of drive our Seminole Football team seemed to show. Regardless, I wouldn’t miss a game and speak proudly of my Seminoles every Monday morning over coffee.

2010 Welcome Jimbo Fisher and team! How excited I was this spring hearing about all the changes happening with the team. I felt good about this upcoming season. Might this be a road back to the top? I hoped it was. Fan Day 2010, I was with Coach Coley, the Offensive linemen and the Tightends. The crowd was crazy. Fans everywhere waiting for Christian Ponder to sign anything and everything. So much positive vibes came from Fan Day. The players, Coaches, Fans this was a rocking  place with high hopes of success.

Sept 4, 2010 my first game at FSU without Bobby Bowden in my sights. How would I feel sitting in those stands? Well….The Marching Chiefs walked on that field. The fight song played. The War Chant. The Tomahawk Chop.  Osceola planting that spear. By the time kick off happened I was crying. The new boyfriend asked my long time friend Mike why I was crying.  Mike replied, “Dude, don’t you know Stef bleeds garnet and gold. She is married to this school and this team for life. Her real marriage to a man will actually be her second marriage. She’s crying because she see’s the FSU of old.” The boyfriend hugged me. I stood up and yelled for my team and for 3 hours this past Saturday I was filled with more pride than ever for my beloved Noles. Success is in sight and I’m going to be there every step of the way.

Sept. 16, 1995 I married FSU Football.  Sept. 4, 2010 I renewed my vows.

Can I Be a Chick for a Minute?

May 21, 2010
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I’m one of those sports chicks that cringes when I see the typical female sports fan. You know, the one that doesn’t have a clue about how the game’s played or about how to cheer. The female who complains about the sun on a beautiful day at the ballpark. Or the one who cheers for a team simply because of a team’s outfit colors. Those sort of female “fans” give us real sports chick a bad name.

But for one minute can I be that chick? Now calm down, I’m not giving up my intelligence. I still see the game through an informed fan’s eyes. All I ask is that I be allowed to drool over how cute a player is…just for a minute.

Enter Christian Ponder, quarterback for Florida State University. Granted, I am slightly biased because he does play for Florida State, my beloved team. But come on girls, who doesn’t think he’s everything a hunk of an athlete should be? Just look at that smile…

Yes, I have a secret crush on Christian. Yes, I pretend that one day we will be married and I will be the wife of a famous NFL star. Yes, my family know about this and have learned to roll their eyes at me. But you know what, I don’t care.

So pardon me if I stare at his photo, swoon at the sight of him on the field in warm-ups, and feel absolutely paranoid about the possibility of meeting him this fall (through a mutual friend). After all, I am still a female.

The Masters Weekend: How I Fell in Love with Golf

April 10, 2010

I didn’t always like golf. As a matter of fact in 2003 I could tell you that I hated it. I didn’t understand it. I thought “oh great you hit this white ball and chase it for 18 holes.” It was not my idea of a fun afternoon to watch it nor to play it. In 2003 I started dating a golfer. When he wasn’t with me or working he was on the Blue Monster at Doral. I was a golf widow, and I hated golf with every fiber of my being.

In 2005 he took me to my first PGA tournament at Doral. On this particular day Tiger Woods & Phil Mickelson were teeing off together. You can’t get near them when they tee off together so we went down the fairway and sat waiting. Well knowing I was with an obsessed golfer he knew how far these two would drive the ball and took a darn good guess as to where we should stop on the course to sit for the best view for their second shots. You know when they tee off based on the sound of the crowd. The crowd applause comes first, that little white ball comes second. And well I’ll be darn if one of those little white balls didn’t land right in front of me on the other side of that rope. I was giddy with excitement. It belonged to one of the greatest golfers in the world and he soon would be standing 3 feet in front of me.

That little white ball sitting in front of me in that green grass started my obsession, fascination, appreciation and most of all my love of this game. As Phil & Tiger started their walk down the fairway, my heart raced and soon enough Phil Mickelson was standing 3 feet in front of me. He looked at me nodded his head and turned around to hit that ball one more time. Right there I fell in love.

I would return to Doral in 2008 where I would have the chance to meet Phil Mickelson on a practice course and once again watch some of the best golfers in the world. I would follow VJ Singh for several holes saying “Wow, he’s so tall”. I would watch Boo Weekley and hear the crowd go “boooooo”. I would marvel at Geoff Ogilvy and Retief Goosen.  I would go to the 16th hole early to wait by the rope and watch the crowds of 100’s coming our way knowing they were following Tiger Woods. Standing front and center by the rope watching Tiger draw out the driver and hearing the crowd go wild just on him drawing a club. To stand 5 feet from him as he tees off is something I’ll never forget. The swoosh of that club is amazing.

This year on May 9th I will be lucky enough to attend the final round of TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. I’m over the moon excited to see my favorite players in person once again.

I always tell friends to go to a tournament just once. If you love sports this is a must for your sporting bucket list. Guys who golf, take your girlfriend/wife if she doesn’t appreciate or like golf. I promise one afternoon on a golf course as a spectator will change your mind about this sport. It’s an afternoon well spent.

It’s The Masters Weekend. Held in Augusta, GA. Bobby Jones & Clifford Roberts founded The Masters. The 1st Masters was held March 22, 1934, but it wasn’t called The Masters until 1939. In 1986 at the age of 46, Jack Nicklaus won his 6th green jacket. This course is full of history. To read more or to watch online go to www.masters.com All of you that have iphones can download the Masters app as well.

If you don’t like golf this is the weekend to learn to like it. The Masters is deep in tradition, one of the toughest courses on the PGA Tour and absolutely beautiful.  And at the end that Green Jacket may just bring a tear to your eye and make you fall in love.

Spring Training Redux

March 25, 2010
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I love the Boston Red Sox.

Living outside of New England sometimes makes it a bit difficult to be a Red Sox fan, but I’ve been creative enough to make it work.

I purchase the MLB.tv package so I have all of the games—in fact I buy the premium package so I can always have the NESN broadcast.

I know two great bars in Chicago where Red Sox fans meet to watch the games.

I purchase Red Sox tickets for any game within a 400 mile radius during the season (Detroit, Chicago, Minneapolis, and any interleague games).

I make an annual pilgrimage to Fenway Park.

This season, I was fortunate enough to go to Spring Training.

Red Sox fans are known for being fanatical, loud, and borderline committable about the team they love, and spring training is no exception.

City of Palms Park is, for lack of better words: adorable. It doesn’t take much to fascinate me, but palm trees certainly help the situation. Sunshine also helps. The opportunity to see the Red Sox in a ballpark that is smaller than some minor league stadiums I’ve attended made me incredibly giddy.

I wandered around City of Palms Park to take in the sights—the batting cage, the bullpen, LEGO Fenway Park, and the red sox store (proud owner of yet another Banner ’47 Hat). Everything seems so miniature and again, adorable, at a Spring Training game.

It’s like Honey, I shrunk the Major Leagues.

I noticed a vibe that is unique to Spring Training. Fans were laboring over their annuals, Red Sox Magazine, programs, and scoresheets for information on not only their favorite starters and new faces.

Spring Training, to my best estimation, brings out a hyper-geeky-stat-heads not always witnessed during the regular season. These people love baseball, and I felt at home talking with other diehard Sox fans.

These are the fans who laughed at my Papel-Lidge joke because they felt my pain and frustration of Papelbon’s horrendous pitching. These are the same fans who cheered wildly for Nomah’s brother on the opposing team. These fans know baseball.

The most exciting part of the week is the mixture of players witnessed in a given game—team veterans, new faces picked up on trade, rookies, and fan favorites.

The cheap tickets, cold beer, and sunshine are a winning combination that make pre-season baseball well worth the trip to Florida… one I will undoubtedly make next season.

The best part? We even got to sing “Sweet Caroline.”

You can follow Cee on Twitter! @ceeangi

Fantasy Baseball League

March 23, 2010

First off, thanks to all the chicks who participated in the SheLikesSports March Madness bracket. Who would’ve guessed all the upsets that have happened? But it’s been a fun (and often frustrating) venture.

As a follower of this blog, you have probably noticed the many posts about baseball. As SLS chicks, we love all sports, but there’s a special place in our hearts for baseball. There’s just something about sitting in a hard seat, eating a hot dog, and watching our favorite team take the field that has us intrigued. So, with baseball right around the corner, we’re putting together a fantasy baseball league.

Now fantasy sports leagues haven’t sometimes gotten a bad rap. True, some people become obsessive and overly competitive about them. I watched a documentary today about an elite baseball fantasy league who had one member that visited his fantasy team players and even made them “team shirts.” We do not suggest that type of obsession. On the other hand, many people use fantasy leagues as a way to interact with friends through friendly match-ups. It’s competitive, but only in the sense that we all love winning.

So, if you’d like to join the SheLikesSports baseball league, the information needed is listed below.

Yahoo! Fantasy Baseball Homepage: http://baseball.fantasysports.yahoo.com/

Yahoo! Group ID: 546731

Password: Sports

Draft Date: Thursday, April 1, 2010 at 6:30 PDT* (Even if you cannot make the draft time, Yahoo! allows you to pre-rank your players and will draft for you from your pre-ranked list. We can help you set that up if you would like.)

Good luck ladies! I look forward to interacting with you all this baseball season.

The SheLikesSports Official March Madness Bracket

March 16, 2010

Jumping off the last post, we girls at SheLikesSports have created our own March Madness group on ESPN. Whether you’re an experienced bracketeer or a beginning, join the group and let’s see who ends up with the most correct picks. It’s all in fun, and every SLS chick is free to join. So join using the information below, and let’s show those boys what some chicks with picks look like!

Link to group: http://bit.ly/djSSmX

Or you can search for the group on ESPN’s Tournament Challenge:

Group Name: SheLikesSports

Password: chicksrock

How to Survive the Madness

March 16, 2010

March Madness is upon us. Any living, breathing person knows that by now. For us avid sporties, we’ve watched the Selection Show, read the commentary, researched the teams we don’t know (very few), and filled out our brackets. While we know that a perfect bracket is nearly impossible, we’ve carefully calculated how to dance on the edge of prediction in each match-up. But for some women, March Madness is a time they hate. Either A) they are forced to watch a sport they don’t care about for several weeks or B) they desperately try to impress the man in their life in a sport about which they have no idea. For you chicks, I’ve compiled a few pointers on how to survive the madness of March basketball.

1. Don’t give too much info. Too many women think their men will be impressed by a plethora of knowledge about sports. Keep it simple, ladies. If you don’t know about a team, ask your man. Give him a chance to act like the macho know-it-all we know he loves to be (most guys; some aren’t, so don’t take it personally, guys).

2. Don’t try to prove your man wrong. So let’s say you do know about basketball, and have even followed it quite regularly. When discussing your bracket picks with your man, try not to let your sporty genius show. If your guy asks for your advice, offer it. But if he doesn’t, don’t point out why you picked a different winner (speaking from personal experience here…) Let the teams prove you right by winning.

3. Stick to his team. If they’re in the Tourney, know your man’s team, and stick with them. Even if they’re underdogs, cheer your heart out. Don’t say things like, “Why are they so far behind?” “Did he mean to throw that ball out of bounds?” “Do they normally play like this?” Playful joking about a poor performance is not appreciated during Tourney time. (And throw in a “the ref made a bad call” reference every now and then…)

4. Fill out your own bracket. Even if you don’t watch college basketball, filling out a bracket can be fun. Pick a team based on their mascot, team colors, college name, state of origin, cute players, or whatever method you want. As long as you get involved in the March Madness fun, your guy will appreciate it. (And trust me, all us bracketeers know it’s often the people who know the least about basketball who do well in brackets.) Click here to see brackets.

5. Watch games with him. This will be more enjoyable if you fill out your own bracket (see #4). But even if you don’t want to mess with brackets and picks, agree to watch a few games with your guy. Make a few good-natured bets on who will win. Do something to get into the game (even if you have to just pick a team and start cheering). Spend some time with your guy…you know he’ll be watching the game anyway. (As a wise philosopher once said, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.”)

Overall, March Madness can be a fun time of sports-bonding with your man, if you make it so. Don’t look at it as several weeks your man will be glued to ESPN; look at it as a chance to win a massage/dinner date/breakfast in bed through friendly, competitive betting….I mean, bonding. Make it fun, and you’ll walk away counting down to March 2011 (or at least surviving March 2010 with your sanity).

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