It comes as no surprise to those who know me that I’m a sports nut. Football (particularly the CFL and the Toronto Argonauts, but also the NFL and the Detroit Lions) was and continues to be my first love, with Auto Racing (Formula 1, IndyCar, and NASCAR in that order) a close second. Third place has changed a few times – most of the time it’s Baseball, unless the Olympics are on, with Hockey and Basketball tied for fourth in my hierarchy of sports. Living in Blue Jays’ country (which, technically is all of Canada since they’re the only professional baseball team in the country) though, it’s hard not to get caught up in the excitement that has been gripping the Toronto sports community.
It’s been an interesting week here. Had an amazing time out with friends Friday, went up to the cottage on Saturday, and returned Tuesday. Oh… and last Wednesday I watched the ESPYs (ESPN Awards) to see Caitlyn Jenner get the Arthur Ashe Courage Award and unwittingly stepped on an internet landmine when I tweeted that I thought she looked great and that I thought she deserved the award. A few people took umbrage at my choice of pronoun and decided to tell me all about how it is a crime against nature and / or God – both privately via DM or in a Twitter conversation. [Read more…]
For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a complete and total football junkie and have been since I was a toddler. I’m also an avid reader and quite enjoy the genre known as “chick lit”. One of my favourite writers in this genre has been Emily Giffin . I find her work engaging and fun to read with characters I can relate to. Given this, imagine my glee when I found out that Giffin’s latest book, The One & Only, was going to feature a female football reporter as the protagonist. I may have squealed. Loudly. Then I made an almost fatal mistake – I crowd sourced. I often hit up Goodreads when I find a book I like just to see what others have thought about it. I saw a lot of negative Nellies complaining about the book making generalizations about women who love football always being in it for a guy, that there was too much football (no such thing imho) and not enough plot, or that the characters weren’t relatable. I hate feeling disappointed or let down by an author I love so I put the book aside for a few days to think about whether or not I wanted to read it. I took it up to the cottage with me because I’m always running out of books to read (especially when the weather is as dismal as it was this summer, rainy and cold for most of my vacation) and I’m really glad I did. Had I not read the book based on those few Goodreads users who really disliked the book, I would have missed out on one of my favourite books so far this year.
In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been blogging over at my other blog Adventures with my BlackBerry for the last few months. I’m going to have another wrap up there but from the technological side of things – how my BlackBerry helped me make connections and made my conference experience more enjoyable. This is more about the experience I had at She’s Connected (or SCCTO which was the twitter hashtag for the event), what I learned, and the great people I met.
Overall, I had a great time at She’s Connected. The getting up at the crack of dawn wasn’t something I was looking forward to but I had great carpool with Courtney and Jacki and not only did we get to the hotel an hour before the conference breakfast was supposed to start, the fabulous people at the Renaissance Hotel were able to check us into our room super early (at 7am) so that we didn’t have to come back later and check in or try to do it after the conference when we were tired etc. I have to say that the Renaissance is a fabulous hotel, and I wish I’d spent more than just one night there! I’d go back for Grey Cup in the blink of an eye but it’s definitely out of my price range!
I learned a lot about myself at the conference. I learned I can be funny and witty in real life even with strangers and when I’m scared to death that I’ll say something stupid and they will write me off as a moron. I learned that mink eyelashes are pretty cool and very dramatic but take a long time to get used to. I learned that having a professional do a blow out on my hair leads to the same result as me doing one – flat hair in less than an hour! Not that the stylist from Blo wasn’t really good, but my hair is stupid that way. It looked fabulous for the hour, but then it was just messy and full of product. I learned that I really get a kick out of people complementing me on my business cards (which were super fabulous thanks to Lindsay from Grace Announcements).
The sessions were amazing. It’s impossible to pick just one to single out as the best. One of the best part of the sessions was that the panelists and speakers were more than willing to meet and speak with the attendees after the panels. There were 2 time slots in which I couldn’t find a session that I really wanted to attend, one on Friday and one on Saturday. This worked out pretty well because it gave me a chance to hang out in the McCafe lounge and get my nails painted and enjoy a chair massage. On Friday I got to hang out in the Molson 67 lounge and learn about pairing Beer and Cheese. This was really awesome and I’m never going back to wine and cheese again.
I learned a lot about trying to find a niche in the overcrowded world of online writing, editing and social media. I got some awesome advice from awesome people. I got to meet people with whom I’ve been tweeting and BBMing for over a year (I’m looking at you Christy and Christine). I learned that if I love blogging (and I do) I should keep doing it. That getting a chance at a community manager position isn’t as impossible a dream as I thought it would be and that some brands and agencies are okay with paying bloggers.
I missed the Friday ’80s Party because I wanted to go watch the
Argos Lose Argo game and play with the Argonotes. I love playing with the best band in the CFL. Even when the team loses, we get to go out and entertain thousands of people. I did, however, stick around for the Shades of Grey party on Saturday night. There’s not a lot to say about that Party other than wow. I got gel nail polish put on – it’s supposed to last 2 weeks and so far it’s lasted through me digging in sand and typing so I’m impressed. The food was delicious! It’s A Cake Thing made some of the best cookies and cupcakes that I’ve ever had! They looked as good as they tasted.
All in all it was a great 2 days. I’m glad it was only 2 days because I was exhausted at the end of the party. I know I’ve missed some wonderful people and things in this wrap up but the point is, it was a great experience and I can’t wait to go again next year.
Recently I’ve had a number of conversations on twitter and out in the real world about the CFL and how it’s seen to be bush league or second tier. First off, if you were one of the people with whom i had those conversations, I’m sorry. I must have seemed like a zealot. The fact is I love 3 down football. Always have. Maybe because i was exposed to it years before the 4 down version. I know I that I live and breathe Canadian Football. I’m sure the nice people at Toshiba were sick of me by the end of the She’s Connected conference. While most of the other women there were worried about which apps were available for their kids, I kept asking about football apps. (In case you’re wondering, I want an app that lets me create and run plays against multiple defensive schemes and – most important of all – allows the right number of players on the field).
Yep. I’m addicted to football. I enjoy NCAA and NFL football too (Michigan State Spartans and Detroit Lions!) but given my druthers, I’d much rather watch 3 down football. It’s not just the speed of the game (though on average it takes 45 minutes less to play a CFL game than an NFL game – and I’d argue that only about 20 minutes of this is commercial and the slightly (2 mins) longer halftime (again due to commercial breaks)) it’s the character. I like the 20 second play clock because it keeps the game moving. 40 seconds feels like an eternity to me and i find myself yelling at the TV during NFL games for the Quarterbacks to “Hurry up”.
I take issue with people who call the CFL second rate. It’s not a second rate league in anything except the TV revenue. In fact, until the late 1970s NFL players came up to the CFL because they could make more money! People such as Cam Wake who have played in both leagues have said that the NFL isn’t a tougher league, just different. In fact, in an interview with ESPN 760, Cam Wake said that the rules made the CFL tougher to play in as an outside linebacker.
He’s right – and the changes don’t just make it harder for the Defence either. The wider field has been known to give NCAA Quarterbacks, even those who have won a Heisman Trophy fits. Wide receivers can have problems adjusting their routes to the wider field. The extra 10 yards in field length makes running a kickoff back for a touchdown that much harder.
Then there’s my favourite difference between the CFL and the NFL – the 3 downs. Having 3 downs means that you actually have 2 real attempts to get the ball 10 yards. This means that running (which typically averages 3-4 yards a carry) won’t get you a first down. So there are more pass attempts in the CFL. Take Sunday’s Eastern Semi-Final as an example and compare it to one of the NFL games on at the same time. The LOSING Quarterback in the Eastern Semi-Final completed 30 of 42 pass attempts for 513 yards. AND HE LOST THE GAME. In contrast, Tim Tebow, the quarterback for the Denver Broncos, DID NOT MAKE A PASS ATTEMPT IN THE FIRST HALF. At the end of the game he was 2 for 8 for 69 yards. You just can’t do that in the CFL. You have to have a good passing game as well as a running game to mix things up or you’ll be eaten alive. (Note the troubles that both the Argos and the Riders had this year as an example – though you *can* win in the CFL without a solid passing game, it’s much harder and usually at least partly dependent on special teams).
The Rouge. Oh the Rouge. I love the Rouge (and not just because I’m on RougeRadio.com). I have had to explain the Rouge until I’m literally red in the face. It’s not a reward for missing a Field goal. It’s a reward for preventing the other team from running it out. If it was simply a reward for failure, it wouldn’t be awarded on a punt.
No Lead is Safe – this is the CFL’s most recent ad campaign. It’s very true. Very few games are complete blowouts with no chance for redemption. In the final week of the regular season, I stayed up really late to watch Montreal at BC. Even though BC had a decent lead at the half, I didn’t want to go to bed because I have witnessed Anthony Calvillo put up insane numbers in one half, so I couldn’t trust that it wouldn’t happen. It didn’t but overall, it seems that the last 4-5 minutes of a CFL game end up having more weird and wacky endings than the NFL ones. (the one thing that drives me nuts with the NFL play clock is that with 1:30 on the clock, and a fresh set of downs, the QB can take a knee and the game’s done. You’d have to get at least a 1st down in the CFL.
Finally, I love the CFL because Our Balls are Bigger. It’s not just a slogan. It’s true. I even have the T-Shirt.