Tag Archives: NFL/Steelers football

When the gods wish to punish us, they answer our prayers

Pittsburghers are wandering about these days, idling away the days and hours until The Happiest Day of the Year: Super Bowl Sunday.

My advice for how to make an evening go speedily by (whether or not you’re a football fan): Go to the Pittsburgh Public Theatre and see their current show, Metamorphoses.

Production still from Metamorphoses at the Pittsburgh Public Theatre; Pictured: J.T. Arbogast and Tami Dixon; Photo credit: Ric Evans

It’s a short show (90 minutes, no intermission) but full of fun. The play is a compilation of Greek myths as told by Ovid, but rendered in semi-modern situations.

The gimmick of the show — much talked about in reviews and previews — is that the stage is constructed as a real, live, water-filled pool. This is beautiful to see, especially with a throne or small arrangement of flowers perched on the edge, reflecting in the water and glowing in a spotlight. But it also plays a critical role of its own in all the stories.

The performers are funny and perfect, as well as wonderfully fit — much skin is visible. Direction is brisk, sets are minimal and evocative, the script is both true to the original text and modernized for today. It’s a lovely production, and I recommend it highly.

As the show makes clear, a prevailing truth of myths is that the gods are fickle, but they have rules. If you abide by the rules and respect the gods’ power, you will succeed, or at least survive. Here’s hoping the Steelers stay on the good side of the Football Gods this weekend — don’t tempt the Fates, make no displays of hubris, show lots of sportsmanship, and make sure Tomlin doesn’t overdress for the big game (Cold Coach = Victory) — so the gods will look kindly on them in the Super Bowl.

See the review of Metamorphoses in this week’s Pittsburgh City Paper, and find show details and ticket info at the Public’s website.

(Photo details: Production still from Metamorphoses at the Pittsburgh Public Theatre; Pictured: J.T. Arbogast and Tami Dixon; Photo credit: Ric Evans. Source of the quote in the title of this post: Oscar Wilde.)

The cheering squad

Yesterday for the Steelers-Chargers game, my two-year-old niece wore her Steelers cheerleader outfit. We said the Steelers needed her support and she should give them a cheer.

She started shouting sounds. “Ah! Oof! Whoa! Ack! Yeah!”

We all stared. After a minute, my brother realized that she was imitating us — those were the sounds we made while we watched the game.

Which is absolutely true. Whoa!

Rachel says Go Steelers!

Older posts on football and the Pittsburgh Steelers:

The very best Steelers song EVER (Jan 24, 2006)

Drink of the Super Bowl: No. 43 Trophy Cup (aka The Polamalu) (Feb 3, 2006)

“We tried everything to give that game away, but they darn well wouldn’t take it” (Jan 16, 2005)

All the fun that’s fit to print

To help you plan your week, here are the key events on my schedule. Please join me when you can:

Wednesday, December 5: The 74th anniversary of the Repeal of Prohibition. I’ll post recommended beverages on Wednesday. For now, if you are the sort of person who enjoys an intoxicating beverage, plan to be somewhere where you can drink one by 5:32 EST on Wednesday.

Thursday, December 6: Pittsburgh Geek Night the 56th at the Church Brew Works. 5pm to 9pm. Details at the Pittsburgh Geeks website.

Friday, December 7: Butler County Chamber of Commerce holiday event. I realize that many of you will not be interested in this, but I plan to attend. Which will create a challenge when I then rush off to…

Friday, December 7: Gist Street Reading Series, 7:30pm. The final reading of 2007, and the last before the series takes a six month hiatus. Should be a great one. Details at the Gist Street website.

Saturday, December 8: Portraits for Toys at the Creative Treehouse, 10am – 8pm. A terrific idea:

On Saturday, December 8th, the members of the Creative TreeHouse in Bellevue will put their talents to good use and hold a benefit for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh. Professional holiday portraits will be taken at the Creative Treehouse, located at 517 Lincoln Ave (2nd Floor) Bellevue, PA 15202 from 10:00AM to 8:00PM for those who bring a toy donation for Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Suggested donations are toys for boys and girls up to age thirteen and around the price range of $10. Family portraits are available for a donation of two gifts, one for a boy and one for a girl. Single portraits will be available for a donation of one gift. A holiday backdrop designed by Creative TreeHouse members will be available as will a normal studio backdrop for single and family portraits.

The whole family is invited to spend time at the Creative TreeHouse while portraits are being taken. Portraits will be available to download online with a special code provided to each guest at the event. Details here.

Sunday, December 9: Closkey family goes to the theater! Actually, this will most likely be my sister Katy, my mother, and me going to the theater, as the play we’re eyeballing is Pride and Prejudice at PICT. The men of the family are guaranteed to whine and gripe, so we need not even ask them. For myself, I look forward to seeing David Whalen as a charming, blond Mr. Darcy. (Sigh.)

Sunday, December 9: There will be some kind of football game at 4:15pm. I’m not sure I’ll be able to watch it — I hope my heart is strong enough.

Month Impossible: Day Twenty-six, Let’s get it on

Steelers win. Worst ever Monday Night Football game, and possibly worst ever NFL game. But we won, and it counts.

Starting my NaNoWriMo writing for the day … now. Yeah, it sucks. Even my mom thinks I’m not going to meet the 50K goal. But she’s kind of a pessimist.

Will be drawing during breaks in writing.

Wish me luck, because I need it.

Month Impossible: Day Eleven


Originally uploaded by cynthiacloskey

I said yesterday that weekends are when I catch up. I’m reminded today, though, that Sundays in the fall are when I get very little done, due to football.

I’m in two fantasy football leagues this year, and doing poorly in both. I’m floating around the .500 mark in each league, and each week that I win in one league, I lose in the other. You’d think that the win would make up for the loss, but I’m a competitive person and the wins hurt a lot more than the losses feel good. The fact that fantasy football depends heavily on luck and things outside my control does not help one bit.

But the bigger issue is that, once 1pm rolls around and the games start, I start checking my teams’ progress. Obsessively. Basically I stare at the computer screen as it refreshes every few seconds. I also check email and Twitter, and post little emails and comments. the time flies and little of value is accomplished.

This afternoon I forced myself to work on a website migration during the games. This kind of work doesn’t take as much brain power, so it’s good for my Sunday afternoon split attention. This evening I didn’t turn the TV on, and I checked scores only occasionally; my being desperately behind and having little hope made this sadly easier.

For NaNoWriMo I wrote about 1200 words so far tonight, and 6,700 overall. I’ve got a bit more to do tonight on that. My new goal is 2500 words a day, every day, for the rest of the month. If I can do that, I’ll reach the goal.

For DrawMo I drew the boot you see here. I love these boots. They’re a deep, dusky red, and they’re by Frye. They’re comfortable and seem like they’ll last forever. Wearing them almost makes up for the fantasy football loss.

Month Impossible: Day Six

A strange kind of irony has taken hold of my life. I’ve been busy these past months, to the point that I thought my workload was as heavy as it could get. And then as soon as I started this blogging/drawing/writing every day thing, I’ve become truly, completely, insanely busy.

I’m even questioning whether I should have taken the night off last night to go to the Steeler game. That I could even contemplate such a thought shows the state of things.

Anyway, so this post is my feeble attempt to keep up with at least NaBloPoMo.

Instead of looking here for a summary or the Steeler game, please look at Sportsocracy’s and The Burgh Blog’s writeups.

Many people are having more success with DrawMo than I am, so please explore their creations.

NaNoWriMo? Oof. This is starting to look like 2005, when I wrote nearly half my novel draft in the final week. I won’t lose hope yet, but if things don’t start heading upward soon I wonder how I’ll survive this.

Month Impossible: Day Four

Tomato from my yard

Originally uploaded by cynthiacloskey

Two steps forward, one back. I created two drawings today while watching football, meaning that I caught up a little on DrawMo but am still one day behind. I also wrote a bit this evening.

I would have been smart to not watch any football at all — the teams will perform the same whether I’m monitoring their progress or not. I could have used the afternoon more efficiently by sitting at home, typing and drawing and doing laundry.

And yet, Sunday afternoons are the time I connect with my family. Ordinarily we watch the Steelers play, and we have a big group meal. This weekend was different in that the Steelers won’t play until tomorrow night, and I won’t be with the rest of the family to watch it — I’ll be at the game. (Woo-hoo!) But even though we watched other teams, we had the same kinds of discussions, the same rants at the terribly game announcers. It’s not cutting edge or obviously productive, but it’s a way of staying in touch with each other and sharing.

Still, I wish I’d written more today. I’ll try to get at least 1000 words before I sleep. If I can’t catch up, at least I can limit how far I fall behind.

Fantasy Football Week 3 Wrap-Up, Week 4 Agony

That’s the way the squib kick bounces. Sometimes it bounces your way, sometimes it’s helping out the other guy.

Official helmet of NormFroAs you may know, Lush Life is my team in the Pittsburgh Bloggers Fantasy Football League. Last week they pulled their martini-swilling selves together, aimed a gimlet eye in the direction of the goal post, and performed in memorable fashion, bringing in 117.77 points and barely beating out NormFro’s 111.40. NormFro is the team of Norm Huelsman, creative director at the Arti Institute of Pittsburgh and multimedia-man-about-town. It was a close game, and characterized by weird fantasy football moments — wanting my opponent’s quarterback to throw a long touchdown to my wide receiver, but then on the next series to fumble or throw an interception.

I can understand why normal fans don’t understand or much like fantasy football followers. We cheer at odd times and are never happy with just a score: We want to know who scored what and how many yards they had.

But as I say, I was triumphant last week in the local blogger league. I lost in my alumni league, but for whatever reason we aren’t spending much energy on trash talking amongst ourselves. That will change this week, though, because my team is thoroughly pounding the team of my good friend Brian, and it’s about time we got the trash party started.

The Burgh BlogAnother reason for me to devote attention to the other league this week is to distract myself from the horror that is my blogger league team this week. I’m ahead by less than 2 points going into tonight’s game. My opponent is PittGirl, the hilarious anonymous blogger of The Burgh Blog, and yet to play on her team are Carson Palmer, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, and the kicker for Cincinnati. Me? I’m resting my remaining shred of hope on Benjamin Watson, the tight end for New England. He’s a good tight end, but is he good enough? And more importantly, will Tom Brady look in his direction?

A big part of why I’m in such a bad way is that I failed to check the injury reports on Sunday morning. As a result, I left in a player who didn’t even suit up for his game. A rookie mistake on my part, and one for which I’m paying dearly.

My real hope is that, if I do lose this week, then others will lose too. So far my team is one of just three undefeated teams, and to my delight the other two league leaders are also in tough straits this week. Suxla Deluxla, the team of our esteemed commissioner TheJim, needs more than 23 points from Tom Brady — not a huge stretch, true, but still not a gimme. The thing is, one of those teams has Tom Brady as their QB, and for me to do well he’ll have to do well also. Meanwhile, Josh Sager’s Star Dot Star Comics have to get more points from Chad Johnson than their opponents get from Randy Moss and Sammy Morris. I feel a little more secure about the outcome of that matchup.

See how this fantasy football stuff confuses a perfectly good football game?

First and ten

I’m in two fantasy football leagues this year. After taking last year off from the fantasy football world — and as a result from football as a whole — I feel like I’m coming out of a football deep freeze. So many players I don’t know and coaches I don’t recognize. I’m not even sure I’ve seen these plays before.

The first league I’m in is the Pittsburgh Celebrity Bloggers Fantasy Football League, run by Jim Shireman of Sportsocracy. We drafted back in early August, and I was third in the draft, so I had the slightly risky choice of whether to draft Larry Johnson, who was then holding out. I took him without worry. He ended his holdout and is playing today, but so far hasn’t done much to justify my faith. I expect him to do more in the second half of today’s game.

Here’s my team:

M. Hasselbeck (QB – SEA)
S. Smith (WR-CAR)
T. Holt (WR-STL)
A. Boldin (WR-ARI)
L. Johnson (RB-KC)
C. Williams (RB – TB)
B. Watson (TE – NE)
J. Norwood (RB – ATL)
M. Schaub (QB – HOU)
M. Turner (RB – SD)
B. Marshall (WR – DEN)
J. Wilkins (K – STL)
J. Scobee (K – JAC)
San Diego Defense
Minnesota Defense

My celebrity blogger opponent this week is the redoubtable Mean Gene Bromberg, Pittsburgh’s premier poker blogger and all-around sports fanatic. He’s also a client of Big Big Design (my web design company), but I will not hesitate to crush him all the same.

My second fantasy league is the LFM Fantasy Football League, which is the league of my grad school program’s alumni Class of 1997. We started the league while we were in school, in 1995, and ran it for 10 years.

I was too busy last fall to bring it together, so we took a year off. This summer some of us talked about restarting but not enough people seemed to commit. And then, the day before the season started, there was a sudden buzz of enthusiasm. We got seven people to commit to doing it, figured we can give the seventh team to our classmate Kevin — he’s in the Air Force and stationed in Afghanistan, so in past season’s we’ve managed a team for him, and he checks in when he’s got Internet access to offer executive coaching direction and briefly join the fun.

I had the good fortune of drafting first in that league. Here’s my team:

M. Hasselbeck (QB-SEA)
C. Johnson (WR-CIN)
T. Owens (WR-DAL)
L. Tomlinson (RB – SD)
R. Brown (RB-MIA)
J. Shockey (TE-NYG)
J. Walker (WR-DEN)
H. Ward (WR-PIT)
J. Kitna (QB-DET)
J. Witten (TE-DAL)
T. Bell (RB-DET)
J. Wilkins (K-STL)
S. Graham (K-CIN)
Carolina Defense

So far this week I’m not doing well in this league, but my key players don’t start until this afternoon and evening or tomorrow night. So there’s a lot of playing yet to come.

Right now I’m more focused on how fun it has been to think about football again, and fantasy football in particular. FF gives one a different view of the NFL — all the games carry weight, not just the home team or the home team’s division, and every bit of yardage and sack and missed extra point can have impact.

Let’s play ball!

UPDATE: I won both my games this week.

In the Celebrity Bloggers League, MyBrilliantMistakes crushed The MeanGene Machine, 112.70 to 70.63.

And in the LFM league, Steely McBeam (yeah, I know, but I needed a team name and that seemed as ridiculous as any — alternative suggestions welcome in the comments) spanked Kevin (see? he doesn’t even have a team name), 109.46 to 70.66.

Dang, I love football.