Physicality?


Stanley Cup in Hockey Hall of Fame

The coveted Stanley Cup (Image via Wikipedia)

I heard a sports commentator today report that the Bruins won the Stanley Cup because later in the last game they started playing with physicality. Yup, that’s what the commentator said. So what is physicality anyway? It’s one of those sports-speak terms one hears all the time now, from announcers and commentators on sports news, sports channels and sports reporting. “He’s playing with real physicality now” the commentator says with genuine, straight-faced sincerity as if he’d just discovered something profound.  Oh, right, because before, when he was just running, kicking, tackling, punting, he WASN’T playing with physicality, he was just, well, playing?

It seems like physicality shouldn’t even be a word. It sounds like one of those made up words that sports commentators use. But turns out it is indeed a word after all. Random House Webster’s College Dictionary defines it thus:

“phy-si-ca-li-ty (fiz’ i kal’ i te) 1. the quality of being physical, especially when emphasized, or overemphasized.”

Okay, so basically physicality means being really, really physical. So if you’re playing a sport, running, throwing, tackling, whatever, you are indeed being physical, but if you’re playing really, really hard, then you’re playing with physicality.

Hmm. So take a professional sports team. It’s their JOB to play with physicality. That’s all they do. Yet, they cruise through the first half, or the first period, or whatever time compartmentalization that particular sport has, and they just…play. Just phone it in. Go through the motions. Then, when,  SURPRISE, team A discovers they aren’t beating the team B, they start playing with physicality, and win the game. Seems like they should have just done that from the beginning. Just sayin’.

Too old to start the training, OR Mr. Toad’s wild ride


I wake up, wondering what day it is, what time it is, and why am I wrapped up in extra blankets while the fan is running full blast? My neck hurts, my knees hurt, my feet hurt, my quads hurt, my shoulders hurt  and I’m pretty sure my hair hurts. What happened? Well, fast-backward twelve hours earlier.

Twelve hours earlier

I’m on my bike, clutching the handlebars as tightly as I can. My hair that is not contained in my helmet is whipping across my face. I’m trying as hard as I can

The demon trainer (© Huffygirl 2011)

to keep up with the biker in front of me.  After all, only a short while earlier I had taunted this demon – “Go faster” I said – “I’m getting too close to you.” Jeez. What was I thinking? My right hand is numb, my left shoulder aching. Was that a pothole back there? I just missed it. I’m going so fast (well fast for me anyway) that I’m not taking in all of my surroundings. Where are we anyway? I’ve done this ride before, the landmarks should be  familiar, but I’ve really got all I can do to keep up with this speed demon, let alone watch the scenery.

Okay, now we’re going up a hill. I gear down, but that’s not enough to keep up with this demon, so soon I’m standing on the pedals, cranking away. I did it! But at the top, he’s off again. Finally, we’re at the flat part of the ride. “This should be a cinch” I think, “I’ll show him I know how to keep up.” But it seems that we’re going into the wind. I struggle to keep up on what is usually the easiest part of the ride, watching my average speed drop and drop and drop, farther from my goal. We stop for water at the corner before the turn.  “Well that was hard going into the wind, but we’re turning now so it should be better,” I say. But the demon trainer points out “Nah, that was just a crosswind, when we turn we’ll be going even MORE into the wind.” I don’t see how we could possibly be going MORE into the wind and scoff at this, until I notice the flag on the corner, spread out wildly, flapping away from the direction we are turning.

And so we continue: flats, uphills, downhills for 25 miles. I’m watching  the pedal rotations of this demon man (and his impressive calf muscles) and notice that most of the time I’m pedaling twice as fast as he is, just to barely keep up. And he’s not riding at his full potential – after all he’s taking it easy on my first training ride. 

By the time we get home, I’m feeling accomplished, but aching. I didn’t ride pretty, but I did it. My bike computer tells me I did this ride exactly six minutes faster than the last time when I was just phoning it in. All this and only six minutes? Still, for me, whose only boast is  being the slowest biker on the road, this is progress. Next time it might be seven minutes, and then eight and then…oh heck, I’m freezing and aching and need a shower.

By the time I’m done showering I’m chilled to the bone, from all that cold wind rushing quickly past me no doubt, and despite the summer heat, wrap up in extra blankets and a heating pad to crawl into bed.

So now flash forward twelve hours again. I untangle myself from the extra blankets and get up to turn off the fan. It turns out I can still walk after all, and isn’t this why Tylenol was invented anyway?  So, will I let my husband be my trainer again? Absolutely!

The Huffys, on an easier ride (© Huffygirl 2011)

© Huffygirl 2011

Related post:

HuffyHow: More girl’s beginner guide to football


Western Michigan University American football ...

Image via Wikipedia

Now that you know how to find and follow the ball, the only other thing you need to know is how to TALK football. Yes, if you’re watching with others, you don’t want to be left out by not cheering or knowing how to discuss the game.

During the game, here’s some generic cheers you can use to make it seem like you know what you’re talking about. You’ll have to pay attention as to whether your team is on offense (carrying the ball) or defense (keeping the other team from scoring) so you’ll use the right cheers at the right time.

There’s not a lot to say when your team is on defense. Their main goal is to stop the other team from advancing the ball, and not getting any penalties in the process. So it’s always safe to chant generic slogans like “Go defense” or the ever popular “DE’ fense, DE’ fense…) Or if you’re the silent type, you can always go for holding up the big capital D and a white picket fence – that really says it all.

It’s also important to let the defense know if they’re not doing a good job. So if the defense leaves a big gap where the runner gets through without being stopped, you can yell “Hey I could’ve driven a truck through that hole!” or “My grandma could’ve stopped him!” In fact, grandmas and moms come up quite a bit in football. Any time a football player seems weak or ineffectual, it’s okay to compare him to your grandma or mom as in “My mom could have ___________ better.”

When your team’s on offense, you want to cheer them on for advancing the ball. So if they get the first down, you can clap, yell “Yeah!” and the like. If your team is not succeeding in advancing the ball, there’s actually more to yell about. It’s important to shout advice to the players, because they obviously would not know what to do without hundreds of fans yelling at them at the same time. It’s always safe to go with the grandma or mom rant above. Or try to make things more personal to that particular play.

Of course the most  important thing is yelling at the refs. Everyone assumes the refs are: blind, biased, lazy, ineffective, unless they’ve made a call in favor of your team. Direct your rants towards the refs’ inefficiencies.  “C’mon ref, get some new glasses”, “C’mon ref are you blind?” “Get the home team refs out” all work well. Of course it’s important to focus on particulars so your yelling will help the ref become a better ref in the future. “Hey it was interference”, “He was all over him ref”, “He was out-of-bounds”, “He was offsides” are all pretty standard and work for most situations. Of course one wonders how four refs right on the field can miss these things that we’re seeing 200 yards away in the stands; maybe they do need new glasses. 

To top things off, make sure that you shake your keys in the air or wave your cap during the kickoff at the beginning of each half, high-five your seat mates when your team scores, and sing the fight song during time-outs, and you’ll be all set  to fit right in at the game.

Coming up: the all important post game analysis and terminology explained.

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