Wednesday, September 19, 2012

High Class Drama

When my soccer world becomes more exciting than anything I could make up in a story, I think it's time to return to my soccer-writing roots. A lot has changed since August, hopefully making the wait for my next blogpost worth your while. Our record now 4 and 2, the Lady Hawks are off to a very different start from last year.

Every year, our game against Solon has always been intense and even brutal. While I can't speak for the other team, I know our players look forward to this game each season as one of our toughest games, and consequently, most heated. With their fans getting a hold of our roster, we ignore the taunting from their home bleachers in order to focus on the blood bath soaking up the turf. Okay, so it might not actually be that dramatic. But I will always remember this game in a battle-like haze. 

Similarly, I can't recall the order in which these following events occurred, but simply remember an array of chaos that erupted sporadically throughout those 80 minutes. 

I remember a referee blowing his whistle for himself, as he crumbles to the ground with a Charlie Horse. Stop of play.

I remember watching my teammate on the brink of a fight with a Solon midfielder, a shove in the back while the ball is overhead. Stop of play.

I remember, in the lull between a ball out of bounds and a corner kick, the pulling of my teammate's ponytail-- New Mexico style-- if any of you remember that YouTube video. Stop of play.

And I remember my sweeper on the ground, afraid to look at her black and blue ankle. I remember Stan, our coach, storming the field, yelling into the tired ref's face. I don't remember what he said, but saw the red card wave up high like a flag in the air, and Stan surrendered. Parents yelled at other parents and cops showed up to show us to our cars. We finished off the game, and left.

When I'm old, I'll remember our crazy coach sticking up for us in a game teetering on the edge of a new version of Gladiator. I can't say that we were entirely the victims, but by losing control himself, Stan gave us back a shred of control on the field. At school the next day, when I got hoarse from telling this same story to whoever would hear it, I could only describe the infamous Solon game with one phrase: High Class Drama.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Here Come the Cliffhangers

School starts in a few days, and despite having procrastinated on all of my summer homework, I'm pretty excited. Now for me, the main reason to be excited for the new school year is for the soccer season to officially start. YES, THE END OF PRESEASON!! Our first game was yesterday against Cardinal Mooney, and we won 4 to 0. This year is starting to look like our undefeated season of last year, knock on wood, but hopefully with a better outcome in the playoffs. I feel like I'm on the brink of a cliffhanger and it's exciting. I don't want to predict too much about the upcoming season for the fear of jinxing anything (like most athletes, I have to say I'm fairly superstitious). Our next game is sometime next week, I should probably know this kind of stuff... so I'll keep you posted!

As for our story, for those of you who want to know what happened to the boy, read on! And for those of you who don't, I know that you're thinking "this is supposed to be a sports blog". I'm sure it also doesn't help that the narrator plainly states "I hate sports". Oh, the irony. But have some faith in your devoted blogger! So here it is:

            I start to make a list in my head, with a leaky green pen on blue-lined paper. I could trip, sprain my ankle, break it, the bone poking through my skin. I could chip a tooth on a baseball, get a knot in my leg, fall. I start muttering about Achilles Tendinitis under my breath.
            Is he retarded? The boy asks, and the others laugh. I scratch the top of my bony hands again, and they start to bleed. I rub them pink, and think about my pink house and how badly I wanted to walk away from it.
            He’s weak, my father said just before he left. I think he knew I was listening, because he saw me on the staircase and stared at my scarred hands; I tucked them behind my back. I remember it soggy, like far away and I’m looking at him underwater and he leaves the pink house and doesn’t look back. And although I hate my father, I wanted to be him at the same time.
            A boy with moppy blonde hair and crooked teeth comes up to the mailbox. He’s short like me, but his strides are long and he’s grabbing my mitt before I can lean against the mailbox again. I push at the glasses falling down my speckled nose.
            Put it on, the boy says, shoving my glove into my chest, and I cough, almost dropping it. Sweat mats my brown hair to my forehead and I try to wipe it off with the back of my hand. It stings. The sun is staring at me and the boys are waiting and I look down at my un-scuffed converse.
Sorry, I can’t— I start to say. But someone’s tapping on a glass window, and I turn around.
            Go, Mother says, even though I can’t hear her from outside. She shoos me with her hands, clicking the window with her long pink fingernails. I turn to face the boy with the crooked teeth.
            C’mon, he says, and so I slip on my baseball glove, the dark leather rubbing against my raw hands, and walk towards the cul-de-sac.

to be continued.... 

come on here we go cliff hanger its another club banger got ya hanging on the edge of your seat. -- Eminem

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Keeping My Word

So, I like to keep my promises. And a few weeks ago I did promise you an interesting blog, so hopefully this will suffice. When I was at Columbia University for "nerd" camp, I started writing a story set in the C-L-E (Cleveland Pride!!!). Below is the first chunk of what I'm hoping to be a slightly longer piece. Feel free to comment and tell me what you think! And I haven't thought of a title yet, so shout out any suggestions.

Here it is....

I’ve always wanted a house on the cul-de-sac. One with green shutters and a blue door and a dog named Elvis Presley. A mailman would hobble to our mailbox shaped like a golf ball and ask me what I thought of the weather. I wouldn’t know what to say, but I’d smile and nod and let the man with the leathery bag walk down to the next driveway.
            In Parma, Ohio, 1963, it’s considered normal for the mailman to know your name. It’s considered normal for the ten Bradley children to fill up the school bus with their hand-me-down sweaters and brown-bagged lunches, and for the drunk Mr. Keeler’s cat to eat tar off the pavement. And so it wouldn’t seem out of the ordinary to wait for a thunderstorm from your screened-in porch in the middle of July.
Today, the trees are bowing to our coarse brown lawn and I know a summer storm is coming. I panic, but then remember that my flashlight’s under the bed and the extra batteries are in the top drawer of my dresser. I remember this because I’m claustrophobic, but only when it’s dark. However, when I told Mother this an hour ago she rolled her eyes.
Go play outside, she said. So I sat on this doorstep and haven’t moved since. I pull at the collar of my red sweatshirt and try not to sweat. Today, the mailman would say it’s never been this hot before. But I’m wearing a sweatshirt anyways because of the breeze. Every season’s flu season, Grandmother used to say.
I sit with my back to the house so that I don’t have to look at the slanted, rusty gutter, or the pink paint flaking away from the siding. We should get that fixed, Mother says. But by now I know not to believe her.
I think it’s easier to walk away from a pink house. To sit with you’re back to it. I love going out to the mailbox in the morning to look out at the other houses and pretend that behind me, mine looks exactly the same. Grandmother used to love going to church on Sundays because she hated that thin coat of pink paint. Sometimes, if I listened hard enough, I could hear her praying for a different colored house. Or at least, I pretended I could. Because that was much more interesting than counting the linoleum tiles of the chapel floor. Even Mother, although she’d never admit it, loves going to her weekly Bridge game to walk away from the pink house. Yes, my mother plays Bridge. And although I can’t explain why, I am intensely proud of her for it.
And when a yellow taxicab had pulled up to the house—the romantic cabs you watch pull up in movies—, I strangely understood why my father stuffed his black suitcase into the trunk.
The week after he left, Mother made me grilled cheese sandwiches. I guess she thought they were my favorite, and I guess I didn’t have the nerve to tell her that they weren’t.
The grilled cheese making started one day when Mother took all the cheese from the fridge—the only food that was still in there, since Mother refused to go to the grocery store alone— and melted slices on Wonderbread using her metal iron and the stained ironing board. I never have friends over for dinner for exactly this reason: my mother can’t cook. Eating bread soggy and smushed too flat, I nodded and tried to smile with sticky cheese stretching across my teeth. Any good? Mother would ask. And then, she’d spin around and make another before I could say no, not good at all.
Late at night, after Mother made her final wet cheese sandwich and fell asleep on the couch, I’d take a preventive swig of Pepto-Bismol and brush my teeth twice. Just in case, Grandmother used to say. And I would brush my teeth again.
Then, I’d lie down on top of my plain white sheets with the fan spinning above. And just before I would close my eyes, I pressed on my kidney, or the place where I thought it should be, and checked for kidney stones.
From my seat on the doorstep, I can see a legion of boys in t-shirts and baseball caps coming towards me, and at first I’m scared. I try to stand up, if only to block the view of my pink house. Stand by the mailbox; it’ll look cooler. I worry about whether or not I put on sunscreen, but only for a moment, before the boys are calling my name. But they’re just shouting hey Kid or hey You, and I look up. I lean on the mailbox, but feel it quiver beneath my elbow. Stand up straight; you’ll get Arthritis, Grandmother used to say. I scratch at the top of my hands; I don’t want Arthritis.
Hey, you have a glove? We need one more, a boy asks. He’s the tallest, and his hair is reddish and freckles look like they were spat on his round face. But he laughs and the others laugh and I wish I were him, but only for a second.
            I slip my sweaty palm into my father’s hand-me-down mitt, but quickly take it out again. Mother always tells me I was horrible at making decisions. You wanna come play? They ask again. But I hate sports.

to be continued...

Sunday, July 22, 2012

I Am Also... (Part 3)

This is the final part, I promise. For the past three weeks, I have been in NYC. And yes, I did buy one of those I <3 NYC shirts while I was there. In addition to buying my new favorite t-shirt, I took three weeks' worth of creative writing classes at Columbia University. Until now, I have been a closet creative writer. This consisted of a few hundred attempts at writing the next "great American novel" (which, despite my distaste for some of the other "greats" like Gatsby or The Scarlet Letter, I am stil trying to create).

While I do love jigsaw puzzles, creative writing has played a slightly larger role in my life (btw I promise I won't get too cheesy with this...). And so I thought I would tell all of you reading this that the content of my blog might change a bit. Don't worry; I will keep you updated on my final (tear) soccer season.. EVER.... if to simply justify the name of my blog. However, I'm also going to share some of my writing here.

Don't you hate it when people talk about doing something without actually doing it? ? ? Me too. Expect a post next week with something interesting :)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

I Am Also... (Part 2)

Against my better judgement, I got a Dr. Pepper at the concessions counter before seeing the movie Snow White and the Huntsman with Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth. I am normally the type of person who doesn't get a drink at the movie theater, but figuring that it wouldn't be the end of the world if I missed a few minutes of Stewart's renowned acting in order to pee, I broke my movie-going rules. But with the crossing of a pond roughly forty-five minutes into the movie, I started to regret that Dr. Pepper.

Yes, despite it being a Kristen Stewart movie, I didn't want to miss any part of it by going to the bathroom. The movie that I had told my friends I was seeing for the special effects hooked me in, my eyes locked to the screen as I desperately sat on my feet and bit my lip.

Whether Stewart had suddenly gotten better at acting or not, the story line was brilliant. While they can't get all the credit (because it's an adaption of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves), the plot twists that they added to the original story were unique while still being believable. And the set and special effects were also incredible, keeping me in my seat as my bladder was about to explode. For once, the plot of a Disney Princess movie was not driven by a girl's desire for a perfect Prince. Likewise, the movie also strayed from the original by ending with the crowning of Snow White, instead of the Disney wedding with all the forest critters tearing up at the ceremony. Long awaited and surely needed, Disney has given us another heroine to look up to.

Don't worry, I am not a born-again Stewart fan; that's not what I spent three paragraphs explaining. As I regretted drinking my Dr. Pepper, I thought of another way to define myself (and no, I'm not going to say I have a small bladder, either). In addition to being a soccer player, track runner, high school student and jigsaw puzzler, I am also a movie buff.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

I Am Also... (part 1)

Despite what many might think, I am not just a soccer playing robot whose sole interest is athletic competition. While I do spend a great deal of time either playing, or complaining about high school sports, I have other hobbies that i devote just as much time to (but perhaps not as much complaining).

One habbit that I have not been able to kick is my love for online jigsaw puzzles. Yes, I can spend up to two hours clicking together electronic puzzle pieces to reveal pictures that range in content from Florence, Italy to Pokemon.

Prior to last month, I have never really been a fan of puzzles. I didn't particularly enjoy smashing piece into piece, frequently bending-- or even tearing-- the cheap, thin cardboard slices. However, in the midst of a marathon session on, I "stumbled upon" a website called Jigidi. If anyone out there is looking to waste an hour or two (after reading all of my blogs of course... :P), try a jigsaw puzzle on Jigidi. It's fun, free-- and I promise I'm not secretly paid to solicit for them. The pieces don't break, and when they fit just right, the website gives a satisfying CLICK. 

Hi, my name is Carolyn Mazanec, and I am a Jigidi addict.

For those of you who are athletes out there thinking, "what the...", expecting another blog post about turf or Gatorade, I would like to point out that a jigsaw puzzle is another form of challenge. Jigidi does you the favor of timing how long it takes you to finish a puzzle, and so each new jumbled picture becomes an opportunity to beat your PR speed of completion. While I don't think jigsaw-ing is ready to be an Olympic sport, it is definitely an okay hobby to admit to as an athlete (or at least, thats what I tell myself).

In addition to being a soccer player, track runner, and high school student, I am also a jigsaw puzzler.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

What It Takes

About a month before each high school soccer season, I get this horrible dread that pits in the bottom of my stomach. This is not to say that I don’t like playing soccer, or that in every second of every game I don’t spend 110% of my energy trying to outplay, outrun, and outsprint my opponent, leaving them sputtering in a cloud of turflets. However, just before my first practice each year, I have that same recurring nightmare of my coach saying “On the line” in a thick, Russian accent.

Although my usual approach to this dread is to ignore the problem and pretend that I’m not even going to play soccer until that first day (which is hard to convince myself of considering I haven’t gone a year without playing soccer since I was three), this year a Nike advertisement helped get me pumped for the season (and yes, you can click on the words “Nike advertisement” to watch the commercial).

Firstly, I am not trying to solicit for any brand nor am I saying that my sole motivation for playing high school soccer is the sports gear that comes with it. While the Nike logo is visible throughout the entire sixty-one seconds, this advertisement also promotes the power and strength that one can obtain by simply being an athlete. Despite the inspirational song that plays in the background, I am not fooled by their attempt to depict working out as fun. Running sprints, doing ladders, and crunching those abs is not fun. So why do I do it? Why do I endure the horrible dread that pits in the bottom of my stomach or get on the line after each practice? The answer is simple: Because I’m an athlete. Because I want to win and if running sprints, doing ladders, and crunching those abs is what I need to do, then I’ll Just Do It. And while I can’t say I’m looking forward to all of the stress and the pain, at least I’m ready for it.