Get Into the Game


By Kristy Barry

How some people look at the sun to see what time of day it is, I use sports as an indicator of the season. Spring is March Madness. Summer starts with my softball team’s first pitch in late April and summer ends when the US Open does. Fall is football and weekend softball. Winter is the time of year when fellow BTR podcasters Sam and Kory try convincing me to get excited about hockey.

Here are four things I’m hotly anticipating with Fall 2014.

1. Ohio State Stomping Rutgers at Football

My beloved Ohio State Buckeyes held a Top 5 preseason ranking and with the team ineligible to play a bowl game last year, speculation circled around whether the Buckeyes could win the title. But in August, Ohio State’s star quarterback Braxton Miller announced he’d be out for the season with a shoulder injury and my hopes for a college football championship quickly deflated.

I drove down to Baltimore for the team’s first game against Navy, sat next to the band, and reveled in a Buckeye victory–by two touchdowns. The following week was not as blissful, with the Buckeyes losing to unranked Virginia Tech. The team answered by slapping Kent State with a 66-0 loss.

And while the championship looks unlikely, I can look forward to another crushing defeat when Ohio State plays my alma mater, Rutgers. When I attended Rutgers and the football team had its mediocre, non-meteoric rise up the rankings by accidentally beating Louisville–I had peers and a boyfriend trash-talking me (not surprisingly, given how much I instigate).

In lofty tones, he would tell me that Rutgers is better than Ohio State: “Ohio State couldn’t beat a flock of geese, a Boys Scout troop, or an elderly pinochle club.”

I joked that I’d misquote him in the student newspaper, boasting about how much he loves the Buckeyes, and the joke was on-going.

I wanted to call him about disgraced former Scarlet Knight Ray Rice, but no, I’ll let the Ohio State vs. Rutgers game, in Columbus, OH, on Oct. 18–speak for itself. A day which also happens to be my birthday.

2. The Cleveland Browns Winning Games

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Any games at all.

3. LeBron Suiting Up As a Cleveland Cavalier

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The day LeBron James suits up as a Cleveland Cavalier and steps out on the court for tip-off will be the day I sing Etta James’ “At Last”.

“I found a dreeaaaammm that I can clinnng to…” A dream for Cleveland, and Ohio, to win a big title. For as much as Cleveland is a sports town, teams have perpetually fallen short of total, emphatic joy.

There will be hullabaloo for a preseason game with the Miami Heat, James’s former team, and it will be interesting to see how players treat each other in the game as well as how Heat fans react to seeing James in his old Cavalier jersey.

Cedar Point had promised James that if he returned to Cleveland, the amusement park would name a ride after him–the “King” coaster. James, who is active with his own LeBron James Family Foundation and helping inner-city kids, decided not to have a ride named after him but to partner with Cedar Point to host children at the park. The news feels so small town-ish and it brought tears to my eyes that James is supporting an amusement park he loved so much as a kid.

4. Chinatown Softball

Photo courtesy of Kristy Barry.

My Central Park softball team moves downtown, to play in a weekend league in Chinatown. We play morning games, on a small field surrounded by trees in the outfield, and nestled under the Manhattan Bridge. We bundle up on cold mornings and run over to the little bodega across the street for cheap coffee, bagels, and Gatorade. On the week of Halloween, we dress up in costumes to play the game. One year, my very fast-running friend Chip dressed up as The Flash and claimed he scored three times in one at-bat.

For team warm-ups, we often break the huddle by chanting, “NOO-DLES!” Win or lose (though more often than not–it’s a win), we go to Thai Son for big bowls of cheap, wonderful, hot noodles.

We sometimes stumble into karaoke joints, local bars, or Chinese massage parlors. We grab bubble tea, ice cream, and head home for a lovely, late-Saturday afternoon nap.

For more, check out Kristy in conversation on the BTR Sports podcast, every Sunday on BreakThru Radio.