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Natitude is back!

The Washington Nationals beat the Miami Marlins 3-0 on Wednesday in their second game of the season. The Nationals have opened the season with two straight shutouts at their home field in the District of Columbia. The Nationals are starting off the season with a strong pitching staff that refuses to give up runs. They have a chance to make record history in their first three games for shutouts. The only other team in Major League history to do this was the Cardinals in 1963.

Gio Gonzalez was the multitalented player of the night. Gonzalez, who bats right-handed but throws left, was a star with his significant contribution to the shutout and with a home run. On the mound, Gonzalez would take his time between pitches to blow into his hands to keep them warm. He pitched in a short sleeve uniform even though it was uncomfortably cold at the night game. The spectators drank cold beer and cheered standing to warm their bodies.

A loyal fan of the Nationals, Guillermo Avellandea of Fairfax Station, Va. said he “wanted to start a bon-fire but the ushers would definitely throw him out in a heartbeat.” He did not care though considering a few minutes later, he would end up becoming one of those lucky fans to catch and take home a foul ball. “These are those types of things that I will be able to share and pass down to my children—I feel so lucky to have caught it out of all of these people here tonight,” Avellandea said. The crowd cheered for Gonzalez as he jogged around the bases after his home-run and the dugout was wild with teammates applauding him.

Those fans that endured the cold for all nine innings watched them finish the game without the Marlins scoring. The Nationals will eventually lose a game but hopefully not against the Marlins. The pressure is on right-handed pitcher Jordan Zimmerman tonight with their last game against visiting Marlins.  The Marlins are preparing to seek redemption for the previous two games, but the “Natitude” is personal.

The Nationals are playing from their hearts for the love of the game and for Davey Johnson. Just before the season started Johnson sat down for a press conference and announced this will be his last season before he lets loose of his team to a younger manager. Johnson has spent the offseason improving his roster and training the team for winning the 2013 World Series.

“I just want to see my Nats take it home this year,” said another loyal Nationals fan Dylan Moyer of Lake Ridge, Va.

You could feel the magic in the air among the fans and the stadium employees—baseball season is officially back in full swing!

Travis Harvey of Reston, Va. proclaimed to a crowd waiting for $1 hot dogs that “this year is OUR year!”—receiving a large crowd applause and cheer agreeing that they too believed it is the year for the Nationals.

“I have been to every single home game, for the exception of not even a handful of games, and I am truly behind my team 100%. They will do it this year without a doubt,” said Harvey.

The Nationals have just as much talent as any other team and they are the team to beat. It may be too early to predict, but the Nationals are starting off the season with the skills needed to at least have a possibility of competing for a spot in the playoffs. Let us pray these first two games are foreshadowing the rest of the season to come.

*Pictures soon to follow! 🙂

 

“Don’t think. You can only hurt the ball club.”

 

Bull Durham is the classic love story and the epitome of a romantic comedy.  Filmed in 1988, the story follows the lives of three characters, Crash Davis (Kevin Costner) who is assigned to pitch for the Durham Bulls as well as mentor the young, new and up-and-coming pitcher “Nuke” LaLoosh.

In the beginning the audience realizes early on that Crash is the wiser of the two players and that he has a lot of mentoring to do when it comes to LaLoosh.

LaLoosh is juvenile in many regards—not only in his personal life, but also when it comes to the game.  LaLoosh must learn from Crash to stop thinking so much because it “only hurts the ballclub.”

From the moment the two meet, their egos and masculinity are tried and tested.  Then add a little romance into the mix and then you’ve got the perfect ingredients for a great film.

Annie Savoy (Susan Sarandon) throws both of the men for a whirl when she proposes to them both a grand opportunity—a chance for one of them to share her bed.  She tells them both that every season, she picks the seasons most promising candidates.

This does not settle well with Crash as he tells her, “after 12 years in the minor leagues, I don’t try out. Besides, I don’t believe in quantum physics when it comes to matters of the heart.”  Crash doesn’t like that Annie gets to chose, so he walks away from the proposal.

This opened the door for LaLoosh, and he takes the opportunity as it arises.

Still, Annie and Crash develop a longing for each other and throughout the movie Crash makes sure if he can’t have Annie the way he wants to, then she won’t be able to have what she wants either and plants a seed inside LaLoosh’s head that if he continues to canoodle with Annie, the Bull’s winning streak for the season will come to an end.

The movie is a playful and candid take on the lives and lifestyles of a minor league team with a twist of flavorful dialogue and creative whit.  The ideal movie for any sports fan, baseball fan specially, or anyone that can appreciate a good old fashioned love story.

Meeting Troy Aikman

Speaking of my very first NBA game, I wanted to share with you one of the best moments of my life.

The night I met Troy Aikman.

In 2008, I was invited to go see the Maverick’s take on the Cavalier’s in Dallas in 2008 with a close family friend.

He told me that Troy attends games all the time and that he might be there tonight.

“You just never know,” he said.

We sat about 10 rows up from the floor and a little bit into the game, it was pointed out to me who was sitting only a few rows in front of us.

#8, the man himself!

I literally tried taking pictures of him from far away, just to prove we were in the same place at the same time.

Well, it got better.

Half time came around and while walking out of the bathroom–there HE was–waiting for his wife to come out.

The fact that he is, and always will be my favorite Dallas Cowboys player of all time, made me extremely nervous to ask for a picture or even say anything to him for that matter.

But I knew I had to, and thankfully–he said yes!

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Knicks vs. Wizards

With my favorite sports season on hold and my Cowboys taking some time to prepare for the upcoming season, I was allowed the opportunity to enjoy some good basketball earlier this March with my good friend Marcus when he took me to see the Wizards take on the Knicks at the Verizon Center in D.C.

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I was so excited to see the Knicks play.

I am a Mavericks fan, but I definitely wanted to see Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, and Kurt Thomas play for sure.

I have only ever been to one other NBA game in my life so I was ready to experience everything I could.

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The game of basketball is so quick and fast-passed that it was a nice change of pace to enjoy during the downtime of football season.  It made me want to go to as many more as I can.  I don’t know as much about basketball as I do football, but I am interested in learning more about the sport because it is so exhilerating and exciting to watch.

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A special thanks to Marcus for allowing me to enjoy it with him!

The Last Hoorah

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FAIRFAX, Va. – Ty Knepp of Paxtonville, Pa. took the mat at George Mason University for his last time this past Sunday.  With only two more matches left in the season, and an 8-13 record this season, Ty knew he had to bring everything he had to the last home dual of the season—and his senior night.

Knepp was not the only one feeling the impact of the match.  The three other graduating seniors, Jaaziah Bethea, Rich Lavorato and Drew Squires were also there to swallow the bittersweet pill alongside their teammate.  In their last home dual of their college career, each one of the seniors were presented to the crowd accompanied by their family’s and with the support of a generous turnout from the Mason community, they each took the mat for the last time at home.

 

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Held in the Recreation and Athletic Complex on the Fairfax campus, the dual started off with three consecutive wins for Bloomsburg in the 141, 149, and 157 weight classes.  Kevin Hartnett of Bloomsburg won over Ty Knepp in a 1-0 decision in the 165 weight class, bringing Bloomsburg’s lead to 15-0.  The George Mason wrestling team would ultimately face an upsetting loss to Bloomsburg 39-0 in the end, but it was not without passion.

After graduation, Knepp has decided he would like to begin looking for a career teaching Physical Education in the Northern Virginia area, most likely with Fairfax County Public Schools.  He says “this area is flooded with opportunities, more than I could find back home—that’s why I’ve decided to stay in this area.”

Since wrestling has been his passion since high school, he also has aspirations to eventually coach a high school team in the area as well.  He knows that even with his undergraduate career coming to a close, he will continue to love wrestling and he feels this is the best way to keep him in touch with this love for the sport.

His advice to the teammates he will be leaving behind, “Believe in the system, and believe in the coaches—they know what they’re doing and will lead you in the right direction,” he said in a recent video interview on Mason’s wrestling website highlighting the graduating seniors on the team.

Mason’s next match is Thursday for 7 p.m. dual against Old Dominion University, and their last match of the season against the University of Maryland on the 21st.  The boys hope to claim victories over these last two matches to end their season off with some justice for all of the hard work they have put in.

 

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Lights Out on the 2012-2013 NFL Season

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Right this very second–media outlets are flooded, each with different angles and stories about Super Bowl XLVII.

I find it to be one the most interesting Super Bowl ever.

The power going out was a complete interference on the momentum and flow of the game, shifting the direction completely.

The power outage was the highlight of the entire thing because somewhere in that down time, Colin Kaepernick of the 49ers was able to find his head and help the 9ers gain some of their pride back.  He really stood out to me during this game and I can truly respect his talent.

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While yes, the Ravens won whom I was pulling for anyway; I still think they were put at a blatant disadvantage once that power went out and put them in front of a brick wall with fired up engines ready to get things done and nowhere to go.

Personally, I think the entire game should have been replayed.

Each franchise works passionately hard all year for this moment–we all as American’s wait all year for this moment.  I feel like each team deserved an even playing field, especially when it’s something like the National Championship on the line.

Let’s hope nothing like this happens next year when the Cowboys win the Super Bowl next year.

GO COWBOYS!

Highlights of the game:

aAmerica’s Team

A look into the heart of the franchise, America’s Team: The Dallas Cowboys!

Living in Rival Territory

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Growing up in the suburbs of Washington D.C. is not an easy suite if you’re a Cowboys fan.

Born in Virginia but raised as a military brat, I was allowed the opportunity to live in multiple different states—once even another country.

We ended up in Texas for a little during my childhood years and with my mother being the die-hard Cowboys fan she is, you can believe that the Dallas Cowboys were always on every Sunday or Monday in my house. My father is a Steelers guy, but the added element that we lived in Texas at the time I watched my first few games of football—it all kind of just fell into place.

Fast forward a couple years into my adolescence and BOOM, I’m back in the Washington, D.C. area—rival territory.

 

Cowboys vs Redskins

 

I think my favorite questions I’ve been asked being a Cowboys fan in this area are things like:
“Have you ever even been to Texas?”
“How can you have been born here and not be a Redskins fan”
“How ‘bout them Cowgirls?

It never gets old and I live for the trash talking during and in-between seasons. I loved it even more this year with the addition to RGIII to the Washington Redskins because we Cowboys fans were able to poke fun at the bandwagon “die-hard” skins fans that just all the sudden bloomed more and more as the season progressed.
Good for them though, they needed this year as a franchise to build back up the lost moral over the last couple of years.

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I’ve come to understand that some Redskins fans have a true hatred for my Boys; so much that sometimes I think they have stronger hatred for my team than a love for their own.
I will take the beating living here, because I know what it comes with—and that’s totally alright.

I was raised a Cowboys fan, and forever will be.

Sack That Quarter Back

GO COWBOYS.

My First Steps Inside Cowboys Stadium

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November 22th, 2012 was the first time I ever step foot inside of Cowboys Stadium.

People who have been fortunate enough to have attended a game in Arlington, Texas can tell you about the colossal domed stadium and it’s enormity, but until you actually walk in those gigantic doors yourself, you’ll never truly have any idea.

This place was like nothing I had ever seen.

Cowboys Stadium became the new home of the Dallas Cowboys franchise in May of 2009, replacing the once Texas Stadium in Irving, Texas. With a seating capacity of 80,000, and the largest domed retractable roof in the world—the Cowboys can host the ultimate football experience.

Thanksgiving has always involved football in my family and this past year was no different. This year however, we were able to check something off my bucket list that I have wanted to do for years, and that is to attend a Cowboys vs. Redskins game at home in Texas.

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The game itself did not turn out as I had imagined of course, being that the Cowboys lost to the Redskins 38-31, but the experience alone made it all worthwhile.

In Texas, they say “everything is bigger,” and they aren’t kidding. The tailgating at Cowboys Stadium allows for the ultimate setup for all your fellow fans, friends, and families to come together and have a good time. Our tailgate had a giant skillet to keep our Thanksgiving meal warm as we visited, stuffed down some turkey, and enjoyed sharing time together for the holiday.

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Inside the stadium you will notice the pride this franchise has by not only by the cleanliness of the stadium itself, but by the extreme devotion the fan base has to their team. The way in which the team gets the fans involved during the game is powerful, filled with pre-filmed videos of the players addressing the crowd and interacting with them in ways you noramlly wouldn’t find at other NFL games.

Aside from the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, they have a dance team called the Rhythm and Blues Dancers who dance on flaming platforms to add to the excitement of the game. The pride doesn’t stop there—even the hand towels in the bathrooms throughout the stadium even stars on them. They have branded every inch of their new home and are proud of it.

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I have to say it like this—you may not be a Cowboys fan, but visit that stadium one time and you will understand why the franchise has the enormous following it does. The stadium is unbelievable (literally), the fans are die-hard, and beyond warm and welcoming (even to those who do not represent their own team.) Call it southern hospitality if you will. You don’t have to be a Cowboys have to appreciate that.

GO COWBOYS!