I Deserve Respect

Being a female football player is hard, not the most shocking thesis to cross these pages. I’ve had a hard time figuring out how to really dive into it because there are so many different layers to the issue. Today really set me over the edge though, I have to speak up. I’m fucking sick of the lack of respect. I’m sick of the soullessness of other athletes. I’m fucking sick of being treated like shit.

Every sport I’ve ever played, I’ve played with intensity. Whether you like it or not, I’m an aggressive and tenacious player who takes pride in her defensive capabilities. If I had to classify myself as an athlete, I’m a defender at my core. I will protect what I need to protect in the best way I can. To be a good defender you HAVE to be aggressive. To be a great defender you have to be blood thirsty. I strive to be great.

There is a time and a place for everything. When I play in an LFL game, I have a different mentality than when I play in a CoEd flag football recreational league. Sure, I’m still going to try my best, but I am going to play my game differently. LFL is almost intimidating because there are no holds barred. It’s a primal version of football, you have to use whatever tools you have at your disposal.

I’ve done things in LFL that I’ve never done in my regular life. I have slapped a girl square across her helmet. I have yanked a woman’s body off of my quarterback and thrown her, I have pulled a girl by her bra strap to get ahold of her. I have shoved a girl to the ground repeatedly as hard as I could. And I’m still not even scratching the surface of what I’m sure I’ll do in years to come.

I’ve trained myself to restrict that mindset to LFL games. Granted, I signed up to play in a men’s only league so that I could hone my physicality in a way that feels “clean.” Well, that’s part of the reason. I also joined a men’s flag football league because I know I’m better than at least 80% of the men out there. For 3 of the 4 seasons I played in TUFF Men’s I was the league leader in sacks. I had one season where someone beat me, but he is a fucking boss and has shown me more respect than any other male opponent at my position. I’ll give him the recognition he deserves, Tim Taylor, you are a fucking unbelievable lunatic and I love playing on the same field as you.

Back to the men’s league thing. I’m better than most of the men out there. I know it’s hard to admit when a woman is better than you at something. I acknowledge that it’s a blow to your ego. Most of you have tolerated me pretty well, but the ones who can’t tolerate me are insecure about their own ability.

The first time I ever stepped on the men’s field I got laughed at by everyone I lined up across from. No one took me seriously, people on my own team didn’t think I was cut out for it. I had to suck it up and get back out there every single week. It was fucking scary. I felt afraid and insecure. But I pushed through it week after week because I loved it and I knew I was capable. I had something to prove.

When I play in a CoEd non-contact format, I like to work on things I’m normally too afraid to try because of the contact. One of the specific things I’ve been challenging myself to try is jumping routes and going for interceptions. I wanted to develop the instincts in CoEd so that when I got to tackle I would be able to brace for contact and the muscle memory would be strong.

Today I had the coolest interception of my entire career playing flag football. I was playing a rolling corner in a cover 3 scheme that Kaker designed specifically so that Dianne and I could lock down our side, baiting the guys into testing us.

The opposing quarterback sent a guy deep on my side almost every single play. I got torched deep on one of the first plays of the game. I was so pissed at myself that I vowed to make a play to redeem myself.

So when a lofty deep ball came to my side and I got great positioning on the ball, I fully extended my body to make the catch for the interception against the intended male target. Guess what? I caught the fucking ball and it was amazing, it was one of those moments as an athlete that takes your breath away. It was that feeling that keeps me coming out onto the field; the shocking realization of what my body is capable of.

But that male ego, it’ll get you.

The guy who I stole the ball from decided to bring me down to the ground. I’m not sure how exactly he did it, because I wasn’t expecting it AT ALL. I wasn’t expecting to be touched by anyone, I was elated that I got the ball back for my team.

But while I was in the air, he took my feet out from underneath me and I smacked the turf directly on my tailbone and hyperextended my hip-flexor. Unfortunately because I wasn’t in my tackle mindset, I didn’t brace myself for contact so my body didn’t take the fall very gracefully. I was in no way prepared to be hit the way that I was by the person who I was hit by.

It’s okay though, right? This is why we have referees to make sure we’re safe. At least they would give me credit for the interception, plus some additional yards for the offensive PI? I could easily go to the sideline and deal with the injury knowing that the obvious call would be made. The league prides itself on being “non-contact” something I have specifically been talked to about because of my aggressive tendencies.

No, if you thought I was speaking the truth in my last paragraph… You’re wrong. They called it an incomplete. The call on the field was “incomplete” because the ball popped out of my hands when I hit the ground. For the record, there are no fumbles in flag football. They didn’t acknowledge that I ever had possession of the ball.

One of the referees couldn’t see the play, but understood that there was unfair contact. The other referee from across the field, a woman, refused to acknowledge the interception. The other team, obviously having seen the entire thing knowing full well what had happened, said nothing. The man who dragged me to the ground? Said nothing.

I lost my mind. I told every person on the field to fuck themselves. I ripped my flags off and went over to my bag and cried by myself. Not even about the pain, but just the frustration. I’ve spent every game feeling like I had to prove myself more because I’m a woman. Because I’m a woman who is better than most of the guys. Objectively: I am taller, faster, stronger and smarter than most of the guys.

The ones who are better than me are the ones who respect me. It’s the weak ones who can’t let their ego accept the fact that a woman is torching them.

I’m not sorry for anything I said. I’m fully ashamed of the behavior I witnessed today on so many levels. I’m ashamed of what that CoEd football league has become. I’m ashamed that not a single person chose to acknowledge what they saw and do the right thing.

If I can’t prove myself to people who have seen me play for over a year now, how can I ever expect to prove myself to the general public? To the guy in my office who tells me I can’t have my boyfriend running my fantasy football team? To the man at the airport who asks me if I’m a volleyball player and then assumes I mean soccer when I tell him I play football? How the fuck am I supposed to reconcile that men get paid millions of dollars to play football while I can’t even expect to get people to watch unless I play in my bra and underwear?

Please tell me why I’m not supposed to be irate.

Attack of the Homeless Zombie

I’ve always wondered what I would do in a crisis situation. Not that I haven’t been in panicked situations before, but I’ve always wondered what I would do if I were attacked. Today I was not attacked, but I sort of found out how I would behave if I was attacked.

Let me back up quickly. I always joke with my girlfriends that if we all go out we don’t have to worry about being murdered by anyone because I would kick their ass. Because I am slightly taller than the average man, and (if you weren’t already painfully aware) I lift weights. I assumed that if you’re one of those “tough girl” character tropes then that persona would carry over into a physical altercation.

While I am mostly a “tough girl” trope… I also listened to “I Dreamed a Dream” by Anne Hathaway on my way to work three times in a row. The only romantic comedies I can watch are the ones that end in death (because watching other people end up happily ever after makes me feel like my own existence is futile.) I used to read books about pretty girls when I was in high school because I figured their life experiences were ones I’d never have.

I was biking to the gym in the darkness this morning at 5:15 am and a homeless man who looked like the living dead slowly gangled across the sidewalk 25 yards ahead of my path. I was immediately cautious, not because I was outright afraid, but I was nervous that I would run him down with my stupid fixed gear bike. I mentally prepared to scoot out of his way, and successfully completed the maneuver.

However, as I was completing the maneuver he railed around and shouted at me:

“Hey pretty lady!”

Pause this image for a second. Homeless Zombie man has long dreadlocked grey hair stuffed haphazardly under a dirty turd colored beanie. He has his entire arm wrapped up in a bandage that can only be described as a dirty mummy wrap. He is holding onto several bags which appear filled to the brim with trash/bottles/etc/nothing. Homeless Zombie is not particularly large or tall, he is actually very lanky (like a corpse who has risen from the dead to haunt the streets of Culver City.) If there were a fight, I would probably win… Right?

The noise that escaped from my mouth when he swirled around (menacingly) on me, is a sound I’ve never heard myself make. I want to say it was a hybrid of howl, squeal, and shriek. It was a massive EXHALE that ground itself into a whine then came out as “HOHHHMYGOD!”

“Oh I’m sorry pretty lady did I scare you? Why don’t you come back here and give me a kiss to make it all better?” He said

I biked quickly to the rack outside the gym, I was very close and there were plenty of cars around. I figured if I could lock my bike up immediately then run inside I was totally fine. I got to the rack and started chaining up the bike hurriedly but I noticed he was approaching and yelling at me.

“I’m sorry, did I SCARE you?” He was zombie skulking towards me waving his bandaged arm around.

“Yeah you did…” I yelled awkwardly as I started half-sprinting in my floppy converse towards the sanctuary, LA Fitness.

“I’m sorry, don’t be scared I just wanna give you a kiss!!!” He was cackling maniacally and trotting after me towards the door. Luckily, I don’t think any homeless person is going to outrun me because I wasted 16 years of my life running in straight lines as fast as possible after someone fires a gun (if you think about it Track and Field is a really weird concept.)

I made it inside and was being melodramatic about it as I usually am in any situation outside of my normal routine. I explained the situation to the two people at the front desk who scan the pass when you come in. One of them was a man about my Dad’s age, and probably a good four inches shorter than me. The other was a woman who was probably a couple years younger than me.

In typical man fashion the Dad runs outside to look for the homeless dude and tell him what’s what. I knew this man would not actually confront Homeless Zombie because he would have about as much success in a scuffle as my actual dad would EVEN IF IT WAS with a half dead person. No offense, Alex.

They called the cops on the dude and it became this whole thing. I went upstairs to work out and mostly put it out of my mind, then they came up to ask me to talk to the cops who wanted some more information.

Of course, the officer was extremely attractive and I immediately wondered if maybe I had a thing for cops. The answer quickly became a resounding “No” when the guy made me feel like a complete asshat for being afraid.

“Oh, so he just wanted to talk to you?”

I mean… What? Yeah, this homeless guy just wanted to sit down and have a person to person conversation with me over a cup of MOCHA while I was clearly trying to bike to the gym. I didn’t ask you and your pal to drive out here GUNS A BLAZIN in the first place, I just wanted to let the fucking staff know that a Homeless Zombie was a potential threat to other women who are just trying to walk into the gym without making anyone uncomfortable for once in their life.

“Did he touch you?” He asked

“No, he didn’t touch me because I got off my bike and ran away from him?” I said with the upper inflection that accompanies a sentence ending in a question mark. They call this upspeak.

He smirked at me in a way that made me realize that he probably knew I thought his eyes were beautiful. Well, he might have picked up on that but by the end of our conversation I no longer wanted him physically because he made me feel stupid and that’s the last thing you should do to a woman if you want her to get in bed with you. PRO TIP.

I just tried to have a normal morning after a difficult restless night of dreaming I was deep in some weird rainforest jungle ropes course with my mom where I had to hold onto vines for my dear life, dependent entirely on my meager upper body strength. I honestly don’t even know if I rested at all because my entire dream was focused on survival. Then at the end of my dream I was in front of a cabinet full of cereal and ritz crackers and I wanted to eat it all but told myself I would hurt my gainz. So I ate none of the dream food.

 
In a scenario of Fight, Flight or Shit Your Pants… It looks like I am the type of person who shits her pants while she flies off. But without fail, I punctuated the entire experience with the lack of tact and perspective that only someone who spent the first 18 years of life in suburban Minnesota can really accomplish. What REALLY happened with me and Homeless Zombie? Pretty much nothing, but I still almost cried.

 

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(Homeless Zombie looked like the zombies from the Ocarina of Time)

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(So spot on, they could use this for his mugshot)

Tropic Thunder

I never said the movies were going to be current, or movies I haven’t seen before. To be fair, I hadn’t seen Tropic Thunder since I was in high school and it’s currently on HBO Go so it was too easy.

Let’s get right into this.

My Synopsis: This is really hard for me to write without feeling like I’m doing coverage or a film school assignment. Alright Katrina, shut up. Uh. So. All these A-list douchebag actors come together to be in one movie, but the movie we are watching is about another movie being made. That movie is called Tropic Thunder. In the movie within a movie, the main characters are soldiers in the Vietnam War who are somehow separated from all of the rest of their platoon or whatever… Idk. These main characters are Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Junior, Jack Black, and then two lesser known actors who I don’t care to know the names of because they were clearly chosen to balance out the budget.

The director of the movie is directing his first ever feature film, which is funny because since it’s an action film the director is kind of irrelevant. He realizes he isn’t getting what he needs out of the actors so he throws the actors into the wilderness to make their acting “real.” The director drops them in the middle of the swamp lands and explains the plan, then he promptly steps on a REAL landmine and explodes into millions of pieces.

At this point the movie does become “real.” They accidentally landed in heroine making territory. Weeewooooo. The plot of the movie matters very little to why it’s so fucking hilarious. Instead of finishing off how it unfolds, let me just tell you why you should watch it.

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Jacked Ben Stiller: Pretty weird seeing Ben Stiller with jacked biceps. Also where the fuck did he go? He hasn’t been in anything notable for YEARS. (I realize he was in Zoolander 2, I said NOTABLE.) He actually directed and wrote this movie which impresses me if it’s actually true. He’s always been good about laughing at himself and playing the pathetically hilarious character, but in this movie he reaches new levels as Tug Speedman the former action flick star. As controversial as “Simple Jack” was when this movie was initially released, as well as their rampant use of the “r-word” it was used to point out a flaw in Hollywood’s portrayal of mentally handicapped characters. If this movie weren’t well executed and well-written the part would have stood out as horrifying but the startling truth of it is helpful to point out. So if jacked Ben Stiller actually helped write this, good for him.

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Robert Downey Jr: Robert Downey junior plays one of the black men in the platoon. In this weird inception situation, he plays an Australian blond man playing a black man. True to the common thread within the movie, this could have been SO OFFENSIVE, but it wasn’t received that way. The film lampoons actors who take themselves too seriously especially with “method acting” where they never break character. They used the other black platoon member to point out all of the Hollywood hypocrisy as well as the inaccuracies of the portrayal. Favorite part is when he starts speaking the Jefferson’s theme song in an emotional moment and gets called out for it.

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Tom Cruise: I don’t think I’ve ever laughed harder at Tom Cruise. He’s the fat, balding, studio head. He’s almost completely unrecognizable. At one point he gets on the phone to negotiate with the drug lords “Flaming Dragon” who captured Ben Stiller’s character and this happens then later this. Hearing Tom Cruise say “Hobo’s dick cheese” then later dancing to Get Back as the credits roll… Priceless. If you watch the movie for nothing else, watch for this.

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This movie contains many startling truths about the way Hollywood operates. It’s obviously a satire but some of the portrayals that seem over-the-top are actually true to the way A-listers behave on set. I like that this movie knows how to use slapstick but also poignant commentary on celeb culture. My favorite thing about this movie though, is how SHITTY it could have been if one thing went wrong. Guess it didn’t.

My rating: Give it a watch if ya haven’t 🙂