KELSEY CROUSE: Those who can’t play, cheer

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As a teen I had little to no school spirit when it came to sports, or anything else for that matter. I hardly participated in anything that would cause me to break a sweat until 2001 when my dad, Navy Chief William Crouse, was transferred to Honolulu, Hawaii and I was introduced to hockey. The actual sport not the Nintendo game. I know it is strange that I had moved to a tropical island to play a winter sport. That should tell you a little something about me. I like to go against the grain. If everyone is going right, I make it my mission to go left.

Hockey, right, well, unfortunately girls could not play ice hockey due to the violence involved, so I signed up for inline. That’s when you use rollerblades in a concrete arena.

In my mind I was an all-star. I would daydream about being the first and only girl in the NHL. I would play for the Boston Bruins, of course, and we would win the Stanley Cup my rookie year. It was going to be epic.

However, in all reality I was an awful player. I had trouble stopping. I would twirl like a ballerina until I lost enough momentum, or I would run into the wall, whatever worked. Although I could handle the puck for the most part, I only made five goals in three years, and one of them was on my own team. Pathetic, right?

Occasionally I would fill in for the goalie and I can honestly say I was a magnificent goalie. But coach Kimo saw another use for me. It involved checking, pushing and flipping the occasional opponent over my back, ultimately resulting in me being sent to the penalty box.

Playing hockey sparked my interest in other sports, all of which I failed at miserably. I played one season of softball. I was always a center or left fielder (no one ever hit balls my way) and I was never a basemen. I’m sad to say I couldn’t hit a ball if it was on a T-stand, but I could bunt! I had the most RBIs on the team. But now that I think of it, we only won one game, and that was because the other team was stuck in traffic and couldn’t make it.

The only sport I seemed to master was hacky sack, the beanbag thing that you kick around. Okay, it’s not a sport, but I was good at it.

Over the years I started to appreciate different sports. I like playing them more than I like watching them. I know that’s surprising after I just confessed how bad I am at them, but again that’s who I am.

When I was young my family always watched football on Thanksgiving. My mom being from Wisconsin, we always cheered for the Packers. Yet the first time I sat down and watched an entire football game, it was Patriots vs. the Steelers for the AFC Championship. The Patriots were the underdogs. No one thought they had it in them, but they came through and dominated the Steelers. From that day on I have been a Patriots fan. I even went to college in Boston, Mass., where I became a stronger Patriots and Bruins fan. I also started rooting for the Red Sox and Celtics, but I don’t really follow baseball or basketball. My fandom for them only extends a cheer when they win and a moment of silence when they lose.

Now I’m not a sports guru. I cannot tell you stats, rosters, or standings off the top of my head. That’s what ESPN is for. But I can tell you who plays dirty, and who plays fair, and I can tell you that it’s just a game. I can tell you that, but I don’t always believe it. I have been written up by my dorm RA for screaming at my television during a Pats or a Bruins game a few times. You know what they say, “those who can’t do, teach.” Well, I thought I would teach these professional athletes how to play the game. Like why, or why do they continue to run up the middle of the field, into the pack of linebackers who are just standing there waiting? Go around! Come on, man!

I love my teams like family, meaning I can say anything about them, but you better not say one negative word. The last person who did that walked into their office and found all her Steelers collector items covered in the Patriots logo and colors. It’s all fun and games until you bad-mouth a girl’s team.

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