I’M JO JO AND I’M A SPORTS ADDICT

Fellow blogger, Bill Fonda, from Bill’s Writing Place, which I suggest you check out, wrote a post in his blog titled “Sports is a drug”.

Now if you know me or even if you just know me by my blog, my crazy love of sports should tell you that I just had to read this post.

Of course I’m going to put in my two cents because after all, on Instagram I’m known as “Puck Princess 62″, but most people know me as ‘The Sports Diva”.

Bill is right.

Sports are a drug, just as much as alcohol, cocaine, and gambling are.

Ironically , many of us do gamble on sports, and we even have , “fantasy teams” that we bet on.

Sports can be just as dangerous as those other addictions .

Many soccer fans may remember that during the World Cup, the tragic story of Colombia soccer player Escobar, who was killed when he returned to his country by a “fan”.

His “crime”?

He scored the winning goal- for the other team.

That’s right, he put the ball into his own net by mistake.

Many fans don’t go to that extreme, thank God .

It seems to happen a lot in soccer.

Can we say “soccer hooligans “?

The United States isn’t immune from this addiction , and I always tell people who don’t live in the country about the three things that you really don’t discuss with Americans .

Politics Religion , and Sports .

For some reason, sports seems to make us act differently than we normally do.

What happens to people,men and women, whenever a sporting event comes on, no matter what the sport is?

The most mild mannered people seem to turn into raving lunatics.

Since we’re confessing here, I am one of those people who act as crazy as hell when a sporting event comes on.

I rarely get angry at anything or anyone, but let there be a game on.

I will swear like a sailor , using all sorts of curse words that my parents and the nuns at school certainly didn’t teach me.

I will yell and scream loudly at the tv or radio, calling the players, managers , and referees every name except the names that their mamas gave them.

I will even call into the radio sports talk shows and give my opinion also.

I’m not the only one who’s gone to a game in person and acted the fool.

I know my limits though.

I’m not going to go start a fight with ushers, security or fans so that I can get thrown out.

I’m addicted to sports but not that addicted.

Besides, I paid good money for these seats and my brand new team jersey that I bought just for this game to get thrown out.

Like an addict looking for the next fix or drink , sports have made us dependent on it as well.

Many of us count down the days until the season starts up again, and we look at the team’s schedule so that we can plan trips accordingly .

Been there, done that. How do you think 30 Plus Teams , 30 Plus Dreams started?

Some sports fans even name their children and or pets after their favorite player.

I even have named my stuffed animals and electronic gadgets after my favorite baseball , football , or hockey player.

Don’t judge me , okay?

There’s no intervention for being a “sports addict” or even if one likes sports just a little too much.

What does one do if their significant other is so into sports that nothing else really matters?

If you’ve been married a long or even short period of time, sorry divorce is not an option .

Please don’t get to the point where you have to offer an ultimatum .

“It’s you either like the Golden State Warriors or me. CHOOSE!”

Don’t do it, pardon the pun, but you’re going to lose that bet almost every time.

Try to accept that your boyfriend or girlfriend really does like sports and it really isn’t the end of the world if they like sports and you don’t.

Get upset if the family funds seem to be used for gambling on sports, a lot.

Then it’s ‘Houston, we have a problem ‘

Learn to tolerate your sports nut if they turn into someone that you don’t recognize when a boxing match comes on.

If all else fails, it’s not the end of the world .

Move on and maybe find another person who isn’t a sports nut.

Yeah, good luck with that .

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TAKING IN A PITTSBURGH PENGUINS HOCKEY GAME

T

he final stop on my 30 Plus Teams Tour of Pittsburgh was, what else?

Attending a sporting event.

This time because baseball season hadn’t started, and the football team, the Steelers had finished their season, I decided to see the team that just happens to be the defending hockey champions , the Pittsburgh Penguins .

It was the day after my birthday, the hotel is right next door, why not go?

No actually this is a 30 Plus Teams Tour and one the first things you do on a 30 Plus Teams Tour is check to see what teams are playing when you’ll be in the city.

I checked the schedule for the Penguins, found out that they would be playing the San Jose Sharks and called up a girlfriend who lived in the city and got us tickets for the game.

Penguins tickets are always hard to get because of the popularity of the team so I was really lucky to get these.

Word of advice from the Sports Diva, if you think tickets are too expensive on the team’s own website, try one of the second party dealers like Stub Hub, NBA ticket exchange, NHL Ticket exchange or even Vivid Seats .

Don’t worry if the name on the ticket isn’t yours.

More than likely, it’s a season ticket holder who for some reason or another doesn’t want to or can’t attend the game.

The night of game there was a lot of snow, and it was 25 degrees, but since my hotel was right next door, no worries .

As I was just getting over being sick you’d better believe that I was dressed warmly, even though I still was dressed like the sports team apparel fashionista that I am .

This arena used to be known as the Consol Energy Arena, but as with most sports arenas these days, when a company goes out of business and a new company takes over, they have the right to change the name of the arena to whatever they want , no matter how really silly the name sounds.

The arena is now known as the Pittsburgh Paints Arena , and our seats are in the 200 section.

That may seem high, but compared to other hockey arenas in the United States and Canada , it really isn’t .

We can see the ice, the flags of the United States and Canada and the five championship banners hanging from the rafters.

What you can’t see from your seat on the ice, just look up at the big scoreboard.

You’ll see everything there , including graffics urging you to make some noise .

As a New Yorker, I find this kind of funny.

You don’t need to tell us to get loud or make some noise at a sporting event or any where else.

It’s in the DNA, I guess.

I had been to a Penguins game a few times but this time I really noticed just how reserved and quiet the fans were.

The team does have a mascot, Iceburgh, who gets the fans hyped up with his antics and drum beating, and of course , fans scream out every once and awhile , “Let’s Go Pens!”

But once again, it wasn’t with the excitement and passion that I’ve heard at other arenas, like New Jersey, Philadelphia and Boston, let alone in Toronto at a Blue Jays baseball game .

Could it be that because the team has been doing well thst Penguins fans have been really spoiled by their team?

I don’t know .

I had a good time at the game as the Penguins won, but it didn’t feel like a sports atmosphere.

It felt more like being at a boring concert with people sitting on their hands waiting for something to happen .

Sorry Pittsburgh , I expected better from you when taking in Pittsburgh Penguins hockey game .

RIDING THE LIGHT RAIL IN PITTSBURGH

It’s not really a subway like you’d find in New York , it’s a light rail like you find in other cities.

Given that the unofficial colors of the city are black and yellow , I expected the two train lines to be the same colors.

They aren’t .

They’re the Blue and Red lines.

The transportation department in Pittsburgh is called the Port Authority of Pittsburgh , but for some reason they call it “The T”.

The light rail doesn’t run all night, but here’s the best part if you happen to be in Downtown Pittsburgh and let’s say you want to go to either a Pittsburgh Pirates , Penguins, or Steelers game.

Unless you start at Station Square, you pay nothing .

It’s free.

If you get on at Station Square, you have to dish out $2.75.

The stations are very clearly marked not only with a grey letter T on it, but with the name of the train station.

If you get lost or need some transit info, some one dressed in a yellow jacket will help you .

The trains have only two cars but there seems to be seats for everyone .

They’re clean and there are signs everywhere to tell you what’s allowed and what isn’t .

You get a nice view of the city and the surrounding area as well.

This is a good way to sightsee as well.

You can’t be free no matter how hard you try.

Let’s say you want to play the slots while you’re in town.

The Rivers Casino is in the same neighborhood as Heinz Field, home of the Pittsburgh Steelers football team.

You get off at the train station, Allegheny, and there’s the casino almost across the street.

Are you going to see the Pirates play at PNC Park or the Penguins at PPG Arena? (of course you are. This is a 30 Plus Teams Tour of Pittsburgh after all.)

The light rail can get you to both places , just get off at the North Shore and Steel Plaza train stations and walk.

The light rail is a good way to get around the city, and in some cases you didn’t have to pay a thing.

WHAT’S IN MY SUITCASE?

The last time I did a post like this was in the summer of last year.

I was doing a 30 Plus Teams Tour of one of my favorite cities , Baltimore, Maryland .

This time I’m getting ready to go on another 30 Plus Teams Tour .

I’m going to the city on the Three Rivers, Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania .

More on my adventures in the Steel City in upcoming posts .

Right now, it’s all about what’s going in my suitcase .

The last time I took a small backpack .

I’m staying for three days , but a small backpack isn’t going to cut it.

Not only is it going to be my birthday when I arrive, but after all this is a 30 Plus Teams Tour , so you just know a sporting event is just waiting to happen, and yes, the Sports Diva is going to be there, God willing .

Besides the hair products , unmentionables , and toiletries , let’s see just what else is going in my suitcase .

Sneakers from Payless Shoe Stores and boots from Macy’s , cause it may snow in Da Burg !

Yeah , I’ve gotta bundle up. Temperatures are supposed to be in the 30 ‘ s. Coat from Marshalls .

Robe from my late aunt and pajamas are from Primark Store in Boston .

Black jacket from thrift shop , gloves from Rainbow Shops , and of course my stuff animals, Jorge, Aaron , and Piglet MUST come along for the ride.

Unfortunately , these guys have to come along for the ride too.

Jewelry , socks, and leggings from the Rainbow Shops, blue sweater ftom a thrift shop.

Sweater from Rainbow Shops , bag from Payless Shoe Stores , scarf a gift from my cousin , makeup bag also from Rainbow Shops, jewelry a Christmas gift.

My City of Pittsburgh shirt, a gift from a friend who lives there and Pittsburgh Penguins hockey shirt from the Pittsburgh Penguins store.

Grey shirt from Uniqlo Store and shirt from Penguins store. This is the player’s name that happens to be on the back of the shirt in the above picture . As he is one of my favorite players on the team, you’d better believe this shirt is going to be in my suitcase . Being the Team Sports Apparel Fashionista that I am , I will be ROCKING this shirt at the game.

There’s what’s going to be in my suitcase this time.

What goes in your suitcase when you go away?

Let me know and as usual , thanks for liking and following my blog .

SPORTS FANS ARE THE SAME IN THE UNITED  STATES  AND  CANADA , RIGHT?

If you  happen  to  live outside of the United  States  or  Canada ,  you’re  probably  saying to yourself, “why do these Americans especially ,  care so much about this thing called ‘The Super Bowl  “?

The rest of the world  gets excited about  soccer’s  World Cup ,  but people  in the United States  and Canada, by and large, really could care less.

Some of us and our good neighbors to the North, actually are interested  in the World Cup.

But not really.

The  Super Bowl ,  which features the two best American  football teams, is quite another story.

It’s  not just about the commercials  that some companies  pay an arm and  a  leg gor, nor is it to see the big name entertainers  that do their thing at intermission ,  which football fans call “halftime  “.

Some of us have placed bets not only who’s  going to win, but by how many points  one team is going to LOSE by.

Many of us like to watch  just for bragging  rights . 

We can’t  wait to tell our friends or coworkers that hate our team that we are the champions (pardon the pun.)of the National  Football  League for the wwhole  year.

Many people  who aren’t  Canadian  or American  want to know just  what  it is about sports that get us all worked up and do really stupid things.

What does it mean to be a fan and aren’t  fans of all the four major sports the same?

Nope, and the Sports Diva is here to tell you the difference  between  the baseball, football ,  hockey and basketball  fans in the United States  and  Canada . 

Some of them might be  familiar  even if you don’t  live in either the United  States  or  Canada .

I could start by telling  you about the  baseball fans who attend and watch, “The Subway  Series” games between  the  Yankees  and the Mets for bragging  rights  in New York  City . 

I could even try to describe  the nastiness  between  hockey fans in Canada, that is  “The Battle  of  Alberta” between  the Calgary  Flames  and Edmonton  Oilers  hockey teams . 

This rivalry got so nasty that at one pojnt, two politicians from Edmonton  and Calgary actually  got into a fistfight  over their teams . 

One may wonder just what is this nonsense all about?

You may think to yourself ,  people shouldn’t  get worked up over other people bouncing  a ball, hitting a ball, throwing  a  ball, or slapping a hard black disc over the ice.

But some of us do, and yeah we paint our faces in the team colors and wear funny looking wigs in the team colors as well.

You might think all of us sports fans are crazy but you don’t  see the difference between  fans of the four sports.

It’s  a lot of screaming and yelling, you say.

It’s  not really that serious.

As  a  sports fan myself, I can tell you that fans of baseball, hockey, football  and baseball are very different . 

I’m  going to tell you how different they are.

Baseball  is the sport that most Americans  grew up watching, and many of us were first introduced  to the game by our grandfathers  and father’s  or in my case, my aunt.

Baseball  isn’t  the most  popular  sport in this country, because  a lot of fans find it very boring.

As a result,if you go to a baseball  game ,  most of the fans of baseball are older and more traditional . 

They don’t  want any changes to  their sport at all.

A lot of them are by and large ,  over the age of 40.

It’s  also one of the cheapest  priced sports tickets to buy . 

Baseball  fans by and large do support their teams, but fans of both New York teams, Boston Red Sox,  Chicago  Cubs, St.Louis Cardinals  and Philadelphia  Philies take it to the extreme.

These  cities   live and die by their teams.

Even Canada has gotten  into the act.

In hockey mad Canada ,  it’s  the Toronto  Blue  Jays  baseball  team  that’s  known  as  “Canada’s  Team.”

Basketball  is the sport that many young people  gravitate  towards.

To say that they’re  excited about  it  would  be  an understatement . 

It might be due to the flash and glamour of the  sport, not to mention many of it’s  stars . 

In many cities though the average  basketball  fan is being priced out of his arena, even if you’ve  been  a fan when the team was pretty bad.

If you happen  to  attend  a basketball  game  in  either the  United  States  or  Canada ,  don’t  be surprised  if most of the “fans” sitting in those seats are either actors, actresses ,  politicians ,  other sports stars  or rap singers.

Madison Square  Garden in New York  City  and Staples Center  in Los Angeles  are famous for their “celebrity  row  ”

Basketball  fans do love their teams  and will spend  a lot of money on team apparel ,  but attending  a basketball  game  now has become  less fan friendly  and more like an event that one goes to be seen at.

The last two  sports fans  are very similar  and they have some of the most passionate fans in any of the major sports.

It’s  Hockey  and Football . 

Hockey is popular in Canada where most of the fans actually played hockey themselves . 

It’s  not so popular  in the United States ,  but in the places where it is popular ,  you have some of the most rabid fans ever.

Hockey fans, no matter if they’re  in Canada or the United States ,  aren’t  only passionate  about their sport ,  but their favorite team and players.

(I should know, I’m  one of  those  passionate hockey fans!)

Male and female  hockey fans love  talking about hockey not on  to other hockey fans but to non hockey fans who don’t  seem to get it.

Hockey fans will be buy every hockey apparel  that they can, whether it’s  the team they support  or even a player they like who plays for another team.

Hockey fans will ride and die for their team and they will even tell you why their team is better than yours.

Depending  on where you  are, hockey tickets  are fairly easy to get.

This might be because  a lot of  Americans  don’t  follow  the sport . 

Unless you’re  in Canada then tickets are fairly expensive ,  even if you do go on a website like NHL  Ticket Exchange ,  in which season ticket  holders give away their seats because  they can’t  use them.

Lastly we’ve  got Football ,  which is the most popular  sport in the United States . 

Most of us in the country know someone  who played football  and if you happen to be from the Southern  part  of the United States ,  especially, Louisiana ,  Georgia ,  Florida, Alabama ,  Texas or Mississippi ,  not only did you play football in elementary ,  high school  and colkege, there’s  a good chance that   your grandaddy and daddy also played . 

Like hockey, football  has many female fans and you’d  better believe  that a lot of us know the sport  and really aren’t  shy about yelling at  the referee for calling a penalty on our  team.

We will also swear and curse at players on our own team if one of them drops the ball, just like we see male fans do.

Football  games are the most expensive  sporting  events  to attend ,  but the stadiums  are ALWAYS sold out, no matter how bad your team is.

Many fans are season’s  ticket holders and they really don’t  want to sell their seats unless the team really is doing bad.

Football fans, like their hockey  counterparts ,  take being a fan to a whole  another level . 

Let’s  call it one step below cray cray, shall we?

Only a football fan would tell you proudly that their team is special because they’re  known  as  “America’s  Team”.

(That’s  the Dallas Cowboys ,  by the way and yes, they are known as “America’s  Team”)

Like hockey fans, football  fans will not only support their team at home, but they’ll  make that trip to another stadium and well, act the fool.

At a hockey game, depending  on the team, you might see one or two fans wearing the jersey of opposing teams.

Football  fans, being the step above crazy that they are, you’ll  won’t  be able to count how many fans you’ll  see wearing the other teams jersey.

There’s  THAT many of them.

Also unlike the other sports ,  you will NEVER see a football fan wearing the jersey of a team that isn’t  playing.

Going to  a football  game  is like going to  a Halloween  party ,  even though it’s  not.

You’ll  see fans wearing “Cheesehead” hats at a Green  Bay Packers  game.

(Wisconsin  is the leading producer of cheese in the United  States  in case you weren’t  aware.)

If you go to an Oakland Raiders  game, you’ll  see fans wearing  every sort of scary attire, not just the Raiders football jersey.

(Being in the midst of the Raiders fans isn’t  known as “The Black Hole  ” for nothing.

Unfortunately ,  like hockey ,  football  is known not only for the nastiness on the field, but in the stands as well . 

It might be because  of  the  amount of  alcohol  served at both games, but it’s  more of  a case of, you know , people  not acting like they’ve  been  there before.

So the next time you see a game in the United States  or  Canada ,  whether it be on TV or in oerson, and you’re  under the  impression  that  fans are all the same, no matter what the sport is, think again.

SOME TIPS  FOR WATCHING  A GAME FOR THE  FIRST  TIME IN PERSON.

You’re  on a 30 Plus  Teams  Tour  with either your   girlfriends, guys ,  family  members  or you’re  just going by yourself . 

You’re  going to  see  either  a baseball ,  football ,  hockey  or football  game .  

You may not be a fan of the team that you’re  going  to  see  or you just might be one of their biggest  fans ever.

There’s  one thing  though.

You’ve  never seen a  game in person .

To say that you’re  wicked excited because this is the first time you’ve  either seen  your team play in person  whether it be on the road or at their home stadium  or arena is an understatement.

For once you aren’t  watching  a game on TV or listening  to  it on the radio or even watching it on your mobile device . 

You’ll  want to know how should  you conduct yourself  when you do finally get to go.

That’s  where the Sports Diva  comes in to give you just a little  bit  of  pointers . 

Let me say that even though  I’m  talking mainly about the four major  professional  sports  leagues  inthe United  States  and Canada ,  these  tips also apply  to  you no matter if you’re  at a rugby match between  New Zealand  and  Australia ,  a soccer match between  Arsenal and Chelsea, a cricket match between  Pakistan and India ,a baseball game  between  the Dominican  Republic  and Japan or even a basketball  game  between  Spain and Latvia . 

The feeling is the same whenever  you attend  a sporting  event  in person . 

You will be excited the first moment  that you walk into the arena or stadium ,  but the first and most important  thing  to  remember  is please be yourself .  

Cheer for your team and please  don’t  act the fool and get yourself  thrown out.

Have that glass of wine at the game if you want to, even though your friends  are guzzling  down Budweisers and Coronas like the stadium’s beer supply is going to run out before the game is over.

If you happen  to be a fan of the team that you’re  going to  see ,  by all means, wear those team colors proudly.

You’re  aware that hardly ANY ONE goes to  Tropicana  Field to see a Tampa  Bay  Rays baseball  game in St. Petersburg ,  Florida ,  but that is  YOUR FAVORITE  TEAM and you’re  going to see them play for the first time  in  person  at “The Trop.”

You just know that  you’re  going  to  have a good time, and if the team loses ,  that’s  okay too.

You’re  in the stadium or arena that you’ve  only seen or heard about from other people . 

Take those selfies at a Los Angeles  Dodgers  game to celebrate  your first visit to Dodgers  Stadium  if you want to . 

But please don’t  take those selfies for the entire game.

You’re  going to  miss  all the action  that’s  going on in front of you.

You’re  here to watch some great catches, excellent  pitching and definitely  someone  in a blue and white Dodgers  uniform  hit a home run to win the game, especially  if  they’re  playing that baseball team that you hate more than any other team, San Francisco  Giants . 

Leave that hot Brazilian  model look that you’re  trying  to  achieve  on your phone to those real Brazilian  models or to one of the Kardashians.

You aren’t  at the game to be seen, remember?

It’s  your first Dodgers baseball  game  in person, isn’t  it ? 

Most importantly ,  don’t  get into an argument  with some of  the  fans if it’s  your first  time  there.

You might be the biggest  fan going, but dare I  say  it?

Act like  you’ve  been  there  before even if you haven’t . 

What if it’s  your first time  at a game and you really don’t  know  anything  about the sport, let alone some of the players?

Not a problem . 

Take in the craziness that’s  going on.

You’ll  definitely  gets your money’s  worth if it’s  a game between  two rival teams and their fans, let alone the players, don’t  like each other . 

It doesn’t  matter  what sport  it is either . 

If you happen  to  be  visiting  the city or the country  for the first  time ,  go to a sporting  event  and just soak up the atmosphere . 

Get excited with the rest of the passionate  soccer fans of Real Madrid, Barcelona ,  or Bayern  Munich . 

Sing “Chelsea Dagger” along with the  other Chicago  Black Hawks  hockey fans when the team scores a goal.

Do the “roll call” along with  the  other “bleacher  creatures” st Yankees  Stadium.

You can even sing “Hail To The Redskins  ” at a Washington  Redskins  football  game if you want to.

You don’t  have to  know the sport   this is  a way to  make new friends . 

They might even end up being a social  media  buddy of yours . 

Fans at the game will be more than  happy  to  explain  what’s  going  on ,  and who are the players you should be cheering  for, as well as the players you should  be  booing.

You might even become a  fan of that team, sport ,  or player by the end of  the  evening.

Take in the pregame  entertainment ,  whether it be the cheerleaders  at the football  or basketball  game ,  (and even in some hockey arenas, too.)or the team mascot ,  if they have one.

Take a picture with the mascot ,  if you can.

Dance in your seat to the music that’s  being played in  the  arena.

Wave those pom poms  or “Terrible Towels” proudly ,  just like you see the other fans doing.

Hold up that foam finger with the team name on it.

If they have a “Tshirt Toss” where  they give away shirts with the team’s  name on it, raise your hands ,  participate and get loud with the home team fans who want a shirt too.

Sing along to “Sweet Caroline” at a Boston Red  Sox game  or “Thank God  I’m  A Country Boy” at a Baltimore  Orioles  game . 

You’re  there  to have fun it’s  your first game in person . 

If you’re  bored with all that’s  going  on, that’s  your fault ,  boo.

Stay in your hostel , hotel  or Airbnb the next time.

One final important  tip.

If the fans start singing  songs about the opposing team  ,referee or umpire, just listen.

It’s  up to you if you’re  at a hockey  game and the fans start screaming ,  “REF, YOU SUCK!” because  they disagree  with  a call, and you want to say “ref, you suck” along with the rest of the fans.

Just don’t  throw things on the ice if the rest of the fans do.

If you happen  to  be  at a Toronto  Blue  Jays  baseball  game at the Rogers  Center and a Blue Jays fan screams out , “SWING BATTER  BATTER  BATTER ! “, they aren’t  being rude.

That’s  okay because they want someone  on the opposing team to make an out.

If the fans start yelling “AIR BALL  ” when an opposing basketball  player  throws  the ball into the stands instead of  into the  basket that’s  definitely  funny.

What’s  NOT funny at all is when fans  start  chanting about a player’s , referees ,  or umpires ethnicity or personal  life.

No one should EVER do that whether it’s  your first time at Staples Center in Los Angeles, a soccer match in Mexico  City ,  Manchester ,  or Rome, or a basketball  game  in Brooklyn . 

There’s  NO place for that in sports and it just shows how ignorant  you really  are.

The most exciting  thing  to  do, if you’re  a sports  fan, or even if you aren’t ,  is to see a game  in person . 

Hopefully  


 some of  these tips will make your experience  a little more  fun.

Get yourself out   to a game, no matter  what  the  sport is and enjoy yourself !