’tis the season.

Welcome to Winter Sports Week.

Not that either of my activities really qualify as sports, but it’s time to quit sitting around and get outside.

Winter Sports Week actually started Friday, when Annoyed Angel and Scottsweep organized a Yinz Team skating night at the rink in Schenley Park. I think my experience was similar to that of most of the skaters — with a couple of exceptions, none of us had been on skates for many years. And it showed. We did well, though, and had a blast — as pictured below with The Wife and Mindbling, and BurghBaby’s toddler, who seemed very pleased with the attention she got on Friday — both at the rink at while having a couple drinks at Ruggers Pub afterwards.

kelbling

toddler

Scott and I had talked a little bit about hitting Seven Springs together, and I looked at this week — this coming Friday specifically — as the right time to make my first trip to the hill. I dropped off my skis at Ski North on the day we went skating, so they’d be ready.

The hill will be ready too. You want it to be cold overnight up there, so Seven Springs can make the snow they need to fill in whatever spots Mother Nature has neglected. And, yeah — it’s going to be cold:

cold

I know – 7 degrees sounds brutal, but it’s not really that bad. And the snow they’ll be able to make all week, on top of the few inches they’ll get on Tuesday and Tuesday night, will make it worth the trip.

Actually, at this point, just enough snow to cover the ground would make it worth the trip. This s a very late start for someone who has a WordPress tag — winter obsession — devoted to skiing. In past years, I would be beside myself if I hadn’t managed the trip by now. The house stuff, however, has kept us busy enough that I hadn’t really had the time to think about what I was missing.

Until we skated on Friday. The thing my winter sports have in common is their ability to set me free from all the crap that we all have to deal with. Skating and skiing are like flying. It took few laps around the Schenley rink to feel comfortable, but once I did, I knew I had to go again this winter.

And I knew it was time to get up on the hill, as quickly as I could.
I’m a much better skiier than I am a skater, although I’ll be a bit limited, as I always am on my first day of the season, by lunchtime, it will feel like I never stopped.

Friday will be cold, but it will be liberating. When I come home in the late afternoon, I’ll be free. Even if only for a day.

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action.

As promised: video proof that peer pressure can cause people to do really dumb things:

Did you see the perfect form on my cannonball? My toes were even pointed.

bearly.

A couple of days ago, I told you about my plans to kick off 2009.

I did it. WE did it. And, yeah, it was as excruciating as you would have expected.

clairebcar

It was a beautiful morning, sunny and 16 degrees when I left my house. I found later that the water temperature was 38.5 degrees. That’s Annoyed Angel in the foreground; Mindbling and her crew is in the car driving around the corner.

bshirt

Mindbling had shirts made up for the group: “I got involved in social media and all I got was this lousy hypothermia.”

chachwill

Chachi and DJ Lunchbox were ready. So were all those ambulances.

ow

As we were drying off, someone noticed I had scraped my leg while in the water. I don’t remember this at all; I just remember being colder than I ever had been in my life.

clairebar

When we finished up at the Mon Wharf, we headed to Rugger’s Pub on the South Side. Annoyed Angel generously opened the bar early so we could get some coffee. DJ Lunchbox generously cooked cheeseburgers for everyone. Mike Munz generously bought the first round.

The consensus? Cold. Wow, cold. Really, really cold.

But I think we’re all going to do it again next year.

(There’s a video, compressing as we speak, that shows all the action. I’ll add it here, maybe even tonight if I’m still awake when it’s done. One hint: I would have gotten about a 5.8 on my dive, but the East German judge was an asshole.)

29. ouch.

team

Another season, another successful YinzTeam sporting venture.

And another reason to eat Advil like they were M&Ms.

I actually felt pretty good upon completion of the first-annual YinzTeam Turkey Bowl, a flackle football game held Saturday at Bellevue Memorial Park. I caught one touchdown pass, made another reception, defended a pass intended for Papuga (this may or may not have involved what technically could be called “pass interference”), and was in on a couple of other stops.

I also suffered under the delusion — just once, mind you — that I could pressure Woy while he was playing quarterback. I didn’t know — until that very play — that Woy could also run like Barry Sanders. Ahem.

Want some additional photographic evidence? Check Jennie’s Flickr set; I’m the fat old guy.

A bunch of the players headed back to the new house for samples of The Wife’s excellent chili and tortellini soup and some Keystone.

And then we died.

No, not really. That’ll come tomorrow morning.