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Reporting For Duty.


So, I've written pretty extensively about what I've been up to for the past few months/weeks, but, now, IT'S GAME TIME. I'm back on my grind, and just in time for... well, a half a year of waiting for college football. I feel like I earned my rep on these here streets by managing to post something every day over the summer last year even when there was no news whatsoever, and I plan on doing exactly the same thing, so, get ready. Yeah. Stuff. Every Day.


As for the next few months, you can plan on that stuff being a combination of this:

1. Whatever actual news does happen to arise with regards to basketball and football. Luckily for us, Spread Far the Fame appears to be beating the living crap out of everybody else when it comes to finding out news related to NU sports, but I'll try, and when that news does come, however minor it is, I'll post about it and then probably analyze it.

2. Random time-killer stuff. Last year I previewed every position on the football team. Expect similar stuff, starting this week. 

3. All those other sports. As you mighta heard, we have the best women's lacrosse team in the country by about 700 miles. I know nothing about lacrosse, but I'm tentatively scheduled to attend some games for the first time this year, so I'll try my hand at keeping you updated on this, and all those other sports that NU seems to be randomly successful at, like softball and women's tennis. A pipe dream of mine is a potential Sippin on Purple site field trip to a lacrosse game or something, so I'll keep you updated if that ends up going on. (I was going to say something about our baseball team here, but I just looked at their season thus far, which a season opening 25-2 loss to George Mason.)


So that's that. If you're wondering how Cuba was, well, it was awesome, on some best-week-ever nonsense. I'm not going to get into politics on here, so instead, I'll get into sports: Because I'm lucky as hell, our trip last week happened to coincide with the finals of the Cuban baseball season, a best-of-seven series between my hometown Industriales from Havana and Villa Clara, the team representing the province which Santa Clara is in. Because I'm even luckier, I happened to be in Santa Clara for one of the games. The crowd makeup was 20,000 screaming, raucous fans all wearing bright orange - horns, whistles, sirens, everything - and us 35 white people. In the US, we cheer for home runs. In Cuba, they cheer for everything: base hits, walks, batters coming to the plate, routine catches on fly balls, each one made the My ears hurt after two innings. Rosters of Cuban league teams are decided solely by where you're from, so, the fandom runs deep as you might imagine. The Industriales are generally considered to be the best team in Cuban baseball year in, year out, considering they get the cream of the crop from Havana, Cuba's most populous province, and everybody pretty much compares them to the Yankees - that is, everybody else loves to hate them. It was pretty clear in Santa Clara. Industriales' mascot is a lion, and people had come to the games with all these large stuffed lions in various states of embarrassment - one was in a noose, one guy had a big lion, wearing women's clothing, with an orange bandanna over its face, and he just spent the whole time walking from section to section, getting up on a railing, and beating the living crap out of the mascot with a whip-like object. Apparently regular season games are considerably less crowded/violent, but even our World Series games seem like snoozers compared to that. 

Needless to say, it's nearly impossible to win on the road. Villa Clara won the first two at home, 3-2 and 3-0, but when Industriales got back to Havana and their 60,000 seat stadium, they got control of the series back, winning the first game 12-5 and mercy ruling Villa Clara 11-1 in the second game. (Yeah, they have a mercy rule.) I'm not sure what's happened since, since it's sorta hard to get Cuban baseball news here.

Cuban people have almost zero opportunity to do whatever it is they feel like, and this is true even of a baseball game - where we have ads in our baseball stadiums, Cuba has billboards with nationalist slogans on them, including my personal favorite, "Venceremos!" which means "we will win!" but isn't talking about the baseball team, and we saw one dude get pretty brutally arrested during the game, and when someone in our group took a photo of it, the cop came over and made her delete from her camera. But baseball is Cuba's release. When you walk around Havana on a weekend, it's hard not to run into a pickup baseball game. Some play with the full nine in parks, but a lot of it is just kids chilling around playing some variant on stickball up against a wall. Baseball is our national pastime, but baseball is Cuba's national release. For a few Cuban pesos - under ten cents - they get to go to a game and wild out for three hours. They get to yell stuff, buy concessions, get drunk and enjoy themselves. And they take advantage of it. 

Well, that went longer than I thought it would. But, point being, I'm back, so, get ready - see you tomorrow.