#NaBloPoMo – Are you a Florida girl?

As I was working up a sweat and getting my heart pumping on the treadmill Wednesday at the gym, one of the employees was talking to G about the Arizona Wildcats basketball game the previous night. I was mostly tuning out the conversation, just happy to be back in the gym since I had almost lost it.

I grew up with the Wildcats and clearly remember the night they won it all in ’97 but that was during the Lute Olson era, and ever since he left, it’s just not the same for me. I vividly remember when I got his autograph. I was in my early teens and we had gone to the Red/Blue scrimmage game. Afterwards, we went down into the tunnels and I got to meet him. I held out my folded paper and said, “can I have your autograph? You’re my favorite coach.” When I tell that story, I always voice that part with a timid, child-like drawl. I felt so foolish after the words had left my mouth but he signed it happily. I can still imagine the looping signature.

So, my ears perk up whenever the University of Arizona is mentioned in any capacity. As I trudged along on the treadmill, listening to the classic rock on the stereo, the employee said, “what about you, did you watch the game?”

“Nah, I had the hockey game on,” I replied.

“Oh hockey, you’re hardcore!” he said, and I could hear the grin in his voice. I don’t think the last word was actually hardcore, but it was something along those lines. I didn’t have time to mention I’m a rookie fan, this being my first year following hockey. “Who’s your team?”

Here it comes I thought. I’ll say the Tampa Bay Lightning and he’ll ask why Tampa Bay. Before he had a chance though, G launched in with how fanatic I am about the Tampa Bay Rays, how I’d have the radio broadcast on my iPhone while working out, etc. Men always talk about my sports fandom as though they’re talking about their kid’s amazing accomplishment.

“Are you a florida girl?” the man asked.

No one had ever asked me the “why” question in that way before. I’ve had people ask me if I’m from Florida, which I guess is basically the same question but the way he asked it almost made me want to answer that yes, yes I am a Florida girl.

The urge to say yes caught me off guard and I quickly blurted the story of how the Rays captured my heart in ’08 when I went blind and it just feels natural to follow the Lightning now that I want to get into hockey since a lot of my friends on Twitter follow them. He quickly latched on to the blind thing, since his daughter has been blind since birth and he has taught at the blind school. Conversation moved away from sports and on to adjusting to blindness and attitude, accomplishing anything you want and on and on for a bit. I really wanted to get back to sports.

I’ve been reflecting on the gut feeling to say that I am a Florida girl. Those words are rather open ended when you think about it. If someone asks if I’m from Florida, the answer is obviously no, I’ve never even been there. But, are you a Florida girl? Are you a baseball girl? Are you a country music girl? Are you a science fiction girl? How about a Mac girl?

Isn’t labeling yourself as {insert something you like here} girl or guy saying you are a fan of said thing? So perhaps I’m a fan of Florida. It could work. I absolutely adore the Rays and they’re a Florida team. As a result of them, I’ve met the most amazing people, mostly in Florida. One in Boston, but you get my meaning. In fact I have an entire post planned about the incredible people in my life today because of the Rays.

So am I a Florida girl? In a way, yes. Will I ever move there? Doubtful, the humidity would kill me. If I ever get rich however, you bet your bum I’ll be going there at the beginning and end of the baseball seasons when it’s not summer.

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Filed under baseball, fellowship, NaBloPoMo 2011, sports, twitter me this, workouts

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