Josh Weinstock, this one’s for you! Thanks for never missing an article of mine. I figure every now and then you deserve one that’s sports themed!
Second Sunday in September, the air was crisp and football was on every sport’s fan’s mind. Well, not just football — baseball fans were also glued to their TVs, watching the pennant races. For fans whose teams were just about to win their division and those who were about to secure a playoff spot (or were hoping to sneak into a playoff spot) it was indeed a busy sports day.
My husband Jerry is a Yankee fan. I’m an Atlanta Brave’s fan. So we were in pretty good shape, with each of our teams on top of their division with a comfortable lead. My son-in-law Dan, on the other hand, was hoping against hope that his Mets would sneak into the wildcard. “You gotta believe” … unless you’re a Miami Dolphin’s fan, as are my daughter Jordana, my son Daniel, and myself. We’re realists and we’re hoping to “tank for Tua.” Tua Tagovailoa is a football quarterback for the Alabama Crimson tide and will probably be the number 1 draft pick in 2020. We’d have to come in last place out of 32 teams in order to get the number one draft pick, and since right now we are ranked 32 it shouldn’t be that hard!
So Jerry and I watched our teams play baseball and football. As expected the Dolphins lost. Actually they didn’t just lose, they were pummeled, 59–10. Jerry had to wait to watch his game, because we were invited to a barbecue at our friends (Ilyce and Jerry Richter) at 4 pm. He taped the game and then had me warn all 24 guests not to breathe a word about the game at the BBQ. And yes, a few teased him with mock scores and he almost lost it, but no one was hurt.
And so, as we got home, he retreated to the study to watch the game. I tried to feign interest, as if I didn’t already know they lost 35–17.
After the game he looked like a little kid, who just lost his favorite toy. Don’t give up hope, Jerry, after all the Giants weren’t ranked 32nd like the Dolphins — they were 31st. (OK, maybe you should give up all hope.)
He likened the defense of the Giants game to a term that basketball great Walt Frazier often used: Matador defense — a lackluster, low-effort form of defense in which the defender simply reaches for the ball and then quickly pulls his hand away, similar to how a matador pulls his cape out of the way of a charging bull, as the offensive player drives by him for an easy shot at the hoop.
He said the opposing team, the Cowboys, were actually trying not to score; they took out their star running back and quarterback. They were in emergency prevent/offense mode. They stopped passing the ball and were just handing it off to a scrub not to drive the score up. I felt bad for Jerry but hey, my team just lost 59–10.
Then, as he usually does before he goes up to sleep, he sat down to learn a little. He was studying Koehlet, which we read on Sukkot. Before long, I heard him break into laughter. He thought it ironic that a few of the the Pesukim in chapter 3 related to our sports day.
While Koehlet is fundamentally sobering and reflects profound introspection by Shlomo Hamelech, Jerry and I determined that it coincidentally reflects the gyrating paradoxical emotions we each experience while watching our beloved teams performing during their particular seasons.
“Everything has an appointed season” — baseball is ending and football just started.
“A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time of wailing and a time of dancing” — dancing around the room and doing the Braves tomahawk chop (yes I actually do!) or Jerry breaking into the Yiddish rendition, “Oy, a gotten Chanukah” by Moishe Oysher and starts dancing the “The Jerry” when his teams score, or weeping while watching the Giants and Dolphins get crushed and humiliated.
“A time to lose and a time to seek” — the losing part we got down pat, however, at this point we are just seeking a modicum of dignity, forget wins or losses!
So let’s go Braves and Yankees! How cool would it be for Jerry and me to go head-to-head in the World Series? But before that, I’d love to play the Mets (for my son in law, Dan Weichselbaum) in the playoffs. LGM! (Stay tuned.)
Judy’s addendum: This article was written last week after the first Sunday of football. After watching the second week on Sunday, Sept. 15, what can I say? It only got worse. Eli Manning, a champ on and off the gridiron, has been replaced as starting quarterback.
Talking about watching sports, here is a great recipe for wings, which can also be served for an appetizer on Shabbat. Keep in mind this recipe is for two people, so multiply accordingly.
Japanese-Style Garlic Miso Chicken Wings
Adapted from Just One Cookbook
The combination of garlic, miso, mirin, and soy sauce creates an amazing texture on these baked chicken wings. This dish is perfect as an appetizer.
To serve two persons, you will need approximately 4 cloves of garlic, 3 tablespoons of miso, 2 tablespoons of mirin, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, and 10 chicken wings (or any other part that you prefer).
Mix miso and minced garlic to form a paste. Rub the paste all over the chicken wings and put all in a Ziploc bag. Blend well before putting it in the fridge for at least 4 hours (or overnight for the best taste).
About 3 hours before cooking time, add in mirin and soy sauce. Place the marinated chicken wings onto the middle oven rack and cook for 10 minutes or till golden brown. Flip the chicken and wait another 10 minutes. Serve hot with your favorite sauce.