I've been a long-time subscriber to ESPN the Magazine* and have a closet full of free-with-paid-subscription polar fleeces to prove it. When I opened this week's issue--the one with an an uncomfortable close-up of swimmer Michael Phelps' open mouth on the cover, a photo that shows his bottom teeth jutting out of his gums at irregular angles like houses built on a hillside**--I had no idea that there was a surprise waiting for me inside. And, unlike the last time I found something unexpected in a magazine, this isn't the crushed thorax of what was either a giant locust or an unfortunate fairy.
Actually, let's make this an interactive post. If you have a copy, grab it now. If you don't, either rescue one from the recycle bin, steal it from your dentist's office, or make a trip to your neighborhood Borders, staying only long enough to buy the issue and maybe listen to a lesbian sing an acoustic song about sensible shoes and astrology.
OK. Now all together--NO SPOILERS--let's flip to page 90, the last page of the article about Boston's snack-sized second baseman Dustin Pedroia. There's a crowd shot of a girl holding up a handmade sign that says "Team of Dustin-y", a clever-if-dorky homage to the Sox.
That girl? Me.
Last October, my friend and fellow Soxaholic Texas Gal*** and I USAired our way to Denver to watch games 3 and 4 of the
United States and One Canadian City World Series, when our beloved Sawx played the Rockies. As I wrote then:
I was there at the games, waving around a "Team of Dustin-y" sign that neither got the attention of second baseman Dustin Pedroia nor made it on television. It did, however, ensure that I'll spend baseball's offseason alone, eating mini-corndogs and re-enacting scenes from the playoffs with my collection of McFarlane figures.Almost ten months later, I realize that my sign did catch the attention**** of someone--Mr. Rob Tringali, according to the photo credit--forcing an estimated circulation of two million to gaze uncomfortably at my ridiculous striped sweater.
Confidential to My Sweater: Thank you for making strangers think that I dress like Jack Skellington. While admittedly you look adorable over a tank, under that Boston road jersey you made me look like a failed sequel to the Where's Waldo series, Where's Wanda, Waldo's Sister the Longshoreman? I remember reluctantly pulling you out of my bag after the temperature dropped to a degree hinted at in Coors commercials, when my choice was either to shiver, wear you, or spend the equivalent of a Subaru to purchase an oversized Series hoodie. I'll never forget this betrayal... but I might forget you in the Goodwill drop box at the grocery store.
I've never been in a national magazine before. So far, my only flirtation with celebrity was winning a Captain D's coloring contest when I was in the third grade...and I still think the reason I got that ribbon was less because my burnt umber was the best and more because several of the other participants used boogers.
No one pays attention to these things--other than my parents or Michael from Orioles Insider, who was the first person to pick me out of the crowd--but if I ran into Zoltar, I'd wish I'd been immortalized in ESPN looking less goofy, less stripe-y...less like me. I would've selected this***** shot:
It could be worse though... I could be that dude in front doing the Macarena. He looks like an ass.
* Not to be confused with ESPN the Family of Networks, ESPN the Shitty Cellphone Application, or ESPN the Overpriced Restaurant That Refuses to Serve Potato Skins.
** Subscribers got a slightly different cover. Snarled teeth or not, the entire time I'm watching him in the Olympics, I'll be thinking about what type of dairy products I would like to lick off the broad sweep of his shoulders.
*** The cascading blonde hair beside me? Texas Gal.
**** Despite the fact that there was a WORLD SERIES GAME being played, I still managed to make eye contact with a camera man. I've now successfully earned my Publicity Whore badge. Troop #2494 represent, yo.
***** I stole my head from a New Year's Eve picture in which I replaced my former boyfriend with Hugh Laurie. What's even sadder? If I had a job that required a desk, that Photoshoppery would be on proud display.