Monday, August 31, 2015

The God of Surprises....and sports

There are very few surprises in life anymore. We live in an information age that allows us to know a heck of a whole lot—maybe even too much. This information overload can make it tough to be surprised, to encounter the unknown and live with the mystery. Sure, not all surprises are a welcome thing. Some are accompanied by sad news, a shock to our system or disbelief. But in general, when I speak of a surprise, it's something I associate with joy, elation and self-discovery. Indeed, life is still full of surprises. And thank God for it.

Surprises are both personal and communal. For example, in "Words with...Serena," in her cover issue of Sports Illustrated, the number one female tennis player is asked "Do you still have the capacity to surprise yourself?" She says "Oh, yeah. I've totally surprised myself. I never thought I would win another Serena Slam [four straight majors spread over two seasons, which she first accomplished in 2002-03]. Not even after the ['15] French Open. Especially not at 33." Tennis fans are thrilled she did. 
I would like to think that more than just a competitive spirit is what drives an athlete to stay in the game. Perhaps this capacity to surprise herself is what motivates Serena to work toward winning the Grand Slam this year (if she wins the US Open next week that prestigious distinction among tennis players is hers) or holding he most Grand Slam titles (she has 22. Margaret Smith Court has 24). What if she is capable of more? Why not surprise herself? her fans? athletes and the history of the game?! I for one, wait in suspense to know what will be. And if she wins the Open, will she be named Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year? Will she share that honor with anyone else? TBD.

And many surprises are revealed and shared with others. I think back to my 27th birthday. I was in a very sad place. I felt as though I had nothing to celebrate. In my grief, my brother reached out in a way I could have never expected. He threw me a surprise birthday party. He totally got me. The joy that came with that surprise, trumped my sadness. Joy can do that.
So when a good surprise comes your way, it's worth sharing. The University of Notre Dame football team is very good at sharing a lot of information, but this one went viral for a reason. It offers a great foil, has a strong plot and includes many unsuspecting characters—the primary one being the beneficiary of a lot: recognition for his hard work, support from his teammates and a good, old fashioned dog-pile. Enjoy!

And next time you personally encounter a surprise, offer a prayer in gratitude or pray this one for others (from Ignatian Spirituality)
May the God of Surprises delight you, inviting you to accept gifts not yet imagined.
May the God of Transformation call you, opening you to continual renewal.
May the God of Justice confront you, daring you to see the world through God’s eyes.
May the God of Abundance affirm you, nudging you towards deeper trust.
May the God of Embrace hold you, encircling you in the hearth of God’s home.
May the God of Hopefulness bless you, encouraging you with the fruits of faith.
May the God of Welcoming invite you, drawing you nearer to the fullness of God’s expression in you.
May God who is Present be with you, awakening you to God in all things, all people, and all moments.
May God be with you.
Amen
 
Photo Credits
Lucy
 
Serena


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Words John Wooden Never Used....

As many of my friends and family members know, I am on a personal crusade to get all of America to clean up its language. Profanity is everywhere—just walk down any city street or high school hallway and you won't have to listen long or hard. It has infiltrated our art; music— of all genres is rife with dirty lyrics. It now shapes our humor and fills our movies. For example, "The Wolf of Wall Street" set a new record when it dropped the "F-word" 506 times. In spite of this bad habit, I still believe that words have power—a lot of it. We must use them wisely. Cursing, swearing and speaking the profane compromises this power. Indeed, something is lost. Rather than write out what that is, I'll let my lack of words here speak to what that is....

Tonight, I attended the annual Back to School meeting for all coaches at St. Ignatius College Prep where I teach and now work with the junior varsity girls' golf team. Over 150 coaches gathered for the John R. Wooden Course: "Timeless Wisdom for Personal and Team Success." The curriculum teaches the values, character, leadership and "Pyramid of Success" behavior that the greatest coach of the 20th century, the Wizard of Westlake developed. 


The speaker Lynn Guerin pointed out that John Wooden is the Abraham Lincoln of athletics and coaching. One can never read enough about either man. I remember a course I took in college, "American Biography" taught me that every year, more and more books continue to be written about Honest Abe. The professor asked why. His usage of the Socratic method  in this instance was right on. Where should we start.... Lincoln saved the Union. Lincoln was born in a log cabin. Lincoln...

John Wooden isn't that much different. He was a prolific reader and writer. And he continues to be the subject of more and more articles and books. 


A lot of what I learned tonight captivated my attention and helped me as a coach. Two words John Wooden never used? Winning and losing. Who was his favorite person? Mother Teresa. He carried a small medal bearing her image in his pocket. He lived his life in a way that identified three priorities: 1. Master (God) 2. Mission (Purpose in life) and 3. Mate (with whom do you share the journey?) 

Dissatisfied with the definition of success in Webster's dictionary, he developed his own. To Wooden, success is "peace of mind attained only through self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do the best of which you are capable." This drive to understand and meet success is why he developed the Pyramid of Success. Each building block is carefully placed and every piece supports and influences another. It took 14 years to create. Wooden reviewed his Pyramid of Success everyday. I consider it his "Daily Examen" a prayer that Jesuits consider the most important one we pray. 
Perhaps you know a lot about Wooden's coaching philosophy or maybe you know a little about what he did that made him successful. The list is very long. But the three rules he had for his athletes is what struck me most. Taking on a new team this year, I've thought a lot about what I want this new group of girls to learn from me. Wooden's rules are noble ones. They are:
1. never criticize a teammate.

2. never be late.
3. never use profanity.


An English major (and teacher) with a masters in poetry, Wooden also believed—deeply—that words have power. He said "there are so many words we can use to express our emotions. To limit oneself to the profane means we have lost self-control." And why is that a problem? Wooden viewed self-control as a core block on the "Pyramid of Success." It says, "Self-control is to practice self-discipline and keep emotions under control. Good judgement and common sense are essential." This building block isn't limited to the usage of language but to all of our reactions. Basketball tests those reactions from the start of the game to its finish...sometimes even after.
I love the standards that Coach Wooden set for his team and for all of us who consider ourselves to be his students. He inspires me to work harder (Industriousness) and work toward "Competitive Greatness" the highest block on the pyramid. What you will see however, is that Faith and Patience are the true tip of the pyramid. They share the space, that triangle above Competitive Greatness. They work hand in hand. 

Wooden thought you should make everyday your masterpiece. I agree....so I'll keep working on cleaning up the language of the hallways where I teach, the courses where I play and where I will coach. And, I hope to do so without ever criticizing a colleague or teammate...As for being on time...that's another work in progress. I think the Pyramid of Success can help!

Photo Credits
Pyramid
Success
Profanity
Wisdom

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Generosity and David Lee

The "Back to School Night" poster for the Religious Studies department at St. Ignatius College Prep, where I teach features a head shot of every teacher and his or her favorite line from prayer. When we were asked to submit ours to the designer, I said mine without hesitation: "Lord, teach me to be generous."

I say this prayer—the opening line of the St. Ignatius' Prayer for Generosity—more often than you might think. At times, it is a near mantra. I utter those words when I need patience, when I am frustrated and when it's difficult to see the good in a student. This prayer opens my heart. The grace of this spirit  prompts me to give when I might want to take. The rest of the prayer is equally beautiful, but those six words speak to me, deeply.

I want to be generous. I have been given so much—I ought to be. My father once told me, "Anne, no one will ever think worse of you for being generous. They'll never say she's a horrible person for giving like that." I have never forgotten those words; they're true (but remember, a virtue works best as a mean. Excessive generosity is foolish and deficient generosity is miserliness). 

And yet I also know that true generosity develops when it's difficult to give...when I do feel like sharing, when no one is looking, or when I won't get any credit. This is where I need guidance from the Lord. Anyone can give from their excess, but true generosity comes when we are running on empty. When it would seem as though we have little materially or spiritually to give. I have found this prayer helps.
You would be surprised to learn what else helps me be generous: David Lee.

David Lee played with the Golden State Warriors for the past five seasons. The power forward made generosity look both easy and attractive. I want to be a more generous person because of what I saw in him.

When Lee was named to the 2013 All Star team, he was the first Warrior to earn that distinction in over 17 years! He was a critical reason that team made it to the second round of the playoffs—losing to the Finals Champions, the San Antonio Spurs. And yet this year, Lee suffered a strained left hamstring in the final game of the preseason, which sidelined him for 24 out of the first 25 games of the season. Lee was replaced in the Warriors' starting lineup by Draymond Green, who continued to start even after Lee recovered. The highest-paid player on the Warriors roster at $15 million, Lee became a reserve for the first time since early in his career.

It's hard to argue that Lee's misfortune didn't make way for an opportunity that might not have otherwise happened. Green was a force to be reckoned with throughout the regular and post-season. But what's striking to me is that amidst the struggle of frustration from injury Lee never once complained. He never went to the press to defend himself or call into question Coach Kerr's decision to keep him seated...on the bench...most nights...fully dressed. At one point in February, I wondered if Kerr forgot who about him. I didn't know if his injury lingered. It didn't. 
D-Lee had a new role on the team. It was strange; I scratched my head often. Whereas he once helped on the baseline, David Lee became his teammates' biggest supporter from the sidelines. That's generous.

Lee finally got some minutes in Game 4 of the Finals. Warriors fans saw the chemistry that Stephen Curry and he built together—the building block of teamwork that made this a group of champions. And when the Warriors captured the title, I couldn't help but notice D-Lee in his warm-ups, smiling, hugging and celebrating with his teammates—many of who were sweaty, tired and sore. I have no doubt Lee would have preferred to win in this way. But, a generous spirit is joyful and grateful, regardless.

Warriors faithful know that the team traveled to Las Vegas to celebrate the victory. David Lee picked up the tab.
Tickets went on sale for the 2015-2016 regular season games late last week. I got a call from a representative at the Warriors encouraging me to place my deposit for group seating. The Notre Dame Club of San Francisco attends one game each year. That day, I had but one question for Brian our rep: How was your lunch yesterday? 

Brian started laughing. Sports fans throughout the Bay Area were aware that before he left for Boston, David Lee had treated the entire staff to a lunch by Chipotle.

Lee signed a contract with the Boston Celtics and left us fans on the best of terms....and the people inside of Warriors operations—support staff, ticket agents, ushers—the people we never see, with full bellies and smiles of gratitude...if not a tear or two for fare thee well.

Whether or not it comes easily or with haste, generosity is a wonderful virtue. Generosity can take the edge off of a bad day. It can be tough to exercise, but it makes life just a little sweeter, doesn't it?  Next time you find it tough to be generous, offer a prayer and look to the example of an athlete like David Lee. He made generosity both fun and fulfilling. Thanks for a great five years. 

Photo Credits
Prayer of Generosity
Thank you D-Lee
Sidelines

Friday, August 21, 2015

Athletes and Numbers: One that Jordan Spieth Wears Well

There's just something to be said for numbers. My friend who teaches math loves them. I suppose she should—her job depends on them—but she takes comfort in the fact that "they aren't open to interpretation; they don't lie." Indeed, numbers confirm for us that you have it or you don't. And that's just a small reason why numbers color the language of sports. From total yardage in passing to greens in regulation, shots on goal to pitch count— to love sports means to enter into a relationship with numbers. 
In 2014, the Giants had won 88 games in the regular season. The team that won the World Series didn't even have over 90 wins in the regular season! That's surprising, and my dad, my brother and me were talking about this feat. But, my brother was convinced that the G-men won 89 games. I said 85. Our father, the statistician—naturally—got it right. He sees games through the lens of numbers as stats. I see them a little differently.

Numbers add to the narrative. I love learning about the number and athletes chooses to wear and why. I've written about athletes who honor other athletes with the same number. I'm intrigued by sports, like football that forbids certain position players from wearing any number of one's choosing. And it's interesting for me to see that not all numbers are up for grabs. For example, Major League Baseball retired the number 42 from the game, to honor Jackie Robinson, the first African American baseball player in the league. Indeed, numbers can serve as the most rudimentary point of connection, as I enjoyed reading in the article "Why We Love Sports." 
Last fall, after Alabama kicker Cade Foster missed two field goal attempts and had a third blocked in the Crimson Tide’s 34-28 loss to Auburn, George W. Bush dropped a note to Foster: “Life has its setbacks. I know! However you will be a stronger human with time.” Bush signed the note “another 43,” reflecting his position in the line of U.S. presidents and Foster’s uniform number.
And, I have no doubt that the Texas Rangers' front office enjoyed calling attention to a prestigious number Jordan Spieth earned earlier in the week, after his second place finish at the PGA Championship. Spieth, a native of Dallas, threw out the first pitch at the Ballpark in Arlington in a Rangers jersey with none other than the number one underneath his name. He is now the number one golfer in the world; he wears "1" well.

Spieth has put up incredible numbers this past year. He finished 1, 1, 4 and 2 at the Majors this year. He has won two other PGA tournaments in 2015. His prize money (this is just from the tour, not from Under Armour and other promotions or bets ;-) is over $10 million.

However what I love about the video (here and above) is that it finally demonstrates one number that eludes his fans. From time to time, it's hard to believe that Spieth is just 22 years old (he won the Masters and US Open at 21!). But to hear him talk about baseball, stories from games of the past and more, is to get a glimpse of Spieth, not necessarily, a kid—but rather a young man.

Unfortunately, sister Ellie is not in the photo.
Spieth could be a knucklehead, but I have a feeling only his brother, sister, closest friends or his caddy know the extent of that. But he's also just a guy, who—in the past year has changed the face of golf. He uses the term "we" more than any other player, he demonstrates exemplary sportsmanship and his reminds me that the most important part of the game is maintaining focus and control of what happens between the ears.

Photo Credits
Spieth Family
First Pitch

Monday, August 17, 2015

The 2015 PGA Championship: 3 Lessons from 3 Champions

The 2015 PGA Championship is bittersweet. The final major golf championship of the year, I know it signifies the end of summer. School will start next week and golf—a sport that can be played year round in many parts of the world, shines best in the spring and summer seasons. Fall is for football. Winter is for indoor games. But come April, the Masters is on my mind....Sorry MLB.

I truly believe the winner, Jason Day and his lead competitor, Jordan Spieth honored the game with the way they played their final round. Phenomenal golf, integrity, sportsmanship, class, open vulnerability and emotion, respect and victory—it doesn't get much sweeter than that. So sweet, that the bitter in bittersweet is nil.
Perhaps you learned that this year's championship, played at Whistling Straits in Koehler, Wisconsin brought much more than a first major title for its out and out winner, Jason Day (who finished 20 under par). It gave rise to a new number one player: Jordan Alexander Speith. 

Every time I watch golf on television, I learn more about the game. Not just how to hit, strategies to consider and but I learn about life too. Here are but a few insights that I gained from this year's tourney. I'm grateful for the memories, in particular, what you will read here.

No one plays defense in golf.
I can't believe I never thought about this before. 
It's man (or woman) versus the hole. Although there is match play and other variations of the game, all professional golfers aim to get the lowest score period.  
My friend Paul brought this to my attention as we watched Jordan Spieth heartily acknowledge a great putt that the leader, Jason Day just hit. And, it cost Spieth absolutely nothing to do that. Not only is it good sportsmanship, Paul considers it good karma. It was just one sign of many that Jordan Spieth is a true champion.
Spieth made sure Day knew he appreciated the Aussie's performance. During a perfect putt on No. 17, Spieth suddenly cut across the screen, flashing a thumbs-up at Day in the process. (see it here)
At that point in the match, Day was leading by three strokes. When he made that shot, I believe Spieth realized that the championship was truly in his opponent's grasp. Rather than getting uptight or competing with blinders on until the last hole, Spieth played his game and appreciated his opponent's craft. Folks...that's great golf.

I started to wonder what else in life precludes defense. What other competitive endeavors allow you to applaud and/or encourage your opponent at no cost?


Tears will be shed.
I can't think of another sport where the victor so openly and frequently weeps. It's not uncommon in professional sports, but golf seems to bring it out in the athlete and in me. Even before he sank his final putt, Jason Day let the tears flow. When he secured the victory, he contributed to the water line of Lake Michigan. And he's no different than Bubba Watson (Masters 2012, 2014), Zach Johnson (British Open 2015), and Justin Rose (US Open: Merion 2014).

I doubt that Martin Kaymer's win at the US Open: Pinehurst in 2014 got me choked up, but I can't tell you how many times I carry the emotions of joy, relief, delight and gratitude when I watch a major come to a close. I know it's because beauty always evokes a deep response—it comes from the soul. I find beauty on a golf course....in great competition...in excellence in athletics. I can't help but feel this way, more often than not, it's water works...

Where do you find beauty—a beauty that elicits a response marked by tears?

True champions are born...and understood in due time
If you don't know much about Jason Day, it's worth learning about his life—what he's been through, where he came from and who he is today. As he told ESPN's Tom Rinaldi, "I didn't think I had a future, with the way I was living my life." But golf fans are happy he did.


Paired on Sunday with the crowd favorite—Jordan Spieth, Day "finally got the monkey off his back" in winning his first major title. And I think it's worth noting that golf is one of the few sports where the victor truly beats everyone in the field. As opposed to tennis—another individual sport—the winner only plays a given number based on his or her seed. The Superbowl and World Series champions do not eliminate every team in the postseason to earn their titles. But a golfer beats all. The numbers do not lie.
A great Aussie. Jason Day lives in Ohio with his wife (an American) and son Dash.
He said there's no way he'll renounce his Australian citizenship.
Golf enthusiasts and sports fans everywhere would have loved to see Spieth capture his third major of the year. Only two men in the history of the game have that accomplishment in their dossier: Ben Hogan in 1953 and Tiger Woods in 2000. Spieth came up short by three strokes but by all of nothing with his insight on the game. "It's the best loss I've ever had." 

When he said that, I thought "Who says that?!!" What a classy, complimentary and fun way to honor his opponent. The man who says that is now the number one golfer in the world. I hope he is Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year 2015. His two major wins, a fourth and second place finish in the others and the fresh face he has brought to the game is another example of beauty.

Who stands out to you as a champion, even in defeat? When have you seen a game you love honored by exemplary play and sportsmanship?


That is a wrap on the 2015 golf season. Yes, the FedEx cup will commence soon, but as far as I'm concerned, the final major of the year afforded us with three champions: Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, and anyone who loves the game. Until April.... 

Photo Credits
Day and Spieth
Tears

Monday, August 10, 2015

Why Be a Washington Nationals Fan? #NatsMass

There's not a whole lot the San Francisco Giants have to envy about the Washington Nationals. Even though they had the best record in the NL last year, we beat them in an exciting NLDS playoff series. Our star player has also met success at a very young age. Only he has won the Rookie of the Year, the batting title in 2012, and was named NL MVP later that year without an "Natitude." While the implementation of a downtown ballpark has rejuvenated parts of our cities once in decline, it's hard to argue with a ballpark that allows for Splash Hits. Granted the Nationals look to the Washington Monument and the Capital building, but I love our own city and the mountainous vistas off in the (near) distance. Yet something takes place outside of Nationals Park that I wish could be replicated near ballparks across the United States every Sunday, especially AT&T Park. It's #NatsMass.
In Why One D. C. Church Started Nats Mass, Dan Steinberg writes, 
Fans who stream into the Navy Yard district before Nats games are now greeted with increasingly varied entertainment choices, from Yards Park for fresh air and views of the Anacostia River to the Fairgrounds for frat-rock music and adult refreshments to a variety of neighborhood restaurants and taverns, with more to come. 
On Sunday afternoon this summer, they've had another option: a Catholic church service. Or as the local St. Vincent de Paul church calls it "Nats Mass." 
I had the privilege of attending it with my parents, brother and nieces yesterday before the Nationals took on the Colorado Rockies. We were greeted by a man in a t-shirt with the scripted capital "W" for Washington and I was struck by, not only the beauty of the church, but the sea of red and blue. Jerseys sporting names like Zimmerman, Strasburg and Werth lined the pews. The game day energy verified that the term "liturgy" means "celebration."
To me, the beauty of #NatsMass is an example of a third way. The Church is clearly meeting people where they are at, and as a result they are showing up...more people, more often. St. Vincent de Paul was a parish on the verge of closing and today it's hard not to recognize that it holds a special corner in South East DC!.
“For me, it was kind of a no-brainer,” said Rev. Andrew Royals, 34, a Montgomery County native who became the pastor at the South Capitol Street church about two years ago. “On game days we had thousands of people walking right in front of our church. I was like, ‘Well, I’m sure some of these people would like to go to church.’…And we thought there’s no reason people can’t do both.”
At my parish in San Francisco, I love the sight of Niner or Giants jerseys at the evening mass I attend. Although such attire might seem a bit informal, I know it's because these individuals made time for worship, even after the game. Perhaps I have lowered my standards, but I know from my students that while attending a professional sports game is a wonderful opportunity and something one would not dare miss, unfortunately Mass is.
Yet, as one Nats faithful said, "Baseball offers a lot of life lessons. I find myself teaching my son about those over the course of nine innings. And when I think of all that our faith offers us—life lessons of love, sacrifice, and putting others first—I find that NatsMass before the game only deepens our experience...and love for one another."

After the Mass, the Knights of Columbus offered fellowship that included hot dogs and drinks (for a donation). I loved listening to the church yard chatter as we munched away—talk about the fight for the Wild Card position (against the Giants no less) and the post-season prospects.

I left energized and excited to Play Ball! I was grateful for the opportunity to pray with other Nats fans and left wishing that there was a Catholic church close to AT&T Park. The China Basin area of where our stadium stands was once shipping yards; not a place where the faithful once lived. Who knows, in the spirit of Transfiguration, maybe the Church could just pitch a tent? or at the very least, I hope that other cities will follow the lead of the Nats Faithful.


Photo Credits
#NatsMass
Faithful at Nats Mass

Author's note:
Dear D.C.
I consider you to be a second home. I loved living inside the Beltway and I visit as often as I can. Please note, I'm happy that you have welcomed the Nationals with such energy and enthusiasm. I think your ballpark is great...but I write what I do with my bias. It's what sports fans do.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Dear A's Fans: How do you do it? And Why...?


The Athletics have a long and colorful history. The team, founded in 1901 in Philadelphia, relocated to Kansas City in 1954 until 1968 when the franchise moved west. When the owner, Chuck Finley decided to take his team out of KC, Stuart Symington—a US Senator (Missouri) called Oakland "the luckiest city since Hiroshima." 

In a small way, it bothers me that reading that quote made me laugh out loud. 

Today marks the 70th anniversary of the US bombing of Hiroshima. The United States is the first and only country to use atomic weaponry during wartime. It is also the Feast of the

Transfiguration. I find some symbolism in a shared date of infamy and of glory. If there's an American City in need to transfiguration, Oakland is high on that list. Would it be too bold to believe that a Major League baseball team could play a role in another transfiguration? I think not. But that's not my question for this blog posting. 

I grew up in Walnut Creek, but 20 miles from the Oakland Coliseum—or O.co Coliseum, the home of the Oakland A's. Most people figure me to be an A's fan. I love the East Bay and still wax poetic about it as often as I can. But my team always has been and remains a ball club that resides across the Bay—the San Francisco Giants. It's very easy to be a Giants fan these days. But for many years, and on the "even" years of late, not so much. So when I ask my question, please know it is not from a place of pity—I've been there. I don't mean to sound pedantic, but I am genuinely interested: Why would anyone be an A's fan?

It has to be frustrating to follow a team knowing that your star players more likely than not will be on another team next year....if not next month. I think about athletes like Josh Donaldson, a 2015 All Star, who played in Oaktown but last year. Or David Kazmir....do you think twice before buying a jersey like his? Does it bother you that the General Manager, Billy Beane, keeps the payroll among the lowest in baseball because of something other than Moneyball? Revenue sharing among owners in the league takes on a new perspective when you own one-third of the team. Granted, the A's don't have the worst record in MLB, but they are in last place in the AL West. And no one is singing praises about their "ball park experience" at the Coliseum. Tell me A's fans, what's up?

Two men names Josh...neither of who wears the Green & Gold in 2015
But to know about the Athletics is to know they have a strange, though interesting history. Perhaps this what A's fan love about them. As written in "The Meaning of Sports," Michael Mandelbaum states,
The team's leading personality was its owner, Charles O. Finley, who had made a modest fortune selling insurance. He believed that baseball had become too stodgy. To enliven it, he paid his players bonuses to grow mustaches and assigned them colorful nicknames...He proposed a number of innovations, some of which, such as night World Series games and brightly colored uniforms to replace what he called "eggshell white" and "prison grey" of the standard home and road baseball wear, were widely adopted. Others, the idea of coloring baseballs orange for better visibility, for example, were not. Finley was what sportswriters have traditionally called colorful, but like the other highly visible owner of the period, the Yankees' George Steinbrenner, he was not lovable. 
I have to admit when I hear the song "Celebration" by Kool N the Gang, I think of the A's. They earned it with three World Series titles IN A ROW (1972-1974) It is still something to marvel at! I'm fascinated by those clubs—evidently they hated one another, but they sure looked bitchin' in their white cleats.

Your story adds to the narrative that only baseball can afford. You've had win streaks of 20 games when your team had no business pulling it off. You beat us in the 1989 Bay Bridge Series. The Bash Brothers reigned supreme. In a recent issue of the Athletic magazine, I was entertained by the questions for your fans. Keep telling your story Oakland. I'm listening. And should you move to Jack London Square someday, I will be there to witness what I would love to see as another sort of Transfiguration. 

The Oakland A's have featured some of the biggest names in baseball, but they've also featured some of the best name. Let's test your knowledge of the A's most memorable monikers.
  1. Coco Crisp has one of the catchiest nicknames of all time. But do you know his given name?
  2. Which former A's infielder went by his middle name, and which was spelled as the reverse of his father's name, Ramon?
  3. Name the famous outfield trio who played for the A's in the 1970s.
  4. Charlie Finley concocted an entire backstory for which nicknamed hall-of-Fame pitcher—born James Augustus—in 1965?
  5. Which "weather" related pitcher was scheduled to start Game 4 of the 1989 World Series for the A's prior to the earthquake?
  6. Which former A's All-Star once got onstage at the Fillmore theater to join a jam band that uses his name?
  7. Which A's reliever won the nickname "Mud cat" on his jersey in 1970?
Photo Credits
And answers to questions forthcoming
Former Athletics
Old School Logo
Simpsons
Icon