The Things We Do for the Love of the Lions



We hear it all the time, the extreme lengths fans and supporters will go to so as not to miss a match. Clearly, everyone’s “extreme” is relative to their lives and personal situations. It had me wondering about what extreme measures I’ve taken and what others may have done to catch the Lions.

Broken Toe

Last year my husband broke his big toe in a way that only he could. He was coaching the elementary track team and modeling a new drill for students to watch as he sprinted from one end of the circle. As children will do, a second grader wasn’t following directions and sprinted out into the center, forcing my husband to try and stop his sprint before he took out an eight-year-old. Turns out a big toe can shatter beyond repair and is responsible for a lot of the movement needed for daily walking and general moving.

Fast forward a week when Orlando City had a home game at Exploria Stadium. We typically refuse to park any closer than the Suntrust building because the prices only go up (side note though, that $12 parking is now $15— rude). So, we parked and he was in such excruciating pain trying to walk and navigate using his new boot that we barely made it across the train tracks at Church Street. I rarely carry cash except for my “in case of emergency” stash, which I had to blow on those pedicabs, otherwise we were likely going home. For someone who doesn’t want to spend more than $12 on parking, that $60 both ways was a gut punch.


A couple of summers ago, my husband and I decided to make our way to New York City for a week and half to take in as many shows as we could. It was a World Cup summer and we found ourselves making plans around matches. I’m not a morning person — I think the world should start at 10 a.m. — but there we were, waking up at 5 a.m. on vacation to catch matches.

It was the NYC trip of a lifetime. We saw Anastasia, Dear Evan Hansen, The Cursed Child parts one and two, and Hamilton. Of course, this was before Orlando announced almost all of those shows coming to the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center. Orlando City was to play the Montreal Impact at the same time as the performance for the only tickets we could (barely) afford to Hamilton. We kept our Apple watches on to receive ESPN updates on the match and kept the match streaming to the very last moment as the house lights dropped, only to have it ready to be up at intermission. I am a theater kid through and through, and I was so conflicted. You’d never see me allowing such behavior before and won’t moving forward, but City!

Opening Weekend 2019

Opening weekend for the Lions is starting to trend in my life as a double-booked weekend affair. Last season it was the same day as the Magic Center Region’s Odyssey of the Mind competition. The team I’d been coaching all year was bound to place and advance to the state competition. Competition days are roughly 13-hour days. Luckily we were scheduled to be done pretty early with our rounds, which allowed us to make the match and be back in time for the awards show.

Coaches only have a small window to argue scores and they’re supposed to be ready 30 minutes following a performance. I waited as long as we could, more than an hour and a half after the performance, before I contacted the regional director. Fortunately, my sister was on the campus and the director gave her permission to call me and argue the score over the phone. Not surprisingly, those brilliant little minds had a nearly perfect score, leaving little room to argue.

That meant they were probably placing and going to state. The coach must be present at the awards ceremony to accept the bid to the state competition and stay after for a training. The game ended with just enough time for us to get back and meet the team. Little did we know we would be stuck in the Suntrust building’s parking garage for 40 minutes without moving! I started to have an anxiety attack. We abandoned the car and sprinted three blocks to pick up a Lyft. I hate running. I don’t run. I don’t even jog. We made it just in time for the opening presentation. I ended up with a migraine that had me stopping every 10 minutes to vomit while simultaneously trying to write Five Takeaways — my first for TML.

Somehow I made it, but I’m pretty sure I slept all day Sunday after a day of Murphy’s Law.

Selection Weekend

This weekend will likely be another whirlwind. After a long week riddled with state testing, longer hours, and a generally stressful time, I’ll be working all weekend. I’ll be at a conference center and hotel with other librarians from around the state to curate a list of books that young readers will love. That means a seven-day work week and the days are much longer over the weekend.

I’ll be sprinting out of a meeting early to catch a ride to make kickoff at the last moment, only to go back to the conference center and re-read books late into the evening to jump back into action Sunday morning. Then, out just in time to head back downtown for Mean Girls. It may not sound too extreme to most people, but I loathe busy weekends.

What extremes have you or a friend gone to not to miss a match? I want to read them all!


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