Driving Home From Calabasas

Stef called tonight. She was driving home from Calabasas. Google says it’s 22.3 miles and should take 37 minutes. We were on the phone 23:17.

Children often inherit traits from the wrong parent.

My Best Drive Home Ever!

Tonight she called me and regaled me with stories. Tonight she warmed my heart. Tonight Stefanie was the perfect child.

I was getting into the car to go home when I felt the vibration in my pocket. Stef was calling from California. “I don’t need anything,” she said. She just wanted to talk.

If you’re a parent (if you’re a child as well) you understand no intergenerational relationship is totally smooth. Stef and I have gone without speaking. More frequently we’ve resorted to shouting. Not tonight. This conversation was everything I could hope for.

We talked about Roxie. We talked about Stef’s social life. We talked about work.

I’m not even sure how much I’ve revealed about my child’s professional life. She lives and works in Hollywood. She is California’s only resident with a sub-ten minute commute!

Stef works in the business as the assistant to the two principals of a production company big into reality.

She loves her bosses. She loves her job.

It’s funny. I pulled every string I could to try and help her get a job. For nearly a year nothing I did helped. Then out of the blue she got this job on her own!

“It would have been the job I wanted… if I knew it existed,” she once said.

No matter how much she tells me I always want to hear more. I’m not sure if she can understand my excitement over what must seem like the minutiae of her life. I’m excited because her job comes with salary, benefits, but more importantly a liberal education in career development.

She is learning what she’ll need to thrive and succeed.

I can guarantee beyond the shadow of a doubt we will scream at each other again. Would you expect any less? Helaine says Stef and I are too much alike.

Tonight she called and regaled me with stories. Tonight she warmed my heart. Tonight Stefanie was the perfect child.

It was my best drive home ever!

Scenes From The Child’s Day

Part of Stef’s day was spent driving to Ikea in Burbank to pick up some set pieces. On her way she drove by Hollywood and Highland, site of this weekend’s Oscar telecast

The child is working in West Hollywood today. She is a production assistant on a pilot for a new cable reality show. It’s a few days work–a very good start.

Helaine and I are proud. She’s undoubtedly exhausted! Her call was 7:30 am. The talent’s call was 3:00 pm.

Production assistant means you’re a jack-of-all-trades. It’s what you do to see what you want to do next.

Part of Stef’s day was spent driving to Ikea in Burbank to pick up some set pieces. On her way she drove by Hollywood and Highland, site of this weekend’s Oscar telecast.

You just don’t get these photo ops in Hamden!

The Child Gets A Job

Actually we were worried about her getting there at all since Stef can’t parallel park and her contact had told her, “there’s plenty of on-street parking.”

Stefanie had an interview in Burbank at 10:00 AM today. I assume she got there early because by 10:01 she was on the phone–employed! Actually we were worried about her getting there at all since Stef can’t parallel park and her contact told her, “there’s plenty of on-street parking.”

OK, it’s California so employment is a little different. She’s got three days of work on what sounds ‘pilotish.’ It’s four episodes of a reality show.

I know there’s some TV involved, but probably a lot more fetching and driving and holding and helping. That’s exactly where she should be, at the bottom feverishly climbing up.

It’s a great start. We’re very excited.

The Good And The Bad

“There’s plenty of on-street parking,” her contact said.

The child has a job interview early next week. We’re excited as she is.

“There’s plenty of on-street parking,” her contact said.

Uh…. she doesn’t know how to parallel park. She has the weekend to learn!

The Graduation

This past weekend is a blur! Even while it was in progress it was tough to see where Saturday ended and Sunday began.

Stef has graduated college. We all attended yesterday in what was a whirlwind weekend!

Helaine didn’t walk at her graduation and though I finished the meteorology program at Mississippi State that didn’t qualify me to walk. This was my first.

We headed to Long Island and got there in time to see some of Stef’s friends and take a few pictures. Stefanie lived in the dorm for four years, but we met at a small house. It was really more of a “housette” on a nondescript street in Hempstead.

One of the girls told me how much she (and by she I suppose she meant her parents) are paying for monthly rent. I did some quick in-my-head multiplication and figured the house goes for around $4200 a month. Seriously? For that it should come with maid service… which it obviously did not. Obviously.

The day was gray and chilly and we walked the few blocks to the school’s football stadium. My parents, both in their 80s but looking and acting much younger, hoofed it without trouble. Yes, that’s very good news.

The parents and guests filled two thirds of the stands while the grads–reported as about 2,000 by Newsday–sat on folding chairs set up on the field. There was rain, but not much. There were three commencement speakers and, as Helaine noted, no valedictory speaker. I wonder why?

First up was Senator Charles Schumer of New York. Here’s what I took away. The most important part of college is Chuck Schumer.

Next was Nichols Negraponte of MIT’s Media Lab and the One Laptop Per Child project. I have been a fan of his for years but his speech was anything but inspiring. This was the definitive speech when people talk about graduation speeches they don’t remember!

The third speaker was Bob Schieffer of CBS News. He is connected to the school by virtue of his moderating the presidential debate at Hofstra last fall. Scheiffer was charming. He just seemed like a nice guy&#185. I’m not sure there was anything earth shattering said, but I wasn’t disappointed.

All three speakers acknowledged how difficult it would be getting a job in this horrendous economy. No one wanted to hear it, but it’s certainly the 500 pound gorilla in every grad’s life.

By the time we got back to Stef’s dorm room we were down to two hours to vacate! No problem. We’d taken some stuff last weekend and were prepared. With plenty of time to spare her possesions were packed into the back our Helaine and Stef’s cars.

We were back in Connecticut around midnight. I was exhausted and not alone in that regard. Helaine, Stef and my folks were soon in bed and asleep. I followed a few hours later.

This past weekend is a blur! Even while it was in progress it was tough to see where Saturday ended and Sunday began. I woke up this morning thinking it was Sunday.

Stef has graduated. It’s a hell of an accomplishment. We are very proud.

&#185 – Someone I work with was an intern for Scheiffer in Washington and confirms he is a very nice man.

How To Do Customer Service The Gorillapod Way

There doesn’t seem to be a reason. It looks fine. I haven’t mistreated it. I can pop it back in, but it’s not very sturdy.

joby.jpgAs you probably know, I am a photographer. I love taking pictures and I have all sorts of accessories for my camera. Among the best things I have is a gift from my daughter Stefanie (possibly the nicest, most thoughtful gift she’s ever given me), a Gorillapod.

A Gorillapod is a small, extremely flexible tripod. You can use it on a desktop or put it on the ground like a regular tripod. Where it differs is when you bend its legs. For instance, you can bend its legs around a light pool or the railing on a deck.

The Gorillapod turns nearly anything into a camera brace. It scratches a photographer’s major itch.

Recently, while playing with mine, one of the Gorillapod’s legs popped from its socket. I can push it back in, can no longer safely trust the pod to hold when its legs are wrapped around something.

I fired off an email:

My daughter gave me a Gorillapod SLR-ZOOM for my birthday last year. It’s quite a nice present for a photographer. I’ve only used it a dozen or so times, but when I went to use it a few days ago, one of the legs popped out of its socket. It did so at the very top where it connects to the ‘camera platform.’

There doesn’t seem to be a reason. It looks fine. I haven’t mistreated it. I can pop it back in, but it’s not very sturdy.

I’m not sure what to do. It will be fine as a ‘standard’ small tripod, but I can no longer trust it to hold my SLR by wrapping the legs… which, of course, is its advantage.

Is there something I can do, or a warranty under which it can be repaired?

The next day I got an email from Helga at Gorillapod’s parent company, Joby.

Hi Geoff,

I’m so sorry this happened to your SLR-ZOOM.

Could you please send me a photo of the damaged Gorillapod w/ the Joby logo showing and the type of camera you were using?

Do you know where it was purchased?

Please send me your address and phone number as well.

Thank you!


I did and promptly got another email.

Hi Geoff,

We will send you a new one that will ship out today.

Again, I’m so sorry that this is happening.

Thanks and hope you’re having a great day!


And today, in a plain yellow padded envelope, my new Gorillapod.

I am astounded. This is too easy. It’s as if good customer service matters to them! What a concept.

This is a really good product – very useful. Just as important, it’s a product the manufacturer is proud of and stands behind. There’s something in short supply today.

Why can’t every service story end this way?


We spent yesterday, and a significant part of today at Foxwoods. Helaine and Steffie both wanted to see Rick Springfield perform. I wanted to play poker with real people.

Though Foxwoods is only about 1:15 away, we decided to spend the night. The hotels on-premises are beautiful and quite pricey. This isn’t Vegas. Still, it was a good idea because we weren’t under the restrictions a drive home would require.

Check-in was a breeze and we ended up on the 21st floor of the Grand Pequot Tower, overlooking the woods of Eastern Connecticut. The room was spacious by hotel standards and the bathroom immense, with big towels and strong water pressure (the two criteria by which I judge all hotel rooms). There is no high speed Internet access and the dial-up connection wasn’t very good, and quickly disconnected.

Though Foxwoods is the largest casino in the world, it is in a part of Connecticut that had languished in obscurity for deades. If you think of Connecticut as the “Gold Coast” of Fairfield County, you are not thinking of Eastern Connecticut. If it weren’t for the casinos, Fairfield County residents wouldn’t know this area existed.

Near Bozrah and Occum, not far from Uncasville, Foxwoods is surrounded by the town of Ledyard (Foxwoods itself is in the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation) . Without Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, I’m not sure what the economic state of Eastern Connecticut would be. I do know, with these two casinos, people working in service industries can have jobs with benefits… including insurance. In Eastern Connecticut, a working family can own a home.

I headed to the poker room and got on a list to play, then joined Helaine and Stefanie in the coffee shop. Again, this is a beautiful place, but not Vegas. It was a little more expensive for similar food.

After lunch, while the girls schmoozed with the cult members (Rick’s fans), I went and played cards. I sat at a $5/$10 fixed limit Texas Hold’em table and bought in for $100. Unlike the tournaments I favor on the computer, I’d be playing live cash. Every bet was real money – win or lose.

Almost immediately, I faced one difference between online and brick and mortar poker – the dealer wasn’t perfect and the players weren’t saints. An older man at the opposite end had ripped into the dealer for a minor transgression which put her on tilt. For the next 15 minutes she was awful; once beginning a deal without shuffling!

Almost immediately I found an inner peace I had never experienced at a poker table before. Everything was crystal clear. I was totally confident. I watched as players went in and out, betting, checking, folding. I knew what they had… or was pretty sure.

My game is very tight. I only play ‘premium’ cards, and only play under specific circumstances. I had no trouble folding hand after hand after hand as the action went on around me. As tight as I was, the players at the table were the opposite. Of the 10 players, often 6 or 7, sometimes more, would see the ‘flop.’

Compared to my online games, things went slowly. But, I wasn’t bored. I had ample opportunity to take in the game and the players. This is something I had never been able to do in the past. I knew how I’d play my cards almost as soon as they were dealt, so I watched them play my opponents play theirs and started to form opinions about their style and technique.

I have been thumbing through poker books for years. The authors always talk about doing things like this, but I had never been savvy enough. At times, it was as if the other players were moving in slow motion with their cards exposed to me.

OK – Hold on a second. Let me stop patting myself on the back. I am going to tell you I won, but make no mistake about it. Just because I won tonight doesn’t mean I will be a consistent winner. But, as I wrote before I went, I thought I’d end up with a pretty good idea of my skill – win or lose. It was fun to realize all the computer games I’d played had sharpened my skills.

I played through the early evening at $5/$10 and won $112. I was beat on a very big hand when my pocket Kings didn’t hold to pocket Aces, or I’d haev won more. Poker players always remember their beats more than their wins.

When my cellphone rang around 10:15 I picked up my chips and cashed in. Steffie had called from the concert, asking me to bring more memory for the camera. She didn’t think the 200+ pictures available would hold her when we went backstage after the show.

I got the memory and headed to the theater. I was lucky enough to see someone who knew me and was let in for the last 20-30 minutes. Helaine and Steffie were out of their seats in the first row, pressed against the stage. Steffie had my camera against her eye and was snapping away.

I moved down to see them, then said hi to Mark Davis, our chief capitol correspondent, who was there with his wife Betsy. From there I moved to the back of the theater. I have seen Rick Springfield before. His fans really are cult-like in their fervor. It is fun to stand back and watch him perform and them react. And, it’s fun to see Steffie and Helaine having such a good time side-by-side.

After the show the three of us and the Davis’s went backstage to say hello and take some photos. It’s really a spectacular theater, with great acoustics and better lighting. Backstage was the perfect spot for the meet and great (last time it had been in a basement stairwell). As he had been in the past, Rick was gracious and took time with those who had come to see him.

It’s obvious he enjoys the adulation his fans give him. How many other rockers will have a career that spans four decades?

We took Steffie upstairs to the room, then joined Mark, Betsy and two friends of theirs in a very nice lounge on the 24th floor. They were driving home, so the night didn’t last long, and Helaine and I were soon back in the casino.

The $5/$10 table I favor wasn’t available, so I tried a weird no limit game with $1/$2 blinds and a buy in limit of $40-$100. If it sounds confusing now, I can assure you it was extremely confusing then!

It didn’t take long to give back $50, and I’m still not quite sure how. I stood up and walked away.

This table is obviously there to cater to folks who’ve watched poker on TV or played on the Internet. The math involved when one player goes all in against another player with less money makes the action unwieldy. On top of that, it’s slow. I could never get into the rhythm of the game, if there even was one.

There were still no seats at the $5/$10 table, so I sat down at $10/$20. This is way over my head. I had never played at stakes like this before. My thought was, even with the $50 I’d just dropped, I was up. I’d take my winnings and another $100. Whatever would happen, would happen.

The $10/$20 games was very similar to the $5/$10 – loose. It didn’t take long to win a pot and I recouped the $50 from no limit and a little more to boot.

This table was expensive to sit at. If you folded an entire round, not playing a card, it would still cost $15 for the blinds!

I held my ground and played tight. I gave back what I’d just won and a little more before winning again. The pots were large – often well over $200. My night was not spectacular. But, I felt really good about how I was playing.

Dealt two 4’s, and with little action before the flop and then a third four with the flop, I quietly sat back and watched my 3-4’s turn into 4-4’s! They had been played so silently, on a table where others could be depended on to do the raising, that when the river came, another player bet into my four of a kind. I gladly bet back.

On the hand I decided would be my last, I took an AK all the way to the river without pairing. The others at the table, having seen me fold hand after hand, respected my final bet enough to let me steal the pot.

Not every hand was played correctly. I slow played two Queens, even after I caught a third one. When I checked, it allowed a player to stay in and make his straight, taking me out. Had I bet the three Queens, he surely would have folded to me.

I cashed out $265 ahead, which with my earlier winnings put me up $377.

Was I lucky? Probably. Will I always win? No. Consistently? I’m not sure, but it’s certainly more likely than ever before.

Before I went to play, I had written in the blog that win or lose, my goal was to judge my competence at poker. I am confident in the fact that my skills have greatly improved thanks to the thousands of games I’ve played on the Internet. I think that will translate to profit… at least I hope it does.

I can’t wait for Vegas this summer.

I’m Not That Nice

A few months ago, Elizabeth McGuire (no Lizzie McGuire jokes, please) asked if she could interview me for Hartford Magazine. Never the shy one, I said yes.

I have just read the article, and can now guarantee, I’m not anywhere as nice as she portrayed me. I am grateful, however, she lied on my behalf.

Only part of the article was on the magazine’s website, so I retyped it to place here on my site. Other than changing the spelling of my daughter’s name, and my length of service at WTNH, I’ve left it as is.

Hartford Magazine / February 2004

WTNH weatherman Geoff Fox doesn’t mind being call a weather geek. In fact, he finds it flattering. Fox loves the scientific process of predicting and forecasting the weather. “I’m the kind of guy who does like to look at lists of numbers, charts and gr4aphs. It’s a different math puzzle every single day, and no matter what you do, you’re presented with another math puzzle the next day,” Fox says.

Day after day for the past 19 years at WTNH-TV, Fox has pored over the maps, graphs and charts; analyzed the data; and then translated the information into “plain English” for his viewers. Fox gets two to three minutes during evening newscasts to tell viewers how the weather on any given day is likely to affect them. Without being asked, he answers dozens of questions such as, “Should I wear a raincoat, start that outdoor project or cancel that backyard picnic?” Fox says many viewers listen critically to his forecasts, and they hold him accountable when he’s wrong. “Believe me, people can be tough if you are wrong – and they should be, because other than the Psychic Friends Network, there aren’t too many people who come on television and predict the future for a living,” Fox explains.

As we sit at the kitchen table in Fox’s spacious Hamden home one recent afternoon, Fox explains to me that advances in computer technology have increased weather forecasters’ ability to develop more accurate forecasts. Suddenly, Fox excuses himself and leaves the room. Moments later he’s back with his laptop computer. There begins my tutorial on weather patterns. A map with curvy lines shows barometric pressure, one with splotches of color shows precipitation, and a pretty blue graph shows, well I’m not sure what that one showed, but it sure is colorful! Though much of what Fox explains is lost on my unscientific mind, his main point isn’t: The mathematical calculations and other technical information computers offer weather forecasters are essential tools of the trade. Like blueprints to contractors, or EKG printouts to doctors, computers make it easier for weather forecasters to be correct more often. “We can get more detailed information about what the atmosphere is doing… why it’s doing it… how it’s doing it…”

But once Fox comes out from behind the computer, he is able to deliver important information in an easy-to-understand, conversational manner. And he just about always throws some humor into his forecasts, often catching his co-anchors off guard. “I’ve always been the guy who told the jokes and made funny little remarks. And I think I have good timing,” says Fox.

Fox honed his timing during his 11 years as a morning-radio personality in Cleveland, Philadelphia and Buffalo. In 1980, Fox became the host of a Buffalo TV magazine show at WGRZ-TV. That’s where he became interested in weather forecasting, applied for a weekend weather position, and got the job. Fox realized meteorology was an area in which he could use his math and science skills. Fox says he was always good in those subjects and was even on the school math team as a kid growing up in Flushing, Queens, NY.

Even though Fox says he scored higher than 700 on the math portion of the SATs, he tells me he was not a very good student, especially in college. “I was in the accelerated dismissal program at Emerson.” he jokes. In fact, he flunked out the first time he attended the Boston college that specializes in communications.

He is now, however, getting straight A’s in his course work to become a certified meteorologist. He’s enrolled in a distance learning program at Mississippi State University. But most of what Fox needs to know to get a degree in meteorology he already knows.

After years of on-the-job training and watching New England weather patterns, Fox has a pretty good track record of predicting the weather. A classic example of getting it right was his forecast for the so-called “Storm of the Century” (as some television promotion departments dubbed it) that took aim at Connecticut the first weekend of March 2001. Most of the computer weather models were indicating the strong possibility of at least three feet of snow with blizzard conditions. But Fox didn’t think they were correct. He had been using a different computer model (maintained by a major university) during the 200-2001 winter season, and it had been extremely accurate. So, Fox was pretty certain the site’s calculations on heights, temperatures and pressures in the atmosphere were reliable. He stuck with his prediction that the storm would bring mostly rain, sleet and perhaps a few inches of snow. “If you’re confident in your abilities, you have to give what you think is best, in spite of the pack,” he says. Fox’s news director at the time questioned the accuracy of his forecast but then decided to trust it. Gov. Rowland, however, put his faith in the blizzard forecasts and practically shut down the state. The “Storm of the Century” never materialized. Fox would later write an Op-Ed piece for the New Haven Register that he was “hurt” by an article in that paper, which led readers to believe that all area forecasters got it wrong.

That’s not to say, however, that Fox gets it right all the time. Even after 20 years in the television business Fox says he is still “incredibly bothered” when his forecasts don’t bear out. “there will be times when I wake up on a Saturday morning and I will be upset that it’s sunny. If I said it’s gonna rain, than a rainy day is much nicer than a sunny day.” Fox has been know to apologize to his viewers on the air when one of his forecasts has proven incorrect.

In the family room of Fox’s house, the fireplace mantel is crowded with pictures of his 16-year-old daughter Stefanie, in various stages of childhood and Fox’s wedding pictures. Fox and his wife Helaine recently celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary. Next to the mantel, behind the glass door of his entertainment center, Fox displays his seven shiny gold Emmy awards – meticulously lined up in a row. He earned those awards for weather and science reporting. Along with his work at WTNH-TV, Fox has hosted a show called “Inside Space” on the SciFi Channel and has been a fill-in weathercaster on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Fox says he would like to do more work for ABC because the experience was “cool.” He’d also like to host a game show but says those jobs would be in addition to his work at WTNH-TV.

When Fox isn’t working, he spends his time with his family, maintains his Web site(www.geofffox.com) with his daily postings and plays Internet Poker. Fox also does charity work, and his favorite charities include the March of Dimes and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Fox sums up his feelings about the charity work and accurate forecasts this way” “Look, I’m not living in a hovel. I’m not driving a ’65 Pinto, and the reason I have whatever success and nice things I have is because of the people of Connecticut, so I feel there’s an obligation to give something back.”

Helaine and the Cult People

I kid Helaine, saying she’s in a cult. It sometimes seems that way. This is all because she’s a huge fan of Rick Springfield, and has been for over 30 years.

Rick Springfield had some big hits: Jessie’s Girl, Don’t Talk to Strangers. He’s got enough for a decent ‘hit medley’ in concert. Still, it’s been a long time since he had concentrated airplay.

Over the years, Helaine took me to see his early 80’s movie, “Hard to Hold” and later to see him in concert. After a while he became the ‘house act’ act the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, starring in EFX.

He is talented and charismatic on stage. He’s my age, but in much better shape (damn you Rick Springfield). A few years ago, in Las Vegas, Helaine convinced Steffie to go to see Rick in EFX and now she’s hooked too. After the show she told Helaine, “You never said he was hot.” Since then, Steffie has taken loads of photos at his concerts (here and here) and was even published in his Tour Book and 2004 Calendar.

With the Internet, acts like Springfield have been better able to sustain their careers and maintain a sizable fan base without continuous radio airplay. Helaine subscribes to a Rick Springfield group on Yahoo and receives dozens (sometimes hundreds) of emails daily. Some of these women analyze the nuances of his stage act with the detail of a color commentator going over a touchdown pass on the fifth replay.

Helaine has mostly lurked in the shadows, reading and not writing. She has made some friends through the group and kept current on what Rick’s doing. All that changed a few months ago.

Rick was in the process of finishing a new album and would be promoting it by appearing at concerts, doing interviews and making personal appearances. The fan club members decided they would help. They organized ‘street teams’ in defined geographic areas and set out to spread the word.

Helaine got to be manager for the New York region, though we live about 100 miles from New York City. For the past month or more, I’ve been watching her, amazingly organized, on the laptop, piles of paper at her side, planning strategies. Day-by-day she consulted and cajoled the members of her team.

I was a skeptic. I was wrong.

A few days ago, Rick appeared on WPLJ radio in New York. At street level, unseen by the radio crew, dozens of street team members congregated with signs and pamphlets and a whole lot of genuine spirit. Somehow, word got up to the studio and down came someone with a microphone and recorder.

Today, Rick was on “Fox and Friends” on Fox News Channel (click to watch the interview – high speed access only). Again, the fan club was outside. As I watched the broadcast, it was obvious the hosts were impressed by this show of strength. You could see posters and people through the window behind the interview set. Their presence gave Rick Springfield ‘street cred’ in the present tense.

As it turns out, one of our former technical directors is now a TD at Fox. With a few emails, I was able to get Helaine and Stefanie inside, where they watched the interview and schmoozed a little with Rick, his road manager and personal manager. I’m sure some of the other fans were jealous, but this was my doing – not Helaine’s.

Speaking of jealousy, I would be lying if I didn’t say I was a little jealous of Rick’s fans and their ‘street team’ mentality. How wonderful to have a fan base that is so dedicated that they’ll come and stand outside in the bitter cold or do whatever else is necessary to continue your success. Actually, that in and of itself might be more meaningful success than CD sales figures alone could ever show.

Helaine and Steffie are back on the road tomorrow, seeing Rick in concert in Toms River, NJ. All the other girls in the cult are going too.

Fractured Fairy Tales

Before Stefanie was born, Helaine and I had a long running joke. If our child turned out to have any athletic acumen, there should be an investigation.

Let the investigation begin!

Steffie’s school requires students to play sports – period. Nearly everyone, two of the three semesters a year, plays some sort of team sport. Steffie has played basketball, lacrosse and field hockey.

She’s actually been playing basketball since she was in grade school. This can probably be attributed to the very popular University of Connecticut’s women’s basketball team, which is a perennial powerhouse.

Over the past few years, Steffie has gravitated more and more to field hockey and there’s no doubt it’s her favorite sport.

Forget what you’ve heard about women being demure. These girls mix it up. Field hockey is by no means a gentle game under any circumstances. Wooden stick in hand, playing over sometimes rough fields, the ball is hard and travels fast. Shin guards are worn, but that’s about it for padding (except the goalie who wears an unbelievable amount of foam and plastic).

Steffie is very good at this game… and fearless. Playing a defensive position, she knows letting a ball get past her can easily become a goal by the other team.

Today, playing at home, her team dismantled a team from Stamford. With two quick goals in the first few minutes, they never looked back. Steffie played hard and with great skill.

She was fast and relentless, digging out the ball and changing it’s direction. Her position calls for a ball stealer, not a pass catcher. She’s perfect.

Defense is not a glory position. When played properly you don’t hear about those playing it. When played poorly, you’re counting losses.

All went well until there were about 10 minutes to go. In the middle of the action, another player swiped for the ball and caught Steffie’s right hand, middle finger. Most hits wouldn’t have caused a problem, but Steffie’s own stick stopped the motion and concentrated the force into her finger.

She was in pain.

It wasn’t long before Steffie was on the sidelines being attended to by Ethan Victor, who was assisting the trainer. The finger and hand were swelling.

It seemed like the right thing to do to go to the hospital, so Steffie and I drove to Yale/New Haven Children’s Hospital’s Pediatric Emergency Room. When the receptionist was taking down Steffie’s information and asked where she was born, I got to say, “upstairs.” Steffie was born at Yale, like George W. Bush (though he is less likely to admit to any Connecticut connection).

Ethan the trainer, was now Ethan the emergency room trauma specialist! That was a good thing because he helped speed along what would have been a slow and tedious process. The emergency room was jammed. It was “Sports Injury Saturday” with soccer, bicycle and paintball related injuries around us, and more that I don’t know about.

After seeing a few doctors and nurses and getting an X-Ray, we were told Steffie had fractured the tiny bone at the tip of her finger. More than likely, it would be just fine. But, Steffie would have to wear a splint for a while. And, field hockey would be out for two weeks… OK, maybe a week if her pediatrician said it was OK.

We drove home. Steffie was still in pain, but I think there’s a certain satisfying comfort in really knowing what’s wrong with you.

Though she always shies away from pictures and complains I take too many, Steffie agreed to ‘pose’ for this shot to archive the occasion (and possibly email to friends – I never quite understand what she’ll do). She will wear the splint with pride. Her team won.