Monday, October 31, 2011

The Kiss of Death (Times Two)

I planned on writing a blog post prior to Sunday's NFL lineup, all about how various football "experts" (i.e. talking heads) had predicted a Steelers win over the Patriots, and how this was seriously the kiss of death to any chance the Steelers had of actually winning that game. Because everyone with a lick of sense knows that once "they" pick you, you are finished. Your team will probably lose in some nasty, traumatic fashion designed to scar your sleepless nights for weeks on end. Or something like that.

But, I decided against writing said blog post. Because I truly believed that if I did that, it would be a double kiss of death. If we had any sliver of hope to take down Tom Terrific and his Hoodie-clad Spygate mastermind, it would certainly be dashed with my audacious decision to write about it in public. I know it's Halloween weekend, but even I can't handle that level of macabre horror.

So, I just kept my big mouth shut about the whole deal. Until I went to Britt Kaufmann's to watch said Steelers/Pats game with a slew of other fans and mentioned this failed plan to her. She, of course, strongly encouraged me to go forth with said post on Monday - which I agreed to do, if (and only if) the Steelers managed to hang on for the win.

And so, since all of you are reading this grand post, you know it is true - the Steelers dismantled the Patriots in a performance of historic, glorious beauty that will live forever in the hearts of Steeler Nation forever. The kiss of death did not materialize.

This time around. All bets are off, though, starting this very minute. Because come tomorrow, after the experts dissect the MNF game, there will be nothing left to do but start in on next week's match-ups and begin another round of predictions sure to go wrong. No doubt, after that stellar game yesterday, the Steelers will be favored by some to beat their arch rivals, the Baltimore Ravens.

And, as you now know, that could be the kiss of death.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Watching football just isn't the same without announcers. (So we have a character affectionately named ANNOUNCER.) Love 'em.  Hate 'em.  Enjoy their well researched and expert insight.  Or, become horrified at their abject grammar and mixed metaphors.  For example, some NFL announcer often used the phrase "beating a dead horse into the ground"  which seems a ridiculous and cruel way to treat the individual phrases "beat a dead horse" and "beat it into the ground."

I also remember when NCAA hoops announcers became fans of the phrase "playing with pace."  Or, even further back, when they kept calling players "pepper-pots."  I was even less fond of announcers saying, when a coach benched a guy so he could catch his breath, that he was "getting a blow."  And need I even mention the over-over-used "bubble team" references that surface every February, baby.

So, listen closely this weekend.  Any word/phrases you particularly like, dislike, hope catches on, could go by the wayside in a hurry?

Obviously we're fans of "between the tackles" and also like the newish "running downhill"... but have concluded "perennial" may be used more by football announcers than master gardeners.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Field Research

We could probably write off our DirecTV NFL package as a business expense this year... but that might be pushing it.  Regardless, Steph and I got together for a little research this Sunday.  To top it off, we added some chili, cornbread, chips, salsa and much angsty pacing at the end of the game.  Here's us at half-time (with a the comfortable cushion we knew we'd give up).  We determined a few things this game which were very important to the season.  #1 - watching at our place is not a jinx this year  #2 - the Jack Lambert jersey is not a jinx  #3 - me watching with my husband is not a jinx... though I watched from just outside the room just to be sure. I'll leave any other game analysis up to Steph. ~bk

Friday, October 14, 2011


Hi, my name is Britt, and I'm an opportunist.

So, when Andrew Gall (artistic director at the Parkway Playhouse) said, Write me a play for three male leads, I said Sure!  And then he told me it should include Elvis, moonshining, NASCAR and Lynryd Skynyrd.  I hope he was kidding, but regardless, we finally got it pared down to guys watching football.  That is a play I can write, I said.  Though what I really meant by that was, it was a play I could write with help from a friend of mine who takes football more seriously than your average face-painting yelling-at-the-TV fanatic.  Enter Stephanie Stark Poling.

We got to be friends back when she and her husband first moved here because we're all Steelers fans.  Which immediately says things like solid folks and excellent taste and highly intelligent.  Naturally, being all of those things, it turns out we hit it off very well.  Steph and I even found we had a love of writing in common (she is pop-culture and funny and I am desperately earnest).

I am a stay@home mom, yes, but I am also a writer.  My first play An Uncivil Union: The Battle of Burnsville was produced at the Parkway Playhouse this past June and my first book of poetry Belonging was published in January.  (It might be worth noting that my last play was a romantic comedy -- despite the fact it was set in the Appalachians during the Civil War. The new play should already be screaming comedy at you.)  My poetry or essays have appeared in various publications such as WNC Magazine, WNC Woman, Main Street Rag, Now & Then, and Solander.   I also host a monthly women's open-mic, help plan a literary festival, and am a sub with a SUITcase.  Plus, some other stuff...

Anyway, it's been a lot of fun planning this play.  So much fun, in fact, that we though it wouldn't be fair to keep it all to ourselves.  Enjoy our off-the-field pre-season antics.
Steph on the left as the Mayor of Whoville's Wife,
Britt in the center as an adoring fan
and mutual friend Mary Katherine Smith-Gall as Gertrude.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Kick Off

First and foremost, I am Stephanie Stark Poling, a thirty-something attorney who would much rather be onstage somewhere. (But really, is there much of a difference between the two? We are all pretending to be someone else, just some with better costumes.) I have one or two discernible talents, but a true penchant for turning things I like into actual, no-kidding obsessions which can (and probably will) take over my entire life. Some examples? Dave Matthews Band, certain documentaries, The Beatles, showtunes, gymnastics, Penguins Hockey, Twin Peaks, V (the one from the 80's with Marc Singer) and true stories where someone dies at the end. You know, pretty much the norm. I have been told this is charming and/or ridiculously annoying, and both are pretty much right.

There is no truer incarnation of this than my serious, passionate, often dysfunctional addiction to the Pittsburgh Steelers. This has caused me unimaginable joy throughout the years - many of my best life moments occurred because of something that happened on a football field, to people not me. (And the heartache? Oh, the heartache...)

So, obviously, with a resume and background like that, I have decided to collaborate with my talented good friend, Britt Kaufmann, and write a play. Sure, I have never written a play before, and I can be unfocused, sort of lazy, and leave everything undone until the day before the deadline. (I did mention I am an attorney, right?)  But, Britt Kaufmann wrote a doozy of a play last year called "An Uncivil Union: The Battle of Burnsville" and it was a smash hit here at The Parkway Playhouse in Burnsville, North Carolina. And this new work is about, wait for it,  football. Ah, the sweet smell of the perfect fit.

So, I have accepted the challenge and am looking forward to a new venture to join the other adventures upon which I shall embark in this life. I will get to try my hand at dialogue, work with a co-writer, and talk about football way past season's end. Does it get much better?

And, as for you out there, what better way to keep track of what is sure to become your new favorite play by your new favorite authors? This blog, of course! Thanks for stopping by. See you often!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

New Title

Today we met for two hours... and decided to rename the play!  Actually, we talked about a lot more than renaming the play.  But here you have it, the new working title:  Between the Tackles.

Coming soon, we'll each introduce ourselves.