The most Fun YOU'RE not Having…

By Darla Burns

While on hiatus from the tournament tour, there are several towns I wanted to hit while I got the chance. Josh Blumenthal, PR guy for the New Jersey Storm invited me to come and check out the team as it took on The Ottawa Rebel at its own fifty. Since there's an H&M on every corner of Manhattan, I obliged without hesitation. Riding in the short bus along with me are the usual victims, Kim and Amanda. We left on Saturday morning to hit up the town of Manhattan before watching the Storm make their impression felt. Amanda unfortunately got a ticket on our way there thanks to her speedometer clocking in at 90 mph. I know Mr. Moculski is probably reading this, so I just want to say that was a very sarcastic remark. I rounded up from 88. Apparently Mario Andretti missed the exit off the Turnpike for Dover Downs. Easy, killer. The best part though, was that Amanda (you have to meet her, she's the kind of person that couldn't hurt a fly) could not stop laughing (why she was laughing, I have yet to figure out) while Officer Mahoney was writing her out the misfortune. Now I don't know about you, but I don't think there's anything funny about a $135 dollar deduction in my bank account, but hey, that's just me.



The Usual Suspects

Note to Self #312: Don't ever go to New York without your cell phone. Cell # 452 resides in New Orleans probably still being used by someone named Lil' Chris who owns a rotweiler and likes to work out on his bench press that he has conveniently in the front yard. But I digress… I lost Kim and Amanda at Tiffany's and H&M, because I randomly saw some old friends from the Burg, got to talking and lost the girls. It was so scary. I was kidnapped by some St. Patrick's Day enthusiasts who forced me to consume a large container of green liquid. Well it wasn't that dramatic, but once Kim, Amanda and I were reunited, we did go to a low key Irish Pub around the corner so we could enjoy Bangers and Beverages and relax before heading to the game.





I met with Blumenthal, the go-to guy for the Storm, owned by former NBAer Jayson Williams. You may also know Williams as owning one of the top abodes on the show "Cribs". The game was a spectacle. When the lights went out to introduce the starting lineups, the only thing I could really make clear was the "Poncho Zone" (Could've used those in New Orleans). The Poncho Zone is made up of kids of all ages with blue or yellow ponchos (color coordinated for their respective team, of course). Later I found out that the reason these kids wore Ponchos besides the obvious bracing for "The Storm", was also because every now and then, people from the Upper Deck like to throw anything from whipped cream to confetti. I also found out later why the always packed Poncho Zone was a predominantly male audience. A very attractive and vivacious spokesperson (I know what you're thinking, folks, I was pretty shocked to find there was more than one of me out there too…) makes her way through the crowd and personally sprays whipped cream on the extra y chromosomes. I saw a few dads out there and lemme tell ya, if they're telling you they're there for the kids, smell a rat. They used that very same line when I saw them at the Britney Spears concert with their daughters.



Kim and Sparky - I don't do windows.

Now here's why I was really impressed with the players. After the game, they did the usual signing autograph session, but to boot, stuck around and talked with the kids for a while. Some of them even helped give tips on how to improve their game. Oh the humanity… I knew we were gonna have some fun that night. In the Darla Dictionary, this is the definition of a good time. Good Time (g-OO-d t-EYE-m) (n) 1. The New Jersey Storm on a Saturday night 2. People who make me laugh- a lot. Definitions 1 and 2 were in the house tonight.



Annie Sappington with some new friends

The official unofficial hangout tonight was at Charlie Brown's near the Meadowlands. It was kosher for us because every now and then even I like a chill setting where everyone can actually hold a conversation. So for all you readers out there thirsty for knowledge on your favorite Storm player outside of lacrosse, here's what I learned.





"What's in your CD player?" Roy Colsey admitted to a more rounded selection that varies from artists like Cat Stevens, Notorious B.I.G., Tupac, and of course, Led Zeppelin. My boy doesn't discriminate. He must make the salary cap cause that sounds like a 5 disc player to me! Now I don't know if this is a team thing or what, but the most common answer was Pearl Jam- a contagious motivator among Mike Laurano and other Hofstra grads I know a little too well. Shawn Nadelen, however, wins first prize for Sparky's choice by owning up to the most hot CD in country music right now: Toby Keith. Speaking of Nashville, before I came to see the Storm I did some Bio research and was sooooo (it's not a typo, the more o's I have in a word, the more grammatically excited I get.) excited to see that Nadelen was an amateur bull rider. My world was shattered however when I asked him about it and he apologetically informed me that he actually fibbed. That hurt.





While I did not share some of the common flavor of music that many of the players chose, I did find a common ground with Hanley Holcomb who prefers Coco Puffs over many cereals and St. Paulie Girl as the beverage of choice. Respect is ultimately granted though when Hanley mentions his favorite cartoon is The Simpsons. Carolyn would be so proud. In their time off, Hanley and other players like to hit the NY scene and go to clubs like "GO!" and play a fun round of foosball. However, I don't think he could handle what Tori Abbott, (probably the sickest female and maybe even all around foosball player God created) and myself bring to the table. Besides, he looks like a spinner.





In the mayhem of the evening, I managed to squeeze in and win a "best out of nine" game of tic tac toe against Stephen Sombrotto who should stick to his short game. At the end of the tense 8th round on the back nine on x's and o's it was clear who the true winner was. If I could make a T-shirt out of the night it would read "How Do you Like me Now". I am actually lying, he killed me after I put up a good fight. I guess my game was a little too predictable.

That's ok because later that night, Mr. Stephen Sombrotto ended up having to sleep on the floor in the hall of all the hotel rooms. Advantage Burns. 40-Love. Game, set, match. I will let him tell you why cause there's just no room. I do want to say in his defense that the poor guy at no fault of his, had a horrible night. It gave us all a good laugh over breakfast the next day, though.



Sparky with Josh Blumenthal

Now being close to Long Island, I deem it necessary to holler at all my peeps (the Leonetti's) on my mom's side of the family from Bethpage. What up, cuz! Since I was near LI, it was only fit that I nursed on their famous Iced Teas. I think the bartender was trying to pull a fast one on me however, by giving me a coffee stir. But I was on to him, so with my mind on my money and my money on my mind, I slipped him a cool dollar to hook me up with a slurpee straw. Nobody puts Baby in the corner.

SHOUT OUTS: Congratulations to Jared Testa and the always lovely Brittany White on their recent engagement. That's gonna be a fun wedding. A very sincere thank you goes out to Josh Blumenthal and the whole organization of the New Jersey Storm for making us feel so at home and showing us a great time. I will see yall during the MLL season or in Vail! Thanks to The MaGerk's and Crease Monkeys LC of Harford County who played a great game recently and entertained us for hours preceding. And last but not least, good luck on the rest of the season, Franklin High School girls JV and Varsity in Baltimore County. Make your old coach and your new one proud! Hope to see ya'll at The Final Four at Ravens Stadium. Make sure ya stop by the Six Tribes booth at Rash Field and the E-Lacrosse / Rock-it Pocket BBQ n' Beer Party (adults only). I'll be the one talking a lot. You can win four tickets to the E-Lacrosse / Rock-it Pocket Party at the Final Four (40 dollar value) and hang out with me (priceless)! All you have to do is write a short but meaningful e-mail describing why you deserve to party with the likes of Darla "Sparky" Burns. I'll be the Judge and I am extremely particular about the company I keep, so make them good! THE CONTEST IS FOR PEOPLE OF BEER DRINKING AGE SINCE THE PRIZE CANNOT BE CLAIMED BY ANYONE UNDER 21. Send your arguments to me right here!

From the heart of Johnny U's 'hood, Hon,

                                                                          Sparky





PREVIOUS SPARKPLUG COLUMNS:

Sparky in Philly
Sparky @ Mardi Gras