BORN & RAISED - Finding My Game Face (and Feet!)
By Anna Brooks



I have always considered myself to be a tomboy. For as long as I can remember, if I was given the opportunity to go to a baseball game or to a dance recital, off to the game it was. In middle school, while some girls were wearing dresses and skirts, I wore ratty Giants T-shirts and basketball sneakers. During recess, instead of catching up on all of the enthralling seventh-grade drama, I was playing football with the boys.

Sports have always been an outlet and a really fun activity for me, one of the best parts being that I get to have some great experiences with my dad.

I’m one of two daughters, so my dad calls me “the son he’ll never have.” Some of my best memories with him are at Giants Stadium, or Madison Square Garden, where we would root for our teams and eat junk food together. It was, and still is, one of my favorite things to do.

I really couldn’t live in a better place to experience so many different sports: From baseball to football to hockey to basketball, New York City is home to some of the greatest teams in the country, and I have been lucky enough to grow up around them. However, as I’ve gotten older and turned into a more sophisticated young lady, my relationship with sports has shifted a bit.

Fast forward to last spring when, for the first time, my love of sports and my newly found teenage girl attitude combined: The Rangers made it to the playoffs and, as a treat, my dad got us tickets. As I was getting ready for the game, a process which previously required throwing on a jersey and putting my hair in a messy bun, I started to become a little more self-conscious than usual. Normally, I wouldn’t care how I looked, but all of a sudden…I did. I straightened my hair, put on makeup, and even wore my high-heeled wedges. When I came out of my room, my dad gave me the once-over and said, “Honey, you know we’re going to a sporting event, right?” Yep, I knew all right. Still, regardless of the environment, I wanted to look good.

When we got to Madison Square Garden, it was time for me to deal with the consequences of wearing high heels to a packed playoffs game. I had to maneuver around crowds, climb escalators, walk up and down the stairs to find my seat…all tasks that were easy wearing converse high tops, and not so easy wearing suede heeled boots.

At the end of the night, my feet were aching and I was feeling a little bummed out, so I began to analyze what had just happened. I came to the conclusion that I needed to find a balance between girly and athletic…some type of comfortable sporty-chic look. As I removed the layers from the day’s fashion experiment, I realized that for me to get maximum enjoyment at a game, less is most definitely more.

What’s really important to me about those games with my dad has nothing to do with the way I look; it’s the experience I have when I’m there. Once that clicked in for me, it was so much easier to forget about those suede heels (just at games — still adorable for parties and family get-togethers.)

That same season, I went to the Stanley Cup Playoffs wearing leggings, Vans, and my Zuccarello jersey, because that’s who I am when I’m at those games: a sporty kid, or should I say, a sporty young lady.