This Sporting Life

Flight Engineer Joe Acaba (second from right) and his Expedition 31 crew mates share a meal near the galley in the Zvezda service module. Credit NASA

I was wired up last week and I don’t mean with adrenaline or caffeine.  I had the blood pressure cuffs on my fingers (my crew mate Oleg was calling me Robo Joe) and the 10-lead holter monitor on my chest.  The week ended up again with more urine samples and a blood draw.

 One thing this week has taught me is my appreciation of sports.  It is not like I did not know that I am a sports fan.  My game room in my house gives me away.  However, I have learned that apart from appreciating the abilities of the players and the complexities of the various sports, I miss the social aspect of the games.  Being from Southern California, I follow the Angels, Lakers, Kings, and Ducks.  My relationship with the Dodgers is complex (a story for another day) and since we no longer have a football team in town I root for the Houston Texans.  As part of our psychological support we get music, movies, books, TV shows, etc. sent up to us when possible.  This week I received an Angels game that was probably a few days old.  It was great.  I could watch an inning or two while having a meal and then maybe a couple more before I went to bed.  It took me about 2-3 days to watch a game and I enjoyed every minute of it.  So what do I miss?  Being a Lakers fan anywhere but in LA is tough, especially in Houston where you have Dallas and San Antonio fans.  I miss the banter with my buddy Rene about which team was going to win when they faced each other (both our teams lost so we would not get the chance this year anyway) and why the players on our teams are far superior than others.  I miss watching an Angels game with my sister – I live in Houston and she lives in Anaheim and yes we call each other after or during the significant events of each inning.  The Kings are in the Stanley Cup Finals and are one game away from winning their first Cup.  How cool would that be?  I can only imagine how my friend Ken is feeling after the last 2 losses. The Heat beat the Celtics in game 7 and will now face OKC.  That is going to be a great series.  Don’t get me wrong.  There is no place I would rather be than working aboard the ISS.  It has just given me an opportunity to reflect on why certain things are important to us.  I am sure those serving our Country abroad, or those stationed in Antarctica or any other remote area have felt the same.  I look forward to the arrival of my crew mate Suni Williams in about a month.  She is a Red Sox fan.  So if you hear anything as the ISS flies over your city, it is probably her and me watching an Angels – Sox game and talking smack over who is going to win.  I think we all know the answer to that one.

21 thoughts on “This Sporting Life”

  1. I read your notes about missing the games. I know it is not easy, I too hate it when that happens…you know that we miss what we love and like just for being up there going around the planet at 17.000 mph. I do, I do, I hate it when that happens. You know…I am kidding, a little humor and to remind you of how much we here on the planet admire everyone of you upthere doing the kind of work that only more than brave, special,unique,etc, etc, etc, people would do. Thanks for doing what you do.!!!!!

  2. Hey Joseph, my name is Carlos Negron, I’m 27, from Puerto Rico, since I was a kid I’ve dreamed of becoming an astronaut, and as I grew older my passion for flying and space and science has grown bigger too. You are a great inspiration for me and I hope we meet some day. Keep up the good work!!!

  3. Hi Joe,
    So nice to hear you are doing well and missing your sports. I am following your progress and praying all goes well for you. Take care, Becky from San German in Chicago

  4. Hey to all, or all y’all!
    So glad you mentioned that Suni Williams will be joining Station, 15 July is launch? Her relative attends the school in Denver where I taught. You can imagine my jaw dropping as I was showing a Kindergarten class a pic of the team then on Station. This little voice said,”That’s my aunt Suni”. That was the time when Suni and her sister ran the Boston Marathon “together”.
    The museum where I volunteer is going to work on a proposal for a direct connection contact with Station. Wings Over the Rockies Museum is devoted to space education. We have a lot of work ahead of us to get the paperwork completed.
    In our Space Module model we always have a lot of very interested visitors. Of course, the bathroom and sleeping quarters get the eyes popping. But after that the science projects certainly spark their attention. Keep the good info coming. I quote your experiences!Thanks

  5. First and foremost being originally from Puerto Rico it’s a great honor to know there is a Puerto Rican astronaut in space at this moment. I came upon your blog from El Nuevo Dia – the island’s newspaper – online section. Secondly, being a sports fan it was a great post about how you never lose that passion for sports even if you are in outer-space. By the way, the Miami Heat lost yesterday to the Oakland Thunder in Game 1 of the NBA Finals and the Red Sox won over the Marlins (all in all not a good day for Miami sports). Third, it seems from the photo all of you are eating – wonder what’s in those cans.

    Saludos Boricua!


  6. Thanks to NASA. I like the look on the faces of the crew plus they look healthy..

  7. hello my dears
    i am from iran and i interested send my message to iss scinetists
    i want find anoushe ansari email adress and phone numbers

    من خيلي علاقه و ارادت به فضانوردان مخصوصا آنها كه در ايستگاه بين المللي هستند دارم
    خيلي خيلي دلم مي خواهد با يكي از آنها دوست شوم و رازهاي بزرگ جهان هستي را از آنها بشنوم
    من همچنين دوست دارم با خانم انوشه انصاري اولين فضانورد توريست زن كه ايراني الاصل است در ارتباط باشم
    ممنون مي شوم كه به من كمك كنيد
    دوستتان دارم
    احمد محمدي از اردبيل

  8. You guys just flew directly over our back yard at 10:11Pm est on a clear and very warm night 90+*F for New England. Looked very smooth. Be well.

  9. just watched you fly over my house in shelton ct ,it was awsome,took a break from my team the yankees. but it was worth it to see you fly by ,thanks an good luck

  10. Just watch you guys for 4minutes@21.:37 over Virginia. Wife and I went out to center of 18th fairway. At 21:36was certain tree line would block view, but no sighting was spot with clear sky. Neighbor saw my flash light and joined us. What a treat, God speed and great job.

  11. I so get this post! I have loved me some football ever since I was a wee lass–growing up in Miami during the Dolphins undefeated season, you can imagine it was practically de rigeur! Of course, later I figured out it was way more fun to be on the opposing team, and I thought my dad would fall out when the Dan Marino poster came down and the Danny White one went up!

    Now I am on my own in my love football (I am a Saints fan, don’t ask why, I think it was the way they came back after Katrina.). Even though I have two sons, neither of them are particularly interested. That’s one great thing about social media–I can “watch” the games with like-minded peeps, all around the country, and the globe even. So I get why you would rally the troops to watch the game however old it may be! ~:)

    Congrats on your friendly takeover of the ISS, Expedition 32! Though I’ll miss my Don Pettit moments, I have faith you’ll keep me posted and bring interesting perspective 🙂 and please, for the love of pete, take care of Astro Zuc!!!

    Happy ungravity~ Rhonda (xoxoroo on twitter)

  12. I think you guys are excellent people, so do not worry that soon you will sharing with your friends or family another interesting game.

  13. Thank you for helping ensure Humanity’s long term survival as a species! I plan to work for NASA, most likely as an engineer. I guess a thousand years from now, when people are standing on mars, the thought that I, even in some marginal way, helped make that happen, is just such a wonderful notion. And that idea right there, is the closest thing I’ve got to a religion. GO NASA!

    Take a look down at Arkansas, alright? I’ll be looking at the sky for the ISS for sure.

  14. Hi Joe: greetings from sunny San Antonio, TX. This is my fourth post; others didn’t take. Trust the Kings’ Stanley Cup victory satisfies your “fan cravings” for a while. By the way, Pujols is heating with 15 HRs and .271 ave.; not bad for a guy who had 0 HRs and averaged half his weight in April. Visited with Rafaelito and Titi Elsie last week during a family trip to LA; they’re doing just great; cooking was “out of this world”. Hope you all can visit with us. We are following up all your space activities and praying for a safe return. Наилучшие пожелания, (hope that translates to “Best Wishes”), Cousin Jr.

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