Category Archives: Sports

My 30-Year Grudge Against Florida Football

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I was in Phoenix in 1986 when the Miami Hurricanes and Penn State arrived for the Fiesta Bowl, which would decide the national championship. My parents then pastored a United Brethren church in Fountain Hills, next door to the Fiesta Bowl, and I was “home” for Christmas. Both teams were undefeated, but Miami was the overwhelming favorite.

The classy Penn State players arrived wearing suits and ties. Meanwhile, Jimmy Johnson’s Hurricanes swaggered off the plane wearing combat fatigues. It struck me as tasteless, and totally turned me off.

What a joy to watch Penn State win 14-10. Miami got their comeuppance from a team with the most boring uniforms in college football. And 30 years later, I still desire comeuppance.

That 1986 Fiesta Bowl display forever soured me on all Florida college football. I never root for Florida, Florida State, or Miami. I put them all in the same box–arrogant, and in need up a good whupping. Not even Tim Tebow can redeem Floridian football in my mind.

I know it’s irrational, like saying all Muslims are terrorists. But that’s how my mind works. And please, at my advanced age of 59, don’t try to convince me otherwise.

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The NBA’s Finest, Circa 2015?

How can Cleveland and Golden State be the two best teams in the NBA? Both teams basically have one incredible player surrounded by role players. The normal consensus is that you need three good players to win the title. The Cavs, who lead the series, have Lebron and NO OTHER SCORING THREAT. Whenever they have the ball, it’s in Lebron’s hands. Yet they could win the NBA championship.

Think of past champs, and the multiple players who, on any given night, could light it up. Boston (Bird, Parrish, McHale, Johnson). The Lakers (Kareen, Magic, Worthy, Wilkes, Cooper, Scott). Chicago (Jordan, Pippen, Kukoc). The Spurs (Duncan, Parker, Ginobli). Houston (Olajuwon, Drexler, Smith, Cassell, Horry).

How in the world did the Cavs and Warriors reach the top? What has happened to the NBA?

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Trojan Horse at the Belmont Stakes

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American “Pharoah”? Yikes! Pharoahs, like the horse’s owner, Ahmet Zayat, are from Egypt, an Islamic country. We have two other Muslim horses in the Belmont, both owned by sheiks from the United Arab Emirates. Should not somebody–Ted Cruz? Mike Huckabee? Scarlet O’Graham?–be sounding the alarm? Why the silence, Hillary?

First, Americans cheer for a Muslim horse. Next thing you know, Americans will be okay with sharia law. It’s a short, slippery slope.

If American Pharoah wins the Triple Crown, it’ll be a propaganda coup for ISIS. Might as well call it the Triple Crescent. Where is Joe McCarthy when we need him?

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The NFL: 1 in 40

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In any given year, 1 in 40 NFL players is arrested for something more significant than a traffic violation, according to the NY Times (32 teams x 53 players each). None of the persons I’ve worked with during my 35-year career have been arrested. Do 1 of 40 persons in your workplace get arrested every year?

Since 2000, there have been 713 such arrests among NFL players, a 2.53% rate. Interestingly, the NY Times says that’s below the national average for men in that age range.  The current 2014 is shaping up to have the lowest number of arrests on record.

Of those 713 arrests:

  • 202 – driving under the influence.
  • 88 – assault and battery (which is their job description).
  • 85 – domestic violence.
  • 82 – drugs.

The teams with the most arrests, in order: Minnesota (44), Cincinnati (43), and Denver (40). At the bottom were St. Louis, Houston, and Arizona, all with just 11 player arrests.

The perceived Bad Boys of the NFL are the Ravens and Raiders. But the Ravens are right at the league average of 22 arrests, and the Raiders are a bit below it with 19 arrests.

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Super Bowl 50, or L?

The Super Bowl always uses Roman numerals. So the 50th Super Bowl in 2016 will be Super Bowl L. I suppose some shallow minds think Roman numerals are more sophisticated, and as we know, football is only for the most highly evolved. Kind of like calling a building “Centre” instead of “Center,” thinking that the British spelling will make the building appear more culturally polished.

The 2016 Super Bowl host committee, in San Francisco, has asked the NFL for permission to use the Aramaic “50.” I fully support that, for the same reason I refuse to order a “grande” or “venti” drink at a coffeeshop. I always, ALWAYS, out of good American principle, ask for a small, medium, or large.

Why do we want to be like the Italians, with their silly Roman numerals and drink names? Let’s have Super Bowl 50, I say.

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Sochi

It’s really hysterical reading about how unprepared Sochi is for the Olympics. It sounds like quite a mess.

Here’s something from the New York Times: “To appreciate the hotels in this area, it is probably a good idea to think of them not as hotels but rather as a rare opportunity to experience life in a centrally planned, Soviet-style dystopia.”

 

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My Alma Mater Makes ESPN’s Top Plays of 2013

ESPN’s SportsCenter compiled its Top Ten Plays of 2013. Huntington University, my alma mater, made the list. Ranking #6 was Shane Merryman’s three-quarter-court buzzer beater against Marian College on November 27.

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You Picked It. Live With It.

Lions Eagles Football

The NFL says if the weather is bad, they could move the Super Bowl from Sunday to either Saturday or Monday. Hey, you chose an outdoor stadium in New York City. Don’t wimp out. Own it.

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The Nerdification of Sports

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The US has granted visas to several online gamers as “internationally recognized athletes.” That way, these professional gamers–that’s what they do for a living–can come to the US for tournaments, just as tennis players do.

What’s next, “World of Warcraft” as an Olympic event? Will US high schoolers be able to letter in Starcraft II? Full-ride college scholarships for League of Legends?

When I was in high school in Arizona, they were working on making chess a varsity sport. Wearing a letter jacket for chess is basically telling real athletes, “Please beat me up.”

I was on the chess team, but I was also on the basketball team, which put me in that gray netherworld between Jock and Nerd. Perhaps I could have gotten away with sporting a chess letter. Alas, we moved before I could obtain a chess letter jacket (which would have happened before I got a basketball letter), so I can only wonder.

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Breaking Down NFL Broadcasts

monday-nite-football

The average NFL game broadcast:

  • Lasts 3 hours and 12 minutes.
  • Contains just 11 minutes of action.
  • Includes 17 minutes of replays.
  • The average play lasts 4 seconds.
  • Includes 20 commercial breaks with over 100 ads.
  • Devotes 80 minutes to commercials.

I might add, with a high degree of displeasure, that the average NFL game seems to finish around midnight.

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