July 27, 2007
Support Mike Vick, Buy His Jersey!
Everyone else might be turning their backs on Falcons QB Michael Vick -- but not your boy Joey. Last time I checked, this was the US of frickin' A! In America we are obligated to pretend criminals are innocent until a court of law proves otherwise. In fact, I am so committed in my support of Vick, I decided to head over to the NFL Shop to buy an officially licensed Vick Jersey. Sure, I could have bid on one on Ebay, where there currently seems to be an unusual number of them up for sale (very cheap, too!). But I want my purchase to send a message to the NFL: some of us football fans are still willing to shell out $260 to show our support for a mediocre passer who tortures animals in his spare time.
The other advantage of buying from the Official NFL Shop is that it provides ample options for jersey customization. I could put my own name on the back of the jersey, or any other name I choose!
Screw you, Commissioner Goodell! Leave it to the guy who banned endzone celebrations to ruin everyone's fun. The first 20-30 names I came up with, the NFL store shot down: "Your current entry cannot be processed. Language deemed inappropriate, derogatory, or profane will not be accepted. Please create a new entry." SO LAME!
However, after spending a few hours trying out different names, I've discovered a few good options that nflshop.com WILL accept.
July 24, 2007
EXCLUSIVE MIKE VICK INTERVIEW!
With shocking accusations of Falcons quarterback Michael Vick running a multi-state dogfighting ring, Atlanta's star player has shied away from the media in recent weeks.
GOOD THING I'M NOT THE MEDIA!
Click RIGHT HERE to check out my exclusive interview with Mike Vick.
May 05, 2007
Handicapping the Derby
Americans love horse racing. It's like NASCAR, but much slower!!! And no horse race has captured America's imagination like the Kentucky Derby. The tradition, the pageantry... all those crazy rich white people wearing stupid hats. I just can't get enough.
Of course, the Derby is more than just a horse race. There's also the drinking. AND THE GAMBLING. For the drinking, we have the delicious Mint Julip. Personally, I'll be drinking Julipritas, the cocktail I invented last year which allows me to celebrate the Derby and Cinco de Mayo simultaneously. As for the gambling, there's nothing quite as thrilling as betting a month's salary on whether some horse is going to run faster than another horse.
I've done some research on the race -- or "handicapped" it, if you will. Against my better judgement, I'm going to share my painstaking research with you, the Joey Headset reader.
Even casual fans of the Derby are probably aware that this year's race has two standout contenders: Curlin and Street Sense. Curlin looks very strong, but didn't race as a two-year-old. This is apparently a big deal for people who actually follow and know about such things. However, I would point out that many great racing champions didn't race at the tender age of two: Dale Earnhardt, Lance Armstrong, Speed Racer. If Curlin can't get the job done, the next best option seems to be Street Sense. Sired by the famous racehorse Street Cred, this horse has all the speed of her parent, but hasn't been been convicted of any gang related shootings or stabbings. Remember kids, the difference between street SENSE and street CRED is about 5-10 years at a state correctional facility.
Screw the frontrunners. Yeah, I guess you could put some money on a horse that is likely to win. But where's the fun in THAT? The whole point of gambling is to bet on stuff that is extremely unlikely to happen -- but will pay off HUGE should the unthinkable actually occur. That's why my money always goes on the longshots. Here are a few I've got my eye on.
At 14-1, I think you can get great value out of Chunky Lovah, a rather rotund horse with great fighting spirit. If they can pry the feed bag off him before the race, he's got a real shot.
Another intriguing option is Yay or Neigh. Sired by Limpy and grandsired by Gammy Joe, this not-so-thoroughbred was rescued from an unlicensed petting zoo in Cincinnati. Yay or Neigh's unorthodox three-legged gallop style could surprise the competition. Or at least drive them to unstoppable fits of equine laughter.
Finally, it might be worth putting a few dollars on Mr. and Mrs. Ed -- the first hermaphrodite to race for the roses. This "he-mare" might be one of God's Little Accidents, but
he she it sure can run!
Of course, there's also the fan-favorite horse, Tiny Jim.
Yeah... I don't really see him winning.
THE **REALLY** LONGSHOTS
The following list of horses probably won't win the Kentucky Derby. They almost certainly won't place or show either. In fact, there might be good money betting that these horses won't actually cross the finish line. Nevertheless, if you like to gamble, you should consider wagering on:
This Lousy Tee Shirt
MacGyver's Left Nut
Violated by Yokels
Hit the Hay
Hay Hay Hay
Haul and Oats
High Ho' Silver
April 25, 2007
Curse of the Madden
Congrats and kudos to Vincent Young, Jr.! This Tennesse TItans quarterback will grace the cover of Madden '08, the next installment of Electronic Arts' popular NFL Football game. Being selected for the cover is a great honor. Too bad it is certain to DESTROY Mr. Young... and everyone he loves.
You see, bad things happen to Madden coverboys. Very bad things. Superstars become third-stringers, once promising careers get relegated to the jock-strap hampers of football history. This phenomenon is known is the Madden Curse -- and it's for real.
I respect your opinion, Vince. Really, I do. But you know what happens to people who "don't believe in curses"? In my experience, they get killed by mummies. Ancient Evil Mummies. If curses weren't real, people wouldn't believe in them (Same logic applies to Sasquatch, Flying Saucers and Norwegians). And, in the particular case of the Madden Curse, there's a long record of evidence backing it up. Still don't believe me? Let's look at who's been featured on past Madden covers, and what horrible fate befell them.
Shaun Alexander (2007): After a record setting 05-06 season, Shaun Alexander won the Madden cover honors for the 07' edition. And then the UNTHINKABLE happened: Alexander suffered an injury. The Seahawks running back broke his foot, missing six starts. What are the chances that an NFL running back would miss playing time due to an injury? Obviously it was the Curse!
Donovan McNabb (2006): After appearing on the Madden cover, McNabb had to play on the same team as Terrell Owens -- for the second year in a row! Therefore, we're not talking about the limited edition *Good Citizen* model T.O. from 2005, but rather the *Psycho Jackass* '06 model. Being forced to deal with the douchebaggery of Terrell Owens -- now THAT'S a curse any way you slice it.
Ray Lewis (2005): The first defensive player ever to land his mug on the Madden cover, Ray Lewis suffered terribly for this groundbreaking appearance. The day after EA released the game, Lewis came down with a wicked hemorrhoid (ouch) that could only be treated by rectal surgery (OUCH!!!). Though it was Lewis's face that made the cover, it was his ass that paid the price.
Michael Vick (2004): Michael Vick is the only athlete who has lent his likeness to the Madden cover and avoided any unfortunate consequences. HOWEVER, Vick's alter-ego, Ron Mexico wasn't so lucky. During the '04 season, Mr. Mexico sought treatment for Herpes, Gonorrhea, Syphilis and a particularly nasty case of Tijuana Crotch-Rot. Sure, some might say that Vick's predilection for promiscuous sex with questionable women might have had something to do with these medical issues. But if every NFL player who behaved like Vick had the same kinda luck vis a vis social diseases... well, let's just say that Penicillin-ade would have replaced Gatorade as the official drink of the league long ago.
Daunte Culpepper (2002): For Vikings QB Daunte Culpepper, the Madden Curse took effect the moment he agreed to put himself on the Madden '02 box. Madden 2002 was crap. CRAP! It was the same game as Madden 2001, with slightly better graphics. Total ripoff. Culpepper's reputation will forever be tarnished by his association with this piece of worthless shovelware.
Eddie George (2001): After Electronic Arts honored George with the Madden 2001 cover, the Tennessee Titans RB accidentally decapitated himself with a pair of rusty garden shears.
Athletes who ignore the ancient and terrifying power of the Madden Curse do so AT THEIR PERIL. In the long history of the franchise, only two individuals have truly avoided this curse. Barry Saunders cheated his fate by spontaneously retiring from football in 2000, shortly after the game was released. Other than Saunders, the only other person to beat the curse was John Madden himself (who appeared on the cover of every edition of the game before 1998). The fact that the dark magic of the curse could never affect Madden is yet more proof of what I've been saying for years: that John Madden is, in fact, the Anti-christ.
April 10, 2007
It's 6am. You're already lacing up your sneakers, getting ready for an invigorating 6 mile run. Just as you step out the door you realize: you are SO thirsty! You could always grab some Gatorade, but at this hour, you're just not up for traditional sports drink flavors. "Glacier Freeze" and "Riptide Rush" taste great in the afternoon, but not this early. "God fucking dammit", you think to yourself, "why can't they make Gatorade flavors that are right for the morning?"
CURSE NO MORE EXERCISE ENTHUSIAST!
Introducing Gatorade AM.
It's everything you love about Gatorade, but now in awesome breakfasty flavors like Orange-Strawberry, Tropical-Mango and Lunatic-Sadist. How MORNINGLICIOUS! Finally, Gatorade has developed a product that everyone can use!
And by "everyone", of course, I mean NOBODY.
Who the fuck goes running at 6am? Who's even awake at that hour (aside from Wal-Mart cashiers and those douche-bags on The Today Show)? I'm sure as crap not awake at dawn -- and if I was, the only running I'd be doing is a quick trip to the bathroom before crawling back under the covers.
I don't need special "morning flavors" of sports drink. In fact, I need the very opposite! I play in a hockey league that plays games at 9:30... ***PM***. I go to the gym in the evenings, play soccer at night. "God fucking dammit," I'm thinking to myself, "why can't they make Gatorade flavors that are right for the EVENING."
CURSE NO MORE JOEY HEADSET!
Introducing Gatorade PM -- an innovate sports drink product that I just invented! Gatorade PM contains everything I like about sports drinks, but in flavors I crave in the evenings. Flavors like: Vodka Rush, Bourbon Blast and Malt Liquor Frost. Gatorade PM quenches your thirst, hydrates your body and FUCKS YOU UP.
You just can't ask for more from a sports drink. Or from a bartender.
September 10, 2006
Get Your Roster On: A Joey Headset Guide to Fantasy Football
You can't get away from it: Fantasy football is everywhere. You probably have friends who play... and if you don't have any friends, it's pretty likely you're already playing. Hell, I play in thirteen different leagues, and I don't even LIKE fantasy football. Yet, I do enjoy spending my Saturday nights obsessively checking injury reports and re-shuffling my rosters. Trust me, this is way better than getting drunk and talking to girls.
Touche, drunk bitches.
A lot of people ask, "where's the FANTASY in fantasy football?" This is a perfectly reasonable question. Personally, the only fantasy I have relating to football involves the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders, a desert island and a giant tube of Astroglide. Sometimes, if I've been drinking, Tom Brady is also there. I'd rather not go into details about that. Anyway, this game is called Fantasy Football for the same reason Dungeons and Dragons is called a Fantasy Role Playing Game: because Fantasy Football is set in a thrilling fictional world of swords, magic and mystery! Dragons, wizards, elves, Norwegians -- they're all in the game, along with your favorite professional football players.
NFL fans who are new to fantasy football often have a hard time adjusting their strategy to the fantasy elements of the game. For example: most fans agree that the Chicago Bears have one of the strongest defensive lines in the league. But can Chicago's D-line withstand the awesome force of a Fireball cast by a 13th level Magic User? Certainly not! Well, not unless they had each equipped a +2 Jockstrap of Fire Resistance -- a very sensible choice, considering the prevalence of Pyromancy in the West Coast Offense.
If you are just getting started in fantasy football, here are some guidelines you should follow when drafting your team and setting your roster. Follow these tips and you'll not only dominate your league, but you might even secure access to the Mystical Power Crystal of Ul-goreth:
QB Charisma: Be sure to draft a quarterback with a high Charisma ranking. Obviously, many QBs use Charisma as their "dump stat" (most notably, Arizona's Kurt Warner). However, passers with a CHR score of 16+ get big bonuses in pass protection from their linemen, as well as increased performance from their receivers. Remember: no player wants to sacrifice their body for a quarterback who's a total dick.
Heal that Hammy: If you drafted Terrell Owens, Steve Smith or Hines Ward, make sure your team cleric has memorized several Cure Tweaked Hamstring spells. The same goes for your Healerback, if you're still playing with the old 2.5 rulebook. Also, if you drafted T.O. you might want to equip him with a Ring of Ego Suppression.
Smashmouth Defense: Members of the Barbarian character class are popular choices when drafting linebackers. However, most leagues do not allow Barbarian defenders to wear helmets or to bring their giant warhammers onto the field. Also, Barbarians tend to get penalized more than most character classes. Nothing brings out a shower of yellow flags faster than an inside linebacker devouring the entrails of a tight end he just disemboweled after a tackle. Smart fantasy players often select linebackers in the Rogue/Thief player class. They are great at "stealing" errant passes and do double damage when sacking quarterbacks from behind.
Home Team Advantage: When setting your roster, never underestimate the edge teams gain when playing on their home field. Road teams must contend with a variety of obstacles: everything from crowd noise and unfamiliar terrain to pit traps and magical runes that summon demons from the 5th Infernal Plane. Consider San Diego's season opener at Oakland. LaDainian Tomlinson is probably best running back in the league. But even he will have a hard time gaining yardage if he triggers the poison dart trap Oakland has set on the 50 yard line. Similarly, you won't see Chargers TE Antonio Gates hauling down many passes in the red zone if he gets dismembered by the Giant Spiders that live in the visiting team's locker room at McAfee Coliseum. (Rob Ryan, Oakland's defensive coordinator, is known for his masterful use of arachnoidal blitz packages.)
Fantasy football has been bringing together jocks and geeks almost as long as atomic wedgies and locker room swirlies. Join a league today, and experience the competition, the camaraderie and the lost productivity that's certain to undermine the American economy. After all, those 11 year old sweatshop workers in China don't have much time for fantasy football. Those crazy kids are just too busy -- too busy making EVERYTHING YOU OWN.
August 10, 2006
Are You Ready for Some (preseason) Football?
Everyone loves football! It's an American tradition, just like mom, apple pie and unilateral military action. Really, the only thing better than NFL Football is NFL *PRESEASON* Football.
Hold on, John Madden, let me explain myself! There are a number of reasons why I prefer preseason games to those of the regular season. Regular season games are rife with stress and pressure. In those games it actually matters who "wins" and "loses". I've always been taught that it's not who wins or loses, but it's how you play the game. That's why I appreciate the preseason contests, where it clearly doesn't matter who wins (and how they play the game doesn't really matter much either).
Another reason why I love the preseason is because you get to see talented athletes you probably won't get to see come October. For instance, FOX is showing a preseason match this evening: the Indianapolis Colts visiting the Eddie Jones Dome to play the St. Louis Rams. Pretty exciting, right? We'll get to see superstar QB Peyton Manning face off against the devastating WR combination of Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt. For one series. Maybe two. No... probably just one.
*BUT*, after that first series, viewers will get to see some other players who are almost as good! Sure, Peyton Manning is pretty talented, but who needs Manning when backup Colt QB Jim Sorgi is widely considered one of the most adequate backups in the league? This is Sorgi's time to shine! Plus, viewers will be in for a thrill if 3rd string QB Shaun King steps onto the field. I was shocked to learn King was still playing professional football... imagine how the fans in the stadium will react!
Of course, many of the players you see during early preseason games won't even make it onto the roster. Many hard-working players get cut during the preseason, so this may be your only chance to see them play. Don't worry though: a lot of the guys who can't make it onto an NFL team still go on to great things. For instance, I heard Maurice Clarett has been doing some exciting stuff since getting cut from the Broncos' preseason squad last year.
So enjoy the preseason while it lasts. After September 7, all the games will be "important" and "meaningful". Where's the fun in that?
July 06, 2006
I'm a Cycling Enthusiast!
With the Tour De France in full swing, I've decided to become one of literally DOZENS of Americans to follow live race coverage on the OLN network. That's right: I, Joey Headset, have become a Cycling Enthusiast!
Note how I use the word "enthusiast" instead of "fan". I'm not a fan of cycling because one can only be a fan of sports that deliver fun and excitement. Clearly, that's not cycling. However, many followers of competitive bike racing prefer the subtle pleasures of the Peloton to the more overt pleasures of home runs and touchdowns. Hey, millions of Europeans can't be wrong!
SHUT UP HITLER!
Cycling does have its detractors. The "world of cycling" has been "rocked" by blood doping "allegations" in recent years. Some journalists say that doping has ruined the sport, but they are stupid and wrong. First these bastards say "you shouldn't inject steroids" because it's unnatural. Now the same people don't want you injecting yourself with oxygenated blood. How can blood be unnatural? IT'S ALREADY IN YOUR BODY. Vampires need to ingest other people's blood just to survive, but these ultra-anal rules officials would have vampires starve themselves just to compete in a three-week bike race. That hardly seems fair.
Plus, every legitimate sport embraces some form of drug abuse. Baseball has steroids, boxing has diuretics, and you've probably heard how those kids in the Special Olympics pop dozens of Flintstones vitamins before they take the field. From what I hear, those chalky little tablets keep you strong... AND GROWING. As they say "if you're not cheating, you're not trying." (By "they", of course, I mean cheaters.)
Look, I realize that most American sports fans will never understand the appeal of competitive bike racing. It's their loss! Cycling is the Sport of Kings. Specifically, it's the sport of recently dethroned Kings, living in exile. Or perhaps the sport of Kings of small, southeast Asian countries where no one really has access to cars. Or roads.
And that's good enough for me.
June 26, 2006
In recent weeks, Major League Baseball experienced some high profile public relations SNAFUs. Offensive remarks, athletes in jail... the sport is grabbing headlines for all the wrong reasons. In order to prevent such incidents from occuring in the future, MLB has hired me -- Joey Headset -- to run Sensitivity Training Seminars for well known baseball personalities. I can't think of anyone better suited to this task.
June 09, 2006
World Cup FEVER
Are you ready to watch some balls getting kicked around in Germany?
No, I'm not talking about my German S/M porn collection (which is EXTENSIVE). Rather, I am referring to the World Cup, that big ass soccer tournament they do every four years. It's the biggest sporting event in the world!
By "the world," of course, I mean "everyone but America." In this country, we prefer more MANLY sports . We prefer sports where competitors inject themselves with horse steroids just to earn a spot on the roster. Even so, there are some soccer fans in America. They're called Mexicans, and until congress greenlights that 2000 mile fence (how could that possibly fail?), the World Cup will draw its share of domestic viewers. And I'll be one of them!
It's not so much that I'm a fan of soccer, it's more that I'm a fan of watching sports on television. Any sports. Bowling, bass fishing, beach volleyball -- I don't care what it is, I'll watch it. The way I see it, anything is better than reading.
If you've never experienced the modest thrills of international soccer, this is an excellent time to jump in. For the first time in the history of the tournament, every World Cup match will be broadcast live on American television. Since Germany is six hours ahead of the US, ESPN's live coverage will be occur during daytime hours. Starting times for most matches will be at 9am, noon, and 3pm. This might raise some interesting issues for soccer fans. I'm told that many people "work" between the hours of 9am-5pm. Is it acceptable to blow off work to watch the World Cup on TV?
YES. YES IT IS.
Personally, I think it's acceptable to blow off work to watch a Smurfs marathon on the Cartoon Network, so you better believe I support anyone who stays home to watch a world class sporting event. Call in sick. Tell your boss you have some of that Bird Flu they keep talking about on the news. With any luck, a CDC crew will show up a few hours later to seal you inside your home. That means no distractions from all the soccer excitement!
Also, these early games present a dilemma for those who enjoy drinking while watching sports. 9am is a bit early for alcohol... but drinking while watching televised sports is an American tradition. Plus, soccer matches tend to be filled with a lot of dull moments, and nothing fills up empty time like alcohol. In order to keep the veneer of respectability, you should only drink "breakfast cocktails" before noon. These include Mimosas, Bloody Marys, and Tang mixed with tequila (AKA "Tanquila").
Sure, ditching work and getting drunk in the middle of a weekday might SEEM irresponsible. But it could be worse. You could actually get on a plane to Germany, then hang around soccer stadiums screaming racist epithets at black players and beating up anyone who looks vaguely Jewish. That is, after all, what soccer fans do in Europe.
April 30, 2006
NFL Draft, the Late Rounds
I love the NFL Draft. It's always heartwarming to see how a college education can lead young men to financial success, even when it doesn't lead them to... uh... what's the word I'm looking for? Oh, yeah: Literacy.
Though casual football fans only watch the first round, we *HARDCORE* fans know that the draft doesn't really get interesting until the late rounds. Sure, it may seem like all the best players have already been drafted by the 7th round. It may also seem like most of the good players, the average players and even the merely adequate players have also been taken off the board. Even so, there are always a few IMPACT PLAYERS still up for grabs in the closing moments of the draft. Here are a few of the late-round picks I think are going to make BIG contributions in the 2007 NFL Season.
Nathan Struggs, Cleveland State University
Picked 13th in the 7th Round (221st overall) by the Dallas Cowboys
A 3rd year transfer from Cleveland State Community College, Nate didn't see a lot of playing time for the Cleveland St. Vikings. In fact, he only played in one game -- but his performance in that game was MORE THAN ENOUGH to make a strong impression. During a home contest against the Ramblers of Loyola, Struggs caught exactly one ball -- a 7 yard reception for a first down. Though the play was far from spectacular, this didn't prevent Nate from launching into an excessive "1st Down Celebration", complete with fist pumping, disgraceful taunting and a (surprisingly well choreographed) dance routine. Though he was ejected from the game, Dallas Cowboys scouts knew they had found someone special: a player capable of being a bigger ASS than Terrell Owens (acquired by Dallas in the offseason). Though it is unlikely Nate will see any playing time in the regular season, look for him to be a staple of the preseason squad. The Cowboys hope that Nate's raging ego and lack of sportsmanship might shame Terrell Owens into behaving himself this season. I wouldn't bet on it.
Bucky S. Johnson, Bard College.
Picked 46th in the 7th Round (254th Overall) by the Kansas City Chiefs
Bucky played one season of high school football, but he's best known as the finest Ultimate Frisbee player ever produced by Bard College (a traditional Ultimate Frisbee POWERHOUSE). Though some NFL scouts doubted the Buckmeister could make the transition from a non-contact game played mostly by hippies to a brutally violent sport played by steroid fiends, the Chiefs took a chance with their final pick of the draft. It was either Bucky, or one of the complete *losers* remaining in the draft pool.
Joey Headset, Swarthmore College
Picked 47th in the 7th Round (255th Overall) by the Oakland Raiders
Yeah... I'm as surprised as anyone about this. I didn't even realize I was draft eligible. Fucking hell, does this mean I'll have to move to Oakland? Maybe I can register as a Consientious Objector...
March 15, 2006
Check out my Brackets
For most of the year, the word "brackets" merely refer to those buttons to the right of the P key on any standard qwerty keyboard. In March, however, sports fans get all BRACKET CRAZY during the NCAA men's basketball tournament. This is that special time of year when people live and die based on the performance of teams like Bradley and Belmont and Murray St. (where the fuck is Murray St.?). Since a lot of people have been asking how I filled out my brackets (SHUT UP PEOPLE REALLY DID ASK ME) I've gone ahead and posted them.
January 31, 2006
Super Bowl Shrinkage
The Super Bowl is coming, and I can't wait! Though it's only Tuesday, I've already started drinking and gorging myself on horrible, greasy food in preparation for the big game. I actually do that on most Tuesday nights, but at least this time I have an excuse.
Anyway... to the casual observer, it probably seems like the Super Bowl gets bigger and bigger every year: more hype, more media coverage, more irresponsible drinking, more spending the fourth quarter vomiting all over your neighbor's car. Or maybe that's just me. The point is this: though it may seem like the Super Bowl is a bigger event every year, my research indicates that the big game is actually getting smaller.
In case you didn't know, Sunday will mark the 40th NFL championship game, and in roman numerals, the number 40 is represented by the letters XL - the same letters that denote the size "extra large" on t-shirts. Thus, this coming championship game will officially be the Extra Large Super Bowl. Now, some of you are probably thinking... "Wow that's awesome. Next stop, Super Bowl XXL... the Extra, Extra Large Super Bowl!" Well, that's a nice thought, but it ain't going to happen. XXL is a perfectly valid t-shirt size, but it is not a valid roman numeral. In fact, the next time a Super Bowl's numeral will correspond to a shirt size will be exactly one decade from now: Super Bowl L. That's right: the 50th Super Bowl will merely be Large - therefore, the game will actually shrink by one size over the next ten years. This is why major sporting events should always be hand-washed in cold water, and line-dried.
After that, there is good news and bad news for the NFL. The bad news is that their "big game" will continue to shrink for the foreseeable future. The good news is that it will shrink at a much slower rate. After size L, the next smallest shirt size is M - size Medium. In roman numerals, the letter M indicates the number 1,000. Thus, Super Bowl M will not occur until the year 2966! By then, the game of football will probably be played by giant robots or zombies... possibly Norwegians.
January 17, 2006
Let's watch Tennis!!!
I'm a big fan of tennis.
SHUT UP THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT.
Anyway, I've been enjoying ESPN's coverage of the Australian Open. It's a great tournament, and I particularly like what the Aussies have done to make the event more TV-friendly. In the past, there have been issues with tennis broadcasts - viewers complained that the ball was too difficult to spot on the court. Fortunately, the Australians decided to go with a light green court. Green is the best color for increasing the visibility of a tennis ball. Well, maybe it's the second best color. The best color would probably be QUITE LITERALLY ANY COLOR OTHER THAN GREEN.
Here's the problem: Tennis balls are green. Trying to keep track of a tiny green object as it gets blasted around a green playing surface... not so easy. Compare this to ice hockey, where a tiny black object gets blasted around a white playing surface. Black on white - that's contrast baby! You still can't see the puck half the time, but at least you have a fighting chance. If the Australians can't spring for a few cans of paint to change their tennis courts to some reasonable color, the least they could do is spring for some nice pink tennis balls.
Using pink balls would not only make the matches easier to watch, but it would raise money for breast cancer research. Everyone wins (except Venus Williams, who lost in the first round).
January 10, 2006
Marcus, Marcus, Marcus
Ah... the tribulations and (soon to be literal) trials of former Virginia Tech QB Marcus Vick. Between the underage girls, the drug possession, the driving with a suspended license and the ugly Gator Bowl knee-stomping incident, Marcus has been a very bad boy. Though "bad boys" are generally admired on WB dramas, it turns out that college football programs don't look at them quite the same way - the Hokies kicked Vick off the team last Friday.
No worries though, Marcus quickly declared his intention to turn pro. In order to prove he was serious about a career in professional football, Marcus decided to also get serious about enhancing his criminal record: On Monday, he was charged with three counts of Brandishing a Firearm.
I've got mixed feelings about this move. On one hand, incorporating guns into his criminal behavior is a step in the right direction. Contributing to the delinquency of a minor and marijuana possession are impressive... for a college athlete. However, we all know that college players must "step up their game" if they intend to make it in the pros. While I approve of the basic theme of "weapon brandishing in public", I'm not so pleased with his choice of venue. NFL superstars are known to wave guns around in hot nightclubs, and at lavish celebrity parties... Marcus pulled a gun on a 17 year old kid. And his mom. In a McDonald's parking lot. That's just weak.
According to witnesses, the incident was initiated when Vick and his special lady friend were walking out of the McDonald's and someone directed a disrespectful comment toward the young woman. Marcus, being a gentleman took offense to this, and defended his lady's honor... by pointing a gun at some kid's mom. As they say, it's the thought that counts. However, if Marcus had simply resolved to spend a little (of his brother's) money and take the girl somewhere NICE, perhaps this whole situation could have been avoided. As a general rule, the nicer the restaurant, the less chance that someone is going to say something inappropriate to your date after the meal. I'm not saying he needs to go superfancy and take the girl to the Olive Garden or whatever... but if the kid had simply sprung for Quiznos, he probably would have been fine.
I'm just sayin...
November 28, 2005
Michael and his Pipe
Yesterday, ESPN Analyst Michael Irvin was arrested on drug paraphernalia charges while driving through Plano, Texas. During a routine traffic stop, police searched Irvin's vehicle and found a "drug pipe". While the rest of the sports media gears up for the usual feeding frenzy, I want to be the first to stand up in defense of this gentle TV sports pundit. While nobody deserves to be arrested on trumped up pseudo-drug charges, Michael deserves it even less than most former NFL players.
Why am I so outraged? First of all, I believe drug paraphernalia laws are totally unjust. Sure, drugs are a terrible threat to America's youth... but I've never heard of anyone who's life was ruined by drug accessories. "I had a beautiful wife, a fulfilling job... and I threw it all away when I purchased this pipe off the internet - and I never even used it!" This makes no sense. And furthermore, the laws are written so vaguely, virtually anything could be considered "drug paraphernalia". I've been to college... I've seen people turn all sorts of crap into bongs: soda cans, sex toys, various fruits and vegetables. Next time you get pulled over for a lapsed registration, will they throw you in jail just for having a bag of groceries? They just might - especially if you own the Dallas Cowboys career pass receptions record (750)!
Also, drug paraphernalia laws aren't consistent with other laws in this country. Consider this: it would be illegal for me to own a nuclear warhead. And I'm mostly OK with that. But... if I happen to own a beautiful wool nuclear warhead cozy, knitted for me by my dear grandma - does that mean I should be put in jail? Of course not. So why should it be different with drug paraphernalia? As anyone will tell you, one need not smoke crack in order to appreciate the beauty of a finely crafted crack pipe. I own at least a dozen pipes and I don't smoke. I'm strictly into the needle drugs.
Even if these laws weren't absurd, the specifics of Irvin's situation are such that no ethical D.A. would ever charge him. After the incident, Irvin told the Associated Press that the pipe "belonged to a friend" who he had just driven to rehab. One might ask... why didn't he just throw it away? I would guess that he held onto it for the same reason I keep an ashtray in my apartment. I don't smoke, but I have friends who do - so it's just a common courtesy to keep an ashtray available for them when they come over. Michael Irvin doesn't (currently) smoke crack, but he keeps a pipe around, just in case one of his passengers needs to smoke a little crack. On the way to rehab. The only reason Irvin is in this situation is because he is a good friend.
I wish more of my friends were like Michael Irvin.
August 24, 2005
If you had an opportunity to watch the Monday Night Football preseason game last night, you missed some high quality television. Obviously, I'm not talking about the game. Few people can get excited about a meaningless scrimmage where all the decent players sit out after the first period, leaving a handful of late-round draft picks to trade blunders for the next two hours. But if there is one man that can get excited about this spectacle, it's TV commentator/video game mascot John Madden.
Americans love Madden. I don't know why, exactly... but I've got a theory. It goes something like this:
*Americans hate anyone smarter than they are.
*Americans are idiots.
*What Americans don't hate, they love.
*Americans Love Madden.
So there you go, an explanation for the popularity of John Madden, Blue Collar TV and the current state of American politics - all rolled into one.
Anyway, back to this preseason matchup between the Seahawks and the Cowboys. During the game, some player took a pretty hard shot and had to leave the game to have some x-rays taken (they have x-ray facilities at all NFL stadiums). Later on, ABC's camera crew got a shot of some coaches looking at the x-ray images on the sideline. It was a fairly distant shot, the details of the image weren't all that clear... certainly not clear enough to really see what the coaches were looking at. But that sure didn't stop Madden.
Upon seeing this over-the-shoulder image of the x-rays, Madden launches into what can only be described as an attempt at medical diagnosis. Hell, it might have been pretty convincing too - had the diagnosis come from the mouth of, you know, VIRTUALLY ANYONE OTHER THAN JOHN MADDEN.
"What they're looking at there, Al, is a FEMUR. Yeah, and it's not lookin' so good! Ooh, I think I see a crack there. You see it, Al? That's what the coaches are looking at, Al - it's a cracked femur! That big guy's out 4-6 weeks."
Meanwhile, Madden's sidekick Al Michaels gently, yet with increasing desperation, tries to change the subject. Like I said, it was good television.
And it also made me wonder: why isn't John Madden's interest in medicine incorporated into the newest incarnation of his popular football game, Madden 2006? The game has gotten fairly weak reviews, due to a lack of compelling new features. So here's an idea for Madden 2007: Dr. Madden mode. In previous versions of the game, players would get injured from time to time. Though it's assumed they receive treatment, you never really get to see it in the game. Well, in Dr. Madden mode, you not only get to see your banged-up players treated on the field, but you get to see them treated by Madden himself! This, in turn, becomes a sort of mini-game. As Madden waddles down from the press booth, you must jam your X-button repeatedly in order to get your injured player to crawl off the field before the big guy can "treat" him (thereby ending his season, possibly his career). Alternately, you might be able to play the role of Dr. Madden... poking and prodding the injured player with an assortment of strange medical implements. As you progress through the game, you can unlock new and terrifying devices that Dr. Madden can use to torment fallen footballers.
Hey, if video game designers are willing to give a medical license to freaking MARIO I guess they'll let anyone practice medicine.
August 11, 2005
Officer Shaq Protects the Children
Do you like to solicit teenage girls for sex on the internet?
Of course you do. Pervert.
But the next time you're chatting up some sweet young thing in a chatroom, WATCH OUT. What you think is a horny thirteen year old might actually be NBA superstar Shaquille O'Neal!
Shaq just completed an intensive training session with Operation Blue Ridge Thunder, an elite Internet Crime Unit. The mission of OBRT: "To safeguard our children from Internet crime by 'weaving a seamless web of protection' around them". This unit specializes in online sting operations, and no one hates internet predators more than Big Diesel.
Having trained to be a police officer back in his days as a Los Angeles Laker, online stings may prove to be the ideal law enforcement opportunity for the Miami Heat center. Shaq's hectic training schedule (along with occasional studio sessions with the Fu-Schnickens) leave little time for traditional police activities. However, Shaq can troll the net for would-be child molesters any time day or night: after practice, during halftime, at the free-throw line (might as well do something useful while he's there). Logging into various instant messenger services and chatrooms, Shaq will pose as a young girl, using screen names such as HeatGrrl13, BigDunk_Ch1ca, or KobeSUX_33.
Once he successfully lures in an internet sleazebag (ie. YOU), what's the next step? He could report you to the proper authorities. Or, he could come to your house and SHOOT YOU IN THE FACE. During his training with Blue Ridge Thunder, O'Neal didn't merely learn to tool around the internet - he also received advanced weapons training for pistols and shotguns. This training not only increases Shaq's effectiveness as a law enforcement officer, but also promises to relieve him of his enduring shame: the shame of being among the last NBA players who haven't at least attempted to shoot somebody.
Though Shaquille O'Neal is certain to be a valuable asset to OBRT's sting operations, he may prove to be a less-than-effective undercover operative. When a middle aged net-stalker shows up at a shopping mall to get with the hot 15 year-old he met on AOL Teen Chat, he may get suspicious when his "girl" turns out to be a 7-foot-1, 325 pound man wearing a halter top. And a blond wig.
Even so, the internet is that much safer now that Shaq Daddy is online looking after The Children. Within a few years, dirty old men may have to go back to soliciting underage sex the old fashioned way: by hanging around high school parking lots and joining rock bands.