Showing 1 - 10 of 22 posts found matching keyword: sports

What I did on St. Patrick's Day:

Jacksonville Icemen 5, Georgia Gladiators 4.

Minor league ice hockey might not sound an Irish way to pass the time, but they fight like true drunken expatriates. Saint Patrick would be proud.

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On the drive to Miami, Trey and I occupied ourselves with the Sports Illustrated Trivia Game: Multi-Sport Edition. According to the tin, "you'll find questions for all ages and levels of trivia knowledge." This is true, assuming that "all ages" means "over 30 years old" and levels of trivia knowledge" means "sports-loving shut-in." Here's a sample question:

Name the Broadway play about Rugby that appeared on the 1973 cover of Sports Illustrated."

Despite having nothing about to do with boxing, that question about "The Changing Room" appears on the "boxing" card. Technically, that's not even a sports question, so how about another?

Who finished as the runner up behind John Daly in the 1991 PGA Championship?

Of course, everyone knows that the answer to that question is Bruce Lietzke, right? Wikipedia tells me that second place finish was Lietzke's best finish in a major ever, so how dare I not know his name! Maybe I should stick to football questions.

The Chicago Bears routed the Washington Redskins in the 1940 NFL Championship Game. What was the score?

Okay, fine. Whatever.

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First quarter: Atlanta 0, Eagles 10.

If you didn't know that assists, rebounds, and free throws were basketball statistics, this article from the sports section of my local Newnan Times-Herald (page 7, Dec. 9, 2009) newspaper would be really confusing.

Scratch that. It's really confusing anyway.

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Durin' Friday night's broadcast o' tha annual Boise State versus Fresno State football contest, ESPN took time t' show me not only tha broadcast team's weekly fantasy football starters, but also their correspondin' scores. Those bilge rats at ESPN pirated time from an actual football game t' show me results o' an imaginary football game. If thar be anythin' more borin' than bein' forced t' see pictures o' some stranger's sprogs, it's bein' forced t' see some stranger's fantasy football team's score. In me idea o' a fantasy football game, commentators will shut their grog holes and we'll be able t' watch a real football game in peace. Arrr!

(P.S. Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day.)

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This post is a little late, but I've had a busy weekend. Saturday night I attended the first University of Georgia football home game vs South Carolina. I was excited because I love night games, and the game had a 7PM kickoff. If I had known before hand that the game was going to take over 4 hours to play, I'm sure that would have dampened my enthusiasm somewhat.

UGA 41, South Carolina 37

Two things slow down a football game: scoring and penalties. And this game had both in spades. Thirty one points were scored in the first quarter alone. There were 24 penalties called in the game, 11 for us and 13 for them, for a total of 206 yards. Six of those penalties resulted directly in first downs. But we won, so I'd be a fool to complain. Besides, the game had just about everything else you could ask for: special teams touchdowns, long runs, long passes, blocked kicks, goal line stands, shouting matches between the coaches, last second drama. It was a good game.

I would not call Sunday's match up between the Miami Dolphins and the Atlanta Falcons a "good game." The Dolphins flat out stunk. Sure, this was the first game of the season for both teams. The Georgia Dome, even when not full to capacity, can be a pretty hostile environment to opposing teams ("loud" is an understatement). But that's no excuse for four (4!) Dolphins turnovers and an anemic... well, everything. Just two years ago I watched an entire season in which the Dolphins won only 1 football game, and even then they couldn't even aspire to this level of ineptitude. I have a name for this level of failure: Pennington.

Miami 7, Atlanta 19

If you've been paying attention, you'll know that I've railed against Chad Pennington before. (On August 11, 2008, and January 4, 2009, to be exact.) While I have grown to admire his never-say-retire-while-they're-still-throwing-money-at-me attitude, his weak arm and failing body have hurt us in the past just as they cost the Dolphins any chance at winning today.

Watching the team warm ups, I noticed that Pennington's longest warm-up pass was exactly 15 yards. Pennington's longest pass of the day was almost exactly 20 yards in the air. My brother was quick to point out that on that pass, Pennington took three big steps forward before heaving the pass, and the ball still wobbled like a lame duck. The Falcons must also have been paying attention, as they didn't bother to cover any Dolphins deep, knowing that the ball would never go that far. As if that wasn't bad enough, every time Pennington dropped back to pass, the Dolphins receivers themselves generally aborted their routes to ensure that Pennington's passes could still reach them despite the fact that this prevented almost any chance of catching the ball past (or in most cases near) the first down marker. Thanks, Chad.

On the upside, on rookie Pat White's first play in a regular season NFL game, he heaved the ball an impressive 40 yards, overthrowing the fastest Dolphin receiver deep down the field. My brother went berserk, amazed that Pennington could launch the ball so far. He was heartbroken when I explained that Pennington had been replaced for that down with another quarterback. Though come to think of it, he may have just been upset that the coaches immediately put Pennington back in and never let White throw again during the game. In any case, at least it's good to know that there's someone on the team who can throw the ball, even if the coaches are determined to keep him off the field.

Tickets, anyone?

I should mention that these football games were the second and third sporting events that I attended this week. I also watched the Gwinnett Braves (AAA affiliate of the MLB Atlanta Braves) lose a playoff game 0-3 on Wednesday night. The Braves would go on to lose the series, and after watching them play in person, I'm not surprised.

The picture below gives a pretty accurate indication of the turnout for the game against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barr (Pennsylvania) Yankees (AAA affiliate of the MLB New York Yankees). There were just enough people in attendance that team mascot Chopper the Groundhog was able to annoy everyone in attendance personally, one at a time.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barr Yankees 3, Gwinnett Braves 0

Why a team named the Braves would have a groundhog for a mascot is explained only once you realize that the main thing that Gwinnett County has of any name recognition is a number of large shopping malls, and they make lousy mascots. General Beauregard Lee, the groundhog at Gwinnett's Yellow River Game Ranch is the state of Georgia's "Official" predictor of spring arrival. We don't care for Pennsylvania's Punxsutawney Phil in these parts, especially if we're going to get beaten by Phil's state baseball clubs.

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With football season fast approaching, it's time to address a serious question: advertising on jerseys. Is it acceptable to turn players into living billboards, or is it the final sign of the apocalypse for which we've been waiting? As you'd expect, I'm completely against it, though I can certainly understand the argument for it. However, I think the line needs to be drawn somewhere, especially in college, which is ironically where the most advertising currently takes place. (I'm looking at you Nike.)

The NBA and NHL recently announced that they were considering it, and the NFL allows it on practice jerseys. (Translation: it's coming.) This isn't a surprise, as the NBA will sell anything not nailed down in order to generate enough revenue to sign their latest thug-of-the-month. The Reebok wordmark on modern NHL jerseys already eclipses some team names. MLB uniforms already have patches everywhere, and it's only a matter of time before the designs of those patches transmute from "World Series Champion: 2009" to "World's Best Wings: Just $1.99." (I'm looking at you, CITI Field.)

Perhaps we are conditioned to accept advertising on jerseys after years of seeing "Chico's Bail Bonds" on Little League jerseys. But that doesn't mean that the professional leagues, which are already charging us an arm and a leg for the honor of attending their games, should be selling ad space on their players' bodies to supplement their already over-inflated incomes. (I'm looking at you, Yankee Stadium.)

With stadium seats priced higher than a HD television and television contract revenue exceeding the price of government automobile bailouts, why should I be stuck with the eyesore of Miami Dolphins wearing Landshark Lager ads on their helmets? Is there no pride anymore? Wait, nevermind. I'm pretty sure I'm not ready for the answer.

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In honor of the death of Michael Jackson, I present the only "meeting" between the King of Pop and the Man of Steel of which I am aware: the cover of the All-New Collector's Edition: Superman vs. Muhammad Ali.

Who bet on Muhammad Ali in this fight?

And while Superman doesn't actually say hi to Jack-o on the inside of this book, he doesn't actually fight Muhammad Ali, either. (Go figure.)

Is that the Jackson 5 or the California Raisons?

 

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The annual NBA Slam Dunk competition has become dominated by Superman. Last year, Dwight Howard won after doing a Superman-inspired dunk. This year, Howard added some "S-shield" emblazoned Adidas shoes to complete the heroic motif. However, he placed second to Nate Robinson, who wore day-glo green "Krypto-Nate" Nike shoes.

If their names didn't already give it away, the order of finish would make Adidas the "hero" and Nike the "villain" in this particular comic book. (As all comic readers know, the villain always wins in Act Two in order to increase the drama heading into the third and final act.) And I think that sounds about right. Adidas, you may not be number 1, but anyone competing against Nike fights on the side of angels. (The enemy of my enemy...)

Sometimes ugly isn't a strong enough word.

My only problem with all this is just how ugly those Superman shoes looked. I thought they stopped making shoes that hideous in the 80's. It could be argued that Superman's costume, too, is a little out-dated (argued by others, not me; I like to wear my underwear as outerwear), but if he were ever to change, I doubt it would be into those. Those are the sorts of loud shoes we'd expect to find on the fashion-challenged Trickster or Crazy Quilt. By comparison, they make the Rainbow Raider's costume look stylish. Only Bizarro would say that these shoes look good.

On the upside, criminals such as the Ten-Eyed man would be easily incapacitated by the mere awfulness of those shoes appearance. Although, come to think of it, the Ten-Eyed man was never that difficult to defeat anyway, so maybe that's not so much of an upside.

Sorry, Adidas, it's back to the drawing board. Hopefully, when you return for Act Three next year, you'll be able to unveil the hero's triumphant new look for the winner's circle.

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I just spent the better part of 5 hours in a bowling alley not bowling followed by an hour in a parking lot not parking and an hour in a Waffle House not eating. I'm such a rebel. (It's worth noting that of the three, the only one I was kicked out of was the only one that was free: the parking lot.) I have to admit, it felt a lot like being in high school again, which is somewhat ironic.

I always think of bowling as a middle-aged man's game. Yet the alley, Fun Time Bowl -- named by a 12-year-old Japanese schoolgirl -- was packed with young people, participating in "cosmic bowling." "Cosmic," it seems, is a euphemism for "black lights." While I was previously aware of this particular "cosmic bowling" phenomenon, I've just never previously quite understood how fog machines and ceiling-mounted Lasek machines is supposed to make bowling more fun. And I still don't.

I certainly shouldn't be surprised by the age of the bowlers, as when I was in high school (which is likely the last time I actually bowled unless you count Wii Sports) the lanes were packed with people my own age. But that's the sort of thing that age does to you: it makes you misremember your youth. I suspect that this is nature's way to help you win arguments with your own children. (My father frequently told me, "when I was your age, I had to walk 20 miles uphill in the snow to school." I have always been suspicious of that claim, namely because he grew up in Miami, FL.)

I'm sure that at some point down the road, I'll misremember tonight. So as a friendly reminder to Future Me, let me just say: you bowled a 241 and were the highlight of the evening for everyone present. Need proof? Just read this blog. I wouldn't lie to myself, would I?

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Some days, you know that the world is passing you by. Take Monday Night Football, for example. I used to really enjoy watching football on Monday night. I used to sit in a bar with a bunch of friends, each of us sacrificing our voices in order to talk over the excessive decibel levels of 30 television sets with their volume turned to "Deafen." And we enjoyed the hell out of watching a football game. But lately, football on Monday has turned into a chore.

Ever since ESPN, "the Worldwide Leader in Suck," has taken over Monday Night Football from ABC (both stations are owned by the Evil Empire: Walt Disney Co.), they've stocked the press booth with in-house announcers from other shows in their line-up, making watching Monday Night Football more like watching a spin-off of Sportscenter than a live football game. It has become the sports-world equivalent of Baywatch Nights, an unsuccessful attempt to cash in on the name recognition of characters from other popular shows who aren't quite suited for their new roles.

Worse still, desperate to reach the lowest common denominator of sports fans, MNF encourages Tony Kornheiser, once a respected sportswriter for the Washington Post, to act the part of beer-swilling, amateur buffoon and armchair quarterback for three hours every week. While Kornheiser's role as devil's advocate is perfectly suited to his op-ed show Pardon the Interruption, it is a grating distraction from the action during a football game. Like all other original programming on ESPN, MNF's producers hope that by creating stories and generating ungrounded controversy, the legion of bottom-feeding members of society incapable of forming opinions by way of anything other than emotion will be drawn to their programming. Unfortunately, their strategy has proven highly successful.

Sure, MNF has always been a program obsessed with the celebrity and popular culture that surrounds an NFL game, but they used to be focused on celebrating the game, not disparaging it. The best example of the change in the show's culture is Dennis Miller. After years of populating the press booth with former players (with such notables as Don Meredith, Frank Gifford, and Dan Dierdorf among others), Miller was brought in to give the "average" fan a voice on the show. Miller was rehearsed and focused on the game, but his obscure researched and rehearsed cultural references proved unpopular in the role of MNF color-commentator. Just a few short years later, Kornheiser's selfishly crass and unprofessional on-air cheers for players on his fantasy football roster and complaints about blowouts -- even going so far as to encourage the television audience to turn off their sets, no doubt to the anguish of his advertisers -- has changed the perception of what exactly the "average" fan is as it has steered intellectual discourse of the game to a new low.

I can't help but recall that once, now seeming so long ago, the broadcasts were not about grabbing a market of people interested in the personalities in the booth or how they felt about football, but what was happening on the field. I suppose that the real shame is that all those years of bar room televisions didn't completely destroy my hearing, sparing me from Kornheiser's irreverent and irrelevant blather.

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To be continued...

 

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