Showing 11 - 20 of 22 posts found matching keyword: sports

Another Independence Day come and gone. July 4th is without a doubt my favorite holiday, though I don't care for picnics, fireworks, or parades. Ironic? I don't think so. If others enjoy their crowded public places, I'll stay in my own suddenly quiet neighborhood. Everybody wins.

My brother and his girl were disgusted by my favorite Independence Day activity: watching the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest. Sure, it's gross, but it's much more entertaining than, say, Easter Sunrise Mass or a Christmas Day NBA double-header. (While it's not quite Thanksgiving Day NFL football, the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Competition only takes 10 minutes, barring overtime, and I'm not forced to watch this with the very same extended family that I try to avoid for the rest of the year.) How can you not love a competition that was cancelled by promoters in 1971 to protest "the reign of free love"? And I'm not alone in my appreciation of this grand event: it's estimated that nearly as many people showed up just to watch this year's contest as ran in Atlanta's Peachtree Road Race earlier the same day.

Maybe all of this success is because of the unique nature of the competition as a quintessentially American event complete with hot dogs, gluttony, and red, white, and blue bunting. When asked why he competes annually in this contest, 2007-08 champion Joey Chestnut summed it all up, "I love to eat. I love the competition. And... it's Fourth of July, and you can get away with it on this day, push your body this hard over something silly like this." Damn straight, Joey. It sure beats running a 10K.

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This year, ABC broadcast the annual Scripps National Spelling Bee with such innovations as pre-produced informational segments, competitor interviews, running commentary, and television time-outs. It was like watching a televised football game without any actual football. I recall watching once as some Fox announcers tried to spell the name of Green Bay Packer defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila before some organized football broke out and shut them up. No such luck at Scripps. The ABC commentators frequently stepped all over the children's frequently amusing banter with the official pronouncer (which, by the way, is one of the best job titles ever).

I can proudly say that I was able to spell two of the words on the program: "basenji" and "Rorschach." The first is an African breed of dog renowned for its lack of bark. And while the second is the name of the familiar ink-blot psychological test, it is also the name of a super hero. I'll admit that I failed to correctly spell "empyrean," despite the fact that it was the name of my High School's yearbook, so you can see where my interests lie.

I'd rather watch than participate in a spelling bee, mainly because my spelling has historically been so terrible. "You're a phonetic speller," my mom would always explain to me whenever I failed yet another spelling test in elementary school. When I would ask what that word meant, she'd tell me to "look it up." Parents can be so cruel to their children.

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Run, Pyro, Run!I was really pulling for Pyro in today's 134th running of the Kentucky Derby. However, Pyro was unable to catch fire after being snuffed by other runners right out of the gate. This is two consecutive bad races for Pyro, who appears to have burned out after scorching the field with blazing speed earlier in his career. (I'm sorry for all that, really I am.)

Other sad news was the euthanization of the filly Eight Belles following the race for two leg fractures. Ironically, "eight bells" is nautical slang for the end of a ship's watch shift and is used by sailors as a euphemism for death. Someone probably should have told this to the filly's parents.

The moral to this Kentucky Derby is be very, very careful what you name your horse.

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As you may have heard, Georgia is in the midst of a drought. Yesterday, our Governor, Sonny Perdue, led a public prayer for rain on the grounds of the state capital. Amusingly enough, the prayer was protested.

Sure, I might have problems with state sponsored prayer. But I've really got better things to do than to protest against people praying for rain. I mean, where's the up side in that protest? If you're right, and faith shouldn't be invoked to solve the drought, how do you propose that we force the atmosphere to deliver us precipitation? If you're wrong, and appeasing a higher power is what is required to make it rain, you've doomed us all. In either case, by raining on this parade, you're not helping to make it any more wet around here.

Now that it's raining a day later, clearly proving that prayer works (sorry all you people who lost loved ones to disease, God doesn't love you as much as he loves Sonny Perdue), those same protesters are no doubt worried that solutions to other local problems will be sought with prayer instead of legislation. Maybe God can prevent a recurrence of the perfect storm that led to Genarlow Wilson becoming national news at Georgia's expense. Or maybe God can decide what to do about the pesky problems with Atlanta traffic jams. Or potential construction costs and controversial plans for the Hartsfield-Jackson airport expansion. Or what to do about putting too much salt on a police officer's complementary hamburger. (Or even police officers who arrest people for putting too much salt on their complementary hamburgers.)

Hell, why don't we just go ahead and put God to the ultimate test: see if he can make the Atlanta Falcons football team have two consecutive winning seasons for the first time in franchise history. (That's asking for just 18 wins over two seasons.) Or what if we pray that the Atlanta Thrashers hockey team wins a game in the playoffs? (They were the best team in the regular season last year. How hard can it be to win one post season game?) Or, if we're looking for a real challenge, how about giving the Atlanta Hawks basketball team a .500 or better season. (Not only hasn't this happened this century, the Hawks' playoff record makes the Thrashers appear to be over-achievers.)

I'm not asking for miracles here. I'm just looking for Atlanta professional sports to not suck. That doesn't seem nearly as hard as making it rain, does it?

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My name is Walter, and I'm a choker.

Yes, it's true. I've been playing Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 on the Wii, and I can't beat CGI-Tiger. Oh, I can take a commanding lead through the front nine holes. But then I lose, lose, lose on the back nine and watch impotently as CGI-Tiger hosts his own trophy.

I know that CGI-Tiger is beatable. My brother did it in his first try. Easily. Me? On the front nine, I've scored birdies. I've scored eagles. I've even scored aces! And CGI-Tiger chips his way to victory despite my best efforts. Three strikes, and I'm down and out.

Maybe the game is constructed to make CGI-Tiger nearly invincible on the back nine. Maybe this is what the game considers to be the "Tiger Challenge," and I'm supposed to struggle through it. But most likely, I just can't maintain my focus and concentration through 18 holes when I know that CGI-Tiger is standing on the opposite side of the fairway staring at me, biding his time so that he can make his third chip-in in a row for his fourth eagle in five holes.

This game has convinced me that when the chips are down, I'll drop the ball. If the first step to recovery is admitting that I have a problem, consider me already on step two. Because I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, I used to be good at video games.

Sigh.

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Now that the White House has weighed in, I can speak up, too. Just what the hell is all this furor over Don Imus' insult of the Rutgers women's basketball team? So he called them "nappy-headed hos." And now everyone is up in arms that he made a racial slur.

Excuse me, people, but perhaps, just perhaps, calling someone "nappy-headed" is not as significant as calling a bunch of women "hos." The first describes kinky hair, which is usually undesirable. The second labels a woman as a whore. What Imus suggested in his statement was that the winning basketball team was made up of prostitutes with unflattering hairstyles. And this is to some degree a true statement given the nature of NCAA exploitation of athletes in profitable venues and the fact that the Rutgers women's basketball team members have unflattering hairstyles.

Now Al Sharpton is screaming about the slight and Don Imus has a two-week vacation. What amuses me about this is wondering if he had just called the team "hos" without mentioning their hairstyles, would he be in this much trouble? (Last time I checked, Al Sharpton doesn't rush to your aid unless you are a member of a minority or a Thanksgiving turkey.)

And I'd advise the Rutgers women's basketball team to stop blaming Don Imus for raining on their moment in the sun. Ladies, no one watches women's basketball. (For example, at the University of Georgia, women's season tickets for our competitive SEC program sell for $25. The horrible, horrible men's team sells season tickets for over 10 times that. Apparently in sports, dicks cost more than tits, which is oddly very contrary to the dating scene.) May I suggest to you, Rutgers, that while you may have provided the sun, Imus and Sharpton provided the moment.

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wriphe.com April 6, 2007

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Yesterday, a friend and I were trying to reconstruct the basics of sexual baseball. We were both sure that "first base" was a kiss and intercourse was "home plate." However, we could come to no consensus about what hitting a double or a triple equated to in the sexual arena. We argued over whether or not third base was oral sex, mostly because my friend supports the Democrat party line and claims that "sexual relations" doesn't include oral sex. I suppose the facts that neither of us cares much for baseball and he's long married and I'm socially inept contributed to this confusion greatly.

That got me thinking about sports metaphors for sex and dating. Running the previously mentioned bases, "hitting a home run," and "striking out" are all clearly baseball inspired. I can't think of any other sports that have donated quite so many terms as metaphors for sex. Are these other sports so exciting that sex pales in comparison? Should we start calling the ménage à trois a "hat trick." Or perhaps rename premature ejaculation to "scoring a safety"?

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Yesterday ESPN.com ran the following headline:

Couples takes six holes in Skins Game

Now that's a sporting event that I'd like to see!

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This weekend I was thinking about how pleased I am that baseball season is over because it means that after several months of self-imposed exile, I can listen to Atlanta's 96 Rock radio station again. During the season, 96 Rock - Atlanta's oldest FM station, number 96.1 on your analog radio dial - forgoes classic rock 'n roll for Atlanta Braves coverage. It sucks to tune the radio in hoping for AC/DC or Tom Petty and hearing Skip Caray lamenting weak batting instead.

I suppose it's a trade-off for the Clear Voice >shudder< owned radio station: losing the listening audience like me that tunes out because we're not hearing music versus the increase in listeners due to the broadcast of a baseball game. But who even pays attention to baseball anymore?

Television ratings for baseball games have been gradually declining for decades. Major League Baseball frequently points out that revenue is up and allowing for inflation, ticket prices have remained relatively consistent over the past half-century. This really means that revenues aren't so much up, they're just much larger numbers thanks to that same inflation. So baseball revenue has been largely stagnant for years, indicating an overall decrease in interest among a growing American population. America's Pastime? More like America's Past Time.

I'm pretty sure that radio ratings are falling across the board as people are given more options in the home, office, and car. (I looked at the internet in an attempt to verify this, but all I could find were sites maintained by radio advertisers such as the Radio Advertising Bureau, and they are the last group of people who would willingly confirm this.) I'm not surprised that broadcasting baseball games may provide a shot in the arm for declining ratings in an industry besieged by the variety of popular entertainment. However, I would think that weakening your listening base by bisecting your listenership into summer sports fans and winter rockers would only damage your all-too-important brand loyalty.

So give it up, 96 Rock, and give me America's other dying amusement: rock and roll.

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To be continued...

 

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