Dec 10 2010

a change in the live-blog plans

Last weekend, I announced my imminent return to the live-blog milieu.  Well, I regret to announce that my initial plan has been thwarted by the idiosyncrasies of the NFL broadcast schedule and the miserable football team in the Washington, DC market.  But I have something better to announce.

Remember last spring when a bunch of people cleaned up their bookshelves and (ostensibly) their residences and I didn’t participate?  Well, I may have missed that party but I’ve got my own going on this weekend.  Starting tomorrow – or perhaps even tonight – I will be undertaking a major organization and purge of all the crap in my dingy hovel.  This will be my first spring cleaning ever, and some of the treasures I’m about to unearth haven’t seen the light of day in a decade.  Or longer.  And I’ll be live-blogging the whole process.  So stop on by this weekend.  This should be fun.  And by “fun” I mean – obviously – “moderately terrifying.”

Aug 8 2010

coach dad

Unlike baseball, football players don’t go into the Hall of Fame associated with a particular team.  That’s why I can extend hearty congratulations to both Russ Grimm and Dick LeBeau for extending the Steeler legacy in Canton.  Both men represented other teams in their playing careers, but were instrumental coaches on the Rooney family’s payroll as the Pittsburgh Steelers steamrolled their way to “Team of the ’00’s” glory.  Grimm has since moved on to sandier pastures in Arizona, but Coach LeBeau – known to his players as “Coach Dad” – is still the proud Defensive Coordinator of the Steelers.  And he spent most of the allotted time for his speech yesterday acknowledging that fact.  He may have played like a Lion, but he bleeds freakin’ steel and gold.  I wouldn’t want it any other way.

I would have preferred to embed Coach LeBeau’s entire speech – it was that inspirational.  But I couldn’t find the proper code.  My favorite part is when the 71-year-old – and still active – coach describes himself as an “experienced liver.”  (It’s a testament to his youthful vitality that his players don’t call him “Coach Grandpa.”)  I figure making it to seventy-one years is cause enough for celebration.  Hoping to be as tough as Coach LeBeau seems like too much even to wish for.

Feb 21 2010

judge baker

Anyone who follows the NFL knows that a disproportionate amount of superstar quarterbacks come from western Pennsylvania.  You've got your Johnny Unitas.  Your Joe Namath.  Your Joe Montana.  Your Dan Marino and Jim Kelly and Charlie Batch.  Well, it seems a similar dynamic is happening in the glorious sport of bad karaoke.  It's becoming increasingly clear that northern Ohio is a cradle of bad karaoke talent.  The only multiple-time champion – yours truly – hails from Toledo in the northwest corner of the state.  Our newly-crowned champion Matyas calls Cleveland home.  And the highest rated rookie in this year's strong class – Liz Judge – is another native of the Mistake on the Lake.  When we ever get around to building our Hall of Fame, it should probably be located someplace like, oh I don't know…. Canton.

Sweet Love
Liz Judge

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Jan 10 2010

dey who?

The last time the Cincinnati Bengals made the playoffs, Steeler defensive end Kimo von Oelhoffen accidentally obliterated Carson Palmer's knee on a freak play that made me happier than is probably healthy.  Nothing about today's matchup against the undeserving New York Jets approaches that level of shameful glee, but I'm still pleased as punch that they lost.  The last time the Bengals won a playoff game was the year I graduated from high school.  And they deserve it.  They're a terrible franchise with a terrible fanbase who act terribly on those rare occasions when the team actually does well.  Those who believe in karma know it's a bitch, which is why I expect at least another two decades to elapse before dey see another playoff victory.

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Dec 6 2009

my sunday afternoon

Fuck the Raiders.  Fuck the ***skins.  Fuck Dan Snyder.  Fuck the Just Us League.  Fuck Dabysan.  And fuck Cap’n fucking Crunch.  I hate football and I got a lotta anger to spread around.

[UPDATE: Okay, so the Saints held on and managed to keep my Monday from being utterly miserable.  But you know what?  Fuck the ***skins anyway.]

Oct 26 2009

my new favorite team

Nine times out of ten, my motivation for doing anything is: spite.  There’s no better way to illustrate this than to describe how the Boston Red Sox became my least favorite sports team of all time.

I’m not really a baseball fan.  I enjoy baseball, I guess, in the same way that I enjoy the Olympics; I like the concept in general and I enjoy watching every once in a while, but I’m glad it doesn’t occupy too much of my time.  I pay just enough attention to know basically what’s going on because it feels like at least that much is required of a “sports fan.”

I am, however, an avid football fan.  Earlier this decade, the New England Patriots cheated their way to a couple of Super Bowl victories and a whole crowd of douchey Massholes crawled out from under the rocks they’d been using for shelter.  They started talking about the Patriots as a “dynasty” despite that the team had only – at the time – two good seasons.  A few of them even went so far, in 2004 mind you, to label the Patriots the “team of the decade.”  We all know that’s ridiculous.  Everybody knows the Pittsburgh Steelers, who just so happen to be the team I root for, are the team of the decade.  Somehow, the mouth-breathing neanderthals in Massachussets gruntedly loudly enough that the national sports media noticed their bullshit claim and began lavishing undue attention on the Patriots.  They – the Pats – began turning up on those nationally televised late Sunday and prime-time games, taking some of the exposure which the Steelers so richly deserved.  So I got to watch my team less, and what coverage I did get fawned over a lesser team.  This situation affected me personally; the Patriots actually made my life worse.  So, naturally, I fucking loathe the New England Patriots.

This is where it starts to get a little complicated.  Because I hate the Patriots so much, I am obligated by spite to hate the Red Sox even more.  I know that every single Patriot fan would happily watch the Patriots go winless for the rest of time if that resulted in a World Series victory for the Red Sox.  I have to hate the Red Sox more than the Patriots because all the Pats fans love the Red Sox more.  So the Red Sox are my least favorite sports team of all time.  It makes perfect sense.

But I’ve noticed something a little strange happening over the past few years.  I despise the Red Sox so much that subconsciously, I’ve wanted the New York Yankees to do well.  You see, Red Sox fans hate the Yankees.  They chant “Yankees suck!” at the NFL Draft.  (This is more evidence, by the way, that Sawx fans are retarded and that I am right to hate them more.)  Every Yankee victory hurts a Red Sox fan deep in the most primative quadrants of his unenlightened simian brain (even though he will never know why), and that gives me great pleasure.  Lately I have told a few people that “I hate the Red Sox so much that I am practically a Yankee fan.”  It was only last week that I realized that statement was actually true.

So consider this my official coming out as a fan of the New York Yankees.  I didn’t have an axe to grind in the MLB anyway, so why not the Yankees?  They fit all my criteria.  They have a long and storied history of winning a lot.  Rooting against their chief rival is easy.  Jerry Hairston, Jr. is on their roster.  But perhaps best of all, my very first act as an official Yankee fan is that I get to root for them to reduce Cap’n Crunch to a whimpering and pathetic heap.  Yes, I would enjoy Cappy’s devastation very much.  That, there, is just the kind of personal connection that makes sports so much fun.

Oct 20 2009

the pigeon thinks it's people

Why would it want to be a Raider, though?

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Oct 19 2009

i didn’t even know he had a new book out

I think a lot about why I like football so much.  Seriously, I do.  On the surface it doesn’t make any sense to me at all.  None of anything that happens in the NFL on any given Sunday has any bearing on my day-to-day life.  And yet, I was just a little bit happier yesterday because my Steelers won and their division rival Bengals and Ravens both lost.  I was pleased that the Saints won and the ***skins lost, even though neither game directly affected my specific rooting interest.  (Unless, of course, you count “spite” among my rooting interests. That had a little to do with my reveling in that Skins loss.  And, oh yeah – ask me how the Toledo Maroons fared.)  There’s really no way to rationally explain why watching my team win the Super Bowl – at the Super Bowl – will always rank among the very best moments of my life.  Or so I thought.

I’m not going to say Chuck Klosterman’s explanation is perfect, but it’s the best one I have ever read.  And whatever is second isn’t close.  If only everything ever written about football could be this good, all the time, always….  Including my lame-ass blog post.

Sep 29 2009

the houston texans owe me $1,750

In my last post, I mentioned I’m not much of a gambler.  I guess I should amend that statement.  I’d say I don’t enjoy the table games (or the slots) but even that’s a little disingenuous.  I really like blackjack and roulette is okay, and I’m sure I’d like craps, too, if I ever bothered to learn what’s going on.  The thing is, I just don’t have the fortitude it takes for that enjoyment to pay off.  In order to win big, one has to be willing to lose big.  I just don’t have that instinct.  Fortunately for me, though, this past weekend I learned the joy of parlay betting.  Now, I’m not naive enough to believe that these odds aren’t stacked against me too.  I know the house always wins.  It’s just that betting on football is within my comfort zone.

I was an overall winner (monetarily speaking) for the first time ever at the end of this trip.  I placed before the early games a $50 bet on a three-game parlay (Giants, Saints, Colts) that paid off at six-to-one.  As those games drew to a close and Dabysan realized he was out of the money on all his early bets he decided to play a five-game parlay on the late games.  We both played the same teams: Chargers, Broncos, Saints, Bears, and Colts.  I bet $20.  It paid off at forty-to-one.  Those two bets, combined with the $25 I put on the Lions to win, brought my total winnings to $750.  Not too shabby.

Except that it could – should – have been a whole lot more.  In my post-winning euphoria, I didn’t realize until yesterday that one of my early bets was only off by a single game.  You can see the ticket above.  The seven-game parlay pays off at seventy-to-one, and I lost out on a $2,500 total payday because the goddamn Texans couldn’t get their shit together.  They fucking owe me.  Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels are both Toledo Maroons.  If they don’t both score (at least) double-digit fantasy points for the rest of the season, there will be hell to pay.

Aug 23 2009

almost like real football

A couple hours ago, I was hobbling out of FedEx Field wearing my Polamalu jersey.  A gentleman walking next to me said, "Meaning no disrespect, that's kind of symbolic, isn't it?"  "What is?" I asked, and he gestured toward my crutches.  I could hardly believe it.  "These?  It's symbolic I'm physically limping out of here after a preseason loss?"

In hindsight, I guess I understand a little bit better.  For the Steelers, this was just a normal preseason football game.  The starters played a quarter and hoped they didn't get hurt.  Sixty other guys battled for what will amount to maybe five open spots on the team.  The vanilla game plan was designed less to put points on the board than to avoid giving nothing away.  But for the ***skins this was the most important game of their season.  This was their Super Bowl, since there's no chance they will make it to the real one.  And yes, the ***skins and their fans can say they beat the World Champions.  Congrats, ***skins fans.  I hope this hollow victory is some comfort in January.

fedex field in the raintailgating in the raincornhole in the rain

pregame warmup in the raintaking the field in the raintroy polamalu is in there somewhere

I wasn't quite as psyched as I should have been for this game.  It started pouring here about a half-hour before my ride was to pick me up, and it continued raining heavily all the way to the stadium.  But as it turned out, we were pretty lucky with the weather.  Or as lucky as is possible given an 80% chance of thunderstorms.  The rain halted as we pulled into the parking lot, and during the respite, we were able to get our tent and grill set up.  It began raining again at about the time we started the burgers cooking, and continued until shortly after we found our seats.  And then it was fine for the rest of the game until final two-minute warning.  Things definitely could have been worse.

defensetouchdown!the zoom on my phone wasn't working

two minute warningben and coach tomlincheerleaders.  heroes.

Our seats were in the fourth row from the field at the five yard line.  They weren't the best for actually watching  football, but they were outstanding for watching the ***skins cheerleaders.  Which reminds me – I'd like to introduce yinz to the new lady in my life.  Her name is Sheridan.  We met in the third quarter.  I've never believed in love at first sight, but she swears that's what she felt when she saw me in the stands.

sheridan struts her stuffsheridan posessheridan! yay!

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