Tag Archives: sports

Sports Nightmares: The Anti-Bucket List

Everyone has a bucket list.  You know, that list of stuff you want to do before your time is up.  For sports fans, the bucket list consists of far-fetched wishes like visiting every major league baseball stadium, attending all four tennis grand slams, or buying tickets to game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals.  The perfect sports getaway is a possibility that exists in our dreams but usually not in our bank accounts.  You’ll often hear fans say “Wouldn’t it be awesome if…?”  They speak as if there’s some sort of magical sports genie who will one day grant all their wishes to see the biggest games and meet the biggest stars.

What isn’t talked about, are sports nightmares.  That’s right; those are the events you would never want to see.  They are the games you would consider a form of pure torture to have to sit through.  Maybe the sports genie turns out to be evil and you are subjected to some of the worst moments a fan could ever experience.  You would rather spend an entire day at the mall shopping with your wife, than be granted free tickets to any of these events.  You would volunteer to attend a wedding on a college football Saturday before you’d volunteer to watch even a minute of these competitions.

So here they are, ten of the most painful, and mind-numbingly brutal events a sports fan could ever be forced to witness.

Turn in your man card...now. (courtesy news.xinhuanet.com)

1.      Men’s Figure Skating

I know these fellas can do some amazing tricks on ice, but as a dude, it’s never okay to put on spandex and glitter and be happy about it.  Start competing in regular clothes and maybe you’ll earn a shred of my respect, although even a pair of khakis or a designer suit can’t make up for all the prancing and jazz hands.   It’s embarrassing to watch a grown man wearing six pounds of makeup and a flesh colored leotard.  I don’t know how people watch this without squirming at the utter absurdity of the whole sport.  The only thing more humiliating than participating in men’s figure skating is admitting that you watch men’s figure skating.   This has to be the reason why people first started putting two TV’s in their home.

2. Cheerleading Competition Continue reading Sports Nightmares: The Anti-Bucket List

Want To Be A Coach? No You Don’t.

Scott Brooks' job only looks glamorous, there's many more moments full of frustration. (courtesy aolnews.com, nba/getty images)

The coach is always an easy target.  If your team looks bad, the knee-jerk reaction is always to blame the coach.  If players aren’t living up to their potential, must be the coach’s fault.  If there’s a key breakdown at a crucial moment in the game, the coach is clearly an idiot.  If your team’s fortunes don’t turn around immediately, this coach must not be the right man for the job.  If your kid isn’t getting enough playing time, the coach must have no idea what he’s doing.

Professional and collegiate coaches get paid big bucks, and I’m sure many of you would trade places with them in a heartbeat.  Not me.  No thank you.  I’m not sure the paycheck is worth the constant pressure, scrutiny, hatred, name-calling and second-guessing that coaches put up with from fans, players, and media.  Even if you can handle it, what about the toll it takes on your family?  Every day, your kids get to hear about why you stink at your job.   Entire websites are created just to promote and encourage your firing.  Your demise is almost imminent from the moment you take the job, because there is no sympathy, no grace, and zero tolerance in the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately world of sports.  These days, owners fire coaches like it’s a bodily function.

Let’s say you’ve got thick skin, and can get past all the material pointing out every reason why you’re an imbecile.  Good for you.  Now all you’ve got to do is take a group of men, women, or children and turn them into winners.  Do that by managing several different personalities, varying backgrounds, an assortment of skill levels, and a dizzying array of attitudes.  You have to know who to coddle and who to criticize.  Who gets treated tenderly and who gets a dose of tough love?  Make sure you earn your players respect, but don’t be too hard on them.  Keep things fun and entertaining, but not too fun, because then you’ll lose that respect.  Keep players happy with minutes and playing time, and you better know how to massage the ego of your stars and high draft picks.  And if you happen to be a high school coach, good luck explaining to parents why Timmy didn’t make varsity.  That’s a fun conversation.

Continue reading Want To Be A Coach? No You Don’t.

Call Me Commish

Acting as Commissioner of a professional sports league cannot be an easy job.  It requires business savvy, knowledge of the law, negotiating skills, and the ability to wade through piles of criticism while maintaining a tough, confident appearance.  Most of the job responsibilities aren’t glamorous, and the hours are long.  Commissioners are rarely praised and often vilified.  For the most part, I think the four Commissioners, David Stern (NBA), Roger Goodell (NFL), Bud Selig (MLB), and Gary Bettman (NHL), do a pretty decent job.  But every fan wonders what it would be like to be in charge.  We’d all love to take the ownership reigns of our favorite team for a week, but how does one attempt to change an entire league?  Well, like this for starters.

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION

Is anyone else tired of talking about the same players and the same teams over and over? (courtesy bumpshack.com)

The first thing I’d address as NBA Commissioner is what I like to call the “redundancy factor.”  The league’s biggest problem is that 75 percent of its teams are almost irrelevant.  This is a league that revolves around seven or eight franchises at the most.  The conversation, the media, and the telecasts, focus on these so-called elite teams like the Lakers, Celtics, Spurs, Mavericks, Heat, and Magic.  The rest of the league is barely worth talking about and that has to change.  The gap between the “haves” and “have-nots” has to close for the NBA to become an all-around better product, because when only a few teams have an actual shot to win a title before the season even starts, then why is the regular season interesting?  Where’s the drama?  Right now, we’re all just biding our time until the playoffs start.  In my mind, the best way to solve this problem is contraction.  I know it’s a dirty word, but it’s time.  Too many small market teams (Milwaukee, Utah, Sacramento) acquire star players only to see them bolt in a couple years for one of the big cities.  The teams that can hold onto stars are eventually forced to trade them away because the players have too much power (i.e. Carmelo Anthony and Deron Williams).  Getting rid of six teams would help bring the league back into a better competitive balance.  Talent wouldn’t be spread so thin, and increased parity is the result.  In other words, a more interesting, compelling NBA than what we have right now.  It gives me no pleasure to do it, but I’m taking the ax to these teams:

Continue reading Call Me Commish

The Gifts That Keep On Giving

It’s Christmas Eve, but it’s not too late.  There’s still time to pick up a few things for your kids.  And no, I’m not talking about the Wii controller, the latest Xbox game, the flatscreen TV, or the new laptop.  I’m talking about the gifts that will make memories for years; the gifts your kids will really appreciate when they get older.

Memory Makers

My best presents weren’t the Legos or the Gameboy or the sweatshirt.  As I look back on my childhood Christmases, my favorite gifts were the ones that forced me outside.  I remember the Nerf football, spongy and shining out of the box, that survived hundreds of sessions of pick-up football in the cul-de-sac until finally it was nothing more than a bare block of foam.  It’s paint gone from all those incompletions scraping off the asphalt, it’s shape altered by the times the neighbor’s dog got a hold of it.

I remember the hockey sticks for my brother and the goalie pads for me.  Gifts that turned our driveway into an imaginary rink.  Gifts that transformed my brother into the overtime goal scorer, and me into the netminder who preserved a shutout with his spectacular glove save.  Believe it or not, that hockey gear is still in my parents’ garage, and still gets use from time to time.  Simple gifts that gave me my favorite times with my brother and inspired in me a love of hockey that I still possess today.

Continue reading The Gifts That Keep On Giving

My Sports Wish List

Only a week til Christmas, so its a little late for wish lists.  I won’t be asking for anything extraordinary from my family and friends at this point.  Get me the sweater, the book, the DVD, and I’m a happy guy.

But let’s pretend for a moment there is a sports Santa Claus.  A sports version of St. Nick who is very interested in making the wishes of sports fans come true.  Well Mr. Claus, I’ve been pretty good this year and I have a few requests.

Here is what I want for Christmas:

I WANT A COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF

Don't the unbeaten Horned Frogs at least deserve a shot at a national championship? Maybe one day they'll get that chance. (courtesy realclearsports.com)

I know Santa, you get this one a lot, but I’m never going to stop wishing for this.  I’m thrilled with an Oregon/Auburn matchup in the title game, but the BCS continues to get lucky and that can’t last forever.  I’ll even admit TCU probably isn’t as good as Oregon or Auburn, but shouldn’t that be decided on the field?  The Horned Frogs did absolutely everything that was asked of them, but won’t get a sniff of a championship simply because of discrimination toward smaller schools and non-traditional powers.  I don’t care how big or small the playoff is, I just want a level playing field here.  And spare me the excuses of extra games, protecting student-athletes, and preserving the bowl system.  The bowl system is a middling mess of mediocrity.  You mean we might miss out on Florida International vs. Toledo in the Little Caesar’s Bowl?  Good, I’d rather watch curling anyway.  Trust me Santa, if you want to stop receiving these letters, you’ll find a way to make this happen for me and the countless fans who hate seeing this sport’s champion be crowned by ignorant human voters and soulless computers.

I WANT THE NCAA BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT TO STAY AT 65 TEAMS

College football may get it wrong, but college basketball gets it right.  There is no need to expand March Madness to 96 teams as is being discussed by the NCAA.  65 teams means the little guy still has a shot and that’s all the little guy is asking for.

Continue reading My Sports Wish List