For those of you who that will be voting today for Mitt Romney, I need to ask you for an important favor…. This morning, before you go vote, do something for me: Call your mother. Call your wife. Call your daughter. Call your sister. Call them and please let them know that while you supposedly love them, you just don’t think they’re intelligent enough or worldly enough to make decisions about their own body. About their own healthcare. About their own family. About their own future. Let them know that while you supposedly love them, you’re going to go cast your vote to specifically limit their rights as humans.
And then, if you’re lucky enough to have some friends who happen to be gay, please give them a call as well. Give them a call and let them know that while they are supposedly your friend, you just don’t think that they’re human enough to be entitled to the same rights and privileges you have in this country. Let them know that you don’t care that they can’t visit loved ones in the hospital, get the right insurance coverage, or simply say “I do” to the person they love. Let them know that while you apparently like them, you’re going to go vote against their rights to live like you’re already entitled to as a human.
Once you’ve done that? Then feel free to go vote for Romney. Then at least you’ve let the people who will be affected by your actions know exactly what you believe in.
Because, really… What could POSSIBLY be more important in this election than the basic human rights that are at stake?
The Spread Bracket
So - now we all know who ACTUALLY won the tournament, and how the final bracket ACTUALLY looks… But what if we took a different look at the bracket?
I run a pool every year in which the 64 teams are doled out randomly and the winner of each game is decided by the spread. It’s a fun way to “even” out the landscape and randomize the tournament.
If we take that approach, than the above is our final bracket.
Now, isn’t a Final 4 of Western Kentucky, Gonzaga, NC State, and Louisville WAY more interesting than the one we got? I should say so!
Ladies and Gentlemen - your REAL 2012 NCAA Tournament Champions - Louisville!
Well, well, well… For a game that seemed to lack ANY semblance of drama in the first half, and much of the second half, Kansas decided to really make it a game down the stretch. And when you include the spread, we DEFINITELY had a barn-burner tonight…
I hope you had a chance to watch some of the championship game tonight, because you got to see a great team put on a show for about 20-25 minutes, then a scrappy team put on a clinic in making a comeback for the final 10-15 minutes. What started as a little bit of borefest definitely didn’t end that way… Kentucky, as everyone predicted, jumped out to an early double-digit lead, and held on to that for nearly the entire game, leading by as many as 18. But Kansas, just like they did against NC State and against Ohio State, mounted a great come back to make it a game. Once Kentucky seemed to “turn off the offense”, it was on for the Jayhawks to make their run. Behind a few well-timed 3s and a few dunks and foul shots, that 18-point lead all of a sudden became a 5 point lead in the final few minutes. Kentucky ended up holding off the charge to win the game, without too much drama, but when you layer in the spread, there was oh-so-much drama…
Kentucky was still up by 15 with only 5 minutes left, after a quick run of 3s stopped a charge by Kansas. But then, just that quickly, in the next 80 seconds or so, Kansas rattled off 8 straight to trim that lead down to 7. Keep in mind the spread was 6.5. The lead hovered around that 6-7 number for the final few minutes. With the lead at 6 and just under a minute left, Kansas got the ball back and ran a play for a Tyshawn Taylor 3-pointer to cut it 3. But before he could get it off, he jumped right into the path of the huge Davis and didn’t shoot it, coming down with the ball for a travel.. The teams then traded 2 points, leaving the lead at 6 with under 20 seconds left. Kansas fouled one more time to extend the game, sending Lamb to the line for 2. He, of course, hit both, and the lead was then 8. And as the final Kansas shot fell WAY short, Kentucky had won, and covered the spread, based on those final 2 foul shots. Just as easily as they failed to cover against Louisville on Saturday, they covered on Monday.
And we had a winner.
As with every year, I’m sitting here watching the gorgeous Luther Vandross rendition of “One Shining Moment” (the best one EVER mind you), and reminiscing on the tournament that was… Here’s what I’ll remember, in no particular order:
- I’ll remember the first day of the tournament, with barely a bit of drama or upset to speak of. Except for 1 seed Syracuse nearly becoming the first EVER one seed to lose to a 16 seed. A little bit of “extra help” from the refs kept them in the tournament.
- But I’ll also remember that on that first day of the tournament, two of the favorites (Kentucky, Syracuse) changed hands in our pool. And two others (Louisville and Baylor) covered EXACTLY on the number with some flukey endings.
- I’ll remember the second day of the tournament that featured not 1, but 2, COUNT EM, TWO 15 seeds upsetting 2 seeds. Duke and Missouri had a rough Friday. (And with this, I’ll of course remember that fantastic headline that I can’t get credit for but I will happily steal: “Missouri loves company”)
- I’ll remember the Big 10 having a HUGE start to the tournament, winning every one of their first two round games except for Michigan’s debacle against Ohio.
- I’ll remember North Carolina losing Kendall Marshall, after pretty much easily winning their first few games. This pretty much ended the tournament for them, and they couldn’t survive without him. They were probably on a collision course with Kentucky in the finals otherwise.
- I’ll remember that great game between Syracuse and Wisconsin that may have been the game of the tournament.
- I’ll remember UNC and Kansas putting on quite a show for the first 35 minutes or so, only to watch the Tar Heels go BUTT cold in the final 5 minutes, giving Kansas an easy win.
- I’ll remember the two big collapses: Florida’s against Louisville and Ohio State’s against Kansas.
- I’ll remember Kentucky failing to cover in the Final 4 by HALF a point. HALF.
- And I’ll definitely remember Kansas’ furious comeback attempt in the finals, only to fall a bit short at the end giving Kentucky the title and their bettors a 1 point cover.
Congratulations to Kentucky and to Coach Calipari. But with that in mind, what do you think is the over/under on years before this title is vacated when we find out these Wildcats were all ineligible as well? I’ll put it at 3.
Lots to remember. And lots more to forget. And I probably forgot lots more that I would actually like to remember. Got it? Forget it…
One More Bracket
So, as we enter April and the tournament nears it’s end with only one game left, everyone is pretty “bracketed out”, right?
Well, I’ve got one more for you… And this one is awesome for two reasons…
First, I think it’s pretty clever and well executed.
Second, it just proves I’ve got the best mom in the world. She never stops supporting my ridiculous, childish interests, no matter how old I get. Thanks Ma!
Clearly, I’m not that old. And I don’t really have the best memory ever. But this sure feels like the most painful year to be a Cowboy fan that I can possibly remember…
It would be FAR less painful if they were 0-13. That I can assure you. It would probably even be FAR less painful if they were something like 4-9 instead of the 7-6 that they are. There’s something about their ability to look decent, play great for stretches, and then play horrible for stretches that has made this season nearly unbearable to watch… Just when they get you sucked in, a little bit excited, and a little bit pleased, they find a new painful way to throw it all in your face.
I know this stat has been all over ESPN and the internet today, but it is so amazing that I had to put it here anyway… So excuse me if you’ve read it 5 times today…
The Dallas Cowboys were formed as a professional football team in 1960. 51 years ago. In the 50 seasons before this season, the Cowboys lost a grand total of 2 games in which they were leading by 12 points or more in the 4th quarter. 2. In 2011? Yup. It has happened THREE TIMES already. 3!
That is the absolute definition of painful. And stupid. And embarrassing.
And there’s really no lack of blame to pass around…
Clearly, the defense loses all ability to stop any team in the 4th quarter, so they seem to deserve the most for me. They have the ability to make ANY quarterback look like Joe Montana in the 4th quarter. They made Eli look like it yesterday, but he IS Joe Montana compared to the other idiots they have made to look good. This list include luminaries like Matt Moore, Kevin Kolb, Mark Sanchez, and a young man named Rex Grossman. Their inability to get pressure on the QB and defend anyone downfield is an Achilles’ heal that is not going anywhere.
But the blame doesn’t stop with them… The offense has also shown they have NO ability to control the ball for a few minutes and get a first down or two to actually kill off a game. We’ve seen this exact situation in more than half of the games this year. The play calling is rough. The play execution is worse. It’s nearly as much on them as it is on the defense.
And of course, Boy Wonder himself gets some of the blame. His antics with timeouts, with play calling, and with decisions has certainly made Jason Garrett look a lot more like Judd these days than the Princeton grad that he is. The Cardinals game was unbelievable, we all know, but even yesterday’s choices were not perfect.
There’s plenty of blame to go around, but that doesn’t make it any less painful.
Is this the Most Painful Year Ever to be a Cowboys fan? It just may be…
It was a rare amount of success for my sports teams this weekend, something that I’m sure hasn’t happened in many, many years… I haven’t actually figured out when the last time this happened was, but it may have been over a decade ago…
UVA Football won.
UVA Basketball won.
The Cowboys won.
The Flyers won.
The Redskins, Eagles, and Giants all lost.
Maryland Football lost.
In the same weekend.
I’m no statistician, but I HAVE to imagine the odds of all of that happening in the same weekend are pretty much infinity. And we were a Virginia Tech football loss away from a truly perfect sports weekend in my world.
What should I do? How should I celebrate? Not sure…
As the Cowboys were finishing off their drubbing of the Bills today, the girl says to me… ”You don’t seem too excited about it…”
She, sadly, was partially right. I was excited. But not as much as I should have been…
I was, and still am, quite excited over all of these great wins this weekend. And am feeling good about all 4 of these teams right now. Not like “championship good”, but generally good. Both UVA teams are heading in the right direction. The Cowboys at least continue to beat the teams they should (despite continuing to lose other games). And the Flyers continued their decent start and still seem to be on a good path to a playoff berth.
But what’s clear, and what was confirmed for me today, is that the losses, and especially the crushing losses, hurt WAY worse than the wins feel good. To put it another way, the lows seem to be a lot lower than the highs are high. And, honestly, I don’t know why that is… It’s not like losing is a new thing with these stable of teams I root for. I’m never surprised by losing. I just think I take it harder than I should and I don’t quite revel in the wins as much as I could. Probably a character flaw.
But this weekend? I don’t need to worry about that… We had a nearly perfect sports weekend.
Oh, and did I mention I had yet ANOTHER wonderful weekend with the fam? Beautiful weather. A trip to the aquarium. A smiling, walking, excited boy. And a beautiful wife. Things are good. Maybe if I just liked my job I could really claim to be (to steal a line from my man Lou) the luckiest man (man man man) on the face (face face face) of the earth (earth earth earth).
Happy Veterans Day!
Clearly this is a day to honor and thank ALL of those who serve or who have previously served in the defense of our country. But please allow me to honor and thank the three most important veterans in my life for all they did to make me into who I am today.
Pop-Pop, Grandpop, Dad - Thank you for more than I could ever say thank you for!
It’s a shame that on this pretty significant anniversary, the sports news world is so distracted by the unbelievably sickening news out of Happy Valley. It’s a shame that the despicable acts of a few sports egos overshadow a pretty remarkable act by one of the biggest sports personalities of all time. It’s a shame that the ugly, as always, has to overshadow the good… But, I’d like to spend a few minutes focusing on today’s great news, instead of today’s miserable news…
20 years ago today, Magic Johnson told the world that he was HIV Positive. After mysteriously being absent from the first few games of the Lakers season (which we were all told were due to “flu-like symptoms), here was Magic, on national television, retiring from basketball and telling the world he was going to die. Or at least that’s what it sounded like to me…
This is one of those days I’ll never forget, one of those moments that left an indelible mark on my childhood. Right alongside the ones we all talk about: the Challenger explosion, the Berlin Wall coming down, the first Iraq War. We were on a family vacation, and after returning to our hotel for the evening, we turned on the TV to hear the news and watch Magic speak. I was shocked. I was scared. I thought it was a death sentence. Heck, we all thought it was a death sentence.
What Magic said: “Because of the HIV virus that I have attained, I will have to retire from the Lakers today.”
What 13-year-old me (and many others, I believe) heard: “I have to retire from the Lakers because I have AIDS and I’m dying.”
What did we know about HIV and AIDS in 1991? Not very much and certainly not nearly as much as we do today. And as a kid, I knew even less. I had heard of AIDS, of course, but I’m not sure I had ever heard “HIV Positive” and certainly didn’t understand the difference. And here was Magic telling me about it on national television while I was on vacation.
This was Magic Johnson. This wasn’t some random 6th-man on a middling franchise from the mid-west or something. This was Magic. He was a Laker. He was a five-time champion. He was a 3-time MVP. He was an 11-time All-Star. Heck, he WAS the NBA at this point. He was Showtime. He was my favorite player and probably the favorite player of half of the kids across the country. Don’t forget Michael Jordan had just won his first title a few months earlier, so his ascent to glory was really only just beginning. This was Magic & Larry’s league still. And here, on national television, was the face of the NBA telling the world he was going to die.
But, Magic also said this: “I plan on going on, living for a long time. I plan on being with the Lakers and the league for a while and going on with my life.”
And the 13-year-old me thought: “What? What do you mean? Aren’t you in dire trouble? Won’t you be dead in a few months?”
This is what Magic did for the world… He taught the 13-year-old me, and many millions of other “13-year-old me’s” in the world that this was a complex disease, with many factors, many acronyms apparently, and many things we all didn’t know. We learned that it was something you could fight. We learned it was something that could affect anybody. We learned it was something we had to pay more attention to. And now, 20 years later, we learned that it, in fact, wasn’t a death sentence then, and quite often, isn’t one now.
But we certainly didn’t know it that night… His “public education course” took some time… We “checked on him” for weeks. Was he going to die now? Soon? This year? Next year? When we realized he wasn’t going to die right away, obviously our thoughts all turned to when we would see him on the court again. Could we see him again? It didn’t take long, thankfully… I’ll never forget, and I’m sure many people won’t, his return at the All-Star Game later that season. I’ll never forget the controversy over whether he should play or not. I’ll never forget the fear of him “bleeding on the court” or on another player. I’ll never forget the fears of other players playing with him. But I’ll also never forget his introduction. I’ll never forget Isiah Thomas kissing him just like he always did. I’ll never forget him lighting it up with a final 3 to clinch the game and the MVP award. What we saw that night was that it wasn’t hopeless. It wasn’t over. Magic was, to steal one of the best lines from the musical “Rent”, living with the disease, not dying from it.
It took 3 more years for him to return to the Lakers. I don’t know the full reason for this absence (as I’m not sure anyone does), but I’m pretty sure it had something to do with the fears of fellow players, the naivete of the league, the unknown of the disease. Maybe Magic actually wasn’t healthy enough. Who knows… But he did return a few years later, and while he essentially had a different body and played a different position, Magic nonetheless played in the NBA with HIV. And played well enough to compete. This was a huge step to recognizing he really wasn’t going to die… And, more importantly, to recognizing that no one had to die from the disease.
Now, look, I’m not naive in my old age… I recognize that many, many were aware of the struggles of HIV and AIDS in 1991 and that Magic wasn’t the first to really push for advocacy, research, and the fight. I recognize that the disease wasn’t new in 1991 and wasn’t an unknown problem. But he brought an awareness to this disease to many people who might otherwise have continued to ignore it, might have continued to call it the disease of “drug addicts and homosexuals”, and might have continued to pretend there was no chance it could happen to someone like them. And I would venture to say that the three things that truly brought AIDS & HIV to the forefront of culture to me, and probably to most of the world, were Magic Johnson, Tom Hanks and Denzel in “Philadelphia”, and the Broadway musical “Rent”. All of those things happened in a 5-year span in the early ’90s, led off, of course, by Magic and his press conference.
So Magic, you certainly have had your ups and downs since this announcement - did you REALLY need to have that talk show?!? - but I’m sure I speak for many of us when we say we are quite, quite glad to still have you around and still have you in our lives. You taught me what HIV meant. You taught me that anyone could get the disease. You taught me that it didn’t have to be a death sentence. And you taught me that it needed more awareness than it had.
And I bet you taught millions and millions more than just me…
Happy “Anniversary” Magic. I hope to celebrate this one with you again in 20 years, and again 20 years after that.
At What Age, Halloween Edition, Redux
Last year, I asked you about the age you are required to stop putting Halloween sprinkles on your ice cream.
It’s that time of year again… Now we’ve got some ghosts in all kinds of great colors… Too old yet?
It’s frieking late, but I had to write some thoughts on this incredible Game 6 that just ended…
- For as ugly as the game started with all of the errors and stupid plays, it finished in some beautiful, beautiful fashion with some of the most clutch hitting we’ve seen in a World Series in years
- Was pretty nice to see the local kid Freese do so much of the work in the 9th and hit the game-winner in the 11th
- Was pretty nice to see Josh Hamilton break out of his slump in the 10th, even though it didn’t win the game
- I find it incredibly stupid that you have to run the bases after a home-run that leaves the park. What’s the point? Just stupid.
- It felt a lot like the Mets and Astros in the ‘86 NLCS didn’t it? (Yes, I can make it all about the Mets!) It wasn’t in the 4-run increments that that game had, but it was the same exact scenarios. Great memories from that one…
- I was once again aggravated by the intentional walk of Pujols in the 10th. As I’ve written about before, it’s a terrible rule in baseball, it’s anti-competitive, and it needs to be fixed.
- It looked like Nolan Ryan wanted to come out and pitch every time they showed him. That or just punch someone.
- I’m pretty pumped to get a Game 7 in the World Series. You don’t get those very often (the last was in 2002).
- Was this the most exciting World Series game in ages? Was it more exciting that Joe Carter and the Blue Jays walking off against Mitch Williams and the Phillies? Was it more exciting than the Mookie-Buckner game? Was it more exciting than the Carlton Fisk walk-off? I don’t know the answer to that, but it was pretty incredible to watch. Even though it featured the Rangers and the Cardinals.
- I loved watching that dude run for and grab the ball on the hill that Freese hit out in the 11th. Couldn’t imagine the joy in being that guy…
- After missing much of the details of the early innings of the game watching my Hoos win a game on the road against Miami (Wahoo frieking Wah), it was great to get to see all of the excitement at the end.
- I hate that this incredible game ended at 12:45am EDT. Not a single kid under 13 east of the Rockies watched it and very few west of them did either. Really just a shame and MLB once again is killing their future.
- Think the Cardinals are pleased to have had that odd game postponement last night? Now they get to have their ace on the mound for Game 7 with an extra day of rest he would NOT have had normally. And he probably would NOT have gone without that day of rest. Conspiracy theory anyone?
- I love that the game came down to the final strike twice. And both times the Cards pulled out the tie. Talk about final straw.
- I love that the Rangers pitchers who blew the save in the 9th and 10th did NOT get the win (which was a possibility each time).
- I’m terribly excited for Game 7.
Wow. Pretty much all I can say is wow.
I hope you got to see it too…