Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

So they say that this is the most wonderful time of the year right? Well it used to be for me, but I hasn't been of late. Maybe its because I'm getting older or maybe because its just sucks.

You see there was a time when this time meant something, but not now, especially not this year. Yea I don't like Christmas, its one of my least favorite holidays, but this post has nothing to do with Christmas, I'm talking about Capital One Bowl Week, and Bowl Season in general.



Man I used to love bowl season, football on every day for 2 weeks, it was excellent. I used to watch all the games, see some schools and players I hadn't seen play. It was exciting. Now-a-days not so much. (On an aside, I am happy that Michigan is back in a bowl game #GOBIGBLUE). There are simply too many bowls, 35 in all. That's 70 teams, out of 120 or so who make it to a bowl. What does that say for those who don't make it?


Really though the teams who don't make a bowl aren't the only ones who suck, so many who make games do as well. With all these new bowls sprouting up every year more and more teams get invites who don't deserve them. I know once you get 6 wins you're "Bowl Eligible" but are you really worthy? Some of these bowl games are so bad, you get two 6-6 aka .500 aka average at best teams going at it and its horrible. The damn  Mascot challenge is more competitive than some games. #Ridiculous.

The number of bowls is outrageous but I understand its a money thing, and people are paying to have their name on a bowl so the NCAA obliges, but come on. R+L Carriers, Beef 'O' Brady', the S.D. County Credit Union, Hyundai, GoDaddy.com and BBVA Compass are all sponsoring bowls. #Reallytho. Am I'm supposed to know who half these companies are and use their product once i watch the game? At least get some companies we know.

Man even the damn Yankees have a bowl, the Pinstripe Bowl. #EvilEmpire

Bowl week is supposed to be a nice lead up until January 1st, traditionally when all the premier bowls were played. Now a January 1st game doesn't mean as much because of the nonsense bowls after them. There are only 3 games that should be played after the 1st, the 2 BCS games that aren't played on the 1st and the National championship. In no way should the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl be the night before the National Championship.

Bowl Week, you used to be cool, now your just a joke. You used to be the most wonderful time of the year, now you're just a bunch of mediocre games that I might watch a little bit of.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Give Me My Damn Points!

A couple weeks ago a friend of mine (G) asked could he write a post for my blog...I said no doubt man just let me know. Well here it is:

Give Me My Damn Points!: America’s Selfish Attitude Towards Sports


It’s July 8, 2010. Millions of basketball fans and outsiders tune into ESPN to view Lebron James inevitable decision on what team he will join the following season. The anticipation has been building more than Dr. Dre dropping Detox as fans and "experts" alike have debated with their friends for months as to where Lebron would end up and why he’ll choose to play there.

Now the moment of truth has arrived, people are on the edge of their seats and Lebron makes his well-awaited announcement.



WHAT THE F***!!!!! This is probably what you yelled at your television screen. Unless you were this gentleman:

#bawse

In one horribly articulated moment basketball's golden child turned into America’s public enemy number one. (It has also been documented that at this very moment Tiger Woods hit the dougie for the first time...performing the popular dance number in celebration of him no longer being the most hated figure in sports.)

Every different geographical location in the nation had a different reason for hating Lebron. Chicago scoffed at Lebron who looked to provide the key to a championship with an already well assembled squad, New York fans could not seem to understand how Lebron could ignore the bright lights, big city, and Amare Stoudemire’s proposal to Lebron to "Do something special" and Cleveland...well their anger cannot be articulated with mere words.

Why was everyone so mad? I mean this is about Lebron’s family right, his friends, making the best decision to win a championship right? Right?...WRONG

This is about America’s selfish fascination and relationship with athletes. Every player who competes in a sport owes us something. If you get traded to a team in our hometown you better be ready to win a championship, because we need a reason to rock team apparel and brag to all of our friends about how our team won the NBA Finals, Superbowl, or World Series.

Team sports put extreme pressure on athletes to perform already, but then came the creation of Fantasy Football (and for some Basketball). The widely popular virtual competition puts friends against each other as they compete for bragging rights on who makes the better GM.

These matchups for ego, bragging rights, and sometimes cash have turned all who participate into unforgiving psychopaths with outlandish expectations. Each week we take our team of virtual soldiers onto the field, and hope and pray that they will produce enough to beat our friends so we can talk smack throughout the whole week. We yell at the TV screen, we slam our computer keyboards, often times yelling "GIVE ME MY DAMN POINTS!"

ESPN Alert: Michael Vick leaves the second quarter of his matchup with the Washington Redskins with a severe injury to his ribs. "WTF MAN, GET UP, GIVE ME MY POINTS!"

ESPN Alert: Austin Collie leaves his matchup against the Eagles with a concussion after taking a vicious blow to the head. "MAN GET YO ASS UP OFF THAT STRETCHER...GIVE ME MY DAMN POINTS!"

ESPN Alert: Detroit Lions lead the NY giants by 7 with 1:00 left in gametime. Looks like they’ll take a knee for the rest of the game to solidify their first road victory since 2008. "MAN F** YOUR FIRST ROAD VICTORY THROW A HAIL MARY TO CALVIN JOHNSON...GIVE ME MY DAMN POINTS!"

Sometimes I feel like the doctor:

 
 
Each and every week we put all consideration and empathy to the side, as we selfishly hope that athletes will give US a victory. It’s not about their families, it’s not about them being stand up guys, it’s not about their emotional and physical health, it’s about them producing enough so we can prove to our friends that we are smarter than them, and know more about sports than the Average Joes.

This is not just limited to Sports. We do this in most vehicles of entertainment. Look at when Kanye produced "808’s and Heartbreaks", or Common produced "Electric Circus" (although those two albums should never be mentioned in the same sentence). I’m sure when they were making the music on those albums it felt good to them. It was an emotional outlet, that helped them express how they felt at the time they recorded it. But because it was against the grain of what we are used to hearing, or what we’re used to them "producing" we felt disrespected and upset with them for their choice of self-expression musically.

Although we have extremely high expectations for all those who participate in these high-pressured forms of entertainment one can argue that they are in fact in the "Entertainment business." Their job day in and day out is to produce a product that is satisfying to the eyes, and pleasing to the ears no matter what personal hardships they have to go through to get there.

This is how we easily justify expecting the most out of these people. We don’t have to be concerned about their personal lives, and well-being, they just need to do their job and consistently achieve greatness the way each and every one of us individually defines it.

But who am I kidding? This is America! We can have whatever we want, whenever we want, our needs consistently being catered to is just part of the game. Because the customer's always right....right?

If you have a question or comment for G email him.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Getting by on Talent

How far does it go?

I was talking with my LB @KingovNY85 this weekend about football like we typically do every week. We talk about a lot of different things but one of the things we always get to is how overrated players are...especially corners. 2 in particular stand out: Antonio Cromartie and DeAngelo Hall. You're probably thinking what am I talking about, they both get mad picks. True they do, Cromartie 10 in '07, Hall 4 in one game a couple weeks ago, but it rarely has to do with their skill levels. 


 
Out of position but talent makes it up

Its mostly talent, supreme talent indeed: they're both freakishly athletic, lightning fast, and have ridiculously hops. A lot of their picks are a result of their talent but they're techniques as cornerbacks are not good. They both spend a lot of time gambling and trying to bait QBs into throwing their way and so they're out of position a lot. Sometimes they're able to pull down a ridiculous pick but most times they're getting picked on and beat. Many people think they are great corners but I think they just get by on talent. 


The risk paid off this time

Corners are the most overrated players in the NFL because people let them get by on talent. Of course talent is a necessity in the league but by itself it can't make you great. The superior corners, the ones who are really great combine technique & skill with their talent to create greatness. Think about Darrelle Revis, whom many consider the best corner in the league. His technique is impeccable, he's very skilled at covering guys. He rarely ever is out of position and rarely leaves his guy with enough space for a QB to throw it his way. If a QB then dares to throw he then uses his talent to make ridiculous picks.

Talent + Skill = Insane

Life operates the same way. There are tons of people who get by on talent, some of which are even confused as great. They can afford to just "show up" and do well and in some cases exceedingly well. They're in the minority though. Most of us won't become great on our talent alone. We'll try though. We'll see how far it will take us. This is how we are, we'll ride our talent because it does just enough for us, its taken us to a "pretty good" place. But what about becoming great? We hear more of people with the potential to be great then we do of people who are great. Few people match their talent with skill. People aren't interested in working hard and developing skill. They're perfectly fine getting by on talent, and we're perfectly fine with it too.


See how talent is doing on South Beach, 8-6

I don't want to be Hall or Cromartie. I don't want to ride my talent because I know it will blindly lead to people calling me great. I'll admit that I've done so thus far, and I've done pretty well. however, I know I won't get far if I keep doing so, I'll never reach my potential. As I get older and think about Real Life I realize that as talented as I might be its not enough to do what I want to do and become who I want to become. I'm trying to be great and I don't want it to be any doubts concerning my greatness. I want to be Revis, who might not be as talented as some of the other "great" corners but is so skilled that everyone agrees hes great. The only way to get there is to get skilled and combine it with my talents. I'm making a commitment to stop getting by on talent, what about you?

Oh almost forgot to say F*** my LB....he beat me in fantasy this weekend ending my playoff hopes. My talent never showed up lol.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Giants World Series Champs


Congrats to the San Francisco Giants who won the World Series on Monday night.

They defeated the Texas Rangers 3-1 in game 5 to win the series in 5 games (4-1). They defeated soon to be Yankee Cliff Lee on Monday (for the second time in the series) courtesy a Edgar Renteria 3-Run Home Run in the 7th inning. Renteria went on to be named World Series MVP. He's no stranger to World Series heroics though, he had the series winning hit in 1997 for the Marlins. He's been one of my favorite players every since, I pick his batting stance whenever I create myself in any baseball game.

I'm very happy for the Giants, as I was rooting for them. The main reason was because I owe them. Their departure from New York after the 1957 season led to the founding of my NY Mets. Our cap logo and the orange we wear comes from them. Guess I should say thank you.

I had other reasons too though. They're from the National League, where my allegiance lies. They play in one of the most beautiful stadiums in baseball (NL has all the best looking stadiums). Of course they also have Cody Ross (#sayitlikeross) who had a ridiculous postseason (.294 5 HRs 10 RBIs). It was probably because of his beard:
Speaking of #bawse beards, there was Brian Wilson who dyed his joint black:
Fear the Beard
They really represented the team concept: a group of low ego guys working together for the good of the team. They relied on mostly home grown talent,a bunch of cast-offs and journey men, and a rookie sensation: Catcher Buster Posey. They won games with great defense, timely hitting from unlikely sources (Renteria, Ross, Jaun Uribe, Aubrey Huff) and outrageous pitching. 2 time Cy Young award winner Tim Lincecum (also known as Big Time Timmy Jim) defeated Cliff Lee twice, Matt Cain didn't allow an Earned Run in the postseason and Madison Bumgarner threw 8 shoutout innings in game 4, dude is 21.

Congrats again Giants, you earned it. #Respect

Mets, hope you took notes.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Return of the NBA


End of October mean NFL is in the swing of things, the BCS starts wrecking havoc, Baseball is preparing to crown their champ via the World Series and the NBA starts up, oh yea Hockey is back too.

Anyway tonight the NBA season begins. You might have heard that a few things happened this offseason. Talents went to South Beach, Boston brings in 2 O'Neals, Knicks land Stat and some new playoff hopes, CP3 requesting to be traded have a better team put around him, the continuous Melo Trade rumors, Kevin Durant's continued emergence as US grabbed Gold, the John Wall dance finds a home in DC, Lakers quietly re-arming....so many stories. (List of Free Agency Moves).

Experts are torn between crowning the Lakers or Heat as champs but most agree that Durant will notch the MVP ending LeBron's run. They are split about the Rookie of the Year battle between John Wall and Blake Griffin but solid on the Defensive Player of the Year. Who really cares about the coach of the year, most improved and 6th man? If you do go to ESPN it aint touching my blog lol.

Nonetheless the season starts tonight with Miami Thrice and suspects taking on the Boston Three Party plus the Sliding punch and the Big Shamrock.

I'll be at the Wagon with the #NYcrew enjoying brews and sending boos.


I'll be posting my NBA preview/thoughts/predictions later this week, I'll let you know...

Into The Grey

The majority of the choices we make are based in an extreme. We mostly choose one thing or the opposite, believe one or the other, or we align ourselves wit one set of people or a different, usually opposite set.

Usually these extremes exists in a dichotomous fashion and we are conditioned/socialized/trained to pick one. Either we're Democrat or Republican, Gay or Straight, Religious or don't believe in (a) God. Even on lower level things that we dealt with in schools or our communities we either had to be Cool or Lame, Smart or Popular, the dude whose down with everybody or the one who thinks he's too good.

Of course there are choices that exist outside of the traditional binary lens, but even those exist at extremes. This one, That one or That Other one.

How can we call our self a "smart, forward thinking" society when we force people to choose an extreme? Why must we always be in competition as opposed to collaboration? Is it possible for Democrats and Republicans to collaborate? (How many bipartisan policies have we had?) Is it possible to believe in God but not be religious? Can we be cool, popular and smart? Can I we want to make money and make change? Why can't we acknowledge the grey?

In actuality there are very few things in life that are indeed black and white, mostly everything lives in the grey area. Nothing is completely right or completely wrong. No method is the correct one all the time. Sometimes a mixture of black and white is needed, sometimes the answers are in the grey. But what happens when we go into the grey? Ostracism from society?

In statistics we learned about the Bell Normal Distribution Curve and how most ppl (95%) fall under the curve. Those who fall in the extreme areas are called outliers, exceptions to the rule. However, in real life its the opposite. If you not on an extreme you're an outlier. People who see both sides of an argument are "confused" "indecisive" "wishy-washy." We might say that we appreciate those who are able to compromise, that find middle ground but secretly we question them. We call them weak and say how they're not able to defend their position, stand up for what they believe in.


We need to move away from this line of thinking and become comfortable going into the grey. If we can truly appreciate compromise and middle grounds then we can collaborate more. Collaboration would lead to a lot more change, both sides would work together instead of fighting. We might make our choices in the black and white but change happens in the grey. If we are serious about making changes and getting better we need to go there.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Moss, Vikings...Peaches and Herb

No More
Once Again
Randy Moss and the Minnesota Vikings will be playing Peaches and Herb for a while. The Vikings pulled off a deal to bring back Moss, pairing him up with Brett Favre as they gear up for Super Bowl Run. Moss was great during his first stint with the Viks (90 TDs) but of course had several issues (over $100,000 in fines).


If he stays out of trouble and Favre regains his fire (probably will) the Vikings are going to be:


I hope this trade increases his numbers, I have him on 2 of my Fantasy teams lol

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

College Football, Much More Than A Game

Saw this story on E:60 about the Mealer family. Its a real powerful story of perseverance and shows the power of family, college football and Michigan Football.





Proud to be a Wolverine fan...



Been A Month...

When September rolls around something great happens, football takes over the planet. The start of the NFL season and of College Football greatly overshadows the final month of baseball. You know that battle between Football and baseball is a tough one, ask George Carlin. Well baseball doesn't come back on to the scene until October when it matters, Playoffs. Yes Coach Mora, Playoffs.

The road to the playoffs did go through September though. You may have missed all the excitement while watching football. Its okay I don't blame you, I haven't watched a baseball game since my NY Mess, uh Mets were in contention (Early August when they were 6 games out). Anyway here is a look at what you may have missed in September.

In the American League the Twins and Rangers had a pretty easy time closing their divisions out, clinching on the 21st and 26th respectively. The AL East race went down to the final weekend. The Yankees and Rays both clinched playoff births on the 28th but the Rays wound up winning the division on the last day of the season.

#respect

The AL Cy Young race was in full effect as the 3 leading candidates tried to make their cases. Felix Hernandez had a solid month, 5 starts, 38.1 innings and only allowing 7 runs. He picked up 3 wins, taking his season total to 13 (low for a Cy Young contender). He was denied a shot at 14 when the Mariners shut him down early. The other 2 contenders CC Sabathia and David Price faced off 2 times, on the 13th and then again on the 23rd. In the 1st meeting they both were dominate, each pitched scoreless 8 innings before giving way to the bullpens. The Rays ended up winning in extras. The second meeting was not as good for either but worse for CC as he gave up 7 Runs (and probably lost the Cy Young).

Jose Bautista hit his 50th Homerun on September 23rd  becoming the first player to hit 50 since 2007 when A-Rod (54) and Prince Fielder (50) did it. Of course it didn't come without PED use questions/suspicions. Bautista finished with 54 HRs. A-Rod had a pretty good month belting 9 HRs and driving in 26 Runs earning him AL Player of the month honors.

A-Rod's month was cool but Troy Tulowitzki had the best month of all-time. Tulo hit 16 HRs, including a stretch in which he hit 14 in 15 games. He also drove in 40 Runs while hitting .322 and slugging at .800. The month was so good it pushed him into the NL MVP race. Doubt he'll win it but he did get player of the month honors. Only one word to describe that month:

#BAWSE

The pennant races were equally crazy in the NL, aside from Cincinnati which clinched on the 28th. In the East Philly, which began September 3 games back of the Braves, went on to go 21-6 in the month, clinching the East on 27th and winning the division by 6 games. 

The battle in the West was like the final scenes of great western movie. The Padres entered their final 3 games against the Giants with a chance to either win the wild card or the division as they were.  After the first 2 games the Padres were down one game to the Giants for the NL West and tied with the Braves for the Wild card. The final day of the season had 3 teams fighting for 2 playoff spots, but the Padres had their bubble burst as they lost to the Giants and the Braves won vs the Phils, sending the Braves into the playoffs and the Pads packing.

#jealoused
Well the playoff matches are set: NL: Braves vs Giants and Phillies vs Reds. AL: Yanks vs Twins and Rangers vs Rays. Let the games begin.... 

Friday, September 17, 2010

When A Free Education Is Not Enough

Still the '05 Heisman winner in my eyes
Reggie bush gave back his Heisman trophy earlier this week and yesterday he spoke to the media about it. He said giving it back was "not an admission of guilt," and that he gave it back "out of respect for the Heisman trophy itself." I think the whole situation is senseless (I really wanted to use another adjective there).

I'll go ahead and say that I do think that Reggie accepted all those illegal benefits, however I don't think he was wrong in doing so. I know its against NCAA regulations for student-athletes to accept extra benefits but I also know that certain student-athletes are not properly compensated for their contributions and are taken advantage of. Most student-athletes get "rewarded" a full scholarship, a free education, to play sports for the particular school. The education has long been said to be fair compensation for the athlete, as it gives them a chance to earn an education that they most likely would not have been able to afford. In most cases the free ride is certainly a reward for the athlete's contribution to the program, but in a very few cases its not. There are regular student-athletes, where the free ride is fair compensation, and then there are the superstars, where its not. These superstars bring in so much money for their prospective programs and don't see a dime of it, but are expected to see the free ride as fair compensation. #Ridiculous

Its nearly impossible to imagine how much money USC made during the time that Reggie played there but I'll go out on a limb and say it was more than the 160,000-170,000 it cost them. The areas in which USC made money off of Bush include: ticket sales, merchandise, bowl games births and enrollment hikes. It can be argued that fans would have gone to the games anyway, bought merchandise anyway, USC would have gone to bowls anyway and that students will always want to go to USC regardless. I'll argue that there was higher demand for tickets because people wanted to see Bush (not Mario Danelo), Bush jerseys were probably the best seller (not Thomas Williams), Bush's play certainly helped ensure bowl births (lets not forget that Fresno St game) and that there are some students who now go to/want to go to USC because of Reggie Bush. 

Consider this, a BCS bowl game birth is worth 17 million, BCS bowls games USC went to during Bushes 3 seasons: 3. Granted he himself wasn't the only reason for that but as I mentioned earlier he was an instrumental force and in some cases the main reason (again check the Fresno St game).  

For people to not expect Bush, or any other superstar student-athlete for that matter, to not take/receive extra benefits is crazy. So many people make so much money off of them and they are expected to not take a lil something on the side?  What happens if they get injured or something else happens and they can no longer compete? Star athletes fall from grace real fast, especially in college football, and teams/programs will forget you and move on. Look how USC has handled everything surrounding this controversy: removed his jersey and the replica Heisman. They knew what was going on, but as long as they were winning and making absurd amounts of money it was cool. Now that this controversy presents a threat to the wins and future earnings they're done with him.

Some people say athletes should just wait until they go pro and get their benefits/proper compensation. Yea, that's true kinda, if it were guaranteed that they'd go pro. They could get hurt or face other obstacles to prevent them from making it. Additionally, if you do make it to the pro leagues all it means is that someone else will be taking advantage of you until you're not lining their pockets anymore, and they're much better at it in the pros too (See LT, Jets flaking on Revis, Seahawks cutting Housh and Eagles handling of player health).

I think its unfair to expect the free ride to be fair compensation for all student-athletes. Some are greater than others and bring in more money than others and risk their lives doing so. They shouldn't be punished, stigmatized, erased from history, for doing whatever than can to ensure some security for themselves and their families. I know its against the rules to receive benefits, but maybe the rules themselves need to be revisited as opposed to the athletes being demonized for breaking them.

This post was inspired by this article.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ray Don't Play That...

If I saw Ray Lewis walking in my direction I'd cry. I mean he's a killer, on the football field at least. He's scary, ridiculous, crazy, intense, vicious....need I go on?

Dustin Keller just became Ray's most recent victim....



Ray hit him so hard that he was clearly dazed 2 plays later when he failed to get the 1st on a 4th down catch. Bet Keller won't cross the middle versus the Ravens again...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Durant, B-Team Earn Gold

Francis Scott Key and James Naismith would be proud
The so called "B-Team" finished on top at the Worlds.

Team USA cruise to gold with an 81-64 win against Turkey in the Gold medal game of the World Championships. Kevin Durant led this version of Team USA to the 1st USA Gold in the World Championships since 1994 (when he was 5). Durant was an offensive force, scoring 33, 38 (USA Record) and 28 in the tournaments final 3 games. He averaged 22.8 ppg during the tournament and was named the MVP.

This team was a reluctant favorite to win. They were young (6 players under the age of 22), inexperienced (only 3 played on an international team), undersized (one true center on the roster) and lacked star power (only 8 all-star game appearances). However. they did have talent, freakish athleticism and that guy Durant.

Throughout the tournament the team used their speed, length and athleticism to play impeccable defense, limiting opponents to 68 points per game. Durant, who some feared may not be ready to take the national team on his shoulders (myself included), rose to the occasion and was for the most part unstoppable scoring at will and not having any off nights (another thing people feared). He's not even 22 yet...

The Gold ensures Team USA a spot in the 2012 Olympics, meaning the team won't be under pressure next summer. The only question is what the 2012 roster will look like, and who from this team might make that one...Durant for sure.

My vote:
Starting 5: CP3, Wade, Kobe, LBJ, Dwight
Bench: D-Will, Durant, Melo, Bosh, Rose Iguodala, Some additional big man (Boozer, Odom, Love, Chandler, Amare, B. Lopez,  Bynum).

We'll see...anyway #Respect to this team...coming home with Gold.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

502 yards


Notre Dame got embarrassed yesterday. They only lost by 4, final score was 28-24, but they gave up 502 yards, to one man. 

502!!!! 

Denard Robinson racked up 502 yards (can't stop saying it) in a spectacular performance. He threw for 244 and a TD on 24-40, and ran 29 times for 258. #Ridiculous. He lead Michigan to the win in the final minutes with a great drive on which he went 4-4 and ran in the game winning TD. 

The man is fast, he took off for a 87 yard TD run (Longest in ND Stadium history). What's crazy is that he doesn't tie his shoelaces, which lead to his nickname: shoelace. He's also tough, he took a lot of hits with all those carries. He's exciting, last year he scored on his first collegiate snap. He won the starting job this year and has had 2 amazing weeks. It should be an interesting season for my boys.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Prescription



So I'm on vacation staycation this week so maybe I can get 1 post in a day...there are a lot of things to talk about...

Aight, so I love music. The actual music, notes and what not, as well as the lyrics. This is especially true for Hip-Hop/Rap music. I like listening to rappers who tell stories so well I feel like I'm watching them unfold. I like listening to songs and saying "damn that was crazy," either because the lyrics are crazy or because they make me think so hard. Naturally some of my favorite rappers are Jay-Z, Nas, Lupe and Fabolous (very long list) all of whom are capable of doing those things. The "new guard" of rappers is pretty adept too. J. Cole, Drake and Wale are very ill lyrically, something I really appreciate.

I was put onto Wale by my roommate in college (#shoutout @dueordie). He told me to listen to The Mixtape About Nothing and see if I liked the guy. I did and have been following ever since. After the success of that mixtape, and Back to the Feature, there were great expectations for his debut album Attention Deficit. It didn't really live up to the hype though. Although it received mostly great reviews it didn't sell well, only going gold. It was also easily forgotten amongst the other rap albums that dropped that year (BP 3Deeper Than Rap, Man on the Moon, Loso's WayRelapse). Recently I re-listened to Attention Deficit in preparation for finally listening to More About Nothing (#latepass). I just have to say that the album was indeed overlooked but Wale did warn us that that would happen, and even gave us something to prevent it: The Prescription.

The title of the CD let us know how Wale felt, and what I think ultimately happened, people wouldn't be able to pay attention well enough to enjoy the CD. The decline of hip-hop/rap over the past few years has been well known. It has been going away from the lyrical prowess that it was once known for, to the dance friendly, catchy beats/hooks, lets make something for the club era. Wale, aware of this, takes pride in his lyrics and dubs himself the prescription to the ills of the rap game. Proclaiming yourself as the "House" that's been needed to solve the rap game's rubic is bold and something that everyone has been doing of late, but Wale made a great claim on the track.

Pay Attention!


Don't let the pain getcha
I swear my lane will provide as a painkiller
A painkiller, a 16 of Percoset
Just let it chill Joe
That lil' burn that you feel, feel good don't it?
Just sit back and relax and take it easy
And let the beat play
Close your eyes, whoever uninspired
Pay me no mind, I put Adderol in ya eyes
Riddle them with Ritalin, attention deficit
Niggas start listenin', and what I'm givin' them
The drug that they brain need
Them niggas sick of hip-hop so they appointed me
And I invened but the IV inside of me
And ignorance was drug of choice but they OD'd
Couldn't alone leave 'em
I am the sole leader
The young soul that the OG's still believe in
And if you not convinced keep on promotin' them
I breathe life in the game, they are Kevorkian
They provokin' suicide but as soon as signed
I drew designs from consumer's minds so in time
I do it for all y'all, do it for all y'all
Don't gotta wait long
The doctor has arrived just be patient
please, please

Friday, September 3, 2010

Preseason Polls? #HateIt

College Football returned last night, I should say that Major College football returned: my Alma mater played their first game of the season last weekend. The big boys, Football Bowl Subdivison D-I, started yesterday with a bevy of games. Ohio St vs Marshall, The U vs FAMU, Pitt vs Utah, and a couple of USC games: South Carolina vs Southern Mississippi and Southern Cal vs Hawai'i were the headliners.

I'm so happy College Football is back. Of all sports I think its my favorite (depends on the day season lol). I really do love it though. The traditions, the rivalries, the stadiums, the fans, the uniforms, the history (kinda), just about everything except the preseason polls. Ah, yea, I hate em.  They're stupid.

Every summer miscellaneous publications put out their preseason top 25 rankings. The most prominent of these are the Associated Press and USA Today. The AP poll (as well as many others) consist of writers (#norespect) while the USA today poll consist of 60 coaches (#alilrespect). In actuality the preseason polls are guesses of how well teams will do this upcoming season based on returning starters, incoming recruiting classes and bowl performance. There really isn't anything wrong with that, we all guess how well teams will do. The problem is that preseason polls become the "be all end all."

Pollsters spend so much time researching (I say that sarcastically) and constructing their preseason polls that they do their very best to stick by it as long as possible. They will not move teams until they absolutely have to (when a team loses). So every week they will have the same top 5 as long as no one loses. Even if their top teams lose they don't drop them that far. A perfect example of this is last year when BYU beat Oklahoma opening weekend. Joe Schad only moved BYU up to 13th because they weren't in his preseason poll and had Oklahoma at 12. Even though he is not an AP pollster you can imagine that some think just like him. The AP did get it right dropping OU to 13th, but really without Bradford were they the 13th best team in the nation?

This problem of sticking close to your preseason poll can also be seen in a different method. Suppose a team unranked in the preseason opens up 3-1 against "ranked" opponents while the highly ranked teams open up 4-0 against cupcakes or with 1 lose? Shouldn't the unranked team rank higher? I mean they played and beat better teams right? Wrong. Ask Miami. Last season they opened up 3-1 against 4 ranked teams and ended ranked #11 behind a team the beat (VT) and some other teams who had easier games (Cincinnati, LSU, TCU, Boise St, USC, OSU).

Then there is the issue of over ranking. If a team finishes out a season strong (few wins and a win in a bowl game) and return a few star players they are vaulted into the next seasons top 25, usually in a place they don't deserve. We saw this in '08 When UGA was ranked #1 thanks to finishing with 8 straight wins in '08, mashing Hawai'i 41-0 in the Sugar bowl and returning Knowshon Moreno and Matt Stafford. We remember how there season turned out. Some examples of teams getting over ranked last year are: USC preseason #4 finished #22, Ole Miss preseason #8 finished #20 , Oklahoma State preseason #9 finished unranked, California preseason #12 finished unranked, Florida St preseason #18 finished unranked, Norte Dame preseason #23 finished unranked. It happens every year and it leads to "upsets": #3 USC losing to Washington#5 Oklahoma State losing to Houston, #4 Ole Miss losing to South Carolina. If there weren't preseason polls those games wouldn't have been called upsets, just teams losing to teams just as good as them or better (except the SC game).

I think preseason polls should be done away with, at least in terms of importance. Its cool to have a few people write out their lists early on so we could have some hype build up, but I think the AP should put out their 1st real rankings during the season, say week 4. After teams have gotten in a few games and actually played. Then you could really say who is #1, based on play as opposed to how you picked them in the preseason. Of course it usually doesn't matter because of the early season cupcake games that "top" teams play, so you can't really gauge who is better than who because of the lack of competition but I think it would force teams to have a more interesting early schedule. This probably wont happen so all we can ask for is that the pollsters actually re-evaluate their lists every week, really go through and rank the best teams as opposed to just keeping them the same if no one has lost. We, the fans, deserve something better.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

#Draftaboutnothing

Last night was my first Fantasy Football draft of this season. I'm in 3 different leagues but #draftaboutnothing will be my favorite because all of my friends are in it. @Ham_n_Chedda, @KingOvNY85, @ThePuddingLied, @fivefifths, @TheSitublasian @_weapon_X_, @TheUNjealous, @Larry_Draper and @CapNRoh. There are some very creative team names, and because we all follow each other Gonna be a lot of shit talking... 

I was so amped all day yesterday waiting for 8pm to see my draft order, and for the draft to start at 9pm. I felt good when I found out that I was drafting 6th overall. I had my fantasy big board, my notes and my copy of the Sports Illustrated Fantasy Football issue in front of me, READY. Draft kicked off and it was time for business. I planned to take either Ray Rice or Peyton Manning in the 1st round, both were snatched up (Rice right before me). I settled on Frank Gore, risky because of his injury history but he is a horse and I think San Fran will get back to running more and get out of that shotgun. I passed on Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers, hope it doesn't come back to haunt me.

As the draft continued I saw a few of my sleeper picks get snatched up by my foes. Beanie Wells, Pierre Thomas, Justin Forsett, Felix Jones, Mike Wallace, Jermichael Finley, Ahmad Bradshaw just to name a few. At some point I found myself without a QB. I noticed everyone had there's so I was just going to relax and take Kevin Kolb (another one of my sleepers) and then he got snatched up. I wound up with Joe Flacco though so I think I'll be fine. At a different point I mistakenly took LeSean McCoy, (think I was trying to draft Kolb lol) but I after the draft I realized that he might be a good pickup #SleeperAlert. I also nabbed Ben "Big RapeRapistburger...I mean Roethlisberger in the 12th round which could turnout to be a steal after the suspension. All in all I like my team's chances.

I present to you
In The Endzone 2 Arms UP:
QB John Flacco
QB Ben Roesthlisberger
RB Frank Gore
RB Jonathon Stewart
RB LeSean McCoy
RB Jerome Harrison
RB Cadillac Williams
RB Tim Hightower
WR Randy Moss
WR Hines Ward
WR Hakeem Nicks
WR Derrick Mason
TE Vernon Davis
TE John Carlson
D/ST Steelers
K Jay Feely

#LehGo #OhLehDoIt #FTW #GetThisMoney

I'd enjoy this fantasy football game too:

Rondo Withdraws...

Start working on ya jumper man
Rajon Rondo withdrew from Team USA late Tuesday night citing family issues but it may be more than that. Rondo, who felt he was on the bubble, may have been trying to save himself from the embarrassment, at least thats what a few reports have said (ESPN and Fanhouse). The news saddens me as I'm a big Rondo fan (my game is similar to his). Outside of my fanhood, I did think he was a good fit for the team, being a championship PG and very good distributor. Of course I was aware of his shooting struggles from the field and the FT line, but I thought his strengths vastly outweighed the weaknesses. What do I know? (Nothing, been wrong all my life). Better hit the gym brotha, 5000 jumpers a day.....

Team USA now has its set Roster. We'll see how they'll do tonight, 7pm ESPN and in the tournement (starts Tuesday).

Monday, August 23, 2010

Eli's #Jealousface

Found this photo on ESPN's photos of the week:

"I shouldn't have changed the play..."

I know its been a week but its still funny...

A look at Team USA



2008 Team USA (Redeem Team) Collects Gold Medals
In case you haven't noticed I'm a Team USA Stan. After the '08 Olympics I wrote a lil something on what I thought the '12 Olympic team would look like (Scroll through the comments I'm cbwr24). Its time for a little revising lol (Future post).


Anyways, the FIBA World Championships is right around the corner (Aug. 28th-Sept. 12th) and Team USA has been preparing all summer, so naturally I've been following. The started in camp earlier this summer out in Vegas, then they came to New Your City where the participated in the Nike World Basketball Festival, and now they're in Europe for the final preparations before the tournament starts. 

Of course no players from the Redeem Team are on this team one from that team is on this team (nothing to prove unlike last time). Fortunately for us we have a bunch of talented players to choose from as replacements. This, of course, is what got us in trouble in previous years. We would just plug in a bunch of "talented" players and expect gold. Thanks to the '04 Olympic debacle we now realize that its the right talent that needs to be together, something Jerry Colangelo (Director of USA Basketball) has worked very hard on. That being said, this team is an interesting cast.


Coach K returns as the head coach of the team, as does his Olympic assistants: Nate McMillan, Mike D'Antoni, and Jim Boeheim. This is a very young and athletic team, loaded with long and versatile wing players, and lighting fast guards. Kevin Durant, Rudy Gay, Danny Granger, Andre Iguodala are all 3s who will probably play 3 and 4 in the tournament. Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook are three very fast and strong PGs. Chauncey Billups provides veteran leadership, having played for Team USA at the 2007 FIBA Americas Championships. He also brings great clutch shooting to this table, something thats very important in international competitions. He will play mostly SG. The team only has one true center; Tyson Chandler, but plan to use Lamar Odom and Kevin Love at center at times. Stephen Curry and Eric Gordon, who both provide shooting, round out the team.

While they were here in NYC they played the 1st of 4 international friendlies vs France. The won easily 86-55. I had the fortune of being at the game. Since they've been in Europe they have played game 2 and 3 of their friendlies schedule. The first was Saturday vs Lithuania, a 77-61 victory, and the second was yesterday where they narrowly beat out Spain 86-85. Their final tune-up will be this coming Wednesday when they face off with Greece (7pm ESPN). After the game we should get a better look at how the team will play when the tournament starts and who will be on the final roster (1 more cut must be made).


A closer look coming soon...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Jets vs Giants...Eli #JEALOUSED

Last night the the New Meadowlands "officially" opened, hosting its first ever football game. (I was there last week for the USA vs Brazil soccer match). Rightfully so the game was between the co-owners of the stadium The New York Jets and the New York Giants. Don't remember being so hype for a pre-season game ever in my life, but I really wanted to see what these "new" Jets were about. I also wanted to see what the Giants would be like after their disappointing end to last season.

I only watched the first half, as the starters played most of it (Jets starters played all of it). On the Jets first offensive series Mark Sanchez forced a ball into new Jet LT (who was double covered) and had it picked by new Giant Antrell Rolle. (I think this is foreshadowing of how the season will go for Sanchez, forcing throws to make plays and turning it over). After the early mistake Sanchez did settle down and lead the 1st teamers to 3 scoring drives. The Jets defense looks as good as advertised and potentially better then last year's #1 defense. I say potentially because they need Darrelle Revis to pair with Antoino Cormartie (who shoulda had 2 picks yesterday). Overall the 1st teams looked good though.

The Giants 1st teamers, on the other hand didn't look so great. Their first TD was set up by the interception return. While the G-Men addressed their secondary in the offseason, they didn't add a LB to take over for Antonio Pierce who was the QB of the defense and a great communicator. That lack of communication led to an easy TD for the Jets, as they caught the Giants subbing out players (Pierce would have noticed and called timeout). The offense looked out of sync and could only muster up a drive that got them a FG. That drive was greatly helped out by a broken play turned into a 51 yard gain (Ahmed Bradshaw is a beast #fantasyalert). They're seems to be some confusion about the identity of the team, do they want to run (they should) or pass. This was so evident on a play close to the goal line. The Giants were set up for a power run play, when Eli Manning saw 1 on 1 coverage and decided to adubile to a fade. Problem was only he knew what he want to do. Jacobs expecting a handoff bumped into Eli causing his hlmet to losen...it was eventually knocked off putting Eli in a #jealoused position:

#jealoused
Bad things happen when helmets come off....
#theBloodyJealous



Eli was ultimately alright, just needed 12 stitches. I hope he learned the most important lesson he could ever learn: #1 Don't Jealous Yourself!!! Although I stopped watching, the Giants went on to win 31-16 with some guy named Victor Cruz (former UMass star) catching 3 TDs. Can't wait til the regular season. #LehGo!

Fellas, We MUST Be The Fathers

Over the weekend traveling home I saw this (Black) man and his two sons. It made me happy, so much so that I tweeted about it:

FullCupLover  I love seeing fathers with their kids...makes me happy...

The responses I got back from the tweet made me think about a few things that bother me and some potential solutions.

All the responses/retweets I got were from women (thank you ladies). It bothered me that no brothers responded. Women can't be the only people who share this happiness with me. Of all the brothers that follow me no one feels the same way? Can't be true, at least I don't think so. When thinking about the reason behind this two things immediately came to mind: the macho attitude we carry and the resentment we have against our fathers.

We men have been socialized/conditioned to never show our emotions (thank you society). Never show any weakness. Admitting something equates to being wrong about something or needing help. We men rarely admit anything for those reasons, we can't say we were wrong about something or God forbid that we needed something. So maybe no males responded because they don't want to seem weak for admitting fatherhood makes them happy.


 

Or maybe its that resentment thing. Some, maybe even most, of us have so much resentment for our fathers, those males (not men) who failed to be our father. The fact that they weren't there hurts us so much we can't admit that we wish they were. Instead we say: "Fuck him." We resent him so much that the sight of a man with his kids, a man being a Real Father pisses us off because we didn't get to experience it ourselves. Once again: "Fuck him."

Its certainly a combination of both of those things, both of which are harmful and can hinder our potential as fathers. Nothing good comes from hiding our emotions. When we keep all those negative emotions inside we're suicide bombers. Those emotions act like a time bomb, ticking away waiting to explode. When those explosions happen the people around us get hurt and so do we. The resentment acts as the fuel behind those bombs, just adding to those negative emotions. The longer we resent, the stronger those emotions become and bigger and harmful the explosions.

Resentment is a natural reaction but as much as possible we must not let it fuel time bombs. Not an easy task. We have to start by letting those emotions out. Talk about with someone, preferably a brother who may be going through it as well. We can talk to our boys about all types of foolishness: the girl we trying get with, our Superbowl picks, music, our favorite movies, whatever. A conversation about our absent fathers shouldn't be so hard. If you feel you can't talk about it with ya boys re-evaluate your friends. Getting those emotions out will make you feel  a lot better and prevent them from adding up. It will also take the resentment from being the fuel for negative emotions to being motivation to become the best father possible. Then we can slowly begin to clear out all the negative emotions, and maybe one day forgive than guy (maybe lol).

Turning that resentment into a positive fuel is so important. Once we do it we can then start thinking and talking about what we wished we had, the kinds of thing we wanted to do or hear, what we wished our fathers to be. Those thoughts/conversations evolve into what kind of fathers we want to be. Its not just something that we can should think/talk about, we can actually put it in action now even if we aren't fathers yet. Practice all the fatherly skills you think/talk about with your friends, nieces/nephews, cousins, mentees, any young person who crosses your path. Encourage the young fathers you encounter. All it takes is a "Keep doing a good job man" to keep that brotha going. We can do it brothers, matter of fact we MUST, its our responsibility.

 
Related tracks: Stay -Fabolous ft Marsha Ambrosius, Daddy -Juelz Santana, Be a Father to Your Child -Ed O.G. and Da Bulldogs, Where Have You Been? -Jay-Z and Beanie Siegel,