Friday, April 29, 2011

If You Can't Take the Heat....Don't Blog About Them

The one thing I DO know about the NBA...the Logo, Jerry West
 A co-worker of mine asked me if I was going to write a blog post about the NBA playoffs (answer = no). It's hard to write about a league that you a) don't like and b) don't watch. I'm pretty sure the last NBA game I watched on television was back in 2009, when the Milwaukee Bucks were in town to play the Wizards. And let's be real, the only reason I watched then was because my future husband Joe Alexander played for the Bucks at the time.*

The thing is, something for me gets lost in translation between collegiate and professional basketball. The parity in the NCAA these days make each game exciting and unpredictable, allowing me to sit and watch random teams battle it out on the hardwood with enthusiasm and delight. I'm even a regular at Shepherd University games (or I was, until the coaching staff decided I was a jinx and banned me from attending). And you know in D-II, it's pretty much a guarantee that there won't be any talent on par with a Dwayne Wade, Lebron James, or Steve Nash.

Yet, watching the aforementioned players just doesn't excite me. I know they're great, but I'm just...bored. NBA games seem so contrived. It's as if, for me (for you, for me....right American Idol judge Randy Jackson?), the life just gets sucked out of these players' souls somewhere between graduation and draft day. What happens? Where have all the good men gone? (Sorry, I was totally watching Shrek 2 the other day and have had I Need a Hero running through my head on repeat).

So, NBA fans, help me be a better sports-o-nista. Fill me in on this craziness called the NBA. Why should I care? Why do YOU care? Why didn't Dwight Howard win the 2007 Slam Dunk Contest when he put his face sticker on the backboard? This inquiring mind wants to know.

*Disclaimer: Joe Alexander doesn't exactly know who I am, so he is not aware of our impending nuptials. If you DO know Joe Alexander, feel free to give him my digits.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

(Not) Following the Rules....

There are some difficult things to understand in this forms, advanced physics, and the whole script of the movie Snatch (seriously, does anyone know what they're saying?). But nothing, and I mean NOTHING, compares to the NCAA rule book. There are more pages in that thing than most athletes (and to be fair, most students in general) will read throughout their entire college career. And it seems that with every rule comes four or five different interpretations, all depending on how the folks in Indianapolis seem to be feeling on a particular day.

Take for instance the NCAA rule concerning eligibility as it relates to unethical conduct and recruiting violations (insert Cam Newton story here). While most of us might think that one's father shopping an athlete around to the highest SEC bidder would be grounds for some sort of reprimand to the athlete, we'd apparently be wrong. Because, in the strictest interpretation of the rules, the athlete in question had no knowledge of the transactions, clearing him of any unethical conduct violations, and was never an athlete at the institution accused of improper recruiting, which clears him of that. So the star football player gets to continue on with life while daddy gets a slap on the wrist.

Ok, I'll buy that. But let's take a look at another rule. This one concerning eligibility as it relates to amateur status. Clearly you'd think there would be some wiggle room if a football player whose dad pimped him out is still considered to be an amateur. But in the case of WVU basketball player Denis Kilicli, who the NCAA determined to be in violation of this rule due to playing on an Turkish team that included a professional player, the NCAA was not quite as lenient. Kilicli was suspended for the first 20 games during the 2009-10 season. Hmmm....

My favorite (unemployed) Rule Breaker Rich Rodriguez
 And the NCAA rulings in the Jim Tressel and Ohio State Football Yard Sale that apparently has been going on for a few years? Yeah, I don't even have enough energy to know where to begin with that. The point is, there is no point. It seems that the NCAA rule book and those that enforce its compliance are just free spirits granting clemency or penalty upon whim.

They say rules are meant to be broken. I guess it's just a matter of knowing which are the right ones to break.

In lighter news, I've got a heads up to all my fellow WVU Mountaineer fans out there. On Friday, April 29, Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium will be the site of the Old Timer's game, which will be played before the annual Blue-Gold spring game. Over 150 of the who's who of Mountaineer football will be involved, including Bobby, Tommy and Terry Bowden, Don Nehlen, Frank Cignetti, Quincy Wilson, Major Harris, Oliver Luck, Jeff Hostetler, Amos Zereoue, Mike Logan, Aaron Beasley, Pat White, Rasheed Marshall, Owen Schmitt, Pat McAfee, Reed Williams, Marc Magro, and Grant Wiley. If you're in the Morgantown area, make sure to attend and send me pictures! I'll be jealous of you forever.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Flipping the Bird(s)

Remember when the Orioles were awesome, perennial post-season participants, and World Series champs? Yeah, me either.

Year after year I wait with anticipation to Opening Day, excited for the start of baseball season. How many hits will Nick Markakis get? How many bases can Brian Roberts steal? How many times will Felix Pie's last name make me hungry? And then June rolls around. The Orioles are virtually eliminated from the playoffs and all I have are bittersweet what-ifs and a whole long nine months to forgive and forget.

But this year I thought things were going to be different. A week and a half in, the O's were 6-2, earning them a spot on ESPN's Power Rankings AND garnering the top play on Sport's Centers Top 10. Buck Showalter had the best winning percentage of any manager taking over. The excitement was building in Baltimore, and Camden Yards looked poised for a return to the big times. But before I could dig out my Larry Bigbie shirt (don't judge...he was hot), the dream came crashing to a halt.

Having now lost 10 out of their last 12, the Orioles bright start is once again mired in the sub-average muck and mire of April baseball. With only a split series against the Twins to brag about, it seems the O's have yet to figure out a permanent solution to the problem.

So how do the Birds flip their season around? Well, first of all, it would be nice to take the Yankees off the schedule. One third of the O's losses have come against the New York club. But since that's probably not going to happen, the Orioles need some key offense to back up their relatively young pitching staff. Newly signed veterans Derrek Lee and Vladimir Guerrero, along with Markakis, Roberts, and Adam Jones, must find a way to reclaim the magic that they started the season with. Otherwise, it's going to be a sad day in Mudville for O's fans.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Rocking the Red

It's playoff time in the NHL and the big question is...who knew hockey was so fashionable? Well, if you didn't, you do now. The first clue to this is every radio broadcast will usually always include three key components: who's on the ice, what direction the teams are skating from (left to right on your dial or vice versa) and what color sweaters they are wearing. Yes, sweaters. Not jerseys. With different designs and color schemes for home and away games, as well as that lucky third jersey introduced by the Canadiens in 1946 (bonjour Montreal!), this manliest of sports is also the most stylish.

So when I attended a Washington Capitals game a few weeks ago at the Verizon Center, I had a slight panic attack about what I was going to wear. Because you have to Rock the Red, and the simple truth is....I don't wear red. Like ever. Why did they have to change from the teal, gold and white uniforms of yore? I wear lots of teal! Anyhoo, after a frantic firestorm of tossing t-shirts, tank tops and sweaters about until I finally unearthed a decent enough outfit, I felt fairly confident that I could pass myself off as a true Caps fan. Or at least a person who knew enough to wear the right color.

This afternoon the Eastern Conference champs have a chance to clinch their first round series against the NY Rangers. I guess it's time to start looking for that red scarf I have somewhere so I can pretend I'm at the ice rink. Get ready to unleash the (fashionable) Fury fellow Caps fans!

Friday, April 22, 2011

A mystery wrapped in an jersey shod in stilettos....

I figured I needed to get a piece of this blogging action since it's trend-o-riffic right now, and I'm nothing if not trendy. The hardest part was trying to determine what I'd write about. My keen fashion sense? My crazy cat? My hopeless love life? Grilled cheese sandwiches (yumm)? All of the above? None of the above?

And then, in a flash of lightning, I realized.....I can give the ladies (or the gents, if so interested) cliff notes on what's going on in the sport's world....a Sports Center geared toward the double x chromosomes, if you will.  One of my biggest pet peeves is hearing "Well, while your guy is watching football on Sunday..." because let's face it, I'm on my couch every Sunday, usually watching my beloved Redskins lose another game.

So I'm here to break the stereotype....think of it as Charlotte York meets Erin Andrews. Or something to that effect. Play ball!

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