Friday, July 29, 2011

If They Mated: Sports Stars Edition....

One of my favorite Conan O'Brien sketches used to be "If They Mated." In fact, after "In the Year 2000" and "Triumph the Insult Comic Dog", it was probably the best recurring bit on the show.

And even though I don't watch that daffy red head anymore, I thought I'd take this opportunity to pay tribute to his genius.

I now present to you the Sports Stars Edition of "If They Mated" (thanks to for helping me achieve this blog creation):


He's just come off a major and historic win at the U.S. Open. She's the cutest thing since Shirley Temple. They're both rising young stars in the golf world, so what would happen if they got together????

I really, really hope this kid has a good chip shot, because they won't be winning any beauty pageants.


Danica is fast and furious on the race track, and Usain Bolt is just fast. Two people with this much need for speed should definitely hook up and have babies, right?

Umm....maybe we're just viewing the kid at a blur as they go all The Incredibles on us?


Lebron and Serena have a lot in common. Both are fashion icons, both love food commercials (McDonald's and Oreos, respectively), both seem to have a great sense of humor. I think this sounds like a match made in sports star heaven, don't you???

I love that you can tell that the baby is rocking a headband. And yes, I did consider just putting a picture of Venus here.


These two crazy kids are clutch performers all the way. Both are used to winning. And let's face it, Tom Brady is successful at pretty much everything he does, including getting women preggers. So why shouldn't they mate?

Oh, that's why.


If by some miracle of science these two had their DNA combined into spawn, women everywhere would be lining up. The soccer studs are tops in athletic prowess and uncanny good looks. So let's take a look-see, mmmmkay???

Morphthing tells me it would be this boy bander wannabe, but I personally think their child would turn out like this:
To my male're welcome.


Poor Bob Knight. I've picked on him before, but I do it out of a place of pure love and affection. No, really. So what would happen if he joined with another notorious bad boy of basketball coaching to have offspring? Besides the innate hatred for the NCAA, I mean?

Dear God, does this thing even have teeth????? On second thought, maybe it's better that way....


This Dallas Mavericks owner/bazillionaire is living the good life with his wifey and two kids. But if he ever finds himself single again, he's got his good friend Benjamin Franklin to keep him warm at night. Am I right? Am I right? 

And finally.....


Dicky V and Madden are legendary sportscasters and sometimes polarizing personalities. So what would their offspring turn out like? An annoying affinity for Duke? A poster child for a popular football video game??

Wait....I feel like I've seen this face before.....

Ah, least he'll be funny!!! And can coach a girls soccer team.
So what did you think? Have any other suggestions of sports stars to "mate" and "morph"? Send in your suggestions.....

Just kidding!!!!!

Images provided by 2.bp.blogspot, images.coolspotters,  

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Payin' for Playin'

The last few days have been aswirl with giddiness over the end of the NFL lockout. Free agents are allowed back into society, and coaches can talk to their players again without fear of Roger Goodell's wrath. Break out the cigars and brandy, 'cause happy days are here again!

But the NCAA, which has been providing us delicious scandal since January, isn't ready to give up the limelight just yet.

In light of the recent debacles at big time programs such as Oregon, LSU, Ohio State, USC, and Tennessee, fans of DI football and basketball were expecting the powers-that-be in Indianapolis to call a do-over and wipe everyone's slate clean.

Meanwhile, conferences have been getting together to propose their own solution to the escalating problems of compliance violations: paying their athletes.

Or, to be exact, increasing money given out to D1 football and basketball players to cover total cost of attendance.

The idea of paying college athletes is not new. In fact, it's a cliche and well-worn argument that has permeated the collegiate sports atmosphere almost since its inception. Keeping college athletics under the guise of amateurism, however, allows for the protection of cheap labor that generates millions in revenue for universities.

With pay, however, comes insurance and benefits complications. As one writer put it, the "administrative nightmare" would "deal a blow to the financial solar plexus of small-budget schools already straining to keep up with the Michigans, Alabamas, and Notre Dames."

While Big 12 commish Dan Beebe questions the practicality of installing a fair "cost of attendance" policy, SEC commissioner Mike Slive is all for it. As are Big 10 and C-USA commissioners Jim Delany and Brian Banowsky.

Of course (Banowsky excluded), there's a reason these fellas are eager to consider the possibility.

WVU Athletic Oliver Luck noted in a recent public address that "the reason the Big Ten and the SEC are able to recommend that is, because of their television contracts, they have the money to do that for their student athletes."

Heck, the SEC coaches make so much bank that they've taken the concept one step further.

The Ol' Ball Coach himself Steve Spurrier has put together a petition to pay his players $300 a game from his own earnings.

At an estimated $21,000 a game, times 14 games, Spurrier's $300,000 out-of-pocket plan seems like a bargain to him and others. Fellow SEC head coaches Nick Saban, Les Miles, Will Muschamp, Dan Mullen, and Derek Dooley all signed the folded, typed petition presented to the media.

These fools want to make it rain on game day
 Clearly this plan isn't going to cut it for the majority of Division 1 coaches. And when you add in issues with non-revenue sports and women's teams (can anyone say Title IX legal bonanza?), it seems like an argument destined to remain a pipe dream.

Or is it?

I'd like to submit to you now a revision to the current NCAA amateur system which I think is genius. I wish I had come up with it, but that distinction falls to the brilliant Rick Telander, who outlined the following in his book The Hundred Yard Lie. goes (italicized text is attributed to Telander, 1996):

The Age Group Professional Football League (AGPFL)

This system would benefit those fifty to eighty big-time Division 1-A football programs, and could then likewise apply to the big-time basketball programs as well. Those receiving the benefits of this league, such as the NFL or NBA, would guarantee a partial subsidy in the form of a yearly pool for the AGPFL’s use.

  • Players in the league would not have to be college students, but the league could and should use existing university facilities (stadiums, locker rooms, practice fields) when appropriate.

  • These sponsoring schools would bestow the mascots and colors onto these teams.

  • Players, who must be between the ages of 18-22, will receive a reasonable pay scale and will be subjected to a drug-testing program much like its professional counterpart.

  • Members of the AGPFL will receive one free year of education compensation at the affiliated school for every year they play in the league if they can pass a standard entrance exam, and may redeem this offer at any time after they play in the league (or during, although the demands of playing would probably be too much combined with education courses).
Abolishing amateurism at the top tier of college athletics does not mean that every college athlete should be paid, however. Schools that wish to not buy into this program may retain their “college teams”. These teams will be under new guidelines as truly “amateur” athletic atmospheres.
  • College teams that have an AGPFL may not also have a college team in that sport, nor can they charge admission or use it as a money-making event.

  • College seasons must be only eight games long, and may have a single- game championship, but must limit their season to after Labor Day and before Christmas.

  • Practices must be limited to five, ninety-minute practices a week, and may not extend after the playing season is done or before it starts in the new school year.

  • College coaching staffs must be limited to four members, and all of those members must have other university teaching duties.

  • Finally, there will be no scholarships available to college athletes that are not also available to every other student in the university, and coaches will not be allowed to make money off of TV, radio, or other endorsement deals
Because of the clear separation of amateur and professional programs, the benefits to the new system will be numerous. There will no longer be need for recruiting violations and underhanded dealings, because the AGPFL players will be receiving fair monetary compensation for their work, as well as insurance and workmen’s compensation.

There will also be no need for academic fraud, since there will be no academic standards for the big-time players of the AGPFL. Conversely, college athletes will not be the highly recruited athletes, so there will be no incentive to pay them or give them breaks in the classroom.

If an athlete in the AGPFL finds he does not wish to pursue big-time athletics, he may drop out and apply to college, and those who do choose to use their free years of education will find it of better use than the system now, where athletics and academics are in competition for the athlete’s time and energy. Although schools may decide to either become an AGPFL team from a college team, or vice versa, there will have to be time limits of five years in between changes to prevent teams from taking advantage of team strengths or weaknesses.

Maybe Rick Telander and I are on the same planet filled with rainbows and unicorns, but I personally love the above solution. Is it something I can see passing any time in the near future? No.

But let's be real....bureaucrats love their red tape and complicated systems. Maybe pay for play has no business in college athletics.

Let's hope one day logic does.

So college sports fans...let me know what ya'll think. Are you one of the touted "amateur all-the-way" fanatics? Do you, like me, think Rick Telander is a genius? Do you wish there really WAS a planet filled with unicorns and rainbows?

Hit me up and let me know!

Images provided by otbsonline, blogcdn, deadspin, and thumbs3.ebaystatic.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

All-Star Break

Hey Guys....sorry I haven't posted in the last....oh....four days. The heat got to me. Or I was just feeling super lazy. One of the two.

Anyhooo.....I'll be back bigger and better than ever tomorrow!

In the meantime, aren't you super stoked that the NFL is back in business? Me too!

See ya on the flipside peeps!

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Ticket Master

I discovered early on in my minor league baseball internship that I SUCK at sports marketing. What once had been super fun and awesome (promotions at WVU games where I handed out t-shirts), quickly turned into a nightmare. I couldn't sell an outfield fence sign for $5000 and tell someone with a straight face it was a worthwhile investment if my life depended on it. And since that was how I made commission, it kinda did.

During this self-discovery, however, I found something I WAS good at: tickets.

I know, it gave you a little bit of a thrill reading that word, didn't it? Tickets. Tickets. Tickets. You're welcome.

Chilling in my office (read...closet) circa 2007....have you ever seen anything sexier????

After careful self-analysis, I've determined my (former) athletic ticketing success to be attributed to the following:

  • I like money. A lot. And I'm pretty good at making sure that the money owed to us, the organization, is accounted for. Case in point, my student workers at James Madison were slightly afraid to come to me if the money counted didn't equal out to the number of tickets sold. They learned quickly not to have that happen. Cause I'd make them pay the difference of the money missing. Just kidding....I only did that once.
    Sorry Woolie....not worth 10,000
  • I like the tangible value that you actually get from a ticket. You know what doesn't have a tangible value? Sponsoring the mascot of a Single-A baseball club. For $10,000.

  • It appeals to the authoritarian and the egotist in me. As the ticket seller/operator, I was pretty much the gatekeeper to the event. Well, until someone complained to the boss that I didn't let them get in for free or a quarter or whatever price they felt they SHOULD be paying instead of what the actual price is.  Bunch of whiners.

  • I like the actual ticket design process. Although, I tend to be a little bit of a control freak in my design visions. When the men's season basketball tickets I designed for JMU turned out to look more like boobs then the texture of a basketball, I was a miffed. And by miffed, I mean I stormed around the office shouting for a few hours.

  • You get some cool gifts. I once got a gift card to the Outback from people I saw on a regular basis at Will Call. Wow, I really miss those.

  • Tickets kept me from slaving in the concession stands. While everyone else had to pull fry/cleanup/supervisory duty during late innings, I was chillaxing back in the front office counting money in air conditioned and grease-free conditions.

  • Most of all, I loved the people I got to know. From being at a small minor league ball club to working in Will Call for two University athletic programs, I learned more back stories and front stories and family histories of people from all different backgrounds. Not to get all Miss America on you, but it really was worth being the first face people saw coming to a game.
While my days now are spent outside the confines of a ticket booth, I still fondly look back at the time I spent in cobwebby chambers with no heat or air. I even get a little misty- eyed remembering how I guarded the gate  (literally) at JMU football games ( because apparently a 5'9" girl is going to stop big, burly former football players from entering without proper id or credentials).

Yes, my friends, I was once the Master of my ticket domain. And it was awesome.

Images provided by (top to bottom) Leah Bogdan and Hagerstown Suns.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Who Says You Can't Come Back?

July 17th, 2011.

The date formally known as the greatest day ever (a.k.a. my birthday).

But in WNBA circles, it also gets marked down in the record books as the single biggest 2nd half comeback in the league's history.

Now, that might not be that big of a deal to most of you, unless you happen to be a Washington Mystics fan. Which I sorta am.

Although, I interviewed for a job with them and didn't get it. Plus, I almost died in the parking garage at their offices. So yeah...I'm still holding a slight grudge.

The Comeback Kids

Anyhoo, on Sunday the Mystics managed to come back against the LA Sparks in the Staples Center, an arena where LA had yet to lose this season. It seemed improbable, unlikely, and any other similar word you want to add in here.

But heart and determination go a long way in sports, and on this any given Sunday, the Mystic used theirs to prevail 89-85. Quite a feat for a team that's only 3-10 on the season and whose star player is out injured, don't ya think???

Elsewhere in the land of women's sports on Sunday, however, the US Women's World Cup team couldn't quite get the grasp on the concept of a comeback.

Of course, there probably shouldn't have been a NEED for a comeback during the US's game against Japan, as the Americans had a 2-1 lead late into extra time. Even after the Japanese tied it at 2 all, fate seemed to bounce back in the USA's court. They were awarded a free penalty kick off an issued red card against Japan's Azusa Iwashimizu, but it looked like the red, white and blue wearing Lady Luck was ready to leave the building.

Doing what she does best, veteran Abby Wambach gave her team one last gasping breath with a beautiful slicer to the top corner of the goal in a shoot-out. It wasn't enough to rally goalie Hope Solo to the cause, though. A subsequent USA miss and Japanese made goal gave Japan a 3-1 win in the best-of-five situation.

Hope "Ridin" Solo during the disastrous penalty kicks

By all intents and purposes, this was a team who should have won. Not to discredit the Japanese, but the Americans were among the favorites coming into the World Cup. After host Germany and Brazil were defeated, the championship seemed to be theirs.

Kinda like being up 24 points in a basketball's not over until it's over. 

Ya know?

Images provided by wnba and jimrome.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Freeing Bruce

This is a testimony to the masses.

I have witnessed the power that is Twitter.

(Insert awesome drawing here from notthatkendall...I like to imagine it's a tweet holding a lightning bolt destroying all in its path).

You see, on Friday...I was perusing tweets on my account when I noticed the hashtag #freebruce trending.

I said to myself, "What is this about?"

Not aloud, mind you. I try to keep the talking to myself at a minimum during work. My co-workers still are under the impression I'm a relatively sane creature.

I turned to my trusty source to answer my burning question (because if you can't google it, it doesn't exist):

What happened to Bruce and why are we freeing him?

Turns out, the word quickly spreading on twitter via several sports outlets like sbnation and sportsbybrooks, as well as Sports Illustrated Stewart Mandel, was that beloved ESPN analyst and writer Bruce Feldman had been suspended indefinitely for his collaboration on the new Mike Leach biography Swing Your Sword.

Leach, as you may or may not know, gained infamy for refusing to apologize for his "suspect" behavior while serving as head football coach at Texas Tech (ie locking Craig James's son in an equipment shed).

This refusal ultimately led to Leach's dismissal. The biography, however, was in the works before the drama, and Feldman had explicit permission from ESPN to participate in the project.

When the book dropped this week, it seemed as if the network had a change of heart. Rumors swirled that ESPN's loyalty to Craig James trumped the journalistic professionalism for which Feldman is known.

So to the social media battleground college football fans went. Putting aside rivalries and old grudges, thousands united on twitter under the banner of #freebruce to protest the unfair suspension. I myself joined the ranks. I hadn't wanted to free someone as much since I wept for Willy to be released back into the wild.

Yes, that was a Free Willy reference, in case you missed it.

After hours upon hours of this madness, ESPN released a statement to this effect:

"We have not suspended Bruce Feldman. Stop making us look bad tweeters. We'll take away what little sports are still not locked out. Hugs!"

It's possible that there was some sort of crossed wires scenario. But I, like many others, believe that the powerful groundswell to "free Bruce" reached the ears of a head honcho somewhere. Social media is a thing that should not be taken lightly.

Now, if only we could free the NFL, NBA and the National Debt.

Maybe next week.

Let me know your thoughts on the matter. Do you think Feldman was really suspended? Do you think that the people helped to "free Bruce"? Hit me up!!!!

Image provided by nesn.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Age is Just a Number....Unless You're an Athlete

Last week I was trying to decide what to write for my Friday Fun post, and the woman who bore me decided to offer up some friendly advice. Here's how the conversation went:

Me: " *Le sigh* I don't know what to write about for my Friday Fun post."

Mom: "Well, you're turning 30 next week. Write about how most professional athletes retire by that age. That's fun!"

Me: "MOM!"

Mom: "What? It's a good topic! I'm clever."

True story.

Yes, I'm turning 30 in two days. In real life, that's not so old. And, having been blessed with incredibly lucky genetics, I still get mistaken for a college student. In fact, not quite so long ago (26? 27?) I was asked by an airline stewardess if I was old enough to sit in the emergency exit aisle. You know....the one where you have to be FIFTEEN?????

But I digress.

In the world of professional sports, however, 30 is pretty much the age where it's time to start looking for a retirement community, some orthopedic shoes, and a great pair of dentures. Sad, isn't it?

According to some unnamed study, the average world class athlete retires by age 33. The average NFL player retires by age 28. The average wrestler retires at 24. And the average elite gymnast? Well, I am so freaking over the hill on that one that I've come down the other side and am halfway to the next town.

Case in point: Phenom tennis star Steffi Graff retired at the age of...wait for it....30. And then she married superstar athlete Andre Agassi.  What that has to do with her retirement, I don't know. All I know is she was rich, successful, and had an awesome husband at my age. I've never felt like more of a slacker.

Whatever Steffi. I still look like bait on To Catch a Predator. I win.
One reason why the retirement age for pro athletes is so low (no, not because they've made millions and billions and zillions of dollars and want others to be able to share the wealth) is because they are physically beat up.

Take a look at poor NFL players. They are 19 times more likely to have dementia than a regular dude the same age.  Yeah, that sucks. Taking blows to the head, face, chest, legs, etc is apparently not good for you.

Another reason, and perhaps the suckiest, is that there is always somebody younger, faster, and better just around the corner. The downside of belonging to the exclusive pro athlete club is that there's ten others ready to take your place. Experience can only take you so far before you're just old and slow.

Thankfully, I don't have to worry about being old and slow (I had the slow part down YEARS ago). Or being slammed in the head.

So, I guess I'm glad I'm not being forced into retirement.

Even if I am turning 30.
Image provided by

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Going the Distance

Well, I made it home safe and sound from the Jersey shore on Monday evening. Despite three days filled with "GTL" references and multiple exclamations of "tee shirt timmmeeee", my pre-birthday extravaganza in Atlantic City hardly resembled the raucous show on MTV. But it was still glorious. And I rued returning to reality.

However, the vacation's end was made a little more bearable with the Home Run Derby. Now, I'm not a huge fan of all-star games in professional sports. With the exception of Major League Baseball, the exhibition games tend to be meaningless and, dare I say, a little boring.  And let's be one wants to see NFL players just hanging out in Hawaii. It's just rude.

But I do tend to love me some skills competitions. Despite my animosity toward the league, I'll occasionally catch a NBA Slam Dunk contest. Seriously...Dwight Howard with the sticker dunk? Still a fan. And love it or hate it, Blake Griffin's dunk over a car this year isn't something you see everyday.

When it comes down to it, though, nothing beats the Home Run Derby contest. The power hitting, the adorable children, the babbling of players in languages I don't's like a smorgasbord of baseball goodness wrapped in a Disney blanket. And Monday night's event was in a class of its own.

The Derby this year differed from the normal format. Captains David Ortiz and Prince Fielder, were allowed to select the three other players to compete with them in a battle of the AL vs. NL. Prince Fielder managed to piss off the home Arizona crowd by choosing fellow Milwaukee Brewer Rickie Weeks over Diamondbacks hero Justin Upton, causing many faceless league execs to rejoice over not having to bear the brunt of fan ill will.

Though Weeks didn't help his cause by posting a lowly 3 HRs in the first round, Fielder won back the crowd's favor during the first ever 3 man bat off. The Prince slammed five HRs on five pitches, showing up his fellow captain Big Papi, who managed 4 HRs on 5 pitches after requesting a music change.

Side much do I love Big Papi? A whole lot, if judging by my notes on the Derby. My notebook is reading like a middle school doodle on a Lisa Frank folder.  

But the true show belonged to finalists Adrian Gonzalez and Robinson Cano. Like something out of a sports movie, the title battle came down to Red Soxer Gonzo and Yankee Cano. The two, who led the contest from the get-go, posted ridiculous numbers each round. After Gonzo tied the HR Derby record for most bombs in the final round with 11, the mountain seemed pretty steep for Robbie Cano.

Of course, when your dad is your pitcher, it helps a little.

Cano only needed 6 outs to bust open the record and win the 2011 Derby title. None was more excited than Jose Cano, who came off the mound to grab his son in a bear hug. The cheers from fellow Yankees teammates were impressive. There was confetti and crying, and I'm pretty sure I saw an angel in the outfield. This was serious stuff. The stuff Home Run Derby dreams are made of.

Hey dad, look! I hit the ball out!

Cano helped postpone my trip back to the real world just a little bit longer. He went the distance, and I went with him.

Images provided by (top to bottom) sports.popcrunch, static.colourlovers, and sbnation.

Friday, July 8, 2011

If You Build It....

I remember the day we met.

It was Labor Day weekend 2005. My friend Jenny and I had decided last minute to make the hour drive up to Pittsburgh as an end-of-summer road trip.

As the car zoomed out of the Fort Pitt tunnel and into the sun, I blinked in amazement at the Pittsburgh skyline. For those of you who have never been to the western Pennsylvania city, I have to tell you.....there's almost nothing quite like the sudden entrance into a world of yellow bridges, skyscrapers, and waterways.

Anxious as a kid on their first day of school, I bounced in my seat and looked around excitedly.

"I wonder where she is," I thought to myself.

You see, I had heard about her glory for a few years, but had yet to make her acquaintance. She was still very young, and I had been away for a while.

And then, as I turned my head to the left, I saw her.

PNC Park. Home of the Pirates.

That Labor Day weekend became the start of a beautiful friendship. Although I don't get to visit as much as I'd like, I always look forward to my time at that ballpark.

I've sat through games in cold weather, with a promo blanket draped across my lap in what my friend Leah terms "invalid chic". I've also sat through the hottest of hot, sprawled out in a chair apart from my friends just to get some breathing room.

I've witnessed some pretty strange occurrences at her side. Like the time my friends and I watched some guys snorting huge lines of cocaine in the car beside us as we tailgated. Let me tell you, you've never seen four girls scatter in four different directions so fast in your life.

And the Pierogi races. Oh, the Pierogi races. Who doesn't like to see pasta filled with potatoes race?????


To be honest with you, there's few places that make me smile quite like PNC. From the boats that float lazily by to the fantastic pirate ship battle that precedes every game, PNC never fails to feel like coming home.

You know, if I lived in a ball park.

So fellow sports fans, what's your favorite ball park/stadium/arena? Do you remember your first time meeting it? Let me know!

I'm off this weekend to Atlantic City for an early birthday celebration with some of my favorite ladies. Ergo, there won't be a post on Monday. Fingers crossed I make it back alive so I can blog about the All-Star game next week. Ciao!

Images provided by the Sports-o-nista and pittsburghpierogi.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Slippery Slope

We're getting into the lazy, hazy days of summer....a time filled with baseball, pool parties, and beach excursions. Yet, elsewhere in the world, the sporting 4-1-1 is all about SNOW.

Yep, snow. Or slopestyle skiing and snowboarding, to be more exact.

I must admit, I've never heard of such a thing. My exposure to "action" sports is limited to the Olympics and an occasional glimpse of an X game event or two. So when the Winter Olympics reconvenes in 2014 in Sochi, Russia, my world is going to get a little bit bigger.

On Monday, the IOC voted to add slopestyle snowboarding to the roster of events at the next winter games (after already adding ski halfpipe in April).

From what I can gather, slopestyle is a lot like tricking it out in a skate park. Boarders and skiers perform stunts on rails, jumps, and other obstacles to earn style points.

How did this building get in the middle of the course????
 I can see why the IOC was so resistent in adding the sport as an official event. The Olympics are notorious for judging scandals, and any sport based on subjective scoring is just asking for trouble.

And that's why we'll tune in to watch. Well, that...and the fact that it's probably REALLY awesome.

Plus, any snowboarding freestyle sport where Shaun White fails to qualify for a finals is just begging for me to watch it. If White (the artist formerly known as the Flying Tomato) isn't the best, then I'm anxious to see who is.

So fellow sports fans....are you excited about the new sports that will be in the next Olympics? Did you even know the next winter games will be in Russia?

Let me know!

Image provided by snowboarding.transworld.

Monday, July 4, 2011

In the Land of the Free (Agency)

Happy Fourth ya'll! Today we celebrate America, and what's more American than Ice Hockey????

OK, don't answer that.

Clearly, in the list of "American" hockey probably falls a distant fifth behind baseball, football, basketball, and NASCAR and is just slightly above wrestling and golf.

However, with football and basketball now officially locked out, ice hockey just jumped up to 2nd on the list. And, as one clever tweeter put it, "NHL free agency is like a game of Hungry, Hungry Hippos".

In other words, it's an out-of-control free-for-all.

Two weeks ago I talked about the possibility of Jaromir Jagr coming back to play in the NHL, citing teams such as Pittsburgh and Detroit as his potential teams of choice. On Friday, Jagr simultaneously pissed off thousands of Pens fans, while shocking everyone else, by turning his former team down in favor of the Philadelphia Flyers.

Meanwhile, all signs pointed to free agent goalie Tomas Vokoun signing with the Avalanche. However, the Avalanche acquired Semyon Varlamov in a trade from the Washington Caps, leaving Vokoun without a rink to call home. But even though they already had two young goalies in Neuvirth and Holtby, the Capitals were more than happy to snatch up the veteran Vokoun at a bargain price of $1.5 million for one year.

Note to any NHL teams out there....I have no goalie experience (unless you count that one time in ninth grade gym class), but I'm willing to throw on some pads and a helmet and give it a go if you need a 1 million bargain player. Just saying.

Then there was the melee known as Brad Richards moonlighting as Scarlett O'Hara at a Twelve Oaks Barbecue, which simultaneously spawned off a trading firestorm almost too complicated to figure out.

Richards, who clearly had his pick of suitors in this trading frenzy, spurned teams such as the Maple Leafs, Kings, and Flames to sign with the NY Rangers for a mere $60 mil over 9 years. That left the Leafs to grab center Tim Connelly and swap out Brett Lebda and minor leaguer Robert Slaney to the Preds for Matthew Lombardi and Cody Franson.

Brad Richards...the belle of the NHL free agency ball

Do you think anyone will be confused where to report when training camps start?

In short, the NHL free-agency swap meet is so torrid that as of midnight on Saturday, 60 players had been signed to various and assorted teams.

As Joey on Blossom would say....WHOA.

And let's be real....what's more American than headhunting and offering ridiculously high salaries to play ball?

I can't think of anything either!

Have a safe and happy 4th everyone!

Images provided by (top to bottom) jessegersten and nhlsnipers.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Rules of Attraction

Before you read my Friday Fun post today, I feel obligated to make this disclaimer:

This is a SUPER girly post. The most girly one I've written.

I know what you're thinking...more girly than picking Ice Castles as your number one favorite sports movie??? Not possible!

I didn't think it was possible either, but apparently it is. So gentlemen....I've given you fair warning. You may want to stop reading now. It won't hurt my feelings.

Ok, it will. But I'll forgive you. Maybe.


I have a confession to make.

Since I was a little girl, I've found myself irresistably attracted to athletes. Not in a groupie "I'm going to stalk you at your hotel room" way, but more in a "wow you're attractive and talented and it makes my heart skip a beat" kind of way.

I'm pretty sure it started when I was eleven.

You see, in 1992, Shepherd College had an unbelievable basketball team. In fact, it's the only team in the school's history to win a conference championship. On that team was a kid named Ken Jennings. Jennings was a 5'6" guard who came off the bench. While most ladies were crushing on senior center Rob Levitt or all-star athletes Ben Stephens and Anthony McDonald, my heart belonged to Ken.

Why? Well, first and foremost, he was closest to my height. I felt that his lack of inches connected us on a deeper level. And he was fast. He was a short, fast reserve. I loved him as only an 11 year old girl could.

At season's end, the school had made up posters for the Rams playoff games. We happened to have a family friend with connections to the team, so I got signatures from all the players, coaches, trainers, water boys, etc. I immediately circled Ken's name and number on the poster, causing my mother to yell at me and tell me not to write anymore on it. She didn't get it. Mothers rarely do.

This hangs in my house to this day. You can never forsake your first athlete crush.

In high school, my love was once again reborn with a basketball player from an opposing high school. Brady was tall, blonde, and had a wicked 3 pointer. He didn't look so bad in basketball shorts, either.

"I appreciate his athletic ability!" I said to my friends and family at a basketball game.

"Yeah, right" was the reply.

Whatever, I'm sticking to that story. Yep. 

Then came college. And I became a sport management major. Suddenly I was overwhelmed with the amount of athletes with whom I came into contact.

I had some not-so-serious crushes: basketball player Josh Yeager, who I worked up the nerve to ask for a stick of gum from in class one day; hockey player Ron Sousa, who I fell down the steps trying to impress (and who later became a friend of mine), and football player Khori Ivy, whose awesome name and cute elfish ears made my heart twitter with every catch he made on the field.

Khori Ivy....stealing my heart since 1999

And then there was Billy.

Billy was WVU's ace pitcher and a classmate of mine. We ended up in the same group for sports marketing, with my friend Jeff, two other guys whose names I can't remember, and another baseball player named Dallas.

Dallas was (and still is) a tall, dark- haired drink of water. He's also one of the nicest guys I've ever met. Ergo, the ladies LOVED him. When he wasn't at bat or in the outfield, he was winking and flirting with the ball girls.

During one particular game, a few female fans behind me at a game fell victim to his spell, uttering "one day I'll be Mrs. Dallas Crews" with annoying high-pitched giggles.

But, despite Dallas's impressive looks, it was Billy that caught my attention. For, as I was relaying the story about the girls to our marketing group, Billy looked up and said, "I want a girl to sit in the stands and say 'One day I'll be Mrs. Gertrude Biggs'".

That's right, he had me at "Gertrude".

Plus, it didn't hurt that he was a fabulous pitcher that went in the MLB draft that year.

no, thumbs up to YOU for being so darn funny
Ok, moment of truth....I will admit to a little bit of "hotel room-ish" stalking. B. Biggs happened to be the face of the WVU Baseball marketing poster my junior year, and I ran all around Morgantown trying to find a copy of it. I finally just stole one from my guy friends.
As I've gotten older, I've wisened up a bit. I've often found that with athletic prowess comes a certain essence of jerkitude. It's much better to just focus on the game rather than individual players.

But let's be real....if Joe Mauer comes calling someday, I'm moving to Minnesota.

So ladies...any particular sports crushes you want to share? Or fellas (if you've stuck with me), what's your take on the whole "girls who dig athletes" phenomenon?

Let me know!

Images provided by (top to bottom) Meg Peterson, receiveracademy, and msnsportsnet.

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