Monday, February 21, 2011

365 Days Ago Today...

...The Sports Nut Blogs was launched.


Dude, like....I didn't think I was actually going to keep up with this sucker. To be honest, I almost didn't for a time, but that was for personal reasons. Anyway, thanks for sticking around as long as you have. You guys are the best. I know I'm not a huge and popular blog, but I've got my own little society and I love you guys bunches and bunches.

Okay, so here's the announcement I hinted at last week:
Remember my post from August about concussions in sports? Yeah, that little infant of a post is now going to become a speech I am making at an honors conference next month in Radnor, PA. I'm going to try my darndest to get a video of it, but I doubt that'll be done. Maybe photos will accompany this day, I'm not sure yet. But's cool, right?

Here's to another year of blogging excellence!


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mastering the Art of Offseason Boredom Prevention

(Note: This post probably has nothing to do with sports. It’s a nice little editorial you can all enjoy.)

“And so this is offseason, and what have you done? Another year over, and the downtime has begun.”
(Disclaimer: John Lennon never said this. Yoko might have though. Ah, never mind, it’s not really that funny now.)

It’s one thing to think that we all know what athletes do in the offseason. We all think that they bum out for about a week, and then they just return to their workout regimen, start dating other celebrities, play Call of Duty or Madden online with teammates, or go to other sports-related events. However, that might not necessarily be true. Just think—all of these guys might have lost their chances of having a decent social and family life when they were student athletes back in college (or high school depending on what the situation was). Locker room/clubhouse pranks are not enough—now there’s plenty of time to actually plan the destruction and frustration of roommates, wives, misbehaving children, and teammates located miles away.

Do I really know what they do? Not really, but here are good guesses...

In the offseason, a lot of eligible bachelor athletes often room together in the main square of the city in which they play in. Sure, the dishes might not always get done, but they have someone to share rent with, right? Anyway, here’s the scoop. One roommate just landed a date with a waitress at a local steakhouse and now they’re planning on coming back to the pad to watch Jersey Shore (don’t ask why I placed this show here—just go along with it) and eat some pretzels and low-fat queso (since the waitress already thinks she’s fat—moving on). What’s the other guy supposed to do? What if he had no plans that night? Does he take the shameful offense that he’s “the other guy” in the place or does he try to make things fun for the sake of his own sanity and the hope that things won’t get any worse for him? You can finish that thought off on your own.

Prank calling has its perks: you can mask your voice, kill massive amounts of boredom on a Friday night, and you can mess with peoples’ minds in return. No, we’re not going to go down the beaten path and say that players (or coaches, better yet) call pizza places, order 12 large sausage pies with four large bottles of birch beer and just one order of onion rings (as a consolation prize for being the sucker getting all of this stuff) and give them the address to the teammate’s house. That’s so 1980’s—before all of the caller ID business. Prank calling is now more of an ancient art nowadays; since people have automatic caller ID and phone number identification, you really have to be sneaky. Pay phones are an endangered species, and it’s not exactly certain whether pressing #4 [pound key, four] before the phone number always works. Thank God for functions and mechanisms like Google chat. If players/coaches are tech savvy, heaven help the person thinking that their credit card company is confirming their account cancelation or thinking that their agent just sold his deal on Craigslist. Possibilities: endless.

Just as Bo Jackson and Michael Jordan broke barriers by playing other pro sports during their respective offseason, you would that that one would try to be different and go a different path by signing a different contract for something completely different. Unfortunately, I don’t think professional wrestling (err, sports entertainment) is the best choice of earning more money and “living the dream.” Sorry Steve “Mongo” McMichael and Dennis Rodman…you both made total fools of you. I guess in the category of pranks and killing boredom, you laid the pranks on you and the company (in both cases it was WCW) and instead of killing boredom, you probably helped in killing the company and the people that watched you due to laughing so hard. It’s been 20 years since someone’s crossed over between professional sports, and I guess with the competitiveness and the roughness of it all, it’s probably not the best idea to try and poke your head into other things you won’t be ready for. Also, it’s another thing to take up a hobby, but …”sports entertainment?” Good gravy.

When one finally comes home after a long season, sometimes adjusting may be difficult yet fun when it comes to pestering other people or starting the idea of being a “class clown” in the home. For example, when an athlete comes home to his wife, he’s going to have a lot of stories to tell her and let her know how he’s reached out and gained new interests while practicing his trade. She’ll start the conversation by saying: “So honey, did your new teammates introduce you to their friendships and ways of living?” He could reply by saying: “Sweetie, the guys are great. Their tastes in music changed me! My iPod looks so much better now!” The conversation—and possibly the relationship—ends when the man walks into the bedroom and the wife hears Michael Bolton on full blast while the man is getting his pajamas on.

One thing’s for sure if you’re married—you’ll probably have the time in your career when the babies start coming out of the woodwork. Of course, you miss them to bits and pieces and you love them so much that their school pictures are taped on the inside of your locker. That was when you were away. Now, you realize why your wife misses you so much. You’re the much needed addition to the body count that must battle the baby apocalypse. How do you attend to this problem? The kids like sitting on your knee, right? Tell ‘em a story. Start digging up the deep ones that happened all the way back in the first week of the season. You remember how the bus broke down and the bus bathroom toilet was clogged? They’ll love that—so much that they’ll pass out on you faster than a government official being struck by an assassin. Problem solved. But remember, an idle mind is the devil’s handiwork: only use this skill when the kids aren’t occupied with a fun pastime like having a catch with you or doing a puzzle or swimming in a pool. The pool one would be scary—don’t do the story trick at all there.

And this, my friends, is what can happen when your mind begins to wander during the gym or during lunch. No kidding, I really start thinking about this stuff when ESPN is on. Don't you sometimes wonder what the athletes do when they themselves are watching news about them on television? I guess I delve into things a bit too much...

Hope you enjoyed my satire.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

AZ's Slant on Sunday - Star Power!

(Written for the fact that the Cavs broke their 26-game losing streak this past Friday against the Clippers. Way to go, failboat captains!)

What makes a team? Is it the star power or is it the overall skill and talent of the team? Can one name lead a team and franchise to glory?
Don't try to answer it. It's rhetorical, and there's no way you're going to get a definite 'yes' or 'no' from it.
Many arguments may go into consideration when it comes to thinking that it may be one man or a few men that make a team.

Have you ever seen the movie Kicking and Screaming? It's one of those Will Ferrell sports/slapstick movies. Anyway, in the middle of the movie, all the little guys had to do was pass the ball to "the Italian kids" and they'd score and win the game.

In another childish example, the characters from the cartoon Arthur had Francine Frensky...

and the characters from Doug had Patti Mayonnaise.

[...How ironic that in the last two characters that I've mentioned, both females were depicted as athletes.... could that be another post? I don't know yet.]
These following characters epitomize the stigma that one person unifies the team and makes the team better as a whole, and this particular leader "shines" and is set apart as the best player of the group.

To bring up my point of writing this post, let's take a look at the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team.

Looking at their roster as a whole, the team has zero big-name players. And being perfectly honest, none of the players on the team average over 20 points a game. The team has zero momentum, has only won nine of 54 games, and...LeBron James dropped them like a bad habit and flew to South Beach to play with the Miami Heat.

Speaking of this dude, let's now look at the Miami Heat.

Miami is 39-14. They also have LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh. They're tops in the conference too. Whenever one thing tweaks this holy trinity of b-ball players, it makes top news on ESPN. They're the talk of the league, and people are expecting the NBA Championship to come to this town in the near future. But is it because of these three guys, or is it the team as a whole?

Everyone at some point will call a team with this kind of star power and recognition "America's team." Teams such as the Dallas Cowboys and New York Yankees have been given this recognition over the years for having the most legendary players to ever step foot in the sport. Many of the men who have experienced the big show itself have won several titles and have played with other up-and-coming players that would soon join them in the greatness of the Hall of Fame. However, some people who have won these titles and weren't considered the "star" have been overshadowed.

Here's an example of that. Let's go back in time to the 2001 World Series. The country just experienced 9/11 and we were getting our first taste of November baseball. It was the New York Yankees dueling against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Arizona came away with the emotional Game 7 victory, and the leadership of Luis Gonzales, Randy Johnson, and Curt Schilling led them through it. Wait, who were those other guys? Point made. You have the stars and the memorable names, but without them, who are those other guys? I guess you can say this now since they've lived in the cellar on and off since then. I think they've only made two or three playoff appearances since then (and I'm not looking at these stats right now, they're guesses, so sue me).

However, there are several cases where there is a lack of definite star power, but they all work together as a unit and unify the city while winning the sports title. Dare I say we look at the Green Bay Packers?
Sure, people were paying attention to who Aaron Rodgers was because he's the quarterback. Other than that, who did he really have? The bigger linemen on the offense and defense were being lost to injury, and that meant that the other guys had to step up and bring the Lombardi trophy back home to Titletown. Lo and behold, they did just that. Now we all know who James Starks, Jordy Nelson, and Clay Matthews is.

Speaking of Clay Matthews, he did something goofy this past week. Fast forward the video to about 2 minutes and you'll see what went down in Green Bay.

I guess big things like the Super Bowl can make you do other big things in other lands, right?

A topic like this can bring out many opinions and many answers as to what makes a team. I guess you can say that it works in a cycle. Those who win become legends and stars, and the rest have to beat the best to be the best. Everyone will start off small at one point, regardless of how well their college career treated them. To become the star, one must be set apart.
If you want what I think, no man is an island. It takes more than one guy to achieve greatness.

In the case of the Cleveland Cavaliers...they need new management. That's all.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Hangover - What Super Bowl Sunday Means to Me

(Written in accordance to today's media day celebrations.)
Super Bowl Sunday.
If it were given a steady date every year, it would have a bigger red ring around it than Tax Return Day. Let's be honest, football is a religion in the United States. Anybody who has a television set will watch the Super Bowl at some point, whether it's in passing, in the case that nothing else is on TV, you are a humongous fan, or it's with two teams you don't even root for.

I also find it a good excuse to pig out on food in front of the telly.

Which brings my point.

I understand that in certain areas of the United States, there are "drinking holidays" such as Tipsy Tuesday, Wasted Wednesday, etc. Super Bowl Sunday is like, the biggest one of them all. People who have no idea at this point who is playing in the Super Bowl will still use this day as an excuse to just go to a bar and let worries dissolve in what some consider a fun kind of way. People also find it a good day to, you know...get the "kiddie train" started. Just look what it did for the population of Louisiana last year.

When it comes to this fateful day, this one word comes to mind:


So anyway, what does this day mean to me?
As I have mentioned in times past, I was never really one to watch football unless if it were a college game or if it were the Super Bowl. Now since I know what's going on in the league, things make a lot more sense. However, we're not talking about what I necessarily think about this topic, nor will I talk about who I think will win (personally, I think the Steelers will somehow win this because they always seem to pull a win out of their hoohahs, but that's besides the point). I'm talking about what I think goes on throughout America--and in some places in Canada--during this time of competition and frenzy.

The closest thing I can compare this topic to is New Year's Eve. It's this big blowout filled with streamers, Dick Clark, champagne, parades, and FOOD. When the ball drops, people go nuts at all different times around the world and party until it's 5 A.M. in their time zone. It's almost the same with football. It's filled with alcohol, parades, legendary announcers not named Joe Buck, and FOOD. When the right events occur during the game, fans go nuts and celebrate until it's about 5 A.M. in their time zone.

Then we have the next day. Offices are ghost towns. You see tumbleweeds even on the snowiest of college campuses. People call out of work. Everyone's hung over and go, "What the f(beep) happened last night? I did what?! No!" Not one person involved in the festivities can function correctly the next morning. It's a known fact; no matter how hard one tries, he or she will be unable to think straight. Also, in the case of the New Year, the season ends here and a new set of stuff begins the day after.  See? The snake bites it's tail in the end. Ha ha. However, I don't think anyone really thinks of eating pork the next day. They do remember to buy their laxatives and pregnancy test strips the next day though.

The funny part coming from all of this would just be the whole feeling of it actually being a holiday. Everyone goes out to shop for wings, chips and dips, pizza, beer, soda, and all of the other party foods. Could we call Super Bowl Sunday the violent little brother of Thanksgiving? I only say violent because it involves a lot of tackles, that's all. God forbid a major snowstorm already hit your town and you're unable to get this stuff before the game. You have nothing but a football jersey, and despite that, you're unable to celebrate "the right way" by pigging out on your reclining chair like you're Al Bundy or something. Ah, the four F's of America: freedom, food, football, and facepaint.

I guess the whole "one and done" part of it is what makes this day so definitive and exciting. Plus, who doesn't like getting entertained by a mix of brutality, halftime shows, and returning legends? One thing's for sure, nobody is going to be able to get away from coverage of this big game until the end of next week. (Unless if there is another wardrobe malfunction or something like that.) I guess this next week will be a hangover that many football fans will all experience and get over in no time flat. No, scratch that--the losing team's fans will experience a hangover that won't end until the first day of training camp. Those fans then proceed to hibernate in their respective man-caves until that day comes.

Some people make exceptions for the end of the NBA, NHL, and upcoming MLB season.

So what does Super Bowl Sunday mean to me? Utter. Chaos.

Stay thirsty, my football friends.