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The Best 6-4-3 I Ever Saw

December 2, 2011 3 comments

Major Plays Don’t Have to Happen in the Major Leagues

© 2011 Joe Bodolai, All rights reserved

I used to coach in a youth baseball league in Toronto for boys and girls from nine to 12 years old, the equivalent of Little League. My team included my son, the best player on the team, for all three years. For the first two years we won the league championship because I basically coached up all the kids instead of relying on the best boys as the other coaches did. Our seasons started with losses, some pretty bad, because I wanted everyone to learn every position on the field. I spent time teaching fundamentals to every player, such as how to properly throw, how to field a ground ball, judge a fly ball, position for the throw, etc. We got better game after game and were a totally balanced team and better as the season went on. I could play any kid at any position, even my girls at first and short, unlike the other teams who relied on their best boys every game.

I told the kids that if somebody says “you throw like a girl” that is going to be a compliment.

By the end of the season we had now twice beaten the horrible mean-spirited team that taunted us in their 19-1 win in our season opener. We were in the finals. I hated this coach. He allowed and even participated in abusive taunting so I really wanted revenge.

Now this team, ironically named the Expos, was 10 boys and four girls. My team was 8 girls and six boys. I had my son and his friend Zack who were two of the best players in the league, a couple square peg daydreamers, a tough as nails little Layla, a six-foot tall future model Claire often more concerned about accessorizing her uniform, a sweet shy hitless wonder Robbie, and a delightful little English rose named Blythe. Her parents had no clue but were at every game and I explained as the games went on.

Before the game, one of the most odiously arrogant but best hitter of the Expos made the mistake of saying something to Layla like “you suck. You throw like a girl.” Wrong girl to say that to. “Damn right I throw like a girl. Let’s see if you can hit like one.”(This was I thing I said at practices as a pump up confidence thing for the girls and a solidarity thing for the boys.) I pulled Layla over and said, “okay, how’d you like to pitch?” I was going to start Dani but moved her to first base. Layla was going to throw smoke. It was already coming out of her nostrils.

When I coach my kids I always teach what I call positional compassion with situation anticipation. In other words, those are my fancy coachspeak terms for “okay, on every pitch I want you to think what you need to do if the ball comes to you. Got it? Now I also want you to know what you have to do if the ball goes to somebody else. That’s what makes us a team, right?”

I also, by the way, forgot to tell you that at this level I do not follow conventional batting order strategy. I bat my two best power hitters one-two. My son leads off, Zack second, then whomever can just put the ball in play third and fourth. My thought is, these guys are going to get on base or more. Errors and misplays are so common at this level so I want my third hitter just to make contact. Things happen. It also means my best hitters are up more often.

Their pitcher wow seriously? Throws at my son’s head! No mistake. Whoa! Their coach shouts some macho crap and wants to intimidate. Siggy digs in. Slams a line drive into the gap for a double. Zack hits a zinger to right. Runners at first and third. Christine puts the ball in play, Siggy scores, Zack forced at second but they couldn’t make the play at the plate. We’re up 1-0.

Layla is fired up and I showed her some old school Al Hrabosky[1] “Mad Hungarian” intimidation acting and she strikes out the first boy. The next kid gets a nibbly infield single on a backing out of the box swing. Now the asshole is up. Todd, I think. I walk out to talk to Layla, who’s glaring at the kid. I make all these gestures looking as if I’m calming her down, tell her to shake her head like she’s going to calm down but what I say is, “drill him right in the ribs on the first pitch.” I didn’t care if we now had one out and two runners, it was message payback time. Layla gets it. Opens her arms as he takes the plate as if “you wanna go motherfucker?” Wham. Right in the ribs. Layla turns toward centre field smiling as he wimps to first base. Next kid strikes out bailing. Then a popup.

Due to time restrictions, we jump ahead to Todd’s next at bat. I told Layla she won’t and shouldn’t have to hit him this time. Now it’s a head game. Take a longer time before you look in at him. Before you get set, smile and then just point to first base, as if “you want to get on base? I’ll be glad to help.” Big tough kid was now out of the game. I told her come inside at the knees first pitch, he’ll bail, then work outside. Three pitch strikeout.

Okay, the final act. We’re up 4-3 thanks to my son’s two home runs and some great heads up baserunning and our hitting behind the runner overmatching their defense. Little ball. Girl ball. We are playing errorless baseball!

So the ninth, I have Christine in now and Layla at third. Zack and my son in the outfield. Todd is a non-factor but they have runners at first and third with one out. Good hitter up so I’m up for a conference at the mound. My boys in the outfield know about a sac fly so they’re ready. I talk to my girls. The ground ball goes where? Home, right? Or look the runner back and take the force at second or the out at first and the sac fly is off. So Christine is going to keep the ball down. She does not have great velocity but great control so I’m comfortable. I remind my all-girl infield, “what do you do if the ball comes to you? What do you do if the ball goes to someone else?”

My assumption is that the there will be a pull hit low grounder or liner to the right side of the infield or sneak through. Chrissie is not throwing above the, um, crotch. No fly balls.  They can tie this game up with the guy on third but the guy on first cannot get to second. One out. Okay girls? Lead runner.

Anyway, here is what happened: the batter hits a one-shot bullet to Blythe’s right but it looks like a base hit so the runner goes and she’s in no position with her body falling forward to make the throw so here’s what fucking happened. Blythe short hops, momentum moving and falling toward third but instead of going home Omar Vizquel flips the ball backhand to Claire, who is amazingly already on the bag (!), glove out and poised with foot on corner of the base and ready to go to first. She turns the ball like Robbie Alomar and fires a bullet to Dani, whose glove is out and the final out hits it with that beautiful smack of leather.  It was a game-ending 6-4-3 incredible — game ending — double play that stunned everybody for a silent moment. I run out to my girls, my whole team and parents and friends are all jumping up on the mound. “Blue Jays!” chants.

”What do you do if the ball comes to you? And what do you do if the ball goes to someone else?” The girls. Did that.

“That’s what makes us a team, right?”

I was there for Joe Carter’s home run. Devon White’s catch. Yet my heart just saw the greatest play I’ve ever witnessed.

By the way, the other team’s coach refused me the end of game handshake.

This is from a dream when I was in the hospital. It’s real. Names and details may be fucked up but the story is true, but IVs and taking vitals and blood kinda, you know..

I have the game ball signed by all the kids. It’s in storage but it’s probably the most valuable thing I own. Because “that’s what makes us a team, right?”


[1] A colourful relief pitcher for the Royals in the 70’s with some great pre-pitch theatrics. None of these kids have ever seen it. Look him up, especially video.

Categories: Sports

Jim Tressel: NCAA’s Nixon in a Sweater Vest?

March 15, 2011 16 comments

Coach’s “Teaching Opportunity” Fumbled By So-Called Teacher

By Joe Bodolai © 2011, All rights reserved

UPDATE: JIM TRESSEL FINALLY RESIGNS. A bigger question is does it change anything morally throughout the sport? And does this scandal obscure some more serious problems elsewhere? And is it time to admit that big time college football players are semi-pros and call for a real full-scale investigation of the sport and deal with contradictions in the aftermath of the NCAA and media storm?

I wrote this about three months ago but much of it is still timely. If you’re not a college football fan check out the pictures and the footnotes and click on any of the stories in the links on the right. For those of you who seem to enjoy my college football writing, read on…

The Vests nerd ne sais quoi not bulletproof

The sweater vest has a certain nerd ne sais quoi about it, to be sure, and Jim Tressel wore it with all the aplomb of the high school math teacher. Not just the vest, but his playbook had “created with the pen from my pocket protector” written all over it. And, just like that boring high school math teacher, he’d be the last guy you’d suspect of secretly coloring outside the lines. Oh, not in the To Catch a Predator way, just maybe fudging on his expense receipts for filling up the Mazda after a recruiting trip. So, like much of college football fandom, I was shocked to learn that when it comes to the story of his players selling their game jerseys and other memorabilia and receiving free tattoos, we had literally just scratched the surface.

Here’s what happened: Five Ohio State players, including star quarterback Terrelle Pryor, were found to have sold some of what in the rest of the known universe might be called “their own property.” The players were suspended for five games next season but were allowed to take part in the post season Sugar Bowl game. There was much outcry and moralizing, as usual first from supporters of rival teams[1],that the players should have been declared “ineligible” and should not have been allowed to play, harrumph! The players were suspended for the first five games of the upcoming season. Since selling jerseys and trinkets provides no discernible competitive on field advantage, the game was played, as it should have been, between the two teams at full strength.[2] To remove the five from the postseason game would have also deprived television viewers and advertisers and the tens of thousands of tourists who traveled to New Orleans of the great classic bowl experience[3] that ESPN, CBS, ABC, FOX and all the advertisers remind us “is what college football is all about,” giant bowls full of money.

Should the players receive some sort of punishment for their actions? Of course, as long as others are punished for similar infractions, they also should be and all received five game suspensions. That half a season is pretty big in the short three-step drop of a college football “career.” Tressel and the university tried to deflect the moral blame by saying they had not done “a good job of educating the players” about the rule, which seems simple enough as “yo! You can’t sell your own gear… give it to the ‘rents to unload on eBay.” Class dismissed, along with lame excuse.

Most of you know what happened later. Tressel recently was caught out in a lie and suspended for two games and fined $250,000 as proof surfaced that he knew of the merchandise sales earlier but did nothing about it.

De Anthony Thomas (r) in Curiously Plain Oregon Attire

The brouhaha over Ohio State then seemed to subside as a flurry of seemingly daily allegations surfaced faster than brawling transsexuals on Springer. First Oregon’s flashy hair extensions were ripped off as their program was hit with allegations of a payoff to a “scouting service” to recruit a player out from under USC’s upturned Kiffinesque nose.

Then came the actions of an Alabama fan (and just by mentioning Alabama that Springer reference is workin’ it hard). Anxious to get back at hated rival Auburn this fan brought the wrath of the Crimson Tide as surely as it might smite a cheerleader needing a tampon on Iron Bowl Day. An obviously mentally challenged irate caller to a sports talk show rest my case was accused of poisoning some of rival Auburn’s legacy oak trees at “Toomer’s Corner”, which sounds worse than it is. As the trees began to die of hyperfanoid toxicity caused by some chemical infusion this fine citizen poured around the trees, perhaps scraps from Todd Blackledge’s game day takeout, students mourned the majestic oaks as only Auburn fans could: ritual beer fueled showering and the festooning of the stately oaks with ringlets of sacred Costco toilet paper. Auburn officially mourned with the quiet desperate downcast gaze of a martyr’s mother and received visitors in their self-righteous victimhood in the two-ply shadows and the reflected glow of the national championship football. This relic was on display being trucked around to fine Walmarts near you throughout Alabama. The Cam Newton scandal[4] in the rear view mirror, all seemed pretty much tickety-boo in the Moonshine State, or whatever they call it.[5]

Auburn Faithful Protect Legendary Oak Trees With Powerful Toilet Paper Wrap

Then, dad-gum it, four players from the national championship team go and get they asses arrested for armed robbery! And one that makes the damn newspapers and intertubes to boot! Auburn reacted immediately and kicked the players off the team in a high-minded moral stance way way before the players might actually be imprisoned at an inconvenient distance from the field. Police had no explanation why the four were unable to escape on foot, despite possessing legendary SEC speed. Fortunately for Auburn, they had a surplus of players since the conference schools routinely, and some police blotter readers jurisprudence observers say wisely, offer many more scholarships than they can legally provide, perhaps for just such a “thinning out the herd” process, called oversigning, every armed robbery no limit catfish season.

Okay, to recap: Since the Tattoo Five incident involving sold used merchandise the following clearly more serious incidents occurred at schools other than Ohio State:

1.     Possible Illegal Recruiting Payments: Allegations and evidence of a $25,000 payment made by the University of Oregon program to a “scouting service” that ostensibly provided videotapes of top high school players (video that may or may not exist) but more importantly delivered a top high school player to the Ducks after it was widely assumed he would be attending another generous program, USC. (Photos of the recruit wearing some of Oregon’s celebrated Nike-provided apparel have been seen online, which would be another clothing violation, by the way, but by the school not the player.)

Recent Events in College Football As Measured on My Bovine Excremometer

2.     Cam Newton’s Heisman Trophy. After Tressel suspended the players for next season and the matter appeared to be cleared up, Cam Newton was presented with his Heisman Trophy. This revered bronze figure is considered sacred in college football for its mystical prophetic and cleansing powers. Not only has it virtually guaranteed that the recipient would be miraculously spared the blight of a successful NFL career, its sculptor in 1935 eerily foreshadowed the game-winning real life touchdown pose of 1991 recipient Desmond Howard some half a century later as if the statue somehow knew! This mystical prophetic radiance is considered so sacred that the statue must be regularly returned to its tabernacle by those deemed retroactively unworthy so as not to besmirch the presentation ceremony. The most recent to make the pilgrimage back to the Heisman Holy Land to return the trophy was celebrated USC free home and auto enthusiast Reggie Bush. Many experts familiar with the ritualistic cult say that current Heisman bearer Cam Newton will possibly also be anointed and deemed worthy to make the much more humble and less media-worthy Pilgrimage of Remorse.

Michigan Icon Desmond Howard Strikes Heisman Pose vs. Unidentified Opponents as Statue Eerily Predicted

3.     Criminal Offenses in Alabama Trees were poisoned and players arrested at Auburn, criminal charges involved. None are NCAA offenses but pretty big scandals in real life I’d say.

4.     Abuse of Athletic Scholarships and “Oversigning”: Oversigning in college football became headlines on many top sports publications as well as in The Wall Street Journal and much was made of this, and still is, since the Ohio State paraphernalia situation. The discussion outlined how some schools, especially in the SEC, offer more scholarships than the NCAA allows them to legally give. Auburn and especially Alabama were singled out for this practice while schools in the Big Ten do not generally oversign. Aside from the more serious implications on how the abrogated scholarships affect young mens’ lives once they are dumped from the program, the stockpiling of talent by SEC schools clearly also provides a competitive advantage. For a more thorough discussion of this practice I refer you to the excellent site oversigning.com but not until you finish reading my views on these other issues.

5.     Some more vague chronic Kiffinage. In what has become so routine that it hardly raises an eyebrow outside of Tennessee, somewhere in all this are more allegations of shenanigans by former-USC-then-Tennessee-now-current-USC-coach-again Lane Kiffin. His brief but eventful time at Rocky Top was fraught with a trail of “secondary violations” that some in the state have recommended putting a ring of slug repellent salt around Tennessee to dissuade him from ever returning[6].

6.     Notre Dame Fined in Circumstances Concerning Death of a Student. Just today I see that Notre Dame was fined $77,500 (or about 30% of the Tressel fine) for events that led to the actual death of a volunteer student videotaping a practice from a tower in high winds. This incident is far more serious than anything I discuss here but is a reflection on the high stakes that big time college football can become. I have no comment on the size or circumstances of the fine but suggest that it become a more important area for concern.

Okay, I hope I’ve got this straight. Since the Ohio State players were busted for selling stuff, there were roughly half a dozen other fairly large scandals involving big time college footballs programs in six months, or about a good week of headlines during Watergate.

And speaking of Watergate… Out of the blue, actually the purple exclamation mark of Yahoo! Sports, came the news that

Forced to Vacate Win in 1972 Election

Jim Tressel did indeed know more about the players, the tattoos, and the merchandise than previously claimed. In the splatter from the excremental coolant whirlage, it seems now that Senator Tressel (HC-OSU) flat out lied in a Tricky Dicky coverup slant right on three. This is where the game off the field changes. Big Time. This is an infraction of “epic seriousity”. It’s an even clearer open and shut case than it was with Nixon’s coverup which, if you also lie and say you’re not old enough to remember like me, lacked 18 minutes of tape. In Tressel’s case, there are damaging emails. I would put links up to those but they’re all over the place and I have enough trouble with short attention spans getting you to even read this far. They’re real and they aren’t good. To put some foam on this Starbucked up cappuccino, Tressel didn’t even really apologize for his own actions, merely for “what we’ve been through!”

What troubles me is that Tressel referred to punishing the players and getting them to return for their final seasons at Ohio State instead of trying their hand at the NFL or setting up car dealerships as a “teaching moment.”

Oops.

For a man who preaches integrity to his “young people”, perhaps Mr. Tressel should take another look at the meaning of the word. Instead of claiming “he didn’t know whom to contact” about the information, he should have remembered that, as many say, integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is looking.

Trouble is, someone was. He threw into coverage.

To be sure, had Jim Tressel’s coverup not happened and he had come forth once he was sure the notification he received was true it would have been pretty ugly for the Buckeyes, but nowhere near as ugly as this. Maybe the players would have been suspended for four games immediately and maybe not have beaten a team or two with Joe “Bow Wow” Bauserman[7] at quarterback. They still would have probably lost to emerging new rival Wisconsin but would still have beaten the Washington Generals Michigan in the annual Distribution of the Gold Pants rivalry game.

Jim Tressel has now found himself compared to Woody Hayes not merely for his coaching victories, but for his behavior. Sure he didn’t punch an opposing player as Woody did, perhaps mistaking the Clemson orange for maize and blue or else just plan furious for having to play in a second-tier bowl game. He actually did something I consider far worse —  lying to retain competitive advantage. And that is the crux of the problem for the NCAA, and where Tressel’s actions are in fact as great as illegal recruiting payments. This is the pressure of big time college football, where millions are at stake. It is also a system where student-athletes aren’t paid for helping provide this revenue but coaches are paid more than Nobel laureates.

The “teaching moment” that was lost was the opportunity to examine the behavior of the Ohio State players and others such who have sold memorabilia and the entire relationship between NCAA revenues for scholarships, which are in fact employment contracts at set standard wage. Many college football players come from underprivileged backgrounds where the dream of playing professional sports is dangled as bling on a string. Too many do not graduate or even obtain the educational skills that a college degree would warrant. These are issues that could have been in the conversation had the Ohio State situation remained about the players’ morality not about NCAA legality. Many observers began to question the difference between tossing around figures of $180,000 for a potential recruitment in an investigation that resulted in no penalties with selling a few hundred dollars worth of stuff that is routinely sold by the Athletic Department off the players’ backs! It is a huge moral difference and the opportunity for that is now lost, thanks to Jim Tressel.

OSU Athletic Director Smith, Coach Tressel, and President Gee Discuss Strategy

Should Ohio State have to “vacate” victories, it will be a simulated penalty. Michigan won’t be able to remove the stigma of not having beaten Ohio State in football for 3,018 days when they take the field on November 26th. What really would hurt is not even a rare suspension of Tressel as a coach, but reduction of scholarships. While this happened to USC for l’affaire Bush that was about lack of institutional control. I think Tressel, Athletic Director Gene Smith, and President Gordon “Not Llike the Exclamation but Like the Clarified Butter” Gee acted like the Three Stooges but this rests solely at the feet of one man. If Dick Nixon had to vacate his Presidency for lying about a small crime, then perhaps Jim Tressel should vacate his position and allow the discussion to allow an issue rarely discussed into the game – not merely NCAA rules, competitive advantages, or polls but something bigger about the entire game, about all of college athletics — morality.

In a crisis, don’t hide behind anything or anybody. They are going to find you anyway. -Bear Bryant


[1] Yes, you Michigan. As an admitted Ohio State fan I rose to defend the Buckeyes online with a warning shot across the bow at Wolverine fans to not get too comfy on Dr. Schadenfreude’s couch with my ad on craigslist for Michigan forgetabilia.

[2] I was going to write a sentence about how Ohio State won the game to cap another outstanding 12-1 season but didn’t mention the 31-26 win. At all. Pretty frickin’ objective, huh not to even mention the fantastic win even once. I certainly wouldn’t gloat about it in a video link in a serious article like this. And again, not mention the 31-26 win at all. Ever.

[3] Which includes ancillary events such as the annual Rose Bowl festival of watching Big Ten linemen from the Midwest be naively gorged on unlimited prime rib at Los Angeles steakhouses in order to slow them down and fatten them for the kill in the big game against the crafty and sharply-dressed personal trainer loving Hollywood hipsters.

[4] Allegations that Heisman Trophy winner Newton’s father asked for $180,000 in exchange for his son enrolling to play at Mississippi were conveniently ignored as the NCAA said they “believed” that the younger Newton did not know of dad’s shenanigans. For more on that brand of Newtonian calculus, I wrote this, explaining “Newton’s Law”.

[5] I don’t know what they call Alabama but if “stars fell” on it like the song says, I’m thinking craters, but it’s SEC country, so the state’s nickname could also involve roadkill. In any case they will remind you that the SEC possesses more “speed” than a trailer park full of meth dealers and will, according to Ozark Folk Tales, outrun the aptly named linemen of the Big Ten (see above. I blame Lawry’s Prime Rib.)

[6] Fans outside of Tennessee are more lenient since he has a hot wife. Look her up yourself. I’m writing a serious article. What? Layla.

[7] I made up the nickname as Mr. Bauserman is apparently lacking in sufficient color to have acquired one on his own. I am sure he is a great guy and he does have the significant accomplishment of actually being a quarterback for a great college program. And if nobody wants to buy his jersey, Mrs. Bauserman hates you.

TSA Makes Lady Gaga Flash Her Nude Snooki to College Football Cheerleaders!

January 1, 2011 Leave a comment

Pointless Sensational Headline Optimized for Search Terms, Explained Below

By Joe Bodolai © 2011, All rights reserved

Ambigutastic!

You Binged This Poof-Coiffed Guidette

I found out that I could see what search terms people used to find or happen across my blog. Surprisingly, it wasn’t “brilliant writing”, or “funny”, or “smart”. It was Snooki. Yes, people were on the prowl for something to read about the diminutive poofed guidette from a “reality” show called Jersey Shore. Immediately following in her spraytanned wake was the magnificent meatdress majesty of Lady Gaga, even more closely followed by those probing for TSA. I am not making this up. So I decided to combine this holy trinity of interest in things Say It Ain’t So, Joesian with my most popular subject, college football with a topping of always popular cheerleaders.

So, for those of you who have found your treasured word within, welcome. Unfortunately, I have no story or analysis to reward your googling or binging. Please feel free to combine these search terms in your imagination. Should this article somehow become my most read item, despite being empty of any insight, information, or entertainment, I will consider getting a lobotomy and dumbing down my life even more and apply for a job in internet SEO keyword marketing, or better yet, politics. Like the Obama Administration or the Tea Party, may you be rewarded with all sizzle, no steak.

Pedophiles, Priests Urged to Apply

In the meantime, should you have found your way here because you searched for me, I wish you a Happy New Year, filled with substance, joy, success, love, and peace for all.

Here are some of the articles that seemed to generate Snookified Gagalicious TSAhole probing during the past year:

Snooki to Host White House Correspondents’ Dinner

Lady Gaga Admits “I’m Not A Hermaphrodite But That Would Be Cool!

TSA Introduces New “Hot or Not” Naked Body Scanners

TSA Recruiting Pedophiles on Craigslist for Holiday Travel Season

College Football Early Christmas, Late Hanukah Offerings

December 18, 2010 Leave a comment

Hens Lay More than Two Dozen on Rednecks, Mormons Poly Up the Points on Miners, Cam Newton Still Sleazy

By Joe Bodolai © 2010, All rights reserved

For some reason, when I blog about college football I get up to four views a minute on weekends. This may be due to the popularity of the sport or perhaps just due to the constant refreshing of my browser about four times a minute. Regardless, it infuses me with confidence to attempt an entirely cliché-free article on today’s games and other news. Oh, I do have clichés, just not ones usually applied to college football.

Some of the big news this week was off the field. Several programs deleted their coaches and uploaded new ones. After Urban Meyer’s temp file from last year restored him to Florida’s head coaching role after about a day of the spinning beach ball of retirement, he finally crashed last week like Windows Vista running a spreadsheet and a video at the same time. While his condition may or may not be caused by a virus, the Gators installed a beta of Will Muschamp, easily dragging and dropping him into the swamp from Texas for 2.7 gigabucks.

Tech Support Girl Strikes Heistman Pose with Recovered Stolen Laptop

The first bowl games of the season, not counting the punch bowl drinking games involving vodka, grenadine, and Sterno at Ohio University, kicked off began with the Delaware Blue Hens’ clucking incredible 27-10 win over Georgia Southern in their Whatever That Division is Called Now Semifinal. The only major college team with a female-specific nickname, the Lady Roosters were led by former Party Schooler Pat Devlin, late of Penn State. The fowly femmes held Georgia Southern, a school so redneck it has both “Georgia” and “Southern” in its name, to one touchdown and held the crimson-throat-monickered Jaybo Shaw to four of 12 for 159 feet passing, approximately the distance the laptop allegedly stolen by Cam Newton traveled when he threw it out the window.

In the lovely adobe and teal New Mexico Bowl, BYU whipped up some holy guacamole on UTEP, 52-24. The Cougars went after their younger prey with the ferocity of a Jersey housewife botox and silicone mackin’ The Situation. The University, named after prominent religious leader and multi-husband Brigham Young, scored just three fewer points than Young had wives.

Bowl season continues Later today with the Humanitarian Bowl between the Non-Violent Cowboys of Ghandi A&M and the Flying Saviors of Jesus Christ State.

College Football Stories You Don’t Need to Read

December 11, 2010 1 comment

I’ve Summarized them for You

By Joe Bodolai © 2010, All rights reserved

With college football’s second season starting in a matter of days, I’m sure fans are probably too busy brushing up on Bruce Feldman’s picks for the big bowl games to have noticed these stories on the sleepy final Saturday of the regular season. The original articles are too long and don’t even have footnotes, like mine, so I’ll just give you the dinner party synopses with which you can tantalize your friends. Just add a “did you hear…” in front of any of the headlines and then just add the handy conversational summary. Oh, the hours of fun you’ll have impressing people who seem on the surface not to care. They will probably appear moreso to cover the shame of their ignorance, so don’t let that stop you from dropping these newsy nuggets.

MOUNT UNION CHALLENGES BOISE STATE: “ANYTIME, ANYWHERE”

The most dominant program in college football, Division III Mount Union Purple Raiders defeated Bethel today 34-14, ensuring their sixth consecutive trip to the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl for the national championship. Head coach Larry Kehres commented after the game “we’re so totally like bored with this. We should play Boise State, who have been ducking us. Let’s see if the big boys want to play us, anytime, anywhere. I hear they have blue turf and wear blue uniforms as camoflage. Clever. But we wear purple. Ha!”

JOINT CHIEF OF STAFF CALLS FOR “NEW WAR” TO HELP ARMY FOOTBALL – FORGET NFL DRAFT “WE NEED A REAL DRAFT”

“Let’s face it,” said General George Casey, “Army’s just not getting the athletes that a USC or an Auburn can get. With

Gen. Casey Wants Army Back to Glory Days of Wars, Draft

cutbacks, we just don’t have the money. We need more defense spending. And on special teams too. I think it will take a new war, a big one, and a reinstatement of conscription to get the athletes and get Army football back to where it was in the glory days of the big wars,” he stated after Army lost its ninth straight game to their rival Boat People, their longest losing streak since the days of the Army-Vietnam rivalry of the 60’s and 70’s.

YOU GO GIRLS! BLUE HENS KEEP ON CLUCKIN’

The Delaware Blue Hens, one of the rare college football teams with a female-specific nickname[1], defeated some other team today to move into the

Gender= bending Butch Hen Scares Delaware Rivals

Division 1-AA semifinals. The university is applauded for its equal treatment of men’s and women’s teams, as stated in an effusive personal email[2] to Say It Ain’t So, Joe! after last week’s query. Athletic Director Bernard Muir replied and was nice enough to thank me for my interest in University of Delaware football. More than I can say for Rich Rodriguez.


[1] A rude, ignorant, lowbrow sort of person might say “along with the Wolverines and Trojans”, but I would never indulge in such trash talk or insult women.

[2] Mr. Bodolai,

All teams, men’s and women’s are referred to as “Blue Hens.”

Thank you for your interest in the University of Delaware.

Sincerely,

Bernard Muir

Watching College Football? You Can Take Hooters, I’m at the Apple Store

December 5, 2010 2 comments

My College Football Mobile Viewing Choices Enliven a Boring Saturday.

By Joe Bodolai © 2010, All rights reserved

I had quite a choice to make about where to watch the final weekend of college football’s “regular season”. Sure it’s nice to watch in HD and sports bars are an obvious choice. But when it comes to college football, HD and big screens everywhere you look is just not enough for me. I need to have live stats, updates tracking of other games, the odd video highlight, texts from my buddies, or just read the comments on Lee Corso’s headgear. So my iPhone is crucial.

The Hooters "Front Four"...Or Eight

The two best places for the online college football viewing experience where I am (Santa Monica) came down to, you guessed it, Hooters or the Apple Store. Hooters, of course, is an obvious choice. You go there for one thing: bandwith. Of course, the wide choice of games and the friendly staff is also great, even if it wasn’t packed with fans of the Temple Owls as I assumed judging by their name. The impressively-cantilevered waitstaff even go to lengths most girls wouldn’t these days, such as wearing hideously shiny pantyhose, presumably in honor of Joe Namath and the ’67 Jets[1]. Compared to, say, Starbucks or Barney’s Beanery around the corner, Hooters’ bandwidth chest bumps them by a few cup sizes, about six mbps to around two for the various neighbourhood bean merchants. So while I’m staring at a pair of 44s, and I mean those gorgeous monitors, with Oregon and Oregon State’s gaudy uniforms taxing the pixeldance in front of me, I can watch Auburn-South Carolina on the way to the restroom. My iPhone 4 has it in glorious high-resolution video without buffering. Yep, I’m pretty much the nerdiest guy at Hooters. Then I realize that pretty much any guy in Hooters is a nerd, especially the guy doing a chicken dance because it’s his birthday and they somehow found out. When it comes to pure bandwith, however, it’s no contest. The Apple Store dusts the

Fans at the Apple Store Glued to the Action on iPads

competition like Wisconsin putting up style points on Indiana. Sixteen freakin’ megabytes per second! This is with about a hundred beautiful MacBooks, iMacs, iPhones, iPads, and iWantOnes blinging their Applelicious magic all at the same time. That is one serious commitment to me watching college football at the speed of college football. Thanks Steve and you geeky redshirted Geniuses, you get another year of eligibility from me.

Well, great as the technology of the viewing experience was, I wish I could say the same about the games.

  • Oh sure, Oklahoma beat Nebraska in the Big 12 Championship Game 23-20 in a fourth quarter that featured one field goal. Unfortunately, it was good so there wasn’t even a Brotzmanish[2] ending.
  • Cam Newton accounted for six boring touchdowns as the Old Ball Coach’s game plan on defense was to drop everybody into coverage, affording Newton enough time in the pocket to do his taxes. He’ll need the time, especially if he decides to turn more-pro.
  • Oregon did surprise me though. Their uniform combination, apparently number 323 of 512[3], was a charmingly understated and

    Tasteful, Yet Effective Game Plan

    surprisingly tasteful combination of steel grey pants and helmets, drop shadow grey numbers and jauntily aggressive spread duckwings on chalk white, teasing over and caressing the shoulder pad. Though likely not a natural fiber, the Nike thread count appeared to be very high and the applique sheen so often seen in the numbers, resulting in a tawdry crepe de chine look, seems to have been avoided. I daresay it was handled with sufficient aplomb by the event staff to well acquit even a Coco Chanel Big Ten team. They won the game easily enough to not get them too dirty so maybe, with the right detergent and some Febreze, they can wear this combination again in about twenty years. I’m sure they have spreadsheets to track and schedule the various combinations. Preparations for next season’s uniform laying-out on the bed the night before game ceremonies now avoid the numerous “so…what are you wearing?” calls from LaMichael James to Jeremy Maehle since they are now handled by the Department of Mathematics[4]

  • USC beat UCLA 28-14 in what the radio announcers referred to as “the Los Angeles City Championship Game”. Holy Mater Dei[5], how lovely it is to see the Trojans fall from BCS grace to local interest. I can now gladly inform the USC players and coaches that should they want to watch any bowl games this year that the Apple Store would be a good choice.
  • So with the “Division 1” (formerly 1-AA) playoffs already in the second round, I’m left with one burning question after the Delaware Blue Hens’ 42-20 win over Lehigh. Are the women’s teams at Delaware named the Lady Blue Hens?

I want to know and have emailed the Athletic Director, Mr. Bernard Muir, at athletics-dir@udel.edu I’ll post his response but, judging by his picture, he looks like a friendly guy so you might want to email him yourself. My email to him is as follows:

Dear Mr. Muir,

I write a blog often featuring college football whimsy. I actually have followed Delaware Blue Hens football since the days of their games with the Penguins of Youngstown State  and have always wondered one thing: are your women’s teams named “the Lady Blue Hens”? If so, what does the English Department have to say about this glaring redundancy? Or the Women’s Studies Department if there is one, let alone the Biology people? I’m sure I could ask them, but instead of opening a can of worms, I’ll await your answer should you have time to respond, what with playoffs and all and the hoopla following the big win over Lehigh yesterday.

Congratulations and Keep on Cluckin’!

Sincerely,

Joe Bodolai

Next time: Season in Review and Bowl Preview, just like a real sports blog.


[1] Namath famously did a TV commercial for Beautymist Pantyhose in 1974 after admitting that he and several other Jets players wore them in a game to help keep their legs warm and silky smooth-looking for the benefit of the then new breed of female sports reporter and potential drag queen defensive backs.

[2] I refer, of course, to the tragic pair of missed field goals by Boise State kicker Kyle Brotzman which led to his team losing a chance to play in a major bowl game in last week’s overtime loss to Nevada. More on this can be found in the experience of fellow Boise resident Bill Buckner, leading some residents to refer to Boise as “City of Goats”.

[3] Figures are for possible combinations possible in 2009 season. For a game-by-game analysis of the Ducks’ uniforms literally game by game, see ducktracker.com, a site notorious for pissing off actual hunters.

[4] The West Coast Algebraic Topology Summer School will take place at the University of Oregon 8–15 August 2010.

The Workshop on Operator Algebras and Conformal Field Theory will take place at the University of Oregon 16–21 August 2010. Rumour has it could be a bloodbath.

It is clear from the above agenda that it has not been decided if the long-overdue issue of different fonts for the uniform numbers will be even discussed, leaving the Ducks’ uniforms with their crude and simple graphic numerical treatment at present.

[5] The traditional Los Angeles high school powerhouse lost their playoff game to Mission Viejo yesterday, 42-21. For those of you who don’t speak Latin or hail from Latin America, Mater Dei means “mother of God”, which is what fans said about UCLA’s defense.

NCAA Explains Newton’s Law

December 3, 2010 3 comments

“Too Talented to be Ineligible Until After Career Over Rule” is Applied to Auburn Star

Promises to Return Heisman

By Joe Bodolai © 2010, All rights reserved.

Auburn Star Cam Newton Displaying Skills Learned in his Advanced Autograph Signing Course at Auburn

The NCAA has declared that Auburn quarterback Cam Newton had not violated any rules and is cleared to play in the SEC championship game against South Carolina and Auburn’s possible national championship match as well. Newton’s father Cecil had actively “shopped” his son to various college football programs apparently without his son’s knowledge, which the NCAA considers a) okay and b) the slightest bit believable. There is clearly more under the surface here and I suspect it will surface next year. I have to say, when everything is said and done, Cam Newton will probably have to return the Heisman, which he is certainly going to win and keep for a while on the new Netfilx-inspired trophy program pioneered by Reggie Bush.

Cecil Newton is a pastor at the Holy Zion Center of Deliverance (sic) and it is not known what message he will deliver to his flock in his next sermon. He may well want to offer a private message of thanks to his unnamed and generous savior, as he has also may have benefited from a miraculous infusion of  unknown cash to repair his Holy Zion Center which was on the verge of being condemned. Fortunately for the elder Newton, who, according to msnbc, “owns” four other churches along with a construction company, which was apparently available and able in the nick of time to finance god’s work with what I hope is some sweet new aluminum siding.

The ruling follows several other NCAA crackdowns on illegal practices to be ignored or shoved under the rug until the athlete’s college career is

Checks for Cam Newton's Services Go Directly to God

over. Normal NCAA and New York Athletic Club practice also allows a player to receive and keep the Heisman Trophy for several years until he signs a lucrative NFL deal and then must return it. Newton has already agreed to return the trophy in 2013, when Auburn will be hit with sanctions such as those retroactively imposed on USC.

NCAA President Mark Emmert explained “we don’t want to punish a star student-athlete (sic) during his college career if he can guarantee us high TV ratings and bigger bowl payouts. We usually wait until he ‘graduates’ and then we impose sanctions on the new student-athletes who can’t become famous because their program has sanctions. It’s a win-win, except for the kids of course.”

Say It Ain’t So, Joe! has obtained a copy of the rule, devised by celebrated number cruncher  Sir Isaac Newton,  (Cambridge ’69) which states:

“”Lex III: Actioni contrariam semper et æqualem esse reactionem: sive corporum duorum actiones in se mutuo semper esse æquales et in partes contrarias dirigi.”

This law is also explained as “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”, or in recruiting terms, “for every hand offering cash there is another hand accepting it.

This is mathematically expressed as follows:

Where F equals the sum of dollars paid divided by dollars taken, or alternatively dollars times multiple violations divided by dollars taken. The details of the ruling were not explained to Auburn because, Emmert explained, “they’re an SEC school so they wouldn’t understand it. Besides,  at this point in the academic year, they are focusing on letting everybody know about their speed.”

The University of Mississippi, which was offered the younger Newton’s services first for a reported $180,000 but declined due to ethical considerations, is now reportedly kicking itself in their rebel ass.

UPDATE: Radio Host Interview can be heard here.