Alright, I’m going to get right to the point. I’ve finally been pushed over the edge. For the third time in the past month I’ve heard the following words uttered in one context or another from one of my students. Although different sports were involved, in each incident the conversation went something like this:

“Hey Mr. Shoe! Did you hear about our soccer tournament last weekend? We won third place!”

Wait. What? You WON third place? What is this, some psychobabble nonsense somebody came up with in order to save our kids from damage to their self-esteem?

Good Lord.

You know, I think I first heard this senseless phrase one summer when some Euro Trash announcer proclaimed that a biker in the Tour De France had “won second place” in some stage of the race or something. At the time I attributed it to the fact that the announcer was French and well, the French are usually gutless wussies fairly sensitive folk.

But, I guess I was wrong.

It’s a phenomenon that’s caught on right here in my own neighborhood. May God, and Bobby Knight, have mercy on our souls.

Oh by the way, I really feel better now knowing that we won 2nd place in that ’72 Olympic basketball game against the Russians. And to think that for all these years I thought we lost. Whew. That’s a relief.

Additional thought: Can you win 12th place? Serious question.

So here’s where we stand, America. We have kids who are “winning” third place, Junior High games where we don’t keep score, coaches who aren’t allowed to cut players, teams in which every kid is guaranteed to get playing time, teachers who aren’t allowed to give grades, parents who are suing little league coaches who don’t play their kids, gym classes where competition is discouraged, and soccer teams with 12 captains.

Sigh.

Listen, I know our kids need us at times and my son knew I was there for him if he had a serious problem. But doesn’t anybody realize that by protecting our kids from every type of adversity they may face, we are preventing them from learning how to deal with said adversity? That only by letting our kids face and conquer their problems on their own will they learn to handle them in the future? Is it that so hard to understand?

Apparently so.

Because the wussification continues . . .

girls-high-school-basketball-team-accused-of-running-up-the-score-after-winning-107-2Our high school football team played a clearly overmatched opponent last night and we were leading 36-0 at halftime. During the second half our coach used that lead to get some valuable time for our reserves as well as making sure our best players didn’t get injured playing meaningless minutes, and we won 36-6. Still, after the game I heard several comments as I walked to the car:

“Why did we quit playing? Our starters deserve to play. They’ve earned it!”

‘”Hey, it’s the other team’s job to stop us! It’s their problem!”

Nah, not really. Can’t see it, won’t see it, won’t ever see it.

In professional sports I can see this argument. The players and coaches are getting paid a ton of money to do a job so there are certain expectations. High school? Totally different situation.

In high school, coaches basically have to play the hand they’re dealt. Sometimes a team is simply outmanned, and you can’t have a circus without the elephants, as they say.

I mean, what’s the point? To embarrass a bunch of kids? Make yourself feel like a tough guy? Show your superiority? Prove you’re a man?

Bullshit.

And I hate this argument: “I can’t tell my substitutes not to play hard! That’s not fair to them!”

Newsflash: I didn’t say don’t play hard, but nobody needs to work on basic fundamentals more than your younger players. They learn nothing by throwing long bombs in football for TDs or throwing up 3-pointers in basketball. Slow it down, burn the clock, work on the basic stuff, try and get better, all the while saving the other team from a humiliating ass-beating.

Hell, my players know that they’re to not even take a last-second shot if we have a big lead. It’s pointless, not to mention classless.

Quick story. During my first few years of coaching we were pretty successful, and if we did lose it was usually a close game. I remember a local team had lost badly in the state tournament, and I told an older, experienced coaching friend of mine, “No team of mine will ever get beat that badly. We’ll slow it down. We’ll hold the ball if we have to.”

I’ll never forget the guy’s response:

“Shoe, I wouldn’t say that if I were you. One day you’ll have a team that simply won’t be good enough no matter what you do. Holding the ball won’t be an option because they won’t be good enough to do it. You’ll be totally outmanned and at the other team’s mercy. Trust me, if you coach long enough it’ll happen.

At you know what? He was right. I soon had a team that got waxed several times and there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it. The only person who could halt the destruction and embarrassment was the opposing coach. Some did, some didn’t.

But I’ll never forget the ones who showed a little mercy.

And last night, our coach showed leniency on a bunch of 14-17 year old kids from the other school that undoubtedly deserved it. And like I said, our better players left the game healthy and our reserves got some well-deserved playing time.

Bottom line, if our team really, really wanted to we could have probably scored 100-points on our opponent last night, But you know what? We didn’t. We showed a little something called class, and I for one am glad we did.

Well done, coach.

The trampolines are coming and we’re next. Be sure and watch both videos.

download

Basket Stars live in deep sea. Get this – in the wild they may live up to 35 years. They can also weigh up to 11 pounds and their arms can grow to nearly 30-inches! Basket Stars lack blood and achieve gas exchange via their water vascular system, and I have no idea what that means. Anywho, Basket Stars.

BasketStar

Question: Why do only large animals stampede? Why can’t we have rabbit stampedes? Squirrel Stampedes? I think too much.

[click to enlarge]

GiraffeStampede

Love it.

map1

Remember when you were a kid and the more dangerous something was the more fun it became? Isn’t that why we climbed trees or balanced on a fence post or rode our bikes really fast down hills?

Of course it was.

Kids today have zero idea what they’re missing, mainly because everyone is worried they might get hurt. Back in the day we had some amazing, fun toys, and they were fun because they could kill you.

Literally.

I guess our parents realized that getting hurt was a learning experience. Hey, if you’re dumb enough to shoot yourself with that pellet gun it’s your fault. Be more careful next time, dummy.

But back to the toys. Here are a few of my favorite toys from the past that could cause extreme pain or yes, even death if used improperly. Hey kids, be sure and read the directions!

JARTS

nfnfgngn

Jarts were massive weighted spears. You threw them. They stuck where they landed. If they happened to land in your skull, well, then you should have moved more quickly. During their brief (and generally awesome) reign in 1980s suburbia, Jarts racked up 6,700 injuries and four deaths. Now there’s a fun toy.

BB GUNS

g gf mdm

When I was a kid, everybody had a BB Gun. You shot at birds, rabbits, the neighbor’s cat, and each other. I swear I didn’t know a kid who wasn’t shot with a BB Gun at some point. Good times.

ATOMIC ENERGY LAB

nfdfn

Also known as little Bobby’s first Meth Lab! Good God. This toy had enough chemicals to kill a horse or build a small bomb.

SIXFINGER GUN

nfvknvkvn

Did I have one of these? You bet I did. As you can see, it looked like a finger and shot out little missiles that looked as if they were specifically designed to pierce a cornea or an eardrum. Cool!

AGENT ZERO M SONIC BLASTER

dfsfd

This thing put the boom in baby boomer. It shot a massive blast of air and made a sound like an airplane breaking the sound barrier. It may very well have led to deafness in thousands of kids like me. Anyhoo, check out that future terrorist in the photo. Hey Billy, let’s shoot down a 747!

CLACKERS

fhwkwff

Clackers were essentially two acrylic balls on each end of a string, with a loop in the center. You began slowly clacking the balls together until you got to really fast speeds. Like many toys from the 70s, these were deemed dangerous and taken off the market. According to my research, they were banned because they were being used by gangs as weapons. Maybe I have a sick sense of humor but I find that hilarious. “Bro, that dude’s goin’ down. Go get my Clackers.” As for me, I usually whipped them in a circle over my head and threw them at my sisters.

SLIP N’ SLIDE

fdfvvf

Basically a water slicked length of vinyl. You were supposed to lay down, but that was no fun. Of course we stood up. Can you say spinal cord injury? And I bet myself and all my friends had at least one concussion because of these things. But hey, we knew how to take a fall back then.

CREEPY CRAWLERS/FRIGHT FACTORY

fgfgfd

Because nothing says safety like an open hot plate. I burnt the living hell out of my fingers with this thing. Creepy Crawlers were awesome. You had these little metal molds that you’d plug in and they’d heat up to like 1000 degrees. You’d then pour this disgusting, smelly stuff called Gobbledy Goop into it. This would turn the goop into spiders, snakes, bugs, snails, whatever the mold’s shape resembled. They even had glow in the dark goop. Bottom-line, I must have burned my fingers a 1000 times on those molds. Not only that, if you accidentally left them on they’d start smoking, which I did on purpose just to watch. And I can’t tell you how many times I scared my sisters with the fake bugs.

PERFORATED ROLL CAPS

images0JI5FINX

Anyone over the age of 40 is smiling right now. The caps were made for toy guns but we’d just lay them out on the sidewalk and hit ’em with a rock. Or even better, a hammer.

SPARK GUN

kdjffd

Yes, it actually shot real sparks. As in tiny, hot flames. When I was a kid, if we got bored somebody would invariably yell this: “Let’s burn stuff!” And that is why the Spark Gun was such a hit. What could possibly go wrong?

JOHNNY REBEL CANNON

fhoog

These things were awesome. You know, if you ignored the fact it sort of glorified the Confederate Army. They could reach up to 35 feet and seemed perfectly sized to lodge into an eye socket, down an open mouth, or through the toy slave’s quarters. Oddly enough these were a big hit in Mississippi. Hey, there’s nothing more satisfying than pretending you’re shooting those equal rights-loving bastards up north.

Not only did we enjoy these dangerous toys, if mom and dad wouldn’t buy them for us we made our own. Hell, I made many a slingshot in my day from tree branches and a rubber band. Grab a handful of ball bearings and you were ready to drop somebody like a bag of hammers. And hey, if we didn’t have time to fashion a slingshot we’d just throw rocks at each other.

Hey, it beat sitting in front of a computer all day, amirite?

 

 

Is there anybody more pretentious than a guy on a Segway? Answer: There is not. Well, maybe those guys that ride the little auto-balancing scooter that people mistakenly call a hoverboard. Anyway, some guy on a Segway (or as some people call them, “Jerk Strollers”) almost snapped the legs off the fastest man on the planet yesterday. Here’s the dizzle:

Idea. No more Segways at major sporting events. Thank you and goodnight.

download

Whodathunkit?

CNXy-4XWsAAFUhu

The Birds.
BirdsPoland

The Ring-Tailed Cat is actually a member of the raccoon family, which seems sort of obvious to me. I guess people names animals before really figuring out what they were, ya know? This guy is really little, actually smaller than a housecat, and his main predators are the Great Horned Owl and the Red-tailed Hawk. It wards off predators by shooting out a nasty musk, sorta like a skunk. Anywho, Ring-Tailed Cat.

aringtailedcat

Hell yeah!

——————–

images

Man, in my exhaustive research for this blog I came across some ugly-ass uniforms. What can I say? People have made some bad, confusing decisions when picking these things out. Let’s take a look. In no particular order . . .

THE PITTSBURGH PIRATES

Yes, the Pittsburgh Pirates wore these. Somebody thought a giant cartoon buccaneer head would look good on a uniform. It did not. The sideways name and number on the back didn’t help.

THE BAYLOR BEARS

baylor-fluorescent-uniform-brady-heslip

I don’t care what you say, these highlighter-colored unis favored by Baylor and Michigan are disgusting. I swear they give me a headache. And the matching shoes make it worse.

THE CHICAGO WHITE SOX

Chicago-White-Sox-uniform-1976-Ralph-Garr-005230951

Yep, back in the early 80’s somebody (Bill Veeck) had the idea that shorts on major league baseball players would be a good idea, thusly rendering the Chicago White Sox the butt of a thousand softball team jokes.

THE HOUSTON ASTROS

Houston-Astros-uniform-1980s-Joe-Morgan

Yes, the legendary Nolan Ryan once wore this rainbow atrocity. Good gravy.

THE TORONTO RAPTORS

Toronto-Raptors-uniform-1997-Marcus-Camby-Damon-Stoudamire

Hey, let’s put a cartoon dinosaur on our new unisI It’ll be great! Nah, not really. And those jaggedy stripes going down the jersey and pants? No thanks.

THE COLORADO ROCKIES

Colorado-Rockies-uniform-1999-Larry-Walker

See? It’s a giant mountain with a big baseball flying by it. This would be great for a beer softball league team. Pros? Not so much.

THE SAN DIEGO PADRES

130315140810-san-diego-padres-1978-dave-winfield-single-image-cut

Who the hell thought brown and yellow uniforms with white shoes would look good? The weird thing is, Oakland has those awesome green and yellow with white shoes ensemble and they look great. Makes no sense.

THE MARYLAND TERRAPINS

Maryland_crop_north

Listen, there was a time when I loved all things Maryland. I worked Gary Williams’ basketball camps for years and adored the colors. But whoever decided to incorporate the Maryland state flag into the football uniform design was insane. Damn, that’s a busy look, isn’t it? Gives me a headache, man.

THE GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS

130315140756-golden-state-warriors-uniform-2013-stephen-curry-single-image-cut

Number one, the short sleeve T idea is just awful. Number two, the pinstriped shorts and plain top are just hideous. Sorry, all you youngsters that perceive this look as cool. You are incorrect.

The last uniform I despise so much I cannot even type the team name. It makes me nauseous to look at this abomination. Still, with one eye closed and the other half open I can bear to look for a split second. Be warned that convulsions may follow:

Nov 26, 2011; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback Denard Robinson (16) runs with the ball during the second quarter against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE

Disgusting.

That is all.

Say hello to Mr. Snappy.

alligator

Stunning.

[click to enlarge]

SAfrica

The Japanese Spider Crab has the largest leg span of any arthropod. Big shocker there, huh? Dude has some long stems there. This guy actually has a gentle disposition in spite of his horrifying appearance. That said, if I see one I’m swimming the hell out of there like Michael Phelps in the ’08 olympics. Anywho, Japanese Spider Crab.

PS: Check out the bonus old-timey photo down below. Good God.

japanesespidercrab

——————————–

Japanese_spider_crab

Let’s do this!

download

Always finish strong, kids. Always finish strong.

Smooth.

download

New Jersey: While minimum wage in the state is $8.38, restaurant servers in New Jersey make $2.50 an hour and work for tips. One Rutgers University student trying to pay her way through school by waiting tables at D’Jais Bar and Grill in Belmar got that $2.50 and an “LOL” in place of a monetary tip for a bill totaling $112.03.  The words “1 hour for food” were written on the receipt, and now the waitress is taking to social media and the news to express her total outrage.

“Last night, I was stunned by this receipt that was left for me by a party of eight people. I would have preferred a ‘$0’ tip than a ‘LOL’ tip, but as a waitress, bad tips and harsh notes are all part of the job. Even though they did wait an hour to eat, they remained satisfied with filled drinks and proper notice that the kitchen was a bit busier than normal. I’ve worked in the service industry for five years and I take pride in providing great service to my customers. My experience with this table was cruel and unnecessary but sadly it’s not uncommon. With that said: Please be good to your waiters. I know it’s annoying when things aren’t right. I know how aggravating it is to receive a hefty bill when all night you’ve been wondering why the table that came in after you was served before you. But waiters are mere messengers most of the time, and it’s wrong to shoot them, however bad the news.”

Listen, I always tip 20%, minimum. Well, unless a waiter or waitress is a complete ass or something but that never happens. Still, I like the way a friend of mine who has bartended for years handled a similar situation awhile back.

She had waited on a huge group of people at the bar, had given them a $120 check, and they left a $5.00 tip with the note, “I don’t math.” I might mention here that they were drunk as hellAt that point they went into the restaurant to eat, but the problem was my friend was still making their drinks. Little did they know that, for the rest of the night, they were getting alcohol-free drinks. Idiots were too drunk to even notice.

Bottom line? Tip your servers, people.

 

Not gonna lie. I’d join this guy’s water aerobics class any day. Bro’s just slaying those dance moves like you read about. Anybody who gives this kind of effort can be on my team anyday. 100% all day, every way.

PS – Beyonce’ has to be quivering in her boots after seeing this, huh? Dude’s just destroying it up there.

water-instructor-primary-210x120 (1)

Hauntingly beautiful.

[please click to enlarge – much better view]

Poland

Snub-Nosed Monkey, man. Cute as hell, huh? They live in Asia and get their name because, well, if you don’t know you’re an idiot. These guys live in groups of up to 600 members, and they call out to each other with co-ordinated shouts. Cool beans. Fun Fact: Mating begins with the female. She makes eye contact with the male and runs away a short bit, then flashes her genitals. That’s brazen, man, and also sort of whorey. Anywho, Snub-Nosed Monkey.

asnubbednosedmonkey

Evacuation.

avbva

Watch the video. My observations follow.

I see you grizzly bear. I see you rolling down the hill, looking all cute and whatnot, mesmerizing the dumb, ignorant, giggling tourists, all the while gradually inching perilously closer. What the video doesn’t show is 10-minutes later when you lept up, charged the bus and mauled the occupants in a blood-splattered, horrific death scenario.

PS – Honestly, I thought one of those tourons was going to jump out and try and pet the thing.

bear-rolling-down-hill