Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

12 of the 24 2017 NBA All-Stars are now on different teams.

 

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So Major League Baseball had its big Home Run Derby the other night. You know, the one where they use “different” baseballs for “entertainment purposes”. Anyway, the derby was won by Bryce Harper of the hometown Nationals (insert MLB conspiracy theory here) and he was fawned over for his performance in a meaningless contest even though he’s hitting .215 and can’t lead his team to any success in the playoffs. He was also called a patriot, a nationalist, and dare I say an American hero for sporting Old Glory on his headband, arm sleeve, bat, and presumably his underwear.

HOWEVER . . . I hate to be a party pooping killjoy here, but Bryce Harper is showing blatant disregard for the official United States Flag Code. Weird, man. It seems like the biggest flag wavers are also the most blatant violators of the Flag Code. Let me pluck one of the rules for public presentation of the flag:

No part of the flag should ever be used on a costume or athletic uniform, the exception being a flag patch affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations.”

Uh-oh.

PS- I don’t really care if athletes wear images of the flag on their uniforms or helmets or anything. People get really self-righteous about the flag so I thought this was sort of funny in a hypocritical sort of way.

PPS- The Party Pooping Killjoys would be a great band name.

Oh. Also this:

Some excellent choices here. My personal favorites? Clyde “The Glide” Drexler in 1984, Charles Barkley in 1988, and Shawn Kemp in 1992. Who ya got?

‘Tis true.*

*Karl Malone played there very briefly at the end of his career, but still.

So Robert Williams achieved his life-long dream of being drafted into the NBA a couple weeks ago. Dude is about to sign a contract with the Celtics that will take care of his family for generations. He’ll be playing against the likes of LeBron James, Steph Curry and James Harden. So how is he handling it?

First, he overslept and missed his introductory conference call. Then, he overslept and missed his flight to Boston for the start of Summer League practice.

Sigh. Robert, Robert, Robert. Glad you’re taking this seriously, young man. Somewhere, Larry Bird weeps.


 

 

The NBA had their goofy awards show last night and Charles Barkley was recognizing Bill Russell for some reason, blah-blah-blah. Anyhoo, this was Bill’s reaction. Well played, Bill. Well played.

Well played, as always.

Finally, we can all take a deep breath and relax. Our long national nightmare is over. The nuclear threat from North Korea has been neutralized thanks to the efforts of the Great Negotiator, the American Peacemaker, The National Voice of Reason. Yes ladies and gentlemen, God bless America and God bless Dennis Rodman. Now let’s all sit back and watch Trump try and take the credit.

PS- Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up. Trump is the leader of the free world and Dennis “The Worm” Rodman is at the center of achieving peace with North Korea. America, man.

On a related note, she proceeded to receive 17 marriage proposals within the next 5-minutes.

Also this:

Well, maybe not killing now but it will eventually. Listen, I love basketball but you have to call this. You have to. What is the rationale for not? I don’t get it. MAKE THE CALL!

 


Good Lord what a production.

It may be the most epic baseball playoff matchup in history, and it didn’t even involve a pitch. As reported by GametimeCT.com, a Southern Connecticut Conference baseball quarterfinal between Amity and North Haven was postponed due to weather, but still earned a result when the two teams decided to play rock-paper-scissors to decide a winner. The lighthearted battle went 11 rounds, with North Haven eventually emerging with a 6-5 upset victory with a deft use of scissors.

The issue is that whether the teams wanted it or not, the result won’t count in the official SCC logs. Per GametimeCT.com’s Peter Paguaga — whose “game story” may be the most epic piece of baseball prose of the past calendar year — the SCC commissioner’s office is now determining whether to accept the rock-paper-scissors result as the equivalent of an actual baseball game.

The odds of that ruling coming down in the affirmative are probably small. In short, it ain’t happening. Still, the creativity employed by both teams, and the enthusiasm of using a unique way of deciding a result during a time crunch, likely brought more enjoyment than anything else either could have done. And if enjoyment is the entire goal for high school sports, which is allegedly the most genuine and earnest form of athletics, shouldn’t that be enough to justify accepting a rock-paper-scissors battle as a bona fide baseball quarterfinal result?

Uh, no. No, it shouldn’t. But let’s digress a little. Soooo, you’re saying that winning a game of Rock-Paper-Scissors would be more fun than, you know, actually winning the game by using the skills you developed in practice to get better at the game you love? What’s next, deciding a basketball game by playing a game of Hungry Hippos?

Sweet Mother of God.

On a related note, if the SCC Commissioner allows this to stand he should be beaten with rocks, stabbed with scissors, and suffer a thousand paper cuts.

Heaven help us all.

Here’s the hotly contested, intense, character building contest:

Note: I refuse to believe these kids thought this would actually count as a game. No way.

Thanks men. I’m proud of every one of you.

A few weeks ago things were great. As a high school basketball coach in Southern Ohio, my team had just completed back-to-back 17-win seasons and consecutive trips to the District Tournament at the Convocation Center in Athens, Ohio, our third and fourth trips there in the last 5-years. We accomplished this with few complaints from anybody. In fact, aside from one meeting during our 2015-2016 season and another in 2012-2013, things had run incredibly smoothly in our basketball program. I was extremely proud of my teams, their families and the Paint Valley administration and community. But let’s go back to the beginning . . .

About 6-years ago I was approached by the Athletic Director at out school and was asked to coach the boys basketball team, a job I’d held 16-years prior. I was apprehensive to say the least, so I asked several people their opinion. I was told that it wasn’t a good job, that we were a small school playing much bigger schools for the most part, there was very little talent in the program, and that the kids lacked the commitment to basketball that was evident in football. I was told that it was a different time, that kids were too busy with social media and online games to come to do the extra work or to open gyms.

I took the job anyway, and a week later we had 40 players at our first open gym. Turns out all you had to do was open the doors and they’d come right in. Who knew?

The interest was there, and it soon became obvious there was some talent in our school too.

That first year we won 8-games with a great group of guys, including 5-seniors who set the tone for the years to come. These guys bought into what we were doing and believed in me from the beginning. Our younger players watched them, saw how hard they worked, and that got us off to a good start. That first year we won those 8-games, including a win in the sectional tournament. The next year we won a Sectional Title and went all the way to the District Championship, and followed that up the next year with 16 wins, another Sectional Title and another District Final appearance. After a down year we bounced back with two straight 17-win seasons and two more Sectional Championships. As I mentioned before, all this with only a couple complaints, both of which were addressed and dealt with.

Or so I thought, which brings me back to a few weeks ago.

Again, I had no idea there was a problem until I was asked to come to a meeting with my Principal and Athletic Director on a Thursday. When I arrived I was told that our school board president had been given a list of “Public Concerns”. Right away the word “public” raised a red flag with me because the word “public” made it seem like the entire community was behind it, which I was sure wasn’t the case.

I was then told that the list was anonymous, rendering the term “public” meaningless, at least in my opinion. Hell, anyone can send in a list of complaints and say they were from the public. They may as well have said “national” complaints for all I cared at that point. To me, an unsigned letter is not a letter at all.

However, I was given a copy of the list, which I’ll happily show you later because I want to be as transparent as possible.

As I read the list, it became clear that a few people sat around a kitchen table somewhere, wracking their brain and trying to recall things they could add to the list. Since a few of the “concerns” involved the same people it’s pretty clear who all was involved. Was it a BOE member who actually created the list so they’d have a reason to vote against my renewal? I’ve been told by credible people that yes, it was.

At the time though, I wasn’t really worried. After all, it was a bunch of petty and trivial complaints that I was sure the board would dismiss for what they were, which was basically nothing. The administrators paid to evaluate me – the superintendent, principal and athletic director – were all going to recommend me to be rehired at the board meeting the following Monday.

To be sure, however, I called and texted all the board members to explain my position and to make sure we were all on the same page.

Of the five, two responded positively, one told me he didn’t feel comfortable talking about it and two refused to respond at all. Uh-oh. It was at this point I began to sense something was wrong.

Because of this I thought it would be a good idea to address the board before the vote. I did, and I went over each complaint, explained what each was about, and basically stated my case. Below are my notes regarding each concern, with the concern in bold and my response following. Click to enlarge:

As you can see, most were trivial, and in any event had been taken care of months, and in some cases even years ago.

Note: The complaint about leaving the players who were late for the bus came from one particular over-protective helicopter parent who just can’t get past it. It happened over 2-years ago.

As I went over my notes, one thing became apparent. Three of the board members didn’t care. They refused to look at me. They sat there, heads down and silent. What I was saying was irrelevant. The decision had clearly been made. When I finished there were no questions and zero discussion. This, after I’d given my heart and soul to the district for 25-years.

I was then non-renewed by a vote of 3-2.

After the meeting one board member, the president, stopped and attempted to explain to people who had gathered there, while the others who voted no walked briskly by with their heads down. I was told by the board president that he had, without further explanation, “followed his heart.”

Huh?

One month later, 2 of the 5 board members stepped down in protest, not just because I was non-renewed but because they felt the Paint Valley Board of Education had acted unethically, and quite possibly even illegally, in making the decision. You see, it’s illegal to have private meetings regarding board decisions prior to the board meeting, and this clearly occurred. And oh by the way, texts, phone calls and emails between 2-3 people is considered a meeting. It’s all spelled out in the Ohio Open Meeting Act and Sunshine Law.

Here is one of the board member’s letter of resignation, posted with his permission:

 

The letter speaks for itself.

I’d never blame any of my players for what their parents have done, and I hope you don’t either. I got along with all my players the past 6-years, and even the ones whose parents caused my non-renewal know I care about them. I know this because they’ve told me privately.

Am I upset about what happened? Of course I am. We’d changed the culture and were successful. We’d built something at Paint Valley I was proud of. We were a family. And as many of you know it takes a long time to build a culture, but it can disappear overnight. And in the end, a few people took away something I loved. Worse, I believed I had the support of the three people who voted against me.

Turns out I was wrong. They didn’t even have the courage or courtesy to come to me man-to-man, face-to-face, and address the issue. They took the coward’s way out. I considered all three friends, and I truly believed one would always have my back. He’d played for me and we’d won Paint Valley’s last league title together. Instead of having my back, however, he stabbed me in it.

The best damn fans anywhere. I love you guys.

And yes, I’ve heard the rumors. The board members who are saying that there’s “more to the story.” This is a common tactic among people when they’re trying to put doubt in people’s minds. Believe me, there’s nothing more. If you hear that, demand to hear the “more to the story.” There are no dark secrets. My coaching staff, players, and the administrators who are paid to evaluate me know this.

In retrospect it’s clear this had been in the making for awhile. I know for a fact at least one board member had talked to possible replacements for me as far back as January, and several people have told me that one board member was upset about his son’s varsity playing time. And believe it or not, there were apparently jealousies over all the attention my 6′-11″, 305-pound center received, the same player who happened to end up being the all-time scoring leader in school, league and county history. He also received a full scholarship to play Division I basketball, so yeah, he got some attention.

Bottom line, the decision to non-renew my contract was decided long before that meeting.

And you know the funny thing? All they had to do was sit me down after the season, look me in the eye and tell me that they wanted to make a change. If they’d had the common decency to do that I would have stepped down willingly. Instead, they chose to take the route they took. Guess it was easier for them.

Hey, you learn from these experiences. Some defend you fiercely and some are outspoken against you. And yes, you can learn a lot about those who remain silent too. Your circle grows smaller but stronger.

I’m also fully aware that, although I loved coaching at Paint Valley, there are worse things that can happen to a person. My family members can attest to that right now, believe me.

That said, I still love Paint Valley. I always will. A few small-minded, little, cowardly people can never change that. I wish nothing but the best for our athletes, and I only hope whoever coaches the basketball team loves the team, the school and the community as much as I do. I’m proud of the work I did there, the success we had, and the relationships I developed with my players, coaches, students and the best damn fans in the SVC.

And nobody can ever take that away.

Tom Brady “still has not committed to playing in 2018,” ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Wednesday morning, citing sources. The Patriots quarterback still is expected to return, according to Schefter, but hasn’t given “official word” that he’ll be back. Brady wants to continue playing football past 40 years old, but “there are people around him who would rather see him retire,” sources told Schefter. Brady’s wife, Gisele Bundchen, reportedly has been among those who would like to see Brady walk away.

Hold the presses! Hold the presses! Breaking neeeeeews! Tom Brady may retire! Or not. He may play. We don’t know. But he might not play! But he might. Good God almighty. This is news? On a related note, you could say this about 200 other NFL players. I’m getting a headache.

Is weirdly a word? I really don’t know. Anyway, pro golfer Phil Mickelson wore this button up number at the Masters practice round and golf fans everywhere are all going insane. It’s not traditional, he looks like an insurance salesman, blah-blah-blah. Hey, maybe it’s because I did a lot of golfing growing up at my local course where half the guys playing wore bib overalls and no shirts, but this look doesn’t bother me at all. I mean, it’s not like professional golf hasn’t had its share of sartorial daredevils.

Loosen up, golf.

 

So the NFL’s annual league meeting was held in Orlando this past weekend and 29 of the 32 coaches posed for a spectacular photo. Bill Belichick did not pose, ostensibly because he thinks he’s too good to be photographed with his lowly contemporaries, or perhaps he’s still embarrassed from the ass-whipping he took at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles. Whatevs. Anywho, let’s take a look at the photo and then I’ll give you my predictably snarky yet hilarious comments. First, take a gander . . .

Phew. Alright, let’s do this. And don’t forget to click on the photo for a better look at it in all its awesomeness. First off, let’s just get this out of the way right now. Andy Reid (second from right, front row) simply dominates this photo from the get-go, because that Tommy Bahama number just screams “I don’t give a damn.” And those slip-ons and white shorts are the height of style, man. And check out little Jon Gruden at the top middle. Dude is sportin’ that trademark scowl like you read about. And hey, how about our guy Marvin Lewis in the white shirt, front row just right of center. He has that same look he has on the sidelines, and that is a look of absolute confusion and dismay. And man, I don’t to be politically incorrect but Matt Patricia (3rd from the end on the top right) has really packed on the poundage. He makes Andy Reid look like an Olympic gymnast, and those poofy, spectacularly billowing pants don’t help. Finally, if there’s one guy who wants to get out of there it’s Mike Zimmer there in the front row, second from the end. Scowl for days, man.

Seriously though, doesn’t that photo look like the worst season of The Bachelorette ever?

Michael Jordan makes more money from Nike annually than all of the Nike factory workers in Malaysia combined.

 

I like it.

Gus and Beemo.

Gus Kenworthy is an American freestyle skier from Colorado who recently made headlines not related to sports. Why? Because he rescued 91-dogs from a dog meat farm in South Korea while participating in the 2018 Winter Olympics.

You read that right. 91.

“This morning I had a heart-wrenching visit to one of the 17,000 dog farms here in South Korea,” he wrote on Instagram. “Across the country, there are 2.5 million dogs being raised for food in some of the most disturbing conditions imaginable. Yes, there is an argument to be made that eating dogs is a part of Korean culture. And, while don’t personally agree with it, I do agree that it’s not my place to impose western ideals on the people here. The way these animals are being treated, however, is completely inhumane and culture should never be a scapegoat for cruelty. Despite the beliefs of some, these dogs are no different from the ones we call pets back home.”

So, Gus decided to do something about it. “I adopted one of the pups, named her Beemo, and she’ll be coming to the US to live with me as soon as she’s through with her vaccinations in a short couple of weeks. I cannot wait to give her the best life possible!”

Gus arranged for 90 other dogs from the farm are taken from the facility to the United States and Canada for adoption with the help of Humane Society International.

Atta boy, Gus Kenworthy. Gold medals are great, but rescuing 91-dogs puts you on another level. You are a true American hero.

Yeah, you read that right. Here’s the lowdown . . .

Many of you have heard of Adam Vinatieri, the great NFL kicker who won the Super Bowl for New England back in 2002. Vinatieri has gone on to a Hall of Fame career with not only New England but also the Indianapolis Colts. Anyway, were it not for a fateful decision by General George Custer, Adam would not only have missed making the NFL, he wouldn’t even exist.

You see, Felix Vinatieri was Adam’s great-great grandfather. He was a musician and composer and served as George Armstrong Custer’s bandmaster during the Civil War general’s Indian campaign. Custer loved music and he believed the band boosted his troops’ morale and that they were good entertainment on long trips.

In the spring of 1876, when Custer led the Seventh Cavalry out of Fort Abraham Lincoln into North Dakota and its eventual destruction at the hands of Crazy Horse and his Sioux warriors, Custer decided that his band would stay behind.

Nobody is sure why he made this decision, but one thing is certain – had Felix Vinatieri not remained at Fort Lincoln, there probably wouldn’t be any Vinatieris, no Adam, and perhaps no Patriots 2002 Super Bowl victory.

And that’s how General George Armstrong Custer helped the New England Patriots win a Super Bowl.

Kobe Bryant missed more shots than any player in NBA history.

 

So Tom Brady sent this gem out yesterday, just to remind us that he’s Tom Brady and we’re not, that he’s married to a super model, and they’re about to get cozy on some island in the Caribbean. Just cocky as all hell. But hey, Tommy? You can’t deflect attention from the fact you lost that Super Bowl, big guy. Plus your shoes and shorts combo sucks.

Super Bowl 48-hours away? Going after my 6th ring? No biggie. I’ll just go to a Timberwolves game with my girlfriend and her leather pants. Maybe take in a movie later. Belichick, man. You know Philly’s Coach Pederson saw this and immediately ran and watched more film because Bill seems way too relaxed right now. Almost like he knows something.

The NFL probably doesn’t like this very much. Just a guess.

I suppose if you’re not an NFL fan this will hold no interest for you, but New England’s Defensive Coordinator (and future Detroit Lion’s Head Coach) Matt Patricia is sort of known for his bushy beard and burly appearance. Hence, a pic of him beardless and babyfaced is sort of jarring. Check it:

What can I tell ya? It’s a slow day At Shoe: Untied World Headquarters.