Friday, August 17, 2007

Definition of Ironic (Sad Edition) 8/17/2007

Icky Woods (the great Cincinnatti Bengals Running Back) runs a camp for at risk kids. They were playing football recently at this camp in what was being called "The Peace Bowl."
Unfortunately, the game had to be stopped as a 19 year old kid was killed near the field. The point of this camp was to help these kids get away from the violence through a violent sport (football).
Once again, real world violence encroaches on our ways to avoid and destroy it.

Ramblings for the Evening: Sports Edition (8/17/2007)

A Ramblings that's themed? You should be so lucky.

Pundits everywhere are calling this, "the darkest year of sports...ever. Let's see if they are right.

So, without further Adu (Soccer joke): BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE!
O.J. and "The Assassins":
Now, I'm not going to sit here and defend O.J. Simpson, but let me see if I remember this correctly: Wasn't O.J. found innocent?
I just don't get it. How can a person who is found innocent of murder be liable for those deaths?

O.J is currently paying a little over thirty-three million dollars to the families of the victims. Fine, I have no problem with that. However, what I do have a problem with is the new attack on him. Again, I am not a big fan, but O.J. is part of a new video game called All Pro Football 2K8. In this game, he can be a running back on a team called, "The New York Assassins", and the teams mascot is...wielding a knife. How shocking!

Come on, folks. It's not like O.J. went to the makers and said, "Wow, I love it." He's part of the retired NFLPA, so he was just part of the license that was bought. The fact that the family wants MORE money from this tells me that it has less to do with the loss of their loved ones and more to do with wanting more money.

Look, Todd Bertuzzi broke Steve Moore's neck on the ice and is still in hockey video games. Michael Vick (more on him later) is still in Madden football games, and the Falcons (his team) is a popular pick among players. Their money wasn't taken from them.

I can't believe people want the game pulled from store shelves because of this. All because you can put him on a team (though he doesn't start there) with this mascot.

What's next? People in New Orleans sue The University of Miami or the hockey team in Carolina for using the name "Hurricanes"? Can Native Americans sue the Dallas Cowboys for emotional damage?

Yes, I have heard that O.J. is not a nice guy and will do almost anything for a buck (see his upcoming book), but this is ridiculous. There are sports stories that mean more.


Mr. Vick Goes to Prison...Maybe:

Michael Vick. Everyone knows the story by now. He was indicted on charges from dog fighting. Let's make some things clear here:
For the public, the dog aspect is the most important. The men who decided to give information on him ("Snitch Bitches" as I heard them called today) said that he did in fact kill a few dogs either by hanging or drowning. That's what everyone has latched on to and why they are so angry.

Now I feel that hurting dogs is a terrible thing, but the fact that this is more important than dying humans is ridiculous to me. Not the point, however, let's move on....

The government is pushing for the gambling charges more than the charges related to cruelty to animals. Why? Because gambling is considered worse (sorry PETA, but the government is angrier when money is taken away).

What I find depressing, however, is how the case has been turned into a racial war. African-Americans have a point: we are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, but most of us believe the other way. Yes, the two men (one with the ironic name of "Peace") copped pleas and said he's guilty, so that will hurt Vick, but as I mentioned before these men are now being looked down upon for the sole reason that they squawked to the government.

There was an article in ESPN the Magazine that I passed on to Willy Smythe (see link on right) about the whole Vick case. William is a little more zealous than I am when it comes to the case. He read the article and was quite pissed. I read the article and was saddened. At one point the author asks why clubs are unfair and make African-Americans pay more at the clubs. I can easily answer this: Insurance. It's been that way in New York for years. It's extremely rare that a bunch of white or Hispanic or Asian folks shoot up a club. In Minneapolis, it was African-American. The club shooting in Baltimore...was African-American. I'm sorry if I sound like I'm racist, because that's not the point. Yes, it's horrible that a club would charge black folk more money, but it's about protecting an investment. If violence breaks out and a club is shut down, that means no money flows in and the club will close permanently.

Yes, Atlanta has a horrible past with racism, civil rights, and more, but a football player under investigation is not the same thing as Martin Luther King getting shot. I may be a white guy, but I am offended by the comparison. Michael Vick is an athlete. King was a visionary. Vick, according to his friends or co-defendants, committed a crime. King worked to create equality. They are nowhere near the same
Barry Breaks Big Record...:
And yet I don't care.
I stayed up late to watch Barry Bonds break the home run record. As he swung the bat and the ball flew to center field, I watched the crowd explode in joy as they knew he had broken the record.

I, however, felt nothing. I felt no joy, and I felt no anger. That saddens me.

The home run record is considered the greatest record in all of sports. It was supposed to be the one that almost no one could touch. When Henry "Hank" Aaron was getting close to breaking Babe Ruth's record, he was sent death threats. Bonds didn't have that kind of pain to deal with this time. He only had media scrutiny as to whether or not he cheated. That's not as bad.

I should have been excited about the crack of the bat for that home run, but I wasn't. I am tired of Bonds. I'm sick of reading or hearing about his possible cheating. I'm sick of hearing about a possible asterisk in the record books.

This is my honest feeling about it: If Bonds took steroids before they were illegal, then he did nothing wrong. Sure, he got ahead of the game, but it was legal. Pro Wrestling says that Steroids are bad. The NFL Says this as well. MLB did not say this until recently. That means Bonds was fine to do so.

The only downside is that I just don't care that he broke the record. I feel nothing.

And finally:
Family First?:
I love my parents. They did a great deal for me growing up. They taught me important lessons, they showed me how different aspects of life work, and they exposed me to life's ups and downs. When I graduated from college, my parents told me they were proud of me...then we all went to work. At no point in my life (so far) have my parents expected me to repay the favor and start taking care of them. They have not asked me to pay their bills, they have not asked me to buy them a house, and they have not told me that I owe them. My wife's parents have not said this either.

So why is it that so many college athletes are expected to go pro and immediately take care of their parents? Let me give you an example:
Greg Oden of the Portland Trailblazers. The scouts didn't talk to him, they talked to his mother. When he was drafted, they asked him the typical question, "What will you do after you sign your 1st contract?"
His answer? "I'm going to buy my mother a house, and I'm going to take care of her."
This sounds sweet, and it would be...if his mother hadn't said the same thing when interviewed earlier.
Another player, a college football star, gave away the answer about whether or not he was going pro. Actually, his mother did. She felt that he had to go pro for the good of the family.
What is wrong with these parents? Sure, you sacrificed for your kid. Good for you. That doesn't mean that you force your kid out of college before he or she is ready because you want to stop working. These kids need something else just in case professional sports is not really in their future. By forcing them out, you do them a disservice.
Let them make the decision. Don't run their lives.
If my son becomes a world class athlete, I will not force him out of college so I can stop working. That's not fair to him. That just adds pressure that's unneeded. Until I die, I plan on helping my son out, and I never expect him to turn around and help me out.
So parents...leave them kids alone.
Of course what do I know? I'm sick of hearing the Red Sox Nation bitch about the Yankees...when they spend almost as much money. I could be wrong.

Monday, August 13, 2007

It's About Time!

Study: Multiple Stab Wounds May Be Harmful To Monkeys

I love satire...oh so much.

Grab my Pampers and Catch my Ride

I decided that I should try to throw in a positive (or at least funny) piece now and again.
Running away from home ain't what it used to be.

My sister and my niece recently moved to the beautiful city of Toronto, known for its clean streets, rabid hockey fans (though the Leafs suck), William Shatner (Yeah, I know that Shatner isn't from Toronto...but look at cool he is...KHAN!!!!), and the University of Toronto. (Go True Blue!!) to live with husband/father (his name is Michael, he reads this blog [and is turning red right], and he looks like Mark Messier. If you don't know who Messier is...go find out...I'll wait).

Toronto, on a side note, is a beautiful city that is very much on the rise again. Canada's money is slowly, but surely becoming even in value with the American dollar. As such Canadians are coming to Buffalo to shop. I'll take the money. Back to the point....

My niece is not used to being away from her "Grammy" (what my mother is called) or her "Apu" (my father's nickname because MJ (my name for her) can't say Opi, which is the German familiar form for Grandfather. As such my father is now Apu. It's a thing in my family...moving on). Not happy at all, she decided that, though she loves her mom and dad, she wanted to go back home to the USA and her "white house" (the house she used to live only a few months ago). Now you have to understand: My parents do a great deal of traveling now, and to cut back on expenses, they hire a guy named "Harvey" to drive them to and from the airport.

This is Harvey's business now. He's a retired sailor (from the Navy, not competition) and takes the denizens of the small towns of CT to and from locations of their choosing. All at a small price. Until recently, Harvey made his dough by driving the one and only Arthur Miller (the famous playwright...sigh...
here) as well as Miller's daughter and her husband (actor Daniel Day Lewis...yes...Google is your friend). All in all having Harvey drive you is cheaper than parking at the airport. MJ and her Mommala used to have Harvey take them as well, be it to the airport or to New York (beats having to do the driving yourself).

So, with MJ unhappy with her new lifestyle up in the C.A. (because there is no cool way to say Ontario...just ask Don Cherry (Here's a
link for you, lazy bum) about it), she marched into her room, packed up an overnight bag, returned to the living room, and announced to her parents that she was leaving and would, "be outside waiting for Harvey to pick her up." That's right, she'd wait for her ride.

Times have changed. When I was a kid, running away meant actually packing a bag and a snack, grabbing some wheels (bike or skates) and actually going out for a few hours...only to get hungry and want to come home.

My oldest sister...well, she hid in a closet and freaked the bejesus out of my parents.

My mother was allowed and sort of encouraged to leave home by her parents, but she wasn't allowed to cross the street, so she had to bike around the block over and over and over again. Eventually she got tired and bored and went home, because she figured a roof was better than circling for another hour.

Isn't it a rite of passage in some ways? Hasn't every kid at some point been fed up with the rules and said, "Screw it...I'm leaving," then left the house? Of course the modern generation really has nothing to rebel against because most parents are desperate to be friends with their kids. If you're getting every little thing you want, why leave?

And why was it that so many people wanted to run away to the circus? I wanted to run and live at Madison Square Garden. I figured the food would be good, and I could watch free sporting events. Yet it was always portrayed as the kid running away to join the circus...and then the parents would die from grief. Is that really the goal of running away? To make the parents die? Then who do you prove your point to in the end? Look Grandma...I made Mom die from grief. I win!

It's changed. My niece may have been waiting for her ride, but a nine year old in Alabama decided that he would just take mom and dad's wheels. He hopped in the truck, turned it on (after liberating dad's keys, of course), and started driving to a better life. He didn't expect to be pulled over by the cops, but they said he was mom and dad should take it easy on him.

Or there's the girl who bought a plane ticket on Orbitz using daddy's credit card because she wanted to see grandma, and mom and dad said she couldn't for a few months. She almost made it too...until the gate agents wondered why she was flying alone and asked. The kicker? Daddy's credit card was not reimbursed. Ouch. Little Suzie (or whatever he name is) will be working that one off for a while.

Now, let me make one thing perfectly clear. I understand that some kids run away from really tough situations. What I mean here is not the kid who is being beaten by dad who has just put a bar of soap in a sock and wants to beat the kid like a drum. There's about a million of those kids out there, and they shouldn't be, and if that dad comes around me, I'd wail on him...but that's just me. No, I'm talking about the kid who wants chocolate, but he or she doesn't get it, so it's time to bolt.

It's a different culture now. Kids feel they should have more privileges, and if they don't get them, they'll go where they can get them. MJ is only 3, and she already has tried to run away. I think I was 7. My sister was also 7 or maybe 8. I can only hope that my sister and my brother-in-law are ready for this. MJ is super smart, good at manipulating, and cute...and she's only 3. When she's 13, the male population is going to be destroyed...but that's another post entirely.

And then there's my son. My lovely wife and I do our best with Little Leab (the clear favorite term for him as so many people tell me), but eventually he'll try it once. I can only hope he isn't as stubborn as I was and wait out in the rain in the middle of a swamp because you're sister (the middle one) told you that your siblings were getting candy and you weren't because your were adopted and no one liked you. Then, when you went to talk to your mom about it, she said she couldn't talk to you because she was busy. So you believed your sister, packed a bag, and left...only to lose a shoe in the nasty swamp water. You get the idea.

I guess I'll cross that bridge when it gets here. Ah parenthood.

Don't worry MJ. Harvey will be there in like...fifteen years to take you to university.

But then again, what do I know? I never made it as far as the circus. I could be wrong.