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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

GOULET (somehow relate it back to UCONN...)

I was checking out Chuckie Hacks for some Brewers info and there was this post alluding to Will Ferrell as Robert Goulet. Very funny, but guy was funny in his own right doing NCAA basketball commercials in '95. Here's a taste:

'If you're not watching him, you don't know Dick!'

I could reach and say that there's a male UCONN cheerleader in the sixteenth video and there's probably a shot of Jimmy Calhoun Superhero {Not the Austrian doppelganger.} somewhere. Alright, I'll go ahead and do that.

But set aside ten minutes and bask in the awesomeness that is the real Robert Goulet. Thong song.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Lie to yourself to have fun

Lie to yourself.

Coach Mason said that more times than I can count at Minnesota. It's one of countless coaching catchphrases that is etched on my brain no matter how hard I try to forget. In essence it's a coachspeak plea to trick yourself into thinking that practice or lifting or running or whatever task was immediately in front of us that we had little particular interest in accomplishing and turn it into a productive session. Convince yourself it will be fun. And more often than not when the players just said, 'Screw it, let's act like little kids in the backyard', the practice turned out to be more enjoyable. And usually more productive.

On Saturday Djurgården came up short again this weekend, 21-7. Again it's the same refrain of missed opportunities and allowing big plays, but more than that we didn't have fun in the first half. We were outscored 21-0. The second half was fun. The score that half was 7-0 and by putting ourselves in a hole we had to chase a bit. Football is a game of emotion and having fun at it's primal level. Well, and violence. Lots and lots of {usually} controlled violence.

I only mention it because whatever we do, we do it either because we have to or we want to. If we want to do whatever activity, there's probably a bit of fun inherent in it. If we have to, we must do it anyway, so may as well make it fun, right?

Either way it can't hurt for you to lie to yourself in order to make it more fun, can it?

Friday, June 26, 2009

One more amusing thing about Sweden

A psychotic feminine shriek from a neighboring apartment after Sweden scored it's second goal against England in the under 21 soccer Championships. They have since equalized {Accompanied by frenzied dancing on the floor above.} after going down 3-0 in the first half.

For the 99% of people who don't care, the Swedish word for nipple is bröstvårtan - which translates to 'breast wart'. And the areola is 'breast wart field'.

Enjoy your weekend and entertain your friends with your new Swedish vocabulary.

This reinforces why I should not have a Twitter account
{Or maybe I should? I see it as a Frankensteinian conglomeration of texting, blogging and emailing. I could be spot on or way off. I'm also not real concerned about this ambiguity. And the 140 character limit seems so constricting.}.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot - Swedish Fashion

Why hello there.

A buddy showed up to practice wearing this yesterday. Yes, that is a salmon tee, shorts that are in fact incredibly short and not boxers - they have pockets and everything, hot pink old school Nikes and an old-school Nike pullover. He is a bit understated when considering the collective get-up of the entire Swedish male population.

The Russian Rocket said that shorts this summer should not come down to the knee {A piece of fashion advice I will likely be avoiding.} and he wanted to err on the side of caution. Methinks you're solid on that front. He also probably assembled this eclectic ensemble in the absence of light. But it provided a visual train wreck to gawk at and fodder for today's post.

In spite of my better judgment, I will continue to remain friends with him. I will, however, refrain from taking fashion advice.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Birthday and Subsequent Threats of Gun Violence

Today is the day when I will be threatened with execution by firing squad should I ever become a centenarian.

Let me explain.

Instead of the typical happy birthday song, Swedes sing "Ja, må du leva (uti hundrade år)" which translates to "Yes, may you live (to a hundred years old)". And instead of the "cha, cha, cha" or what have you, the cheeky Swedes add another verse threatening to put the celebratee on a stump and shoot them if they do, in fact, reach triple digits.

A bit morbid, but it amuses me. Although depending on how the last three-quarters of that quest goes, I may have to find someone to carry out a Denny Crane - Alan Shore arrangement:
Denny Crane: I don't fear death - never have. But I do fear being hooked up to a machine ... would you want to live like that?
Alan Shore: No, Denny, if it came to that, I'd pull the plug.
Denny Crane: Pull the plug? That's no way to die. I want you to shoot me!
For the record, if you can hear me speaking that's not the time. Thanks in advance.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Guest Blogger: CJ Marck

Facebook message from Rob Lunn to CJ Marck Dated June 18th at 11:53 pm: “CJ how the hell are you man? Are you even alive? If so, would you like to be a guest blogger on my website and talk about what it is like to transfer schools and talk a little bit about your summer training?”

Well Lunn, I am alive, and barring contract negotiation I would be honored to write a little blurb. Please forgive in advance any of my attempts to be humorous, as I can not match Rob’s level of intelligence with the keyboard.

For those of you who don’t know me, I played with FWG during the 2007 and 2008 seasons at Connecticut. He has moved on to play professional in Europe (not be to be confused with Massachusetts High School Football) and I have transferred to Miami University, which is in Oxford, Ohio (yes people frequently ask me how I’m enjoying the sunny weather in Florida). My transfer was made prior to the International Bowl and I landed at Miami University in January. Before I start talking about some of the similarities and differences between the two programs, I just want to say that I have the utmost respect for UConn Football and the University of Connecticut. I am thankful for the opportunity Coach Edsall gave me to be a part of the Husky football program and I still have many close friends from the team who I will be cheering for every Saturday this fall.

Since I am from Pennsylvania, and Rob is from, of course, Upstate New York (throw up your U’s), it wasn’t uncommon for us to have the “better high school football state” discussion every now and then. After already being challenged to similar arguments in Ohio, I have determined that this banter must occur in most college locker rooms. There is absolutely nothing to gain from proving your state is better, besides pride, but nonetheless, I will never turn down a good challenge to defend Pennsylvania HS football.

In addition to locker room talk, the off-season training programs at Miami and UConn are pretty comparable. There are some small differences, like at Miami we can listen to music while we work out and our strength training incorporates more power lifts like power cleans, hang cleans, and that sort of stuff. One major difference is that Miami does not have an indoor practice field. Getting up four days a week in February in Ohio at 5:30 to run for an hour is not exactly ideal (no wonder we are lacking recruits from Florida). Our strength coach insures us that it could always be worse, as he has worn shorts to every single workout so far. God bless him. However, these workouts, just like UConn (although indoors), are necessary to succeed in Division 1 Football, as you either work for it or you don’t.

Since I transferred from D1 to D1, NCAA rules force me to sit out a season (ladies I’m single and have some free time…). I won’t get into this too much, but in my opinion when a 17-year-old commits to a college in June after his junior year in high school, he shouldn’t be punished if the situation doesn’t work out in his favor after two years.

Thankfully, I find myself coming in with a brand new coaching staff and being able to play on the same team again with my younger brother Steve. Also, my easy-on-the-eyes older sister, an ex-super star athlete at UNC will be living nearby in Ohio for the next year. Oh and did I mention that Miami is known for “its beautiful campus, business school, and attractive women with questionable morals.” Most of the girls seem to spend more time getting ready for class in the morning than I do studying for a semester’s worth of exams. Me, still rocking the sweats and Davy Crocket winter hats. Miami actually has a campus. A street with restaurants, bars, you name it; very unfamiliar territory up in Storrs.

That’s all I got. We play Northwestern, Cincinnati, Boise State, and open up with Kentucky this year so we definitely have our hands full. I’m sure you will be able to catch a game of ours on some random Tuesday night in the fall. That’s how it goes down in the MAC baby. And who knows, maybe International Bowl 2010, UConn v Miami. Wouldn’t that be ironic? Cue Alanis Morissette.

Favre to Vikings smells like Febreze

Well, apparently, that's done. Or not. Since it's the guy who originally broke the story citing another media person and it hasn't been corroborrated by anyone within the Viking camp. I apparently had a much better handle on the situation that I thought when he originally retired from the Packers over a year ago.

What I wrote then, and still think now. It's like dating someone, knowing that it's best for both parties involved. You reminisce about the good times but ultimately realize that it was the right choice. And the way things have shook out Brett seems like the girl who becomes rather promiscuous. You're sad to see him sully himself in the eyes of others, you know that they're special, but ultimately glad that it's no longer your problem.

I'm looking forward to the Viking fans who ripped him when he played for the Pack breaking down when they have cheer for him to have their team be successful. Schaedenfreude. Good times. This will be the only Brett Favre post coming from yours truly, because I'm as sick of the whole song and dance as you are.

March 5, 2008

Brett Favre is retiring today. Supposedly. I’ve heard the talk before. He’ll be back. Or so I and millions of others hope. I try not to be partial to the point of abandoning reality or selfish as a fan, but with Favre there was always something. It could be great or it could be terrible, but there was always something to watch.

I didn’t think that it would affect me. He's an old professional football player. That's what they do. They retire. We knew it was coming. Or possibly coming. I laughed at my buddy when he was talking about how stunned he was when there was a false alarm on SportSCenter, and he just sat there and couldn’t function.

That couldn’t happen to me. I’m a fan, yes, but up until the point where I invest an unusual, unhealthy or mildly psychotic amount of interest or emotion. Aparently I forgot that fan is short for fanatic. No matter how far I try to keep it hidden under the façade of a responsible, respectable human being.

One of the ladies I work with just casually walked by and said, “Brett’s retiring”. It didn’t hit me at first. What is she talking about? We don’t work with a Bre…wait a minute… It can’t be…He can’t… He did. And it did. Affect me, that is. Not to the point of the lady who said there were no dry eyes in the plant when they heard. I can’t do that. Not for someone I’ve never met. Not yet. Maybe later. During Favre 4Ever. That usually gets me.

I don’t want to say that I didn’t appreciate him while he was playing. I did. But I’d like to think I had a more balanced view of his play than most Packer fans. Too many times he would force a ball or make a dumb play and announcers and fans would fall into the ‘gunslinger’ trap. I wouldn’t fall into it, I'd say, I’m a knowledgeable fan. Or so I like to think. A fan of the game, of playing the right way, of not playing dumb. That throw was terrible, stupid and indefensible. (Essentially like me writing.) But that’s what you get with Brett, they say, you have to take those for all the plays he does make.

And he would make those plays. Oh boy, would he make those freaking plays. The ones that defy description, that are pure improvisation, that are the result of competitive enjoyment that make you look to your dad, your family, your buddies, the random people you’re sitting next to at Lambeau and all you can do is shake your head and laugh and high five and bang on the drum all day.

He would make ridiculous back-handed flips while scrambling to his left. He would wrap the ball all the way around on a draw to the running back. He would fake a throw after handing the ball off. He would fake a throw fifteen yard past the line of scrimmage and make defenders look ridiculous. He would get up after being sacked and get in the D-Lineman’s face. He would play entire series without buckling his chinstrap. He would thread the ball into ridiculously small places with incredible velocity. He would take off his helmet and run around like someone’s little brother in the backyard. In the Super Bowl. He would throw a snowball after he threw a touchdown and give a ref a high-five. He would play.

I’m sure people wanted him to grow up. And he did. Just the right amount. He became a husband, father and elder statesman of the green and gold with the grizzled gray beard. He became more responsible. Got over his share of demons. But he never lost the fun of playing. Never became stuffy or preachy. When he was miked up he always came up with some gems:

-What, you think God never farted?
-This ain’t the damn Ice Capades.
-Yip cabbage.
-Mr. Miyagi.
-Whoa Nelly, Keith Jackson. ... Take back some of them flapjacks, I gotta stay HUNGRAAY for the Crimson Tide.
-Put ‘er in the ol’ vice. Put ‘er in the ol’ vice. Put ‘er in the ol’ vice.

I'd buy a DVD collection with all of the miked up footage on it.

In all likelihood, I am still in the denial phase of grief, against my better judgment, thinking that there can be no other Packer quarterback. Starr and Majik and all the others were a logical progression to Favre. I’m sure I’m not alone. But there will be another, and people will love him, too. Just not in the same way. Well, maybe, but it's too soon, and I feel blasphemous even mentioning the possibility.

I feel like I lost something and I can’t verbalize what was lost and therefore cannot come any closer to accepting it. But you can’t describe him accurately with words you needed to see him. He was both ends of the spectrum, sometimes at once. The one who waffled and held the Packers hostage personnel-wise in previous off-seasons. The one who then brought the NFC Championship Game back to Green Bay. The one who started and ended his NFL career with an interception, the one who threw more of them than anyone else in the history of the league. But also the one who threw more touchdowns than anyone else in the history of the league. The one who was Four.

I love the way he is as all boys are. Or at least in their mind. You don’t think I can play anymore? Watch. I’ll show you. What, now you want me to stick around because now you think I can play? I’m done. I want to be done, so I'm through. But, I told you so. {Now you think I'm washed up? Give me my pads. I'll show you.}

And I can see the boyish Cheshire grin peeking out from underneath a ragged red hat. {Even though I want spectacular train wreck plays against the Pack this year.}

Your Fat White Kid Moment of the Week

He has an excellent chance to grow up to be a blogger on this site. HT: Various blogs - At this point I had switched to the USA - Egypt tilt hoping they could tack on another goal to advance. They did.

Who says soccer is boring? Stocky little fella from every Disney sports movie ever made does. Kid, if you had topped it off with the truffle shuffle my head may have exploded. If only you were born a decade earlier, you would have killed in The Big Green.

To be fair, I apparently sucked on plastic bags instead of my thumb when I was a toddler. Which explains quite a bit actually. Luckily I had parents who made sure I didn't make a punchline out of myself on international television. That and there was no YouTube.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Liquor sales at new Gopher stadium

The Regents are scheduled to vote tomorrow on whether or not they are going to allow alcohol sales for the inaugural season of Not The Metrodome*. I don't see what the big issue is with allowing liquor sales in the entire stadium. Arbitrarily placing restrictions on something that is legal is absurd straight away, but the enormous amount of revenue that is lost also seems a bit shortsighted. Underage students will imbibe and people will overindulge, but there is security and police present - wouldn't it be easier to curtail unruly behavior inside the stadium confines rather than the pre- and post-game tailgate and house party expanse? And it's a college freaking football game, not a kindergarten dance recital. There's nothing more American than sitting on your ass eating and drinking body damaging substances while watching other people exert themselves.

However, if the Regents do want to shun 'logic' and 'making money' and do decide to ban sales, well then go ahead. I don't necessarily think that because the vast majority of other collegiate on-campus stadiums ban alcohol sales then the U should blindly follow suit. I understand trying to avoid the potential liability and problems that may arise because of in-stadium alcohol sales. But is the message a institution of higher learning wants to send students {Because undeniably that is who the restrictions are primarily aimed at. And of course they won't succeed in bringing in libations of their own, right? If all the brain power and effort that college students used engineering drinking supplies and games went to benefit humanity, we could wipe out hunger, disease, and be well on our way to living in a veritable utopia in two years. Alas.}: 'You aren't mature enough to handle this, so we're going to take it away from you.' I mean, the most famous drunken incident at the Metrodome last year had nothing to do with Minnesota students.

Why the State Legislature decided to make a new law because allowing liquor sales in premium seating areas "struck some lawmakers as elitist" is beyond me. Of course it is elitist. Any place of business that inflates prices to exclude a certain demographic is elitist. The elitism doesn't bother me; people with money have greater access to more places and services. The state government stepping in doesn't exactly bother me. The politicians are trying to come up with something tangible {beer sales at Gopher games} or the perceived effort of doing something for the greater good; they're politicians - hell, too many of them are worried about a college football playoff or steroids in baseball than more pressing issues facing the country. What bothers me the most is the University high-ups wringing their collective hands rather than making a decision.

Give the thumbs up or thumbs down and let's move on, shall we? {But you'd be a lot cooler if you went with the thumbs up.}

* I refuse to call it by its proper name because of a run-in with the omitted entity. I deposited a check, purchased about four/five things after the aforementioned transaction. After taking up issue with the overdraft fees, I was informed that it was company policy for all deposits to be processed the following business day and that there was no way they could reverse the charges incurred {about $150 for roughly $30 worth of purchases}. I know this to be blatantly untrue because a year or two earlier on a legitimate overdraft, I was prepared to pay the fee and was told by the teller that he would just erase the charge. He may have been gay and doing it to hit on me, but that's not really the point. I hate you unnamed bank.

A Goodbye To Austria

Dear Austria,
Thanks for the memories. No seriously, thank you. Whether it was discovering a Nazi-sympathizer landlord or swimming in the Worteresee:
you never cease to impress. Not to mention all the delicious Murauer that I drank; Yes, in excess on occasion. Thank you for sparking heated debates on team buses: For the official record, I still believe you could take the best rugby players in the world, and they would get their asses handed to them on a Rugby pitch versus NFL Guys with no training. I mean, Ray Lewis? C'mon---he killed a man. But, I digress. This is my official goodbye to you, with your scenic mountain and even nicer population. My time here had so little to do with football, and so much to do with discovering Europe, it's people, and myself.
Yes, a metaphoric tear comes to my eye, when I think about the early struggles in the grocery store---oh and you keen sense of humor "American Sandwich." Well played, Austria. Well played. Or was it the cultural saturation that was your best joke, I hate to admit it, but in month two I was considering buying skinny jeans, and shaping my receding hairline into a soccer mullet, and changing my name to Jahn (or was it Johahn...).
Not to mention your coffee---it has meth-addicts and crack smokers jealous. That stuff is so good it should be illegal.
So as I prepare for my Euro-Trip, I want to say thank you. Thanks for having me. I'll be back soon.
Yours Truly,

Monday, June 22, 2009

FWG on Twitter and FWG's Sister on this Blog

Hey everyone, Rob's sister here. You may have heard of me from my one-hour Deadspin fame and the subsequent attempted murder of my little brother ("little" used loosely).

Anyway, he asked me to post a link to his Twitter page. He has left Austria for a whirlwind trip around Europe with his lovely girlfriend and probably won't be posting much on the blog. He will, however, be twittering from his fancy Blackberry World.

So feel free to follow his tweets here.

And if anyone would like to hear some embarrassing stories about Robbie, I have the password to the blog for the next two weeks and will honor requests in the comments section. Revenge is a bitch.


Work is Stupid

It is time for me to pay up one half of my bargain that comes with whoring myself out for the sake of juvenile diabetes research. A lovely lady who shall remain unnamed {Because, well, you'll find out shortly.} was the sole donor of a cool hundred bones. Which was way more than I was expecting. Also, you have just a bit over a week to enter Vince Wilfork's raffle to win some Patriots tickets as well as a barbeque. And who doesn't love a barbeque?

Without further ado, here's the guest post. Do not be intimidated by the lack of Y chromosome, big words, logical thought process and presence of maths. Enjoy.

Yeah, I said it! Work is totally stupid. Not only is it stupid, but the entire concept of working in general is absurdly mind boggling. Here’s Pulitzer Prize Winner Ellen Goodman to explain this a bit more eloquently.

“Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it.”

Bam! There you have it -- the epitome of absurdity. What’s worse is that we spend half our lives repeating this vicious cycle, setting the same bass-ackwards example that previous generations did before us.

You’ll have to forgive my rather jaded demeanor. Perhaps I’m having trouble transitioning from the college-induced Hedonistic lifestyle that seemed to suit me so well to the fun-sucking, mind-squandering, humanity-deficient, politically-charged wasteland that is “Corporate America.” It’s a bitch!

Nonetheless, I’m not completely oblivious to the fact that, were I to create a movement that resulted in much of the population opting to wander aimlessly through life like nomads rather than get a job, the earth, if not the entire Milky Way, would certainly implode. Employment is necessary to sustaining a workable society. Without employees how would I get my Nachos Bell Grande and a cab ride home from the bar? What’s even worse is I wouldn’t have a bar to stumble from or a home to stumble to. So yeah, I get it. Work is necessary. What gets me isn’t the idea of doing something productive to benefit society. It’s the fact that work isn’t supplemental to a happy life, instead its life-consuming nature forces people to sacrifice a greater portion of themselves than I’m prepared to part with. Quite the conundrum.

Let’s do the math. Eight hours a day, five days a week, 48 weeks a year (I subtracted four weeks for vacations, sick leave, etc.) for 40 years equals approximately 65,600 hours of your life spent working.

If you’re going to spend 65,600 hours of your time doing something, you should love it. Right? Then again, I can’t think of a single thing that I love (outside of sleeping) that I would be willing to do with such frequency. I mean, who wants to take something they truly enjoy and twist it, exhaust it, extort it until the enjoyment has completely faded?

The older I get, the less I feel I understand about life. But one thing I know is true--work is stupid.

This post further reaffirms my quest to go through life without having anything resembling a 'normal job'.

Does This Guy Look Like Jim Calhoun....

Austrian political poster, nearly got in an accident when I saw this guy. I swear (to me) he looks like Coach Calhoun. And let me add this, if this guy beats cancer, breaks five ribs, completes a bike race, and then drives himself home...guess what? He's got my vote. Hell yeah.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

"Take Time to Reflect on Father's Day"

My father writes a weekly column for the NY Daily Record, and this week he published some of his own musings on the tradition of Father's Day. And I figured since he's my dad, and this is his day, and I've left Austria for Eurotrip 2009 with my girlfriend and don't have time to write anything myself, I'd just let you all read what he has to say.
Happy Father's Day, to all the dads out there. Here's his article:
"If the new American father feels bewildered and even defeated, let him take comfort from the fact that whatever he does in any fathering situation has a fifty percent chance of being right." --Bill Cosby
Father’s Day is Sunday. Here are some random thoughts and observations from the whimsical to the more serious.
It’s not Mother’s Day and never will be. The phone lines won’t be burning up coast to coast; gratefully, flowers are not a must and brunch reservations can usually be made anytime up through, well, probably this Sunday morning. Truthfully, when you drill down to the core of this special day for dads and hold it next to Mother’s Day, you realize that it’s somewhat like trying to compare Rochester’s Red Wings Stadium to the new Yankee Stadium. Yes, it’s the same game but definitely not the same ballpark. I remember when my son, Rob, was playing Little League baseball in Penfield. His coach, Brian Barney, brought a single rose for each mom on their special Sunday. When our day rolled around I was half expecting a sleeve of new golf balls from him but instead he tossed me a bat and some baseballs and told me to go warm up the outfielders. It has a ways to go, yet it does have a history. Father’s Day was conceived in 1909 by Sonora Dodd of Spokane, Washington. She hatched the idea while listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in church and the following year began celebrating a special day in June, the birth month of her dad. June 19, 1910 officially became the first Father’s Day and if history is any guide at all to the present, the first necktie was gifted 99 years ago this week. President Calvin Coolidge in 1924, supported the idea of a national Father's Day. Then in 1966 President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the 3rd Sunday of June as Father's Day. President Richard Nixon signed the law which finally made it permanent in 1972.

OK, so I made light of the necktie but seriously, the truth is that for the most part it doesn’t excite guys at all and after some 25 years the tie rack is filling up. Let me explain how men think. All the women reading this right now are thinking: "yeah right, that can be done in 15 words or less." Well, you are mostly correct, but still I can illustrate by comparing our gender to women. When I married my wife, Paula, 28 years ago she gave me one simple rule when it came to gifts – “never, never, ever give me a gift with a cord attached.” That simple rule has served me quite well over the years. But guys are radically different. We in fact like cords. Power tools, televisions, computers, pretty much anything electronic – and we like other simple amusements that don’t require much effort: concert tickets, books, and gadgets, and anything with the suffix “ball” attached to it (golf ball, basketball, football, baseball -- you get the idea). For me, the origins of this syndrome date back to my earliest childhood. If I pulled a gift from my collection at my birthday parties and it was soft and flexible it usually meant clothes – often socks – usually from my aunts and always immediate disappointment. So keep it simple, buy it with a cord or relate it to sports – or tickets to a sporting event or concert perhaps. He’ll love it. He’ll love you.

Find a quiet spot this Sunday and reflect about your dad for a moment or two. What made/makes him special in your eyes? My own father was a giant of a man. No, I don’t mean in the sense of the 1960s ballad about Big John, the miner rescuing other miners. Well, maybe that too but as a little kid he was actually a giant – all 6’4” 225 lbs of him. One of my fondest memories dates back to a family vacation we took to Ocean City, Maryland. I was 4 years old and immediately began to hone my skills as a negotiator – enhanced, apparently, by some uncontrollable tantrums. It was all about the circular boat rides next to the huge ferris wheel. Every time he tried to get me off I sobbed, begging for just one more ride – "just one more that’s all!" He patiently indulged me – again and again and again -- until he finally lost patience. I decided it was a good time to move on to the next ride. The other part of the trip I recall involved my first plunge into a swimming pool. My dad stood in the water and even at that age I was smart enough to know that if the water was up to his chest in the pool it was way too deep for me. I’m sure this was all about one of life’s important lessons and the meaning of trust but truthfully, even though I am a competent swimmer I always subscribed to the theory that if humans were meant to swim we would not have evolved to walking on two legs on dry land. He coaxed me, I trusted him; he caught me securely, we bonded. He supported me and encouraged me in everything I did or ever attempted to do in life.

In February of this year I wrote a column titled “Living a Purposeful Life.” It was about my good friend, Chris Trotto, who died suddenly last September at age 58. He went upstairs to take a nap and never woke up. The message of the writing was simple. Go find a loved one right now and hug him or her. Appreciate that person because life is precious and you never truly know what lies ahead. Yesterday, some 100 new attorneys were sworn in by my former Court, the Appellate Division, 4th Department. Among the newest attorneys was Chris’ son, Jonathan. Chris used to often talk about that swearing in day and how wonderful it was going to be -- a father/son law firm and his good friend swearing Jonathan in to the practice of law. It didn’t work out that way and Chris died just 10 days after Jonathan’s law school graduation on September 14h. The qualities he instilled in his son are on display daily. He appreciates his dad. I am proud to be practicing law with him.

Yesterday was truly a “father’s day.” I felt my good friend’s presence as the oath was administered to his son.
Take time to remember. Take time to appreciate. And, of course, gifts are always welcome (see above).

Friday, June 19, 2009

Glad Midsommar

Out of the office for the weekend due to going undercover with some Swedes to drink schnapps, eat herring and dance around a penis pole. Seriously. It's supposedly an ancient Swedish celebration of male fertility.

That song is about how frogs don't have ears or a tail. Ooo-wacaca, indeed. There's another traditional ditty that roughly translated means you're a momma's boy and I'm a momma's boy and everybody is a momma's boy. Sometimes telling the truth is funny enough.

If you need an excuse for binge drinking this weekend, go ahead and celebrate the longest day of the year under the guise of celebrating Swedish culture.

Notable Alum Name Game

I love random trivia. Back home I have some buddies that are fantastic at coming up with pointless games such as: One person thinks of a town in your state, gives the first letter, and other people have three guesses. Or attempting to list as many roster members from teams around 10 years ago. It's a great way to kill lulls in conversation, although it usually just leads to that being the entire discussion.

Over at Joe Posnanski's Blog he has some excellent useless conversation fodder. The rules:

For each college you have to pick the best (1) Basketball player; (2) Football player; (3) Baseball player and (4) Wildcard, which could be any sport, anything semi-involving sport or if it’s good enough a cool alumni who has nothing at all to do with sports.

I'll add an additional element for the FWG discussion: The Black Sheep. Basically the alumnus that you're less than keen on having graduated from your school.


Basketball: Kevin McHale
Football: Bronko Nagurski
Baseball: Paul Molitor
Wildcard I: Herb Brooks (US Olympic team hockey coach)
Wildcard II: Ric Flair (whoo!)
Wildcard III: Bob Dylan (wrote song for Hurricane Carter)
Wildcard IV: Patty Berg (co-founded LPGA)
Wildcard V: Tony Dungy
Wildcard VI: Bud Wilkinson

I would recommend Dave Winfield and Brock Lesnar as rather notable wildcards. Even though Lesnar did go to the dark side of fake wrestling for a bit. Although it is difficult to fault him for getting paid. Garrison Keillor would be one that has little to do with athletics.

Black Sheep: Yanni

And for Rob:


Basketball: Ray Allen
Basketball: Diana Taurasi
Football: Brian Kozlowski
Baseball: Charles Nagy … special mention for the remarkable Walt Dropo
Wildcard: Sam Rutigliano (coach of Kardiac Kids Browns) and Leigh Montville (sportswriting idol), two heroes at one school. Almost impossible to believe the awesomeness.

Suggested Black Sheep: Moby. You have anyone worse than that, Rob?

Go over, check it out and leave some comments to see what colleges readers support and how they fare. I'm thinking that the rankings are based entirely on what they did after they left school - if things were changed to only factor college performance, the lists could look vastly different. Although Bee may have things pretty well locked down either way with UNC.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Who Ya Got?

Well, again the internet has blessed us with more great videos. I don't know if this is where my "career" as a blogger is headed, but it could very well be. So again, vote in the comment section:
Which is a better on-camera fight; Cyborg Santos v. Blogger OR Jim Rome v. Jim "Don't Call Me Chris" Everette? You be the judge.
(fast forward to the 4:20 mark)


Is it Jim Rome pushing Jim Everett's buttons...a ballsy move. I'm callin' it: This one goes to Romey. However, due credit must be given to the blogger who gets his ass kicked by a girl. In his defense he was approached from the rear, while being distracted by a clever translation.

Defending the tie

They say a tie is like kissing your sister. Perhaps the axiom originated in West Virginia {Coach Stew apparently forgot to mention incest in the laundry list of natural resources abvndant in the Mountain State.}, but I don't mind kissing my sister, provided it's a peck on the cheek. It could be because I haven't seen her in about four months and even if I could she's a teen - so she'd probably just punch me. Whatever, it's not the best possible situation, but it's not bad.

I know that endorsing the tie seems like an un-American thing viewpoint, but ties were a part of the college football landscape until just over a decade ago. The purpose of games are to accurately gauge the relative skill over roughly a three hour period on one day. As with anything, answers are not always black and white but shades of gray. Adding the tie as an option to win or loss makes a team record more accurate, no matter how unsatisfying a tie would be to fans, the media, coaches or players. Naturally there would be someone who would 'win' the tie and someone who would 'lose' it, but there's sixty minutes of play and if there is nothing between the teams during the time, why should we artificially introduce a difference?

Without a doubt college overtime is incredibly exciting and entertaining. But introducing giving the ball to the offense at the +25 during the extra period is akin to starting extra inning baseball games with a man on second, or every possession of a basketball overtime with a three on two fast break. It completely disregards two phases of special teams {Kickoffs and punts}, which are integral facets of the game. We could go on about changes to make the overtime more palatable. A fifth quarter broken into seven and a half minute sections, with the teams switching ends between them. Three overtimes max, then end the game due to player safety {I saw this mentioned by another writer, but cannot remember where. Apologies to whomever came up with the idea.}. A team pushing the game to overtime awarded a half-win, while the team ultimately prevailing gets a full win, similar to the NHL's current regular season overtime scenario. The list could go on and on, but the reality is all of them, like the structure of college football is flawed.

As frustrating as it is leaving a game at a tie {I've been to several soccer games that ended in scoreless draws. There is nothing more frustrating than feeling like two hours was completely wasted. And the two hours of build-up with no release may be one of the biggest reasons for hooligans. That and they're freaking jacked in the head.} at the end of the year it may make the picture more clear. {Warning: extreme hypothetical forthcoming. And admittedly not the best of examples, but the best I can come up with.} If Texas and Texas Tech had finished their epic game in Lubbock last year in a tie, why should we arbitrarily determine a winner? If a tie is scored and kept, that breaks the three-way morass between Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech.

Play on the field under the regulation rules should be the measuring stick between two teams. If they stack up the same, what is the harm in calling a spade a spade and saying they were equal on one day instead of implementing new rules to declare a winner? Re-introducing ties could also jumble up the standings and national title picture further, but with a truer representation in the comparison category.

Now go and kiss your sister, the Mountaineers beg you {Post-smooch couch burning optional.}. See, it's not so bad.

Allow Me...

Please allow me to demonstrate to you the difference between European "sports" and those of the American persuasion.



....making it too easy, guys. Insert your own Dubya Dubya Two reference here.

Pele v. Lawrence Taylor.

+1 to Ryan McGuire for his insight.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

This Week's Sign Of The Apocalypse

I've been saying for weeks that the 80's were alive and well in Europe. Pastel shirts, rolled up blazers, and of course a love for "Miami-Wize" all could have been contenders for This Week's Sign Of The Apocalypse. But then, out of no where: proof-positive of why God loves us and wants us to be happy:

I miss America.

And The Winner Is....

In a decisive victory (1-0) Big Dave and his "Wann-stache" pull it out, over the Pool-man-chu of Phelps. I am however disappointed, not mad...disappointed at the lack of voting. 2,000 people a day, and one of you voted. For shame. For shame.
In later news, congrats to Wannstedt and his killer lip-fur.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

On the nature of winning (16-0)

Djurgården put together a solid effort and a 16-0 win on a wet Friday night that kept the typically sparse crowds at about forty to fifty people. Not too many in the States are used to more players on the field that in the stands. It wasn't always pretty {We don't have a lot of beauty on the team. Plenty that think they are, however.}, but they don't ask how - they ask how many. We made it plural in the good column {2-3 on the year} and any time there's singing after a game it makes for much better times, plus the good readers are saved me rationalizing a loss and discussing the negatives of losing. And farmer tan - no one needs to hear about that crap.

Winning makes everything better, even the inevitable rough patches that any team goes through. Especially football teams. The sheer number of players and coaches bringing varying backgrounds and temperaments to the table creates a natural tension. Hell, my roommate wanted to beat the shit out of me a couple months ago, and rightfully so, because I blasted him in the back during a practice dispute {Anyone who has played understands that the offense/defense dynamic changes drastically during practice.} and that was before we had played in a game. When the wins aren't coming tempers are a little quicker to flare, and can make winning even more of an obstacle.

Enduring losses is part of the game. Any game {I'll save you the obvious life parallels.}. There's no point in playing if you know you're going to win every time. Half the teams who played American football this weekend lost {Hooray Confed Cup!}. Walt Whitman didn't play a down but he recognized that "battles are lost in the same spirit in which they are won." It's a matter of controlling what you can control, giving the maximum effort for as long as possible, enjoying the whole process and hoping you are fortunate enough to get the requisite amount of luck. Heeding those words is a lot easier when you are winning.

It's also a lot easier to enjoy your teammates when you win instead of absorbing defeat and mentally rehasing turning points in the game. Those who step in and perform at a high level. The jubilation after the final seconds tick off. The impromptu chants in the locker room. Singing 'Don't Stop Me Now' horrendously off key, off time and with utter disregard for the lyrics. Busting on guys while getting ready. The breakdowns are louder, the showers warmer, the beverages tastier, the conversations more intellectual {Well, maybe more lively...}, the carousing more Bacchanalian and the body less sore after wins.

The people are the same; the effort is the same. The only thing different is a number. Sometimes it takes a win to be reminded of that.

UNC Revisited

From reader and frequent commenter Bee 2636 regarding our passing over of his Tarheels in our preseason Top 25 review a couple weeks ago.

OK, here's my buck-twenty on UNC (inflations has killed any 2 cents worth).

First a disclaimer: this is not a scouting report and any use of this material without the express, written permission of the Commish of the ACC, The UNC System, UNC Athletics, is forbade lest you die at the hands Rameses and his killer ninjas.

19. North Carolina (I dunno--sportwriters, I was THERE)

This might be a more questionnable year than 2008 ( the Coastal table was set for us three separate times and we dropped our utensils every time).

Hurdle: "North Carolina always has been/is/always will be a 'basketball school'."

(so thinks/sez the majority of the state..maybe even the country). Charlie 'Choo Choo' Justice (R.I.P.), Dick Crum and Mack Brown would argue their point. One of the keys to breaking 'the myth' is to have solid coaching, recruiting and talent for more than a 3-5 yr coaching experiment. Which leads to my next two points.

Recruiting: The 2009 class of 29 signees posted in the Top 10 (depending on who/what you read anywhere from #5 to #8) which IS important when your goal is to make that same tier

in the National Rankings, but as we all know, no immediate impact threats. Where Crum, Brown (still love 'ya -- Hook-em Horns) and Davis succeed(ed) is holding on to the best in-state talent while balancing it with some national draws (Exposure..Exposure..Exposure--Gawd, I'm sounding like Edsall). The biggest draw for Butch has been running Pro-Set at the collegiate level (kids know Option as Pat pointed out, and a lot of coaches view the

spread, or variations of it, as a fad). A lot of talented recruits with NFL aspirations are buying-in on the notion of playing somewhere giving an advantage in preparing for the next level.

Coaching: No doubt, Butch Davis can coach and recruit. The issue will be can he sustain it under the modern 'Won or Done' regimes. My gut feeling is he a) stays put (alma mater -Arkansas already came a callin'), b) is successful, c) makes this his last coaching stint, d) builds a solid program (not year-in/year-out Top 10) and e) retires well before he becomes the likes of a JoePa or that Bowd'n fellar. Look for DC Ernie Withers to step up defensive secondary play. He only has a 50/50 deep secondary in experience and will have to tighten things up significantly to avert 4th quarter collapses (notably UVA and Notre Dame). With that said, I think we have taken the right step to do just that.

Offseason coaching hires, in order of position importance

1) Art Kaufman (Southern Miss) LB's - Kaufman BETTER hit the ground running with his shoes on fire yellin' "I need some more gasoline"--Why? Because he has two of the most solid LB position guys in the country (Carter/Sturdivant--more later)

2) Troy Douglas (USF) DB's - Troy KNOWS why he's get the secondary playing like his string of Draft choices out of South Florida (great hire-gotta Leavitt!)--plus he and Ernie played together at Appalachian State (remember them DickRod?)

3) Allen Mogridge (Buffalo) TE's - was a former UNC OL (300lb RT from TN. TN turns out some great linemen--ask Garrett Reynolds) Thanks Turner!--we can't return a favor...Sorry folks! Park's closed. Moose out front shoulda told you--one of THE classic movie lines and from a FWG to boot).

Defense: Strong unit anchored by experienced LBs Bruce Carter SAM (see UCONN Special Teams), Quan Sturdivant MIKE (NCAA leader solo tackles) and we've added Zach Brown (blazing speed). Boxcar (yes--as in boxes with wheels) DT's Marvin Austin and Cam Thomas are back to clog the middle. Kendric Burney and Da'Norris Searcy shore up the secondary, but they're gonna need a lot of help. Quan's an interesting guy and standout both-ways player from my High School. One of two to play for the Tar Heels (the other was Rod Broadway who made his way on into the NFL--confident Quan will follow in his footsteps). The key focus for the returning core this season is to play defense at 'anticipation read speed, not at read/reaction speed'. Withers coined that gem...translated I basically think he means recognize what's about to happen and be there before it does...then again, I ain't a coach.


Strengths - Big OL (300lb Rangz-is-Us -- Kyle Jolly/Aaron Stahl/Alan Pelc/Mike Ingersoll) anchored by Lowell Dyer C/LS (Rimington watchlist).

-Tailback tandem Shawn Draughn...prn 'Drone' as he, in his best T Dorsett rendition, told us last year (speedy, good quickness/moves and fumbles when bent backwards--especially when you're on a sustained bowl drive against WVA on National TV to seal the game for chrissakes! {not bitter}) and Ryan Houston (power, did I say power? physically punishing back that metes out pain on the order of WWE Raw). Both should be much improved.

StockAlert: Watch for the addition of Jamal Womble (an absolute Arizona Roadrunner) to the mix.

Weaknesses - Can 'Number One' QB T J Yates stay healthy with 'Number Two' QB Mike Paulus (see what I did there?) looking for a shot and redemption. Sad he's gone, but 2008 reliever QB Cam Sexton (The-Nicest-Kid-Ever-To-Tote-The-Shit-Bag-And-Still-Get-Demoted). Cam gradumatriculated and will use his final year of eligiblity for Catawba University (only a 35 minute drive away from Charlotte).

-Receiving corps is pretty well depleted of proven stars. WR's Hakeem "The Dream" Nicks and Brooks Foster (THE strongest player on the 2008 squad) move on to the NFL. We'll be looking for Greg Little (receiver-turned basketball player- turned running back-turned receiver again--and yes, you MUST catch the ball while open with a 10 yd cushion on the nearest WVA defender on National TV during a late 3rd quarter drive that may have sealed any hope of a Mountaineer comeback {again, not bitter}) , Dwight Jones and Rashod Mason to adapt quickly. If Greg does catch the ball, he has speed, power and memories of 'toting the mail'. He can be a force to bring down. Unfortunately, our stellar Fr WR recruit and early enrollee Joshua Adams (Cheshire Academy, CT), who was making noise for playing time, is doubtful after a summer workout knee injury. Yes those ARE MAN TEARS!

Special Teams: Down, Down, Down in a Burning Ring of Fire! KO/FG duties are 'under competition' which means he who scores best, scores last -- edge to Casey Barth (baby brother of KC Chief Connor Barth providing he hasn't been cut). New punter and holder (both walk-ons, NOT THAT IT MATTERS AT ALL - right Pat?). HUGE HUGE HUGE loss is WR/KR Brandon Tate (#2 NCAA all-purpose yardage and 397 yd UNC single game all-purpose record) to the NFL. Butch is still saying almost a year later, he may not be replaceable...NFL sayin' otherwise if he don't quit the 4:20 and lay off the wackygrass.

Schedule: The first half is mixed. 2 of the first 6 games are against FCS opponents (Citadel, Ga Southern). Hope we wear navy jerseys or pants for that game, otherwise visitors will think it looks like UNC vs UNC (yes, uniforms are THAT similar)...Nah, Butch'll probably wait til Week 2 and pull the navy pants on the BEast vs UCONN at The Rent (on the basis of Rutgers results last year). 3 of the first 6 games are also against the Option/Spread/Hurry-Up (UCONN, ECU and 22. GaTech). Our speed and recognition will be tested early by this trio.

The second half (after the only 'bye-week') starts ROUGH, stays TOUGH and ends with ENOUGH . Open with back-to-back Thursday ESPN games with 15. FSU (Home and off the bye-week) and 8. Va Tech (Away). Continues with upswing Duke & idunnowhut Miami (both Home) and finishes with BC & NC State (both Away). Duke and NC State swap the 'rivalry game' spots. Both could be disasterous if, a) early season Dookies avoid last year's key injuries and b) we don't go to MooU so hellbent for revenge we forget what came we to do.

Predictions: (and its a stretch) Start the season 5-1 with a fall into that pesky 3-3 slip in second half for an overall 8-4 repeat and a(nother) trip to the Meineke or maybe an Emerald bowl (that's just Nuts!). Not exactly where we need to be yet--although it could propel us to the threshold beginning in 2010 or 2011.

That's all I got to say 'bout that.

-Great thoughts and insanely in depth. Anyone else want to realistically break down their Top 25 squad for the upcoming year? Let us know.

Doc Saturday also has some thoughts regarding the 'Heels.

The question he raises is whether UNC can maintain their turnover margin proficiency from last year (+18 in 8 wins, -12 in 5 losses) while improving on their yards per game (-64 per game).

Monday, June 15, 2009

Phelps v. Wannstedt---who you got?

For those of you who read this blog religiously, you know I have an unhealthy obsession with Dave Wannstedt's mustache. That being said, another facial-fur gladiator has thrown his hat into the ring, a battle royale for my affection (affliction?). Cue Europe Final Countdown () Michael Phelps is in the race. That's right America's favorite pot head has grown a heft upper-lip ornament. Not mad, but I'll put the question to you. Wannstedt's coaching, sweat soaked stache or Phelp's "Wild-when-wet-and-or-stoned" fu-man-chu.
Vote in the Comments section. Winner posted tomorrow.

The Adventures Of Super Scott.....

I don't want people to start thinking I'm becoming a fashion site, although there have been a few posts on those snazzy new uniforms (navy is this season's fuscia). Anyway---Santini sent me this photo, taken only moments ago atop a mountain---in Connecticut. Notice the way the red cape accents his sharp jaw and military-high-n-tight hair cut.
I think we should send our congratulations to UConn Strenght coaches Jerry Martin and Drew Wilson; having improved Lutrus's bench, squat, clean, and flying ability. Well done guys.