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Archive for the ‘Football’ tag

WTF Wednesday: I don’t care for Mike Leach.

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Today, Mike Leach was hired to be the football coach at Washington State. Do you remember the time he blamed poor performance on the “fat little girlfriends” of his players?

Written by Tracy

November 30th, 2011 at 10:08 pm

Mornings With Baby

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Back in the day, I hated mornings. I’ve always been a night person, so that makes sense. I’d hit the snooze button 800 times, often sleeping through the alarm. I’d wake up late and be totally rushed to get wherever I was going. I’d get ready as fast as I could and swish out the door, late as always and irritated, partly because I was late and partly because I was in a hurry and partly because why couldn’t I ever just get my shit together and do anything on time ever?

This is the weirdest, most random thing, but I love mornings now. Aside from having to actually go to work, mornings I go into the office are kind of the best. It might be the result of getting older (things I’ve noticed about old people is that they’re always cold, they don’t eat a ton, and they don’t sleep as much or as well as young people), but now I actually wake up when my alarm goes off. I hit the snooze button twice (maybe three times if I’m being crazy) and then get out of bed. It’s not an exaggeration to tell you that for me, that’s kind of groundbreaking. chillinI even get up earlier than I need to get up to make it to the office at a reasonable time.

I make coffee, get ready, get in Ben’s way in our one tiny bathroom, and even have time to check the internet. (Ben, for the record, gets up a little later than I do and leaves way earlier than I do. I make coffee and the bed and he feeds the animals.)

Sometime between when I wake up and am ready to walk out the door, Soren wakes up. (He usually gets up anywhere from 7:00 to 9:00.) He’s almost always in a good mood in the morning. He asks for milk (or “bilk” as he usually says, although not as often any more), gets a diaper change, and hangs out entertaining himself with toys or the animals or whatever.

Before we leave, I get him dressed for the day. Although he’s a relatively opinionated 2-year-old (aren’t they all), he could give a, well, poop, about what he wears (I’m sure this will change). Usually this is when we talk about the day ahead — I like to talk to him about things he’s about to experience (“Are you looking forward to doing ____ and seeing ____?”) or things he just experienced (“Did you have fun at school today? Did you see your friends Bob and Audrey [not their real names]?”). His response to many of these conversations is simply, “Sophie!” Sophie [not her real name] is Soren’s classmate and as best I can tell, he is completely in toddler love with her. He talks about her all the time. I was worried it was a one-way thing until the day I dropped him off and she said, “I want to sit by Soren!” Oh my goodness.

That’s about it in terms of toddler maintenance in the mornings. Sometimes you have to wipe boogers, but usually it’s not all that much work.

I don’t even mind loading up my car (there’s a lot you have to bring every day when you use cloth diapers) and driving totally out of my way to take Soren to daycare. I have to navigate the building security system and wait for Soren to hug the woman who is usually sitting at the front desk (so cute). We walk down the hallway to his classroom and usually (we arrive on the late side) the kids are in the middle of breakfast and, this is the dorkiest thing ever, but it’s just so nice to see everybody in the morning. In the morning, everybody is fresh and relatively clean. The kids are all — well, I was about to say “rosy-cheeked and hopeful,” but fucked if that kind of shit doesn’t make me want to vomit. I think you get the point.

Soren is usually happy to see everyone and happy to have the opportunity to eat the world. Sometimes he’s sad and sometimes he doesn’t want me to leave, but his teacher almost always knows how to distract him and make him happy. I like my job and like going to the office, but most of the time as I’m standing there realizing I should go, I totally don’t want to leave.

I’m going to do all I can to keep mornings awesome for as long as possible. I know it’ll get much harder to do as Soren gets older and mornings become more complicated and chaotic, but getting the day off to a good start is fantastic, so I’m going to try.

Disclosure: The awesomeness of my mornings must be credited at least in part to two important factors: (1) I have a low-maintenance child (so far); and (2) no part of my morning commute (home to daycare or daycare to the office) is more than 3 miles and traffic, even downtown, just isn’t that bad.

I’m telling you this stuff not because I think I’m special simply as a result of spawning or because I think being a parent is some sort of magical thing that makes everything superfantasticawesome. I’m telling you this because I think it’s cool the way parenthood does this thing where it makes you like stuff you didn’t used to like or see things in new ways. The good parts of being a parent kind of sneak up on you in unexpected, quiet ways. I love that.

_______

In other news, if you were unfortunate enough to read my smug fantasy football posts earlier this season, you will be happy to know I lost this week. I lost to, of all people, my husband. I almost won. Aaron Hernandez scored a touchdown during the last minutes of the MNF game, but it was taken away because some New England asshole got a penalty. I was all “YESSSS!” and then I was all “NOOOOOO!” I could’ve won, if I played Cam Newton instead of Tony Romo or BenJarvus Green-Ellis instead of — okay, I’ll shut up. Oh well, it had to happen eventually. I’m 10-1. I’m still in first place and will make the playoffs, so it’s all good. More or less.
Well, that sucks.

Written by Tracy

November 22nd, 2011 at 9:57 pm

Why I Don’t Like Tim Tebow

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I have a well-documented dislike of Tim Tebow. Here’s why.

He’s not a good pro quarterback. Okay, I’m not just being a hater. He’s orchestrated some relatively exciting come-from-behind victories. But here’s the thing. I don’t hold him entirely responsible for how much the Broncos suck (Josh McDaniels did tremendous damage to the team during his short stint as coach), but if he were a better quarterback, there’s a good chance the Broncos wouldn’t always be down at the last minute. There was one game the Broncos won where he completed two passes. Two! I suspect even I could complete two passes in an NFL game. I understand that the team won, but a quarterback who completes two passes is not worthy of the praise that is constantly heaped on Tebow.

Despite the fact that he’s not a good pro quarterback, he gets more hype than any other athlete in Denver since, well, I don’t even know. I haven’t been in Denver all that long (well after the Elway days), but I don’t even remember Carmelo Anthony or Joe Sakic getting this much hype. And they were actually good.

He has aligned himself with and worked on behalf of a right-wing organization (Focus on the Family) that intends to oppress women of child-bearing age, gay men, and lesbians. Focus on the Family advances an anti-choice and anti-LGBT-rights agenda. Tim Tebow appeared in a Focus on the Family commercial that aired during Super Bowl XLIV. The commercial focused on Tebow and his mom, who allegedly was advised to have an abortion for health reasons when she was pregnant with him but is glad she didn’t and her “miracle baby” made it into the world. This is nice for her (seriously). Although the ad didn’t specifically mention abortion, everybody knows what Focus on the Family stands for and everybody knows what it meant. I find Focus on the Family and their agenda completely reprehensible, and I find Tim Tebow’s association with Focus on the Family gross.

He’s just too in-your-face with his religion. Listen, I don’t hate him for being religious. And I don’t think people should keep their religious views hidden. I just think he takes it way too far.

I don’t expect professional athletes to conduct themselves in the same manner as people who work in offices. But come on, man. When I edit the shit out of an article at work, I don’t jump up from my desk and bust out in a spiritual Buddhist chant. I’m just doing my fucking job. When Tebow does his job, he sometimes takes a knee to bow in prayer (now referred to as Tebowing, vom.). During college, he printed Bible verses on his eye black. I just don’t understand why he has to engage in such blatant displays of his faith so often. To me, it comes off as smug, self-satisfied, and a little holier-than thou.

In his post-game press conference on Thursday, he mentioned that the game was “in God’s hands.” I want to make fun of this, but even more, I want to understand it. What does saying the game is “in God’s hands” even mean? Does it mean he honestly believes that God has any stake in or effect on the outcome of a football game? If it does, isn’t it kind of nuts that God would exert his power to affect a game and not do something about, say, the women of Bangladesh or cancer? If that’s not what it means, does it mean anything? Is it just the Tebownian way of saying “Whatever will happen will happen?” If so, what’s the point of saying it? Does he have to get in his religious talking points in each interview, even if they have no substantive purpose whatsoever? If he’s mentioning God in ways that are saying absolutely nothing, it makes him seem at least for the moment incapable of engaging in rational thought.

I’m inherently distrustful and suspicious of people who are always going on and on about how _____ they are. I believe that if you really are what you claim to be, you don’t go around telling everybody about it all the time. You just are. Tim Tebow is always putting on a big display of his faith. It reeks of insecurity and arrogance at the same time. It reminds me of teenage boys who are always talking about how much sex they have, bloggers who go on and on about how joyously happily ineffably alively alive they are, and couples who never miss an opportunity to squee about how deeply and passionately in love they are. The more you do this kind of thing, the less I believe you. If you’re the most virtuous of the virtuous who never thinks a bad thought or says a bad word about anyone or anything, I don’t trust you. I’m suspicious of Tim Tebow and his all-perfect-all-the-time persona.

I don’t think professional sports are the right place for constant displays of religion. Of course I have no problem with professional athletes having whatever religious beliefs they want to have. I just don’t think they should constantly display their religious beliefs while performing as professional athletes.

I believe a city’s professional teams should represent the citizens. This includes all citizens, not just the ones who share the athletes’ beliefs. I live in Denver. The Denver Broncos should be my team. But I find it impossible to support a team that is represented by a guy who bows in prayer all the time and did a commercial for Focus on the Family. For the record, I’m sure the Broncos don’t give a shit that I decline to cheer for them because of Tim Tebow. Losing me as a fan didn’t cost them much money or scintillating blog coverage. It’s really just me. Like I had a hard time getting on board with the Rockies when they were all Jesus all the time, I’m having a hard time with the Broncos with Tim Tebow at the helm. I like my sports without a side of religion.

ETA: Here is a phenomenal interview with Jake Plummer (love him) where he discusses Tebow. Plummer (who also was a winner for the Broncos) says, “I think that when he accepts the fact that we know that he loves Jesus Christ then I think I’ll like him a little better. I don’t hate him because of that, I just would rather not have to hear that every single time he takes a good snap or makes a good handoff….”

Written by Tracy

November 20th, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Your Moral Compass

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Something I want my son to learn: Do the right thing. You will know what this is. Do what’s right even when it’s awkward, hard, lonely, frightening, or dangerous.

You’ve probably heard all you need to hear and more about what’s going on at Penn State. I thought I’d heard all I needed to hear and more but sat glued to the tv yesterday, unable to look away except to turn to Google now and then to get more details. If you want to get more details, I recommend reading the Grand Jury Report (this is very detailed and exceptionally disturbing) (I always recommend reading the original documents related to something like this when possible). There’s also a really good post about the situation here.

As a former criminal defense attorney, I take the whole “innocent until proven guilty” thing very seriously. I’m not going to play judge and jury. I’m not going to sit here and condemn anyone involved, as much as doing so might give me (as a mother of a young son and a sports fan) some level of emotional satisfaction.

What I will do is talk about what we can learn from Penn State.

There is nowhere in the world where these kinds of horrible things don’t happen. There is no person or type of person who is always good all the time.

If you walk in on an adult engaged in any sort of sexual activity with a child, the right thing to do is: (1) remove the child from the situation if it is physically possible to do so; and (2) immediately go to the police. If somebody reports to you that he or she witnessed an adult engaged in any sort of sexual activity with a child and you believe he or she is telling the truth, the right thing to do is: (1) immediately go to the police.

The reason I say “immediately” is that something so simple can become so complicated as soon as you let it sit for any period of time. And the right people to go to are the police — not your father and not your boss (although feel free to tell them, too). The police.

Do the right thing even if it requires speaking out against your co-worker, boss, coach, significant other, spouse, parent, child, sibling, friend, idol, or favorite blogger. Nobody is above or exempt from the right thing. Do the right thing even if people call you a snitch, tattletale, bully, hater, or troll. Don’t ever be afraid to question anyone and call out bad behavior when you see it.

I’m worried about the state of the right thing today. Right now, the world is a place where too often, people are more concerned about covering their own asses or the figurative asses of their institutions or being 100% positive and supportive of their loved ones all the time no matter what than they’re concerned with doing the right thing. Don’t be part of that.

Don’t you know, in your heart and in your mind, what you’d do if you walked in on some dude raping a child? Isn’t preventing further tragedy for that child and for other children more important than whatever is going to happen to you as a result of doing the right thing? Quoting myself is gross, but I said this on Twitter yesterday: “I love my job but dudes, if I had to get fired for calling the police after seeing/knowing about child sex abuse, I’d do it. I mean, duh?”

If your moral compass is telling you “duh,” listen to it. Do the right thing. Always.

Written by Tracy

November 9th, 2011 at 1:04 pm

Fantasy Football: It’s a crapshoot.

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Before we get to this week’s fantasy football update, here’s the best thing I’ve heard anyone say about the Denver Broncos all season:

Breaking news from Denver: Denver has waived all of their players except for Tim Tebow. Tebow will hand the ball off to himself, throw to himself, and block for himself on all running plays. The defense will consist of a force field generated by Tebow’s strength of character. In a practice scrimmage, Knowshon Moreno ran into the field and burst into flame. Team officials classified his injuries as “Holy Fire Burns.” It’s like that Bugs Bunny cartoon where he took on an entire baseball team by himself.

SilentRifleman comments on ESPN story about Brandon Lloyd trade

 

Back to fantasy, you’ve been waiting for me to lose, right? My week 6 matchup was rough. Aside from Fred Jackson, my guys didn’t do much. I should’ve started Tony Romo instead of Cam Newton. I should’ve started Aaron Hernandez instead of Jermichael Finley. (Why are people so in love with Jermichael Finley? Aside from one mindblowingly awesome week, he’s done jack shit this season. ESPN is finally saying, “He’s probably been a bit of a fantasy disappointment so far this year.” Probably?! Dudes. I have to start him this week because it’s the Patriots’ bye week but after that, he’s cheap trade bait or off to waiver city.)

Anyway, blah blah yada yada I’m 6-0.

fantasy football week 6

Can we skip the accountability portion of this week’s post, because really, nobody cares? Thanks.

Week 7 Fantasy Football Pickups

This is the time in the season when you might be struggling to fill bye week positions. I’ve been having a hard time with this. Last week, I picked up Hines Ward because I needed a WR. He didn’t do much. This week, my team is looking a little sparse in the RB department. I stupidly dropped Delone Carter too soon and somebody else got him. At this point, waiver wire pickups in a 12-team league are just a crapshoot.

  • Donald Brown (RB): If you can’t get Delone Carter, take a look at Donald Brown. He might be worth starting if Addai is out again this week.
  • DeMarco Murray (RB): With Felix Jones out, Murray will see a decent amount of playing time.
  • Danario Alexander (WR): He should be sharing receiving duties with Brandon Lloyd.
  • Demaryius Thomas (WR): He’s more a future-potential guy than a start-this-week guy, unless Eddie Royal doesn’t play or is traded, in which case you might want to start Thomas.
  • Kevin Walter (WR): Start Walter only if Andre Johnson is out.
  • Curtis Painter (QB): If you really need a QB.
  • Carson Palmer (QB): This is highly speculative. If he gets traded to the Raiders, he’s worth considering.
  • Browns (D/ST), Broncos (D/ST), Chargers (D/ST)

Good luck!

Written by Tracy

October 18th, 2011 at 9:54 am

Fantasy Football: This shit is bananas.

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fantasy football week 5
I can’t even brag about my fantasy football team any more because, holy crap, there’s only so much one person can say about how awesome her team is. I’m 5-0. Okay, done.

Sit/Start Strategy

Something I’ve been trying to do this season is develop my own sit/start strategy (instead of relying too much on weekly projections, which are often wrong). It’s worked pretty well so far. My strategy goes something like this: I have guys who are pretty good in a pretty reliable fashion (Adrian Peterson, Fred Jackson, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, and Larry Fitzgerald). They are default starters. If one of these guys has an off week, I’m not even going to think about benching him the next week. After two weeks of bad performances, I’ll start thinking about benching a guy.

Here’s how this has worked for me. BenJarvus Green-Ellis had a shitacular week 3 (1.8 points). Stevan Ridley, another NE RB, did better in week 3 (5 points). Fantasy peeps started going nuts for Ridley. Hell, I bought into the hype by telling you to pick him up. They were down on BJGE. I figured everybody has an off week and left BJGE in for week 4, and he had 14.4 points. Good move! People were still up on Ridley and down on BJGE for week 5. Despite my two-bad-weeks-before-benching philosophy, I thought about benching BJGE and putting in Isaac Redman, who’s also been getting a good amount of hype. But then I realized that would be dumb because BJGE, the one bad week aside, has been a good, trustworthy running back so I left him in. In week 5, Redman had 6.1 points and BJGE had 28.9. If I’d benched him too soon, I would’ve missed out on all those points.

All that said, I’m still a dumbass who finally started Eric Decker for the first time and he had negative points. I’ve been high on him for weeks but I’m giving him a big downgrade now. He had a great connection with Kyle Orton, but if it’s going to be Tebow time (puke) in Denver, we might never hear from Decker again.

Accountability

Here’s who I told you to pick up last week and how they did. (Points taken from my ESPN league.)

  • Matt Hasselbeck (QB): 12.8
  • Denarius Moore (WR): 0
  • Stevan Ridley (RB): 1.3
  • Dexter McCluster (WR/RB): 1.8
  • Devin Hester (WR) (questionable for week 5): 3.2
  • David Nelson (maybe on him): 6.6
  • Jared Cook (TE): 5.9
  • Benjamin Watson (TE): bye
  • Steve Breaston (WR): 17
  • Ryan Torain (RB): bye
  • Isaac Redman (RB): 6.1
  • Antonio Brown (WR): 3.3
  • Michael Crabtree (WR): 3.6
  • Jacoby Jones (WR): 0.9
  • Bengals D/ST: 15
  •  Patriots D/ST: 4

I don’t know. There were a few gems in here but I suspect a monkey could throw darts at a list of NFL players and come up with better pickups than these. Always remember, though, that aside from D/ST, I’m not telling you to start these guys the week you pick them up.

Week 6 Pickups

  • Guys from last week to consider this week: Steve Breaston, David Nelson, Jared Cook, Ryan Torain, Isaac Redman, Benjamin Watson.
  • Tim Tebow (QB): I know. I don’t like him. But he’s one of those huge-upside-potential guys who could turn out to be a Cam Newton.
  • Hines Ward (WR): He’s not widely available but is in my league for some reason.
  • Darrius Heyward-Bay (RB): Like Breaston, he’s been improving — after doing nothing in the first three weeks, he was pretty awesome in weeks 4 and 5.
  • Greg Little (WR): He’s starting game 6.
  • Delone Carter (RB): Of course, the week after I dropped him, he scores a touchdown. Joseph Addai has a hammy and is questionable for week 6 — keep an eye on this one. Carter might be worth starting if Addai is out.
  • Donald Brown (RB): I’d put him behind Carter but you might consider him if Addai misses any time.
  • Alex Smith (QB): This is a more exciting pickup than Matt Hasselbeck. This week’s matchup against the Lions isn’t ideal, but it might not be a bad idea to snap him up now.
  • Jason Avant (RB): He’s another guy on an upswing.
  • Devin Aromashodu (WR): He might be a bit of a stretch but has good potential, especially if Bernard Berrian doesn’t improve his attitude and his play.
  • Vikings D/ST, Redskins D/ST, Raiders D/ST

As always, good luck!

Written by Tracy

October 11th, 2011 at 11:02 am

Bedside Walter Payton

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As I’ve mentioned before, in an effort to fall asleep, like, ever, I read Sports Illustrated in bed for a while almost every night. Sports Illustrated is entertaining in a non-stressful way (unlike, as I’ve also mentioned before, shit like Infinite Jest, which freaks me right out) and helps me wind down so I can go from being awake to being asleep. My falling-asleep skills are not what they used to be. Back in the day, I could fall asleep anywhere and I could sleep all day. That was awesome.

Last week’s SI features an excerpt from Sweetness: The Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton by Jeff Pearlman. (Note: That is not an affiliate link. I’ll make no money as a result of anything you do on the internet.) I haven’t finished the excerpt yet, but I can tell you two things for sure. First, I really want to read the book (more on this in a minute). Second, I think going to bed at night makes me feel a little bit and to a much lesser extent like Walter Payton felt after he retired from the NFL.

According to Pearlman, during Payton’s NFL career, the Chicago Bears took care of everything he ever needed. If he wanted a newspaper, a coffee table book featuring pictures of kittens lying in the sun, a hotel reservation, a big fat gigantic stuffed pizza — anything at all — they got it for him. So all his needs were met and he had an awesome career being an awesome running back for an awesome NFL team (not to mention his fantastic performance in The Super Bowl Shuffle, also known as the greatest song of all time).

Then he retired and all of a sudden, well, I’ll let Pearlman tell you what happened:

Now, thanks to that pampering, upon his retirement in the winter of 1988 as the NFL’s alltime leading rusher, Payton found himself burdened by a realization that had struck thousands of ex-athletes before him: I am bored out of my mind.

Dude, if you replace “pampering” and “retirement” with “daily life” and “going to bed,” I totally know what he means.

All day long, I’m busy as hell doing shit like getting my kid ready to go places, going to work, going to the gym, feeding animals, cleaning up after dinner, doing laundry, hanging out with my kid, hanging out with my significant other, talking shit on the internet, and the 900 other things I do every day (which, full disclosure, is no more exciting or demanding than anything an average person does every day but I am a complainy wuss when I’m tired). Then I get in bed and I don’t fall asleep and: I am bored out of my mind. And kind of lonely (Ben falls asleep in two seconds). When I’m bored I usually start thinking about all kinds of crazy shit, which is energizing rather than relaxing. This is probably an ADHD thing.

After he retired from the NFL, Walter Payton tried to fill the void by doing all kinds of crazy shit. He ate at Bob Evans (okay, that’s not really crazy) and had various relations with various women and covered his body with horse analgesic and took helicopter lessons and bought a 50s-themed nightclub in Schaumburg of all places (where he accidentally shot an employee in the leg one day) and raced cars and (I shit you not) “tried to break a speedboat record with Chuck Norris.”

That’s kind of what it’s like inside my head when I’m trying to go to sleep.

Back to the issue of me wanting to read the book — There are quite a few people, Mike Ditka included, who are unhappy that this book was written. I’ve heard several people say shit like, “Do we need to besmirch the memory of Walter Payton by digging up and publicizing all this shit about him?” (although unfortunately they haven’t used the word “besmirch”). I guess they think we’re just supposed to ignore and forget about things people do that might be seen as failures.

I don’t agree. First of all, I’m not going to judge Walter Payton. I mean, it’s not my favorite thing in the world when athletes cheat on their wives, but that’s not my battle to fight and I don’t judge him for it (and I wonder whether at least some wives of at least some famous athletes impliedly or expressly consent to cheating, but that’s an issue for a day when I’m actually functional). I don’t judge him for using and possibly abusing drugs and, if anything, I think it’s important that we know about things like this so we can try to prevent the same thing from happening to, in particular, more retired NFL players.

Even if it’s unflattering, I believe the truth is incapable of being bad. Many people, myself included, view Walter Payton as a hero. The truth is that Walter Payton was flawed. But you know, so what? We’re all flawed. That’s just part of being human and there’s value in recognizing and learning from it. And it doesn’t make me like Walter Payton any less.

This, by the way, is absolutely perfect.

Written by Tracy

October 10th, 2011 at 10:02 pm