Archive for category Sports

There ain’t no “I” in team…but Wide Receiver has “I” twice.

Football has to be my favorite sport.  There exists a deep complexity and strategy that co-mingles with brutal strength and force, all coalescing in a grid iron chess match.  Whenever I begin to explain my beloved sport, my father’s words—best I recall them, for I was tike—come to mind. As basic as it may sound, football is the ultimate team sport.  

Each position has an assignment and responsibility.  Some may seem more important than others; some are definitely higher profile; but in the end, if each position doesn’t take care of his individual task, the entire unit breaks down.  The team that does the better job and handles their cumulative tasks wins the battle between the whistles.

However, one thing that I have observed lately in my beloved sport is that many Wide Receivers have become greater than the game…not to mention the team.  I guess I find it troubling of any sport (or anything in general) when an athlete thinks he is greater than the history of the sport; when a president believes he is greater than the office and people he was elected to represent; or a musician behaves like he invented music and anoints himself king (not saying any names…Kanye!).

No matter how successful and great a player may be, how extraordinarily gifted he/she is, one must always acknowledge and be humble enough to know where they stand vis-à-vis  the larger scope of history and tradition of his/her trade.  Grated, that greatness—in any arena—can easily lead to an over-zealous ego and skewed perception…but, at best, any spectacular individuals add history versus an attempt at eclipsing it.

So what is it with wide receivers?  Why can’t they just shut up and play the game?  Maybe it’s one of the only positions out there on an “island,” one-on-one, beat your man and you score.  Perhaps, on running plays, they feel relatively obscure and don’t feel part of the play.  Still, they are just one piece of the puzzle; if not for their offensive line holding its blocks, the running back and tight ends selling the underneath routes, the quarterback making accurate reads so he can deliver the perfect strike…then the T.O.s and Ocho Cincos of the world wouldn’t have any balls to catch. 

But still, why the whole “Look at me, look at me!!” attitude? Why the antics after scoring?  Score a TD and do a little dance…don’t run for the pom poms, a hidden cell phone, or a sharpie.  It might be cliché but why can’t you act like you’ve been there before?  More so, don’t be a wide receiver — be a football player.  If you want to cry, dance, flop around, pout and play the role of prima donna… go be a futbol player.

Allow me explain what a wide receiver who is a football player first is about…better yet – I’ll let Hines Ward do it.

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Donte Stallworth vs Michael Vick

Yeah, I know…It’s beginning to sound a little repetitive.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the comparison; Michael Vick went to jail for two years for comitting despicable acts to dogs, while Donte Stallworth is going to get 30 days in the big house for killing a person.  I do value life, especially human life, however there are a few things that makes this an apples to oranges comparison, and it isn’t really fair to mention the sentences in the same breath.

Michael Vick initially denied involvement in any criminal activity or participation in the dog fighting scandal.  He blamed and pointed the finger at others. Furthermore, it wasn’t just about dog fighting and/or the disgusting mistreatment of animals but rather running an organized crime operation from his home and across state lines (making it a federal offense).  Sadly, I’m sure that if you asked him, off the record, he would still say “Man, they’re just dogs.”  I’ve heard many thug asses echo these same words.  These are the same people that walk the Venice Beach boardwalk with their Pitt-bulls and Rottweilers on a CHAIN.  Dude!  Buy a frieken leash…It doesn’t make you cool or tough that you have your big-ass, probably poorly trained, dog on a 1/2 inch yacht anchor chain with a Master Lock.  Now, you don’t have to go buy the Louis Vitton kit and caboodle, but links and pad-lock are a little much.  There seems to be a correlation that is being missed.  I would think that  in some way cruelty to animals translates to how you value life and respect for others in general.  I get that animals are animals but if you treat them like savage animals then that is exactly how they will act.  Come on…would you guys put your kids on a leash?  Actually…you probably do.

Now on to Stallworth.  I in no way condone drinking or being all sauced on the devil’s lettuce, and getting be hind the wheel of your Flying B.  But when Donte had a terrible lapse in judgement and ran the wrong rout right over a pedestrian, he didn’t flee or deny it.  He did what a person is supposed to do….He owned it!  He called 911, stayed at the scene, took a blood alcohol and drug test, took responsibilities for his actions and was ready to accept the consequences.

Both acts truly sad and tragic, and both men exercising poor judgment.  Neither one should be free of punishment.  But one’s act was calculated and premeditated, while the other’s an accident.  One handled it irresponsibly, while the other did all the right things at the moment of his mistake.  I won’t jump and say that either are role models right now but they could be models of what not to do and what to do when you do mess up.

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Is it the Lakers or Kobe?

I’m not sure exactly why it happened but it wasn’t the first time and I’m sure it won’t be the last.  Yet every time it happens I find myself asking “why?”   There has to be a simple explanation.  The answer is never the same and this time I came to the conclusion that it’s Kobe.  What exactly is the question?  Well, I want to know why I found myself cheering against The Lakers.  I’ve never been a Laker hater and actually at one time I was quite a fan.  In my life I strongly support my college teams no matter who is playing for them but when it comes to the Pros I’m a bit more fickle.  I’d rather follow up-and-coming teams and players, or ballers who I find worth supporting.  That being said I’m not completely unloyal either, there are certain pro teams I do tend to support.  The issue is that every once in a while I find a subconscious involuntary reaction happen during certain games, series, or seasons…I cheer passionately for or against someone without putting an amoeba’s worth of thought.  When this odd occurrence happens I have to do an assessment and figure out what is the trigger.

What is it this time?  I dislike Kobe.  I thought it might be the team as a whole but as quirky and stoic as the rest of the Lake-show is they don’t really rub me wrong…the Black Mamba does.  Maybe it is his apparent insincerity, selfishness, or that he just doesn’t inspire confidence with me. I know I’m not alone in this because it seems to be a common theme amongst Laker fans and nonies (non-fans) alike.  He lacks that certain je ne sequa that all the greats seem to have.  When Jordan walked on the court it didn’t matter what team you were routing for, you couldn’t wait to see what great feat he was going accomplish or which law of physics he would defy that night.  I don’t see people support Kobe the same way – he leaves something to be desired.

Upon closing, I will say that I will never take anything away from his mad voodoo crazy skills, work ethic, or basketball IQ; he is pretty close to the top.   However, for me, character does count and I fail to see much of it in 24, but the boy can ball. 

I thought this article was exceptionally written colum by Bill Simmons on the matter http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/090616&sportCat=nba

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