[This post appears on the Huffington Post beginning 7/29/07]
Oscar Pistorius is a double amputee sprinter who set world records in the 100, 200, and 400 meter at the Paralympics in 2004. He is now looking to qualify to compete against able-bodied athletes in the 2008 Olympics, but the IAAF, the governing body for international athletes, has reservations about letting him. They say he has an unfair advantage, and they might be right.
Pistorius runs on two curved prosthetic racing legs made of carbon-fiber. According to the IAAF, they provide less air resistance than a human leg would, and allow him to distribute energy differently. Pistorius has agreed to work with scientists to determine whether the legs provide him with an advantage over able-bodied athletes. If tests prove that they do, then he absolutely should not be allowed to compete.
While it is a positive step that technological advances are allowing people with physical disabilities to do things that were previously not possible, that technology does not belong within the confines of athletic competition if it will alter the playing field. If the purpose of Pistorius competing in the Olympics is to show that the physically handicapped can compete equally with able bodied athletes, then for him to compete with such an "advantage" would only prove the opposite – that in order for him to successfully compete he needs an edge.
It is interesting to consider the possibility that a person with a physical disability might be better equipped to compete in the Olympics. As technology continues to evolve, this issue will only be compounded by future potential competitors. While it is easy to be affected by the courage and motivation Pistorius has shown, the IAAF needs to separate that emotion from the science of the sport. Regardless of how amazing his accomplishments, it needs to be fair for all competitors involved.
Should the IAAF allow him to attempt to qualify and Pistorius competes in the Olympics, it would open the door for future disabled athletes to do the same. It would mean a re-structuring of the system and each athlete would have to be individually tested to determine their possibility of advantage in each of their respective sports. The committee would be responsible for accurately breaking down each athlete's abilities and attributing their performance to either technology or natural athleticism. With 386 events in 35 sports, it would be nearly impossible to do it fairly.
While I think Pistorius is an inspiration to both disabled and able-bodied athletes everywhere, the IAAF is doing the right thing by taking their time and doing the research. If they decide to not let him compete, Pistorius' supporters should understand that it isn't a setback for athletes like him. It is a testament to their greatness.
Monday, July 30, 2007
[This post appears on the Huffington Post beginning 7/29/07]
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Oh, Strahan. Say it ain't so!
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Losers With Socks has asked me to do a weekly ACC round-up, SportsGirl style. Being a Hokie, I jumped at the chance to piss off some FSU and UVA fans. Assholes.
Here's the preview, as seen on Losers:
Welcome to my ACC house, boys. Don't bother wiping your feet. I'll be kicking you out soon.
Here's a little preview of what's about to go down in the ACC this season. I'm not going to bother breaking down all of the teams because most of them are going down quicker than a WVU fan at a family reunion. I'm just going to highlight the top Contenders and the bottom Pretenders. And for the jackass out there thinking Why am I reading this? She's a girl, what does she know? Well you're right. I don't know crap so go read ESPN. They're always right. Asshat.
We'll start at the bottom.
Listen. Even Duke fans are stocking up on moonshine and painkillers. They lost every game last year and are 5-34 for the last three years under coach Roof. And usually when all 11 offensive starters return for the season, it's a good thing. In this case, they should have sent them to slaughter and started over.
Pulling Tom O'Brien from BC was a big move, but not enough to make them a contender. At least not this year. Look for lots of running and not much excitement. Also look for Chuck Amato in the parking lot after each loss with a sign screaming "I told you it wasn't my fault! They just suck!".
Being a Hokie, it's pretty much against my religion to ever say anything nice about UVA. But I didn't even have to stretch to put them in the bottom three. They're a young team with a shaky QB in Sewell. Not to mention their top receiver just had wrist surgery and there's not much depth in the offense. Their schedule is a bit forgiving, so look for them to win a couple but they won't come close to being a contender.
Va Tech's biggest rival in the Coastal Division is Georgia Tech. The offense took a hit with the loss of Calvin Johnson and Reggie Ball, but new starting QB Taylor Bennett seems poised to pick up the slack with a myriad of receivers to throw to. The showdown of the year will be when the Yellow Jackets host the Hokies in Atlanta.
As much as I hate Florida State, I hate their fans even more. What a bunch of annoying pricks. But with Bobby celebrating his 104th birthday this year and Terry announcing his return to coaching, there will be Bowdens here, Bowdens there, Bowden Bowdens everywhere. The QB situation with Weatherford and Lee is very shaky, but it won't matter because 80% of their offensive plays will be running.
Which brings me to this year's ACC Champions, the…
Virginia Tech Hokies
Yeah that's right. I'm a Hokie. I even hung out with Ookie in college. I never would have predicted his love of dogs though. His love of slutty white co-eds, however? That was obvious. But I digress. This veteran Hokie team had the best defense in the nation last year and with Brandon Ore leading the offensive run, it's bound to be a productive season of Beamer ball. If QB Sean Glennon can keep from shitting himself, they're taking the title.
And that's it folks. I'll be checking in weekly to bring you the best and worst of the ACC. And I know I've pissed off most of you, so I'll see you in the comments, bitches.
[UPDATE] Looks like I've already struck a nerve with WVU fan.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Ladies, go ahead and write the hate mail but hear me out before you hit send. (Also understand that I'm only serious about 10% of the time I'm writing on this blog. This is probably not one of those times.)
Sports has always been a haven for men and the place where guys go to bond over drinking, swearing, and objectifying cheerleaders. It is, in essence, a brief escape from the bitching of women, be it wives, moms, or girlfriends. And it has worked because, for the most part, sports were something that women had no interest in watching.
As more and more women are taking an interest in sports such as football and baseball, men are seeing their “haven” invaded by their women and it’s threatening to take away the one thing that was solely theirs. (Aside from poopy towels. Women want no part of that.) And I can’t imagine they like it one bit. Take me for example. I’m a lifelong sports nut who participates in three fantasy football leagues in which I’m the only female. Thirty-five guys who have welcomed a female into their heavily guarded tree fort, yet there’s always one who feels put out by the presence of a woman. This year is no different and the only thing I can do (after telling him to suck it up and stop crying) is to understand where he is coming from.
The presence of women means that men feel the need to “clean up”, be it their appearance, language, or behavior. While women are enjoying sports more and more, it doesn’t change their views on the crude behavior and the result is frustration on both sides. For couples, spending time apart is necessary in maintaining a healthy relationship and watching the game with his buddies was usually a man’s “me time”. No guy wants to watch his starting fantasy running back break into a 75 yard touchdown run, only to turn around and hear “Great play. Honey, did you remember to take out the trash before we left?”
Now, as women are demanding to be involved in said sports watching, it’s left little room for men to escape. And it’s not just the husband or boyfriend who is affected. A man who has just scored front row seats to the game now has a decision to make where previously it was a no-brainer. He has to at least consider taking his woman and his buddy could be left watching on TV, thinking, “Fuck. I should have told that bitch about the hooker in Vegas when I had the chance. Then she would have broken up with him and I’d be at the game.”
Now there are exceptions to this and it all depends on various situations. My guy friends love watching games with me because I always equally contribute to the vulgar language, excessive drinking and cheerleader ogling. (It’s also why wives and girlfriends hate me and why my male friends have to use a guy’s name when they put my number in their cell phone. Stupid bitches.) If I were a girlfriend or wife however, it would be different. I would not be as welcomed, as the presence of a wife changes the dynamic.
So, yes. Women sports fans are ruining sports for the men who watch them.
Happy Birthday, Barry. I hope you like the puppy I bought you.
Monday, July 23, 2007
So it seems that someone took offense to my Huffington Post column from yesterday and while I’m not one to argue (I almost typed that with a straight face), I felt the need to comment. It’s not like I haven’t blasted a writer for being an idiot before so I guess I had it coming eventually, but if you’re going to debate something please be clear on what the original writer was saying and stick to it. Just a suggestion.
And let me state now that this is in no way an attempt to start a blogger fight. Blogger fights are just pathetic. It starts with a few innocent comments and the next thing you know, one blogger calls another blogger an “actual journalist” and feelings get hurt. There’s no need for that.
So here’s a little point-counter point. Or is it counter point-counter counter point since I made the point first? Or does that matter? Can I get a ruling on this?
Well, let me start by saying that I warned you. Had I said “extremely qualified” you’d have a right to ask for your money back.
Actually, my column pre-dates Simmons’ column so I suggest you “mailbag” him. Had I wanted to mimic Simmons, I would have live-blogged about listening to Pearl Jam in Vegas with Kimmel while mentioning no less than 5 “celebrity” friends.
Now I know how Matt Lauer felt when Tom Cruise called him glib. It’s not that bad, actually.
Acknowledging a problem and solving a problem are two different things. Which was kind of the point of my column. No, actually it was the point. Or was it the counter-point? Have we gotten a ruling yet?
Woah, dude. Hold on one second. I may be a hack, but I’m certainly no journalist. And I never said or implied that Bonds was the only steroids issue in baseball. I said his was the case that made people outside of the league pay attention. I also said he was a douchbag. What? I didn’t? Well, I meant to.
You know what happens when we assume, Shyster? You start the night out talking to what you “assume” is a pretty, single blonde and you wake up 4 Zimas later next to a tranny hooker. What does that mean? I don’t really know. I just wanted to use a tranny hooker reference.
So I guess what I’m saying is that it’s OK to disagree. That’s the point of my very opinionated HuffPo columns. It’s meant to make you think and inspire debate. But if you decide to whip your dick out and make a man of yourself, at least make sure you’re on point. You should also make sure your blog picture doesn’t look like you walked into a kitchen where Chris Hansen was hiding behind a curtain. Just a suggestion.
[Editor's note: this article appears on the Huffington Post beginning 7/23]
There have been a lot of instances recently of misbehavior within the major sports leagues. The biggest ones have been unearthed by investigators outside of those leagues. When are the commissioners going to start paying more attention?
Most recently, the FBI revealed an investigation involving an NBA referee who was found to be betting on games, including ones he was officiating, to pay off gambling debts. NBA commissioner David Stern made a statement saying that there is only one referee under investigation, yet law enforcement officials claim that more arrests are to be expected. Is Stern playing the public relations game, or is he that out of touch with what is going on in his own league? If there are additional referees implicated in the near future, I think it would prove the latter.
The fact that there was a problem to begin with was evident in the sports world’s reaction to the news. While the league showed surprise in the revelation, fans and players showed the opposite, throwing out guesses as to which ref was involved. The fact that there were multiple justified “guesses” means that the problem doesn’t lie with this one ref. So is it possible that the fans know more about what’s going on within the league than its own governing body does? Absolutely.
And the NBA is not alone. Major League Baseball didn’t start taking notice of their own steroids problem until federal investigators got involved. Barry Bonds continued to get unnaturally bigger and hit more and more homeruns, yet MLB commissioner Bud Selig turned his head. It wasn’t until outside sources revealed the BALCO scandal and a federal grand jury got involved that Stern decided to start making statements. And even still he hasn’t made any disciplinary decisions. He’s taking the easy way out by waiting for the grand jury to make an indictment before taking a stance while Bonds inches closer to breaking baseball’s biggest record. Had Selig been paying attention long before, he could have handled the investigation within the league and made a disciplinary decision himself. What happened instead was an embarrassment to baseball.
The sports commissioners need to regain the control they are losing over their leagues. The NFL’s commissioner Roger Goodell, while not popular for his strict discipline, is at least taking steps to keep the players and coaches under control. As a second year commissioner he has some inconsistencies to iron out, but the other league heads could take a lesson from his courage to take a stand. If the commissioners don’t start paying more attention to what’s going on within their own organizations, the results will continue to embarrass the leagues, alienate the fans, and provide more opportunities for outside investigations.
Friday, July 20, 2007
It seems that there are a high number of quarterbacks unconfirmed for starting positions as we head into the first week of NFL training camps. It got me thinking. And since the last thing I want THIS blog to do is make you think too much, I've posted my thoughts over on the new sports site Epic Carnival.
Feel free to comment here. Or there. Or wherever. If you get a chance while you're over there, take a look around. There's a lot of random shit, so you're bound to find something good to read.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
And so the Vick fallout continues. Apparently the good people of New York City are donating their Michael Vick jerseys to the local shelters in record numbers. I’ve seen two different homeless men in the last two days wearing #7 Falcons jerseys. No joke. I was going to take photographic evidence, but that would have been insensitive. Plus, then I’d have to give them a dollar. Fuck that.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Joe DiMaggio's diaries have been put up for auction, with the auction being facilitated by Whitey Ford. The diaries are made up of 2,400 pages in 29 books. Offering a rare glimpse into the mind of a legend,theses books will carry a final price tag in the multi millions. It made me think, what would today's athletes' diaries look like? And so I present to you a new series: The All Star Diaries.
Today: Barry Bonds
July 16, 2007
Today was another recovery day. I'm glad they give these to me. It's tough batting twice a game. And sometimes they make me bat three times! Unbelievable. Don't they know who I am? I'm Barry Bonds!
Bruce called me into his office yesterday and wanted to know why I was 0 for my last 20. I told him I was trying to build suspense. Everyone knows I'm going to break the record. I also told him I'm giving Bud a little more time to book his plane ticket. That Bud. Always kidding around. Like he'd miss me breaking the record. C'mon. I'm Barry Bonds!
Bruce also said that I'm not showing enough emotion. Like I should act more upset about my slump. So after the game yesterday when the mediaasked me about it, I cursed a couple of times and flipped over alaundry cart. But I went back when they weren't looking and picked it up. I mean, washing my uniform is a dirty enough job with all that clear and cream mess. Plus, I'm not a bad guy. I'm Barry Bonds!
My birthday's coming up. I wonder what Bud is going to get me? Last year he forgot to get me a present, so instead he said he'd leave me alone for a year with this whole steroid nonsense. Maybe this yea I'll get a pony.
I'm going to bed now. It was a tough day of sitting on the bench and eating Doritos. Plus, I might have to bat three times tomorrow. I need my energy. I'm Barry Bonds!
Monday, July 16, 2007
Head on over to the Huffington Post to read my thoughts on Gary Sheffield and his issues with the Yankees and racism (you had to know I'd have something to say about this).
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
There’s been plenty of analysis of last night’s (zzzzz) All Star Game. I’m not going to bore you with mine because a) what do you care what I think and b) I was watching Best Damn Sports Bloopers instead.
I did, however, see a good point this morning brought up by USA Today’s Michael McCarthy:
“Why do directors cut away from stuff viewers want to see? Fox's quick trigger ruined an intriguing moment during the All-Star Game ceremony honoring Willie Mays.
As the "Say Hey Kid" walked toward center field, viewers saw Barry Bonds reach from behind to hold his hand. Mays, 76, looked startled. What happened next? Who knows? Fox cut to a woman clapping in the upper deck. The camera returned a few seconds later. But the moment was gone, and the two weren't holding hands.”
Now, I missed seeing this live because I was otherwise enthralled with quality television (I don’t care how many ways you look at it, shots to the groin are always funny), but why would Fox pansy out on this? The entire media blitz surrounding Bonds and the (zzzzz) All Star Game focused on how much the fans in San Francisco loved him and how San Francisco was welcoming Bonds and how San Francisco cheered for him the loudest. This was a chance for Fox to show how the rest of the country felt.
I understand that there are a lot of sensitivities to this situation, especially with Bonds being Mays' godson. I also know that networks have corporate suits and advertisers to answer to but it’s the media’s job to show real life reactions. It’s what makes live television so appealing. It’s also what makes media outside mainstream media (like blogs) so valuable and why there is a constant MSM/Blogger battle*. When you’re done watching what the MSM wants you to see, head to the internet to see what they wouldn’t show you.
*Matt Ufford wrote a great column on this. I highly recommend checking it out when you get a chance.
Monday, July 9, 2007
So there’s been much talk of “executive privilege” lately. I hate politics and this isn’t a political blog, but it got me thinking about the idea of executive privilege and how it could benefit sports. If the heads of the major sports organizations had the equivalent of executive privilege, how might they use it to better the game?
MLB: Bud Selig could have used his executive privilege to keep Bonds out of the All Star game. Hell, he could have used it to hire someone to break his knee before the season started. He could also order Paul O’Neill to get a haircut, and fill McCovey Cove with hungry sharks before the homerun derby. Kayakers fighting off sharks for baseballs… much more entertaining than watching a bunch of players hit meatballs out of the park.
NFL: Roger Goodell could use his executive privilege to overturn this whole “let’s play NFL games in Europe” idea. You think I’m grumpy when the Giants lose? Wait till you see me after getting up at 3 am to watch them lose in fucking London. Dumbest. Idea. Ever. Goodell could also use this privilege to hand out suspensions to any player who breathes crooked. Wait…
NBA: David Stern could use his executive privilege to get rid of “flopping”. I mean seriously. When did NBA players become such pussies? Getting rid of flopping will also, in effect, get rid of Kobe. And while we’re at it, Stern could use his executive privilege to have Isaiah “taken care of” and to get Mark Cuban to stop bitching.
NHL: Gary Bettman can use his executive privilege to make the players skate blindfolded while maneuvering around embedded pools of hungry sharks. Because that’s the only thing that would make me want to watch hockey. Plus, sharks are badass.
So, I was approached by the online news and opinion site The Huffington Post to write about social issues in sports. I'm not a fan of the HuffPo in general and I think that they've been remiss in their coverage of sports issues. Hopefully we can change that.
My first piece went up today and it's a bit controversial. All I ask is that you read it objectively and understand its purpose. You can read it here.
The NFL's future star lineman is this kid. Rayshun McDowell, 5 years old from North Carolina, chased down and pinned a rabid fox to protect his brother.
"The fox bit Rayshun in the leg, but the 61-pound-boy held the animal down for more than a minute. Animal control officials said Tuesday that test results confirmed the fox had rabies, which is fatal unless treated before symptoms appear."
“I looked out the window and Rayshun had the fox by the neck and was pushing it into the ground,” said his mother, Shinda Linder. “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.”
Sure he's a Hall of Famer who ate QB's for breakfast, but I never saw Lawrence Taylor pile drive a rabid fox.
"Rayshun, meanwhile, asked only for a Band-Aid and didn’t complain of any pain."
Five year old Rayshun is now under investigation for possible abuse of cobra venom.
Friday, July 6, 2007
I promised I'd bring back the funny...
Apparently a horse trainer in Kentucky is under investigation by the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority for having a banned substance in his barn. The substance? Cobra Venom. Steroids and HGH? Baseball players are such pussies. Those horse bitches have cobra venom!
The trainer, 55 year old Patrick Biancone, has a history of his horses testing positive for banned substances.
"The June 22 search of Biancone's barns was conducted after one of Biancone's horses who raced in Kentucky tested positive for a derivative of caffeine and for a derivative of an inhalant, both of which are banned for raceday use, according to the source. Biancone also has a pending medication case in Southern California. The horse Iron Butterfly, trained at the time by Biancone, tested positive for salmeterol, a bronchodilator, in a January race at Santa Anita."
Two other prize horses, coincidentally named Bonds and Clemens, were also tested. Those test results will not be released due to the fact that the head of the racing organization is afraid of one and the other races for Steinbrenner.
There was a great story in today’s USA Today about former Cowboys teammates Everson Walls and Ron Springs. As much as I loathe the Cowboys, this story touched me and felt it deserved some thought. Bear with me…I promise I’ll bring the funny back this afternoon.
After learning Springs was severely suffering from Type 2 Diabetes, Walls donated a kidney to Springs. It’s safe to say that by doing so, he saved his life. Now, I understand that people donate kidneys every day. Usually it involves the transfer from one family member to another. But back when these two were playing (1981), your team was your family. I’ve touched on it before and I’ll say it again – the concept of “team” has changed throughout sports.
What do you think Jeter would say if he got this call from Arod in 20 years: “Hey man. I’ve got some bad news. My kidney’s failing and I need a new one. Can you spare one of yours?”. OK, so it wouldn’t go like that, but you get the idea. Athletes today look at each other less as teammates and more like co-workers.
What’s to blame? The salaries, the endorsements, the merchandising deals. Look at the AL East for example. Collectively they have the highest payroll in baseball and only one of the teams is above .500. And as a division, they have shown the least amount of “team” behavior. Franchises are being run more and more like corporations and while that’s the quickest way to financial gain, it changes the dynamic of the organization. And ultimately, it’s the fan who suffers.
I’m not saying that Peyton needs to run out and start donating kidneys to his running backs (He’s a busy man. He’s got commercials to film). But I am saying that we need to get back to what “team” used to mean. The ’86 Mets. The ’85 Bears. That’s what I’m talking about.
Thursday, July 5, 2007
It’s been a crazy week of making bets, winning contests, and drinking my sorrows away. And since I’m still shaking off the mid-week holiday, I’m slightly phoning it in today.
That’s right. It’s time for another edition of That Fan. Today is dedicated to Brings His Clueless Girlfriend To The Game Guy.
We’ve all experienced you Clueless Girlfriend Guy. She hates sports and would rather be shopping yet you brought her anyway. Her lack of sports knowledge is astounding and each play needs to be explained to her like colors to a two year old. Those of us near you get to hear you explain the purpose of extra points while she talks to her girlfriends on her pink Razr. And while I’d rather listen to you than Al Michaels, there’s not enough stadium beer in the world to numb the pain of hearing a thousand “why did they do that” questions.
We know you brought her because she complained you don’t spend enough time together. While we sympathize with your plight Girlfriend Guy, take one for the team and go shopping with her. Don’t bring her to the game.
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
It is a very exciting day here at Strike Zones and End Zones. I have been invited to own a team in
a the sports blogger fantasy football league. I’ll be joining the boys from Kissing Suzy Kolber, Will and Rob from Deadspin, Dan Shanoff, DJ Gallo, Awful Announcing, Jamie Mottram, Dan Steinberg, and J.E. Skeets. There are some big names in there and as the only female in the league it will not only be my pleasure but my duty to thoroughly kick all of their asses.
This is my third fantasy football league this coming season. Last year I did two and it almost killed me. Which means every Sunday this year will end with me rocking back and forth in the fetal position and mumbling over and over “He was supposed to be my sleeper pick”. And since I’m not lucky enough to draft Shockey and I’m sure as hell not drafting Jacobs, it also means I’ll be rooting for the Giants to win every game this year, yet score no touchdowns.
So now I’ve got a decision to make. What to name my team…
Monday, July 2, 2007
So, I made a bet with a Red Sox fan friend of mine. (Yes, I have Red Sox fan friends. I take my charity work very seriously) If the Yankees make the playoffs, he has to spend a night out drinking in a Yankees jersey of my choice. If they don’t make the playoffs, I have to do the same in a Boston jersey.
Now, to be fair, when I made the wager a few weeks ago, the Yankees were on a comeback and gaining ground in the standings. The bet wasn’t who would make it further, it was whether the Yankees would even make it in. And I’ll have to admit, I had a few Blue Moons in me at the time. (Note to self: don’t make stupid bets while drinking. Unless said bet involves more drinking.)
I’ve always been a firm believer in the All Star Break Theory, which states that anything can happen after July. But things have gotten so bad for the Yankees that players are burning their equipment in Voo Doo bonfires and our third baseman would rather play with Bonds. I’m never one to give up on her team like some people, but I’ll admit. I’m getting a little nervous.
So while the Yankees are
slowly quickly sliding down the standings pole, I receive daily reminders from the aforementioned Red Sox friend that I could quite possibly lose our bet. I always said I’d die before I’d ever wear anything Red Sox related, and this could hold true since watching the Yankees continue to play like this just might kill me before the post season.
And IF I do lose this bet, I hope I drink enough to throw up on the jersey.