i used to think aaron rooted for the underdog, but now i don’t know what to think

October 28, 2006 at 4:33 pm | Posted in brian, football (american) | Leave a comment

i spend part of most saturday afternoons watching college football with gavin. every week we flip through random games looking for upsets (unless florida is playing, then we watch that game hoping that urban meyers plays tim tebow, but meyers is an idiot and he barely uses tebow). a month or so ago we saw michigan destroy notre dame. then the next week we were heartbroken as notre dame came back to win against michigan state. then there were a bunch of weeks with out any real threat of upsets–at least in the games we partially watched.

today we were watching florida and georgia. but, like every week except one, meyers hardly even used tebow. so we switched over the the second-half of the usc/oregon state game. it was awesome. oregon state got up by 20 some odd points. then usc worked its way back into the game. with seven seconds left, usc scored a touchdown. they needed a two-point conversion to tie. gavin and i watched in fear. it’s so sad to see such an underdog play so well only to lose the game at the last second. but oregon state totally stopped the conversion.

my first thought was to call aaron. i figured he likes and upset as much as me. plus, he goes to oregon state and, even though he doesn’t care about the sports program there, i thought he’d feel a little sentimental about his school knocking off an team like usc.

so i called him. except he didn’t care at all. not only that, but he thought it was dumb that i thought he’d care.

maybe that’s why he hardly posts on this thing anymore.

History of the Underdog

October 28, 2006 at 5:46 am | Posted in misc, william | 2 Comments

Greetings, it’s my first post on “this person know what i’m talking about.”

I don’t actually know the history of the underdog but I’d like to make some general statements about it that sound reasonable. The attractiveness of an underdog victory is obvious for a sports fan. My first assumption is that sports are a substitute for war. Now of course we still have wars, but with all technical advances these days they’re so hard to follow, all the covert ops and whatnot. Who would watch the superbowl if it wasn’t scheduled, and one team would sneak up on the other whenever they found them, play a down, and then retreat for days?

So the days of spectatorship for war are gone. I guess that started with the first Olympic games. Sports of whatever kind now provide a forum for the virtues of the warrior to be displayed, even though we’ve come a long way from archery and wrestling and now have bowling. (Bowling still requires its own physical virtues of strength and finesse and pinpoint accuracy, it just doesn’t require the all-around fitness that the decathlon strives to display.) A competition is the chance to see the skills and attributes of the warriors of the respective sports to be tested and admired by the spectators.

Implied in this situation is that the spectators do not possess the virtues in the degree that the warriors do (or they would be the warriors). This allows the spectator to participate by proxy, aligning themselves with one side or the other and experiencing the battle emotional if not physically. We all know those people, usually moms, who walk in during a televised sporting event and make some comment about how they just want a fair game and the best side to win, with no regard for the fact that some of us have devoted months or years to the particular team and don’t appreciate comments about “good plays” by the enemies. But we also know those people, who are usually moms, wouldn’t be in war anyway and that’s why they have no appreciation for the beauty of the battlefield. Would they want the best army to win if it meant their husband never came home again? Pick a side!

Anyway, in picking sides it is more often than not the underdog that most people side with when they have not been devoting their lives to one of the particular sides. And I assume that this is owing to the fact that it makes a more fulfilling proxy experience because the vast majority of people assume they are the underdog in life. It’s certainly the case if they have delusions of grandeur, but it’s the position of all of us in relation to entropy. That makes it natural to side with the underdog in sports, and demand happy endings to movies. It provides hope for each spectator that despite the fact they weren’t endowed in abundance with the virtues of _______, if they show enough heart, the virtue that can be self-produced, they can achieve victory.

I often cheer for the underdog. I will admit I’m no Yankees fan. But I don’t advocate it as automatic as it too often is. There is pleasure to be found in rooting for the leviathan, and it is the appreciation of beautiful and skillful execution. This path is more difficult because the proxy connection is often lost if we consider ourselves inept, but it may reap greater spoils. I use the Chicago Bulls led by Michael Jordan as an example. They were my team while they were good, and only then. It was bandwagoning at its best, I didn’t even like them much until after the first title, but the next five titles were a pleasure. I even loved it when they brought in Dennis Rodman and only lost ten regular season games. Rodman was an easy target for devoted underdog rooters but he didn’t give them what they wanted. I got what I wanted. I watched the greatest team of basketball players in the world win and win and win, specifically Michael Jordan. The grace and skill with which he was able to dominate was awe-inspiring, and ennobling to me. Underdoggers missed all that, consumed by his supposed arrogance, sidetracked by his gambling, private life, or sought to qualify it with the story of him not making the high school team and therefore making even his dominance an underdog story. I would have none of it. Fortune favored Michael Jordan and all anyone else can do is watch in awe.

The spoils of cheering for the favored are confidence and an appreciation for excellence. There is a danger of becoming haughty, but nothing the occasional underdog can’t remedy. The benefits of siding with the strong have bled over into my own life. I have a healthy confidence that I can accomplish what I want. I don’t fear for my survival and completely enjoy my life. With an underdog disposition I could believe it possible but the odds would always be against me. This way they are in my favor. It’s an easier way to live. And so I will continue to root for the favored and admire the virtues of the warrior.

looks like i’m not the only ike diogu fan out there

October 27, 2006 at 1:25 pm | Posted in basketball, gary tijuana | Leave a comment

a tribute video to the future best-player ever. watch to the end to see the cute illustration they made of x-men’s “beast” but with ike’s boyish face. i wish i made this video.

in soccer, a pitch is what they call the field

October 27, 2006 at 9:41 am | Posted in brian, football (soccer) | 3 Comments

i saw this movie called fever pitch. clif told me he read the book the movie is based on. the book is a memoir about being an arsenal fan. clif said the book is good and bears no resemblance to the movie. the movie was terrible. so terrible it was actually pretty funny. hopefully no one saw it, so i’ll fill you in on the details. jimmy fallon is a die hard red sox fan. his uncle used to take him to games at fenway park. then his uncle died and jimmy inherited season tickets. so his life is all about the red sox and these kids he teaches at school. then he falls in love in the off-season. you see where this is going. jimmy’s love of the red sox interferes with his love of this girl. they kind of break-up and jimmy decides to sell his season tickets to some asshole. but drew barrymore (his ex-girlfriend) can’t let that happen so she scalps some tickets and runs onto the field at fenway to stop him. the night she runs onto the field? the fourth game of the alcs where the red sox come back against the yankees and eventually win the series. the point? jimmy and drew’s love is the reason the red sox win the series.

i seriously doubted the point of the movie. how do our baseball-related actions have any effect on the outcome of baseball games? but then i realized which two teams are playing in the world series.

at the beginning of last summer i needed a new baseball cap. i was at target and noticed they had all these mlb caps that were the style i like–simple, adjustable and fits the shape of your head. and they were only like ten dollars. so i bought a detroit tigers hat. not because i like the tigers, but because their hat is blue and not the yankees or red sox. aaron really liked my hat, so he went to target to buy one. he chose the cardinals because their hat was blue and not the yankees or red sox. and what two teams are in the world series? the detriot tigers and the st. louis cardinals.

Go Blue!

October 23, 2006 at 6:50 pm | Posted in becky, football (american) | Leave a comment

for those of you (or more realistically the [maybe] one person) who have read my previous posts, you might remember that I was born in ann arbor, MI and grew up singing the u. of michigan fight song. so i just have to give praises to the great year this has been for my former state. the detroit tigers swept the american league championship and are in the world series for the first time since i was just a little lass of 6. i know some of you think baseball is totally boring, but i love it (then again, i can get into pretty much any sport when watching it). so anyway, in other MI news, the wolverines are currently 8-0 and ranked number two. yay them.

the end.

Spreadin’ the Love Love Love

October 20, 2006 at 9:50 am | Posted in misc, whitney | 4 Comments

One thing I hate (and no, I’m not getting this mixed up with our sister blog. Bare with me here…) is that This Person has been around for far longer than The Killtaker, but The Killtaker has just surpassed us on number of blogs. Granted, the sports blogs are (for the most part) far better written, more informative, funnier, and generally more intelligent than the majority of the hate blogs, but I feel like we have more to offer.

I’m going to go ahead and arrogantly blame this on myself. I don’t know how up to the task I am in participating in intelligent, witty conversations about sports. The closest I probably get to sports is pee wee soccer games (as previously mentioned) and Rocky. And while a post about the overall worthwhileness of Rocky is definitely in order, I am often behind.

But let me offer you this humorous anecdote: Word on the street is (told to me by Trevor Banks…who I think heard it from the source?) my favorite professor, Dean Duncan, just got asked to have dinner with another professor from one of those acclaimed universities back East. When asked whether or not he was going to go he replied, “No. I probably should…but hockey season starts that night.”

I want it known that I love people that love sports. I admire people who love anything, but there is something about team loyalty that I find very appealing (dare I say sexy? In that platonic kind of way. No funny business.). Because unlike movie stars or music, the rules for devoting so much energy to a team seem so much more arbitrary or coincidental. There is nothing very substantial holding a certain Canadian to the Edmonton Oilers except a childhood spent in Edmonton, and yet he will turn down an important, career enhancing dinner to survey the competition this year. It is this kind of irrational love that attaches us to Romeo and Juliet, Tristan and Isolde, Spongebob and Gary.

Remember a long time ago I wrote a blog about trying to get into baseball? I chose the A’s to follow because I had once been to an A’s game when we lived in Sacramento and my dad bought me a t-shirt that I wore out completely in the next year. That game was important to me, I like America, I like hot dogs (even though I don’t eat them any more), and my dad’s alright, so I decided I needed to devote myself to this new venture. That lasted about a week. I couldn’t even watch a single game and gave it up in favor of – I don’t remember – D2 or something. Much like my human interactions, I gave up love because it was too much of a hassle.

But, oh man, I love love vicariously. I like reading this blog and I like talking to my dad about his college football glory days (that resemble Rudy in uncanny ways). Just like I love listening to Ballad in Plain D and reading The History of Love. Anyway. I’m proud of you guys/gals. Keep up the good work. And I’ll do my best.

uniforms you can set your watch to

October 15, 2006 at 3:14 pm | Posted in aaron d.w., basketball | 3 Comments

sweet sixers jerseysamerican basketball is back. and i’m not talking about the national team that didn’t want iverson. i’m talking about preseason nba. so far it’s been pretty standard, except that the sixers, suns, and spurs (they only picked s-teams) went on a little tour of europe: holding training camp, playing friendly games against european clubs, and participating in a four-team basketball tournament. well, the spurs didn’t do that. but who cares about them as long as they have bruce bowen on their team. anyways, the sixers beat the suns and then they beat cska moscow to win the tournament. pretty good for a team that steve kerr thinks didn’t make enough roster moves to improve. news flash to steve kerr: maybe roster changes don’t help the sixers. as in, look at what they do every year. they overhaul their roster and bring a new group to play with iverson. it hasn’t worked. so this year maybe they did the smart thing and kept the same team so that they have time to figure each other out. the suns took second place. but who cares, right? and not “who cares?” because it’s preseason, but “who cares?” about scores when they are using some of the sweetest uniforms i’ve ever seen an american basketball team use.

cool suns jerseysthese suns jerseys are great. they have the normal suns purple, but then they also have green and red, two colors that are specifically un-sunlike. then the sixers uniforms have those sweet stripes on the shoulders. cool colors and different designs on both sides.

the nba has taken a small step forward. the suns and sixers probably won’t dare to wear those jerseys all the time, but at least they’re introducing a new look that basketball uniforms hadn’t seen. i mean, seriously, there haven’t been any good new jerseys (or good new-jersey’s — zing!) in forever. the only cool ones they use are on throwback night, which happens way less than it should. obviously, the suns and sixers have taken cues from football (soccer) uniforms. they saw that the world cup was slightly (barely) more popular in the united states than ever before and so they want to cautiously build on that. well, here’s my message to the suns, sixers, and every other team: use awesome uniforms all the time. (did i just say awesome?) you won’t regret it. basketball is so much cooler when the uniforms aren’t fat and ugly.

a man and his footy

October 12, 2006 at 8:35 am | Posted in misc, pillowtalk | Leave a comment

I was surfing blogger and found this article … and thought the readers of “this person” might enjoy it.

mort a. + mike v. = best friends 4eva

October 10, 2006 at 10:30 am | Posted in aaron d.w., football (american) | 3 Comments

morten andersenat 46 years of age, morten andersen was signed by the falcons to be their star kicker. their previous star kicker missed 6 of 8 field goals in 2 games, which isn’t very star-like. so they decided to go with the older, handsomer, and more experienced morten. this is mort’s 25th year playing in the nfl. 25 years is the silver anniversary, if i’m not mistaken. in morten’s case, this means that he is fated to not pass greg anderson on the list of top scorers in the nfl — at least, that has been the talk. but i believe in old-man morten andersen. he’s got a steel will and a heart of gold. in fact, in just two games back he’s already kicked 6 field goals and 2 extra points. so even though at the beginning of the season he was behind greg anderson on the all-time scorer’s list by 76 points (greg anderson has 2,434 points over his career while mort has 2,358), he’s aleady shaved off 20 of those points in 2 games. so there are still 12 games left this season and only 56 points need to pass greg up. all the geezer has to do is score an average of 5 points a game for the rest of the season and he becomes the nfl’s all-time leading scorer. i think he can do it. and so does he: “in my heart, i knew i could play.”

morten’s celebrated career includes making 526 of 665 field goals, with a 60-yarder as his longest (5th longest in nfl history). it also includes only missing 10 extra points in 810 attempts. he kicked the memorable field goal in 1999 which propelled the falcons to the nfc championship. he’s kicked off 1457 times with 478 of those resulting in touchbacks. he’s also made 7 1/2 big tackles over his 24 year career. it seems hard to improve on stats like these, but he’s determined to do it.

old man footballthe other record that he is trying to break is oldest person ever to play national league football. george blanda holds that record, retiring at the rotten old age of 48. 2 more years, mort. 2 more years. i think that’s especially feasible, given that his relationship with the falcons coach jim mora is so good. it’s easy for them to be best friends, since jim is only 15 months older than mort. besides, morten andersen is geared up to break the record. 6 years ago morten told the world that he planned to kick until he was 50. he reiterated that idea this last week: “When I said that I wanted to kick until I was 50, no one said I couldn’t skip a year here or there. So I took last season off, right? Now I’m ready to go again. It’s going to be great.” he’s off to a great start and he’s a great fit for the falcons, while they try to mold koenen into the league’s best kicker/punter. until he’s ready to take over and until morten andersen turns 50, mort is dedicated to helping this team get to the super bowl. he’s on the same page as the rest of the offense and he’s getting along great with michael vick. “I plan on helping them continue to build on the success they’ve already had this season and also help out Michael in any way I can.” with an attitude like that, what record isn’t going to get broken?

morten andersenheartsmichael vick (4 prez)

what’s the deal with bob costas?

October 8, 2006 at 5:49 pm | Posted in brian, fespn, football (american) | 3 Comments

have you ever really watched this guy? i mean really really watched this guy?

i’m pretty overwhelmed with the subject matter. where do i even begin? i wanted to set up some bob costas context (or bob costext?), but that would mean i would have to do a little work looking for costas quotes and costas clips. so fuck that. i’m getting (relatively) straight to the point.

here’s what bob said on football night in america:

“now to the absurdly hyped return of t.o. to philadelphia. the return wasn’t as warm and fresh as a philly cheese-steak right out of the oven, but the game was darn good.”

i’ve been trying to unpack this statement since last night. looking at the first sentence, the awkwardness comes from the double qualification of absurdly and hyped. granted that t.o.’s return to philadelphia was hyped to levels bordering on absurdity, but bob costas and his show are as guilty of this over-hype as anyone. maybe he means absurd in an existential sense. maybe not. maybe he’s taking a jab at his own show and sports coverage in general. but that doesn’t seem like bob costas. he’s an asshole. and assholes have a difficult time making fun of themselves.

as weird as the first sentence was, the second is weirder. bob said it with this kind of smirk on his face; like he was about to bust up laughing before he finished the joke. here’s how i imagine the pre-show meeting went:

bob costas: i wrote this line about t.o.’s return.

co-workers: what is it?

bob: the return wasn’t as warm and fresh as a philly cheese-steak

co-workers: that’s not funny

bob: yes it is. philly cheese-steaks are the identity of philadelphia

co-workers: no there not and that joke makes no sense. don’t use it.

but bob believed in the joke so much he used it without permission. but he’s bob fucking costas; no one tells him what to do.

i think i figured out the problem with his joke, besides it not being interesting. warm and fresh are both ambiguous words so it’s supposed to be a play on words. the philly cheese-steak refers to physical characteristics of the sandwich having to do with heat and how old the bread is. warm and fresh do have other meanings–how a movie makes you feel warm, which is different from a space-heater, or how fresh used to be used in hip hop. however, the return of t.o. can neither be warm or fresh in any sense of the words. so the joke doesn’t make any sense. and bob costas is still an (fat and ugly and stupid) idiot.

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