Category Archives: Sports

A Stanford Asshole

Richard Sherman frightened a lot of people after the NFC championship when he barked like a crazy person into the camera during a post-game interview (like immediately post game, like during his walk off the field) with consummate professional (and Mainer) Erin Andrews.

We’ve all seen this by now, but here it is again. It’s wild, angry, and spontaneous and shows a man still intoxicated on the hate that’s needed to play professional football at the highest level, a level which Sherman has no problem declaring himself sole owner of, at least when it comes to the corner back position.

Given his play all year, and the amazing athleticism he displayed in the final play of the game with his team’s season on the line, it’s hard to argue with him on that point. Actually, it’s hard to argue with him at all.

As is always the case now when somebody of color does something at all controversial, society went ahead and put a finger down it’s throat (in the form of Twitter) and vomited horrible racist vitriol everywhere. And as is always the case in the Twitter era, when that vomit is right there in the middle of the room for all to see, the media did a bunch of write ups defending the person in question. Most of this defense, as Rembert Browne points out, revolves around the fact that Sherman went to Stanford, so he must be smart. He also was the salutatorian of his high school. So therefore he can’t be a thug.

What we end up with is all sorts of racially coded language on both sides, with the term “thug” being thrown at Sherman by twitter users with no audience outside of the instances when a news organization shows their tweets to the world as an example of what a racist and sexist cesspool the internet is, and his education used to defend him by people who write for a living. But why are we using education to defend him? What does that have anything to do with his behavior? No assholes ever went to Stanford? I can think of at least one other wealthy asshole Stanford graduate who lost his mind on camera.

If Richard Sherman was white (so if he was say, Jason Sehorn) we would just say he seemed like sort of an asshole and move on. His alma mater wouldn’t come up, would it? But it’s almost like we have to make it clear that he’s been vetted and spoken for by predominantly white institutions, that he’s existed among our kind for years and is therefore not a threat. But that’s fucked up. If anything “he went to Stanford” should be used to say “he really should know better, ” at least if your view of Stanford is that it produces well balanced, humble people, like Steve Ballmer or half of that benevolent hub of enlightenment known as silicon valley. If Richard Sherman were white, would we mention his alma mater at all? Maybe. Maybe we would just think what Blake Griffin tweeted after the game.

There’s all sorts of race issues wrapped up in this, especially the seemingly never ending white fear (and anger) that arises whenever white people see anyone they deem to be a dangerous black man. Many good writers have examined the interview and the fallout from that angle, and they aren’t wrong. But another way to define Richard Sherman, besides race, might be that he is a 24-year old millionaire at the top of his profession who can be an asshole at times. He can also be smart, funny, and kind, I’m sure. He’s definitely not a thug, whatever that means, but he’s probably not the nicest guy in the world either. We don’t need to defend his actions. He did an asshole thing. The world is more interesting because of it. The only person who should be angry is Michael Crabtree. The only people defending him should be his teammates and Erin Andrews, since it was great for her career. There’s no doubt he’s kind of an asshole and there’s no doubt he’s impressive. He’s an impressive asshole.

I like Richard Sherman precisely because of this fact, this assholishness and the WWE style heal turn. It’s great theater, which is what the NFC championship game was and what the Super Bowl will be. But you can like a guy while admitting he’s an asshole. Here’s another example of an asshole giving an impressive yet obnoxious post-contest interview.

Now that’s an asshole. One we can all love. 

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What I Learned While Stuck on a Mediterranean Cruise During the World Series

Red Sox Parade Baseball3_r620x349

There is a special kind of loneliness and melancholy that follows a momentous and joyous event that cannot be shared or expressed. Last night the world changed for the better, across a whole region millions are smiling throughout their day as they find quiet opportunities to stare off and remember, their burdens lighter, the pain inflicted by a madman lessened if only for a short time. I want to be one of those people. But I cannot be, because through my own silly decisions I put myself in a part of the world where nobody knows or cares about the fact that last night the Boston Red Sox won the World Series.

I’m writing in grandiose terms because the environment around me is so willfully indifferent to what has happened I feel like I have to compensate. I feel like some government agent who knows the world has just been saved from a mad man or a monster, but can’t share the news or his joy with any oblivious civilians.

This is why I’m wearing my Boston Red Sox hat at the Barcelona airport, hoping someone will share a high five, a congratulations, dare I hope a beer, or at the very least a nod of recognition on this Halloween day, 2013, the day the world awoke to see the Red Sox improbably hold the title of World Series Champions, an accomplishment and designation that I’m suddenly finding maddeningly inappropriate, since the world, like the cruise ship I just spent the last week on in order to ghostwrite a travel blog article about spa cruises, is giving precisely zero fucks about all of this.

Hell, right now I would even take a Cardinals fan that I could fake empathy with.

Morans

I went on a free Mediterranean cruise the week the Red Sox were in the World Series. And the viewing opportunities I imagined might be available to me never materialized and so I missed pretty much everything. David Foster Wallace wrote about the despair of cruise ships, but he never had to feel that despair multiplied by the longing to watch and celebrate a team that I spent the whole summer rooting for as they battle for a championship. Here’s what he said:

“There’s something about a mass-market Luxury Cruise that’s unbearably sad. Like most unbearably sad things, it seems incredibly elusive and complex in its causes yet simple in its effect: on board the Nadir (especially at night, when all the ship’s structured fun and reassurances and gaiety ceased) I felt despair. The word “despair”is overused and banalized now, but it’s a serious word, and I’m using it seriously. It’s close to what people call dread or angst, but it’s not these things, quite. It’s more like wanting to die in order to escape the unbearable sadness of knowing I’m small and weak and selfish and going, without doubt, to die. It’s wanting to jump overboard.”

Now my cruise wasn’t a luxury cruise in quite the way Wallace’s was, but the despair was palpable and real at night, because I wasn’t just made to despair by the emptiness of the vast ocean or the end of bacchanalian drinking and eating, but the knowledge that across the dark ocean my Red Sox were in for the fight of their life and I couldn’t watch them, or even worse, really talk about it with anybody.

This has happened to me before, being abroad when my team wins a championship, but never was I so sequestered in my joy, which is an emotion that, I know believe, has a rapidly self-devouring half-life if kept in such isolation.

I was in a small little village North of Seville in Spain named Galaroza in June of 2008 when the Celtics defeated the Lakers in the NBA finals. I was backpacking after college and I was volunteering with a friend at a nearby farm. The game was televised during the day, tape-delayed from the night before, and there was at least a modicum of interest because of the Laker’s seven-foot Spaniard, Pau Gasol. There was a tiny bar in town where I could watch the game with my backpacking companion, also a New Englander, as well as the same three old Spanish men who were perched atop the same bar stools every day, drinking watery Spanish beer. They didn’t care about the series, but they seemed to find my cursing at the refs and requests for celebratory high fives amusing (I spoke very little Spanish, they spoke no English). By the end I believe they were pro-Celtic by osmosis.

There was not anyone to turn to my side aboard the ship. There was no one watching because there was no way to watch it, and I’ve realized that the inability to watch and the inability to watch with anyone, even if it’s just a few strangers at the bar who are willing to discuss the game (or share cross-lingual high-fives) are very nearly the same thing. The joy in sports lies in the shared experience of the thing being viewed, not so much the viewing in and of itself. Of course the worst part is that I choose to put myself in this situation based on my ignorance of international viewing options on a boat, my hubris in believing I could find a place to watch and thinking watching by myself would be satisfactory, and my greed for wanting to get fed and massaged while half-drunk like a cow that will soon be Kobe beef.

I’m writing this for atonement, so here is the worst of it:

1)      The cruise was free. I would have lost no money by not going.

2)      I was not going with a girlfriend or any significant other or best friend or anyone that would have been really crushed had I chosen not to go. I went with my boss who is certainly a friend, but this was for work and not required. He is also not baseball fan at all.

3)      I got the opportunity a little more than a month ago when I had full knowledge of the fact that the Red Sox might play in the World Series.  Optimist that I am, I actually expected them to be there.

4)      I was going to ghostwrite a piece. On a travel blog.

Blogging is already pretty low on the hierarchy of written word quality and legitimacy. Ghostwriting a travel blog is even lower, I would say it falls somewhere between writing copy for porn sites (rule number 1#: “come” is always three letters) and penning missives on behalf of desperate Nigerian princes looking for a safe place to store their fortunes. So when the offer came up to ghostwrite a travel blog for a five-day spa cruise around the Mediterranean with buffet lines filled with soccer-loving infidels, I took it. And I went around and shook hands with cruise industry people while me and my boss both pretended that he was the one who would write the article and I was just a colleague and the recipient of the free guest pass that all the writers received, a pass so coveted that only one of the twelve people in our group besides my boss elected to use it.

I ate a lot, drank a lot, and stumbled around some medieval towns. I got a couple of massages. Mostly I wondered about the Red Sox, and as the despair that D.F. Wallace described in his famous Harper’s piece set in I started to wonder whether I was even fit to wear the beard I had let grow longer than usual throughout October.

When Judas got his sack of silver, was there enough in it for a cruise?

I thought that I might be able to watch the Series on the cruise. I actually expected to, but I admit that my complete lack of research on viewing possibilities beforehand might have been a way to allay the early rumblings of guilt I had about the real chance that there would be no such viewing opportunities. I didn’t ask because, I think, I didn’t want to know.

The cruise spanned most of the northwest part of the Mediterranean. After departing Barcelona we traveled to Palma de Mallorca, Corsica, Marseille, and finally Savona before returning to Barcelona.  So this was mostly an Italian, French, German, Spanish, and British crowd. I knew there probably wouldn’t be much of a baseball contingent, but I did assume that a floating fortress dedicated to entertainment would be full of glowing screens, one of which I might be able to commandeer in the morning hours for my own purposes. There were TVs in the cabin at least, a fact which initially gave me hope since the six-hour time difference would make watching the games at a bar difficult.

When I first boarded, I had some vague hope that the bars or the casino would be open 24 hours based on the idea that if the boat was in international waters there would be no legal reason to shut anything down.  But after dropping my bags off and doing a quick inspection of the listings of the bars and clubs on board, I saw that none were opened past one, except for the disco, which, like all the bars on board, had no TV. Unlike most of the bars onboard, the disco, I would later find out, was filled with over-caffeinated tweens clutching red bulls while swaying in awkward circles. This was not only a depressing development in my hopes to watch the Sox, it made me realize that the demographics of the boat were not going to be conducive to meeting any Italian models, unless there was an Italian model taking her parents on a cruise after her first high paying gig, or moonlighting as some kind of au pair.

The TV in the cabin room had twenty or so channels, not a few of which looped safety demonstrations or various shots of the ship’s deck taken from the ever present CCTV cameras.  I didn’t have to find a schedule to know the BBC was not broadcasting the World Series, although I did flip on the TV during game times to check.

In spite of all of this, I really thought I was going to be able to watch Game 3. Game 1 I had watched at my apartment in Brooklyn with a mixed crowd of Sox and Cardinal fans. I had jumped about during Napoli’s 3-run double, and I gloated that Jon Lester had beat cancer, and that the Cardinals lineup and the supposedly great Adam Wainwright were not anywhere near as potent an adversary as cancer, and that if they were a disease they would be a weak form of VD, easily cleaned with a simple regimen of antibiotics and Lester cutters.

You see, like all Red Sox fans, I am obnoxious.

But honestly, I didn’t pour it on too heavy, and we were all having fun, and it was my apartment, and we were drinking, and mocking those hilariously over narrated Chevy commercials in which a gruff, weathered voice describes exactly what’s on the screen (“A man. A man and his truck. A man driving his truck. A lost cow. A man looking at the lost cow. A man picking up the cow.”) We were having fun, it was social, and the Red Sox won.

I missed all that on board.

Game 2 I missed as it occurred while I was on a transatlantic flight. But I was sure I could watch Game 3 because I had bought MLB.TV’s international post-season package before I left, which allowed me, in theory, to stream games online from outside the U.S. (the networks had all the postseason rights domestically, so like fashionable mullets and legal public male beach nudity, it was only available abroad). My roommate and I, a fellow Mainer and Sox fan, had bought the MLB package at the all-star break when we both agreed that this was a special Red Sox team and that we owed it to ourselves to splurge for the $300 package and ensure near-nightly viewing. (We live in Brooklyn, deep in enemy territory, so no NESN). It had not worked over the PS3 as promised, but we attached my computer to the TV with an HDMI cable and watched the games that way, never experiencing much in the way of technical difficulties and always watching the game with clear audio and video.

But that was with a decent Wi-Fi connection. The Wi-Fi on the boat and was expensive and weak. For three hours of Wi-Fi I had to pay 24 euro, or about $32. I paid this for what I thought was Game 3. I stayed up until two drinking with the VP of Marketing for the cruise line and his wife, both American and surprisingly cool and fun, as well as with the more adventurous members of a media group that were experts on “cruising” (like any experience with serious devotees, the cruise ship experience is turned into a verb, because then it something you do, not something that happens to you, although I can’t think of any activity that implies less action or agency on the part of the participant than “cruising”).

Stumbling from both booze and rough seas, I wandered back to my room, turned on my computer, paid the extortionary WI-FI fee and logged into MLB.TV. The video did not work for whatever reason. I could listen to the audio, but it was choppy at best.  Realizing I might not be able to find enough bandwidth to actually watch the game, I searched for and found an illegal stream of the game which, given the setting, was the most pirate-y thing I’d ever done.

As the streaming video kicked in, I realized 1) it was game four and a I had SOMEHOW MISSED GAME 3, 2) The Sox were down 2-1 in the series, 3) it was already the sixth inning, so I had gotten the time difference wrong and 4) I was seeing about every fifth frame of the video and hearing every fourth word out of the announcer’s mouth.

Off to a great start.

The first at bat I saw, and I swear this is true, was Johnny Gomes’. And when I say I saw the at bat, I mean I saw him walk toward the plate and then I suddenly saw the catcher react to a pitch. Watching the video on board that ship was like watching one of those flip books you make when you’re a kid, the ones that when flipped fast enough create little animations of stick men running. Although in this case, it was like the person flipping and simultaneously narrating was suffering from Parkinson’s and a pretty serious case of the stutters.

I saw Johnny in the batter’s box waiting the 2-2 pitch, then a shot of the left field stands, then Johnny rounding second. Using context clues, I surmised that Johnny had hit a three run homer, blowing Game 4 wide open. I drunkenly danced around the room, the room I was sharing with my passed out boss. I silently did a fist pump in the dark, which sounds like a not-so-subtle euphemism for masturbation for a reason. Joy so isolated and hidden in darkness and silence is the emotional equivalent of jerking off. It’s hollow and leaves you feeling weirdly guilty.

Tampa Bay Rays v Boston Red Sox

Four pixelated and choppy innings later, I saw Koji go from the stretch to jumping in the air for joy. Series tied 2-2. I looked around my dark room, my headphones filled with garbled and intermittent words of praise for Boston’s effort. I turned off my computer, and went to sleep with feeling of elation that, having no outlet, quickly became a sort of weird pit-of-the-stomach warmth that I guess they call melancholy but just felt like high-five blue balls. At least I was spared the knowledge that I had just seen my last live image of the 2013 World Series.

I don’t know if the slideshow I witnessed even really counts as watching, but somehow I told myself it did, especially since I had fought sleep, jet lag, and AV difficulties until the last pitch. I realized the next day that I counted difficulty as something that made the quality of my watching better, as if one could really watch badly or watch well, which I suppose is sort of like cruising badly or well. It’s weird that the price we pay as a fan somehow dictates how great the experience was. We pride ourselves on going to great lengths to support our team, but when we say support our team, what we are really talking about is watching, with some yelling thrown in. How are we really supporting our teams? What do we mean by cheering or rooting, especially when we aren’t even at the game? At the game, we can measure a fan base’s impact by volume and the loudest stadiums are said to have the best fans, but I often wonder how much of that is really just a measure of arena acoustics and how easily fans can get beer from their seats.

Why do we still feel the need to cheer, to yell, even when we aren’t there? Why was I jumping around my room, and why did I feel immediately sad after when I realized there was no one to share it with?

I think the answer is that being a fan isn’t really about the team, or the game, although fandom certainly wouldn’t exist without them.  Being a fan allows us to tap into a hive mind, a kind of consciousness larger then ourselves that is not new age or mystical but very tangible and real.  Sports allow 60,000 people to scream and enter a state of group ecstasy while piled on top of each other. It allows us to enter a group consciousness, which is a beautiful and wonderful temporary cure for the kind of existential dread and despair that DFW attributed to cruise ships (although given how DFW turned out, it’s possible he mistakenly attributed that sort of despair to cruise ships instead of his own brain chemistry). Sports and cheering allow us to lower our inhibitions and harmonize feelings with a crowd of other people. This is why we drink when we watch sports, because it contributes to the lowering of ego and consciousness that we need to go crazy and be one with the crowd we sit in, or connect the strangers at the bar wearing our team gear.

That’s why the cruise was extra depressing for me, I realize now, because I had so closely associated this feeling of blissful temporary ego death with my teams success, and now, when they were achieving the highest level of success possible, I wasn’t feeling it at all.

Some people go to religion for that feeling, some go to drugs, some art, the worst among us go to hate. Sports allow us to get to that place of diminished individuality safely, because, outside of a few random maniacs who drink too much, it’s safe. You don’t want whole stadiums of people losing their minds over a politician’s speech. Art and drugs aren’t the same because they are open to individual interpretation. When you’re a fan, and your team does something spectacular, you are feeling the same thing as all the other fans. There’s no individual interpretation like there is with art or music or drugs. And it’s all based on a gaze toward an arbitrary act some dudes are performing with a stick or a ball. The fact that it persists across cultures shows how fundamental it is to the human experience, and why we speak of the places where we can experience it, like Fenway, in reverent semi-religous tones.

In spite of talk I heard from the other writers on the ship about the magical ability of cruises to provide an escape from worry, I daresay that a cruise ship is not a place to experience that.

I met up with the press group the next morning. One of the writers was from Rhode Island and we immediately informed the other that the Sox had won, a fact she had learned while reading an email from her son that morning. I wanted to talk about the game and Johnny Gomes and Papi’s unbelievable hot streak, but I quickly realized that she was being friendly and sort of humoring me and she had no real knowledge of the team and was mostly just happy for her son and me.

The group all listened politely as I explained the outcome of the game and blamed  my bleary-eyed quietness on the late finish, and they were happy for me, but I didn’t want them to be happy for me, I wanted them not to be happy for anyone in particular, but happy themselves because the Red Sox won and that made them happy. If they were able to produce that kind of happiness we could combine happiness and feel an exponential happiness increase, since combining sports happiness has an multiplying effect. That’s what I’ve come to believe anyway.

After my overview of the game there was nothing more to say about it or discuss because nobody cared. Then we started our tour of the kitchen facilities and I wished I could get a coffee to carry around with me during the tour but I couldn’t because they don’t do that in Europe, they drink thimbles of coffee aggravatingly slowly while sitting around medieval squares.

Between the charge for another three hours of internet, the head-ache inducing video connection, and the disheartening lack of satisfaction I got from a huge Red Sox win, I did not watch Game 5. I did read about it with the few minutes of internet time I had left, and when I relayed the information to the group, I got the same warm but ultimately indifferent response. I wanted to talk to anybody about the game. I was looking high and low for any kind of New England affiliations displayed across t-shirts or hats, but there were very few Americans, and the few that were there all seemed to be from the upper Midwest.  I felt jealous of the soccer loving infidels around me. One afternoon I played basketball on an eight-foot rim with a group of French teenagers who knew a handful of English words, all of which were R-rated, and although they enjoyed yelling “Carmelo Anthony!” and “LeBron James!” at me, when I tried to pantomime Baseball they looked at me like I was an insane person and that it wasn’t their country that had invented pantomiming in the first place.

The five-day cruise ended in Barcelona, where I stayed the night in a hotel before flying back to Newark. When I put my bags down in my hotel room there were nine hours until the first pitch of Game 6, which was back at Fenway and with the Sox riding the momentum of another late inning comeback in Game 5 and the reentry of the DH into the series, it seemed like this would be the clincher and that Sox were just hours away from what Koji called a “champagne fight.”

I was sure I could watch the game in Barcelona. I was there for a few nights in 2008 when I was more or less permanently attached to a fifty pound backpack. I was sure I remembered bars open until four in the morning. If nothing else, the Wi-Fi in the hotel room would be superior to that on the ship. I had time to hike around the city and while I did I stuck my head into a few English style pubs and sports bars and asked about the possibility of watching the game. I slowly realized that none of the sports bars were open past two, which was right about the time of the first pitch. Each bar gave me a suggestion for a place that might be open later, which seemed like a lead, but each new suggestion would bring me to another bartender telling me the establishment closed at one or two and that they probably didn’t even have a channel carrying the game, although maybe bar x would have it. Pretty soon bar x was always somewhere I had already been and my explorations, combined with some Googling back at my room, made it clear there was nowhere to watch the game. The Googling in my room led me to the final heartbreaking discovery: the internet at this hotel was somehow even worse than the ship. And I was still five hours away from game time. I tried to watch YouTube clips but the connection made that impossible as well.

So I drank some in Barcelona, came home early, and went to bed, hoping for a strong start from Lackey.

When I woke up I immediately reached for my laptop and part of me hoped, and I don’t even dare to quantify the strength of this feeling, that they had lost so I would have a chance of seeing at least part of game seven back home that night. But they won, and I smiled to myself as I read about Victorino’s double and Drew’s solo shot and the crowning of Papi as series MVP.

I was happy, of course, but now I know, more than ever, that sports are an experience to be shared. It doesn’t have to be with friends or family, although that is best, and it doesn’t have to be shared with 38,000 people under the lights at Fenway. It can be shared at a bar with one other person, a stranger who for a brief time feels the same thing you do before he goes off his own way, happy to have some time outside of his own head.

You don’t need to board a boat halfway around the world to get that escape.  But you do have to get to a certain level of dedication to access those shared experiences that make up fandom, in all its silliness and hysteria. You have to really genuinely care about something that you know is arbitrary. I like to think I’ve gotten there, which is why not being able to tap into the warmth of regional championship joy feels not just like I’m missing out on something fun, but like the whole thing didn’t even really happen. And the cruise was fine, it was fun, but knowing I was missing out on an opportunity to join the hive mind made the outlying status of my demographic and nationality feel that much more isolating (and I usually love traveling). So I ended up feeling this strange paradox: I felt jealous – the most brazen ego-driven emotion – that I didn’t get to escape my narrow ego for just a few moments.

Thank god it’s only sports, so none of this is life and death. And thank god I’m a New Englander, so I’ll (hopefully) get another chance at that championship feeling soon enough.

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The Friday Night Lights Grand Unified Theory of Female Desire

We are undoubtedly living through the golden age of television, especially the golden age of television drama. One thing that many of the truly great television dramas have in common is the destruction of dichotomies, especially moral dichotomies. Ours is the age of television anti-heroes whose complicated moral decisions and sensibilities call into question the nature of right and wrong, and often force us to see that human beings might make decisions that can be considered either moral or immoral, but its rare that we can confidently apply those distinctions to a person. People don’t fall into binary categories.

friday-night-lights

That’s why Friday Night Lights might be my favorite TV show ever. If I want moral complexity, I’ll go to books. On TV, I want to like at least some of the characters. I know in terms of quality FNL is nowhere near the pantheon of great television dramas, which is populated by The Sopranos, The Wire, Mad Men, and Breaking Bad, all of which have either have ambiguous or challenging moral compasses, or, let’s be honest, none at all. Friday Night Lights had moments where my suspension of disbelief was really stretched to its breaking point, which is why it can’t be considered a member of the highly venerated top tier.

(Isn’t this show taking place now? Why do none of these teenagers have cell phones? What happened to Buddy’s Hispanic charge? Wait, Riggins was a Sophomore in season 1 yet he’s best friends with senior Jason Street? Does no one in this town keep their thoughts to themselves instead of confronting people at night on their doorsteps to deliver honest confessions or accusations? We aren’t worried that Landry MURDERED a dude in season 2?)

But what Friday Night Lights did have is fantastic characters who often struggled with right and wrong in a (mostly) believable way, and always seemed to find a way to get to right. What Friday Night Lights did was to say that it is possible in the modern world, with its intense pressures and crumbling civic spirit, to figure out the right thing and to do it. That might seem simplistic or even preachy, but it’s not, and it’s actually a harder act to pull of successfully than it is to create a world where people just sort of do things and there may or may not be consequences (I love you Mad Men, but I’m looking at you).

In FNL there is right and wrong. Dichotomies are part of the FNL universe. People are given choices, and they have to do one thing or the other. Does Coach take the job or not? Does he start Saracen or J.D. McCoy? Does Riggins take the fall for Billy or not? Does Jason Street go the Mexican surgeon to get his back fixed or not? (I forgot that one in the list of ridiculous FNL plotlines, along with Jason becoming a professional sports agent with only a high school degree). Does Becky get the abortion? Does Vince listen to his Dad or Coach?

FNL’s  binary decisions might be tough, damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t types of calls, but they still ultimately result in some sort of breakdown of right and wrong. Likewise, FNL offers its female viewers a similarly difficult binary decision. I do not think this was necessarily on purpose. I’m not sure whether the impossibility of escaping this choice is due to the addictive nature of the show combined with its imperative that everyone has a choice to make. Or whether the male leads are just that good. But I’ve never seen another show create two completely different camps. FNL dichotomizes female viewers like the school board’s redistricting bifurcated Dillon.

Here’s my theory, which I’m calling the Friday Night Lights Grand Unified Theory of Female Desire (FNLGUToFD). I’ve developed it after watching FNL with women, speaking about FNL with women, and eventually testing this theory by proposing it to women. It is based on a few simple axioms.

1) All women LOVE either Tim Riggins or Matt Saracen.

2) No women love both Tim Riggins and Matt Saracen, at least not equally.

3) No women love neither Tim Riggins or Matt Saracen.

4) You can learn a lot about a woman by which she chooses.

This is not so much an opinion as it is a verifiable mathematical certainty. I would write out the equation, where Riggins=R and Saracen=S and all women= W, but I am really not sure how math works. But I know Landry could do it.

Let’s examine our two choices, what they represent, and what they say about the women who choose either.

Tim Riggins, Fullback, #33, Played by Taylor Kitsch

tim riggins or jeff smith?
Tim Riggins, or Riggs as he is affectionately known, is the hard-drinking, promiscuous, never-say-die, puppy dog eyed, smoldering piece of brooding meat with a heart of gold that is the quiet leader of the Dillon Panthers. He exudes sexuality, which wafts away from him in fumes that are created by beer being held at a low boil using the energy produced when teenage angst mixes with any and all feelings being buried deep, deep down.

What He Represents: 

The bad boy with a good heart.

The difficult and ornery stallion who can’t be broken and who throws off all riders, except the right woman who pets his nose and feeds him sugar cubes in just the right way.

Unbound testosterone production.

The cowboy at the dawn of the automobile. The closing of the frontier.

Pure talent given to somebody who doesn’t know what to do with it.

The early peak.

The carnal gaze.

Unlimited confidence in limited contexts.

The potential energy of stored, buried emotions.

The wisecracking hero.

Indifference in the face of great pressures.

Living in the moment.

The mix of sexual danger and safety that drives women crazy. A roller coaster that  looks terrifying but has passed inspection.

Great hair.

Types of Women Who Love Him:

Women that would rather fuck than make love.

Women who use men for their bodies.

Women with daddy issues.

Confident women who know their bodies and what they like.

Bartenders.

Cougars.

Women who bungy jump. Women who bike down mountains. Women who surf in shark infested waters.

Women who have done cocaine more than twice.

Girls who loved Jonathan Taylor Thomas and then grew up and became women.

Women who are the exact opposite of all of these things, but sort of wish they could be all of these things. Riggins is their gateway drug.

The Reasons Women Who Don’t Love Him Cite as the Reasons They Don’t Love Him:

He is rudderless, directionless.

He would be a terrible boyfriend.

He doesn’t have his shit together.

He insists on never leaving Texas.

He got through one week of college, and then gave up. C’mon.

He would have trouble being faithful.

He isn’t in touch with his emotions.

He is a bad communicator.

He’s drunk, like, most of the time.

What You Can Tell About a Woman If She Falls on the Riggins Side of the FNLGUToFD: 

She values excitement over comfort.

She is in touch with her sexuality.

She would absolutely cheat on you with Taylor Kitsch given the opportunity (and really, who would blame her?).

Matt Saracen, QB, #7, Played by Zach Gilford

matt-at-work

Matt Saracen is the nervous, adorably awkward, artistic, and responsible Quarterback of the Dillon Panthers, a role, like most of the roles he finds himself in, that was thrust upon him before he was ready.  He is nervous, unsure of himself, but gosh darn it does he know how to dig deep and find a way to get the job done, even if he’s not sure he can. He goes to school, takes care of his demented grandmother, works at the Alamo Freeze, Quarterbacks a state championship level-team and still manages to find time for his needy girlfriend. He has the weight of the world on his shoulders, and he makes it work. Is he overwhelmed? Yes. Does that stop him? No.

Women love Saracen because he speaks truth, even if his voice shakes. Which it always, ALWAYS does.

What He Represents: 

The boy blossoming into a man before our eyes.

An honest man doing the best he can with some shitty cards. 

Responsibility, loyalty, freckles. 

The devoted boyfriend. 

The tender lover. 

The adorableness of chivalry performed with self-aware awkwardness. 

The scrappy underdog.

Rising to the challenge. 

Pure potential. 

The achievability of the American dream through hard work. 

Cuddling. 

Types of Women Who Love Him:

Women who do not sleep with men until the eighth date.

Women who have been with their boyfriend for six years and are only 24 years old. 

Women who value comfort and safety. 

Women who also think Michael Cera is super cute.

Women who only use “cute” to describe attractive men, and not “hot.” 

Daughters of coaches. 

Women who stick to the plan. 

Pre-school teachers. 

Hipsters who use ironic distance to protect themselves from the scary, scary world. 

Women who have never had a one-night stand. 

Moms. 

Women who have normal and healthy relationships with their boring and responsible fathers. 

Women who planned their weddings when they were little girls. 

Women who value family over everything. 

Women who loved boy bands when they were girls.

Guatemalan home health professionals. 

The Reasons Women Who Don’t Love Him Cite as the Reasons they Don’t Love Him:

He is not hot. 

He’s so whiny. 

He would last thirty seconds in bed. 

He’s boring. 

He can’t finish a sentence without using at least three “ums.”

He’s sort of annoying. 

He loves his grandma. I get it. 

He’s a ginger. 

What You Can Tell About a Woman if She Falls on the Saracen Side of the FNLGUToFD: 

She values comfort over excitement .

She doesn’t care all that much about looks.

She demands to be treated with kindness and respect at all times.

She doesn’t like sexual positions that make eye contact impossible.

What the Synthesis of Saracen and Riggins Would Look Like (i.e. The Perfect Man):

coach-eric-taylor

I choose Coach Taylor. Um…no homo?

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It’s finally here: Presenting the inaugural Another Beer Salesman Podcast!

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You knew that your life wasn’t complete. You knew something was missing, that true happiness was impossible until you figured out what it was. You tried to listen to your heart, but your heart was being a mute mystery. You didn’t know what you needed until you saw it, perfect and apart from you. Calling. Calling.

https://anotherbeersalesman.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/podcast-1.mp3

There it is. The name you wanted to call out, but didn’t yet know. The first, the inaugural, the best. This is it. The premier of the Another Beer Salesman podcast.

https://anotherbeersalesman.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/podcast-1.mp3

Isn’t it nice to know what you’ve been missing? You know, finally, the affliction. Now just take the pill, heal, and be one with the cosmos.

https://anotherbeersalesman.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/podcast-1.mp3

In this podcast to end all podcasts, I have the incomparable Brother Dan on to discuss Smokey Robinson live in Coney Island (which we agree is the most sexual concert we’ve ever seen), whether Tommy Heinsohn has another Celtics rebuild in him, Paul Pierce’s greatest buzz beater (in Al Harrington’s face!), and the top seven (not ten!) Bruce songs.

https://anotherbeersalesman.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/podcast-1.mp3

Enjoy!

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The Greatest Run in Obnoxious Sports Fan History Comes to an End

It appears the greatest era of major sport dominance in American history is now coming to a close. As New England sports fans, we knew this was coming. We couldn’t be this obnoxious forever.

We’ve talked about it for years now, wondering how much longer all four Boston teams could be playing at championship levels.  For educated fans (and what fan base prides themselves on their education and knowledge more than New England fans?) we couldn’t help but notice the parallels between rooting for a truly dominant sports empire during a decade that saw our country’s preeminent geopolitical position challenged and weakened both from outside and within. We knew that nothing lasts forever, that pride goes before a fall, and that empires, like everything else in this world, are either growing or dying.

By 2010, we were talking about it openly, wondering if this was it, examining slight deviations from championship form as a sign of the coming collapse. The Celtics were old, true, but they forced the Heat to a Game 7 last year.  The Patriots secondary had starters  that Monday Night Football didn’t have pictures of a few years ago, but they still contended for a Super Bowl the last few years. The beer and chicken late season swoon gave way to the horrifying Bobby Valentine era for the Red Sox, but the fire sale to LA and John Farrell’s guidance seemed to have righted the ship.  We kept looking for signs that the pendulum was staring to swing the other way. We were aware it couldn’t last because we remembered what it was like before.

It’s easy to see New England sports fans as entitled brats spoiled by victory, and the fact that I’m writing this eulogy while the Red Sox are in first place, the Bruins are the current eastern conference champions, and Tom Brady is still the Patriots QB illustrates this point pretty clearly. But those of us who grew up in the nineties as I did are acutely aware of how precious this decade was.  I “saw” the Celtics win the 1986 Finals in only the most strict optical-neurological sense; being one year old at the time have no memory of the event.  Although, I also don’t remember Buckner’s error or the destruction of the Patriots at the hands of the Super-Bowl shuffling Chicago Bears from that same year, so that’s probably a fair trade. A Boston team didn’t win a title between 1986 and 2001, the longest stretch in Boston sports history since the drought between the Bruins Stanley cup win in 1941 and the first Celtics title in 1957. Even the long-suffering Red Sox fan of older generations had seen the Celtics dominate four decades of basketball.  That long championship-free run lined up perfectly with my youth, and as such, I was raised on sports ineptitude.

There were some moments of success between then and the beginning of the 21st century, including a trip to the Super Bowl for the Patriots and Pedro’s six hitless innings of relief in game five of the ALDS against the Indians in 1999 (a game Troy “yum-yum” O’Leary hit two home runs in, second one at 2:00:00). Those were the two highlights of my first sixteen years of sports allegiance.

So when Patriots pulled off the greatest upset in Super Bowl history in 2001, and the Red Sox pulled off the greatest comeback in sports history in 2004, it was not only shocking, it was as if God himself had smiled on us. We were no longer the lovable losers, we were the best. There were those three Super Bowls, two world series, an NBA title, and a Stanley Cup. Our teams were excellent. All the organizations were excellent.

That’s what we valued: excellence. So at some point, realizing that the cynical New England doomsday gloominess no longer befit a people so gifted by the sports gods, we decided to become excellent ourselves, nearly precisely at the moment when we realized the run was unsustainable, that our own window for excellence could not last.

We became the most excellent assholes in the history of sports fans.

No one could come close to our mix of hubris, condescension, knowledge, conviction, and volume. We were the most excellent assholes that have ever gone into a bar. I was one of them. And I was truly obnoxious not because I thought we would never have our comeuppance. On the contrary, I understood the window would inevitably shut, that such a run of championships and perennial contention was unsustainable. We knew we had a small window to be the greatest assholes in sports history, so we took up the mantle and wore it proudly.  We were obnoxious because we realized that we could be smug in a way that no fan had ever been, we could reach new levels of arrogance, we could belittle other fans in ways that no on had ever been able to do.

When destiny knocks, you open the goddamn door.

Of course, pointing out that we were the most excellent assholes in sports history is, in and of itself, a really asshole thing to do. But I am one of them. You see, a Boston fan is not just louder than you, and won’t just yell at the TV louder than any other fan at the bar. A Boston fan will yell really good points and will drunkenly slobber statistics while quoting both members of the mainstream sports media and esoteric analytics guys. They will also spill your drink on you and blame you for putting it there. This is us. This is who we are.

And when you cross us, or tell us that Boston sucks in some way, unlike Yankee fans from their era of dominance in the late 1990’s, we don’t simply have catchphrases we repeat like half-retarded plains politicians spouting talking points (1918! 27 rings! Drill baby drill!). We would sarcastically, caustically, and condescendingly remind you that you didn’t matter. We usually laughed while we did it. I remember one time being with my brother in Philadelphia after Vince Young had very incorrectly dubbed the Eagles a “dream team” and a guy in a Eagles jersey called out my brother for being in a Patriots sweatshirt during a minor league hockey game. The Philadelphia fan, in typical Philadelphia mediocre-asshole style, said simply “Pats suck!” My brother looked at him, burst out laughing and said in the manner of  the more-seasoned,  professional asshole, “good luck with that dream team!”  The guy had to be restrained by his buddies. My brother laughed at him like you would at a child threatening you if don’t provide it with cookies. How dare he even attempt to say something negative about the Patriots. Have you seen Tom Brady play? 

This attitude is hard to give up. I was in a bar in New York when the Knicks eliminated the Celtics. People were celebrating, I was heartbroken knowing that it might be the last time I got to watch the Big Three era Celtics. They had come from 3-0 down to force a game six. They were scrappy and they even made a come back in the fourth after everyone thought the game was far out of reach.

Knicks fans were celebrating. I yelled across the whole bar: “So glad New York has moved to .500 when up 3-0 against Boston teams in the 21st century! Good to break even!”

I am the worst.

People really started to not like us during the run, and absolutely justifiably so. Having lived in Philadelphia and New York over the past few years, I see people roll their eyes when they find out I follow Boston sports. It’s not just New York or Philly people either, it’s any sports fan from anywhere else in the country. People will tell me to my face “Boston fans are obnoxious.” I had a girlfriend who was born overseas and only spent two years in the U.S. before I met her. She was telling a group of mixed-company friends about me when we first started dating, and she reported back to me that the males present had all uniformly agreed that New England sports fans were assholes, and I, as such, must be one as well. I explained to her that people hate us they way people hate the U.S. They hate us because we control everything and their tiny countries don’t matter. This explanation convinced her that her friends were correct.

Here’s one of my favorite stand ups explaining just how annoying Red Sox fans are in an offensive and hilarious analogy.

But suffice to say, that era of dominance across all four sports (although the Celtics and Bruins were late to the party) seems safely behind us now after last week  ended with a shitstorm of calamity that hadn’t been seen even during the pre-Rams upset days.

First, the Bruins blew the Stanley Cup up by two goals with barely a minute left to play. Then the rumors started that Doc Rivers wanted out. This was personally deflating for me, because I had, and I am dead serious, wrote-in Doc Rivers for President in 2012 specifically because I felt betrayed by Obama. Now this? Why do all the black men I vote for placement in our highest office betray me?

(Late addition to this: just found out that Brad Stevens was hired as the Celtics new coach. Not sure Rondo is going to listen to a college coach who looks like he’s twelve. Although Rondo doesn’t listen to anybody. Fingers crossed.)

Then there was the arrest of Aaron Hernandez for MURDER which was amazing because when the story broke that a body was found near his house and he was wanted for questioning, I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. He was, according to all accounts, a “good kid.”  The transformation in my mind from “maybe Aaron Hernandez hangs out with the wrong people”  to “Aaron Hernandez has DEFINITELY murdered a bunch of dudes in cold blood” was shocking. In a few short days his case morphed from something akin to Ray Lewis hanging out with the wrong people to Marvin Harrison’s kingpin-level execution of witnesses.  This is not just bad for Hernandez and the poor people, as in plural of person, that he probably killed, it’s really bad for the Patriots. This is the organization that let the greatest receiver in franchise history walk, a move that some argued would open up the middle of the field for our two stud tight ends, one of which will most certainly never play football again, and the other of which has had five surgeries this year. (It should be noted that when you Google “how many surgeries has….” the first autofill is Joan Rivers, the second is Rob Gronkowski). It’s looking an awful lot like that gargantuan body of Gronk’s is just not meant to hold up. Professional athletes don’t have that many surgeries on unrelated issues and then come back and play a long and healthy career. The future for the Patriots is suddenly looking bleak, because the future of the Patriots is limited to the short time left in Brady’s career. (Again, look at how entitled that is. “We don’t have a team unless we have the best quarterback of all time.” I know its ridiculous. But once you have Tom Brady, no other QB will ever be able to satisfy you again).

Then Paul and KG were shipped out of town for draft picks and a heaping pile of guaranteed money owed to Gerald Wallace. I am pretty devastated that they, and especially Paul, will not retire as Celtics. I could write forever on Paul, but my man Alex at Journeymen pretty much summed up the relationship Boston fans my age have with Paul as well as anyone could. I have a lot of conflicted feelings about the trade, and a good deal of that conflict arises from the fact that I live a fifteen-minute walk from the Barclay’s Center, which means I get to watch Paul and KG play more than I would’ve if they were still in Boston. I will be scalping tickets at every home game. I will be like the guy at this Lakers game, only desperate for Paul to look at me instead of Bonner.

And something that hasn’t been mentioned much recently in the wake of all that’s happened in the past week, but remember somebody also BOMBED the most important amateur New England sporting event. It’s been a rough year.

John Liam Policastro wrote an article over at Vice.com about how the Boston’s return to (relative) sports mediocrity will be good for the city. He reminds us that the indie music and comedy scene in Boston was awesome when the sports teams sucked. Besides the real big issues with causation, correlation, and coincidence in that article, it does bring up an interesting point about what happens when a whole city gets high on its own glory. He argues that with less people asking to turn the game on in bars, there will be more bands and comics getting attention. I doubt that’s the case, although that would be nice. But what Policastro doesn’t think about, and probably fairly so as the article is about Boston specifically, is the rest of New England. New England roots for Boston teams just as much as Boston does, and as someone who grew up in Bangor, ME, and just spent time last weekend in a sports bar in Putnam, CT,  there are no “scenes” that will emerge in these places because the regional sports teams aren’t winning titles. Boston people often forget just how regional their sports teams are, and in doing so dismiss the thousands of fans that stream south from Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, and North from Connecticut and Rhode Island to fill Fenway, Gillette, and TD Garden. Don’t tell those people that their going to get more culture now that the Celtics suck. That Celtics are their culture.

But we, those from the farthest flung corners of New England, knew the end was coming as much as any Harvard or MIT student (or janitor) did. If Boston fans want to start going to hear bands instead of watching the games, let them. We New Englanders will keep watching.

After all, those Boston fans are assholes anyway.

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Asking Questions of Tall Naked Men: A Fantasy

Here are some questions I would ask the participants of Sunday’s Celtics-Knicks playoff game if I had locker room access, which I don’t, and if I had the balls to challenge professional athletes standing around half-naked on their performance and craft, which I definitely don’t.

 “Doc Rivers, what’s it like coaching a professional basketball team in a playoff series without playing a single point guard or center?”

The Celtics had one point guard on the roster this season, and his name is Rajon Rondo. Avery Bradley is not a point guard, Jason Terry is not a point guard (or an NBA-basketball player at this point), Courtney Lee is not a point guard, and Jordan Crawford is, almost, relative to the rest of the guards on the roster, sort of a point guard.

And KG is not a center, which is something we know because only two years ago he said he didn’t like playing center. Brandon Bass is being asked to guard Carmelo Anthony when KG is in, and then play the five when KG is out (which is a Lebron-level demand of someone’s full range of athletic abilities, a demand which he very admirably met).

But that’s the issue with this team. Only the Heat can get away with playing without a 1 or a 5, and that’s because Lebron is a terrifying monster-movie villain that cannot be killed and can switch forms into whatever shape is necessary to murder or disembowel you. He’s like the liquid metal guy from Terminator 2. Or the clown from IT. He is terrifying. I guess if you actually like Lebron, you would see him more like Mega Man at the end of the game, when he can switch between a litany of ammo and powerups to perfectly compliment the enemy’s weaknesses. That’s whats terrifying about the possibility of facing Lebron in the playoffs. You know he has the ice ray for the C’s fireballs. Just like he’s got the boomerang ray for the Knicks flying robot machines and the heat seeking missiles for the Pacers….bouncy bombs? Ok, it’s been a while since I played Mega Man. I guess D-Wade is kind of like the dog he had in that one game?

Speaking of not having a center….

“Shavlik Randolph, as the only true center on this team, we could really use your defense and rebounding when KG sits and we are playing Brandon Bass at the 5. So, my question is, what did you do to Doc? Can you apologize please?  ”

Shavlik Randolph’s per minute averages are insane. He can rebound, defend, and he’s got a pretty good sense of how to move without the ball, and when he gets it down low he can finish. Most importantly, Shavlik knows his limitations perfectly. He doesn’t try to do anything he can’t.

Also, he gets hit in the face a lot.

shav

He averaged 4.4 rebounds over 12.4 minutes per game this season, which projects to 17 boards a game over 48 minutes. He also shoots 58% and would average a block and a half over a complete game. I know this kind of projection is a kind of fool’s errand, sort of like projecting the proliferation of Elvis impersonators. Those stats aren’t going to hold up, and in limited action he somehow manages to put up complete game foul totals. But that being said, Shavlik has had some solid performances in limited minutes when KG was out (including a 16 and 7 against a Varejao-less Cleveland and a 9 and 13 against Atlanta in 22 and 13 minutes, respectively). He’s tough and smart. He can play in small doses. So why can’t he get ten minutes a game when KG sits and the C’s are playing Brandon Bass at the five?

“Mike Woodson, what’s it like knowing you can play three guards and two forwards against a team playing four forwards and not get out rebounded? “

The Celtics started big with one guard and four forwards, sending out Avery Bradley, Paul Pierce, Jeff Green, Brandon Bass, and Kevin Garnett for the opening tip. They stayed with this line up for much of the game, while bringing in only guards off the bench to go small at times. Doc’s plan with the big lineup is to have three guys on the floor, Brandon Bass, Jeff Green, and Paul Pierce, who can guard Carmelo at any time, which prevents him from destroying smaller defenders on switches.

(Amazingly, Bass guarded Anthony the best, which I found surprising. I forgot how big Melo is, how quick Brandon is, and how much Jeff can get muscled around.)

With that large lineup, you would expect the Celtics to have a rebounding advantage, but the game ended with both teams grabbing an even 40 rebounds. For a weak rebounding team like the Celtics, this could be seen as a victory.

But if you look at who the Knicks played, it becomes pretty apparent that they are getting away with going small and quick while not sacrificing rebounding in the process. Tyson Chandler played 20 minutes and Kenyon Martin played 28. After that, you had 6’8 Chris Copeland playing thirteen minutes, and that’s pretty much it for the Knicks big men, other than Melo, who doesn’t exactly protect the rim.  This leads me to my question for Kenyon Martin.

“Kenyon Martin, I understand you are happy to be back in the NBA, and especially the playoffs, after playing in China for most of this year. But can you act like you maybe aren’t totally shocked to dunk the ball? Like maybe, you don’t need to scream at the sky like a ‘roided out coyote at a full moon every time you do anything? What’s the deal with that stupid pick up artist lip tattoo on your neck? Can you be any more unlikable?

I have hated Kenyon Martin ever since Jason Kidd and him used to beat the Antoine Walker-Paul Pierce Celtics in the early 2000’s. I have hated Kenyon Martin since before there was a Southern Sudan.

Speaking of hate…

“Officials, you do realize that Jason Kidd’s veteran savvy does not mean that the whole forearm of the ball handler magically becomes part of the ball when he goes for a strip, right?”

Alright…now that I got that off my chest, let’s get back to more positive things.

“Paul Pierce, I love you.”

(Realizes that’s not a question.)

“Paul Pierce, guess how much I love you?”

Paul had a great sequence in the third after Jeff Green mentally left the game and the Celtics offense was suffocating and on the verge of collapsing (a condition it would succumb to in that abominable fourth quarter). Paul was having an off night shooting, and he had just air balled a mid-range jumper. You could see that Paul had decided “we need a bucket, and I don’t have my shot. I need to get to the line.”

Over the next five minutes Paul took the ball to the rim, drawing fouls on Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd, which are match ups he needs to take advantage of. He then pulled up over top a KG screen and hit a three that revolved three times around the rim before dropping in. It looked like Paul had self-medicated his limp jump shot with a few quick trips to the line, a remedy we’ve seen him use a thousand times to get his shooting going. When he hit the three, the C’s went up 70-64. But then he pulled up the next time down the floor and missed a three with a hand in his face. C’mon Paul. You hit one shot, not exactly time for a heat check.

That being said, even though his scoring wasn’t there, the Captain led the team with seven assists and three gutsy charges.  Paul is the point guard now.  It certainly isn’t Avery, and the JET should be permanently grounded and put in some sort of aerospace museum dedicated to housing antiques, like combo guards that could win titles. The problem with Paul at the point is that he had six turnovers. That can’t happen. Paul needs to score or he needs to be an efficient point guard. If he’s neither, the C’s are pretty doomed.

The good thing about all of this is that Paul is going to find his offense, and he can score against all of the Jason Kidd, Raymond Felton, and J.R. Smith match ups he gets when the Celtics go big. He will be fine, and if he can get the pick and roll game going with KG, they have a chance. They stopped a Knicks’ run with a pretty oop off the pick and roll in the second. Especially when it’s Tyson Chandler or Kenyon Martin , Melo, and three guards in the game, the C’s have to run lots of pick and rolls with KG, bringing Chandler or Martin away from the basket for Avery cuts and Jeff Green driving lanes.

That’s the thing about this series, the shots are gonna be there for Paul and KG. They also held Melo to a pretty low percentage (13-29). The C’s have a shot.

“Avery Bradley, you realize you can bounce the ball into the post, right?”

Avery had a decent game, and was effective on the offensive end. But he had some pretty egregious turnovers trying to lob the ball to KG in the post from near half court.

I feel for Avery, because watching him trying to make entry passes at MSG reminded me of myself trying to make entry passes while playing NBA 2K. How is there not a bounce pass button? I see the lane, why can’t my little digital man see it? Why do they randomly bounce the ball sometimes and not others? Just put a bounce pass button in the game. How hard is that?

(After writing this it occurred to me I have not played the newest NBA 2K13. I looked it up, and turns out they have implemented the bounce pass button. So, thanks EA Sports.)

“Kevin Garnett, are you ready for game two?”

Just checking that you have, you know, a couple missiles.

And finally….

“Mike Woodson, what is your goatee? It looks like it is one solid thing, like the individual hairs have fused together to make some sort of composite material that could be used to stop bullets. How does your hair grow so perfectly to the borders of your lips, not just the top lip, but the bottom lip as well? 

woodsons beard

Can I touch it? What? This is the last time I’m allowed in the locker room isn’t it?”

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