Monday, August 25, 2008

Go away...and stay away

Athletes are greedy people. Sure, sure, many grew up in single-parent families, impoverished, threatened by inner-city violence yada yada yada - or at least want us to think they they did. And yeah, many defied the odds, gaining admission to fine college institutions, promptly having sex with young women of the opposite race, and then leaving for greener pastures. Without a doubt, uplifting stories abound in the world of sports, giving us inspiration, growing the collective hope of the youth and crafting our dreams. And some might argue that athletes deserve all the money, praise and love they can secure. After all, their mothers were crackheads and their fathers convicts. Certainly some of them give me a profound sense of purpose in my otherwise unexciting life. But that doesn't change the simple fact that athletes are greedy fuckers, and it has nothing to do with money.

It appears that Michael Strahan will dutifully follow his good buddy Brett Favre and leap off the "sexually harass-the-au pair" train and jump back onto the "get-road-trip-whores" train. The man wasn't "retired" long enough to schedule an orthodontist's appointment. They've all got the $$. They've all got the trophies and sense of self-satisfaction, some more than others. Yet none of them can bear the thought of consecutive weekends with their wives, or actually raising their children. You tell me - how can Brett Favre bang the babysitter if the babysitter is no longer needed? Exactly. They are shrewd in their reasoning, and ruthless in their incapacity to (gasp) let other people enjoy the limelight. But enough is enough people, when you "retire," find a fishing pole, a friendly pharmacist, and go far far away. Unless you are Allen Iverson, in which case I urge you to relocate to 1023 W. Cliveden St, Philadelphia PA 19119- my most sincere apologies to Splatt.

What about retirement is unattractive? Have you seen what Lenny Dykstra has made of himself? Does Dutch Daulton's literary success not at least trigger your inner-James Joyce? Do something else, anything else, just spare us the press conference, the sly smile, and the nonsense justification for why you simply couldn't swallow the thought of throwing a nerf to your 7 year old while your "family" needed you on the field. Your teammates need knee surgeries, financial advice, and a lifetime supply of condoms. They don't need you. In fact, they "need" you like they need another illegitimate child or a closer investigation as to how they passed the SAT. No one will admit it, but they are happy you are gone. Why? Because they are greedy fuckers too and they want to shine and bask in the glow you have since abandoned. Moreover, with you gone, Dei Lynam can now suck THEM off. The only thing worse than answering endless questions about your rumored departure is having to answer even more questions about your unwelcome return. Do us all a favor: when you retire...retire! I know that makes no sense, but ask your lawyer, he or she will explain what it means to sit on your plush couch, have other people invest your money, and permanently vacation in tropical locales.

In closing, and it pains me to say this... but Barack Obama might very well lose this race simply on account of the size of his oldest daughter's forehead. My lord, it's monstrous. She is to foreheads what Bubak is to calves. I'm just saying, it might be time to consider growing her bangs out.

PS- Dickie Thon, Clyde Simmons, Seth Joyner, Rodney Buford, Von Hayes, Big Ben Rivera, Scotty Brooks, Sil Campusano, Eric Allen, Heathcliff Slocumb and a host of others who I once loved or oddly appreciated - if you aren't dead or in prison, I encourage you to unretire.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Nervous As Hell at 4am

At some point last night, as I drank Tecate and argued, position by position, the Eagles roster versus the Redskins roster with 'Skin loyalist Mr. Mo, we stumbled upon the knowledge that the gold medal basketball game would be starting at 2:30am. As the case of Tecate dwindled and our discussion widened to include an impressive range of topics(rap and girls), 2:30am began to sound plausible, doable even.

A quick stop at Dirty Franks ended in disaster: a carefully chosen Phil Collins medley was abruptly cut short as last call rang out, the tantalizing beginning of Easy Lover our only reward for several beers and three dollars in the jukebox. My blood boiling, I arrived home awake, invigorated, and ready for a galloping procession of alley-oops courtesy of Team USA. What I got instead was two hours of heart attack. A brief review:

The Opponent:
Team Spain, whom the US crushed by 37 points just last week, played a very strong game. That should not be a surprise since, judging from their size and personal hygiene, Team Spain was created when Bigfoot impregnated Rebecca Lobo. Huge, hairy, and possessing an irksome sneer that quickly hardened my patriotic dislike of all Spanish people, this team refused to go away. The hideous Gasol brothers did damage inside while pre-pubescent Ricky Rubio and Portland bound Rudy Fernandez slashed and scored. Every time the US would get a comfortable lead of 10 or more Spain would respond with clutch shots and ugly facial expressions. This went on for hours. They deserve credit. More importantly, can we pass a law prohibiting the Gasol family from ever procreating again? Say what you will about China's one child law, but who dares argue the world wouldn't be more aesthetically pleasing had Mama and Papa Gasol been Chinese citizens, thus saving us from the ghastly sight of Marc.

Carmelo is a Hothead Gunner:

This team, labeled the Redeem Team by the eager-to-slurp media, was fun to watch and well-behaved to boot. There's one exception: My Melo My Man, who proved that you can take the kid out of Baltimore but you can't take the insatiable urge to jack threes and start fights with less talented white guys out of the kid. Maybe Coach K instructed him to force a jumper nearly every touch he got, or maybe his teammates cheered his poor shot selection from the bench. Who knows. I do know that Carmelo, in the two games I saw, led the world in shots per minute and badly wanted to beat some European ass, as evidenced by the constant scuffling, pushing, and glaring he wasted energy on. That's not to say I didn't enjoy his antics, hell, what red-blooded American wouldn't want Andres Nocioni to get dropped with a sucker punch to the chin? but I only point out that I think Melo should stay home in 2012. Besides, by then Thaddeus Young will be the premier three in the league.

Dwayne Brought The Pain:
This dude is really good at basketball and looks ready to get back on the NBA superstar podium again. Injuries have kept Dwayne Wade off the court and hindered him when on it. It seemed like he never missed a shot.

Rooting for Kobe aka Questioning Everything:
I've now been put in the position of hoping Kobe does well twice in the past three months. I wanted his Lakers to beat Boston in the NBA Finals in June and then last night was cheering like crazy for him as he hit huge shots down the stretch. These two examples add to a theory I have already been worried about: I suck. Cheering for Kobe? Twice in one summer?!?! Terrible. I've been showering every thirty minutes and still feel dirty. But whatever, the Olympics are a different breed of competition and I openly admit I want to see the US do well, especially in basketball. JFK posed the query-ask not what your country can do for you but instead what you can do for your country-and now I respond: I have rooted for Kobe Bryant.

I end by observing the the Olympics were fun and a welcome distraction from the Phillies. The Phillies, going for the sweep tonight, will now have two weeks of full attention until the Eagles season starts. Don't fuck it up.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

To Be or Not To Be.......Booed

Sorry people, I've been too busy moping around cursing the gods of life, money, knees, and home security systems to write without crying like a gymnast. It's not like there hasn't been plenty of fodder for worthy posts. No, the real problem has been a mental block when it comes to the most pressing, and vexing issue of our time: understanding the thought process of the wild Philadelphia Sports Fan: Ignorus Depressivis.

This horrid creature roams free and drinks aplenty, wears a blinding assortment of clothing, and avidly pursues violence and chaos. Some scientists argue that captivity for Ignorus Depressivis would benefit both said animal and the rest of the earth's creatures, especially those dwelling in New York and Dallas. Captivity, however, is impossible and unrealistic. What we need to do is understand IgnoDep, to try and relate to his fears, his insecurities, the habits and tendencies. This is difficult. I have full fevered IgnoDep blood coursing through my veins and yet I fail to understand how and why we do what we do. But still, a closer examination may provide some valuable answers, thus making the world a safer, more evolved place for us all.

Philly fans aren't all that different from fans in any other big city, meaning we need oxygen, water, and food to survive. Our men harass hot women. Our women like to talk. We go to work. We drink afterwards. We're largely a dumb people. We waste money, get all our ideas and opinions from the media, and hate nearly everyone and everything. We're good Americans. But when it comes to sports things get fuzzy.

If an abused child ends up becoming violent and combative, anti-social, suspicious of people, slow to open up, etc., it makes perfect sense no? The environment he was raised in helped create who he became. Well Philly fans of almost any generation, going back fifty years, have been catching wickedly consistent beatdowns, and we're unstable and irrationally angry as a result. Being twenty-eight years young I consider myself a full-fledged member of the vanguard of Philly's most miserable generation. Born in 1980, the peak year in this city's greatest sporting stretch, I was three when the Sixers paraded in 1983, the last real parade Broad St. has hosted.

My life as a fan has had a small corner store of great memories and a Mall of America worth of painful ones. Too young to remember the good ol' days and too old to get distracted by comic books and stamps(or whatever kids do these days), I'm stuck in a gray area of hell. Even the great memories have dark clouds waiting anxiously in the background. The '93 Phillies were magical all year and anybody who knows about that team knows that year can never be repeated. It was perfect. We should have won. Lightning in a bottle, career years from the entire damn team, pure magic. Until Joe Carter.

The 2001 Sixers went on a similar run, complete with hot start, the gradual realization it wasn't going to stop, the gutty playoff run, the all-world season from its best player, the long list of characters and heroes. Before Game 1 against LA I remember asking, praying really, that we win and bring joy to the city. Sadly, when we won that night I was probably closer to believing in God that I ever will be again. The cock-teasing God blew it by letting us lose the next four games, thus ending my brief relationship with him for the forseable future.

The there's the Eagles. Losing to Tampa Bay at home in the NFC Championship Game was probably the most collective anguish we've endured. Losing again the next year to Carolina was almost comedic in its predictability. Losing the next year in the Super Bowl amid maddening clock management squelched the good feelings from what had been a fun and dominant romp through the NFC.

I could go on. And on. Believe me, my tiny brain has shunned nearly all of the useful bits of information teachers and books have offered in favor of players, teams, and games, nearly all of them bad, unsuccessful, and disastrous. Reeling them off now, as I already have begun doing, will not end well.

Here's my point: Philly fans are in pain.

But it's more than that. We're angry because we look around and see championships going to every corner of the country and every type of city. Many Philly fans act tough and get off on the image we have of being crazy, obnoxious, and quick to fight. But really we're scared and insecure. Our teams never win it all. And maybe they never will. Our bravado is usually false and fabricated. But then again....

It's often real and genuine. Like I said IgnoDep is a scary beast, especially when drinking, and combined with his natural pack tendency and lack of imagination, this can result in the broken-record booing present in almost any game in any sport.

Why do we boo? Because we're angry for whatever reason, and we really don't know what else to do. It's a nervous tick. Everybody has nervous habits they do without noticing or thinking twice about. Some people scratch their ear. Others chew on pens. When I'm nervous I like to sing Hannah Montana songs, and then boo myself, but that's just me.

No, booing doesn't help. But I've stood on my feet and stomped my feet and screamed and made as much good noise as possible only to watch Ryan Howard strike out again. So maybe cheering doesn't help either. In the end I don't think it matters. It's not going to change, I know that for sure, not in this town. In fact as the Phillies continue to stumble and the Eagles lurch forward without any stud receiver, and the Sixers try to battle it out with no outside shooting, and the Flyers keep coming up short, it's very likely Ignorus Depressivis will only get more agitated, as he has for the past twenty-five years. Maybe he will evolve into a new and better fan. Or maybe he will become extinct following a prolonged NFL strike. Either way, keep both contempt and pity in your heart for this sad monster, and understand he is often disgusted by himself.

Monday, August 18, 2008

I Might Live Forever!!!!!!!

Due to this new evidence on longevity, I think I may never die!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

An-dre Ig-uo Dollah...dollah....dollah

Midnight in the garden of Sixers two guards, and new AI has turned from a pumpkin into a giant wagonload of cash money. ESPN says he's getting 80 mil for 6 years; the Sixies say there's no deal yet which makes me think he's probably getting a bit less than that. I would imagine his deal is very similar to the one Luol Deng signed a few weeks ago, which was something like 72 million but could reach 80 with incentives. That being said, what new AI is getting should certainly be enough for him to purchase a Lower Merion swimming pool and fill it with gold a la Uncle Scrooge.

Did we overpay new AI? Probably. Was it worth it? Maybe.

Signing Iggy, Brand and Louwill severely limits the Sixies cap flexibility for the next few years. We should still be eligible for the midlevel exception, and so long as Cromcast is willing to go over the cap to extend Andre Miller next season, we should be able to keep this team intact. With Young Thad's emergence as an up-and-coming superstar next year, I think we're poised to represent in the East. However if this team doesnt work out, we're severely fucked until the summer of 2011, when the bargain-basement Sammy D deal (gasp!) comes off the books.

At any rate, despite the loss of J Suave this team looks pretty good to me. All we are missing is a inathletic white guy to wave a towel and cheer from the bench. Perhaps Steve Capanna is available.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Live & Direct from Boystown

That's right, you read that correctly. I have relocated. And not just relocated to a new apartment or merely a fresh new zip code. I've replaced neighboring Camden with neighboring Gary, IN, and I've substituted my beloved D'allesandros for a cleverly named hair stylist across the street, "Great Head." I am now operating from a new time zone, the home of Carl Winslow, Cousin Larry, and Jefferson D'Arcy. I have followed my hero to his hometown, and I have set up shop in unfamiliar surroundings. But none of those fine family men mentioned above lived where I live. I, Big Firm, have (by complete happenstance I assure you) settled in the bosom of diversity, where steroid induced men proudly walk down the street holding hands; where flamboyance is encouraged, ludicrous tank tops are flaunted, and heterosexuality makes you (and by you I mean me) unique. Whereas the tell of a homosexual in North Carolina was preferring Marlboro Milds to Reds, there is no such thing as a subtle statement in these parts. I, for one, can't wait to get spotted at the gym.

In other news, the Olympics have begun, and I'm told the opening ceremony cost 300 millions dollars, or roughly 2 trillion, 705 billion Zimbabwe Dollars. I'm also told it was a completely absurd display of ridiculousness, Chris Bosh made a beret look hard, and Yao is, indeed, quite tall. Nothing can top Muhammad Ali in Atlanta, but at the very least China could have saluted their most celebrated citizen in a more poignant manner. The man saves Dolphins people... with his bare hands! God forbid he have the pleasure of lighting a torch.

The combination of a brand spankin new television and no friends has made the Olympics the focal point of my weekend. Presently, I am watching miniature American girls with abs of steel flip, smile, and sretch in truly unnatural ways. Putting aside the fact that all of these young women appear to have penises, I have to say their strength is rather impressive. And their butt cheeks. Those are quite impressive too. But now I sound like Béla Károlyi, and I'd rather have nothing in common with him since he freaks me out. Oooooh, an American girl just fell off the bars and subsequently triggered an eating disorder for her early twenties. Ouch. Ah nah, ANOTHER American down on the bars! Her father's dreams down the shitter.

Other sports that have caught my eye today include beach volleyball, trap shooting, swimming, and of course, basketball. I took a few things away from the Americans dominating victory in Beijing this morning. For one, African-Americans are better at basketball than Chinese people. An astonishing development, indeed. Chinese people are better at synchronized opening ceremonies and creating pollution, but we (and by we I mean African-Americans) are better at jumping, running, dunking, dribbling, and blocking. And number two, Henry Kissinger is set to die any minute now. Like Fidel Castro any minute now. The shot of Dubya and his extended family waiving mini American flags was quite inspirational, but Kissinger directly behind him stole my attention. If death doesn't find that man in the next two years, get me on his diet because his lip was hanging below his belly button, and if I'm not mistaken, his eyes were completely closed. That means he missed American dunk after dunk after dunk, and hottie Sue Bird looking strong in the stands. For shame, Mr. Kissinger.

I also learned that Michael Phelps and Carmelo Anthony are becoming friends, you know, because they are both from Baltimore. And Beenie Sigel and I are two peas in a pod, too, in case you didn't know. Now call me crazy, but something tells me that Michael Phelps and Melo don't have as much in common as Doug Collins might like to think. A) I'm putting my money on Melo not being able to swim. At all. There's a better chance of Melo getting breast implants than doing the breast stroke. And there's NO CHANCE that he goes underwater without holding his nostrils closed. And Michael Phelps may be 6'4'' but again, my money is against him throwing down. There's a reason he's a swimmer and not a shooting guard. Well, actually there's a few reasons, but still. If anything, these two can discuss getting DUIs, but outside of that, I'm thinking this conversation is a short one...

And my last observation relates to beach volleyball. I watched pretty much the entire duration of an epic battle in the sand between very tall Chinese women and not quite as tall Greek women. Assuming Naughty By Nature were watching as well, they must have been quite relieved to find that "Hip Hop Hooray" is still getting burn in between points during beach volleyball matches. As is every other once great, now wack song from the early 90s, including Lou Bega's lyrical masterpiece, "Mambo Number 5." Also, the women hug after every point. EVERY POINT! It's been years since two people of the same gender demonstrated such assertive and proud appreciation for one another.

I urge anyone and everyone to visit me in Chicago. Even if I don't know you, come visit. And I've got an extra ticket to Phils-Cubbies August 30th, make it happen. Big Firm, out.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Looking Good Louis!

A quick flourish of the pen and it became official: Louis Williams re-signed with the Sixers for five years and twenty-five(or so) million bucks. The significance was probably lost on the average fan in the average city, but at the DR we understood the importance right way. There are basketball repercussions sure, the fact that LouWill is only twenty-one years young and easily the best pure scorer on the team carries massive weight around here. So does his friendship with Bow Wow. And the fact that Lou hosts a radio show during the season on 100.3 The Beat certainly increased my already ludicrous admiration for the guy. But there is another reason to rejoice, due to a truly rare characteristic Lou possesses, which separates him from all but a select few Philly athletes throughout history.

Being named Louis inevitably leads to the nickname Lou, which quickly morphed into a rumbling call of "Louuuuuuuuuuuuu" whenever he entered the game or made a hearty highlight reel play. "Louuuuuuuuuuu" sounds an awful lot like "Boooooooooooo", Philadelphia's most cherished verbal default mechanism. Are you following me people? What I'm trying to say is this: LouWill will be almost fully inoculated from booing and thus, according to my complicated theorem, impervious to the psychological effects booing can have on the average athlete. Not only do I expect his outside shot to improve, along with his handle, his passing, his leadership, his ability to finish in traffic, and his free-throw percentage, but I think he will do so in an environment free of booing, allowing him to accomplish these goals faster and more efficiently.

Some might scoff at this idea. The same people who scoffed at the idea of Ralph Macchio as leading man and discounted Patrick Swayze's vocal range and charisma. Three Karate Kid movies(Wax on haters) and one classic love song(seriously,what can't he do?) later and we see why these so-called people do not worry me. In Philly if you can never be booed you have already won the war. Let's think on it. What other athletes achieved such nirvana? Two Eagles immediately come to mind, Duce Staley and Hugh Douglass, and both of whom, if my memory has held true, were extremely popular players who splashed and giggled their careers away in the no-boo zone. Because see, when you do play terribly and the fans boo you and you can just tell yourself they are yelling your name, life becomes a perpetual cruise on the gravy boat of ignorant bliss.

Think how different our recent sporting past would be if Donovan McNabb was named Donovan McBoo. Or if Scott Rolen's parents had named him Bruce. In fact, it might not be a bad idea for all four sports organizations to make a real effort to draft and sign guys named Bruce, Duce, Goose, Hugh, Louis, and straight up Boo. Philadelphians would shit themselves if they couldn't boo and would be forced into radical action, such as, gasp, simply being silent after the Eagles go three-and-out in the first quarter of a game in September. Radical I know.

In closing I want to extend LouWill a heartfelt congratulations from all of us here at The DR. We have high hopes for you kid so make us proud and remember, you are indestructible, because here in Philly, if they can't boo ya, they can't kill ya.

PS-I reserve the right to boo the shit out of LouWill if he sucks this year.