For those of you who are reading me for the first time, and as a refresher for those who may vaguely recall my previous body of blogging contributions to TSN and to YouGab, here are a few personal notes. I live in a small cow town, Damascus, Maryland. As far as local sporting allegiances, I estimate it at about 50 – 50, Redskins & Ravens, 70 – 30 O’s & Nationals, sadly dominated by woebegone Capitals fans and home to about 10 Wizard fans…in case you did not know this, Washington does have a professional basketball team and that really is their name. I generally go Redskins, Nationals, Capitals, O's, Wiz & Ravens as my rooting hierarchy. Above all, I am a sports fan.
I have the spent the last two non-blogging years drifting on the sea of sports websites on an almost Jason Bourne – like search seeking to reclaim my sports identity, although I did not have to kill anyone to do that (close call once in a beer line at FedEx field though). Along the way, I discovered a renewed passion for baseball, an odd affinity to dog sled racing, 83 channels of sports programming on my Comcast box (who is this Jim Rome guy and why does he have his own TV show? and what's the deal with all the Euro-football?) and an old Brooks Robinson autographed baseball. I lost my big toe in a strange Mayan end-of-the world sports ritual resulting in the Family giving me my coveted Sicilian handle, “Billy Nine Toes.”
Ultimately, I was shocked back to reality when Lance Armstrong appeared on Oprah followed by all-time nice guy Phil Mickelson groused about money like he was Maurice Jones-Drew. Suddenly, almost magically, the first blog entry in quite some time popped off my keyboard and it all came back to me…yes, I used to post at YouGab…it’s all clear now. Fortunately, I did keep a sports journal of my virtual & real travels…here are a few notes from the last couple of years…
Feb 2011. In what could have been the defining moment of my sports amnesia experience, Lance Armstrong retires a hero. Apparently, after being on the cover of SI in 2002 as Sportsman of the Year, SI developed its own case of amnesia. In Lance’s case, he just forgot that he used every mode of PED’s under the sun.
Nov 2011. Inasmuchas my office is near State College, this story was too close to home. The Legend of Joe Pa is no more…the whole Penn State story represented the seedy side of youth sports that nobody likes to think about and even less likes to write about. A really low moment. As a parent that devoted years to coaching youth sports, you know that the kids and the parents trust you. How could they let that happen? (Note: Joe was also a Sportsman of the Year in 1986).
Dec 2011. In one final hurrah before the Sports Czar lowered the boom on the Crescent City, Drew Brees maxes out the passing yardage record. The undocumented story was D Coach Gregg Williams tutoring the Saints receivers on how to twist an ankle during a pile-up. Team generates unusually large (and suspicious) number of late fumbles to create artificial scrums. Goodell is still looking into the matter.
Feb 2012. The Giants won the Super Bowl….the Giants won the Super Bowl. Unbelievable. I’m remain nonplused.
March 2012. The 2012 Fantasy Iditarod Season is lost due to a lockout by the owners (would that be...me?!). The lockout ends the domination of the event by Alaska weathermen. In related news, the real race was won by Dallas Seavey with a time of just over 9 days followed by female musher Aily Zirkle only 1 hour behind. If I had only run the contest, I might have finally won my own event.
April 2012. A small stroke of poetic justice occurred when some guy named Bubba actually wins the Masters. 22 old guys wearing hideous green sports coats pass out…nobody notices as they assume it is just time for their naps. On the lighter side, I got to have a beer with a few of my buds on the 16th green. (I'm on the right).
A small piece of advice if you ever go to a golf tournament – drinking 3 martinis in a hospitality tent after wandering around in the heat all day is not a good idea. Several koi at the rental property suffered the consequences as a result; details another day.
Oct 2012. During a visit to the Native American History Museum, I participated in a study that revealed 23% of the visitors werewearing some form of Washington Redskins apparel. This number spiked when the data from a spy-cam revealed a surprising and rather disturbing trend that showed an alarming affinity for Redskins thong panties worn by women weighing in at over 250 pounds. The study results prompt D.C. mayor to demand a name change for the team as a requirement to move back to the city. Owner Dan Snyder responded with a well-known and probably equally native hand gesture.
Dec 2012. I was nearly snapped back to reality in a surreal sports moment. The Redskins actually won something other than the offseason – a division title. In a shocking visual twist, Jerry Jones facelift gave way…unrecognizable as he left FedEx field, he was accosted by stadium security. In response to his claims to be Jerry Jones, stadium staff told him, “you’re not pretty enough.”
So there it is, 24 months of sports hell, but in the immortal words of George Costanza, “I’m back, baby, I’m back!!”
Now down to business…
Next week I get to post just before the Super Bowl. In addition to giving you my Fearless Forecast on the Big Game, I will publish the winner of the Chili Cook-Off. How to accomplish this off of a blog you ask? Send me your recipe and I will reproduce a couple of them this week and put them up against my own recipe. The winning recipe as judged by my family (never one to be biased towards me) will be the winner. I hope I don’t win by default.
I will also take salsa recipes to go along with the mandatory chips.
Bring it on!
Coming in February...
We are getting very close to the pitchers and catchers reporting – I am definitely looking forward to that and I will be covering that very closely…much closer than, say, hockey season which I am finding hard to watch. Is that because the Caps stink?, maybe so…nevertheless…give me baseball.
So there we go – thanks to all the YouGab guys for welcoming me back with open arms, Sully, Frag and the rest, thanks a bunch. Until next week, adios muchachos!