I have to do some traveling this week and planned to fly into Baltimore/Washington this morning. I didn’t have my appointments finalized, so I held off on getting a hotel room but since I knew I had to go, I booked my flights. Having finalized my schedule, I went back to the reservation system to get my room...and I realized that instead of booking for a Monday morning flight, I booked a Sunday morning flight. Ugh. Change fees being more than the cost of an additional hotel night, I was stuck going to Washington a day earlier...not to mention up at 5 AM on a Sunday
Obviously, this is suboptimal. Up early on a Sunday morning, arriving 26 hours before I actually have to be anywhere. The object then is to find something to do. Getting a single NFL ticket shouldn’t be too too difficult. Turns out the Ravens are away. The Redskins are not only away, but playing on Monday. I have a bunch of time so I look up the Eagles - nope, they’re in Arizona. That’s what’s called a losing streak. I’m in Baltimore/Washington a day early and of 3 possible teams, they’re all away.
Here’s where it gets interesting. 6 years ago, we welcomed a young woman from Trinidad & Tobago into our home on a work study program. Over the 18 months she was here, her family and boyfriend traveled here several times. Our families became close and when she and her now husband were married, we went to Trinidad for the wedding.
Her family is large and sprawling - spanning the world from China and India, to Canada, France and the UK. As Americans, we were the least far flung of the guests. We spent 10 days in Trinidad and Tobago, becoming more a part of her family as she became part of ours. One of the branches of her family represents from Toronto - having moved from Trinidad and married an Irish Canadian.
Her Canadian and half-Irish cousin, is also a Trinidad and Tobago citizen as well as a Canadian. As it happens, she’s also a bit of a soccer player, and it’s because of this I have something to do Sunday. Improbably, this Canadian, half-Irish young woman, because she holds Trinidad citizenship, is eligible to play for the Trinidad and Tobago women’s national soccer team. This is her in the picture the left.
Improbably, CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football of which the US is part, in fact several MLS teams are part of the CONCACAF Champions league) is holding it’s Women’s Championship in the US for qualification for the Women’s World Cup in Canada next year.
Trinidad is a team fresh off winning the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Cup, but arrived in Texas earlier this month with a total of $500 - a financial situation so dire that Haiti’s women’s team stepped up and gave them their funds. Consider that - the Caribbean’s wealthiest nation accepting a donation from one of the world’s poorest. Humiliating. T&T repaid the favor by defeating their benefactors in the tournament. The backstory behind how they even had the $500 is even more interesting - one of the players' fathers' is airport security, and when his daughter told him of the teams' plight, he gave them $500...of which $300 was spent in Miami just feeding the team.
Women’s World Cup. So, on Sunday, because I’m arriving a day early, and because Trinidad lost on penalty kicks to Costa Rica on Friday, I was at PPL Park in Chester PA - about 90 miles from BWI - to watch Arin King and Trinidad & Tobago take on Mexico for her chance to play for the Women’s World Cup in one of her two home countries next year. Unlike my dear friend IHateMillen, I do like soccer and am looking forward to my day Sunday. Let’s go Soca Princesses. Trinidad had their chance - they went up 2-1 with about 20 minutes left to play....but Mexico tied it up a minute later...and went to the races in overtime. Trini lost 4-2, but can still make the WWC via a home and home series with Equador later next month.
What do these Facebook quizzes mean? “What kind of candy are you?,” “Who were you in a past life?” Seriously, what are you thinking about when you look at it and say, “Yeah, what kind of candy am I?” Yeah, it's probable that I'm a 3-Musketeers bar that was Teddy Roosevelt in a past life.
In the second game of the day, The US Women defeated Costa Rica to win the 2014 CONCACAF Women's Championship...by a score of 6-0. Abby Wambach scored 4 times. 4. Just ridiculous. Congratulations USA - and as much affinity as I feel for the Trini women, I'm an American and the USA is my team.
Consider how improbable this is: James Shields has pitched in the World Series for...The Tampa Bay Rays and The Kansas City Royals. Seriously? Appearing in the World Series for 2 different teams isn't THAT big a deal (I mean, other than appearing in the World Series that is), but what's the likelihood of appearing for THOSE two teams?
Since I’m writing this on Saturday, I don’t have any commentary on the World Series other than to say that I couldn’t be more surprised if I woke up in the morning with my head sewn to the carpet not only that the Royals are in the Series, but are giving the Giants a run for it. Talk about improbable. I put together an interesting tidbit by following a link to old favorite “Bad Edd” from the TSN days’ blog. After the 1995 season, the Cleveland Browns left Cleveland for Baltimore, being rechristened the Ravens. Back in 1954, the St. Louis Browns left town for Baltimore, being rebranded the Orioles. It seems clear, then, that to name your team the Browns is to ask Baltimore to poach them and rename the team after a bird.
Peyton Manning is a pretty passionate guy. It’s part of what makes him great - and even as a Patriots/TB12 toady, I’m here to tell you Manning is the guy I’d choose to lead my team if I had to win one regular season game. But, he’s just about finished dispatching the Chargers by 14-points and he’s got a issue with the scoreboard operator because he was instigating the crowd. Now, look you’re going to win this game by two touchdowns, why do you have to publicly call out a guy making tops, $50,000 - a decent salary, but let’s face it, most cats making $50k aren’t being called out in front of the media, and fans. Put this in perspective: He made $30-million last year, or about $83,000 a day. He was winning this game, no doubt. Was the Scoreboard team checked out? Sure. But it didn’t cost the Broncos anything. Have that conversation behind closed doors. Seriously man. There are ways to handle things...and that probably wasn't the best way to handle that.
As a Red Sox fan, Curt Schilling was a hero to me in 2001 for having improbably dispatched the Yankees in the World Series, and later on when he improbably dispatched the Yankees in the ALCS for the Red Sox - amping it up with a tendon sewed onto his ankle. Like him or hate him - he’s a pretty outspoken guy on a lot of issues - he’s always struck me as being a personally accountable guy. His position on his recent diagnosis and treatment for oral cancer only reinforces this for me. I happen to respect him immensely.
Hello Gang! I was looking at some past Monday Moaning stats, and realized, that this lovely Brit model, (my favorite) Rosie Jones has graced the top of more editions of Monday Moaning, then any other lovely I have posted...Can you blame me!?!
I was also surprised to see just how many pictures of my kids made it into posts...(Especially baby Molly) Why was I looking up these things?
Well, I was fully prepared to sit here and type out my last Monday Moaning...Last as in, that's it, I'm out...I told Sully and Jeff this week that for the Gab to be what I want it to be, it would be best if I wasn't involved...I've been often absent as a owner/member...Work has eaten up a ton of my time...I try to spend as much of what is left with my family...I have little interest in sports, mainly, because I don't have the time...Hell, Notre Dame played a huge game against FSU and last week the last thing I wanted to do was write about the cock-sucker refs, and what piece of shit Jameis Winston is...So I didn't...
I've had a number of non-sports ideas/topics I wanted to write about, and just didn't...I've had a bit of an 'ahh, fuck it' mentality...Whether that's from being tired, or stressed, or frustrated, or depressed, I don't know...But I don't like it...
Even on my days off I often have to field texts, or calls from work...It's the nature of beast...I barely see my two oldest kids compared to before, and right now, and my son is going through some things, and he needs all the time I can give him...I'm not willing to get into it yet, because we just aren't sure where it's going...There has been a lot of change in our house, and quite a bit of juggling...And I ain't no juggler! It's been tough...
But as I started looking at old stats, and posts, I realized just how much of my life has been shared here, and just how big a part of my life this has become...So, maybe the best way to shake this funk, and work through some of these trials and tribulations, is to push myself to keep writing...Write what's going on...Write what's driving me crazy...Write these other ideas...
So let me ask this of you...Are you okay with me writing whatever is in my head instead of forcing out some half-hearted sports talk? Are you okay with me being a part-timer, when it comes to getting in here on days other then Monday, so I can do what I have to with my juggling act?
If you're okay with that, then I'll keep posting Rosie Jones pics, along with others, along with my ramblings...It might be the therapy I need, and maybe I'll get back to sports...
But right now, this is the most important thing in my world...
Not the giant life-sized Transformers...The kids!
Something else I had done a lot in Monday Moaning was pop in some music...So, I'll close with this...And just know, when this was recorded, this girl was 16...Fucking talented!
I know this is supposed to be a powerful statement against sexism and such, but aside from that, I just couldn't stop laughing at this hilarious video.
It was quite the eventful week in college football and it really began last Saturday when former USC star LenDale White went on Twitter to blast AD Pat Haden after White got kicked out of the stadium. Reading the news article, White makes a case for why ex-players should never be allowed around a program once they leave the school.
It's been three years since the Jerry Sandusky scandal erupted at Penn State. SI.com's Tim Layden went to Happy Valley to see how things have changed since then. You can read the story HERE.
The University of North Carolina has long had a strong academic reputation. But that reputation is not only tarnished now, it is in tatters. A report released this week revealed a massive cheating scandal over years that included over 3,100 students. That figure includes 1,500 athletes. While football players aren't the only sport indicted, they do seem to be a large part of it along with men's and women's basketball as well. You can read the story HERE.
Because athletes are involved, that is the angle most stories will carry. It is hard to argue with that notion, but it would be nice to see the 1600 "regular" students get their turn in the harsh media glare as well. As for the athletic department, you do have to ask why in the world they would do this. Okay, yes they need players to pass so they can play but there's two glaring problems with this school of thought. The first is that they aren't doing any real service to the students by letting them cheat. The constant handwringing about giving athletes a chance to change their lives by attending college kind of goes by the boards when it turns they didn't actually do any work in the first place. These same athletes that were being helped to stay eligible will be utterly bereft of further life opportunities that the top notch education they were SUPPOSED to be getting would have given them when their athletic careers end. It's like they want to turn out a generation of idiots who don't know how to do anything.
The second problem is that SECRETS ALWAYS FIND THEIR WAY OUT! Yes, it may take a long time but eventually all these scandals find the spotlight. You may get away with it in the short term, but the hammer is going to come down on your and yours HARD when you do get caught.
I know that the NFL doesn't allow players into the league until three years after high school, but they might want to change that rule. If only so that colleges stop letting people into the school that can't possibly do the work. Social promotion is a horrible excuse for turning out one moron after another. Either teach like you are supposed to do, or get out of the business of education. If that affects the won-loss record of your football team, so be it. You are the ones responsible for the bed you made, now lay down in it.
Yahoo Sports columnist Pat Forde had a great piece on the scandal. Check it out via this link.
Boston College - Before talking about the Eagles on the road vs. Wake Forest yesterday, I thought you might want to check out this article on quarterback Tyler Murphy.
The game against the Demon Deacons started out in the first half as an exercise in total domination by the Eagles. Boston College was up 17-0 at halftime with a total of 213 yards of total offense. 147 of those yards came via the run game. Conversely, Wake Forest had MINUS 3 yards rushing (6 yards total offense) for the half.
In the second half, Wake Forest didn't improve all that much on the ground (19 total yards rushing for the game), but their passing game took off and finished with 242 yards through the air as they pushed BC's seeming inability to get much going offensively. The Eagles held on to win 23-17 but some might say that the Eagles kind of rested on their first half laurels and almost paid a dear price for it.
In moving to 5-3, the Eagles got a superlative rushing defense (see below) that also saw them sack Wake Forest QB John Wolford 4 times. While the secondary did give up yardage in the air, it was DB Justin Simmons picking off Wolford that sealed the victory for the Eagles.
QB Tyler Murphy (pictured below) was an economical 11-15 passing for 165 yards, including a 37 yard TD pass to Shakim Phillips. Murphy also ran for 77 yards.
Freshman sensation Jon Hilliman (pictured below twice) ran for 101 yards and two touchdowns.
The Eagles are now one win away from becoming bowl eligible
You can check out the game highlight reel below.
Alabama - The Crimson Tide rolled to a 7-1 record with their 34-20 victory over Tennessee last night. While Bama seemed to be in full control as they built a 27-0 lead, the Volunteers did eventually make it a game with their ability to run against the Crimson Tide defense. The Volunteers finished with 181 yards on the ground, which was just 2 yards less than what Alabama finished with.
The edge in the game came via the arm of quarterback Blake Sims (pictured below). He threw for 286 yards including two big scoring strikes (80 and 41 yards) to Amari Cooper in the first quarter. He also ran for another score.
Amari Cooper (pictured below) caught 9 passes for a school record 224 yards to go with those 2 TDs.
Derrick Henry and T.J. Yeldon (pictured below) each ran for a score.
The defense had a rough day in giving up a total of 383 yards. They managed to pick off Tennessee QB Joshua Dobbs once and had two sacks.
Mass Maritime - The Buccaneers went on the road this week to play UMass-Dartmouth. I went to this game last year when Maritime hosted (brutally freaking cold that day). One of the coaches for UMD is a former basketball player I coached, which always makes me chuckle.
The game ended up resembling a Wild West shootout as the four game losing streak for Mass Maritime came to an end. The final score was 46-41. Maritime is now 2-5 on the season.
The game featured almost 1000 yards in total offense between the two teams, and Maritime's defense tallied 6 sacks on the afternoon. E.J. caught 2 passes for 47 yards and a touchdown.
By the way, you can read a brief article about E.J. that was published in the Cape Cod Times on 10/23/14 HERE.
THE BASEBALL HOT STOVE
While it isn't OFFICIALLY the hot stove season in baseball yet, there were a couple of moves off the field that caught my interest.
Try as I might, the World Series isn't really holding my interest. I don't have anything against either team, but with the Boston Red Sox out of things, the largest part of my rooting interest ended at their game 162.
Speaking of the Red Sox, the team announced the hiring of Chili Davis as their new hitting coach. The former All-Star player was been the hitting coach with the Oakland A's the last three seasons, but worked as the Red Sox instructor at the Triple A level before that. He seemed to have a pretty good run of success with the A's, so let's hope he can get Yoenis Cespedes to have a better OBP next season. And it would also help if he could get some of the younger guys to at least look like they can hit major league pitching.
The far bigger news came on Friday when Joe Maddon opted out of his contract with the Tampa Bay DEVIL Rays. He had a year left on the contract but decided to exercise that clause. After the Rays executive VP of baseball operations Andrew Friedman left to join the Dodgers organization, this latest departure could be the harbinger of the Rays going back to being a non-competitive laughingstock. And it likely gives Maddon a chance to find a new managerial job with a club that actually spends money on players rather than solely draft players and hope for the best. You can read more about Maddon's departure HERE.
Yes, it is really me writing about the topic of golf. However, given my longstanding aversion to the activity, it won't come as too much of a shock when you see that I'm writing about something outside of the actual playing of the game.
On Friday, Ted Bishop, the president of the PGA, was impeached from his position (a month before his term was up anyway) because of comments he made first on Twitter and then expanded upon on Facebook. He was defending Nick Faldo against Ian Poulter (two players feuding with each other) and Bishop referred to Poulter as a "little girl" and then later "like a little girl squealing at recess".
As you might expect, the sexism card was played and though he was offered the chance to resign, he declined. The PGA's board of governors then voted him out anyway. He's losing his job, he won't be recognized as an honorary president and won't be referred to by the PGA as a past president.
Seriously? All this over him acting like a two year old and throwing around relatively tame (or should I say lame ass) insults? I'm more offended that he couldn't come up with anything more creative to use to insult Poulter.
But I guess in this day and age, you can't say anything to anyone or about anyone without someone acting like you've just made a sin against all mankind.
You can read more (including some really pathetic cover your ass apologies from both Bishop and the PGA) HERE.
I'm nothing if not mediocre. Another week of splitting the two leagues I'm in with a 1-1 record for yet another week.
Mount Saint Joseph University - Last week's mention of Lauren Hill, the terminally ill player determined to play "One More Game" brought about a request to provide updates as the game gets closer. News about the game being moved to Xavier University's Cintas Center was followed by more news that the tickets were sold out in 30 minutes. It is a 10,000 plus seat arena! You can read the most recent report HERE.
Boston College Men - The season is still a couple weeks away but you can check out this brief interview with Olivier Hanlan. He talks about his work in the summer and why he came back for another season with the Eagles.
Missouri State - You can learn more about Lady Bear Tyonna Snow in this video piece. You can check out a shot of the Lady Bears basketball team from their Media Day event below.
Boston College Women - Nicole Boudreau and Kelly Hughes were the two players from the team that went to the ACC media day event in Greensboro, NC this past week. Along with coach Erik Johnson they met the media for season previews etc. You can see some shots of the two players from the event below.
HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
There was a ton of rain to deal with in the area this week but some game action did make it in.
Wareham Boys Soccer - The Vikings lost to Apponequet 8-1.
Wareham Girls Soccer - The team lost to Apponequet 3-0. They also had Senior Night this week. My former player Brianna is the only senior on the team so congratulations to her for battling through all her various injuries to make it back to the field this season.
Upper Cape Girls JV Soccer - Against Old Colony, the jayvees opened up a can of whoopass and beat the Cougars 9-0. Ann Marie had 2 assists in the game.
Wareham Field Hockey - The Vikings got knocked off twice this week with a 3-0 loss to Westport and a 4-0 loss to ORR. They are 2-14 on the season.
Wareham Girls Volleyball - The team got swept 3-0 in their match against Apponequet. The team held a free clinic for younger potential players. You can read about that HERE.
Upper Cape Varsity Football - Last Saturday, the Rams blew out Holbrook/Avon 38-14 and my girlfriend's son Connor (who is usually on the JV team) was able to make his varsity debut for a few plays. Way to go Connor!
Wareham Football - Despite talk of how the Wareham defense had been improving over the last couple of weeks, the Vikings were completely annihilated by Apponequet on Friday night. They lost 61-6. Apponequet had 502 yards of total offense while Wareham managed just 84 yards.
Upper Cape Girls Varsity Soccer - I mentioned last week that UCT soccer player Krystle found herself 1 goal shy of the 100 goal plateau after scoring a career high six goals in a game. You can read about that game in this Wareham Courier article. (All photos by Adam K. Ellis of the Wareham Courier.)
On Monday of this past week, the Lady Rams faced Bishop Connolly and Krystle did indeed get her 100th goal (plus one more for good measure). Unfortunately they lost the game 4-2. The loss eliminated the team from postseason contention. A 7-0 loss to Norfolk Aggie left them with a 6-10-1 record.
You can can see Krystle's 100th goal on a PK, along with brief comments from her and her coach in this video link.
Some photos from the Bishop Connolly game as well.
The 100th goal kick:
With her team:
Books - I picked up the new Jon Land thriller Strong Darkness this week. It is the latest in his Caitlin Strong series. I can't wait to dig into it.
TV - Here's the Pop-topia.com recaps at this week's new episodes of The Flash and Arrow.
Movies - The trailer for the new Avengers movie "Age of Ultron" was "accidentally" leaked a week early. And as expected, it set the Internet ablaze. You can check it out for yourself below.
It's a situation that has the NFL's damage control squad scrambling as fast as the federal government is reportedly scrambling to hide ebola cases. And whenever something isn't being done in the open, you can feel the wool getting pulled over your eyes. It's gotten to be the norm lately.
So Percy Harvin has left Seattle, 'chemistry' being euphemistically cited as a reason. But clearly there's more. If this were happening in Jacksonville, it would be an easy job for the NFL and its media stooges. But these are the world champs.
So what's going on? It's now known that the Minnesota Vikings dumped Harvin because he was an impossible detriment to team morale, among his transgressions a locker room campaign against then-quarterback Christian Ponder. Dissatisfied wideout with a big mouth. Ok, that's something we've seen before, especially on teams with a struggling offense.
But in Seattle? Against Russell Wilson? Clearly something extra was in play. Not just singular but multiple reports (and when you hear an admission of 'multiple', you know it's not two or three) had surfaced that he was at the forefront of a budding locker room division regarding Wilson. And when your star running back nearly refuses to board the plane, you know it's not just a bunch of scrubs venting their discontent at not playing. There really appears to be a rift, even after Harvin's departure. And, horror of horrors, it appears to be race-based.
How do you decide what to do?
It's so simple. Just do as Sherlock Holmes would have advised. Say "If our positions were reversed..." as the fictional sleuth did. It's the ultimate hypocrisy filter.
So, in our reversal, the Seattle Seahawks are still led by Russell Wilson. But he hangs out with a black, not white, entourage. The team is mostly white. One of the white players, despite his talent, is a league journeyman. Word has it he's been a malingerer. He leads an anti-Wilson insurrection among some, perhaps many, other white players on the world champs, at least part of the crux of it being that Wilson is "not white enough". He even picks a fight with Wilson. The organization realizes what's happening and dumps him.
What's the immediate media verdict? RACIST! Do the Jets trade for him? They wouldn't dare, upon risk of being impaled on the figurative pens of the press. But on the team, the trade has made things worse instead of better. Do the other players in the cabal skate? Possibly but not likely. As likely, Senate inquiry is threatened if the team (and the league) don't root out the 'hate' and expel every player involved. Don't rule out the umpteenth 'Executive Order' either. It's safe to presume that nobody suggests the players were simply jealous of Wilson's media attention.
Yet, every one of relatively few mainstream-media stories on the now-famous Seahawks situation, along with many online comments posted, focus on what the "real" story may be. The apologists are swarming out of the woodwork like worms. Even non-apologists are fearful of their wording. It can't be simple anti-white racism. No sir. There's a deeper lesson to be learned here. Deeper lesson?
Does anybody even doubt that black racism exists? Like any other form of racism it doesn't apply to everybody, but it exists. Seen the news lately? Apparently most of the media, despite providing the news footage, have their doubts. That, or the First Amendment has now been so compromised that nobody dares do anything but spin this repulsive situation into something... how would they word it?... less 'inflammatory'. As in 'more false'.
That... or double standards are just fine as long as they're somehow managed properly.
Apparently unless you speak in pure ebonics and act like Percy Harvin, you aren't considered racially kosher by a number of Seahawks regardless of your color. The terms 'Uncle Tom' and 'Oreo' haven't been cited, but that may only be because they are obsolete to this generation. The meaning is the same.
So there's a self-destructive rebellion against the meal ticket of the offense. Of course, as one news source tried to excuse the incident, it's certainly about jealousy to some degree. Wilson gets a lot of publicity and a lot of kudos. The defense may feel it doesn't get its due. But way too much has leaked out already for anyone with half a brain to swallow the 'jealousy' theory without adding a mouthful of salt. Marshawn Lynch doesn't play for the defense. Neither did Harvin. We know about Harvin. Lynch reportedly didn't want to board the plane for the Rams game... or at least made noises about it. And if it's really jealousy, why not just say Wilson gets 'too much credit for all our hard work' or something to that effect?
The situation is compelling enough nationally in an election year with forensic evidence about Ferguson just starting to trickle out, but it is compelling in sports too. What if the league simply tries to bury the rift in a landslide of apologies and red herrings instead of dealing with it as if they had an avowed (and mandated) policy against racism (which they do)? It certainly appears that a number of black players in Seattle feel empowered as racists, as empowered as any Jim Crow era Southerner felt years ago. If this situation doesn't illustrate that in terms loud enough to penetrate the sand encasing the ears of the worst ostriches, nothing does. The threat perceived by the league will be, of course, that the sentiment is spread around the league and is about to boil over, burying the league in racial conflict and killing the fatted calf. Are players in Seattle so unique?
The story is as ominous to the league as it is repulsive to any fair-minded American, if any are left. Yet no condemnation will result from this case. Incognito had his career ruined by allegations of 'bullying', despite the clear support of most of his teammates. Harvin simply hopped to a new team and will rake in more millions.
Can't you just wait for Bob Costas to climb on his pulpit Sunday night to explain it all to you in terms spun out of PC fabric? Here's hoping he shows an ounce of credibility on an issue the league clearly won't be conducting a crusade against. I'm not holding my breath. Don't wait for Joe Biden to get trotted onto your TV screen urging "step up and speak out!" either.
The earliest articles about the story were courageously posted, even then the authors tiptoeing on eggshells, clearly fearing the consequences of reporting what they believed to be true. The comment trails were sidetracked onto debates about how good Russell Wilson really is. Nobody seemed to get it. What country is this that I woke up to this morning?
I suppose a partial answer to that, too, is something we're about to get. Either we shun demographic bias --- racism, sexism, whatever --- or we don't. Pick one. One side can't get a free pass. We've been living in a world where scientists who report that 'global warming' has no data to back up the theory are vilified and in many cases have their jobs taken or their grants revoked. Nature and numbers are starting to take care of that problem. But nature alone can't fix this one.
Harvin got a pass from most Minnesota fans following his trade. One must assume they have reassessed their sentiments. But the underlying problems are a much bigger story than Harvin will ever be. If anyone ever dares to print them.