Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Someone has to win...right?

Tonight the two teams with the NBA's worst records square off.

Which two teams are they, you wonder?

Why, none other than the Los Angeles Clippers (1-9) and the Oklahoma City Thunder (1-10).

For those of you who personally know me, you have to appreciate the irony of these being MY two teams. You cannot make this stuff up. I might very well be the only person watching the game on television tonight. Seriously.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Oh John, you so funny

Senator John McCain was on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno last week:

Jay: The election was last week, how are you holding up?

John: I have been sleeping like a baby. You know, sleep for two hours, wake up and cry...sleep for two hours, wake up and cry.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thank you, Stu

This was the call moments ago after Kobe Bryant nails a critical fourth quarter bucket:

Joel Myers: How good is this guy!?

Stu Lantz: I'll tell you how good he is...awfully good.

I know not to expect much from local commentators, but you would think that one of the most premier organizations could provide something better.

Oh, how I miss Chick Hearn.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Prop 8

In sports, the game is what it is. Players practice, coaches coach, managers manage, the front office does their thing, and at the end of the day, everyone gets to see the final product come gametime. Politics and government are the opposite. Most of how the government truly operates happens behind the scenes and is well out of our control. It is nothing like sports where we see and know nearly everything and what is printed and what we read is generally true and meaningful. This is why I find discussion and debates, as fun and educational as they can be, are typically useless when they are about politics. I find myself thinking, "but how do we really know that?" during any and every discussion about politics and government; as opposed to sports, in which we have access to nearly everything and are better equipped to discuss and debate it.

That being said, I cannot help but chime in on the recent controversy here in California:
  • In 2000, California voters passed Proposition 22, which defined marriage as "a personal relation arising out of a civil contract between a man and a woman, to which the consent of the parties capable of making that contract is necessary"
  • In 2008, four San Francisco judges ruled Prop 22 unconstitutional, which essentially legalized same sex marriage in California.
  • Proposition 8 is an amendment to the California Constitution that states "only a marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California"
  • In Massachusetts, a father who objected to having his kindergartner taught about same-sex marriage was arrested and jailed for not leaving a meeting with school officials who refused to tell him when the curriculum was going to be taught.
  • A group of San Francisco first graders were taken to city hall to observe a gay marriage. The backlash and outrage following this was enormous.
  • Proposition 8 is about to barely pass with a 53/47 split. However, polls and casual observations show a strong opposition to Prop 8 amongst younger voters, which means this issue is certain to come up again and possibly be changed yet again by a more liberal younger generation.
  • Florida passed a similar amendment with ease. Arizona voters voted against their version.
  • This is NOT about rights. Domestic Partners have the same rights, protections, and benefits as any other spouses. This is not changing.
  • Then what is this about? It is about a piece of paper that says "license of marriage" Essentially, it is about the term "marriage." Sounds trivial, no?
  • So, again, what in the world is this all really about? Sing along, folks: IT IS ALL ABOUT THE MONEY.
  • "Married" couples get tax breaks. If same sex couples are recognized as "married" then they can save a couple thousand bucks on taxes.
  • Churches have anti-tax exemptions. However, several churches have been stripped of their anti-tax exemptions because they refuse to host gay marriage ceremonies, citing the Holy Bible, which clearly defines marriage as between a man and a woman.
  • Pastors preaching out of the Bible are subject to prosecution as that has been classified as "hate speech."
  • So before we go around talking about rights, morality, the sanctity of marriage, and all that good stuff, let's try to remember the cynical world we live in. You cannot blame the gays or churches for wanting to save money. Let's just stop hiding behind these masks and debating the useless stuff, because this is all about what makes the world go around. Let's be honest. It's about the MONEY, honey.

The Best

Coming off that motivational video below and watching the Boston Celtics and the Houston Rockets on Election Day, it got me into this whole philosophical mindset. I do not know if I represent the majority, but I believe the brilliance of sports is watching the best athletes equipped with the best equipment, coaches, and resources playing at their best. That is, I want to see the BEST.

The NBA is at its best when we have the best players on the best teams playing against each other. The NFL is at its best because it is based on such massive amounts of preparation ensuring that everyone puts their best out on the field on Sundays. Baseball is at its best when the best pitchers go up against the best hitters. Soccer struggles to put its best out on the field at the most opportune times.

Which brings us to college sports. Sitting through a number of college sporting events recently, I have realized that it will never hold a candle to professional sports. I understand the examples I am about to use are not quite Ohio State football or North Carolina basketball. But the reason why college athletics is not up to par with professional sports is simply because we do not see the best athletes performing at their best.

After years of giving them the benefit of the doubt, the vast majority of college coaches stink. The decisions they make, the horrid substitutions, the terrible ways they evaluate and misuse their players, and perhaps most importantly, the lack of adjustments during the game contribute to a frustrating atmosphere. Then there's the players. Besides the fact that most are misplaced delinquents who cannot fit in their campuses and respective student bodies, the players are either so limited or just plain stink. College football basically consists of a game in which the team with the bad quarterback that messes up the least wins. College basketball is basically consists of a game in which the team that turns the ball over the least wins, and so on and so forth.

Yes, I understand the passion and intensity in college MAY be superior than the pros at certain schools with specific sports. But UCLA basketball is only popular because they have such a strong winning tradition, not because they actually play a brilliant brand of basketball. Most of the students in the crowd at Pauly Pavilion do not even understand what a pick and roll is. At a California football game in Berkeley, the student section, consisting mostly of academics who clearly do not understand football, often boos or cheers at the wrong times to the point where they need a ring leader on a microphone to explain to them when to do so, and even then they still get it wrong. Closer to home, UC Irvine has fielded a national championship in Volleyball, saw their baseball team earn a Cinderella trip to the College World Series, and currently has the No.1 ranked soccer team. Yet I am fully confident that 95% of our apathetic student body and alumni, consisting of mostly Asians and wealthy whites, cannot even name a player on any of those teams. When the basketball team was one win away from earning the school's first ever bid to the NCAA tournament and essentially putting our school's name on the map, we could not even fill up the small student section even though the Big West Championship game was basically on our turf, a few miles away in Anaheim.

But go to a professional game. At Staples Center, there are die hard basketball fanatics who understand the game beyond belief. Clipper Darrell may seem like a freak in a suit, but his basketball knowledge and realistic approach of his players stunned me. Even the Laker fans, best known for being bandwagoners who cannot hold an intelligent discussion about basketball that does not involve profanities and "Kobe rules!" actually are smart and interesting to talk to. Well, at least some of them.

You all know I have made a habit of hanging out at sports bars on Sundays and talking to football fans, who are generally not the brightest people in the world. In fact, I have come to learn how to spot who are the educated ones I would actually like to talk to and who are not worth my time due to plain stupidity. And the ones at professional football games are generally far calmer, smarter, and educated than those who attend college football games. You can actually converse with fans from the opposing team and learn from each other, as opposed to the divided atmosphere of insensible hatred that exists at a college sports event.

So I tried college sports. But I came right back to pro sports. I want to see the best performing at their best...while watching, talking, and enjoying it all with the best.

Well, at least he's humble

LeBron James on whether he would consider a future in politics:

"Mayor of Akron? I'm already mayor of Akron. I've been that for about 10 years now."

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Online Church

One of my few pet peeves is when people say "I don't have time" or "I am so busy." While those may be the thoughts running through my head when some of you ask about the recent lack of posts, I have always been one to think that everyone can make time for anything or anyone, as long as they truly want to.

...which brings us to the church. Check out Newsweeks' short feature on online church services. While there is no doubt that church is evolving and modernizing, I wonder if this is a good or bad feature.

On this ever so important election day, I would hope more Americans realize and accept the power of the church in our everyday lives. The Church has proven to be more influencial than any one vote, politician, political party, or presidential administration.