By J-Dub and Ryan Meehan
Editor’s Note: This article is a collaborative effort between J-Dub and Ryan Meehan from First Order Historians. Ryan also has his own blog, East End Philadelphia, which is featured in the Dubsism BlogRoll and it is well worth the read.
Every four years, the world governing body of soccer (FIFA) holds the pinnacle event in the sport; the World Cup. Just a few months back, we all saw what a spectacle it is; it is a global event second only to the Olympics. What many of you probably didn’t know is that basketball has a similar organization. The Fédération de Internationale de Basketball (FIBA) does the same for hoops as FIFA does for soccer. Similarly, FIBA also hosts a World Cup, which it is trying to make as large of an event as its soccer counterpart.
The trouble is this event has gone largely unnoticed in the country which is the king of basketball. The average American never even heard of the Basketball World Cup, until a few weeks ago when the Indiana Pacers’ Paul George did his best Barbaro impression during a Team USA scrimmage. The echo from his snapping leg bones hadn’t even stopped yet when the debate started. On one side, there is a school of thought in America which believes the basketball World Cup is incredibly pointless. On the opposite side is a group who see great value in international competition.
In this installment of Point – Counterpoint, Meehan takes up the cause of the “America First” crowd, which collides head-on with J-Dubs’ belief the growth potential of all sports, not just basketball, is in the global arena.
1) What Started All This: The Potential for Injuries
Now that the Sochi Winter Olympics are upon us, I’ve noticed lately that the bleating of the “politically correct” police over Russia’s laws banning the advocacy of homosexuality has died off. A couple of months ago, you couldn’t turn on you television without hearing how the Winter Olympics in Sochi are going to be a bust because the west simply won’t tolerate such archaic thinking. Granted, the Russians have been doing a masterful job of shooting themselves in both feet, but to say the Olympic Games will be a bust because of intolerance is a ridiculous statement.
At first glance, having a bunch of athletes claiming to be humanitarians is almost laughable on its face, not because nobody takes them seriously (which you know we really don’t), because they won’t put their money where their mouths are. I thought it was absolutely hilarious when U.S. Alpine Skier Bode Miller made a thinly-veiled threat about the Olympics.
For the last two days, I’ve been trying to figure out why Pope Benedict XVI decided to resign. After all, Popes don’t retire; they die. Then I had an epiphany while reading a New York Times article about the 2020 Olympic Games. The Catholic Church and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) spent the last century as two of the last remaining arbiters of tradition left in the world. But now that the IOC has pissed tradition down the drain with it’s announcement that wrestling will no longer be an Olympic sport beginning in 2020, Benedict XVI has to be thinking “Shit man, I’ve got to get out of this ‘tradition’ business while the getting is good.”
Wrestling, one of the most ancient and traditional Olympic sports, was dropped from the Summer Games in a stunning and widely criticized decision Tuesday by the International Olympic Committee.
If you stop and think about it, you realize that the Catholic Church has been under tons of pressure to “become more in tune with modern society.”
That sentiment couldn’t be more fucked up.
Every January since this blog was created, we here at Dubsism have given an award for achievements during the previous year in some under-recognized categories in the world of sports. In prior years, the nominations for the awards were done exclusively by an internal committee. This was the first year we allowed nominations from the general public.
Between our committee and our valued readers, we had more quality nominations than we could ever possibly use. Thank you so much for that. When we received an outstanding nomination that proved to be a winner, we made sure to recognize those who submitted it. However, we did also receive nominations on multiple ballots that proved to be winners. If you see a winner that you nominated, and you weren’t credited, just know that you weren’t the only one who had the same idea.
With that, and after careful consideration, here are the winners of the 2012 Dubsy awards.
Being that we are at the end of what has proven to be a tumultuous twelve months, why not take a look back at the biggest sports stories of such a year? After all, I’m pretty sure nobody else does these sort of retrospectives…
15) The Los Angeles Kings Win The Stanley Cup
For purposes of full disclosure, I have a bias on this one; I’ve been a Kings’ fan since I had to hold a puck with two hands. But there’s a couple of reasons why this win by the sole surviving original California hockey team (raise your hand if you remember the California Golden Seals) is a big story.
- The Kings are the first native Los Angeles team (not relocated from another city) to win a championship (Anaheim is NOT Los Angeles).
- The Kings became the first NHL team to enter the playoffs as the 8th seed and eliminate the 1st and 2nd seeded teams in their conference.
- The Kings became the first team to win the Stanley Cup entering the playoffs as a #8 seed.
- The Los Angeles Kings ended one of the longest championship droughts (45 years) when they hoisted the franchise’s first Stanley Cup.
The moral of the story: Don’t look now, but the Golden State is slowly becoming hockey territory. In the last twenty years, California has won more Stanley Cups than Canada has.
14) Johnny Football Becomes Johnny Heisman
The rise of Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel had all the media hype of other stories you will see on this list, but it had one crucial difference. Johnny Football became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy, thus breaking one of the last barriers in the history of the 50-pound trophy awarded by the Downtown Athletic Club. Manziel literally came from nowhere to the pinnacle of college football in a vote that was never really close.
The moral of the story: Until further notice, the Heisman is an award for quarterbacks and running backs only. If I had a vote, by sticking with the strict definition of the “best player in college football,” my ballot would have been as follows:
- Barrett Jones, C, Alabama
- Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
- Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia
13) The Indianapolis Colts Cut Peyton Manning
The Peyton Manning era in Indianapolis came to a rather inglorious, if not completely anti-climactic end on March 7, when team owner Jim Irsay announced at a press conference that the team would release the man who had become the face of the Colts’ franchise. A 2-14 season during which Manning never saw the field due to a neck injury illustrated the need for a consideration for the future in Indianapolis. Couple that with the economic reality; cutting Manning meant the Colts would save a $28 million roster bonus due on March 8, plus be free-and-clear of the remainder of his contract. Add it all up, and it means this move surprised nobody, because it allowed the Colts to have money for the next franchise quarterback, #1 overall draft pick Andrew Luck.
The moral of the story: Even 4-time MVPs are no longer immune to the economic realities of sports.
12) Augusta National Adds Its First Female Members
To be honest, I’m an old-school guy who believes that private clubs should be able to pick and choose who they want as members. That’s why when I first found out that Augusta had caved to a bunch of ball-busting feminists with chin-whiskers and married to sociology professors, my neanderthal heart sank a bit. But when I found out that the women Augusta picked would completely piss-off the “drives a Subaru with a rainbow bumper sticker” crowd, I had renewed faith in all that is right. Who better to do that that the hated George Bush’s Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore, a woman who had the audacity to make a bazillion dollars in the world of corporate finance?
The moral of the story: Social activists, you too need to be careful of what you wish for.
11) The Resurgence of Notre Dame Football
Notre Dame last saw the top of the college football mountain in 1988. In the quarter-century since, the Irish have remained a media darling while simultaneously spending more time as a doormat than a contender. Since that last title, Notre Dame has appeared in exactly five BCS bowls, and has lost every single one of them by at least 14 points. They are 6-11 in bowl games overall in that time. There was a fifteen-year span between 1993 and 2008 where the Irish lacked a single post-season win.
But now they’ve managed to finish the regular season undefeated and ranked number #1, thanks largely to a key goal-line stand in overtime against Stanford, Pittsburgh’s inability to make a clutch kick, and a complete meltdown by Oklahoma. After all that, the Irish are set to face defending BCS champ Alabama for the title.
The moral of the story: Despite all the media attention the Irish are gathering, you would be hard-pressed to hear Notre Dame is a ten-point underdog.
10) The Beginning of the End of the National Hockey League
If you needed a perfect model for how not to run a professional sports league, you need look no further than the NHL. The latest example of their stupidity came with the latest failure to come to a collective bargaining agreement after two months of talks between team owners and the NHL Player’s Association broke down and the league entered its fourth work stoppage since 1992. I’ve never been the commissioner of anything bigger than a fantasy sports league, but even I know that in order to keep people interested in your sport, you need actually to play some games. As of now, that hasn’t happened, and with every passing day, it looks more likely that hockey fans will be deprived of an entire season for the third time since 1994.
It’s time to understand that even die-hard hockey fans like myself are ready to wash their hands of this shit. Idiotus Supremus Gary Bettman and the owners don’t get that they are killing a league over their insistence in making the players’ union pay for their complete lack of business sense. Fellow Sports Blog Movement member Ryan Meehan and I hit on this a while ago, but the keys remain in place. The owners locked the doors because the players wouldn’t accept a new collective bargaining agreement that requires players to accept salary cuts and limits on free agency, despite the fact the owners were more than happy to give those provisions without any threat. The union wants a better revenue sharing plan that help the league’s struggling franchises. Face it, the NHL needs to survive in the Winnipegs and the Buffalos of the world, because in North America, hockey is a regional sport with a limited appeal outside of that region.
The moral of the story: If Meehan, the players, and I can figure that out, what does it say for the future of this league that the owners can’t?
For 25 days last winter, an Asian Harvard graduate was the biggest story in all of sports. Think about that for a minute…Jeremy Lin had been sleeping on his brother’s couch, had been cut by two NBA teams, and was put into a game on February 4th by Mike D’Antoni, whose New York Knicks were so injury-depleted Lin was the only alternative left on the bench besides the towel guy. Lin went on to score 25 points and seven assists leading a comeback over the then-New Jersey Nets. Lin then lead the Knicks to seven straight wins, including one in which he hung 38 on Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. What began with a bang (perhaps literally, judging by the photo above) ended with a knee-injury and a quiet relocation to the Houston Rockets.
The moral of the story: All glory is fleeting.
8 ) Michael Phelps Becomes History’s Most Decorated Olympian
As far as I’m concerned, any guy who won 19 gold medals can do all the bong hits he wants. While most stoners can’t get past micro-waving a burrito and watching Scooby-Doo at the same time, this guy joined a frightfully short list of elite athletes while giggling stupidly at his own own reflection in a sheet of aluminum foil.
Phelps made the cover a Wheaties box in 2008 after he won eight Olympic gold medals in Beijing. but then came history’s most publicized bong toke. Phelps received a three-month suspension from USA Swimming and Kellogg’s said they would not renew their endorsement of the Olympian. which goes to show what dumb-asses they both are. USA Swimming finally re-instated Phelps and he went on to win nine more medals in London this past summer, his 19 medals surpassing the 18 won by Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina.
The moral of the story: Somebody ought to start a cereal called Weed-ies.
7) The NFL’s Replacement Referee Debacle
We all know what a debacle the NFL’s use of replacement referees was. The biggest indicator of what dipshits sports commissioners in this country are is that they make me sympathetic to scumbag unions.
The moral of the story: This is just one reason people will look back at 2012 as the beginning of the downfall of the Kommissar Goodell regime.
6) Lance Armstrong Stripped of Cycling Titles
While it isn’t an excuse, there is a shitload of truth in that quote in the above graphic. There’s a huge double-standard about cheating in this country; it is OK when your guy does it. And nobody was more of “America’s Guy” then Lance Armstrong was when was routinely humiliating the French in the Tour de France. That’s really the only reason anybody in America gave a damn about cycling; it was an exercise in hating the perfectly hateable French.
Back in August, U.S. Anti-Doping Agency announced that it was stripping Lance Armstrong of his record-seven Tour de France titles and barred him for life from the sport after concluding he used banned substances. On October 22, the International Cycling Union (UCI), cycling’s governing body, said that it had officially stripped Armstrong of his seven titles and banned him from cycling for life.
But then comes the part where the hypocrisy comes in again.
“He deserves to be forgotten,” UCI President Pat McQuaid said of Armstrong.
Give me a fucking break. Cycling is the dirtiest of the “dirty” sports when it comes to performance enhancing drugs; what’s going on in baseball might as well be the drug problem in pee-wee T-ball compared to cycling. All the UCI and USADA did was to catch the best cheater in sport filled with cheaters whose lifeblood literally is cheating.
The moral of the story: There’s nothing wrong with anything that sticks it to the French.
5) Speaking of Hypocrisy, Let’s Talk About The NCAA
Question: Do you know what the Jerry Sandusky and Sandy Hook Elementary School situations have in common, besides the fact they both involve monsters whose own self-absorbed impulses were brought to bear on many innocent people? They are both examples of how we in America love to pontificate about horrible things, yet do nothing about them.
In the wake of both of these terrible stories, you didn’t hear one credible person come out and say stupid shit like “I’m glad this happened. We need more events like this to learn our lessons.” Anybody who would have said anything like this would have been stamped USDA Prime Whacko and their words would have been filed in the appropriate plastic-bag lined receptacle. But no matter how many times you let a train run over a coin, it still has two sides, and there were far too many people ready to get on the other side of the bombastic coin from the stamped Whackos.
These were the people who took such a brave stand by table-pounding the obvious “we need to protect our children” reaction. There are lessons to be learned, and there are things as a society we need to do; the trouble is that we as society have completely missed the point.
The NCAA serves as the perfect microcosm of American society, and the ridiculous, pointless, and self-serving crap the NCAA does is a perfect reflection of the society in which it exists. It’s numb-handed response to the Sandusky scandal at Penn State proves that.
After former FBI Director Louis Freeh released his report , the NCAA got into the fashionable “shitting on Penn State” and did it in a completely meaningless way. While Penn State may have received some of the harshest penalties in NCAA history, they were ultimately without real teeth. If you doubt that, let’s break them down:
- A 4-year bowl ban: Normally that would hurt, but at the end of the 2011 season, this team could only qualify for a low-rent bowl where they got smoked by a Houston team whose coach was on his way to making Texas A&M the Belle of the SEC Newbies ball. Nobody saw the miracle incoming head coach Bill O’Brien pulled off; he literally made a team intended to be kicked off the B1G island and made it the second-best team in the conference.
- Loss of 20 scholarships: This does kill bench depth, but lets be honest…you can still win with only three punters on the depth chart. 65 scholarships is still plenty to field a winning team; NFL teams only have 53 roster spots. The only part that could sting is that Penn State can only sign 15 recruits per year rather than the usual 25.
- $60 Million Fine: Penn State has an endowment of nearly $2 billion and has an athletic department that generates cash in gorgon-like quantities. $60 million to them is the change you keep in your car’s cup holder for toll booths.
- Loss of shared conference bowl revenue for four years: This is estimated to be around $13 million per year. See above.
- Five years probation: That might as well be Dean Wormer’s “double secret probation” from “Animal House” since the NCAA really has no interest in handing out real punishments.
- Players were allowed to transfer without penalty: The team still won eight games.
- Vacating of all wins from 1998-2011: Record book hocus-pocus. This was only done to screw Joe Paterno, who was already dead by the time this move was made. Utterly pointless.
In other words, the NCAA didn’t do anything substantive after the Sandusky situation just like we won’t solve the problem after Sandy Hook.
The moral of the story: I can’t wait for NCAA President Mark Emmert to weigh in on gun control.
4) The Ongoing Tim Tebow Saga
Where do I start start with this? Here’s a guy who sold more jerseys than anybody before he even took a single NFL snap. Here’s a guy who stays in the headlines despite the fact he’s only taken 50 snaps this season as a New York Jet. Here’s a guy who everybody keeps saying isn’t an NFL quarterback, and yet right now we are talking about where is the next place he “isn’t” going to be an NFL quarterback.
The moral of the story: I’ll buy lunch for the first person who can explain Tebow-mania to me in 50 words or less.
3) The “Bounty-Gate” Debacle
Too bad NFL Commissioner Kommissar Goodell doesn’t have a paper towel good enough to clean up the mess he made.
Think about it for a moment. How many times have you seen a guy over-estimate his power, do something completely stupid because of that over-estimation, then need somebody to come in and clean up the mess. I guess former commissioner Paul Tagliabue is the one who had the big roll of paper towels.
To make a long story short, “Bountygate” blew up in Goodell’s face when he mistakenly assumed the players he suspended would simply roll over and take his brand of “justice.” But when Jonathan Vilma, Anthony Hargrove, Will Smith and Scott Fujita were reinstated by a three-members appeals panel. which included former NFL head Paul Tagliabue. The panel overturned a ruling that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was within his powers to suspend the players for their alleged roles in a pay-to-injure agreement.
What it all boils down to is that in the end, Goodell managed to emasculate himself, and required Tagliabue to get him out of the mess he made for himself. In other words, the commissioner did not have the final say; the former commissioner did. I don’t know of too many executive-level managers who stay employed after they need to be bailed out, especially when Tagliabue was only intended to review Goodell’s decision to impose suspensions on four New Orleans Saints players and instead found the action so flawed he had to vacate those suspensions.
The moral of the story: This is another reason people will look back at 2012 as the beginning of the downfall of the Kommissar Goodell regime.
2) Miguel Cabrera Becomes Baseball’s First Triple Crown Winner in 45 Years
Miguel Cabrera became the first player to win baseball’s Triple Crown since Boston’s Carl Yastrzemski in 1967, and just the 15th player ever. This puts Cabrera on a list with baseball royalty which includes Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, and Lou Gehrig. Cabrera led the American League with a .330 batting average, 44 home runs and 139 RBIs.
The moral of the story: Dude can hit.
1) The Los Angeles Dodgers Are The First Sports Franchise to Sell For $2 Billion
The Los Angeles Dodgers were sold to a group that includes NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson for a final sale price of just over $2 billion. That represents the highest price any sports team has ever sold for — by a wide margin.
Television money for live sports is skyrocketing, and it’s driving up the values of sports teams not just in the United States, but around the world as well. People keep trying to tell me baseball is dead, and a baseball team just sold for a staggering amount of money. If one were to pay that $2 billion in cash, you would need sixteen standard shipping pallets stacked four feet square with $100 dollar bills. And the prices are only going up.
Want to buy a European soccer team? Soccer is the world’s most popular sport, so you’d better bring your wallet. Manchester United was the first team to break the the billion-dollar barrier, and that was a decade ago. Now, buying a top team in the English Premier League will easily cost you somewhere in the neighborhood of $2.5 billion. If you still want a big-time European soccer club, but want to save your pennies, you might be able to get Real Madrid for just under $2 billion. Even the Jacksonville Jaguars, arguably the least-valuable franchise in the NFL, just sold recently for $770 million.
The moral of the story: Television money is exploding sports as we know it.
It’s time for another one of our patented Dubsism comparisons with another gem we found over at Listverse. As the title suggests, we found a list of ten books that literally defy explanation, until you realize the sports world is full of figure who could have easily written such strange stuff.
10) How to Abandon Ship – Written by Phil Richards and John J. Banigan
Apparently, getting off a sinking ship is more complicated than you’d think! First published in 1938, this novel little volume was written from the voice of experience since one of its authors was forced by the Nazis to abandon the Robin Moor before they torpedoed it in 1941. While the authors do discuss the necessity of departing one’s ship in an orderly fashion due to a variety of circumstances, they also explore concepts like buoyancy and open sea boatmanship. Just in case you thought jumping off was a matter of counting three and hoping for the best, give this informative survival guide a try if you have any plans to go sailing.
Could Have Been Written By: Bobby Petrino
Honestly, who knows more about jumping ship than Petrino? He bailed on Louisville, then bailed on the Atlanta Falcons before the season was even over, then bailed on his wife which ultimately got him tossed over overboard at Arkansas.
9) Gangsta Rap Coloring Book – Written by Anthony “Aye Jay” Moreno
Many adults do enjoy coloring and this is certainly a selection better suited to a grown-up than a kid since it features a cover-size gun, well, right on the cover. Many of hip-hop’s most memorable and, indeed, colorful rappers are depicted by thick black illustrations that await the bold hand of an artist. Biggie dares you to color him pink. Thugs to some and musical superstars to many, these rappers will have you sharpening your kids’ Crayolas in no time (see bizarre book selection #3 for assistance). Since this book was published in 2004, copies are still widely available from venues like Amazon.com.
Could Have Been Written By: Ron Artest
While not an exact match, it isn’t hard to imagine that a guy just enough off-center to pen a rap shout-out to his therapist might be the same guy to make a gangsta coloring book. It makes about as much sense as celebrating an NBA Championship with a song written long before Artest joined the Lakers.
8 ) The Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices – Written by Brenda Love
This book might stifle conversations as much as it starts them depending on who you invite over. In general, this is not mother-in-law material, so hide it from the coffee table when she visits. With 700 entries that include everything from love potions to the most unusual sexual practices on earth, this book does contain and portray some highly unusual stuff that is not for the faint of heart. Anyone interested in the bizarre or, at least, highly unusual practices of humans will be both shocked and entertained to learn what floats some people’s boats when it comes to sexuality.
Could Have Been Written By: Rex Ryan
7) Urine Therapy! Confessions of a Mad Pee Drinker - Written by P.P. Powers
One would expect this to be a joke book given the pseudonym of the author, but urine drinking for health benefits is a real concept and this isn’t the only book devoted to it – just the one with the best title, book jacket, and personal reflections. Published in 2007, this intriguing “self-improvement” book, as described by its own author, suggests that drinking one’s own urine over a period of time can cure chronic ailments. The author describes his own experiences drinking “midstream morning urine” and how the practice cured his depression, fatigue, dandruff, irritable bowel syndrome, bad skin and fibromyalgia (many readers will be wondering if he’s on Match.com). According to P.P., the fountain of youth may truly be inside each and every one of us.
Could Have Been Written By: Ray Lewis
In a world full of performance-enhancing drugs, Lewis is claiming to have found a fountain of youth in some unknown vegetable juice concoction. I’m not casting any aspersions here, but I’ve always been suspicious of “miracle” diets and vitamin supplements…especially ever since the Jim Carrey Juice Weasel.
6) Manifold Destiny – Written by Chris Maynard and Bill Scheller
It’s true that twenty-first century vehicles are far better insulated than twentieth century cars, making this a nearly-obsolete cookbook unless you have a vintage car – probably anything pre-1990. On the other hand, if your engine runs hot, this cookbook is still in print and filled with many great recipes that you can make right on your car engine. Ideal for traveling cooks who don’t mind cooking with fumes, this book covers one-of-kind cookery. One reviewer maintained that engines steam everything and always leave his vegetables al dente, but if you can discover the knack of this vehicular art, you’ll never have to pull into a greasy roadside diner again! You can crank open your hood and run your own!
Could Have Been Written By: Prince Fielder
Prince’s dad traveled everywhere…Toronto, Detroit, Japan, New York. Prince has logged a few lies himself between Milwaukee and Detroit. You would think a couple of big guys putting on some big miles might have tried a manifold burger at some point…especially since I never swallowed that “Prince Fielder is a vegetarian” twaddle.
5) Natural Bust Enlargement – Written by Donald L. Wilson
Published by the Total Mind Power Institute in 1979, this book takes the “I think I can, I think I can” concept to a surprising new level. One must assume that there might be a few glitches contained in this highly unusual do-it-yourself book or the cosmetic surgery industry wouldn’t be booked quite so solid with breast enhancement appointments. As an odd publication, it does, however, have its place in lists of bizarre books. Kudos to the book’s cover, as well.
Could Have Been Written By: Morganna, The Kissing Bandit
Obviously, there’s two reasons why Morganna is the choice for authoring this book.
4) If We Can Keep a Severed Head Alive – Written by Chet Fleming
Published in 1988, this book also contains the author and inventor’s patent for a device that keeps the head of a mammal alive. A considerable portion of this book provides an explanation as to why this inventor, who is also a practicing attorney, devised a patent he says he does not intend to use. It’s unclear as to whether or not Fleming advocates the practice of keeping severed heads alive or simply wants to explore the possibilities that the marvels of science and technology may provide in the future.
Could Have Been Written By: Dick Vitale
Honestly, has there been a better example of a severed head being kept needlessly alive that Dickie V?
3) How to Sharpen Pencils – Written by David Rees
If you’ve ever lamented that you stuck your pencil into a cheap twenty-five-cent plastic sharpener – those children’s gadgets that break more tips than they sharpen – this book is for you! Painstakingly crafted and nearly exhaustive in its coverage of an unusual subject, this author treats pencil sharpening seriously and, upon reading it, you’ll take it more seriously, too. Witty and informative, this highly irregular volume may seem bizarre unless you happen to be sitting there with a broken pencil and are unsure how to best sharpen it for use again.
Could Have Been Written By: Vince Young
Anybody with a Wonderlic score of 6 obviously is a dumb ass who might need a step-by-step to sharpen a pencil.
2) C is for Chafing – Written by Mark Remy
A child’s alphabet book of running, this strange little book and its correspondingly disturbing cover is about the good and the bad, the pretty and the ugly sides of running. The title, of course, simply dares the onlooker to open this book up and give it a whirl, but some of the subject matter, like vomiting after a race, is about as gross a topic as that covered in Walter the Farting Dog: Banned from the Beach by William Kotzwinkle, an honorable mention and runner up for this list of bizarre books.
Could Have Been Written By: Olympic Speedwalkers
If that walking motion doesn’t give you a chafing problem, then it doing with a load in your shorts must guarantee a dose of “fire crotch.”
1) Gadsby – Written by Ernest Vincent Wright
It’s unclear what the author had against this most popular of vowels when he wrote this novel of constrained writing, but there is, indeed, no trace of this letter in the work. Considering all the English verbs that require the –ed ending, this is a remarkable, albeit bizarre, achievement. This self-published work is a highly collectible book in spite of its unusual treatment of a popular letter. Published in 1939, this odd novel is perfectly readable and contains a reasonable plot, proving that the letter “e” is not as e-ssential as one might have thought.
Could Have Been Written By: Former Baltimore Ravens Head Coach Brian Billick
Not only does his name also have no “e” in it, he won a Super Bowl with no “O.”
Now that the 30th Olympiad is in the books, it is time for us here at Dubsism to bring you a rundown of all the things important to remember about the London games; more than just those American-centric things brought to you by the American media.
We really can’t bash on NBC too much since, to be honest, we are doing the exact same thing they are: trying to keep an Olympic-related ratings boost alive by stringing this out as long as possible. If you doubt that, just check the program schedule for the NBC Sports Network.
Things of Note From Selected Events:
So, we are all supposed to be shocked to find out there’s nefarious activity going on in an Olympic sport? Harumph.
Time to face facts, America…your days of crushing, “Dream Team” level dominance are over. There are plenty of NBA players for many other teams; Lithuania outscored the U.S. for the last three-quarters of their game, and the U.S. could have easily lost to Spain in the final. You can’t give up 100 points and say you had no chance to lose.
I can’t really improve on this description of the sport as offered by Slate:
Beach volleyball has only been an Olympic event since 1996, and one could argue that, as this article puts it, the sport “has slipped into the Olympics by a back door marked ‘Sex.’ ” According to a 2008 article in Australia’s Sunday Age, “Beach volleyball successfully pushed for the 1996 Atlanta Games in part by treating IOC members to first-class return flights to a tournament in Rio de Janeiro, putting them up in luxury seaside rooms, and building a walkway from their hotel to the beach to save them from crossing the road.”
The IOC members liked what they saw from their walkway, adding the sport in lieu of non-jiggly pastimes—squash, roller hockey, etc.—that have long sought entrance to the Olympics. Beach volleyball is a surefire ratings booster, a not-so-thinly veiled excuse for men to ogle tall, tanned women running around, diving, and bending over in tight swimsuits. As London Mayor Boris Johnson wrote in a piece listing 20 reasons to be excited about the Olympics, “[T]here are semi-naked women playing beach volleyball in the middle of the Horse Guards Parade. … They are glistening like wet otters and the water is plashing off the brims of the spectators’ sou’westers. The whole thing is magnificent and bonkers.”
Is there anything that piece missed short of just calling “hot asses on parade?”
They did this on an outdoor field in Britain. Did nobody tell them it rains every goddamn day there? Every time somebody hit the ball, it left a rooster-tail of water behind it. They either needed a roof or a squeegee?
This is a sport in which I clearly underestimated the level of violence. You can’t even get away with that sort of full-on choke in Judo.
Gold Medalist Kayla Harrison has no worries about her future. According to our good friend The SportsChump, she has a standing offer to do security at his bar anytime.
You have to love when this sport suddenly turns into a rodeo.
You may be sensing a theme here. Not only did Alex Morgan score the gold-medal winning goal, she also took out New Zealand’s goalie in a preliminary match.
Here’s another sport that is just far more violent than I ever expected. That’s a full-on chop to the face.
This sport is eventually going to kill somebody. There’s no way that doesn’t happen.
Here’s s sport where I actually expect some mayhem, and the wrestlers didn’t disappoint.
The Olympic Look-Alikes:
1) Bob Costas and Harry Potter
2) Rebecca Adlington and ODO from Deep Space 9
3) Meghan Markle and Lolo Jones
4) LOL Face Meme and Kurtis Roberts
The Olympic Look-Alikes – The Michael Phelps Edition
In honor of arguably the greatest Olympian since Zeus, here’s a look-alike bit dedicated specifically to the 20-plus medaled bong hitter.
1) Michael Phelps and H.P. Lovecraft
2) Michael Phelps and Charles Lamb
3) Swimming Michael Phelps and a Skate
4) Stretching Michael Phelps and an uncooked turkey
The Olympic Athlete Who Looked The Most Like J-Dub
Reese Hoffa – U.S. Track and Field
Jordan Jovtchev – The Jamie Moyer of the Olympics
Jovtchev turned 39 in February and is the only gymnast to qualify to six Olympic Games. He is a four-time Olympic medalist, with a silver on rings (Athens 2004) and three bronze medals (floor and rings in Sydney 2000 ; floor in Athens 2004). His most recent medal is a bronze medal on rings at the Birmingham European Championships in 2010, the same medal he won at 2009 World Championships and European Championships.
The Serious Discussion: The Bullshit About Being First
Be warned: The following segment is likely going to get me called a racist and a sexist….because I’m about to commit what has become a crime in America today: telling the truth no matter how uncomfortable it may make you feel.
One of the stories the western media loved to fawn over was that of two Saudi Arabian female athletes were the first women to represent that country in the Olympic Games. If you aren’t familiar, Saudi Arabia is essentially a theocratic state which is largely run by Muslim law. This means Saudi culture by nature is misogynistic and exists about 600 years behind the rest of the world.
From Yahoo Sports:
The two historic athletes who became the first women to ever represent Saudi Arabia in the Olympic Games have been snubbed by their nation’s media and subjected to a campaign of hate. Sarah Attar ran the 800 meters on the Olympic Stadium track and Wojdan Shaherkani competed in judo earlier in the Games after the Saudi government eased its strict stance on women competing following international pressure.
This opening paragraph is a shining example of why the rest of the world hates the West. The way women are treated in most Muslim countries is barbaric, anti-human, and none of our business. Westerners love to run around wringing their hands about human rights and think they get to meddle in other cultures because of some sort of perceived moral high ground.
“Liberal” westerners are the biggest hypocrites when it comes to crap like this, and this is just another example. The hypocrisy stems from the fact the westerners are all about symbolism which makes them feel better, even if it accomplishes nothing. Attar and Shaherkani are merely symbols for a bunch of westerners to get all self-congratulatory over. If you doubt that, consider the following facts:
1) They weren’t legitimate contenders
“Attar finished last in her heat and Shaherkani lost her opening bout…”
It isn’t that they lost…they never had a chance to win in the first place, because they didn’t belong their – NOT because of their gender or situation, but because they simply weren’t amongst the best, which is what the Olympics is supposed to be all about.
2) They were only there because the western-dominated International Olympic Committee forced the Saudis into it
Attar and Shaherkani were late additions to the Saudi team and did not qualify but were admitted into their events in London under an International Olympic Committee regulation that seeks to encourage less established sporting nations…
…However, there is skepticism about the true motives of the decision to allow Attar, a Saudi-American who studies at Pepperdine University, and Shaherkani to compete.
“They allowed them to compete for only one reason,” [Khaled] Al-Maeena [editor of the English-language publication Saudi Gazette] said. “If you don’t send women, then in the future your country will not be allowed to participate [in the Olympics]. It was a wonderful thing to see the girls participate, and it made many people proud, but there was also a motive for it.
3) These women got subjected to a lot of crap, and the people who made it happen don’t care.
A sinister Twitter campaign with the hashtag “prostitutes of the Olympics” originated in Saudi Arabia and was used to aim sexist vitriol at the competitors.
The father of judoka Shaherkani was so incensed that he contacted the country’s interior minister to demand action against those who had insulted his daughter. Under Saudi law, punishment for insulting a woman’s honor and integrity can be up to 100 lashes…
…Even though the women were forced to walk behind their male counterparts at the Opening Ceremony, their presence was seen as a step in the right direction for women’s rights in a country where females are still denied many of what would be considered basic human rights in other nations.
Westerners see this as a step in the right direction; back in Saudi Arabia, people get killed over shit like this. This is the real problem with meddling in other cultures; it may make you feel better, that you are making a difference. Meanwhile, you are putting somebody else’s ass on the line.
Think about it.
Imagine how pissed off people in this country would get if all of a sudden a bunch of foreign self-appointed “our ways are best” started meddling with American culture. Can you imagine the back-lash if the tables were turned; if the Muslims ran the IOC and told America their women athletes had to stay home? We’d start a war over that. But, westerners have no problem with such “butt-in-ski-ism” as long as it is their will being imposed.
4) Political Correctness Is Anathema to Merit.
This example is uniquely American, but it is the perfect one. For some reason, we have become enamored with being the “first.” It all started with Jackie Robinson, the first black man to play Major League Baseball in the modern era. Robinson’s ascent to the majors was exactly the reverse of these Saudi women. Robinson was a tremendously gifted athlete who was far beyond competitive with other Major Leaguers, and it was his ability which meant he belonged in baseball.
However, with these Saudi women, it was not their ability that got them to London. Rather, it was this messed-up western sense of “fairness,” which usually means some sort of quota enforced by some sort of reverse discrimination. These women didn’t get to the Olympics based on WHO they were, but on WHAT they were. Martin Luther King’s “dream” was a day when people would be judged on the content of their character, not the color of their skin. Racism and sexism, despite the “best of intentions,” are still racism and sexism.
More Babes You Didn’t Hear About
Let’s face it…I’m a dirty old man, and the Olympics are chock full of women who make me seriously consider calling my doctor about that Viagra prescription. In the original Dubsism post on the 30th Summer Games, we made mention of Vanessa Ferrari. But there were so many more over the course of the past two weeks, and now it it is time they get their due.
Gemma Gibbons – Great Britain, Judo
This is the woman who got man-handled (pun really not intended) by U.S. gold medalist Kayla Harrison in the 78-kg final match. However, as I am an officianado of the “gentle way,” whenever Gemma wants a rematch against a Yank, I’d be more than happy to come down to her weight class.
I think a big part of the appeal here is in the name. Just say “Ivet Lalova” a few times to yourself, and you instantly hear the musical properties. think of the songs you could go all “Weird Al” on by using her name…Lola, My Sharona, Come on Come Over…feel free to add your own to the list.
Catalina Ponor – Romania, Gymnastics
The is the woman who took the screw-job handed out by the judges over some bullshit appeal. More importantly, Ponor is not your average Olympic gymnast, meaning she isn’t 15 years old and 4 feet tall.
Julie Zetlin – U.S., Rhythmic Gymnastics
Zetlin only made the team based on a Olympic rule that each continent must have a representative. In other words, here’s another case where she didn’t make the team on her gymnastic merits, but it doesn’t take long to realize the two main reason she made this list.
Clearly The Coolest Thing We Saw: Remote-Control Mini-Coopers
In a word, these things were awesome. They were used to return the thrown objects (discus, shot, hammer, and javelin) back to throwing area in the track and field events.
I’ll try to keep this simple. Let’s start with the basic facts.
Tuesday’s Olympic women’s soccer semifinal between the U.S. and Canada was one of the most dramatic games you’ll ever see. It also had some of the shittiest officiating you’ll see this side of Major League Baseball.
Tuesday’s Olympic individual event finals in women’s gymnastics had some of the most dramatic moments you’ll see in the London Games. It also had some of the shittiest officiating you’ll see this side of Major League Baseball.
It’s just easier to spot a bad call in soccer than it is in gymnastics.
In the soccer match, Canadian goalkeeper Erin McLeod got called for holding the ball too long. For you Americans who don’t know, in soccer there is a rarely enforced six-second violation for goalies holding on to the ball. This is to prevent to soccer equivalent of the basketball “four-corner offense” which is all about running out the clock. The referee awarded the U.S. a free kick, which the same referee deemed to have been been struck with the hand of a Canadian player. That ruling resulted in a penalty kick, which to U.S. converted into a match-tying goal with about ten minute to go in regulation time. 40 minutes later, the U.S. scored the game-winning goal at the end of extra time.
In the gymnastics, American Aly Raisman’s routine on the balance beam was given an initial score of 14.966, which prompted American coach Bela Karolyi to go apeshit from the stands urging Raisman’s personal coach to file an appeal of the scoring. Mihai Brestyan followed the screams of the Hungarian Yosemite Sam of gymnastics, filed the appeal and voilá, Raisman’s score was elevated to a 15.066, which left her tied for third-place with Romanian Catalina Ponor. And in another bit of scoring gymnastics, while Raisman’s and Ponor’s difficulty scores were identical at 6.300, Raisman’s execution score was higher, which gave her the bronze medal.
So, now that we’ve outlined the basic scenarios, let’s breakdown some cold hard facts which illustrate a crucial point.
Cold Hard Fact #1: Complaining about the officials usually forgets an important point.
This is where I have to point out that if you execute and don’t make a shitload of mistakes, the referees really are limited in taking victory away from you. This whole “bounty-gate” situation with the New Orleans Saints let Minnesota Vikings’ fans have another crack at their bullshit whining about how the officials screwed them in the 2010 NFC Championship game. Naturally, this argument ignores the five turnovers the Vikes committed.
In the case of the Canadians, they may very have a legitimate argument that the referee gave it to them prison-style, and that had that not happened, they would have won 3-2. The trouble is that that also forces the “what if” game to take a turn in the Canadian favor; it forces them to assume that the Americans would not have scored anyway in the last ten minutes of regulation time. While that might normally be a safe assumption, it isn’t in this case because the Canadians gave up far too many scoring opportunities throughout the second half to say with the same level of certainty they have on the “ref dicked us” angle that they Americans would not have scored. In other words, it is equally as possible that what happened at the end of regulation could have just as easily happened at the end of regulation time.
As far as Raisman is concerned, her bronze medal on the balance beam is a direct result of Brestyan convincing the judges that Raisman’s routine had been scored incorrectly. Scoring in gymnastics is completely subjective, so who the hell knows what is correct and what isn’t?
Having said all that, complaining about officiating when done in the wrong way can have a serious boomerang effect. Somebody on the Canadian women’s team crossed the line; you can criticize, but you can’t make allegations that games a re being fixed. Every sports organization takes an exceptionally dim view of such allegations, and FIFA (despite the fact it is an incredibly corrupt organization) is no exception.
Cold Hard Fact #2: Canada and Catalina Ponor likely were legitimately screwed, but it doesn’t matter.
The six-second rule is a bit hackneyed, it’s soccer’s completely subjective, called-at-will rule like holding in the NFL, traveling in the NBA, or an umpire in baseball deciding the batter hit by the pitch didn’t make a sufficient attempt to get out of the way of the ball. The point is it matters little if the rule is rarely enforced; its still a rule. It would be weak to get a speeding ticket for going two miles an hour over the limit, but you were still speeding.
This get a bit tougher to nail down in gymnastics, where the whole thing comes down to what a bunch of judges think. But you know it is entirely possible that the appeal discussion went something like “Uhhh, the Americans are the star power and they bring the TV money, so maybe we’d better give her the medal.”
Cold Hard Fact #3: If you are going to play the “What If?” game in your favor, you have to play it to your detriment as well.
See the earlier reference to the 2010 Minnesota Vikings. To maintain any semblance of legitimacy, you have to be willing when asking “What if the referees hadn’t screwed us?” you must also be willing to ask “What if we didn’t commit those five turnovers?”
This means if you are the Canadian women’s soccer team, you have to ask “What if we didn’t blow three leads in the second half?” This means if you are Aly Raisman, you have to ask yourself “What if I hadn’t made that one stumble on the balance beam?”
Don’t misunderstand the point here. It is the God-given right of every sports fan to bitch about officiating. All I’m saying is with rights come responsibilities, meaning you have to understand that complaining as a fan never changes the result; complaining as a competitor is almost as equally pointless. But having said that, as a fan you must never let anyone tell you can’t scream over the inherent unfairness of sports until your voice-box sues for divorce.
But as a competitor, you also have to remember that you actually have the power to eliminate the argument in the first place; nobody ever bitches about the referees in a 30-point blowout. That’s exactly why blaming the officials is so easy; it means you don’t have to own your piece of the loss.
The Crucial Point: When it comes to sports, Americans are complete hypocrites…and the Canadians are just like them.
Face it, America, there’s really no denying this. The very same people who attacked a Tweep of mine for saying the Americans played cry-baby in the gymnastics scenario are the same ones high-fiving each other over the result of Tuesday’s soccer game. Americans love the “What if?” game when it works for them. If you doubt that, imagine what the headlines Wednesday morning would have looked like if Catalina Ponor were an American?
To be honest, this is the true beauty of sport; it reflects life. Life isn’t fair, and neither are sports. They aren’t supposed to be. Fairness is a fantasy dreamed up by those same assholes who believe everybody should get a trophy for competing. Sports is supposed to teach you important lessons about life, and ironically one of the tools for success in life taught by sports is how to lose graciously.
Canada and Catalina Ponor both got screwed. Granted, the Canadians eventually ended up with the bronze, and Ponor won the silver medal on the floor exercise. They didn’t go home empty handed, but they left with less than they should have. I know, by all rights the glory, the medals, and the trappings should have been theirs, but guess what? It’s called “sports,” not “should haves.” It isn’t fair, but that the way it is. No matter how much hand-wringing you want to do over it, you can’t change it. Trying to make everything fair just takes us that much closer to making Harrison Bergeron a reality.
Through bad officiating, they both lost a medal. Not because the games were fixed, but because officials are human, which means they are going to fuck up; sometimes so horribly and so perfectly timed as to offer the definition of soul-crushing defeat. That’s why the true winners learn how to handle such defeat. After all, the world hates an inglorious winner as much as it does a sore loser.
And there lies the heart of American sports hypocrisy. The same American soccer mom who thinks everybody should be a winner is also the one who screams the loudest when the “fairness” doesn’t go her way. The same Americans who are calling the Canadians “crybabies” are the very same who would have wanted to declare war had the tables been turned.
Ponor handled her defeat with just such grace, you didn’t hear her stomping around making allegation of fraud. Too bad I can’t say the same about the Canadians. For all the sniffing, elitist bullshit I get to listen to out of Canadians about how their frozen, socialist utopia is so much better than their bulging, evil neighbor to the south, I was amazed at how American-like they acted when confronted with the soul-crushing defeat. My amazement ended when a Canadian friend (who we will refer to only as “Gordy”) explained it to me.
According to “Gordy,” the best way to describe Canada is that it is essentially what a bastard child between America and Europe would be. To that end, he says there are only two types of European-descended Canadians; those who are pissed because they wish their country was more like Europe, and those who are pissed because they wish they country was more like America. To me, it doesn’t really matter; they are all Canadians and can feel however they want about their heritage. But no matter what, they can’t bitch about Americans then act just like them just because they lost to them.
At the end of the day, the Canadians shouldn’t be worried about how they lost that soccer game. They should be more concerned about how one Romanian female gymnast took an equally-crushing loss more like a man than their entire nation did.
Signs We Are Near The End Of Civilization: Congratulations on Your Gold Medal…By The Way, Your Grandparents Are Dead
The “win at all costs” mentality is why the Chinese will rule the world in about 40 years. You may not like it, and you may not agree with it, but while American kids are getting fat and worthless on fast food and Xbox, Chinese kids get shipped off to athletic boarding schools where they don’t even get told their grandparents are dead.
Wu Minxia won the gold medal in the 3-meter synchronized springboard, which made her the first woman in history to win three consecutive Olympic gold medals in the same event. In order to celebrate that moment, her father decided this was a good time to tell her about her dead relatives and that her own mother had been battling breast cancer for eight years.
Minxia’s parents have no qualms over this; they considered lying to be “essential” to Wu’s maintaining focus on her training.
“It was essential to tell this white lie,” said her father Wu Yuming.
Let that sink in for a minute. As Americans, we’ve become such complete pantywastes we fire football coaches for yelling at players. Can you imagine what would happen if we did something like this? You’d have every dickweed from Dr. Phil on down crying about how abusive we are to our very own children. Shit, they already do that even though most American kids are a bunch of pampered little marshmallows who throw tantrums in supermarkets and get winded watching television.
Here’s the problem. The very same Americans who will bitch and moan about this level of inhumanity are merely the photo-negative of it. The issue here isn’t that Olympians have to make sacrifices; that’s universal. The issue is the Chinese culture is one which values focus and discipline, while America is becoming the exact opposite. Both approaches are extreme, and neither is particularly healthy.
First, there was the NBA with referees who were gambling on games. Then, there was the whole Penn State mess. Now, in a revelation that is certain to shatter irrevocably your faith in sports, it turns out that international badminton is rigged. From USA Today:
The Badminton World Federation confirms it has disqualified eight female badminton players from China, South Korea and Indonesia from the Olympics doubles competition for trying to lose matches to receive a more favorable draw. The federation found the players guilty of “not using one’s best efforts to win a match” and “conducting oneself in a manner that is clearly abusive or detrimental to the sport” in matches Tuesday night.
Players were roundly booed after they appeared not to exert themselves in preliminary rounds of the round-robin tournament before they were set to move on to elimination competition.
To me, this begs the obvious question: How exactly do you tell when a badminton player is “not using one’s best efforts to win a match?” Let’s face it, badminton is just some people chasing around what appears to be a miniature laundry basket with a helmet, and they are beating it with a flyswatter.
In other words, I’m not even sure how you fix a sport which is so patently ridiculous. Corked shuttlecocks? Oversize fly-swatters?
But wait…it gets better….
The Indonesian pair and both Korean pairs have appealed the decision. The badminton federation will hold a press conference later Tuesday following the final decision.
The eliminated players are world doubles champions Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yan of China and their South Korean opponents Jung Kyun-eun and Kim Ha-na, along with South Korea’s Ha Jung-eun and Kim Min-jung and Indonesia’s Meiliana Jauhari and Greysia Polii.
The doubles pairs were all due to compete in quarterfinals Wednesday afternoon.
IOC Vice President Craig Reedie, the former head of the international badminton federation, welcomed the decision.
“Sport is competitive,” Reedie told The Associated Press. “If you lose the competitive element, then the whole thing becomes a nonsense. You cannot allow a player to abuse the tournament like that, and not take firm action. So good on them.”
Nonsense? Let me see if I have this straight…by fixing a nonsense sport which nobody can tell if its fixed or not, it all becomes nonsense? Confusing, but whatever…
China’s Lin Dan, the No. 2-ranked men’s singles player, said through an interpreter the sport is going to be damaged.
“Especially for the audience,” he said before the disqualifications were announced. “This is definitely not within the Olympic spirit. But like I said before, it’s not one-sided. Whoever sets the rule should make it knockout so whoever doesn’t try will just leave the Olympics.”
Uhhh, to which audience is he referring? If he’s talking about the 17 people who were in the building when this happened, I’m not sure even they understood what was going on. As I understand it, in last night’s match featuring Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yan of China against Jung Kyung-eun and Kim Ha-na of South Korea, the Chinese appeared to deliberately serve into the net, triggering a warning from the referee. This led to the badminton federation examining whether the Chinese players sought to throw the match so they would not have to meet another Chinese pair in the next round. Worse yet, it seems it happened again later the same night when another South Korean pair and their Indonesian opponents were doing the exact same thing.
In any event, there’s an easy solution to this. If you want to stop team from tanking games to get a better draw, just use a lottery. There’s no better way to fix a rigged sport than with a rigged lottery. Just ask David Stern.