YouTube Clip of the Day: Best Celebration Ever?

This one came out a couple of months ago, and I have to say that Chad Ochocinco has nothing on Icelandic soccer players. The boys from FC Stjarnan come up with a celebration that, well, is just too great for words. Enjoy.

So is this the best celebration ever?

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YouTube Clip of the Day: Ivan Drago Does His Best Elvis Impersonation

 

"I must break ice blocks..."

One of the great actors of our time, Dolph Lundgren (check out his IMDB page if you don’t believe me…He-Man: Masters of the Universe…need I say more?), is probably best known for his role as Rocky Balboa‘s Soviet adversary Ivan Drago in 1985’s Rocky IV. Surely Rocky’s Sylvester Stallone‘s Hall of Fame selection and my subsequent list of characters that belong in the Hall of Fame had Drago on my mind.

It reminded me of this clip, which I originally saw on The Soup. Not only is Dolph an awesome performer, but he takes several breaks while singing to 1) perform an awesome drum solo and 2) destroy wood and blocks of ice with parts of his body. Plus he’s in a tuxedo the whole time. Marvelous.

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Cleveland Fans Could Learn Something From Hockey Fans

Tonight’s the big night for LeBron, but apparently there’s some hockey player named Dany Heatley (yes one “N”, that’s all his mom could afford) who pulled a similar move and will be making his return tonight as well. Heatley’s actions seem worse than LeBron, because at least LeBron was a free agent. Heatley demanded a trade and eventually had his request granted when the Ottawa Senators traded him to the San Jose Sharks.

Hockey fans are apparently much more creative than basketball fans. All Cleveland fans could come up with was “The Lyin’ King”…lame. Meanwhile Senators fans came up with this gem:

That’s officially the most I’ve ever written about hockey. Maybe all this time in Canada is starting to have an effect on me. Tune in next week for a retrospective on the career of Mats Sundin.

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Dustin Johnson Proves Why Golf Will Never Be a Sport

This is the "bunker" where Johnson grounded his club.

So I returned from a beautiful Hawaiian family vacation yesterday morning (red eye got in around 6 a.m.) and naturally I went to sleep for the whole day. I woke up around 3 p.m. and read the ESPN alerts on my phone. The first one that I noticed was that Twins starter Kevin Slowey was taken out of the game in the middle of a no-hitter. Being a former (well, current if you count Sunday Adult League) pitcher, I was understandably confused.

It’s one of those cardinal rules in baseball that you don’t take a pitcher out, no matter how many pitches he’s thrown, if he hasn’t given up a hit. I was curious to hear the story so later that night I turned on SportsCenter, but I didn’t see any segments about the Slowey decision. All I saw were golf highlights. Golf? Really? This is the biggest baseball story we’ve had in weeks, and you’re gonna show me golf? And it’s not even about Tiger!?!? Who the hell is Dustin Johnson anyway?

After my third time seeing the Johnson story I gave in and watched it, and I couldn’t help but be captivated. In case you haven’t heard, this guy Johnson was in position to end his final round of the PGA Championship (which I guess is a big deal or something) in a tie for the lead, which would put him into a three-way playoff with Martin Kaymer and a grown man named Bubba. However, Johnson didn’t make it to the playoff.

Lots of scenarios went through my head. He missed an easy putt. He had a meltdown on the final hole and shot a Roy McAvoy-esque 12 on the final hole. One of Tiger Woods‘ mistresses accidentally ran him over with a golf cart in a fit of rage. Nope.

Johnson was penalized two strokes for grounding his club in a bunker. Um…excuse me? Grounding his club in a bunker? It sounds like a failed attempt at innuendo by a college freshman.

SportsCenter must have shown 30 clips of the “incident” and afterwards I still had no clue what it meant to “ground one’s club”. A Google search led me to this brief description by Golf Digest which so eloquently summarizes the penalty:

SITUATION: Player A, while competing in a stroke-play championship, discovers his ball in a sand bunker. (A sand bunker is a hazard. Grass-covered ground bordering a sand bunker, or within one, is not considered part of the hazard. A ball is in a bunker when any part of it touches a bunker.)

COMMON MISTAKE: In taking his address, Player A rests the bottom of the club on the ground. Rule 13-4 does not permit grounding the club in a sand bunker or water hazard. Hence, Player A must incur a two-stroke penalty. In match play, the penalty is loss of hole.

CORRECT PROCEDURE: When preparing to hit a recovery shot from a sand bunker (or water hazard), make sure to keep the club elevated. The bottom of the club is not allowed to touch the sand, the surface of the water, or any area of ground inside the hazard.

After having a few laughs at the word “situation”, I realized two things: 1) I’m an idiot and should have realized that “grounding” a club means putting your club on the ground, and 2) Golf is a silly, silly game.

I’ll spare you a rant about how the guy deserved a chance to win and the winner of a major should not be determined on such a ridiculous technicality. I’ll even spare you the part about how the “bunker” was a tiny patch of dirt that Johnson thought was simply a patch of grass that spectators had trampled. I guess Stuart Appelby already provided a rant of his own via his Twitter feed. You know you’ve arrived as a journalist when you’ve typed that sentence.

People have debated for a long time whether golf is actually a sport, but the Dustin Johnson incident put an end to it (I was going to try to come up with a clever name for it, but ClubGate 2010 sounds like an MTV Spring Break special).

At first I thought it was the rule. What a stupid, stupid rule. You can’t put your club on the ground before you hit the ball? That’s like saying you can’t dribble before you shoot a free throw. Or you can’t tap your bat on home plate before you start your at-bat. Or you can’t take those stupid backwards steps before you kick a field goal.

Not being a golfer, I have decided to abstain from postulating theories on why this rule exists. I just imagined a scenario where the ALCS was determined on a balk call and reading countless Facebook Status Updates saying “what is a balk anyway…what a stupid rule…check out these pics of me and my boyz in Cancun HOLLA!” I always get upset at people for scoffing at rules they don’t understand, so I won’t be a hypocrite.

So why does this whole mess prove that golf is not a sport? One word: reaction.

Every sport has dumb rules. My favorite sport, baseball, has about 13,000 dumb rules that were created before Prohibition that make no sense now that we have telephones and washing machines. One of the most infamous of these rules is the “pine tar rule” which states that the substance cannot extend more than 18 inches from the handle of the bat. The rule was created to keep pine tar from getting on the ball, thus rendering it unusable. Now that the average life of a Major League Baseball is three pitches, the rule makes absolutely no sense. But to “preserve the sanctity of the game,” baseball keeps it in.

As we all know, the pine tar rule came into play on July 24, 1983 when umpires discounted George Brett‘s homerun and called him out because the pine tar on his bat exceeded the limit.

So, like I said, stupid rules are a part of the game. But how did George Brett react to that decision? See below for the answer to that question.

That’s what athletes do. That’s how you know baseball is a sport. That was a meaningless regular season game, and George Brett acted like the umpire had murdered his first-born child.

How did Dustin Johnson react? His words:

I just thought I was on a piece of dirt that the crowd had trampled down. I never thought I was in a sand trap. It never once crossed my mind that I was in a bunker…Obviously I know the rules of golf and I can’t ground my club in a bunker, but that was just one situation I guess. Maybe I should have looked to the rule sheet a little harder.

Can you see George Brett, or any other athlete who doesn’t wear a polo shirt and khakis during competition responding to a miscarriage of justice like that with “Maybe I should have looked to the rule sheet a little harder”? I mean, on the heels of Steven Slater‘s epic resignation, I think we can do a little better than that.

The fact that golfers willingly accept these things in an effort to remain “upstanding” and “classy” is why the average fan will never be able to relate. People have to shut up and take it when their boss asks them to work the weekend; they don’t want to see athletes do the same thing.

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What’s This All Aboot?

 

We interrupt this broadcast of 8-year-old Chinese gymnasts masquerading as 16-year-olds for an urgent message: ONE OF THE PARTICIPATING NATIONS IS NOT HOLDING UP ITS END OF THE BARGAIN.

As of the time of this post, the fine nation of Canada had won 0 medals. Yup, that’s right, not one of the 33 million Canadian citizens can say that they have a medal at the 2008 Olympic Games. You, sitting on your couch yelling at American gymnasts for falling off a balance beam the width of your remote control, have just as many medals as any Canadian athlete.

Just for comparison’s sake, let’s take a look at some of 50 powerhouse nations that have managed to justify the 4 years of training, millions of dollars worth of travel, and countless amounts of commercials by actually winning a medal:

  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Mongolia
  • Togo (I guess they’re not just a sandwich shop anymore)
  • Vietnam
  • Egypt
  • Zimbabwe
  • Finland
  • Georgia (actually a country, not the Peach State)

and my personal favorite…

  • The Stan Brothers: Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and of course the home of Borat, Kazakhstan.

It’s not like Canada is perenially in the poor house when it comes to the Olympics. In Athens in 2004, the Canucks took home 12 medals, including 3 golds! I don’t know what happened between now and then, but it seems like they never thawed out from the winter.

Hey, if your country is gonna spend its hard-earned Loonies and Toonies to get you here, you might as well compete, right? Here are some possible reasons for why they haven’t been able to break through with that first medal:

  1. Too much poutine.

    French fries and gravy....a marriage made in heaven

    French fries and gravy....a marriage made in heaven

  2. Still hung over from too many Molson Canadians on Canada Day.
    I think I had too much, eh?

    I think I had too much, eh?

     

  3. They are disqualified because they bring their hockey sticks to every competition.

    These guys showed up for gymnastics

    These guys showed up for gymnastics

  4. Instead of a swimming pool, the Canadian swim team practiced in a vat of maple syrup.

    This might get you through one Canadian breakfast

    This might get you through one Canadian breakfast

  5. All the real Canadian athletes stayed behind to become Royal Canadian Mounties.

    They always get their man...but unfortunately no medals

    They always get their man...but unfortunately no medals

 

Those are just a few ideas about why our friendly neighbors to the north have been struggling thus far. The most logical reason, though, is that they’re saving up so they can blow everyone to hell in Vancouver in the 2010 Winter Olympics, where they consistently give everyone else a good old fashioned wood-shed beating (24 medals, 7 golds in Turin in 2006).
With my luck, the Canadians will have 8 medals by the time this posts, but hey you gotta take any opportunity you can to take a shot at Canada, eh? What with their universal health care and friendly, helpful nature.

The Faux-Lympic Games

Alright, you can breathe a sigh of relief. Yes, at long last I have returned from my vacation to historic Charleston, South Carolina. No, that’s not a joke, I actually went on a family vacation to the Palmetto State, and I have to say it was quite a good time. Here’s the official tally:

Trips to the beach: 5

Waves ridden: 7

Jellyfish Stings: 2 (one to right foot, one to right ankle…on consecutive trips. I started to think i was going to set a Cal Ripken-esque streak for number of consecutive trips with a jellyfish sting. Alas, on the third day they got my brother instead. That’s like if they replaced Cal at short one day with Billy Ripken.)

Crabcakes eaten: 4

Shrimp eaten: 1,356

Ounces of alcohol consumed: priceless

 

Anyway I can’t say that I was too out of touch with the sports world while I was gone since we had digital cable with every channel imaginable. I was able to receive by-the-minute coverage of Favre-Gate 2008 (has a nice ring to it, eh?) even after the SportsCenter anchors insisted that Favre’s reign of terror was over. Now they’re giving us updates on how he is fitting in with his new team because he was forced to run a punishment lap. Just like a normal guy! Imagine that! Luckily, there was a crawl across the Bottom Line saying “Brett Favre runs punishment lap in 34.3 seconds. Jets management “satisfied” with time.”

I then turned my attention to the second-most covered story of the week: The Games of the XXIX Olympiad. 192 independent countries sent their finest athletes to Beijing, China where they were treated to one of the most impressive opening ceremonies I’ve ever seen. If you didn’t get a chance to see it, find a replay and watch it. You won’t be disappointed. Here are some stunning high-resolution photos  from the NY Times.

What was somewhat disappointing, however, was the list of “sports” that will take place at this summer’s Games. Here are some of the events we will be treated to at 4 a.m. on BRAVO, CNBC, and other affiliates while the real NBC turns into Michael Phelps’ own reality show, Michael Phelps: Silver Ain’t Good Enough.

  • Handball (the nations must decide the rules before the match, i.e. whether to include “rainbows,” “slicies,” and “bouncies.” See here for some commonly-used techniques.)
  • Synchronized Swimming (aka freaky twins showcasing their mind-control powers by dancing in the water)
In the midst of a riveting game of Marco Polo

In the midst of a riveting game of Marco Polo

  • Badminton (white sweater must be tied around neck at all times, or a point is awarded to the other team. Official timeout when Jeffrey brings out fresh-squeezed lemonade.)
  • Canoeing (one team member must stand at the front of the canoe with a spy-glass; extra points awarded for any land discovery)
  • Water Polo (what happens underwater…stays underwater!)
  • Fencing (before every strike, the striker must recite, in his best Spanish accent, “My name is Inigo Montoya…you killed my father…prepare to die!)
  • Table Tennis (Timeouts taken when the ball gets broken and/or lost under the garage beer fridge. Also, Tyler Hansbrough and Bobby Frasor avaliable for “Texas Ping Pong” tiebreakers. The fun starts around 3:08 )

 

  • Weightlifting (the U.S. team consists of four Jersey Shore residents who attempt to intimidate their opponents by grunting while they get their swell on. They are also known for their elaborate victory dances.)

 

With sports like these, who needs football, rugby, or golf? They’ve even decided to dump softball for the 2012 Olympics. I guess they need sports with more subjective judging involved rather than clear, outright winners. I’d personally like to see Mixed Martial Arts make its way into the Olympics. Some say it’s too violent, but one of the mainstays at the Olympics is “Shooting.” I think I’d rather see two guys face each other in hand-to-hand combat than an Aaron Burr-Alexander Hamilton style duel…but that’s just me.

Dunking With The Stars

I was watching SportsCenter for the 4th time today when I saw some highlights of Terrell Owens (while they were saying that he was the one pro-bowl caliber player that they wouldn’t want on their team). One of the highlights showed T.O. doing one of his least original and most low-key touchdown celebrations, the time-tested and well-received football dunk over the goal post.

Now, the goal posts in football are 10 feet off the ground (the same as a basket), and T.O.’s arm was a good two feet over the post. That got me thinking that I’d like to see him in a dunk contest. Then I got thinking about other non-basketball athletes I’d like to see in the same contest.

I think I remember hearing something about a Non-Basketball dunk contest in the 80s featuring track runners and high jumpers, but my extensive research (typing “non basketball dunk contest” into google) didn’t give me any results.

Luckily, on my trip to the gym I noticed a group congregated on a local outdoor basketball court. It turns out the Non-Basketball Dunk Contest is alive and well, and all athletes (except for basketball players of course) were invited.

There I saw some of the most amazing dunks ever displayed, which I will now recount to you in all of their golry:

 

Terrell Owens: Natually T.O. went first. He backed up all the way to the other end of the court as if he was going to take off from the free throw line. He got the cheerleaders ready on the sidelines, placed a mystery item behind the basket (a surprise for the post-dunk celebration) and began running with his 4.4 speed to the opposing basket. To everybody’s shock and amazement, T.O. took off from the THREE-POINT LINE and glided gracefully towards the basket.

He was well on his way to making it when, in mid-air, he received a call from his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, on his bluetooth earpiece telling him not to complete the dunk without a $4 million bonus. T.O. ended the call, put the ball on his waist, and grabbed the rim to let himself down without dunking the ball. Of course after the “attempt” he was bombarded with questions, and he fielded them while doing shirtless bicep curls and situps on the pavement.

Score: Despite not actually dunking the ball, T.O.’s athletic display (and consequent workout) earned him a score of 40.

 

Prince Fielder: In an effort to put his own spin on Gerald Green’s “Birthday Cake Dunk”, the 5’10” 275 pound Fielder got a ladder and balanced a box of twinkies on the rim. He then asked teammate Ryan Braun to assist him by throwing him an alley oop. Fielder backed up, then started running full-speed toward the basket (his man-breasts smacking him in the face with every step). Braun threw a perfect lob to Fielder, who ignored the basketball, detached his jaw bones and swallowed the box of twinkies (wrappers, box, and all) as the ball fell through the hoop.

Score: The judges all had an uneasy look on their faces as they hid their laminated scorecards under the table. Because the ball went through the hoop (and Fielder still looked hungry), he received a 42.

 

Brett Favre: It put a smile on everyone’s face to see the gray-bearded 38-year-old out to have a good time. He took the ball and went to the three-point line. He tossed the ball in the air, as so many dunkers do, waiting for the perfect bounce for a self-alley-oop. Favre ran up to the ball, then stopped claiming the toss was too high. He then did it again, but this time the toss was too low. He threw the ball again, caught it in the air, but stopped just before throwing the ball through. Favre continued this for about 20 minutes before people realized he was never going to dunk the ball, so they switched baskets, leaving Favre and his indecision to continue his ‘attempt’.

Score: Favre is technically still attempting his dunk, and since there is no time limit, he cannot be given a score. ESPN will be sure to update you everytime he’s close to dunking though.

 

Tiger Woods: In a surprise move, Tiger Woods, still not cleared to walk by doctors after his recent surgery, rolled his wheelchair to center court. He stood up, walked slowly towards the basket and threw down a standard two-handed dunk. The judges were impressed and gave him a score good enough to get it to the second round. In the second round, he stepped up a did a 360. In the third round, Tiger found the strength to go between the legs. And finally in the finals, Tiger did a dunk with more contortions and acrobatics than a Cirque De Soleil performance, blowing away the competition and unanimously winning the title.

Rocco Mediate was seen shaking his head and smiling on the sideline.

 

Needless to say, the contest was quite entertaining and I was happy to see that such a thing exitsts. Apparently they go from city to city using abandoned hoops, so who knows when I’ll come across another one.

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