Entries by: Michael Avalos

Rollerball or Nothing

Written by :
Published on : August 28, 2017

 

 

In 2018, the world is run by a small handful of large corporations. War, regulation and government have all been eliminated. The upper executive class enjoys all the wealth and technology while everyone else enjoys ultra-violent entertainment made to distract them. No, I’m not describing the not-too-distant future. I’m talking about Rollerball, a sci-fi movie from the sort-of-distant past of 1975 that deserves to be updated.

 

In the film, rollerball is the most popular sport in the world. It is essentially roller derby but with motorcycles and lots of violence. A metal ball gets shot onto the track at about 200 mph. Two squads, each with seven skaters and three motorcycles, compete for possession of the ball. A player must skate once around the track while holding the ball in plain sight before they are able to score. Their teammates serve as blockers that defend them from the opposing team. The game is full contact. Each player wears a helmet, pads and gloves covered with metal spikes.  Injuries, even fatalities, are common.

 

 

James Caan stars as Johnathan E, captain of the Houston Squad, current Rollerball World Champions, sponsored by the ominously-named Energy Corporation. Johnathan is the most popular player in the sport, which is why he’s blindsided by the corporation’s order that he retire immediately. Johnathan refuses, partly because he resents the corporation’s ultimate authority, and partly because he just doesn’t want to retire.  As he continues to play, rules and safeguards are eliminated by the executives, hoping that Johnathan becomes a casualty.

 

 

Adapted from the short story, “Roller Ball Murder,” the movie is a missed opportunity. Made in a pre-Star Wars Hollywood, the film tells its story like an extended episode of The Twilight Zone. Caan plays an average American everyman stuck in a nightmare version The Future just similar enough to modern 1975 to be believable. When Johnathan finally learns that he must retire so rollerball can remain an anonymous bloodsport that reinforces the corporate culture’s “nobody is special, we are all expendable” message to the masses, the result is kind of a letdown. The movie shouldn’t be blamed for putting so much weight into a reveal that feels intellectually tame by modern 2017 standards. But it should be blamed for having too narrow a focus. Besides one of Johnathan’s teammates, a large bruiser named Moonpie, we don’t get a feel for any other rollerball player’s personality. Nor do we see or experience much of the future beyond sports arenas, office buildings, locker rooms and upper-middle class homes.

 

HBO, get on this shit. You love sports (Hard Knocks) and weird vintage sci-fi (Westworld). This is exactly the type of idea best suited for longform television over movies. (The less said about the 2002 remake, the better. Even though it stars LL Cool J and Rebecca Romijn Stamos. But seriously, don’t go there.)

 

Billionaires, make this sport a reality. It’s football/NASCAR/hockey all rolled into one. Big, loud, high-energy and you probably get to see a crash. I’d paid good money to see that.

 

 

 


SBS Guide to: Fidget Spinners

Written by :
Published on : July 14, 2017

 

If you don’t know what a fidget spinner is by now, you’ve been living under a rock or just woke up out of a coma. Marketed as an item for the ADHD afflicted, the fidget spinner is the fad of 2017. If you don’t have one, you’re missing out. These things are fun as hell.

 

There are many different types of spinners out there. Plastic, metal, light-up, mini, doubles, ones with superhero logos, even ones with Bluetooth speakers (Don’t buy those, I hear they can explode). All you need to get in on the craze is a plain ol’ plastic spinner with metal weights. They come in a variety of colors.

 

Fidget Spinners

 

Where did they come from? Short answer: China. Long answer: I’m not really sure. In the mid-90s, an inventor named Catherine Hettinger submitted a patent for a Spinning Toy, a small UFO-shaped plastic disc that is “designed to be spun on the finger” for enjoyment. Wikipedia incorrectly credited her as having created the ’17 Spinner, a claim to fame that she’s using on her own Kickstarter page even though she’s confirmed it isn’t true. In the mid-10s, an IT guy named Scott McCoskery invented the Torqbar. It’s basically the same concept, but it’s only got two arms instead of three. Having not used either of these antecedent objects, I cannot say how fun they are. I can only repeat that the fidget spinner, sold wherever money is accepted, is very fun.

 

How does it work? Simply balance or grip the toy and spin, spin, spin. I get a hypnotic satisfaction from watching it spin. Momentum carries it for a satisfyingly long time. But be warned, you’re buying a $4 dollar toy, and they can wear down quickly. That’s why you get two. Not only for that, but so you can learn how to do tricks.

 

 

Tricks are the reason that fidget spinners have been banned in schools all over America. It’s an addictive pursuit, but also distracting and potentially very destructive. YouTube is full of fidget spinner trick videos with kids pulling off some amazing shit. All tricks start with learning to catch. Toss the spinner with one hand and grasp it mid-air. It seems easy, but from experience, it’s difficult as hell. But I’m also over 30.

 

 

Better than the trick videos are the fail videos. These things can break a lot of stuff. One kid even chips his tooth while trying to spin it on his tongue. Idiot.

 

Should you get yourself a fidget spinner? Absolutely, 100% yes. It’s not just a toy, it’s a fad. Fads are time capsules of a specific era. Specifically, the (usually very short) era when everyone thought this one thing was really cool. Fidget spinners are 2017’s entry into the Fad Hall of Fame, ready to stand with fads like Beanie Babies, Hoverboards, The Macaerna, Pogs, Snuggies, Chia Pets, The Clapper, the Ice Bucket Challenge, Magic Eye books, Pokemon Go and Weird Al Yankovic.

 

Seriously. Buy one, play with it for a week, then put it in a drawer. Your future kid is going to love it.

 

 

 


SBS Guide to: Getting Into Spring Break Shape

Written by :
Published on : March 8, 2017

 

 

Hey you! If you’re anything like me, you’ve been indulging yourself in the name of holiday cheer since last Halloween. While nothing may have mattered during the big sweater/heavy jacket season, spring is here now and you’ve got some extra pounds to shed along with those extra layers. Don’t worry. This is the ultimate guide to getting your baked potato off the couch and turning that body-at-rest into a WrestleMania body. This is the SBS Guide to Getting Into Spring Break Shape.

 

DAY 1

We’ve all heard the phrase, “my diet starts tomorrow,” because the hardest part of getting fit is getting started.  That’s why you’re not going to exercise today. Relax. Take a load off. You’ll worry about that shit tomorrow.

 

But hold up — that doesn’t mean this is a free day. You’ve still got work to do. First, even though you haven’t hit the gym yet, let everyone know that you’re on a diet today. Tell them as soon as you see them. It’s a great conversation starter.

 

Second, do some research. Set yourself up for success by hitting the Internet and working out your routine for the week. Plan a workout routine that focuses on different muscle groups each day, and look up recipes that fit your new diet. This will come in handy later.

 

Third, and most importantly: working out requires work out music. Sit down and make a kickass playlist. High energy songs, only stuff that you love. At least 20 to 30 songs. Do it!

 

marketing-research

 

DAY 2

You can’t put it off any longer. Today’s the day. Don’t dread it, embrace it. Eat some protein, crank that playlist and start exercising.

 

Remember: it’s going to suck. Especially if you haven’t worked out in a while, then it’s really going to suck. You’re going to wind up a sweaty, tomato-faced blob by the time it’s over. The good news is that means that you did it right. Now eat some kale.

 

DAY 3

How you feeling? A little sore? Kinda hungry? The answer: change it up!

 

Everything about today should be different from yesterday. Work out different muscles and try some new recipes. Doesn’t this feel great? It’s like Day 1 (but actually Day 2 remember) all over again.

 

Change it up! Remember: variety is the spice of life. And Variety is a Hollywood newspaper that would write something like “Auds Applaud Hero’s Boffo Bod Mod” if they were reporting on you and your diet.

 

variety

 

DAY 4

Things are definitely going to be tough today. It should feel good to exercise those sore muscles, but no, it does not. Your diet foods are all super delicious, but no, not as good as a cheeseburger and a beer. You need a morale booster, but not from your friends. Fuck those platitude-spouting jerks. What do they know? I don’t see them sweating it out with you.

 

Sit down and watch a movie from the “determination conquers all” genre. Need a suggestion? Start with the classics: Rocky, Rudy, or Aladdin.

 

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DAY 5

Brace yourself. This is going to be the worst day of your week. You’re tired, hungry and your playlist sucks. The novelty of “being on a diet” or “changing your lifestyle” has completely worn off by now. Today you need support, and who better than you friends?

 

Invite a friend to lunch today. Make sure it’s someone who knows that you’re on a diet. Arrive before them. Overdress for the occasion, and I mean really look like a million bucks. And when you order, stick to your diet foods.

 

Sure, you’re fishing for compliments. And if they’re any kind of friend, they’ll throw them at you faster than you can accept them. You might make them feel bad, but you’re going to feel good.

 

DAY 6

CHEAT DAY MOTHERFUCKER!!!

 

After being a slave to your routine all week, this is your official day of the week to do you.

 

food

 

DAY 7

Repeat Day 1.

 

Was that so hard? No, I didn’t think so. Now do that until you feel better about yourself.

 

Good luck.

 

 


Go Cubs! A Tale from 2003

Written by :
Published on : October 23, 2016

 

 

Here we are again, Cubs fans. On the verge of making history. Last time we were here was back in 2003, when the Cubbies broke a nearly hundred-year postseason loss record, and I went to the best party of my young life.

 

I was not a sports fan growing up, but I was something of a Cubs fan. I made an annual trip every August to Wrigley Field with my Grandfather. I enjoyed those afternoons, but my interest in the game never stretched beyond them. I wasn’t a scorekeeper or a stathound. I didn’t even care if they won really, because we often left during the 8th, usually on my Grandfather’s calculated risk that a cab could make Union Station in time for the express Metra train back to the suburbs. At best, I fell into the category of fair weather fan, one of the most common and reviled of sports animals.

 

That fall of ’03, I was a college freshman. One of my first assignments was to attend a screening at the Chicago International Film Festival. Back then, my cinematic tastes leaned heavily towards bullets and boobs, so I chose the least festival-y film I could find. The movie was called Kops, a Swedish comedy about local police officers that bore a passing resemblance to Super Troopers. My friend Wags agreed to go with me, and we headed to the Music Box Theatre in Wrigleyville for the show.

 

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When the movie started, I was only vaguely aware that the Cubs were in a position to make history. If they won their next game — which they were playing that night, Sunday October 5th — it would be their first postseason series victory since 1908. I was only vaguely aware of this because, even as a passing Cubs fan, I knew they were perennial losers, a bedrock certainty that belonged in The Pantheon of Facts between the hilarity of The Three Stooges and Scarlett Johansson’s beauty.

 

Halfway through the movie, I heard a noise I haven’t heard in a theater before or since: a car horn. It sounded in quick gunfire bursts. Then I heard the cheering. Wags leaned over and said, “I think the Cubs just won.”

 

After the movie, we exited the theater and saw blue and white fans everywhere. We were less than a mile from Wrigley Field, and everyone seemed to be heading that direction. Which made sense after all; there was a rogue’s gallery of bars stretching along Clark Street. Wags suggested we join the fray and I agreed. He had driven us there after all, so I didn’t think I could protest too much.

 

Cubs

 

As we came upon the intersection of Clark and Addison, underneath the warm glow of the Wrigley Field neon, we found ourselves in the middle of the biggest party I had ever seen. There were people everywhere. So many they had overflowed the bars and sidewalk and crowded into the middle of the street. Cars were trafficjammed for blocks in every direction. If you weren’t cheering, it was because you were drinking. Someone had propped speakers out their second story window and were blasting “You Shook Me All Night Long” by AC/DC into the street. Wags ducked into a bar and returned with several open cans of Budweiser. We camouflaged them with empty McDonald’s cups and drank down a couple of Harry Caray’s favorite brew.

 

We intended to walk around but didn’t get very far. There were too many drunk idiots screaming at the top of their lungs. Too many suburban Moms and Dads wearing their weekend Cubs gear. Too many girls. It was a great time. The good feeling was infectious. We were surrounded by new old friends, all united in a winner’s high. I couldn’t tell you how long we hung out there, but I was finishing my second beer, and that’s when the cops showed up. Not Kops. Real cops.

 

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Like I said, this was my first real life, holy shit, I’ve-only-seen-parties-like-this-in-the-movies blowout that I had ever attended. That milestone was capped off by watching the Chicago Police break up the biggest party ever. How does that happen, you ask? On horseback, my friend. All of a sudden, there was a row of mounted cops seated above the crowd. Behind them were more officers dressed in riot gear. Falling into line, they created a blue wall that advanced forward. Pushing the crowd back onto the sidewalk where they belonged. It was a calm show of force, and it worked. I wish I could say that we started a riot and burned some shit down, but no. Nothing like that happened. Everyone was too busy have a good time. The Cubs had just broken a 95 year losing streak. No matter how down-and-out you were, nobody in Chicago felt like a loser that night.

 

The rest of it has faded from my memory, but that feeling of communal celebration is something I’ll never forget. I had done my share of cheering for the hometeam, and I had experienced the swell of an entire ballpark’s energy rise up before. But this was something else. The scale was epic. We were celebrating a moment that had already been recorded into history. Here’s hoping we can feel that way again. Go Cubs.

 

 


When the NFL Took Over MTV

Written by :
Published on : October 2, 2016

 

While researching the Chicago Bears’ “Super Bowl Shuffle” for a totally unrelated reason, I stumbled upon a horrifying discovery — this used to be a thing. During the mid-1980s, several NFL teams tried their hand at recording novelty songs. A few of these are great, some are really bad, and none are actually good.

 

“We’re the 49ers”

 

The San Francisco 49ers started the trend during the ’84-’85 season, releasing their song several months before “Super Bowl Shuffle.” Since the 49ers weren’t trying to copycat something popular, “We’re the 49ers” is set apart from the rest of the bunch. The biggest difference is how impersonal it feels. Sung by anonymous players in unison, it lacks the ragtag spirit of camaraderie that made “Super Bowl Shuffle” so fun. The lyrics are also pretty bland, and the beat sounds like generic disco pop.

 

“New England, the Patriots and We”

 

What a stinker. Released prior to their showdown with the Bears at Super Bowl XX, this New England Patriots effort rips off the aesthetic of 1985’s other novelty single, “We Are the World,” by crowding too-many singers around too-few microphones to sing a really bad song. A few Patriots players are featured and all wear matching MTV hats. The song also states, out-loud and repeatedly, that the Patriots will beat the Bears in the Super Bowl. That didn’t happen, but that’s not the only reason this thing should be forgotten.

 

“Cuz the Blue Wave is on a Roll”

 

Also released during the ’85-’86 NFL season, the Seattle Seahawks “Cuz the Blue Wave is on a Roll” is the anti-“Super Bowl Shuffle” — slick, well-produced and catchy. The video even has a narrative: spirits are low in the locker room until (linebacker) Michael Jackson enters and leads the Seahawks in song. The music rips off The Coasters’ “Yakety Yak” and none of the Seahawks can keep a straight face, but it’s that goof-off spirit that makes video so charmingly cheesy. How can you hate something that doesn’t even take itself seriously?

 

“Ram It”

 

Nobody loves a trend like Hollywood. In 1986, both Los Angeles football teams released their own personalized songs. Since the Rams have returned to LA, their song “Ram It” has begun to resurface, and thank the gods for that. This song is amazing. Completely over-produced with a studio-designed beat, this video is constantly trying to one-up it’s inspiration with multiple sets, shooting outdoors and cheerleaders. “Super Bowl Shuffle” may have nostalgia on its side, but “Ram It” beats it as a piece of 1980s “so bad it’s good” pop culture. It’s catchy as HPV too.

 

“The Silver and Black Attack”

 

The worst kind of imitation; a cheap knock-off that strives to copy something already successful but improve upon it by making it flashier. Like it or not, “Super Bowl Shuffle” was a phenomenon because it was sincere, singular and weird. The Los Angeles Raiders saw success and said, “We can do that too.” The result is a forgettable song with a boring music video. Future “Firestorm” star Howie Long pops up early on, but he’s about the only reason to watch.

 

Ram It baby.

 

 


SBS Guide to: Enjoying a Viewing Party as a Non-Sports Fan

Written by :
Published on : September 11, 2016

 

So you’ve been invited over to watch The Game, but you’re not a sports fan. Don’t worry, you can still have a great time at a sports party if you’re not a fan. If you understand the rules. Like whatever match you’re about to watch, the sport of watching sports has points, rules, fouls, even penalties so egregious that you could be tossed out for them. But don’t worry, we’ve got the rulebook you’re looking for.

 

First of all, show up at least a half hour before game time so you can get to know everyone. And so you can get some nachos before they’re gone. Also because there will be no pleasantries exchanged once the game has started. Don’t take this personally. It’s not you, it’s game frenzy; a condition that creates tunnel vision and removes personal volume control. Remember: you’re at a game party with a bunch of sports fans. You’re hanging out with them, and it’s their rules.

 

Secondly, remember your basic p’s and q’s and bring something to the party. This tells everyone that even if you’re not a fan, you’re there to have a good time. Don’t be all Guy Fieri about it either; you can never go wrong with (at least) 12 cans of domestic beer or several bags of potato chips. Or both. That’s a great first impression.

 

american-beers

 

While getting to know everyone, it’s very important that you don’t pretend to be an expert. Resist the urge to parrot somebody else’s soundbite or headline as your own opinion. Especially if you’re unfamiliar with the loyalties of The House. (Defined by the host and usually two to three of their loudest friends; every House has it’s own specific opinion on the hometeam, as unique as a fingerprint and sensitive as a hair-trigger.) So if you recycle some sport writer’s opinion that the new quarterback is gonna “tie the room together” and the House thinks he’s an overpaid bum, now you’ve branded yourself against the House. Fact: among the fiercely loyal, there are no casual opinions. Don’t make any statements you’re not willing to fight for.

 

The flipside of this is don’t ask too many questions. Nothing annoys a fan quicker than having to explain everything. This isn’t a classroom, it’s the war room. You don’t know the rules? Google it. If you’re genuinely confused about something during gameplay, okay then you can ask. But only adorable kids, old people and girls with big boobs get to ask “which color are we rooting for?” Dig?

 

If the House’s team is playing well or winning handily, then spirits will be high. High fives will fly. Nachos will get destroyed. All you need to do then is follow the cardinal rule of sports watching and never disrupt the viewing of the game. Do not block anyone’s view. Don’t beg for attention during the game. Texting is fine, phone calls are not. Conversation is for commercials. And if you’re getting up for another beer, always ask the room who wants another. That’s just polite.

 

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If the House team is struggling with the lead or starting to lose, things get trickier. Fact: one cannot soar to high highs without also falling to low lows, and if the House team begins to lose you’re going to feel the temperature of the room drop to a low, chilly hostility. When the cheers turn to jeers, your best bet is to go with the flow. Everyone’s angry? Then you’re angry too. That ref made a stupid call? He’s a fucking moron. The new quarterback isn’t playing well? Send him back to Jacksonville. The host just kicked a hole in his wall? Smash that beer bottle over your head.

 

If the House’s team is losing terribly, then your job becomes keep your head down and don’t draw attention to yourself. Many sports fans are superstitious by nature, and even the most level-headed person can be thrown off by high emotions and a few gallons of beer. Anything can and will be blamed for the team’s performance, including the outcome of the coin toss or the attendance of a non-fan at the party. Fact: you do not want a roomful of angry sports fans blaming you for their misery. That’s a lot like being the dinner guest at the end of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. If that happens, run. But don’t worry, it probably won’t.

 

When the game is over, don’t leave too quickly. Take a few minutes to celebrate or commiserate with the group. Offer to clean up a little. If you have to drive, make sure that you’re sober. But don’t hang out too long, and especially if it’s during football season, do not stay for another game. An entire day spent watching sports may sound enjoyable, but it’s really for die-hards only. The non-sports fan will eventually lose interest and want to move on with their day. Hopefully you’re sober and can leave right away when that happens. If you’re not, then you’re stuck. Overstaying your welcome risks turning a fun activity into an annoying distraction. Quit while you’re ahead and go out on top.

 

 


Six Things Tim Tebow Can Do If His MLB Career Doesn’t Work Out

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Published on : August 26, 2016

 

 

Watch out, baseball. Tim Tebow is coming for you. The former Denver Broncos quarterback has invited major league scouts to a public workout he will be holding on August 30th in effort to jumpstart a professional career. Tebow hasn’t played baseball regularly since he was a high school junior back in 2004. The good news: there’s no shame in failure. And there’s still plenty of career options out there for you.

 

Sandals Resort Bartender

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Looking to switch careers? Why not try the island life? Spending all day on the beach mixing drinks sounds perfect for a retiree like yourself. Just don’t expect anything cool to happen. It’s still an island.

 

Rock and Roll Church Preacher

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 19: Simon Le Bon of Duran Duran performs onstage at the Apollo Theater on July 19, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

 

Your commitment to your faith is well-documented. And you’re already selling autographed baseballs for $125 on your website. Why not put those shill skills to work for the Lord?  #TebowsTravelingJesusShow

 

Join the Coast Guard

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Serve your country proudly by keeping our coastlines safe from whatever. You may be too old for active duty, but you’re still eligible for the Reserves. That’s only two days a month, plus an additional 12 days a year. Totally reasonable.

 

Stepdad

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You really want to be a man? Then you got to be there for Megan. Because she’s a good kid with a lot of potential. And that asshole Terry is never going to change. So step up!

 

American GladiatorAmerican-Gladiators

 

Too bad this isn’t still a thing. You would have fit right in with Malibu, Nitro and the rest of the gang. If you really want another sports job, don’t go pro-wrestling. That shit will wreck you.

 

Kidnapping Victim

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You’re a smart guy. Just cooperate and this will all be over soon.

 

Just kidding, Tim. Good luck Tuesday. We’ll be watching.

 

 


How The Karate Kid Ruined My LIfe

Written by :
Published on : May 22, 2016

 

 

One of my favorite movies growing up was 1984’s The Karate Kid. If you haven’t seen it, fuck off. If you don’t remember it, it’s essentially teenage Rocky in the San Fernando Valley. Ralph Macchio learns karate from wise old Mr. Miyagi so he can stand up to these Corba Kai jerks and go out with Elisabeth Shue. I loved this movie, and it created several lifelong obsessions: movies about teenagers, “Cruel Summer” by Bananarama, Elisabeth Shue and most importantly, karate.

 

Being a martial arts expert seemed like the coolest thing in the world to me. You could not give a fuck about anything and beat up anyone who tried to mess with you. As a shy and socially awkward kid, this was all that I wanted. I signed up for a taekwondo class convinced that I had discovered the shortcut to self-confidence. I was 100% wrong about that.

 

The problems started even before I got to class. Putting on the outfit, or gi, for the first time, I had a horrible realization: there was nothing cool about wearing this thing. First of all, it’s white. And it was definitely after Labor Day. Secondly, it’s this weird short robe that has multiple ties like a straitjacket. I began to understand why Jean Claude Van Damme always wound up shirtless in his movies. Realizing that everyone would be wearing a gi, I resigned myself to looking stupid. At least we would all looks stupid.

 

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When I got to class, things got worse. I realized that this wasn’t going to be learning life lessons with an enchanting old man. I realized, for the first time, that this was karate class. It was school after school. That I willingly signed up for. What an idiot I had been! It wasn’t even a part of school that I enjoyed, like reading or lunch. It was basically gym class, led by somebody’s beefy dad who would sweat when he yelled at us. Very un-Miyagi. If I wanted to get yelled at, I could have stayed home.

 

I might have been able to put up with all this bullshit if the class had delivered the goods. But it totally did not. I learned a few basic punches and kicks, that’s it. Nothing that was going to impress Elisabeth Shue or fight off the Cobra Kai. When I saw a bunch of older kids waiting around for their class to start, I realized this wasn’t a shortcut to anything. This was like a cult: once you’re in, you’re supposed to stay in. After that first class, I told myself I wouldn’t be back for another class.

 

karate-kid

But then a funny thing happened: I didn’t quit right away. Because I realized that I didn’t know very much taekwondo, but I knew a little bit. Maybe that would be enough to diffuse a dangerous situation. I started waiting for something to happen, an excuse to show off my newly acquired karate moves. That’s when I realized that Ralph Macchio only learned karate because he was getting beat up everyday. Was I really hoping to be terrorized by a bully? Did I want my life to get worse just to prove that I went to a karate class? What the fuck was wrong with me?

 

After that, taekwondo only had one thing left to teach me: how to quit something your parents have already spent a bunch of money on. And I turned out to be pretty good at that. So thanks, Ralph Macchio.

 

 


And Justice for Andrews

Written by :
Published on : March 9, 2016

 

 

On Monday, a jury awarded $55 million dollars in damages to sports reporter, Erin Andrews, over some illegally captured footage of her naked body. The nearly five minute video went viral back in 2009.

 

For those who don’t remember, here’s what happened: in September 2008, sideline reporter Andrews checked into the Nashville Marriott while on assignment for ESPN. She was followed to the hotel by Michael Barrett, an insurance salesman and serial stalker from Illinois. Barrett secured the room next to Andrews and tampered with her peephole while she was away. Later he used a cell phone to film Andrews while she was naked inside her room.

 

Barrett tried to sell the footage to several media outlets, including TMZ, who all told him to get lost. In 2009, he was arrested by the FBI after uploading the video to the Internet. Barrett was then convicted of interstate stalking and sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison.

 

 The face of a scumbag.

 

During the trial, Andrews gave emotional testimony about how she was treated after the video went live. Most pundits referred to it as a “publicity stunt” and wondered if she had posted it herself. The FBI wouldn’t get involved until she publicly said it was an invasion of her privacy. And ESPN was so concerned about the backlash that her bosses forced her to give a clarifying on-camera interview before she was allowed to return to work. She eventually went on Oprah.

 

Andrews sought $75 million dollars in damages from her stalker and the hotel, whose staff gave away crucial information without her consent. For example, Barrett learned that Andrews was staying there simply by asking the front desk. And they honored his request to be placed in the room next door without consulting her.

 

 

Defense attorneys for the hotel tried to argue that they were not culpable. In fact, they tried to imply that the exposure had actually helped Andrews’ career by elevating her celebrity. And if that sounds like bullshit, that’s because it is. Diverting credit for Andrews’ success away from her hard work and towards some creepy pervert who violated her is ridiculous. That’s like saying the only reason we remember JFK is because he was assassinated. It’s sexist at best, atrocious for real. Luckily the jury didn’t buy that shit and ordered the hotel to pay 49% of the damages. Barrett is responsible for the other 51%, or roughly $28 million dollars.

 

The battle might be over, but the war continues. Andrews claims that she’s reminded of this video on a daily basis, and by fans at every sports game she attends. That’s fucking low. She has every right to put this behind her, but the Internet is a horrible place that never forgets anything. It’s bad enough being constantly reminded of things you’ve willingly posted in the past (looking at you, Facebook) but never being able to escape one of the most horrifying moments of your life is a total nightmare. When you think about it like that, maybe $55 million dollars isn’t enough. But it’s a good fucking start.

 

 


Why We Need Dadball

Written by :
Published on : February 16, 2016

 

 

Let’s face it: football is ageist. Like an unholy demon from the netherworld, it requires the vitality of youth to keep itself strong. Professional careers are usually over by 30 due to injury or an inability to keep up with the modern NFL, a punishing full-contact sport. Not only does this seem like a waste of talent, but a waste of an opportunity. Everyone enjoys football, why shouldn’t everyone be allowed to play professionally?

 

reeves football

 

I propose the creation of a new football league, which I will refer to as “Dadball.” This would be a throwback league, less focused on speed and intensity, more emphasis on fundamentals and strategy. No blitzing, kickoffs and probably not full-contact either.

 

Instead of seeking rookie talent, Dadball players would all be middle-aged athletes. Like a Pop Warner game, but with guys actually named Pop.  Slower, wiser players who don’t treat their bodies like rental cars would play a slower, more thoughtful game. The best part: an influx of retired NFL players. Some guys are happy to retire, but I bet a bunch of them would happily segue into a slower-paced game if it meant extending their career. Wouldn’t it be awesome to see an old ass Dan Marino or Brett Favre or Charles Woodson hit the field again?

 

Woodson

 

Also, let’s be honest: no matter how “no contact” this league is, these middle-aged guys are going to get killed out there. I’m talking enough wrecks on the field to satisfy a NASCAR fan.

 

I know this Dadball League would be a home run (see what I did there?) because my Dad would totally be into it. Watching it, not playing it. When he sits down to watch the Bears, he doesn’t care about statistic records or signing bonuses. He doesn’t want quantity without quality. He wants triumph born from experience, skill and sportsmanship. The NFL provides that, but a ragtag team of over-the-hill athletes leaving it all out on the field for the W? That would be gold.

 

 


SBS Film Vault: Teen Wolf

Written by :
Published on : January 28, 2016

 

 

Have you seen Teen Wolf? Not the TV show that Google won’t stop talking about, I mean the (other) Michael J. Fox vehicle from 1985 (I was also born that year, obviously a great year for Michaels). This movie is all-around awesome. Fox is great – this kid’s a star – and everything around him has gotten funnier in a cheesy, 80s time-capsule sort of way. But besides that, this is also one of the best high school basketball movies ever made.

 

The movie starts on the basketball court as Scott (Fox) misses two free throws. Not that it would make a difference; his team, The Beavers, are getting absolutely killed by their rivals, The Dragons. Scott is ready to quit the team, but then this whole discovering-he’s-a-werewolf-thing totally distracts him. When he accidentally transforms into The Wolf in the middle of the next game, the whole crowd is shocked… until The Wolf wins everyone over with some amazing basketball skills.

 

 

Seriously who cares if he’s an inhuman monster? Did you see that jump shot? The Wolf dominates the court so much that his teammates feel left out. You’d think these guys would just be happy with an easy ride to the Championship, but no, Teen Wolf doesn’t play like that. This is a movie about strength of character, being yourself and ultimately, being a team player.

 

After Scott realizes that being The Wolf won’t solve his problems, he shows up to the Championship game ready to play. But only as himself, not The Wolf. Scott rallies his team with a classic “give ’em hell” speech, and they hit the court. And because it was the 80s, they put a super boss jam on the soundtrack to get your blood pumping.

 

 

There’s lots of great stuff in there: obvious personal fouls, slow-motion celebrating, cheerleaders. But you know what the best part was: teamwork. Scott assists other players as much as he scores, having realized that the only way to win is as a team. In the end, Scott has to return to the free throw line to decide the game. I won’t spoil the outcome, but since that song on the last clip is called “Win in the End,” I think we know how this goes down.

 

Also! I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Teen Wolf’s biggest contribution to pop culture: Surfing the Wolfmobile. Only technically a sport, but definitely super not-safe. I legally cannot endorse you doing anything but watching this clip, but I do highly recommend that.

 

 

Ow-ow-ooooooooooooo!

 

 


ScoreBoredSports NFL Staff Picks: Week 12

Written by :
Published on : November 25, 2015

 

Thursday is Thanksgiving, the holiday that football owns the same way that Bill Murray owns Groundhog Day. It’s inescapable. If you’re not watching it on TV or playing it in the front yard, then you’re probably hiding in the kitchen filling up on hors d’oeuvres and making small talk with your boring cousin. Good luck with that. I’ll see you at halftime.

 

Meanwhile, these ScoreBoredSports NFL Staff Picks remains a tight race. Ryan and Antoine still lead the pack. I find myself squarely in the middle —  ten points away from both highest and lowest record. Oh, and Alex and Mike both have the same stats (95-65). Not bad? Not good enough. All it takes it one good/bad week to change everything.

 

I’m not much for trash talk, so I’m going the opposite route this week — passive aggressive kindness. Enjoy your Thanksgiving, SBS staffers, and good luck with this week’s picks. Don’t choke.

 

Week 12

 

 

 

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Week 6

Week 7

Week 8

Week 9

Week 10

Week 11

 

 


Rams, Raiders and Chargers… oh, my!

Written by :
Published on : November 15, 2015

 

Football is coming back to LA, baby. After 20 years without an NFL team, there are currently two new stadium proposals set for approval early next year. One plan would relocate the St. Louis Rams to a brand-new stadium in Inglewood. The other venture, led by Disney CEO Bob Iger, would build a two-team stadium in Carson for both the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers.

 

This is fucking great news. I may have grown up in Chicago, but my love of football wasn’t born until after I moved to Los Angeles, the biggest US city without an NFL franchise. Now three teams want to be my hometown hero? Hell yeah. This is what America loves the most: choices. Let’s take a look at our candidates and see which team(s) would be the best fit.

 

Raiders

 

Founded: Oakland, 1960.

# of Super Bowls: 3 (’76, ’80, ’83)

current record: 4-4

 

Pros: They were already the Los Angeles Raiders from 1982 to 1994. Black and gray look great on the red carpet. Ice Cube is a fan. I’m not seeing a lot of cons here… oh wait, there they are.

 

Cons: This franchise hasn’t won a Super Bowl since “Return of the Jedi” was in theaters. And their mascot is kind of lame. What is he anyway? A pirate? Human mascots are the worst. Does a Raider (or a Texan or a Buccaneer) really stand a chance against a Bear or a Lion or even a Seahawk?

 

Rams

 

Founded: Cleveland, 1936.

# of Super Bowls: 1 (’99)

current record: 4-4

 

Pros: Another West Coast expatriate, this franchise was the Los Angeles Rams from 1946 until 1994. They won the NFL Championship game in 1951. And they’ve got a great mascot: the ram. A majestic beast of mythic proportions that will crush anything in its way.

 

Cons: I’ve never been a fan of anything from Cleveland. (Except my good friend, Marielle Brinda, and her lovely family.)

 

Chargers

 

Founded: Los Angeles, 1960.

# of Super Bowls: 0

current record: 2-7

 

Pros: Originally owned by Barron Hilton, son of hotel magnate (and “Mad Men” supporting character) Conrad Hilton, the Bolts only played their freshman season in LA before settling down south in San Diego for the last 53 years.

 

Cons: An even worse mascot than the Raiders. Lightning bolts? Come on, guys! Did your kids put those stickers on your helmets or what?

 

From where I’m standing, the best choice is obvious. Human mascots suck and lightning bolts are for the Power Rangers. Listen up, millionaires: lay out a buffet of champagne and sushi and let’s bring these Rams back to our shores where they belong.

 

The Chargers can come too, I guess.

 

 


Something Something Stanley Cup

Written by :
Published on : November 2, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did you know that the Stanley Cup has a bodyguard? That’s right. The oldest trophy in North American sports travels with its own muscle because it, uh… needs to.

 

 

The Cup was first awarded back in 1892 by Lord Stanley of Preston, current Governor General of Canada, to the winners of an amateur hockey league. Today every player of the winning NHL team gets one day to personally celebrate with Lord Stanley’s Mug. So basically this thing has been to more parties than LMFAO. Filling it with champagne is usually just the icebreaker. This thing has been taken to strip clubs, tossed into swimming pools, fed a Kentucky Derby winner and even accidentally set on fire.

 

 

My favorite story comes from 1962, during a playoff game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Edmonton Oilers. A proud Canuck named Kenneth Kilander was apparently so upset that this team of Americans might hang onto The Cup of Cups for another season that he took matters into his own hands. He went to the lobby of Chicago Stadium where the cup was on display, smashed the glass and stole it.

 

When he was stopped by a cop outside, he said something like “I’m taking the cup back where it belongs. To Montreal!”

 

Growing up in Chicago, I’ve seen passionate sports fandom manifest itself in a lot of different ways: cursing, binge drinking, threats of violence. But grand larceny? That’s new to me. Bravo, Mr. Kilander, bravo. Slow clap.

 

Now beat it back to Montreal.

 


Sporting Lessons from James Bond

Written by :
Published on : October 30, 2015

 

James Bond is my role model. I know that he’s a juvenile male fantasy, but so what?  Don’t give yourself a boring role model like some high school teacher or your Dad. I say keep your dreams big and live everyday like 007. (Except the “licensed to kill” part. This I cannot endorse for legal reasons.) Here’s what my hero has taught me about living the sporting life.

 

Always Be a Gentleman

In Goldfinger, 007 plays a round of golf against his nemesis, Auric Goldfinger. (See what they did there?) Despite having clashed before, Bond conducts himself like a true sportsman — competitive but respectful. When he discovers that his opponent is cheating, he doesn’t call them out; that would be impolite. Instead, he cheats the cheaters at their own game then rubs their faces in it after the match. It’s the only gentlemanly thing to do!

 

Don’t be Emotional

james-bond-ski

 

James Bond’s parents died in a mountain climbing accident when he was 11 years old. But that didn’t stop him from becoming a master of the slopes: he’s an expert on skis, a snowboard and even a bobsled. Don’t be like that other guy with dead parents (cough- Batman -cough) and let your past fuck with your future. Mountain cabins are fun, cozy and usually have hot tubs. Never turn down the opportunity to get away.

 

Stay Active

Running is a big part of being a secret agent, but don’t forget about jumping, ducking, grappling, punching, kicking, choking, swimming and even clowning (Octopussy. Don’t ask.). If you don’t want to die out there, you’d better stay active and healthy. And parkour. You never know when you might need to parkour after somebody. Think you’re going to do that with a weak core?

 

Losing is Part of the Game

james-bond-cards

 

007 knows a thing or two about gambling. He’s bet lots of taxpayer’s money on card games over the years, sometimes even raising the stakes with his own life. Mostly successful, there have been a few notable times where things didn’t quite work out. (Writer shifts uncomfortably thinking about testicle-torture scene from Casino Royale.) But no matter how bad the loss, James Bond never backs down from the next hand. As long as you’re still playing, you can still win.

 

Fucking is a sport

The way he does it, it is.

 

 

His new film, Spectre, pops on November 6th in the states. Go see it. Unless you’re going to talk or check your phone during the movie, then stay the fuck home.

 

 


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