"Hell may have no fury like a woman scorned but
heaven hath no sweetness like a sports fan vindicated." - Samcat
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Blades of Glory
So tomorrow is February and thus begins The Dead Month in sports (since the Super Bowl was canceled this year and all). Faced with a month of navel gazing and wearing out my Faith Rewarded and City of Champions DVDs, Jim at ICED Media came to my rescue and sent me the trailer for the new Will Ferrell/Jon Heder figure skating comedy, "Blades of Glory," asking me if I could do anything with it since it's tangentially sports-related.
1) I'm totally gonna go see anything Will Ferrell is in since I haven't been able to stop quoting "Taladega Nights" since the first time I saw it in a margarita haze, 2) Yours truly actually was a figure skater for fourteen years so there's nothing I like better than snarking on the sequined set, 3) The movie also stars Will Arnet and Amy Poehler of the tragically canceled "Arrested Development and 4) YES YES YES WHEN DOES IT OPEN I WANT TO SEE IT NOW YES!
Herewith, the trailer:
And if that's not enough to get your ass to the theater, some stills from the movie:
This could be the entire movie. I would be fine with that.
Phenomenal costumes, to be sure.
Ahhh, ice princesses. Perfect for parody.
Once again, WILL FERRELL FIGURE SKATING MOVIE GO NOW!
Actually, I'll be taking an airplane. Unless something goes horribly, horribly wrong.
Anyway, I'm out 'til Sunday night and since I won't be bringing my laptop to Michigan (yes, I'm going to Michigan in January and I am fully aware that makes me a crackhead although weather reports are telling me that it will actually be considerably colder in Boston than in Michigan this weekend so who's the crackhead now, hmmmm?), I won't be updating. I probably won't be sleeping either because that is the way of things
So before I go, I would like to share with you an email I wrote to Kelly earlier this week:
You will appreciate this. So I'm cleaning my room on Saturday in a fit of nervous panic and I came across an old issue of the Sporting News. Last year's NFL Preview issue. Naturally, that corky-lookin' mama's boy also known as Peyton Manning was on the cover because all sports magazines published in the United States, Canada and Chinese Taipei are contractually obligated to feature either Manning and/or Derek Jeter at least fourteen times per respective season. I was going to throw it across the room and started wondering if I could fashion a voodoo doll out of a magazine cover when I realized that I must have saved it for a reason. So I flipped it open. Sure enough, there's an article on "Power" (whatever that means in pro sports) where they interviewed a bunch of athletes and asked them what they considered power, etc. So there's this picture of Tom Brady with the sweat and the eyeblack and the basically WINNING AT LIFE and the interview goes like this:
SN: Who do you consider the five most powerful people? TB: Michael Jordan, Donald Trump, Jesus Christ, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, Sr. (Not "dad" but "Tom Brady, Sr." And I love that Jesus rates more powerful than Billiam but slightly less so than Donald Trump.)
SN: What superpower would you like to have? TB: The ability to read minds. (Really, Thomas? Guess what I'm thinking. Go ahead, guess. Now lick your fingers and guess again.)
SN: Who's been your greatest source of power? TB: My family and friends. (And in my head, I added, "and Troy Brown.")
See, there are sometimes when I think it would be absolutely impossible for me to love Tom Brady more. And then I find something like that and...I just...LOVE!
Oh, and this is the point of this email. Also in that issue? "Working out with Rudy Seanez."
"Rudy Seanez throws hard. But he works out harder. MUCH harder."
It was almost too much to handle.
(1) But HOW DOES RUDY WORK OUT? Because I'm guessing it's by eating babies two at a time.
(2) I would have said Michael Jordan, Belichick, Jesus, but that's just me.
My point being...possibly I am a crackhead after all. It's the Dead Times, people. The only thing to watch on TV is the mentally deficient and/or delusional people on American Idol auditions. I'm gonna just have to start making shit up re: sports. (Not that that's exactly a departure but, yeah.) I believe I've already theorized that Theo signed Beckett because he wanted a hacky sack buddy.
And, by my count, the J.D. Drew: Will He or Won't He? day count stands about about 6 squillion.
I...can't even talk about Trotter. Pretending that's not happening, actually.
Yes, I will be forced to watch the Food Network at the gym for the next two weeks because if you think I'm watching any of the HYPE TO EAT THE WORLD, you're sniffing glue.
Yes, I am seriously considering the wisdom of raising your children as sports fans.
Yes, I used roughly forty-seven variations of the word "fuck" in all parts of speech when I talked to my mother as the game was ending.
No, I do not want Peyton Manning to just win his goddamn Super Bowl already so everyone will stop talking about it because? THEY NEVER WILL.
No, I don't want the Bears to win either because Rex Grossman is not a real boy.
Yes, I am rooting for Team Rogue Meteorite.
Yes, I think I still have the flu and have wanted to throw up continually for a week and STILL I was forced to leave my apartment twice and walk around in 20 degree weather because I cannot handle this shit.
Yes, I've named my resulting ulcer "Pat." (He's located right next to "Wally" who tends to flare up during the summer months and into October.)
Yes, I think this is just about the least interesting Super Bowl match-up possible as America now hates the Bears for beating America's adopted team and anyone who I care to associate with hates the Colts so...blah.
No, I don't believe I'll be watching the Super Bowl.
No, I don't care if that makes me petty or shallow.
Yes, I take this shit way too personally.
Yes, if I see that dude who works at the hardware store on the corner wearing his Colts hat tomorrow morning, I will likely go in and smack him upside the head with a paint can.
Yes, I will be out of town next weekend and the LAST THING I will want to talk about is football.
"Theo Epstein vows to set aside more time for writing his own songs. It’s important to take time for oneself even while running a championship caliber baseball team. He resolves to compose more songs in the style of Pearl Jam, but not just like them, obviously, as he’s his own musician. Sample titles include 'Evener Flow' and 'Even More Flow.'"
The newest edition of InSite Magazine is out. I've got a new column in there this month co-written by Amy and Marianne. Get it while it's hot.
Since I spent all of yesterday in a fevered state, you'll forgive me if I haven't quite grasped the fact that the Patriots actually beat the "best team in football" San Diego Chargers and have advanced to the AFC Championship game next weekend vs. the Colts in Indianapolis.
Frankly, I was prepared to lose this game. I didn't want to, obviously, and I firmly believed that if anyone had a shot against San Diego, it was the Pats. But I thought they were going to have to play absolutely flawless football. Turns out, not so much. Brady threw three picks, the team couldn't buy yards and it seemed, for a while there, like LT and his homeboys were just gonna run away with it. And then, something happened. Something that, I swear, only happens to the Patriots of late. Maybe it's Belichick. Maybe it's Brady. More than likely it's a combination of the two as well as a team full of extensively prepared players who didn't feel like playing golf just yet. But somehow, things went the Pats' way and they were the ones left standing at the end of the game. Bloodied and bruised and sore, no doubt, but standing. And good for them. I am proud of my boys. They did it without any bullshit calls in their favor and through sheer force of will, it seemed. But they still did it. And that's what counts.
For the record, I don't want to go into the whole LT is pissed about the dancing or the whatevercakes except to say three things. Thing one: If you don't want a sack or touchdown dance mocked, don't create one to begin with. Thing two: perhaps you shouldn't talk mountains of shit BEFORE the game (and also probably you shouldn't take steroids but hey, who cares about that, right?). And thing three: Next time, win, and you won't have these problems.
So because I've spent most of the day fielding roughly sixty-nine million text messages from people wondering if I'm still breathing or if I swallowed my tongue when the refs ruled on that interception-turned fumble recovery-turned first down, I've been wandering around in much of a haze and occasionally going, "Wait. How the HELL did we win that football game?" I'm still not sure. So I took solace in Imaginary World, as I am wont to do. Today, Imaginary Football and Imaginary Baseball World met and craziness reigned supreme.
"You know what one of the best things about the Pats winning yesterday was?" I said to Marianne, apropos of absolutely nothing.
"Um, the fact that you get so see Tom Brady on TV for another week and you want to have ten million of his babies?"
"Point, yes," I said, "But that's not what I was thinking."
"The fact that there's now a chance that someone will forcibly remove Peyton Manning's head from his body and parade it around after the game, thus earning the ire of Tomlinson who obviously has an opinion about this?"
"Hee, that would also be awesome. But no." I said.
"Okay, shoot," Marianne said.
"I love that you just know that Theo was totally fucking stoked about it."
"Oh my god," Marianne said, "Of course he is."
"He's all calling up his friends from his days in San Diego and shit talking them."
"He's so hungover right now," Marianne theorized, "He's all walking around his house in his 'Risky Business' flannel and boxers with a backwards Patriots hat and air guitarring to 'Welcome to the Jungle.'"
"Dude," Marianne said, "There is little to no chance that he didn't drunk dial Belichick after the game last night."
"He so did," I said, "He totally called him and was all 'DOOD! You are the fuckin' MAN!'"
"He's all, 'Bro, no, for real, d'yawanna coach the Red Sox?'"
"No, I know we got Tito and all but like, if he dies or sumthin' d'you wanna coach?'"
Marianne kept going, "Because you know he thinks that Tito is totally paying for that World Series with his life, slowly, and eventually, he'll be just a head in a jar, sitting on the bench and yelling at Manny to keep the fingerpaints in the clubhouse."
"Which is clearly where Belichick comes in," I said.
"Clearly," Marianne agreed.
"Theo totally wants to be Tom Brady's best friend." I said.
"I'll bet he calls him, or like, almost calls him, he'll dial all but the last number," Marianne said, "and then he'll get all nervous and hang up."
"Like, 'What am I gonna say to Tom Brady?'" I said, "He's Tom Brady. He's like, woah."
"And then eventually he calls him, like ostensibly to tell him congratulations or something, from one winner to another, but he's kind of nervous."
"Because he forgets that Brady is a giant dork." Marianne said.
"Exactly," I said, "And they end up talking about 'Star Wars' or whether 'Crash' or 'Before These Crowded Streets' was a better Dave Matthews Band album."
"Absolutely," Marianne said.
"I love Imaginary Theo World." I said.
"Me too," Marianne replied, "It might be my favorite of all the Imaginary worlds."
"Doesn't hurt that Tom Brady hangs out there," I said.
"And there's a rockin' soundtrack," Marianne said, while throwing rock horns.
So...yeah, we lead rich inner lives. That, and I might still be running a fever.
In the interest of fairness, I think I should share a bit more of the madness that occurred on Sunday during the game. Reading the previous entry, it appears I was rational and in control of my senses at all times. This is simply not true. I was reading over the emails sent between Amy and I during the game and I have come to the conclusion that we should probably be trapped, tagged, caged and studied by scientists. So herewith, a discussion.
Me: Sometimes Kevin Faulk likes to pretend he's a receiver and when it results in a touchdown, I think we should encourage this.
Amy: He is sort of like an international man of mystery, assuming identities.
Me: Mr. Versatility. Although he has to share that title with Troy Brown.
Amy: They are probably BFFs.
Me: Much the way Corey has taken a shine to the young buck, Lomo.
Amy: Does Corey Dillon have babies? Because there is no way that Lomo is not his babysitter.
Me: He does. According to Patriots.com Killa and his wife have a daughter named "Cameron." I want to say she's like five.
Amy: She is BFFs with Lomo and braids his dreads. Fact.
Me: And the reason he had to cut them is because she accidentally got bubble gum in them. But it ain't no thang.
Amy: He probably let her cut one just for fun because little kids love cutting hair. And he did that because she can't cut her own, or Killa's gonna have words with Lomo.
Me: Lomo is the best babysitter ever.
Also, at one point, it appears I declared, "We are going to die in this place watching this football game. Bears are going to eat us." For the life of me, I cannot tell you what I meant by this. But there you have it.
Personally, I’m just stoked that we don’t have to hear the word “Mangenius” until next season. Unless it’s in reference to how he was completely out-coached by his former mentor. Because, yeah. Although, to be fair, it wasn’t until there were three minutes left in the game when Marianne looked at me, clutching my stuffed football and rocking back and forth on the couch when she said, “Kristen? There are three minutes left in the game. The Patriots are up by three touchdowns. I think you got this one.”
“Really?” I said, “Three touchdowns? Huh.” Because for some reason, those games always seem so much closer than the final score indicates. And then I hear all the talking heads go on and on about how the Patriots owned the game and thoroughly outplayed Chadrick and his stupid haircut and how this one was never really a contest and I wonder, if all that’s true, why don’t I have any fingernails left? Why hadn’t I eaten anything between on Saturday night and yesterday? Why was I so damn nervous? Why do I put myself through this?
“You know what I bet it is,” Marianne theorized, “It’s like how they say that human beings don’t have the capacity to remember true pain because if they did, women would never have more than one child.”
“So what you mean,” I said, “is that if 2003 with the Red Sox didn’t kill me, and last year’s playoff game against the Broncos didn’t do it, then I clearly don’t remember the so-called agony of defeat?”
“Huh,” I said, “Interesting theory.”
But she’s probably right.
What I will remember about this game is not the stomach churning that occurred in the second quarter and immediately after halftime. What I will remember is Asante’s giant grin and celebratory endzone jig. I will remember Corey “Killa” Dillon chewing through the defense with his teeth after that fumble because somebody gotta pay. I will remember hiding in my jersey every time New Kicker had to kick because I find things go more smoothly for him if I’m not watching. I will remember Vince Wilfork, all 325 pounds of him (please, homeboy is 350 if I ever saw it), rumbling towards the endzone and needing about seven guys to take him down once they realized what was happening. And I will remember Mangini looking thoroughly Obi Wanned by Belichick in his post game press conference. And, of course, I will remember Tommy. You know, being Tommy. (Shut up, after playoff games, I get to call him “Tommy” without apology.) I will remember him blaming himself after a bad throw instead of blaming his receivers for not being nineteen feet tall, Peyton.
Of course, next week, we’ve got to go to San Diego and I’ve been saying all season long – maybe not to you, but surely to plenty of people who do not care one way or the other – that the Chargers are the best team that no one’s paying attention to. Or, at least, no one seemed to be paying attention to them until about three quarters of the way through the season. Perhaps we can just hope they all get arrested for something before next Sunday.
But right now, I’m flying high. I’m happy that my coach still seems to be the best out there and that suddenly, those talking heads are mentioning that people always fear the Patriots. I’m happy that Tony Romo has proven himself NOT to be the next Tom Brady. I’m happy that neither Terrell Owens nor Chadrick Pennington will continue in the playoffs this year. And I’m stoked that the Pats are back.
Perhaps almost as stoked as Tommy up there. Seriously, is there no one that man won’t hug?
Also, because what’s some football analysis without a dose of madness, Amy and I had the following conversation based on this picture (from Yahoo! Sports).
Me: Vrabes is so amused by Vinny Testaverde's continued existence.
Amy: I bet Vinny REALLY wants to go drinking with Vrabel.
Me: But he's afraid to ask because he knows that Vrabes never goes anywhere without Tedy and he's sensitive to Tedy's no alcohol policy.
Amy: Essackly. But you know Vinnie thinks they are two coolest dudes to ever live.
Me: He really does. He's given them nicknames.
Amy: T-Rock and Velocity.
Me: That is so good, I weep.
Amy: It just has such a “Night at the Roxbury” vibe to it. “HEY T-ROCK, HEY VELOCITY, WE GOIN' TO AVALON TONIGHT?” And Vrabes is like "Okay, Larry," like in that commercial. And then there is chest hair involved but a good time is had by all.
Me: Of course a good time is had by all. Because Vrabes is all about the good times. He entertains everyone by telling stories about how he stands up to Billiam.
Amy: Because you know Vrabes is the only one who stands up to Billiam.
Me: Oh yes, he is the only one who ever calls him “Bill” in his press conferences and lives to tell the tale. Even Brady calls him “Coach.”
Some of you have taken issue with the fact that I have expressed my deep dislike of Eric Mangini, Chad Pennington and the Jets, claiming that I have no concrete reasons to back it up. You're right. You're completely right.
But here's my question: Do I need a reason? Is it not okay for me not to like them just because...I don't like them?
Aside from the fact that the Jets are playing the Pats on Sunday and we know where my loyalties lie, don't we do this before most big games? Don't we villanize the opposition and come up with all sorts of reasons - concrete or not - to root against them? I don't know about you, but half the fun of watching sports for me is coming up with ridiculous scenarios involving players, coaches and the like. So maybe Chad Pennington's father didn't really buy him a yacht he christened "Quattro." The fact that I want to believe he did makes it true for me. I'm pretty sure that aside from the obnoxious tendency to blame his offensive line, Peyton Manning is probably not a horrible guy either. But I like to pretend he wears that helmet in "defeat position" on a daily basis. Much the way I choose to believe that Alex Rodriguez kicks puppies in his spare time.
We're sports fans, we don't always make sense. I shall leave the "respecting" of everyone to Rodney Harrison.
Likewise, I'm fully aware of Belichick's history with the Jets and Parcells and all that business. But that doesn't mean that I'm not going to defend Old Bill because he's MY coach now and I think he's brilliant. If I were on the other side of the story, I'd likely think differently. But I'm not. Again, it might not be rational, but there it is. I have Steelers fan friends who will go blue in the face defending Ben Roethlisberger, even when they know they sound insane. But that's part of being a fan. You stick up for your guys.
There are exceptions, of course. I will never cheer for Julio Lugo, for instance. But for the most part, my guys are my guys.
Obviously, it does not make you a better or worse fan to feel one way or the other about things. If you can look at Chad Pennington and respect what he's gone through and appreciate him as a player and not want to flick his ears, well, good for you. I mostly just want to ask him where he got his snappy turtleneck.
But that's me. And that's how I watch sports. The primary reason this blog exists is because I found a place where I can come and spout off about my completely insane reactions to things that happen on the field. And to speculate about things that happen off it. I mean, I address players directly. I yell at them, often in capital letters. Italics if they really have it coming, Matt Clement. My friends and I invented Imaginary Baseball World. Clearly, we are not dealing with a full deck here.
So it's the Jets then, is it? Okay. As The Rick said when I crawled out from under the covers sometime around 1pm yesterday afternoon, "If they can't beat the Jets, they don't belong there." True. Of course, the way I see it, the Jets don't belong in the playoffs because of my completely irrational hatred of Chad Pennington, his stupid haircut and my steadfast belief that Mangini fucked over Belichick and broke a Godfather-level trust in so doing.
That and, you know, I want to win.
Of course, winning would be a hell of a lot easier if Rodney Harrison didn't keep getting broken. This time, it wasn't Rodney's fault. But that is no good. And I am not happy about it. Neither was Tedy Bruschi who, it became clear, was assuming the "vengeance and fury" portion of the football game. Ain't nobody mess with Tedy's homies.
Like Troy Brown, who cannot possibly have committed the unecessary roughness penalty of which he was accused because he would have had to throw aside his walker, remove his dentures and hike up his grandpa pants, all of which would have endangered his hip. I kid, obviously, because I love Troy Brown. But c'mon, that man does not do anything unecessarily roughly. He just doesn't.
While I do feel for Vince Young because I think he's a fantastic player, he's got many years ahead of him in which to be fantastic. To me, Vince Young is what everyone wants Michael Vick to be. Young has a better arm and doesn't fancy himself a running back. He uses his receivers and backs and understands how to make plays happen without forcing them. He reminds me of Steve McNair in that way which is likely why Jeff Fisher likes him so much. He's a good QB and he's going to be difficult to beat in the not-too-distant future. But for now, he is sad. And Lomo is the nicest.
So what I propose these Patriots do is to take all of this frustration that bubbled over during the Titans game out on the Jets. Because the Jets think they're better than the Patriots. The Jets think their coach is a genius. The Jets think they're going to win. Gentlemen, let's please inform them otherwise. The Boston/New York rivalry is not exactly in dire need of another chapter so let's squash this one right quick, mmmkay?
And while we're here, I'd like to express my sympathies to the Denver Broncos and their fans (especially the ones I've gotten to know) for the tragic loss of Darrent Williams. Things like that just shouldn't happen. My heart goes out to them.