In Case You Haven’t Gotten Enough


So when I wrote my critical analysis of figure skating, I had no idea that the topic was so heated. I actually believed that very few people out there would side with me, calling it not a sport. But then I stumbled upon this.

This is an ESPN debate between two of my favorite writers, Paul Lukas and Jim Caple. Caple argues that figure skating is a sport whereas Lukas disagrees. Finally, someone who agrees with me.

And just in case you haven’t gotten your figure skating fix in a while, here ya go. It’s Jim Caple’s favorite:


Turning up the Heat on Ice Skating


Now I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m a huge sports fan. The sound of cheering and applause after the singing of the national anthem gives me goosebumps every time. And I’m open-minded too. Cheerleading? Sure, it’s a sport, as long as flips and jumps are involved; I’m not talking about the peppy yelling that goes on on the sidelines of football games; I mean the cheerleading competitions. Golf? Definitely it’s a sport. You hit a ball one inch in diameter 400 yards in four shots and land it a hole merely 4.25 inches wide and then get back to me on whether its a sport or not. Poker? Sorry Phil Ivey, I’m not that open-minded.

But the other night, as I was watching the Olympics, I found myself following the men’s figure skating event (don’t judge me) and was surprised to find that I could not decide whether or not I considered it a real sport. My first instinct was to say yes. I know that I could never get out there and pull off a triple axle (I was the kid holding on to the boards during peewee hockey); but I also know I could never carve a statue out of marble or bake a wedding cake, but neither of those are sports. Thus, an activity that simply sits off my radar cannot be considered a sport.

And the costumes. Don’t even get me started on the costumes. In a period of one hour, I witnessed men wearing Shakespearean robes, plaid button-downs with overalls, mesh shirts (wait, can they be considered shirts if they’re missing sleeves and buttons) and about ten million sparkles.

Apparently pink was going out of style. Ladies and gentlemen, the man representing the United States men’s figure skating competition, Johnny Weir. I think it’s safe to say he definitely has more talent than fashion sense, but talent does not directly translate into sport. People with precise aim have an extraordinary talent, yet not all of them are athletes. Pitchers are, whereas dart players are not. One competes in our national pastime, the other, in bars. Sorry Johnny Weir, but for me, figure skating is like darts. Hockey is the sport. There’s a reason the kid in the Mighty Ducks decided to play hockey instead of figure skating–he wanted to be considered an athlete (and I hear he was allergic to nylon).

But overall, the real reason I came to the conclusion that figure skating is a faux-sport is simple–it has reached a plateau of skill; everyone who is out there skating is capable of doing the exact same jumps, spins and tricks. No one is coming up with new stuff. So as every skater finished his routine, I became less and less impressed.

There was a pattern being used by each skater:

  1. He would start in a femininely provocative pose, waiting for the music to start.
  2. The music and routine would begin slowly. A few spinning jumps would be attempted.
  3. The music’s tempo would then increase, allowing the skater to dance (unfortunately for those watching).
  4. Then, the music would slow down again; the skater would do some spins, usually grabbing his foot in a position that makes me question his manhood.
  5. Finally, the skater (or should I say dancer) would come to a sudden stop, look to the crowd, and either metaphorically or literally blow a kiss to the audience.

And whoever followed these steps the best, stumbled the least, smiled the most and glowed-in-the-dark the brightest would win. Maybe. Because, after all, the winners are subjectively decided by judges, and don’t even get me started on that.

You Heard it Here First


The Super Bowl. Those three words, when strung together, are capable of conjuring up years of raw emotion. You could be a Steelers’ fan, with your six rings; you could be a Vikings’ fan, with your, well, lets just not go there right now. Either way, whether you’re used to the success or not, the Super Bowl is always a good time…unless you lose.

On that note, it’s time for me to tell you how this glorified game is going to unfold. Sorry Saints’ fans, you’re not gonna like it.

FINAL PREDICTION: Colts 31 Saints 28 F/OT

That’s right, overtime. It’s never happened in a Super Bowl, but it’s inevitable. And this year seems as good as any for it to happen. With two of the NFL’s top ten offenses in the big game, points are going to be plentiful. And because both of these team’s defenses (the Colts lie at 18 overall and the Saints 25) haven’t had much luck stopping the ball this year, touchdowns will trump field goals. Both offenses are going to feel confident that they can pick up that yard or two on fourth down. And they’ll get it. It’s the new age of football–where 4,000 yard seasons are commonplace, power running is an excuse for teams without a top notch quarterback, and 4th down is the new 3rd down.

As for the game, look for Peyton Manning to go off. What a surprise, right? I’m thinking somewhere around 275 yards and three touchdowns, paired with one turnover. My bet is a fumble. For Brees, the success will be similar, only he is going to throw a costly interception late in the game, spoiling a chance at a game winning drive, propelling the game towards overtime.

Now overtime has been a fickle subject recently because of the possibility of unfair play. Win the coin toss, march 35 yards, hit your field goal, win. Not too fair for that defense right? Well look for exactly that to happen on Sunday. Manning will do what he was born to, meticulously find holes in defenses that most people couldn’t find with a GPS.

In trots Matt Stover with his clean uniform and soccer boots. Funny how everything comes down to a player who is on the field almost never. Anyway, Stover will drain it. My prediction, 47 yards, down the center. Game over.

And yeah, controversy will ensue after the game. People, especially those from New Orleans, will call the overtime system archaic and unfair. And they’ll be right.

In the end, the best coach no one has ever heard about–Jim Caldwell–will earn his first ring. Peyton Manning will undoubtedly and rightfully be touted as the best quarterback of all time. And yes, New Orleans won’t get to throw their Super Bowl parade. But don’t throw out those floats yet. After all, Mardi Gras is February 16.

Gotta Start Somewhere


So I was under the impression that the Pro Bowl was for the best players. Shame on me, right? News released a few days ago announced that the AFC’s three quarterbacks for the game would be Matt Schaub, David Garrard, and Vince Young. Now there is a group of winners–oh wait, never mind. Apparently winning is overrated because it is no longer a criteria to be considered a star. These are three mediocre quarterbacks, leading three mediocre teams…until Sunday, where they will get to lead the ultimate team. Honestly, if Chris Johnson wasn’t playing, what point would there be in turning on the game?

The root of this problem is that the Pro Bowl has been moved to the week prior to the Superbowl. Now, for the first time, the city hosting the Superbowl–Miami–will also host the Pro Bowl. In an attempt to raise popularity in the otherwise unnoticed game, the NFL agreed to the switch. I just don’t think they ever foresaw a game headlined by nobodies. Look at the three–Schaub, Garrard, and Young. Combined, they have two playoff starts, both belonging to Garrard in 2007. Schaub looks somewhat promising, but he can’t manage to win a big game. And Young has taken his fans on a tumultuous ride since being drafted.

Either way you look at it–whether you’re for or against the game occurring a week earlier–it’s quite obvious that something needs to change. But for now, on Sunday, we are going to learn that the NFL has a very loose interpretation of the word all-star.

Goin' to Miami

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