Tuesday, February 5, 2013

"40 Before 40" checklist -- No. 17 -- see my Mom's house

Most people's "40 things to do before turning 40" lists don't include seeing their mom's house. That's usually a given. Not so in my case.

My mom moved to Sparks, Nev. a couple years ago. It's not an easy drive from Los Angeles. I've been busy. Whatever. I hadn't been there.

That changed at Christmas. I was hoping for a white Christmas. I got it. There's not much left to say. I'm just going to post photos and write captions.

This is my mom's dog Red guarding the house. 
This is me looking into the sky and trying to make it snow. It worked.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

After the Credits -- Hoosiers

After the Credits is an ongoing feature where we take the best sports movies ever made and give our opinion on what happened to our favorite fictional characters after the movie ended. Previous entries include The Natural, Bull Durham and Jerry Maguire.

-- by @Josh_Suchon

The movie ends with tiny Hickory High upsetting a taller and more athletic team from South Bend in the 1952 Indiana state championship game. Star player Jimmy Chitwood hits the game-winning shot. Head coach Norman Dale is vindicated. The fans rush the court in celebration. We then see cornfields, a sunset, a kid shooting hoops, and we hear a voiceover of the coach saying, "I love this team."

So what happened after the credits?

Head coach Norman Dale (Gene Hackman): This was clearly a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately town, so even winning a state championship did not lead to job security for Dale. Remember, he lost his previous job after hitting a student and he had a famous temper. He was actually fired a few games into the season, but only kept his job when star player Jimmy Chitwood decided that he would only start playing if the coach remained. The next season, without Chitwood, the Hoosiers crashed back to earth and didn’t make the playoffs. Midway through the following season, the town had enough of Dale and fired him. Dale was resilient, bouncing from job to job, at high schools, small colleges, and as an assistant in bigger colleges. He kept making great speeches and turned around some struggling teams, but always wore out his welcome. His modern-day equivalent would be Kevin O’Neill.

Friday, February 1, 2013

The case for extreme penalties for PED users

-- by @Josh_Suchon

What’s the best way to get rid of performance-enhancing drugs in sports? One strike and you’re out. Forever banned. Think about how that would change an athlete’s willingness to press his luck on using PEDs.

Of course, that’s not realistic. False positive tests happen. Not all illegal drugs are the same. Sometimes there are legitimate mitigating circumstances that occur. Even if they’re blatantly guilty, people deserve second chances.

The next-best strategy -- and perhaps the only hope for those of us who do want to believe what we are seeing is real in sports – is two strikes and you’re done. If I were the Commissioner of sports, this would be my penalty system.

First offense: 365-day suspension with no pay. Not 50 games in baseball. Not four games in football. One year total. During that year, you can’t negotiate a new contract, even if you’ve become a free agent. You can’t practice with your teammates or workout at your team’s minor league complex. You can’t participate in minor league games as part of a “rehab” assignment. You don’t get service time during this year, your arbitration clock doesn’t run, you don’t appear on MLB-licensed baseball cards or video games.  You’re completely on your own for 365 days, with no pay, left on your own to stay in shape. After the 365 days is up, you can return your team (or sign with a new team), head to the minors or whatever is necessary to return.