Archive for the ‘Sports’ category

NBA Championship Trophy – Not that impressive

May 20, 2009

So the 2008 NBA Championship Trophy showed up at MIT yesterday for a few hours and I got to see it. It’s actually not that impressive. I’ve always seen pictures of these trophies and they seem so glamorous and amazing, but when you’re looking at one in person, it leaves a lot to be desired. The trophy is a couple of feet tall and is kind of shiny, but doesn’t totally wow you. I’m sure they shine it up a lot more when they give it to the champion at the end of the playoffs and I’m sure it is much more overwhelming to get it when you have tens of thousands of fans screaming in celebration, but it didn’t strike me as something that is worthy of spending years training and competing for.

I think I’d much rather win a trophy like Lord Stanley’s Cup. I think that it has a more intriguing story and I also think it’s bigger.

The (not overwhelmingly amazing) 2008 NBA Championship Trophy

The (not overwhelmingly amazing) 2008 NBA Championship Trophy

The Sports Guy Picks an EPL Team

July 20, 2006

In my opinion, one of the best sport’s writers out there right now is Bill Simmons. He’s writes for page 2 on ESPN.com and I really enjoy reading his stuff. I like his work because he goes beyond the normal sports writing and offers interesting critiques and comments about current sporting events. Anyway, as a result of the recent World Cup, he has decided to pick an English club soccer team to follow for the upcoming year. He writes about it in his most recent column (actually, two columns because, as he says, “the whole process was more enjoyable than I thought it would be”). If you’ve ever been a fan of English soccer, or just think that the Brits are funny in a weird, depressing way, you’ll like his article. I loved it, and I hope to see lots more about soccer on Page 2 in the coming years.

Zidane Awarded Golden Helmet

July 10, 2006

Despite losing in the World Cup Final to Italy yesterday, Zinedine Zidane has been lauded with awards today. This morning, it was announced that he had been awarded the Golden Ball (awarded to the tournament’s MVP). Now, we are thrilled to break the news that Zidane has also been awarded the Golden Helmet (see image below). The Golden Helmet, a trophy that looks like the World Cup Trophy with a gold viking helmet affixed to the top of it, is a new award. From now on, it will be awarded to the player who has had the biggest impact on the tournament with his head.

Zidane was proud to be the first player ever to be awarded the Golden Helmet. While he was lovingly caressing the trophy, he paused on the long white horns and said, “I mean, I know I destroyed Marco Matterazzi when I headbutted him, but imagine the damage I could have done with a helmet like this. This really would have taught that Italian ogre to say stuff about my mother.”

FIFA officials admitted that they had originally created the award to reward players for scoring goals or making brilliant passes with their heads. Said Sepp Blatter, FIFA president, “Ideally, this award would have gone to someone who had scored two or three goals with their head during the tournament. Heck, we were even considering awarding it to someone who just ‘used their head’ and played a smart game of soccer. But, in the end, we had to stick to the true language of the award and give it to the player who had had the biggest impact with his head. Really, can anyone argue there was a more momentous use of one’s head than when Zidane knocked Matterazzi off his feet with a headbutt to the sternum? And Matterazzi is no small guy!”

zidane awarded gold helmet

Zidane proudly displays his Golden Helmet Award

Criminals Representing Criminals

March 16, 2006

And millions of dollars for all!

I heard on the radio this morning that Randy Moss’ agent, Dante DiTrapano (see picture below), was arrested in Florida for possession of crack cocaine. Police showed up at the hotel room that DiTrapano was staying in with his wife when they received reports of a disturbance. After finding the drugs in the room, the two were arrested.

When he was contacted for a statement, Moss said, “I’m sticking by my friend and I’ll support him and his family as he gets help battling his problem.”
Moss' agent

A couple of comments:

1) A co-worker this morning said that this is one of the few times when the person who is arrested for drug possession could just say that he was “holding them for a friend” and people might believe him. True, but I’ve always thought of Moss as more of a marijuana guy.

2) I can only imagine how frustrating it must be to be a representative for professional sports teams now. Many reputable and highly educated people end up working for professional teams managing the finances and contracts. Not only are many (not all) of the athletes on the verge of being criminals, but now it turns out that the athlete’s agents are criminals too.

3) An attorney who is representing DiTrapano said that DiTrapano is dealing with depression from a couple of tragedies from last year. I would cut the guy some slack and allow him the “self-medication” defense, but I just don’t think that crack is necessarily the best drug to use to get things back on track.

Why I like team sports

March 6, 2006

The story of Jason McElwain’s success in the last four minutes of his first (and only) high-school varsity basketball game is amazing. I’ll leave it to you to read the story (as reported by ESPN). Also it’s definitely worth watching the video that is associated with the ESPN story. In short, Jason is an autistic boy who has been the team manager for his high school basketball team for the last four years. In the last game of his senior year, with the team up by 20 points, the coach put him in to reward him for his hard work with the team. He missed his first shot, but then proceeded to hit 6 three pointers and a two pointer, become the game’s leading scorer with 20 points and tie a school record for three pointers in a game – all in the last four minutes!

That story itself is great, but what I really liked was what Jason said when his local news station interviewed him about the game and about his newfound celebrity status at school. His main concern now is not how famous he has become (there’s supposedly talk of a movie), but he is instead focussed on the performance of the team in the upcoming playoffs.

Jason’s concern for the team epitomizes why I think team sports will always trump individual sports, and also why the individualistic nature of professional sports (even the team sports) often drives fans nuts (the NBA, for example). In their purest form, team sports are always about individual ignoring personal glory and doing whatever he can to help make the group succesful. And then, once the individual has put the team’s goals first, any personal athletic feats that are accomplished are all the more enjoyable. If you think I’m the only one who feels that way, just look at all of the students who stormed the court after Jason’s performance and lifted him onto their shoulders.