Behind the Mic: New Year’s Resolutions

 

BEHIND THE MIC:

Since this is my final blog for 2013 (Scott Barr and Jim Best will fill in for the next two weeks), I thought this would be a good time to look at New Year’s resolutions. Early research indicates that 52% of people want to lose weight; 43% want to improve their general health; 18% want to start a fitness program; and 15% want to curb stress and anxiety.

That all sounds like a great start to a healthy 2014, doesn’t it? However, only 11% of people polled thought they would actually stick to their resolution; 68% would abandon them in January; and 11% said they did not think they could even get through the first six days of the New Year.

Let me offer up 10 possibilities that you may WANT and actually BE ABLE to achieve:
1. Travel
2. Socialize more; Facebook a little less
3. Buy less expensive coffee on your way to work
4. Talk more than text
5. Watch less reality TV
6. Read a good book
7. Save more money
8. Leave work on time more often
9. Learn to use Twitter; it can be fun
10. Walk more

Trying to do the things on this list should improve both your physical and mental health (weight loss is optional). Plus, they all seem very doable. So by this time next year, you might actually get a little self-gratification, too. And that’s not a bad thing.

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)
1. Can anyone figure out the NFL? San Diego beats Denver; Miami beats New England; Minnesota beats Philadelphia; St. Louis destroys New Orleans; Pittsburgh over Cincinnati. If you need a reason NOT to bet on NFL games, this weekend should prove that to you.

2. We know that CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) has been found in football and hockey. Now they have found it in baseball. One year after the suicide death of Cincinnati player, Ryan Freel, the Boston University School of Medicine has diagnosed Freel with Stage 2 CTE. Stage 2 CTE caused by concussions is associated with erratic behavior and memory loss. This year alone, 18 baseball players were placed on the disabled list after concussions – 10 of them were catchers.

3. Did you notice that the Eagles played Green Bay when the Packers did not have Aaron Rodgers (a win!); they played Detroit without Reggie Bush (a win!); they played Minnesota without Adrian Peterson and the Vikings only won three games with him (48-30 loss! What??).

4. Remember Liberty’s Darrun Hilliard? The junior scored 21 points this past Sunday to lead #9 Villanova to their 10th consecutive win this year without a defeat. I saw two of our best local high school players last Friday night – Central Catholic’s Muhammad Ali Abdur Rahkman and Dieruff’s Tyler Kohl. They scored 57 points – Rahkman: 32; Kohl: 25. They should both be playing major college basketball this time next year. Get out and see them play!

5. Finally, I want to thank all of you for the kind comments throughout the 2013 sports season and I want to wish you and your family a wonderful holiday and a very Happy and Healthy New Year!! See you in 2014!

NFL PICKS FOR THIS WEEK
(Last week – 9-7) (140-83-1 overall – 63%)
MIAMI
CAROLINA
CINCINNATI
DENVER
TENNESSEE
KANSAS CITY
JETS
ST. LOUIS
DALLAS
DETROIT
SEATTLE
GREEN BAY
SAN DIEGO
NEW ENGLAND
PHILADELPHIA
SAN FRANCISCO

Behind the Mic: What Were They Possibly Thinking?

I am not dumb enough to think that terrific athletes or sports personalities are necessarily, also, intelligent people. But, all too often these days, there are incidents that force average “Joes” like me to wonder, smart or not, what were they possibly thinking?

Let’s start with Ozzie Guillen who recently managed the Miami Marlins. One of the reasons he was chosen was because he related well to Spanish-speaking citizens in and around Miami. So what does he do? He talks about his respect and admiration for Fidel Castro in a city where many Cubans have fled Cuba because of their hatred for the Cuban leader. What was he possibly thinking?

Dennis Rodman visits the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, who runs death camps and oppresses his people. Rodman said, “He’s a good guy to me. He’s my friend.” Rodman totally disregarded all of the tragic history of the country and the man. Rodman’s statement implies that those who have suffered have earned their suffering. Otherwise this “good guy” would not have done these evil things. Dennis, what were you possibly thinking?

Sergio Garcia, one of the most recognizable members of the PGA tour and loaded with product endorsements, attacks Tiger Woods for an unsportsmanlike incident which turned out to be totally inaccurate. He not only doesn’t retract what he said, but he also doesn’t apologize and further tarnishes his image with a racist comment about serving “fried chicken” if he had Tiger over for dinner. All he had to do was ascertain the facts about the incident and keep his mouth shut. He didn’t do either! Instead of continuing to be a popular golfer, he will lose future endorsements and constantly hear a chorus of boos from the galleries. He goes from good guy to bad guy because of an incorrect interpretation. What was he possibly thinking?

Notre Dame went to College Football’s National Championship game last year with freshman quarterback, Everett Golson. Golson was looking at three more years playing the most glorious position at college football’s most historical football institution and the adulation that comes with THAT territory. All he had to do was just stay in school. However, Everett Golson is no longer enrolled because of “poor academic judgment.” We do not know what he did – cut classes, cheated on tests, had someone take his tests, failed too many courses – the list could go on and on. The bottom line and most obvious question is, “What was he thinking?”

I could certainly give you more examples – NBA’er Andrew Bynum bowling on a bum knee, causing him to now have two bum knees; NBA’er Amare Stoudamire punching a glass fire extinguisher following a loss to Miami; Lance Armstrong’s arrogance in denying his use of illegal substances when he knew he had been caught; etc., etc. I wish I could understand what they were thinking. But, alas, I cannot!

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)

1. I have tried to watch the Phillies, but their pitching is bad and the hitting is worse. They are getting to be an old baseball team and it is showing.

2. Heartbreak occurred at the Indianapolis Speedway again for the Andretti family (Mario, Michael, Marco). Marco was right there, kept all the locals in front of the TV, and, once again, fate dealt a stunning blow with a caution flag that cemented defeat and a fourth place finish for Marco. The family says there is no curse; I do not believe in curses; but, if I did, the Andretti history at Indianapolis would certainly qualify as one.

3. Tiger Woods, whose golf schedule is certainly limited, has agreed to play in the Turkish Airlines Open in Europe. Why there, you may wonder. There is a $7 million purse. Still wondering?

4. I needed to prepare for the District XI baseball championships over the holiday weekend. It is very difficult to get information when schools are not in session. I finally got everything I needed Monday night at @ 10:30 (after numerous phone calls to coaches). I worked all day Sunday with what I had. Guess what? The games were rained out on Tuesday and one of the games (already done) was moved and will not be televised. I am not complaining; just a little venting. Thanks for listening.

5. I am hosting Sportstalk next Thursday (June 6) and the panel will be discussing the best 5 high school football players at various positions. Dick Tracy, Dennis Laub and Joe Craig will offer their lists. Join us with your opinions. I am sure there will be many.

The Real March Madness – Behind the Mic – March 18th

The brackets are out!! Everyone starts the week with high expectations to be the best in their various investments into the various pools (for amusement only, of course). I have been invited to participate in nine and the list could still grow. After all, it’s only Monday. So I have started my research and I have come to the conclusion that research will most likely do me absolutely no good.

This was probably the most unpredictable college basketball season in recent history. First of all, a tell-tale sign that this is the “Year of the Whaaatt?” is that the defending national champions, the Kentucky Wildcats, are not even invited. Add to that, there were six teams that were #1 at some point during the season. So if you think you are knowledgeable about college hoops this year, you are probably going to be a loser. This will be the year of the upsets. If there was ever a time to actually get your wife, girlfriend, nerdy husband, or boyfriend involved in your selections, this is the year. If you happen to go that route, prepare yourself for the “I like their colors”, “Their nickname is cute”, “What state are they from?”, “I like teams that begin with B”, etc. I know for those of us who are purists, this kind of babble can make one wretch. But, mark my words; this year might be that year! You can wretch now while making your picks or wretch later when you are tearing up the sheets with your picks on them.

The #1’s are Louisville, Kansas, Indiana, and Gonzaga. My basketball brain tells me to go with Louisville. They are the hottest team right now, just won the Big East tournament, and seem to be in a very favorable bracket. So, should you pick them to win it all? Don’t do it!! Too obvious. This should not be the year to pick the favorite.

Of the #1’s, I kind of like Gonzaga. Their schedule made them a mystery team, but I find it fun to root for them in the post-season. The #2’s look strong – Duke, Miami, Ohio State, and Georgetown. But, can one of them go all the way? Flip a coin, throw a dart!

So, who do I like?

Midwest – Memphis as a sleeper, but I pick Louisville.

West – Still like Gonzaga; don’t like Ohio State; New Mexico has a shot.

South – Michigan led by Trey Burke; Georgetown, maybe.

East – Bucknell!! (Just seeing if you are still with me). It should be Indiana, but don’t count out Miami.

Do I have to pick a national champion? Wait until I call my wife.


 

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)

  1. I am beginning to get the sense that teams that know they are in the tournament don’t care much anymore about their conference championships. Plenty of #1 seeds did not make the tournament finals.
  2. I mentioned Bucknell, the Patriot League champion, up top, but how do I think they will really do? Mike Muscala is the best offensive and defensive player in the League. If he gets backcourt help, they can shock Butler. However, Butler already has beaten Indiana and Gonzaga. This is a very tough draw for the Bison.
  3. 40 years ago, Allentown Central Catholic became the first parochial state champions in the PIAA. They beat four undefeated teams in their last five games. It is really strange this year not seeing them in the state playoffs.
  4. As I write this, the Bethlehem Catholic Golden Hawks are the last Lehigh Valley team alive in the state playoffs. To me, they look like a state champion. They have size, speed, intensity, and, most importantly, talent. Go Hawks!!

PS – Don’t bother me until after April 6. I will be checking my NCAA pool! I want to see how my wife did.