War of the Words, The Streak Continues, Olympic Fever?

February 3, 2006

Because I have to…

It’s a well known rule. Page 58 of the Sports Blog Writer’s Handbook specifically states that in the two weeks before the Super Bowl, something must be written about the big game each day. Since I just started yesterday and don’t want to lose my license so soon, I have no choice but to comply.

The “War of Words” between Steelers linebacker Joey Porter and, well… Joey Porter has gotten a bit overplayed. Seattle tight-end Jeramy Stevens made the comment that he hates to ruin the homecoming of Jerome Bettis by helping the Seahawks win the Super Bowl. Porter, with his proclivity for foaming idiocy, questioned what right a player of Stevens’ caliber had to make such a comment, and basically stated that the gloves were off. What ever happened to good-natured banter between teams (I’m assuming that this was at one point in time possible?)
I have no problem with players talking about how they are going to win their upcoming game, whether it is the Super Bowl, exhibition game, practice challenge, etc. I’ve always been a firm believer that if you don’t believe you are going to win, you shouldn’t bother playing. It’s not like Stevens said this directly to Jerome Bettis to belittle him. Stevens was asked about the hoopla surrounding “The Bus,” and he responded with a light-hearted gesture. Athletes today get so wrapped up in their “Perceived Status of Manhood,” that they are unable to see the comments for what they are. The proper thing to do in that situation is to respond with a little jab of your own, and proceed to kick some butt in the game.

This is not the first time that Porter has been involved in trash-talking, nor will it likely be the last. Some points that may be discussed are whether this distracts the team (not likely), if it hurts or helps either team (not likely), or why we care (because the NFL insists on having two weeks before the most over-hyped game in all professional sports and there is no other football news to speak of). Mostly, I just can’t wait for Sunday to come and go so the mouths can stop flapping and the legs will start running. Here’s to football.

Bluejackets-2 – Oilers-1 F/SO

I was unable to watch the entire game, so I can really only comment on a bit of the first period, the entire third, overtime, and shootout. Overall, it looks like even though the Jackets are not playing their best they’re able to win games. Both nights in Alberta, the Jackets looked noticeably slower on the ice than the home team. All this on the supposedly “fast” ice in Calgary and Edmonton. While I do not doubt those who say it’s fast, it’s painfully obvious that for most of the game that the Bluejackets are not. Perhaps in the few days off before facing Vancouver the boys should work on breaking out of the defensive zone.

In the third period, shortly after leaving the penalty box for a (yes, it was definitely an elbowing) penalty, Scott Staios scored the first goal of the contest. This put the home skaters in the driver’s seat. The Jackets couldn’t make anything happen on a subsequent power play. With around five to go, the announcing team questioned what line combinations Gallant would use to try and even the score. No sooner than the question was posed, did a Zherdev deke leave Dick Tarnstrom flat on the ice and the puck found it’s way into the net. Two games, two nights, two Zherdev goals to send the game into overtime. While the extra five minutes did seem decidedly “Bluejackets,” the visitors were unable to net one and the shootout was on. The back-and-forth was riveting (even at 11:30 PM) and after Jason Chimera beat a sprawled goaltender in the eighth round, Marc Denis finally made the big stop to give the Jackets their franchise-record fifth consecutive win. The team goes for number six on Monday night in Vancouver.

Olympics, anyone?

Unlike the days of my youth, I find it incredibly difficult to get excited about the Olympics (winter or summer). I suppose that is part of getting older, and nobody said that was easy. In the upcoming games, I’m looking forward to the hockey tournament, speed skating, and maybe the luge. The downhill skiing is always fun, but this year we have to suffer with Bode Miller so it’s soured a bit. It’s guys like him that make people hate Americans. Or maybe it’s guys like him that make people hate spoiled jocks, yeah… that’s the ticket. If I have to hear one more time how often he’s skied down a hill still hung-over from the previous evening, I think I’ll ski down a hill drunk. Is this really a story? I guess so, I’m writing about it. I just don’t understand how he can decry the media attention to his story, after he has willingly (presumably) granted interviews with 60 Minutes and Rolling Stone recently. It seems he doesn’t want people to know that he’s trying to get his name out there as much as possible. Bode, we’re not stupid… we just don’t care.

The weekend ahead

This weekend, we have the big Colorado/Detroit hockey contest on national television, and the Super Bowl, at last. Surely there is a plethora of other games being played this weekend, but none that I care about.
Thanks for reading. Come back soon.

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