Thursday, January 24, 2008

My Favorite Sports Movie...No, I'm Not a Queer.

I have seen every sports-related movie ever made. At least, all the sports movies worth taking a look at. I exclude the last three movies starring "The Rock." If I have to explain why, well, you can stop reading now.

Most sports movies seriously blow. There is really nothing better than true sporting events viewed as they happen. The best reality TV ever. However, there are a few sports movies that are truly worthy of multiple sittings. The first Rocky, Hoosiers, North Dallas Forty, Miracle are some that come to the forefront. The Longest Yard and Bad News Bears qualify. The originals, not the recent remakes. They wouldn't make a film like the original Bad News Bears today. Maybe the most politically incorrect movie ever made. Hilarious.

My favorite sports movie is Chariots of Fire. Many movie buffs still rail that Chariots beat out Raiders of the Lost Ark for the Best Picture Oscar in 1981. Boo hoo. Chariots tells the story of two members of the 1924 British Olympic team. Two runners, Harold Abrahams and Eric Lidell. It is a tale of personalities, an obsessed Abrahams and the driven Lidell. It has everything that is great about sports, effort, competition, sacrifice, failure, glory and redemption. For my purposes, there is a character, Aubrey Montague, that reminds me of myself, of what I am and wanted to be and most importantly, what I never could be.

It is an inspirational movie and really, it's not boring at all. I know you think it is, but it's not. It always inspires me to achieve. "Where does one find the strength to see the race through to it's end? From within."

Saturday, January 12, 2008

I Am Yelling AT YOU!!! Watch the Playoffs.

I hate the week long pre-hash of the upcoming slate of games. You have these big ESPN talking heads screaming their predictions and prognostications at you as if they are saying, "If you don't believe what I say, you are a fucking idiot." These are mostly sportswriters who are slumming on TV for the extra cash. Everyone wants to be on TV and get "paid." How tiresome. They don't know shit, and the only view of their mugs we should be subjected to is the photo attached to their byline in their columns that you wouldn't even read on the toilet. So there.

The other waste of my prized listening time is the weekly "guarantee of victory" prediction with the follow-up 1100 questions to the player who said "I guarantee a win on Sunday." Who really thinks that this actually matters? It did the first time someone said it. Joe Namath in 1968. And he really didn't say it. What he said was, in summary, we will take the field on Super Bowl Sunday believing that we will win. Find me a player who doesn't believe that when they take the field. If you don't believe that, well, you leave the field on a flat-bed cart. This is the biggest red herring in the sports media. I find myself watching less and less ESPN. Yes, this is a bad thing.

Only a few games left for this football season. Hopefully, they will live up to all of the loud hype.

To Season Ticket or Not to Season Ticket...a Bear Question

Should I get 2008 season tickets? I am struggling with the decision. I really don't want to spend the money on them. I would rather put it toward a vacation with the family. I really cannot get inspired to drop the $1100 on this franchise. The Bears ownership is so concerned about the bottom line; why shouldn't I be? In truth, I kind of broke even by selling this season's tickets at inflated prices. But the thought of supporting Lovie Smith in any way gives me a dull ache behind my eyes.

It is not about the Bears spending money. It is about lousy personnel decisions. Spend the right amount of money on good players. You don't have to chase after the "free-agent dujour." How about not overspending for your lousy coach? How about creating competition at every position? How about...? Oh, screw it.

All I ever wanted in the realm of pro sports was to have Bears season tickets. Now that I have had them for a few years, I find myself not wanting to go to Soldier Field. It is not all that much fun, really. There is an obnoxious faction of attendees, with the boozing and all. Not really a place for the kids, and I have a lot of those. So, if I cannot be with my family, I don't enjoy being gone so long on a weekend day. In fact, watching the game live is difficult. Those TV timeouts are much easier to deal with at home. There is already enough down time in the game of football. Standing through the constant stoppages, with no actual snap for stretches at a time is aggravating. Better to be at home, with bathroom proximity, no lines (most of the time) and reasonably priced food and drink. Plus, I enjoy having the family watch with me, for the 3 or 4 plays that they watch with me.

I am talking myself into this. Let's keep going. Another reason to drop is the lack of consistent winning with this team. We have a good year, then two or three bad years. That does not inspire me. I have no faith in the top guys here. I would rather go to a North Central game. Three straight years in the playoffs. Now that gets me motivated. Ticket prices for old NC are $5. It is about the football. I can watch my friends coach a good high school team on Friday night. I can take a short trip to see one of my Knox roommates coach in the NFL. I can actually root for someone I know. I'm getting my roll on.

The only reason to keep them tickets is for the playoffs. Here, however, you are buying at least 3 seasons worth of tickets for one home playoff game...maybe. Suze Orman would stamp a big "DENIED" on my forehead with that logic. As for my decision, I won't see that bill for a little while. This year, they better wait until the last possible minute. My heart's not in it.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Alas, another season has ended. (I just wanted to use the word "Alas")

I am not melancholy about the end to the Bears' season. It was painful to watch. There will be a time to contemplate the future, not today. I just know that the Bears organization is not a dynamic or exciting group. I know that we can't expect great things from this franchise year in and year out. If we have a good season, it is a fluke. That is how it has been since the end of the Ditka era. The Bears are afraid to have that kind of personality running the team again.

It was a great era, the Ditka era. He expected to win and that rubbed off on the whole city. But I knew it was time for him to go, when he was fired. I never thought that I would miss him so much. Hiring Ditka was George Halas' last great move on this earth. Before that, Halas had a great move in 1943. We need to move in some modern ownership. And while I'm at it, I also need to win the Powerball twice in one month. Cynical, but true.

Today, we celebrate college football. Specifically, the Illini play in the Rose Bowl against the highly-favored USC Trojans. You heard it here, Illinois will win. I just have a feeling. That's about all I have. So, quite possibly, I could be eating this post in 12 hours. It is much more fun to feel good and be optimistic, however. It is a new year, full of promise. Let's look forward to something. Plus, USC's quarterback is named "Booty." This has to bode well for the Orange and Blue.

I am ready to grind out another year. There is no surprise as to what is ahead for 2008. I realize that this doesn't sound very exciting, but raising and supporting a family is hard work. I take joy in the effort. I am not the type of person that waits around with a hand out, looking for a windfall. I need to earn my success in all aspects of my life, as a husband, a father and a provider. I want to do my best every day. It is a constant responsibility. The reward is the devotion and love I receive from my family. That feels great. It makes me want to live forever.