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Archive for December, 2010

Sports Fans — Part of the Game Too

Posted by RichieZ23 on December 15, 2010

You might call me a fanatic.  When it comes to my favorite teams — the Iowa Hawkeyes, Dallas Cowboys, and Orlando Magic — I love them.  I identify with them that makes me spend my financial resources and invest my emotional time in the outcomes of their events.

It’s what makes sports so great.

I’m sure we can all remember our favorite sporting event.  Mine was being at the 2010 Orange Bowl in Miami and watching the Iowa Hawkeyes defeat the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets for the first BCS bowl win in Iowa history.  That is a memory that you can never take away from me.  I also made sure to record plenty of video of it too.

The identity we have to our favorite teams cause us to feel such highs and lows from the outcomes and performances of our favorite teams.  I still get chills every time I watch this video from the 2010 FIFA World Cup:

That’s just 100% pure joy and emotion that might not ever be replicated again.  Some fans don’t even wait until the end of the game, or a game-winning shot to let out their emotions.  They just wait silently until the 10th point is scored in a basketball game, a tradition at Taylor University:

You always hear coaches and players thank the fans, and while it sounds cliche, it’s because it is.  But there is truth behind it.  Without us fans, these guys would essentially be playing by themselves in an open gym, field, or diamond.  It doesn’t matter what type of fan you are, if you support a team with either emotional resources or financial resources, you’re part of what makes the role of sports what it is today.

So next time you go to the stadium and arena and are idolizing the players performances, just know that you too play a part.


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Five Friday Favorites — December 5

Posted by RichieZ23 on December 5, 2010

While it technically might not be Friday, let’s get this week’s Friday Favorites going…

1.)  Dallas at Indianapolis — What was once supposed to be a Super Bowl preview is now a battle between teams trying to make the playoffs and fighting to be .500.  Indy is sitting at 6-5, and with a loss would put itself behind the Jaguars in the AFC South and with potential to miss the playoffs altogether.  Dallas’ season has been over for weeks.  However the honeymoon era with Jason Garrett at the helm is still underway.  If not for a late-game fumble by Roy Williams Dallas would be 3-0 with Garrett as head coach.  Even with Jon Kitna as quarterback, look for the Cowboys to continue to play to their potential.  Peyton Manning has struggled against 3-4 teams in the past to distinguish various blitzers.  Dallas might give up some points, but look for them to come out victorious 34-31.

Jon Kitna has played well in the Garrett Era (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)


2.)  New York at New England — This is going to be some great football to watch on Monday night  The polar opposite head coaches, the established quarterback vs. the up-and-comer.  Both teams are 9-2 heading into the game, and the winner has an expected 80-percent chance to win the AFC East.  Bill Belichick is one of the greatest coaches in NFL history, but I like Rex Ryan and the Jets in this game 24-14.  The Jets have the attitude and confidence to go into Foxboro and snap Tom Brady’s NFL record 25-game home winning streak.

3.)  Pittsburgh at Baltimore — The Sunday Night Football battle on NBC will be a primetime game worth watching.  The Steelers and Ravens are a dead-even 8-8 in their past 16 games against each other.  Some people like to watch shootouts between teams like the Colts and Saints.  Eff that.  Give me teams like the Steelers and Ravens going at each other every single time.  Players like Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, LeMarr Woodley, and Troy Polamalu make defense fun to watch.  That being said, both teams can put points up on the board.  Ben Roethlisburger and Joe Flacco can sling the rock.  Flacco and Lewis out-duel Big Ben and Polamalu and win 21-17.

4.)  Atlanta at Tampa Bay — This game might be the biggest surprise of the season.  Atlanta is sitting at 9-2 with Tampa Bay right behind at 7-4.  If you would have told me Atlanta would be going into this game tied with the best record in the league, and that Tampa would be contending for a wildcard, I would have said you’re crazy.  But that is the reality.  Head coach Raheem Morris has done a great job in Tampa Bay, and second-year quarterback Josh Freeman is a prime example of a quarterback who wins football games.  He continues to make plays and get things done.  However, Atlanta is the better team, and while it will be a tough battle, Atlanta squeaks by with a 28-27 win.

5.)  Oakland at San Diego — The Chargers look to make it 19 straight in December games.  I liked the Raiders to win the division this year at first, but Philip Rivers has proved to be the best quarterback in the league, and made me look stupid in the process.  The Raiders still are a competitive team, but my Oakland pick was more or less an insult to Rivers and the Chargers than it was any due praise for the Raiders.  The Raiders might make the game competitive, but Rivers and San Diego will continue to roll.  I’m going to say 35-14.  Go Chargers, go.

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Philip Rivers and San Diego Chargers Own Month of December

Posted by RichieZ23 on December 2, 2010

In a previous blog entry, I noted how San Diego Chargers quarterback has been the best quarterback in the 2010 season.

Well, if you’re a Chargers fan, there’s more good news coming.  According to Michael Signora of NFL Football Info, the San Diego Chargers have won an NFL record 18 straight games in the month of December.  The mark is also shared with the 1970-74 Dolphins, who also won 18 games, those in the month of November.

So what does that mean?  With the Chargers already having the best quarterback in the league, now combined with the fact that the Chargers absolutely own the month of December, we will most likely see a supercharged Chargers team come out in the following weeks.

The return of Vincent Jackson will help the Chargers catch their annual December hot-streak. 18 straight wins and counting. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

Rivers also has top-targets Antonio Gates and Vincent Jackson at his disposal, that he did not have earlier in the season.  Jackson hasn’t played all year due to a holdout and a suspension, and Gates missed time as well with nagging injuries.

The Chargers have two games coming up in the surprising AFC West.  They host the Oakland Raiders on Sunday, and the Kansas City Chiefs will visit San Diego the following week.  If history tells us anything, it’s that the Chargers play their best in December.  It isn’t looking too good right now for the Chiefs and Raiders, two teams who sit at 7-4 and 5-6 respectively.  The AFC West is essentially a two-team race between Kansas City and San Diego, although my preseason favorite Oakland Raiders have an outside shot as well.

While the Raiders and Chiefs may have a shot, it doesn’t appear to be a very good one.

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White-Out — Sports Media and the Lack of Ethnic Diversity

Posted by RichieZ23 on December 1, 2010

I’d say there is a layer of white-out across the sports media.  It’s just I’m not sure if there is even a layer of ink underneath it.  It’s blindingly white.

According to the 2008 APSE-Report Card, there is a serious lack of ethnic diversity in the sports media.

Findings of the report card show that on average, whites account for 89.4 percent of the following job titles in sports media — sports editors, assistant sports editors, columnists, reporters, and  copy editors.

For a sporting world in America that is largely made up of African Americans, how can there be such little ethnic diversity in the jobs that cover these athletes?  Are we in the sports media not giving non-whites a fair chance?  I do not believe that to be the case.  While America is far from perfect regarding race relations, there has been progress made.  While it might be a small factor, there is little reason to believe that  racial discrimination is largely responsible for such a disparity between whites and non-whites in sports journalism.

Are non-whites just simply choosing to pursue other avenues in life besides those in sports media?  Quite possibly.  But why wouldn’t they want to be involved with the sports that are made up of their fellow race?  I don’t know.  I do not have an answer for that, as I am a white male.  But something just isn’t adding up here

Jason Whitlock, an African American sports journalist is one of the best in his craft.   Michael Wilbon is another African American who is one of the better sports journalists out there today.  Aren’t non-white kids and teenagers seeing this and wanting to be like Mike off the court, if they can’t be like Mike on the court?

Michael Wilbon, an Afican American sports journalist, is one of the more popular sports journalists in America. There should be more.

After all, if a large percentage of athletes in the United States are non-white, wouldn’t non-white reporters, editors, and others in the sports media world share a common bond?  This is not to suggest that race plays a factor in the quality of one’s work.  Far from it.  However, it is also realistic to admit that athletes would relate better to Stuart Scott than they would Skip Bayless.

For the sake of argument, let’s assume Scott and Bayless are equal in what they do as a sports journalist.  Wouldn’t Scott be better at relating to the player and asking better questions, thus hopefully getting better answers from the person being interviewed?  As previously stated, this is assuming that all other factors are equal in the perfect world — which rarely happens.  Being white or non-white obviously does not make you a good or bad sports journalist.  There are too many other factors.

But still.  Wouldn’t having a more diverse base of sports journalists both indirectly and directly improve the product due to the personal relationship phase of sports journalism?

Yes and yes.

An increase in ethnic diversity is needed to both potentially increase the quality of modern day sports journalism, and to also give non-whites opportunities in sports journalism.

It may be still a predominately white business, but at least there can be some color in it as well.

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