Sunday, November 12, 2006

Style Points in Football?

For any of you following the college football national championship race, you have consistently heard commentators speak of style points being important to whoever plays in the championship game. I generally think the BCS flawed, but the idea that a team has to win 'stylishly' proves that the BCS is also ruining football. Do you think the great Nebraska, Alabama, Oklahoma, Army, and other national championship games from before the BCS won because of style points? The Bear is probably rolling over in his grave (kinda like his team is rolling over in games this year) just at the thought of having to have style to win a national championship.
Since style points have become so important, however, I want to note a few style points that have been overlooked but are nonetheless important in today's football world:
1) Cleats that are the same color as team jerseys. Talk about stylish, when Tennessee wears orange cleats to complement their orange jerseys, pants, undershirts, and underwear, they are racking up some serious style points regardless of the score or how many times their band plays Rocky Top.
2) Coaches wearing 5 shirts. If you have seen an Auburn game lately, you should have noticed that Tommy Tuberville wears a vest, a short sleeve shirt, a long sleeve shirt, an undershirt, and 3 other shirts while he walks up and down the sideline. Very stylish. Too bad they did not beat Georgia.
3) Braids hanging out from under the back of the helmet. In years gone by, these would be used to tackle these players but in today's modern age of style points, they may help teams reach the national championship.
4) Unsportsmanlike penalties. Are there any greater shows of 'style' than when a player does a dance in the endzone or high steps into the endzone or spikes the ball in the endzone? In light of the current emphasis on style points, I think we should replace the unsportsmanlike penalty with a judging system that awards points to the most stylish moves after a touchdown. This would be a good place to use the replay system: the guys sitting in the booth don't seem to be able to get many calls correct, probably because they are too entertained by the players' stylistic celebrations. Instead of making them review such meaningless things as whether a player scored or intercepted the ball or was down, we could give them scorecards to judge which players had the best post-play celebration and then award points to their team based on the judges decision.
In my book, style is when you play quality opponents and actually win; not when you play a team that is 2-20 over the past 2 seasons and beat them 77-0. Unfortunately the football pundits don't see it that way. Lets hope their ideas go out of style and we can return to football being about winning and losing.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Craft Shows Are Hazardous to Men's Health...

Over the past couple of months, I have attended 2 crafts shows with my wife. They were held in arenas and were generally enjoyable. I was one of 3 men who were not vendors at both of these shows. My goal in attending each was simple: walk with my wife, pretending I was interested in the jewelry, clothes, and and other booths while keeping my eye out for the food related booths. Both shows featured mom and pop organizations which cooked pies, dips, and other assorted sweets; nearly all of these booths also featured free samples.
I freely admit that I was there for the free samples; I was not the only person there for the food, however. I could identify the food booths very easily: they were the ones with a flock of women surrounding them. I generally limit myself to sampling each dip or food type one time; apparently, craft show women do not share my restraint. At each booth, I watched more than one woman sample each thing 3 or 4 times and, it should be mentioned, most of them did not buy anything and the same woman could be seen doing the same thing at other booths later.
Another characteristic that these women shared was that they lacked all social grace when it came to getting to the free samples. As one of the few males there, I felt like I should be courteous and wait my turn in line for samples; in doing so, I became a doormat. I would literally wait in line for a minute or two, finally get an opening to walk up to the booth, and a woman in a sweater with the words "World's Best Grandmother" or "Ask Me About My Grandkids" would cut me off, lowering her shoulder to push me out of the way, and then ignore the fact that I was trying to reach around her to get to the food. I didn't want to ask her about her grandkids, I wanted to tell her grandkids about their jerk of a grandmother.
Before these two shows, I always assumed that men did not attend such things because they lacked interest and had better things to do. After attending the shows, I realized men don't attend because most of us have qualms about hitting, pushing, or shoving women while women have no such qualms about hitting, pushing, or shoving men or women or children to get to free samples.
So guys, if you do decide to go to a craft show with your wife or girlfriend, a few words of advice: 1) Do try the food because it is delicious; 2) Don't expect to get any courtesy from anyone other than the person you came with; 3) Get behind the sweetest looking old lady you can when approaching a food table because I guarantee you she will shove her way to the front; and 4)Wear a cup because that same little old lady might throw an ill-placed elbow while you are following her.

Friday, November 03, 2006

West Virginia-Louisville Thoughts

I was completely surprised by this game. I thought Louisville would be handily beaten and that WVU would be a virtual lock for the BCS championship. I was happily surprised, however. After watching the game, I thought I was watching a PAC 10 game: all offense and no defense. This game merely proved what I have long thought: neither team plays anybody worth a crap (including each other). If they had, their defenses would not have been so highly vaunted coming into the game. I read columns which predicted a defensive battle because of statistics from prior games; those statistics were exposed as completely false. WVU has no passing defense whatsoever and Louisville's defense only won because WVU kept shooting themselves in the foot by fumbling.
I am hoping that this game will give some voters pause in annointing Louisville the presumptive BCS title game contender (they may lose next week to Rutgers, a.k.a. the powerhouse State University of New Jersey; just their name strikes fear in my heart). Ohio State's or Michigan's offense would make Louisville's defense look like a high school squad (pretty much like WVU did when they could hold onto the ball) and, here is the kicker, both Ohio State and Michigan actually have a defense, one that would demolish Louisville's offense.
After the game, I thought that the commentators had largely backed off their claims that the winner of this game, who lets be honest they all thought would be WVU by wide margin, was a lock for the BCS championship. I think they were surprised by how weak both teams looked on defense and maybe questioned their previous rhetoric that the Big East is a powerhouse conference on par with the SEC's and Big 10's of the world. I certainly hope so. While I would enjoy watching the Big East champion get buried by Ohio State or Michigan, I would enjoy a close game between the SEC champion and the Ohio State-Michigan winner even more.