NFL: Don’t Do Bounties

The New Orleans Saints were caught with a bounty program in which they paid players to actively seek to injure opposing quarterbacks (and perhaps other players). That is disgusting. What makes me happy is that the NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, did not take it.

He handed their head coach, Sean Payton, a year’s suspension without pay. That same coach is apparently “beside himself” because he expected to only get suspended for four games. Guess what? If you lie, think you are above the rules, and knowingly try to cover up blatant violations of those rules… all while actively endorsing a plan that intentionally seeks to injure players in the NFL and potentially end other people’s careers, you absolutely don’t deserve to coach in the NFL. I honestly think he should be banned from the NFL. It’s just a disgusting violation of the rules, and it’s not a violation that doesn’t hurt anyone but actually sought to hurt people. I’m horrified.

Goodell also stripped the Saints of two second round picks, which is another fitting punishment. He suspended their GM for 8 games, and their assistant coach for 6. The message has been sent.


The Eschatology of a Cubs Fan

I was watching basketball last night when I saw an ad that nearly broke my heart. I’ve posted the video:

I’m a lifelong Cubs fan. I’ve watched them my whole life. I remember sitting with my (now passed away) grandpa on the couch, cheering as the Cubs won, groaning as they lost. I can still see him getting the broom out of the closet and going around my grandparents’ house sweeping, yelling “Cubs Sweep! Cubs Sweep!”

One of the most wonderful moments of my life was when my grandpa, my dad, and I all went to a Cubs game together at Wrigley Field. I cannot describe to you how unbelievable it was. I was probably only 8 years old or so, and it was the absolute best thing to ever happen. We were holding a sign that said “Three Generations of Warticks” on it, and we were spotted on TV by my grandma, mother, and sister. The scents, tastes, and overall feel of being at Wrigley Field brings me back to those moments even now, just by seeing an image of it. [Image credit.]

There’s a reason that baseball fans love the game so much; it is for memories like these. Our family traditions often rotate around the sport, and we feel like we’re there, just watching it on television. The glories of our team and the bitter losses stick for a long time. I’m still not over seeing the Cubs make the playoffs several times and get eliminated, in an often brutal manner.

The ad that I linked above has me thinking about baseball more than ever. ┬áTheo Epstein has been brought in to run the Cubs, and I can’t help but believe that he’s going to work some kind of miracle. If he doesn’t, what then? It will just be the same ol’ Cubs. I love them, but I’ve never seen them win it all. My dad never has seen them win it all. My grandpa never got a chance to see them win it all. My great-grandpa, who lived almost 100 years, never saw them win it all. So Theo, we’re counting on you, but we won’t hold it against you if we don’t make it.

Back to the video: watching those images was surreal, just as the ad says. Seeing Cubs fans celebrating, rather than giving up hope; seeing them rejoice over a World Series win was just glorious. I could almost taste it. But then we realize it’s just an ad for a video game. Ouch.

I still hold out hope though, it’s almost like an eschatological promise: “There’s always next year.” Boy, we’ve been saying that for a long time. But I really do believe it: one day, the Cubs will win one, and it will be during my lifetime. When they do, I’ll be like the fan standing up, looking at the skyline, and just rejoicing. I’ll say “This one was for you, grandpa” and I’ll see him sweeping the streets in heaven. If it happens, I will get to Chicago, I don’t care when it is or how it happens. I won’t have to be at a game, or even there while one happens, but I’ll get back to Chi-town, the place I love, and I’ll kiss the walls of Wrigley, wearing my “World Series Champions” hat.

One day, Cubs.

One day.

Volleyball needs to be the new big sport

I love watching volleyball. I particularly enjoy women’s volleyball. I think it’s because growing up I always watched my sister play and enjoyed it greatly. The sport itself is fast-paced, action-packed, and definitely has much strategy involved.

But here’s the thing: it’s hard for me to find a venue at which to watch it. I don’t get cable, so even the occasional game they show on espn2 isn’t on my radar.

On a long car ride home with my wife, we were talking about sports (wow!) and I just had the thought that I wish volleyball would become the next big sport. I’m talking about having major teams across the nation, complete with drafts, etc. And personally, I don’t see why that couldn’t happen. I know I’d watch it if it were on. It’s such an exciting sport, and it would be awesome to see one of the major sports be based on women. I mean, if a men’s league developed, it would be called the “Men’s Volleyball League!”

Does anyone else love volleyball? Do you have any suggestions for how to watch it? I do live near the University of Minnesota, so perhaps I’ll go to a game or two. I just would really like to start watching it again.

In any case, if I were a billionaire, I’d start the league myself. I just think it would be thrilling to cheer for the Chicago Thundercats or something like that. So if anyone out there reads this and has a few million extra dollars sitting around, make it happen!