Complete NFL Regular Season Schedule Released! Check it out!

That’s right, it’s April, and we are already thinking about the 2015-16 NFL season!  If you are like us, and can’t get enough football, check out the full schedule for The 2015-16 NFL regular season over on NFL.com.  Then, start planning the weekends based on the best match ups and drink specials…believe me we aren’t judging.  And, mark those calenders ladies, because The NFL Draft is April 30th-May 2nd.  Because NFL passion and pride doesn’t go on Spring Break!

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Build then Destroy: Johnny Football

Photo Cred:  bloguin.com

Photo Cred: bloguin.com

There he is, Johnny Football Manziel, in all his glory doing what all of us football fans want to see:  being awesome.  Then something funny happens, right?  We want build these athletes to be our American dreams, then demand they sit in the corner (like Baby) while schools  make money off of them, ridicule them for being upset at this exploitation, create sensationalist journalism off of them, and then beat them senseless with the “you’re living the dream” bag.  I can’t help but conjure images of Pink Floyd’s The Wall when I think of Johnny Manziel.  I get it, you are thinking, “What is your point, lady?”  I’m getting there…come along for the ride…

Imagine a company, like NBC, buys the media rights to a television series, like Seinfeld,  for $500 billion dollars, but the people who star in the television series make no salary, nor are they allowed to have any right to merchandising (coffee mugs, notepads, t-shirts, games, anything at Spencer gifts.)  The actors only get paid a small stipend to cover their educational and living expenses.  Exactly, you have to imagine this because it would never happen.  It’s called slave labor! SAG wouldn’t allow this, the public wouldn’t allow this, and yet here we are allowing our young college athletes to experience the same sort of ludicrous exploitation that seems crazy when applied to ANY other industry.  For god’s sake, even Internships are being policed harder than NCAA athlete’s rights.

We create these people, don’t we?  We build them up because we love football and heroes   We long for heroes, we long for controversy, we long for fantasy, and we long for Johnny Football.  We got him, and then we decided he wasn’t living up to our societal standards.  He tweeted too much, he attended high profile events, he overslept that one time and ESPN made a damn three part mini-series out of it, and he got kicked out of a party (breaking news.)  We watched all this and forgot that we were watching a 19-year-old (20 at the moment) child.  We forgot that this boy was making millions of dollars for the NCAA and Texas A&M, with no return on his hard work, while suffering psychological repercussions all at the same time.  When Manziel tweeted about “walk a mile in my shoes” and people got offended they forgot that, while he may not be in dire straights, he could be experiencing emotional distress–as all humans do.  But that’s not our idea of a hero–expressing distress or frustration.  Just play football, the crowd roars.

You want the kid to shut up and play–Do YOU remember being 19, 20?  You aren’t usually the most emotionally equipped, experienced, and well spoken individual you believed you were then.  I bet you have things you regret you did.  I would have been a media nightmare at 19…all angst and zero tact!   I bet you can wince over a few 19-year-old, 20-something memories.  I know I can.  And, yet, we want him to stop making mistakes.  Forgetting that his 20’s are specifically for him TO make mistakes so he can learn and grow as a human.  The kid is an idiot.  As I suspect most 19 and 20-year-olds are.  He just gets to do it in the public eye.

We expect him not to attend NBA finals games, while we shell out money for tickets to games HE plays in!  He better get some gosh darn free tickets in the sports world!  And then, to top it all off we create media witch hunts for him collecting a measly $7,500 for an autograph that is, get this, HIS.  Meanwhile, Texas A&M made $44 million dollars and even got written up in Forbes for how much money Johnny would make them.  That’s .017% of the kitty, ya’ll.  Oh, but it breaks the rules?

Rules?  Since when did we use rules to defend the exploitation of our youth?  Oh…right…since forever.  Well, maybe the rules need to change.  Johnny Football isn’t the first athlete to do this.  He isn’t the only athlete currently doing this.  He is just a cherry on the top of a pile of athletes who have been thrown out because of this.  Leagues dangling pretty things in front of the young athletes who know NOTHING of fancy swag thrown into a world of glitz and glamor where they can only touch the pretty things when told to do so.  Just check out the Ducks’ sprawling locker room, and tell me you don’t get sucked into a world that you are probably not fully prepared for as a college freshman.

Yes, there are kids who are ready.  Yes, there are kids who walk the straight and narrow till they leave. Johnny isn’t one of them.  Do we blame him?  Or, do we blame ourselves for the Johnny Football we have helped build and are so eager to destroy?  We forget, there is a human being in this equation, and he is suffering from the exploitation that we have helped build.

Can we stop the hate now? #KingJames

Watching the Miami Heat win the 2013 NBA Championship was still a battle as a LeBron fan.  As soon as the last second ticked away, and Miami emerged the victor, the hate on social media began.  LeBron was on the tips of everyone’s tongue and people were ready with critical commentary to slash the King’s crown, just as he should be silencing the naysayers.

But, just stop for a moment, please sports fans and think about it.  LeBron James is the first major NBA player to be dominating the league during a time when social media is dominating our lives.  The man is under up-to-the-second scrutiny on Twitter, Facebook, and anywhere else someone can post a meem or commentary about his receding hairline.  And, he is handling it with grace and still putting up numbers and winning championships.  So, can we stop the hate now?

Can we stop the hate on the man who finished Game 7 with 37 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists.  Not too shabby, in my humble opinion.  No, screw that…in ANY opinion.  He won his 2nd NBA Championship.  He won his 4th MVP.  Can you take that in for a moment?  Can you process that without your LeBron hate filter?

I respect athletes and people who exude the type of passion and love for what they do, as I feel when I write about sports, and LeBron does that.  He does that with grace, humility, and with the added social media scrutiny that MJ and Kobe never really had to put up with.  He has to face comparison after comparison when, really, his stats CLEARLY favor him.  Read  “LeBron James is actually better now than Michael Jordan was then”

So, can you stop the hate?  It just makes you look…well, kinda bitter and sad that you don’t have the kind of talent LeBron has.  We are all talented.  I suggest you take inspiration from LeBron and be the best at what you do.  Be as passionate about what you do.  And, smile through the haters because if you do anything quite as well as LeBron, there will be a lot!

Blood, Heat, and Spurs- NBA Finals 2013 Recap

Remember all that hooplah about LeBron James in 2010, the big controversy of him switching over to Miami Heat from the Cleveland Cavaliers? Neither does he! With 37 points last night, the 6′ 8″ powerhouse blasted any doubt out of the Florida waters that he’d even question that he made the best decision of his career.

Now two time champions, the Miami Heat had a good. Old. Time. And they can thank Ray Allen for his, um, REDONCULOUS [sic] shot  with 5 seconds left on the buzzer in Game 6… the one that had Greg Popovich a little upset (to say the least).

Popovich ain’t happy.

To my disdain (and not my counterpart of LLS, who is REELING IN VICTORY), the San Antonio Spurs lost by 7, crushing the dreams of Danny Green, who set an NBA record of most three-pointers in a Finals series. Or Tim Duncan, the 37 year-old four-time champion who was on his way to winning a fifth.

Lest we not forget us fans that have been having mild panic attacks since game 1! We have shouted in victory and agony, our hearts slowing and quickening in unnerving anxiety. The excitement was impalpable, even from general basketball fans who weren’t sure whose side they were on.

Assists, rebounds, lost Headbands, three-pointers, Birdman (Terrified or want to make out with him? Still on the fence about this one.), the fans, Magna Carta Holy Grail, and most importantly- the ‘White House Down’ promos with Jamie Foxx and Channing Tatum. The NBA Finals 2013 were exciting to watch, even when I heard that Drake wasn’t allowed to enter the Heat locker room after the win. (I guess Degrassi and a rap career can only do so much.)

With the NBA draft coming up in August, what will the game of baskets be like next season? Will the Heat let go of another Danny Green (drafted by them in 2010), or find another King James? How many more Europeans will the Spurs sign? WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO KOBE AND THE LAKERS?

Please, PLEASE  let there not be a lockout next season. It’s gettin’ too good.

Why EVERY Woman Should do a Tough Mudder

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photo courtesy of Carley Hennessey

I get it, you are sitting there looking at the title of this blog post thinking, “This chick is off her rocker.  Who gets shocked, bruised, runs 10 miles, and then advises other women to follow suit?”  Well, I do, and I have reasons why.  But, I digress.  Let’s go back to the beginning, about five years ago…

After reading, what I think is one of the most amazing books, in my life I had become a runner.  Yes, a runner.  Now, I had never run more than a mile in all my life.  In fact, when I set out on my running journey, I threw up after my first mile.  Yep.  Completed it, and then blew chunks all over the pristine track glistening in the summer light.  Charming.  But, three months later I was running up to 10 miles a day 4-5 times a week and competing in events like the Nike Human Race.  I had no intention of dropping weight while running, but naturally (as you may have guessed) running such distance does make you a svelte creature.  But who cares, right?  We all want to be healthy and skinny?  I was happy, confident, and recently single.  That’s when my whole world changed.

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Nike Human Race-Randell’s Island 2008

I met a man who, seemed like, the answer I had always been looking for.  Being a strong, independent women had proven difficult in relationships.  Most men thought I liked being the boss when really I felt I HAD to be the boss.  Not this guy.  He was most DEFINITELY the pants in the relationship.  And the pants were cinched with a belt of pathology that lashed me for the next three years.  In a nutshell, this guy wouldn’t commit to me, but in a completely mind-fuck way.  He wouldn’t commit, but he would buy my son Christmas presents.  He wouldn’t commit, but he would tell me he loved me.  He wouldn’t commit, but he sure liked having sex with me just about every day of our relationship, multiple times a day.  You see, I have never read Shades of Grey, because I am pretty sure I have lived it.

One incredibly painful thing I allowed this man to take from me, was running.  You see, one day after we had sex, he promptly let me know that he was not attracted to me.  That the sex was simply something he needed to get done, and I was the closest warm body.  Angrily, I asked him what that meant, and he replied, “You’re too skinny for me.”  Well, out the window went the running.  I was in a full-blown emotionally abusive relationship, and I wasn’t making healthy choices.  But, the funny thing about being in an emotionally abusive relationship is…you don’t eat.  So, no matter what I tried, I couldn’t gain weight, and I lamented over my size 2 120lb frame.  I felt unattractive, and I gave up the one thing that had made me feel great–running.

Fast-forward to three years ago, when the hellish relationship finally came to an end.  I was left in shambles, wondering what in the fuck I was supposed to do to get myself together.  I went to therapy, and all signs pointed to getting active again.  But, it’s funny how a poison, like emotional abuse, will seep in and fester.  I didn’t want to be skinny, and I had finally begun to put on weight.  I had people complimenting my curves, all while I was watching the women run in the park with Gollum-like “precious” envy.  I ran every now and then.  I still could run a good 10 miles.  I’d enjoy it more than I would admit to people.

Suddenly, in January 2013, the pendulum had shifted far to the other side.  I found myself at the heaviest I had ever been.  Too heavy.  Unhealthy heavy.  And, wheezing when I would go up steps.  In January, it hit me like that Artic Enema did at Tough Mudder…I had allowed myself to become unhealthy because of what other people had said.  I signed up for Tough Mudder that next week.

Why Tough Mudder?  Well, I thought, I had spent so long feeling weak and helpless in a relationship that damn near took everything out of me.  I thought, I survived that.  But, now I want something to survive that didn’t make me a victim.  That didn’t have to do with what anyone else said.  It was for me and me alone.  When I saw the Tough Mudder, I got excited.  I’m going to do that, I thought.  And, I did.  I trained for 3 months, hard.  I got my running legs back.  I even started being able to do burpees without getting dizzy.  I hired a trainer, and I began eating well.  I grew closer to my friends and family because I reached out for the necessary support I knew I would need to make it through.  I joined a couple of bad-ass chicks, whom I am lucky enough to call friends, to run beside me.  And, I forgot about what my body DID or DID NOT not look like.  Because, that wasn’t going to help me cross the finish line.  That wasn’t going to achieve my goal.

photo courtesy of Carley Hennessey

photo courtesy of Carley Hennessey

And, THAT’s why I believe every women should do a Tough Mudder.  Because, as women, we endure a lot of shit.  Body issues, emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexism, inequality, etc.  Not that I am saying men don’t endure this, but women face an especially difficult amount of this from society.  And, believe me, nothing gives the middle finger to what everyone else thinks, including society, like finishing 10 miles and 22 obstacles.  People help you along the way, which is the beauty of what women are, as well.  Strength and vulnerability all rolled into one.  When someone tells me, from this day forward, that I can’t do something.  I’ll look them square in the eye and say, I’ve been shocked, bruised, and run 10 miles.  I asked for help from people to get the job done.  I relied on my team and did what people said was crazy.  I can do anything I damn well please.

photo courtesy of Carley Hennessey

photo courtesy of Carley Hennessey

If you want to be able to say that, and I hope you do (because YOU can do anything), then consider a Tough Mudder.  Because we are women, and we should definitely let them hear us roar! HOORAH!

For more information on Tough Mudder click here

We Could All Use Some Feel Good…

This has been one hell of week. Not just for sports, but for Americans, for the brave people of Boston, and for humanity. It has played out like a bizarre mini-series, and it is sure to continue with new evidence about the surviving bomber and his brother. There is much tragedy, and we pray for those who lost, in any way, due to these horrific events.

But, when you look at the bravery, empathy, compassion, love, kindness, helpfulness, and sheer selflessness that came out of this tragedy, you have reason to believe that humans are innately good. That athletes, in particular, aren’t just egotistical messes that care about money and glory. That even after a person runs 26 miles, they will continue to run to the nearest hospital to give blood.

I believe in sports, the way I still believe in the ability of this world. And, this video below just solidifies why I love sports. Teddy Kremer may have never been able to play in the majors, but Todd Frazier gave him the homerun he wanted. Here’s to athletes, here’s to bravery, here’s to making someone’s day and all the runners, citizens, first responders, police officers, firefighters, SWAT team, EMT’s, doctors, nurses, and anyone else who helped in Boston.  We could all use some feel good…enjoy.

THIS is sports

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Photo Credit: nydailynews.com

This is Jack.  Jack has brain cancer, and he has been battling it for a very long time.  This is the Nebraska Huskers and their opponents giving him a moment that he, otherwise, may never have.  THIS is sports!

After our last post, we thought, it could be easy for people to write off people who love sports or participate in sports as raging egos who simply want to dominate.  While that may be true for a small segment of the sports industry, we would like to recognize the selfless act that was performed by athletes on both sides of this game.  THIS is sports, and it is beautiful.

Reverse Sexism: What if Mike Rice screamed at girls?

photo credit:  theweek.com

photo credit: theweek.com

I first saw the video, of Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice, on a TV screen at the gym.  I had my headphones plugged into my iPod, on a treadmill, and readjusting my headphones to the TV wasn’t an option.  Regardless, the sight of that video made something boil over in me.  Even on mute, even without hearing a word that Rice exchanged with his players, I was angry.  As a former athlete, I had never seen such a line of trust, not only crossed, but extinguished to a group of young men.  We want to know why our culture can’t get out of its own way, and it is because of people like Mike Rice.  However, not everyone seemed to share my rage.  It seems for some athletes and, for some males, this type of abuse in sports is perfectly normal.  So, what is this?  Reverse Sexism?


Imagine if this video were of Mike Rice screaming at girls?  Would we be more appalled?  Would action have been taken sooner? I believe the answer is, yes.  I believe video of a coach berating female players, while throwing basketballs at their heads, kicking them, and grabbing their necks would be taken more seriously.  I believe if Tim Pernetti had seen footage of THAT in December, he wouldn’t have waited an entire season to fire Mike Rice.  And, why is that?  Why do we feel that male aggression is fit for boys, but not for girls?

The truth is, and we all know this outside of sports, abuse is not okay for ANYONE.  I don’t care if you are a coach who feels your tactics are motivational…there is no motivation in fear.  There is motivation in passion and, sure, sometimes that does come out as anger.  However, this wasn’t anger.  This was abuse.  This was a man taking full advantage of his power and status to berate and humiliate boys in front of their peers.  And, yet, some in society think this is okay.  Not that I take anything FOX news has to say seriously, but when Eric Boiling calls this the “wussification of American men,” I am afraid for our young men.  What if that was your daughter, Eric Boiling?  What if that were a girl?  Oh, then its awful?  THEN its abuse of your position?

This is reverse sexism.  Boys need just as much protection and leadership as girls.  Maybe, with incidents like Stuebenville occuring, they need even MORE!  We need to change the script.  We need to realize that males, who are exposed to aggression and abuse, are more likely to be aggressive and to abuse.  This man was OUT OF LINE.  He deserved to be fired and, in my opinion, prosecuted for assault.

These kids were made to endure hours of physical abuse by a man while everyone stood around watching.  There are psychological repercussions to this man’s brutality, and he gets to leave with the rest of his salary??!!  Again, I ask, what if this had been girls? Would this have all been different?  The answer is, yes.  And, that sort of reverse sexism is not furthering our hearts, minds, or the young athletes who want to be good no matter what the cost.