Fanatic

Now that I live in a college town, when a restaurant has a 20-minute wait or my wife and I are strolling through campus, I can pop in a merchandise store and check out all the officially-licensed items my heart desires. I’d been in these stores plenty before, but visiting several times over the last few weeks, I realized how devoted a University of Michigan sports fan could be.* You could…

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I Pledge Allegiance

Part of what makes the Olympics fun is that if someone from your country is competing, you know who to root for. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never heard of the athlete. It doesn’t matter if you’re not really sure how the event works (do shot putters have to hold the shot put against their neck?). If, in my case, I see someone representing the US of A, that’s my guy/girl.

Simple, right?

To use a phrase never applied to the subject of this story: Not so fast.

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Scoop and Score: The Ringer’s Bryan Curtis

Bryan Curtis joins us to talk about the state of college football in Texas (Houston is the best team; Texas is fifth!). He describes his work at The Ringer, where he interviews media personalities and covered the Republican National Convention. We don’t let him escape without discussing Jurassic Park and The Bachelor.

Scoop and Score: College Football Sleepers, Olympics

Which teams outside the top 15 have a shot at the playoff? Steve and I discuss some sleeper picks for the upcoming college football season. We also talk Olympics: Is there a not-yet-Olympic-sanctioned sport for which we could medal? Send questions for next pod!

What Are Those Spots on Michael Phelps’ Back?

I always hope my articles, in some way, inform readers. But this post in particular serves no other purpose. If you’ve been watching the Olympics — and since these are the Summer (and not Winter) Games, I sure hope you are — you might have seen some dark red splotches on Michael Phelps’ back last night. I’ve noticed them on other athletes, including gymnasts. They are the result of “cupping,” a post-exercise process that involves sticking plastic suction cups on sore muscles.

I know this because my wife “cups,” so I’d seen the softball-sized circles on her back and shoulders before. She convinced me to try it once, but the cups wouldn’t stick to my Lebanese skin. We’ve debated the effectiveness of cupping , but now that Olympic athletes are using them, my wife has been proven “right.”

Anyway, I hadn’t heard an announcer mention them, but I have to imagine people are wondering if Phelps had been repeatedly hit with a mallet or something. Now you know he’s just a cupping addict.

Scoop and Score: Michigan, ND Season Preview

Who’s got it better than Michigan? Is their floor 9-3? How about Notre Dame? After opening the season at Texas, their schedule isn’t tough either. Steve and I share our predictions for our alma maters. Plus, I make fun of Steve’s diet.

Don’t Buy Jerseys

Think about the kids, Kevin. The kids! The No. 35 jerseys worn by Oklahoma City children have been good for nearly a decade, but now they’re worthless. Might as well burn ’em. This is a huge (as in widespread) little (as in not that important) problem in all sports—aside from a franchise quarterback, who doesn’t play for multiple teams?—but this NBA offseason has been a particularly strong reminder that fans should stick to nameless jerseys.

Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant, two rare superstars who stayed with one team forever, just finished their final seasons. And even Bryant didn’t make it easy on fans, switching his jersey number midway through his career. Are there any players like them left? Dirk Nowitzki comes to mind; it’s hard to see him leaving Dallas at this point. Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli have made San Antonio a safe haven for jersey buyers. Among active players in the top 100 of games played, only one other qualifies: Mike Conley, who just signed a five-year extension to stay in Memphis.

We can’t predict where Damian Lillard’s career might take him. Or Gordon Hayward’s. Or Ben Simmons’. But we can’t trust them. Durant, Dwyane Wade, Al Horford, and Dwight Howard (again) reminded us of that over these past few weeks.

Alas, there is a solution: The t-shirt jersey. Much cheaper than its more authentic cousin, the t-shirt jersey displays the same information as the jersey but is affordable and more appropriate for public. In fact, my Jose Reyes Mets t-shirt jersey just became useful again. And that’s why I was joking earlier about burning your Durant gear. LeBron James returned to Cleveland and it’s not hard to see Durant doing the same in OKC, especially if he wins a championship in Golden State.

In 2014, the top-selling NBA jerseys belonged to James, Durant, Bryant, and Derrick Rose, all of whom have joined new teams (or retired) since. So go ahead and buy a No. 35 Warriors jersey. Just don’t consider it a good investment.

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