bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Football is back!

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There are a lot of great times of year, spread out all over the calendar. A lot of people love December because of the holidays. The beginning of summer is hugely popular, especially among kids (and teachers). Spring, when it starts to get warm and baseball gets rolling, is a good one too. For me, though, there is nothing quite like the beginning of football season. The festivities officially kicked off this past week.

Some people, my wife included, will tell you that the opening of training camp is not really the start of football. She has less than no interest in following camp, and the preseason games do not register on her consciousness. For me, though, it is a big deal. I can’t say I actually enjoy the preseason games, of course. As games, they are generally dreadful and tedious. Still, it is football, and any football is better than no football. I enjoy getting to watch the young players who are trying to make the team, as this is often the only time you will get to see any of these guys suit up in the NFL. I know a little about many of them from having seen them play in college, and it is interesting to see the star of some college team try to make it at the next level, where he is often not even close to good enough to play with the best.

College football kicked off this week too, although with that you don’t get to watch any actual games before the season starts (unless you count the early season games against the cupcakes as exhibition games, which they often are). I do get to read a lot about practices, early depth charts, and predictions galore, so it is still fun and interesting. OK, so you aren’t fascinated to find out about the backup long snapper for your favorite college team? That’s where you and I are different, I guess.

The biggest difference for me between football and all of the other sports is my easy willingness to watch games that don’t involve my teams. I very rarely watch a non-Phillies baseball game. I barely watch the Flyers anymore, and I certainly don’t watch any hockey games where they aren’t involved at all. I will watch just about any two teams play football, though, both in the NFL and in the college ranks. There is just something about the game that grabs me no matter who is playing. When you add in fantasy football, which gives me a lot more players for whom I root, it is easy to just turn on any game and watch it.

Fall weekends were made for football. I am lucky that I have a wife who enjoys the games as much as I do, as I don’t have to feel guilty about spending so much time planted in front of the television. I am deperately hoping for great seasons from the Eagles and from Penn State, of course, but if those great seasons don’t happen, I’ll still be watching.

Bad sports:

1) American golf star Dustin Johnson has taken a leave of absence from the tour for a period of six months. He reportedly failed some drug tests (the rumor is that cocaine was involved) and made some kind of deal to take a leave rather than actually be suspended. It is bizarre that the PGA allows this, but okay. Whatever. Johnson will not be participating in the Ryder Cup this season.

2) Marshawn Lynch, a star running back for the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks, skipped the first few days of training camp last week in an attempt to get more money from the team. He first mentioned his request to them back in May and they offered him an additional $1.5 million this season. That was clearly unsatisfactory to him, leading to his holdout. His attempt failed miserably, and he eventually ended his action on Thursday, taking the offered $1.5 million and showing up to camp. Lynch has been a huge contributor to the Seahawks for the last couple of years, but he still had 2 years to go on his 4-year deal, and it is an indication of just how far the running back position has been devalued in the NFL that the team essentially made no concession here at all.

3) The Oakland Athletics made a huge trade last week, sending outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to the Boston Red Sox for pitcher Jon Lester (some other guys were involved in the deal as well). Interestingly, Oakland had already planned a giveaway for their game on Saturday, and they were planning to give t-shirts with a caption and logo specifically about Cespedes. From what I read, they went ahead with the giveaway anyway.

4) Indiana Pacers star Paul George was playing in a scrimmage with Team USA in Las Vegas on Friday when he was horribly injured. He was covering James Harden on defense, leaping to try to block a shot when it happened. He landed out of bounds against some kind of box/pillar and his leg essentially bent in half at the ankle. Don’t watch the video if you are squeamish.

5) The famed Pauley Pavilion on the campus of UCLA was flooded along with much of the rest of the campus on Tuesday after a water main broke. Despite the arena having just been renovated in 2012, it looks like the school will have to spend a whole lot of money to repair the damage.

6) Pitchers hitting batters on purpose in baseball is something that just has to stop. I don’t care that they have  been doing it forever. If it is clear that a pitcher hits a batter on purpose, the punishment needs to be much more severe than it is so that it stops. Pittsburgh’s Ernesto Frieri hit Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt on the hand on Friday, breaking his hand and putting him out for the season. That’s a bad result, but it is clear that there was nothing intentional about it. On Saturday, Randall Delgado of the Diamondbacks hit Andrew McCutcheon of the Pirates in what was clearly a retaliation. He was immediately thrown out of the game and will likely be suspended, but I really think Major League Baseball needs to change the rules so that the punishment is huge for something like that.

7) Just a couple of weeks after he returned to competitive golf after having back surgery, Tiger Woods withdrew from the WGC Bridgestone Invitational on Sunday due to pain. He reportedly tweaked the back jumping down into a bunker.

Bad sports, good sports appears early each week

Alan Spoll is a software quality assurance director from the suburbs of Philadelphia where he lives with his wonderful wife and children. He has spent his entire life as a passionate fan of the Eagles, Phillies, Sixers, Flyers, and Penn State. Recent Phillies success aside, you will understand his natural negativity. Follow me on Twitter - @DocAlan02
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2 Responses to “Bad sports, good sports: Football is back!”

  1. Not the worst week in sports in toto, but as you point out, a lot of bad stuff happening:

    The PGA perplexes me. They seem to try to be above the fray and retain a modicum of gentility and discretion. Okay, I will side with them versus the sporting news hounds and paparazzi. I’m weary of knowing everything about every one. A little restraint is a nice change.

    I’m a committed Detroit Tigers fan, but as I live here in Arizona, and there is so much incest between the Tigers and D’Backs (Alan Trammell, Kirk Gibson), I support them too. If Paul Goldschmidt isn’t the least assuming great player, he is close. There was no excuse for throwing in on him and hitting his hand. I normally have a soft spot for the ever-suffering Bucs, but not now. They blew it.

    As to football…hell there isn’t anything like it in sports. Why do we watch exhibitions and practices? Because we get to see guys in pads hit after 5 months of non-contact sports. Just hearing the click and bang of helmets and pads is a thrill. And we get to see the new talent coming up and hear hour upon hour of evaluation, speculation and opinion about their chances and expectations. I could listen to that talk all day.

    The Yankees come in as a close second, but I enjoy despising and wishing ill upon the Dallas Cowboys in a way that no other team and no other sport can match. And any discord and drama in Jerry Jones’ world gives me a lift like no other news can do. I may be “wrong” in this, but I do not apologize. Football brings out intense feelings in me. And I am GLAD! GO LIONS!

  2. I appreciate that you continue to read and comment. Thanks!

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