Friday, November 30, 2007

Outside the Aviary: "It's In Our Nature"

After something as terrible as the Sean Taylor fiasco, I usually try to stay away from televised sports for at least a week due to the inanity of discussion. Championship Curling could be on, and the announcers would find a way to talk about the tragedy. Apparently, as if on cue, Dick Vitale mentioned it in the same breath as how great the Barber family is in the NFL during a Duke basketball game. Why do I need to know that Dicky V thinks this is a terrible occurrence? Why are people so intent on getting their thoughts on the matter out?

I violated my rule last night, however, to watch the most important game of the young basketball season. I started the night by drinking heavily-- a favorite pastime of mine-- and talking up the NBA with a good buddy of mine. Then, I took some preparation shots. Little did I know that I was about to watch the rout of the century. I needed release, I needed therapy. I needed to shout happily for a couple of hours. I got all that and more. I laughed joyously at the miserable dredges of offense the Knickerbockers trotted out. I watched the "Big 3" cheering on their teammates while they were up by 47 points. By the end, I realized that this was the best game I have watched. It was as if the Celtics felt my crestfallen cries and walloped one of my least favorite franchises to quell my ill-temper.

As untrue as that last statement surely is, I do feel better as a fan and ultimately as a person. Watching a systematic dismantling like that-- even Scalabrine got 3 points in this one-- brings out the worst kind of person in me. It's the only time I will ever gloat. Usually, this is the time to tell the couple next to you that Isiah will get fired, Marbury will be gone soon or some such other positive idea. Instead, I was yelling, "This is the single worst showing I have ever seen in the NBA." Instead, I was yelling, "Oh shit, Scalabrine. AND... THE... FOUL." Instead, I laughed egregiously-- uproariously-- bellied up to the bar, the wind now whipping furiously onto my once-sagging sails.

I'll admit it-- I wanted a 50-point win-- and was upset when Nate Robinson hit a circus shot to save the Knicks from ther worst offensive output ever. I will not, however, admit, that
I was wrong for doing so. The nature of a fan in recovery is to look for the positive. Last night's game was nothing but positive, and the picture above this article proves it. I may have been in my worst mode, but it was at the best time. Such is the nature of sport-- and the nature of a fan in need. Thank you, Boston Celtics. Thank you.

(EDIT: Two great things about that line score: Mardy Collins being a DNP-Coach's Decision-- is that the only decision he made all night?-- and the fact that Nate Robinson's buzzer beater meant he was the only Knickerbocker in double figures. Wow.)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Column Like I See 'Em: Sayonora, Sonny

There were other things going on the sports world recently. Important things, memorable things. Terrible things. All kinds of things that might make you race to get the paper, or pound incessantly on a keyboard, or dial your friend and call them an idiot or tell them you love them for no good reason other than they were watching the same channel that you were. Things in sports do that sometimes.

Sometimes, though, they pass by like a car on a long, flat highway: you see them for a while, but don't notice them particularly for any good reason. Then, in a flash, they're gone.

In the front range of the Rocky Mountains, some people recently made a college football coach stop coaching college football. And no matter how much sense it makes, it's still pretty unfortunate.

His name, like the track suits he always wore, never quite fit. The fact that he was down-home and self-deprecating matched the Lubick part with the Butte, Montana upbringing, but Sonny? He was an assistant coach at Miami, where Sonny and sunny are on the menu 350 days a year, and if you want to go that route it was always delightfully obvious that the man's disposition matched his first name. But together? Men with that last name aren't named Sonny; they're named Tom, or Fred, or Hugh. Hugh Lubick has a nice ring to it, but Sonny Lubick? Who could've made such a man?

A man that so routinely went on charity walks for animals and cancer and hell who knows what else while he still had to attend - and most likely plan - fundraisers for the football program at Colorado State because the little school that could couldn't when it really needed to.

A man that turned a cakewalk like CSU into a legitimate mid-major nightmare for numerous big schools, including the patchouli bullies Buffed in black-and-gold down I-25 and west on Highway 36. And with absolutely no facilities, no money, no recruiting base, and no reason, he took high schoolers that nobody else really wanted and turned them into football players who would just as soon run off the field and the face of the earth itself on a seam route to Saturn rather than disappoint their Coach.

A man that told a skinny young sports columnist, writing for the school paper, to just breathe a second and let that question come out, 'cause it was sure as hell in there somewhere.

Deep breath (pause) - here goes: Why?

The stats say dwindling attendance; a record of 3-9 this year; 4-8 in 2006, including seven losses to end the year; 6-6 in 2005, and a 51-30 loss to Navy in the last bowl game the Rams have played in; and 4-7 the year before that.

The stats can go to hell.

It seems the game has just passed poor Sonny by. Urban Meyer became the first snot-nosed rascal to sneak up to the adults' table at Thanksgiving, then he brought the whole damn bunch with him - all the second-cousins and annoying nephews and even the neighbor kid from across the street that likes to eat bugs - and used all 53 of them seemingly at once on the spread option, putting guys in motion, faking it here, throwing it there, running all over the place. Then you got Boise State doing the - really? - hook-and-laterals and Statues of Liberty and whatever else can be imagined within the confines of the field.

Sonny would much rather have a nice, quiet little one-back set, and maybe use a play-action or two. But mostly Sonny wants to run it. Hard. Down your gullet and out your ass and back again.

But it's not like that anymore. The landscape's changed, and you need a different vehicle to navigate it. Everybody else has a Porsche or a Hummer or some damn thing. Sonny's got an old pickup that ain't much now, but boy could that thing haul a load back in the day.

Wait, wait, wait - it just occurred that Hugh Lubick wouldn't work. To show their appreciation for what this man has done, and could continue to do if he accepts an associate A.D. position at the school, the powers-that-be would be better off naming the field at the team's stadium after him. Unfortunately, that playing surface is called Hughes Stadium. And Hugh Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium doesn't really roll off the tongue. Better call it Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium.

What's that? They already did?

Well, at least they got something right.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sean Taylor

Don't say anything. The TV is on mute. I'm just waking up to the fact that one of my favorite players is dead. Just stay motionless and wait and wait and wait.

Wait, he's dead?
That's right.
Who shot him?
What do mean you don't know?
Just don't know.
It was a robbery?
Think so.
Doesn't sound like one.
I know.

I don't want to know about the investigation. I don't want to hear about involvements or his want past mistakes. I don't want interviews or to hear prayers. Just stop for a second: I don't want this. I don't.

This is crazy.
I know.
Stop TALKING so much, would you?

Phone's ringing, foot tapping and I know this happened, but I don't want it. No immense talent, no shame, no past.

No future. No present. I don't want that. I don't want the father-son conversation that follows these things.

This is insane.
Yeah, isn't it? I mean, he was so...

In the midst of all the squeezing of hands and prayers and players in shock, there's a fan base unaware of locker-room presence, joke-telling abilities and general humanity. Don't tell us. Maybe it's better if the fallen-warrior status remains. This is hard enough to watch as it is.

At times, Sean Taylor was fodder for my father and I's arguments. "Once a thug always a thug,"
he'd say. Don't prove him wrong or right with this. Just don't. Don't don't don't.

Can we cut the sound up?
Ugh, please don't.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Lost & Found: Common Sense

Todd Sauerbrun: Wait, wait, lemme get this straight ... you want me to punt it to Devin Hester?

Mike Shanahan: Yeah. That's what I said.

TS: To him? As in, so he can catch it and run with it? How's about I give it the ol' Pythagorean pooch and angle it out at about the 30 or so.

MS: How many times do I have to say it? We've been covering him good all day. Hell, he even muffed one earlier that we turned into a touchdown.

TS: I know, coach, it's just that ... well, look at their offense. They can't do anything! We hurt Cedric Benson and got him out of the game, which would be doing them a favor - because he blows - if it weren't for the fact that they have the wrong Adrian Peterson coming in to replace him. And have you been watching Grossman shoot passes all over the field? Christ! He makes David Carr look like Joe Fucking Montana!

MS: Dammit, Todd, the second half just started. If he was gonna do something spectacular, he'd have done it by now. Just get the hell out there and punt that thing as far and as straight as you can.

TS: You're the boss, Shanny.

[Sauerbrun punts to Devin Hester. Hester returns it 75 yards to tie the score at 13.]

TS: Shit, coach, what'd I tell ya? The guy's too good to keep down. Tacklin' that guy is like watching Carlos Mencia - no fun at all.

MS: [glares, makes mousy-face]

[Several minutes later, the Broncos score to go up 20-13.]

MS: Kick it to Hester.

TS: No fucking way. Really? Are you ... are you watching the same game that I am? Look, I got nothing but time over here on the sidelines while these two record-setting offenses titfuck each other all day. And I've been looking at the rule book, and - check this out - nowhere in here does it say you actually HAVE to kick it to a guy on a kickoff. Nowhere at all! I can shoehorn that badboy straight the fuck off Lovie's dome over there, and all they're gonna do is put the ball at the Bears' 40. That's it. No return, no dirty hands, we give them good field position and laugh when Grossman slingshots it right into Ian Gold's numbers. Or fumbles the center exchange like a Notre Dame third-stringer. Either way, you gotta admit, it's a pretty solid plan.

MS: You heard me. Kick it to Hester.

TS: [Sighs] You got it, Chief.

[Devin Hester receives the kick near the 10 and goes all the way to the house to tie the score again at 20-all. Thousands of Broncos fans curse in agony, even more so after a ridiculous 37-34 OT loss.]

TS: [shaking head, under his breath] Fucking "Mastermind." Mastermind? Who the fuck played that? It was like the goddamn Yars' Revenge of board games. Fucking Mastermind. Goddamn Jenga is more like it. One wrong move and - bam! - you're under a pile of shit. Jenga Shanahan.

And now, Lost & Found with the Denver Broncos:


These were found at the Broncos' practice facility in Englewood. Apparently, they didn't make the trip to Chicago.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Lost & Found: Chains

Fuck you, Shawne Merriman. Fuck you, Philip Rivers. Fuck you, Norv Turner. Fuck you, Herm Edwards. Fuck you, Larry Johnson. Fuck you, the high school kid who coaches the Raiders and whatever dishwashers/heroin addicts/pregnant mothers/Too $hort cover artists/jizz moppers are currently dressed and/or employed as players. Fuck all y'all. We're pissed off. Hungry. Thirsty - for fucking blood. Whether it comes from your jugular, your carotid artery, or in spasmodic menstrual squirts from your bloated, puffy, vaginal slits of shame, we will take it and toast to the festering piles of your decapitated corpses.

The Broncos ride tonight.

Are you prepared for: Lost & Found with the Denver Broncos?

This week:


These were found just outside the home locker room at Mile High the second, at about 8:25 pm Monday. Art Pleeson, a stadium security guard, happened upon them ... and heard a mighty shriek, which turned his pubic hairs white and chilled his blood to near-devastating temperatures. After a cup of coffee and a Camel Light, however, he was fine.

So, in closing, fuck apathy. And bullshit. No, tonight felt a bit more like it's supposed to: Good.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Lost & Found: Weight

You know what one of the worst things in the world is? And I don't mean that in a nuclear-holocaust, AIDS-on-every-corner, Al Roker-naked kind of way; more like an I-hate-when-shit-pisses-me-off kind of way.

One of the worst things is that feeling in the back of your throat when you know you're about to get sick. For me it was Saturday night, walking out the door on the way to go to dinner and No Country For Old Men. (Quick recommendation here: if you're at work right now, leave. If you're at home, leave. If you're at an internet cafe, why are you wasting precious time reading this garbage? Stop and leave. Trample, stomp, and otherwise run the fuck over everyone and everything in your path to the nearest theater playing this movie; pay whatever obscene amount they're charging; sit and enjoy. And if you're located in one of the many armpits of this country that does not have access to this majestic piece of filmmaking; wait for the calendar to read "November 21" and proceed.)

Everything seems fine, and then you feel it. Back there. A little clammy ball, or something. And you think, "Aw, fuck." You know it. Sure as you live and breathe, you know you're about to deal with anywhere from two to five days of stuffed nasal passages and a runny nose (how the hell does that work???), coughing fits, and an overall encompassing shittiness.

The worst part, I've decided, is the hygiene. At least here in New York, when you're on the subway or in the elevator and you have to sneeze, you frantically try to pull out that ancient parchment of a Kleenex that's been in your coat pocket for about two centuries. Funny thing is, if you don't pull it out, you probably have a relatively dry push. But when you do yank that dry, flaking piece of trash out, that's when you have a splendid tsunami burst forth from every orifice in your face that doesn't see things. And when you try to wipe up all your own goo, you look like Peter Venkman in Ghostbusters collecting the slime in the petri dish at the library.

And everyone around you looks at you uncomfortably, and shuffles slowly away like you have the plague.

So, suffice to say, I didn't go to the bar to watch the game on Sunday. I did, however, watch it today at work.

And, without further ado I bring you: Lost & Found with the Denver Broncos!

This week:


A baby gorilla was found after the game wandering around a parking lot outside Arrowhead Stadium. If it had been before the game, the poor little thing would've been barbecued.

It was not only a big relief to get a win at all, considering the Monday Night debacle against the Packers or last week's testicle-flattening at the hands of Detroit, but it was good to get the first win in Kansas City since 2002.

Denver took some dumb penalties, and Jay Cutler hit his customary highs and lows, but the defense looked pretty solid once again (playing against the woefully inept Chiefs' offense notwithstanding). All in all, the Broncos would be tied for the division lead if it wasn't for some douche named Adam.

Next up: a Monday-nighter against the Tennessee Titans and hometown boy LenDale White, featuring the battle of the Texas Youngs. Selvin vs. Vince, only on, only at Inv....umm, only in Denver on Monday Night!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Lost & Found: Bloodflow

You know things are bad when Vikings fans are coming up to you and saying, "You guys are gonna get blanked? By the Lions?!?"

Well ... almost.

We could delve into the particulars of the Broncos' 44-7 anal-raping at the hands of the Lions, but I don't want to. I've got better things to do: scrape the inside of my eyelids with the little nail file on my toe clippers; masturbate with shampoo; lick the two-day-old dog shit off the bottom of my New Balances; see how many shotgun casings I can swallow in a minute.

All of these are viable options right now. Which speaks to the depths I visit when I write about this team.

So it's time for ... Lost & Found with the Denver Broncos!

Last week showcased a specific need. This one's a little more abstract:


This was found on the tarmac of Detroit-Wayne Major Airport sometime between 2 pm Friday and kickoff on Sunday. You can tell it belongs to the Denver Broncos because while it still bleeds orange and blue, it wheezes and coughs and generally just doesn't give a shit anymore.

Bloody, pulsating, and worthless, this organ will be shipped to Mike Shanahan, c/o The Denver Broncos, P.O. Box 44-7, Englewood, CO 80315.

They're mailing it in - we might as well, too.