What’s happening in sports – Guest Post from the Banshee!

There are many ways my husband amazes me. It is amazing how much toilet paper we now consume in our household. It is amazing that he can fix anything, and what a mess he can make doing it. It is amazing that he never complains, and always forgives.

And there’s sports. Whenever I overhear Todd and other guys start talking about sports, I think, Oh, poor Todd. We don’t have cable. He never watches sports. We don’t get the paper. He’s not going to know what they’re talking about.

And then…mystery of all mysteries, how in the world does he always know which college football team is “going to be solid,” and what A-Rod is doing, and which golfer is leading, and about that team that was “robbed,” and on and on?

Truly, remarkable.

Every once in a while, when I get a crazy urge to be a really good wife, I buy beer. I make Todd an egg and cheese sandwich for breakfast. And, I make a half-effort to talk sports. This is thoroughly amusing to Todd, who always looks at me like I am that old lady with a deep man voice coming out of her on that identify theft commercial. It just doesn’t fit. But I know he appreciates it.

So ladies, if you happen to get that urge this weekend to be an extra good wife, here are my tips. Put butter on the toast. Even better, make it a bagel. If you have bacon, put it on top of the egg and cheese, and he will melt in your arms. Just go ahead and get whatever drink he likes. And, read this post by my good friend (and cousin) Rebecca at Banshee Sports. This is what people who know sports are talking about. Rebecca has a way of making (even) sports sound interesting. I challenge you to memorize at least one sentence, and repeat it back to your hubby tomorrow over dinner. Just see what happens. Thanks, Rebecca! And check out Rebecca’s blog and see what you think! Pass it on to your sports fans! This is my favorite recent article from her.

From the Banshee:

1. A-Rod.  A-Rod is perhaps the hottest topic in all of sports right now.  He is the highest paid player in all of baseball and plays for the highest profile franchise in all of sports.  And his is putting up historically bad numbers in the 2012 playoffs.  A-Rod has gone 3 for 23 with 12 strikeouts and no RBI’s through the first 7 games of the Yankees post season.  He has been pinch hit for twice in key situations and benched altogether for Game 5 of the ALDS.  To be fair, A-Rod isn’t the only Yankee struggling.  The numbers are ugly for Cano, Swisher, Granderson and Chavez.  But A-Rod is a special lightening rod because he was an admitted steroids user.  And he has an enormous contract that extends for another 5 years.  It seems clear that his skills have significantly diminished in the post-steroids era, and yet the salary will remain as a chain around the Yankees neck for years to come.

 2. Concussions.  Concussions have been a hot topic for over a year now.  Primarily, the focus has been on football.  Makes sense.  Football is the most violent of the high-profile sports in our country.  The NFL is now facing class action lawsuits from former players who claim to have suffered significant brain injuries that affected them well into later life.  The NFL has taken steps to cut down on brain injuries moving forward.  Over the last year, the NFL has been fining defensive players almost every week for hits that target the head.  Fines are often handed out even if no penalty was called on the field.  Current defensive players have lambasted the commissioner’s office for being draconian and heavy-handed … even as their predecessors are seeking to win lawsuits based on the premise that the NFL turned a blind eye to head trauma for years.  The Saints bounty situation is another example.  The media has roundly criticized the NFL for heavy sanctions against Saints players and coaches who participated in a bounty program in the past few years.  Again, these are the same players and media who support the older generation in their lawsuit against the NFL for past behavior.  I do not know enough about the science of concussions to weigh in solidly on one side or another.  I would submit that no one really does at this point because it is a young science.  But, I would say that the media and players cannot have it both ways.  Especially the media.  If the NFL is going overboard with fines and the Saints bounty penalties, then this was the outcome that the media created with their blind support of the former players who are suing.
3.  Penn State Football.  I know I’m a bit of a homer on this one, but this is a legitimately big story in the sports world and will continue to be one for quite some time.  I’m not going to go into the back story of what I think the evidence actually was against Joe Paterno.  I am not going to comment here on whether I think the sanctions handed down by the NCAA were justified or appropriate under their own bylaws.  I’m going to start with this summer.  The NCAA decided not to make Penn State end it’s football program for the next four years.  Nonetheless, the NCAA handed down the most significant punishment that it had ever handed out to anyone since it gave SMU the death penalty in the 80’s.  Penn State was banned from the Big 10 championship for 4 years.  Penn State was banned from any bowl game for 4 years.  Penn State’s scholarships were cut down drastically.  Perhaps the most unusual part of the sanctions was that Penn State players were allowed to transfer to another school without having to sit out a year (the normal deterrent for transfers).  The immediate transfer penalty lasts until the end of next summer.  In the wake of the sanctions, PSU’s top RB, top WR and kicker/punter (same guy) all transferred to top 10 programs.  A few others transferred as well.  Even those tranfers hurt PSU’s depth.  And with all those departures, ESPN and most of the rest of the media declared PSU football as dead.  Every story that came out from July until last week was focused on someone leaving or some attendance issue or something else negative.  Penn State promptly lost their first two games.  Then, all of a sudden, they stormed back for four straight wins heading into their bye week last week.  This story is not about child abuse.  And it’s not simply about football.  It’s about loyalty.  The boys who stayed and pledged a commitment to this school were not part of anything that Jerry Sandusky did.  In fact, they were about 12 years old when all that happened.  But, several of them had fathers and other family members who wore the blue and white.  Family members who had nothing to do with child abuse or cover-ups.  Mike Mauti and Mike Zordich are two main figures.  Then there is Coach Bill O’Brien.  Coach O’Brien has won over even the most loyal JoePa followers.  He has modernized the program with opening up the offense and opening up the access to the press.  And, the players are allowed to let their locks spill out of the backs of their helmets.  Oh yeah, and there are now names on the back of the iconic, plain jerseys.  But, the new look Lions still do not celebrate excessively or taunt opponents.  They still go to class and graduate.  In other words, O’Brien’s team still embodies the values that PSU fans have cherished for years.  Every time O’Brien opens his mouth, alumni and fans fall more and more in love with this man.  And the players who have stayed adore the man.  It’s hard to predict how this season will turn out or how the next few years will pan out.  But, the Nittany Lions have shown a lot of pride in the face of more adversity and more mudslinging that any team has ever faced before.  No matter what you think of the Joe Paterno era or the governing administration 10 years ago, this group of loyal young men and the man who leads them now is a feel good story that can be embraced by anyone.



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