Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Chizik Christ Superstar

Here's the story. Jamie has some booster money to throw around, now that the basketball program has stopped sponsoring Jamaal Tinsley's illegitimate children. The Man Who Would be Dan McCarney uses said money to hire a chaplain, and Lames now has their pink locker room...

A petition has been started by four Iowa State professors opposing the introduction of chaplains to athletic programs by Gene Chizik, head football coach.

The petition was started by Hector Avalos, associate professor religious studies; Warren Blumenfeld, assistant professor in curriculum and instruction; William David, university professor in music; and Ellen Fairchild, lecturer in curriculum and instruction.

The petition states "We, the undersigned faculty members at Iowa State University, strongly oppose any effort to introduce chaplains or any other form of religious counseling, whether publicly or privately funded, into any part of our athletic programs. Such an effort by our football coach Gene Chizik has been reported in the local press."

The petition goes on to say that such a position would violate the establishment clause in the First Amendment in the U.S. Constitution.

In an e-mail response to the four professors, Jamie Pollard, Iowa State athletic director, wrote that "no one, including Coach Gene Chizik, intends, has or will force any student-athlete to take part in any spiritual activity." In the e-mail, Pollard likens the chaplain position to other services provided to student-athletes.

"Much like we have offered our student-athletes access to drug and alcohol counselors, sports psychologists, nutritionists, hypnotists, physical therapists, learning specialists, chiropractors, physicians, etc., we are now going to also provide access to a spiritual advisor," he wrote.

Pollard wrote in the e-mail that the chaplain will be funded by private, not public money.

Seems that Gene-o and Jamie got themselves into quite a conundrum here. Keep the chaplain and all those radical liberals in the Ames veterenary medicine and home ec programs will nip at the heels of the football team until the student body starts wearing sarcastic t-shirts (and seeing the level of intelligence and the sheer totality of 50 cotton/50 poly needed to clothe the ISU women, that may never happen). Lose the chaplain and God will likely smote them. This is quite the Catch-22. And that is coincidental, as the Joseph Heller classic chronicled the last time someone hired a chaplain.

But my favorite part of this story is that a football team playing its games in a glorified cow pasture with virtually no donor base sees no better way to spend booster dollars than to hire a chaplain. Couldn't that money be better spent on things like weights, stadium seats, or paved roads?

Couldn't Gene do us all a favor and put ISU sororities on NutriSystem?
Because if there's anyone who needs the Glycemic Advantage, it's this girl.

By the way, just as a reminder, Iowa State lost to Iowa in football, basketball, wrestling, and baseball (by default) last year. Seems like God has already made up his mind, Gene.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

See, It's Johnny Damon, Only With the First Letters Switched

I would be lying if I said my May posting has not been greatly diminished by my devotion to DirecTV's MLB Extra Innings package. I find myself watching two or three games a day. And, when I watch sports, I want to write about sports. Unfortunately, I don't think a lengthy discussion of baseball is in order here, so I'm starting a second blog.

For those of you who can't get enough of my witty, urbane musings on the world of Iowa sports, Donny Jamon (donnyjamon.blogspot.com) will be launching June 3. I'll still be posting here on the runup to football, but I'm going to try keeping two blogs at the same time.

"Let the great experiment begin!"

The Triumphant Return of Bo Jackson

Remember the early 90's? Grunge was the new metal, a competent Bush was in the White House, and you could spend your entire weekends playing Tecmo Super Bowl? Well, brace yourselves, because those heady days of yore are returning to a television set near you. From Kotaku:

Tecmo have announced that Tecmo Bowl will be back in 2008. And...that's all we've got. Really. No platforms, no shots, no wordy press releases, nothing. Sorry. At least we DO know it won't have real player names. Or teams. And, with Madden being Madden and 2K's All-Pro Football already playing the spoiler, doesn't seem to leave much room in the market for Tecmo Bowl.
No real teams or players? That sucks, because if there's one thing the Tecmo Bowl franchise is remembered for, it's realism.

By the way, J.P. Losman will be simply named "QB Bills"

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Picking a Winner - A Hierarchy of Decisionmaking

Come on everyone. Take a trip with me...into your probably-not-so-distant memory!

Imagine this situation: You're laying on your couch on a Sunday afternoon. You're (obviously) hung over, and you simply need something to distract you from the headache rampaging through your skull. After scrolling through 6 pages of the DirecTV guide, you stumble across Arena Football on TWWL. Colorado Crush vs. Georgia Force. Good enough, right? But now it's five minutes after you turned the game on, 37 points have been scored, you're bored again, there are no in-game lines on an AFL game (you've checked three times), and your headache continues to slowly destroy your will to live. If only you could find some sort of rooting interest in the game, your problems could be solved, right?

Well, my friend, just follow my advice. Here, now, for the first time ever, it's the Hawkeye State rules for choosing a team in an insignificant game. Simply go down this list of rules, and stop once one has been violated. Cheer for the team which did not violate said rule. Perfect for those dreary days spent watching games from insignificant sports leagues like Arena Football, professional lacrosse, or the NBA.

1. Financial interest - Check one more time. Make it absolutely certain you can't get money down. And, if you can, don't even bother with research. Just pick a team and throw down one unit.

2. Take the Team With Players you know - Did I just catch Rebecca Lobo playing for the Phoenix Mercury? Might be, might not, but it's good enough for me to choose the Mercury over the Connecticut Gambling Native Americans, right? And it's a good thing Phoenix found that Rebecca Lobo lookalike, because the Mercury would have lost under a couple of other rules.

"Very funny. Who put Barbaro in a net?
Oh, I'm very sorry, Ms. Lobo."

Now, the standards for using this rule are very subjective. Todd Marinovich playing for the Nashville Kats? Good by me, but maybe not by you. Bobby Hurley as a D-league assistant? Not enough for me, but you're different.

Rule 2 Corollary. Go Against Teams With Players You Inexplicably Hate - This especially applies when the hatred comes from years ago and has festered in your soul, just waiting to reappear. Doesn't happen too often, but if I see Marcus Fizer on the floor, that team is dead to me.

3. Take the Team that Didn't Steal its Name from European Teams (MLS Only Rule) - Essential to watching the trainwreck that it America's premier soccer league. The following teams must be stopped at all costs (that is, unless they signed wild-haired, 55 year-old defender Carlos Valderrama from the 1994 Colombian National Team):
  • Real Salt Lake (rips off Real Madrid and about 47 other Spanish soccer clubs; the most noxious faux-Euros; adding a Spanish word to the front of Salt Lake is like adding Jazz to the back of Utah...wait, that happened; this name also violates rules 5 and 7)
  • FC Dallas (burglarizes just about every soccer team outside England, including Barcelona, Monaco, and Porto, all of which are located in better places to be than Dallas)
  • Dynamo Houston (blatant attempt to steal from Dinamo Kiev and a couple of Russian teams; makes sense in that you have approximately the same chance of being shot in Houston as you would in an Eastern European ethnic conflict)
  • DC United (ManU, Newcastle United, and a half-dozen other British teams are calling in an APB)
  • Toronto FC (see Dallas, but at a lower exchange rate)
  • Red Bull New York (naming your team after a brand is the same move made by former Welsh side Total Network Solutions...and no, I'm not making that up)
4. Take the Team With a Correctly-Spelled Mascot - This seems to be happening more and more. Only an idiot would misspell the mascot's name in a pathetic attempt at looking cool. Some examples:
  • Nashville Kats (AFL; I thought Kats was the college basketball guy on ESPN)
  • New Orleans VooDoo (ticky-tack, but we don't need the capital "D" in voodoo)
There are more out there. Beware the misspelled team.

5. Go With the Plural Name - This is VERY important when watching WNBA, Arena League, MLS, or any other league contrived by a bunch of people looking to go totally x-treme (see: Vince McMahon). If faced with a team with a singular mascot and a team with a plural mascot, go with the plural, if for no other reason than there are multiple people out there representing a franchise, and to call them each Force (or Surge, or Fever, or Rush) is completely idiotic.

"What has two thumbs and loves being x-treme? This guy!"

6. Go With the Team That Avoided Looking Like a Marshmallow Peep - Pastels on professional athletes look even dumber than pastels on normal people. Unfortunately, this eliminates pretty much every expansion team from the early-to-mid-90's (Florida Marlins, San Jose Sharks, Tampa Bay Lightning) or team which last updated its uniforms in that period.

7. Avoid the Team Whose Mascot Doesn't Match the Location - Especially true in the NBA, where franchises have been hopping around for years. There is no Jazz in Utah. There are no Grizzlies in Memphis. I've never had a Rush when visiting Chicago (AFL). And I may have a Fever, but the only prescription is not Indiana WNBA basketball.

Rule 7 Corollary. Absolutely Take the Team Whose Mascot Inadvertently Fits Too Well - Really only applies to the Orlando Predators of Arena Football, because where are you more likely to see a pedophile than a Disney theme park? I think Chris Hansen's kitchen is in Epcot.1

8. FINAL RULE - Take the Mascot Who Would Win in a Fight to the Death - Have you gone through all of these and still not found a team? Well then, who wins a fight between a (Calgary) Flame and an (Edmonton) Oiler? Clearly it's the flame, so Calgary it is. A (Grand Rapids) Rampage vs. a (Philadelphia) Soul2? Probably the rampage, which would overtake the soul with its anger and frustration. A (Connecticut) Sun vs. a (Chicago) Sky? Um...I guess the rainbow wins. Which brings me to this last point: Rule 8 is flawed for a couple of reasons.
  • In leagues such as the WNBA and MLS, the mascots either don't exist or are so nondescript that they simply can't engage in a fight.
  • In the NHL, the San Jose Shark must be allowed to fight in a special third media which allows the shark full range of motion but also allows an Islander to breathe. Wittgenstein couldn't even imagine that.
  • In the CFL, it's always a draw, because the Rough Rider always beats the Rough Rider.
Now, finally, a few illustrative examples from the recent schedules of stupid sports leagues:
  • AFL - Arizona Rattlers vs. Tampa Bay Storm - Arizona has former Iowa linebacker Grant Steen, who once intercepted a pass on third-and-long at Iowa State in 2001, then fumbled the ball back to the Clones, giving them a new set of downs, allowing them to score the winning touchdown, and causing me to temporarily descend into my own personal hell. I still hate this guy, so I'd go with Tampa Bay under the Rule 2 corrolary. But for sane people, Rule 5 decides it. Plural over singular. Rattlers over Storm.
  • WNBA - Connecticut Sun vs. Washington Mystics - suffice it to say, I doubt I know anyone on these teams, and I'm not going to look. Connecticut is done in by Rule 5 (Singluar) and Rule 7 (Mascot Makes No Sense). However, they are subject to an exemption for playing their games in a casino. Plus, if it's WNBA, it's likely Rule 1 applies, because you always take the WNBA under. Always.
  • MLS - New England Revolution vs. DC United - Normally, New England would be done in by Rule 5, but they're saved by Rule 3, as DC United is a ripoff.
  • Canadian Football - British Columbia Lions vs. Toronto Argonauts - You could make the case BC violates Rule 7, but I think there are some mountain lions in Vancouver, so this makes it all the way to Rule 8. I don't know what an argonaut is, other than a person who hangs out with Jason, but I'm damn sure he isn't beating a lion. So go with BC.
1 - Ironically, if you end up in the wrong brothel in Gary - and they're ALL the wrong brothel in Gary - this may also apply to Rule 7 violator Indiana Fever.
2 - This game would have actually been decided earlier, as Jon Bon Jovi's ownership stake in the Soul is sufficient to pass Rule 2.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Notes from Detention

Sorry for the lack of posting as of late. Work's been hectic, and I've been working too much to get out and write. I promise - PROMISE - there will be some posts this week, including Iowa basketball news, good stuff from other blogs, and my guide to picking a favorite team in a meaningless game.

Until then, the search for J.C. Love Jordan continues...