Will He Stay or Will He Go?
There will be more words exhausted over whether or not LeBron James is going to re-sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers this summer or clearcut The Forest City for the bright lights of New York, Los Angeles or Chicago than there ever should be.
Between now and July 1 — when he becomes a free agent — on television, radio, and in newspapers and on the Internet, everyone with a platform will be discussing it, breaking it down and will be certain they have the answer and the definitive reason why LeBron James should stay or flee.
This is precisely one of those columns — hey, like any good “journalist,” I’m just getting out in front of the story — and I’ll tell you what I think he should do.
At the end.
But seriously, the Celtics haven’t even finished celebrating their 4-2 series win over the Cavs and I’m already tired of the speculation. I was tired of it nearly two years ago when it first started. Thursday night on SportsCenter, the anchors were literally just killing time with superfluous banter waiting for LeBron to finish cleaning up before he walked out to the podium so they could air his press conference live.
Probably like a lot of you, I wondered what was going on; what was taking so long. But I sat there and watched every second and so did you. LeBron captivates. (Plus, I was curious as to what he would be wearing — seriously, what is up with NBA post-game outfits these days?)
And you know what else? I’m going to read every word of speculation that’s going to be written by columnists from coast to coast (at least for the first couple weeks), wait for daily updates and overreact at every little piece of news that comes out of Ohio from now until he makes a decision on where he’ll take his basketball future.
The upcoming 47 days (I’m writing this on May 14) are going to be far and away worse than “Favre Watch” of the last two NFL offseasons. We’ll be begging for the old gunslinger from Kiln, Mississippi when this is over, but it’s not going to matter because we’ll all be tuning in. Like Favre, LeBron is no dummy. He’s been saying the right things for the last year: that he hasn’t thought about it, how he’s been focused on this season and winning a championship, etc. There is no way I believe that for New York minute.
He understands the magnitude of the situation. Like everybody told Jesus Shuttlesworth when he was picking a college, “this is the most important decision of your life” and he’s not going to make it hastily.
When LeBron does decide, it’s going to be one of those sports moments we remember forever exactly where we were and what we were doing when we found out. You laugh but it’s true. It’ll have that tremendous of an impact on the game and the city of Cleveland and possibly the cities of New York, Los Angeles and Chicago (those are really the only ones in play for his future hoops services, with the possibility of Miami, but not really.)
It sounds ridiculous (extremely ridiculous, actually) but it’s not hyperbole. It’s fact.
LeBron James is going to take over the sports world for the next month and a half and not in a good way. I hope you’re ready.
Think about all the other sports he’s going to trump in the next seven weeks: NHL playoffs, Belmont Stakes, Indy 500, opening round of the World Cup, US Open. Sure, they’re still big stories, but if LeBron opens his mouth on one of those days, what do you think is going to be the lead on the 6 p.m. SportsCenter? Be honest now.
I’d much rather be focusing my attention to the upcoming Conference Finals, which have a chance to be two outstanding series, or even Tiger Woods, but instead they’ll be subplots to the Cleveland Choke Artists and their ring leader LeGone “Queen” James (that’s what people were calling him on Twitter Thursday night. I’m not taking credit for that one. I’m just the messenger.)
With the loss to the Celtics, LeBron has his “out” if he wants to use it: the Cavs couldn’t get over the hump, they didn’t surround him with a good enough supporting cast, the coach failed him, etc.
And he himself should take some of the blame, sure, he’s the star and he had a terrible Game 5, but aside from the his shot selection and field goal percentage, he played a good Game 6 and even finished with a triple-double (27 points, 19 rebounds, 10 assists). What didn’t help was the 9 turnovers he finished with or the fact that outside of Mo Williams, his teammates shot 12-of-34, including a 2-for-10 by Antawn Jamison. Not to mention the atrocious coaching of Mike Brown, who if he were a Texas High School football coach would have a dozen “FOR SALE” signs on his lawn right now. His is even one job Obama can’t bail out.
Of course, most of the credit for winning this series has to go to the Celtics. I said before it started that they were the better team and would win in six games, and I wasn’t even channeling my inner Tommy Heinson. It was pretty cut and dry.
You just could not convince me the Cavs were the better TEAM coming into this series. In their four regular season meetings, Boston had leads of 15 at home on Opening Night (won by 6), trailed by 1 entering the 4th quarter (before losing by 20) in late February, were tied late in the 3rd at Cleveland in mid-March (lost by 11) and were up 22 late in the third before winning by four at home near the end of the regular season.
If you watched any Celtics games this year you know they were the kings of the 4th quarter collapses. Time and time again they gave away wins and played down to their competition. They looked old, tired, disinterested; pick your adjective, they all applied. But against Cleveland (and even Chicago in Round 1) they looked different; more like the 2008 Championship team. Whether it was Rondo asserting himself as the new alpha dog, Tony Allen’s spark off the bench, even Rasheed turning back the clock for a few big moments, I don’t know, but the last month of basketball has been fun to watch. Shoot, the Kevin Garnett 12-letter bombs were even back to being intimidating.
Which brings us back to LeBron, who for once wasn’t the best player in a series. That title belonged to Rajon Rondo, who an argument could be made for being the best point guard in basketball right now. What a sour taste LeBron must have in his mouth after a series like the one he just had, regardless of how injured he was or not. There was no excuse for not beating this old ass Celtics team, but the Cavs just weren’t better and they aren’t going to get any better without major changes. And who knows how long it could take for that team to jell with a new coach, more new players and subsequently a new rotation.
Which is why LeBron ultimately won’t stay in Cleveland. I used to think he was, but he just can’t. Not with how badly this ended the last two seasons.
Talk to me all you want about how he’s a true Ohio-ian who empathizes with Cleveland’s heartache and so forth. If he’s such a great ambassador for the city why does he walk around wearing a Yankees hat? Why is he friends with Jay-Z? Why does he talk about being a “global icon” and acting and modeling? How does he expect to do any of those things in Cleveland, Ohio?
Because he doesn’t plan on staying there.
Kevin Garnett said something really interesting after the game that I’m sure will get back to LeBron. Common knowledge, KG was extremely loyal to Minnesota, so much so that he almost didn’t allow the trade to Boston in the summer of 2007. Obviously looking back in hindsight, he said Thursday, “loyalty is something that hurts you at times because you can’t get your youth back. If I could go back and do my situation over knowing what I know now, I’d have done it a little sooner.” Meaning he’d have asked for a trade before his 13th season in the league.
You don’t think LeBron is going to see those comments and really think about what Garnett said? Knowing that KG spent 12 seasons mostly floundering with the T’Wolves before he went to Boston and finally won a title? And that for the last two years, even though he’s “only” 34, he’s been a shell of his former self because of all the wear and tear his body has endured just killing it for a chance to be “certified?”
LeBron is halfway through his career this very minute, he’s the best all-around player in the game, when he wants to be he is UN-stoppable, but at the same time he will only have another five years max at this completely dominant level.
Look at Kobe Bryant, who has been hobbled by minor injures the last few seasons and is basically a jump shooter at this point. LeBron sees this, knows this and will do what he has to do get himself in the Jordan, Magic, Bird, Kobe all-time great discussion – which only comes with one thing: Rings. Forget the talk about who can give him the most money, this is about winning championships.
He’s got a ways to go before the jewelry is his, which is why next year he’ll be wearing No. 6 in some other colors than champagne and gold.
So long, Cleveland, it was fun while it lasted; well, for us at least.
(photos by the Associated Press)
3:06 am • 14 May 2010 • 1 note
At the risk of burying the lede with some ridiculous intro story (which I’ve been known to do), I’ll just start with the juice — I made my acting debut last weekend.
When I told this to a few people the response was mixed. Joey just wanted to see video evidence; Matt wanted to make sure he’d be in my future entourage; while my buddy Jay, well, his text kinda said it all: “Ok brad pitt. Since when r u in plays?”
The short version is, The Mo and I have been BS-ing to his girlfriend that we’re going to become actors, go on auditions this summer, do some things and in about two years attend The Oscars (by being actually invited). She’s an actress and has openly admitted should we execute this as easily as we’ve made it sound, she’d be some kind of upset (jealousy is quite unbecoming). That didn’t stop her, however, from extending an invite to us to participate in her theater’s 24-hour one act festival. The Mo decided to write; I, of course, being the glory hog that I am, decided to try my hand on stage.
I’ll camp out like idiots in front of Best Buy on Black Friday to be the first to say I don’t know much about real-life “acting.” But a part of me tends to think it’s as simple as knowing your lines and hitting your mark, and until someone can prove to me otherwise, that’s what I’m going with. I mean, how else can you explain the careers of Keanu Reeves and Vin Diesel.
So the premise of this festival was such that we convened at 8 p.m. on Friday, decided who was doing what and with whom (writers, directors, actors, etc.), the writers then went and wrote, we met up at 8 a.m. on Saturday, got our scripts, ran lines with our group, broke off to rehearse, and then the show went off at 8 p.m. Saturday night.
Twenty-four hours. Get it?
I must say, I got off to what probably should have been an embarrassing start, but since (as previously stated above) I don’t know what the hell I’m doing, I thought it was pretty hilarious. See, you were supposed to bring a headshot on Friday night, and considering I’m not a “real” “actor,” (I only play one in my fake life) I don’t have one. So I brought the only picture I had of myself — a shot of me and Andrea at the Red Sox game last summer. (Eff you, Jason Bay.)
Talk about amateur hour. But everyone laughed — one of the writers even asked if I was serious when I said during the introduction that I drove all the way from Maine to be in this festival. Like I said, I found it amusing, though I’m sure everyone else then prayed they didn’t get matched up with me.
When it came time to pick groups, wouldn’t you know mine was the first name drawn. I threw up a fist pump and again, more weird glances from the other “real” “actors.”
After brainstorming for half hour or so I realized I was in good hands with both my writer and fellow actress, Hollie; ya know, the whole them being “professionals” thing and all.
As it turned out, I was right; I got real lucky. Our writer, Adrian, seemed to have a solid idea in her head when we broke for the night and a few hours later the script popped up in my inbox. As I read it a couple times around 1 a.m. it donned on me that I’d soon get to feel like Denzel Washington — meaning, I’d basically be playing myself.
Quick synopsis: I was a fanatic of the Medieval Times restaurant whose girlfriend finally snapped when she realized I thought it was all Medievally authentic. At the end, I finally have the epiphany it’s faker than Heidi Montag and we leave to try and catch the end of my sister’s wedding.
Wanting to go all the way, even if it wasn’t required, I hammed it up. Adrian had some face paint and I made a crown to complete the look. I managed to remember all my lines and hit all my marks and we appeared to be a rousing success— the audience laughed, which was good enough for me — and afterwards people couldn’t believe it was my first time acting. I was very thankful, though a few thought I was the guy from MADtv, which I’m not sure is a good thing, but it probably is.
Basking in the afterglow of all of our performances, the question I got the most from our friends who attended was if I was nervous. But if you know me the answer is obvious — I live for these moments. Memorizing the lines wasn’t an issue either. I’m the guy who knows every song on the radio and can quote a TV show or movie usually within minutes after seeing it. Tempo and timing were my main concerns but even then I did my best to just act naturally and it seemed to work.
It’s been said that people’s top fear is public speaking. As the Jerry Seinfeld joke goes, “at a funeral, people would rather be in the box than giving the eulogy.” I’d much rather be in front of the mic. Even dating back to elementary school I always volunteered when the teacher asked for students to read and wanted to have the biggest speaking parts or the lead in school functions. I remember MC-ing the 5th grade Christmas pageant, I did the morning announcements in high school and was class president for two years. Same thing in college, where I worked on/hosted our student TV station’s football and basketball show for four years.
Public speaking is just something I’ve always kinda enjoyed doing. I’m not uncomfortable with it like most. If I’m honest with myself, it probably has nothing to do with the rush people say they get, or the high that comes with performing. Honestly, I probably just enjoy having the spotlight and an audience hanging on my every word; that or the sound of my own voice.
I am a Leo, after all, though I’m not sure what that means, but one time a Vegas cabbie tried to explain it to me. (An anecdote for another day, perhaps.)
Before we went on, Saturday, The Mo looked at me and said, “Acting, son,” which was kind of our motto for the week leading up to this. We were both dressed as security guards for a very quick scene in the play he wrote and looked the part with a white shirt, black pants and tie, and badges. All that was missing was a utility belt and serious acne.
After our quick (and extremely well written) scene – in which I fulfilled my childhood dream of saying “cool it, preggers” in front of 50 people — I rushed back to change into my Blue Knight fan gear, paint my face Braveheart style and do a couple more read-throughs with Hollie while downing a Red Bull and Snickers bar.
It was fun being caught up in the moment and to share it with a friend. Not sure I would have even participated had he not as well. Sometimes that’s all it takes.
Who knows what will come from this but I’d definitely like to give it another shot. What can I say, my interest has been piqued.
The road to the Oscars is officially underway.
7:10 pm • 6 May 2010
Lights. Camera. Draft.
The NFL Draft is a big deal, or so I’m told. Where else can 32 geneticly abnormal humans all holding the same winning lottery ticket be in the same place at the same time wearing a rap video’s worth of jewelry and enough expensive tapestry to make the Queen jealous? Exactly, it all goes down in just one place: Radio City Music Hall. Home of long-legged dancers and whatever else goes on there the other 353 days of the year when gigantic freaks aren’t rushing the stage to put on the perfect complimentary multicolored hat to their $4,000 dollar suit. Ah yes. Let’s document the shh out of this First Round of the 2010 NFL Draft.
4:15 p.m. PDST – We are LIVE from the Moon Tower for the 2010 NFL Draft and what a scene here with me and McB, who just told me he wants to be called “Big Sexy Kevin Nash” for the duration. Doubtful, pal. And of course, Juanita is in the house somewhere.
4:16 – obviously we’re watching NFL Network for our coverage but the Red Sox are also hosting the Rangers on MLB Network, so we may have to do some flipping. And yes, 2 ks in the first inning for Buchholz, or as we like to call him: The Husband of the 2009 Penthouse Pet of the Year.
4:17 – and a very happy birthday to Terry Francona, how about you give me an early birthday present, Tito, and field a winning baseball team. Thanks. And when we blow this game somehow, resist the urge to get wasted and text Hazel Mae.
4:20 – Tim Tebow talking with our boy Scott Hanson in a very blue shirt. I’m a huge fan of both, but which guy is the bigger cliché machine? God Bless.
4:25 – look at Michael Irvin’s tie. That is outrageous. I have no other words for that. Is that turquoise? How does this guy not have his own clothing line? Rappers agents would be all over that.
4:27 – shot of Sam Bradford in the green room hanging out. Very conservative suit compared to say Ndamukong Suh or anybody else; looks like an extra on Mad Men.
4:29 – love Dan Marino posing on the golf course in the NFLN open. Marino was on the Radio City Music Hall stage before with other all-time greats; does Joe Montana asking him to hold three of his Super Bowl rings while he cleans the other ever get old? Marino sucks.
4:31 – how many times does Rich Eisen say “Radio City Music Hall” tonight? 27?
4:32 – Roger Goodell just thanked us for being here, “no Rog, thank you.” – McB
4:33 – “the fucking draft has turned into the Oscars of sports.” “What club is Roethlisberger watching the draft at tonight? You know he’s out boozing somewhere.” McB is warming up for his set tonight.
4:33 – “The St. Louis Rams are on the clock.” And we are officially underway. How long til Bradford is announced? 5 minutes? And could his dad look any less athletic? He looks like the grandfather in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” Apparently Bradford’s dad played football at OU, too. Well then, make it official, OU sucks.
4:38 – here’s the commish … “with the first pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the St. Louis Rams select, Sam Bradford, quarterback, Oklahoma.” And promptly the crowd at Radio City boos. Welcome to New York, Sam.
4:40 – is it just me or does Bradford look a little nervous/scared? Way to stay cool under pressure. How’s that gonna work in Week 1 when Joey Porter is blitzing off the edge? He’s the next David Carr. You just won the lottery, Sam. Look excited to be there!
4:41 – if Matt Millen was still running the Lions, is there any doubt they’d be taking Dez Bryant here with the 2nd pick?
4:41 – who knew Bradford would have a flashier suit than Deion. Little disappointed in Prime Time’s wardrobe choice tonight, not gonna lie.
4:44 – I’m calling it now, the Lions are going to threaten the playoffs this season. “The Lions are going to be sexy!” McB is fired up for Detroit football.
4:48 – Of the top 3 picks, Suh is the biggest lock but Gerald McCoy will have the most fun. Can’t wait to see his sack dance. Great guy, really hope he works out. If not, I hope his jewelry are rentals.
4:53 – in meaningless April baseball news, Clay Buchholz has 5 Ks with 2 outs in the 3rd inning. Save it for the stretch run, please.
4:57 – Trent Williams should have used some of the cash he spent on that VW-sized watch on some dental work. There’s still time. He’s only 22.
5:04 – we got some conflicting reports with the 5th pick. Some saying it’s Eric Berry (Eric Berry!) and others saying it’s Russell Okung.
5:05 – cut to a shot of Eric Berry (Eric Berry!) on the phone in the green room. Something tells me Matt Cassel is going to die next season.
5:08 – everyone saying Eric Berry (Eric Berry!) is the next Ed Reed, who now looks like the current Kimbo Slice. How does that work on the SATs? … wow! HUGE bear hug for Goodell by Berry. Also liking the peach shirt/tie combo. (that’s what Deion should have been rocking, peach!) Huge star in the making. Huge star.
5:14 – what is taking Seattle so long to turn this card in? Russell Okung is the pick here, just make it and move on. Pete Carroll already botching his first Seahawks draft.
5:15 – what is with peoples’ obsessions with arm length? So Okung has long arms, great. He wears long shirts. He can grab things off the top shelf with ease. We get it.
5:16 – “it’s funny, you see the players being drafted and then you see the fans of the team and they’re all fat, flubby, failures.” – McB heating up.
5:21 – Joe Haden seen crying on the phone. If I just found out I was going to be living in Cleveland for the next 4 years I’d be crying, too, Joe.
5:25 – first big question of the night; “do you think Joe Haden will have a better career with the Browns than Chris Sabo had professional baseball career in general? I think 15 years from now Sabo’s coming out on top.” I’m not touching that one, but Sabo did have sick rex specs.
5:28 – Al Davis lives (cannot confirm or deny he’s actually “alive”) to make headlines. Rolando McClain! Wow! Giants fans are PISSED!
5:31 – Bills wasting NO time with their pick … CJ Spiller off the board! Great pick by Buffalo and didn’t take any time to get him. Crowded backfield up there in Niagra. Probably wins best suit of the night so far, too. Sharp with the white/cream look.
5:38 – our Bills fan friend doesn’t understand the pick; we counter, that’s quite the backfield with no one to hand off to them.
5:38 – Jaguars take Tyson Alualu; “yeah, cause Pac-10 guys work out in the NFL. This is my guaranteed bust of this year’s Draft.” A guy named Tyson Alualu is not selling out your stadium and preventing you from moving to Los Angeles, Mr. Jaguars owner. No he is not.
5:41 – and we have our first trade. 49ers move up two spots to #11. Not groundbreaking but should be interesting nonetheless. Mayock thinks it’ll be Anthony Davis, Derrick Morgan or someone else no one has heard of until last week.
5:43 – and it’s Davis and the biggest cheer of the night from the Radio City Music Hall crowd for the local kid out of Rutgers.
5:49 – MORE TRADES!!! The NFL Draft is the best. Dolphins trade down, Chargers move WAY up to possibly take Ryan Matthews or Dan Williams … here’s the commish … wow! Took Matthews! Love the pick. Hate the Chargers. Fear the Lightning Bolt.
5:55 – now the Eagles make a trade to move up to probably take a defensive player. Mayock says he’s stunned. That’s good enough for me. Can’t believe how crazy this draft is turning. Fantastic.
5:57 – the same Eagles fans who once booed Donovan McNabb are cheering madly for the Brandon Graham pick as Giants fans chant “Eagles Suck.” They really only admit the classiest of the bunch at Radio City.
6:13 – if Jason Pierre-Paul had any balls, he’d back flip to the stage to hug Goodell. … and Giants fans are cheering the pick, so he’s got that going for him, which is nice. All he has to do is get one sack and he tops Vernon Gholston.
6:20 – McB is acting out scenario where the Pats take Tebow at #22 just ahead of Denver and the ensuing spilt screen of Pats and Broncos war rooms. Can’t really describe the rest but it involves something of Belichick’s being dropped on the table and McDaniels smashing anything in sight.
6:25 – things have calmed down at Radio City Music Hall, but about to get interesting with this ensuing Steelers pick. Do they send a message or take best available?
6:30 – Steelers go solid with Marukice Pouncey, future all pro for sure. And the Clausen slide continues. Smartest move he’s made in years, not showing up to New York for the draft, and well ya know, the whole being a douchebag thing. That’s working out well now.
6:47 – so Broncos keep trading down and trading down, then swap with the Pats at 22 to take Demaryius Thomas. Why is Dez Bryant still available? I don’t know, but if Belichick takes him I’m going to Jason Pierre-Paul all around the Moon Tower.
6:52 – great value pick for the Packers with Bryan Bulaga. Now comes the interesting stuff : does Belichick take Dez?!
6:58 – and Jerry Jones makes his splash!!! Trades up with the Patriots to presumedly take Dez Bryant … and they’re going nuts at Dez Bryant’s house … VERY emotional Bryant drops to knees. Pretty touching scene. Completely stunned. Really wanted Dez to get a crash course in the Randy Moss School of Wide Receivering and Diva-ing. That would have been fantastic. Only in the NFL Draft.
7:01 – one of my favorite things about the Draft are the guys who are just chilling at their house waiting for the call and they always pop up wearing the team hat. How many hats do they have just standing by?
7:06 – the Broncos have done it. Tebow in the first round. Unreal. Couldn’t be happier for him and God. Mark it down, he’s going to be a Pro Bowler someday. In related news, Brady Quinn just started drinking heavily.
7:14 – let’s go to Scott Hanson at Tebow’s house. How many times does he say “blessing?” … that Tebow smile is intoxicating. No joke here, people, I’m smitten.
7:29 – great the Red Sox are going to waste this solid Clay performance by not getting any runs, again. Pitching and defense, it’s only April, pitching and defense, it’s only April. If baseball wasn’t my first love I’d really hate this sport.
7:44 – still reeling from the Dez/Tebow/Pats debacle and look up to see the Lions trading up to take Jahvid Best in the 30th slot. LOVE that pick. I’m telling ya, Lions will challenge for a playoff spot next season. They’ll be better than the Bears.
8:03 – Drew Brees out to announce Saints pick, is booed and thanks fans for voting him on to the cover of Madden 2011. Wonder if he’s going to be thanking them when he reinjures his shoulder in the 3rd preseason game? Sorry, I don’t mean that, I actually really like Brees.
8:06 – and that’s gonna do it from Radio city Music Hall where Tebow goes and Clausen doesn’t is the story of the night, as well as three of the top 4 picks coming from Oklahoma (OK, maybe they don’t suck like I stated earlier). Quick question: how do you think Jimmy C is gonna sleep tonight? One wink or two? He must be stewing.
8:08 – wow, final note: no players drafted in the First Round from USC, Notre Dame, the U or Ohio St., among others, says Rich Eisen. Slightly stunning. Only seven offensive players, too. Can’t wait to see what Round 2 brings. Where will Jimmy Clausen and Colt McCoy (and his fiancé) end up? What will the Pats do with three picks? Who else will make big moves? Will anyone else top the Broncos’ and Lions’ day one? Will Deion bring the flash back to his 3-piece? Does Goodell wear a flak jacket for all the bear hugs? We’ll just have to wait and see.
*photos by AP
1:59 pm • 23 April 2010 • 4 notes
After amazing Masters, the best man won
I believe in karma, which is why I was conflicted on whether or not to root for Tiger Woods to win this year’s Masters.
In the fairness of full disclosure I am a Tiger Woods fan; have been since he entered the PGA Tour in 1996, and remember exactly where I was when he won this first Masters in 1997 (the SNL skit that followed is still one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen). But a Woods victory this weekend at Augusta would have meant the death of Karma as I knew it.
We all know the story by now. Woods wrecked his Escalade Thanksgiving morning, blah-blah, some mistresses came out and said they slept with him (a LOT of mistresses, actually), blah-blah, he gave an awkward press conference, some more blah-blah, he came back after five months away from golf. The end.
Fast forward to last Thursday and there we were. Woods on the first tee and what did the gallery do; what did we do? They and we cheered him like he never left. He then went out and shot 68, his best first round at Augusta ever. Nationally, talking heads and columnists lauded Woods, saying the round was unbelievable considering the length of his absence from the game and overall circumstances (the circumstances that he created lest we forget).
In the weeks leading up to the Masters the only story worth using a breath on or typing words about was Woods and his return. Now, he’s second fiddle and rightfully so.
See, Phil Mickelson, Karma’s new ambassador, was victorious on Sunday thanks to a breathtaking, bogey-free final round chalk full of the bravado which once sunk him. This time it earned Lefty his third green jacket.
Woods visibly fought his swing and emotions all weekend, often talking to himself after miss-hits off the tee – occasionally they were picked up by the CBS microphones, tis tis. And while I was rooting for him to win, it became apparent after he started 3-over after five holes on Sunday, Woods would not. Though when he went eagle-birdie-birdie to finish the front 9, I was hoping for a late charge (and I know I wasn’t alone).
Alas it was Mickelson who had all the shots in his bag where Woods had only frustrations. Phil birdied four of the last seven holes, including a 15-footer on 18 that proved to be the final stitch in his size 44 long.
What happened next illustrated the differences in the world’s top two golfers. Mickelson was greeted by his family; his wife Amy, bedridden all weekend recovering from cancer treatment (did we mention Phil’s mom is also recovering from cancer?), their children and his father. It was a made-for-TV moment that moistened the eyes and tugged on your soul. Call him phony — and many have, including his Tour mates — but that will be the lasting memory of this year’s event and for its lifetime.
Contrastly, when Woods finished his round, which concluded with a birdie on 18 as well, he gave an oddly arrogant and bitter (considering his vow to be a “new” man) interview with CBS’ Peter Kostis, which prompted my buddy to text me: “man I love Tiger, so cold blooded.”
No doubt Tiger was disappointed having not won, but where was the humility for finishing fourth? Surely he didn’t expect to win. Did he? Five months away and a stint in rehab and he’s pissed at coming in fourth?!
One thing the interview told me is that Tiger hasn’t changed at all. He knows he has his corporate image to protect and he’s certainly saying all the right things about wanting to change his on-course demeanor, be a better man, etc. but when it comes right down to it do you really want him to change? I know I don’t. I want him to be ruthless and emotional because that’s going to yield positive golf results, which is why we love Tiger Woods in the first place: he’s the best golfer on the planet and we want to see him victorious.
Which begs the question: what would have happened had he actually won on Sunday? Elin wasn’t there, that’s for sure, and it’s unlikely his mom would have emerged, so who was he going to hug? His blind-to-the-affairs caddy? His alleged cohort agent? Now that would have been something. How awkward would have the green jacket presentation in Butler Cabin with Jim Nantz had been then? And what if Tiger started crying? Was Billy Payne going to be that shoulder for him after shaking a stick at Tiger days earlier for his behavior? It’s too bad we were robbed of those undoubtedly priceless unintentionally hilarious moments.
No, as it turned out Tiger Woods did not deserve to win the Masters and he didn’t. For once, the better man won, and it had nothing to do with golf. (OK, maybe just a little.)
**cartoon by drew litton/espn.com, photo by AP**
11:32 pm • 12 April 2010 • 1 note
A Wedding Lovefest
I love weddings. I mean LOVE them and for all the reasons people love them; I’m not unique in that regard. I think.
Despite it’s length and unoriginality (most of the time), I love the service.[i] I love the programs and how it says “Mr. and Mrs.” and I love seeing the people file in while the sound of an organ plays (though you never really see the organ). I love to see how the reverend puts it all together and what hymns the couple chooses, even though I vaguely know what they are supposed to mean. In my formative years, ours was not a church family and while I don’t necessarily feel completely comfortable in one, I don’t feel my skin burning either. Churches are wonderful achievements in architecture — that is undeniable — so I can appreciate that.
I love the dresses and tuxedos (tough to botch those - there’s just something about a well put together tux, no?), love the suits and flowers (likewise) and the stain-glassed windows of the church. I think about, if it’s an old church, what it must have been like to create them, the length of time and what it was like to install them; the process it must have taken way back then, when tools were less advanced and things were done with sweat and strength and will power. I wonder if it would be cool to have a gigantic stain-glassed window of me on the high school gridiron, or of my family or of Kevin Youkilis in my house someday.[ii] Again, I take a 5-year-old-kid-at-candy-store look around for the organ and never find it.
As annoying as they are, I love the formal picture taking. I was in my friend’s wedding party nearly three years ago and after the ceremony we drove around Cleveland for what seemed like hours to random locations taking pictures and it was the most annoying thing on earth; it was hot, we were hungry, and it was Cleveland.[iii] But those pictures came out fantastic and I’ll always have that memory. Also, it helped that I was kept busy during down time because, thank goodness for him, the groom’s brother had yet to write his speech. Naturally, I felt obliged put my talents to use. Had I not, it would have been an Old School disaster instead of the hilarious address we all remember now.
Being a writer myself,[iv] I love the speeches. Sure, they’re pretty standard: the Best Man details the exact moment the groom told him about his new bride, usually after their 2nd date or so years earlier, or when he knew they were going to be together forever or how he always knew they were meant to be, etc. He throws in a story from he and the groom’s youth, most likely sports-related, or an embarrassing anecdote about the time they crashed their bikes or nearly burned down the tent camping. There are a few college-era jokes about drinking and chasing girls but that it all changed when he met HER. Toss in a few “I love you, mans” and he calls it a day.[v]
The Maid of Honor does the same song and dance; if it’s her sister (and this applies if the Best Man is a brother), usually she’s younger and says how all she wanted to be growing up was her big sister and she’s been the model guide of how to live her life and that despite their differences, of which there are many, the bride always supported her and supplied her with the strength to accomplish her goals and be the best rendition of herself. Undoubtedly, she will not make it through her speech without crying, probably twice, and because of this it will be hard to understand what she’s saying or its direction. The Best Man will say how he told himself he wasn’t going to cry but that he’s really just a softie. This will make all the ladies in attendance, especially the moms, love him even more,[vi] and really, who could blame them?
I love the parents’ speeches, too. They usually have more of a charge, are brief and always somehow come back to when they themselves got married[vii] even when that wasn’t the original intention and how their parents said they were crazy and too young and too broke; usually in that order. The Father of the Bride will stay strong, but ultimately cry saying how much he loves his little girl and hates to give her away to anyone, but if he has to, this is the guy.[viii] The Father of the Groom, however, is almost 100% of the time calm, and no one really has a good explanation why, but it’s a good guess he’s heavily sedated.
I love receptions[ix] and the first dances and their accompanying song selections. I love how badly you want to love the food but it’s (usually) just not good, right down to the cake, which is too rich, fruity or has the wrong flavor frosting.[x] Most importantly, I love the way old friends who haven’t seen each other in a while act like they were together yesterday. There’s no better feeling that knowing you haven’t seen an old roommate or close amigo in ages but that you’ll pick right up where you last left off, even if that was over five years ago. That is the true measuring stick for friendship.
I love the clichéd DJ play lists and/or tunes the band plays. What is better than Twisting and Shouting, Electric Sliding, Frank Sinatra-ing and getting a little softer now and a little softer now, then getting a little louder now and a little louder now? Exactly, nothing. Throw in some Billy Joel, Bruce, a Stones tune or two, seven Beatles songs[xi] and perhaps some Seger, whatever was hot on the radio six months ago and your mom’s favorite slow jam and that’ll cover you for 2-3 hours and you’ll have worked up enough of a sweat to justify all you’ve eaten/drank over the weekend. And if you’ve done it right, your shirt is unbuttoned a bit, your tie is loose, if not tied around your head Rambo style, and your feet are killing you. Girls, your hair will unkempt but you will still think it looks nice and we will tell you so,[xii] and you will be barefoot and complaining about your heels. Again, if you’ve done it right.
Me, I never miss a hit song, make sure to dance with the moms and make faces at and mess with all the little kids. Also, I make it a point to tell the dads often how great of a job they did and how dashing they look. My goal is to be the “hit” of the reception and so far my record is unblemished.[xiii]
Why this love fest for weddings? Well, I’ll tell you. I was just at one in Buffalo, New York[xiv] and it was everything I just described right down to the so-so cake; though the filet was amazing. An old roommate of mine married the girl he fancied since our freshman year of college,[xv] showing that perseverance does pay off, or that he just dragged his feet on the whole deal and then made us come to Buffalo in March or she would’ve said “No.” Either way, it was fantastic and I was more than glad to be apart of it.
Most of all, though, I love how weddings make me feel; hopeful and inspired, the smile never leaves my face when I’m at one. Weddings make me believe in Love in ways I never knew capable. They make me long the day when I have that someone who completes me in every fashion imaginable and I do the same for her. They truly make me believe if all you have in the world is each other, then you’re doing just fine and you’ll be OK no matter what.
I get accused of being a “hater” on most things and not being ready for love, but it doesn’t mean I don’t want it.
I do, and badly.
[i] From this point on, you could probably replace the word “love” for “hate,” ya know, if you’re the pessimistic type; which I have been known to be from time to time, just not on this particular subject matter.
[ii] Despite Youk’s sexiness, these last thoughts last only seconds, I assure you.
[iii] If you’ve been there you know exactly what I’m talking about. I mean, how many times can you go to the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame?
[iv] Have I mentioned that Nic Cage helped me say I’m an award-winning film critic? Oh, it’s a great story.
[v] Cue the clapping and Nixon-like waves to the crowd.
[vi] The guys who have never been a Best Man will call him a “pussy” under their breaths.
[vii] And how could it not? Personally, I can’t WAIT for this speech from my dad. Maybe I’ll rock a sick moustache in his honor.
[viii] He may also tell the story of how the groom called him to ask him for his daughter’s hand, but that’s just boring.
[ix] I mean, isn’t that why you go to a wedding in the first place?
[x] How do you screw up cake? Betty Crocker fun-fetti or Dairy Queen will come through for me, I assure you.
[xi] You get seven, no more, no less, so choose wisely.
[xii] We’re not idiots.
[xiii] And it’s not even close, think Secretariat in the Belmont or Undertaker at Wrestlemania.
[xiv] I know, right? ‘Buffalo? In March? What were they thinking?! Believe me, we’re still waiting for an answer on that one.
[xv] For those scoring at home, Scott Padgett led Kentucky to the NCAA title earlier that year, Private Ryan needed Saving and “sexual relations with that woman” were not being had by Bill Clinton.
8:09 pm • 30 March 2010
Pilot - Haiku #1
Time to start writing,
Again, I mean. Was old job.
Here goes everything.
11:13 pm • 22 February 2010