Thursday, November 18, 2010

I should write a (insert topic here) column

Before you begin. I know. I get it. I do not care to discuss it. Before you even say, “he hasn’t written a column since the middle of October,” just lay off. Will I be taking questions on my column’s absence? Click here. In this weeks Getting to Know Your Columnist, it is worth mentioning to my readers that I am a defensive person. I admit it proudly. Normally when you hear someone make such a statement, it is a bad thing. You just say to yourself, “Ok that guy is an idiot” and then sit back and watch that person fail. Fortunately, I am really good at being defensive. No, really, I am. Allow me to defend myself.

Typically, I kick in to defense mode when others make a claim, and their claim sets off the logic > said-statement siren. It’s a knee jerk reaction, which has taken me years of practice to refine. Like Carl Crawford training his fast-twitch muscles in the off-season. Once this has happened, I am unstoppable. Elliot Gould plays a character—Ruben—in the movie Ocean’s Eleven and he gives a line, fitting to my defensive skills:

“He’ll kill ya, and then he’ll go to work on ya.”

In view of the fact that the “you haven’t written a column since the middle of October” complaint is stark, and cannot be defeated with reason, I am left with only one choice. Wing it and slide by on good looks. When winging it, I like to follow these few simple steps:

1) Say the first thing that comes to mind. Even the slightest hesitation in the opening moments of your forthcoming rebuttal, will have you playing catch up the entire time. Fifty percent of the battle is won and lost here.
2) Take what you said and say it three different ways. Make statements that sound like questions and then make reference to a time when you have said something like that previously. It will buy you time. Like American football and European football, the winner usually dominates the time of possession.
3) Give a specific, running history. It sounds either smart, aware or busy. If you do it right it will sound like all three. It also implies that whatever you are defending, all actions on your behalf were intended right from the beginning.
4) Towards the end of your ranting, make the tone in your voice sound like you’re trying to help them or give them insight. It will lead them perceive your rebuttal as being sincere and Samaritan, when really you are sheltering your ego.

It’s easy. I’ll show you.

The reason I did not write any new columns is because it was my BYE week. OK, it was the plural. I needed a break, because the column topics were just getting lazy. Why should write, and more importantly, why should you read crappy columns? Maybe I am just lazy. I think I have mentioned this before. Since you did not get columns, I will at the very least give you a look in to the psych of your favorite doesn’t-get-paid-to-write-these-columns columnist. Below are random excerpts from my self-talk over the past month.

October 25th, 2010:
Tony Romo just got his collarbone busted to pieces and the reigns were just handed to John Kitna. Eff. That Cowboy’s column is four days old. I look like an ass. I should write another column. I’ll do that tomorrow.

October 28th, 2010:
I should write another column. I’ll do that tomorrow.

October 31st, 2010:
Giants are about to win the World Series. I should write a column about that.

November 1st, 2010: Giants just won the World Series. I should write that column. I could get a ton of snarky one-liners out at the out-of-nowhere Giant’s “fans”. (chuckling to myself) Totally. 200,000 “Sox’s fans” just jumped ship for San Francisco. I should use that one. I’ll do that tomorrow.

November 3rd, 2010:
Randy Moss was just claimed by the Tennessee Titans off of waivers. Do I like this? Pros and Cons. OK, pros: I thought Brett Favre would have no problem closing his eyes and chuckin it deep to Moss, who cares if it gets intercepted. Instead Favre just threw interceptions. This move is good. Favre is so old he was at the unveiling of the wheel. Cons: Kerry Collins will… wait, correction. Vince Young will… wait, correction. Kerry Col.. Vinc… Ker… Vi…. (silence)… who is the QB in Tennessee? They don’t have a quarterback. THEY DON’T HAVE QUARTERBACK!!??! DAMMIT! Tom Brady to Brett Favre to nobody. FML. I should, like really this time, write a column about this.

November 5th, 2010:
Did Auburn star quarterback, Cameron Newton, really get paid to play at Auburn? If not suspended by the NCAA he’ll probably win the Heisman. Hmm…. There is something I should do here. I cannot quite put my finger on it though…

November 12th, 2010:
Sold out the 22,700 seat capacity Marriott Center. BYU Basketball Column? I should write one of those.

November 15th, 2010: Michael. Vick. Write. Column. NOW!

Ok. I guess I will write one about Vick.

I have said this before, but for you first time readers, did you know Michael Vick is fast like a NASCAR. I think combining the anticipation of a new column, with the performance Michael Vick laid all over the Washington Redskins on Monday night, is the best thing to happened to the hangintheresports website. Furthermore, I argue it is the greatest sports story of all-time. I love it more then Jim Braddock defeating the depression, Lance Armstrong defeating cancer, and even Rocky Balboa single-handedly ending the Cold War—as my favorite columnist Bill Simmons suggest. Michael Vick did not battle poverty besot on an entire nation. He wasn’t born with genes that made his body sick and weak. He didn’t have a friend named Apollo Creed killed by a roided out Russian, thrusting him in to boxing match on Christmas Day. He had agency and chose for himself, although poorly.

The weight of knowing your actions have left you in a deplorable state is worse, in my opinion, then having the misfortune of being born in to one. Any person who tells you they do not like the Michael Vick story is a bigot. The man was seduced by fame and money. A tale as old as time for anyone who has ridiculous talent. Am I saying this excuses what he did? See Tracy Morgan link at top of page. I’ll tell you what DOES excuse him from fighting and killing dogs.

A conviction in federal court revoking his entitlement, money, lifestyle, and oh… I don’t know… FREEDOM.

We live in country, which we as a people, made. We collectively decided, voted and endorsed our ideas: that certain choices, garnish certain penalties. We then elected judges and formed the process of jury selection, to evaluate a person’s choices and the appropriate penalties, so an individual could be judged by a group of his peers and found guilty or not guilty. Vick was found guilty and spent two years of his life in federal prison. Jailed with murders and rapist. People who still find ways of committing those crimes exact crimes within prison. I was 10-years old when I saw The Shawshank Redemption and the idea of prison, still to this day, is the worst thing I can imagine for a person to endure.

Michael Vick paid his debt. In my opinion, he walked through hell and back. Give the guy some credit. It’s called atonement and its concept is kind of a big deal for anybody who is Christian. Michael Vick looked his adverse situation in the eye and beat it back with nothing but his will and God given ability.

At the start of the season, when Kevin Kolb went down and Vick stepped in and nearly brought the Eagles back to beat the Green Bay Packers, I cannot even tell you how excited I was. As a Falcon, I loved Michael Vick. When he got sent to prison, not only did it crush my fantasy keeper league: it crushed my spirits. The second half against the Packers lifted my spirits. Picking him up for $4 in my new keeper league: lifted my team.

The next two games he played in, were icing on the cake. Each game he was better then the one before it. No interceptions, no fumbles. His Achilles Heel when he played for Atlanta. He still does not have an interception or fumble. Week 4 against the Washington Redskins, when he was M-U-N-C-H-E-D by the Skin’s D, I wanted to go in to the closet and hang myself. It wasn’t a good sports week for the Fish household. The injury put the comeback talk on everybody’s back burner. Vick missed three weeks, plus a BYE week.

The game against the Indianapolis Colts, Vicks led the team to a 26-24 victory. 218 yards passing with a TD and 74 rushing with a TD. Good, but not totally mind blowing.

Then Monday Night Football came

Seconds after Vick threw a first-play-of-the-game, pinpoint BOMB to DeSean Jackson and after I ran around the house shouting and fist pumping—I sent a mass text to my whole fantasy league which read: HELL YES! Next Eagles offensive series (which by the way I can cheer for Michael Vick and Eagles because the Cowboys are so for in the toilet no matter if they win out, they still will not make the playoffs) Vick rushes for a TD. I go haywire. Next series, Vick gets his second passing TD of the game and it is not even the end of the first quarter! ATONEMENT!

At half time Michael Vick already gave me 41 fantasy points and the texts were pouring in…

“Holy S---!”

“What’s gotten in his Wheaties?”

“Wow. Too bad they won’t play him the whole time. It’d be awesome to see how many he could get”

“So is his ceiling at 70 or 80 points?”

“Baa ba ba ba ba PORK CHOP SANDWICHES!”

In the end his game stats read: 333 yards passing with 4 TDs, 80 yards rushing on eight attempts with 2 TDs. No interceptions, no fumbles. Cementing him as the NFL Comeback Player of the Year and thrusting him MVP contention. 52 fantasy points.

I was talking with E about it and he said if Vick stays healthy, the Eagles are going to the Super Bowl. I completely agree. Right now, there is nobody hotter than him. I see the Eagles finishing the regular season 12-4. At the start of the season I told my dad the Falcons were going to go to the Super Bowl. Right now they’re 7-2 and the pick looks to be solid. But with #7 back and better then ever, I do not know how the Atlanta can top them.

Look at this story line:

Michael Vick comes out of Virginia Tech as the number one overall pick, going to the Atlanta Falcons. Vick completely changes the way we look at the QB position in the NFL. His poster is hanging on every kids poster in America and I go out and buy his #7 Nikes. I am freaking gangster. In 2004 he signs the biggest contract in NFL history. Same season Vick leads Atlanta to a 12-and-4 record and to the NFC Championship game against… the Philadelphia Eagles. Two years later he gets busted for financing a dog-fighting ring and gets sent to prison for two years only to be picked up by the very team that stopped him from going to a Super Bowl: the Eagles. He now has a new lease on life and plays sparingly in the 2009 season. McNabb is then traded to the in-division rival Washington Redskins. Kevin Kolb inherits the starting job. Week One, Kolb goes down in the second quarter and Andy Reid says to Vick, “You’re now our guy.” Vick wins two games and gets hurt while playing McNabb’s new team. He heals. He gets a second crack at the Redskins and puts in one of the most impressive single-game performances ever by any quarterback. Now the Eagles are on a collision course to square off against his old team—the Atlanta Falcons—while quarterbacking the very team that knocked The Dirty Birds out of a Super Bowl trip in 2004. Potentially, Eagles win, go the Super Bowl and Michael Vick sets the bar at almost unreachable heights for the greatest comeback stories ever. You cannot make this stuff up. My mind is blown.

Stuff like the Michael Vick story is why I love sports and why I love writing this column. I know this is exactly what I want to do as a career. The only other thing I know, is that this off-season, Vick is about to get PAID. Hours before the game, Redskins QB Donovan McNabb signed a 5-year contract extension, potentially worth $88 million dollars. After the game, ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted “If Donoban McNabb is worth $78 million, then what is Vick worth?”

A hell of lot more and something tells me this time around, with the fame and money, Vick will make wiser choices.