Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Bruins Ruined My Birthday

I turn 28 on Friday. And before the Lockout I'd been hoping to attend the annual Bruins Black Friday matinee at the Garden. It would have been a fun treat. It was not to be.

I'll get over it, of course. But I can't help but think about the younger boys and girls who would have had their birthday celebrations at the Garden this season, watching the Bruins play.

Across the continent, thousands, even millions of children are not attending NHL hockey games. These are the potential future fans of the League and the game. And instead of going to games or watching them on TV, they'll find something else to do. There's no shortage of entertainment choices out there.

How many young people, in desperate confusion, will pick up the nasty habit of playing lacrosse? How many average height and short kids will play basketball, think their fundamentals and ball handling will make up for their lack of height, only to lose a spot on a Division III team to a 7 footer from Belarus who's never even seen a basketball?

How many young Shawn Thorntons are out there with no positive forums for their anger and strength? How many young Zdeno Charas are working at libraries stocking very tall shelves instead of skating in rinks?

The NHL, led by Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, are determined to make it as difficult as possible to be a hockey fan. Kids, whose attention spans are at an all-time low, can't become fans of a game that isn't being played. They'll find something else to entertain them.

The NHL and the Bruins didn't actually ruin my birthday. But they are ruining themselves by alienating an entire generation of young hockey fans.

Ignorant College Football Picks*

It's a good weekend for rivalries. I didn't make any picks last week. Sorry. So far on the season I'm 63-66-1, and pleasantly surprised to not be doing worse. Here are my picks for Thanksgiving weekend:

Texas -7 vs. TCU
Weird not seeing UT play A&M on Thanksgiving.

Syracuse -7.5 @ Temple
I hate picking Syracuse.

Iowa +15 vs. Nebraska
Iowa at home, Nebraska might be thinking past them. Could be close.

LSU -12 @ Arkansas
The Razorbacks are not good at all.

Central Michigan -10.5 @ UMass
Always pick against the Minutemen.

West Virginia -1.5 @ Iowa State
Why not.

Rutgers +2 @ Pitt
Future Big Ten vs. future ACC.

Virginia +10 @ Virginia Tech
Horrible year for football in VA.

Northwestern -19 vs. Illinois
Smart school prevails.

Michigan +3.5 @ Ohio State
Don't know why.

Georgia -13 vs. Georgia Tech
Tune up for Bama.

Louisville -11.5 vs. UConn

Texas Tech +2.5 vs. Baylor
Game is in Lubbock, go with Red Raiders.

Maryland +24.5 @ North Carolina
Big spread.

Boston College +14.5 @ NC State
BC has played their last games very close.

Oregon -9.5 @ Oregon State
Angry ducks pound Beavers.

Florida +7 vs. Florida State

Oklahoma -7 vs. Oklahoma State
Bedlam in Norman.

Penn State -2.5 vs. Wisconsin
Good season for PSU.

Alabama -31 vs. Auburn
The Tide have truly rolled.

Stanford -2 @ UCLA
Trees continue to grow.

South Carolina +4 @ Clemson

USC +7 vs. Notre Dame
Hopeful pick.

Patriots-Jets Drinking Game: Thanksgiving Edition

Thanksgiving, a time for football and goddamned snacks. And after dealing with your family for a few hours, you might want to drink heavily.

Anytime a commentator says...
"Thanksgiving" = 1 drink from a beer
"Happy" = 1 drink
"Turkey" = 1 drink
"Gobble" = 1 shot of Wild Turkey
"Snack" = 1 drink
"Trimmings" = 1 drink
"Potatoes" = 1 shot of vodka
"Cranberry" = 1 cup of vodka and cranberry
"Stuffing" = 1 drink
"Yams" = drink beer for 10 seconds
"Gravy" = drink a gravy boat full of beer
"Feast" = 1 drink

Anytime this is on the screen:
A member of the broadcast crew greeting their family = 1 drink
A turkey (living, cooked, or cartoon) = 1 drink
Rex Ryan smiling = 1 drink
Bill Belichick scowling = 1 drink
Bill Parcells = 1 drink
Eric Mangini = 1 drink
Curtis Martin = drink for 28 seconds
A player or coach wishing us a Happy Thanksgiving = 1 drink
Pilgrims = 1 drink
Plymouth Rock = drink as much as you can for 16 minutes and 20 seconds (16:20)
Bob Kraft = 1 drink
Bob Kraft talking = drink as long as he talks

Anytime this happens:
The broadcasters thank you for welcoming them into your home = drink for 15 seconds
Tom Brady yells "Alpha Milk" = 1 drink
Brady points out the "Mike" = 1 drink
Patriots get a 1st down = 1 drink
Patriots go no-huddle = 1 drink per snap
Patriots allow 15+ yard pass play = 1 drink
Mark Sanchez makes a dumb throw = 1 drink
Sanchez throws a pass that's tipped = 1 drink
Patriots force a turnover = 1 drink
Vince Wilfork forces or recovers a turnover = 1 drink
Wilfork returns a turnover for a TD = 1 whole beer, 1 shot, 1 pumpkin pie
Kickoff touchback = 1 drink
Kickoff return = drink during the entire return

Please get lubed up responsibly and have a happy Thanksgiving.