A Fan of the Game

Sports Talk, Straight Talk

Court-storming complaining should cease

When’s the last time you heard of a serious injury from court storming?

I’ll wait.

If you’re having a little trouble, that’s because they happen as much as you actually starting that diet and exercise routine. A quick Google search yields no incidents post 2004. Every other article’s headline contains the words “before someone gets hurt,” or “potential.” That’s all it is, potential.

This increasingly preventative culture we find ourselves in won’t be satisfied until all seven billion of us live in padded rooms and talk in clichés. Then again, I’ve heard straitjackets can cause those awful pins and needles. Ban them.

The court-storming at the University of Virginia produced zero injuries – well, save for Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski’s bruised ego. Video packages of his kvetching poisoned the airwaves. A simple solution for you Coach K? Quit losing to inferior opponents.

Fans begin rushing the field after unranked Virginia upset then No. 10 Clemson in 2006. The constant complaining over the fans’ enjoyment needs to stop.

It’s ironic this tsunami of prevention doubled in size after the court-storming at U.Va. It directly contradicts Thomas Jefferson’s declaration that all of us have a right to the pursuit of happiness. A novel idea the talking heads should explore.

Court-storming is an exhilarating experience for students. In 2006, I rushed onto the field at Lane Stadium after unranked Virginia Tech knocked off then-No. 10 Clemson. That ranks in my top five moments at college. Football coach Frank Beamer had the players come back out of the locker room to mingle with the fans.

Take that away, and the gluttonous football programs become even more isolated from the college experience (SEE: SEC, which banned field-rushing and court-storming nine years ago).

Arguments attacking the court-storming frequency have more credence but still are misguided. Students yearn for that bliss they see on television when a winless-in-the-Big-10 Penn State team shocks a top-five Michigan team. So, they lower the court-storming criteria.

Let them have their fun. The only people I see complaining about it are the ones who no longer have the chance to participate.

-Ray

March 2, 2013 Posted by | College Basketball, Football | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Green Bay Packers are Super Bowl XLV Champions. A Fan’s Look Back.

Crazy isn’t it?

To think back to some of the games throughout the season and know how little hope some Packers fans (me) had in the team making the playoffs is crazy.

Those back-to-back overtime losses against Washington and Miami seemed like backbreakers. And considering I’m stuck in Redskins country, I had to hear about it more than I needed to. Actually, Skins fans will continue to bring up beating the eventual World Champs.

That’s fine, though, because the Packers are the World Champs.

What a great Super Bowl. My heart started pounding through my chest around the top of the 6 o’clock hour. The family was having burritos, and the TV was left on in the kitchen to watch the pregame festivities — rarely is the TV ever left on during dinner.

After inhaling three burritos, I raced back upstairs to watch the game. I declined an invitation to watch the game downstairs on the even-bigger screen. Chalk it up to superstition.

I posted the same “Go Pack Go” YouTube video as my status as I had done before the previous playoff games. I donned an Aaron Rodgers jersey and black sweatpants and put on a Packers hat backwards. The hat was a new addition to the regular lineup, and it didn’t disappoint (more on that later).

My computer was off to the side with Twitter and the ESPN comment section for the Super Bowl open. I enjoy reading instant reactions.

So with the annoying Glee product placement singer and botched National Anthem out of the way, it was time for kickoff, which seemed a bit rushed; Joe Buck didn’t have time to do the what-seems-like-usual “..And Super Bowl 45 is underway…*ball kicked*).

It was a decent return, like many other kickoff returns against the Packers. O, Packers special teams, how many games hast thou forfeited?

The Steelers go three-and-out and punt. Packers punt returner Tramon Williams muffs the catch and my heart drops. “Are you kidding me?” I asked out loud.

Luckily, the Packers recovered. Now looking back, I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if the Steelers did? Cue alternate history timeline.

The Steelers use the short field to go up 7-0. Aaron Rodgers drives to midfield but a dropped pass ends the series. Pittsburgh, now sensing even more Packers nerves, converts a deep pass to the five-yard line. Rashard Mendenhall runs it in, and it’s 14-0 Steelers early. Rodgers attempts to make a valiant effort for a comeback but it’s too late. The game eventually ends 37-21 for Pittsburgh, and the world hears about the Steelers every minute of the offseason. Ben Roethlisberger is immediately crowned a future Hall of Famer.

Yuck. Even imagining that is hard to do.

It just so happens it’s the Packers who go up 7-0 first on a perfect pass from Rodgers to Jordy Nelson on 3rd and 1. I scream like a banshee (S.L.A.B., remember that). I can’t take being down in any game, not even down by one. I just like knowing that the other team has to score somehow to tie or go ahead.

My pounding hearts calms a tad until WOOSH! Nick Collins swoops in to intercept a Roethlisberger pass, and Collins streaks toward the endzone. Now, I’ve always had an irrational fear of a fumble after any and every interception I witness. So this feeling is multiplied by 1,000 since it’s the Super Bowl.

Collins dives from inside the five and into the endzone sending me into SLAB mode. UNBELIEVABLE! IS THIS REAL LIFE? DOUBLE TOUCHDOWN ALL THE WAY!

14-0 already? NOICE! Oh, and I also have a ridiculously stupid fear of seeing my team miss extra points after each score. I hate myself for it. But the point is made, and I’m feeling great.

Games are so much more enjoyable when your team is up by 14, wouldn’t you say?

As a fan of the San Jose Sharks, I know a thing or two about choking. Naturally my brain’s tainted logic lobe started working and reminded me, “Ray, these two touchdowns were way too early in the game. Think about all the football and hockey games you’ve watched where one teams jumps out on top before getting slaughtered the rest of the way.”

Here come the Steelers marching down the field to score 3 points. My mind fast-forwards to the end of the game where the Packers are down by 3 and need to kick a field goal to send the game to overtime. All because of that second-quarter field goal. It ruined EVERYTHING. (Clearly Mason Crosby missed the tying FG in my fast-forward daydream.)

This is how my brain operates during a game. Fun, huh?

No.

So I decide to turn my hat forwards to get some new mojo, and alas, it’s another Packers interception! Jarrett Bush! Jarrett Bush? Gotta be some mistake. You mean the Jarrett Bush who rivals Ahmad Carroll as worst defensive back in the history of mankind? You mean the Jarrett Bush that gets burned even by putting his hand on a room temperature piece of papers? YES. SLAB! I love you, Jarrett. Never doubted you for a second, buddy.

OK, but can the Packers capitalize? They do. Rodgers to Greg Jennings over the middle, and Jennings gets walloped by Troy Polamalu.

SLAB. 21-3. 21-3! Over my most hated opponent in all of sports? Simply stunning.

Things can’t remain this good for my team, though. I see Donald Driver out with an injury. Sam Shields goes down with a shoulder injury. And then Charles Woodson goes down with a shoulder injury. Wow. Really? This is happening to my team. At the Super Bowl. Three critical players all injured. They had enough injuries in the regular season to last a decade.

Maybe they can play after halftime, though. The score is 21-10. Then the reports come in: Driver, questionable. Shields, questionable. Woodson, out. WHAT?! WOODSON OUT? This can’t be. A broken collarbone.

It’s over. Give the title to Pittsburgh. The defense has now reverted back to the 2009 days when Roethlisberger threw for over 500 yards against the Packers.

I change my hat back to backwards to try to regain some of the first quarter magic.

And it starts. The Packers can’t get anything going on offense in the third quarter, and Pittsburgh scores on their first possession. 21-17, just like that. I reminisce about the 21-3 lead. It was so young. Where does the hour go?

Enough of the backwards hat. Let’s go sideways to the left.

Pittsburgh starts driving at the end of the third quarter and I’m feeling awful. As far as I’m considered, the entire East Coast was just hit with a tsunami of pessimism. I think ahead.

“Can I really make it through a year (a lifetime, really) of Steelers fans bringing up this game?”

“Why am I a fan of teams who constantly choke on the big stage?”

“Why isn’t Roethlisberger in jail?”

“FML.”

But soft, what light through yonder window breaks? It is Clay Matthews and his hair is the Sun!

Forced fumble by the Claymaker! Packers recover! SLAB.

It would be stellar for my heart health for the Packers to score a touchdown here. But it’s now 3rd and 10. Hopefully they can gain a bit of ground for a coffin corner punt. Jordy Nelson says No. He catches a pass and takes it 38 yards to the Steelers 2. Rejoice.

Two plays later it’s a touchdown to Jennings. Putting the team on his back! 28-17. I can live with an 11-point lead this late in the game. Well, 4:23 later, Pittsburgh scores. AND they make the two-point conversion. 28-25. Wow.

If you’ve learned anything so far, you know where my mind’s at.

“W”

“H”

“Y”

“?”

Yes, I think one character at a time in situations so dire.

Time for another hat change. Sideways and to the right (which would be the last position it would be in).

Next drive, the Packers are looking at a 3-and-out. Here it is. The breaking point. Pittsburgh will take the next drive and go up 32-28. Watch. WATCH.

Nope. Rodgers on another 3rd and 10 completes to Jennings for 31 yards. Man, Rodgers is good. How is he doing this? How is he not throwing late-game interceptions that cost playoff games?

Now with 1st and Goal, I’m feeling optimistic for the first time. We’ve been scoring touchdowns easily. No way they stop us and make us a kick a field goal. NO WAY I TELL YOU.

“…And Crosby makes it 31-25 with a 23-yard field goal.”

This is why I can’t have nice things. No more optimism pour moi.

I’ve seen this situation before. If the Steelers score, they win by one point. December 2009. Steelers defeat Packers, 37-36. Ah yes, of course.

So here we go. Go ahead Roethlisberger. Two minutes left. I know you will drive them down to at least the Packers 20. You’ll probably have a good 45 seconds left too. Stick the dagger in me now, America.

Easy pass to Heath Miller for 15 yards. Yep, I told you. Five-yard pass to Hines Ward. Here it is, setting something up. Incomplete pass. That means nothing. Here comes the deep ball. Incomplete deep ball. Whoa. What’s going on? It’s 4th down ALREADY? Eh, no sweat. Go ahead Ben, make this the first of 3 fourth downs you convert on the game-winning drive.

Incomplete pass.

SLAB. SLAB. SLAB. I break my bed. Bedlam. I cannot believe…what I just saw. Super Bowl Champs! Wait, is there a flag? No flag! Super Bowl Champs! We just beat the freakin’ Steelers!

There was about a full two minutes of yelling in excitement before I settled down to watch the trophy presentation. Nothing but smiles on my end. I patiently waited to see the only commercial I want to see: “Packers fans! Your team just won the Super Bowl! Here’s your chance to own…” When it finally came on, the victory just barely started to sink in.

The Aaron Rodgers “I’m going to Disney World!” commercial came on the next day and it became more real.

What a great feeling. And the feeling won’t leave for another year. That’s a great feeling about another great feeling. Sorry, that’s confusing.

Anyway, that was my stream of consciousness during the game. My voice was raspy a couple days later, and I probably burst a few blood cells.

It was worth it.

Oh, and the hat? That’s all true. I changed right around those times.

Crazy isn’t it?

February 11, 2011 Posted by | Football | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Virginia Tech demoralizes a nation. The Hokie Nation.

Nathan (Michigan) and my (Virginia Tech) college teams finally have something in common — they are the only ranked teams to lose to an FCS school.

Unbelievable.

I started to worry furing the first quarter against James Madison when the score wasn’t 21-0, and it all went downhill from there.

Coming into this season, every Hokie fan knew we had a lot to replace on defense, but the problems are far greater than anyone imagined. Even the most fundamental part of defense — tackling — is difficult for them.

Where do these players get off thinking they can just push people and they will go down? Why is it so hard to wrap up a player and bring them down?

Linebacker Bruce Taylor has already started making excuses saying practice tackling doesn’t equal game-speed tackling. Of course it doesn’t, but why don’t you start using proper technique and it won’t be a problem — especially against a second-rate opponent in JMU.

The Hokies are being featured in a "How Not To Tackle" DVD.

Jeron Gouveia-Winslow is struggling mightily in Cody Grimm’s old spot.

So, how much blame should be put on Bud Foster for the defense? About 50%. Allowing 33 points against Boise, then 21 against JMU should never happen under Foster. I could be giving him too much credit, but I think his schemes alone can limit teams to 15 points.

As for the absurdly bad offense, it’s time for a change. Bryan Stinespring has got to be in the bottom five for worst offensive coordinator in college football. With so much talent, how can Tech put up 16 points last week?

Tyrod is scrambling way too much. Every play he is rolling out of the pocket. Why? He is a good passer, and he used to have great chemistry with Danny Coale. I think I’ve seen Coale catch a handful of passes this year.

You’ve also got Ryan Williams, Darren Evans and David Wilson in the backfield, the latter of which is already saying he regrets not redshirting. The Hokies don’t need any more drama.

I could go on forever about the offense, but I’ll stop.

Last but not least, Frank Beamer. He’s now 1-26, I believe, against top-five teams. And now he’s lost to a FCS opponent. It’s time to start looking for a replacement now.

But the last thing we need is a Bobby Bowden or Joe Paterno situation. Just because Beamer has gotten Tech on the map and a household name in college football doesn’t grant him an automatic 10 more years of mediocrity.

Clearly whatever he says to the team before big games fails. It’s like a broken record — a big game involving Tech? Put all your money on the Hokies losing. It sucks to even say that, but it’s true.

Everyone seems Bud Foster is the easy pick to step up. I’m not sure if that’s the right pick. I’d be worried about a Norv Turner situation — great coordinator, bad coach. Foster’s enthusiasm is unquestioned, though, and it just might be what all the Hokies need to hear.

Whatever the case, something needs to change now.

–Ray

September 15, 2010 Posted by | Football | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Column: Miami overhyped

This is the full version of my column in the Collegiate Times:

Column: Miami Overhyped

Ray Nimmo

For the last several years, when the University of Miami wins a game, the media proclaims the U is back.

And unfortunately for Hurricanes fans, the U never really is back.

Once again, the media jumped on the Canes bandwagon following Miami’s 33-17 rout of Georgia Tech last Thursday.

Jacory Harris

Miami quarterback Jacory Harris

Sure, Canes quarterback Jacory Harris was 20-25 with 270 yards passing and threw 3 touchdowns, but the Yellow Jackets’ passing defense ranks 85th in the NCAA.

In Georgia Tech’s first game, they allowed Jacksonville State quarterback Marques Ivory to be 23-38 and throw 193 yards and two touchdowns.

So before crowning Harris as the next Jim Kelly or Vinny Testaverde, gain some perspective.

The first game Harris played this season against Florida State could easily have been a loss for the Canes; however, it quickly turned into a Harris lovefest.

Harris threw two interceptions in the contest, bringing his career total to nine compared with 17 touchdowns. When Harris faces a real defense on Saturday, people will find out just how good he is.

Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster will have his crew ready for the biggest Atlantic Coast Conference game of the year.

Harris has only been sacked once this year and hasn’t faced much pressure from defenses. Expect a lot of blitz packages and pressure from defensive end Jason Worilds. The Hokies will get to the quarterback and force Harris to make bad decisions.

It will then be up to the ball-hawking secondary to make the necessary plays to shutdown Miami’s speedy wide receivers.

There are a few problems, though.

While the defensive gameplan will, without a doubt, be an excellent counter to Miami’s offense, the execution is in question.

The Hokies defense has not performed up to typical lunch pail standards.

Tech is ranked 77th in total defense. They haven’t been out of the top-10 in that category since 2003.

Pinpointing the problem is nevertheless difficult.

The young linebacking corps? Injuries in the secondary? Defensive line not living up to the billing?

What about the offense? Because of their impotence and consistent three-and-out play, the defense must be on the field for more than half the game. Look back to the Alabama game. When was the last time you saw a Tech defense that worn out at the end of a game?

These are some of the best athletes in the country, and there is no excuse for being that tired with the high-class conditioning that goes on at Tech.

The defense did answer the bell against Nebraska by not allowing a touchdown, and employing a bend-but-

Virginia Tech vs. Miami

Virginia Tech vs. Miami

don’t-break mentality.

Miami is not Nebraska, though. The Canes may actually have better athletes the Alabama and Nebraska, so it’s paramount the offense find a rhythm early to keep the defense well-rested.

This game has much bigger implications than the previous three. This one counts. No excuses. With Miami being in the Coastal Division and already boasting a 2-0 record in the ACC, this game could very well decide the Hokies’ ACC title hopes.

The players and coaches know it, though.

“This game might as well be the ACC Championship game,” running back Ryan Williams said. “It’s big for us. It’s real big for us. We have to come out fighting strong from the first quarter through the fourth quarter.”

Coincidentally, Williams grew up a Miami fan, and looked up to previous Canes running backs: Willis McGahee, Clinton Portis and Frank Gore.

Williams has the Miami-type swagger. He showcased it against Nebraska when he did his variation of the “Dirty Bird” touchdown dance—he calls it the “Dirty Hokie.”

Williams redshirted last season and didn’t take part in last year’s 16-14 loss at Miami.

He will be here this time around, in Lane Stadium. The last time the Canes traveled to Blacksburg, the Hokies destroyed them 44-14.

The Canes did take care of the Hokies in 2005, in Lane, 27-7—a game that will hereby be forgotten, but the Hokies are 4-2 against Miami the last six meetings.

Tech knows how to beat the U, and the media has forgotten it. Miami jumped in the rankings from No. 20 to No. 9 in the Associated Press poll this week. With that jump, they leapfrogged No. 11 Tech.

Perhaps someone should notify the authorities the Hokies are three-time ACC champions. Miami has won the ACC championship exactly zero times.

The ACC championship runs through Blacksburg, so don’t sweat the Miami swagger.

Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor

Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor

September 25, 2009 Posted by | Football | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

USC and Serena

What is ESPN’s fetish with USC about?

“You’re seeing a freshman QB grow up in front of our eyes.”

OMGZ LOLZZ!!!111 I 3 USC so much!!

OMGZ LOLZZ!!!111 I ❤ USC so much!!

Umm, how? He was 15/31 for 195 yards and an INT. He just handed off the ball to McKnight and threw it to the flats and let the receivers do everything. He did squat. Seriously, this is one of the biggest problems with ESPN. They are obsessed with USC, ESPECIALLY Mark May. I can’t imagine how Mark May kept his head from exploding when USC was losing. He regularly sends Pete Carroll flowers. It’s ridiculous. He’s as bad as Lou Holtz is for Notre Dame.

Get some people who will actually tell things straight!

Serena Williams was disqualified for taunting. Probably the second best news of the day (besides Virginia Tech destroying Marshall). She is beyond arrogant and such a poor sport, it’s good to see she got hers. Serena is another one of ESPN’s darlings. Rick Reilly wrote an article on ESPN saying the Williams’ sisters are the most underreported story in sports. GIVE ME A BREAK! That is all I hear about when tennis highlights come on, or the only reason tennis shows up on SportsCenter. Please. Again, get people working for the best sports network who are actually honest and tell it like it is. It’s become a circus.

How could anybody DQ.... ME?!

How could anybody DQ.... ME?!

September 13, 2009 Posted by | Football, Other | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Hate Pennsylvania

The whole state of Pennsylvania. It’s full of the luckiest teams in the world and most annoying players.

Waaaaaaaaa Im such a Big Baby!

The Steelers are THE worst team to ever win the Super Bowl and they’ve done it twice in the 2000s. No, it is not skill. They barely win games, either by refs or magical lucky comebacks. Of course, fans will say that’s why their good– “They win, it doesn’t matter how.” Well, I’m not a fan, so I can say what I want, as you can. Ben Roethlisberger is a terrible quarterback. Fact. I hope Troy Polamalu is out for the season after his injury tonight that way I don’t have to hear the constant media coverage of his hair and playmaking ability. Not to mention Troy went to USC, which is just as bad as Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania.

This speaks for itself

This speaks for itself

The Penguins are also THE worst team to win the Stanley Cup. Give me statistics all you want, but I will still say Marc-Andre Fleury is the worst goalie to win it. Sidney Crosby is just an overall buttwipe in all aspects of life. Now, NBC and the NHL will promote him even more after he won the Cup. The whole Penguins team is soft and are not deserving of such an amazing trophy.

The Eagles are so freaking annoying. I’m tired of them winning and McNabb. Fans will always call you jealous for saying that but whatever. Let’s have a new team in the playoffs. Like the Cardinals! More of them!

Just ban Pennsylvania from pro sports. Life would be amazing.

Hi everyzbodyz! I iz doNoVaN :) I go to de special skool hehe

"Hi everyzbodyz! I iz doNoVaN 🙂 I go to de special skool hehe

September 11, 2009 Posted by | Football, Hockey | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Been a LONG time

Ray here–

I put the blog on the backburner after last football season and posted some Collegiate Times articles I wrote. A few things I do want to talk about lately, though.  Shawne Merriman, volleyball, Kenny Chesney and the inept Virginia Tech offense.

Merriman– Bill Cosby once talked about brain damage in his performance “Himself,” in 1983. The brain damage he spoke of was when children need to hear things three times or more to understand. Even then, they will disobey and when you ask why, they reply, “I don’t know!” Here’s a link to a youtube video with the excerpt.

Shawne must not understand what it means to be a good citizen or even a competent one. Stay out of trouble, even if the person accusing you of battery is a whacko named Tila Tequila.

Volleyball– What a pleasant surprise this has been! I got the women’s volleyball beat for the Collegiate Times this semester. I’ll admit I was a bit skeptical of what to expect, but it’s been awesome. The night I found out, I spent three hours researching the rules and watching youtube videos on how to play.

I’m still getting a grip on the abstract rules and how to calculate all the statstics, but watching the games is very exciting. The players can be a bit nervous when I interview them, but I think they will break out of their shell.

One player on the team doesn’t like interviews, and she is deemed off-limits to me. I wonder if she had a bad experience with any previous writers of any kind. She’s a good player too, so it sucks I can’t talk to her.

The team is 6-0 right now, and they are in Washington, D.C. for a tournament this weekend. I think they can win all three games handily if they do well. It is their first road test, so who knows what might happen.

Kenny Chesney– Please. For the life of me I don’t understand why ESPN chooses such crappy theme songs for college football. Chesney and Dave Matthews?! I didn’t know ESPN is a proponent of homoeroticism.

Watching the Georgia Tech-Clemson game tonight, they had another country singer, and I believe he is the “ACC singer.” God help us. How is some dude in a cowboy hat and tank top supposed to get us pumped for a violent, head-smashing sport? I’ve googled the topic and found about a 99% disapproval rate. The other 1% are girls who just say “I love Kenny!” or guys who pop their collars that love Dave Matthews. Disgusting.

The inept VT offense– Oh. My. God. How retarded is our offense? Oh wait, it’s not the offense who is retarded. It’s offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring. There are “Fire Bryan Stinespring” websites and blogs everywhere, and it’s hilarious. (http://firebryanstinespring.blogspot.com/)

The consensus says he still has a job because he and Frank Beamer are close friends. Well, good gracious, wake up Frank! You have had talented NFL receivers on the team in the past (Josh Morgan, David Clowney, Eddie Royal), and now you have Ryan Williams and Tyrod Taylor. You still can’t muster 100 yards in a ferrari. You would probably sabotage the engine. Fire this quack and get him out of the program.

Fire Bryan Stinespring shirt

Fire Bryan Stinespring shirt

I’d really like to get the chance to ask Frank straight up, “Are you satisfied with ACC Championships or do you want more?” We barely win the ACC as it is with Bryan’s pathetic offense, anyway. This is why you don’t hire your friends as coworkers. We might have to get shutout the rest of the season in order for Frank to notice something’s wrong.

September 11, 2009 Posted by | Football, Other, Volleyball | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment