sportsmanship

The Tree, and Something About Roses

Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey breaks another big play against the University of Arizona Wildcats, 3 October 2015, at The Farm in Stanford, California.  (Detail of photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo)

Sometimes we might wonder whence comes a question.

Stanford has the Rose Bowl routine down pat.

The Cardinal are doing it all for the third time in four years — starting with the trips to Disneyland, Lawry’s restaurant in Beverly Hills, the Improv comedy club in Hollywood, followed by media day at a downtown hotel and the team photo at the stadium the day before the game, and culminating with the annual clash between Pac-12 and Big Ten opposition on Jan. 1.

Stanford University quarterback Kevin Hogan talks to reporters during the teams media day in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015. Although Stanford is playing in the Rose Bowl for the third time in four years, the weeklong experience doesn't get old for Hogan and the Cardinal. They also know the importance of leaving Pasadena with a win after losing to Michigan State two years ago. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)But Stanford players and coaches swore off the idea that any Rose Bowl fatigue has set in.

“Never gets old, I guarantee it,” said defensive line coach Randy Hart, who is participating in his 11th Rose Bowl and 10th as a coach.

“It’s probably a better feeling that you’re a fifth-year senior because you appreciate it more,” defensive back Ronnie Harris said.

Dan Greenspan’s look ahead to the Rose Bowl might beg a question about how one might complain about repeated trips to one of the most prestigious contests in American football.

The answer is actually kind of obvious, but also a bit specialized; one needs to follow college football in general, and the Rose Bowl is of particular interest to the west coast; it’s our bowl game.

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The Huffington Disgrace

"Serena Williams' Sheer Dress Is A Grand Slam". Headline for Huffington Post article by Jamie Feldman, 16 December 2015.

MEMORANDUM

To: Jamie Feldman, Huffington Post

re: ¿Thank you for your contribution?

It is hard to know where to begin, so let me please start with a question: Are you joking?

No, really, are you pitching for a Christmas card from MRAs?

All hail Serena Williams, Sports Illustrated’s first female “Sportsperson of the Year” since 1983 and the sexiest woman alive―if her latest red carpet look is any indication, that is.

(Feldman)

No, really. Please tell me this is a joke.

Why are you taking part in gendertyping? Why are you reinforcing stereotypes about women’s apperances?

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A Long Note on Political Tradition in These United States

President Barack Obama, delivers his State of the Union speech at the U.S. Capitol on Feb. 12, 2013 in Washington, DC.  (Charles Dharapak/AP)

By now of course we have become accustomed to the proposition that Republicans, once elected, would rather sit around. To some it actually seems a very sick idea; not only did the Speaker of the House demonstrate that Republicans conisder their job description to include going on vacation instead of actually working because, well, the most important part of the job is election and re-election, but in recent months the GOP has shown more and more willingness to simply admit that the inherent failure of government is more of a conservative goal than anything else.

Boehner and the band skipped out on gigs that might need Congressional attention, such as the Daa’ish question, the Ebola question, and the Immigration Reform question; despite their howls of rage regarding the latter, the fact of executive action occasionally arises when Congress refuses to pass a bill and the Speaker of the House calls on the President to use his executive authority. They could have skipped screeching themselves hoarse by simply sticking around and doing their jobs. Then again, the prior statement is controversial if only because it would appear that Congressional Republicans appear to believe their first, last, and only job is to win votes. Given their reluctance to undertake day-to-day Constitutional functions of Congress, such as advising and consenting to presidential appointments—or, as such, formally refusing the nomination—we ought not be surprised that the latest duty Republicans wish to shirk is sitting through an annual speech.

Nearly 16 years later, another Democratic president, also hated by his Republican attackers, is poised to deliver his penultimate State of the Union address. And like Pat Robertson, the idea of denying the president a SOTU invitation is once again on the right’s mind.

“Yes, there’s a risk to overreacting, but there’s a risk to underreacting as well,” said Rich Lowry, the editor of National Review. “And I fear that’s the way the congressional leadership is leaning.”

Mr. Lowry suggested one way Congress could react. “If I were John Boehner,” he said, referring to the House speaker, “I’d say to the president: ‘Send us your State of the Union in writing. You’re not welcome in our chamber.'”

Lowry may not dictate GOP decision making the way Limbaugh and Fox News do, but it’s important to note that he isn’t the only one publicly pushing the idea.

Politico reported yesterday that congressional Republicans are weighing a variety of tactics to “address” their disgust over Obama’s immigration policy, and “GOP aides and lawmakers” are considering the idea of “refusing to invite the president to give his State of the Union address.”

Late last week, Breitbart News also ran a piece of its own on the subject: “Congress should indicate to President Obama that his presence is not welcome on Capitol Hill as long as his ‘executive amnesty’ remains in place. The gesture would, no doubt, be perceived as rude, but it is appropriate.”

(Benen)

Wait, wait, wait—sixteen years ago?

Yes. Like impeachment chatter and stonewalling, Republicans want to make refusing to hear the State of the Union Address part of their standard response to any Democratic president.

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The Pigskin Preposterous

We call it ... football.

“As soon as I adopt that quitting attitude, I’ll have it for the rest of my life.”

Daijail Arthur

Talk about burying the lede.

Okay, time out: This probably means more to me than it does to you. A’ight?

Jeré Longman reports, for the New York Times:

The Louisiana high school football playoffs opened last Friday, but it hardly felt encouraging as the East Iberville Tigers boarded a bus for a five-hour ride north toward certain defeat. The team was 0-10 for a second consecutive season, so overmatched that four players decided not to make the trip.

This left a squad of 15 suited up for the Tigers’ Class 1A playoff opener here, including a freshman quarterback, two eighth-graders — a safety and a lineman — and a seventh-grade receiver.

The inclusion of winless teams in the playoffs is an unintended consequence of a much-debated action that Louisiana’s principals took before the 2013 season to split public and private schools into separate playoff tournaments for football.

Each state is left to make its own bylaws. In a number of states, the football playoffs have expanded for several reasons: tension between public and private schools over recruiting and scholarships, inclusivity and aligning football with the postseason tournaments in other sports.

One result is that teams with losing records routinely enter the playoffs because there are not enough competitive teams to go around. A quick survey found winless teams in the 2014 postseason from Texas, New Jersey, Utah, South Dakota and Missouri. Virginia had two playoff teams with 1-9 records.

There is so much wrong in those paragraphs that it is hard to know where to begin. This is not necessarily a result of Longman’s reporting; rather, the buried lede speaks more of our society. To that end, we might make snide remarks about market demand, but that would only further obscure what really is a very, very important issue.

Let us return to the second paragraph:

This left a squad of 15 suited up for the Tigers’ Class 1A playoff opener here, including a freshman quarterback, two eighth-graders — a safety and a lineman — and a seventh-grade receiver.

Please tell me this paragraph is a joke.

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