The Play by Play
On Tuesday, Roy Halladay, nicknamed Doc, died when his plane crashed in the Gulf of Mexico. Over his 16 year career in the MLB, Halladay earned 2 Cy Young Awards (given to the best pitcher in the American and National Leagues) and made 8 All-Star appearances. Halladay’s teammates and players around the league lauded Halladay’s performance both on and off the field, recognizing his unparallelled competitiveness alongside his gentle humility. Case in point: Doc took a fan (and his entire family) to the zoo after said individual started a blog entitled “Zoo with Roy,” with the sole goal of getting Halladay to do just that. Halladay was only 40 years old.
Live Mascots: What Happens Off the Field
Many colleges, and even some professional sports teams, have an animal as their mascot. The Colorado University Buffaloes, the Georgia Bulldogs, the Texas Longhorns, and the list goes on. Rather than having a grown person hide inside a costume, these teams have opted for live mascots. These animals therefore find themselves front and center before, during and after the games. But what about the other six days of the week? Of course they have several other, non-game related, commitments and their own social media accounts to manage. But there’s so much more. Bev, the longhorn, lives on an expansive ranch where he’s pampered by his own entourage (called the Silver Spurs). Ralphie’s living quarters are top secret. Ever since a group attempted to abduct Ralphie 1 back in the 70s, only authorized personnel are allowed to know the whereabouts of the buffalo’s home. And then there’s Uga X, Georgia’s bulldog, who has his own chauffeured SUV with custom license plates. It sure is a ruff life for these mascots.
Not So Ball-er
While his older brother Lonzo makes a name for himself during his rookie season in the NBA, LiAngelo Ball has found himself in some much hotter water. The UCLA men’s basketball team has been in China for a week-long visit leading up to their season opener against Georgia Tech in Shanghai. During their stay in Hangzhou, LiAngelo and two other freshman teammates were arrested for shoplifting sunglasses at Louis Vuitton. While all three have since made bail, they are certainly not playing in Saturday’s game and have been confined to their hotel until the legal process plays out. It is unclear what the ultimate punishment will be. Rumors range from a prison sentence to a twenty-day house arrest at their luxury hotel and banishment from China. Papa Ball is less than worried but stay tuned to see how this all shakes out.
The Faces and Facts
Featured Female- Lindsey Vonn (skiing): The gold medalist downhill skier gears up for what, she claims to be, her final Olympic Games. Vonn recently explained her first and somewhat new (within the last year) permanent tattoo: a shark that sits on the side of one of her fingers. The ink represents “moving forward,” since sharks can’t swim backwards or ever stop moving (they’ll sink). It perfectly embodies her quest to return to greatness following an injury a few months back.
Auston Matthews (Hockey): Another young star in the NHL, entering his second year. While he played all 82 games last season, Matthews suffered an upper body injury (they like to keep things vague in the NHL) that kept him out of the Minnesota Wild game earlier this week. Auston manages to have at least one jaw dropping play every time he steps on the ice so he’s definitely a player to watch.
Darrell Wallace (NASCAR- yes, NASCAR): Nicknamed “Bubba,” Darrell is the first black driver in modern NASCAR. Dealing with racist tweets on the regular, especially while moving up the ranks, Wallace uses their hateful words to fuel his drive and success. Even non-NASCAR people should follow the career of Wallace as he single-handedly works to change the face of his sport.
Colorado Avalanche v. Ottawa Senators (Hockey): Saturday at 1pm. As the cold weather moves in, a day game is the perfect excuse to stay indoors. And this one has a bit of baggage. Just a few days ago, Avalanche center Matt Duchene found himself permanently relocated to Ottawa as part of a three team trade. Awhile back, it would appear that Duchene approached Joe Sakic, former all-star and now Avalanche team manager, asking for a trade. Despite having idolized Sakic growing up, Matt felt it was time to depart, and to do so before his contract was up. Duchene may come to regret said decision, having played against, and lost to, his former team during his Ottawa debut on Friday. I bet he’s hoping that this rematch, just one day later, will validate his decision.
Los Angeles Clippers v. New Orleans Pelicans (Basketball): As if having four teams (one from each of the leagues) wasn’t enough, certain cities manage to have more than one professional team in the same sport. That’s the case with both New York (a city that has two of each team- that means 8 in total) and the City of Angeles. Los Angeles boasts both the Lakers and, the frequently less successful, Clippers. Led by Blake Griffin, the Clippers face off against the New Orleans Pelicans Saturday at 7pm. We’ll see if Anthony Davis and Demarcus Cousins have what it take to bring the Clippers record below 500 and their team’s to just above it.
Buffalo Bills v. New Orleans Saints (Football): The New Orleans Saints have won six in a row, turning their 0-2 start around in expert fashion. Only two other teams in the Super Bowl era have done the same and both went on to claim the championship that season. But the Bills, surprising almost everyone, stand at 5-3 and pose a serious threat to that streak. Each team has a top ranked defense and a quarterback who tends to avoid turnovers. Should make for a good match up. Sunday at 1pm.
Side Note: Let’s see if Sports Illustrated can go 2-for-2 in their prediction of championship teams. The magazine has picked a Patriots v. Rams Super Bowl, with the Pats winning it all.
The Weekend Social Hour
As the weather gets colder and the sun sets earlier, ‘tis the best time of year to hunker down and watch some TV. If you still can’t quite sit through an entire game, there are so many classic sports movies that you should take time to watch. You’ll learn a bit about history, a bit about the game and a LOT about perseverance. You might even shed a tear or two.
- Miracle: The story of the US playing Russia in the 1980 Winter Olympics. While you might know the ending, it’s the lead up that makes this movie great.
- Mighty Ducks: A trilogy (and perhaps one of the best of all time) following a ragtag pee-wee hockey team all the way through high school. Watch one. Watch them all. You can’t go wrong either way.
- Hoosiers: A classic movie set in small town Indiana, where the local high school team strives to win the state championship. Loosely based on a true story.
- Love and Basketball: A movie that asks the protagonists one central question. What is more important, your love of basketball or the love of your life? You can probably guess how it plays out but it’s still highly entertaining.
If movies are your jam or this list peaked your interest, explore the links above to find other films that are worth watching. Tune in next week for the football and baseball films that will keep you on the edge of your seat.