Thursday, July 27, 2006

Not writing today. Too busy prepping for an ass kicking.

I was all ready to write something this afternoon. Really, I was. That is until I received word that I'll be playing in a semi-pro basketball game this evening. Based on what many of you know of me this may sound a bit out of character. Sure, I play basketball on a regular basis. I even play on a very successful team in the local city league. However, I do not live a lifestyle that one would normally associate with high level (or even mid-level) athletics. Besides the fact that I drink too much and cast more papal ballots than your average hackey sack player, I also happen to be 5'10" (maybe), white and damn near 30 years old. With all that said, I knew that this was a possibility as of last week. It's just that I didn't really give it much thought until yesterday when it became increasinlgy apparent that my services would be needed. I'd even considered declining the invitation to participate in tonight's game up until a few hours ago when I finally decided, "Shit. When am I ever going to get a chance to play in a semi-pro league for anything?"

More than likely, tonight's game will be a decidely one-sided contest. You see, I'll be suiting up for team that has never played together (save for the three of us who play on the aforementioned city league team) against the local semi-pro team who has been playing and practicing together for the better part of two months. Add to that the fact that we'll also be the lesser team in terms of size and overall talent tonight and I'm pretty sure that you can figure out that tonight's chances of victory for my squad will be right on par with Bartolo Colon's chances of winning a triathalon.

Bartolo winning the Ironman vs. My squad winning tonight= Push

So there's my excuse for not posting today. I've got better things to do. It's really that simple. I'm also leaving work today at 3:30 so that I can tend to a few things before it's time for my game this evening. Did I mention that former Magician (and Greg's all time favorite sixth man) Anthony Bowie is going to be my coach this evening? No? Yeah, well he is so at least we have that going for us.

Not only my coach this evening but also Ricky Davis' triple-double role model.

Oh, I'm also leaving for Tallahassee tomorrow so don't expect anything else from here until Monday. Believe me when I tell you I'd rather be working tomorrow than driving up to that hell hole.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

It's been a long time...

Since Shaq left you. Actually since Shaq left me. Today is the tenth anniversary of the day that Shaquille O'Neal officially left the Magic Kingdom for the bright lights and bad movies of Hollywood. WOW. Has it really been that long since Shaq left Central Florida? I can still remember the billboards all over Orlando lambasting Shaq for being greedy and selfish, when he was simply making a move to a team with a far more competent front office (Jerry West anyone?) and a town with infinitely more resources for increasing Shaq's Q rating. It's tough to blame Shaq for that move when you consider some of the things that have gone down within the Magic franchise since his departure:

  • Penny Hardaway reveals himself to be a fragile little bitch (both emotionally and physically)
  • Dennis Scott proves himself to be certifiably crazy, much to the dismay of hundreds of attendees to his basketball camp.
  • Chuck Daly bails out on coaching in Orlando.
  • Penny Hardaway gets Brian Hill canned.
  • Penny reveals himself to be an even bigger bitch than anyone could have imagined, sans Shaq.
  • Magic GM John Gabriel drafts amazing talents like Brian Evans, Johnny Taylor, Geert Hammink, Jerryl Sasser, David Vaughan, Amal McCaskill & Brooks Thompson.
  • Grant Hill. Is a description really neccessary?
  • Gabriel is succeeded by the one GM who could have possibly made him look remotely competent, none other that Mr. Hockey himself, John Weisbrod.
  • Weisbrod is fired after less than a year of service.
  • The Magic draft Fran Vasquez who quickly resigns with his team in Spain rather than have to suffer the indignity of actually suiting up for Orlando.

Now, it hasn't been all bad times in Orlando since Shaq left. Remember back in 2003 when we were up on Detroit 3-1 in the first round? Oh wait, that's a bad example. Seriously though, their have been some good times. They just seem to be escaping me right now.

Filthy, just filthy...and I'm not talking about Shaq's shoes either.

What all this proves, besides the overwhelming ineptitude of the Magic franchise, is that Shaq was a step (or three) ahead of the rest of us and shouldn't be villified for leaving Orlando. Hell, if I'd have known what Shaq was clearly figuring out as Nick Anderson was busy pissing Game 1 of the 1994 Finals away at the foul line I'd probably have moved to star in shitty movies too.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

It's been a while...

Since my last post of any significance, and it's going to continue to be a while. You see, I have an inordinate amount of work to do over the next few days (extending into next week) and there's not gonna be much chance for me to craft any type of worthwhile column. I'll try my best to get a post together next Tuesday or Wednesday before I head off to a conference next Thursday evening.
If you're looking to waste some valuable company time while I'm away, the Orlando Magic's website is offering free coverage of all the Orlando Summer League games on their website. It's a pretty nice diversion for people with time to spare...jerks.
For anybody who has a problem with this latest development, feel free to tell me in the comments section. I'll gladly meet you after work one night and rip one of your eyes out like your name was Capt. Turner.

Friday, July 07, 2006

The Good and Bad of an Ugly weekend.

My presence around these parts has been admittedly lacking over the past week or so. While some of you may have thought that I decided to take my own life after the Magic selected JJ Redick, I’m sorry to report that none of you are that lucky. While I did briefly contemplate running my head through a plate glass window I figured that I ought to be grateful that the Magic didn’t trade the rights to the #11 pick for the Nets’ rights to Christian Drejer. You know, just so Fran would have somebody else to keep him company over there in Spain.

In actuality, the reason for my lack of posts as of late is far less depressing than using a lottery pick on a one-dimensional, unathletic shooter with a questionable back. Far, far less depressing. You see, I was on vacation. I didn’t go anywhere on vacation but I did have five consecutive days off of work. I don’t know about you, but where I come from that’s close enough to count. There’s not a whole heck of a lot to tell about those five days (or any of the other unaccounted for days between now and then) so I’m going to give all my random thoughts in the terrifically non-specific Good/Bad format.

Good: Five consecutive days off during the summer. Five days that were (for the most part) absolutely gorgeous.

Bad: My insistence on drinking heavily for pretty much the entire five days off (or the nights anyway).

Good: Fourth of July (daytime). Some friends and I attended a party near the river that featured (among other things) free beer, free liquor, and an ungodly number of girls in their early twenties of questionable morals. A truly entertaining and enjoyable day.

Bad: Fourth of July (evening). After a solid five hours of drinking I met up with my girlfriend who immediately proceeded to pick one of the most fantastic fights I’ve ever seen with me. That’s just great. Fighting is exactly what I want to do when my wits and intellect have been severely diminished. Go America.

Good: The location of said party. It was across a major road from the “mouth of the ghetto”, as I was referring to it. The location was in a great spot with tons of parking and a heck of a view of the river. Even better, the location’s proximity to the ghetto led to a number of stragglers attending the party who clearly didn’t fit in with the rest of the crowd. Not only were many of these attendees more than eager to help themselves to free food and booze but many of them were also quite willing to make a scene of themselves as the day wore on.

Bad: See above.

Good: My read during a game of poker on July 3rd. With three people left at the table, I was dealt Ace-2. I stayed in because I hadn’t gotten shit all night. Literally. This was the second best hand I’d been dealt in almost an hour. When two more 2s came out on the flop I checked. Both of my opponents jumped in with large bets. As the call came back to me, I calmly called "all in". They both matched me. When we showed our cards, one had a pair of Kings and the other was sitting on two pair, completely unaware of a straight draw he’d picked up.

Bad: The River. Johnny Two Pair picked up a six on the river to give him the straight and beat my Ace-high, Three of a Kind. Even worse, his brother (the other opponent) had to clue him into his luck. I not only lost the pot, but lost the game in one fell swoop. The moral: Poker sucks.

Good: Playing a ridiculous amount of beer pong at my friend’s house warming party on Sunday. Good God, I haven’t played that many games since undergrad.

Bad: Partnering with my girlfriend, who (apparently) hadn’t played beer pong since high school.

Good: The Brazil-France match. For my money, this was the best game of the Cup thus far. Italy-Germany might have had more drama and a more exhilarating finish, but this game’s level of play was something you just don’t see very often. Any soccer fan knew that this game was going to be a good one based soley on the individual talent level that each side boasted. It will be a long, long time before you see that many legendary, world class players (Ronaldo, Zidane, Ronaldinho, Henry, R. Carlos, L. Thuram, Cafu, Viera, etc., etc.) on the field together at one time. However, it wasn’t simply the players on the pitch that made this game so fantastic. Rather, it was the overall pace of play and intensity of the teams, combined with the tremendous artistry and stakes of the game that made this match stand out above the rest.

Bad: Missing out on the Italy-Germany match. From what I heard and the highlights I saw this was every bit as entertaining as the Brazil-France match, if not played at as high a level.

Good: France advancing to the Finals. I’ve said it in this space before, as much as I hate the French I cannot root against Zidane. He’s absolutely perfect as a player, in my opinion. In the spirit of full disclosure here I’ve even begun to think of ways to convince any future wife on the merits of Zidane as a first name for a boy. For the record: Yes, I know its pathetic and yes, I know it’s his last name. I don’t care and I happen to think Zinedine is just a little too ridiculous. If that makes any sense.

Dude, you should totally name your next kid after me!

Bad: Italy advancing to the Finals. As if it’s not bad enough that they stole a game from the US and that they flop more than Derek Fisher and Manu Ginobilli combined, my girlfriend’s family happens to be Italian. Full on, off the boat Italian. If Italy wins on Sunday I’ll never hear the end of it. All my I-talian jokes will be worthless for months, possibly longer. I can’t emphasize this enough. I'm not talking about a family of greasy guidos out of New Jersey here. I need to be able to make fun of “a county full of espresso swilling pansies”. Just for the record, I’m much more bitter at her and her brother’s support for Italy than either of her parents.

Here’s why: Her parents were born and raised in Italy. Moving here when they were in their early 20s and now running a fine dining Italian joint. Her brother (born in America by the way) goes so far as to refer to Italy as “we” during World Cup matches (even against the US). This is a guy who drinks Bud light, smokes Marlboros and drives a Chevy pickup…you’re as American as it gets. I’m not even very patriotic and he pisses me off.

Good: It’s Friday and I’m out of here in a half hour.

Bad: My effort on this column.