Author: Billy Kirland

New Boston University Director of Athletics Should Bring Back Football

Today, my alma mater Boston University named interim director of athletics Drew Marrochello the new head of BU athletics. The University needed a replacement for Michael Lynch, who stepped down after two unfortunate, public incidents – one involving sexual assault charges against two male hockey players, the other being accusations that former women’s head basketball coach Kelly Greenberg mistreated players in an emotionally damaging way.

Drew looks like a nice guy.

Drew looks like a nice guy.

On the surface, this hire seems like a great move. Marrochello came to BU in 2005 as an associate athletic director for internal affairs and was eventually promoted to deputy director of athletics. According to BU Today, Marrochello’s promotion “received strong support from the coaching staff, colleagues in the athletics department, deans, faculty, and University administrators.”

Even better, the new athletic director grew up in Arlington, Massachusetts, and used to go to BU-Boston College hockey games. Between his nine years at Boston U and his growing up in the Boston area, the guy seems like a perfect fit as the new Terriers AD.

In my opinion, however, Marrochello is a safe candidate who will fall short of his goal of getting BU viewed as “the best non-football-playing Division I school in the nation.”

What angers me most about that statement is its subtext. That goal is akin to wanting to become the greatest rock band of all-time from Uzbekistan. No offense to Uzbekistan, but who cares if you’re the best rock band there?

To be less facetious, what I mean is who fucking cares if you’re the best non-football-playing Division I school in the nation? We’re a nation that loves football. And we – the BU nation – are starving for a goddamn football team. The fact that Marrochello even uses the phrase “best non-football-playing Division I school” is an admission that we can only be the best in a tier below the best tier.

Excuse me if I want to be in the premier league of college sports.

I think this logo is a sweet start.

I think this logo is a sweet start.

What pisses me off most about the quotes that BU Today attributed to Marrochello is the frequency with which football is mentioned. The new AD described himself as a “kid who grew up watching the Boston Breakers play on Nickerson Field.” According to BU’s athletic website, the Breakers were part of the United States Football League, and played their home games on BU’s campus during 1983.

One of Marrochello’s fondest memories of Nickerson Field was watching a football game. And why wouldn’t it be? Nickerson is a beautiful stadium, a gem in the heart of Boston. It begs for college football to be played there.

In fact, a lot of really great football has already been played there. The Patriots played three seasons there toward the beginning of the 1960s. And if you haven’t heard of the awesome 1993 BU Football team that beat future NFL Hall of Famer Kurt Warner then you should watch this video (and parts 2 and 3).

If you want to feel better about yourself, watch the video below that some friends and I made. It was supposed to be a parody, but Barstool got hold of it and ripped us to shreds.

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I spent my BU infancy frolicking around West Campus. I lived on the fourth floor of Sleeper Hall my freshman year. I woke up numerous times way earlier than I wanted to on Saturday mornings to the sound of “I’m Shipping Up To Boston” blaring from Nickerson’s speakers every time our nationally-ranked women’s lacrosse team scored. They were fucking good. I heard that song a lot.

Now imagine this full of fans in scarlet and white.

Now imagine this full of fans in scarlet and white.

While my hungover ass could have used more sleep, I always loved looking out my window to see the excitement unfolding on and around Nickerson. I often daydreamed about nearby Babcock Street and Harry Agganis Way shutting down for a Saturday morning football tailgate. Droves of alums, students, and Bostonians in Scarlet and White, chugging Sam Adams, Natty Light, and busting a move as the BU Band played their rousing, awesome version of The J. Giles Band’s “Centerfold.”

Can’t you just smell burgers and brats on portable grills outside of Camp Co? Can’t you see Rhett playing bags with a group of wide-eyed freshmen excited to be experiencing college football at the best college in the Northeast? I can see wily upperclassmen explaining BU’s offensive game plan to sophomores who think they know it all. It’s not hard for me to picture professors, students, and BU brass filing into Nickerson hoping to somehow, someway take down Boston College in week one of the NCAA football season. That’s assuming the Eagles would have the gumption to take us on in a non-conference week one barnburner.

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Look, I’m not naïve. I understand that bringing football back to BU is not easy, and it sure as hell wouldn’t be cheap. I’m also grateful of the efforts a number of students have made to make club football a big deal.

But I’m frustrated with the current administration and athletic department’s close-mindedness. Why can’t we be one of the nation’s best academic AND athletic institutions? Why has the current administration not considered bringing football back? Or, if they have, why hasn’t that discussion been public?

Boston is one of – if not the – best cities to go to college in. Sure, we might not be able to recruit top football talent in the same way that we struggle recruiting top basketball talent, but it’s worth a shot. Can’t we, at the very least, talk about the pros and cons of bringing football back to Boston University?

I mean goddamn it, our campus has a statue of famed BU athlete Harry Agganis throwing a football yards from Nickerson! Talk about a slap in the face.

The nerve of BU to put a statue of someone playing football on our campus.

The nerve of BU to put a statue of someone playing football on our campus.

Let’s stop pretending football isn’t part of Boston University’s past and discuss it becoming part of our future.

I’m looking at you, Marrochello.

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Five Bold (and Most Likely Wrong) 2014 NFL Predictions

It’s been quite some time since I’ve written for our beloved blog, but TD has been holding the fort down with his intellectual and philosophical musings on life and football. I’m not feeling all the sentimental today, so let’s forego a list of excuses about my absence and get on with my soon-to-be proven wrong NFL predictions.

Someone other than the three elite QBs (Rodgers, Brady, Manning) wins league MVP.

You can do it! (Read with a Rob Schneider voice)

You can do it! (Read with a Rob Schneider voice)

Okay, maybe this isn’t that bold. But it always seems like one of these dudes captures the hearts and boners of all the NFL writers in all the land. This year, I’m betting on the field. If Andrew Luck takes another step toward joining that top group and once again leads a lackluster supporting cast to the playoffs, I think he’s got a shot. Does Russell Wilson progress enough and put up big numbers in a largely run-oriented offense? Maybe. However, unlikely. Still like Luck better here. Either way, there are a multitude of options (including Shady McCoy) that could snag the MVP trophy from Peyton’s arthritic grasp. 

The Jacksonville Jaguars go 8-8

I’m drinking the Toby Gerhart juice. I think this team takes after its tough coach Gus Bradley. They’re mean, don’t care how bad they are supposed to be, and might be stupid enough to win a couple lucky ones. The defense is pretty solid, and I like what I saw out of rookie QB (and Ben Rothelisberger clone) Blake Bortles in the preseason. Henne will not – and should not – be starting for long. Plus, the AFC South is up for grabs, and I think all division games are winnable. Only problem is you can’t fit all the Jags fans in that awesome new pool, so Jacksonville will certainly have trouble filling the stands. 

Gus.

Gus.

Ryan Fitzpatrick will retire midseason and buy a houseboat a la Shane Falco from The Replacements

Fitzy – who looks more like a drunk college American literature professor than an NFL quarterback – is one of my favorite signal-callers. That being said, he’s not very good at the whole quarterback thing. He would be much better at the houseboat thing. Maybe Gene Hackman takes over a team mid-season and gives him a call. Fitzy begrudgingly comes back to play and leads a group of ragtag dudes (including the 7UP guy who plays receiver) to the Super Bowl. Book it. 

My football muse.

My football muse.

The Green Bay Packers will NOT make the playoffs

Rodgers has an awful year. Mike McCarthy eats too many donuts. All the receivers suck so much they have to hunt down Antonio Freeman to put the cleats back on and give it one more go. Same with Dorsey Levens. Favre comes out of retirement. Fans start selling their minuscule shares of the public team to foreign investors. The organization implodes. Ah damn it. This is more of a wish than it is a prediction… 

Don't worry, bud. There's a better team south of the Wisconsin border to cheer for anyway.

Don’t worry, bud. There’s a better team south of the Wisconsin border to cheer for anyway.

Godell changes NFL rules to more accurately reflect 7-on-7 rules before year end

By the time the Super Bowl rolls around, helmets and pads will be replaced with backwards hats and flags. As much as I’m for protecting people and looking for constructive ways to keep players healthy later into their lives, defenses aren’t allowed to play tough anymore. This new emphasis on “Illegal Touching” downfield is yet another tick-tack rule designed to let offenses dominate. I’m all for exciting games, but let’s allow defenders to do what they do best: defend people. Come on, Roger!

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And there you have it. My clearly well-thought out and reasoned predictions for this 2014 NFL season. Are you ready for some football?

Doug McDermott (aka Dougie McBuckets) is the Newest Chicago Bull. Let’s Party.

Excuse me for a second while I get excited about Chicago sports. I can’t blame you for closing this tab immediately if you could not care less.

This might sound crazy, but I want Lebron to go back to the Miami Heat. Or, at the very least, stay in the NBA’s Eastern Conference. Why, you ask? Because I think this is the year my Chicago Bulls overthrow King James. And we won’t need to poison him King Joffrey-style either. We’ll do it the old-fashioned way. Battle.

One of the biggest reasons I feel this way? We just picked Creighton’s Doug McDermott – aka Dougie McBuckets, aka 2014’s Naismith Award winner, aka Little Larry Bird, aka the Un-Adam Morrison, aka the Iowa Sniper, aka White Man Can Kinda Jump, aka My Best Friend Doug.

Welcome to Chicago, Doug.

Welcome to Chicago, Doug.

Alright, I know McDermott might not be enough for the Bulls to reach the top of the NBA mountain, but I think this guy’s some game. Chicago’s basketball team sorely needs points and Dougie was NCAA’s leading scorer last year.

If Coach Thibodeau can teach Dougie how to play NBA-quality defense, we might have a complete player on our hands. If McDermott starts out hot in his first few games, Chi Town will fall in love with the kid from Ames, Iowa. Also, I’ve got this weird feeling that Joakim Noah is going to start calling Dougie “White Chocolate” because of his amazing HORSE skills.

Seriously, check out this video:

Or maybe Jo will just call Dougie “Peanuts.”

Perhaps the best, and most overlooked, aspect of this move by the Bulls is that we get to hear Stacey King (the beloved Bulls’ TV analyst) scream at the top of his lungs when McDermott sinks threes.

I can already hear Stacey now. “Dougie for the three from Ames, Iowa…. Oooooohhh, McBuckets, baby!”

Swish. That’s the sound I’m most excited to hear from a shooter off the bench. I’m pumped about this Bulls team returning to action more focused, healthier, and capable of sinking more baskets.

I don’t know what’s going to happen with Carmelo Anthony. I’d like to think he’s not an asshole like Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade, and Lebron, but I don’t know that. I don’t know whether Derrick Rose will return to all-star form, but I’m not as negative as other Bulls fans. I don’t know what is going to happen with Nikola Mirotić, either.

But I know that I’m excited right now. And in the midst of a very long, frustrating baseball season for Chicagoans on both the North and South sides, sports excitement is a good thing.

Right Dougie?!

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Damn. Doug was so excited he made a million baskets at once.

Seven Reasons High School and College Students Need a Summer Job

As I continue to take steps on my increasingly depressing journey to 26 years of age, I’m consistently reminded of the importance of all the part-time jobs I worked in past. Particularly, I’m talking about the ones I worked during the summer months as a high school teenager and early-20s collegiate moron.

While summer is the absolute best time for lounging by the pool, enjoying public parks, hitting local bars, and playing a round of golf, it’s also the most opportune time for kids to work as lifeguards, city handymen, bartenders, and golf course refreshment cart drivers.

I worked as a lifeguard. It was a great, and often crazy, experience.

I worked as a lifeguard. It was a great, and often crazy, experience.

Below, find seven reasons why every kid should work a summer job.

Learn the value of a hard-earned dollar. I learned why my parents weren’t willing to give me globs of cash. Hint: It wasn’t because they didn’t want to. It’s because they worked hard each and every day, and wanted me to learn what it feels like to have to work for what you get. While I will always hope to win the lottery, I will never have any misconceptions about how hard most people work to make a decent living.

Balance social life and real life. Though we’re obsessed with TV characters that are prone to excess, balance is a good thing to have in real life. Working a job in the summer when the weather is absolutely perfect and you want to be somewhere else teaches you that you can’t always be in that perfect somewhere else. Sometimes you’ve got to earn it. Besides, working a crappy summer job makes your time with friends that much more valuable. And guess what? After college, that fun time with all your friends is fewer and further in between. Get used to it.

You need to learn how to network at a young age. That’s not to say that your fellow pool lifeguard will help you land your dream job at 16, but you never know will people will end up. Make sure to get phone numbers and email addresses.

Summer love. It’s a thing, people. Working a shitty summer job is a great way to bond with a love interest. You can talk about how crappy your pay is, how much your boss sucks, and lambast the way-too-old-to-be-working-at-a-beach dude that gets under your skin. A summer romance is also a great way to learn one of the toughest things in life, too. Sometimes, great things have to end. That includes love.

A little summer love in the film Adventureland.

A little summer love in the film Adventureland.

Dealing with assholes. I have worked a job where I took 70+ calls a day at an auto warranty financing company, as a lifeguard who dealt with dickhead parents, and as a city worker with grumpy old coworkers. Learning how to deal with assholes is valuable. You will have to do it the rest of your life. It’s good to learn that simple fact at a fairly early age. It’s important to learn how to keep your cool in professional situations. And don’t forget, you’re only ever a few hours away from beers on the beach with friends.

Perspective and respect. Let’s be honest, a crappy summer job will most likely not be something you want to do with the rest of your life. However, what may seem like a meaningless, fleeting gig to you might be someone’s livelihood. It’s important not to look down on someone for making a living. Remember, you’re only as good as you treat people. Respect people who get up and go to work everyday, even if you hate their job.

Some people make a living do this kind of thing. There's nothing wrong with it.

Some people make a living do this kind of thing. There’s nothing wrong with it.

Learn what you want to do. Sometimes, learning what you do not want to do is the best way to get you focused on what you want out of this short life. Once you experience what it’s like to work a 10-hour day at a shitty job, you’ll understand why some people risk it all to make careers out of their passions.

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I’ve worked at summer jobs I’ve hated where I’ve met people I loved. I’ve fallen in love at a summer job. I fell out of love at a summer job. I learned how to work copy machines, conference lines, CPR, swimming, filling potholes, and so much more at summer jobs.

My summer jobs taught me humility, patience, and that what I really want to do is write for a living.

So print out your resume, put your sunblock on, and go pitch yourself and services to whoever is in charge of your local pool!

A Few Things About Chicago (and Why It’s the Best)

My buddy Paul has officially moved from Boston to Chicago, leaving Beantown residents weeping hopelessly in the streets. They entire town is upset. I’m talking 2003 Red Sox losing in the playoffs sad.

It’s the end of an era. A damn good era. It was a period of time that included drunkenly riding laundry carts down winding roads and narrowly avoiding death by bus, parties on buses, parties on Thorndike and Glenville, amazingly misunderstood parody music videos, and TITS! No – not those kind of tits. I’m talking about Tavern in the Square for those of you who aren’t familiar with the legendary Brighton Avenue haunt.

Moving on is tough. A clean break from anything is a myth. No matter how things end, it’s never easy. Especially when you’ve got a group of amazing friends in Boston.

That being said, Chicago is awesome. And since Paul is a lifelong Northeasterner, I figured I’d give him a few things to keep in mind/look forward to in this new exciting era of his life. I might live in L.A., but part of my heart is, was, and always will be in the Windy City.

First things first. We don’t have “soda” in Chicago. It’s “pop.” No one will look down at you if say soda. Just giving you a heads up.

The “W” flag you see around Wrigleyville is what they hang up when the Cubs win. You probably won’t see it too much this year. God damn it. I’ll still play “Go Cubs Go” when I come back and visit.

A pretty - but also pretty rare - sight. Sad face.

A pretty – but also pretty rare – sight. Sad face.

The water is actually a really big lake, not an ocean. And it’s way easier to get to a nice beach spot than it is in Boston. Plenty of good-looking 20-somethings hit the shore each weekend. It’s time to perfect your football overthrow nice-to-meet you routine.

Deep dish. Whether you’ve lived in Chicago your whole life, or have relocated, deep-dish pizza is just the fucking best. We know we talk about it too much, and we know it annoys the shit out of people, but you might start to relate as you eat more and more of it. I suggest Pizzeria Due once a week.

So good. I miss it. So much.

So good. I miss it. So much.

People are really nice. This of course is a generalization, but you’ll find that Chicagoans don’t have the hardness that East Coast locals can sometimes have. I wouldn’t expect free drinks every time you go out, but I can promise some good conversation.

Outdoor summer house parties are the shit. Boston doesn’t have as many apartments with expansive front or backyards as Chicago. Please take advantage of this by hosting your own parties. Buy a cheap grill. Soak in the Chicago summer because Chiberia will be back come late November.

312 instead of Sam Summer. I know this is going to be a rough transition. Samuel Adams beer is damn good. But in Chicago, it’s all about Goose Island. You can still have Sam whenever you want, but if you’re looking to buy a pretty lady a nice beer, err on the side of 312.

Obama knows whats up.

Obama knows whats up.

Public transportation letter change. You’re moving from the “T” to the “L.” This will come in handy, as calling the “L” the “T” would confuse people. As crappy as the L can sometimes be, it’ll get you where you need to go. And no one really calls you out if you have a 312 on your ride. That’s a bonus.

Chicago Bears fandom is a religion. Most services are on Sundays, sometimes Monday or Thursday nights, and the city shuts down during them. Our relationship with Jay Cutler is a complicated one, as he’s the best quarterback we’ve ever had this side of Jim McMahon. He’s no Tom Brady, but he’s our guy. He’s like that guy who is kind of a dick in your group of friends, but you still love him for whatever reason. And now he’s got guys like Marshall, Jeffery, and the Black Unicorn to throw to. We’re hoping for big things this year.

Smokin' Jay is our guy. It's a rocky relationship, but it's full of love.

Smokin’ Jay is our guy. It’s a rocky relationship, but it’s full of love.

While we’re on sports, we’re hoping to lure Melo in the next few days. Bulls and Blackhawks fandom is pretty similar to that of da Bears. We will never understand why free agents continue to spurn Chicago. You want to win a ‘ship? Go play for Thibs with Jo, Gibson, and a (hopefully, please sports gods) healthy Rose.

Grant Park is a lot of fun. It hosts Lollapalooza, free concerts, softball games, etc. Make your way there once in a while.

16-inch softball is the only kind of softball. No gloves. Use your hands and a wood bat. It’s just the best.

We've got big balls in Chicago.

We’ve got big balls in Chicago.

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There’s a lot more I could say about Chicago, but you’ll find out more in time. Don’t forget: You can steal a laundry cart and ride it down the streets of Chi Town, too.

Friday I’m in Love: #USMNT

Too often on this blog, I write about something that’s gotten under my skin. I’m starting to fear that I sound more like cynic than I do an optimist.

Enough is enough. On Fridays, I’m going to write about something that is fucking awesome and makes me happy in the hopes it makes you happy, too.

For those of you who didn’t get the “Friday I’m in Love” reference, here’s The Cure song that inspired this cheerful post. Take a listen and dance like it’s 1992:

Not that you’ve got endorphins running through your body as freely as booze and crack flows through Mayor Rob Ford’s, let’s talk about something cool.

This Friday, I’m in love with the U.S. Men’s National (Soccer) Team, or for all you cool kids, the #USMNT.

I hope you watched the game on Monday. It was pretty fun. I’m not going to pretend that I had a come-to-Pelé moment that converted me from football to fútbol, but Clint Dempsey’s quick goal activated my Mel Gibson Patriot gene.

Fierce.

Fierce.

I quickly had visions of our Americans making a serious run in Brazil. Stars. Stripes. Bud heavy. Flag waving. National Anthem singing. Bruce Springsteen flying down to South America to sing “Born in the U.S.A.” before the championship game. Sounds great, right?

Then Ghana scored toward the end of the match. Shit. A tie. They’re really going to do the whole tie thing? Lame. I see why everyone in America hates socc….

GOOOOOOAAAAAALLLLLLLL! John Anthony Brooks, new American hero, with a header off a beautiful corner kick from another American hero Graham Zusi! Everything is right in the world again! Right Mel?

You wave that flag, Mel.

You wave that flag, Mel.

I’ll take that as a yes, Mel!

The Klins-MAN led us to victory. One of his German-American recruits (Brooks) proved to be the difference. Maybe I shouldn’t have given Jürgen a premature Hump Day Fuck You. Maybe my star-spangled visions will come to fruition. Maybe soccer will become a beloved American sport.

If the world was made of “maybes”… or wait, that’s ifs and buts, but no matter. I’m on the #USMNT bandwagon now and there’s no turning back. I’m bringing out my USA flag swim trunks on Sunday. I’ll probably cave and overpay for a vintage Landon Donovan jersey in the next few days. I’ll also be waving the American flag proudly.

I’d like to throw a quick shout out to all of my Chicago brethren, who packed Grant Park on Monday and cheered their asses off in only a way Second City sports fans can. Hell, maybe I’ll get a Chicago flag for Sunday, too.

I miss you, Chi Town. Keep drinking 312 and cheering your asses off.

I miss you, Chi Town. Keep drinking 312 and cheering your asses off.

This Friday, I’m in love with bald eagles, the bald Michael Bradley, and American Hero John Brooks. I’ve even got some love for Coach Klins.

There’s room for more on this bandwagon. Get your ass on here and let’s break some global hearts, America! We’re the underdog again and it feels so good. Right, Mel?

Is that a smile, Mel?

Is that a smile, Mel?

I’ll take that as a yes, too, you sly, beautiful bastard. U-S-A! U-S-A!

New Nickname Brainstorm Bonanza for the Washington Redskins

It was only a matter of time. Today, multiple sources reported that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office canceled the Washington Redskins trademark registration. This is undoubtedly one of the biggest dominoes to fall in what will most likely result in Washington’s NFL team having to change its name.

While some people will decry the move and call it bending over backwards in the name of political correctness, other people are not ignorant idiots. I do think, at times, our tendency as a society is to be too politically correct, but this is not one of those times. Please read how the term “redskin” negatively affects Native Americans here, as written by a Boston Celtics beat reporter with Native American heritage. I knew the term was pretty offensive, but I had no idea about its exact origins. It’s pretty gross.

Before I get into the fun stuff, since I’m not doing a whole post on the topic, I’d like to throw a special Hump Day Fuck You out to Washington owner Dan Snyder. Not only do you break my beautiful friend Brian Donovan’s heart every year with your fourth-grader-playing-franchise-mode-on-Madden-like decisions, you are a moron for saying shit like this about the Redskins name:

“[It] is more than a name we have called our football team for over eight decades. It is a symbol of everything we stand for: strength, courage, pride, and respect — the same values we know guide Native Americans and which are embedded throughout their rich history as the original Americans.”

What a dick.

What a dick.

You are a special kind of dickwad, Dan. Respect? You had the balls to use that word?

Moving on. Now that Washington’s team no longer has a nickname, it’s time to brainstorm some new options.

The Washington Washingtons. Fuck yeah, right? It’s got a ring to it. Imagine different Washingtons running around FedEx Field like the presidents do at Nationals Park. You could have a young George Washington, Washington Crossing the Delaware, and current Tennessee Titans receiver Nate Washington as the “Three Washingtons.” I see a movie franchise, too.

Teddy Roosevelt for the win! Imagine "The Three Washingtons" doing this.

Teddy Roosevelt for the win! Imagine “The Three Washingtons” doing this.

The Underwoods. In honor of Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright’s characters from House of Cards. That show takes place in Washington. And it’s good, though the second season was a little far-fetched. But it’s Tommy’s job to review TV, not mine.

The Tysons Corners. I’ve got relatives that live outside of D.C. and they go there to shop all the time. I think this could be kind of a cool name. Actually, this is by far the worst idea I have.

The Hanburgers. Chris Hanburger played linebacker for Washington from 1965-78 and is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Imagine a hamburger mascot with a football helmet on pumping up the Washington faithful. Awesome, right? He’d put the Hamburglar to shame.

The Congress. The offense and defense can fight on the sidelines and never actually go out on the field or get anything done. The special teams unit can be the Tea Party and capitalize on the bickering by hopping onto the field.

The Monuments. How perfect does “The Washington Monuments” sound? Pretty badass. I’m sure Snyder would be happy with the phallic symbolism going on here, since he’s basically waving his phallus in the disapproving public’s face.

The Senators. Bring the name back and use it in a different sport. Recycling ideas is the thing to do in Hollywood, so why not in the NFL?

With the right mind, these could converted into sweet football unis.

These could converted into sweet football unis.

The, Mr. Smith Goes To. James Stewart as the mascot. Boom goes the dynamite.

**

Those are just a few ideas. What are your ideas? Leave them in the comment section or tweet at us. Let’s give Snyder a good list of names to choose from. We can probably get him to overpay us for it.

Love at Second Sight – It’s a Thing, Millennials.

The millennial generation is obsessed with instant feedback, breaking news, and kneejerk reactions. We want information two minutes ago, and we want to have formed an opinion on that info and sent it out into the social media stratosphere one minute ago. We troll people in the YouTube comment section, take pride in knowing Kanye and Kim’s wedding plans before our friends, and compete for the most likes on Instagram.

Great graphic courtesy of mobilemarketingwatch.com.

Great graphic courtesy of mobilemarketingwatch.com.

These habits are burned into our subconscious. After all, we’re the generation that first fucked around with Napster, rushed home to use AIM to talk to people we just saw five minutes ago, and showed our parents how to use and iPod.

Every generation has its problems. A lot of the time, we deal with the same issues our parents and grandparents did, except our version of the issues wears skinny jeans. Our issues are different in appearance only.

One of my main problems with our generation is that we are too obsessed with love at first sight. We want to realize things too fast. We want everything now. There’s never any time to gain context or perspective.

I do believe that some people fall in love when they first meet. I’m a romantic and that will never change. My issue isn’t with the idea with love at first sight. I’m just upset more people don’t build in time for self-realization, personal growth, and added experience. People don’t look for love at second sight.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating living in the past. I am advocating looking to the past for answers about the future. Self-evaluation. Honest reflection. Why’d you act a certain way toward that guy or girl? Was there a reason you went on that a manwhore binge? Trying not to deal with something? Is there a reason you drunk text the same person all the time? Can’t get someone out of your mind?

For every cutesie story about love working out in romantic comedy-like fashion, there are five stories about love growing a different way. I used to be naïve enough to think falling in love could only happen in movie fashion. Meet girl. Fall for girl. Girl falls for you. Ninety hilarious minutes ensue and you live happily ever after.

Then I learned the hard way that sometimes you realize how you truly feel about someone long after the most opportune moment has passed. I don’t want to get into details about my own story. I would rather pass on the advice that I learned in a series of (hopefully) helpful bullet points.

Here’s Why Love at Second Sight Is a Thing:

We keep growing. Or at least we should. The version of you 3-4 years ago is most likely different than you now. I’m not saying you need to be different people all the time, but it’s important to find out more about yourself as this life thing goes along. Therefore, the person you have become might look back on an old friend and say, “Holy shit. That’s the Sally to my Harry. I’m an idiot.”

Missed connections. In baseball, if you get a hit one out of every three times you go up to bat, you go to the Hall of Fame. In life and love, it’s okay to swing and miss a lot. Sometimes you and someone else don’t connect the first time around. If you think about them a lot, and they haven’t made it clear they aren’t into you, it’s not ridiculous to take another swing. Just make sure it’s the right pitch. Don’t go up to the plate with no plan and swing at a ball over your head.

The Step By Step theme song. This song really sucks. It’s also disturbingly beautiful. It actually has a lot of life lessons. “We’ll be better the second time around.”

America. God damn it. In this country, we love redemption stories. Anyone’s got a chance if they work hard to get what they want. Another naïve view? Yeah, probably. But I think there’s something to messing up and learning what you did wrong.

Those are just a few reasons why we should slow things down and take a second look once in a while. Gain perspective. Get a larger sample size. Live and learn before you love wildly. You might just be able to love wilder.

Hump Day F*$% You: Jurgen Klinsmann

Yesterday, I asked Tommy why Americans should watch soccer. He was kind enough to write an eloquent and informative response. It got me pretty excited about the World Cup. Admittedly, I started to feel that familiar rumbling of sports hope bubble up in the pit of my stomach. Hell, maybe the Stars and Stripes really do have a shot at getting out of their group…

But then U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann opened his mouth again and reminded everyone that his team will not win the World Cup. He’s already said this crap before. Here’s a quote from an ESPN report:

“You have to be realistic. Every year we are getting stronger,” Klinsmann said. “We don’t look at ourselves as underdogs. We are not. We are going to take the game to Ghana and they will take it to us and it will be an exciting game and then we go from there.

“For us now talking about winning a World Cup, it is just not realistic. If it is American or not, you can correct me,” he said, reiterating comments he made this past December to The New York Times Magazine.

Stop saying you're going to lose.

Stop saying you’re going to lose.

I’ll correct you, Klins. No. It’s not American to only say you’re going to “take it to” a team. We like winning in America. We can tolerate losing if you give it your all and get beat by a better team. But we cannot and will not tolerate a coach saying crap like, “Well we’re just not that good, and we’re not going to win, so just enjoy watching us run around for 90 minutes.”

You know how hard it is to get Americans invested in soccer in the first place, Klins? The last thing any of us who are on the fence want to hear from our innovative and seasoned German coach is that we aren’t going to win this year. I believe in being realistic, but that’s for the pundits and fans to do. It’s total bullshit if the head coach of a national soccer team waves the white flag before the battle is fought.

I fully admit I don’t know enough about soccer to break down or group – or any other World Cup group for that matter – but I know winning sports attitudes. I grew up watching Michael Jordan. Continually stating that you cannot win this year’s tournament is not a good way to foster a winning attitude. You say you’re building for the future? Start acting like a winner in the present, you idiot.

I won’t challenge your knowledge of X’s and O’s on the pitch, but I think your comments off of it are pretty dumb. You ever heard of coach Herb Brooks, Klins? He coached a pretty famous U.S. national team. Brooks’ team was pretty outmatched, similar to your team. But he never used that as an excuse to not strive for excellence. Furthermore, he gave awesome speeches like this:

Okay, so that was Kurt Russell, but you get my point. We Americans love being the underdog. Our love of the underdog role is ingrained in us when we learn about the American Revolution in grammar school. We don’t care if we’re a world power now. When it comes to sports, we’re happy to be the underdog with a nasty bite. If you’re going to coach our guys, you better get with the program.

I hope you keep saying this stuff just to fuck with the rest of the world, Klins. I hope that when this is all said and done, we have a big beer together – it can be a German one – and we chuckle about how you had everyone right where you wanted them.

If you’re really not into believing in your team, just play them the Herb Brooks speech. It’s fifty times better than the crap you’ve been spewing.

Go U-S-A. I believe in you guys.

Dear Tommy: Why Should We (Americans) Watch Soccer?

Dear Tommy,

Let me, for a moment, play the role of the naïve, xenophobic, NFL-loving American. This role isn’t hard for me to play, as I grew up loving (American) football and unfortunately did not travel abroad during college. My abroad semester was spent in Los Angeles, a world foreign enough for a Chicagoan attending Boston University.

With this World Cup thing approaching again on Thursday, I figured now is the time to whip out my notebook of unanswered soccer questions. I’ve been filling it with queries since I quit AYSO after the fourth grade to focus on my budding baseball, basketball, and football careers. That worked out.

You seem to know a thing or two about this whole international fútbol phenomenon, which is a thing or two more than most Americans. Would you kindly answer my dumb American questions below? It might just give other Americans a reason to get really into soccer, fútbol, or football (see question #2 below).

1) Why the hell isn’t Landon Donovan on the American team?

Seriously. He’s the only guy on the squad I kinda, sorta knew. I’m going to miss his unrivaled widow’s peak hairline and his indomitable spirit. If Klinsmann punished Donovan for taking some time off to refocus and deal with some understandable mental health issues, why should I trust this German coach?

What a beautiful, American widow's peak.

What a beautiful, American widow’s peak.

2) Can I still call it soccer? Or does it have to be fútbol, or worse, football?

I might be playing the role of the naïve American, but I’m not a method actor. I want to adapt and get on board with the international lingo. What the hell should I call this sport? I fear calling it football will essentially be cheating on my favorite American sport. Is there a compromise name somewhere in between?

3) Where can I find a last-minute, cheap American jersey to wear?

Seriously. Amazon only has $50+ U.S. jerseys or real shitty t-shirt jerseys. If I’m jumping on this bandwagon, I’ve got to look the part.

4) So… fullbacks actually are still important in soccer?

Will good old number 40 be rumbling down the pitch this summer? Can you wear #40 in soccer?

Will good old number 40 be rumbling down the pitch this summer? Can you wear #40 in soccer?

I read the Grantland “How to Watch the World Cup Like a True Soccer Nerd” post you sent me. I’m not going to lie, I was a little bit confused, but one of my main takeaways was that fullback is actually an important position. That made me happy. I miss NFL fullbacks – like my all-time favorite Mike Alstott – making game-changing plays. Any chance we see Alstott roaming the field for a random national team? Cameroon, perhaps?

5) I strongly dislike Cristiano Ronaldo.

This isn’t much of a question, but that’s okay, right? You and I watched Atlético Madrid battle Ronaldo and his Real Madrid a couple of weeks ago, and I really couldn’t stand that guy. He’s a pompous asshole who seems to spend as much pregame time on his hair and eyebrows as he does stretching. Should I take solace in the crazy idea that the U.S. team has a chance to upset Ronaldo and Portugal? Or should I plan on hating him more.

6) Flopping. Eh. WTF?

I understand there’s plenty of flopping – or “Lebroning” – in American sports, but the flopping in soccer seems ridiculous. I get that it’s part of the game, and that since there’s only one referee, a good flop can gain your team a serious advantage, but… come on. Are these guys all classically trained Shakespearean actors? Can’t we get another anti-flop ref out on the pitch?

7) Is this an actual soccer pregame ritual? Because it’s awesome.

I could care less that this is blatant advertising. Please, please tell me this is how things go before a match.

8) Have we (Americans) got a shot at advancing out of our group? Please lie.

I’m a patriot, Tommy. You know that. I might lose interest in this World Cup, and soccer in general, if our team doesn’t make us proud. Give me a reason to believe. I want to care about soccer, fútbol, or football because there’s always more room for sports fandom. But my compatriots and I, like Rod Stewart, need a reason to believe.

***

I’ve got a million other questions about the World Cup and soccer in general, but I’ll leave you with those for now. I really feel that if America is going to care about soccer – really care – that our team needs to do something to excite us. We like being the underdog, but we want to be the underdog with a fighting chance. See our obsession with the Rocky movies as proof.

Give us some reasons to get excited, TD. I know you can.

Yours truly,

BK