Friday, February 12, 2010

Up for the Challenge

February has always been the worst time of the year for me when it came to being a sports fan. The Super Bowl has come and gone and brought an end to another NFL season. Spring Training is near the beginning, but nothing big in baseball will start until March. College Basketball is wrapping up, but the excitement really doesn't start until we near the conference tournaments. And I have no vested interest in the NBA, the NHL, the Olympics, or Nascar.

But, the times they are a changing. I took it upon myself to do a little experiment with this little break in my typical sports action. I didn't want to invest more time into the NBA or NHL as both those season are nearing their completion. And the Winter Olympics will probably receive very limited viewership in our household. So, that leaves me with Nascar.

Now, I can honestly say that I know very little about Nascar and the drivers that race week after week. I could tell you Jimmie Johnson has won four straight titles, but couldn't tell you how he got the points to do it. I could tell you I know of Dale Earnhardt, Jr., but I would have told you he drives the Number 8 Budweiser Car (now he drives 88, which my brother-in-law says was done so that tattoos could be easily adjusted with just another 8.)

So now, I'm taking it upon myself to develop into a Nascar fan. Last week, before the Super Bowl, I had 15 drivers put into different envelopes and drew one driver to preach my fanhood to. The result of this random draw brought me to being a fan of Denny Hamlin. And after reading up on Denny, I realize he would probably be a guy I would pick to be a fan of. He's a partier but also takes his work very seriously. He's a young gun in Nascar (having won Rookie of the Year honors four years ago) and, he's a favorite to de-throne Jimmie Johnson's four-year run. He's the perfect guy for a young, new fan like myself to begin my quest to becoming a Nascar fan.

So, as the year goes on, I will let you know how my venture into Nascar fanhood is going. Learning how the point system is, communicating with more people at work who follow the sport, and becoming accustomed to the lingo of Nascar. My first test will be Sunday, with the tape delayed viewing of the Daytona 500. (My wife is supporting this new project, but I didn't want the first thing to be watching a race live on Valentine's Day.) So, let's see how this goes.

And.....Go Denny!

Friday, February 5, 2010

I Might As Well Show Everyone Now What I Don't Know

As is common practice with anyone who has a sports blogs, predictions need to be made. Well, what better time to start my new blog with a prediction on the upcoming Super Bowl. And without further ado....

I see this game as starting out like the Jets-Colts playoff game. New Orleans gets the ball and takes in down the field, with Drew Brees picking apart the Colts secondary and Pierre Thomas pulling off a couple nice runs. A touchdown pass from Brees to Colston makes it 7-0. A three and out by Indy and a good punt return by Reggie Bush puts New Orleans in great position for their second drive. And a second down, 30-yard screen pass to Bush puts the Saints at first and goal. Two plays later Brees finds David Thomas wide open in the back of the end zone, and it's 14-0 Saints.

Now, Colts fans start to get nervous, and Tom Moore stares with a blank look out to Sun Life Stadium's field as Peyton Manning comes back out to the field. And on his first pass of that second drive, the ball bounces off of Dallas Clark's hands and into the waiting arms of (who else) Darren Sharper. Sharper gets a good return on the pick, and the Colts fans in the room I'm at go on suicide watch. However, Dwight Freeney finally shows some life and gets to Brees and New Orleans settles for three. The Saints take the 17-0 lead, but the Freeney sack is the turning point for the Colts.

Manning comes out for the next drive and falls in love all over again with Pierre Garcon. Three straight passes to him has Indy moving, and Manning has told Moore and Caldwell to let Addai keep riding the bike, we're all set out here. Manning hits Austin Collie in stride over the middle, and the Colts are on the board.

Now, the Saints, having just given up their first points of the game, try to get cute and run the clock out and change their game plan. They get a couple first downs, but have to punt with 2:30 left in the half. Indy starts from the 20, and you can guess what happens here. Manning gets right back to where he left off, and seven plays later its a three point game going into halftime.

As the second half gets under way, and before Pete Townshend can get off the field, Manning had the Colts driving again. A Manning to Wayne deep ball fails after it being a tad overthrown. Manning, ever the perfectionist, tells Moore "We're running it again!" This time a perfectly thrown ball finds a wide open Reggie Wayne, and the Colts have their first lead, 21-17.

Now the Saints get into panic mode a little early, and they stop using Pierre Thomas at all in their offense. They're trying to go pass for pass with Manning. And it seems to be working, until a Brees underthrow (due to a massive hit taken from Freeney, whose been getting pressure on nearly every throw since his sack earlier) falls into the arms of Antoine Bethea. And there's nothing between Bethea and the endzone but a prematurely celebrating Jeremy Shockey, thinking the last pass went for six for New Orleans. Pick six for Indy, and it's 28-17.

Drew Brees tries to look unfazed. He's rallying his line to keep it up, and to get back to where they were earlier in the game. Doesn't work. Three straight overthrows leads to a punt, and a good return to end the quarter puts the Saints in a deep hole.

Which is dug deeper on the first play of the fourth, as Manning pumps and finds Garcon down the left side to put the ball at the three. Manning, finally feeling a tad relaxed, tells Addai he can finally play. Addai loses two yards. Manning makes him sit in the port a john. Pass to Clark for the touchdown. 35-17.

By now, the t-shirt boxes are already being opened up and set out for the Colts, and the Saints boxes are on their way to Haiti. Drew Brees tries to stop the delivery with a deep bomb to Devery Henderson, and a nice screen to Thomas. However, the drive stalls, and the Saints decide to play for next week and takes the field goal. They never touch the ball in a meaningful situation again. Manning, not comfortable with a 15 point lead, marches down the field again, as Addai is seen with the "LT in a losing playoff game" face. Manning finds Garcon for a touchdown, and as we're reminded where Garcon is from for about the 20th time in the game, the Colts kick the extra point for the 42-20 lead.

The Saints go four and out this time, and the people of Indianapolis really start to celebrate as Curtis Painter comes out to take the games final snaps. As Jets fans finally agree that this man was the only reason they made the playoffs, the final gun sounds and the Indianapolis Colts are Super Bowl XLIV champs.

Or, the Saints win 17-10.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Welcome welcome

You're far too kind. This website is being created by me to A.) Be a sports blog (which is a new concept I know and B.) To talk about being a fan of three teams in life (Cincinnati Reds, Cincinnati Bengals, and Eastern Michigan Eagles Basketball) and wonder if I'll ever see a championship for any of the three in my lifetime. Again, I'm not hoping for this to be just about those three teams, but sports and life in general. Hope you come back often.