Podcasts are fun, right? Back in the day, we had a regular podcast at Sports Radio KJR, the inimitable Karate Emergency. Since then, our podcast sessions have been limited, but not on this particular day.
I had the pleasure of joining Casey McLain and Aaron Kirby as a guest on the Offspeed Podcast on Wednesday night. We talked Mariners (including both the Nelson Cruz and J.A. Happ acquisitions), Seahawks, Huskies, racist San Francisco 49ers fans, the evolution of 12s, semi-famous people from Montana, and Twitter behavior, among other things.
If you find yourself terribly bored with nothing better to do, feel free to listen in by clicking here.
And here’s a look at the two degenerates you’ll have the aural pleasure of hearing alongside yours truly:
For the past couple weeks, the Ice Bucket Challenge has emerged as a positive, impactful way to raise both awareness and money for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (or ALS), the neurodegenerative condition often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s disease.”
As the Challenge has progressed, everyone from ex-presidents, to star athletes, to D-list celebs, to normies like you and I have engaged in pouring buckets of ice cold water on ourselves while a video camera records the absurdity. With each splash, more cash has been raised for the ALS Association than seemingly ever before, with millions more dollars raised for ALS research throughout the duration of the Ice Bucket Challenge than at comparable intervals in the past.
But as the videos have become more and more prevalent, a teeming mass of self-righteous serial loathers has begun to bubble its way to the forefront of the movement. For every handful of clips promoting awareness of a deadly, debilitating disease, there may be one or two carefully worded articles condemning the foolishness of pouring buckets of chilled liquid on one’s head. The critics have their reasons for feeling the way they do, citing self-promotion, the squandering of perfectly good water, and the belief that performing such an embarrassing feat on camera does not directly equate to cash for a cause that desperately deserves your money. The critics, however, are assholes.
Once again, we’ve reached that point in the year when sports take a back seat to women, as they so often tend to do. In this instance, however, you have the opportunity to win a trip to any sporting event in the world by accurately selecting the hottest women on the planet.
Because the stakes are so high, we’ve decided to help you out on your way to the rugby World Cup in Australia, the Jai Alai championship in Malaysia, or the Beer Olympics in Europe. At the same time, you’re more than welcome to play along with Seattle Sportsnet and a number of our closest friends by filling out a bracket at SportsRadioKJR.com, then navigating here, clicking “Join,” and entering the password, “sonics.”
Below you’ll find projections for all 64 matchups in this year’s tournament. We’ve done all the dirty work for you because we care. And also because we got to scour Google Images for pictures of these women. But mostly because we care.
Region 1: Your Fortune Awaits
Katy Perry vs. Rihanna
For the second year in a row, Perry and Rihanna are matched up against one another in the tournament’s opening round. A season ago, it was Perry who triumphed over her Barbadian foe and there’s no reason to believe the outcome will be any different in 2014. Take a bow, Rihanna, it’s over. Winner: Perry.
A few months back, I wrote up an application for Ryan Divish’s affection which resulted in absolutely no women responding and, to date, still hasn’t netted Divish a dependable girlfriend. Thanks, jerks.
Anyway, my friends still got a kick out of the matchmaking attempt and recently started pressuring me to write up a similar document for our good friend Jayson Jenks. For those of you who don’t know Jenks, he’s the newest (i.e. backup) Seahawks beat writer for The Seattle Times. A year ago, he was the Times’ prep sports reporter, which means if you have a teenage son or daughter who you think will get an NCAA athletic scholarship (they probably won’t, so stop bitching), you probably sent Jenks a nasty email at some point for something he did or didn’t say about your kid.
In addition to all that, Jenks is like 24 years old and looks like he just had his Bar Mitzvah. Needless to say, he’s single, though his Facebook profile lists him as in a “complicated relationship.” Which is a nice way of saying he has carpal tunnel syndrome or something like that, I imagine. Frankly, he could use a nice woman in his life. That’s why we’re here today to help him out.
If you or anyone you know would like to submit an application for Jenks’ affection, please fill out the below document, which you can download by clicking right on the image itself. Once completed, send your app to firstname.lastname@example.org and you might just win a date with Jayson Jenks, himself! Good luck!
First, some context. The below video was made by a guy named Don Joss, owner of DJ’s Sportscards in Renton. For anyone who grew up in the Greater Seattle area and collected cards as a kid, DJ’s is basically a mecca. Occupying an unassuming storefront in a small strip mall on the corner of Duvall Avenue and Sunset Boulevard, DJ’s is stacked floor to ceiling with all sorts of sports cards and memorabilia. It’s been there since those of us who are now adults were kids. It’s a great memory for so many and unlike most similar shops around the nation, it still exists.
The owner, Don, is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. He makes you want to collect cards again. If for no other reason than because you want him to do well. I mean, this is a guy who still, to this day, owns a card shop. That’s on par with owning a phonograph dispensary or a pager company. I don’t know what the going salary for a card shop owner is, but I have to imagine it’s not enough. Card shop owners are living out the dreams of every ’80s- and ’90s-era kid. When I was a kid, I only wanted to be two things: professional baseball player or sports card shop owner. I failed on both accounts.
Anyway, whether you care to purchase cards ever again or not, I urge you to watch the following video. This video is supposed to be an ad, of sorts, but I damn near shed a tear. Hoops, Skybox, Fleer Ultra, Topps, Bowman…so beautiful, all of it.
I hate losing. I once sat in a 1991 Toyota Previa in the Factoria Square parking lot and bawled for an hour because I had pitched poorly in a Little League game and had cost my team a victory. My family went inside to eat dinner and I stayed in the van, refusing to eat, refusing to move. I don’t do well with defeat. I never have. Even now, there is little that can be done to assuage me when my team so much as drops a rec basketball game. I will either a) sit in grim silence for an entire car ride home, or b) verbally break down every single thing that went wrong on our failed quest for triumph. My friends deserve a lot of credit for dealing with that version of me that, to this day, struggles to cope with losing.
I guess in many ways it’s ironic that I am a Seattle sports fans — I don’t know how to lose, and seemingly all my teams do is just that. My whole life, I’ve encountered failure from these entities I hold so dear to me, and yet I’ve never learned how to accept the bitter taste of defeat. I sat through an entire childhood of Seahawks futility, labored through thousands (literally, thousands) of Mariner losses, had seats in the upper level for every home game of the only 0-12 season in University of Washington football history, then paid witness to the ultimate heartbreak when the Sonics were taken from us and moved to Oklahoma City.
Before reading the following, I encourage you to read Jason Collins’ first-person piece in Sports Illustrated, the article announcing the 34-year-old’s sexuality. No matter your stance on the issue, the article is incredibly well-written, insightful, and moving. Aside from such a groundbreaking announcement, Collins’ personal reflection is admirable and intelligent. The column should serve not just as a revelation in its message, but also as a lesson in self-awareness. Regardless of Collins’ status as a professional athlete, it’s absolutely clear through the strength of his voice and the content of his character that he is more than capable of being a vocal leader in the gay community. Props to Jason Collins on being a trailblazer and, in his words, starting the conversation.
Jason Collins is the first athlete in a major professional sport to come out as gay and my first reaction is not one of shock over his sexuality, but shock that he still plays in the NBA. Because in all honesty, I thought Collins had long since gone the way of Mouhamed Sene and departed for a league overseas or the sanctity of retirement. Alas, to my stunned surprise, that isn’t the case at all. In reality, Collins is still an active NBA player. Imagine that.
My reaction is just one of a litany of reactions that will be inspired by Collins’ announcement. Personally, I don’t care whether a guy is gay, straight, or what-have-you. Maybe that’s why I was more shocked to learn that Collins is still an active NBA player as opposed to a former one — my ignorance is limited to Jason Collins, NBA player, rather than Jason Collins, gay NBA player.
This is not looking good. I’ve been feverishly checking my inbox and have yet to run across a 100-page manifesto on the failures of local sports journalists, a manifesto I was expecting to receive no later than today. Granted, there’s still a ton of time before Friday comes to a close, but the situation is grim, to say the least.
I don’t even know what to think right now. I’ve gone to all this trouble clearing 100 pages of online space right here on this site and now? Now I’m at a loss as to how I’ll fill that space if my columnist doesn’t come through.
You may be wondering how I came to be fortunate enough to be promised a 100-page manifesto in the first place. Great question.
Playing baseball on Sunday afternoons until the sky turned red and the shadows disappeared. Until my arm ached from hundreds and hundreds of tosses (forget pitch counts) and my legs tired from all the running. Until dirt stained my socks and sweat softened the bill of my cap.
I remember laughing for no reason and shouting for fun. Chasing ground balls and fly balls and bugs and just about anything else that was deemed worth chasing.
I think about diving into the grass over and over again, trying wholeheartedly to snag pop-ups that fell just out of reach. It wasn’t about the catch; it was about the leap and the fall. It was about the cushion that the cool, green earth somehow provided. That feeling of hitting the ground and caring about nothing else in the world besides getting up and doing it again.
When I think about all the things that I’ll look back upon as my life is coming to its close, terror and tragedy will not be among them. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding my demise, I’ll have images of laughter and happiness and love on my mind as I go. These are the things I can control, no matter how uncontrollable the moment in and of itself may be. In spite of what we’re facing at any given point in time, knowing there are these good things that fill us, that compel us, that bring us to muster the courage we may not otherwise be able to summon in that instant, makes all the difference in the world.
Whenever something we care so deeply about is threatened, we’re scarred in a way that can hardly be put into words. It doesn’t matter what that thing is, either; it could be anything. On this particular week, it happened to be some combination of sports and freedom and security and shreds of innocence and more. All things we cherish, all things that, when threatened, leave us scarred.
It’s that time of year again. Dance time. Formerly “Bigger” Dance time. But then some blowhard decided “Bigger Dance” was too close to “Big Dance” for the comfort of some asshole’s lawyer, so here we are with “The Dance.” As if this is like the shindig of the year at a local high school or something.
Anyway, enough about that. You need to fill out a Dance bracket and you’re looking for some help. That’s where I come in. I’m not an expert, but I do pride myself on being judgmental. As we’ve done here in the past, we’ll go through every single Dance matchup and give you a winner. From Game 1 to Game 64.
Right about now if you either a) need to fill out your Dance bracket at Sports Radio KJR or b) are just plain confused as to what all this is really about, please click here and achieve both a) and/or b). If you’d also like to join the SSN Dance pool, please navigate here and enter the following:
Pool Number: 678
To your left you’ll see a picture of a beautiful woman. That’s Lucy Pinder. She won this competition last year. There will be more pictures of beautiful women as you scroll down. Enjoy that. Maybe don’t read this at work, but enjoy it nonetheless. Without further ado…
Region 1: Chelada
Sofia Vergara vs. Alicia Keys
Just the other day I happened to be watching BET (they show reruns of Family Matters in the afternoon, in case you were wondering why) when I caught a showing of the movie Soul Plane. I’d never seen Soul Plane before, but wouldn’t you know it, one of the flight attendants for NWA Airlines was played by Sofia Vergara. So not only has she captured the Latino vote (naturally) and the white vote (Modern Family), but she also has the black vote. Even Alicia Keys isn’t that omnipresent. Winner: Vergara.
You gotta give Jenna Shea some credit. There may be no better time in history to call out Peyton Siva than in the midst of what we can only imagine to be his life’s crowning achievement to date. She saw her window and she jumped at the chance to gain a little notoriety. That’s the kind of enterprising spirit any media whore can appreciate.
For those who may have missed the interaction, here are the tweets that sparked a social media firestorm after Louisville’s National Championship victory:
— jenna shea (@iamjennashea) April 9, 2013
The first time I ever saw Troy Hennum, he was following my buddy Phil around. Phil stood 6’7″, played for the University of Washington basketball team, and cast a long shadow over his much more diminutive tagalong. The alignment was symbolic — Phil silently and casually strolling into the IMA (UW’s student gym) with Troy damn near stalking the Husky athlete as he ran behind him, all while talking a million miles a minute. It was the personification of jersey-chasing, and it was awesome to behold.
They say that one of the best ways to find out about a man’s character is to play basketball with him. On that day, I played ball with Phil and Troy, Troy for the first time. Immediately, he bugged the shit out of me. This was a bro’s bro. A headband-wearing frat boy instigator, the ultimate in brodaciousness come to life.
There’s a very poignant moment at the outset of Season 4, Episode 10 of Saved By the Bell, an episode entitled Wrestling with the Future. The moment harkens back to a simpler time, when the college recruiting process wasn’t nearly as shady, complicated, overblown, or commercialized as it is now. It recalls an era that existed prior to the ESPNs of the world smearing their greasy fingerprints all over the one day of the year that teenagers sign the remainder of their adolescence over to a university and an athletics program, that lived before those same teenagers would sit under the lights of a crowded gymnasium and select baseball caps off a table.
It is in this moment in that particular episode of television’s greatest and most influential program (ever, in history) that the following occurs:
“The reader comments section, it’s a free-for-all. The level of discourse has become so inane and nasty. And it’s not just at the Times, it’s ESPN, everywhere – people, anonymous people, take shots at the story, writers, each other. Whatever you’ve achieved in that story gets drowned out by this chorus of idiots.” -Steve Kelley, in an article by Rick Anderson appearing in Seattle Weekly, Jan. 4, 2013.
It is January 31st, 2013. Today is the final day of Steve Kelley’s employment at The Seattle Times. For four decades, Kelley has been a writer. For 31 of those years, Kelley has been a writer at the Times, first in the old, grey structure at 1120 John Street, then more recently in a neighboring venue across the concrete expanse of a parking lot at 1000 Denny Way.
Over the course of his three-plus decades in those two buildings, the 63-year-old has done exactly what a newspaper asks its columnists to do: he has elicited reactions, and strong ones at that. Love him or hate him (and for most of us, there is no in-between), Kelley has motivated people to vocalize their emotions on a particular topic. Regardless of your opinion on the man, he has been one of few individuals consistently capable of achieving such feedback from readers for more than a generation. No matter the issue being discussed in the sports section each day, one thing always remained certain: Steve Kelley would have an opinion on it.
Yet here we are, on Kelley’s last day of work, staring down the barrel of a conundrum. As Kelley greets an uncertain future, we encounter one of our own, as well. For us, however, that uncertainty revolves around media and where it’s headed. It just so happens that the man leaving media behind, the man who happens to be the subject of these ensuing paragraphs, is a casualty of our uncertainty.