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.
Explaining the Manti Te’o Hoax Through “Saved By the Bell,” a Self-Created Fake Hot Chick Twitter Profile, and My Own Personal Life
Season One, Episode Five of Saved By the Bell. Zack Morris’s best friend, Samuel “Screech” Powers, is feeling down. Zack wants to boost Screech’s ego so he agrees to set him up on a date with a girl named Bambi. The only problem? Bambi doesn’t exist.
Unwittingly ecstatic, Screech so strongly demands a rendezvous with his newfound love interest that Zack is forced to impersonate his feminine creation. After speaking with Screech by phone, Zack adorns himself in a purple dress, trendy spectacles, and a wig and meets his nerdy, smitten counterpart at everyone’s favorite hangout, The Max.
The girl is a figment of my imagination. She is one of three stunning coeds in an image uncovered after a quick Google search. I give her a name, a biography, a persona — she’s Samantha, a recent college graduate who loves sports and has a feisty, fun-loving attitude. She will become my social experiment. I will use her to experience life as an attractive female sports fan.
Damn it. It’s 5:15 p.m. on January 2nd. Do you know what this means? It means all the goddamn gyms are about to fill up with a bunch of goddamn people who are committed to no more than three solid weeks of exercise before putting it all to rest for the next 341 days of the year. That’s what anyone who’s about to head to the gym has to look forward to.
Wouldn’t you know it, I’m about to go to the gym right now. And when I get there, it will be a circus. I already know this. And I’m still going. In hopes that all those usually-unmotivated-but-currently-motivated jerks who ooze around the weight room this time of year don’t show up. I will likely be disappointed. Such is life. A college-aged girl on Twitter would slap this entire rant with a big ol’ #FIRSTWORLDPROBLEMS hashtag. But that’s only semi-accurate. If the second- or third-world had to experience this crap, they’d be pissed, too. You’ve been eating McDonald’s for three decades and you’re gonna try to make up for all that by reading a magazine while you crawl on the elliptical for seven minutes? Good luck with that shit. The secret is Diet Coke, you know. Pick up six cheeseburgers and a Diet Coke and you’re good to go. Healthy eating right there. And sugar free gum. No more Bazooka. That what’s been causing all your problems. Bubble gum and orange soda.
I am a 28-year-old, sports-loving American male. And as such, I grew up watching a lot of TV. I realize those two things don’t necessarily go together. But ask any sports-loving American male contemporary of mine what he enjoys, and if he doesn’t say “TV,” he’s either a liar or a guy who wears full-body Under Armour out in public. We’ve all seen that guy. He grew up hitting stitched cowhide off a tee for hours on end under the watchful eye of his five-foot-six-inch father. The same father who couldn’t quite cut it as the backup second baseman on the junior college baseball team. The same father who made his kid do 500 pushups each night before bed. Wouldn’t you know it, that father turned his kid into a weirdo. And now that weirdo can’t seem to separate himself from moisture-wicking lycra. It’s a cruel world we live in.
But I digress.
Those familiar with Divish are probably aware that he’s a single man pushing 40 years of age, which means it’s time he find a nice lady to keep him company as he stumbles through life. Thing is, I’ve been trying to hook Divish up with attractive, well-to-do ladies for some time. And how does he respond to my offerings? He rejects them! That’s no good at all.
In order to help Divish find just the right woman to be his future companion, I’ve created an application for his affection, which you’ll find below.
I encourage all of you to read this application over. If you or anyone you know is interested in applying, please click on the image itself and you’ll be taken to a downloadable PDF. Send your application to firstname.lastname@example.org and your entry will be forwarded onto Ryan Divish, himself. With any luck, Divish will peruse the applications, find himself a few good ones, and take one or more lucky ladies on the date(s) of their dreams.
Thank you for applying!
My website is four years old. November 12, 2008 was the day I gave birth to this little guy. It doesn’t seem like so long ago until you consider that four years is an entire high school or college tenure. Once you start thinking about all the stuff you did throughout high school, throughout college, four years becomes an eternity. And yet here’s this journal of sorts, this commentary on sports and life and whatnot, that’s been around for that length of time. The only things in my life that have existed for four years or more have all been meaningful. So I guess that makes this meaningful, too.
I’ve learned a lot in four years. I can’t even begin to categorize everything I’ve learned. But as I’ve grown up, as I’ve matured (sort of), a decent number of my experiences have been alluded to here. Anyone who has read this site has lived my life with me. And I guess, when I really start to dwell on that, it’s kind of weird. Most people probably don’t share their experiences to the degree that I have. Most writers, I feel, don’t inject so much of their being into their work. Since the very beginning, however, I haven’t been able to separate myself from the words I write. These words are mine. I want them to feel like mine. Love them or hate them, I want the readers to know who they came from. There tends to be a great deal of anonymity in online print. Likewise, so many writers tend to carefully douse their opinions in a healthy dose of objectivity. I’ve never wanted to hide behind my words or hesitate to share my true feelings. And to date, that’s led to four years of this.