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You Might Be a Redneck Hockey Player If…

dukes-of-hazzard-confederate-flag

An ice hockey game? Can she still wear Daisy Dukes?

I have a confession to make. I cannot make head or tails of hockey. And considering DC has the best team in the league, that is a major bummer. I respect the sport immensely but whenever I try to follow the puck, I feel like a tabby teased with a laser pointer.

I think it has something to do with being from the South. With today’s technology, ice rinks are as common as Starbucks. But skating on the lone ice rink in 1985 Memphis was as novel as walking on Mars. Keep in mind, when I was growing up, there were no Nashville Predators or Carolina Hurricanes. On a hockey freelance assignment once, I had a 10-minute conversation with Gordie Howe and had no idea who he was.

So when I look at hockey, I can’t help but bring a Southern mentality to it. Take hockey player names. Many of them properly convey the devastating power, grit and grace these athletes possess: Alex Ovechkin. Jaromir Jagr. There’s even a Michal Jordan.

Then there is the handful of unfortunates who sound like they should be throwing rocks at Forrest Gump.

Still, they are my peeps. Or at least sound like them.

Siberian cat - kitten watching light spot

Me at every hockey game, ever.

Take Dallas center Vernon Fiddler. Or Detroit’s Tomas Tatar. (I know the Slovakian player’s name is probably pronounced more like the fancy raw steak, but in my head I hear my grandma cooking “tay-ters” for dinner.)

I would give anything for Beau Bennett and Bo Horvat to team up with Luke Glendening and Luke Schenn.

Islanders right wing Cal Clutterbuck isn’t alone–there are actually numerous Cal’s across the NHL, but it’s the “Clutterbuck” that makes me mentally cast him alongside Dallas’ Cody Eakin and Colton Sceviour in a Bonanza episode. Throw in Jimmy Howard, J.T. Brown, and Calvin Pickard and you could pull off Oklahoma.

Finally, there’s Columbus center Boone Jenner, which sounds more “Bull Durham” than “Slapshot” to me. It manages to be both sexy and redneck at the same time—exactly the kind of guy I like, if I weren’t twice his age. So I’ll leave it there, y’all.

Enter Our Essay Contest!

chesternatscloseDEADLINE EXTENDED to Sept. 8!!! It’s the first-ever Ladies Room Sports Essay Contest! 

We thought we’d try something new and fun. After a couple months traveling (and pneumonia. Seriously. Pneumonia. In July.), our blog is back–and that could mean a $150 Visa Gift Card for you! And FREE entry!

Send your non-fiction piece, up to 500 words, about what you love (or hate) about sports, today or in your past. Taking your kids to the ballpark. Winning your first Field Day race. Losing your girlfriend to the quarterback. Or have you witnessed someone else’s sports story? How have sports, however tangentially, affected you or someone you know? Dugouts, dunks, dodgeball–we want to read it!.

Winner receives a $150 Visa Gift Card, and second place a $50 Visa Gift Card! Winners and various other selections will be published on the Ladies Room Sports blog.

Judges will consist of members of the esteemed Yale Writers’ Conference. And possibly a small dog.

Seriously though, we are looking for essays on how sports have made some impact, good or bad, on people’s lives. We also welcome more traditional sportswriting as long as they are short essays/creative non-fiction as opposed to a regular game summary. Think beyond the box score!

Send your entry (one per person, please, attachments or in email body are fine) to laura.boswell@ladiesroomsports.com. Deadline is September 8, 2015. Previously published work is OK as long as it fits the guidelines. And PS – Ladies Room editors will merely facilitate, so if you know us, it’s OK! Like the Publishers’ Clearing House says, “Go ahead, send it in!.” Please submit non-fiction only–but don’t worry, fiction writers and poets, your spot on the varsity team will open soon.

And finally, this is our first try at this, so please bear with us as we work out the kinks. Send questions to the address above and we will help asap! Enter now!

Mullets Grow. Can Character?

Sadly the drugs aren't why I wear my hair this way.

Sadly the drugs aren’t why I wear my hair this way.

It may be true that “cheaters never prosper,” but in sports this week, they did gain a little ground.

Now, to no surprise, none of Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire or Sammy Sosa even came close to being voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. All have confirmed or alleged use of steroids to thank. (Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Jon Smoltz and Craig Biggio did get the nods.)

And in the world of mixed martial arts, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, crowned just last Saturday with a unanimous win over nemesis Daniel Cormier (even their press conferences become octagons), tested positive for cocaine metabolites and entered rehab.

On the other hand, a baseball signed by six of the eight players involved in the 1919 Black Sox cheating scandal, most notably “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, will go on the auction block beginning Monday for a $100,000 starting price, along with two other items from what may be the most famous gambling gambits of all time: during the 1919 World Series between the Chicago White Sox and the Cincinnati Reds, eight White Sox players were accused of losing games intentionally for money from gamblers. Although they were acquitted in court, all eight were banned from baseball for life. Their story was the inspiration for a number of books and movies, particularly Field of Dreams.

And finally, the brash-talking, muscle-flexing, mullet-wearing 80s football sensation Brian “The Boz” Bosworth was selected for the College Football Hall of Fame, despite admitted performance-enhancing drug use and an NFL career that was at best injury-riddled and at worst, one of the sport’s biggest flops. Former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel, currently serving a five-year NCAA penalty for failing to report players’ impermissible benefits, was also allowed in. (Ohio State seems to have recovered, too; they play Oregon for the national title Monday night.)

So what’s the moral? Cheaters have a chance? Football is more forgiving? I don’t know. Mullets eventually grow. Maybe character can too.

The 8 Worst Sports Losing Streaks

Soy un perdedor. I'm a loser baby, so why don't you kill me?

Soy NOT un perdedor. No loser here, you don’t need to kill me after all, ktxbye.

Despite having to re-start the game when the 76ers began playing in the wrong direction, Philadelphia managed to escape tying a dubious record Wednesday, winning their first game of the NBA season 85-77 over Minnesota, putting them at 1-17.

To lose 18 would have tied the 2009-10 New Jersey Nets for the worst start to a season in league history—and would have put the 76ers well on their way to last season’s streak of 26 straight losses, a tie with the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers.

So what other loveable losers are out there? Here are a few of more of sports’ streaks so sad, “Beck” might sing about them:

  • NFL: Tampa Bay, 26 games, 1976-77
  • MLB (modern day): Baltimore Orioles, 21 games, 1988
  • WNBA: Tulsa Shock, 20 games, 2011
  • NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins, 18, 2004 (Washington and San Jose are a close second, tied with 17)
  • MLS: New York Red Bulls, 12 games, 1999
  • NCAA Division I Football: (FBS) Northwestern, 34 games, 1979-82; (FCS) Prairie View A&M, 80 games,1989-98
  • NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball: Towson, 41 games, 2011-12
  • NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball: 58 games, Long Island, 1986-89

There, now don’t you feel better about yourself?

Oh, What a Record?

Hey ladiiiieeess! We're droppin' some serious baseball knowledge on ya!

Hey ladiiiieeess! We’re droppin’ some serious baseball knowledge on ya!

As I watched the Giants’ Travis Ishikawa* belt the winning home run in the National League Championship Series, it got me thinking about the first Japanese hitter to get America’s attention with his bat.

Back in the 90s, I didn’t know who the Beastie Boys meant in “Hey Ladies” when they claimed “I got more hits than Sarahadu Oh!”

But the lyric was certainly deserved. Oh holds (but not without debate) the all-time world record for home runs with 868. Not Hank Aaron or Barry Bonds—Sarahadu Oh.

Oh was born in Japan to a Japanese father and Chinese mother. He played his entire career in Japan with the Yomiuri Giants, debuting in 1959. His first season, he only hit .161 with seven homers, but after a little wax-on, wax-off practice (OK, some actual, real samurai and zen training), he soon was hitting .300 with at least 40 homers for eight consecutive seasons. By his 14th season, he’d hit 500 taters.

Meanwhile in AMUUURRCA, Aaron was advancing on Babe Ruth’s HR record of 714, and eventually passed it in 1974 (despite death threats!) As a goodwill celebration, Aaron and Oh, who was six years younger than Aaron and had already hit 600 homers by age 34, met in a home run hitting contest in Tokyo in November 1974. Aaron won 10-9.

Which is just one of many problems many baseball purists have with Oh’s record. He only played in Japan while America had more seasoned players. His seasons were shorter—130 or 140 games as opposed to MLBs’ 160+, so he couldn’t wear down with injuries as fast. Japanese parks were smaller. And so on it goes…

Aaron retired in 1976, but Oh continued to play, passing Aaron as world leader on September 3, 1977. He retired in 1980 with 868 home runs and 2,786 hits. He led the league in home runs 15 times and was elected MVP nine times.

And well, if you doubt his records, here is one you can believe: dental records. *Ishikawa (whose father is Japanese American and his mother European-American) met his now-wife, a dental assistant, after he was hit by a pitch in the face.

Sports Numbers You Need to Know

Simply the best.

Simply the best.

So in honor of Derek Jeter’s historic sendoff last night, I thought I would compile a quick list of these sports stats and numbers you often hear in bar conversations, on Sports Center, and even in rap songs (scroll to :46 for a Jay-Z reference to #5).

So here is a baker’s dozen (and just a FEW–bear with me, I’m writing this on a coaster), so please feel free to comment with other biggies.

I’m listing the numbers first for a little quiz fun, then scroll down for the answers.

Let’s go!

1 — 2

2 — 12th Man

3 — 60 feet, 6 inches

4 — 23

5 — Game 6

6 — 42

7 — 17-0

8 — 158.3

9 — 100

10 — 99

11 — 2,131

12 — 18

13 — Oh let’s go for the baker’s dozen: 1,098. Now you may scroll….

**********************************************************************

1 — Derek “Captain” Jeter, Yankees shortstop for 20 years, retiring after 2014.

2 — Slogan (with a super cool history) of Texas A&M and Seattle football (and a host of others), meaning the crowd’s noise and support as the additional team member to the 11 on the field.

3 — Distance from professional pitcher mound to home plate.

4 — Michael Jordan’s jersey number.

5 — Famous 1998 NBA Finals game between the Bulls and the Jazz; Bulls won 87–86, their sixth NBA Championship in eight years. It was also the final game with the Bulls for Jordan and coach Phil Jackson. It earned the highest TV ratings of an NBA game of all time. Jordan hit a jump shot with 5.6 seconds left to put the Bulls on top for good 87–86.

6 — Jackie Robinson’s jersey number – first African-American to play in Major League baseball.

7 — Final 1972 record of the Miami Dolphins, still the only fully undefeated NFL season.

8 — A “perfect” passer rating for a quarterback’s game. Stat is calculated using a player’s passing attempts, completions, yards, TDs and interceptions. NFL rates QBs from 0 to 158.3. College football uses a different formula and ranks from -731.6 to 1261.6. (Shrug.)

9 — Number of points Wilt Chamberlain scored in a single game in an NBA win over the Philadelphia Warriors, 169-147, on March 2, 1962. (Another key number: 20,000, the number of women he claims to have bedded.)

10 — Wayne Gretzky’s jersey number, the first ever to be retired league-wide by the NHL.

11 — Number of consecutive games played by the Oriole’s Cal Ripken to surpass Lou Gehrig’s 56-year-old record (2,130).

12 — Jack Nicklaus’ record 18 career major championships.

13 — Number of all-time wins by Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt, before retiring in 2012 due to dementia. She is the only coach in NCAA history, and one of three college coaches overall, with at least 1,000 victories.

Friday Night Writes

adsSaw this poem on Facebook, passed along by Ladies Room fan and friend Patrick McClure, and it really captures all the old excitement of Friday night high school football. It’s about the Danville (Kentucky) High School Admirals–a real inspiration to anyone who is or was an athlete (or hoped to be!) or has a kid on the field. Thanks, Pat!

 

THE GHOSTS IN BLUE
There’s a town in Central Kentucky where Friday night is King
Little Boys grow up dreaming of wearing that champions Ring
Sometimes people marvel at the great things they do
But there’s a secret on that field known by just the few
They’re not the biggest or strongest and in numbers they are few
But when the odds are the longest, each one has the strength of two.

For every boy you see playing, you are really seeing two
Cause next to every Admiral plays a ghost that’s dressed in Blue

They may be in the stands tonight, they may be miles away
Some you may see every day, some God has called to play;
Some give their all to help you go that extra mile,
Some just read the paper and quietly, proudly, smile.

So know that in victory, and even a loss or two
Those smiles and tears you’ll always share with those ghosts in blue.

There’s nothing like tradition to show a team the way,
You’ll always know you’re not alone when you need to make that play
When all seems lost and it’s up to you
Just turn and look beside you, at the ghost that’s dressed in blue.

Don’t kid yourself by thinking that titles make you strong
An Admiral’s strength comes from years before of making that Third and long;
Lining up and competing in places they don’t belong;
And beating teams with high ranking, making their winters long.

So cheer for the blue and white and let those victories ring,
Look at your mates tonight, and know just this one thing:

The greatest trophy you can win, when your playing days are through,
Is that when the next battle is raging,
YOU WILL BE THEIR GHOST IN BLUE

— Bill Ruth- Class of 1971

Do you have an inspirational piece of writing about sports–poems, quotes, stories? Let us know!