Tag Archive | florida state

And Like THAT…She’s Gone…(Not Really)

keyser_poofAh, “The Usual Suspects.” Still one of my all-time top 5. One of those movies that if you’re cleaning the house on a Saturday, channel surfing, and it pops up, you drop everything to watch it again. (I would also include “Godfather,” “Casino,” “Goodfellas”–all pretty much the same movie, now that I think about it–and “Jaws.”

Anyway, The Ladies Room is still alive and well, but she got accepted to the Yale Writers’ Conference, so between that and a rigorous Washington Nationals  baseball schedule, this blog has gotten a tad dusty. Nonetheless, I’m saying hello before I head to New Haven for the next two weeks to be all Ivy League and Highbrow and Academic and stuff.

While I’m ecstatic to be accepted, the timing is rotten. I will be missing the NBA Finals, the NHL Finals, the College Baseball World Series, the FIFA scandal and the French Open for…poetry readings.

flaAt least tonight I WILL get to see the finals of the Women’s College (Softball) World Series. Michigan forced a third and final game with current champion Florida, and I have really gotten into the whole shabang. Not because I want to support women’s sports (though you should) but because these ladies are just so amazing to watch, so powerful and, though I shouldn’t say this…gorgeous. Seriously. If you have a problem with women “jocks” or joke they aren’t attractive, these gals could own the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. They wear full makeup, elaborate braids, hair decor and ribbons.

And eyeblack. Oh and they can also knock a ball into Greenland. Good luck, ladies, well done.

So with that, I will bid you, and sports, adieu for a few days for studying and writing as my vacation. By choice.

Unless “The Usual Suspects” is on.

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FBS, BCS, WTF??? Frozen Cheese, a Flopping Foot, and How Hip Is My Mom?

1–Living in Washington DC, you get used to a lot of acronyms: CIA, POTUS, IRS, OMG the NSA sees my FB? But the government has nothing on football championship nomenclature.

Tonight, Auburn and Florida State face off in the “Football Bowl Subdivision” (FBS, previously NCAA “Division I-A” football) Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Championship Presented by Vizio, Dorito’s, Capital One and My Hairdresser. FBS championships are not actually sanctioned by the NCAA, but instead determined by a controversial ranking system (the BCS) and a whole lotta sponsorship money.

Dude, if you freeze to death at this game, it's not that hat I'll eat!

Dude, if you freeze to death at this game, it’s not that hat I’m gonna eat!

On Saturday, there was another Division-I NCAA college football championship between the “Football Championship Series” (FCS, traditionally known as “Division I-AA”) teams. After a month-long playoff tournament, finalist North Dakota State defeated Towson (Md.), 35-7 for the Bison’s third-straight national title. (By the way, Northwest Missouri State was the 2013 Division II winner, and Wisconsin-Whitewater won Division III.) FBS teams will adopt their own playoff system beginning in 2014,  producing what proponents argue will be a “true” champion. The new approach has its critics, but at least we can give the alphabet a little bit of a rest.

2–Green Bay is famous for many things—“Cheeseheads,” Vince Lombardi, the Lambeau Leap, and Butt. Cold. Football. Sunday wasn’t quite the 1967 “Ice Bowl” between Green Bay and Dallas, when the temperature was an all-time game low of minus-13. Pundits geeked out about the potential blizzard conditions all week for the nighttime NFC Wild Card match-up between Green Bay and San Francisco. And temps came close at a balmy 5 degrees. But in the end, the story actually became the game itself, which saw the 49ers top the Packers 23-20 after superb performances from quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers (newly returned from a broken collarbone) and San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick (who rushed for 98 yards to become the fifth-highest rushing quarterback in NFL history). Also advancing in this weekend’s playoffs: New Orleans, San Diego and Indianapolis.

3—With its crime, jobless rate, and bankruptcy that had the city seeking to sell off works of art, it’s rare Detroit has anything to celebrate. But Red Wing fans enjoyed the Winter Classic New Year’s Day, the NHL’s annual outdoor hockey game, despite losing to the Toronto Blue Jays, 3-2. At the University of Michigan’s “The Big House” stadium (where Michigan football usually plays), 105,000 people watched the teams battle each other and a steady snow that kept rink managers busy, skating back and forth between plays pushing shovels. During intermissions, fans enjoyed family activities, the introduction of the U.S. Women’s Olympic Hockey Team, and the Zac Brown Band.

4—Ronda Rousey retained her women’s bantamweight championship title, defeating Miesha Tate Saturday night in the second-ever women’s UFC Championship. It was the eighth consecutive victory for Rousey, a former Olympic judo medalist. After the bout, Rousey turned her back on her opponent’s handshake—the two also face off regularly on the reality show The Ultimate Fighter.

But it was the main men’s fight, a middleweight rematch between Chris Weidman and Anderson Silva, that stole the show (and had people grabbing for the nearest trash can). In the second round, the two men’s shins collided on simultaneous kicks, snapping Silva’s leg in half on live TV, with a result that resembled…um I don’t know…imagine you are wearing a long winter sock with the foot full of sand, and you are flopping it around in 360 degree circles. Weidman had handed Silva his first defeat in 17 bouts two months ago with a total knockout. Silva vows he will return to the ring.

(And of course, here’s the video. I used the Brazilian version so that maybe the Portuguese is a distraction from the carnage. No? Oh well.)

5–Speaking of gruesome breaks, just a quick tip of the hat to my mother Betsy, who fell and broke her hip the week before Christmas. A lifelong athlete, coach and a Senior Olympian who still holds records in track and field, she’s back home and on the mend–far sooner than she might have if not for making health and exercise such a priority in her daily life. We can’t change our genes or avoid freak accidents (in her case, tripping over the Geeksquad guy as she was hanging Christmas decorations), but we can prepare ourselves better for lifelong health by staying active through sports, the gym, or even just walking the dog (which isn’t so bad for him either!) Go Mom!

High Five Headlines: A Crap-Ton of Football. And a Little Men’s Figure Skating.

1–Like most kids, I was a very logical little girl. So I never could understand why our U.S. service academy football teams always seemed like sort of an afterthought. They were America’s smartest, bravest, and fittest young men, weren’t they? So why didn’t we see them in the sports headlines, like, every single day? I didn’t grasp that the academies don’t have as much flexibility in recruiting like other schools, and these soldiers were also tasked with the tiny burden of defending our country and that football might not be their top priority.

Can somebody help me up, please?

I’ve fallen since last season, and I can’t get up. (No, really, lil’ help here?)

Except for one day a year—the annual Army-Navy Game in Philadelphia, when the U.S. Military Academy and the Naval Academy square off in what is considered by many to be college football’s greatest rivalry. Unfortunately, the last decade or so, it really hasn’t been. Navy has won every year since 2004, including Saturday 34-7 over an Army team that has averaged fewer than three wins a season since 1998. Navy’s Keenan Reynolds set a Division I record for quarterbacks when he rushed for his 29th touchdown of the year and will lead the 8-4 Midshipmen to the Armed Forces Bowl against Middle Tennessee State. As for Army, well at least they will always be our heroes, long after their football careers end.

2–Speaking of struggling programs, I usually try not to focus on my local Washington Redskins, but they were the NFL’s top story last week, so…

OK, so Coach Mike Shanahan “shut down” quarterback Robert Griffin III for the rest of the season, ostensibly to rest the knee he blew out in last year’s playoffs. He won’t play at all, while backup Kirk Cousins has taken the helm. RGIII was literally in the national sports news every day the last year—fans and non-fans alike wanted to see the affable, witty, Subway Sandwich-loving Offensive Rookie of the Year return to full strength. He did not. Challenged by his knee, a weak defense and a shaky relationship with Shanahan, RGIII’s sophomore year was middling at best, with a bunch of icky stats I don’t even have the heart to go into.

Then there is the Family Shanahan: Coach Mike, who by most accounts seems to be lobbying to be fired so he can depart his Skins losing legacy fully paid. His son Kyle is the offensive coordinator—therefore having a direct hand in RGIII’s performance. Would he be fired too? Or follow Dad if he quits? Or stay on and try to atone for the “RedSins” of the father? To be continued. Wish *I* could authorize a shutdown.

3—Florida State freshman quarterback Jameis Winston was named the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner by a landslide Saturday over five other players, including last year’s winner Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M) and Alabama’s A.J. McCarron–who I calculate got about 1/16 of the camera time as his girlfriend (you know it by now, say it with me) Miss Alabama Katherine Webb in the audience. Winston thanked his family and coaches ebulliently, noting several times his gratitude for the “truth” being on his side. Winston was cleared last week of potential rape charges from a 2012 incident, and will lead FSU into the national championship game against Auburn January 6. The alleged victim, meanwhile, has had to withdraw from FSU. I’ve said it before—no one knows what happened but the accuser and Winston. There are unscrupulous people out there of both genders. It’s just sad to me that one party is starting a great career, while the other is likely launching one at Taco Bell. But the law has spoken, so we move forward.

4–Sometimes good just isn’t good enough. Head football coach Mack Brown resigned from the University of Texas Saturday, but will stay on to coach the Longhorns against Oregon in the Alamo Bowl. Texas went 8-4 this year, but detractors still have questioned Brown since the program began declining—despite double-digit win seasons from 2001-2009—after its 2005 national championship. Coaches come and go every year, but if you know “Friday Night Lights,” you have some inkling of what football means to the Lone Star State. Brown’s departure is major news because he has had what is, in his words, “the best coaching job at the premier football program in the country” since 1998.

Another reason football fans’ antennae were up over this one was the possibility of Alabama coach Nick Saban coming aboard, and he’s won the last two national championships. But the hope didn’t last long—Saban signed a deal last week to remain with the Crimson Tide for roughly $7 million a year, a raise of about $1.5 million a year and more than that of most NFL coaches.

5—American 2010 Olympic figure skating gold medalist Evan Lysacek will not be able to defend his title at the Sochi Winter Games due to ongoing issues with a torn labrum in his hip. Lysacek hadn’t competed since his win in Vancouver four years ago, but had remained optimistic for Sochi. During his comeback attempt last year, he experienced an abdominal tear, followed by the hip injury, which doctors feared could be permanent if he did not stop.

But in happier news, skier (and Tiger Woods paramour) Lindsey Vonn returned to the snow for practice runs in Colorado this weekend for the first time in the nine days since she reinjured her right knee. She had torn it completely February 5 of last year. Vonn hopes to return to competition next weekend and keep her Olympic hopes alive. She is the defending downhill gold medalist, holds four World Cup titles and is considered the most accomplished Alpine skier in American history.

High 5 Headlines! Rose Wilts, Worries for Winston, and Puppy Snuggles Cost Me the BEST NFL GAME EVER!

chester

Football, or fuzzy kisses? Chester is the clear winner, no OT.

1) It is a testament to the snuggliness of my dog (and maybe some wine) that I fell asleep with him on the couch last night and missed the end of an incredible NFL comeback. Denver visited Boston and brought along many storylines: two of the best quarterbacks, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady squaring off again; Denver receiver Wes Welker returning to play his former Patriots for the first time, and coming off a concussion last week; and temperatures colder than polar bear poop. Denver led 24-0 at the half, but Tom Brady returned reborn in the second,  completing more than 80 percent of his passes to erase the deficit–that Manning shredded with one last touchdown, sending the game into OT. Boston won on a field goal 34-31. Brady inked his 38th career game with 3+ TD passes and no interceptions, the second-most all-time to–guess who–Peyton Manning (42).

2) By the way, the Patriots’ Bill Belichick isn’t the only coach in the family. His daughter Amanda, a Wesleyan University grad, is the head women’s lacrosse coach at Wesleyan, where Dad himself played lacrosse in the early 70s. Both Belichicks were captains of their teams as seniors.

3) That slapping sound you are hearing is Chicago NBA fans’ collective foreheads this week as Bulls star (aka Michael Jordan 2.0) Derrick Rose is once again out for the season, requiring surgery on a torn meniscus in his right knee. He missed last season after tearing the ACL in his left knee. Rose has been Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player, and an NBA All-Star, so his frustration must be only slightly worse than Adidas, who just launched his new shoe collection and “The Return of D Rose” campaign. (Or the frustration of Memphians like me, who had our national-runner-up 2008 season erased by the NCAA over allegations that Rose had someone else take his SATs for him. Sigh.) But Rose is only 25, having turned pro after just one year of college play (otherwise snarkily known as a “one and done”). Steve Nash (39, Lakers) and Manu Ginobli (36, San Antonio Spurs) are just a couple of superstar starters playing for super teams well into their 30s. And Chicago still has their NHL champion Blackhawks, currently among the top of the Western Conference.

4) The slapping sound you are still hearing is me. My forehead. Because it just couldn’t be a football season without a sexual assault case. Oh wait, my bad. Just before the season, a group of Vanderbilt players were indicted on counts of aggravated rape and sexual battery against a victim in a dorm room. (The case is ongoing and getting uglier). Now, Florida State quarterback and Heisman Trophy hopeful Jameis Winston is at the center of a potential rape charge stemming from an encounter in December 2012. Details are still unclear, but we at least know the following: 1, The victim reported the event a year ago and asserts it was not consensual. 2, The case was only referred to the Florida State Attorney General two weeks ago. 3, There is a DNA evidence match confirmed. 4, Some affidavits support Winston; others support the alleged victim. And 5, Winston is a redshirt freshman leading the Seminoles to their first potential championship since 1999. Whatever the outcome, we can hope whoever is telling the truth will see justice, and that the athletes of a storied program won’t see their hard work overshadowed by scandal. But I have to wonder if either will happen.

5) OK, let’s end on a funny note. If you missed it last weekend (and I did because I haven’t found “Saturday Night Live” reliably funny since 1982. Yeah, I said it. Except for episodes with Justin Timberlake, also from Memphis. Naturally.), SNL really did come through with a parody of “The Red Zone” channel. Each Sunday, Red Zone allows fans to see any potential NFL scoring play–when the ball is within 20 yards of the goal line, aka “the red zone.” (I must admit I do have this channel.) But if you’re not into sports, you now have “The Rosé Zone“–a women’s channel with all the best (worst?) reality TV moments without the charity benefits and fashion shows. As one “viewer” puts it, “B*tches be crazy. But not all the time. Sometimes b*tches just be standin’ around and thinkin’.” <cut to Kim Kardashian staring vacantly>. “And mama ain’t about that.” Hilarious.

High Five! Warriors War with Clippers, Napoli Celebrates Happily, and a Cricketer Aces Final “Test”

1) Apparently there is some bad blood even God himself cannot overcome. The Golden State Warriors and the Los Angeles Clippers have had a grudge since last season when the Warriors took three out of four season games—and were, in the Clippers’ opinion, a little too jubilant in their celebrations. So reportedly, the Clippers wouldn’t allow the Warriors into Thursday night’s pre-game chapel service, a tradition offered by NBA arenas. The Warriors had to attend a separate service. Their luck didn’t improve on the court; despite a fight after Warriors center Andrew Bogut delivered a hard foul against Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, The Clippers won 126-115.

(Names to know: Blake Griffin is the Clippers’ power forward–you’ve seen him in these Kia commercials; Chris Paul is the Warriors’ point guard–he is “born to assist” for State Farm.)

napoli

I love you guys! Now please someone shave this beard!

2) By now you probably know the Boston Red Sox won the World Series, defeating the St. Louis Cardinals four games to two on Wednesday. What we don’t know is just what Sox first baseman Mike Napoli drank that led to this hilarious succession of photos of Napoli celebrating with his fellow fans, doing shots, even bartending a little himself (minus, eventually, his shirt. Which is fine by me.) 

3) Denver Broncos head coach John Fox will undergo aortic heart valve replacement surgery this week after he experienced lightheadedness on a Charlotte golf course Saturday. He did not have a heart attack, but tests revealed immediate need for the procedure, which doctors had already advised him he should do after this season. The Broncos had their “bye” week and were off Sunday; Fox will be out for several weeks recovering—we’ll see if 7-1 Denver can maintain its dominance in his absence. Jack Del Rio will fill in as interim coach.

Also recovering is Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak after he collapsed at halftime of Sunday’s game against Indianapolis. He is reportedly doing well, undergoing tests for blood clots and a possible stroke. It is not certain if or when he will return. The Ladies Room wishes both coaches the best of luck!

4) Alabama remains undefeated and #1 this week in the college football rankings, but Florida State has moved to #2 after handing Miami its first loss Saturday in a highly anticipated intra-state matchup. Oregon, Ohio State, and Stanford round out the top five. Miami dropped to #11.

5) And just because it’s cool: Sachin Tendulkar has announced his retirement. Who is Sachin Tendulkar you ask? Well, the 40-year-old Indian is only considered the world’s best cricket player. Duh. Tendulkar will say goodbye to a 24-year career after he plays his 200th “test” this month against West Indies. It’s difficult to convey the meaning of the match. No cricketer has played so many. Tendulkar also owns the records for most runs and centuries in both test and one-day cricket. Tendulkar began his international career in November 1989, and was the third youngest test cricketer at the time.