Friday, March 30, 2012

EPL Power Rankings - Crunch Time

It's getting down to the wire. A rare misstep by Manchester City allowed United to open a 3-point lead for first. Arsenal continues its late surge, winning a fifth consecutive match. Tottenham did well to draw at Stamford Bridge last Saturday and hopes to cling onto fourth place. Chelsea continues its Champions League and FA Cup dreams but will be hard pressed to put out a winning eleven on all fronts. Liverpool has stumbled as of late, losing two matches to QPR and Wigan, so finishing in the top four seems impossible. To the rankings:

Manchester Teams... and everyone else:
(1) Manchester United – 73 pts – This is Sir Alex Ferguson's bread and butter.
(2) Manchester City – 70 pts – Stumbling against Stoke? Happens to everyone.
(3) Arsenal – 58 pts – Still on fire.
(4) Tottenham – 55 pts – Happy to get a point but could have taken three against Chelsea.
(5) Chelsea – 50 pts – Still within striking distance, but playing Champions League and FA Cup on top of league matches could take its toll.
(6) Newcastle – 50 pts – Valiant effort, but it will be difficult to run the table. Look to add to Liverpool's misery this Sunday.
(7) Liverpool – 42 pts – Speechless. Need to right the ship against Newcastle in our match of the week.

Getting really hard to tell these teams apart:
(8) Sunderland – 40 pts – Wow, pretty close to Liverpool. Might have to switch them?
(9) Everton – 40 pts – Win over Swansea, another winnable match against WBA could put them ahead of rival Liverpool!
(10) Swansea City – 39 pts – Will look to bounce back after a tough loss to Everton when they travel to Spurs.
(11) Fulham – 36 pts – No chance against United. A more favorable matchup this week against Norwich.
(12) Stoke City – 38 pts – Continues to pester the top four contenders, but they get relegation zone Wigan this week.
(13) Norwich City – 39 pts – Taking out Wolves was business as usual. Fulham will be a tougher call.
(14) West Bromwich Albion – 36 pts – Honestly could be the most boring team in the league.
(15) Aston Villa – 33 pts – Villans will look to ruin Chelsea's top four aspirations, but more than likely will fall short.

The Relegation Zone:
(16) Blackburn Rovers – 28 pts – Wasn't going to beat Bolton.
(17) Bolton Wanderers – 26 pts - Gutsy win after the Muamba incident. Something to play for?
(18) Queens Park Rangers – 25 pts – Back to losing.
(19) Wigan Athletic – 25 pts – Historic win against Liverpool. Highlight of their season.
(20) Wolverhampton Wanderers – 22 pts – It's official. Worst team in the EPL.

Matchup Predictions

Last Week’s Record 5-5 (Liverpool and Spurs are ruining me...)
Cumulative Record 19-20 (Ugh)


Chelsea at Villa - 2-1 - Villa will present a challenge, but I see Chelsea stepping up after a nice Champions League victory earlier this week.

WBA at Everton - 1-3 - Everton should win at Goodison Park.

Norwich at Fulham - 0-2 - I keep picking Fulham; not sure why.

Sunderland at Man City - 1-3 - Don't see Man City losing this one at home.

Arsenal at QPR - 3-0 - Can't pick against the Gunners right now.

Stoke at Wigan - 2-2 - After that win against Liverpool, anything is possible for Wigan!

Bolton at Wolves - 2-1 - I don't know. Both these teams stink.


Liverpool at Newcastle - 2-2 - Match of the Week! A hotly contested battle, but an unsatisfying ending for either squad.

Swansea at Spurs - 0-1 - I hate this matchup; it's a match my team usually loses.


United at Rovers - 3-0 - Nothing to see here.

Photos courtesy of and

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Party Foul: Andrew Bynumbnuts

It's like déjà vu all over again.
Violation: Andrew Bynumbnuts pulls up for a three-pointer in a close game against the Golden State Warriors.

Explanation: No, the shot clock wasn't close to going off.  And no, the jumper wasn't even close to going in, although Bynumbnuts (yes, this is how I will refer to this idiot from here on out) held his shooting hand up as he was admiring his work.  I'll just let the video do the rest of the talking:

Punishment: Bynumbnuts was immediately yanked from the game by coach Mike Brown, and the kid has shown no remorse or affection to anyone else on the team.  If he's trying to pull a stunt to get traded, then maybe someone needs to remind him that the trade deadline has already passed.  This is his second party foul in as many weeks, and the ruling committee is frantically researching how many party fouls it takes before we can officially kick him out of the NBA.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed hoping that it's two.

Photo and video courtesy of the Los Angeles Times and YouTube

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Stop Staring At Me, Blake Griffin

The NBA has a new poster boy, and his name is Blake Griffin. Before David Stern brainwashes you into thinking his sh*t don't stink, here are three reasons why I am not a fan of the Los Angeles Clippers' starting power forward:

1) The Stare

Blake Griffin dunks a lot. Blake Griffin also fouls a lot. And after every jam or whistle, Blake Griffin just stands there, staring. What's he staring at? What's he staring for? Nobody knows. Some theorize that he thinks he looks tough by doing so. I say he looks borderline concussed, but maybe that's just me. It's like the man is trapped in a never-ending Kia commercial. While we're on the subject, someone get me the Kia marketing people on the phone so I can demand that they change their slogan to: "Your below average spokesman. Your below average midsize sedan."
UVO, forget about playing "funk" if it makes Blake stare.
2) The Flop

I am a man who values consistency. Don't try to be someone you're not, you know? So it confuses me to no end what Blake Griffin is trying to be. We've established that he's trying to be hard with "the stare," but then why does he flop endlessly? It makes no sense. And he's not just flopping on the defensive end; he is clearly trying to learn from his teammate Chris Paul and fling his arms with the ball in his hands as well. Just take a look at this video, where Blake Griffin convinces the zebras that Luis Scola went all Hulk on him and threw him into the basketball hoop support:

3) The Attitude

Besides receiving superstar calls when he lowers his shoulder into the post, Blake Griffin's game is supremely overrated. The aforementioned flop is his go-to defensive move, and although he's working on his jumpshot, his scoring ability outside of a perfect alley-oop still leaves much to be desired. However, Blake walks the court as if everyone else should be bowing before him for the opportunity to stand next to him. With all his flopping and childish antics such as placing the ball in an opponent's chest after a foul call or standing over a loose ball so the other team can't inbound, it was only a matter of time before someone like Jason Smith gave him a taste of his own medicine. No, I'm not condoning what Smith did, nor am I wishing harm upon Blake Griffin, I'm just comparing hard fouls to a pitcher beaning a batter in baseball or an enforcer starting a fight in hockey -- it's payback.

Blake Griffin gets away with a lot of shenanigans, and it brings a smile to my face when players like Andre Miller stand their ground:

Now I know everybody loves a phenomenal dunker, but I just want to be the voice of the minority that haven't fallen head over heels for the Oklahoma Sooner. You all can make your own decisions, but at the end of the day, there's only one thing I ask of Blake Griffin: for the love of all that is holy, please just stop staring at me. Seriously.

Photo and videos courtesy of and YouTube

Party Foul: Renardo Sidney

Violation: Gluttony.

Explanation: The story is familiar -- a high school standout, highly recruited, great size, great feel for the game, absent work ethic. Even if you mixed Dwight Howard’s sense of entitlement, Robert Traylor’s appetite, sprinkled in a teaspoon of Eddy Curry, and maybe a pinch of Kwame Brown, you would still fall light years short of a Renardo Sidney comparison. Let’s not mention that he lied about receiving benefits in high school and was forced to sit out his entire freshman year at Mississippi State. Or that he punched one of his own teammates while in the stands during a NCAA tournament in Hawaii. Let’s just talk about his weight – one that conjures up flashbacks to the nutty professor. In a recent interview with beat reporter Brandon Marcello:

Marcello: What do you weight right now?
Sidney: I weigh 310 pounds.
Sidney: When they ruled me ineligible, I stopped working out and started eating.

He must have taken this mantra very seriously. Oftentimes this season, he looked out of breath, out of shape, and out of drive.

The real pity is that he is actually good. He is 6-foot-11, has real post moves, can dribble like a point guard, and can shoot the three - 40% beyond the arc this season. A real waste of talent, a party foul.

Penalty: With his skill set, Sidney should be a lottery pick; instead he will have trouble even getting on an NBA roster. Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury went all-in on this kid -- on a straight draw, if you will -- and busted on the river and lost his job.

Somewhere out there, Tony Horton just thought, “challenge accepted.”

Photo and video courtesy of Duane Burleson and YouTube

Get Ready to Get Tebowed (Again)

As Tim Tebow settles down into the New York metro area, everyone is starting to put in their two cents about the situation. The biggest story of the 2011 NFL season has just entered the biggest media market in the country. With a ton of buzz now in the dog days of the offseason, I can only imagine what we will get when the regular season kicks off this fall. Until then, the media will be searching for any storyline they can find.

From my earlier article, I would have much rather seen Tebow go back home to Jacksonville and revive a franchise in desperate need, but it turns out the coaching staff are much more interested in developing Blaine Gabbert. According to sources, Tebow talked to both organizations before deciding that he would rather be traded to the Jets, which tells us that Rex Ryan is a fan of Tim Tebow. Having a coach that wants you has to feel good after Tebow just spent a year in a Denver system that was never set up for him, nor did ownership really want to keep Tebow as their future quarterback.

It has been well documented that John Elway always had his reservations in fully supporting the idea of Tim being the future of the Denver Broncos. Elway was waiting for an opportunity to push Tebow out of town after he realized that he wasn’t going to be willing to play a different position. It didn’t help that Orton was awful in the first 5 games of the 2011 season and basically gave the Broncos organization no choice but to let Tebow start. In the end, Denver got “Tebowed,” which I define as the act of doubting his abilities only to be proven incorrect time after time.

Their season ended with a loss to the Patriots in the playoffs, and many people were quick to abandon the Tebow bandwagon. Now once again we are seeing a mass exodus to the Tebow hate wagon -- on the top of this list are a couple of high-profile quarterbacks in Joe Montana and Joe Namath.  Joe Namath has since tamed down his stance in support of his beloved Jets, but his initial reaction showed disappointment and even some anger toward ownership and management for trading for Tim Tebow. He questioned the trust that Sanchez and the new offensive coaching staff would have after they went out and traded for another quarterback.
"I do not agree with this situation. I can't agree with it. I just think it's a publicity stunt. I really think it's wrong. I can't go for it." – Joe Namath
Joe Montana followed up by going right at the controversy and declared Mark Sanchez the better quarterback.  Montana encouraged Mark that he really shouldn’t be concerned about this trade and how it may or may not affect his starting role.
"Mark is a better player right now and that's it. As long as Mark believes in himself and plays, it's not an issue. It's more of an issue for those of you who write, or blog or tweet and all the other methods of delivering content." – Joe Montana
What I don’t understand is why everyone is so high on Mark Sanchez.  He finished the regular season with the same 8-8 record as the Broncos while having a more complete team with the Jets. Also four of the Bronco losses did not include Tim Tebow playing a single minute while Sanchez is responsible of all eight losses for the Jets. And let's not forget that Tim defeated Mark’s Jets in Denver on a miracle last-minute drive.

We continue to set ourselves up to be “Tebowed” over and over, and this time won’t be different. The Jets locker room is a mess; we have already seen players talk to the media bashing Sanchez and his inability to lead this team. People have questioned his work ethic and focus to the game of football. This is all somewhat reminiscent in New York City with Broadway Joe (Namath) and his womanizing and drinking ways, but he delivered a Super Bowl to the Meadowlands. 

Denver has not won much recently before Tim Tebow, and the Florida Gators have fallen off as an elite program since he left for the NFL. This man’s track record speaks for itself; Tim deserves to start at quarterback for the New York Jets. This is my warning to Mark Sanchez -- stop hanging out with high school girls, get your head in the playbook, and work your butt off at the gym because Tim Tebow is here and ready to take your job.

Photos courtesy of and 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Since the infamous “taking my talents to South Beach” debacle almost two years ago, LeBron James has been accused of being many things: selfish, cowardly, and, perhaps most indictingly for a superstar, without possession of the clutch gene.

But on this past Friday’s episode of ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption, co-host Michael Wilbon had some other words to describe one of the most hated players in the NBA. Words like “bold” and “thoughtful.” In the segment, Wilbon praised LeBron for tweeting a picture of he and his Miami Heat teammates wearing hoodies in solidarity with the movement to bring justice to Trayvon Martin’s family (read about Martin’s story here). We’re in a sports era where athletes are pressured to mute their personalities and to have vapid yet pleasant canned interactions with the media in order to decrease the possibility of them alienating fans, members of their organization, and the all-important advertisers. So, despite my personal dislike for Lebron, I, too, applaud him for taking a potentially divisive stand on an issue in which he had nothing to gain.

Photo courtesy of LeBron James' Twitter

LeBron isn’t the first athlete in recent memory to take to Twitter to advance a social agenda. Earlier this month, Steve Nash was one of several athletes, all of whom have hundreds of thousands of followers, who helped make the Kony 2012 video go viral. Others tweet about organizations that they care about and even retweet fans hoping to gain awareness for their causes.

As someone who studied journalism in college and is an east coast liberal-in-training, I can’t help getting excited when I see people emotionally affected when they hear about injustices. And yet I can’t fully suppress the cynical side of me that thinks, “So what?” Posting what essentially amounts to a well-meaning wish on the internet isn’t going to change lives. As the columnist and political commentator Charles Krauthammer said of the “Twitter Revolution” in Iran: "There was a lot of romantic outpouring here thinking that Facebook is going to stop the Revolutionary Guards. It doesn't. Thuggery, a determined regime that is oppressive, that will shoot, almost always wins."

What’s also frustrating to me is knowing that while the knee-jerk reaction to situations like Martin’s is strong, in just a few weeks time, hardly anyone will be saying his name. In fact, we as a society are often eager to scrutinize and tear down what we so enthusiastically built up. It took all of two days for there to be immense backlash against the makers of the Kony 2012 video. The sad reality is that even though what is happening in these two cases is tragic, they are far from isolated instances in a world plagued with systemic inequalities. And when we are constantly confronted with stories like these, it’s hard to stay emotionally and intellectually engaged.

At church on Sunday, my pastor quoted a theologian who once said, “When there is numbness, there can be no newness.” What he was saying is that it’s not okay to look at injustices, shrug, and be satisfied with the explanation that “it is what it is.” Change can never come about if we allow ourselves to be desensitized and accept what should be unacceptable.

I’m thankful that there is evidence that we are not at that point yet. People have heard and read about Martin's story, perhaps even on Twitter, and in the past 3 weeks, more than 2 million have petitioned for the state to prosecute his killer. Last week, tweets bearing #IamTrayvon and #JusticeforTrayvon trended across the country. Responses haven't been strictly digital either. People all around America have organized protests and rallies to show support and demand justice.

LeBron and other tweeting advocates are doing a commendable thing by helping to bring cases like Martin's to light. It’s my hope that their 140 character tweets, while fruitless in and of themselves, continue to have the capacity to inspire action.

Texas Forever - New York, New York

New York, New York. I couldn’t let the guys be the only ones to talk about NYC. I’m a Texas girl at heart - born and bred in the Lone Star State - but I have a sense of adventure too! Like some of my fellow Gym Class All Stars, I’m heading to NYC this Thursday. It’s my first trip to the Big Apple, and I’ve been jamming Alicia Key’s “Empire State of Mind” to get me ready for the scenic views and the adventure.

So here’s where we pick back up on the Friday Night Lights fandom; a quote from the FNL episode titled “New York, New York” comes to mind. The episode starts with Jason Street telling some of the guys that he’s packing up and moving out of Texas. Tim Riggins asks Street, “Why would you want to leave Texas?” I too have wondered that a million times, but Street is on to something when he says, “Because it’s not about Texas anymore.”

The episode unpacks what happens after one dream dies; in this case, Jason Street’s dream to play football. Like any person who dreams of making it big, he has to live with the reality that his injury (oops - spoiler alert) prevents him from ever playing sports again. I’m sure a lot of athletes have to experience this, and I appreciate FNL for portraying that struggle in a very raw way.

Cue scenes of Riggins walking through NYC in cowboy boots and people staring at him like he’s straight out of a Western movie or something. The scenes continue to progress with both Street and Riggins completely out of their element and wandering around NYC. I certainly hope that doesn’t happen to me... but I digress.

Showing why he’s a true comeback kid, Street goes on to New York to pursue bigger and greater things by dreaming of becoming a sports agent. He experiences a lot of doors slamming in his face, and he’s told, “You’re living in a dream world, Brother. This is the big time, this is New York City. It’s not Dillon...” While I wasn’t the biggest Street fan through the series, it was an episode that had me commending Street for his efforts. Per usual, this FNL episode left me truly inspired by seeing Street moving on to this next chapter of his life.

Further takeaways from this episode -- besides the nice views of NYC and the comedic, stereotypical Texans looking out of place in the big city -- is to never give up. As cliche as that sounds, I know that a lot of athletes and people who are trying to “make it” experience unexpected setbacks and have to watch some dreams die. While I’m not going to NYC to find a new career (that I know of), it’s good to move on with life by trying new places and seeing what the world outside of Texas has to offer. However, one thing will always ring true in my heart - TEXAS FOREVER.

Photo courtesy of

Monday, March 26, 2012

Asian America’s Team: GCAS at MSG

It had been 20 games since New York City was turned upside down with Jeremy Lin entering the lineup. Mike D’Antoni had just resigned or been fired two days prior, leaving Mike Woodson in charge of a sluggish under-achieving Knicks team. We had bought tickets to this game soon after Linsanity took the world by storm while planning a trip to New York City for Peter, Mok, and Hao. This would be their first experience in Madison Square Garden. We got there about ten minutes before 7:00 after a quick meal at Bon Chon only to hit the rush. Storming MSG right before the start of a game can get quite crowded with the limited number of entry points into the stadium. Of course the guys were out-of-towners from Texas, so the feeling of being pushed up against hundreds of people trying to get into a few doors wasn't ideal.

We made our way up to the top level, and to my disappointment, I realize there wasn’t much when it came to food -- good thing we took care of dinner before we came. (A few weeks ago I had attended a Rangers game with Phil in which we had low level seats, and the food options were tremendous.) Once the game started, the atmosphere was amazing. There really is no place better for me to watch sports than at Madison Square Garden. The game ended up being a blowout, and before we knew it, Steve Novak had stolen the show once again. You could feel the excitement from the fans every time Novak touched the ball. It’s exciting that a fan favorite actually has the ability to be a game-changer like Novak and Jeremy Lin have been.
So after a five-game winning streak, Mike Woodson has shown his ability to get this team to play harder than ever before. This season has clearly been a season with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I am still very disappointed in Carmelo Anthony, especially since he has come out and admitted he is now trying harder than he was earlier under Mike D’Antoni. Defense is all about effort, and finally this team is playing with the intensity and urgency they need in a shortened season.
What we have learned is that the Knicks may not need a big-name coach; instead just one that motivates both Carmelo and Stat to put in their best effort. Mike Woodson has put most of his focus on the defense and has decided to let his stars dictate the offense. Of course we will see some tough losses like the recent one against Toronto, but for the most part this team is showing fight in most of their games. There are now some injury concerns, but with the new-found depth, there shouldn’t be a huge problem. Of course I want to see both Jeremy Lin and Amare Stoudemire on the court playing in the regular season, but I would rather see them healthy in the playoffs. Stoudemire should get the rest he needs for his back which sidelined him last year against the Celtics and ultimately removed any chance the Knicks had of winning a playoff game.

All in all, there is no place like Madison Square Garden, and I am glad that I was able to share that experience with a few of my good friends from Texas. There are many things that are overhyped in the Big Apple, but I am glad that watching a game at MSG isn’t one of them. Hopefully the Knicks' play can finally be worthy of a great home like this.

Next Asian America’s Team topic: The New JR Smith

Photos courtesy of Justin Lane/EPA

That Time I Met: John Lucas III

Did I ever tell you about that time I met John Lucas III?

It was October 3, 2007, and I was in the midst of my super senior year at UT Austin. The Houston Rockets train in Longhorn country to prepare for the regular season, so my friend Lawrence and I knew they were in town.  We just didn’t know exactly where they were staying.

We clocked some time in the R&D lab and blindly guessed that the players would most likely be residing at the Four Seasons.  So that night, we strolled into the hotel lobby trying to look as guest-like as possible, and after a couple minutes, we spotted 6’6” forward Kirk Snyder talking on his cell phone.  We quickly followed him into the elevator and watched as he pushed the button for the 5th floor.  He was still on the phone, but he looked over at us expecting us to push a button for our own floor, so Lawrence hit the 6th floor.

The elevator dinged at the 5, and I gave Kirk a slight head nod as he walked out.  The doors closed behind him, and Lawrence and I looked at each other and giggled with a giddiness that should only be familiar to teenage girls salivating over Justin Bieber.  (And yes, before you ask, this was before I hit the tipping point in my life when I was just as old, if not older, than professional athletes.  That feeling is worse than the no-Santa epiphany.)

Naturally, Lawrence and I made our way back to the 5th floor, and we paced up and down the hallway listening for clues as to which rooms might house T-Mac or Steve Francis.  Finally we decided we don’t want to be rude and/or realized we don’t have the cajones, so we regrouped in the elevator foyer to plot out the next step in our 007 mission.

Cue the entrance of our savior.  The team’s barber walked by, and he inquired if we were looking for autographs.  We sheepishly replied yes, and he informed us to return in the morning before the team gets on the bus for practice.

Fast forward about 10 hours.  We re-entered the hotel lobby with a renewed confidence and immediately observed Bonzi Wells returning from the breakfast buffet.  Insert Bonzi fat joke here.  We asked him for a picture, and he said, “yeah, just let me change first.” Spoiler alert: over five years later, Lawrence and I are still waiting for that picture.

Anyway, we made our way back to the 5th floor elevator lounge and set up camp.  We didn’t care about autographs; we just wanted a few pictures with the Rockets players.  So we stood there waiting, minding our own business, and then we met Carl Landry.  And then Dikembe Mutombo.  And then -- drumroll please -- John Lucas III.
In my humble opinion, JL3 should’ve just been happy that we recognized him, but he somewhat reluctantly took pictures with us before shuffling in the elevator to go downstairs.

A mere 10 minutes later, the elevator bell goes off, and Lawrence and I readied ourselves for the possibility to meet another NBA player.  The doors slid open, and success!  Another (former) NBA player!  It’s none other than -- drumroll please -- John Lucas II.  Also known as JL3’s father.

Next to JL2 is a member of the hotel staff, and she promptly asked us if we have a room at the Four Seasons.  We responded no, and the two of them then escorted us into the elevator.  We attempted to explain that we weren’t harassing the players; instead, we were politely requesting to take a simple picture with them.  The hotel staff then escorted us out of the building.  So at this point Lawrence and I were standing on the sidewalk 100 yards from the hotel entrance, chuckling over the transpired events, when the lady approached us again and tried to escort us across the street.  This is when we started getting mad, as there were literally random pedestrians walking right past us on the public sidewalk, and she threatened to call the police.  We smugly laughed at the thought of her bluff but turned to play the world’s slowest game of Frogger.  I am fully aware that I am on the brink of a dangerously long tangent, but I think it was an entertaining end to this fanboy tale.

Back to the point.  I don’t have the evidence to prove JL3 guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, but my take on the matter is that JL3 whined about Lawrence and I to his daddy, JL2, who promptly got us kicked off the premises.  Is there a shred of a chance that isn’t how it all went down?  Perhaps, but that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

Why do I bring all this up?  Gym Class All Stars’ resident hater Albert Nguyen remarked the other day that John Lucas III is better than Jeremy Lin and hinted that the reason JL3 wasn’t getting the same hype was because he’s not Asian.

JL3 has been playing well in the backup point guard role on the Chicago Bulls.  Could there be a semblance of a double standard here?  The race issue is of course a significant factor in the level of fandom, but the Bulls are clearly the better team.  Though MVP Derrick Rose has missed over 15 games due to various injuries, his teammates have collectively risen to the challenge and continue to boast of the NBA’s best record.  In contrast, the New York Knicks were riding the Q-train to lottery-ville before Lin went on his record-breaking run as a starter.

But of course, in the end, personally what it all comes down to is that Jeremy Lin seems to be a very likeable dude while John Lucas III is probably tattling on me to his daddy again.  Not cool, man.  Not cool.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday Night Fights: Round 3

This week we'll venture into a game between the Winnipeg Jets and Carolina Hurricanes. Both teams are poised to miss the playoffs, but hockey is still hockey -- there's still too much pride on the line to tank (unlike say... the NBA).

Now as enticing as it was to pick the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers opening period 3-fight extravaganza, I've got to show some love for some young up-and-comers. This week's combatants are Patrick Dwyer (Carolina) and Spencer Machacek (Winnipeg). I'll be honest -- I've never heard of them in my life, but that doesn't mean they don't know how to skate, stick handle, or throw a punch. And well, let's just say Mr. Machacek knows the latter.

Dwyer is in 4th semi-full season, all with the Hurricanes. Machacek is a young guy who has barely played in 15 NHL games, so you know he's got to make a name for himself. Nothing gets your name out there like taking it to someone.

He might not be a household name anytime soon, but now I know who Spencer Machacek is. No more high sticks when he's on the ice.

And as a bonus, just in case you wanted to see the 3-fight extravaganza at MSG:

Chase for the Cup in a few weeks!

Photos and video courtesy of, &

Party Foul: Everyone Associated with Jerry Sandusky

Violation: No action was taken after accusations of Jerry Sandusky's inappropriate behavior in 1998.

Explanation: We all know the story. In total, a grand jury has indicted Sandusky on 40 counts of sex crimes against young boys, 7 counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, 8 counts of corruption of minors, 8 counts of endangering the welfare of a child, 7 counts of indecent assault, and other undisclosed offenses. But this could and should have been prevented in 1998. Two conflicting reports of the '98 accusation have recently been made public. One report stated that "all the interactions reported can be typically defined as normal between a healthy adult and a young adolescent male." The other report cited "behavior that was consistent with a predator, a male predator, a pedophile." I mean, come on. What the hell was going on?

Penalty: I pray for the victims and their families, and I hope that justice will be served.

Photo courtesy of

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Saturday, March 24, 2012

In 140 Words or Less: John Carter Review

A Twitter/Blog hybrid, “In 140 Words or Less” is where you'll find quick thoughts on current events, music, movies, books, and pop culture.
Photo Courtesy of All Movie Wallpaper
The premise of John Carter was too awful/awesome to pass up: Taylor Kitsch (from one of CGAS’ favorite TV shows, Friday Night Lights) is a beef-cakey Civil War veteran transported to Mars to save the planet from destruction. Also, there’s a super power called the 9th ray, a convoluted father-daughter story line, and goddess mythology of giant 4-armed Martians. Or something like that. To be honest, I had to go home and Wikipedia the movie because I only followed maybe 70% of the plot. Special effects are decent but didn’t justify the $350 million they cost. The acting is adequate for what was required, and though the script is occasionally funny, it's mostly laughably bad. The best part of the movie is a character who is a crossbreed of Jabba the Hutt, Speedy Gonzales, and your childhood pet.

EPL Power Rankings - Prayers for Muamba

For those of you who don't follow EPL soccer, (which I can safely assume, is the majority of our readership), a player from the Bolton Wanderers, Fabrice Muamba, collapsed on the pitch last Saturday during a FA Cup match against my beloved Tottenham Hotspur. It was a tense and extremely shocking scene as Muamba was suffering from a cardiac arrest. The emergency medical staff on site at White Hart Lane was quick to respond and kept oxygen and blood coursing through his veins while working to restart his heart. For those of you who don't know me, I too suffered from a similar situation back in college where I was playing sports and suffered a cardiac arrest. If it wasn't for the quick thinking of a medical resident who was playing as well, I probably would not be writing this article today. Muamba's condition has improved, so my thoughts and prayers go out to Muamba, his family, friends, and team members as he continues his road to recovery.

Let's move on to the power rankings, which clearly, matter little when compared to a man's life:

Really Really TwoTiers:
(1) Manchester United – 70 pts – Took the Wolves tothe woodshed.
(2) Manchester City – 69 pts – Got it done vs.Chelsea
(3) Arsenal – 55 pts – Hottest team in the league rightnow.
(4) Tottenham – 54 pts – I hate soccer.
(5) Chelsea – 49 pts – Heartbreaking finish againstCity.
(6) Newcastle – 47 pts – Not good, not bad.
(7) Liverpool – 42 pts – Epic collapse.

Messy Middle:
(8) SwanseaCity – 39 pts – Just win, baby.
(9) Fulham – 36 pts – Completely outplayed bySwansea.
(10) Sunderland – 37 pts –Atough out, will get some teams fits down the stretch run.
(11) Everton – 37 pts – Luckydidn’t get blown out by Arsenal.
(12) Stoke City – 37 pts – Deserveda win vs. Spurs, but had to settle for a draw.
(13) Norwich City – 36 pts –Still here.
(14) West Bromwich Albion – 36pts – Who cares?
(15) Aston Villa – 33 pts – Match postponed.

The Relegation Zone:
(16) Blackburn Rovers – 28 pts –Almost out of the danger zone!
(17) Bolton Wanderers – 23 pts– Prayers and best wishes go out to Muamba.
(18) Queens Park Rangers – 25pts – That was a historic victory over LFC and could save them.
(19) Wolverhampton Wanderers –22 pts – Please relegate, now.
(20) Wigan Athletic – 21 pts –Still terrible.

Matchup Predictions

Last Week’s Record 6-3 (Boltonv. Villa postponed due to Muamba’s incident)
Cumulative Record 14-15 (Almost.500, so I'm about as good as a coin flip…)


Spurs at Chelsea - 1-3 - Our match of the week and my continued torture. Spurs have been reeling, having not won in 4 straight league matches. Chelsea will look for redemption after losing a close one against Man City. so I don't see them losing this one at Stamford Bridge.

Arsenal at Villa - 3-1 - Arsenal is running on all cylinders, should be cake.

Rovers at Bolton - 0-2 - Bolton comes out strong and will play to a pumped up home crowd.

Wigan at Liverpool - 1-3 - Just what the doctor ordered for LFC to forget Wednesday's loss.

Wolves at Norwich - 0-2 - Wolves are just bad right now.

QPR at Sunderland - 1-1 - I see the Hoops taking Sunderland to the brink, but the Cats hold for a draw.

Everton at Swansea - 0-2 - Hard to bet against the Swans right now.

City at Stock - 2-1 - Tough to play at Brittania, but City too talented.


Newcastle at WBA - 2-1 - Should be a good match, the Magpies will take it.


Fulham at United - 1-3 - Fulham will come out strong, but Sir Alex has the Red Devils in perfect position to take another league title.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

THE GCAST - Episode 6 - NYC Review and NFL Buzz

Inside this episode:
- GCAST crew takes a trip to NYC!
- Knicks game / Linsanity recap
- Ranking the pizza in New York
- Best foods in NYC
- Peyton Manning's signing with Denver
- Sean Payton's suspension from Goodell
- Tim Tebow's future with the Jets
- Champ/Chump of the week

Beer Pong Life Lessons

There are some holidays that need to be celebrated in specific places in order for you to experience them to their fullest degree. Mardi Gras in New Orleans. New Year’s Eve in Times Square. Carnaval in Rio.
Beer from a pub near Fenway Park. Glad it was so dimly lit that I couldn't see how radioactive this looks.

I think it’s safe to add to that list St. Patrick’s Day in Boston, where people of Irish descent make up the largest ethnic group. Until this past weekend, I hadn’t really witnessed St. Patty’s in this city because it’s always fallen during mid-terms while I was in grad school, and I am nothing if not a serious academic (Dad, I can hear you laughing all the way from Texas.)

The only notable SPD I'd had was duringmy senior year of college when I went to Dublin with a couple of friends. The day started with us watching the family-friendly parade and ended with us tagging along with a group of Spaniards we’d met on the street to a random club. (This is also known as the #1 way to get Taken, except that we wouldn’t have had Liam Neeson come to dropkick some European gangsters). We drank Guinness and Bailey’s, got down to beat-heavy house music, and met a host of international characters,including an Algerian whose first words to us were, “Hello, I used to be gay…

At the SPD parade in Dublin
While this all sounds fairly exciting on paper, Dublin itself wasn’t as crazy as we thought it would be. It wasn’t until after we got back that we realized that St. Patrick’s Day, much like Cinco De Mayo, is in actuality just an excuse for Americans to get fall-on-your-face daytime drunk.

This year, my friends and I toyed with the idea of going on a pub crawl on Saturday. However, after seeing firsthand a drunken rendition of Sweet Caroline and spending two hours at a pub screaming to make ourselves audible to someone 6 inches away, we decided to retreat to a quiet apartment and celebrate SPD with another time-honored American tradition: beer pong.

I didn’t play much in college, as most of my friendswere more into flip cup. I guess this makes sense since it’s a more efficient/dangerous game than beer pong in that is allows more participants, requires less skills, and has a quicker turnover rate.

But I’m starting to see the merits in beer pong. In fact, it’s not too far of a stretch to say that it’s helped me learn some important life lessons.

“…Life lessons? Really?” you ask incredulously. I get why you’re skeptical. Beer pong somehow simultaneously legitimizes and trivializes binge drinking as a game and, when played irresponsibly, can lead to some pretty rough nights. But stick with me as I count down 6 nuggets of wisdom I gleaned from something that seemingly has no redeeming qualities.

6. Know what is at stake. As in many competitions, there may be a wager to make things a little more interesting. Sometimes what’s on the line is simply bragging rights; other times it may be a meal or a drink. One time I got bamboozled into baking cupcakes in exchange for my very willing opponents to drink my beer. (What’s that saying about a sucker being born every second?) During a particularly brutal game, my partner and I hit exactly 0 cups before losing, though, in my defense, it was the third or fourth game of an off night and I was drinking for the both of us. The consequence of getting blanked was my partner being forced to do anaked lap around the apartment in the dead of a Boston winter. (Don't worry, he's a dude and I think he may have been given small cardboard box, which I am sure was more than adequate for blocking out wind chills in the negatives.) Bottom line: Only risk what you can accept losing.

5. Choose your partner wisely. As illustrated in the lesson above, your well-being is inextricably dependent on who is standing nextto you. Pick someone who can’t contribute, brings a toxic energy, or is otherwise unsupportive, and your morale will be low while your drowning liver is shooting SOS flares and grasping onto a life vest for dear life. But if you choose someone who cheers you on when you make a clutch shot, tells you that they’re still on your side when you hit a slump, and is equally matched in skill and commitment, then you can’t be too upset no matter what the outcome.

4. Be aware of who your opponents are. Obviously you want to make sure that you’re not in over yourhead when you accept or extend a challenge. Know your adversaries’ abilities and game tactics. One of my friends stretches out his arms and shoulders before a game as if we were entering a weightlifting competition, while another friend has learned to get in the head of an opponent by bouncing the ball on the flooronce before giving it back. I’m not above a little Reggie Miller jawing myself, even though that cockiness is pretty much never justified.

3. Practice, practice, practice. This is the often-quoted advice given to people who are looking to improve just about any skill, and beer pong is no different. At this point, I realize that I am dangerously close to endorsing binge drinking as a sport. My lawyers have insisted that I assure you that I am not. Which leads me to…

2. Know your limits. Like we’ve said before, being that girl/guyis not a good look on anyone. Being aware of how you far you can go isimportant to keeping yourself safe, and more importantly, free of any embarrassing photos and videos that will surely be uploaded to Facebook and Twitter.

1. You have to aim for a specific cup. In the beginning, you really only need to shoot for red. There are times when a wild shot somehow makes its way in or you get a friendly bounce that knocks out two cups. But as the number of Solo cups whittles away, you can no longer settle for throwing at a general vicinity. If you want to win, you need to line yourself up with your target, take a deep breath, and remember tofollow through.

Of course, there is an appropriate time and place for BP shenanigans. It generally involves an apartment full of responsibility-free kids in their 20s because, let's face it, you don't wanna be the weird old guy hanging out with a bunch of kids in a frat house. But if you happen to be in this wonderful time and place and someone gives you judgin' eyes when you suggest a game of BP, just tell them that you're working on building character.

Party Foul: Andrew Bynum

Violation: Andrew Bynum ejected after his 2nd technical foul against the Houston Rockets.

Explanation: This happened at the end of the 3rd quarter with his team up 6 points in a game that the Rockets eventually came back to win in dramatic fashion. After getting ejected, he continues to mouth off to the ref, high-fives all of his teammates and all the fans in the front row, finally leaves the court, and doesn't watch the rest of the game. Instead, he sits by himself on the team bus and "waits for everybody to get out of there." Grow up, kid.

Penalty: In all likelihood, Kobe doesn't have enough in the tank to carry you to another championship, and I will celebrate like a madman upon your exit from the playoffs. Also, Peter Wang owns you on his fantasy team, and I'll make sure you don't win a championship in fantasy basketball either. Now go stand in the corner for a timeout while the grown ups chat.

Photo and video courtesy of Derick E. Hingle, US Presswire and YouTube

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Bring Tebow Home

Tebowmania was all over the sports media world this past season. Every sports show wasn’t complete unless there was some kind of Tebow reference. It divided experts and fans across the NFL landscape, and Tebow became the most polarizing athlete in his generation. There was no middle ground -- you either hate him or love him. It turns out Elway doesn’t love him as the Denver Broncos announced that they will be signing Peyton Manning. The first question that came to my mind had nothing to do with Peyton Manning or the Denver Broncos; instead my mind was focused on what would happen to Tim Tebow. Will he stay and try to learn behind Manning, or will he be traded to the highest bidder for pennies on the dollar? I do not disagree with the choice Bronco management chose, especially since it was clear they were not going to form this team to take advantage of Tebow’s strengths and skill sets.

I will be the first to admit that I was and still might be a Tim Tebow hater. I went so far as to explain how I felt in my article, “Tebowing”, in which I outlined the reasons why as much as I hated Tebow, I still respected him for what he does. But now I am tired of all the experts saying this guy isn’t a lock to be a starting quarterback in the league. It’s ironic how our eyes can be the reason why we become so blind -- what we see deceives us into believing something that might not be true. Many sports analysts are claiming that no team will seriously pursue trading for Tim Tebow in the coming weeks because they still do not believe in his ability to be a starter. They also point out that no coach will want to put their top quarterback through what Kyle Orton had to endure in Denver. Orton couldn’t get his team to win, and Tebow could. The truth lies in the wins and shouldn’t have to do with what we actually see. The end justifies the means (or so I thought) when it comes to sports. Winning makes everything else irrelevant, yet no one wants to admit that without Tim Tebow, the team doesn’t come close to making the playoffs; nevertheless win a playoff game.

I wish Denver would consider keeping Tebow and letting him learn behind a great like Peyton Manning. It could just be like his freshman year at Florida when he would only come in for a key plays for the starting quarterback Chris Leek. Of course this is unconventional for the NFL, but maybe that’s what this league needs. The NFL (No Fun League) needs to shake it up and stop being so stubborn. Innovation is a huge risk for coaches and management, and rarely do people want to take a chance because that’s what gets you fired. I am sure drafting Tim Tebow in the first round didn’t help Josh McDaniels keep his job. Tim would be excited and humble if given the chance to learn from an NFL great like Peyton, but the fact that he has become so marketable and lucrative for the league makes it seem obvious that Tebow will indeed be fighting for a starting role elsewhere.

This leads to the next question -- where would be a good landing spot for Tim Tebow? I have come up with a few teams that should seriously consider trading for Tebow: the New York Jets, Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins, and Jacksonville Jaguars.

New York Jets- The Jets have expressed interest even though they just gave Mark Sanchez big money. The team should have shown more patience instead of signing Sanchez out of desperation when they realized they had no chance at Peyton Manning. Tony Sparano is the new offensive coordinator, and it's true that he would like to run the wildcat in some form while in New York. Rex Ryan has always wanted to turn the Jets into a ground and pound team, and Tebow provides both options for this team. Mark Sanchez can only manage a team at best, and he gives his teammates no confidence going into a crucial game. This defense is still one of the best units in the league, and there are enough weapons on the other side of the ball to take advantage of Tebow’s strengths.
Cleveland Browns- The Browns need much more than just a quarterback, but management/fans feel a need for a new QB even though there is no real talent on this current roster. From my past article on Colt McCoy, it is certain that I would not be a fan of this choice, but it is a strong possibility.

New England Patriots- Bill Belichick has always been unconventional and seems to find talent in many different ways. During the 2010 NFL draft, many expects actually thought the Patriots would take a chance on Tebow in a later round. Of the five scenarios, this is the only one that doesn’t have Tebow starting next season, but Tim would come in for special packages and could be a new wrinkle in the ever-changing Patriots offense. Tebow could start in the back field with Brady, giving them another running option or rolling out for a pass. Bill Belichick was willing to line up Aaron Hernandez as a running back in the playoffs -- with Tim Tebow back there, the options are endless. While set up in a power formation, you would have Tebow, Gronkowski, and Hernandez all on the field. Tom Brady would have the option of going to Wes Welker in single coverage in the flat or hand it off to Tebow.  Tim could then use a tight end as a lead blocker or dump a pass off to either tight end after the linebackers commit to stopping the run. If the asking price drops far enough, I am sure Belichick wouldn't mind picking up Tim Tebow on the cheap.
Miami Dolphins- This wouldn’t be Gator nation with the “U” right there, but it is still in the state of Florida. Tebow would be a huge fan draw and would bring energy back to a franchise that has had little to cheer for since the retirement of Dan Marino. Reggie Bush is a perfect compliment runner for Tebow, who can get to the outside quickly and run the option play -- the two of them together could be dynamic. The Dolphins have a sure-handed tight end in Anthony Fasano, which gives Tebow an option he loved in college but hasn't had in the NFL. Matt Moore finished the season very well, so management might be worried about how Tebowmania will affect their ability to put the best quarterback on the field.

Jacksonville Jaguars- This is home for Tim Tebow. He played his high school ball just outside the city. This team needs to acquire him if they want fans to drive to the ball park and save the team from a necessary move. The Jaguars played so poorly last year that they have nothing to lose by bringing in Tebow. They have a great running back in Maurice Jones-Drew who will benefit from Tebow’s ability to run. Jacksonville would quickly become one of the best running teams in the league. Blaine Gabbert is not your long-term quarterback -- he is the poster boy of why scouts need to rethink a player's abilities for the NFL. He looks like a top quarterback, and he has the arm strength, speed, and quickness, but none of this matters if he isn’t able to win. Just like in the book Moneyball, the NFL shouldn’t be about how a player does in the gym, what body type he has, or his throwing motion. The question is: does this player win football games? Tebow has always won; the same cannot be said about Blaine, not even in college. This franchise is falling apart, and in my opinion, their only option now is to go all out for Tim Tebow and bring him home.

Photos courtesy of Sports Illustrated Julie Jacobson/AP, Jack Demsey/AP, and Sam Greenwood/Getty Images