Posts from — April 2010
One was the “Big Ben” saga, which culminated in the Steelers quarterback receiving a six game suspension from the NFL. Well deserved and kudos to the commissioner for taking that stance. The other story that got a lot of play was “the drafting of Tim;” Tebow that is.
I found a few things interesting about both of those stories. The first, and to me most obvious, was the juxtaposition of the two stories-one guy is a two time Super Bowl winner, by all accounts one of the best players at his position in the league. Off the field he has major question marks; issues regarding his judgment, maturity and suggestions of misogyny.
I think Ben Roethlisberger got what he deserved and actually got off lightly. Consider this point of view; he works in an exclusive field at a job only 30+ other people in the world are performing. He is earning millions at this job, is a high-profile personality and at 28 is already incredibly wealthy. He jeopardized this and risked a criminal trial and subsequent jail time to get it on with a 20 year old college student in a bar. That I believe tells you everything you need to know about him.
Tim Tebow is a deeply religious young man, a fiery competitor on the football field who has won team and individual accolades at the University of Florida. The scheme he played in college while successful doesn’t translate well to the pros (see Smith, Alex, Utah and the 49ers.)
Tebow is the type of guy you want on your team, you want leading your team, but can he play in the NFL? I hope he can but I suspect he can’t. How tragic is it that the guy you want to see succeed and root for is limited in his potential ceiling while the jerk you don’t want to root for will be collecting million dollar paychecks into the foreseeable future?
For the record, I still think Tebow is a major reach as a 1st round pick, but I sincerely hope he gets a legitimate shot at being an NFL quarterback. I also do think that the whole Roethlisberger incident contributed to Tebow being a 1st round pick, with the emphasis being currently placed on character. Call it the Bill Clinton effect, where the behavior of one person is so polarizing that it creates a 180 degree reactionary turn……that being said, sports need more good guys.
The 116th Penn Relays were held this past week in Philadelphia. As a Jamaican (and a proud Jamaica College alum,) I have always enjoyed going to Penn Relays. Most years i’m rooting for the teams of the other high schools, but the Penn Relays experience is so much bigger than the schools themselves. It’s about the atmosphere, the engaging crowds, the festival like energy in the streets and the stadium and above all, the pride.
For my generation of Jamaicans and the generation of my parents, track and field is a way of life. The casual fan might think the success of Bolt, Powell, Fraser et al is a new thing, but we know. Jamaica, a country of slightly over two million people has been a major force in track and field, especially the sprint events, for over 50 years. Our country may be one fifth the size of a state like California, but our world leading achievements have long outgrown our little island.
Our success is not only reflected in the names of those who have represented Jamaica, but also athletes who have left Jamaica and represented other countries. The annals of American, Canadian and British track and field over the last half-century was built in no small part on the efforts of Jamaicans and athletes of Jamaican descent, a tradition that continues to this day.
I’ll name three for starters: Linford Christie, the British sprinter and former Olympic gold medalist, Donovan Bailey, former 100 meter record holder who competed for Canada, and the best US female 400 meter runner ever, Sanya Richards-Ross.
Like i’ve explained to people who seem surprised at our success time and again: Dominicans play baseball, Brazilians play soccer, Texans play football and Jamaicans run track. Its what we do, and it’s that simple.
The annual Penn Relays three day meet is the best relay competition in the northeast and arguably the best track meet in the US. The announced crowd of 54,000 on Saturday April 24th 2010 was the largest crowd ever to attend the Penn Relays, and a casual eyeball count would estimate about 3/4 of that crowd was decked out in green and gold. The Jamaican contingent travels annually from New York, Georgia, Texas and all points in between to root for their favorite team/athlete/school. They are knowledgeable, respectful and passionate, and there is no greater feeling than to hear 40,000 Jamaicans chanting JA-MAI-CA! in unison.
If you are a Jamaican living in the US and have never attended the Penn Relays, put it on your bucket list-you will walk away filled with pride.
Finally, i’m checking out the NBA playoffs, and for my money, Brandon Jennings should be the Rookie of the Year. Evans is a really nice player on a losing team, Curry is a great shooter, but Jennings has his team in the playoffs and is a major reason why they made it there.
I’m out-Let’s go Lakers!
April 26, 2010 Comments Off
The NFL draft is coming up, and some things have already happened that has shaken the order of things.
Item number 1-McNabb to Washington. Hey, I like Donovan McNabb, but Philadelphia never warmed to him and he is probably better off in a different city with a clean slate. Dont get me wrong, McNabb brought some of this on himself; his attempts to keeo the team loose with his pre-game and sideline antics didnt come across well to a lot of people, and the fact that he couldn’t win the Super Bowl in his one appearance (an appearance where he seemed to be battling nerves or exhaustion(?)to put it nicely) didnt help his cause. His record however speaks for itself, and he will be in the Hall of Fame, right next to Jim Kelly, Fran Tarkenton and Archie Manning, three other quartebacks who also couldnt win the big one and went through a lot less criticism than McNabb. I wish him well.
Item 2-The draft. Im on record months ago as saying that Sam Bradford should go #1 to St. Louis. I think he will and i’m hoping with McNabb now in Washington, they pass on a QB and then Jimmy Claussen falls to the Raiders picking eighth. Good luck to the premier OJD player in this draft (of Jamaican descent) Ndamukong Suh.
Tim Tebow a 1st round pick?!? Someones joking right?
Item 3-Keeping the NFL theme, the NY Jets. I like the Jets; i’m a Raiders fan first, but of the 2 local teams, I have always rooted harder for the underdog Jets. I like what they’ve been doing with Rex Ryan, but the moves made this offseason were not good ones. Thomas Jones gone and replaced by Ladanian Tomlinson? Not a good choice. Antonio Cromarite? And now Santonio Holmes? Two recent, high pick, first round draftees who were given away by their teams. Two players (and in the case of Cromartie PLAYA) who bring baggage to a team one game away from the Super Bowl.
I’m not questioning the talent of these new additions, but I am questioning their character. Talent alone might get you some success, but character will maintain the success. And yes, character wins in every sport. If the Jets do not win the Super Bowl this season, what role will these individuals have played in that on and off the field?
Item 4-Ben Rothlisberger.
Whether he is charged with a crime or not, there is no question that he comess off looking like a major scumbag. The question for the NFL now is not whether he actually raped two women, it is and should be how long a suspension does he get? Yes, I believe he absolutely deserves a suspension for at a minimum showing a complete lack of commen sense. Again. For the third time, if you include the bone headed motorcycle accident with no helmet.
Ok, Commisioner Goddell, we know you like to come down hard on some players (Plaxicio, Vick etc.,) lets see how hard you come down on this particular a-hole.
Item 5-I watched two games in the last two weeks that left me amazed. Barcelona v. Arsenal and El Clasicio; Barcelona v. Real Madrid. I am a fan of Cristinao Ronaldo and Real Madrid, but there is no question who is the best player in the world right now. Leonel Messi is on another level, another dimension. The 4 goals against Arsenal, presently the second best team in the toughest league (the EPL) in the world, was a thing of wonder. He followed it up by another magnificent strike against Madrid in the showcase match of the worlds two best players.
What happened immediately before that goal showed you a lot about him. Madrid played a very physical game, fouling the Barca players and engaging in a lot of pushing, elbows and hard tackles. Immediately before his goal, Messi was knocked down by a Madrid defender. He got up, ran towards the penalty box, received the free kick pass from his teammate, beat two defenders and put the ball past one of the best goalkeepers in the world. Incredible stuff that only Messi has shown the ability to do on a consistent basis.
The only remaining issue is whether Messi, under the guidance of Maradona, can channel that mastery into a World Cup title for Argentina. We shall see.
Penn Relays next weekend. Whats up Philadelphia! The Jamaicans are coming!
April 13, 2010 Comments Off