Confession time: I have a bad relationship with GIFs. I'm 100 percent alone on this one, I know, especially among young Internet sports types. But to me, GIFs are like "Harlem Shake" videos — hilarious visual gag at first, until you become so inundated that you go numb and begin to hate the person who bought you your first computer and sent you on this horrible, soul-killing journey into the heart of the Internet. (Important note: This is for comedy GIFs only it doesn't go for the ones that are just meant to show a sweet dunk, a great goal, or any of the other sincere uses of the form.)
Watching a GIF, I get the weird sense that I'm being manipulated, as though I'm laughing begrudgingly at a stand-up comedian whose only bit is to hit himself in the face with a baking pan. The endless repetition is supposed to be what gives the image its humor, but something about it drives me crazy. It's like we're making snark-commodities out of human moments. (Actually, pretend I just said something along the same lines, but less pretentious.)
This is my only soapbox. I only care about destroying the GIF culture. But after all that big talk, I have to admit that I still laugh at the really good ones that transcend the medium, like Ben McLemore dancing. And the reason I'm mentioning it now is that I violated my own principles and yeah, made a GIF. I couldn't help it:
I know I should have stuck to my guns, but the way the cameraman went into soft focus on Kelly and readjusted to the fan doing the White Raven arms — it's like he was begging me to make a GIF. He was my serpent, and his comic shot was the forbidden apple. I hope this isn't the start of a slippery slope, but in three months you'll probably find me lying face down in a dark Internet cafe, dead from a GIF overdose.
In case you were busy singing John Philip Sousa tunes with your loved ones, here's what you missed in sports on Monday.
The New York Knicks overcame a 22-point deficit and a knee injury to Carmelo Anthony to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers, 102-97. Anthony, who's day-to-day with knee stiffness, said after the game, "I'm glad we won, but I'm really just glad Pablo Prigioni didn't put up a career night. I'm not at all ready for Prigloonacy."
In case you were busy deciding which of your biceps should be nicknamed Air Force One in honor of Presidents Day, here's what you missed in sports on Monday.
The Anaheim Ducks won their fifth game in a row, holding off the Columbus Blue Jackets, 3-2, at home. Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau was pleased with the win, saying, "I didn't used to enjoy playing against Columbus because I thought they were named for some sort of Ohio-based mutant wasp species. I don't much care for wasps at all." Boudreau went on to say, "But when I found out their name is a reference to the American Civil War, well, as a Canadian, that doesn't affect me nearly as much as wasps. I really don't care for wasps at all. If someone wanted to make a scary team name, they should go with the Wasps."
In case you were out getting arrested while rehearsing your Les Misérables flash mob, here's what you missed in sports on Monday.
The Chicago Bulls held the Atlanta Hawks to 20 first-half points en route to a 97-58 win in Chicago. It was the fewest points the Hawks had scored in a game since 1955, the year the shot clock was introduced, when they scored just 57 against the Boston Celtics. "I can't believe you clowns," joked Bulls coach and amateur insult comic Tom Thibodeau after the game. "One fewer basket, and we would've really stuck it to that old nincompoop Red Auerbach. He hasn't been had that bad since someone replaced one of his stogies with an exploding cigar. I guess you kidders will just have to win nine championships now to make it up to me. Am I right? Now which of you buffoons wants to get silly and see this ol' wisecracker work out some new material down at the Chuckle Bin?" There were no immediate takers, but Thibodeau thought he could get Kirk Hinrich to bite if he picked up the tab on the club's two-drink minimum.
Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has been ruled out for the remainder of the postseason after reinjuring his broken arm in New England's game against Houston on Sunday. "I thought it was worth playing through it, and Coach thought playing was the right choice." Gronkowski said to the media. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick quickly interjected, "Thinks. Not thought. Coach thinks playing is the right choice."
When my wife read Friday's post, she asked me why I cared who was the beefiest or bulkiest player in the country. And I have to tell you guys I didn't have a good answer. Let's move on to this week's epiphanies and observations.
A few years ago Brian Britt realized he had to make a change. College football season was approaching, and he needed a new way to find out who was best equipped to lead his team. The pace of the game was speeding up, and the evidence was right in front of him. When Britt had first come to the University of Oklahoma, Mike Leach, who had helped popularize the fast-moving “Air Raid” attack, was offensive coordinator. Now Leach was winning at conference rival Texas Tech, legions of programs had adopted similarly swift styles, and the pressure was on for Britt to find a way to adjust.
College football fans in the past decade have been witness to an explosion in the number of teams who play fast. Hurry-up, Air Raid, zone read, spread — whatever name an offensive scheme answers to, the end result is the same: a headache for the opposition, who often can't get off the field quick enough to substitute. But just as the players on the field and coaches on the sideline have been forced to contend with the changing speed of the game, so, too, have the play callers in the stands. Because Britt, you see, isn't a defensive coordinator: He's the director of the Pride of Oklahoma, the Sooners' marching band.
It first occurred to me that Britt's job may have gotten more difficult over the past 10 years while watching the annual intrastate rivalry game with the Oklahoma State Cowboys that's lovingly referred to as “Bedlam.” The game was the 107th of its kind. It was also the first to go to overtime. And in the waning moments of regulation, as the Sooners hurried toward a game-tying touchdown, I first noticed something that years of watching college football had trained me to ignore: the band.
On November 3, on a third-quarter drive against Oklahoma State, Kansas State’s Collin Klein was showing why he was the best quarterback in the nation. He passed and ran and finally plunged into the end zone. But Klein got hurt. Afterward, a source told Yahoo’s Dan Wetzel that Klein “could not recall the details of the drive, including the fact he scored.” The Wildcats coaches took Klein’s helmet away. He spent the final quarter and a half standing on the sideline.
Two weeks later, Collin Klein wasn’t even playing like the best quarterback in the Big 12. In a 28-point loss to Baylor, he threw three picks. He ran for a 2.3 yards per carry. When he walked off the field, he’d lost the Heisman, his shot at an undefeated season, the works.
What happened is obvious, no? Klein got hurt on November 3, and he hasn’t been the same since. But we’ll never know for sure, because between Point A and Point B, Kansas State launched one of college football’s classic misinformation campaigns. It involved Klein, his family, and the Wildcats’ sainted coach, Bill Snyder. It served to obscure why a great quarterback, the guy called Optimus Klein, became mortal overnight.
I'm not sure the world is ready to handle too much serious discussion about Duke football, so I'll make this quick. All I ask is that you look at these rankings. OK, not at the rankings themselves; look a little lower, the "also receiving votes" section. Where the real teams hang. See that team with three votes in the AP poll, and 10 votes in the USA Today poll? Ranked 36th and 34th, respectively? That, my friends, is the pride of Durham, going places where they're not known or expected or wanted. Or invited.
How can I communicate the strangeness of seeing them on that list? How incredibly weird this feels for Duke football fans? Imagine if Paul Ryan showed up at tonight's debate wearing a Phish bandanna and a Grateful Dead poncho, and insisted on coming out to the sunshine part from that "Age of Aquarius" song. (I'm not even sure they make Grateful Dead ponchos anymore, and the ESPN research people get mad when you make that kind of request, so you'll just have to picture it.) That's how unlikely this feels. Everything is clicking with a backup quarterback named Anthony Boone, and if they beat Virginia Tech in Blacksburg this weekend, there's even a chance they could be ranked for the first time since 1994. At that point, I would start buying canned goods and digging some kind of apocalypse tunnel that would almost certainly collapse on itself within an hour or two.
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Wednesday.
The NCAA accepted Baylor's self-imposed penalties for impermissible phone calls and text messages sent to recruits, and put the program on three years' probation. "If they think I need a phone to keep in touch with recruits, they're nuts," said men's coach Scott Drew, who then phoned his secretary demanding two Dixie cups and 100 million feet of string.
An Associated Press review of Bobby Petrino's business phone records revealed that he texted Jessica Dorrell 4,300 times over the past seven months in a relationship that resulted in Petrino's dismissal from Arkansas after the two were involved in a motorcycle accident. The texts did include photo and video content, but Dorrell would neither confirm nor deny that Petrino sent her pictures of Brett Favre's penis.
In case Yu were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Monday.
In his major league debut, Japanese phenom Yu Darvish overcame some early nerves to reach the sixth inning and help the Rangers secure an 11-5 win over the Mariners. Despite the victory, it was an unpleasant experiences for fans in Arlington, who upon hearing the name "Yu!" would turn and say, "Me?" "No, Yu," the person would respond, and the other guy would be like, "That's what I'm asking, me?" "No, I'm talking about Yu!" the first guy said, until a third guy was like, "SON OF A BITCH, HE MEANS YU DARVISH THE PITCHER! I HATE ABBOTT AND COSTELLO AND WORDPLAY SO MUCH!" And that's when the guns came out.
Second baseman Ian Kinsler said he and the Rangers have agreed to a five-year, $75 million contract. "That's $75 million for Yu," the Rangers contract negotiator said, pushing the paper forward. Kinsler eyed him suspiciously as he signed. "For me, right?" The negotiator made a head motion that was almost like a nod. "All for Yu," he said, as he grabbed the signed contract. "Wait ... did I just sign over $75 million of my own money to Yu Darvish?" asked a panicked Kinsler. "Don't be Darvish-culous," said the negotiator as he sprinted out the door.
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports over the weekend.
The NCAA men's basketball championship will be contested Monday between Kentucky and Kansas. The Wildcats defeated in-state rival Louisville 69-62 in the first game of Saturday's Final Four, and the Jayhawks used a second half comeback to beat Ohio State 64-62 in the nightcap. Also, the NIT championship was played on Thursday night. Florida Panhandle Tech beat Rocky Mountain East 53-47, and I defy anyone to care enough to prove me wrong.
Kentucky's Anthony Davis became the first Kentucky player to win the Naismith Player of the Year Award, while Kansas' Bill Self won Coach of the Year. Meanwhile, Harrison Barnes won Entrepreneur of the Year, an award he invented and strong-armed the Better Business Bureau into presenting at an Embassy Suites conference center in Atlanta.
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Monday.
Tim Tebow was introduced to the New York media on Monday and told them that there is no quarterback controversy between Mark Sanchez and him. "Just like there's no Jesus controversy between Jesus and Mark Sanchez," he said, winking. "But seriously, I do forgive him."
In Thursday's post, Cincinnati, Ohio, took a win in this category by virtue of going up against Columbus, Ohio. Today, Cincinnati is back, this time representing Xavier, and it has another pretty light opponent in Waco, Texas.
I have never been to either place, but a quick Google search of "worst college towns" turned up Waco over and over and over again. So, in perhaps the biggest upset of the season, Cincinnati now has two wins in the "Better College Town" category. Don't shoot the messenger.