Tag Archives: ESPN

Wicked excited about college football!

So “wicked” is one of those words that surfaces in my vernacular about two or three times a year. But yesterday I caught myself saying, aloud, and over phone lines, “I’m wicked excited about college football.” I blame a long lost high school friend who moved to my podunk (I say that lovingly!) Virginia town for peppering my vocabulary with these occasional New England-isms.

Anyway, if I say wicked, I actually mean it… or at least in its slang definition.

Yes, college football is back. Last night several games were on, but I tuned in to the NC State-South Carolina game & channel flipped with DNC excitement in Denver. “The other USC” knocked in a field goal in the waning seconds of the 2nd quarter in an otherwise scoreless first half. Despite hanging with the Gamecocks early, the Wolfpack got pummeled in the second half. Spurrier’s South Carolina posted 34 to NC State’s blank score.

Anyway, the thing I took away most from the game was the halftime show (I’ll admit, I did a lot more watching of Obama’s speech last night, which by the way was fantastic). I was shocked and dismayed to find out that ESPN is now doing a Dr. Lou segment in lieu (oh, I’m so clever…) of Lou’s Pep Talk. Lou’s pep talks were awesome last year! I figured they had a long future ahead so long as Lou Holtz continued his broadcasting career with the network.

In this new Dr. Lou segment, Lou Holtz (former Notre Dame and South Carolina head coach), pretends to be a psychiatrist that counsels big names around college football. Yesterday, Dr. Lou dispensed advice to Lloyd Carr, former coach of Michigan. Lloyd Carr had an admirable run at Michigan’s helm, but will probably will always be remembered for his team’s big upset loss against Appalachian State in the home opener last year. He resigned from his post at last season’s conclusion. Dr. Lou articulated the keys to a decent life outside of the realm of coaching to Carr: having someone to love, something to look forward to, and something to hope for. Dr. Lou delivered his wisdom in a faux shrink’s office and in front of a phony doctor of football philosophy diploma. While I didn’t mind this new segment, it certainly lacked the splendor and firepower of his pep talks of old. Maybe the segment’s luster will build in the coming weeks.

Nonetheless, R.I.P. Lou’s Pep Talks. You’ll be missed. Here was one of my favorites from last year that Lou gave for Michigan right after the Appalachian State loss last year. I guess Michigan is a favorite team for Holtz to reach out and embrace:

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June is for Hockey, of course

So other than a very brief stint in elementary school, I’ve never really watched much NHL. I remember one Christmas when I was younger I got a Pittsburgh Penguins jacket and was pretty psyched, but growing up in the Richmond area, there just weren’t rinks around for hockey, let alone ice skating. We eventually did get a rink, in late high school, but by that point I had already picked up just about every other sport and had been playing for years. Other than the semester I briefly considered taking it for a PE credit (and instead opted for skiing), the sport rarely entered my radar.

Anyway, my brother just graduated from college in Pittsburgh and I got to spend a few weeks on the East Coast during this past month, and during much of it I had some quality time to hang out with him. Well apparently in his last year he’s become quite a fan of the hometown Penguins. It was fun talking to him about it, and his sudden enthusiasm certainly piqued my interest. We caught a few moments of an early playoff game at a bar right before his graduation dinner (in Pittsburgh) and I caught several more of the Stanley Cup games this week.

Anyway, like any good kid who has over 30 (40? 50?) relatives in the Pittsburgh area, I have (re-)decided my team was the Penguins. I caught several of the games this past week including an unbelievably exciting triple-overtime Stanley Cup game 5. The last 3 minutes of game 6 weren’t a slouch either. After an electrifying win in game 5, the Pens fell in the waning tenths-of-a-second in game 6, to the Detroit Red Wings. It was a hard fought series, and hopefully NBC‘s decision to air several of the final games will result in the sport gaining more fans. I know this is one of them. I look forward to the return of Crosby, Malkin, and the boys, and their taking of the Cup next year (bandwagon much?).

Pittsburgh’s game winning goal for 4-3 victory in triple overtime of Stanley Cup game 5.

Other headlines: Celtics vs Lakers in the NBA Finals. I can’t bear to listen to any further ESPN analyses rehashing past Celts/Lakers matchups from the Magic Johnson-Larry Bird era. I can almost guarantee that in the coming years the current (2008) Finals will be of no comparison to the nostalgia of the old contests.

Picture Source: NY Daily News
http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/hockey/2008/06/02/2008-06-02_penguins_tie_red_wings_late_in_regulatio.html

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He definitely has that sun-kissed, next Dan Marino look.

When you see this face what do you think?


This guy is a total dork.
Is he a scientist? An aerospace engineer?
Man, I bet that guy got beat up a lot as a kid.

Well, believe it or not non-sports fans, but this guy is a football correspondent for ESPN. And no, his talents aren’t relegated to writing and behind-the-scenes pursuits. This guy is a regular sportscaster on a number of ESPN programs.

The guy, John Clayton, is actually pretty knowledgeable, and not in that spouting off statistics kind of way. He’s qualified. He’s well-spoken. I will never know how he broke into the business though, because it’s hard to believe an overly nerdy face like this has found a successful career in broadcasting, let alone the television sportscape (is that a word?) which is dominated by ex-players and well groomed guys, who for the most part, look and sound like jocks.

Everyone at some time or another has heard that if you must beautiful and can’t have a discernable accent if you want to break in, and furthermore, stay in, broadcasting. Honestly, how many ugly people do you see delivering you your local news? It’s not that Clayton’s voice soothes the listener either, like a Morgan Freeman or Dennis Haysbert (of 24 and Allstate commercials fame). This guy has somehow slipped through America’s harsh judgmental cracks and made a broadcasting career for himself based on merit, not beauty.

This is not to say that Clayton is ugly, as he certainly isn’t. He is however, not handsome, and yes, he is outrageously geeky-looking. He looks like the last person you’d expect to know anything about football, and seeing him on TV analyzing the NFL Draft and other such news causes a huge disconnect between my expectations and what I actually see on TV.

Though Clayton has worked in this capacity for ESPN for several years, I still can’t get myself to get past his appearance. Perhaps this makes me shallow, but in a glamor-obsessed media landscape (yes, that is a word!) John Clayton is the ultimate enigma. Despite his qualifications however, I will always look at him and think, “What does this guy know about football?”, “He would get massacred if he ever stepped on a field and played a down!”, and “Why isn’t this guy using his intellect to make a killing in the stock market or conducting neurological tests in some obscure wing of a psychiatric hospital?”

Or then again, maybe he is for all that we know, and leading a clandestine double life.

Picture Source: Tan13506’s Xanga Site
http://www.xanga.com/tan13506/478323381/item.html

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