Wednesday, April 28, 2010

here are those oily musclemen you ordered

Today's post is about sports. You know, sports! I'll be covering the three major American sporting contests: basketball, baseball, and professional wrestling.

As of this writing the Utah Jazz are locked in a first round playoff battle with the Denver Nuggets. The series got off to a rough start when the Jazz lost badly and the Money Man was felled by a Trojan arrow. The Jazz went on to dominate the next three games and are up 3-1 on the series and looking mighty fine.

Maybe you don't care about that, but the thing you need to take away from it is that this man is coaching the Denver squad.

Look at that picture. Study it. Burn it into your memory. I feel like it may be the most important sports image of this or any generation.

That's Adrian Dantley, former Jazzman (obviously). I have one of his shoes in my possession and I'm not giving it back. If you watch any broadcast of the games the announcers are wont to remind you that Dantley played for the Jazz. They would also like you to remember that Jerry Sloan has been coaching a long time and that John McCain was a POW in Vietnam.

I went to one Jazz game during the regular season. The final game of the season in fact, vs. the Phoenix Suns. If the Jazz win that game, they get the #2 seed in the playoff. Lose, and they get #5. Sure to be a classic. One for the ages. A game you tell your kids about (if you're a bad parent).

The player introduction was exciting. And that's all I can say about that game.

This ended up being the worst live sporting experience of my life. To say the Jazz played lackadaisically is an insult to lackadaisians everywhere. Making matters worse was the whole gaggle of dorky Phoenix fans sitting in front of us, cheering every single play and holding up a big Arizona flag and just generally being dorks. I was so angry I couldn't even take a clear picture!

Well, it was a nice evening at least.

Considerably better was Game 3 of the playoffs. A game made boring in the 4th quarter because the Jazz were simply having their way with the Nuggets, like a lion toying with a jellyfish.

Now I'm not saying my seats were last row, but this was the view directly behind me.

Also it's baseball season.

The Bees are off to a rough start but they have some exciting young prospects. The Major League Twins are killing it so far, dominating their opponents like a jellyfish toying with a smaller jellyfish. I gotta say, I'm not a huge fan of Target Field so far. I miss the Metrodome and it's weirdo charm. Of course that's easy for me to say watching at home. Baseball outside is probably nicer than baseball in a tent.

What's going on here? WHAT ON EARTH IS GOING ON HERE?

Well that's pro wrestling of the WWE (formerly F) variety. I was huge nerd wrestling fan back in my younger days and recently my young brother has gotten back into it. He got front row tickets to a non-televised event and I went along. Man oh man it was fun! And unlike other, perhaps more "real" sports, with the wrestling the final result is almost always what you were rooting for.

Here Jack Swagger reacts to the agonizing pain of having someone kick the side of your calf with the top of their foot.

Here we have Cody Rhodes trying his darndest to rip Christian's arm clean off.

Occasionally they'll throw in something to appeal to the men.

I was close enough to the ring to warn that nice lady that with the way she kept bending over, we could all see her backside. Boy I bet she was embarrassed!

This guy, Lou Largeman, blatantly ignored the rules and tried to murder his opponent my crushing his larynx.

Here's a true story: I talked to that giant (The Giant) on the phone once when I worked in the hotel biz. He called to book a room for a vacation for him and his wife. I recognized his deep, otherworldly voice right away but never let on that I knew who he was. He was actually a really nice guy.

The main event featured a team-up of John Cena, HHH, and Sexy Boy Shawn HBK Michaels. Cena was so confident he openly mocked his opponents.

But maybe he didn't realize he was fighting Batista, the scariest man in the world.

Or Randy Orton, the second scariest.

While the bad guys preen and mock, the good guys plan out a strategy. That's what winners do.

Despite some back and forth action, near the end it really looked like the good guys were going to lose.

Somehow, SOMEHOW, they found some strength deep within and went on to score the victory!

Then they shared a nice tender moment.

Then HHH gave me a hi-five.

Go teams!

Monday, April 26, 2010

senseless violence!

Moments ago...

So! I'm driving home from watching the Jazz game (Jazz destroyed Denver, spoiler alert) in the comfortable confines of Park Street. It's taking me forever to get home because you know how if you miss one light on 19th East you miss them all? At a stop light I get to know the cars around me and see a shiny Honda full of kids and a trashier white car full of kids and a Jeep Cherokee full of who knows what. Everyone in every car seems to be sporting Utah Jazz gear so I figure I'm caught up in post game traffic and I'm thinking "good win fellas, good win!"

When 19th curves around and turns into Cottonwood Expressway, the Cherokee flips it's brights on, and now I think "That's not very nice, doesn't he know that's probably bothersome to the Honda in front of him?" Then the kids in the white car starts flipping off the Cherokee, and the Cherokee starts driving all crazy-like. Flashing his brights and whipping around the other cars and just behaving erratically. I'm hanging back watching this with growing suspicion. At this point there are no other cars around.

We get to the intersection where I would normally turn to go home. The Honda is in the left lane, the white car in the right lane, and the Cherokee in the right turn lane. I think everything is cool but notice that the Cherokee isn't turning. Why wouldn't it be turning? It's in the turn lane. I get closer and notice people getting out of the Cherokee. "Okay," I think. "They all must be buddies just horsing around." But I decide not to get into my turn lane, wanting to just make sure everything is cool. As I pull up right behind them I see a big white dude in a white shirt from the Cherokee yank open the back passenger door of the Honda, grab the kid with one hand and start BEATING the shit out of him. I've seen fights and been in a fights (well, in jr. high) but I've never seen anything like this. It was like pro wrestling, but real. The guy is just throwing haymakers at the kid. Big, violent swings. I couldn't believe it. I really just haven't seen anything like it before.

Without thinking at all, I simultaneously try to throw my car into park, flip on my brights, honk my horn, call 911, and undo my seatbelt and get out of my car. I don't know what I was planning on doing but I was running on instinct and felt like I had to stop it. It was horrible.

I'm not trying to puff myself up here, and as you'll soon find out I didn't actually do anything. It's just interesting. These things happen and you kind of black out. One time I saw a head-on collision right in front of me. I asked this poor bloodied schlub if he was okay and he screamed "I'm seriously hurt, please call an ambulance!" and I just stood there with my phone in my hand, completely frozen. I don't know how long I stood there but finally someone else ran up and said that they had called 911. You just don't know how you react in those situations.

Anyway, the Cherokee re-gathers its occupants and drives away. I jump back into my car and speed after it, I'm keeping a distance but close enough to notice it doesn't even have a license plate. Great! I finally get through to 911. Do you have an iPhone? Isn't it great? Well good luck trying to dial 911 while not crashing your car. I'm on the phone with the operator and trying to follow the Ragers but they lose me in a neighborhood. I drive around the 'hood a bit but it's too much of a maze. They're long gone. I hang up with 911, urging them to call me if they need more info, and hope for the best.

On my way home a growing feeling of unease overtakes me. You always hear about road rage and certainly I've been flipped off before and I've been the flipper-offer before too, but to actually see someone get out and deliver severe blows to some kid? WTF? What could have possibly warranted that? I was also freaked out because before all the madness started I was looking at the people in the car, in their Jazz jerseys, and since they were going the same way as me I wondered if it even could have been my brother and his friends. They were just whimpy little kids, maybe 18, 19 years old, coming home from what was probably a great night at the gym watching a fun Jazz victory. Maybe they were driving like punk-ass teenagers, but come on man! Come on!!!

So I decide to take one last drive through the neighborhood where the Cherokee disappeared, just hoping I could spot it and tip off the good folks of the Murray Police Department. I actually like the Murray PD, if you remember THIS.

I cruise around the neighborhood, turn a corner and see a group of people standing in front of a house. Looking closer, there's the Cherokee. It's them.

What do I do?


I wasn't thinking, at all. Like, literally not thinking. I don't mean that in the way of like "Ah geez, I made a mistake, I failed to visualize the possible results of my actions." I mean, I wasn't thinking at all and could have totally borked the whole operation.

I slow down, eye the group of punks standing on the sidewalk, roll down my window and say "Oh, it's you guys." They say "What?" and I say "The fuckers that think it's okay to beat someone at a stop light." Who do I think I am, McNulty? Daniels would have been so pissed. Then from out of the crowd the guy in the white shirt that did the beating comes charging at my car! Ohhhhhhhh no. I speed off but only to the next corner. I flip around and call 911. I have a view of the escape route but they can't see me. I call 911 back and give them the address. Um, whoops. I left my lights on, so the whole time the Ragers knew exactly where I was. They come around the corner and pull side-by-side with me. The driver stares at me through his window making the most ridiculous Tough Guy Face I've ever seen, which causes me to say to the 911 dispatcher "He's looking at me. He's making a Tough Guy Face repeat he's making a Tough Guy Face!"

At this point it finally dawns on me that I could be in way over my head. I finally drive back the way I came and turn down a street that's a dead end. I'm telling 911 "I think they're after me now. I'm at a dead end. They're chasing me. Can we get the fellas here a little quicker please I'm being chased." There are headlights behind me and growing brighter and I manage to turn the car around to escape. The headlights get closer, then another set come from another direction, then another set from the third direction. And? They're all Murray PD. PHEWWWWWWWW!

I tell one of the guys what happened. A nice old Hawaiian man in traditional Hawaiian clothes comes out and says "Are you looking for a guy? I saw him running! He's hiding over there! Aloha!"

So uh, that's about it. I don't know what happened after that other than that I came home and started typing this. You read this far hoping for closure and you got none. I completely disregarded the three act structure. Sigh. Well I'm gonna take a xanax and try to get some sleep.

* some specific details have been altered because for some reason that seems like the right thing to do.