Wednesday, December 26, 2012

When Tebow's a Jet, he's not a Jet all the way

Continuing the quest to make this the top corner of the Internet for Tim Tebow song parodies, here's the latest one that popped into my mind: a rewrite of the first part of West Side Story's "Jet Song", set last week before Rex Ryan reportedly asked Tebow to play Wildcat QB and Tebow reportedly turned him down...

REX RYAN: Against the Chargers, we need every man we got.

GREG MCELROY: Tim don't belong any more.

REX: Cut it, Alabama boy! Even if I won't let Tim start for the Jets.

MCELROY: Well, he acts like he don't wanna belong.

JEREMY KERLEY: Who wouldn't wanna belong to the Jets?!

MCELROY: Tim ain't been with us for over a season.

DUSTIN KELLER: What about the day we clobbered the Colts?

JOE MCKNIGHT: Which we couldn't have done without Tim.

KERLEY: He saved my ever-lovin' quarterback rating!

RYAN: Right! He's always come through for us and he will now.

Justin McElroy's "Tebow, The Weak-Armed Bronco"

In an effort to corner the market on Tim Tebow-themed musical compositions, here's another one! This isn't even written by me, but was brilliantly put together in a Christmas Eve series of tweets by Global's Justin McElroy (a former CIS Blog colleague). Here they are, preserved in a Storify for posterity and ease of reading:


Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Wisdom Of The Internets

I normally don't advocate reading comments, but the brilliance of a few of the best ones on my 55-Yard Line piece about Tim Tebow should be preserved for posterity:

What the hell do you know about football to say that about T-Bow. He took Denver to the playoffs you idiot!! His record isnt' any good because he is NOT used!!! Remember .... Gators ..... DUH!!! Get a job Bucholtz.. you obviously know nothing about foot ball!!!
tebow was what?7&1 with a playoff win last year?bucholtz your daddies little reporter not a sports analyst.Now 7&1 doesn t mean he is the greatest but the nfl is tough ask sanchez,or does he suck too?football is a team game not some #$%$ with a tache writing alone in his wackoff lair.would he be good in cfl??i think Jacksonville would give him a shot before that happened.
I love when these little twerp sports reporters, who never played a single down of football, make fun of Tebow as if he is some sort of clown. The truth is, the typist who wrote this article doesn't like Tebow because he prays openly. It's simple. A shallow little man like Bucholtz isn't half the man Tebow is. And from the picture at the top, I don't think too many pretty girls are breaking down his door to get a date, as they seem to be with Tebow. I guess the world will always be full of shallow little men. Sigh.
What a shoddy excuse at "journalism" penned by an obviously myoptic hater with a chip on his shoulder. Back to writing obituaries, eh? Guess you're still ticked off over losing that plum job at National Enquier. What a hack.
you are a sanctimonious jerk off.
Gretzky was too small and too slow .... All he and Tebow have ever done is win ... You can expect a head from your #$%$ extractor for Christmas ... Enjoy it !!!
so does it just totally suck being canadian? is that why you wrote this bizarre little comment?
Now, back to your regularly scheduled avoidance of comment sections...

Friday, November 23, 2012

Video

One of the stupidest things I've ever seen on television.

Friday, September 28, 2012

On The Ground: John Chidley-Hill on the Fast Break conference

Here's the third and final companion interview to this piece, with John Chidley-Hill of The Canadian Press, who helped put the Fast Break conference together. This is the one that particularly motivated me to run these separately, as John had a lot of great things to say about the conference that I wasn't able to squeeze into the story. To me, it's very important to see these kinds of conferences, and they're a terrific idea, so I wanted to make sure John's comments on them in somewhere. I got on-the-record responses from John to four questions: What was your role in putting this together? How do you think it went? Are these sorts of events useful for young journalists?How'd Jones' comments sound in person? Here's what he had to say.

What was your role in putting this together?

Nadine [Liverpool] and I are both graduates of Centennial's sports journalism program and we sit on the Program Advisory Council as alum. She brought up the idea of doing a conference for aspiring sports journalists at one of the PAC meetings and I tried my best to chip in and help. Program director Malcolm Kelly, dean Nate Horrowitz, some of the current students and a couple other alum pitched in too.

My main contribution though was inviting Julie Scott -- my boss at CP -- to be one of the panelists. I did some other stuff in the background, but really, this was Nadine's baby. She did the heavy lifting.

On The Ground: Steph Rogers on her Fast Break recap piece

Continuing the companion interviews to this piece, here's what Steph Rogers, author of the J-Source recap that got me interested in this story, had to say. I quoted the part of her recap that stood out to me, then quoted Jones' response, then asked for her side of the story. Here's what she had to say:

(I'm a little surprised that there was any issue that arose out of Chris' advice, but I nevertheless, I'll hope that the purpose of your piece isn't to crucify me.)

As a journalism student, a lot of the advice that I often hear given by people in the industry is very helpful, but also a lot of the same.

I thought Fast Break provided an extremely honest perspective from all four of the panelists as moderated by Nadine, and particularly Augustine and Jones on likability.

I'm amazed at the things I see said on Twitter, Facebook, and in the comment section of articles. Rude and malicious remarks are common practice because people feel the internet is faceless. Especially including someone's @-name on Twitter in an insult? Happens all the time.

On The Ground: ESPN/Esquire's Chris Jones on his comments at Fast Break

I wrote a pretty in-depth look at context and criticism over at Awful Announcing that was published today. Doing interviews is rewarding, but you often wind up with more material than you can use, and it would seem a particular shame to take anyone out of context in a piece about context. It's also a good chance to show those interested just how the sausage gets made. (Hilariously, the origin of that quote itself is in dispute.) Thus, continuing the On The Ground interview series, I'm using this space to post my questions and the full on-the-record responses I received. First up, my interview with Chris Jones of ESPN The Magazine/Esquire, whose comments as relayed in this piece started this whole thing. I first just asked him if there's additional context I should consider. Here's what he had to say.

Glad you're writing a piece about that night. It was fun.

I'd say, first off, make sure you read the rest of the quotes from me in that story. I think I've been really supportive of young writers and have gone out of my way to provide advice and encouragement. I believe that optimism and open-heartedness are important.

That part of the story you're talking about—and that's not a quote; that's in the writer's voice—came after Akil, one of the other panelists, talked about how your "likability" factor will play a big role in how far you go. I was agreeing with him: Journalism is a people business, built in a lot of ways on connections and relationships. You know that. It's important not only to get your job, of course—because so often, you'll get a break because someone else puts in a good word for you, which has been the case with my own career—but it's just as important once you're in this business. At both of my shops, I work closely and usually one-on-one with my editors, and if either one of us was an asshole, it wouldn't work. There has to be trust and faith and all sorts of good things there.

So if I see a young writer talking shit to veterans, about shops, just generally being cynical and miserable, I'll remember that. I'm hardly a gatekeeper, but if someone did ask me what I thought of someone, and I'd seen them acting like an asshole online, I wouldn't recommend them. (I'm not talking about thoughtful criticism here, by the way; I'm talking about being a snarky jerk, purposeless stuff.) Why would I? Who wants to work with assholes? If two writers were of equal ability, I'd pick the nice guy. The vast majority of people would. So my advice at Fast Break was: Don't be a dick. It is a bad career move. Tell me I suck and I'm an idiot and ESPN or Esquire sucks and then ask me for help getting a gig? Not going to happen. Give me a good reason why it should. This seems like common sense to me.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Casting the CFL edition of the Lord of the Rings

There's nothing like a good round of recasting TV or movies for sports, and one particular adaptation that's been in my head for a while (thanks to Twitter discussions with Jenn Annis and Matthew Scianitti) is a CFL version of The Lord of the Rings. Given that I spend far too much time thinking about the CFL and am a complete Lord of the Rings nerd, this was an obvious choice. Here's what I came up with. (Keep in mind this is all in fun, and not meant to suggest that certain teams or personalities are good or evil!)

Jim Popp/Montreal as Sauron/Mordor: If anyone deserves the title of Lord of the Rings in the CFL at the moment, Popp's a good candidate. (You can make a case for Wally Buono as well, as he actually has five Grey Cup rings to Popp's four, but Montreal's eastern geography, long string of divisional championships,  recent back-to-back Grey Cups and overarching dominance speak in favour of Popp, plus there's a better fit for Buono later on.) This would make Anthony Calvillo the famed Witch-King of Angmar, so he's probably going to keep dominating the CFL until someone puts a female quarterback up against him. Is Icebox busy? I guess she is...)

Toronto as Minas Morgul: Sure, the Argonauts aren't really on the side of the Alouettes, but the depiction of a once-proud city (Minas Ithil) that's abandoned its CFL past seems pretty apt at times, and the ruinous infighting between Shagrat and Gorbag could accurately sum up a lot of the organization's recent history. Plus, the Toronto-Hamilton rivalry seems perfect for Minas Morgul and Minas Tirith. Guess that makes you Osgiliath, Mississauga...

Monday, May 28, 2012

The SEC "Community": recasting a great comedy for college football



Community and SEC football are both great things, and as we all know, great things are great together. Also, my mind works in mysterious ways; ESPN declaring Steve Spurrier as the most-hated coach of all time surprised me, as South Carolina-era Spurrier seems to give off a Pierce Hawthorne vibe; sure, he's often annoying, grumpy and pushing others' buttons, and he's an odd fit amongst today's group of SEC coaches, but there's value to having him around and everyone just sort of ignores his terrible moments. That led to a discussion with Lisa and Eddie about recasting Community SEC-style, and it turned out to fit surprisingly well. Here's what we came up with (casting's a group effort, comments are mostly mine):

Steve Spurrier as Pierce Hawthorne: Spurrier's famed trash-talking of other schools ("You can't spell Citrus without UT," "Free Shoes University," Auburn library fires, etc) is straight out of Pierce's playbook, but both of our "villains" have their softer sides and can be crucial parts of the group at times. Plus, I can see Spurrier saying "I can't hear you over the sound of me rubbing his sword on my balls."

Derek Dooley as Jeff Winger: Much like Winger, who had to go back to community college to get his bachelor's degree and return to practicing law, people might think Dooley's more qualified than he is thanks to a certain bloodline. Winger walked into a weird situation at Greendale, and Dooley walked into a weird situation at Tennessee, replacing the infamous Lane Kiffin. Both are lawyers, both are also known for being continuously well-coiffed, and like Winger, Dooley's been known to inappropriately reference historical events (while Winger once invoked Sept. 11 to get a client off on a DUI charge, Dooley compared his team to the Germans in World War II). Both can give a pretty good speech, too. "To victory; it feels unfamiliar, but it tastes like chicken."

Will Muschamp as Troy Barnes: These two have incredible enthusiasm in common: Muschamp enjoys going "BOOM", while Troy likes bouncing around in video games and on trampolines. They also had pretty notable football playing careers, and Muschamp might just make a good dancer. "Wi-ll Muschamp in the MORNING!" "There was an episode of Happy Days where a guy LITERALLY jumped over a shark, and it was the best episode ever!"

Ole Miss (and coach Hugh Freeze) as Britta Perry: Much like Britta, Ole Miss is just the worst. It's possible to see the Rebels more concerned with the beleaguered status of gnome waiters than actually winning games, and it's very possible to see them mispronouncing "bagel". Freeze's recent overrecruitment also smacks of Britta's initial additions to the study group, and the way Freeze was involved with Michael Oher seems very Brittaesque."I want to know why these defenses are attacking us. Maybe this gridiron is their rightful land."

Vanderbilt (and coach James Franklin) as Abed Nadir: Abed is an outsider who sometimes seems above the rest of the study group and sometimes doesn't seem to fit at all; does that sound like Vanderbilt's football program to anyone else? Their presence in this conference is appropriately meta. Also, if the SEC ever descends into madness or civil war, you know Vanderbilt will be filming it. "When you guys first came in, we were as wholesome as the family in the Brady Bunch. Now we're as dysfunctional and incestuous as the cast of the Brady Bunch."

Mark Richt as Shirley Bennett: Both are generally overwhelmingly nice and outspokenly Christian, which makes them interesting fits in these cutthroat groups. I can see Richt being told at a coaches' meeting that "You're not allowed to have baking things as an identity!" Like Shirley at foosball, though, Richt's will to win can also be strong. Richt's comments on vampires and Shirley's attempts to keep Britta from one fit, too. "Oh, look. Britta brought what she believes in: nothing."

Kevin Sumlin as Annie Edison: Like Annie, Sumlin's relatively young by the standards of this group, and he's quite enthusiastic. Maybe he's also a little naive about how things work in the SEC, and the conference is sure to warp him like a Barbie in a microwave. We'll see if gifs of him become as popular, and if he's able to obtain Pegasi. "I don't want to die in a place like this. People shouldn't die in the same place as People magazines do."

Bobby Petrino as Star-Burns: Many hate them, they both left in odd ways, and dying when the meth lab in your trunk explodes is right up there with getting fired over an affair with a subordinate that was discovered following a motorcycle crash. "El Starprince" is the equivalent of Petrino's 11-2 2011, and like Star-Burns, we may not have seen the last of Petrino. "Who wants to walk my plank, huh?"

John L. Smith as Leonard: One's a 63-year-old who skydives and wants to "go get on a mountain"; the other's a man of indefinite age who swims naked, takes over the PA system, only racked up two pregnancy scares in a year and has been banned from a Denny's. As Pierce said, "Everyone hates him; that's why he's cool." Tell me you can't replace Smith with Leonard in this EDSBS piece and have it still work. I'd also watch Smith reviewing pizza. "I'm thinking about breaking into the TV game, seeing as it's apparently sticking around."

Les Miles as Chang: What's crazier: posing as a Spanish teacher or pulling off this win? Living in the vents or eating grass? A one-time Spanish professor raising an army of kids and taking over the school, or a man who tweets "Woeojuwejhdjwe" winning a SEC championship without a semblance of an offence?  It's tough to pick between them. Plus, Chang goes by "El Tigre", and Miles coaches the LSU Tigers, and both recently had their convoluted schemes crash down around them. "I did what any man would do. I faked my way into a job teaching Spanish at a community college using phrases from Sesame Street."

Mike Slive as Dean Pelton: Someone has to keep the asylums of Greendale and the SEC in minimal order, and that job falls to Pelton and Slive. They both have their own weirdness, though, and both often preside over strange rituals and ceremonies, from the STD Fair to Missouri's induction. The world would be a better place if Slive donned Pelton's outfits to visit coaches. "Just reminding you to keep any April Fool's pranks physically safe, politically balanced and racially accessible."

Nick Saban as Vice-Dean Laybourne: Saban can appear evil and manipulative at times, and like Laybourne (especially early on in his arc), it often looks like he's running the show. I imagine Saban speaks about defence the way Laybourne does about air-conditioning, and they're both known for their ability to recruit and their single-minded focus. I can also see Saban manipulating people into a war and destroying friendships along the way, as Laybourne did with Troy and Abed. "Once you're in, you're in. Air-conditioning repair will be your life."

Gary Pinkel as Dr. Ian Duncan: Duncan's a professor who gets no respect; Pinkel's a new SEC coach who gets no respect. I envision the rest of the conference reacting to Missouri exactly as Jeff reacts to Duncan in the pilot: "You can't talk to me that way! I'm a professor!" "A six-year-old girl could talk to you that way!" Both have also had their issues with DUIs, but Jeff wasn't around to save Pinkel. I'd love to see Pinkel try to rap, too.

Gene Chizik as Fat Neil: One glorious triumph (national championship/the Dungeons and Dragons episode), but everyone still picks on him anyways.

Joker Phillips as Professor Marshall Kane (Michael K. Williams' bio professor): Both Phillips and Kane are tough, serious men in difficult situations; Kane spent most of his life in prison, Phillips has spent his football head coaching career at Kentucky, which may be worse. "Something happened while I was inside: Harry Potter Legos, Star Wars Legos, complicated kits, tiny little blocks..."

Dan Mullen as Magnitude: Mullen's received a lot of attention thus far as a head coach, but his Mississippi State team hasn't really done all that much yet. Similarly, Magnitude gets a lot of attention and love over just two words.

Further suggestions for the Community-SEC crossover? Leave them in the comments, or yell at me on Twitter.




Monday, March 19, 2012

Tebow Christ Superstar Redux: The Manning Move

When I wrote a total conversion of Andrew Lloyd Webber's famed Jesus Christ Superstar rock opera about Denver Broncos' quarterback Tim Tebow, most of it fit surprisingly well. The issue, of course, was betrayal, though; while Tebow may be overhyped and overrated, it was difficult to imagine his own team turning against him, so I had to concoct a Spygatesque plot to get it to work. Truth remains stranger than fiction (a surprisingly excellent movie, by the way), however, and the Broncos have just executed a stunning betrayal of Tebow (who did manage to lead them to a playoff win over Pittsburgh before getting crushed by New England), signing Peyton Manning to take over at quarterback. To that end, I've quickly rewritten the last three songs to reflect this new reality. Here they are, with Broncos' executive vice-president John Elway (the man who got the Manning deal done) as Judas, Manning and ESPN analyst Mel Kiper (one of the most prominent Tebow critics) as Annas and Caiaphas, Roger Goodell reprising his role as Pilate, Broncos' owner Pat Bowlen as the unseen presence behind the scenes, one of my other interests making a cameo, and Tebow, of course, playing the superstar:

Thursday, March 15, 2012

On The Ground: An interview with Red Bull Crashed Ice's Adam Horst


In advance of this weekend's Red Bull Crashed Ice finale in Quebec City (televised live at 8:30 p.m. Saturday on Sportsnet), I recently got the chance to talk to firefighter/ice cross star Adam Horst for a post at Yahoo!'s Eh Game blog. Along the lines of my On The Ground series, here's my full interview with Horst:

On how he got into Crashed Ice: "The first time I got into it, we watched on TV and a couple of buddies signed me up."

On what his thoughts were the first time he tried it: "I was petrified. It's hard to describe what it is the first time you go down the hill."

On his February win in Sweden: "That was unreal. You're always hoping for that but when it actually happens, it's hard to believe."

Some highlights of that win:



On how the sport has grown: "It's become bigger. It used to be just one race a year. The tracks they're making are longer and steeper, and there's a lot of competition."

On competing against other Canadians like Kyle and Scott Croxall: "The Canadian guys, we're all a pretty tight group. We all cheer for each other."

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Fantuz's Africa

Top CFL free agent Andy Fantuz is apparently off in Africa somewhere,and hasn't signed anywhere yet. Glen Maskerine had the brilliant idea to reference Toto's famous song, and that inspired me to rewrite the lyrics for him. Here you are:



They hear the tweets echoing tonight
But I hear only whispers of some CFL conversation
GMs are coming in, 12:30 flight
The moonlit wings reflect the stars that guide me towards free agency
I stopped an old man along the way
Hoping to find some long-forgotten wisdom or means of celebrity
He turned to me as if to say, "Hurry boy, money's waiting there for you"

It's gonna take a lot to get me to sign with you
There's nothing a hundred thousand bucks could ever do
I bless the rains down in Africa
Gonna take some time to sign the deal I've never had

The wild Riders' fans cry out in the night
As they grow restless, longing for some WR company
I know that I must do what's right
As sure as sales of my cereal rise like Greg Carr above the Hamilton DBs
I seek to cure what's deep inside, frightened of these tweets that drive me numb

It's gonna take a lot to get me to sign with you
There's nothing a hundred thousand bucks could ever do
I bless the rains down in Africa
Gonna take some time to sign the deal I've never had

Hurry, GMs, he's waiting there for you

It's gonna take a lot to get me to sign with you
There's nothing a hundred thousand bucks could ever do
I bless the rains down in Africa
Gonna take some time to sign the deal I've never had

Thursday, February 09, 2012

The Lingerie Football League as a sign of the Apocalypse

Few things enrage me more than the Lingerie Football League, an objectifying, safety-disregarding, deeply-troubling vindictive concern under the questionable leadership of Mitch Mortaza, who's been blasted by many former players. The league has more in common with a strip club than an athletic endeavour, as both involve scantily-clad women cavorting around for the entertainment of men: the chief differences are that strippers don't usually get concussed on stage, and at least they're paid for their trouble. Thus, as you can imagine, I was thrilled to hear that the LFL's heading to my backyard in Abbotsford. I already wrote a serious, analytical take on why this is a horrible idea, but I figured it deserved an over-the-top apocalyptic one too, especially considering Abbotsford's Bible Belt reputation. In that vein, here's Revelation 6 rewritten to be about the LFL's cross-Canada expansion.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Tebow Christ Superstar, The Complete Musical



The following is the culmination of a project I’ve been working on for a few weeks. It started as just a Twitter joke about the applicability of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar musical to Tim Tebow’s rise and fall, but got stuck in my head and turned into something more. Sure, Tebow isn’t playing in today’s Super Bowl, but he’s still very much present in the coverage; he notably drew more attention than Joe Montana at one point and was featured in an ESPN pre-game special. Given that his mortal adversaries, the Patriots, are featured in today’s Super Bowl, I figured it was as good a time as any to post this (that, and I finally finished it). Following in the success of The Marchand Of Venice, the Bucholtz Repertory Company presents the total conversion of Jesus Christ Superstar into Tebow Christ Superstar.

Dramatis Personae
Jesus – Tim Tebow, a TE or a QB?
Judas –John Fox, the Broncos’ coach
Caiaphas – Bill Belichick, the Patriots’ coach
Annas – Tom Brady, the Patriots’ QB
Mary Magdelene – Katy Perry, a rumoured songstress who's been linked to Tebow
Simon Zealotes – Von Miller, the Broncos’ LB
Pilate – Roger Goodell, NFL commissioner
Herod – Gene  Sterotore, an NFL referee
Peter – Eddie Royal, the Broncos’ receiver
John – D.J. Williams, the Broncos’ LB
James – Champ Bailey, the Broncos’ safety
Priest – Bill O’Brien, the Patriots’ offensive coordinator
Soldiers, people in courtyard – Patriots’ Wes Welker, Jerod Mayo, Vince Wilfork, Rob Gronkowski

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Four Horsemen Of The ESPNocalypse



It's no secret that sports media as a whole are collectively losing their minds over Denver Broncos' quarterback Tim Tebow, who embraces all the clich├ęs about "will to win" and somehow triumphs despite not usually being, you know, a good quarterback. It's even less surprising that the Worldwide Leader In Vaguely Sports-Related News is leading the charge. Still, as Adam Kramer remarked earlier, ESPN's piece asking LeBron James what he thinks of Tim Tebow is the most ESPN story of all time. Surely that means the ESPNocalypse is near, especially as certain newspapers have already ventured into hellfire and damnation (as you can see from the Boston Metro cover at right). In the spirit of that, we present two pieces. First, a dramatic reworking of the first three paragraphs of Grantland Rice's "Four Horsemen", timely considering how ESPN has appropriated the man's name:

Outlined against a blue screen in Bristol, Connecticut, the Four Horsemen of the ESPNocalypse rode again. In dramatic lore they are known as Famine, Pestilence, Destruction and Death. These are only aliases. Their real names are Brett Favre, LeBron James, Tim Tebow and Craig James. They formed the crest of the media cyclone before which all intelligent sports commentary was swept over the precipice of the Internet yesterday afternoon as billions of spectators peered at the bewildering panorama spread on the ESPN.com homepage.

A cyclone can't be snared. It may be surrounded, but somewhere it breaks through to keep on going. When the cyclone starts from Bristol, where the studio lights still gleam through the fortress windows of the ESPN campus, those in the way must take to storm cellars at top speed.

Yesterday the cyclone struck again as ESPN beat the intelligent commentators decisively, with a set of made-for-TV stars that ripped and crashed through sports fans' defences with more speed and power than the open-minded could meet.

ESPN won yet again through the driving power of one of the most SEO-friendly lineups that ever churned up the pageviews of any website in any Internet age. Brilliant backfields may come and go, but in Favre, LeBron, Tebow and James, covered by a fast and charging array of sycophants, ESPN can take its place in front of the field.

The rest of the web sent one of its finest teams into action, an aggressive organization that fought to the last play around the first rim of darkness, but when George Bodenheimer rushed his Four Horsemen to the track they rode down everything in sight. It was in vain that 1,400 sensible sports fans pleaded for the rational line to hold. The rational line was giving all it had, but when a tank tears in with the speed of a motorcycle, what chance had flesh and blood to hold? The rest of the web had its share of stars, but they were up against four whirlwind backs who picked up at top speed from the first step as they swept through scant openings to slip on through the algorithm defences. The web had great writers, but the web had no such distribution power and ongoing determinedness, which seemed to carry the mixed blood of Charlie Sheen's tiger and the antelope.

And now, a reading from the Book of Revelation (inspired by Scott Feschuk's great piece):

"And I saw when the Bodenheimer opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, the voice of the Berman saying, 'Come and see.'

And I saw, and behold a purple horse: and the Favre that sat on him had a cell phone; and a lawsuit was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to throw interceptions, and to bring a famine of real football news about players who aren't retired.

And when the Bodenheimer had opened the second seal, I heard the Simmons say, 'Come and see.'

And there went out another horse that was red and black. And power was given to the LeBron that sat thereon to make a Decision, and take peace from the earth, and to make owners write angry e-mails in Comic Sans. And there was taken from him a great sword, and given to him a flaming basketball, and the power to command the media, and the power to bring an omnipresent pestilence of his presence.

And when the Bodenheimer had opened the third seal, I heard the Paige say, 'Come and see.'

And I beheld, and lo! A white horse. And the Tebow that knelt on him had a football in his left hand.

And I heard Skip Bayless' voice in the midst of the four beasts say, 'A flawed measure of a quarterback shall be designed to promote Tebow, and three measures that dislike him shall be ignored; and see thou hurt not the television ratings.' And power was given unto Tebow to cause the reasonable to lose their minds, and to create great and widespread destruction.

And when the Bodenheimer had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the Schad say, 'Come and see.'

And I looked, and behold a pale horse! And his name that sat on him was James, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto him over the domain of college football, to kill coaching jobs with accusations and lawsuits, to silence colleagues, to ignore ethical conflicts, to reduce the audience's intelligence, to break the laws of amateurism and get away with sanctimoniously criticizing others who did the same, and to run for political office, and cause the death of objectivity (and perhaps some scarlet damsels as well).

...

And the kings of the Internet, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in their mothers' basements.

And they said to the mountains and rocks, "Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Bodenheimer.

For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?"

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Marchand Of Venice



It's remarkable how insane the Vancouver Canucks - Boston Bruins rivalry has become lately following Saturday's Stanley Cup rematch. It's led to everything from fanbase and organizational fights to media going after bloggers who cover the other team to reporters verbally duking it out with opposing players to allegations of media defacing the NHL's media guides merely because a player they didn't like adorned them. There are some serious questions about the media's role in all this, and I talked about some of them this morning in an excellent discussion with Jessica Quiroli and others. Serious discussions aren't a lot of fun, though, so instead, I present one of the wackier ideas that came to mind; rewriting Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice" (original quotations available here) to cover the Vancouver-Boston rivalry, and particularly Boston's Brad Marchand's polarizing hit on Sami Salo and subsequent suspension. Thanks to Cam Charron, Thomas Drance, Tom HawthornJason Ford  and
Ashok Sadana for their help, and thanks to Maclean Kay and PPP for encouraging me to turn this into a post. What follows is a partial script. Call me, Hollywood!

THE MARCHAND OF VENICE

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
- In the role of Shylock, Brad Marchand, A Bruin
- In the role of Portia, Brendan Shanahan, A Disciplinarian
- In the role of Antonio, Sami Salo, A Wounded Canuck
- In the role of Gratiano, Alain Vigneault, A Coach
- In the role of Bassanio, The Vancouver Media, A Dubious Entity
- In the role of Salarino, Zdeno Chara, A Boston Captain

ACT I:

"In sooth, I know not why I am always injured. It wearies me, you say it wearies you." - Salo

"I hold the NHL but as the NHL, Vigneault, a stage, where every man must play a part, and mine a sad one." - Salo

When criticized for his team fighting back against Boston, "Why should a man whose blood is warm within, sit like his grandsire cut in alabaster?" - Vigneault

"There are a sort of men, whose visages
Do cream and mantle like a standing pond;
And do a willful stillness entertain,
With purpose to be dress'd in an opinion
Of wisdom, gravity, profound conceit;
As who should say, I am Sir Oracle,
And when I ope my lips, let no dog bark!" - Vigneault on the Vancouver media

"Vigneault speaks an infinite deal of nothing, more than any man in all Vancouver." - The Vancouver media

"If to do were as easy as to know what were good to do, Brad Marchand and the rest wouldn't be in the league and Sidney Crosby would still be healthy." - Shanahan

"When he is best, he is a little worse than a man; and when he is worst, he is little better than a beast." - Shanahan on Marchand

"If I can catch him once upon the hip,
I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him." - Marchand on Salo.

"They hate our sacred nation; and they rail,
Even there where Canucks fans most do congregate,
On me, my hits, and my well-won roster spot,
Which they call a disgrace." - Marchand on the Vancouver media.

"Thee devil can cite scripture for his purpose.
An evil soul producing holy witness,
Is like a villain with a smiling cheek." - Salo on Marchand's justifications.

"O Father Shanahan! What these Canucks are,
Whose own hard dealings teaches them suspect
The thoughts of others!" - Marchand to Shanahan.