Author Archives: dameshek
1. The best Championship Sunday of the 21st century
2. Pizza with meatball & onion
3. Sidney Crosby > Evgeni Malkin > Alex Ovechkin
4. (tie) Smell of fresh-cut grass/’Young Frankenstein’
5. The comedy that is the 2013-’14 Lakers
I’ve got two cakes in the fridge for the games this weekend. One cake’s for eating, the other’s just to have. Figured that’d be fitting, because I’m rooting for both sides in every game.
I know, I know… I’m being Pollyanna. Or maybe I’m subconsciously trying to ingratiate myself to that fan who took my pick against his team in Week Seven so personally he tracked me down on Twitter to accuse me of “hating” his city.
I choose to believe my heart is pure. As a fan myself, I’m equally excited and empathetic towards those who’ve got a nerve-wracking three-and-a-half hours upcoming on Saturday or Sunday. As a diehard, I know the reflected glory and relief when your team wins, and bitter pain when your team loses.
Like I say, some fans accuse me of hating their team. The supposition is – because I don’t hide the fact I grew up a Steelers fan – I therefore root against everyone else. I get it, but it’s just plain incorrect. As a grownup, I’m able to successfully distinguish what I think from what I want. The intellectual aspect aside, though, my personal allegiance to one team is precisely why I’m rooting for everyone this weekend. Silly as it seems to those unknowing, unlucky souls who don’t understand the sports fan’s devotion, I know the visceral emotion post-season football evokes.
For 16 days each fall, we live vicariously through the deeds of large human beings wearing the right logo. A lucky few get to keep on rooting when the calendar flips to January. As a Steelers fan, my pain is done for the season (unlike at least one other supporter of the black-and-gold) but I still know what winning can do. Winning makes the frigid winter feel shorter. It gives us something to look forward to while chipping the ice off the windshield or waiting at the train stop in the rain or maybe even rebuilding a city.
I was in New Orleans shooting a Mardi Gras bit for Jimmy Kimmel’s late-night show just a few days after the Saints won the Super Bowl in 2010 – and just a few years after Hurricane Katrina. It was as joyous a place as I’ve ever been. I don’t want to slip into some maudlin hyperbole by overstating the significance of that Saints’ season, but it’d be vapidly cynical to ignore the boost the team gave those fleur de lis-festooned people literally dancing in the streets stretched in front of their still-tattered homes.
Is fandom delusional? Yes. Does a collection of high-paid athletes gathered from far-flung origins winning a game actually fix anything in your life? No. But like the Marx Brothers do for Woody Allen at the end of ‘Hannah and Her Sisters’, a playoff game – even one our team loses – gives us a distraction, and at best makes us part of something larger, something shared, something fun. Like Woody asks, “Don’t you want to be a part of the experience?” Yes, Woody, I do. And that’s why I’m eating just one cake this weekend.
Warning: do NOT continue reading this if you don’t want to know the scores of the divisional round games.
(1-3 last week, 166-96 on the season)
NO – D. Brees: 299 yds, TD, 2 INTs
SEA – M. Lynch: 133 yds, TD
IND – T.Y. Hilton: 52 yds
NE – S. Vereen: 142 yds/scrimmage, 2 TDs
SF – A. Boldin: 86 yds, TD
CAR – D. Williams: 41 yds
SD – M. Ingram: 2 sacks
DEN – D. Thomas: 114 yds, 2 TDs
Enjoy the divisional round, everybody! I hope your team wins…
1. 75 & sunny in Los Angeles
2. Kaepernick’s wheels
3. Amy Adams in ‘American Hustle’
4. Bolo ties
5. Navy bean soup
Since the moment Marc Trestman was introduced as the new Bears coach 353 days ago, I’ve suffered sleepless nights plagued by gnawing anxiety. I knew – I knew – buried somewhere deep in my TV-addled brain Trestman had a spot-on cinematic doppelgänger. The only problem: who was it?
Then, just this morning, a wildcard weekend miracle! A face flashed through my mind. It was there but an instant, but long enough to make my heart soar – Trestman’s dead ringer is Bernie Lefkowitz’s wife, Rose!
You know… Rose! From ‘Cocoon’! I’m not sure if she actually spoke in the movie before missing her shot at eternal life because Bernie was too curmudgeonly to take her into Brian Dennehy’s ‘Swimming Pool of Youth’ (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, go watch ‘Cocoon’ or shame the devil), but I am sure I’ll finally be able to get a decent night’s rest for the first time in almost a year.
Meantime, it’s a neat coincidence I made this discovery on the very week it was announced Trestman and his spouse Jay Cutler will now be together for the rest of eternity (or at least seven years).
Thinking of you today, Chicago Bears and Wilfred Brimley…
Happy New Year, football fans…
Condolences if 2013 wasn’t the best year for your sports town (I at least hope it avoided making this list) – and congratulations if you’re lucky enough to be able to pencil your team’s upcoming playoff game into at least one of the 31 squares on the January page of your new calendar.
Speaking of pages, I’ve decided to take one from Andy Reid, who let his key players rest up in anticipation of the playoffs. I, too, am gonna take it easy today. Y’know, so my eyeballs and chip-scooping fingers are nice and fresh for this quartet of beauties the Commish has delivered for the first weekend of the year.
Like Reid and his peers, let’s spend some time watching tape (or, more accurately, streaming video). It’s been a long season, after all, so let’s take a stroll/drive down memory lane/the road that led us here. I’m speaking, of course, about the road(s) in Culver City, California, where I got to spend some preseason time in my “sports” car with a number of NFL players, several of whom you’ll be watching this weekend. If your team isn’t in the post-season, maybe watching one of these guys will sway you to root for his team over the next few weeks.
We’ll start off with Eagles WR DeSean Jackson:
Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles…
Bengals CB Terence Newman…
And Niners WR Michael Crabtree…
Swell fellas, no? Best wishes to them all this weekend. Speaking of which, let’s get to the games…
Warning: Do NOT continue reading if you don’t want to know the resuls of the Wildcard Round games.
(last week: 11-5; 165-93 on the season)
KC – J. Charles: 167 yds/scrimmage, TD
IND – A. Luck: 304 yds, 2 TDs, 2 INTs
NO – J. Graham: 128 yds, 2 TDs
PHI – L. McCoy: 114 yds, TD
SD – N. Novak: 2 FGs missed after illegal formation penalties
CIN – A. Dalton: 399 yds, 2 TDs
SF – F. Gore: 19 carries, 106 yds, TD
GB – E. Lacy: 19 carries, 53 yds
Enjoy the wildcard games, everybody! I hope your team wins…