Friday, November 27, 2015

The Only Thing I Want For Christmas Is The Hulkster Helmet

I keep looking up at that image, and I am at a loss for words. My brother notified me that this existed, and now it's all that I can think about, day and night. My wife tries telling me about her day, but I don't care about her day, I only care about this helmet.

I mean, look at that helmet. That is not the type of helmet you give to a World Champion. That is not the type of helmet you give to a functioning adult. That's the type of helmet you give to a little kid after he comes home from getting bullied the first time. You convince him that the helmet makes him look "tough," I mean, it does have a fist protruding out of the top of it.

If you ever needed proof that Hulk Hogan is the least cool person on the planet, this helmet is all you need (besides the whole racist thing; that was also very uncool). Maybe the best part is that Hulk Hogan called it his "War Bonnet," and gave Bad News Brown his first loss in WWE when he headbutted him (which, I guess is also a punch) and finished him off with the leg drop. Hulk Hogan was undefeated with his war bonnet.

So what I'm really trying to say is, this helmet is all I want for Christmas.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Does Ronda Rousey Need Better Coaching?

After Ronda Rousey got knocked out by Holly Holm, people were asking a lot of questions. Did Ronda come in overconfident? Did she not give Holm the credit she deserves? Is she simply physically overmatched and her reign as the Queen of Women's MMA over? Those questions may be interesting, but I don't think it addresses the real issue in why Ronda Rousey lost, and more importantly lost badly. The real question becomes, does Ronda Rousey need better coaching?

When you look at all of the other UFC champions, you see great camps around them. I mean, maybe the most questionable camp is Demetrious Johnson, and it'd be pretty silly to question the coaching abilities of Matt Hume. Then you look at Ronda Rousey, and she's got some judo guys and a coach who doesn't pay taxes. I'm not sure if they truly helped her rise, or whether her rise was inevitable due to her natural physical abilities.

As a part of Team Hayastan, she is in the gym with the likes of...well, I've never actually heard of anyone listed on the Sherdog page. But they have tough nicknames like Silverback, The Chainsaw, and, um, Grasshopper? Come on, guys, if you're not a great fighter, at least get a good nickname. She also trains at Glendale Fighting Club, which lists her boyfriend, Travis Browne as a member, but he's a recent addition, so it's not like the gym can really take credit for any of his success.

So, looking at what both gyms have produced for professional fighters, it is Ronda Rousey, and only Ronda Rousey. That's not a great sign.

Since Rousey began in MMA, she has been a force of nature. She physically overwhelmed everyone who fought her, as the only person who lasted more than a round was Miesha Tate, and she was only able to do that on her second try. Let's face it, if Ronda Rousey had not gotten better from her first fight to her last fight, her record would probably be the same. Her judo background meant that she was simply that much better than her opponents.

Now, don't get me wrong. Her strikes are way better than they used to be, but how much of that is coaching and how much of that is just that she's a phenomenal athlete, so of course, with practice, she would become much better at striking. I happen to think it might be more of the latter.

And even with those strides, her ground game will always be better than her striking, probably much, much...much better than her striking. And with good coaches, wouldn't one of the main goals be using strikes to set up a clinch where she can go for a takedown? Yet, in the Holm fight, Rousey showed no real inclination for that, as her punches were wild, and she kept getting taking punches right down the middle of her defense. In between the first and second round, did you hear her corner giving her some great advice to turn things around? Nope, they basically sounded like me giving fight advice, as they were more cheerleaders than coaches.

I think Ronda Rousey is the most physically talented female fighter in the world. That doesn't mean she is the best, as even with better coaching, Holly Holm is SUPER good. But with Rousey's skillset, there is no reason she should ever get overwhelmed like that. With better coaching, I think it could be a different fight, but if she isn't willing to make that significant change, I don't think anything will change if she fights Holm again.

Ronda Rousey is great, but I don't think she reaches her full potential without getting out of her comfort zone and finding a camp that can help her be her best.

Monday, November 23, 2015

CJ Beathard - Iowa's Craig Krenzel

CJ Beathard (who comes from a football family) is Iowa's Craig Krenzel (whose major was Molecular Genetics). Now I know that most people may think of this as an insult, but it is not meant to be. Craig Krenzel won a National Title. He also started games in the NFL. It wasn't great when he did, but there are lots of people who can't say that, so good for Craig Krenzel. But still, let's get back to the fact that he led his team to a National Title while not being the most physically gifted quarterback in college football. I would very much like CJ Beathard to do the same.

Now I know most people automatically assume that an Ohio State team would have way more talent than an Iowa team, but the 2002 OSU team actually wasn't that crazy talented compared to what the 2015 Iowa Hawkeyes throw out there on the field. Maurice Clarett is the most well known star from that team, but the combination of LeShun Daniels, Jordan Canzeri, Akrum Wadley, and Derrick Mitchell Jr. equal at least one Clarett, and maybe even 1 1/3 Claretts.

On top of that, both teams had stout defenses that could keep them in any game, but much like Iowa, Ohio State was not loaded like a 2002 Miami Hurricanes team, but they undeniably had some talent.

Despite this supporting cast, announcers are quick to give CJ Beathard (who grew up in a football family) as much credit as possible for Iowa's success. Now, don't get it twisted, CJ Beathard deserves a ton of credit, but that running game has been pretty amazing, and Desmond King has been stupid good this year, and honestly deserves Heisman Buzz for what he has done in the secondary this year. Beathard may not be a world beater, but he is a college football team beater, and that's all Iowa needs. He comes through when Iowa needs him most, and, as every ESPN announcer ever would say, "He just wins football games."

Yes, the stats may not be that impressive. Both quarterbacks had about a 60% completion percentage. Krenzel, who majored in Molecular Genetics, ended his year with twelve touchdowns, while Beathard has ten this season. But they both learned to take care of the football, and had very low turnover numbers, which maximized the help they could get from their defense and running game. And speaking of running game, both guys can do some damage with their legs as well, as Krenzel had 368 yards rushing, with Beathard currently 100 yards behind, and that number would be higher if not for a groin injury that Beathard looks to be fully recovered from.

Oh, and if you really like stats, here's a stat for you: 0. That's the number of losses Krenzel had in 2002, and it's how many Beathard has experienced as a starting quarterback. Now, as a logical person, I understand quarterback wins is a stupid stat, but I also know there's one thing stats can't measure.


Craig Krenzel (Majored in Molecular Genetics) had intangibles oozing out of his butthole. Just watch any game from that season, as the announcers would remind you of this fact every 10-15 seconds. I think the announcers had the special glasses that Roddy Piper wore in They Live, only instead of seeing aliens, they saw rainbows of intangibles coming out of Krenzel's asshole. Nothing better exemplifies these intangibles than this play.

I just want to type out what Brent Musberger said after this touchdown pass. "Craig Krenzel strikes with a minute and a half left! Holy Buckeye! A big time play, as people said all year that sometime, Craig Krenzel would have to win a game, and on fourth and one, he goes 37 yards!"

Craig Krenzel (who majored in Molecular Genetics) single-handedly won the Buckeyes that game by putting up 10 points against Purdue. That stout Purdue defense that gave up 24 points to Western Michigan, 38 points to a 5-7 Illinois team, and 42 points to a 4-8 Michigan State team. Craig Krenzel, and the Ohio State Buckeyes put up 10 points. But that's what stats don't tell you. Because Craig Krenzel didn't beat Purdue with ten points. He beat Purdue with infinity intangible points, as they never really stood a chance. Craig Krenzel has never passed his team to victory, he has only willed his team to victory, and by sheer will, he won a National Title.

Beathard does not have the single defining play up to this point in the year. The one that stands out the most is his Superman touchdown run against Indiana.

All we got from these announcers were, "Dive...Touchdown! What a play by CJ Beathard." It was missing some of the hyperbole. Also, Beathard does not have a fancy major, which hurts his intangibles score. But he does manage to even things up, because CJ Beathard is from a football family. You simply can't teach the lessons he learned growing up, as he just grew up around the sport and knows the game in and out from experiences that started early on in childhood.

Craig Krenzel had intangibles coming out of his butt, and CJ Beathard comes from that same mold. The intangibles propel these men to places that pure stats could never understand. I mentioned the number zero earlier, but there is one number that is even more important. That number is one. It's the number of National Titles Craig Krenzel won; it's the number CJ Beathard hopes to tie after this season.

But Beathard's too worried about winning football games to have time for numbers. It's a quality that you can't put your finger on. I call it intangibles.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Little Kids Love Pro Wrestling

So we had two young children staying at our house this week, and I learned a lot through the experience. The 7-month-old and me didn't really do much interacting. She wasn't that interested in me, and honestly, I wasn't that interested in her either. Triple B yo, Babies Be Boring. But the 3-year-old and me were more on the same wavelength. Does this mean I think like a toddler? Yes, yes it does, and I am not ashamed by that.

Anyway, I used this opportunity to poison the future potential of this country by exposing this child to pro wrestling, because of course I was going to show a 3-year-old how awesome pro wrestling is. I mean, his parents knew I was going to do it when they left, and my wife knew I was going to do it too. It was just a matter of finding the right opportunity. I kept asking if he wanted to watch wrestling, but he just kept wanting to watch episodes of the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (which I will have hot takes on in the near future). Our conversations kept going like this:

Me: You want to watch wrestling?
Him: Turtles.
Me: But wrestling is super cool.
Him: Turtles.
Me (under my breath): Damnit.

This conversation happened about a half dozen times before I finally found my opening when he was putting out (imaginary) fires throughout the house. I put on Raw, but he was more playing with his trucks than actually watching. Then, Kevin Owens wrestled Neville, and it finally caught his attention and hooked him. With all of Neville's flips, he was entranced with the show. There were a bunch of near falls, and I tried to explain a 3-count to him (the pinfall type, not the boy band type), and he kind of nodded his head to make me think he understood.

Then I was sitting on the couch, and I hear him go, "1...2...3!" before jumping on my back and choking me. He did not totally understand a 3-count, but he sure did enjoy counting to three and trying to beat me up, and that's really the most important aspect of pro wrestling.

Eventually, my wife made us stop fighting, because we were being loud as he attacked, and I flipped him onto the couch, showing my dominance of 3-year-olds. She threatened that I'd have to take care of the baby if we woke it up, and that was definitely enough for me to turn off wrestling and go back to Ninja Turtles. God, wives are so lame.

So will the love of pro wrestling blossom? The bad news is that I don't think his parents want to be stuck watching pro wrestling, but the good news is that he was bragging to his parents that he beat me up when we watched wrestling. Oh, that sweet high of carefree violence. That'll get any kid coming back for more.

Pro wrestling is the best.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

I Can't Eat Fast Food

I am a cheap person. There are very few areas where I do not go for the cheapest option possible. The only areas that I don't are because of lessons I learned by being too cheap. This is a huge reason why I cook almost all of my meals. Normal adults go out for lunch during their work week. I have not bought lunch on a normal workday (travel sometimes requires it) in years. Now, these are not always gourmet homemade meals, as I have had to stoop to peanut butter sandwiches just to avoid purchasing a lunch. Typing this out does help me realize what a loser I am. But there is another reason that I make all of my own food.

Everything else fucks my stomach up.

I will occasionally fall into the fast food trap over the weekend, and it is always a bad idea. Chipotle, Papa John's, insert burger joint here; they all sound like good ideas at the time, but they mess my world up. It's stomach aches and farts for the next 24 hours. And yet I continue to make these same mistakes.

You know what sounds great every time I pass one or see an ad? Checkers. Checkers is garbage food, but I could easily go for some sort of burger with their delicious ass fries. God, my mouth is watering just thinking about it. But the gut bomb that eating that meal will cost me makes it totally not worth it...and yet I may still do it.

And even though I know fast food will wreck me, I will still purchase and consume it, because marketing works, and I believe that convenience now is a good trade-off for pain and misery later on in my day. I am a dumb human being and need to stick to my own meals. They're healthier and tastier, and yes, there is more work involved, but if you smelled my farts, you'd agree it's best for everyone.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Grapple on the Gridiron Was Awesome

I flew up from Florida this past weekend to attend the Iowa vs. Oklahoma State wrestling meet at Kinnick Stadium. Being at the football stadium, it was dubbed Grapple on the Gridiron. It was totally awesome, and I cannot recommend it enough.

Having an outdoor wrestling meet during the middle of November in Iowa is a risky proposition, but things turned out shockingly well for everyone. The weather was between 50 and 60 degrees with nothing but sunshine as there was not a cloud in the sky. Since there was also a football game featuring the #5 team in the nation taking on one of their most hated rivals, parking could have been a severe issue, but they opened up lots a little ways away from the stadium and set up a shuttle service to get fans to the meet. I was concerned it'd be a total mess, so we got there early, but things really couldn't have run smoother.

But logistics are boring. Wrestling is anything but. Still, this is not a sport with a lot of glitz and glamour. I didn't expect much showmanship in introductions, but I was pleasantly surprised. Before the wrestling began, Metallica blared from the speakers and Thomas Gilman, Iowa's 125 pound wrestler (who could kick all of our asses), came sprinting out as fire shot out of pyrotechnics like he was The Demon Kane. I was so jacked up I could have roundhoused kicked a kitten. Then the rest of the team came strolling out casually as fire shot up around them, so it had more of a corporate Kane feel to it.

But the reason wrestling is so great is that it is a one-on-one battle of wills that is truly compelling to watch. People who understand the basics of scoring in wrestling and can follow along usually become passionate about following the sport, and although it translates well to television, it is one of the most fun sports to attend live in person. The action is fast-paced, and honestly, some of the most fun moments of being in the crowd were when they were actually between action, but we'll get to that later. One of the great things about wrestling is you get to utilize the oo sound in yelling, which is the best thing to yell. I mean the Cowboys had Moose, the Packers have Kuhn, but every single wrestling meet has TWO, which is incredibly fun to yell when there is a takedown.

And luckily, Iowa had plenty of takedowns. And you bring in over 42,000 people in to a wrestling meet and give a good amount of them some alcohol in their system from tailgating, you're going to have a raucous crowd. As I said earlier, the best moments were probably in between the action. A few of the Oklahoma State wrestlers were absolutely gassed in their matches, as they had no energy and were doing everything they could to just hold on. The most hilarious moment was in the first match was when Oklahoma State's Eddie Klimara was slow to get back to the center of the mat, and Thomas Gilman gave him a shove to the back to help him get there as soon as possible. The Oklahoma State were (rightly) irate, and the Iowa crowd absolutely loved it, because Iowa is BY FAR the dirtiest team in the nation. I 100% understand why other schools hate Iowa, but they're my team, and I love them for their, uh, questionable tactics.

But the best part was definitely watching Oklahoma State wrestlers be slow to get back to the center and try to use every trick they could to stall to help them regain some energy when they were exhausted. I mean, don't get me wrong, it was frustrating to watch as an Iowa fan. But as the Iowa fans erupted in boos anytime an Oklahoma State wrestler was slow to get back to the center of the mat, it dawned on me how amazing it is that college sports allow nearly 50,000 people to tell a 20-year-old college student what a piece of shit he is for being tired. God Bless America.

Overall, it was an awesome experience. I was able to take my Dad to his first wrestling meet, and we had a great time, and I'll definitely be looking to do it again next year (and yeah, considering how huge of a success it was, I can't imagine them not trying to do it again next year). As for the results, the meet itself was back-and-forth, but there were a lot of high scoring matches, and the #4 Iowa Hawkeyes edged out the #1 Oklahoma State Cowboys by a score of 18-16. After that, I thought it was really cool that the University of Iowa let the football team use the wrestling stadium for their game against Minnesota. Iowa won that too, and the world is a better place for it.

Go Hawks!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Why Did Nobody Tell Me About XArm?

Consider yourselves failures. You should all be embarrassed. To let something like this slip through the cracks for YEARS. That's right, not days or months but YEARS. Oh, here's XArm, possibly the greatest sports innovation since Slamball, and you all let it slip through the cracks? Come on, you are all better than that. What is XArm? Oh, my friend, do I have a treat for you.

XArm is extreme arm wrestling. It is stupid and AMAZING. How do you make arm wrestling any more extreme than it already is? I'm glad you asked. First, you strap the two opponents together around the wrist so they are locked into an arm wrestling position. Then, you chain them to the arm wrestling table so they are basically stuck in about the space of a phone booth together. That's kind of badass, but not totally extreme. But let's get to the best part. You allow each person to beat the shit out of their opponent.

Once you add in that last factor, the arm wrestling barely matters, because focusing on pinning somebody's wrist loses a lot of its relevance if that guy is repeatedly punching you in the face. I think this XArm battle may do the best job of acting as the embodiment of the sport.

Before we even get to the contest, I'd just like to point out that this between a guy named Aaron Sawyers, who, yeah, if I had to guess what that guy would do in his free time, I would have definitely guessed XArm contests. And his opponent? Buck Acosta. God damn, that is a perfect name for this sport. Like, that's so perfect that I think the final two choices for what to name this was Buck Acosta and XArm, and XArm only won on a coin flip.

The first round gives you just a taste of the action, and it somehow ends in a pin. I think somebody's arm got pinned, because I think there is arm wrestling in this sport, but before the video starts, it says the only ways to win are knockout, submission, and judges decision. Also, I get absolutely jacked for each round with the dubstep music.

But the second round is where we see the true potential of this amazing endeavor. Sawyers decides that he's bigger and should be able to win a battle of strength against Acosta, so he wants to go for straight arm wrestling. Buck Acosta hilariously just starts throwing nonstop right hooks at Sawyers who just tries to cover up until he finally just quits since he has no answer and no escape since he is both attached to Acosta and a table.

This sport is so totally awesome that my mind is near its breaking point. If you're not convinced, well first off, you're clearly a moron, but second, I think this will change your mind.
Just some 260 pound Dad straight up going for an armbar. God, I can't believe how awesome this sport is.

This is not a sport for the feint of heart. This is a sport for men, especially stupid men, most likely Dads. I want to have a kid just so I can enter. This will be my life. This is my destiny.

I love you, XArm.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Rumblr Is the Greatest App Ever Made

Our phones are running our lives these days. Checking email, Twitter, The Facebook Dot Com, not to mention paying bills, and with the advent of Tinder, you can even pick up potential mates. It's truly amazing, and yet none of these things compare to technology's greatest invention, the greatest app ever made. That's right; I'm talking about Rumblr.

What is Rumblr, you ask? Oh, Rumblr is just an app for your phone where you can find and meet people who have a similar interest as you. That similar interest? Fighting. Yep, you can just open up your app, find someone in your area, and see if they'd like to throw down behind the local Publix or Hy-Vee Grocery Store. I mean, you don't have to fight behind the grocery store, but that was the choice spot back in my day.

But it gets better. It is not just for fighters, as you can also just look for fights happening in your area and see two random shitheads throw down in the parking lot by the tennis courts (this was a secondary spot for fights back in my day). Let's face it; there is nothing more compelling than two people fighting. You can't not watch. I will admit that watching people fight can be sickening when watching one dominate another, but it can also be hilarious, like when one person could dominate another, but instead decides to hump them into emasculation instead (this is a thing I have witnessed).

I mean, the people who came up with Tinder did a great job by helping people hook up with other sexy singles, but this is simply on another level. Finally, an app that will allow you to schedule a late-night meet-up, or should I say beat-up session in front of the local sporting goods store (this was a desperation spot for us when we needed to watch a fight).

The only disappointing thing about this app is that it is only coming out to the first 2000 people that signed up, and they're rolling it out on iPhones first. I'm likely not a part of that first 2000, and second, iPhone users lack grit. These iPhone fighters are more likely to do verbal sparring about their Ivy School's graduation rate. Once they roll it out for Android users, you'll start seeing some real fighting going on. And Heaven help us if they ever find a way to roll it out for old school Nokia phone users, because I will finally live my dream of seeing two guys fight each other with taped fists, tarred and covered in broken glass, the way Jesus always envisioned.

So, yeah, I'm pretty excited about Rumblr.