Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Saddest Ending In Sports

I didn't expect that to happen.

There were so many ways I could have seen Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman's rematch going, but that definitely wasn't one of them.

I have long been a detractor of Anderson Silva as I thought that any good wrestler with some semblance of submission defense should be able to take him out as long as they stuck with a good game plan. I was wrong, because it didn't take a good game plan; it took a perfect game plan. Anderson Silva is so dangerous on his feet that every second that a person spends standing up is a second where they have a high risk of being knocked out. I wrote about his greatness before this fight and how excited I was for this fight, but now I am left with nothing but this empty feeling.

I'll admit I didn't see it at first. I thought that I missed him getting clipped, and then when I saw him holding his leg, I knew it was bad. Then I heard his screams. God, those screams. It was as disturbing as a child's scream, and this is not meant to compare Silva to a child, but to recognize that somebody that tough to be in that much pain is just sickening.

Then I saw the replay. And my worst thoughts were confirmed. His leg snapped in half. After that happened, nothing else mattered. Even Weidman knew, he gave a quick raise of the arms, but then went to check on Silva before being shooed away so the medical staff could take care of him.

The UFC crowd is not known for their sympathy, but everyone knew that this was terrible. As Weidman had his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan, there were no cheers, there were no boos, there was just ambient noise that seemed neither positive or negative, it just was.

No matter what happens from here, he's the greatest fighter we have ever seen, and it's going to take an incredible comeback from Georges St. Pierre or an incredible run from Jon Jones for anyone to challenge that position in the near future. The man was made to fight and reached his highest potential. So very few in any occupation can say that.

This is an unfair scenario for Anderson Silva. This shouldn't have been how his career ended. He was so great for so long. I got angry watching him, because everything he did looked so easy that it made me sick. I could make up a game specifically designed to my strengths and still not be as great as he was at mixed martial arts. Even last night, I had that feeling of inevitability that Silva was going to start picking apart Weidman after surviving that first round. He never stopped being great. Instead, greatness was taken away from him.

I have been trying to figure out the right way to end this, but I'm at a loss for words. I guess that's fitting; Anderson Silva's career was made by leaving fans speechless.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Anderson Silva And The Art Of Showboating

When it comes to sports, I have a bias towards wrestlers. I loved Robert Quinn coming out of college, because he was a state champion high school wrestler. I loved Ray Lewis for the same reasons. I don't even know what level Deron Williams wrestled at before switching to basketball full-time, but I remember an announcer mentioning it while he was at Illinois, and I still support him, even though he has been rapidly declining. Never is this more true than in the UFC. In my mind, you need to have a wrestling background to be great, because without wrestling, you have no control of where the fight ends up.

I have always underrated Anderson Silva because of this. To be fair, he has gotten a ton better at wrestling, going from childlike to a poor wrestler. He's not going to shoot for takedowns, but his sprawl and underhook defense has gotten a ton better, and really, that's the only aspects of wrestling that Silva is going to need.

It's fair to say that my underrating Anderson Silva was a huge whiff on my sports predictions. It isn't the first, and won't be the last, but even though I have been wrong, it has been a blast watching him fight. Watching him strike from his feet is poetry in motion. It's so ridiculously smooth. There is nothing in this world that I can do as smoothly as he strikes, and that includes seducing the ladies. Win or lose this weekend, Silva's career is winding down, and we should appreciate all of the opportunities we have left, even if he is no longer in peak form.

My only proof that he may not be in peak form is that he is 38 years-old. Outside of that, there isn't much video evidence to suggest he has lost a step. Yes, he lost his last fight, but he got caught while doing what Silva does, believing in his skills to the point where he feels comfortable making his opponent look bad.

We have all been taught that showboating is bad. In most cases, it is. The showboating itself is not bad, but so few athletes can be so great that they are able to back it up. Anderson Silva is one of those amazing athletes who actually benefits from showboating. He demoralizes his opponents and kills all confidence with his showboating. Outside of the first Chael Sonnen fight, he has made his opponents believe that he was better than them in every other fight he has been in. He stands there with his hands down and easily dodges all strikes that come his way. At this point, his opponent feels helpless, and it is amazing how the energy can drain from an opponent who doesn't know what to do. Anderson Silva is the water; his opponents are the helpless swimmer. The harder they work, the more dire their situation becomes.

Don't fool yourselves. Chris Weidman has looked like an absolute monster in all of his fights, but by the second round with Silva, he looked beat. He was putting his head down and charging in for shots like the world's slowest bull. Silva dismissed him, as he should have, because all visual evidence was pointing to him being done. That all changed when one of Silva's dips mistimed into a left hook from Weidman, and all of a sudden, Silva was human again.

Michael Jordan stuck his tongue out, shrugged his shoulders, and shot free throws with his eyes closed. He didn't do this because it helped his game; he did it because he could. And mentally, his opponents were defeated before the end of the first quarter. Silva is that sort of athlete. He has such a myth around himself that his opponents are fighting a mental battle before they enter the cage. The showboating just puts the nail in their mental coffin.

As I said before, Weidman has been a beast in all of his previous fights, and the one time he didn't look like a beast, against Silva, he still knocked his opponent out. If he comes in with proper cardio and has his wrestling working, it's going to take something special for Silva to win. At the same time, I can't shake the feeling that we are going to see that classic Anderson Silva performance of easily rolling away from shots while effortlessly peppering his opponents with pinpoint striking.

I don't know what is going to happen on Saturday, but I know it's going to be special. If I had to make a pick, I'm going with Weidman. I have underestimated Silva throughout his entire UFC career (I thought Rich Franklin would win BOTH times), so why stop now? But this time, I will admit, there is a little piece of me hoping that I'm wrong, because getting another opportunity to see that sort of greatness is something I don't want to miss out on.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Scouting the 2014 NFL Draft: Zach Mettenberger

I am getting an earlier start on scouting the 2014 NFL Draft, as I'd like to do more of them, and some quarterbacks seasons are already over, so there is no more tape to study. The first guy that I will take a look at had a disappointing end to his year as he tore his ACL. Zach Mettenberger of LSU took a huge step forward this season. He flashed his talent last year, especially against Alabama, but this year, he consistently put big points on the board for the Tigers. It's a shame that LSU did not have a dominating defense for the first time in a while, and the ACL tear is obviously a pretty big bummer too. I took a look at his performance against Mississippi State as well as his games against UAB and Florida.

So the first thing that stands out is the arm. He has the physical tools to make all the throws at the next level. When he plants his feet and fires, he really drives the ball down field to his receivers. He makes this throw look effortless.

That is a beautiful ball. And here is another example of why scouts will fall in love with him:

He puts the ball right in there down the sideline and drops it into his receiver's hands. You cannot throw a better ball than that.

It is impossible to talk about how good Mettenberger can look without mentioning his receivers. I love how Odell Beckham Jr. snatches the ball out of the air. Attacking the ball is one of the most important features for a wide receiver, and he has shown a great ability to attack the ball with his hands instead of waiting for it to come to him. It's something that attracted me to Alshon Jeffery while in college, because it's a skill that carries over to the pro level when coverages are going to be much tighter. Here is an excellent example of that.

Yeah, that's really fun to watch. Oh, and Jarvis Landry isn't bad either.

Having those two guys will make any quarterback look pretty good. Which brings us to the bad...

A big issue that I have with Mettenberger is his ability to anticipate receivers getting open. Instead of trusting his receivers,, he waits until they are open to throw the ball. By the time the ball gets there, the defenders have closed the distance which makes the catch much more difficult for his receivers.

Beckham is able to make this catch, but if he throws that ball earlier, it is much easier for him. Instead he battles the defender and has to make a very good play on the ball. In college, the difference in talent between his receivers and the defenders they are facing is much larger than it will be at the next level.

His accuracy is not great. He struggles putting touch on the ball. On these two throws, he has open receivers but overthrows both of them.

The screen pass seems worse, because he badly overthrows it and it turns into an interception, but at least he had the excuse of pressure on that throw. With the ball down the sideline to Beckham, it's just poor footwork that causes him to miss his open receiver. He consistently misses on passes where he is forced to put touch on the ball.

When throwing over the middle, it seems like he is always throwing his receivers high. This is a major issue, because throwing low/short leads to incompletions, but throwing high/long leads to interceptions.

This is a pass that lands incomplete, but it is in very dangerous territory as there are plenty of Florida defenders around that football, and he gives his receiver no chance to make a play on the football.

On top of that, he underthrows balls down the field despite having plenty of arm strength. He still managed a 65% completion rate, but he doesn't make it easy on his receivers. He doesn't do a great job of leading them open, and it's much more a testament to the receiving corps' talents that their passing game was so potent this year.

At first glance, Mettenberger seems like a good prospect. He has great arm strength, good size, and enough mobility to survive. His stats look impressive enough that you could convince yourself that this is a guy to build a team around, but the more I watched, the more problems I saw. The biggest issue is the accuracy. This is not something that I would bet on being able to fix. He's been throwing the ball for 15 years, and it's not there yet, so I really don't see it happening at this point. Overall, he has a lot of arm talent, but the accuracy issues are too much for me to be willing to take a chance on him outside of a late-round flier. I fully expect a team to fall in love with the arm strength and take him off the board much earlier than that, but I do not see him as a starting caliber quarterback in the NFL.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Best Name For A Baby Boy: Machete

I know what you're thinking. Machete isn't the name of a child. It's a giant knife. Yeah, well John and Joe used to be the name for the bathroom and coffee, but it worked out pretty well for a large portion of the population). But the real question is: If I have the perfect boy name, why am I sharing it with the world? Unfortunately, I have to share it with the world, because my wife will not let me share it with my son.

My wife and I talk about baby names a lot. The girls' names we came up with were easy. I just went to the local strip club with a pen and paper and boom, 15 great names for girls that will make sure they are go-getters. But the boys names are tough. She would bring up crummy names, and I would point out how children are going to make fun of them for that name.

Finally, the perfect named dawned on me, like an angel setting me on a wondrous path. It was manly, classy, and there was literally no way to make fun of it.

Machete. How badass is that? My wife tried to ruin the name by saying kids will call him MaShitty, but that was a silly argument. Do you know how much fun my son would have when he was in high school and college and yelling at parties, "Who wants to get MaShitty tonight?" There would be a small earthquake from all the panties dropping at once.

Also, you can shorten it to Mach, which can be pronounced like Macho or like Mach-Five. Either way, it's gritty as all hell.

It's the best name ever, but my stupid wife (honey, if you're reading this, I'm only kidding about the stupid part; also, you're very pretty) won't let me use it. So, please, don't even include your wife on the naming of your child. She'll be so drugged up after giving birth that you can sneak in naming the child before she even realizes it. Machete [whatever your last name is] has a pretty good ring to it, doesn't it?

Be on the look out for most popular boys' names. Machete will be topping the list by the end of next year.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Jay Cutler: The Perfectly Average Quarterback

Jay Cutler is amazing in that everyone seems to have a strong opinion about him. But this is the wrong way of viewing J-Cutty. When taking an objective look at things, he's not great or awful, because all of that greatness and awfulness averages out to...well, average.

As a quarterback, he has a very strong arm, but man, he makes some really stupid decisions that kill the Bears. But he would also make ridiculous throws that would give you hope that he could accomplish anything on the football field. Then he'd throw an interception that would give you a neck cramp from shaking your head. I'll admit that I focused more on the latter, but it doesn't cancel out the former.

Cutler is amazing in that people have very strong opinions about him, and when it comes to football, there really shouldn't be strong opinions on him at all. As much as I have bashed Jay Cutler over the years, there's nothing inherently wrong with him. If opinions were simply based on his results, you would look at it and say that he is a perfectly reasonable quarterback. Nothing grand, but nothing awful either. Some good games, and some bad games. Most Bears fans think he has the potential to be a top-five quarterback in the league. Here's the problem with that. he's 30 years old. We're past potential at this point. He is what he is. But he's not awful. He provides a lot of ups and downs, but it all balances out to a middling quarterback. He's just a way more exciting version of Alex Smith. They both get you to the same end result, just with very divergent paths.

Why a lot of people hate him is his personality. From everything we know about Cutler, he seems like kind of an asshole. But his personality is actually a reason that I really respect him. Jay Cutler is who he is. He has not changed his personality a bit, and I bet he's really happy to be him. Peyton Manning may be the greatest quarterback ever, but there is no way he is as happy about life as Jay Cutler is. He spends so much time studying and worrying about football that he has no time to host annual 80s parties with a reality TV Star wife.

Jay Cutler is what he is. At quarterback, he's perfectly reasonable to play as a starter. As a person, he may be a bit of a prick, but at least he's honest, and he's doing what makes him happy. You gotta support that.

So, cheers to you, Jay Cutler. Throughout most of the first half of yesterday's game, I was convinced that he was going to get my team eliminated from the fantasy playoffs, but he turned it around and put in a perfectly reasonable performance. I don't know why I expected anything else.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Mark Prior Should Be in the Hall of Fame

I have loved Mark Prior for a long time, since 2001 to be exact. I have followed his career since then, and I remember watching the high points, and hoping for the best during the low points. I always thought he deserved another chance. I know he deserved it. Objectively, I know he doesn't deserve to be in the Hall of Fame, but subjectively, I feel like there are few players who deserve to be there more. This is a player that future generations should never forget.

Mark Prior was the reason I actually showed an interest in the MLB Draft, and I was immediately in love with the man. As a dumbass 16 year-old, I was concerned that I loved another man, but for Prior, it was totally worth it. This is a guy that pitched 138 innings, yet managed 202 strikeouts while walking just 18 batters during his Junior year at USC. He went 15-1 with a 1.69 ERA.

The Cubs had the second pick in the draft, which was a huge bummer, because there was no way that he wouldn't go number one overall. But I heard rumors that the Twins were considering not taking him, because of signing bonus demands. I had no idea that teams took cheaper players instead of the best players, so this was a huge shock to me. But I was overjoyed with the news. I remember thinking how badly the Twins shit the bed when they took a local catcher named Joe Mauer. What idiots.

But their loss was the Cubs gain, as the Cubs quickly snatched Mark Prior with the second pick. This was going to be awesome, as the Cubs could pair him with Kerry Wood and the next Pedro Martinez, Juan Cruz, and have the best 1-3 starters in baseball history.

He started his professional career in 2002, where he pitched in nine minor league games, striking out 79 batters in 51 innings, before getting called up to the big league roster. Nine games. In a perfect world, that would have been the extent of Mark Prior's time in the minor leagues. Instead he would pitch 64 games in eight different seasons over an eleven year span. This is not a perfect world.

He made his debut on May 22, 2002 and fulfilled even my insanely high expectations. He pitched six innings, had ten strikeouts, and got the win against the Pirates that day. He cruised through his rookie year with 147 strikeouts and 38 walks in 116 2/3 innings. He was only 21 years old.

In 2003, Mark Prior may have been the best pitcher in baseball. He only came in third in the NL Cy Young Award voting, but that was because Eric Gagne pitched one inning really well, and nobody knew that park factors could help a pitcher like Jason Schmidt while hurting a guy like Prior. The only thing that hurt Prior that year was some shoulder soreness in July, but it was no big deal. He had perfect mechanics, and he came back stronger than ever. At the end of July, he was 8-5 with a 3.01 ERA, and still finished 18-6, with a 2.43 ERA, struck out 245 while walking 50 in 211 1/3 innings. He went 10-1 while lowering his overall ERA by over half a run down the stretch. He wasn't just great; he was getting better.

And then there's the 2003 postseason. And everybody remembers Bartman, but that doesn't matter. What matters is 133, 116, and 119, the number of pitches Prior threw in the postseason after his first big league year. That middle number was thrown in a game the Cubs won 12-3. The cubs were already up 11-0 after five innings, yet the Cubs kept sending him out there until finally taking him out when he was unable to retire the first two batters in the eighth. I hated Dusty Baker for a long time as I looked back at those numbers, because I felt robbed. Mark Prior would never be fully healthy again.

But just because he wasn't fully healthy doesn't mean he still wasn't pretty damn good. He struck out 327 batters in 285 innings in 2004-2005. He still looked like Mark Prior but nothing was quite as crisp, and he couldn't consistently dominate like he used to. Also, he spent a lot of time on the disabled list. In 2006, the wheels came off. He had a 7.21 ERA in nine starts. The Cubs shut him down after an August 10 start against the Brewers where he gave up five runs in three innings, while striking out only one, the opposing pitcher, Doug Davis. It would be the last time he ever pitched in the major leagues.

He didn't pitch at all in 2007, 2008, or 2009. But in 2010, he pitched for the Orange County Flyers of the Golden Baseball League, striking out 22 in 11 innings with a 0.00 ERA. The Rangers gave him one minor league inning to end the year, and I still believed that he could be a valuable asset to a big league team. But it wasn't meant to be. When he pitched, he did well. From 2011-2013, with the Yankees, Red Sox, and Reds minor league affiliates, he managed an ERA of 3.66 while striking out nearly 12 batters per inning.

Unfortunately, over those three years, he only managed to pitch in 46 2/3 innings.

It is easy to look at Mark Prior's career and call it a failure. Mark Prior may even agree with that sentiment, as he stated when he retired, "I have no regrets. I did everything I could. I left it on the field, gave everything I could to it and came up short."

I agree with everything in that statement except for the very end. I'm glad he has no regrets, and this is a man who did everything he could, left it on the field, and gave everything he had to baseball. But he didn't come up short. He was a hero, and even though I was a legal adult during his greatest year, every time he pitched, I had the awe of a child. I know I'm not alone in that sentiment. And because of that, the name Mark Prior will stick with me forever.

Some may remember him as nothing more than a cautionary tale. I will remember him as what greatness truly looks like. Either way, he deserves to be remembered. Mark Prior for the Hall of Fame. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A Look at 2014 Iowa Wrestling

I love Iowa wrestling. In fact, there may not be another sports team that I care about as much as Iowa wrestling. I love Iowa football, and I can't get enough Iowa basketball, but I get ill watching Iowa wrestling. I go from a well-adjusted adult to a screaming psychopath as I watch meets. I once wrote an Iowa wrestling song to the tune of 2Pac's Hit 'Em Up. This is not healthy, but sports are stupid, and I love them. Anyway, I'm really excited about this Iowa team, so let's break it down one weight class at a time.

125 - Cory Clark
Clark has been fine this year. He's getting wins, but they aren't always as impressive as fans would like to see. That's pretty nitpicky this early on. But they have Penn State in a week and a half, and that is the meet that will be a great test for him. Megaludis is tough, but Clark had the talent to beat National Champion, Jesse Delgado, last year, and even though Delgado was not wrestling as well as he was by the end of the season, Clark showed he can wrestle with anybody. If he beats Megaludis, the sky is the limit for him.

Also, Thomas Gilman may be the best backup in the nation. I would definitely pick him as an All-American if Iowa could wrestle two guys at one weight.

133 - Tony Ramos
He's the best wrestler at Iowa. I know DSJ has a National Title and is ranked #1 at his weight, two things Ramos cannot say, but Ramos is, without a doubt, the best wrestler on Iowa's team. He got upset by AJ Schopp, but I don't see him losing again this season. Schopp wrestled a hell of a match and Ramos wasn't getting to his offense and when he did, he wasn't finishing. This has not been an issue for Ramos in the past, and I don't see it happening in the future. He's going to come hard, score points and dominate the competition. Now that he lost a match, he's going to be looking to put absolute beatings on his next opponents. I feel bad for them. I won't feel bad when he wins a National Title this year.

141 - Josh Dziewa
It's pronounced Jeva. You'll be able to impress your friends (not really, none of your friends give a shit about college wrestling) by knowing the correct pronunciation. He got pinned in his last match, but outside of the end result, there were a lot of positives about the match. He wasn't able to really threaten any offense in the first, but he also shut down the second ranked guy in the country. He rode hard, got in an awkward position, and he lost the scramble in the worst possible way. Other than that, he's been taking care of business, and he could definitely challenge for an All-American spot this year, just as long as he can avoid Stieber as long as possible.

149 - Mike Kelly
I love Mike Kelly, and I know that I am in a very small minority with my feelings. Looking at the Iowa roster, 149 is the weak spot. Brody Grothus got the nod in the last meet, and he got destroyed. Mike Kelly always seems to make people work, takes some really great shots too, but man, that guy cannot win a scramble to save his life. He gets in 50/50 positions and can never find a way to get the better of his opponent. It's maddening, but he has tools to be good. His scrambling is an issue, and although if he became Ben Askren in that area, he could be an All-American, I can't exactly predict that. Still, I do see a step up from this weight with him qualifying for Nationals and even scoring some points for the Hawkeyes.

157 - Derek St. John
Derek St. John is the total opposite of Mike Kelly. He wins every scramble ever. It's maddening, because he is always centimeters from losing a match, but he fights for everything and always manages to get the best of his opponents. He's ranked #1, so he's the favorite to take this weight class, but it's tough to always win like that. He is in close matches constantly, so even though he has the ability to win all of them, it's tough to feel very confident that he is going to do it again.

165 - Nick Moore
Moore is a guy who looks like he's taken a significant step forward this year. He controlled a tough opponent at Iowa State, and he actually looked good against Edinboro, although some fans were hoping to see a major decision. He consistently got deep in his shots, but there were a few instances where he wasn't able to finish it off. Still, he's showing good offense, and if he keeps wrestling hard, he could be a threat to anybody not named David Taylor.

174 - Mike Evans
Evans is maybe the most interesting wrestler on the Iowa roster. He started his career at 165, and his offense was stagnant, but he may have had the best rides of anybody at that weight. Then he moved up to 174, and he got explosive offense but really struggled on top. This year, he has plowed through everyone he has faced, but 174 is stacked. He's ranked #6, and although Andrew Howe is the favorite, everyone in that top six is super dangerous. He doesn't have a stache this year, but if he replaces it with a national title, I think all Iowa fans would be pretty cool with it.

184 - Ethen Lofthouse
It's the same story with Lofthouse. He can look great at times and pedestrian at other times. He's been able to turn it on for the national tournament, and if he can do it again, he could be in the finals. If Ed Ruth gets kicked off Penn State, he could even win the whole thing. But it's another slow start for him. Since he's proven himself, it's too early to get worried.

197 - Nathan Burak
He hasn't wrestled yet this year, but considering how much better he got as the season went on last year, I'm really excited to see what he can do this year. I don't think he's going to win a National Title, but if the reports are true, he should be able to compete with anybody this year.

Also, super excited for Sam Brooks, who has been wrestling up a weight in replacing Burak. He has looked very tough so far.

285 - Bobby Telford
He's hurt, but still ranked #3. He's working with the guy that made Tony Nelson an unbeatable monster, so maybe he can finally beat Nelson this year, but I have trouble believing it until I see it. Still, I don't think there's another heavyweight out there that he can't beat, so making the finals would not surprise me.

Overall, Iowa has a shot at 9 All-Americans (10, if you're willing to jump on that Mike Kelly bandwagon with me), and two guys who are probably going to be favored to be national champions. That's if everything goes right, and at the NCAA, it never does. There are going to be upsets. Penn State and Minnesota are stacked this year, so Iowa is going to need more upsets go their way than go against them, but I think this Iowa team does have a chance to finally break up Penn State's dominance, although it won't be easy.

Anyway, Iowa has a meet on Thursday night against Buffalo where they should dominate. After that, the season really begins. Next Saturday vs. Penn State in a meet that you should make time for if you have BTN and even a small interest in wrestling. It's going to be an awesome meet, and I am already way too excited for it. Seriously, watch wrestling; don't be a pencil-neck geek.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I Am The Life Of The Party At Weddings...Don't Be Like Me

Well, my friends really fucked me over on this one. At my wedding, everybody was on the dance floor. Not only were pro wrestling moves happening. There was not a man, woman, or child that they were not willing to dance with in some ridiculous manner. I went along with the whole thing, because as a West Coast Dancer, I know how to get down and boogie. Honestly, it was a blast and definitely the weirdest wedding dance floor that I have ever seen.

But now every time I go to a wedding with my wife's family and friends in attendance, they are not looking forward to seeing me for riveting conversation, they are looking forward to my breathtaking dance moves.

We went to a wedding a couple weekends ago. Right after the wedding, before the bride had even exited into the limo, her mother came up to me to let me know that she was looking forward to seeing me out on the dance floor. Was I flattered? Of course, but it put a lot of pressure on me when I should just be a random guest at the wedding.

Did I deliver? Well, yes, I wowed the crowd. I went to some of my patented moves, like the duck walk grind, which is just like it sounds, incredibly tiring, but always gets the crowd excited. I also brought out an invisible basketball, had it transformed into a soccer ball and didn't miss a beat. I danced with every lady in the building including when I brought out the bride in the middle of a dance circle and twerked on her. People were awed, and a great time was had by all.

So what's the problem?

The problem is that I have only heightened expectations for the next wedding. I'll have to come up with even fresher moves and deliver another high energy performance. Sure, next time I'll still be fine. Even the time after, I should be good. But what about 6, 7, 8 weddings down the road? How am I supposed to keep this up? I hate to admit it, but I'm not getting any younger. A few years down the road, I'm going to have to come to the realization that I'm not as good as I once was, but can I continue to be as good once as I ever was? I'd like to think so, but there are no guarantees. There is the very real possibility that this all comes crashing down when I try to push through the flu to dance my ass off, and instead I am left leaving a $50 plate of food on the dance floor. The scariest part is I'm not sure which hole it is going to exit out of.

It is not worth it being the center of attention, because the pressure and expectations are only going to increase as time goes on. I'm going to have a hip replacement and still be gettin' jiggy in the middle of dance floors despite extreme pain in every part of my body.

So, please, take my advice. Play it safe at weddings. Pick your spots. Find one song to break out a patented move and nail it. People will remember you as making an impact, and you won't have to be out there all night to do it. I wish I could follow my own advice, but me? I'm stuck. All I can ask is the next time you see a guy dancing his ass off all night long at a wedding and making sure everybody is having a blast, take him aside and thank him for his service. I know I'd appreciate it.

Monday, December 9, 2013

I Ate At Cook Out, And It Was Amazing

In November, I moved to Florida with my wife. A few weeks later, she forced me to drive to Ohio. I was not happy about this for a couple of reasons. I had just driven a 26 foot truck for 24 hours to move us down there, and I wasn't real keen on more driving. Second, it was nearly December, and I was not looking forward to going from sunny skies to bitter cold.

The drive wasn't so bad, as I caught up on some podcasts and learned some Spanish while on the road. The temperature was another story. It was pretty depressing when I saw the temperature had dropped 25 degrees before we had even got out of the state. It would drop another 40 degrees and give me a couple inches of snow before it was all said and done.

My wife visited friends both on the way up and on the way back, but I only had one request for this trip. We must go to Cook Out. Cook Out is a burger joint that are all over North Carolina and spreading to some surrounding states. I learned about Cook Out from Drew Magary's Deadspin article (and let's face it, this is just a ripoff of his work, as I will be recounting my own amazing experience with this place).

On the way up, we were unable to go as we got into North Carolina late and had to get back on the road early. I would not be denied on the way back.

So, blah blah blah, had Thanksgiving with the family, went to a wedding, danced my ass off, watched a variety of Iowa teams kick some ass, and throughout all of it, I had one thing on my mind: Cook Out. All of those things were great, but they paled in comparison to what was ahead.

I strategically planned our trip back to reach a Cook Out in Columbia, South Carolina around 12:30 where I knew my stomach would be growling and waiting to devour anything that was set in front of me. I saw the sign, and was unable to hide the smile across my face. As we pulled into the parking lot, I wanted to sprint out of the car and leave the wife behind. I controlled these animalistic instincts and did my best to hide my excitement.

When I walked through the door, playing it cool was thrown out the window. I know that I looked like a kid on Christmas. I stared up at that majestic menu, unsure of what I wanted to unwrap and put in my belly. I ordered a combo with one main dish, two sides, and a drink. I decided to get a double cheeseburger with everything but mayo. As sides, I got french fries and chicken nuggets. Yep, chicken nuggets as a side. Finally, I upgraded my drink to a Caramel Cheesecake Shake. All for about $6.

The gentleman behind the counter asked me if that was all, and I promptly replied that yes it was. It was at this point that my wife piped up and said, "Uh, I still need to order." "Oh yeah, go ahead honey." She ordered something too.

Then I (technically we) sat down and waited. They called my number, and I was nearly sweating with anticipation. I opened up my Styrofoam container to reveal so much food. The double cheeseburger was great. The fries were fantastic. The nuggets were delectable. The shake...oh, that shake. Words cannot describe it, because at this point, I was in an orgasmic haze of pure food joy.

I stopped speaking to my wife, outside of a thank you when she gave me a hush puppy. I'm not sure what she thought about her food, but there weren't any leftovers, so we both did pretty good that day.

Honestly, I wasn't too keen on the trip up for Thanksgiving, but that combo at Cook Out made it all worthwhile. So much so that I'm a little bummed out that we're not heading back up for Christmas.

The nearest Cook Out is in Statesboro, GA. I love you Cook Out and can't wait to see you again. According to Google Maps, that will be in 6 hours, 59 minutes. Oh, the things we do for love.

Friday, December 6, 2013

The X12 Superhuman Is Back

If you have not heard of the X12 Superhuman, I highly recommend this in-depth piece I did about a year ago exposing a real life genetic freak. This man is stronger than a baby and faster than a semi. His physical feats will never cease to amaze me.

But the other day, I was notified that someone had posted a comment on that article. Craig M had posted this message, "Take a look at the X12 at this link:" What was so odd about this was that Craig Morrow is the human name of the X12 Superhuman. It couldn't possibly be him, could it? 

After further investigation, I found his profile picture on Google+ (the official social media website of superhumans).
There is no doubt; that is definitely Craig Morrow, waiting to crush his latest opponent, a random piece of plywood. 

But why would Craig send me a YouTube link? Did he want me to see videos of the pickup artists on Keys to the VIP? Did he want to share his Brony lifestyle with some My Little Pony videos? But then I clicked on the link, and it was clear that he was showing his latest conquest, because only a physical specimen like myself could fully appreciate his athletic prowess. Without further adieu, I present to you this amazing video:

Holy shit! It's tough to describe how amazing this is, so I'll let Craig's description explain it:

Watch this video of 260lb (118 kilograms) X12 running 18 yards (16.45 meters) from start with a 30 MPH (48.3 KPH) cruising 18 wheeler truck with a radar gun on that vehicle. The X12 was matching the speed of that 18 wheeler around those 6 cones close together while that radar gun measuring the speed of that 18 wheeler, and not the X12's speed. Notice those cones up front are 1 yard (0.9144 meter) apart, and the cone in the background is 5 yards (4.57 meters) from that last cone of those 6 cones close together. There is a fence behind the camera the X12 had to crash into, and the X12 had to brake after passing those cones in that video.

Video Recorded On November 20, 2013
By Craig AKA The X12
An Experimental Highspeed Superhuman
Of The X12 Superhuman Field Test.

The man crashed into a fence racing a semi. What a boss. Clearly, that fence now has a 260 pound hole in it.

Anyway, it looks like the age old debate is settled. Two legs are better than 18 wheels. God bless you, X12 Superhuman.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Paul Walker, We Hardly Knew Ye

I was at a wedding reception on Saturday when I heard the news. A friend texted me that he didn't want to ruin my night, but Paul Walker died in a car crash. At first, I thought it was ridiculous that this would somehow alter my night, but it did kind of hit me. I don't know Paul Walker in any significant way outside of his roles as Lance Harbor, Dean Sampson, and Brian O'Conner. The latter role has had a much larger impact as the last two Fast movies have been two of my favorite movies ever made.

What may have been most interesting is what followed when I heard the news. Despite hearing from a friend that some media outlets (mainly TMZ) were reporting his death, I wasn't totally convinced (and neither was he, for that matter). I quickly tried to confirm the news as there were varying reports on whether it was a hoax or whether it was true. Finally, the evidence piled up and it appeared that it was true. The bad part of the internet is that death hoaxes are prevalent, but the good part is that you can actually confirm the truth. The internet definitely didn't invent the death hoax as there are still people out there that think the original Ultimate Warrior is dead, but there has only been one, and he's alive and making insane YouTube videos.

There is no doubt that this was sad. Outside of the most awful people in the world, anytime someone dies young, it is a sad occurrence. I am bummed out by this news, but only in the most selfish of ways. They were currently filming Fast 7, and had already signed on for 8, 9, and 10. I love those movies (Fast Five is the only movie I have ever seen twice in the theaters), and even if they follow through on all of them, it won't be the same without PW involved. I didn't know Paul Walker, so I can't really vouch for him as a person, but I never heard anything bad about him. And with the overreporting on Hollywood stars, that is an accomplishment in and of itself.

So good for you, Paul Walker. Between Varsity Blues, She's All That, and the Fast and Furious franchise, you have been in some fantastic films. And the good news is that in Heaven, you won't tear your ACL, you'll win the bet to make sure that nerdy girl never becomes Prom Queen, and you can rest easy that Dom didn't let you win, you won it fair and square.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

You Best Believe I Watched Christmas Bounty

When I found out there was going to be a Christmas movie with a pro wrestler in it, there was no chance I was not going to suffer through it. I don't like Christmas movies, and I don't like The Miz, but you know what they say? A double negative makes a positive, so I was pretty sure I was going to love this movie.

The movie starts with a child being kidnapped. Luckily, his teacher is a no-nonsense chick who jumps off the building onto the SUV who stops the kidnapper. It turns out it was his Dad who lost visitation rights, but the teacher is not having any of it, because it turns out she's a bounty hunter. Now I bet you're thinking that she is going to have to save children in the end of this movie, and that is why they made her an elementary teacher, but you'd be wrong. Her being an elementary teacher serves no purpose outside of her having a "normal job."

The main character's name is Tori Bell. It's like if a person from Jersey was saying terrible. 

She put a guy named Manucci put in prison when she was a teenager, because she comes from a family of white trash bounty hunters. Also, we find out that if you are a bounty hunter, you must dress like a ho fo sho to avoid suspicion. That's how they roll in Joisey.

Even worse, she has to work with her ex-boyfriend on this case who is played by The Miz. What's his character's name? Haha, so glad you asked, because his name is Mikey Muscles. The man can literally only respond to Mike or The Miz. Anything else may make his brain melt.

Back to the mission: Tori has to take out Manucci's sister, Big Donna, who has three bodyguards. Luckily one bodyguard gets distracted by mannequin breasts, another gets chloroformed, and another gets in a fight with The Miz. He obviously loses. They plant a tracking device that is the size of Zack Morris's cell phone in her purse, which she finds immediately and uses to bait them into a trap.

They get into a shootout, and my favorite moment happened. Tori yells 12 o'clock to Mikey Muscles, and he blindly shoots above his head and kills a bad guy. Nobody has ever used the clock location system to determine whether people are above or below you in the history of the world, but Mikey Muscles knew. I cannot wait to start using this new method of location.

Her Dad doesn't believe in sleeves; I just thought I should bring that up. Oh, also her brother is a nerd, mostly because he wears sleeves. We don't learn much else about him.

So you're probably wondering whether The Miz and Tori are going to get together, but she actually has a new nerd-man who proposed to her. James is a nice guy who has no idea that she is a bounty hunter. He also seems to have no idea what a shot and beer chaser is. He tries to make a joke about Cristal, but nobody gets it. Don't worry James, I laughed at it.

There is a shootout at the tree farm, and during the middle of the shootout, the boyfriend peaks his head out to say, "Hey, what's going on over here? Why you got a gun?" This is not how I would react to a shooting, but this guy is a little dense. His density gets him kidnapped. 

Big Donna's getting married. Instead of a coat check at the wedding, they have a gun check. Yep, that happened.

Then they finally catch the bad guys, so woohoo on that. Mikey Muscles is working on getting a law degree so he can become more of an adult. Then he wishes Tori the best with her new man. Tori thanks him for being mature and goes to spend time with James. They have a really nice talk until she promptly dumps poor James to get with The Miz. It didn't really make any sense. Then there was a random dance scene to tie everything together. Nothing makes sense.

Overall, this was not a good movie, but at the same time, it wasn't offensively bad. Compared to the other bad movies that I have watched in the past, this was a rather enjoyable experience. I'd give this movie 10 inch arms, obviously on a scale of 24 inch pythons.