IRIS Sports – No Foolin’

Here are your top sports happenings this week for all you non-sports fans…No foolin’!

1) Hamburgers and Hockey – The fans of the professional hockey team, the Ottawa Senators, are throwing hamburgers onto the ice after the games. And here’s why: Andrew Hammond is a 27-year-old Canadian professional hockey player – he’s a goaltender. In college his nickname was “Hamburglar” because he was known to “gobble up loose pucks.” His professional career has not been stellar. He was not drafted; the Ottawa Senators signed him as a free agent in 2013 and he’s been primarily playing for their minor league team. In February the Senators lost both their first and second goaltenders to injury, so they called up Hammond. This undrafted 27-year-old, whose last game was a minor league loss where he’d allowed 4 goals, proceeds to go on a record-breaking streak winning 14 of his first 15 games. This infusion of success has not only landed Ottawa in the playoffs, it has revived the Hamburglar!

hamburglar Ottawa Senators

Fans started wearing hamburglar masks, McDonald’s gave Hammond “free burgers for life” (maybe they’re rooting for the other team), and last but not least, fans have been throwing burgers onto the ice! You gotta love a good Cinderella story, eh?

2) Men’s Division 1 Final Four Teams: Kentucky (Undefeated this season!), Michigan State (Magic Johnson’s Alma mater), Wisconsin Keep an eye on 7 footer superstar Frank Kaminski, aka Frank the Tank) , and Duke (Go ACC! I’d like to see class act Coach K take down Kentucky in the finals). Here’s the BRACKET.

3) Women’s Division 1 Final Four Teams: Connecticut, Notre Dame, Maryland, and South Carolina. These were all the #1 seeds (good job, NCAA). My money is on UConn; they’ve won 8 championships in the past 15 years. They are 36-1 this season and they have DOMINATED…we’re talking 30, 40, 50 point deficit dominating. Impressive stuff. Here’s the BRACKET.

4) To Tee or Not to Tee – Tiger Woods still isn’t sure if he’ll play in Augusta for the Masters. Everyone is curious – not because they think he can win it (it’s been 10 years since he won The Masters), but because it’ll be more fun if he does. And when you’re a big shot athlete like Tiger and you’ve won before…you can drag your feet on your commitment to playing (hey that sounds a lot like how he treated his marriage. Had to say it!) And now, oooh, it’s reported that Tiger’s plane has been spotted in Augusta. OoooOOOooohh!

5) Women get fake boobs, men get fake noise (And no I’m not talking about a fart machine). The louder your home crowd, the tougher it can be for a visiting team. The NFL is fining the Atlanta Falcons $350,000 plus a 5th round draft pick in 2016 for using an audio file during games with fake crowd noise for the past two seasons at the Georgia Dome. It’s reported that the Falcons were playing the fake crowd noise during the opposing team’s huddle, likely making it harder to call plays. Not cool, man. In addition to the $350K and the draft pick, the Falcons President Rich McKay is suspended from the competition committee.

Thanks for reading “I Read It Somewhere” aka IRIS Sports!

 

 

Hump-Day Hallway High-Fives

Don’t worry non-basketballers, we’re almost through March. We’re honing in on a Champion. But while we’re waiting, may as well see what all the buzz is about. Here’s your humpday-hallway-highfive-happenings in sports this week sports. And don’t forget, when your coworker wants to know how you’re so in-the-sports-know, just tell’em… Oh,   I Read It Somewhere. Welcome to IRIS Sports!

1. The THIRD ROUND of the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament finished last Sunday. With sixteen teams remaining, the next round is affectionately called the “Sweet 16.” The survivors of the Sweet 16 advance to the “Elite 8”. I feel sorry for the second and third rounds. They should get special names too…like, “32 Kung-Fu,” or “32 Voodoo.” Second round could be, “64 Commodore” or maybe, ”64 Squares on a chessboard which is appropriate considering that scheduling a round with 64 NCAA teams is probably a little like playing a Chess Match am I right??” Or, maybe not. The games resume tomorrow night in Cleveland, Los Angeles, Syracuse, and Houston. By Sunday night, four teams will be left standing. Those four teams will travel to Indianapolis on April 4th to play in the final round, aptly called the “Far-fetched Four.” Just kidding, it’s the “Fart-Etched Four.” Just kidding it’s the “Fab Four.” Ok, ok… it’s the FINAL FOUR!

2. HEY LAAAADIES! The Women’s NCAA Division 1 Basketball Tournament is also happening right now. Round Three (32 Kung-Fu) finished up Monday night when Louisville became the sweetest sixteenth team to advance to the Sweet 16. What’s that you say? Women’s games are boring? Pshaw. These young women are strong, inspiring, fiery, and have mad skillzzz: http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=espn:12547688 Check out the Women’s D1 bracket HERE. Go ladies, Go!

3.  ACC Country – I grew up in Raleigh, NC in a Wolfpack family. We didn’t have professional teams around here. We had NC State, Carolina, and Duke – and you had to pick one. So as a life long Wolfpack fan, it was especially fun to watch them knock out the #1 seed in their region, Villanova. State advancing to the next round will make it an especially sweet, Sweet 16. Check them out in action: https://youtu.be/ekElFwu504E

4. Oh yeah, that other tourney… the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) is happening, too. They have their Fantastical-Final-Four all set: HERE.

5. Georgia State On My Mind – My favorite personal story of the tournament so far is Georgia State’s charismatic head coach Ron Hunter and his player and son, RJ Hunter. Coach Hunter tore his achilles celebrating Georgia State’s Sun Belt Conference Championship that earned his team a bid to the NCAA Tournament. Their first NCAA Tourney game was against Baylor. The #14 seed GA State defeated #3 seed Baylor and RJ Hunter hit the winning shot at the buzzer! The coach, who was in a cast due to his achilles injury, proceeded to fall off the stool amidst the craziness of everyone celebrating the nail biting win. They lost to Xavier in the next game but not before the entire country fell in love with these two great guys. I challenge you to watch this without getting choked up…https://youtu.be/KnsmmEWjjco Somebody call Disney!!

It’s All About the Bass…ketball

If you were bummed that you couldn’t watch The Mindy Project last week because a basketball game was on instead…if March Madness pertains more to your feelings than to sports…if Bracketology sounds like a fancy new tax law from Obama, you’re in the right place!! Welcome to IRIS Sports: the non-sports-fan’s sports page. Here are this week’s top 5 water-cooler-worthy happenings…

1) Today is Selection Sunday. A whole lotta love schools all over the country have been playing their hearts out for the past week. Men’s Division I College Basketball teams were not only vying for their respective conference titles, but to become 1 of the 64 teams who make it to the NCAA 2015 Tournament. A team makes it in by 1] winning its conference tourney 2] winning its conference’s regular season 3] This is where it gets interesting. There’s a committee who figures out the rest of the teams. There are power rankings to consider and things like “Strength of Schedule.” If your record is 10 Wins-8 Losses and you played Cheech & Chong’s local yo-yo University Basketball Clowns every other game, that does not help your “SOS” ranking. If you played a bunch of nationally ranked teams and even beat a few (helllloooo NC State), that matters. Today is the day they announce all 64 teams. Exciting stuff! Drum roll…. Here are the results, aka the BRACKET. The games start this week!!

2) The NIT. If you don’t get a bid for the NCAA Tournament, your team might get invited to the National Invitational Tournament. Make no mistake, any die-hard basketball fan is not happy their team is in this tournament. It’s runner-up’s-ville, USA. The games start this week. (conspicuously missing exclamation point)

3) The University of Kentucky. Kentucky is ranked #1 in the country. They have won every single one of their 34 games this season. This is the longest winning streak going into the NCAA tourney since 1985. I love that there is a possibility that some small yo-yo team could come along and slay this dragon. It’s why they play the games instead of just handing the trophy over to KY.

4) Why I Love Sports. The Albany GREAT DANES (really? I guess it’s a fitting mascot for basketball team) defeated the Stony Brook SEAWOLVES to win the America East Championship and a bid to the NCAA tournament. (What is a Seawolf, you ask? According to the Stony Brook, it’s a mythical creature and according to legend anyone fortunate enough to view it is subject to good luck. Well that seems inconvenient. ) Onward. There is an Australian kid named Peter Hooley who plays for Albany. Hooley lost his mother to cancer 6 weeks ago. He missed a lot of the season to be by her bedside in Australia. This kid hit the game winning 3 pointer to secure his team’s trip to the NCAA – Check it out —> http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=espn:12485580 Pretty great.

5) In other sports… Golf: The Masters (Augusta, green jacket) is coming up April 11-14th. Pro Basketball: The playoffs begin at the end of the month. Pro Football: Free Agency just started which means there is wheeling and dealing going on and you’ll see players moving from one team to another. Pro Baseball is in spring training and the season officially opens in April. And last but not least, there is a Boxing match coming up that has been 10 years in the making and is being dubbed the Fight of the Century. Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather, Jr. May 2, 2015. This future fight even has its own Wikipedia page HERE.

Have a great week!

 

 

It Can Wait

I am drinking coffee and writing on this Sunday morning. I have a turquoise, soft cover Moleskine journal that I love and a ball point pen that writes just right. It’s a beautiful, sunny, January day. My phone is downstairs.  In the time it has taken me to write these four and a half lines, I’ve had the urge/impulse/itch to check/use/scratch(?) my phone four times. #1- I wanted to use the timer for what was initially going to be a timed writing exercise [No Tracy, you can use the clock]. #2 – What’s today’s date? It’s right there on my phone’s home screen [Uh Tracy, use your brain].  #3 – I wanted to check the weather app to include the actual temperature when describing this lovely day [It’s January, Tracy…It’s cold]. #4 – I wonder if I’ve heard back from my friend Jamie. Hmm. I could do a Lumosity “workout.” And see what’s up on Twitter. I love Twitter.  [No, no, noooo! IT CAN WAIT! IT CAN ALLLL WAIT. Write your damn journal entry] Jeez, no wonder I have trouble with follow through.  We are living in a distractible world, and I am a distractible girl [Madonna invocation: You know that we are liiiiving in a distractible world and I am a distractible girl].

At work last year I was part of a project team that moved a manufacturing plant from Minnesota to NC. We up-fit an 80,000 Sq. Ft facility on a very tight time line to accommodate the plant. I was the Project Manager. Our team was rock solid, we all worked crazy hours, and lives were at stake. Ok, lives weren’t at stake – but SOCIAL lives definitely suffered. In the end, we were successful and it was extremely rewarding.  Throughout the project, my boss constantly said, “What can we check off the list today? I’m big on checking things off the list.” He preferred to make a good, solid choice and move on versus making the perfect choice (which, obviously doesn’t exist). It sounds simple, but that stuck with me. It has become this perfectionist’s New Year’s resolution. Like most of us, I have a lot of lists. Being distractible and a perfectionist can be a paralyzing combo, especially creatively. Daily I think of ideas for a blog post, joke, sketch, business idea, etc. But I convince myself that I’ll get to them when I have more time (…to make them “perfect” before sharing them with the world, I suppose). And most of the time my (probably genius) creative musings and (probably million dollar) Shark Tank ideas lie dormant, never to be recalled. It’s a bad feeling. This blog post is a case in point. I started it yesterday morning but did not finish it in one sitting. It would be so easy to let it die away like so many others, unfinished. But damn it, I’m checking things off the list. And this year, writing is an important item on my list. Writing, and then letting it go of what I’ve written. It’s not perfect and that’s ok. Don’t over edit. Don’t let doubt keep you from doing what you want to do: just write. And for God’s sake, don’t check Facebook. [Fade out: Li-ving in a distractible world…DISTRACTIBLE!… Li-ving in a distractible world…….]

IRIS Sports Archive – Keeping Up with Your Sports Fan

Originally posted 1/5/2013….

You’re here so you can keep up with the sports fan in your life…boss, coworkers, or yo’ man (sure ok, maybe yo’ lady). Or, maybe you’re here ‘cause you’re my friend (thanks). Either way, here are this week’s top five (and a half) chat worthy sports happenings…

  • It’s College Football Bowl Season. Surely your sports fan (YSF) is up to his eye bowls, in college footballs (see what I did there). If YSF’s team is in a bowl game, you need to find out if they won. If YSF is yo’ man, ask him. He’ll love it. If it’s your boss, just hush up and figure it out… http://scores.espn.go.com/ncf/scoreboard . It’s a great accomplishment for a team to qualify for a bowl game. Different bowls carry different levels of distinction and a team’s record determines which one they qualify for. Most of the bowls have goofy names (ex. GoDaddy.com Bowl) because we are a capitalistic society that will likely have corporations sponsoring each square of our toilet paper sometime in the near future….but I digress. My two teams (YSF may insist you can’t have two teams, but if you hold your ground on your reasoning he’ll back off… unless it’s because you like the uniforms.) So, my two teams are NCSU (hometown fan, I grew up rooting for them) and my alma mater, UGA. It’s fun being a UGA football fan. They dominated Nebraska in an exciting win, 45-31, in the Capital One Bowl. Here’s a play that sums up how the game went: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/01/georgia-nebraska-capital-one-bowl-murray_n_2393395.html . NC State did not have the same good fortune. They lost to Vanderbilt 24-38 in the Music City Bowl. Here’s a play that sums up how their game went: http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=8796113 . The biggest, baddest, bowl in the land is the BCS Bowl, excuse me, the Discover BCS Bowl. It will be played on January 7th and will determine which of these top ranked teams, Notre Dame or Alabama, is this year’s National Champ!
  • Men’s College basketball season is underway. My favorite! Like any collegiate sport, it’s all about the conference. I grew up in ACC country (http://www.theacc.com/) which is known for elite basketball. Our neighbor, Duke University, is currently ranked #1 the country. NCSU is 11-2 but regular conference play starts this weekend and that’s when games really matter (for the record, the two games NCSU lost were to Top 25 teams). If none of this is doing it for you, think about this…basketball games are always inside, basketball games are short, and basketball games do not consume an entire day with tailgating. In other words, consider yourself lucky if YSF is a basketball fanatic. Find YSF’s team’s record here: http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/standings
  • NFL “regular season” ended last weekend. Post season games start this weekend to determine who will make it to the playoffs. This will all culminate at the Superbowl (http://www.nfl.com/superbowl/47) on February 3, 2013. Currently the two top teams (http://espn.go.com/nfl/standings/_/type/playoffs) are the Denver Broncos (my team!) as the AFC Champs, and the Atlanta Falcons as the NFC Champs. One team from each division will end playing each other on the big day. Go Broncos!
  • Seven NFL coaches were fired on January 31st (Happy New Year, Coach). One of the most controversial was Chicago Bears head coach, Lovie Smith. It must be hard to fire a guy named Lovie. Lovie wasn’t feeling the lovie (I lovie his name, btw)…ok, I’ll stop. He had a good season and the ‘da Bears only missed playoffs by one game, but that doesn’t matter. Lovie has not gotten his team to the playoffs in five of the last six seasons. So, he’s out. There’s no loyalty in the NFL. You either get wins, or get fired. There is a lot of shuffling around of coaches and players in between each season and it always feels wrong to me. I don’t want to be reminded that it’s a business; I want the romance of pulling for a team I love. It’s like switching out the actors in your favorite TV show every season. Remember when they replaced Darren on Bewitched? (I’m old) Like I said, the shuffling can be disheartening…Wait, What? The Colts released Peyton Manning? What? He’s going to Denver? Can I get a what-what!? I’m ok with that kind of shuffling.
  • If YSF loves hockey, you might actually be enjoying this NHL season. The players have been locked out; Yet another reminder that professional sports can be an ugly business. It has something to do with revenue sharing. The owners of the teams want to reduce the player’s piece of the pie. While they figure all this out, season ticket holders and little kids across USA just have to wait. When the topic comes up, just throw out the terms “lockout” and “revenue sharing,” and you’ll have instant sports-cred. The season may start sometime this month, but it’s all still up in the air.

IRIS Sports Archive – Twofer

Originally posted 2/9/12…

Everyone’s life is busy. So this week is a speed round, IRIS, two-for-one! Here are the top ten things you need know about sports from the past two weeks, IRIS style.

  • Remembering beloved Canadian freeskier Sarah Burke. She died as a result of a tragic fall in the SuperPipe in Park City last January. Sarah was only 29 years old and was the top freeskier in the world. She was an inspiration to so many, both as an athlete and as a person. Here is the ESPN’s recent tribute to beautiful Sarah…  (http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=espn:7508480).
  • If you don’t know that the NY Giants won Super bowl XLVI last Sunday, then you’re in the right place. The Giants beat the New England Patriots 21-17. It was a close game but the Patriots blew it. Afterwards, QB Tom Brady’s model wife mouthed off to some heckling fans (I would have too) and now everyone in Boston is on a witch hunt. Perspective, people.
  • The Australian Open is the first Grand Slam (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Slam_(tennis) ) tennis tournament of the year. This year’s championship match lasted a record breaking six hours. Technically it was five hours and fifty three minutes…but six hours! In the end, Novak Djokovic defeated Rafael Nadal 7-5 in the fifth set.
  • The Winter X-Games 2012 saw Shaun White get the first ever perfect score in the SuperPipe (giant half pipe with walls measuring at least 18 feet from the flat bottom to the top of the wall). He is insane! Check it out: http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=espn:7518186
  • Peyton Manning, quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts, seriously injured his neck last year. He has had several surgeries and was just cleared by doctors to resume playing (he was paid $25 million not to play football last season). The big question now is, will the Colts release him or resign him? He’s a risk because he apparently has nerve damage and is having trouble throwing. Peyton has had an amazing career and I’m hoping he gets back to full strength regardless of where he plays.
  • Hockey! In the NHL, the NY Rangers are leading the Eastern Conference and my buddy Ethan’s Detroit Redwings are leading the Western Conference. The Carolina Hurricanes are the opposite of leading the Eastern conference. Yep.
  • College Basketball. Last night Duke beat Carolina at the buzzer, which is always nice. It was a super exciting finish! Check it out: http://youtu.be/3X1ewxVwhug
  • NASCAR – Danica Patrick (http://espn.go.com/racing/driver/_/id/697/danica-patrick), former IndyCar (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IndyCar) driver, is guaranteed spot in the Daytona 500. Here’s all you need to say about this…”I think it’s cool that Danica Patrick will be racing in the Daytona 500. Then your boyfriend will say something about another driver trading points on her behalf, her GoDaddy sponsorship, and that it might be unfair that she got a spot. You don’t need to understand this, just response with a confident, “I still think it’s cool.” The end.
  •  Big first baseman news! Now that football is over, baseball talk begins. Albert Pujols (http://search.espn.go.com/albert-pujols/ ) (Pronounced pooh-holes…you’ll never forget that one, I know. You’re welcome.) Anyway, the awesome Albert Pujols left the St. Louis Cardinals for the Angels in Anaheim. He has been with St. Louis for all ten years of his career and has been a big contributor to this team’s success. His leaving was all about contracts and money. It seems the consensus is that it’s hard to believe the Cardinals let him go. Good luck in Anaheim as an awesome Angel, Albert! (alliteration nerd alert)
  • More first baseman news! The Detroit Lions are paying $214 million on a nine year contract for Prince Fielder (http://search.espn.go.com/prince-fielder/) (what a great baseball name). $214 million! This is the fourth biggest deal in baseball history. Now we all get to see if Prince lives up to the hype.

IRIS Sports Archive – It’s Alive!

Originally posted  1/25/12….

It’s ALIVE…ALIIIIIVE!! After a grueling three-week-on/twelve-week-off schedule, IRIS is back! The first post of 2012 is dedicated to my friends and family who lovingly harassed me about getting back to it. This week’s top five is a list, by degree-of -heckling, of my awesomely persistent friends/family and the sports that remind me of them. YAY for friends and family!

BRIGITTE/ULTIMATE FRISBEE J  I played Ultimate with Brigitte on a women’s club team for many years. We practiced long hours and paid our way to travel all over the country to play this sport we love so much. The bond you create with teammates is like none other – I can’t say enough about this. My Frisbee friends are truly great.  A relatively new sport, Ultimate Frisbee (http://www.usaultimate.org/multimedia/default.aspx) is growing every year. Still, it is widely misunderstood. No, it doesn’t involve dogs. No, it’s not the one where you throw the frisbee into a basket (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disc_golf). What, paintball? I play frisbee, not paintball (this actually happened to me). Brigitte is one of the many women who have inspired me in the Ultimate world. Here’s a highlight reel (cruddy quality, but a catchy tune) showing off some female badass-ness.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fguRqolq9-I 

The IRIS key to Ultimate Frisbee is just knowing that it exists, that it’s a field sport like soccer as opposed to disc golf which is like, um, golf. …and that it’s bad ass!

SANDY/NFL FOOTBALL J My sister became a huge San Diego Chargers fan when they drafted NC State quarterback Philip Rivers in 2004. I’m talkin’ Chargers chat rooms/training camp huge. She can hang with the boys when it comes to football. Is that sexist? Who cares, it’s true. The NFL season is over for most teams. Last weekend’s games determined who is going to Super bowl XLVI http://www.nfl.com/superbowl/46   (46 if you’re Roman numeral rusty like me).  It’s the New England Patriots (Tom Brady is the QB – he’s as talented as he is handsome) vs. the New York Giants (Eli Manning is the QB – he’s the younger brother of Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts. Peyton and the Colts won the Super bowl in 2007. Eli and the Giants won the following year in 2008. Can you imagine how proud their parents were?) The Super bowl is February 5, 2012. I have to mention here that I’ll be pulling for the Pats so I am not disowned by my Boston family!

DON/ESPN.COM & any other sport on the planet J My brother is a huge sports fan, former basketball stud (sorry about the “former,” D) and serious golfer. He’s partly the inspiration for IRIS Sports because he’s often my go to guy for the short version of what’s going on in the sports world.   He can usually break it down in two sentences or less. Me: “What was the deal with the NBA strike?” D: “It was mostly about salary caps for rookies.”  Me: “What’s going on with Golf right now?  D: “Everyone is getting ready for the Masters in April”  Me: “What is up with that crazy chick Courtney on the Bachelorette? D: “Um, what?”

BECKY/BEARS, BULLS, BLACKHAWKS  J  Sports alliteration! Becky is my former roommate, formidable athlete, and a diehard Chicago _____ fan. Fill in the blank with whichever Chicago team you’d like here.  We’ll go with professional hockey…the Blackhawks. They won the Stanley Cup (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanley_Cup) in 2010 and this year they are the top offensive team in the Western Conference. That’s all I got. ..but props for that! Last year the Boston Bruins won the title. This year it is still within reach for both of them.  Go Becky, Bruins, & Blackhawks!

BASS/NCSU WOLFPACK J  My friend Bass can jump high. Hang time high. It’s fun to watch. I just wanted to state that for the record. That, and he made this list at a party last Saturday with some late night heckling about da’ IRIS Sports ‘mon (He’s not Jamaican. My brain just does that sometimes).  Bass is North Carolina State alum.  The ACC (http://www.theacc.com/ ) is basketball country!  The Wolfpack, Notorious Un-Der-Dogs, are tied for first place in the ACC!  Tied with Duke and Florida State, they have a 4-1 record.  They’re not ranked nationally like Duke, Florida State or UNC but what else is new!?

IRIS questions? Shoot me a comment. Otherwise, see you next week as IRIS 2012 keeps rolling. Thank you Dad, Sandy, Brigitte, Donnie, Graham, Becky, Lucy, Bass, Peter, Nicole, Katy, and Shelly!  When you only have 12 fans, you may as well acknowledge them all by name.