When did we get so bad at cheating in youth sports?

LittleLeaguer

Washington Post

Jackie Robinson West, the Chicago-area team that won the U.S. championship in the Little League World Series last summer, has been stripped of its title after an investigation found the team used ineligible players in an attempt to build a super-team.

The Chicago South Side team, whose players were African-American and raised hopes that the game would enjoy a resurgence among young blacks, was found to have used players who live outside its geographic area. On Wednesday morning, Little League International announced its decision, saying that the U.S. championship would now go to the Mountain Ridge team from Las Vegas. Its investigation determined that Jackie Robinson West used a falsified boundary map and that team officials met with neighboring Little League districts in Illinois to claim players.

“As our Little League operations staff learned of the many issues and actions that occurred over the course of 2014 and prior, as painful as this is, we feel it a necessary decision to maintain the integrity of the Little League program. No team can be allowed to attempt to strengthen its team by putting players on their roster that live outside their boundaries.”

Chris Janes, vice president of the Evergreen Park Athletic Association on Chicago’s South Side, told Chicago’s ABC affiliate that his group was suspicious of the super-team, especially after JRW outscored it 43-2 in a little over four innings in a sectional playoff game.

OOOOOH.  The old redistricting trick.  I haven’t seen that move since Gordon Bombay selfishly crushed the career of a budding Adam Banks so that he could play him on a wing next to a shitty skating Charlie Conway…just to silence his inner demons because he once hit the post as a 10 year-old. (Or perhaps because Hans once dropped a digit on him.)  Youth sports are so easy to cheat at it’s surprisingly remarkable how bad some people are at doing it.  By all means, draw your own maps, forge birth certificates, or even sell a couple dozen boxes of crackle candy bars to cover the freight for smuggling some cherubic looking, teen-aged Dominicans into the country to lock down your middle infield.   But whatever you do, DO NOT beat anybody 43-2.  When you quadruple mercy rule someone, it doesn’t matter if you’re cheating or not.  Your vanquished opponent will do whatever they can to crop-dust your trophy case with the stench of their shame.  (See Indianapolis Colts) I’ve seen it a thousand times.

BTW, even though I credited Gordon Bombay above, the real originators of the re-districting move was the sage gentleman over at Callery Park Baseball back in the early 90’s that saw a young @pistoffIrishman in the pipeline of backstops, and realized it would be impossible to make it to Williamsport with a kid trying to signal curveballs with sausage fingers, so they convinced Chelmsford to annex Van Greenby street for the duration of tryouts so they could call up a 9 year old, with power from both sides of the plate.  True story.

That’s One Way to End a Game

If you have ever been to any sort of high school game (speed chess matches are the worse) then you know tensions are high right from the start. Players grow up hating these rival schools, and if there was any good blood left that’s quickly erased once the chants break out (I can still hear the Bloomingville fans screaming; “Patzer, Patzer Patzer” as I took on Elliot Cromwell III in the New Hampshire Speed Chess Championship- Small School Division).

However, once the game gets underway nothing more than a few icy stares and perhaps a couple of punches are exchanged (or in the case of my championship chess match my rook for his bishop was just one of the many pieces which changed hands).

It seems though, these boys in Indiana never got the message. Take a look at the video below between the Griffith Panthers and the Hammond Wildcats:

After a little research it appears it was the first quarter when these two decided to go after each other. The two teams did not finish this match as the game itself was immediately canceled once the punches started flying. Yes you read that right; a game had to be canceled in just the first quarter after the boys were more interested in doing their best Rocky impression then balling out.

Really Indiana? I though the self proclaimed basketball mecca of the world would have sacrificed a puppy before letting a basketball game end prematurely. I’m shocked we didn’t see Larry Legend himself magically appear, start a drum circle, and explain to them; basketball is gift from the gods and they should cherish the mere fact they are even on the court. I’m truly disappointed in you Indiana and I mean isn’t that worse than any punishment the cops (who are looking to arrest people) could impose on you?

(Oh to wrap up my speed chess story I was down to just my king and two pawns before I stormed back to beat Elliot Cromwell III. I pride myself on not licking people but I was not about to pass up the opportunity to taste Cromwell’s sweet tears of defeat.)

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THIS JUST IN: The Patriots are ACTUAL Superheroes

Vince Wilfork pulls woman from overturned SUV

wilfork
(Associated Press)
As he drove home from the AFC Championship Game, Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork came upon an overturned SUV, and he’s now being praised by the state police for coming to assistance.

 

According to the Massachusetts State Police, when troopers responded to a call about the overturned SUV, they found that Wilfork was already there, standing beside the vehicle and asking the driver if she was OK.

The driver wasn’t able to get out, so a trooper held the driver’s side door open while Wilfork reached in and pulled her out. The troopers thanked him for their assistance and said they’d take it from there, so he went on his way home.

The woman Wilfork pulled to safety was charged with operating under the influence of alcohol and negligent operation of a motor vehicle.

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So, let me get this all straight in my head because, to be honest, I am shaking off the cobwebs (and by ‘cobwebs I mean ’16 Bud Lights’) from last night’s Patriots’ AFC Championship winning effort; Vince Wilfork helped save a broad…on his ride home?  So basically, the big fella played in almost every defensive snap as he and the Hometown 11 beat the living horseshoes off the highly outmatched Indianapolis Colts 45-7, and then decided to play Superman on the ride home?

While I have never played defensive line at the professional football level (mostly because of disciplinary issues, mind you) I have to believe your body is a bit tired and sore after rubbing against other 900 lb dudes for 3 hours in the rain?  No?  Maybe I am a pussy, but Vinny is pretty awe inspiring and a fan favorite.  And now….

Picture this; you just won one of the biggest games of your pro football career.  You are headed to the Super Bowl (again, yawn).  All you want to do is crush that XXXL steak and cheese sitting on your lap and get home for a much deserved massage from your old lady, when all of a sudden he thinks…

“Ah, shit, another dumb ass honkey Pats fan got shit hammered and flipped their car while texting their friends ‘Superbowl, baby!  LOL!  OMG! BLAH BLAH BLAH (CRASH).  Big Vin to the rescue “

What’s a Pro Bowler to do?  Another day in the life of a Patriot.

VW (ironically, he has the same initials as a car he weighs MORE than) pulls over, puts the sandwich on the passenger’s seat and saves the day.

What do you think that big-mouthed Lil John look-alike Seattle Seahawk Richard Sherman did on his way home?

Probably tightened his braids, tweeted some trash talk and grabbed a gold tooth at the Jerk Store?  YEAHHHH!

That’s why, Seattle, you should be starting to form that proverbial dump in your rain-soaked pants right about now.  This is not Indy or Denver converging on Glendale, AZ in 13 days…this is the New England Effin Patriots.  6 SuperBowls with the Hall of Fame Sunday brunch combo of Brady and Belicheck coming at ya…full speed.

I hope that handsome playboy, Pete Carroll, has more than high 5s and a loose stance on morals to back you all up.  Loud talk, gold cleats and the Space Needle won’t help you here.  Your ’12th man’ will be back at home wishing they lived in some other American geography and mumbling about Steve Largent.

Here we come and we are packing Super Heroes for the Super Bowl.

YEAHHHH!

Pura Vita!

Pura Vita! That my friends is a Costa Rican phrase meaning, “Pure Life” or translated to English slang as, “Screw it things could always be a hell of a lot worse”.  For example, after that loss to Green Bay a disgruntled Dallas Cowboy fan could always say Pura Vita (at least I’m not a Cleveland fan). Or perhaps you just broke up with your significant other well shout out; Pura Vita! (hookers and blow are probably cheaper anyway). How do I know this? Well, I recently returned from an extended trip to what I only found out on the second to last day is in fact not an island (sorry for failing you every geography teacher I’ve ever had).

face palm

In case you might not have guessed it Costa Rica is nothing like the good old US of A. Because of this fact, I am going to run down my three most story worth experiences for you the reader. Don’t worry this is not a brag post (even though yes it was a beautiful 85 degrees every day, the women flowed like beer, and wore less than what you find in a strip club–> not that I would know anything about that because of course I have never been to one).  Now that I have done my bragging for the post let’s get to the stories!

1) It’s considered a disappointment if you don’t get at least three feet from an animal which could kill you in seconds. During the trip we took a kayak adventure down this river/ rain forest area with the goal of spotting wild life. Before we even get into the water we see a 5 foot alligator (estimate here, wasn’t volunteering to measure the guy) swimming in the area we were about to board. Now I was expecting our tour guide to tell us to leave the boats and run for our lives (sorry person I tripped so the group could get away but let’s be honest you shouldn’t have been running next to me). However, that’s when the guide explains the little guy is probably just hungry and that someone will feed him. Which of course means we can continue to get in the water and paddle around him. AGAIN… our best move was not to run for our pump shot guns, but instead board these small kayaks and venture forth.

(Tell me why I’m getting in the water near him?!)

Aligator

2) They have no driving rules, but instead just guidelines. I am not sure the exact driving test in Costa Rica, but I’m willing to bet you fail if you don’t blow past at least five cars during your exam. Whether we were in the minivan that picked us up from the airport or the 50 person bus headed white water rafting (this started off as the most fun I’ve ever had but after the 25th time I took an elbow, foot, paddle etc. to the face that excitement wore off) we passed slower traffic. What about the dreaded double yellow line you ask? That puny rule stood no match for our driver(s). It should also be noted every road there is a mere two lanes. That will cause you to start reciting the rosary as you’re trying to pass someone while rounding a corner. One final piece of driving advice; don’t look down when you cross a bridge. They are also a single lane and looks like a five year old could have built a sturdier Lego set.

3) The drinking age is nonexistent. I was told that the cut off is 18, but during our time there no even pretended to card anyone who bought drinks.  You might think that is a good thing. However, I’m here to explain you couldn’t be more wrong. There is this thing called the age of consent and I don’t care what the local laws say you should never dip below 18. In America I know anyone at a bar is fair game (unless she has a boyfriend, but then again just because there is a goalie that doesn’t mean you stop shooting). In Costa Rica I wasn’t sure who I was allowed to look at. Yes she could be a 22 tropical princess (which there were many of), but she could also be a 16 year old high schooler who didn’t eat all week so she could spend her lunch money at the bar. A drunk me has a 50/50 chance of telling the difference between the two, and I don’t like those odds. As a safety precaution I asked every girls to finish this sentence, “I got in one little fight and my mom got scared. She said, ____”. (don’t be self conscious you can sing along at work) So to all those who were about to judge me see I came prepared.

Carlton

(The plus side of Costa Rica drinking: I spent $2 one night for a two hour open bar. To my absolute shock the line didn’t circle the country, but was manageable. The icing on the cake; I was able to get multiple free drinks thanks to making friends with the bartender).

These are just a few of the tales I returned with. I have many more, but our title of long post champion already belongs to Frank McCabe. So with that I’ll say once more Pura Vita readers until we cross paths again (and rock out to the most american latin song they played there).

Who Is Jonas Gray?

If you were watching last night’s game between the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts you learned; A) The Patriots will always be really good as long as they have that Brady Belichick combo (but chances are you already knew that like many of us Patriots haters do), and B) there is now a guy in the NFL named Jonas Gray.

(I love this gif)

Brady

So who is Jonas Gray? Well with the internet at your fingertips you can figure that out quite quickly.  Gray is a Notre Dame alum who got his NFL start with my Miami Dolphins. Side note; How do the Patriots keep turning our throw away players into stars?!- If you aren’t a scorned Miami fan you might have forgotten Wes Welker was originally a Dolphin! (deep breaths Austin deep breaths).

Anyway Gray then spent 2013 on the practice squad with the Baltimore Ravens before signing on New England’s practice squad for the 2014 season. On October 16th he got called up when Stevan Ridley went down with an injury (remember when he was going to be the next big thing). During those three weeks the 24 year old rushed for 131 yards on 32 attempts with no touch downs. That averages out to around four yards per carry which is very respectable even if it’s such a small sample size. To put things into perspective your leading rusher, Demarco Murray, averages around 5 yards every time he touches the ball.

Gray then decided he would have his breakout performance on national television for the whole football world to see. If you missed the game just google the highlights; this Michigan native ran for almost 200 yards and a franchise record four touchdowns. DAM! And that was against a Colts defense that has it flaws, but is right in the middle when it comes to stopping the run.

And the good news continues if you are a Patriots fan. Not that you need any more good news. You’re like that kid who already comes from money, got a perfect score on their SATs and then during their freshman year at Harvard they find out they can throw 95 mph and now they are on the MLB draft boards. Gray may have only played in four games but his two best performances came against teams you WILL see in the playoffs- the Colts and the Broncos.

The position of running back can be compared to a bullpen in baseball. You need one to win, but sometimes there is no rhyme or reason as to why things work. Some teams have a natural born killer in the backfield; the Seahawks have Marshawn Lynch just like the Yankees had Mariano Rivera.  However, most treat the position as a revolving door and hope they can catch fire when it matters most. That’s how it usually works in baseball too; closers can be untouchable one year and then fall into oblivion the next (yea I’m looking at you Boston and still trying to figure out how we didn’t unload Koji Uehara).

Koji

That being said I wish Gray a long career because news flash- playing in the NFL is really hard. Just know this Mr. Gray you will now make myself (and countless other non-Patriot supporters) want to pull our hair out as we watch this team of “scrubs” cruise to the AFC championship (and yes I hope that jinxes it).

An Awesome Gift for One of our Nation’s Heroes

This is a story I did about retried Sgt. Rick Yarosh. He sustained his injuries while fighting for our country in Iraq. On Tuesday two SUNY IT graduates gave him a simple but amazing gift. I know we usually try to keep things fun and light here on the blog. However, after meeting Sgt. Yarosh and learning about his amazing journey I wanted to share it with all of you. The first video focuses on the sergeant himself while the second takes a closer look at the two students who made his dream a reality.  Enjoy and just remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice so we can do the things we all enjoy.

Sgt. Rick Yarosh

 

 

 

The link (sorry I can’t figure out how to imbed the story in the blog:

http://www.cnyhomepage.com/story/d/story/golf-club-presentation-to-sgt-rick-yarosh/31558/SA9EX16CBUKOaGGbrqtM4Q