Thursday, February 22, 2007

Equal Pay Problem

Wimbledon will now be paying equal prize money to men and women, according to an AP article on I'm sure feminists across the world are overjoyed at this victory, but I cannot view this decision as one of equality.

Oh, it's under the guise of equality, but women should not earn the same amount as men in these Grand Slam tennis tournaments. Now before everyone jumps on my back for being a sexist, chauvinist women-hater, I remind everyone what's at the basis of the women's movement:

Equal pay for equal work.

And I feel compelled to argue the case that the women are not doing equal work.

Men play best-of-five set matches while women play best-of-three set matches. That doesn't sound quite as equal now, does it? Now, do I have a problem with women extending their matches to best-of-five for Grand Slams? No. Do it. As a matter of fact, I'd love to see that.

Maybe a few women on the tennis circuit would have a problem with that, but viewers wouldn't. Men's tennis has become routine. Everyone shows up, and two weeks later Roger Federer takes the title. Same old, same old.

But women's tennis is much more competitive than it's male counterpart. I'd love to see Serena Williams continue her dominance in five-set thrillers. Women's tennis has parity. Why not extend the matches and continue to draw in viewers. I'd watch.

So before everyone looks at this announcement by the All England Club as progressive and fair, let's call it what it really is: an attempt to adjust in a world where too many people are trying to be politically correct.

The All England Club - or someone for that matter - needs to stand up and make the point that if women are going to get equal pay, they should do equal work.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Are you Schott-ing me?

It's amazing, the NFL. One week you're 14-2, the top seed in the power conference with the league MVP in your backfield. Blink, and half your staff is gone prompting management to kick you to the curb.

The Chargers didn't win it all under Marty Schottenheimer, true. But they're in much hotter water without him in charge. But if you look at where the blame should fall in this situation, it lands squarely on the shoulders of the man whose career playoff record looks more like a batting average.

Marty is to blame for Marty being fired.

He's been in this feud with Chargers GM A.J. Smith, which did play a big factor, but Marty could have helped put this to rest a month ago. After the Chargers' playoff loss to New England (but seriously, who does beat Tom Brady in the playoffs? It took Peyton Manning long enough to do it. I digress...) Marty turned down a contract extension, leaving him with one year left on his contract.

He became a lame-duck coach. As a result, a lot of his assistants and coordinators jumped ship and looked for new jobs, jobs likely to be there at this time next season. First offensive coordinator Cam Cameron decided to swim with the Dolphins and now defensive coordinator Wade Phillips is the big man in Big D.

I'm not saying every coach and coordinator that left the Bolts would have stuck around if he had signed the extension, but perhaps more than just the water boy would be left in San Diego.

Chargers President Dean Spanos said that when the organization decided to bring Marty back, it was under the assumption that his coaching staff would stay relatively similar. It hasn't. So Marty - like so many times in the postseason - is out.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Ready to recover

It's been a while since my ankle injury last October. Since then, I've been on crutches, in a giant boot, and feeling somewhat helpless. And quite frankly, I'm ready to get back. I'm ready to be 100% again.
That's why I'm saying right here for everyone to see that by May 11, 2007 - the date of commencement here at USC - I will be not only fully recovered, but I will also be back in shape. Not just in shape, physically fit. I'm talking about the condition I was in back when I was on the volleyball team. Back when working out three days a week wasn't torture; it was standard. Back when I could jump higher, run faster, lift more.

It's very easy to set a goal and not follow through when no one else knows that you're trying to accomplish something. When you make it known, you have to follow through. You at least have to try.

I have to do this. For years I have been somewhat critical of the fact that so much of this country is considered overweight and/or obese. Well, I'm not going to allow myself to fall into that category. I'm not going to become a hypocritical jerk. Oh, I'll still be a jerk, just not a hypocritical one.

I'm going to accomplish this. I'm going to get back in shape. I'm going to lose the excess pounds. I may not ever get back my 36" vertical jump (who says white men can't jump?), but I will get back feeling like I could.

It's time to make it happen. Commencement is 88 days away. Let's get it started.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Pro Bowl positives

All week long, I've listened to analysts, columnists and pesismists complain about the NFL's all-star game: the Pro Bowl. Now it's time for me to complain - about them.

I am tuned in to CBS, home of this year's Pro Bowl, and I've gotta tell you it's not half as bad as all those experts would lead you to believe. Sure, the first quarter went by scoreless, but we've now seen two touchdowns within the first five minutes of the second quarter.

With only 20 minutes of playing time currently ellapsed, I want to recap some of the things we've seen from this Pro Bowl that tells me as a football fan that this game is worth watching:

Listening in
On the AFC's first drive of the game, Peyton Manning drove down to the goal line. On 4th and goal, viewers were treated to something I'd never experienced before: we listened in on the radio call from offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels into Manning's helmet.

You couldn't get that sort of access in any other football game. The stakes would be too high, and no team could risk the other team potentially listening in. Here, this is just an exposition game, and there's no real harm in allowing viewers to hear what coordinators say to their players via the helmet-radio.

It's a unique experience you won't get during the regular season. Only in the Pro Bowl. Only in the Pro Bowl.

Everyone's in a good mood
At one point late in the first quarter, one camera caught something you'd never see during the regular season: AFC Head Coach, Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots smiled. Yes, that's correct. When have you ever seen that? Here's a hint: you haven't.

The Islands allow everyone to have fun.

What's on your mind?
Player interviews in this game are a lot more fun as well. Shannon Sharpe has been roaming the sidelines, talking to players during the course of the game. Sure, it's just an exposition game, but it was nice to hear from Tiki Barber after he scored a touchdown in his final game.

On the same Tiki-note, he said in an interview Thursday that we was excited to play in this game because it would be the last time he'd be on the same team as his twin brother Ronde Barber (of the Tampa Bay Bucs). That's one moment you wouldn't get without the Pro Bowl.

Holding on
Speaking of Tiki's touchdown, afterwards I got to see something that - as a Cowboys fan - I could really appreciate. Tony Romo is the holder for the NFC today, and he executed his duties perfectly. Awesome.

He's running running and running running
With 7:42 left in the 2nd quarter, we just saw a big fumble return for a TD by Adalius Thomas. It's always fun to see big play touchdowns, and it's not surprise a Baltimore guy scored a defensive touchdown.

Mascot mania
On a missed field goal attempt by the AFC, three mascot collided trying to catch the wide-right kick. There's something to be said for seeing all the mascots going at it. (By the way, as a Cowboys fan, I'm not surprised I haven't seen Rowdy on TV yet. Nothing about him says "All Pro" in the least.)

After a scoreless first quarter, the NFC and AFC have combined for an action-packed 28-point effort to close out the half.

Skills Challenge (4:47pm)
It's half time at the Pro Bowl, so CBS is treating viewers to the NFL Skills Challenge. These games went on earlier in the week, of course, but it's fun watching the highlights.

Both Pro Bowl kickers Robbie Gould (CHI) and Nate Kaeding (SD) played a game of KICK - like HORSE in basketball, but for all-star kickers. After banking balls of uprights and the game tied at KIC-KIC, they settled it by seeing who could kick a ball from the practice field and land it closest to a tiki-hut on the beach. They actually had to send a pair of refs down to the beach to judge the landings.

One last note on the Skills Challenge: Tony Romo won the "most accurate passer" competition. Just pointing that out.

Vinsanity (5:00pm)
Enter rookie quarterback Vince Young into the line up. So now you have a backfield of the super-mobile Young and NFL MVP LaDainian Tomlinson. Okay, he's missed on his first two pass attempted, but you can't deny some of the amazing things VY did for the Titans this season.

Romo (5:13pm)
It actually doesn't hurt as much as I thought it would hearing the announcers give Romo the business about his botched hold versus Seattle in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. The broadcast team talked about how in practice when they called for the field goal team, players would give Romo a hard time, saying "You're holding?" Looking back, it's kind of amusing now. But it wouldn't have been a month ago.

The Champ is here (5:19pm)
With five minutes to go in the third quarter, Champ Bailey lined up on offense for the AFC. Somewhere in Colorado, Mike Shanahan is giggling and all the while thinking, "hmm, what if?"

Posterized punter (5:21pm)
Wow, that was the biggest hit you'll see in the Pro Bowl. Buffalo Bills punter Brian Moorman took a snap and ran with it instead of punting the ball away to the NFC. Redskin safety Sean Taylor decided to let the punter know what football is all about, hitting him like a lanky wide out going across the middle.

After getting nearly broken in half, Moornman bounced up to tell Taylor 'nice hit.' And right now, just moments after that hit, Moorman is next to Shannon Sharpe for an interview. I can't wait to hear what he has to say about that hit.

Asian announcing (5:29pm)
CBS made a point that this game is being broadcast all over the world in many different languages. They then took the opportunity to replay the Sean Taylor hit on Brian Moorman overlayed with the Japanese broadcast team's call of the play. As the CBS boys said, it pretty much translates in any language.

Inside the huddle, literally (5:57pm)
Not only are fans at home getting to listen in on the coach-quarterback communication system, but now CBS is getting their cameras in the huddle. Viewers enjoyed a close up shot of Tony Romo calling a play in the huddle, and before the ball was snapped, we could see a camera man and audio guy sprinting off the field.

Belichick (6:13pm)
Shannon Sharpe's interview with Bill Belichick captured the emotion of this Pro Bowl, a fun positive atmosphere where players and coaches alike can really enjoy the setting. Belicheck joked about that Reggie Wayne's touchdown catch for the AFC was the only one of his career Belichick was happy about.

He was smiling and laughing. Bill Belichick. For all you non-football people, the who wore the hoodies out of the dirty-laundry basket. If he's having fun, you know everyone else is. All the more reason the Pro Bowl is fine.

All tied up (6:29)
In the last 1:06, the NFC has scored two touchdowns to tie things up here at the Pro Bowl. They've converted an onside kick and two point conversion to overcome a 14-point deficit. With 1:42 to play in Honolulu, this is a pretty exciting game.

Anyone not ready to let the football season go is getting exactly what they want with this game. It's close, it's competitive. It's football.

Final thought (6:36pm)
Much like Nate Kaedings last-second, game-winning field goal for the AFC, this year's Pro Bowl ... was good.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Irvin gets his Hall pass

So it's true what they say: third time's a charm.

Today Michael Irvin officially became a Hall of Fame wide receiver. After not receiving enough votes his first two opportunities, Irvin is headlining the Hall of Fame class of 2007.

I can only assume that the prolific receiver who became known as The Playmaker was simply being "punished" by voters that did not want him to be a first-ballot inductee. This honor for Irvin is overdue. (Read the "No Joshin'" post from after his first year on the ballot.) Perhaps not as long overdue as Rayfield Wright's induction last year, but long enough.

When I first saw the news this morning (well, morning out here on the West coast), I - as a Cowboys fan - felt a sense of vindication and relief. It was a feeling similar to what Peyton Manning may feel if he's successful in tomorrow's big game. Cowboys fans knew this moment would one day arrive. But when?

Irvin fell short two consecutive years. Even though last year he saw his teammate Troy Aikman become a Hall of Famer, the moment had to be bittersweet for the man who caught so many of those passes.

He admitted today on ESPN that he had some butterflies in his stomach this morning. How could he not? After the way voters had treated him the past two years, some doubt had to be creeping into his mind. For a player who never seemed to doubt his abilities during his playing days, some thoughts of "Will it ever happen? And if so, when?" had to infiltrate his mind.

Today, aah, today brings relief. Michael Irvin will forever be immortalized in the history of Pro Football.

It makes sense, really. If Troy Aikman is in, and Emmitt Smith will be in - once he's elligible, he's in on the first ballot thanks to his 18,355 rushing yards - wouldn't their seem to be a void when you mention their names as Hall of Famers.

Irvin is forever linked to Aikman and Smith. They are The Triplets. They - together - ruled professional football during the 1990s. If you wanted to hoist the Lombardi Trophy, you had to go through Dallas. To do that, you had to stop a Hall of Fame caliber trio. It's only fitting they all be together once again.

When the NFL's all-time leading rusher becomes eligible for induction, the three cornerstones of the Dallas dynasty will find themselves together once again - in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

When Emmitt takes his place in Canton, I'll say the same thing: third time's a charm.

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