Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Worst Sports Week Ever (And How It Got Better, At Least For Me)

Where do I start? I suppose with the following illustration that encompasses most of the bad stuff.

Yup. That about says it all (but I'm going to give you another 2000 words, so get comfortable.)

We'll go clockwise from the top right.

Aaron Hernandez, of the New England Patriots, was arrested and charged with murder.

This is, of course, the least trivial of the happenings. Murder is generally not a subject for humor, so I won't joke about it. A lot of folks are asking the question, "How can someone with so much money and prestige, so much to lose, even think about doing something so vile?" That's an interesting question, to be sure, but I believe the bottom line is this: anyone capable of murder will still be capable of murder no matter how much money and prestige he may have. The gain of fame and fortune does not have a good track record when it comes to bringing out a person's better qualities. If anything, an asshole usually becomes even more of an asshole once huge sums of money enter the picture.

I'm a big believer in innocent until proven guilty. I make no judgement concerning Hernandez's guilt or innocence. I'm just utterly depressed by the whole situation.

(In a totally hideous coincidence, a former softball teammate of mine was also arrested and charged with murder this week. I've never mentioned him here before, so you wouldn't know his name. I could tell you why it wasn't a complete shock to hear the news, but I won't. I'm just throwing it in here because it's another horrific thing that happened this week.)

OK, let's get to the stuff that's only depressing in a sports-related way (which is to say it sucks, but has relatively little misery compared to the above.)

The Bruins lost to Chicago in the Stanley Cup Final.

How they lost was the worst part of it. For those not privy to the facts (which probably means you don't give a damn, so there's probably no good reason for me to recount the details, but I will just in case you came out of a coma today) it was one of the best Stanley Cup series ever. I mean that. The team for which I was rooting lost, but that doesn't take away from the magnificence of the series itself. Three games went into overtime, one of those a triple overtime. Two other games were decided by one goal. The lone "blowout" saw the Bruins win, 2 - 0. It was tight, exciting, edge-of-your-seat hockey. With less than two minutes remaining in game six, the Bruins held a 2 - 1 lead. It looked as though they would force a game seven. Then Chicago scored two goals in the space of 17 seconds. And that was the kick in the teeth. Chicago won in a fashion that left Bruins fans with their mouths hanging open.

(MY WIFE heard me yell "FUCK!"at the top of my lungs twice within a minute. Sometimes she will say something to me if I get that upset about a sporting event, trying to calm me or to make me realize how ridiculous it is to be so emotional about a game. In this instance, she didn't say a word. It was another example of her intelligence, why I love her, and why I'm glad we're married.)

One good thing came out of the loss. I discovered that my nephew, My Godson, J. P. Sweeney, has balls made of titanium.

That's him, at the Chicago Blackhawks victory parade. Not only does he have stones the size of grapefruits, he also has a sense of humor.

(He goes to DePaul. That's why he's in Chicago.)

Next up, we have the Celtics being blown into tiny pieces by Danny Ainge.

Doc Rivers will be coaching the Los Angeles Clippers next year. He had been at the helm of the Celtics for a decade or so. Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce were traded to the Brooklyn Nets for a whole bunch of draft picks and expiring contracts.

I understand these moves in an economic sense. As a lifelong bleeder of green, though, I am thoroughly disgusted. Above all else, Paul Pierce should have never been allowed to wear anything aside from a Boston uniform. He is as much a part of Celtic Pride as Cousy, Heinsohn, Russell, Sam Jones, Cowens, Havlicek, Bird, McHale, or anyone else who retired after playing an entire career in green.

(OK, yes, Cowens and Cousy played a small handful of games for Milwaukee and Cincinnati, respectively, but it was their bad decisions to do so after coming out of retirement. Totally different animal.)

The photo is from the ceremony of raising the championship banner Pierce won with Garnett, Rivers, and the other 2008 Celtics. Yes, those are tears in his eyes. He loved being a Celtic. If it's any consolation, Paul, I am not entirely dry-eyed myself today.

Somewhat connected with the above, Ray Allen won a championship with the Miami Heat this past week. He was, of course, a member of the 2008 Celtics championship team. He decided to sign with Miami this year instead of returning to the Celtics. When he nailed what may have been the most important basket in their victory, it was just another straw toward breaking the camel's back.

But just when things were darkest, my week became a thing of rainbows and sunshine.

BOMBERS - 13  Moe Howard Club - 1
BOMBERS - 22  Moe Howard Club - 10

Yes, that's right. I'm the sort of selfish bastard who says, "As long as my team wins, the rest of it doesn't matter!"

The Boston Bombers
Front row: Pat Atton, Fast Freddie Goodman, Dave Nutter
2nd row: Joe Baszkiewicz, M.J. McCabe, Jimmy Botting, Ron Johnson, Drew Atton, Me
Back row: Jack Atton, Billy Botting, Tom Resor
(Not pictured - Big Jay Atton, Robby Costello, Mark Preziosi, Brian Pacheco)
(photo by My Sister-In-Law, Victoria Purin Turnor)

We go to 10 - 2 on the season, solidly in first place in our division. This is a great fun team to be on, and I think we'll do well in the playoffs come August.

(For those of you who hate it when I write about softball, you can relax for a little while. The Bombers don't play again until July 21st. We were scheduled to be off next week due to the July 4th holiday, but we also will not play on the 14th because the team we were scheduled to play has disbanded. I'll be beginning my M Street Softball League season sometime this week - I think - so you aren't completely safe. If I write something about that, I'll try to make it entertaining for you heathens.)

I usually don't blow my own horn too much when I write about the Bombers, but this week I'll allow myself a little ink. I finally got a couple of decent pieces (including a double), ended my day by reaching base six times in the doubleheader, had (to my surprise, when I got home and did the stats) 5 RBI, and had the chance to get all dirty and sweaty in front of my niece and nephew (who now think their Uncle Jimmy is some kind of good ballplayer, and I won't disabuse them of that notion.)

 Me, at bat. I think this was when I hit my double.

Ava and Darian (the niece and nephew) attended the games, along with sister-in-law and brother-in-law Victoria and Joe, and they dragged MY WIFE out of the house to give them directions to the field. Afterward, we all went to Donohue's in Watertown and ate a lot of good food while I apologized to the waitress for being smelly and sweaty. I wanted to go home and take a shower before we ate, but I was outvoted 5 to 1.

Ava (who doesn't wear glasses) wearing MY WIFE's glasses, while MY WIFE sports some shades.

I like playing the Moe Howard Club. Mark Dion is the manager and ace pitcher. He and I have always gotten along well. I was pleased to see his son Nick have a decent day. He took over on the mound for his dad in the final inning of game one, then also pitched game two. He was not treated well by his defense. He wasn't bad, and he struck out three Bombers. I've always liked Nick. Good kid, and I'm glad to see him perform well.

Other good days were had by just about everybody on our roster, but here are some big stats:

Tom Resor - 6 RBI, home run, double
Billy Botting - 6 for 7
Pat Atton, who had the weirdest stat line I've seen in a long time, scoring 6 runs even though he only had one hit. He reached via error or fielders choice 3 times while drawing 4 walks.

As usual this season, our pitching was strong. Big Jay Atton once again should have had a shutout, but I screwed him out of it via an error. Sorry, Jay! Jack Atton threw game two, stuck around long enough to get the win (4 innings, 4 runs, 2 earned), then gave Jimmy Botting and Billy Botting an inning each in which to disgrace themselves and perhaps discourage them from asking to pitch any more this season.

(Just kidding, Botting brothers! You know I love you both.)

Finally, I want to talk about a new addition to the squad this year. M.J. McCabe isn't flashy, but he gets the job done in every way. He's a good glove, good arm, a smart hitter, and a really nice guy on top of it all. I've been blessed to have really good teammates throughout my many years playing ball. I can count on the fingers of one hand the true pricks with whom I've played. M.J. definitely isn't one of them. Good addition.

Oh, one more thing before I forget. Ron Johnson moved within one hit of becoming the second Bomber in team history to reach 300 hits. His next hit will be the one.
BOMBERS Statistics

Thanks for sticking with me through this. No matter how bad any week is, you always make it better.

Soon, with more better stuff.


Jackie said...

Congratulations to the Bombers.
I'm glad that your family was there. I know they were already proud of you. The win was simply icing on the cake.
Sending you and Your Wife hugs....

Absolut Ruiness said...

yay to you Jim!

Tabor said...

I am not a big fan of sports, used to be decades ago before it got so monied. I think the violence in sports and anger can be related to the testosterone or any other legal drugs they use to make them more super human. It all breaks down eventually. I also have a relative who gets very loud and crazy when his team is not winning...and I tell myself that he will not put his fist through a wall or have a heart attack! I am somewhat afraid of his enthusiasm.

A Daft Scots Lass said...

Who is the hotting wearing the Manning shirt? *get over here*

Shammickite said...

A tough week for Boston sports fans indeed. Perhaps you should give up on following the professionals, they're not worth your time, just stick to the Bombers.

Sueann said...

Go Bombers!! Sorry about the Boston teams and as for the plsyers, Hernandez...seriously?
These guys obtain fame and money and there are still dicks!!! Most of the time, wearing pants!

Sandy Kessler said...

GLAD FOR A REBOUND..i DON'T GET THIS ATHLETES REACH THE BiG TIME AND THEN ITS gangsta style guns, Ray Caruth etc.Let me just say this what happened to I got big bucks I'll play my heart out. A reporter said pro athletes have been carrying big guns for 30 years amazing .

Daryl said...

these stupid guys ..

i would have let you go home and shower ..

Craig said...

I've been shaking my head in complete and utter bafflement ever since the Hernandez stuff started hitting the headlines. He went clubbing with a buddy, and the buddy. . . talked to 'the wrong people'. . . so he killed him. Over who he talked to???

Innocent until proven guilty, and all that, but sometimes I hate the world I live in. . .

That ending to Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final had to be utterly brutal, if you were a fan of the Broons. What a gut-punch, to go from 'bring on Game 7!' to 'double-FUCK' in 17 seconds. . . (and if I yelled FUCK! twice in 17 seconds, I'd wanna think my wife would call from the other room, "I'll be right there, Dear!") (at least, that's my fantasy. . .)

I'd love to sympathize with yer C's; I really would. But we've been in rebuilding mode around here ever since the Pistons traded Chauncey Billups for Allen Iverson. . .

And yeesh, it's still not even three months since the Marathon. You guys really HAVE had a helluva year (quite literally. . .)

And, The Moe Howard Club? Why, I oughtta. . .

Craig said...

And given everything else, I might worry just the teeniest bit abour yer Red Sawx, kicking ass at the moment tho they might be. I mean, yes, the Curse is broken, but jeez. . . I mean, they got history y'know?

Michelle H. said...

Sorry about the national sports drama, but glad your local team is doing so great. Will you be writing pieces on the M Street League site for this season?

The Broad said...

Gosh, Jim! I am sorry to hear about the Boston dramas -- on and off the sport's field. A priest once told me that the nicest people he met when visiting prisons were those convicted of murder. People who did something in a momentary and unusual loss of self control.

But congratulations on your softball team -- I think those guys are lucky to have you on their team.Bravo!!

(not necessarily your) Uncle Skip, said...

Like it or not, here's my perspective:
The Hernandez thing isn't about football.
It isn't about sports.
It certainly isn't about Boston (It's probably more about Florida).
It's about poor decisions and an ego.
Here's a guy who sought fame and found infamy.

Okay... that's done.
Good job, Bombers.

Buck said...

MY WIFE heard me yell "FUCK!"at the top of my lungs twice within a minute.

So did my neighbors. I've seen bizarre endings to all sorts o' sporting contests (and yer B's pulled one of those off against the Leafs this year), but THAT one left me slack-jawed with disbelief. I'd prolly broken people and hurt things if that had happened to the Wings. What? 2009? Nevermind.

Good on yer Bombers!!

(not necessarily your) Uncle Skip, said...

Oh, yeah... and I'd probably thought F_ck so hard that my head would've 'sploded.

messymimi said...

You are a good ball player, your niece and nephew have no reason to believe otherwise.

The best thing about a rotten week is that things have to start looking up after this.

Pearl said...

That's a lot of sports to throw at me, Sul, but I gotta tell you, certain words were hurled at the screen during that hockey game here in Minneapolis too...


lime said...

sorry for the suckage but glad you had some success with the softball team. my favorite part of this post is the picture of ava and YOUR WIFE. i know you know you're blessed but i'll say it anyway, no matter the suckiness you've got folks like ava and YOUR WIFE loving you and cheering you through whatever crap there is.

Joe said...

We were out voted 4-2. My Ava is such a Cutie pie! Donahue's was great! Some day soon we can do it all over again.

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

Thank GOODNESS there was at least some good news in the Boston sports world from last week. I'm not even really a fan of softball but after all the Hernandez/Bruins gut punching it was great to read about how terrific your team did! Saddest of all for the B's is that Ference got the boot. I might have shed a tear (or 60) when I heard that news. He was such a Boston community activist and amazing leader in the room. He'll be sorely missed next season.

I don't follow b-ball but my cousin was very upset about the trades when we chatted last night. Here's hoping a couple good picks will heal that wound for next season!

PS I yelled the same thing and Matt did the same as YOUR WIFE. Good spouses we have there!