Saturday, December 20, 2008

Week 16: The penultimate parlay

This actually might be my last five-teamer of the year because I'm going to be in Minnesota for the next 10 days. So unless one of my local boys steps up and offers to put down my five-teamer in Week 17, this is it. Happy holidays.
  • Saints-Lions over 50.5 -- Drew Brees is going for an NFL passing record (most yardage in a season), so don't expect him to suddenly get gun-shy against the worst defense in the league.
  • Saints -6.5 at Detroit -- See above.
  • Patriots -7.5 vs. Arizona -- Cards still have nothing to play for, Pats are fighting for their playoff lives.
  • Bucs -3.5 vs. San Diego -- Chargers remain a desperate team, but in all the wrong ways. Bucs get Garcia back in a must-win game.
  • Falcons-Vikings over 43.5 -- No Fat Pat Williams means the Atlanta run game should be a bit more successful, and the Vikings are hitting their stride on offense.
Last week: 2-3
Season: 37-36-2

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

To satisfy your morbid curiosity

Here's a link to the final results of the triathlon on Sunday. As I said, my only goal was to finish, so the time is irrelevant to me. You can see by the results that there were a few people behind me, and many, many people ahead of me.

I finished behind 12-year-olds, physically challenged athletes and the elderly. Those finishing behind me included people my age running with their children, people my age running with their parents, and one shirtless Hawaiian dude with a long, gray ponytail who must have gotten a late start.

But I finished, and that's what counts.

I wasn't kidding

Snow in the Vegas valley. This is the view from Kris' office window. Not the best quality image, but it was taken by a Blackberry so what do you want?

Anyway, I completed a triathlon, it snowed here in Vegas ... what's next, the Vikings winning the NFC North?

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Official Triathlon Post

As an English major, words matter to me. And whenever I think about a triathlon, even though the etymology of the word is clear, the concept of the word still kinda cracks me up.

I picture some well-meaning but misinformed Stuart Smalley type, trying to motivate a friend by saying, "You're not a 'try-athlete' -- you're a 'do-athlete.'" I'm also reminded of something my old college roomie Sean used to say about former Seattle Seahawks quarterback Dave Kreig: "He's a triple threat -- trip, stumble, fumble."

Meaning, even though I'm doing three things in one day, it doesn't mean I'm doing them well. Still, when you decide to run, bike and swim, all on the same day, you have to call it something (besides frackin' insane), so I guess triathlon is as good as the next word. Here's a little photo essay of my day:

Still at the hotel, not exactly sure what I'm getting myself into. Double-checking to make sure defibrillator is packed.

The tools of the trade: the bike, the shoes, the running/swimming shorts, the blind optimism.

I'm in there somewhere. Probably way in the back. I heard that drafting works great in the bike portion of the race, so I figured I'd try it out in the 5K as well.

This is my first foray into the world of Blogger video -- look closely and you'll notice that flash of sinewy athletic brilliance is actually me finishing the bike portion of the event, with Fiona clapping for me at the very end.

It's a good thing the swim was in a pool -- had we been in an ocean, my presence in the water might have elicited some sea monster warnings. And yes, I am doing a modified version of the backstroke. I didn't care about my time. I just wanted to finish. And my arms felt like 50-lb barbells, so I just kinda basked my way around the pool. Whatever works, right?

Back in the transition area, mission accomplished, ready for the next challenge -- walking back to the car.

On the way home, Kris asked me what I wanted for dinner. My reply was, "Anything that goes well with Guinness." That was my frothy reward, and I enjoyed it. Now it's time to find the next challenge, which likely will be another tri, this time with Kris or perhaps with old roomie Sean (see comments in Sunday's post).

Final thought: Patrick Donnelly completed a sprint triathlon. The next day, it snowed in Las Vegas. Coincidence? I'll let you decide.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


See that t-shirt? See that medal? See that look of satisfaction/exhaustion/exhiliration?

It's all over but the celebrating. I'll post more details and photos on Monday, but this is the smiling mug of one happy triathlete.

Friday, December 12, 2008

This is it

Yep, we're at T-minus 40 hours and counting. Hard to believe that three months of training have come to this. I've kinda stopped writing about the process lately, not because I'm not as enthused about it but because it's sort of become second nature to me -- exercise, eating better, just focusing on healthy living.

I'm excited about the triathlon as it draws ever near. A little bit scared, I guess, but as a good friend once said, "Pain is just fear leaving your body." OK, it wasn't a good friend, it was Jillian, the trainer from "The Biggest Loser," but I still thought it was interesting. I've had plenty of pain over the last three months -- sore muscles, mostly -- but there's still some fear, so I guess I haven't gone through enough pain.

I'll be sure to post my results on Monday ... either that, or I'll have my wife post the details of my funeral. But I'm hoping for the former -- as The Hold Steady says, "You gotta stay positive!"

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Week 14: The grim parlay

Wrestling is such a humorless sport. I understand why -- those guys work too hard to take it lightly. Plus, defeat is so personal -- mano-a-mano, nobody to blame but yourself -- and even if you win, the potential for defeat lurks in your next match.

I covered a big collegiate wrestling tournament this weekend at the Las Vegas Convention Center, and I bet I saw maybe three wrestlers crack a smile for a grand total of 6.7 seconds over the course of two nights. The medal presentations would have been funny if they weren't so crushingly grim -- the top eight finishers in each weight class on the podium, holding plaques and staring straight ahead with the stony expression of your average pallbearer.

But like I said -- I get it. In the minds of most of those wrestlers, seven of them were losers. And the eighth guy, the one with the biggest plaque? He's already looking ahead to his next match, his next tourney, the next time he'll be called upon to stave off the icy clutches of defeat.

You can read my recaps of the tourney here and here. I hope I'm happier on Sunday night when I'm holding the ticket that features this five-game NFL parlay:
  • Colts -13.5 vs. Cincinnati -- Let's hope last week's brutal offensive showing in Cleveland was a weather-induced mulligan.
  • Titans -13.5 vs. Cleveland -- With Ken Dorsey under center, the Browns will be lucky to score again this year. At all.
  • Patriots -4.5 at Seattle -- Once again, I'm going with the "Belichick teams don't lose two straight" theory, aided by the "Holmgren teams suck in 2008" theory.
  • Cowboys/Steelers over 39.5 -- I know, Barber is out, but that will mean the Cowboys will be more inclined to throw the ball, which lengthens the game and creates multiple scoring opportunities.
  • Ravens -5.5 vs. Washington -- Just look at the numbers Baltimore's offense has been putting up lately. It's not quite up to Oklahoma's standards, but for the NFL that's pretty lofty territory.
Last week: 1-4
Season: 32-31-2

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The curious case of Sean Avery

So, I'm having a hard time getting my head around this whole Sean Avery commotion. If you haven't heard, the NHL has suspended the notorious bad-boy -- now playing for the Dallas Stars, a team that should never have existed in the first place, not that I'm still bitter or anything -- because he made a somewhat crass reference to an opponent's girlfriend.

Seriously, that's how I would refer to it -- "somewhat crass." Not "libelous" or "hateful" or even "a disgustingly typical example of the decline of today's standards of decorum as demonstrated on a daily basis by young men between the ages of 21 and 30." Because I've heard worse. In fact, I hear worse every day.

Here's what Avery had to say to the assembled press corps at a pregame skate in Calgary on Monday:

"I'm really happy to be back in Calgary. I love Canada. I just want to comment on how it's become like a common thing in the NHL for guys to fall in love with my sloppy-seconds. I don't know what that's about, but enjoy the game tonight."

Umm ... OK ... Sure, Avery has dated a couple of starlet/model types who have gone on to date other NHL players. And sure, Avery is known as pretty much one of the bigger jerks in the game right now (just ask Martin Brodeur).

But seriously, people -- have we reached the point where we suspend players and crank up the outrage level to code-red when a professional athlete says something tacky or classless? His comments weren't racist. You could argue that they're borderline sexist, although I view them as primarily directed at the players in question, not at his exes.

The only way this approaches the level to which NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has taken it is if you know the "textbook" definition of sloppy seconds, as offered by Urban Dictionary (possibly NSFW, definitely NSF anybody who's easily offended). But the term has pretty much slipped into common usage to the degree that it has lost most of its original meaning and 99.4 percent of its shock value.

Bottom line: you just can't legislate classiness. Send him to the principal's office, give him a stern talking-to, lecture him on decorum all you want. But an indefinite suspension? That's like clearing out some cobwebs with a blowtorch.