Five More Important Things Than Ryan Lochte: Rio Olympics 2016

I’m sick of hearing about Ryan Lochte. Overall, I’m sick of entitled idiots getting in the way of a good time or taking the spotlight away from people who’ve earned it. So this is the last time this article will mention his name. Instead, lets focus on the athletes that have proved themselves as strong, determined and selfless.

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1. US Women’s Team Sweep the 100m Hurdles

Brianna Rollins, Nia Ali and Kristi Castlin took the Gold, Silver and Bronze, with Rollins in the lead with a 12.48 seconds finish. For the first time in modern Olympic history, a women’s team swept a track event. All 61 prior sweeps were recorded by men’s teams, with the most recent being the 400m and 400m Hurdles at Beijing 2008 Olympics.

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2. Kimia Alizadeh Zenoorin Became the First Iranian Woman to Win an Olympic Medal

In the Bronze match against Sweden’s Nikita Glasnovic,  Zenoorin outscored her opponent to take home the medal in Women’s Taekwondo. Nicknamed “The Tsunami” in Iran, her achievement is significant as she becomes one of a handful of women to compete for Iran at the Olympics since the Iranian Revolution in 1979. Zenoorin is already well-established in Taekwondo, at the young age of 18. In 2015, she won both the bronze medal at the 2015 Taekwondo World Championship and gold at the World Taekwondo Grand Prix.

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3. Ashton Eaton Wins His Second Decathlon

As ever, Ashton Eaton’s determination and positive spirit continues to leave an impression among all those around him. He lead through the first 8 events of the Olympic Decathlon, but faced tough competition from Canada’s Damian Warner and France’s Kevin Mayer. At the pole vault event, there was definitely a feeling Eaton’s lead would be in danger when Mayer successfully completed an insane 5.4m attempt that surged him past Warner, into second place. But at the final event, the 1500m, Ashton’s composure paid off, as he used strategy to remain within 7 seconds-pace behind Mayer, in order to safegaurd his decathlon gold. At the final stretch, Ashton pulled ahead of Mayer, and finished the decathlon with 8,893 points, a new Olympic Record.

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4. USA’s Helen Maroulis Takes Home The First Gold in Women’s Wrestling

The most intriguing thing about Olympic competitors is how they are able to juggle admiring and competing against the greats of their respective sports. It’s almost as if the level of respect they have for those they’ve followed and that have inspired them somehow feeds into their need to one day face and beat them. It’s not about bad-mouthing their opponents; it’s all about what makes them equals in their sport. For Maroulis, facing Japan’s Saori Yoshida at her first Olympics was a dream come true. At 24, Maroulis has seen Yoshida, 33, compete and retain her World Champ status throughout her career. Saori Yoshida is definitely a tough competitor, who is a 16-time world champion attempting her fourth gold in Women’s Wrestling. Undefeated, Yoshida’s prowess has diminished in recent matches, and Maroulis proved too much for her. “I’ve been dreaming about wrestling Saori for so long,” Maroulis said. “She’s a hero. She’s the most decorated wrestler in the sport. It’s such an honor to wrestle her.”

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5. Sportmanship At Its Finest: Abbey D’Agostino and Nikki Hamblin

Olympic medals aren’t what it’s about. Even making it to the Olympics isn’t what it’s about. As you can see, even assholes can make it to the Olympics and win. The Olympic Spirit, the merit of the games, is defined by how its standard-bearers treat one another. There’s no better example of that spirit than America’s Abbey D’Agostino and New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin. At the qualifying heat of the Women’s 5000m, Hamblin unexpectedly fell and took some spikes to the back of her right thigh. Before anyone knew it, Abbey D’Agostino toppled over her, injuring her knee. “Get up. We have to finish this.” Those were the words Abbey uttered to Nikki, helping her to her feet as they attempted to finish the race together. For the two, it was no longer about winning; it was about showing the World what mental toughness can achieve when you work together. The IOC rewarded both an opportunity to compete at the 5000m final. Hamblin was able to compete, with her shoulder, thigh and ankle injuries – she finished dead last. D’Agostino watched from the stands, suffering a torn ACL and meniscus. For us mortals, way beyond the age or physical ability to compete at the Olympic caliber, it’s the random acts of kindness that ring truest because it doesn’t take being an athlete to do good in this World.

 

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Thank You, Mets #UnfinishedBusiness

Source: New York Mets Official Website (http://mets.com/)

Source: New York Mets Official Website (http://mets.com/)

When the Kansas City Royals lost in Game 7 of the 2014 World Series, against the San Francisco Giants, the entire team was locked into the 2015 season and making it back to the World Series. When the New York Mets finished 2014 with a disappointing 79-83 season and a post-season drought of eight years, very few within the team could imagine they’d get to the post-season, let alone the World Series. And that was the deciding factor–a team with World Series dreams vs. a team just looking to finish above .500. And with that, I cannot be more proud of my New York Mets. Because with no expectations, from literally anyone in baseball, the Mets scraped together a team that finished with 90 wins, a National League Pennant and the experience of being in a World Series.

I’m not in the business of blaming individuals whom, at some point in the season, played a huge part in what the Mets achieved this year. I’m really tired of the finger pointing, but at the same time I get it. Fans’ collective patience is minimal in a huge market like New York. We all knew the flaws, and I won’t discredit the team’s accomplishments by naming names. (If you don’t know the people in question by now, chances are you’re a fair-weather fan reading this.) The infielding, defensive weaknesses and lack of discipline in keeping the line moving instead of chasing the long ball–these were the vulnerabilities haunting this team. I’m going to be disappointed for about a week that the Mets didn’t win the World Series and then go back to remembering where they were in July and, finally, be amazed where they ended up. After all, “Ya Gotta Believe.”

There’s much more to talk about in future posts, like what the Mets can do in the off-season to strengthen the team and what we learned about the makeup of this team, including its future potential for a post-season win. For now, let’s just remember the simple fact that the Mets weren’t being groomed for a World Series bid, but they made it there anyway. With a World Series under their belt and a young team that’s ready to make some moves during this long Winter, Mets fans should have nothing but hope for 2016. Let’s Go Mets! And THANK YOU!

Chase Utley’s dirty slide reminds us what not to teach our kids

Source: SNY.tv - METSBLOG

Source: SNY.tv – METSBLOG

Chase Utley’s intent was clear when he “slid” late and aggressively into Ruben Tejada – he wanted to disrupt any chance of a relay throw and break up a double play. His intent is clear because he said as much during a post-game interview. His skewed regard for the MLB guidelines, on how to legally break up a double play, is also clear. Even the consequences of his tackle are crystal clear: Ruben Tejada won’t be playing post-season baseball in 2015, with a fractured right fibula (see video of “the slide heard round the world” below).

What’s not clear is what the umpires and the MLB reviewers in NY were thinking when they overturned the original ruling and called Utley safe. The original call was an out, which is why a downed Tejada didn’t make a tag in the first place – that and the fact he couldn’t even move his right foot. This would mean the original call was in line with the neighborhood play, there to protect an infielder – attempting a double-play, relay throw to first – to not get hurt, like Tejada did. A neighborhood play is not reviewable and that is where it should have ended. Instead, things got weird. The play did end up getting reviewed, which is against the MLB rulebook, because the play was ruled a force throw to first and not a double play. Basically, the MLB NY office reviewing the play decided Tejada couldn’t have made the double play and so the neighborhood play wasn’t valid. Tejada never touched the bag nor tagged Utley. But Utley never touched the base, either. Furthermore, everyone on the field treated it like a double play: from Murphy’s toss to Tejada to Tejada’s attempted relay to first and to Utley’s acknowledged attempt to break up the play. Everyone thought it was a double play…except for the people who apparently matter: someone 3,000 miles away looking at it from a video screen.

Let’s get something straight for the people who are saying, “Quit whining! It’s Baseball.” It is baseball, and a guy’s leg is broken. This isn’t hockey or football or rugby – it is baseball. No one should be getting their legs broken fielding a ball to second. But they do and not because the MLB needs to look at ending aggressive slides into the fielder. The MLB does not need to bring in a new rule; they just have to enforce the rules already in play. We can all agree that there is a human aspect to the umpire calls – a ball is called a strike; a player is called safe running to first base, instead of out; a fair ball is called foul to save a no-hitter. In baseball, rules are made to be broken…not the player’s bones. MLB: enforce runner interference on the double play.

In Chase Utley’s post-game interview, he said, “You’re taught from a young age to try to break up double plays. Pedro Martinez said it best via Twitter:

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There’s a huge difference between an aggressive slide and a blatant attempt to hurt someone. There’s a way to play hard and give it all you got and then there’s this:

Source: NY Daily News

Source: NY Daily News

Let’s agree that as parents and coaches, we won’t teach the next generation of baseball players to win like the Chase Utleys of the world.

Rainbow Nation!

Happy Fathers’ Day!

Hah! You see what I did there? I know you grammar geeks did. That’s right, today is the day that the two-dad and two-mom families can celebrate on a national level. Because today, America is just a little bit more “union-y.”

SCOTUS made legal what love already knew–there’s room for everyone when it comes to family. Marriage equality won’t make families stronger; people will continue to take that on. People who have room in their hearts, accept the diversity in our culture, and are free to love and be loved–those are the ones strong enough to face the challenges of marriage and of raising a family.  For all my beautiful friends and family who get to celebrate their well fought and much deserved equality, I’m so excited for you. For my son, I’m so happy that you’ll one day be able to ask me, “Dad, do you remember when marriage equality was made legal for all?” And I’ll be able to say, “Yea, I do. And it was about time.”

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Here’s To You…Happy Father’s Day

To all the dads that have the undivided attention of their kids – even when you dead bolt yourself behind multiple doors just so you can use the bathroom in peace. To all the dads brave enough to admit that they have no clue what they’re doing.. and own it. And to all the dads who realize they’ll only be this little for a short amount of time, Happy Father’s Day!

And to my Dad, I wish you got to meet your grandson. I hope you know, for all the times I wouldn’t let you sleep after working the night shift, you finally got your revenge!

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Dads need a bottle too…in moderation, of course.

Dads: Take a load off; it’s Friday. You’ve had a long week. This is the week where your kid woke up screaming at 1 a.m. and decided to pull an all nighter with his one and only guest – yours truly (Father of the Year). Oh sure, you have a presentation to give at 9 a.m., but you won’t need sleep. A cold shower and a 30 minute dog walk – in which your furry children decide to bark at everything that moves – will surely wake you up.

This was the week where not just one car, but two, decide to break down and/or get flat tires. When you go on your next interview, and they ask if you can multi-task, you won’t say anything. You’ll just laugh and remember how you juggled bringing two cars to the mechanic while finishing your projects on time. You’ll laugh, and then slowly descend into a comatose state, as the PTSD and exhaustion kick in.

Doctor appointments, deadlines, meetings, monthlies/quarterlies, bath time, gym time, jury duty…you’ve mastered the week. And after the laundry is done and you’ve had dinner and taken a hot shower, you’ll sit down on that heavenly couch and exhale for the first time all week.

The next thing you know, your hand will instinctively reach for a glass of your choice. My recommendation? Good old, American bourbon. Booker’s Bourbon, to be precise. Take a load off, Dad. Enjoy a glass…maybe just one glass – you still have a kid to take care of. Get back to work!