2013 Halfway Mark: The Weirdest Year in Sports?

Posted: July 1, 2013 in Sports
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I know that we live a reactionary society.  I’m guilty of knee-jerking so hard on Twitter that I have blown out 27 digital ACLs.  I get that, literally moments after anything cool happens in the sports world, we fly to our computers or phones or watercoolers and instantly plant a billowing flag to declare said moment as “the most/best _____ thing.”

Whether that blank is filled in with player, game, decision, moment or whatever it may be, I understand that Hurricane Hyperbole usually blows into town and a lot of people simply batten down hatches and head below ground to wait for some logic to emerge in a few years.  I get that.

But it’s 2013 and something strange is going on.

Something Mulder and Scully weird.  Something re-runs on SyFy channel at 2 AM weird.  It’s 2013 and we may be embroiled in the weirdest sports year in history (*Author’s note: with apologies to 1994).

And we’re only halfway through.

July 1st marks the halfway mark of 2013 and things have truly gone buck-wild crazy since the clock hit midnight and people saliva-swapped their way into this year.  In the words of Trinidad James, “Don’t believe me, just watch!”  (*Author’s note: or, in this case, read.)

Ladies and Gentleman of Burnpoetry, may I submit for your approval, a month-by-month breakdown on why this has already been the craziest year in sports.  (*Author’s note: the items in the month are not necessarily in chronological order.  That would require effort and research and I am vehemently opposed to both.)

JANUARY

Despite Alabama Winning the BCS National Championship Again, Woman in the Stands Somehow Steals the Show

Even though Nick Saban appeared to enjoy the whole thing about as much as a Black Panther would enjoy hanging out at a Klan rally, and even though the game wasn’t anything to write home about usually the BCS National Title Game is the biggest news from the BCS National Title Game.  Not in the weirdest sports year ever.  Somehow AJ McCarron’s girlfriend hijacked the entire broadcast by being pretty and Twitter implodes like a dying star.  ABC shows McCarron’s Mom/Girlfriend so often that they near the legendary Magic-Lupe Line of Demarcation for overexposure, prompting me to make this highly scientific graph with the seriously clever name.

It Turns Out Lance Armstrong Was Cheating

After all these years and the fiftyleven drug tests Armstrong was required to take per month and the piles and piles of accusations that were being hurled his way by the French press and former teammates it turns out Lance Armstrong was cheating his ball off.  The media hype was immense.  The sanctimoniousness was off the charts.  Lance, for his part, didn’t appear to care all that much.  Here was my take on what I thought should be done to punish Armstrong after he admitted to doping for so long.

There was a massive buildup to the Armstrong interviews and, after all the hype, there really wasn’t much to say.  He cheated.  He didn’t seem to feel particularly bad about it.  And his legacy was tarnished.  What’s left for Armstrong to do to repair his image?  A trip around the country with Oprah to generate good will.

Lanprah Winstrong

Manti Te’o’s fake-girlfriend didn’t fake-die because she never really existed.  For real.

image

This story has been re-hashed to death, (*Author’s note: here was my take at the time.)  but it is still one of the weirdest sports stories since OJ decided to haul-ass out of dodge in that legendary white Ford Bronco.  There are several possibilities here and I doubt that we’ll ever actually know what the H happened, but here they are:

1.  Manti was preyed upon.  Get it?  Get it?  (*Author’s note: I’d like to take this moment to apologize.)  Meaning he was conned by one of the all-time great hoaxers.  He was catfished so hard that he should’ve immediately sprouted whiskers and changed his name to Siluriformes Te’o.

2.  He was in on it.  He used the fictitious death as a way to generate a feel-good story about rising above tragedy and persevering through the hard times and rode that wave of momentum to the Heisman trophy ceremony and a steaming pile of national acclaim.  We were duped by a shifty, shoddy, no-good liar.  If this is true?  He should probably consider a career in politics instead of football.

3.  We’ve spiraled into a 4th dimension where everything that we see on the internet turns out to be true.  Lennay Kekua was real.  Justin Bieber has died 12 times this year.  Kanye West’s daughter was created in a laboratory by the Illuminati and David Stern will continue to rig NBA drafts until his body is cryogenically frozen.

FEBRUARY

Ray Lewis Uses Deer Antler Spray to Recover and Play in Super Bowl

You may be saying to yourself, “What the F- is deer antler spray?”  And if you’re not saying that, let me say it for you: “What the F- is deer antler spray?!?!?”  The answer is that apparently it’s pretty much just what it sounds like, spray made from the antlers of deer that is said to contain chemicals linked in some studies to human growth hormone .  A story broke in late January/early February that Ray Lewis had used said spray to help speed his recovery from a torn pectoral muscle that had sidelined him for a mere 10 games.  When reached for comment for this article, Lewis’ agent said that he couldn’t be reached for comment, as he was busy frolicking in his local meadow.

Run, Bambi.

A Power Outage Occurs at Super Bowl Romannumerals

At the start of the third quarter, the lights went out in the Super Dome.  There was a 30+ minute delay that allowed the 49ers to come roaring back to life and take a boring Super Bowl and make it into a terrific one.  Also, this guy was on the sidelines for the 49ers:

Are you with me so far?

MARCH

Harlem Shake Continues Exploding

The Harlem Shake craze that burned through YouTube and social media like napalm on dry prairie grass totally engulfed the sports world.  Not only were college campuses embracing the phenomenon to support their own teams, but professional, multi-millionaire players were also getting in on the action.  The Miami Heat even took time out from the busy schedules of crushing everyone to record a video.

Just when it seemed that the madness was spreading a little too fast.  That this virus was getting a little too viral, something strange happened.  Something very 2013-weird happened: Bo Pelini was caught dancing.  And not just kind of shuffling around or standing in the background of the wild Mount Crunk Saint Helens of dancing eruptions.  No he was there, in the thick of things.  Getting down.  See for yourself.

On a scale from 1-whatthehell?!?! seeing Bo Pelini dancing his ass off amongst a group of moshing football players on their first day of spring practice, was firmly in the 10.o region.

March Madness Stays Mad

Wichita State made a miraculous run to the final four as a 9-Seed.  Florida Gulf Coast became social media darlings as they alley-ooped and runned and gunned their way to the sweet sixteen as a 15-seed.  It wasn’t that weird when Louisville won the National Championship over Michigan, but it was weird that the player on their team that was talked about the most was a dude who exploded the bones in his leg on national TV, Kevin Ware and it was definitely weird that they wore uniforms that looked like they were the lovechild generated from an illicit affair between Hulk Hogan’s pants and a can of 4Loko.

The Heat Are Gored in Run-In With the Bulls

The Miami Heat looked like they were going to break the 1971-72 LA Lakers’ record of 33-straight wins and ink their name into the record books as one of the best teams of all time.  It appeared that they were realizing their destiny before our very eyes.  They seemed unstoppable.  Indomitable.  People were running out of adjectives and the Heat just kept rolling.  Then they came into Chicago on March 27.  The injury ravaged bulls didn’t have Derrick Rose.  Or Joakim Noah.  Or a few other players.  Their hot dog guy from section 11F was injured.  A security guard named Mike had a strained right quadriceps.  And somehow, with an insane, playoff-level intensity and a deep-seeded hatred of the Heat, the Bulls were able to take down Miami and end their winning streak.  It was one of the best regular season games I’ve ever watched.  And it was weird.

RG3 Photobombs Ken Starr

No, seriously.  Check it out.

rgiii photobombs ken starr

APRIL

Lakers Keep D’Sucking

Behind the war-crimes-bad coaching of Mike D’Antoni the Los Angeles Lakers continued to bomb despite having 3 — and possibly 4 — future hall of famers on the same team.  Steve Nash actually looked like he was 39.  Dwight Howard’s effort was at least 39-years-old as well.  After playing a heinous amount of minutes during the early stages of April, Kobe Bryant blew out his achilles and the Lakers went wire-to-wire as a complete and utter shit-storm of disappointment, squeaking into the playoffs as the 8-seed in the West.

Kobe would go on to be surprisingly open, honest, and intriguing via his newly created Twitter account.  Which is. . .you guessed it!  Weird as hell.  Kobe Bryant?  Putting his thoughts out there for the whole world to see on his Twitter account?  What the hell are you doing to us, 2013?  Are you insane?

NFL Draft Joins the Weird Parade

There wasn’t a quarterback taken until the 16th pick.  Which is mildly weird.  What’s majorly friggin’ weird is that it was E.J. Manuel and he was drafted by the Buffalo Bills.  While it was a hotly debated subject as to who would be the first quarterback taken in the NFL draft, most experts had pegged West Virginia QB Geno Smith as the odds on favorite to go first.  He even took a seat in the “Green Room” where he was waiting for his name to be called.  He was eventually called up by the New York Jets(*Author’s note: who, at the time, had somewhere between a grip and a plethora of quarterbacks already on the roster.) as the 7th pick in the second round.  This is the face Geno made when he realized his fate was in the hands of weirdest year ever:

Matt Barkley, who would’ve been a top-10 selection in 2012’s draft fell to the fourth round and two guys with bona fide heart conditions went in the top 20 picks.

Boston Marathon Bombings

This wasn’t funny-weird.  It was a tragedy.  A brutal corruption of something beautiful, fun, free, and pure.  And it hung like a pall over the rest of the month.  It was something that I’ll never forget and that changed the sport of marathoning forever. As a former runner, and still a die-hard fan of the sport, it will forever be lodged in my sports-addled brain; a kind of oil-slick that will stain 2013 and my memories of that event until I see it run once more in the years to come.  Fast and free.  Beautiful and pure.  The Marathon will come back in 2014.  It won’t be weird.  It will be triumphant.  I wrote this at the time and it’s one of the pieces I’m most proud of from this whole strange year.

Tim Tebow Gets Cut

Tebow’s time with the NY Jets was nothing if not bizarre.  Right from the media-frenzied start.  From Tebow’s shirtless, rain-soaked jog to his presser (*Author’s note: this happened.  2013, doing work, people.)

to the rampant, rabid speculation about his potentially replacing butt-fumbling, bungling quarterback Mark Sanchez, Tebow’s time with the Jets was nothing if not weird.  They ended up rarely using him as a quarterback and he became the most-hyped punt coverage player in the history of the game.

Eventually he was cut from the team and ESPN had a massive, multi-person orgasm that looked like this on Sportscenter:

and prompted a bajillion “What’s Next, Career-wise for Tim Tebow?” articles.  Since I’m neither original, nor unique, I piled on with my Open Letter to Tim Tebow with a written-out mini-career fair for the wayward QB.

MAY

Warriors Survive, Advance

Somehow the Golden State Warriors made it into the second round of the NBA Playoffs.  They did this with a rookie head coach whose previous coaching experience was non-existent, arguably their second best player out with a hip injury and a cast of young stars that were, at once, compelling, dazzling, and playing-like-young-guys-who’d-never-been-here-before.  They managed to beat out the 3-seeded Nuggets (*Author’s note: with Steph Curry averaging a dazzling 24 points and 9 assists per game) and they even stole 2 games from the eventual NBA Finalists San Antonio Spurs.  The Warriors making this run with this group of guys and this head coach?  It ranks somewhere between Eddie and Juwana Mann on my BBI (*Author’s note: Basketball Believability Index).

BBI

Jason Collins Comes Out

(*Author’s note: I know, I know.  This story technically broke on April 30th.  Sue me.)  This story was just completely awesome-weird.  The fact that we had a player come out of the closet publicly, willfully, and with such dignity made this story one of the prevailing themes of 2013 so far.  Was he a hero?  Was this a non-issue?  Everyone wanted to weigh in.  Everyone was talking.  And that’s a good thing, in 2013 or 2020 or any time there’s a conversation about compassion, human rights, and equality.

Munenori Kawasaki Gives the Interview to End All Interviews

This clip pretty much speaks for itself.  Top this, every other year ever. . .

The Heat’s Repeat Bid Almost Collapses in the Eastern Conference Finals

The Heat nearly botched their chances at a repeat title when they came face to face with the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals.  It was strange to see the Heat struggle so mightily with their unflashy counterparts from America’s Heartland.  It was weird watching Dwyane Wade play more like Mark Wade (*Author’s note: don’t know who that is?  Neither do I.  But basketball-reference.com does.  Check out the stats.)

Wade

It was weird watching Chris Bosh disappear faster than Shawn Kemp during a paternity test when the chips got down and it was strange to watch the Miami Heat seemingly decide when and where to assert their dominance, and to only really decide to do so in the final game of this series.

Which brings us to the final month of the first half of 2013.  June alone is worthy of about 5,000 words and 50 GIF/Pictures, so I’ll try to keep it relatively brief.  If you thought you’d started spiraling down the rabbit hole already, get ready for some serious tail-spinning into the bizarre.

In the words of the immortal Sam Jackson in the immortal-er movie, Jurassic Park, “Hold onto your butts.”

JUNE

Tim Tebow Gets Signed. . .By Who Else?

The Patriots.  That’s right.  Never shy about reclamation projects (*Author’s note: more on this later in June) the New England Patriots opted to pitch a tent, hammer in some stakes, and invite the Tim Tebow circus to town.  Will he be worth a damn?  Who knows.  Will the overabundance of Tebow/Pats/Tom Brady/everything-ESPN-execs-wet-dream-about-at-night get to be insufferable?  Probably.  Is it weird?  Hell yes.  Do I expect collaborative underwear commercials, long walks on the wind-whipped New England coastline in matching male UGG Boots, and unshaven scruff-offs from both Brady and his new 4th string QB?  You bet your ass I do.

JaVale McGee Does Something Awesome, As Only JaVale McGee Can Do

This is from JaVale McGee’s “alter ego” twitter account: Pierre McGee.  In his profile he also claims to be an innovator of the self-re-tweet and the finger ‘stache.  Only in 2013.

The Best Yearbook Caption in Sports History Begins Making the Internet Meme-Rounds

The Biebs V. Keyshawn

Keyshawn Johnson allegedly chased after Justin Bieber’s Ferrari and the two had a heated exchange over his reckless driving habits.  I can’t imagine a weirder, more 2013 beef than that.

Roger Goes Racist

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote a letter to congress defending the name “Redskins” that stated in a USA Today article that the horrendously racist name actually meant, “a unifying force that stands for strength, courage, pride and respect.”  Who was his history teacher?  Rooster Cogburn?  How can he actually put his dollar-bill-stained hands to a pen and sign such drivel?  It’s truly weird that a man in charge of a billion dollar corporation can get away with such schlock in a public forum.

Vladimir Putin Goes Bling Ring on Robert Kraft

As if the ongoing Edward Snowden debacle wasn’t straining U.S.-Russian relations enough, it turns out that current Russian President, Vladimir Putin is refusing to give something else back to someone else wearing red, white, and blue.  According to Patriots owner Robert Craft, Putin stole his Super Bowl ring all the way back in 2005 when he was on a trip visiting Russia.  You know it’s been a weird month when this is the 3rd most bizarre story about the Patriots to happen in the past 30 days.

I’m sure Belichick is getting tired of all the media attention his team’s been receiving this offseason, but I bet that’s about to die down, right?  I mean, it’s not like anyone (allegedly) committed murder on his roster or anything, right?  Right?!?!

Aaron Hernandez Charged With 1st Degree Murder

Former New England Patriots football tight end Aaron Hernandez stands during a bail hearing in Fall River Superior Court, June 27, 2013 in Fall River, Mass.

This is truly the weirdest story of the year in sports so far.  Aaron Hernandez was a fantastically talented tight end for the New England Patriots.  Just 23-years-old, he had signed a contract for 5 years and $40 million dollars and appeared ready to have a breakout season.  Off the field?  The at-times troubled Hernandez has already become a cautionary tale in a league full of cautionary tales.

You know how when you’re watching a really bad police procedural on TV and the murderers keep making dumb mistake after dumb mistake?  They accidentally track in mud, trim their fingernails with the victim’s trimmers and use the bathroom and forget to flush?  That was Hernandez.  He looks guilty.  Johnny Cochran’s dead and Judge Ito has gone MIA.  This doesn’t look good for Hernandez.

But it does look. . .weird.

Ladies and Gentleman of the jury. . .I rest my case.

(*Author’s note: That’s all I was able to come up with for the year so far.  What do you guys have?  Help me out.  I’m sure I skipped over so much weirdness and strange-itude that I need your input.  2013 is flying by and it’s getting weirder by the day.  What you got, readers?)

FIN

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Comments
  1. […] Earlier this year, on July 1st, I posted a halfway review of the sports year in which I claimed that…  It’s been sixth months and things haven’t gotten any less weird.  In fact, they’ve probably ramped up. […]

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