It’s that time of year.  When we’ve already had our Mid-Season classic.  We’ve already pretended to give a damn about Rory and a toothless Tiger finishing an ironic 69th at The British Open.  The World Cup has reached a conclusion and now we’re left to bitterly choke down the flavorless tonic of mid-season baseball while we wait for the football-hued light at the end of Summer’s tunnel.  In short: it’s time to pause and honor some of the sportingest sporters of the last sports year.

Sure ESPN has billions of dollars and a touching speech from a real journalist.  But this is also the time of year for another time-honored sports tradition: The 5th Annual Hatchspys.

We don’t give out many of the prestigious awards, but these highly coveted honors do give us yet another chance to care a little bit too much about sports.  Just the way I like it.  Without further ado, here are your 2014 Hatchspy award winners.


Plot Twist of the Year: LeBrontourage, Season 11


LeBrontourage has been a great show so far.  There was the title character’s promising start to his career, storming into the league with a ready-made NBA game, there was the inevitable fall from grace – collapsing under the weight of too-high expectations and a PR team with less brains than a zombie-eaten victim – and now the glorious return of the prodigal son.  It couldn’t have been scripted better by HBO’s Doug Ellin.  (*Author’s note: upon further IMDB’ing I discovered that not only did Doug E. fresh produce one of my favorite college-years shows, he also wrote the script for Phat Beach.  Do you hear that?  That’s the sound of my head being exploded by IMDB’s knowledge dynamite!)


The Assist of the Year Award: V. Stiviano

As much as it makes my skin crawl to give anything to V. Stiviano, we’ve got to hand it to her: she out-sleazed a sleaze and assisted in taking down one of the grimiest, racist-iest bags of douche since Marge Schott was getting a little too creepily excited over seeing a pitcher have 3 strikeouts in a row (Author’s note: KKK, anyone?).  It took a woman to give the NBA the opportunity or, dare I say, the balls to finally pull the trigger on getting rid of an owner who should’ve been left in the ‘80s with Duran Duran and  Members Only jackets.  What do you give to a woman with a stage-name that sounds like a venereal disease from the Civil War and a face that looks like it was designed by cat-scientists hell bent on cross-breeding with humans?  Give her what she wants most in life: another rich old per. . .and another visor.


Star whose name most sounds like a Harry Potter spell: Shabazz Napier


Now if only Harry could get Hogwarts to take their Quidditch players off of those NCAA meal plans.


Coach getting canned whose catchphrase was suddenly hilarious: Mark Jackson


“Mama, there goes that man.”  “Hand down. . .man down.”  It’s like Mark Jackson wrote all the terrible jokes himself.  That sure didn’t stop literally everyone with a Twitter account from firing off their best 140 character attempts at comedy. (*Author’s note: myself included.)  More than likely his new personal slogan has something to do with Joe Lacob.  And I’m guessing it’s not as happy-go-lucky as “Hand down. . .man down”


Most confusing sports story for dummies like me: Northwestern Unionizing

The good news is: I created an easy to follow flow chart to help clear things up.  Fear not, dumb sports fans.  I’ve got you covered.


Damn it.  That escalated quickly.  Turns out, I might not have as good of a handle on the whole “unionization of student-athletes” thing as I thought.  The good news is, it’s such a boring topic that you probably fell asleep before I got through the second part of that easy-to-use flow chart.


Most fun game attended: Nebraska V.S. Wisconsin

I’m not talking about the Huskers V.S. the Badgers on the field.  I’m talking about the game that took place on the court.

When the highly ranked Badgers came rolling into Lincoln Nebraska on March 9th to take on the suddenly-highly-relevant Nebraska Cornhuskers I knew it would be a big game.  The Huskers were on the precipice of the apex of the vortex of the madness.  We were, too fall too easily into the clichéd old saying, “On the bubble.”  It was a fascinating, precarious, self-doubting place.

The fascinating, hard-scrapping, team was there on the bubble.  The magnetic, frenetically energetic, Coach, Tim Miles, was there.  We were there.  And when a Husker team turns from “them” to “us” and from “they” to “we” it is truly a sight to behold.  The momentum for this particular game had been building, felt-tipped-drum-rolling, since the Huskers had pulled off a shocking upset of Michigan State on the road in mid-February.  That slow-simmering heat was ramped up into a flame-thrower of pent up angst, combusting years and years of ineptitude into a massive upswell in interest.

It all came to head as the Badgers found themselves battling against the team and a raucous crowd that had jammed themselves shoulder to shoulder, heart to heart, in an arena so packed it would have given a fire marshal heart palpitations.

The Huskers came out ahead.  Somehow, someway.  Taking all the “Maybe someday”s of so many dreary years to the full-blown, explosive immediacy of “we did it.”  Was it a championship?  No.  Did it launch us into a breathtaking win in the NCAA tournament?  Nope.

Did it absolutely feel like Nebraska turned a corner as a fanbase and a program and that we were going to sprint away from the shadows of that corner with all the haste of Blue-blazing-hellfire?  Definitely.  We’ll see what happens.  But it was, without a doubt, the game of the year for me.


Fashionista of the year: Johnny Rodgers


We all know I’m not a fashionable dude.  I still openly root for skinny jeans to cut off hipster leg-circulation to the point of amputation.  I am not a fan of bow ties on anyone other than my 2-year-old son.  But what I can get behind, fashion-wise, is something that is unanimously believed to be a gigantic steaming pile of fashion-trainwreck.  That was Johnny Rodgers at the Heisman ceremony.  (*Author’s note: the lady above summed up my feelings for Rodgers’ outfit quite well, actually.

Johnny came out in what I all the fashion blogs were referring to as “Bjorkback Mountain”, combining the sheer insanity of Bjork and the rugged ocular homicide of cocaine cowboy crashlanding onto a murderously blood red coat.  Man, woman, and child. . .did that put ’em in the aisles.



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