“Cue The Final Countdown by Europe. The long journey of breaking down the sports world comes to an end today. Rather than leaving you with a sappy, I’ll miss writing in this space every Thursday farewell column, I find it better to recap the breakdowns that have been printed here over the past nine months and to take a look into the future of the sports world, for which I have rambled about extensively.””
Cue The Final Countdown by Europe.
The long journey of breaking down the sports world comes to an end today.
Rather than leaving you with a sappy, I’ll miss writing in this space every Thursday farewell column, I find it better to recap the breakdowns that have been printed here over the past nine months and to take a look into the future of the sports world, for which I have rambled about extensively.
When the first Bosma’s Breakdown was published Aug. 27, 2007, the Thursday edition of The Buchtelite was greeted with a column that, for the most part, had nothing to do with the University of Akron.
It would seem slightly odd that a college journalist would stray from the athletic endeavors of his university, but let’s be honest, the professional sports world is a lot more interesting than the happenings of the Akron Zips.
So it began with fantasy football, continued with the latest National Football League news, covered the joy-ride that was the Cleveland Indians playoff run in ’07 and ridiculed the National Basketball Association for being a league full of traveling violations.
Ultimately, the column always found it’s way back to the NFL and readers on the UA campus most likely wondered why someone would continue writing about a league whose season had already ended. Both reader and myself came to the conclusion that I had an unhealthy obsession with football. This will remain true, even as Bosma’s Breakdown comes to a close-I just hope next year someone will continue the legacy of keeping the NFL alive long after the Super Bowl.
No matter how many thousands of words I typed under a sarcastic headline and next to a headshot that makes me look quite smug, one thing has remained true: for as much as I know about sports, my opinions and projections weren’t always spot-on and the majority of my readership probably didn’t agree with half of what I wrote.
But, in the end, it didn’t really matter. As sports fans, we are united under one premise: we like what we like and don’t care what other people think of it. That’s why Pittsburgh Steeler fans can survive in this area. That’s why hundreds of people on campus wear Ohio State apparel even though Columbus is hours away. That’s why people can wear New York Yankee hats and not catch much flack.
That’s why the sports world is pretty much a utopia. Fans can like what they want without a valid reason. Hardcore and casual fans can come together because of a similarity in interests.
The fact that you can be whatever you want in the sports world is one of the main reasons I pay way too much attention to it in the first place.
This column has been a forum to discuss what makes me happy and ticks me off in sports. The true beauty of it is any reader can pick up the paper, read the first few sentences of my column, call me an idiot and throw it away.
Let’s be honest, sometimes I pick up the paper, wonder what I was talking about and throw it away too. That may not be an exact scenario, but it goes to show that when you give someone the opportunity to speak their mind, it sometimes leads to irrational outbursts. I say irrational because many reading this column at times probably wondered how any person on the face of this earth could believe the things I wrote.
But I’ll digress, and take a few lines from the Skip Bayless Book of Defense.
Every word I typed I believed to be the truth at the time. It wasn’t sensationalism, it was always genuine. It may not have always been right, but it felt right.
So, without further ado, I am presenting you with the longest column in Buchtelite Sports history. Call it a recap, call it fortune-telling, call it what you will. I’m calling it an extended timeline of my terrible projections, honest insight and highlights from the past nine months.
It should come as no surprise that I will start with the behemoth of professional sports.
Back in August I gave you my take on who you should take, drop and keep a close eye on in fantasy football. I have been playing fantasy football for the past six years, and the ’07-08 season was the only one in which I didn’t win my league. However, these things happen when you have rookies blindly picking players even though they have no idea if they are good or not.
When I think about fantasy football, I like to reference a column Bill Simmons wrote Oct. 19, 2007 during the football season in which he debated whether it was harder to go undefeated in fantasy football or in the real game. He also debated whether or not he’d want an undefeated fantasy season or NFL season. He concluded that he’d go with a 19-0 NFL record.
I can’t dispute that, and I never will. In fact, I rarely even think about going undefeated in anything other than video games and ESPN SceneIt.
But, if you’re looking to claim the thrown of your fantasy football league next year and go undefeated, these are the players you should should get and a few to avoid.
QB – Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts
RB – Adrian Petterson, Minnesota Vikings
TE – Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys
WR – Randy Moss, New England Patriots
D/ST – Green Bay Packers
Biggest rookie impact – Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders
Who to avoid – Vince Young, Tennesse Titans and Larry Johnson, Kansas City Chiefs.
One final note about the NFL:
After watching nearly the entire NFL Draft last Saturday and Sunday, I was left with one question that no one I asked could answer.
Joe Flacco had just been drafted by the Baltimore Ravens and prior to this he was sitting on his couch with no hat on. After he was drafted, a Ravens hat magically appeared on his head.
The question is, where did the hat come from? Was there an NFL executive sitting outside Flacco’s house with a box containing all 32 teams draft day hats? There was no way for Flacco to know he was for sure going to the Ravens, so I don’t understand how he got the hat. Did someone quickly run to the store and buy one in the five seconds it took ESPN to put him on television after he was selected?
I fear this will always be a mystery.
Feel-good story of the year
At the age of 13, Sean Swarner was diagnosed with stage-four Hodgkin’s Disease and was given a life expectancy of three months.
Swarner overcame this disease but was stricken again-this time by a golf ball-sized tumor attached to his right lung. He was given two weeks to live after the Askin’s tumor was removed. Swarner only has partial use of his lungs now.
Once again, Swarner overcame the odds. All of this while only a young teenager. He is the only person to ever have been diagnosed with stage-four Hodgkin’s Disease and Askin’s disease.
Over a decade later, Swarner became the first cancer survivor to stand atop Mount Everest in spring of 2002.
But that wasn’t enough. He was inspired by the millions of individuals affected by cancer and wanted to continue to be an inspiration for them.
He set out on what would become a decade long journey. His goal was to conquer the seven summits of the world–climbing to the highest point of all seven continents.
He conquered Mt. Everest (Asia) May 16, 2002, Mt. Kilimanjaro (Africa) May 28, 2003, Mt. Elbrus (Europe) June 6, 2003, Mt. Aconcagua (South America) Jan. 20, 2005, Mt. Kosciusko (Australia) Feb. 21, 2006 and Mt. McKinley (North America) Apr
Lance Armstrong’s battle with cancer followed by seven Tour de France titles is one of the greatest examples of the will of the human spirit, but Swarner’s achievements are just as good, if not better–and equally inspiring.
But Swarner isn’t retiring after reaching these goals. His next goal is to become the fifth person in history to accomplish the Adventure Grand Slam. Step one is already completed (climbing to the peak of the tallest mountain on each continent), and step two consists of trekking to the North and South Poles.
When completed, and I say when because there is clearly no reason to say if, he will become the first cancer survivor to accomplish this extraordinary feat.
Swarner is a true example of a hero. He is a testament to the strength of willpower and an inspirational hero.
10 things that should just go away before The Buchtelite publishes again
1. The Bowl Championship Series (BCS)
2. The UA football team’s shotgun offense
3. Roger Clemens’ judicial fiasco
4. Kellen Winslow’s displeasure with his contract
5. Bill Parcells giving Jason Taylor the cold shoulder
6. Cleveland Browns fans who refuse to believe Derrick Anderson is a good QB
7. The notion that Wrigley Field could be called something else
8. Comparing any NBA player to Michael Jordan
9. Jessica Simpson (for my sake and the Dallas Cowboy’s sake)
10. Stephen A. Smith yelling about the NBA
I picked the Dallas Mavericks and the Chicago Bulls to be in the NBA Finals this year–picks that were clearly terrible.
However, I’ll go on record now as saying I was stupid to not pick the San Antonio Spurs to win the title. The Spurs are the most complete team in the NBA. Anytime you have Manu Ginobli on your roster, and he doesn’t start, it clearly shows the depth of the team.
It’s not Ginobli, Tim Duncan or Tony Parker that will be the sole reason the Spurs win the title though. It’s something that is too often overlooked. It’s called team basketball. Every player on the Spurs is unselfish and only cares about winning another championship.
Who will join them in the Finals? The Boston Celtics, for sure. The Celtics won 66 games in the regular season, and though regular season records mean nothing in the playoffs, they have the best team defense in the league.
Defense might win championships, but in the case of Spurs vs. Celtics, the most complete team will win the series. Which means the Spurs are going back-to-back.
What about the Cleveland Cavaliers you ask?
The only thing I have to say about the Cavs is something I won’t be around in two years to tell you I told you so.
So, I’ll print it here today. Enjoy LeBron James while you can. Please, don’t take watching the best basketball player to ever don a Cavs a jersey for granted.
Because, in two years,when it’s all said and done, and LeBron walks out of Quicken Loans Arena for the last time, you don’t want it to come as a shock.
LeBron is one of us. He grew up down the street from UA and plays 40 minutes up I-77. But Cleveland can’t give LeBron everything he desires in life, and that’s not just a championship. He wants to be a billion dollar athlete and be the most famous athlete in the history of sports.
He can’t do that here and he knows it–you know it.
I just hope he can hang a championship banner in Cleveland before the next step of his career comes. If he does that, I won’t be too torn apart when he leaves.
Sorry to break the news so bluntly.
I picked the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians to be in the World Series this year and so far it looks like the Cubs, at least, might have a great shot at it.
No, I’m not a Cleveland hater, I love the Indians. But Travis Hafner can’t seem to hit and C.C. Sabathia has been spotty at best.
Of course, this could all change very soon, and I’m hoping it does, but the Tribe needs to zone in and not let the division get out of reach. It wouldn’t hurt if Jhonny Peralta and Asdrubal Cabrera started hitting the ball either.
There’s no reason to lose hope in May, though. The baseball season is a marathon of 162 games. Every team wins and loses 50 games, it’s what happens in the other 62 that really matters.
A few things I am truly bitter about with the Tribe, however, is the renaming of Jacobs Field and not being able to watch Kenny Lofton anymore.
The Jake was part of my childhood and I absolutely refuse to call it the P word. Call me stubborn, but it just isn’t the same. That’s the corporate baseball world though. I hope fans of the Chicago Cubs don’t lose Wrigley, as we lost the Jake.
As for Lofton, you can’t tell me he couldn’t play the outfield better than Jason Michaels, David Dellucci, Franklin Gutierrez or Ben Francisco. He is a better situational hitter and base runner than any of the outfielders not named Grady Sizemore on the Tribe’s roster too.
There was nothing better than seeing number seven patrolling the outfield and making key hits in the playoffs last year. It’s too bad we didn’t get him a World Series ring last year while he was here again.
If we’re lucky, history will repeat itself and we’ll see him around here again. I think he still has a lot to offer any ball club.
“” #1.1361007:1696806542.jpg:20070828-Fantasy-football.jpg:This graphic most likely should have been my headshot all year.:MCT”