Sunday, February 28, 2010

Hockey and the Olympics: A Conversation.

Well, the Olympics are over. Another host city is left with a crippling debt, and NBC has likely lost millions and millions of dollars over the span of a mere two weeks. Similar to every other Olympics I've endured, I basically maintained partial interest throughout. The Olympics are a channel-surfing compromise.

Now, I'm not saying that the Olympics as a whole are obscenely uninteresting. For instance, I was actually somewhat riveted by cross-country skiing and figure skating. Yeah, you heard me right, I said figure skating. And aside from the idiotic move not to broadcast the first USA vs. Canada hockey game on network television, I'm not poopooing NBC's exhaustive coverage either. Simply put, it's hard to maintain a wholehearted interest in such a sprawling escapade of sports, many of which you don't really see but once every four years.

That being said, I did manage to get loosely wrapped up in hockey mania. It was kind of like being confined to a straitjacket, but having one arm free. I could have escaped if I had really felt like it, but it was kind of entertaining and funny to play along. So, that's what I did. It also helped that Canadians are excited about two things in life: hockey and syrup, in that order. The whole country was obviously abuzz, thus adding to an already throttling intensity. Canada probably would have spontaneously combusted if its hockey team had loss to the U.S. twice in the same Olympics. I mean let's face it, everyone hates us. Can you blame them?

Therefore, due to the unabated hysteria of the USA vs. Canada gold medal hockey match, Justin Bragg and I had the brilliant idea to conduct a live chat during the culmination of the Olympics. Throughout the game, we took unwarranted cheap shots at each other, displayed our overall lack of hockey knowledge, and maybe even cracked a joke here and there.

This is a real conversation that took place on Sunday, February 28 between two adult males in their late 20s. It's rather long and not for the faint of heart.

The chat begins at 3:02 PM EST.

Justin: What are the chances that the USA vs. Mexico will happen in World Cup this summer?
Kevin: Zero chance. Let the hockey live chat begin!
Justin: They said the same thing about USA in the finals of the Winter Olympics.
Kevin: Hockey!
Justin: I believe in miracles.
Kevin: That's why they have Al Michaels on.
Justin: Good point. Did you hear that tickets for this game were running 5k +?
Kevin: Dear god. The Canadian police were shutting down liquor stores and shit or something. That Canadian beer is potent. I just can't imagine a riot in Canada.
Justin: A riot in Canada would include mass-consumption of round bacon discs and the excessive pouring of maple syrup on pancakes. Wild stuff.
Kevin: Excellent. When I played this fest in Toronto, we were hanging out with some Vancouver kids and all they did was talk shit about American beer and say how great Canadian beer was.
Justin: Something has been bothering me this whole Olympics. Where is Torino?
Kevin: Italy! You're dumb.
Justin: I'm surprised that Canadian kids would talk shit on anything American. Don't they know that everything they do is weaker than anything we do?
Kevin: But the beer is more potent. That's probably why they were so pompous about it.
Justin: What, a Molson is more potent than a Miller? Who cares?
Kevin: Haha! God, they're still talking about 1980!
Justin: I should have watched Strange Brew in preparation for this chat/viewing of hockey, so I could have boned up on my Canada knowledge.
Kevin: Please end the flashbacks!
Justin: We have a time machine and can go back to one moment in time . . . should we go back to 1980 and watch that hockey game?
Kevin: No way.

This is in reference to the U.S. win over the heavily favored Russian hockey team in the 1980 Olympics. It's as if we abolished Communism with the win or something. Anyway, these Olympics commemorate the 30th anniversary of the historic game and the media has had a collective boner over it for about a month. The stories pretty much got old forever ago.

(3:12 PM) Justin: Where would you go in our time machine? Back to 1990 for the last time the Reds were good?
Kevin: The Reds went to the playoffs in '95. I may go back to the 1991 World Series. Twins and Braves. Best series I've ever seen. Jack Morris near perfection in game seven. You?
Justin: The day I met you. Best day of my life
Kevin: That's true. Is there a way I could go back and meet myself? The euphoria would be indescribable.
Justin: I feel like you would be disappointed.
Kevin: Prediction before the game starts? I say Canada 4-2.
Justin: You would pick Canada. You would dodge the draft if there was another war too, wouldn't you?
Kevin: Yes, I would. I'm not allowing my pride to step in front of my common sense. I mean, I assume that since I'm picking Canada, the U.S. will win. I'm terrible at picking games. See what I'm doing here, Justin?
Justin: Brian says "If USA scores first, they win. If not, they lose." Heart says 4-3 USA. Brian says 4-1 Canada. My prediction: US 2-1.

First off, I am terrible at picking games. I actually really enjoy gambling but am terrible at it. Pretty smart, right? Anyway, Justin crushed me at betting and picking games throughout the football season, so I'm trying to use a reverse jinx here. Justin just doesn't recognize it because he's a dimwit.

Secondly, "Brian" refers to Justin's good friend Brian Kazarian who works for the Dallas Stars, a real life hockey team. Brian actually knows what he's talking about with hockey, so you'll see his name pop up regularly.

(3:19 PM) Kevin: That's stupid, Justin. There'll be at least five goals scored. Fights?
Justin: Why? That's the stupidest thing you have ever said.
Kevin: I say two fights. Three goals? You don't know you're hockey. Not like me.
Justin: You don't know "your" grammar. Not like me. Burn!!!!
Kevin: Bah! I want them to bring the pink-hockey-puck-dot back for this game. Marketing genius!

Back in the mid-90s, NBC (I think) had the brilliant idea to shadow the puck with a pink dot so the television audience could see it better (think the yellow first down line in football, only dumb and pointless).

(3:21 PM) Justin: I seriously can't see the puck at all. My glasses are in the car, and I can't see shit.
Kevin: Man, you'll be 30 soon. It becomes more and more evident each day I talk to you.
Justin: I just texted Brian, "Hockey would be a lot better if it was basketball." That will piss him off. I love making fun of hockey with him.
Kevin: I'm getting excited for the NBA playoffs. Wait, did I just say that? I'm rooting for the Nuggets. Fuck you.
Justin: Me too. I've been catching some more games here and there lately. Watched the whole second half of Hawks vs. Warriors the other night and enjoyed it.
Kevin: I'm starting to become disinterested in college basketball and more engaged with the NBA. I have no problem with this development.
Justin: I've been there for a long time. Aside from the tournament, which is only good a the beginning because you get to watch all the surprises, it's a vastly inferior product.
Kevin: It's true. Play-by-play hockey announcers remind me of the Micro Machines Man.
Justin: Ha! That's awesome. Great comment. You take the early lead in "cleverest and coolest things said today."
Kevin: Would you live in Canada? I'd have no problem with it at all. I kind of think it'd be awesome.
Justin: Never. I have no intention of moving any further away from Mexico than I already am.
Kevin: But it's full of manly things. Like trees, lumberjacks, Sasquatch, hockey, and beards. You're not manly?

Justin often has bouts of manliness with a few of our good friends. This often involves doing pushups, eating raunchy amounts of meat, or growing beards (see above).

(3:30 PM) Justin: How dare you. I could live in Canada with no problem, I just choose not to.
Kevin: Haha . . .
Justin: Your description of Canada was a perfect description of my hometown . . . aside from the hockey.
Kevin: Sasquatch?
Justin: You bet. Bigfoot is huge up there.
Kevin: Really? Oh man . . .
Justin: Willow Creek is the area with the most "sightings" of Bigfoot in the U.S.
Kevin: One of my favorite mythic figures. That and Sarah Palin.
Justin: Bigfoot museums, Bigfoot tree sculptures, Bigfoot t-shirts. All over the place up there. Sarah Palin . . . look at you making political jokes all casual-like.
Kevin: Politics! Okay, back to sports and obscure pop culture references where I belong.
Justin: So is the U.S. team all the guys with last names like "Miller" and "Johnson," and the Canadians are all the strange names I can't understand.
Kevin: Precisely. I was just thinking the same thing. They just said that the U.S. is the home team. This is nonsensical.
Justin: Higher seed. It's like dugouts in Little League. It doesn't matter.

Because the U.S. went into the game undefeated, including a preliminary game against Canada, they were designated the home team. I found this to be both understandable and strange.

(3:37 PM) Kevin: I get it. It's just weird. Wouldn't you say that pretzels are generally mediocre? I eat them all the time because they're not fattening, but I rarely enjoy them. And I'm not talking about spiced exotic pretzels. Just plain old whatever ones. Hockey makes me want to eat pretzels.
Justin: That's because hockey is pretzels. Generally mediocre.
Kevin: Canada scores!
Justin: Uh oh. It's all over now.
Kevin: That's what Brian said right?
Justin: It is. And he actually knows stuff.
Kevin: Brian works in hockey. How could he be wrong?
Justin: I'm okay with Canada winning . . .
Kevin: Shut up!
Justin: It doesn't matter what the U.S. does in this game . . .
Kevin: You're such a turncoat. I refuse to let you give me shit for picking Canada and then change your mind and choose them too.
Justin: Either way, it will be talked about for two days in the U.S., and then everyone will go back to forgetting that hockey exists . . .
Kevin: Act American proud.
Justin: But this will make 2010 for Canada if they win, and destroy them if they lose. The USA just doesn't care.
Kevin: This is my whole point. Get off my coattails.
Justin: Which actually makes me want USA to win all the more. I take back my Canada winning sentiment. I want to humiliate them and embarrass them.
Kevin: You'd rather see a county ruined, right? That makes you a true American.
Justin: Me to Brian, "So it's over now right? Do I have to watch anymore?" Brian to me, "Yes, you can watch The Karate Kid, Part III now."

If you have any knowledge of either one of our blogs, you're more than aware that Justin and I hold a strong affinity for the Karate Kid franchise. It just so happens that ABC family was plowing through the epic tail at the same time we were having this chat. Inspiring? Fuck yes.

(3:45 PM) Kevin: Haha! I don't know what offsides mean in hockey. And I played a lot of NHL '94 growing up. I always turned offsides off.
Justin: Oh yeah. That's the best part in all of Swingers.
Kevin: I don't know what you're talking about.
Justin: You've never seen Swingers?
Kevin: I saw it . . . like ten years ago.
Justin: They play NHL '94 (or '95?) all the time in that movie. Vince Vaughn says, "I'm going to make Wayne Gretzky's head bleed." Those scenes are the best parts of the whole movie.
Kevin: NHL '94 is notorious for being the only year of the game that fighting isn't included. Cam Neely, Ray Bourque, Adam Oates. These are the Boston Bruins of '94.
Justin: I know. And the fact that Jon Favreau included that in the movie is fantastic.
Kevin: That's the extent of my NHL knowledge. Too bad he's a hack now.
Justin: Chris Chelios. Jeremy Roenick.
Kevin: Yzerman.
Justin: Jaromir Jagr.
Kevin: Lemieux.
Justin: Curtis Joseph (Cu-Jo).
Kevin: Whoa!
Justin: Brett Hull
Kevin: I can't think of any others.
Justin: I'm running out quickly now.
Kevin: Ummm . . .
Justin: Ha.
Kevin: The Detroit Red Wings were unbeatable. Who else was on that team?
Justin: Messier!
Kevin: Messier!
Justin: Not on that team, but another name.
Kevin: Hahahaha! He was on the Rangers.
Justin: Gordie Howe?
Kevin: Hmmmm . . . I really enjoyed it when we name random players off of baseball teams from the 90s.

We've done this several times sitting around on warm summer evenings guzzling cans of Budweiser. We just pick a sports team (mainly baseball) circa any year and start rattling off names of players. It's even more enjoyable than it sounds.

(3:51 PM) Justin: Sergei Federov (more recent, but he's been around for a while). Moises Alou.
Kevin: Federov is a good one. The Expos! Andre Dawson. Pedro.
Justin: Dennis "Oil Can" Boyd.
Kevin: Tim Raines. Fight!

Some hockey ruffians just started hitting each other in the face. Shit's bound to happen at some point.

(3:52 PM) Justin: I need to do exercises like this regularly to keep my mind sharp . . . now that I'm almost 30.
Kevin: That's number one for fights.
Justin: How many did you say? I didn't make a guess.
Kevin: I said two.
Justin: Are the Special Olympics only every four years? Are there Winter Special Olympics?
Kevin: I have no idea. I do know they're not called the Special Olympics anymore, though.
Justin: What are they called?
Kevin: Nevermind . . . they are. Sorry. I thought it was changed for political correctness reasons. "Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt." That's the motto. Okay, we should probably back out of this topic before we say something stupid and offensive.
Justin: Agreed.
Kevin: What do you think Ralph Macchio is doing right now?
Justin: I think he hangs out at the Playboy mansion a lot now. I don't know why I think that. It has something to do with Adam Carolla or something.
Kevin: You think he's gonna show up in the Karate Kid remake? Why wouldn't he?
Justin: Apparently he shows up in Ugly Betty episodes from time to time and has a Law & Order: Criminal Intent coming up soon.
Kevin: I'd rather he be doing nothing other than wallowing in a gutter somewhere.
Justin: He has a family to support.
Kevin: I wonder what that's like. Seems too expensive.
Justin: I feel like USA is doing nothing that remotely resembles anything close to scoring a goal. I could be wrong because I have no idea what is going on.
Kevin: My interest is waning. I assume I'll be engaged again in the last five minutes of the third quarter.
Justin: Hockey should just be one period. Or three periods of five minutes. That would be enough.
Kevin: Would I care more if I had an NHL team to follow? Probably.
Justin: I guess. I've never had success in trying to care.
Kevin: This shit is toast! How could they lose?

Canada scored again.

(4:16 PM) Justin: Yeah, USA has no heart. Canada is finally getting us back for stealing Gretzky.
Kevin: So, that's what this is all about? I get it now.
Justin: Time to settle the score. Brian just told me that these refs are terrible. I have no idea what he is talking about. Do you?
Kevin: Absolutely not. Hockey has refs?
Justin: Ha.
Kevin: Power play!
Justin: USA scores on this power play.
Kevin: Have they had one shot on goal all match? Doesn't seem like it.
Justin: I don't think so. Does the U.S. still have most medals and most golds in Olympics? That's all I care about.
Kevin: Not the most golds. If Canada wins this, I think they have the most golds.
Justin: Dang. That's what is most important as far as I'm concerned. I believe No Fear said it best, "Second place is the first loser."

The U.S. ended up with the most overall medals (37), but Canada had five more gold medals (14-9).

(4:25 PM) Kevin: Hahahaha! I miss football.
Justin: If the Malone on the USA team was Karl, we might have a chance to win this thing.
Kevin: I like what you did there, but Karl Malone was a perpetual loser. Jerry Sloan's been the coach of the Jazz for 75 years but hasn't ever won shit. Utah seems content with being adequate. The entire state seems content.
Justin: The only thing Utah has to offer is a strange lake with too high of a salt content. Is that even a good thing? I doubt it. How did Salt Lake City get an Olympics?
Kevin: Ohhhhh! Score! Patrick Kane! He plays for the Blackhawks. I feel like I had something to do with that goal.
Justin: How did you have anything to do with that? You were making fun of Utah.
Kevin: Because I live in Chicago and know that he plays for the Blackhawks.
Justin: Oh, I can't believe I didn't make that connection . . . it's so obvious and logical.
Kevin: Exactly. Thank you for recognizing.
Justin: Patrick Roy. Can't believe we forgot that one.
Kevin: He was around in '94?
Justin: I don't know. But he played hockey
Kevin: Very good, Justin.
Justin: If you publish this, are you going to correct my capitalization and grammar?
Kevin: Yes, yes I am. I can't help it.
Justin: You are ridiculous.
Kevin: I can't help it. I need the uniformity.
Justin: I will capitalize any comments that I think will be funny from now on.
Kevin: Hahaha.
Justin: Do you have an opinion on this issue the NHL is raising about whether to allow the players to be in Olympics in 2014?
Kevin: I think it's disgusting not to allow the best players in the world to represent their countries. Doesn't that go against the whole idea of the Olympics?
Justin: It would be good for Cincinnati Cyclones hockey. Maybe some of those guys would get a chance, and more of the world would be introduced to Twister.
Kevin: That comment was definitely capitalized.
Justin: It wasn't too long ago that pros didn't play in basketball. And they still don't in baseball, right?
Kevin: What are you talking about, dude? The World Baseball Classic! That's what it's all about.
Justin: The WBC doesn't even get the best players. I'm worried about Heidi coming home soon and taking the computer away from me. No way she lets me control the Internet and the TV. It just doesn't work like that around here.

The looming fear that Justin's delightful wife, Heidi, would come home and steal him away from an even more delightful chat about a sport she doesn't care about at all began making us a little uneasy.

(4:39 PM) Kevin: You're gonna miss the third quarter?
Justin: Umm, it's third period you jackass. Your stupidity has lowered the reliability and validity of our commentary.
Kevin: Yes, yes it is. That's as dumb as getting sick. And showing your vulnerability. Like a weakling.

The same man that once proclaimed his blood could cure AIDS has been sickly for an extended period of time. The only acceptable reaction from his friends should be incessant ridicule.

(4:42 PM) Justin: What if people figure out that we don't know anything about hockey? It would ruin the whole thing. By the way, I'm sending you a letter right now. And yes, it's laced with Anthrax. We will see how "tough" you are when you get Anthrax.
Kevin: Well, at least I won't be telling jokes relating to something that happened five years ago. Maybe seven years.
Justin: Anthrax is timeless. Are you getting this World Equestrian Games commercial? Apparently it takes place in KY. I might go.
Kevin: What are you talking about?
Justin: The World Equestrian Games. Did that commercial play in Chicago?
Kevin: No. Why would it?
Justin: Because it's the World Equestrian Games. It's kind of a big deal.
Kevin: It's not a big deal at all, and you don't really care about it, do you?
Justin: No, no I don't.
Kevin: Kentucky just seems like a wrong fit for you. Chicago's more manly and bustling. More your style. You should probably move here. What do you think?

If you were unaware, Justin and Heidi are in fact moving to Chicago this summer.

(4:50 PM) Justin: We will see what happens. Can I fish and hunt in Chicago? That might be a deal-breaker.
Kevin: Uhhh . . . Wisconsin is a mere hop, skip, and jump away. I'm going to a shooting range soon. To shoot shit with guns.
Justin: Awesome. Nothing better than shooting guns.
Kevin: Hockey would be more interesting if crossbows were involved.
Justin: Is the entire state of Wisconsin just a frozen tundra of wildlife and nature?
Kevin: Wisconsin rules.
Justin: How are you going to get crossbows involved in hockey?
Kevin: How could I not get crossbows involved in hockey? Stupid, Justin.
Justin: Eh. Sounds pretty far-fetched. Not nearly as practical and interesting as adding guns to bobsled.
Kevin: That's true. Shooting targets as your barreling down a sheet of ice? Great idea. You know how many random Sasquatch will probably be killed due to stray bullets?
Justin: Sasquatches (Sasquatchi?).
Kevin: Sasquatchen. Like oxen.
Justin: And mousen.
Kevin: Nah...that one is meese. Like geese. How do you not know this? Canada's full of caribou, right? Caribou are the ferocious human-eating cousin to the moose right?
Justin: Caribou are the weak, effeminate, distant relative of the elk.
Kevin: I'm pretty sure they eat humans.
Justin: You have your large game beasts all mixed up. Icing!
Kevin: No, they eat humans and woolly mammoths. I know what icing is! It's one of the few rules I get.
Justin: I don't. But don't explain it to me, because I don't care.
Kevin: Will do.
Justin: Momentum left the U.S.
Kevin: I'm cool with not scoring until five minutes left when the intensity rises ten-fold.
Justin: As long as it isn't 3-1 or worse by then.
Kevin: No TV timeouts is the best thing ever.
Justin: True. Football is the worst for that.
Kevin: Just terrible.
Justin: Crosby has been nowhere this whole game. Isn't he supposed to be good, or something?
Kevin: I suppose. I like Alexander Ovechkin. He seems fiery.

We tried acting hockey-intelligent for a second by throwing out names of current NHL superstars. It didn't work.

(5:05 PM) Justin: I am told that he is fiery, but I have never witnessed it.
Kevin: He's fiery. Can you ice skate?
Justin: Not a chance. I can't roller skate, so there is no way I would even get on the ice
Kevin: I'd call you "old stiff legs" if I saw you rollerskating.
Justin: No you wouldn't.
Kevin: The announcer makes me want to pump my fist. He's great and intense as fuck.
Justin: It's getting furious. Can you feel the pressure building?
Kevin: I sure can. This may be the point when we include exclamation points with every message so that we can translate the intensity. Like this!
Justin: I don't like that idea!
Kevin: Fair enough!
Justin: Now I am just laughing out loud!
Kevin: I've been sitting on this extremely uncomfortable couch for far too long!
Justin: So have I! My ass and lower back are throbbing!
Kevin: I'm developing blood clots in my legs!
Justin: I am getting testicular cancer from holding this laptop over my junk for so long!
Kevin: You topped me! Five minutes left!
Justin: Offsides halts momentum! I love that horn!
Kevin: I want to play sports in the cold so it's acceptable for me to blow snot rockets on camera!
Justin: I want to play baseball so it's acceptable for me to adjust my scrotum on camera!
Kevin: Icing!
Justin: Put the puck in the back of the net is great innuendo!
Kevin: It really is! Crosby sucks!
Justin: Crosby chokes! AHAHAHAH!
Kevin: No I changed my mind. All caps is terrible!
Justin: Save it for the really big moments!
Kevin: I'm freaking out over here! Pull the goalie! This is for the gold medal!
Justin: Pull the goalies! That's great! Get in a fight!
Kevin: Do you think the American coaches speak English and the Canadian coaches speak Canadian?!
Justin: Break the glass surrounding the rink with the puck!
Kevin: Maul the fans!
Justin: They squeak and honk like geese! EMPTY NET!
Kevin: EMPTY NET! Time to step it up!
Kevin: Damn, all these timeouts are killing the momentum!
Justin: TIME OUT!
Kevin: Damn! I want crackhead-like intensity!
Justin: The timeouts are my favorite part of hockey! Face Off! Travolta! Cage! SCORE SCORE SCORE!
Kevin: Oh man!!!!! SCORE SCORE SCORE! Bedlam! Do you think they're rioting in the DC streets yet!?!

Already in an outright frenzy, the U.S. scored to tie things up. Shit was intense.

(5:28 PM) Justin: Overtime!
Kevin: I'm not in the mood!
Justin: All of the sudden I'm getting all these texts from people who I didn't even know were watching!
Kevin: Me too! Shorty and Russ! They're the worst!

Unbeknown to us, we had other friends wrapped up in hockey mania. Wild, right?

(5:33 PM) Justin: Shorty probably thinks it is soccer, and Russ is just drunk and watching Full House reruns!
Kevin: Russ is probably just watching a Law & Order episode, and he just figured out who the real killer is! Should we kill the exclamation points!?
Justin: Most likely. Especially when the game is not on.
Kevin: Phew . . . I'm exhausted. Jeremy Roenick is being a little too excited.
Justin: Next he is going to flash a metal sign. Heidi will be home in five minutes. I can't get kicked off now.
Kevin: This is the commercial I was talking about! It's awesome. Nike commercial.
Justin: What band is this? LT! LA!

I got really way too excited about a new Nike commercial I like a bunch. Justin's referring to LaDainian Tomlinson and Lance Armstrong, who both show up in the commercial.

(5:39 PM) Kevin: I don't know who the band that is, but the commercial rules. The fact that LT is in it is a disgrace. What a whiny bitch. Please don't let Heidi kick you off the Internet. That'd be a travesty.
Justin: What about Lance Armstrong? That's even worse.
Kevin: What? Lance Armstrong has accomplished a ton of things. Say what you want about his personality, but the dude's a winner.
Justin: You mean whiner.
Kevin: Good one. LT was amazing . . . was. Now he can go away and stop thinking he's worth a shit anymore.
Justin: Leave him alone. At least he has balls.
Kevin: Lance has one. I think.
Justin: I think the band in that commercial is the Hours.
Kevin: They're playing "The Final Countdown" over the speakers at the arena.
Justin: The song is called "All in the Jungle" and is from their 2007 release, "Narcissus."
Kevin: Thank you for that, Justin. I feel like the U.S. wins this thing now. Canada's gonna play tight.
Justin: I told you. Too bad you're a traitor.
Kevin: You're the worst.
Justin: I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free.
Kevin: Yeah, Canada's like Iran.
Justin: Have fun in Canada. Brian says this thing will end this period. I don't know why.
Kevin: Someone's gonna score.
Justin: That comment would have been better with an exclamation point: "Someone's gonna score!"
Kevin: I'd have multiple heart attacks if I was a goalie!
Justin: We could never do it!
Kevin: I was a goalie in soccer and couldn't hack it!
Justin: I never played soccer!
Kevin: Whoa!

Canada's golden boy, Sidney Crosby, scored the winning goal. Game over: Canada wins 3-2.

(5:53 PM) Justin: Of course.
Kevin: Well, there you have it!
Justin: Should have seen that coming.
Kevin: Of course it was Crosby. It looked like a fluke.
Justin: That kid's legacy is going to just keep growing.
Kevin: Okay, so we beat them once and they beat us once. Best out of three right?
Justin: This crowd seems to be enjoying this
Kevin: Yes they do. I'd enjoy a replay of the goal.
Justin: Well, you got what you wanted. Congratulations. It should be two of three. What a dumb rule. We beat them a few days ago.
Kevin: But that was a "preliminary" game. Whatever that means.
Justin: Single elimination is the only way a tournament should be played. So, I guess that's about it. Perfect timing.
Kevin: Bye bye! I should have this up on Monday or something.
Justin: I just watched an entire hockey game! With overtime! I feel very proud of myself.

The end. I hope you enjoyed the Olympics as much as we acted like we did.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Peyton and Jack: A Couple of Heroic Letdowns?

It's crucial to note that I initially conjured the clever idea to compare the strengths of two of television's greatest and most powerful figures, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and fictional Lost hero and heartthrob Dr. Jack Shephard. The much-anticipated premiere of Lost's final season was this last Tuesday and the Super Bowl was this past Sunday. A pair of television firecrackers stuffed into the same week? Count me the fuck in.

There was one problem, though. Everyone (myself included) thought the Colts couldn't lose. The former mild-mannered Colts coach, Tony Dungy, went as far as to say that "[Peyton's] going to have those rings Sunday night. I don't think it's going to be close." Guess what, Tony? Peyton threw maybe the most crucial interception in Super Bowl history, thus sealing the game for the upstart New Orleans Saints. Final score: New Orleans 31 and the Indianapolis Colts 17

Now, I'll forever be near the front of the Peyton Manning fanboy line. Those who know me well have undoubtedly heard me say, "Best quarterback you've ever seen in your life" at least a couple of times when referring to Peyton. However, when the game's big and the pressure's on, Peyton has had an incessant and uncanny knack for crippling letdowns.

Let me take this moment to address Justin Bragg specifically. You see, Justin's a hater and doesn't fully recognize the brilliance and innovation of Peyton Manning. He was privileged to be raised a 49ers fan who consequently basked in the good fortune of stellar teams with a great quarterback. As a bitter lifelong Bengals fan, I obviously think Justin's an ass.

Anyway, he repeatedly refuses to acknowledge that Manning single-handedly carried a Colts team on his back for seven years, until they were able to concoct some semblance of a defense. He's afraid that Manning will surpass Montana or Young, even though we all know he's already leaps and bounds better than Young ever was and is more than on the heels of Montana.

Listen, Justin, I'm only having a slight lapse in faith right now. My acknowledgment of Manning's imperfections should not be taken as literal defamation. It's more about me being upset that the Super Bowl ruined a perfectly brilliant juxtaposition of two of the nation's most heroic characters

Needless to say, the second half of the Super Bowl was a bit of a chore to endure (primarily because I was forced to scarf down my own words). The Colts took the game on in a stiff-like, stuffy manner while the Saints exuded passion and guts. I was left with nothing to cheer for but a stomach full of beer, chili dip, and pizza. The holiday was over, and I had failed at another week of football. Good thing I get to type this because I don't know how I would ever even mouth the words, "Peyton let me down."

Therefore, I've elected to change gears and focus instead on the few weaknesses shared between Peyton Manning and Lost's primary protagonist, Jack Shephard. If you're unfamiliar with Lost, well then you've missed out on five full seasons of riveting mystery, meticulous character development, love triangles, general creepiness, an absurd amount of conjecture, fantastical settings, and time travel (that's about as general as I can make it). It's a brilliant television series and will undoubtedly go down as one of the most intriguing of all time. I urge you to get into it.

Unlike many other Lost connoisseurs, I like Jack's character, and while we're at it, I even like Kate a little too (so suck on that). Maybe I'll get hated on because Jack can be such a goddamn polarizing character. But when it's all said and done, he is crucial to so many plot lines that I feel like I know him better than anyone on the show. His stubbornness and/or intelligence never surprise me, his actions are almost always altruistic, and he's the obvious leader of the Oceanic flight's passengers, without question. Sounds pretty similar to Manning's roles (quarterback, offensive coordinator, captain, generally nice guy).

Like Peyton Manning, though, he's obsessive and a notorious over-thinker. He rarely seems satisfied with a result and has a tendency to go on benders, like the drunken pill-popping rampages he embarked on following the Oceanic Six's return to Los Angeles from the island ("We have to go baaaack, Kate! We have to go baaaack"). Jack often tries to do too much, pushing himself to the brink of absolute exhaustion. As a spinal surgeon, the fact that he thinks "nothing is irreversible" (an obvious omen in season six) is so detrimental to his psyche, causing him to fall apart with each whiff at perfection. The best way to control Jack is by not allowing him to be a factor. For instance, one of his lowest and most helpless points in the series (not eating, making maniacal escape attempts) occurred when he was caught by the Others and locked in the aquarium. He had no control.

Similarly, the Saints did the wisest thing possible during the Super Bowl. They didn't allow Peyton Manning to beat them. Instead of trying to defend him, they kept him off the field. The onside kick to open the second half is a prime example of the outrageously loony balls Saints' coach Sean Payton showed during the game. In any other situation, that call is a fucking abomination, but because it was Peyton Manning who was sitting on the sideline plotting an inevitable touchdown drive, the call bordered on brilliance. Peyton barely existed in the second half, and it showed. He lost control of the game and spiraled into oblivion, which was painfully evident with the two interceptions he almost threw right before the heart-wrenching, pull-your-hair-out pick six.

Where's the compromise? Often, I feel like it's either all or nothing from each one of these "characters" (while Jack Shephard is an obvious fictional character and Manning is an obvious real person, the fact that I've never met Peyton and the fact that he is often beheld as a little more-than-human quarterback-wise allows me to view him as fictitious, in a sense. Oh, and it also helps me perpetuate this comparison). Plainly stated, I'm sticking to my guns. Despite their weaknesses, I will forever remain an avid Peyton Manning fan and always loyal to Jack Shepard. I'd rather put my trust in an obsessive, over-analyzer than a schitzy, nutjob of a character with very few redeeming qualities (i.e. Brett Favre or Hurley).

So, I'll see you next season, Peyton, and I'll see you next episode, Jack. And I'll undoubtedly be in your corner, rooting away.