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Found 20 results

  1. The I Formation (pronounced "eye" formation) have the backs stacked in the backfield. Typically it is used as a running formation but you can pass out of it too. Many teams that use the I Formation often call the "deep back" a tailback rather than a halfback. This offense needs a strong runner in that position as it is featured in this formation. You will see it used extensively at the college level. The pros use it- sometimes on short yardage situations like 3 and 3 to give the defense a pass or run look so they can't concentrate on one or the other. The Shotgun Formation was made famous by Tom Landry during the glory years of the Dallas Cowboys under Roger Staubach and Danny White. The shotgun is a passing oriented offense which puts as many receivers out in patterns as possible and keeps a running back in to block or as outlet receiver. Depending on who is running it, the QB will be lined up 5 to 7 yards behind the line of scrimmage. The center makes a long snap to the QB. This snap is very important as it can spell disaster if it goes over the QB's head or he had trouble handling it. Note that in this formation, there are five eligible receivers which puts quite a bit of pressure on the defense to cover them all. The One-Back or Spread formation is merely a variation on the Shotgun. It's advantage is that it has a direct snap to the QB so there is less chance for error. The disadvantage is that the QB starts behind center rather than 5 yards back, is vulnerable to the rush or blitz and his view of the field may be obstructed by linemen slugging it out directly in front of him.
  2. The Pro Set is one of the most basic formations you will see. Almost all the pro teas run it at one time or another. It is a balanced offense from which a team can either pass of run. Positions- Offensive Line: the offensive lines job is to open holes for runners of protect the quarterback on passing plays. Although O-lines don't get much press, they have got to perform their job or the offense is going nowhere. C or Center snaps the ball to the QB and then blocks or protects the passer. RG and LG The Right and Left Guards are posted about a yard away from the center on his right and left sides respectively. The three positions are collectively called interior linemen. Their job is also to open holes for runners and pass protect when its appropriate. On sweep plays Guards often pull or slide down the line and a running back can follow him around either end. RT and LT The right and the left tackles are key to both the running and passing game. If they can physically dominate the defensive linemen, their team will be able to pass or run with relative ease. There are a whole series of running plays that go off tackle where a tackle is expected to open a running lane for a back. They must also pass protect because they are typically lined up against defensive ends which are usually a defensive teams best pass rushers. TE or Tight End The Tight End is a special player. Depending on the play, he can either block, run pass patterns or run the ball on an end around. He is the only offensive lineman who is eligible to catch a pass. Whichever side a Tight End lines up on is called the Strong Side because there is an extra blocker on that side. A team can use two tight ends but this is usually reserved for short yardage situations. Outside Receivers- these receivers are lined up clear of the formation so they can get up to speed and run their pass routes. WR A team may have one to four receivers lined up on the outside. A team must at the time that the ball is snapped have at least six people on the line of scrimmage, a line from sideline to sideline equal to the position of the ball. WRs can run all sorts of routes from very short yardage to as far as his QB can throw it. F The Flanker (sometimes called a slot-back, H-back or Split end) may line up on either side of the ball but just off the line of scrimmage. Flankers can go into motion prior to the snap of the ball but their motion must be parallel to the line of scrimmage. Only one offensive player may be in motion at any one time. By moving the receivers around, the offense hopes to trick or confuse the defense and end up with a receiver uncovered. Offensive Backfield Often called the skill positions, these positions get much of the glory. QB or quarter back runs the offense. He runs the huddles, calls the plays (usually in communication with the bench), and executes the teams offense. A QB is usually a good athlete because he needs a rich mixture of skills to play the position effectively. He has to be quick, durable, have a strong and accurate throwing arm. He has to be smart because he will need to read the defense instantly and chose his best option given the situation. HB A halfback is generally considered a speed back. They don't necessarily have to be very big but they need to be quick and agile enough to to get in the running lanes provided by their blockers and get the most yardage out of a play. Ideally a halfback has a mixture of speed, agility, balance and power. They also need to be able to catch the football as many offenses use their backs as additional receivers. [FB] The Fullback is a big, strong running back who job is to run for short yardage, block for the Half back and protect the QB from blitzing linebackers. It's not a very glorious job but if it is done poorly, the running and passing games will suffer. Full backs are sometimes used as outlet receivers when everyone else is covered so good hands is a vital skill for the position. What can we tell just looking at this formation? 1. It is a strong right formation meaning that the tight end is lined up on the right side of the formation. 2. The flanker is in close to the tight end on the right side creating something of an overload. There will be extra blockers or receivers on that side. 3. the HB is on the left side of the formation and the fullback is on the right. This is the kind of formation that gives defensive coordinators fits. The offense can either pass or run out of this formation. They can run a tradition pitch sweep type play around the right side with the FB, TE and Flanker blocking for the halfback. They can also run a quick pass on the right outside short zone and try to split the defense. The formation is versatile enough to keep the defense guessing. ___________________________________________________________ Next: the I-Formation, the Shotgun, single-back sets and short yardage.
  3. AFC 2008 Preview/Predictions AFC North Steelers- After going 10-6 last year and enjoying a very productive draft, Pittsburg is set to capture the division again. The only question that remains is how far can they go in the playoffs and are they ready to challenge the Patriots? Projected: 12-4, Division winner Bengals- The Bengals were a disappointing 7-9 last season after a rash of injuries and an early season skid from which they never recovered. This years cats may be a whole different breed. After what looks like a great draft and smart free agency moves, the Bengals appear to have patched some of their most glaring holes on defense except for their corners. Projected: 9-7 with an outside shot at a wildcard spot. Browns- Cleveland turned in a respectable 10-6 record last year and a Kellum Winslow finally came into his own. The Browns will find it very difficult to do as well this year. Their draft was awful with their first pick in the fourth round. Their defense is injury prone and gives up too many big plays. Projection: 6-10 Ravens- Baltimore fell to 5-11 last year. Their once vaunted defense has aged and become vulnerable to big plays and their offense is simply terrible- 22 in the league total offense, 24th in pass offense and 27th in the red zone. Despite a respectable draft, this is a rebuilding year for the Ravens. Projected: 4-12 AFC East New England- The Patriots were a perfect 16-0 in the regular season last year. Their loss in the Super Bowl was one of the biggest upsets in the since a brash Joe Namath guaranteed a victory against the Colts in SB III. The Pats had in all last season: #1 total offense, #1 passing offense, #1 scoring offense, #4 Total defense, #4 points allowed and a +16 turnover differential. They show no glaring weaknesses on either side of the ball or special teams. They have been very active in free agency losing LB Junior Seau, two corners and a safety but picking up three corners and a linebacker and adding considerable talent via the draft. I don't expect the Patriots to be perfect in 2008 but the smart money says that barring a meltdown of epic proportions, they'll win their division and will go the distance in the playoffs. Projection: 14-2, division winner, home field in the playoffs. Bills- The Bills appear to be making slow progress after a 7-9 performance last year. Total Offense was 30th and total defense was 31st so the only way to go is up. With a solid nuclues built on the draft, some good free agent pickup and a solid draft, this may be the year Buffalo returns to respectability. Projection: 8-8 Jets- The Jets were 4-12 and simply wretched in 2007. Their offense ranked 26 in the league and 31st in red zone percentage. They were 18th in total defense and 25th against the pass. They will be hard pressed to be worse than they were last year but don't expect them to be much better. Projection: 6-10 Dolphins- After a 1-15 record last year, one has to wonder what Parcells was smoking when he agreed to take over the train wreak. This team is horrible: owning the bottom of every major statistical category. Even a good draft and smart free agency moves won't move the fish out of the cellar anytime soon. Projection: 3-13 AFC West Chargers- The Chargers are a very talented football team that finished last year 11-5, won two playoff games and lost to the Patriots in the title game. Philip Rivers will be in his third year as a starter and should be peaking after a finishing the last half of the regular season 7-1. LaDainian Tomlinson is in his prime and barring injuries should contend for another rushing title. The defense needs to improve its middle of the pack performance (14th total defense, 16th rush defense, 14th pass defense) for the Chargers to take it to the next level. All indications are that the Chargers are ready for a breakout performance. Projection: 13-3, division winner Broncos- It looks like the Broncos have finally settled on a quarterback just in time for the rest of the teams low ebb. Once enjoying an embarrassment of wealth at running back and wide receiver, Shanahah finds the cupboard is bare except for some free agents and promising rookies. The once proud Orange Crush is a mere shadow of its former self. The Bronco's defense was 19th overall in the league but a dismal 30th against the run. All the signs point to a difficult year in the mile-high city unless Shanahan can reach into this years rookies and pull out a few all Pro Bowlers. Projection: 7-9 Chiefs- Last years 4-12 Chiefs will have to try very hard to get any worse than they were last season. They were 31st in total offense and 28th in rushing defense. The one positive was that they were 5th against the pass but who needed to throw against them? The bright side is that there were four solid free agent pickups and a very solid draft in which they had 6 picks in the first three rounds and 12 picks over all. Raiders- Another 4-12 team, the Raiders have been celler-dwellers years and will probably remain there as long as Davis is in charge. It looks like the game has passed Mr. "just win baby" by. 25th in total offense, 31st in rush defense: this team is in need of a serious overhaul and with no clue in how to stop the bleeding. There's just too much gone wrong here for Al Davis to write a few checks and make it all better. Projection: 2-14 AFC South Colts- 13-3 last year and barely missing a shot at a second super bowl, no one in the AFC South can touch the Colts. A few years ago playing the Colts was like a track meet: if you could out score them, you could win. Last years Colts had the leagues #3 total defense team and #1 in scoring defense. The Colts are formidable presence and one that will have to be dealt with on the road to the superbowl. Projection: 14-2, division winner Jaguars- Last year the Jags had to be the most under-rated team in the league. The played consistently tough football and racked up an 11-5 record. The Jags may be the most balanced team in the league. In 2007 they ranked 7th in the league in total offense: #2 rushing and #17 passing. They ranked 12th in the league on defense: 11th against the rush and 15th against the pass. Sure- its easy to overlook a good team in the shadow of Peyton Manning's Colts but the Jags need to improve their middle of the pack defense to push the Colts come playoff time. Projection: 12-4, wildcard Texans- The perennially horrible Texans improved to 8-8 last season. The Texans are still not a good, balanced football team- their defense was a woeful 24th in the league but their offense was 14th and their special teams performed very well. They are much better than they were a few years ago when David Carr was running for his life. They've still got a long way to go before they can push their division rivals. Projection: 9-7 Titans- In 2007 the Titans improved to 10-6 and earned a wildcard slot thanks to the play of rookie QB Vince Young. Probably their most improved aspect of their team was the defense which was 5th in total defense (5th against the run and 10th against the pass). This year will tell whether this improvement was simply a weak schedule or are the Titans are for real. This year they'll play a playoff teams schedule and we'll see. Projection: 8-8 NFC Preview NFC North Vikings- If Adrian Peterson stays healthy and the Vikes get some consistency at QB, this is their year. Injuries could do them in but the rest of the division is in transition and it is theirs if they want it bad enough. Projection: 11-5, division winner Bears- This is the year when Rex Grossman finally collapses and all the angry Bears on defense can't put things back together again. Projection: 7-9 Packers- Farve is finally gone and so is the magic. Look for Aaron Rodgers to struggle as he finds out how impossible it is to follow a legend. A good but not great defense can not carry the team. Projection: 6-10 Lions- Coming off their best season since 2000 with a record of 7-9 you might expect improvement but their defense was 32nd in the league last year. The Lions went looking for defensive help in the draft and free agency but don't look for much improvement for another year of so. Projection: 6-10 NFC East Cowboys- The Cowboys are loaded this year and it will be hard to keep them from winning the division. Last year their offense ranked #3 in the league and their defense was #9. They have no glaring weaknesses and have added a solid rookie running back- Felix Jones, an all-pro linebacker via free agency- Zach Thomas and depth in the secondary. This just might be their year. Projection: 13-3, division winner, home field advantage in the playoffs Giants- Mannings heroics in the playoffs aside, the Giants were a very average team last year. Their offense was 16rd in the league and their defense was 7th and gave up too many big plays. Yeah sure- they'll win 10 games on the strength of Mannings arm but their defense is not getting any younger and their schedule will be brutal. Projection: 10-6 wildcard Redskins- Would someone please take the Redskins away from meddling owner Daniel Snyder? Hiring Jim Zorn as head coach was risky but the former run and gun QB of the Seahawks might know a thing or two about moving the ball- something that hasn't happened consistently in Washington in some time. Call it another rebuilding year and if Snyder is patient, it looks like the Redskins are on the right track. Projection: 7-9 Eagles- How does a team with the NFL's 6 ranked offense and 10th ranked defense go 8-8? Turnovers, inconsistent play and a rooster that is too old and too young in too many key areas. As McNabb goes, so go the Eagles and he is yet to look like he did before the devastating 2006 knee injury. The Eagles allowed 37 sacks last year which is far too many for a QB with a gimpy knee. Projection: 6-10 NFC West Seahawks- Mike Holmgren's 'Hawks have been the most consistent team in the NFC West for several years including a superbowl appearence a couple of years ago. At 10-6 last year the Hawks simply looked a little above average. Their offense ranked 9th in the league (20th rushing, 8th passing) and a defense ranked 15th (12 vs. rush, 19 vs pass). They need to play better defense if they want to return to those later playoff games and they addressed those needs in the draft. They also picked up some running backs via free agency to give Shawn Alexander some help. Projection: 11-5, division winner Cardinals- All of the elements are in place for the Cardinals to have a breakout year- a soft schedule, years of experienced, high round draft picks, a young, talented QB and a draft/free agency moves that address key areas. Arizona fans have good reason to be excited because a wild card slot is definitely in range for the Red Birds. Projection: 9-7 49ers- The 49ers are a work in progress and much of that progress rests on the shoulders of Alex Smith. The 1st pick of the 2005 has a lot of pressure on him this year to lead the once proud 49ers back to respectability. That may be too much to ask for a team that had the NFL's 32nd ranked offense and the 25th ranked offense. Expect the 'Niners to improve incrementally from last year but a return of glory days to 'Frisco are still years away. Projection: 7-9 Rams- The greatest show on turf days are long gone from St Louis and they won't be returning anytime soon. Last years the Rams were awful in every stat that mattered: 21th total defense, 24 total offense and losing 27 interceptions. They looked and played like a 3-13 team and won't be much better in 2008. They had a good draft and picked up a few interesting free agents and look to improve slowly over the next two seasons. Projection: 5-11 NFC South Saints- The Saints spent their off season on defense, defense and more defense. Ranking #26 in defense last year, they needed to desperately. The Saints picked two solid linebackers (Vilma and Morgan) and helped their secondary via free agency, picked up Jeremy Shockley from the Giants and spent their first six draft picks on defense including the monstrous DT Sedrick Ellis of USC. The Saints WILL be better of defense and their 4th ranked offense returns healthy and ready to score. Projection: 12-4, division winner Buccaneers- After going 9-7 last year it looks like the Bucs are ready to play at the next level but wait: the QB is 38 year old Jeff Garcia? 36 year old Joey Galloway is his favorite target? Nothing is wrong with the league's #2 defense but can the when you look at their rooster, the Bucs are getting pretty old in key areas. Don't expect either Garcia or Galloway to go 16 games. Projection 10-6, wildcard Panthers- Last year the Panthers fell to 7-9 and don't look to get any better before some people in skill positions get some experience. The offense fell to #29th in the league while their once fierce defense was a mediocre #16. Can Delhomme return from major shoulder surgery? That's a key otherwise the Panthers drop like a rock. Projection: 5-11 Falcons- The Vick-less Falcons were simply wretched last year with the 23rd ranked offense and the 29th ranked defense. While drafting Matt Ryan was the right move for the future, the Falcons will suffer through another season or two of rebuilding. Projection: 4-12 Superbowl XLIII The Patriots defeat the Cowboys 28-24 on a last minute Brady drive.
  4. Bart Starr the great quarter back of the Green Bay Packers has died. https://www.packers.com/news/packers-legend-bart-starr-dies-at-85 The following is excerpted from the link above: Bart Starr, the first quarterback in history to win five National Football League championships and hero of the most memorable game in the storied history of the Green Bay Packers, died today in Birmingham, Ala. He had been in failing health since suffering a serious stroke in 2014. Starr, 85, played for the Packers from 1956 to 1971, and was beloved by fans of not only his generation, but also succeeding ones. Along with being a Pro Football Hall of Famer and among a small pantheon of Packers’ all-time greats, he was the franchise’s nonpareil role model in the eyes of many.
  5. I have a bad habit of backing lousy franchises. I gave up football after the Chargers left town. I backed the Golden State Warriors way back in the Chris Mullin days (they since have rewarded my loyalty, of course). The Padres haven't been relevant in twenty years. If you find a team that has never won the biggest game, I'm probably in their fandom somewhere. Tonight, one more goes down. After 52 years, I dug out my old school St. Louis Blues jersey and hat - appropriate for their first ever Stanley Cup!
  6. A Glimpse of Normal I showed up for summer football practice on my bike at the appointed time of 7am in August my 8th grade year. August is a blow torch here in Mississippi. It's not cool in the mornings. It's just less hot. I was wearing my Red team jersey that I had earned the year before. I was supposed to be on the 8-9th grade starting team but the redneck coach wasn't having any of that. There was no use arguing with him. He just wasn't going to have a faggot on his team and that was final. The coach of the blue team was very glad to have me. It pissed me off. I had earned at least a shot at the red team. Hell, I had won the jersey. It just wasn't going to happen because a shitty redneck had the power to say no. Story of my life. The blue team wasn't bad. They were mostly eight graders like me but they weren't as big or fast as me- and none of them were as angry. I think I scarred some of them. I had played with most of the kids before. The good ones were on the red team and I was angry and humiliated by my demotion. There was a new kid at quarterback and I could tell right away he was very good. He wasn't big but he was quick and superbly coordinated and, had striking good looks. We didn't do any training in pads for the first few days. We just wore shoulder pads and helmets and did non-contact drills designed to sweat the summer out of you. I made it a point to get to know Pat. His father was an Air Force officer who had married his Danish mother in Europe. Pat was shy and soft spoken but I could tell that he was really smart. He was tall and slightly built with sparkling blue eyes and shoulder length blond hair. As training continued, we got our playbooks and I got a blue jersey with number 44 on it. At least I got to keep my number. After a week or so we finally put on full pads and got some contact. The coaches were planning on running a 4-3 defense and penciled me in as the strong side linebacker. I would line up across the line from the offensive tackle on the tight end side of the line most of the time. I had to learn a lot about reading the offense and moving into the correct position depending on how they lined up. Our offense was basically the I formation with a few wrinkles. One of the best wrinkles was that we had a competent quarterback in Pat. He moved with a smooth grace that intrigued me. There was just one problem: the left side of the offensive line was simply too small. They couldn't block me and I could have really roughed up Pat. Oh- I enjoyed the contact but I would just wrap him up. I had no intention of hurting the kid. He was good and... real easy to look at. After practice one day after Pat had taken a beating from some of the other players I asked our coach about the possibility of me playing left tackle. I didn't like playing on the offensive line. It could get really ugly in there but, if we were going to be any good, we had to protect our quarterback. I traded in my number 44 for a 77 and started playing both ways. I became Pat's bodyguard. The left tackle on the offensive line is a very critical position. There's no glamor involved at all. The down linemen get serious contact every play. Left tackle is critical for two reason. First, he protects the quarterbacks blind side where he is most vulnerable. Miss too many of those blocks and your QB will probably end up getting hurt. The second reason the left tackle is critical is that without his block, the offense can't run effectively in that direction. It's a position that no one notices unless you screw up. Maybe I had the beginnings of a crush on Pat. OK- cut the crap. I did have a crush on Pat. I was in a position to protect him and, I liked it. When he found out that he could trust me to handle the left side, that gave him the confidence he needed to focus on running the plays and not worrying about getting smacked. My dad was pissed at me but that was nothing new. He accused me of lying to him about being on the red team. I told him that they were overloaded at linebacker. I couldn't tell him that Coach Redneck didn't want me. At least on the blue team I was on the field. At this point, normal kids would have invited Pat to come over to his house. That was something I didn't dare do because of the way my parents were acting. If I acted friendly toward anybody, they were suspicious and angry. Pat beat me to the punch. He invited me home for lunch and a rest in between our morning and afternoon practices. After a shower and a quick change, his mother picked us up and took us to his house. Pat introduced me as his bodyguard. Pat's mom was simply awesome. She was very pretty and had a sexy European accent. If I had been str8, I would have been crushing on her because she definitely had it going on. Maybe I'd crush on her anyway. She took us home and fed us a light lunch of soup and sandwiches. She treated me like a normal kid and I loved it. When we had eaten we went in Pat's room, sat in two bean bags on the floor and watched TV, laughed and napped. It was over all too soon. We had to go back to practice at three in the heat of the day. I don't think they even knew how much I wished that I could just go home with them and stay. It was rare for me to have that moment of bliss in the chaos storm I was living in. The usual suspects teased- Jimmy has a new boyfriend. That was OK. I'd knock the snot out of at the next opportunity. It became our routine. We would go to Pat's house in the middle of the day and rest up for afternoon practice. Pat's mom, Mona, would always be just so nice and hug us both when we left. Our friendship grew and school and football season started. The blue team started winning. Pat could run the option better than any eighth grader I've ever seen. He wasn't a bad passer either. With me protecting his blind side and opening holes, our offense was a machine. We didn't have a ton of long plays but we would almost always get four to seven yards. We were playing ball control and it was working. Our defense was just as nasty as it had been the year before. With our offense holding the ball on long drives and scoring, it was much easier to play defense. Winning solves a lot of problems. Other kids that were not thrilled about having a gay guy on their team could live with it when we were successful. The red team under Coach Redneck was winless. HAA! Even my Dad was impressed to see me playing both ways. It's the most fun I ever had playing. We finished the year 8-0-1. It's the best record that any of the jr. high teams at Oak Hill had managed since the fifties and much of it was because of a shy, handsome quarterback and the left tackle that didn't let anyone get near him. All was well until one day in algebra we were introduced to something horrible called quadratic equations. Equations weren't so bad, but to my 8th grade mathematical ability, the quadratic variety might as well have had horns and hooves. We had these huge worksheets with 32 problems to do. I fought, I struggled and I sweat bullets but I just couldn't make them work. Finally I gave up and called Pat. Pat explained the FOIL method better in three minutes than the teacher had all week. I did a couple of problems and BINGO- it made sense. We talked for another minute. I said, "Thanks for the help Pat, you're the man." Then I hung up. My dad had been listening to the conversation. He marched in and slapped me hard. "So he's your man huh? I told you I'm not having that!" "No dad, we're just friend." *Slap* "Liar. You disgust me you lying little faggot." *Slap* "You are never to see or speak to him again. Is that understood?" "No. He's my friend." *Slap* "Defy me, you little shit..." I didn't see the punch coming. It was hard and fast and it knocked me into a bookcase. By this time my Mom was there but as usual she was pretty useless. She just cried but Dad didn't take it any further. I think he knew he blown a fuse and had taken it way too far. I think it hurt Pat's feelings that I never invited him home. I told him that things weren't good there. When I showed up all bruised and battered after one of my dad's rages, I think he understood. When school ended my parents sent me to a private school and I lost track of the forbidden Pat. I doubt that he ever knew how much I loved him and his Mom and how much I treasured the rare glimpses of normalcy that they provided me. Sometimes when I have a particularity good dream, Pat and I are napping on his bean bags under a cool ceiling fan, innocent with no horrible secrets hanging over us.
  7. This past weekend I had the singular privilege of being able to attend Denver Pride weekend. This was to be my first Pride Parade outside of Vancouver, and indeed my first Pride events outside of Canada at all. Naturally, this means it didn't happen because I got super sick and had to leave before the parade. Before I departed early and fled back to a climate that could support my biology, I was able to re-learn a number of things that we should never take for granted as LGBTQ people and allies. For those who need background information, I attended Denver Pride weekend as part of the Outsports reunion. Outsports is a website devoted to giving a voice and platform to LGBTQ athletes, no matter where they are and what level of competition they participate in. This is what I learned and remembered from being around my brothers and sisters-in-arms. 1. There are more of us than we will ever know, and we truly are everywhere. One of the first things we did on the weekend was hit up the bars and clubs as a group. We packed the house both times. More than half the people at the first club were Outsports people, and even though we didn't make up as big a share of the club later in the evening, there were more of us numerically than the start of the day. People kept coming all throughout the weekend, people who couldn't be there Thursday came Friday. People who couldn't make it Friday came Saturday. But they kept coming. Friday morning when I went to our big discussion event, there was a giant map of North America, and I was asked to put a sticker on where I lived. While the Canadian contingent was small (Go Team Canada!), it was amazing to see how many people from all over the continent were showing up just to celebrate Pride together. That was a powerful image, but of course no one has photographs of it because some of us are closeted and we used our real names on the map. I never thought I'd be going to Denver Pride and celebrating with LGBTQ athletes from Arkansas, Georgia, Hawaii or Massachusetts. It was a perfect visualization for how many of us there were. 2. We are diverse, and our diversity makes us strong. Part of the Friday sessions was to learn about each other, so we all wore name tags with our names and what sports we were affiliated with on our clothes so we could make those instant connections. Like I said earlier, I met people from all around North America, and all of us played different sports. I was the only curler, but I met people who played sports I would never consider, and it got me to think that even though we're all different, we're all still athletes and we have a fraternity among ourselves relating to the dedication and the work we all did to succeed in our respective sports. 3. Most importantly; we are, both as individuals and as a whole, stronger than anything that life puts in our way. I got to hear so many people's personal stories, and it shocked me how strong my fellow LGBTQ athletes are, and how privileged and blessed I have been that my life has avoided many of these anxious, stressful moments. I heard from Olympic Athletes talking about their struggles to remain true to themselves in sports where they would be the only LGBTQ person they know, and how they feared losing the support of their teams and their sponsors for living their truth. I heard from closeted athletes, people who'd never considered going to Pride but knew they had to be in Denver to meet their fellows and realize how many of us there are. I heard from people whose families didn't accept them, who worked hard to change hearts and minds and turn people who didn't support them into their greatest champions. I heard all of this from people, and the underlying comment from everyone was that we all succeeded, but we have so much further to go and that together we can do it. We were empowered to change our communities and to change our schools and to change everything about where we are from, because the organizers knew we could all do it if we put our minds to it. The people I met at Denver Pride and the Outsports conference changed me. They reminded me of the good that we can do as individuals and as a group of like-minded people. We are bigger than mountains and stronger than those who hate us. I'll never forget this weekend, and I'm so ready for next year's reunion... assuming it's in a city that won't absolutely destroy me on contact the way the Denver heat and high altitude did.
  8. First off, apologies to everyone who wondered where I wandered off to. I went home this weekend to go curling in a local bonspiel (tournament) with my team from two years ago. We just lost on the A-side semifinals, and it feels bittersweet to me. First the good. I'm so proud of the four of us. We can back together after a season away from each other and we took a perennial provincial qualifier right into the last shot of the extra end. We made the semifinals and to get there we beat a different junior provincial champion. We were under pressure from the other teams right from game one on Friday and we held together and kept each other's spirits up, even in the grim moments we had at different points in the weekend. I've been curling for fifteen years now, and I will never, ever curl as well as I did this weekend ever again. Something changed in me this weekend, and maybe it was the fact that this was supposed to be fun and none of the usual attendant pressure was with me in the competition, but I was utterly at ease and was making shots that world champions hesitate on. I made it look easy this weekend, and for once I didn't get down on myself when I did miss a shot or two. This weekend was a test for me to see if I could honestly compete with people at a provincial championship and who are the top calibre players in the province. The fact that I kept pace with these people made me feel good about myself, and even if it ends up being fleeting and I never get it back, I know that I have that capacity within me to shine and lead the way. As time goes on I'll forget the individual shots that were made or missed, but I won't forget this feeling of being so completely at ease and simply knowing that I could do anything. My team was magnificent, I couldn't ask for three better people to play with again. All three rose to the occasion and being around people who accept me for who I am made all of this worthwhile. My boys are crazy, but playing with them made a good weekend that much better. A special shoutout to my one teammate who hadn't even played since the last time we were all together, and who shook the rust off in plenty of time for us to push towards playoff Sunday. With all of the fun that I had and the memories I made, I'd be remiss unless I reflected on the things that just didn't work out. Losing hurt. Losing by half an inch in the extra end hurt more. The part that kills me is that's on me. A split second lapse in judgment and a second's worth of hesitation cost us a chance at the championship finals. I compounded that error by not pressing the option I had to measure, even though I was pretty sure that we still would have lost. I should have asked for a measure, as it could have given us a win. There were some ugly misses along with my good shotmaking, and it is to my detriment that I wasn't able to correct those mistakes even during the game. It was a consistent inability to read the ice and get a handle on the weight for the shots being called, and it very nearly cost us our early games as well. I was disappointed by the amount of drinking done by my teammates. I don't drink, and while I understand that other younger people like to drink on the weekends and at events like this, we're still also competitors. There's no need to have multiple pitchers of beer in a single night, especially when we've got a game the following morning. That couldn't have benefited their play, and of course we'll never know how things could have gone down if everyone had been completely sober. I'm glad I came down, and I proved a lot to myself this weekend. But I won't deny that this hurt more than I thought it would to get so close and fall short.
  9. This topic can get heated and vitriolic as a topic from the Pit, but for diehard fans of the sport of American Football, it's a long debate. Personally being a Bostonian, I would vote Tom Brady No surprise there He has just got his 7th AFC title today, 7 appearance in Super Bowl (winning 4, hopeful this is his 5th and he will beat the others), and finally he's surpassed touchdown records to the nearest contender, late Joe Montana, by double digits. Yeah, I know many people hate my home team, because we keep winning and you blame us for everything from an electrical problem to a taped recording (uh don't all players and coaches watch those anyway nowadays) to the air within a football but honestly even when you put a million limitations and even suspend Brady for 4 games, we sill made it to the Super Bowl. Let's have a fun sports debate, I am more than willing to throw down with other people on QB's from Rodgers to Manning (either brother) and we can have fun duels on their abilities and stats. Here's my top 5 rankings: 1. Tom Brady 2. Joe Montana 3. John Elway 4. Brett Favre 5. Peyton Manning I know I am missing Terry Bradshaw, but I never saw him play.
  10. In case you are curious... https://youtu.be/ABkQcv56Nmg I'm still working my way through the 26 clips.
  11. Six days till my GA account turns into Lightning Hockey Central...
  12. I am a big football and Basketball fan, with a little sprinkling of Hockey (I did win GA's hockey 1x ) Something I have noticed in recent years, a lot of sports stars have kids, who also play the same sport. The thing though is that there are comparisons between their fathers and their abilities: In college basketball, I was following both of Michael Jordan's sons as they progressed in the NCAA, hoping to see them get into NBA at some point. However, neither, Marcus nor Jeffrey Jordan, showed any strong drive and they were never drafted. In football, the best family legacy is the Manning family of course with Archie, Peyton, and Eli (As I Patriots fan, I have to say "Damn your seed, Archie!", but as a football fan I am really impressed by their ability) Still not every son follows in their father's footsteps in terms of equal performance, Look at Simms' kids (Nope, no "The sims", but Phil Simm's former QB of NY Giants and super bowl 21/25 winner). Both Chris and Matt Simms have had crappy careers as backups or practice squad benchwarmers with lackluster performances, when they were called up to play. The NFL actually has a ranking for these comparisons of Fathers and sons http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000937380/article/the-2018-nfl-fatherson-rankings And then the future, if Tom Brady's photos of his two sons: John and Ben are any indication, we might be seeing the start of a new cycle. Will they be even greater than the Manning kids? (God I hope so and I'd be okay with John starting and Ben backing up as Patriots, then alternating ) Or will they be like the Simms, good on paper, lackluster in reality. ------------------- Ultimately for me, as sports fan, I think we should let their kids be kids. Yes, if they do play the sport, they can't avoid comparisons to their fathers, but until they do, just enjoy the ride. Jordan's kids played and couldn't reach the NBA, Simms' kids played and reached the NFL, but have had crappy careers with almost nothing to show for it, and Archie Manning's kids are considered all-time greats, even though I hate Peyton and Eli.
  13. California has some of the strongest protections for LGBTQ people and athletes, and yet that hasn't been enough to protect a 12 year old gender-fluid athlete. Junior White was born male and identifies as gender-fluid. The superintendent of the school district has decreed that Junior can only play on co-ed or girls teams because they have started to identify as gender-fluid and more female. Let's be clear. This is a violation of Junior's civil rights, not to mention California state law. https://www.outsports.com/2018/2/8/16989304/junior-white-trans-athlete-football-basketball
  14. Welcome to the new Sport's bar! What do you want to call the place? Post suggestions here!
  15. In my next chapter there is a game of volleyball. My sole color for the game in the past was an uncommunicative s o b of an ex. Any info would be helpful. Need terminology and techniques. Wicki, etc had too little information And the Volleryball site...don't get me started.
  16. My hometown is hosting gymnastics try-out for Olympics. Today is men's final. Though I couldn't afford a ticket ($100+, if you want a good seat), but I still went to HP Pavilion with my camera. It turned out there were some event hosting at the park next to it as a pre-show event. Many people went. For some reason, some religion people with their picket signs showed up. You know, the kind that tells you you're going to h*ll unless you believe in Jesus Christ. And of course, the hate sign.... I think it had the words fornication and homosexual on it. Of all days, they picked the men's gymnastics final to do their protest.... For crying out loud, there were lots of kids in that event. Shame on them for corrupting our youth. OMG.... Where is the family value? (in case you haven't noticed..., I am being sarcastic) Fortunately, I didn't wear my purple t-shirt, because there was another guy wore the same one.... That would be TRULY embarrassing. Instead, I wore an orange ringer that says Lake Tahoe or Bust. That probably made me look borderline straight, or at least confusing, so I wasn't attacked by Jesus-loving haters. On the other side of the fornication sign, it said, "I love to forgive." Cool, because I love to forgive, too. Most of the time.... Honestly, if there weren't so many kids and police around, I would go up and ask them if they would forgive people like me. I really would love to see their faces. I hope I didn't look too straight to them. I think my camera had some magical power. When I pointed my camera at them, one of them felt shameful and his picket sign went flaccid. Round One: Camera 1, Picket fence 0. Next time I should use a Holga (mine is the version with monkey sticker on it), then I'll really teach them the power of Homo Lomo. On the brighter side. I think men's gymnastics pulled a lot of guys out of their closets Silicon Valley computer desks. I really didn't expect so many guys to show up. Many wore shorts so they showed their nice gymnasts look-alike calves. Fortunately I hike a lot so my own calves didn't embarrass me. I know.... so vane.... There were two guys went together, and wore the same t-shirt. Don't know what it said in the front, but the back said, "the hardest sport in the world" with the word "hardest" in red print.... I don't know..., but I think they might be fornicators in the eyes of Jesus.... I know... I am rambling..., please forgive me. But I am so excited because it's my first gay pride parade.... Wait..., it's men's gymnastics final.... Oops.
  17. First of all, I want to thank all of my readers, from those who read the first chapter and ran away screaming to those of you who re-read every chapter when I post new ones. I know it's going at a blistering pace, but I promise that once it goes up, the sequels (yes, sequels are coming!) will be a much slower pace of production. So, have at it. If there's anything you like, don't like or just want to get off your chest about The Last Out and its soon to be posted sequels, let it all out here. Most of you you will already know that I try to respond to every comment as soon as I can, so I look forward to interacting with my readers. Ciao, at least until the next batch of updates!
  18. Sporting codes to be scored on inclusionary measures under Pride In Sport Index While I appreciate why this is being done, I can't help feel a few qualms. All I can hope is that it's only needed for a maybe a decade and then it can die a nice death because it's become irrelevant. Of course, I also know I'm an optimist...
  19. Just gonna leave tissues on the side table for people who need it. This is why coming out is so important and that we live our authentic truths. https://www.outsports.com/2017/6/21/15851730/gay-pride-fathers-day-son-micah-porter
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