The Hippodrome: The Year of the Cat

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This Week In The 'Drome, we do stunts for money.

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Opening Face-Off

Chris Johnson vs. Cheetah: Apparently, National Geographic wanted to know if Chris Johnson is faster than a cheetah.

They are being cagey about the answer — spoiler alert! — but no, he isn't (Tim Hasselbeck with the finest joke about the whole thing).

From Wyatt's piece:

“This is most incredible challenge I’ve ever faced,” Johnson told The Wrap, an entertainment web site. “I wanted to go up against the fastest in the world and test myself, and this was it!”

I suppose CJ did this, as his publicist he told The Wrap, for the challenge, but in the olden days, athletes — who, especially if they were black and prohibited from the pro leagues, did not make much money — did this kind of thing to put food on the table. Check out Jesse Owens racing a horse during a break in what appears to be a baseball game.

Johnson, of course, doesn't need the money, as evidenced by the comments nearly everywhere the Instagram pictures and tweets of CJ rolling with his friends in his new Maybach.

We love to criticize athletes — and to some degree, celebrities — for their ostentatious displays of wealth, tut-tutting that they should be wiser with their wages (and, in fairness, profligate spending leading to bankruptcy has an epidemic quality). But 90 percent of the people who put on very concerned faces and furrowed brows don't care if the athletes go broke.

"That's a stupid way to spend your money" is just another way of saying "that is not the stupid way I would spend my money." The fact is, there are tons of incredibly stupid things we'd all do if we had the millions Johnson has.

Let the man live his life and spend his cash and drive his cars. Just be happy he doesn't have to race animals to feed his family.

The Week Behind

Utah!
  • Utah!

Carpe Ian: Former Belmont stand-out Ian Clark was not drafted in last month's NBA Draft. Undeterred , he headed to the summer league, hoping that a few solid weeks of work would net him a deal — or at least attract enough eyeballs to do the old 10-day contract bounce-around.

Instead, Clark finished the summer as the league's top scorer and MVP, and the season was over for about four seconds before he signed a two-year deal (the second is a club option year) with the Utah Jazz.

Despicable: Three MTSU football players have been suspended — one for allegedly choking a woman, two others for allegedly standing around and watching and/or videotaping it.

Rick Stockstill at C-USA Media Days:

“We’ve got to make a decision sometime. I just want to take enough time to make sure I’m doing the right thing,” Stockstill said. “Eventually they have to either practice or not be here. But until I can gather everything, I just don’t know. I have not been at the office enough to make a decision yet.”

Jones was charged with two counts of assault on his former girlfriend, and O’Neal and Robinson were charged with aiding and abetting because police said they were present for at least one of the alleged assaults and did not stop it, according to the police report.

This dovetails nicely with a question posed at Vandy blog Anchor of Gold — Is there a link between better players and disciplinary problems?

In Better News: Jonathan "Tig" Willard, a Titans rookie (one who has actually signed), performed some heroics on his way to camp:

Willard said that he noticed smoke from a car ahead of him as the vehicles climbed a hill in east Tennessee. When flames shot out the back of the other vehicle he sped up, flashed his lights and honked his horn in an attempt to get the driver’s attention. The driver of a third vehicle, another man, did the same.

“Whenever she got to the side of the road me and [the third driver] just went and rushed over there,” Willard said. “As soon as I got to the side of the car I saw three small kids in the backseat and a dog. I’m thinking, ‘Hurry up and get the kids. Hurry up and get everybody out and get them away from the car.’ ”

He estimated that the oldest of the children was no more than five. He grabbed the youngest and handed it to the mother. Then he grabbed a second child. The other man collected the third child and the dog. They also gathered a purse and other small belongings before they felt it no longer was safe.

“Probably like two minutes after we got everybody out of the car and got everybody to safety the car blew up once — boom! — and then a couple minutes after that it blew up again,” he said. “I think it blew up, say, four times.

“… At the time it wasn’t scary. I guess I just figured I had to do it. But afterward I realized how dangerous and how scary it really was.”

Halftime Entertainment

Is There Something You Aren't Telling Us? : Notice something odd about the schedule printed on the back of Titans' tickets? Look at Nov. 24:

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Rams? Raiders? Who knows? (HT to Charlie Jones for the shot.)

Girl Power: The formula that led to the Goodlettsville Little Leaguers run to the World Series last year was a two-year plan — start working up the team as 10- and 11-year-olds so they'd be ready to compete for the title when they turn 12. Manager Joey Hale is doing it again and this time his star pitcher is a girl:

Kailey Brown is a cousin of last year's star centerfielder Jason Brown, and she just loves spending all her time around 10 and 11-year-old boys.

"No! No, no that's not it at all," she said.

OK, what she really loves is striking them out.

"Yes, sir," Kailey Brown said.

If The Moon Was Made of Cheese, Would You Eat It? : From 1100, a video of Sounds pitcher Tim Dillard doing a LOL-ly Harry Caray impression.

An Accurate Representation of What Actually Happens When You Put An Anchor Down: James Franklin jumps off a cliff.

The Week Ahead

Mizz-boooooo: Titans public practices start soon, but in the meantime, head to Municipal Saturday as the Rollergirls take on the team from Columbia, which we assume is Missouri and not Tennessee.

Overtime

Opus 2: The lower-tier bowls in college football have been devalued significantly since the advent of the BCS. Maybe the bowls have always been crass money grabs, but now? It's hard to make a case that the BBVA Bowl in Birmingham means a lot in the grand scheme of things. The coming of the perfectly named College Football Playoff means college bowls will be as silly as the remaining rump high school bowls.

So is it time for the Music City Bowl to try something new? Friend of the program Eric Taylor has an idea:

Advantages of a Kickoff Classic to post-season bowl, let me count the ways:

1. Both teams are undefeated coming in to a Kickoff Classic. The best we can do the first year is NC State vs. Arkansas. So what? Is there an Arkansas fan alive at this exact moment that does not believe their calling of the hogs cannot will their team to a 12-0 regular season and the SEC West championship?

2. Along that same line of thinking — is there an Arkansas fan that really wants to watch a team in December that has proven their pitch-perfect hog call was not enough to get them above seven wins? Put away your calculator. The answer is no.

3. How about the weather? I can guarantee you that a 6:00 p.m. or 7:00 p.m. kickoff on Labor Day weekend will be warm. I can guarantee you the weather in late December could be warm. Could be rainy. Could be a tornado. The morning could be 68 degress, the afternoon severe thunderstorms and the evening 31 degrees and snow flurries. Oh, and windy. Very windy.

4. How many college football fans in the South have a running countdown to their mid-tier bowl game? Again, trash your calculator. The answer is, ZERO. How many college football fans in the South are counting down to the start of the season and their team opens the season at home in a noon kickoff versus Moonpie University? The answer is, again, dang near everyone of them.

5. We are Nashville. Can we not trip five musicians walking up and down Lower Broadway and have them put on a concert to kick off the entire weekend and pair that nicely with the huge high school game noted in the above link that I wrote about in March?

Taylor goes on to argue that because of Nashville's geography, eventually top-flight programs could be drawn to the Kickoff Classic — which would certainly have more cachet than the Kentucky-WKU opener that currently occupies opening weekend at LP Field.

It's an interesting idea and one that certainly has merit. The Chik-Fil-A Kickoff game is far more compelling nationally than the name's-the-same bowl game in Atlanta four months later, for example.

As college football settles into its new reality, the Sports Council ought to consider changing with it.

Emails to jrlind[at]nashvillescene[dot]com. Radio Tuesday at 6P on 102.5 The Game.

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