That’s a bold statement right? The biggest rivalry in all of professional sports in America. Unfortunately to most, Soccer is a new sport in the United States, so how can I even have the audacity to claim a sport that doesn’t do nearly as well as the other 3 majors in terms of money and attendance has a better rivalry? The thing about soccer that makes it what it is are the fans; “supporters”. Football, basketball, and baseball have fans. Soccer has supporters. So what’s the difference?
Imagine sitting in a football stadium attending a game; you’ll probably see an annoying fan wearing a jersey cheering on the opposing team. If you’ve been to game, you’ve seen this. You probably make fun of them with your friends, maybe tell him to shut the fuck if it gets to that point, but all in all it is what it is. Now imagine being an away supporter walking into Century Link Field (Sounders) or Providence Park (Timbers), escorted into a separate entrance by security and police and essentially being required to sit in a specific section away from the home crowd. Granted this isn’t just you and a couple buddies. You link up with the other hundreds or more supporters for your team and make sure that the home team knows you are there.
This coming Sunday marks the 99th time that the Sounders and Timbers players and supporters clash. Synchronized chants will ensue as the Timbers supporters walk into Century Link field in hopes that their 2nd place team can take out the defending champs and top ranked team in the Sounders. This adds to the competition. Over 40 years of this rivalry and the two teams have always been relatively close in terms of level of play or ranking. But that’s not enough to fuel the fire…
How about the fact that the two cities are very similar economically, socially, and in their demographic? How about the fact that the two cities are separated by a quick 3 hour drive up and down I5? One city claims that the other is their little brother; you guess which one. The other city claims that they are in no cities shadow and are their completely own entity.
I’ve been lucky enough to be in the middle of this rivalry. There’s nothing quite like it. I’ve seen fights, beers thrown, vulgar accusations; I fucking love it. “Our team is better. Our city is better. We have better fans”, I love that shit. It’s fuel to the fire in what is truly a once in a lifetime experience. To be a part of the intense rivalry that is Sounders-Timbers, one can only prepare for what is to come.
This article is a simple article; addressing complex issues. I’m writing this in the wake of yet another racial incident and how some in the world of sports are using their platform to preach love instead of hate. The ludicrous acts of many during the events in Charlottesville, VA have lined up with the start of the NFL season and several players are using their notoriety in an attempt to create social change and voice their views on bigotry, oppression, and racism.
Ryan M. Kelly/The Daily Progress, via Associated Press
Michael Bennett is one of those players. He and others have followed in Colin Kaepernick’s footsteps in choosing not to stand during the playing of the national anthem. Michael Bennett isn’t sitting to show how much he hates America; in reality it’s quite the opposite. “I just want to see people have the equality that they deserve. And I want to be able to use this platform to continuously push the message of that”. He goes on to say, “I’m being vulnerable right now,” Bennett said. “There’s a whole bunch of people sitting at home judging me, but they will never get to this point where they can be vulnerable. Let people attack me because they don’t believe what I believe in, but at the end of the day, I’m being vulnerable to show every person that no matter [what] you believe in, keep fighting for it. Keep fighting for equality. Keep fighting for oppressed people. And keep trying to change society.”
Bennett is doing it right; He realizes the unfortunate magnitude of the situation and is using what he has to preach love instead of hate. The cancer that is racism, the disease that is bigotry, the virus that is gender hate needs to stop. I’m sitting on the outside looking in and asking myself, how the fuck are these issues continuously ongoing? I simply don’t understand how or why someone would go out of there way to ridicule someone else for something that they are or believe in. The violent nature of some of the things that have happened in America these last several years mirror a time right after slavery ended. I mean, think about that. It’s 2017 and HUMANS are still hating, hurting, killing others because they are different; what the fuck?
The world of sports is, in a way, a release. We as a society watch professional athletes play a game for a whole bunch of money. We cheer and support. This is the silver lining on some all too often occurrences that happen outside of the sports world. But remember, these professional athletes that many of us can name, explain their stats, know how much they make; they are all HUMANS too. And when someone of their magnitude takes a stand on social injustice, my hope is that everyone listens.
The world is ever changing; I get that. Society has come a long way in certain aspects; I get that. But the fact remains that everyone is different, everyone has different views, everyone has different beliefs; but isn’t that a good thing though? Aren’t we better because we are all different? Michael Bennett believes that we should all accept each others uniqueness; so do I.
Too big, too strong, too fast, too good! These words still echo in my head every time the name Derrick Rose is mentioned. Through the ups and downs of a roller coaster career, I don’t think this ride is over yet. For some people like myself, including all of Memphis and maybe half of Chicago, Derrick Rose is still an incredible basketball player with more in the tank than most people think.
Rose and I have a
special connection (edit: it’s a little more mine than his) – I got caught up with his play during his freshman season at Memphis while I was also a freshman in college, playing baseball and struggling to perform at the level that I was expected to. I had always been into college basketball before this, but during that year of my life I needed an escape more than ever. Derrick was there to give me that. It seemed like every week that winter and spring, you’d see a bouquet of new amazing plays on SportCenter from the unanimous projected #1 overall pick. How in the hell could I ever be a professional athlete when Derrick Rose looks like he defies the laws of gravity and he’s my age? His explosiveness was animal-like and he played the game with such a controlled bounce to his step. It’s something I still haven’t seen from anyone else at that age.
After losing the NCAA National Championship (and eventually having the whole season wiped due to an SAT invalidation scandal, god dammit Derrick), Rose eventually was the first overall pick by the Bulls. Chicago had just been gifted a Michael Jordan in his second coming. To be fair though, that doesn’t do him justice – he had more physical ability than MJ when he entered the NBA and I think a better finishing ability. When Rose arrived in Chicago, the Bulls were fresh off of a 33-49 season. After winning the ROY in his first season and achieving his first all-star weekend appearance in the his second season, he had the Bulls at the cusp of greatness heading into his third season in the NBA.
With key additions of Boozer and Korver (these were simpler times) and the maturing of Noah averaging a double-double every night, Rose and the Bulls were in the driver seat of the Eastern Conference. After exceeding expectations and locking down the #1 seed, along with Derrick being crowned MVP on a season average stat line of 25, 8, & 4 (again, these were simpler times), they would eventually lose the Cavs in 5 games in the Conference Finals. To me, this was the moment where Derrick’s career pivoted from being a top 3 player in the NBA to becoming an afterthought for most.
Fast forward almost 11 months. I still remember watching the play live against the 76ers in the first game of the 2012 playoffs. It was awful. After a season of fighting through injuries, Rose had finally got himself healthy for what seemed like a promising playoff run, and then the basketball gods pumped the brakes and slammed the NBA world through the windshield on that plan. Whatever people say, he hasn’t been the same player since that night, but if you think he’s only a shadow of his former self, you’re wrong.
I think the Cavs have picked up one of the best off-season acquisitions. The only thing I don’t like is the ownership situation in Cleveland. Dan Gilbert, you greasy pussy of a man who destroyed the pawn shop industry in America, I’m calling your bitch ass out. Gilbert, along with Reinsdorf in Chicago and an aging operations executive Uncle Phil in New York has left Derrick with about as shitty of an ownership group as a player can have in their career. It’s my hope that Gilbert doesn’t interfere with the Cavs success this season.
The bottom line is that if you think Derrick Rose is on his way out of the NBA, think again. We’ve never seen a better scorer at improvising his way to the rim (imagine a slightly predictable Westbrook, but with the grace of a gymnast). He’s got the mental ability that most NBA players strive for during their career, and even though he’s had around what seems like a dozen surgeries on the lower half of his body, he’s still only 28 years old. Writing this in August leaves me plenty of room to retract this, but I fully believe that in June next year, Rose will be a finalist for the Most Improved Player award after a stellar season. Too big, too strong, too fast, and too good – and also not done.
Floyd Mayweather is already losing. It’s a month before the fight, right after a four city, four night promotional series and Mayweather is already getting destroyed. He has never seen anything like the hurricane that is Conor McGregor. Have the press conferences been a little WWE? Yes. Do I think McGregor is consciously doing this? Also, yes. Skip Bayless has already stated this on several occasions, and even though I promised myself I would avoid agreeing with Skip fucking Bayless at all costs, he was correct on this one. McGregor knows how to work a crowd and Mayweather is quickly learning this. Granted, Mayweather has never been the greatest at fight promotion, and my brain almost explodes every time he tries to spit out a sentence, but McGregor clearly has him flustered. For a lack of a better term, Round 1 goes to McGregor.
“He will be unconscious inside of four rounds. The movement, the power, the ferociousness — he has not experienced this.”, so now let’s get to the actual fight. In a countless number of brash statements and an endless amount ridiculous showmanship, McGregor actually made several valid arguments. McGregor is physically a bigger and stronger man. Conor’s last several fights have been against larger opponents and now he gets to be the bigger foe. He’s used to knee caps to the chin, and therefore will have zero problems with the pillow-sized gloves of boxers. McGregor is also used to 5-minute rounds; as opposed to three in boxing; conditioning will play in this because Floyd will be defending more than he ever has before. McGregor’s fists are like stones and he breaks guards. When McGregor wins, it will be within the first several rounds, like he himself stated, and it will be a right hook to Floyd’s jaw.
I truly want everyone to understand that “the upset of the year” will occur. Do I think it would be an upset? No. Floyd Mayweather is already scared. His facial expressions already resemble someone who wishes he were still sitting on his Italian leather couch. He wants to go back to the time where his biggest problem in his life were his millions of dollars in tax problems. Now he has another one in in the form of an Irish Car Bomb. Conor McGregor will bring the Irish rain down on Floyd Mayweather Jr. and I won’t even be a little surprised.