Friday, February 12, 2010

Kerrzy's Notebook: Random Friday Thoughts

Here we go!

The 2010 Winter Olympics begin today with the opening ceremonies (and some morning ski jumping, or mountain biking if the snow doesn’t hold up).

I’m sure it’ll be a pretty wild start to the Olympics, because every host country always tries to outdo the last when it comes to large-scale choreographed ceremonies…should be interesting!

Here are the things I’m most pumped for: the hockey tournament (obviously), watching my buddy Mike compete in the snowboard cross event, Edmonton Eskimos running back Jesse Lumsden in the bobsleigh and the luge.

Why the luge, you might ask? Because the stakes just got high for Canada’s team in that event.

An Alberta company is offering $1-million to any Canadian luger who wins gold at the upcoming games, money that would be split between the athlete and the Canadian Luge Association (and if more than one Canadian luger wins gold, they’ll just split the million bucks).

That’s not all – the company is also tossing up $50,000 for each silver and bronze medal and a $5,000 reward for the top Canadian in men’s and women’s singles and doubles.

Another reason to watch the luge (which starts on Saturday), is that you literally have to be a crazy person to even attempt this sport!

Not to be a downer, but…

If you’re not feeling the Olympic spirit, you’re not alone.

There’s at least one other guy in the world with you on that one – his name? Christopher Hitchens of Newsweek.

In an article titled “Fool’s Gold – How the Olympics and other international competitions breed conflict and bring out the worst in human nature,” Hitchens pretty much defines what it means to be a “Debby Downer.”

Starting with the recent troubles at the Africa Cup of Nations soccer tournament, Hitchens hits all types of subject matter in his piece – from how pathetic it is to call the upcoming World Cup the World Cup, to Canada hogging all of the Olympic venues in order to protect home field advantage.

If you’re into anti-Canada, anti-sports Newsweek articles, this is the anti-Canada, anti-sports Newsweek article for you!

Super Sunday

It seems like the only people that didn’t watch the Super Bowl last Sunday are those without a television…

Super Bowl XLIV was the most-watched TV show in US history, drawing 106.5 million viewers and surpassing the 1983 finale of M*A*S*H, which held the previous record of 105.97 million (really??).

It turns out the game also set records here in Canada, beating out the Grey Cup by about 600,000 with an audience of 6.7 million. Pro Football Talk, about half of the country watched at least part of the Saints 31-17 win over the Colts.

But seriously – 105.97 million people watched the finale of M*A*S*H??

Free Throw Fail

Wayne Gretzky’s dad Walter has a saying that goes something like “You’ll always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

Wise words, but I’ve got a feeling that a fellow named Brady Morningstar is wishing he had taken one less shot than he did in a college basketball game between the Kansas Jayhawks and the Texas Longhorns on Monday night.

Jeff Eisenberg over at The Dagger brings us this amazingly brutal video that he dubs the ugliest missed free throw you've ever seen.”

Morningstar later told reporters that the ball was wet and slipped out of his hands on the way up, adding that he “looked pretty stupid there.”

Sure, that’s embarrassing, but even Mr. Trick Shot, LeBron James, can look foolish from the free throw line.

Another baller that looked a bit silly recently was Rudy Gay of the Memphis Grizzlies, who thought he had a little less time than he did when he got his hands on a loose ball in the first quarter of a 95-93 win over the LA Lakers.

Hangin’ up the Mawashi

Here’s a pretty cool story I found in the Wall Street Journal's sports section this week – a drunken brawl in Tokyo has shaken the world of sumo wrestling.

The grand champion of the sport, 29-year-old Asashoryu, has retired after it was reported last month that he hit a guy and broke his nose after a “late-night drinking binge.” The Mongolian says what really happened that night is “quite different” from what was being reported, but has declined to give his version of the story.

The yokozuna sits third on the all-time list of title winners and just won his 25th national tournament in January. A little while ago I watched a National Geographic show called “Inside Sumo” which focused on Asashoryu and his rock star lifestyle and it was completely awesome.

He’s definitely the “bad boy” of sumo, which just sounds funny to me for some reason.

Something else that sounds funny to me is that, according to the WSJ, the 6’3, 339 pound wrestler was suspended for two tournaments back in 2007 because he got busted for playing soccer while taking a break from sumo to recover from some injuries.

Either way, sumo is serious business – Kyodo News reports that the Japan Sumo Association has decided to pay Asashoryu 120 million yen ($1.4-million Canadian) in retirement benefits.

So, what does a 29-year-old sumo wrestling champing do when he retires? I wonder if he’s any good at football!