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Articles on this Page
- 04/28/14--08:08: _JIM TRESSEL CROSSES...
- 04/28/14--08:28: _The Istanbul Derby
- 04/28/14--10:25: _A FEW BONUS ISTANBU...
- 04/30/14--06:05: _THE MORNING CONSTIT...
- 05/01/14--10:12: _A short note on Ayr...
- 05/01/14--10:43: _THE OFFSEASON IS FO...
- 05/02/14--09:41: _JIMI HENDRIX DID NO...
- 05/13/14--12:08: _THAT SUCKS, BYU (A ...
- 05/13/14--13:34: _THE LOUDGIF CHALLEN...
- 05/14/14--08:58: _EDSBS BOWL 2014 UPD...
- 05/15/14--07:28: _EDSBS BOWL 2014 UPD...
- 05/15/14--10:51: _SB Nation Reviews: ...
- 05/15/14--13:51: _THE PAC-12 CHAMPION...
- 05/16/14--09:40: _EDSBS BOWL 2014 UPD...
- 05/17/14--10:20: _EDSBS BOWL UPDATE: ...
- 05/27/14--10:09: _The NBA's bworst te...
- 05/28/14--08:27: _THE MORNING CONSTIT...
- 05/28/14--08:51: _An important note o...
- 05/28/14--13:55: _HATIN' ASS SPURRIER...
- 05/29/14--09:50: _Imagine, a sane thi...
- 04/28/14--08:08: JIM TRESSEL CROSSES THE MAHONING
- 04/28/14--08:28: The Istanbul Derby
- 04/28/14--10:25: A FEW BONUS ISTANBUL NOTES
- 04/30/14--06:05: THE MORNING CONSTITUTIONAL YODELS ACROSS AKRON
- 05/01/14--10:12: A short note on Ayrton Senna, 20 years later
- 05/01/14--10:43: THE OFFSEASON IS FOR BUILDING CHEMISTRY
- 05/02/14--09:41: JIMI HENDRIX DID NOT LIKE MICHIGAN
- 05/13/14--12:08: THAT SUCKS, BYU (A RUNNING THEME FOR THEM)
- 05/13/14--13:34: THE LOUDGIF CHALLENGE THREAD
- 05/14/14--08:58: EDSBS BOWL 2014 UPDATE: LOUISIANA TECH IS ON THE BOARD IN A BIG WAY
- Getting a tattoo of Pat Dye's face on our ass
- Traveling voluntarily to Shreveport on our own dime
- Attempting to get a quote out of Chris Petersen
- Attending a Boston College football game in November
- Writing the definitive account of the Wes Byrum field goal that beat Florida in 2007
- Rewatching every Florida offensive snap from 2013
- 05/15/14--07:28: EDSBS BOWL 2014 UPDATE: HALFWAY AND STILL GRINDIN'
- 05/15/14--10:51: SB Nation Reviews: Willie McGee
- 05/15/14--13:51: THE PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES ANNOUNCES INTENT TO EAT BENNIGANS
- 05/16/14--09:40: EDSBS BOWL 2014 UPDATE: OH GOD GO IRISH
- 05/17/14--10:20: EDSBS BOWL UPDATE: GO DAWGS? GO DAWGS.
- 05/27/14--10:09: The NBA's bworst team: The 2014 Indiana Pacers
- 05/28/14--08:27: THE MORNING CONSTITUTIONAL PLAYS A GUESSING GAME
- Oxford, Mississippi
- Pullman, Washington
- Laramie, Wyoming
- Baylor (new stadium)
- An aircraft carrier parked in T. Boone Pickens' pool
- Tree stand at Arkansas State
Navy* ( *Naval base in Crane, Indiana**) (**Why does the Navy have a base in Crane, Indiana?)
- My house, we've got cable and a big TV and stuff
- Memphis, Tennessee
- An invented village not extant before the broadcast called "Purdue"
- Trevor Matich's Hobbit-themed sweat lodge
- Duke, hosted by Dick Vitale
- All three MAC Michigan schools at once, aka THE UNIMAC
- Paul Finebaum's panic room
- Inside Brady Hoke's inner ear in a tiny four man minisub sipping whiskey and listening to "Twistin' the Night Away"
- The other side of Notre Dame. No, not there. Over there.
- The Cleveland Browns
- Bobby Petrino's sidecar
- The Boast Guard Academy, the home of our nation's most secret and yet immodest service academy
- The scene of No. 1 Mississippi State's shocking home loss to Arkansas
- A safe, bombproof room located fifteen feet below Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, aka the Orgeron Love Suite
- 05/28/14--08:51: An important note on video gaming
- 05/28/14--13:55: HATIN' ASS SPURRIER SURVEYS THE WORLD CUP
- 05/29/14--09:50: Imagine, a sane thing about Johnny Manziel
I JUST WELL SURE YES SURE WHY NOT
Remember: Jim Tressel will cross the Mahoning River to slit your throat on Christmas morning. (Via the mighty Youngstown Vindicator.)
Come up the steps of this hotel, there's something you should see while we explain this setup to you. First, there is this soccer game. It takes place in Istanbul, a city of 18 million people founded around two thousand years ago, a city so old it has Viking graffiti in its Muslim mosque which was once a Catholic church built for an emperor. Nothing can happen here that has...
BECAUSE WHY NOT USE A PICTURE THAT READS "BATH OF THE CONCUBINES"
Before we forget them, here's some stuff that either didn't fit into the whole of the piece we just did on Turkish soccer and Istanbul, or was simply interesting but not totally relevant to it.
1. Ataturk could write a letter. We really wanted to work this in, but this is Ataturk's note to the mothers of those who were killed at Gallipoli.
To The ANZACs:
Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives... You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country, therefore rest in peace. There is no differences between the Johnnies and Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours... You, the mothers who sent their sons from far away countries, wipe away your tears: your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. Having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well
He's everywhere in Turkey, just inescapable. And judging from that letter, not entirely in line with the long tradition of transformative national figures being entirely inhuman people.
2. The food. You can't really put a long list of things in there that you ate, but the best way to describe Turkish food is that it's Greek food that doesn't suck mixed with a lot of the good stew-y stuff from the Middle East. The Kurdish breakfast is like nine thousand little plates of everything all thrown together, and when you throw some tomatoey eggs on top of it all it's seriously one of the world's top ten breakfasts. No, we don't have the others, and no again, three of them are not at Waffle House. If that comment about Greek food saddens you, consider that I don't like lemon, feta, or yogurt that much, and neither do Turks so we were going to be buddies on this from the start. (P.S. Turks really like it when you talk about how much Greek food sucks.)
But seriously LOOK AT IT:
We don't even know what all that is besides DELICIOUS. We also went to that kebab place Bourdain went to, and thought it was great even while we were cursing Anthony Bourdain for going to all the places and eating all the things before we did. BUT YOU DIDN'T EAT THIS KEBAB, ANTHONY. NOT THE ONE I KILLED MYSELF.
3. Oh, and our honey is fraud. It just is. It's little better than Karo syrup, and hipster/anarcho-moms are totally right about this. We would freebase Turkish honey, and may have because there's no law saying you can't.
4. We, as Americans, value public order too much to be really, really insane fans on par with international soccer fans There's just no spot in our social contract that allows for anything stronger than a strong cheer of "bullshit" at football games, and too much underwear in our pants to be bunched over the use of a profanity, a flare, or anything you could possibly litigate after a match. Maybe it' an implicit trust in social order, or the fear of a lawsuit, or a blind respect for the police, but we just don't have that anywhere. We are, as fans, subservient or polite or both, and not even the places you think of as being lawless, chaotic fan habitats compare. (Apologies: not even LSU.)
That should be a value-free judgment. They are this way, and we are this way, and that is how it is. It's not, though, at least not for us. We don't want tramplings, brawls, and the real risk of being hurt. We do want that passion, though, and the roiling rage. Whether you can have that without all the violence and occasional real risk is the question, and our suspicions are that the answer is one we don't want to hear. (No.)
5. Galatasaray do the Atlanta Braves/FSU tomahawk cheer in their stadium. No, we still haven't figured out exactly why, but we cut it for one reason: we weren't going to pollute such a pleasant experience any further with a mention of Florida State. That's between us, please don't tell anyone.
6. AT LAST:
7. Lufthansa has bigass bottles of Warsteiner they will give you for free. You can drink many of them and keep drinking them on long flights when you are very tired. We recommend so much that you do this.
Hustle Belt found this. Blame them.
That is Terry Bowden and the Akron Athletic Director Tom Wistrcill yodeling across the Akron campus. And as weird as that may sound, the laugh track happens, and then you realize these two have gone full Tim and Eric without even knowing who Tim or Eric, is, much less what isolationist humor is. Then you remember that this is about Akron football, and that Terry Bowden was once the proud owner of the longest win streak in college football at Auburn, where he coached before a long odyssey through the college football hinterlands. That path has led to him yodeling across an empty stadium to a possibly deranged AD somewhere along the Little Cuyahoga River. This is real. It is all real.
This is your reminder that life is undefeated in trumping fiction, and good morning.
F1 driver Ayrton Senna died at Imola 20 years ago today. He remains the high priest of speed for a reason.
I've had one religious experience and/or hallucination in my life: a dream where I was laying on my back looking at the sky, watching a silvery banjo floating and rotating slowly thousands of feet above me, all the while experiencing the distinct sensation of being hooked through the chest by a giant wire that pulls me painlessly upward.
In dreamtime, it felt like it took years to unwind, with me rising slowly upward while never getting any closer. When people talk about a religious ecstasy, this was probably the thing they're talking about: a feeling of total joy transcending the physical or intellectual, and a sense that somewhere you plugged yourself into the great humming mainframe of the universe.
I was 22 when I had it, and woke up grief-stricken for reasons that, 15 years later, I don't totally understand. There is only one thing since that has come close to replicating that time-warping sense of total removal from this plane of existence: getting in a car, flooring it, and going as fast as possible until fear and an overwhelmed nervous system obliterates everything else. Sometimes I've done this under the guise of work. Sometimes I just did it and hoped no one objected too much.
This is Ayrton Senna, who died twenty years ago today during a race at Imola, driving a lap at Monaco.
Senna described some of the best laps in the history of the sport like this:
Suddenly I was nearly two seconds faster than anyone else, including my teammate with the same car. And suddenly I realized that I was no longer driving the car consciously. I was driving it by a kind of instinct, only I was in a different dimension. It was like I was in a tunnel. Not only the tunnel under the hotel, but the whole circuit was a tunnel. I was just going and going, more and more and more and more. I was way over the limit, but still able to find even more.
Senna has already been the subject of an intense and ongoing canonization process. Yet even now, after the documentaries, the feature film, the statues, the memorials, and his transformation into international racing's most revered ghost, Senna still sticks out, and not just for his brilliance on the track. Senna remains the most luminous of ghosts for his ability to describe the experience racing not as a dry, technical exercise, but instead as a kind of death-defying religious experience.
At his peak, his driving was unconscious; at the limit, he was not sure where he was, or whose hands were on the wheel. If speed is as close as you've ever come to God, and you've had that unconscious and blissful moment of disappearance at the edge of control and total chaos, then even two decades after his death Ayrton Senna is your Paul, and his races at Monaco are his Letters to the Corinthians.
EVERY NOW AND THEN I GET A LITTLE BE LONELY AND DABO YOU'RE NOT AROUND
The team that Vines together grinds together, so Clemson is going to win the ACC this year, particularly because the young man in the hoodie is projected Clemson starting QB Cole Stoudt. Any signalcaller who understands the value of "Total Eclipse of the Heart" is a winner, period. The large bro is offensive guard Spencer Region, who has a lovely singing voice to go with the key short-pull here. The offensive lineman steals the show, because that is what offensive linemen do. (via Fesser)
NOT ONE BIT
He was from the Pacific Northwest, and definitely had some Pac-8 loyalties since he used to draw pictures of college football players from the conference. (GO TROGENS.) And while his Washington fandom could be safely assumed, it may be leaned on a little harder when you a.) remember that Michigan shut out Washington by a combined score of 64-0 in two games in the 1950s when Hendrix was growing up, and b.) when you watch him congratulate the USC Trojans on their 10-3 win in the 1970 Rose Bowl.
The only positive in his premature death would be that Jimi did not live to see the Ty Willingham era. (HT: Lego Mario)
IT SORT OF SUCKS FOR BYU (THIS HAS HAPPENED BEFORE)
It sucks for BYU. That phrase has no expiration date, so dust if off and use it now without any worry about freshness. It sucks that BYU, a very good football team with a long tradition of winning and being good at football things, may not even be considered a major-type program to schedule by the big five conferences, or at least by the ACC and SEC.
This is deeply unfair, but unfair has never, ever stopped anything from becoming law in college football. (We don't even pay our players! That's still legal in the year 2014!) It's also far from anything new, because BYU's current status as the cleanest homeless man in college football is little different than their status in 1984, when they became the cleanest homeless man to ever waltz in, squat in the the throne room for a bit, and become for one insane year the title holders for all of the sport.
If you're joining us in mid-action: BYU won a national title in 1984 with this very schedule.
|1||Sep 1, 1984||Sat||Brigham Young||@||(3) Pittsburgh||Ind||W||20||14||1||0||0||W 1|
|2||Sep 8, 1984||Sat||(13) Brigham Young||Baylor||SWC||W||47||13||2||0||0||W 2|
|3||Sep 15, 1984||Sat||(8) Brigham Young||Tulsa||MVC||W||38||15||3||0||0||W 3|
|4||Sep 22, 1984||Sat||(6) Brigham Young||@||Hawaii||WAC||W||18||13||4||0||0||W 4|
|5||Oct 6, 1984||Sat||(7) Brigham Young||@||Colorado State||WAC||W||52||9||5||0||0||W 5|
|6||Oct 13, 1984||Sat||(5) Brigham Young||Wyoming||WAC||W||41||38||6||0||0||W 6|
|7||Oct 20, 1984||Sat||(7) Brigham Young||@||Air Force||WAC||W||30||25||7||0||0||W 7|
|8||Oct 25, 1984||Thu||(5) Brigham Young||@||New Mexico||WAC||W||48||0||8||0||0||W 8|
|9||Nov 3, 1984||Sat||(4) Brigham Young||Texas-El Paso||WAC||W||42||9||9||0||0||W 9|
|10||Nov 10, 1984||Sat||(4) Brigham Young||San Diego State||WAC||W||34||3||10||0||0||W 10|
|11||Nov 17, 1984||Sat||(3) Brigham Young||@||Utah||WAC||W||24||14||11||0||0||W 11|
|12||Nov 24, 1984||Sat||(1) Brigham Young||Utah State||PCAA||W||38||13||12||0||0||W 12|
|13||Dec 21, 1984||Fri||(1) Brigham Young||N||Michigan||Big Ten||W||24||17||13||0||0||W 13||Holiday Bowl (San Diego, CA)|
Back in 1984, playing Pitt was a good thing, and beating Michigan was enough to get you enough votes for a national title--admittedly, the strangest national title in modern college football history, but the board says #1 and leaves no room for qualifiers like "OMG ROBBIE BOSCO WON A NATIONAL TITLE?" If this schedule resembles Florida State's 2013 schedule in any way at all, please keep the comment to yourself. #FSUTwitter never sleeps, and will catch up with you up to six to eight hours after your original comment.
Our point is that it sucks that BYU can, after almost forty years of being very good, still get zero traction in terms of either playing into a major conference or b.) being recognized as a surefire, nasty, first-rank college power. Geography, oddball conference histories, and the completely cracked incentive structures of the sport have turned BYU into an even stranger outlier than they might already be, a perfectly fine animal no one wants to touch for too long, or at too close a distance. They can stay the night, maybe even set a few dates on a steady basis here and there, but in the end they're still one of college football's last true independents--maybe the last true independent. That's been their choice, for the most part, but that it's one of their few options at this point speaks to the difficulty of making any sense of how things actually work in America's finest unpaid volunteer sport.
Fresno State used to talk about playing anyone, anywhere, but BYU's only option at this point after the demise of the WAC is to really do that, and make schedules that look like the randomly selected slates you get playing on dynasty mode. It's something Notre Dame decided they couldn't do, and that was with a much larger profile and a real television contract shut up shut up shut up shut up NBC is still a television network. Sort of. Maybe. It's a hard living, is what we're saying, particularly when Utah's picking up easy Pac-12 checks in Salt Lake for going 2-7 in conference.
P.S. Someone once made a cowboy song about Robbie Bosco, proving you really can write a song about anyone.
DO YOUR BWORST
We spent an undisclosed and disgraceful amount of time in the arms of LoudGIF today. Like most great things on the internet, it is simple, very stupid, and you've been doing it for an hour straight without even really noticing the passage of time now that we've shown it to you, and thus ruined your day completely.
It's basically GIFSound with a better, prettier interface, and it's the perfect weapon to take something like Bret Bielema doing the "Single Ladies" dance and set it to, yes, "Single Ladies," or maybe put Steve Spurrier winging a headset to "Bitch." The things one could do, in theory, with Les Miles are endless. Sad Urban Meyer, already sublime, gets ten times as good when set to "Crossroads."
So your challenge is issued: do worse/better than Goldy going ECW on Bucky to the tune of the Pointer Sisters, and leave it in the comments below. It's Tuesday at 4:30 in the offseason. "Something else to do" is an imaginary animal you shot with a bow and arrow illegally at Bullshit Stop Saying Bullshit State Park.
LOUISIANA TECH, WE THANK YOU
The results for day two of the EDSBS BOWL 2014 for Refugee Resettlement and Immigration Services of Atlanta (RRISA) are in, and though we slowed down a bit we did get one shocking donation from Louisiana Tech. A loyal Bulldog dropped $1,139.61 on the RRISA coffers last night, and thus earned this morning's Vine. We tried.
Ahhh, sweet memories of 1999. That team would go on to beat Florida twice, meaning Louisiana Tech must have been the most incredible football team of that year in any dimension and on any field.
The grand total is somewhere north of $12,000. This is superb, but also way behind the $30K it will require to get us to do something truly drastic in the name of charity. These things could be:
The possibilities are endless and bad! So contribute now, and earn your license to be the biggest sadist possible to the biggest masochist you know: ourselves. It's for a wonderful cause, and if you need reminding of that read Wright Thompson's account of Bosnian soccer player Vedad Ibisevic's long road out of refugeedom and into the international spotlight. It's beautiful, but there are a thousand stories like his, and all of them deserve your support. GO BULLDOGS.
CORNELL. YOU MAY HAVE HEARD OF IT.
The EDSBS Bowl 2014 enters day four, and we stand at the halfway mark toward genuine pain and humiliation. It's slowed down a bit, so let's remind you that for $30,000 in donations, we could do something as thrilling as getting a Caillou tattoo on our body. It could even have an Alabama shirt on, and be pissing on an Auburn logo if you like. Well, it'd be trying to piss on an Auburn logo, but missing because it's Caillou, and he is awful at everything, and he'd just quit halfway and pee all over himself and cry.
The current top ten leaders by school are as follows:
1) UM - $5,426.84
2) Auburn - $ 1,336.51
3) LA Tech - $1,139.61
4) Cornell - $1,000
5) UGA - $962.30
6) Navy - $500
7) UCLA - $385.28
8) GA Tech - $347.19
9) Univ of Alabama - $332.13
10) Univ. of Nebraska - $300
That massive Cornell total is a single donation from yesterday, which we celebrate by remembering the exact words Cornell's President used to bar students from traveling to see a Michigan/Cornell football game in 1874.
There will be no better refusal of a football game ever. Good morning, and thank you for your continued support of RRISA and EDSBS.
The SB Nation Reviews begin with St. Louis Cardinals legend Willie McGee, who may have been controlled by aliens.
MONTE CRISTOS FOR EVERYONE
The Pac-12's Championship game will be held at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California starting in 2014. If you are ignorant of Bay Area geography, you should know that the new home of the 49ers is closer to San Jose than it is to San Francisco, and is located in a vibrant, exciting slice of Santa Clara's rich humanity-cake.
Behold mapped evidence of this:
The good news is that Chris Petersen, ever thrifty, can have himself shipped directly to the game. ("That's the only way he'll ever get there," screams a Wazzu fan before drunkenly falling out of the back of a passing truck.) The bad news is that the clean, well-run Pac-12 Championship Game will be happening in a place that is both expensive and not terribly interesting, and that you'll still have to go to in the name of being a servile, unquestioning slave to your team.
Where does this put the Pac-12-- WHO SHOULD TOTALLY NOT NOT HAVE THEIR CHAMPIONSHIP GAME IN LAS VEGAS-- in the rankings of conference championship events? We're so glad you asked.
1. SEC: Atlanta may not be a lot of things but it does guarantee drunkenness, a good meal, and one of the deepest troughs of depravity in the Southeast. In 21st century, Atlanta burns YOU to ground. You might even leave with a free Waffle House, as one in every twenty menus is in fact the deed to a Waffle House currently under construction somewhere else in metro Atlanta.
2. Big Ten: "Oh I don't like Indianapolis and real football should be played outdoors and the divisions are totally unbalanced and why are we putting chipotle on everything now what ever happened to just a plain turkey and cheddar sandwich." Counterpoint: now nobody talks about Ohio State-Michigan being the Most Important Game Of All Human Contests In The Past And Yet To Come.
3. Pac 12: I mean, it's clean and not filled with varmints. That's good for third here, especially because 4th is...
4. Big 12: The trendy pop-up art shop of conference championships. Who needs all the overhead expense of an organized game between the winners of two divisions? The Big 12 Championship Game is SO hip that it might be Bedlam, or a non-conference Baylor game, or maybe it already happened and you didn't hear about it because you're probably just now learning about Haim, idiot.
5. MAC: It's in Detroit, which is like Atlanta in 1865. Also, there's a little-known rule where the team trailing entering the fourth quarter can summon the Balrog to play for them. (Randy Moss still caught three passes over the Balrog in '97.)
6. ACC: Charlotte's not bad, but this conference is doomed until they return to their roots.
7. Mountain West: Ranked this low because it feels like it could disappear at any moment. This is the local restaurant that you say you should go to because it's important to support small businesses and it looks pretty nice. Eight months later that restaurant has closed and you're just left with regret and whatever new seasonal milkshake Chick-fil-A has dreamed up. (It's Maple Waffle Batter and it is DELICIOUS.)
8. Southern Spa & Salon: Granted, most people just remember last year's Pam-Diana debacle - seriously, Diana, did you even prepare for this game? - but this is a conference championship game that's got passion and free samples of that nice shampoo your wife loves. Plus, Diana's sobered up, or so Shelly claims.
9. NBA Eastern: ain't fair that the Heat don't gotta play the Tide
10. Notre Dame: Even STALIN wasn't too good for a conference, you pompous fucks.
THE LAST WEEKDAY SEES...OH GOD...NOTRE DAME
Going into the final weekday of the EDSBS BOWL 2K14 fundraiser, we have great and painful news: yesterday's leading donor gave in the name of Notre Dame, thus forcing us to say the nicest things we could think of about college football's natural aristocrats. The donation of $1,098.30 is paid back in piddling part by today's Vine.
(We tried. We really, really did.)
As of last night, we stand at a total just over $17,700 for the week. (Donations will be open through the weekend.) While we will likely end up short of the pain threshold of $30K, we can still get over $20K this year, a fine total in the name of serving the refugees of Clarkston, Georgia. Donate here, and perhaps we'll still do something foolish as a reward for the EDSBS commentariat's generosity.
P.S. Full leaderboard in a bit, but yes: Michigan is still in the lead.
TASTE THE DELICIOUS CHARITY
So sometime last night a mad UGA grad dropped three grand on the RRISA books, making it our largest donation to date and getting us dangerously close to the $30K mark. This matters because we leave the EDSBS BOWL 2K14 open through the weekend, and that's how you mess around and end up with a stupid tattoo of something you hate all in the name of charity.
What we're saying is that the competition is very much alive, and on Monday you'll have to watch us say "GO DAWGS" through clenched teeth while shouting out very kind strangers we've never met. Donations are open through midnight on Sunday, so DONATE NOW AND RUIN OUR FATE FOREVER.
P.S. Sigh. GO DAWGS.
It is hard to get the analogy for the Indiana Pacers right, or find the right comparison without spraining your simile ligament. There are groups of artists who like being together, but make bad, fun things, like the cast of Ocean's Eleven. There are unevenly balanced ensembles like Destiny's Child, or groups that collapse under the weight of their own chaos like the Wu-Tang Clan, and absolute shambolic heap-beast supergroup efforts like The Expendables that, anticipating your disappointment already, make no effort whatsoever to be anything but a total horrendous and ultimately amiable disaster from start to finish.*
*By the fifth Expendables movie, anyone will be theoretically eligible to participate, which is how you'll get Delta Burke strafing a terrorist camp in a helicopter piloted by a grinning hologram Paul Walker.
So you can just stop trying. There may be no precedent or accurate comparison for this Indiana team, or how well and horribly they're ending their season. They may be something brave and new: the team so talented even its outright civil war couldn't kill it or its playoff run.
The toxic fart-cloud killing the Pacers' best abilities swept into the locker room sometime after the All-Star break, watering eyes and flattening their torrid first-half momentum in a stagnant 16-14 finish. On paper what has happened since looks like triumph: a pair of series victories over the Hawks and Wizards, and what will likely be an Eastern Conference Finals loss to the defending NBA champs. Any other team in the NBA would mark that as a victory, or at least as a success.
To the naked eye, though, it's not totally clear how any of this happened, or that anyone on the Indiana Pacers likes playing the game of basketball, either alone or with their teammates. This happened last night, in an NBA game, in front of cameras and a full arena:
It could be unfair to single out Lance Stephenson here if this were not the second-most iconic image of the Pacers this season. (The first is Cymbalta Roy Hibbert, but we'll get to him.) Stephenson spent most of the night doing this, finishing with nine points after suggesting LeBron James engaging him in trash-talk was "a sign of weakness" before the game, and thus giving the easy hook for the media to hang Indiana's sad hairshirt of failure onto in postgame columns.
That would be a shame, because hanging Indiana's astonishing anti-basketball and its long implosion would be cheating the awful greatness of what they have become. Watch David West's face for 10 minutes of any game. He is a man who is playing blackjack with dogs. He is a dad at 6:45 p.m. left alone with the kids for a day. He is a substitute teacher in sixth period with a severe hangover, he is a cabbie dealing with four drunks who need to be left at four, hazily remembered places that might not exist, he is an astronaut low on oxygen who just broke the door handle off the airlock. David West, despite having all his paperwork and showing up extra early for traffic court, will not get to see the judge today, and has to call his wife to pick him up because his license is still suspended.
And West isn't even the star of the ensemble here.
Another game, another image of Roy Hibbert wishing he were literally any other place in the world. pic.twitter.com/hpzhqDe6tA— SB Nation (@SBNation) May 27, 2014
What has happened to Roy Hibbert is a matter of total speculation. Scientifically, it can be approached this way: Hibbert is now half the size he was statistically, and appears to be shrinking. Last night, he was a scoring nullity, attempting only four field goals and missing all of them while chipping in a perfunctory five rebounds. This is, for this particular playoffs, nothing new: Hibbert has failed to score at all in four of the Pacers' 17 playoff games.
Hibbert could write the word "SORROW" on his forehead in magic marker, but that would be too obvious, and ruin the strongest performance here in an already strong cast of malcontented dudes who clearly hate everything. He is so very close to cutting up cans of Lone Star beer and making little figurines out of them on the sidelines to explain why existence is the ultimate in the grotesque. He is seconds away from reading a Jonathan Franzen novel on the bench.
Heat vs. Pacers
You might condemn them for this massive display of human frailty. You would be missing just how remarkable this team is, though, if you obscured the view of this monster with your judgment. Just look at it: a team often incapable of scoring double digits in a quarter stocked with men who clearly hate something about the other men on the team that still managed to get to the Eastern Conference Finals. It is a new high water mark of perverse professionalism when you look at the Pacers from that angle: that they've never really stopped playing defense, hitting shots when they needed to (up to this point, at least) and somehow advancing to the next round while looking like the worst team in the playoffs. Somehow, they're still trying, and often succeeding.*
*Even last night, in the midst of a blowout, Indiana cut the lead to a feasibly threatening nine points. With real effort and basketball and stuff!
They are clearly not the NBA's best team as they were at one point in the season. They are, however, the most compelling, a team so unhappy they make their own pissy emotional gravity and suck you in for a night of hatewatching their absolute disgust for each other, the game of basketball, you, the viewer, and possibly the very existence of human life on this planet, which at this point Roy Hibbert probably views as an error best extinguished by a random meteor or roaming black hole. They are the best worst team in the NBA, and there is a word for this. You are the bworst basketball team in the world, Indiana, a collection of people so talented the universe had to invent a new strain of emotional plague to keep you from taking over the world.
LET'S PLAY A GUESSING GAME
This year, @CollegeGameDay will broadcast from a location that we've never been to before. Always fun.— Lee Fitting (@leefitting) May 28, 2014
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If you're SHAUN gonna release a SHAUUNNNN great video game like Ubisoft SHAUUUUUN does every few years, make sure you SHAUUUUUUN make the viewer feel comfortable with a few glitches to SHAAUUUUUNNNNN let them know that even great artists and engineers are human. (via @claesbell)
WATCH WHO YOU BITE, LUIS SUAREZ
Spurrier asked if he's ready to turn attention to Texas A&M now: "Noooo. I am ready to turn my focus on golf tomorrow."— Josh Kendall (@JoshatTheState) May 28, 2014
World Cup is gonna feel like home for Virginia Tech fans. Nobody scores in double digits and somebody other than the Hokies winds up champion.
I'm not familiar with their soccer. But if their other work is any indication Germany will get out to a fast start, and then fade disastrously down the stretch.
Bosnia AND Herzegovina? That's like BOGO on small, peach brandy-making countries where everyone smokes. Hi, I'm Steve Spurrier, and that reminds me of the daily savings you get shopping at Publix. [THIS IS SPONSORED CONTENT]
A hat trick in soccer is when one fella scores three times. A hat trick in college football is Kenny Chesney.
Cristiano Ronaldo reminds me a lot of a younger, less masculine me, actually. More modest, though. Shirts are for funerals and...well, yeah, just funerals.
Nigeria! That's Big 12 defense right there.
Citizenship shouldn't be such an issue. We've let Urban Meyer coach for years and he's still got a Hell passport.
With North Korea not qualifying it's a shame Penn State fans won't have anyone to follow this time around.
Brazil's notorious for kidnapping and aggressive hookers, so it's basically Jackie Sherrill's house.
Don't know why rioting and poverty can hurt the World Cup. It's worked pretty well for LSU football.
I think Bret Bielema would be a great fit to run one of these teams. He definitely wouldn't lose nine games.
Will Muschamp hates soccer because the players throw the ball too much.
I know the Sun Belt's got some feisty teams, but I don't think Japan should have gotten a spot over an SEC squad.
England invented soccer, which seems weird until you remember that Rutgers played the first football game.
Brady Hoke would be a terrible goalie. That's a fella that never winds up with a clean sheet.
You know, Brazil's the only country to win FIVE world cups. That's quite an accomplishment. Five. Quite a number. In Spanish that's cinco. CINCO. [/holds up five at picture of Dabo he keeps in his pocket]
Greece is bankrupt and still made the World Cup so, hey, you can make this thing work, Randy Edsall.
Little tip: if Mike Price invites you to "watch Portuguese football," bring a towel. And a burner phone.
Belgium. Shit, that's like Diet Cherry France.
Auburn didn't even make Group D this year? Guess some of the tutors quit.
Italy gets criticized for pretendin' to be hurt but England doesn't for pretendin' to have a chance to win. Seems inconsistent if you ask me.
Sepp Blatter? Yeah, I think Bobby Bowden came down with that. Nothing a little Vesicare can't fix.
If they can play for the Japanese national team, I bet you can get a Pokemon into Ole Miss.
Iran's an isolated religious totalitarianism, just like BYU. The main difference is Jim Delany might consider letting Iran join his conference.
Luis Suarez better not bite anybody if he visits Arkansas. That's a marriage proposal there.
Spain's probably like Texas Tech: too much passin', known for handsome men. What's Lubbock's thoughts on Jewish folk? That's kind of important for accuracy's sake here.
Can't say a country as skinny as Chile would ever succeed in the SEC.
Russian soccer players at the World Cup probably feel like Iowa football players at a bowl game - just happy to not be back home.
Florida fans should pull for the US, because they ain't getting to five wins either.
Tricky part about soccer is you never know how much time they're gonna tack on at the end. It's Saban's worst nightmare.
You know a swarm of Brazilian piranha can't really skeletonize a cow in five minutes, right? I bet Bo Pelini and Luis Suarez could, though.
Argentina are the "White Stars," so I guess we already know who Skip Bayless will be talking about.
Oregon fans got money and hate questions from the authorities. Switzerland welcomes y'all!
Don't know how you have a Group of Death without George O'Leary.
I don't know much about Algeria. But I bet Clemson's showers test positive for it.
I'm a 26-year-old professional, and I promise you that the whole pool knew I was having a great time. If I could go back tomorrow, I would. I'll have to wait until July instead.
This is the first sane thing written about Johnny Manziel in the history of mainstream sports journalism. It is also set in a poolside concert by Kendrick Lamar, which seems like the least exciting and oddest place to see a Kendrick Lamar concert. The best place to see a Kendrick Lamar concert? In a club in London, of course.