So this post is only marginally about sports. The Kool-Aid Man (most recently of this bit and that bit) is back in an ad campaign for his namesake drink. And he uses hilarious old timey workout equipment to diffuse his, um, pants:
What is that fat jiggling thing? Generically, its apparently called a vibrating belt weight loss machine and it seems to be the spiritual ancestor to those electrodes you adhere to your stomach to enable you to electrocute yourself until you have a sweet six-pack. There are in fact people on the internet who claim the “shake yourself thin” technology should be revisited but by and large these machines’ usage has receded to nearly nothing from their mid-twentieth century heyday. The theory behind the vibrating belt’s use as exercise equipment seems to have been that vigorous shaking would remove body fat. I have been unable to identify exactly why people thought this would be the case, though there are no shortage of websites asserting this claim. What I think needs to explanation, however, is this video’s paring of a vibrating exercise belt with Benny Hill music:
Marlana VanHoose is a 16 year old girl who can sing the hell out of the Star Spangled Banner. I’ve only just now been made aware of her, because the internet is mysterious with its gifts sometimes. At any rate, watch this video of her bringing the house down before a Kentucky women’s basketball game back in February:
She even goes for, and nails, the high notes during “…land of the free”. Amazing. And unfortunately for the rest of the country, she is a UK fan, so this sort of this will will only happen for them:
That is just the best. Originally, I was also going to make a big deal about the fact that she is blind, but as I watched the video again, I decided that fact doesn’t matter. This isn’t a “blind person crushes national anthem” story. Its a “watch this girl crush the national anthem” story. I have to watch it again. Why wasn’t Marlana given a trip to the Final Four, Capital One?
Last night Louisville took down Michigan to with the men’s NCAA basketball national championship and the thing that stays with me the next day is the existence of Luke Hancock, hipster basketball savant. Look at him up there. Look at that beard. Hancock took home Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four– the first non-starter to ever win that award— after he put up 20 points on Wichita State and then 22 on Michigan, almost singlehandedly saving the Cardinals from getting stomped into the Georgia mud when he hit FOUR THREE POINTERS IN THE LAST THREE MINUTES BEFORE THE HALF, erasing Michigan’s lead and grabbing hold that ethereal hooker, momentum.
I watched this live– sort of. Michigan had been running away with the game, up 12 and in total control, to the point that I began hanging out and catching up with the people who were over at the ALTTAB Dome for the game. Suddenly I was aware that all the idle chit chat in the room had stopped. Someone said, “Wow.” I turned my attention back to the TV just in time to see Hancock’s final three of the half. This is how SI described what had just happened:
Some might say Luke Hancock won the national title game for the Louisville Cardinals. Others might say he simply saved it for them. With the game in danger of getting out of reach Monday night, Hancock went on a shooting spree for the ages, scoring 14 straight points for the Cardinals late in the first half as part of a run that turned a 12-point deficit into a one-point lead.
I had a rooting interest in Michigan, as they had righteously avenged Carolina’s loss to Kansas when Trey Burke threw in the dagger of all daggers back in the Sweet 16. If you’ve forgotten how amazing that shot was, here it is again:
That still makes my heart beat accelerate. In addition to being justice for Carolina, and one of the most exciting games I can ever remember seeing live, it was also tremendously improbable. Someone on a Michigan hoops blog created this real time win probability graph. With two and a half minutes remaining, Kansas was sitting on a 99.4% chance of winning. Then Trey Burke happened.
Anyway, all this had me rooting for Michigan. And I maintained this allegiance throughout the second half, as Louisville slowly moved toward asserting themselves as the eventual national champions. When the game was over, and as we all waited for Greg Anthony to shut up and get us to One Shining Moment, I realized I didn’t care. Hancock’s explosion at the end of the first half was too epic. Kevin Ware’s injury too brutal. Rick Pitino’s Hall of Fame induction too synergistic. Peyton Siva’s life story too made-for-Oprah. I couldn’t fight it. Congratulations to the Louisville Cardinals, 2013 National Champions.
So whatsupELLE is a youtuber whose jam seems to be that she makes videos in which she and two different versions of her do something (think of it as a cross between that 90s Michael Keaton movie Multiplicity and the “Toasty!” guy from Mortal Kombat) from dancing to a song to moving backwards to a song, to… trying to shame basketball trick shot videos?
Look, we’ve covered trick shot videos on the blog before (and we’re fans). This video left me confused though: is she hating? is it an homage? I can’t tell. Though I wouldn’t understand it, there may in fact be some people out there who find them tiresome and would appreciate that youtube subgenre being taken down a peg. Conversely, there may also be people who would like to see fake trick shots, like when she bounced the ball off the male jogger’s head. But what I don’t get about this video is the whole throwback vibe centered around the gag “girls suck at sports.” The purse gag, the high heels gag– was there a putting-on-mascara-while-shooting-a-basketball gag? This is some least common denominator shit. It seems like ELLE may in fact be bad at basketball, so if she wanted to make a take off of basketball trick shot videos, especially one titled “the girl version,” why couldn’t she take longer than one second to think up a premise, rather than just flailing around like she was actually playing Dizzy Bat? What would her version of a basketball trick shot video be? Babies use a little plastic hoops. This kid throws hackie sacks in waste baskets. She could have at least gone for the old office game of wadded up piece of paper through the little basketball hoop above the trash can. Because, to me, the point of these videos is to demonstrate some mastery, to show you can do something worth filming and putting on the internet, low though that standard may be. Not flopping around, recycling jokes from 1993 Easy Spirit ads.
The end is the kicker though, when Capital One pops out of nowhere as a corporate sponsor, sending ELLE to the NCAA men’s championship to… continue to make an ass of herself? The video below is what they’ve gotten for their money so far. I hope they think that’s better than some of the other options that are out there.
Mike Rice is a 44 year old man who had been an assistant college basketball coach from 1991 to 2007. He then got his first head coaching job, at Robert Morris, and did quite well in the Northeast Conference, going 73-31 over three years, including two appearances in the NCAA tournament. He then moved up to the big time in 2010 when he was hired to coach Rutgers in the Big East. At some point in there, he also apparently began to slowly break away from reality. If you haven’t seen the video already, take a look:
That is a 44 year old man behaving worse than any screaming toddler you’ve ever met– and he doesn’t seem to ever cry himself out and just fall asleep. As many have already observed, there is an ominous foreboding in the way ESPN cut that video, with the voice over talking about Rice’s “fiery style” over clips of him acting like an asshole on the county. They we get to the practice video footage. Good lord. Rice was fired for being a rageclown with a 44-51 record at Rutgers over three years. (There was also some drama about (now former) Rutgers Athletic Director Tim Pernetti not firing Rice when the video of the practice insanity first surfaced in December 2012. But Pernetti eventually resigned as well, taking a $1.2 million settlement, an iPad, a $12,000/year car allowance, and an agreement that the university would not say anything bad about him. What a piece of shit.) This aside, there has been a not-inconsequential voice on the internet that has defended Rice, calling his ranting and hyperventilating “old school” and lamenting, in the perfect sour old white man pitch of Ed Rendell, “the wussification of America.” The Daily Show has a great mash up on the TV talking heads barfing up this viewpoint:
But before you lose all faith in humanity, there were plenty of people who found fault with a grown many panting obscenities at teenagers en-route to being tied for 12th place in the Big East. As retired Georgetown coach John Thompson, the man the Washington Post aptly calls DC’s standard bearer for old school, said on his radio show,
It’s just mind-boggling. They have the nerve to say that this is old-school…It’s incomprehensible to me.
A co-host on the show, retired Redskin Brian Mitchell, was even more to the point,
I’ve never seen it happen, and it damn sure didn’t happen to me. If they put their hands on me….I would have Sprewelled him, point blank.
I’ve played sports enough to know that there are people out there who think octanes of rage are the sole fuel that can drive a team to win. If you don’t believe this, spend a Saturday at your local middle school’s basketball gym during the season of your community’s youth basketball rec league. There you will see the full gamut of coaching styles, including Rice’s, except it will be even more incongruous than in the Rutgers practice video, because the coach will be screaming, vein faced, at toe-headed seven year olds. There’s no reason to ever give into the ape urges of the brain stem to the degree that Rice did, and on a regular basis. Everyone wants to win and there is no gold star for “wanting it” so bad you mutate into one of those My Super Sweet 16 girls. The two most successful coaches in the history of the NCAA and the NBA, John Wooden and Phil Jackson, were also the most sanguine. This is not to say that being comprised wholly by rage cannot result in success: look at Michael Jordan. However, it does show that rage is not the only ticket– and, that asking someone to temper their ragefist does not mean asking someone to temper their desire and ability to win.