Nobody is Quite Like Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods of the US waves to the crowd on the 18th green during 79th Masters Golf Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 12, 2015, in Augusta, Georgia. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSONJIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

I have not been shy talking about my love for Tiger Woods, I’ve even mentioned it on this site before.  Behind maybe Michael Jordan, he has been the most well known athlete in my lifetime.  He was on top of the world, dominating a sport like few have ever seen before.  Yes, that all came crashing down on that memorable Thanksgiving evening when he drove over a fire hydrant.  To say it was a turning point for him would be a gross understatement.  He hasn’t won a major tournament since 2008, and has dealt with injury after injury.  I have a ten year old nephew who loves golf and thinks Tiger is somewhat of a joke, as Woods hasn’t truly be relevant in the PGA Tour standings since my nephew was born.

Tiger went through his third back surgery in October, and gave a tremendously revealing interview to Time Magazine in December.  He spoke about many things in the interview, including his desire to not have any additional surgeries, and simply to live a life where he can play with his children.  This man has been so driven his entire life to become the best at his sport, but now he was basically admitting that his best days are behind him and there may be more important things out there than hitting a little round ball around for money.

No timetable was listed for Tiger’s return, and he said so in any interviews he took part in.  He simply said that he needed to get healthy.  A story started circulating Sunday that Tiger was in very bad shape.  The below is from an anonymous Twitter account,  “Secret Tour Pro”

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A reporter from Fox Sports reported something quite similar.  Frankly it humanized Woods, everyone is wondering when he was going to return to the Tour, and now people are just hoping he can have a normal life.  This report was the lead story on ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption Tuesday.  Tiger’s agent, Mark Steinberg denied the claims, but the media was basically writing his obituary.

That was until this morning…

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Tiger posted a simple 13 second video on Twitter showing that famous swing.  It seems as if it was Tiger’s way of using the famous Mark Twain quote

The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.

That small clip has been put on just about every major media outlet, and of course now the conversation will get back to ‘When will Woods be back?’  Regardless of whether Tiger makes it back to his old form, it is great to see him on his feet moving around.  The golf world is a much more exciting place with him around, and looking forward to seeing him back on the course.

Will Concussions Be The Big Story of the Next Ten Years?

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The conversations begun a couple of years ago, but concussions are playing a major roll in sports as well as life.  The conversation is heating up even further, and its not only the National Football League that is taking heat.  Just last week, Major League Baseball announced that they will be offering a helmet of sorts for pitchers to begin testing in Spring Training to protect themselves from balls hit back up the middle.   US Soccer has banned children under the age of ten from playing the ball using their head.  Last week, the most popular wrestler in the WWE, Daniel Bryan, retired at the age of 34 due to seizures as a result of repeated concussions.  ESPN put out an amazing 30 for 30 on the 1985 Chicago Bears last week, and the ending half hour couldn’t have been more depressing talking about the mental ailments that many of the players are going through these days.  This story isn’t going away, but is there anything we can do to stem this epidemic.

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I was fortunate to play competitive sports into my 20s, both baseball and basketball.  I’ve had three diagnosed concussions in my life, and none of the three were actually in athletic competition!  I was looking somewhere else in high school, and took a full thrown baseball off of my forehead, I was playing nerf basketball in a dorm room and jumped high and didn’t realize I was in the metal door jam, and my hand slipped on a handrail and I went down a flight of stairs backwards and hit a brick wall.  Each of these occurrences caused me to be knocked unconscious and were entirely my fault.  That said, pretty much all of them were in daily life activities.  What, am I not going to walk up the stairs again?

It brings us to a quite interesting time.  If you would have asked me three years ago if I would allow my children to play football one day, without question I would have been in favor of it.  Even though I didn’t play, I think it helps to bring people discipline and the belonging of a team that is difficult to replicate.  My answer to that question today, would be different.  We want to protect ourselves to live long and productive lives, but we aren’t going to be able to protect ourselves from everything.  I’m not a soccer player, but have heard Abby Wambach speak out against the header ban on children, saying not learning from a proper age how to play the ball with your head will slow your skill development.

The football we see today, will not be the same game in ten years.  Pitchers getting used to wearing a helmet is not the end of the world.  However, we can’t live in a bubble, so I truly hope that we will have medical advances in the next ten years that will help us to understand the brain a bit more to determine exactly what a concussion is, how long is needed to rest, and the best treatments out there.  Being active and having fun is an integral part of life, so it will be an interesting walk on a fine line over the next years to determine what is protecting us and our children and what is going too far.

The Incredible Marcobot!

I’m not a huge follower of politics, but have been watching a bit of the debates over the last month.  While I didn’t watch Saturday’s Republican debate live, I did sit back and watch most of it later, and I’m not sure it could have been more entertaining/sad.  The show began with Dr. Ben Carson not walking out to his lectern, then Trump following suit, strange looks from Ted Cruz & Jeb Bush, and then Ohio Governor John Kasich not even being announced by the moderators.  All of this drama before the debate even started!

If you followed the Iowa Caucus at all, you saw that Florida Senator, Marco Rubio had a surprising 3rd place finish with 23.1% of the votes.  Many staunch Republicans felt he was the perfect candidate to take out Donald Trump, so they were more than excited with his good showing in Iowa.  Some websites actually began to list Rubio as the frontrunner to win the Republican nomination.  Well, the debate changed quite a few of those opinions, and that one night could be the end of a political career.  New Jersey Governor Chris Christie seems to have made it his personal mission to attack Rubio.  Christie repeatedly called out Rubio for not being able to speak freely and ‘falling back on sound bites’.

There is no question that Chris Christie was dead on about Rubio during the debate.  Rubio literally repeated the same exact talking point four separate times.

Let’s dispel with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows exactly what he’s doing.

Ok, a Republican bashing in the Democratic President, that seems like a normal statement for a debate.  The only problem is that Rubio repeated this exact same statement THREE more times on different questions.  On the last one, Christie actually spoke over him and said, ‘There it is, the memorized 25 second speech’.  It didn’t take long for the internet to respond.  Within hours, Marco Rubio was now known as ‘Marcobot’.

Standing on a panel being grilled with questions while millions of people are watching on television cannot be considered ‘easy’, but this was a full scale meltdown.  It couldn’t have been a bigger nightmare for the Rubio campaign.  Here was this young energetic candidate that looked to be an alternative to Trump, and when the lights came on, he literally turned into a robot.  Of course the campaign hoped that the Marcobot situation wouldn’t have a major impact on the numbers from the New Hampshire primary which took place Tuesday.  They weren’t quite so lucky.

Marco Rubio finished a distant fifth place taking in only 10.5% of the votes, less than half that he received in Iowa.  It sure seemed like his debate gaffe played into that, and the below Tweet only confirmed it.

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It was both shocking and sad to watch.  Say what you want about the way we elect our President, but you have to feel somewhat naked on that stage, and a few minutes of mental paralysis looks now to be the end of an up and coming political career and the rise of the Marcobot!

The Big Game….

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I’m sure everyone knows that Super Bowl 50 is taking place this weekend, pitting the Carolina Panthers vs. the Denver Broncos.  For many of the country, Super Bowl Sunday is seen as a national holiday of sorts.  People gather to each tremendous amounts of appetizers, place abstract bets and spend time with family and friends with over 90%+ of the fans out there not even having their team in the game.  While the game itself has the potential to be very entertaining, many people strictly come for the commercials.  There isn’t a lot of talking taking place when it comes time for the commercials.  These are the most sought after advertising spots in television.  This year, a 30 second spot is going to cost an advertiser roughly $5M.  Its a pretty amazing sum.  There is no question that the commercial s have become an event up on themselves over the past 25 years.

How can those advertising slots command such an impressive price tag?  One of the reasons is the ability to say you are associated with the “Super Bowl”.  The NFL has trademarked the usage of the phrase “Super Bowl” and will do everything in their power to protect the value of that phrase.  When hearing local advertisements over the past week, you hear quite a few strange methods of getting around the trademark.  You will hear advertisements for “The Big Game” “The game between the Broncos and Panthers” “The Championship Game”.  Light Night host Steven Colbert went as far to call his coverage the ‘Supurb Owl’.  It sounds completely silly, but NFL is not shy about sending quick letters to anyone who uses the phrase “Super Bowl” without their permission.  Heck, the NFL has even gone after churches who use the term and have parties with their congregation.  It seems rather petty, but the NFL is a multi billion dollar business, and they will do whatever it takes to protect the brand.

The NFL is one of the richest sports leagues in the world, but they still do manage to get plenty of things for free.  This Sunday the ‘Big Game’ will be played in Levi Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers.  The problem is that the stadium is a solid hour drive from San Francisco and located in Santa Clara.  The NFL has reached a deal that they will reimburse the city of Santa Clara for all of the extra security and municipal services, the only problem is that the NFL reached no such agreement with the city of San Francisco, who will be shelling out over $4M to keep the city safe.  Its no coincidence that all advertising for the Super Bowl mention it being in the ‘Bay Area’, and does not name San Francisco directly.  The NFL looks at it as a chance for your city to bask in the glory of having the honor to host their game, but when the stadium is over an hour away from your city, it only creates a traffic and logistical nightmare for the city, and don’t receive anything in return.

There will be plenty of eyeballs on the game this weekend, but with the NFL’s image taking a severe hit with the concussion controversy and numerous domestic violence issues, they should probably rethink the way they are handling some other items and not bite the hand that feeds them.