A while back, I asked the folks who “like” Pete Magete Blog on facebook to give me their requests for blog post ideas. This may be a shock for you to be reading, but I didn’t get a lot of responses. In fact, I got exactly one response. It came from my old high school friend, Chris, who is quite the blogger himself. I link to Chris’s blog, Spice of Life in my blogroll, and he of course returns the favor. Chris is a much better writer than I am, but I suppose he should be since he’s someone who wants to write for a living. Anyhow, since he was the only one who made his requests known and he did so with several topics, I’ve decided to belatedly honor that request with a Sampler Platter devoted to his topic suggestions. Here we go.
I began to notice Gonzaga basketball during a 2003 NCAA tournament round of 32 game, where the Zags pushed Arizona to the brink of an early round upset in double overtime, but in the end, Blake Stepp’s heroics came up just short. That experience very much endeared me to the plucky Bulldogs, and I decided to kind of make them my “team” for college basketball (I hadn’t truly become a Gopher fan yet since I wouldn’t attend there for another 2 1/2 years). Anyhow, they haven’t done much since then, except blow a 9 point lead in the final 3 minutes of a 2006 Sweet Sixteen game against UCLA. I stopped being a Gonzaga fan when I enrolled at the University of Minnesota, but I’ve still kept an eye on them a little bit, and I guess I’ve found it a bit disappointing that they haven’t taken their program to that next level yet. Year in and year out Mark Few puts competitive teams on the floor that make the tournament each year, and are always a threat for a Sweet Sixteen run, and yet they still haven’t made the Final Four.
2. “The messed-up priorities of ESPN that would allow the station to televise the college choices of high-school football recruits over anything else, say hockey or lacrosse or rugby or even cricket.”
I’m going to do my best to not sound condescending here, because I know Chris probably already knows everything I’m about to say, but I’m afraid some people still need to hear it anyhow.
ESPN is a business. The world of sports is nothing more than a multi-billion dollar entertainment industry. Ratings and popular demand drive almost every single decision they make (except maybe some of their more “charitable” programming like WNBA basketball, or any women’s sports for that matter). Case in point: “The Decision”. Everyone now agrees that this was terribly contrived and self-serving for LeBron James, and yet it got incredible ratings and made a ton of money for both ESPN and the Boys and Girls Club. As much as it might frustrate you, Chris, more people would rather watch college football recruiting specials than obscure European sports. You may not understand it, just like I don’t understand why the NFL is so much more popular than the NBA, but its just the way it is.
3. The Green Bay Packers
Well, what is there to say? I’m an opinionated guy who has loathed this franchise/team more than any other in all of sports for quite some time. The face of their franchise for so many years annoyed me so much that he drove me to near insanity. But allow me to rip them and their fans in a different way than the usual “they’re just a bunch of drunken hicks”. It’s always gotten under my skin that the entire NFL and its pundits love to laud the fans of the Packers and their “frozen tundra of Curly Lambeau field” and their “Titletown” nickname. But how much credit should these people get for being so dedicated? They never seem to endure anything even remotely resembling a prolonged stretch of mediocrity. They’ve now won 4 Super Bowls, and I can’t think of the last time where they missed the playoffs in consecutive years. The team is even publicly owned, guaranteeing that the team could never move away. If you don’t buy this theory, I present to you Exhibit A: Those same fans’ complete lack of support of the seemingly forever-mediocre Milwaukee Bucks (and they actually do have one title to their name). Congratulations, Packer fans, for rooting for one of the easiest teams to root for in all of sports.
4. The best sports blogs and sites.
I’ll give you my top 5 (not including the most obvious one, ESPN.com).
5. Grantland.com – Bill Simmons’ latest brainchild. He also involves great writers like Chuck Klosterman and Malcolm Gladwell to touch on subjects outside the sports world as well.
4. Truehoop.com – Okay, so this site is technically part of ESPN. But it deserves its own recognition for being an awesome network of NBA blogs.
2. SportsPickle.com – Hilarious sports satire. Think The Onion, but all sports.
1. Barstool Sports – Sports, comedy, hot chicks. What else could a guy ask for?
There you have it, Chris. Thanks for being one of my most loyal readers.