The Loop / Golf Digest — White House Chief of Staff Reince Preibus reportedly emerged from the GOP’s House healthcare victory last week by telling a reporter, “The president stepped up and helped punt the ball into the end zone,” a statement that assumes:
You can score touchdowns while punting.
Punters have helpers, and . . .
Trump wanted to… safely return the ball to the opposing team?
Success — Here’s the story I usually tell when someone brings up nutty sports parents.
At the first T-ball practice of the season, back when my son was 7, I introduced him to the coach. I told the man that Jake had begun playing only the year before, on a team named after a fine local flooring store. The words were apparently a trigger.
“I remember you guys!” The coach suddenly exclaimed, more animated than people usually are when discussing the marketing strategies of local flooring stores.
“We played you in the championship—you beat us 7-3! You had orange uniforms, right? And you had those little blond twins who were really good.” Here he turned to his own son, who ambled up behind him. “You remember, right?” The kid rattled off their names. This went on for a few minutes, and the whole time I stood there dumbly thinking, Wait, there was a championship?
GQ — Despite having the same last name as a three-time Super Bowl-winning linebacker (the New England Patriots’ Mike Vrabel, or as I call him when I’m trying to impress people or drinking, Dad), I should not play football. I’ve heard as much from lots of places: my family, my bones, the nice people in the ambulance, the other guys with whom I’m playing football. Because though summer is the time to get outside, boost your heart rate and ramp up your blood flow, the fact is not all guys are equipped to play all sports. To help you decide which sports you shouldn’t play, we offer this unscientific and also unresearched guide to amateur sports, with equal emphasis on difficulty level, cardiovascular benefit and how cool you look doing them. Sorry about that last one, croquet.
I learned something in the World Cup in 2010: Turns out that if you furnish a scorching last-minute sudden-death winning goal, and add the subtle, unrelenting pressure of most of my friends and all of Twitter, I turn into a dynamic, perspiring World Cup fan! At least for a few days, or weeks, or years, or however long this thing goes on. I haven’t the foggiest idea.
But that’s OK, because I’m still new to this soccer thing, this severe, rash-fueled case of World Cup fever that makes me want to occasionally punch random strangers in the throat. But I confess to being baffled by my sudden enthusiasm, and by “enthusiasm” I mean “the fleeting brush of elevated interest I feel because everybody else is watching it and I’m a unrepentant meerkat who wants to know what the group is talking about.” Because, like all of America, and despite what the more self-satisfied portions of America might claim on Facebook, I don’t generally pay the remotest smidge of attention to soccer unless a soccer game is interrupted by a camel invasion, Alison Brie photo shoot or velociraptor attack, and even in the case of the latter I’d probably just watch the highlights (“Just look at the way those raptors are using cooperative hunting to distract the American goalkeepers, right before slicing them to pieces with their sharp, slashing claws! Amazing, isn’t it, Jim?” And then the camera would cut to Jim, and we would see that Jim has just been sliced to pieces by velociraptors. I am pretty sure it’s paragraphs like this that made me not get the callback about that ESPN job.).
GateHouse — A few random thoughts about the Olympics, which I feel qualified to offer, as I spent a good part of my afternoon getting emotionally invested in the women’s weightlifting competition for what I’m pretty sure is the first time I was ever aware there was a women’s weightlifting competition. I’m not entirely sure how it ended, or who won, or if anyone won? I think the American ended up with a bronze, but of course it’s very hard to tell with all the grunting.
The Olympics, every four years, offer excitement, national pride and the cold inveterate knowledge that I work out for six hours a day for the 15 or so years I have left on Earth (a psychic once told me I’ll be killed by a hydrofoil in 2027, long story) and never be in a good a shape as people who played water polo at the *last* Olympics, let alone the Olympics currently underway. I’ll also never be in as good a shape as women’s weightlifters, which I’m making up for by grunting loudly while accomplishing menial tasks around the house, such as dropping the kids off in the morning, or perhaps making a smoothie.
But I’ve made up for this latest example of my physical inadequacy by becoming the planet’s biggest fan of synchronized diving, which combines two of my favorite things about the Olympics: diving, and two people doing the same thing at the same time for no discernible purpose whatsoever. I’d be deliriously happy if you synchronized literally everything about the Olympics: synchronized javelin, synchronized equestrianing, synchronized boxing, synchronized Bob Costas, synchronized godawful post-competition interviews, synchronized ruining the results of swimming with “Today” promos, synchronized Skydiving Queen Elizabeths, and SERIOUSLY why didn’t anybody think of that? SYNCHRONIZED SKYDIVING QUEEN ELIZABETHS. That happens one time, and no one would give a hot silly darn who “Michael Phelps” is. Frankly if they could synchronize the people who do the synchronizing, I would die a very happy man, via an apparently epic hydrofoil crash.
This is the sort of headline that only a country where half of the Major Presidential Candidates are still wobbly on this confusing “science” situation would require, the sort of news that’s news only if your daily planner includes the words “Nancy Grace” in pink bubble lettering, yet here we are: Last week the American Academy of Pediatrics and its Canadian counterpart, Rush, issued a joint report that came out against the sport of boxing for children and adolescents. Reasons included: a high risk of injury, potential for possible concussions and Listening To The Instincts Burned Deep Within The DNA Of Every Human Alive Over Millions Of Years Of Evolution.
Hilton Head Monthly — I should start by saying that with apologies to both my mom and Jim Furyk, I’ve never really been into golf.
This is for one extremely simple, profound reason: I am terrible at golf. I am terrible at it in grave, hideous fashion. I am terrible at it in ways that make it so you can actually watch my 7-year-old lose respect for me in real time, in ways that should be sung about by Tom Waits, in ways that if our culture somehow celebrated the appearance of playing golf as though you’re being repeatedly jabbed in the brain with an electric toothbrush, I would be totally winning.
It’s not, I should make clear, for lack of trying. Once, at a driving range, I literally hit a ball that ended up — and I’m still not entirely sure how the physics worked on this — beneath my car, which was interesting, since the car was about 30 feet away, and also behind me. On the depressingly infrequent occasions when I managed to orient the ball in the direction I was facing already, it would most often fly in a reasonably straight line for about 20 feet, then stop dead, make an inexplicable right turn and promptly careen into whatever was off to the right: forest, batting cage, birthday party, pile of angry alligators, whatever.
But here’s my other thing with golf, and, again, I’m an outsider, so please correct me if I’m wrong: Average pinheads like me can attend, say, a baseball game. We can go see basketball in street clothes. But I’m not sure I can ever adapt to golf’s established, tradition-filled world based almost entirely — and I apologize if this sounds discriminatory — on my taste in pants.
GateHouse — Despite watching, for the 78th consecutive year, my embarrassing “bracket” spot-decompose into a puddle of semi-gelatinous goo by 3:15 p.m. on Thursday afternoon — seriously that was FIVE DOLLARS — I love the tournament. I love learning that there are things like “Long Island University.” I love watching Rick Pitino walk directly from his first-round loss to the television studio. I love the equitability, the idea that any school has a chance, though that chance is a sad exercise in futility and that school will almost certainly lose huge to Ohio State. And I love coming up, every single March, with a new reason to think Duke sucks; this year, I’m going with that 45-minute-long Bobby Hurley commercial for moisturizer or whatever.
But that said, the tournament is lacking something this year: commercials made by trained adult professionals.
This year, unlike, say, the Super Bowl, the NCAA apparently sold a grand total of six commercials and is repeating them across basic cable channels with the irrational, iron determination of a four-year-old who just learned “Toy Story” existed; I’ve been flipping pretty regularly all weekend and have literally not spent 18 minutes without encountering well-lit Caucasians forced to act as though there’s the remotest possibility of connecting the word “Applebee’s” with the phrase “Bourbon Street.” Here are other things you can learn from The Cheap Commercials You’ve Been Watching For Four Days:
The phrase “uric acid” gets funnier every single time you hear it. Every. Single. Time. If you are making a commercial that says “uric acid” 14 times, you have to know this. Though I also enjoy how one of the side effects of this gout medicine are gout flares, which is sort of like saying that the side effects of this diet pill include getting fat. Finally, uric acid apparently looks like lime Kool-Aid but I bet it tastes slightly better.
Kyle Busch, or possibly Dale D. Daleington, dances on a car
GateHouse — The air-quotes sport of NASCAR has never, for many reasons, appealed to me. I’m not really into cars, or deafening rackets, or thick brown clouds of fume, or stickers trumpeting the greatness of cereal companies and auto-parts superstores or cleaning solutions, or people named Dale, or funnel cakes. OK, I’m lying. I’m very much into funnel cakes. Actually, if it came down to it I’d gladly live for three weeks inside a cochlea-shattering speedway packed tight with tire chunks and Dales if I could get regular access to beer and funnel cakes because, if you haven’t guessed already, I’m sort of obsessed with my health.
But like millions of other things, my NASCAR-free lifestyle was something I subscribed to before I had a child, back when I got to select — all by myself — the events and pastimes to which I would donate my time.
GateHouse– I think I ran into a foosball hustler last weekend at the bar.
I can’t be sure, because I’ve never seen a foosball hustler, never considered the possibility that a foosball hustler might exist, never remotely believed that someone could take seriously an activity wherein you rocket a marble across a table populated by red plastic molds with a curtain rod through their torsos, that there would be someone who would look at average Joe Punchclocks in an average bar playing some average foosball and sniff, “These guys are A VULGAR EMBARRASSMENT TO THE GAME.”
Writer: GQ, Men’s Health, the Washington Post, Success, Indianapolis Monthly, the official Bruce Springsteen site, the official Indy 500 site, Billboard, Vice, Live Nation, The South Magazine, etc. Owner of a very specific Guinness World Record. Even longer bio/clips.