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RIP Kay Yow

It’s not often that the Sportsfly crew muses on women’s athletics, except to clown or hammer home a point of irrelevance, but today closes the uplifting yet sorrowful saga of North Carolina State Women’s Basketball Coach Kay Yow.  Yow’s Hall of Fame career has some amazing stats.  700+ wins.  Olympic gold medal coach.  Numerous NCAA Tournament appearances.  These stats and career moments pale in comparison to her real contribution to humanity.

Yow was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987 and battled the disease over the next 22 years of her life.  Yow’s initial response to being diagnosed was to go out and coach the Olympic team in 1988.  She beat the disease and continued coaching.  In 2004, the cancer returned, yet Yow faced it down again.  Indomitable spirit defined Kay Yow’s life experience.  In December 2008 Coach Yow took a leave of absence and said she would not return this season.  A week later, she checked into the hospital.  A week after that she passed away.  A fitting farewell to an inspirational figure.

All to often the true essence of sports gets lost.  Amongst media blitzes, over-dramaticized hyperbole, and overexposure the nature of sports dwells and unfortunately it takes stories like Kay Yow’s to bring that nature to the fore.  Competition breeds internal fire and that fire can be used to succeed, defy odds, perservere through adversity, stand humble in the face of success, and recognize one’s place in the greater scheme.  It’s fitting that both Kay Yow and her Wolfpack compatriot, Jim Valvano, lived and taught these principles as they faced an opponent that typically drains the spirit just as much as it drains the body.  To the end, Kay Yow remained resolute to not let cancer take her out of the game.  On the court she stood, even as her physical self dwindled away.  When she finally decided the fight was over, it ended.  That is the beauty of free will.  Kay Yow was laid to rest today, but her example and teachings resonate.

FlyMaster Signing Off…For Now!

Fight til the Fight is Done

Fight til the Fight is Done

January 30, 2009 Posted by | College Basketball, Features & Opinions, General | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Screw the Student Athlete, It’s Time for A Playoff!

Screw the Student Athlete, It’s Time for A Playoff

   The college football season is over, so lets go ahead and re-cue the endless debate about whether the BCS system works or whether we should have a playoff. Let me start by saying everybody who doesn’t want a playoff is a complete moron. Sorry, that’s real. These are the people who still get their porn from magazines (youporn.com fellas) and who think Lil Wayne is an insightful rapper (A Milli, A Milli, A Milli). There is really no reasoning with them.
    Of all the ridiculous arguments in favor of the BCS, my favorite is the one about how it will “compromise the academic integrity of the student athlete”. First off the other NCAA subdivisions do it and they have players who will be helping you at Best Buy next year, not playing on Sundays. But more importantly it’s not like these prestigious academic institution give two sh***s about their players academic future. According to a recent USA survey, Oklahoma graduates a whopping 46% of its football players. (Other BCS schools with stellar graduation rates include Texas 50%, Ohio State 52%, USC 54% and Utah 57%). Keep in mind that includes all the back up long snappers and white wide-receivers teams keep on the roster just to boost the collective GPA.
   Really it’s surprising that people who run a University don’t understand the definition of hypocrisy. The schools puts all this emphasis on keeping athletes academically eligible while they are on the field, but as soon as that last game is up they can all go right back to smoking weed and skipping class for all anybody cares. A wise man once told me after I got to second base with a lady friend, “If you don’t finish, it doesn’t count.” Well the same thing applies for college. Good luck telling a potential employer, “Well I spent three and half years and Miami, but I just couldn’t make it through that last semester.” You’re better off breaking out a ITT Tech certificate.
    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not making a public plea for the NCAA and schools to crack down on their athletes. In fact I’m doing just the opposite. Look, I paid about $120,000 (thanks Dad) for 5 joyful years of college. And one of the things I want from my school is a good football team. Not a new telescope, not a professor with a Nobel Prize, I want a national championship for my parents hard earned dollars. I’d much rather have a guy that runs a 4.2 forty than somebody who can be my lab partner.
    So I propose a new plan. Treat athletes like what they are, celebrities who are being paid to attend the school and bring in dollars to the Athletic Department. If the player wants to take advantage of their scholarship and go to class, great. If not, they can earn their keep in other ways. Required hours playing intermural sports with regular students. Mandatory attendance at all fraternity parties. (Bonus points for choreographed pool dives or drunken Facebook pictures). Maybe they can even teach a class or two, can you imagine attending “Making it Rain 101” with PacMan Jones.
    It’s time eliminate the outdated facade of the “student athlete” and move one step closer to a play-off.

…And that’s what the StatDragon is breathing fire about!

January 10, 2009 Posted by | NFL, Stupid Athletes, Talkin Trash | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Time to Change the Overtime Rule?

In the wake of the Colts/Chargers game–a game that went into overtime and was won by the Chargers’ Darren Sproles scampering into the endzone–many critics are suggesting that the rule (which states that the first team to score wins) should be changed.

Should Overtime Be Changed?

Should Overtime Be Changed?

While everyone would certainly have loved to see what the Colts could’ve done had they won the coin toss, the rule is fair.  Simply because a team wins the coin toss does not mean that the opposing defense will roll over and die.  If the opposing team wants to win, have the defense step up and make a play.  Remember, the Eagles and Bengals played all the way to the end of overtime without anyone scoring a point this season.

While the college rule is exciting, it’s almost too fair.  The ball is placed on the 25 yard line with a first and ten without the help of special teams.  The offense is almost guaranteed to score at least a fieldgoal.  If anything, it gives the offense too much of an advantage.

The mantra in this country is that soceity is going too soft.  Kids complain that they lost in a Championship game and feel sad, so parents petition the school to hand out “runner up” trophies.  Hell, they have even banned dodge ball and tag in some schools.  And we wonder why there’s a child obesity problem? 

Yet at the same token, we want our kids at the college level to have an “equal chance to score?”  We need to realize that the concept of overtime is implemented because both teams couldn’t seal the deal in four straight quarters.  Overtime should indeed be a “sudden death” approach–if you couldn’t win the game over the course of regulation, you have one last, limited chance to do so in overtime.  Regardless of whether or not it’s fair.

If the overtime rule was indeed altered, I wouldn’t mind seeing the NFL ban field goals.  While it’s perfectly acceptable to kick a field goal to win a game, I think if you eliminated the ability for a team to make this attempt, it would allow both the offenses and defenses to truly go toe to toe.  And more than likely, I would imagine that the team that wins the coin toss won’t immediately score on their first drive, thus allowing more of an opportunity for both opposing teams offenses to get a chance on the field.  It would also allow for a bit more of an exciting finish, without feeling as though the ball needs to be placed on an arbitrary yardline without the use of a kickoff.

January 9, 2009 Posted by | NFL | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Congress Desires College Football Playoffs

President-Elect Barack Obama kept it real when he chanted “change is coming”, because the latest controversy surrounding Washington references his views on the BCS system. Apparently, Texas Rep. Joe Barton picked up where he left off and is planning on introducing a bill on Wednesday that will forcefully replace the current bowl system with playoffs.

BCS Bowl 2009

BCS Bowl 2009

As happy as I am about the bill, I don’t understand why Congress has nothing better to do than to quarrel over the BCS system – Wait, I do understand. This must be the Texas republican’s way of “supporting” Obama’s views on changing America. I guess there are no other obligations to our country. According to Barton, the bill will give opportunity to strong teams competing in non-championship bowls to play for the title.

As a result of this year’s outcomes, Florida (12-1) and Oklahoma (12-1) will fight for the championship title. Although that seems fair, there are many other teams who won’t get the opportunity, even though they too have only lost one game or are undefeated.

A playoff system isn’t only to support other teams but it creates other openings for society. It’s a great idea and here’s why, plain and simple:

  1. Extended College Football Season
  2. Perfect Setup for March Madness
  3. Opportunity for Undefeated Teams in Other Divisions to Compete
  4. Increased Advertising Spending
  5. Longer Fantasy Sports Tournaments
  6. Additional Funding for NCAA
  7. Constant Television Viewing/Ratings

The above mentioned would trickle down further to universities and local college town economies. What’s not to like about college football playoffs?

Skrybe – Keep it Fly

December 11, 2008 Posted by | College Football, Features & Opinions | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where are they Now?

Ah, as High School basketball draws to a close we should anxiously anticipate the unveiling of the next “sure thing” moving through a year or two of the NCAA’s into NBA fame.  Names like Chris Webber, Kobe Bryant, “King” James, and Dwight Howard, all of which have done all but dissapoint.  But what about the ones that did disappoint, the ones that carried that world of potential to, well, not to the NBA.  Where are THEY now?

 

Jewish Jordan

"Jewish Jordan"

Tamir Goodman: Tabbed the Jewish Jordan, Goodman was recognized by Sports Illustrated, 60 Minutes, and ESPN after averaging 35.4 points per game at the Talmudical Academy of Baltimore, and was dubbed the 25th best HS basketball player in the country.  Goodman received a full-ride scholarship to the University of Maryland in 1999, but was released from his verbal commitment since the school could not accommodate his religious need to have Fridays and Saturdays free.

Goodman transferred to Towson University, but had a separate falling out as he thought his coach was Anti-Semitic.  Goodman finally had the opportunity to showcase his “Jordan-esque” skills when he was signed by Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel.  In 2005, Goodman went on to serve in  the Israeli Defense Force, as a requirment of Israel.  After numerous knee injuries, Goodman returned to America, trying his hand with the Maryland Nighthawks of the PBL, yet today has has returned to Israel to play for the Maccabi Haifa team back in Israel.  Tamir is a motivational Speaker for youth in the Jewish Orthodox religion

Felipe Lopez

Felipe Lopez

 

Felipe Lopez: One of the most heralded players in US High School basketball history, Felipe landed countless accolades including Gatorade, Parade, and USA Today Player of the Year, McDonalds All-American MVP, and the cover of Sports Illustrated.  At 18, Lopez attended a conference with Jim Brown, Bill Clinton, and Jackie Joyner-Kersee.  He went on to have a little success at St. Johns University, inlcuding a 17.8 PPG Freshman Year then managed to squeak into the NBA, where he averaged a career total of 5.8 PPG over 4 years.

Felipe has gone on to play ball in the Domincan Republic, where his family immigrated from, The NBA’s D-League, Germany, Spain, The CBA, Brazil, and today in Venezuela for Gaiteros del Zulia.

The Greatest of All Time

The Greatest of All Time

 

Earl “The GOAT” Manigault: Who could forget, when legendary Laker center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had his number 33 retired in the Los Angeles Forum, he was asked who the greatest player he ever faced was.  His response, yes Earl the GOAT Manigault.  

Earl was a basketball legend renowned for his dunking ability, even at 6 ‘-1”.  Rumored to have been able to touch the top of the backboard and execute on the Double-Dunk (Dunk with one hand, then with the other, all while remaining in the air).  Aftering receiving scholarships from Duke, North Carolina, Indiana and more than 70  more Universities, Earl opted to attend Johnson C. Smith University, where he lasted only one semester because of bad grades, which led to less playing time by his coach.  Earl fell into drug usage, catapulting him into prison on 2 separate occasions, but rebounded by starting the “Walk Away from Drugs” tournament held in Harlem, NY, still around today.  Earl passed away in 1998, but will always be remembered as the Greatest Of All Time!

Honorable Mention: Damon Bailey, Jerod Ward, Donnell Harvey, Sebastian Telfair, Leon Smith.

December 5, 2008 Posted by | NBA | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment