Posts Tagged ‘wrestling’

Wrestling with extinction

Posted: February 20, 2013 by shawnfury in Uncategorized
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There was a time — when I was younger, skinnier, more mulleted — when I might have snickered at the news that the IOC is dropping wrestling from the Olympics. This was back in high school, when basketball players engaged in a sort-of rivalry with wrestlers. It never involved fisticuffs or takedowns. In fact it had cooled a bit from a few years earlier.

The beef? Hard to remember the fine details, but it basically centered on each sport’s athletes believing they worked harder than the other group. Or maybe it was about the relative difficulty of each sport, figuring out which required more skills and smarts. I’m sure we ridiculed wrestlers for participating in a boring sport — what’s the fun in watching two guys roll around for six minutes — and they likely mocked any idea that basketball was physically taxing. We made fun of them during the basketball portion of gym class, when the backboards came under fire with every jumper launched like a cannon out of the wrestlers’ stumpy arms. They tried kicking our ass during the wrestling portion of gym class. And so it went.

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This week on the podcast, TV and Fury scratch their insatiable itch for the Olympics by yapping about the ongoing Games.

Topics include: the tape-delay debate, the coolest off-beat events and John McEnroe. Plus, the word “velodrome” is used.

Here’s the link.


For about 10 years I believed I was destined to be an Olympic table tennis player. I envisioned my gold medal showdown against a Chinese competitor and dreamed of standing on the podium while The Star-Spangled Banner played on the loudspeakers. Would I mouth the words while the cameras zoomed in? Yes. Would I cry? No. Perhaps my family would; maybe I would if my agent thought it’d help land endorsements. Janesville would throw a parade for me, or at least make me a grandmaster for the Hay Daze festivities. I’d tour as some type of ping-pong prodigy, taking on all comers in a barnstorming tour across Minnesota — no, across America.

“And now I’ll take on the Iowa state champion…with my left hand!”

This dream started when I was 8 and only ended when I was about 18. What fueled it? My savant-like skills as a young ping-pong player, when I ruled in our basement and also captured a pair of highly prestigious Waseca County titles, each time defeating adult competitors who believed their victories over Grandpa Joe in the garage meant they could beat this 9-year-old phenom. And when I dominated during our table tennis unit in our high school phy ed class — and managed to defeat our previously invincible teacher — then I knew for sure gold was in my future.

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The Tapes might be catching on. Heard the phrase used on the B.S. Report when Bill Simmons was interviewing broadcaster Al Michaels. It caught my attention like when you hear your name from across a crowded room. Were they talking about these tapes? In my mind they were. In my mind, they were:

* A 14-foot trailer filled with 300 cases of energy drinks was stolen in Brookings, S.D. A friend suggested that I might be the culprit given my propensity for super-caffeinated beverages. But, alas, it’s not true. I only wish I was that creative and/or deviant. The best part of the story is the timeframe. The owner is pretty sure the crime took place sometime over the last 11 weeks. How do you not notice a 14-foot trailer packed with energy drinks is missing? Do you have that many of them laying around?

* Sioux Falls is hosting a film fest this week – the second Reel Dakota Film Festival. I didn’t attend the first and I won’t make the second. But it’s not for lack of desire. To me, this qualifies as one of those rare events that gives a medium-sized city a sense of importance and culture. It’s like when an Andy Warhol exhibit comes to town or food trucks gain popularity. For one weekend, we get to pretend that we’re as hip and enlightened as the folks in Tribeca or Park City.

In fact, I’ll argue that the idea is as important as the product in a situation like this. On second thought, maybe that’s a bad idea; it probably breeds posers rather than genuine art and appreciation. Still, I applaud the effort … even if I won’t have an opportunity to applaud any of the films.

* Fury here. This is a nice story courtesy of Michael Rand and his Star Tribune blog Randball about Minnesota Lynx center Taj McWilliams-Franklin, who took the time to visit one of her biggest fans who lives in the small town of Ortonville.

* Here’s a story that’s as depressing as the Taj story is uplifting. It’s from ESPN and is about pro wrestler Scott Hall, whose life has – well, fallen apart seems like such a mild way to put it. When your life is compared to Mickey Rourke’s – whether the real, living Mickey or a character he’s played – you’re not doing well.

* I admit: I really like Rex Ryan. This week he got into more trouble when he said he would have won a few rings if he had been hired as coach of San Diego a few years ago, when the job went to Norv Turner. Cue faux outrage, apologies, explanations and now, lectures from the media and former players who don’t understand why Ryan doesn’t just shut up.

In a league filled with coaches who are so boring it seems like they’ve actually taken four years of classes to learn how to be so dull, Ryan, to me anyway, remains entertaining and a refreshing difference. But columnists like Ian O’Connor write that if he doesn’t win a championship Ryan will be nothing but a joke. And I suppose that’s true. But then, if winning is the ultimate thing, isn’t every coach who doesn’t win a joke? What’s it matter if one talks a lot and another doesn’t? The media hates cookie-cutter answers until they actually get something different, then use it to tell the coach or athlete they should be more…boring. The facts are Ryan has led the Jets to four playoff victories in the past two years, all on the road. By comparison, Bill Belichick has won…zero playoff games the past two seasons. And Ryan’s Jets have won those four games despite having an offense that has apparently not learned that the game has evolved since 1931. The guy can coach. And he can talk. It’s okay to do both.

* Courtesty of The Onion: New Decoy Website Launched to Lure Away All Moronic Internet Commenters.