Women and Sports…..

I just finished recording a podcast with @notch17 on his site http://sportstalk.notchville.com/noflash.html.  The subject?  Women and sports.  I’ll be honest, it got me a little fired up.  As a woman who both knows and loves sports, I take this subject very seriously.  I was raised by a mother who is a die hard Vikings fan and was a very good softball player back in the day.  I’ve been attending Vikings, Twins, and our former North Stars games since I was a kid.  I was raised to be a sports fan.  And guess what?  I’m raising MY daughter to be one, too.  Gone are the days of women hiding out in the kitchen cooking while the men watch sporting events.  At least in MY household.  Don’t get me wrong… I’m an awesome cook.  I just need to do it when there’s not a game on :-)

I’ll admit to being a homer to a certain degree, but only because I’m a fan of all MN teams.  I’m not like a certain personality on an unnamed radio station (KFAN, 9-noon) who cannot criticize the teams, though.  I’m the first person to start calling people out for not stepping up to the plate (or blue line or line of scrimmage).  I don’t have rose colored glasses on.  I am perfectly comfortably declaring that a team sucks and will outline exactly why.

Here are some cold, hard facts about female sports fans.  45% of NFL fans are female.  46% of MLB fans are female.  46% of NBA fans are female.  40% of NHL fans are female.  That’s right, guys… almost half of all fans of major sports teams are WOMEN.  Yet, we are forced to watch the likes of the Fox Sports girls and all of the blonde, mindless bimbos on ESPN.  We’ve been granted the right to vote, yet we aren’t allowed to voice our opinions on sports and be taken seriously?  And have to watch the likes of sports bimbos on ESPN?

There isn’t one single knowledgeable, strong female personality on local sports talk radio.  Not on KFAN, not on 1500 ESPN.  Why the hell not?  Is it because their perceived 18-35 male demographic isn’t interested in what a female has to say about sports?  I think not.  I think most men would be thrilled hearing from a strong female who knows her stuff.

I think they would welcome it, as a matter of fact.  I’m sick and tired of KFAN and the like degrading women who know sports.  It’s incredibly insulting and I won’t stand for it.

They are doing a huge disservice to their male demographic and their female listeners by excluding the female voice.  Have you ever listened to the Power Trip morning show on KFAN?  It’s one ginormous frat party.  And they also don’t really talk about sports.  On a Sports Talk station.  Really.  I’m pretty sure Hawk, Cove, and Sauce wouldn’t know how to handle a woman who called in and could challenge their “sports” knowledge.  They’d panic for sure.

I recently asked my female Twitter followers the following question:

Attn: Serious female sports fans.. what bothers you the most about being female and a serious sports fan? I’m blogging about this :-)

Here are some of their responses:

https://mobile.twitter.com/CSnBDi@CSnBDi

  • The comments we will let her play fantasy she’s just a girl. Hate that!! I look stylish, but know my Vikings and football

  • You know me, only NFL, but I hate it when people don’t take me seriously, think I am “just a girl” that and pink jerseys lol

  • That we have to prove our fanship & knowledge to be accepted as serious fans.

  • That women who are really into sports MUST be lesbians.

I saw a tweet about this recently, so I thought I’d address it.  What bothers me the most is that it was written by a woman.  It was titled “A Girl’s Guide to the Rangers”:

http://i.imgur.com/RwwiX9f.jpg

I can’t even begin to express how horribly degrading and demeaning this column was.  The fact that a professional sports franchise would put out something so ridiculous is insane.  Apparently they pulled it shortly after posting it due to complaints from female fans.  Huh… go figure.

Female sports fans, the ones who can actually comment intelligently about sports, deserve to be taken seriously.  Don’t tell us to go in the kitchen and make you a sandwich.  Instead, give us a voice on local sports talk and tv shows.  Hire female commentators and reporters who actually know what they are talking about and don’t just look pretty.  We deserve that much, at the VERY least.

Vikings Offseason Takes

THE GOOD:

Wide Receiver Percy Harvin– I was not at all surprised at the news that Harvin had been traded. I had been saying since the Seattle game last year that he was as good as gone. You cannot have a player as disgruntled and as obnoxious as Harvin stick around to bad mouth the coaching staff and his quarterback. It does nothing but create drama and strife in the locker room. The Vikings did better than I had anticipated they would be able to do by securing a 1st and 7th round pick this year and a mid round pick next year (likely a fourth rounder).

Right tackle Phil Loadholt– signed to a 4 year/$25 million contract extension. I was a little surprised they didn’t franchise tag Loadholt, especially since they really didn’t have anyone else to use it on. My fear is that the Vikings were going to try to go cheaper with Loadholt to try to make more room under the salary cap (even though they said all along that he was their top priority). That is probably also yet another reason Harvin cited for wanting to leave the team.

Fullback Jerome Felton– 3 year/$7.5 million contract extension was earned. A big reason why AP racked up so many yards this past season is because of Felton.  I think they may have overpaid a little, but I’m okay with that.  AP was never a fan of running behind someone else… until this year.  I’m a fan.

Wide Receiver Mike Wallace– I, for one, am not sorry that Mike Wallace has taken his talents to South Beach instead of the Land of 10,000 Lakes. I don’t believe for a second that he is worth $60 million over five years. There’s a reason the Steelers cut bait on him.  I don’t think he would have fit with what the Vikings are needing anyway.

THE BAD:

WLB (weak-side linebacker) Erin Henderson: Signed a 2 year/$4 million dollar contract.  I’m not a huge Erin Henderson fan.  I understand why the Vikings brought him back, since they literally have nothing else.  Hopefully they will look to the draft to improve this position going forward.

Tight End John Carlson– restructures his base salary for 2013 to give the Vikings a tiny bit more room under the salary cap. It wasn’t enough of a cut for it to really have much of an impact, however. Carlson was an even bigger disappointment than Jerome Simpson, in my opinion.

Wide Receiver Anquan Boldin– I do not understand why the Vikings didn’t make a more aggressive offer on Boldin. Rumor is that they offered Baltimore a 7th round pick and he went to San Francisco for a 6th rounder. He’ll make around $6 million, which really isn’t bad. I would have liked to see the Vikings offer a 5th for Boldin to sweeten the deal. He would have been good for the young and inexperienced receivers, but he also would be very good for Ponder and his apparently fragile ego.

THE UGLY:

Wide Receiver Jerome Simpson– Signed to a one year deal, undisclosed amount. He’s the Vikings leading returning wide receiver (and that’s highly disturbing). I can see signing him as a third or maybe a fourth option, but for him to be a top 2 WR on a team in the NFL is a complete joke. Spielman and Frazier seem to think it was Simpson’s suspension during the first few games of the season and subsequent injury that lead to his very underwhelming performance. Apparently the Vikings are so thin at WR that they were desperate enough to give Simpson one more year. I’m dying to hear how much money they are shelling out for him. If it’s over league minimum, it’s too much.

Cornerback Antoine Winfield– Was released by the Vikings on Tuesday, much to the disgust of many fans (including myself). Winfield has been the veteran leader of this defense for many years, is a three-time Pro Bowler, and all around shining example of class and professionalism his entire career. At his age, he isn’t worth the

WHAT THEY STILL NEED:

A VETERAN Wide Receiver– As I said previously, I am not unhappy that the Vikings didn’t sign Mike Wallace. However, I very strongly feel that they need to bring in a veteran wide receiver to help mentor these young guys. This is a very young team and they are in need of some veteran leadership.  Greg Jennings would look legit in purple, Spielman.

A ROOKIE Wide Receiver– I know he has some injury issues, but my money is on Keenan Allen.  I realize he has some injury concerns, but his upside far outweighs those concerns for me.  Allen is out of Cal and is a very, very good possession receiver. He runs good routes, can block, is very athletic, is fast off the line and is a very good combination of speed and size. He is a hard worker and is aggressive. He will make a very good #2 receiver and is the guy I’m hoping the Vikings will draft with their first round pick.

A Middle Linebacker–  There will be several MLB available in the first two rounds, but I think Kevin Minter fits with the Vikings’ needs more than the rest.  He’s a very physical linebacker who can drop into coverage.  He can play in any scheme and is a 3 down linebacker, which definitely something the Vikings will be looking for.

A LEGIT backup quarterback– Obviously the Joe Webb experiment has been exposed as a complete failure.  And please do not suggest for one minute that we should put him at WR or I will stab you with an icicle.  I’d be on board with bringing in Matt Cassel if the price is right.  The idea that Christian Ponder’s ego is so fragile that he can’t handle any competition at the QB position is ludicrous.  If he can’t handle competition,  then I question why he is a starting quarterback in the NFL.

Minnesota Vikings Draft 2013— Wide Receivers

I haven’t watched one second of the NFL combine. I don’t give a crap how fast a guy runs under those particular circumstances. They aren’t the same circumstances he’ll be playing under, so why is there so much emphasis put on the 40-yard-dash??? I just don’t get it. I’m looking at where the Vikings are drafting and really fail to see how that time is even important. The Vikings have eight draft picks this upcoming draft season, since it’s highly doubtful they will get any compensatory picks. Their needs are greatest at wide receiver and middle linebacker.

I was very much in favor of them bringing in a veteran wide receiver (hello, Greg Jennings, you’d look FAB in purple and gold), but I don’t trust Spielman to do the right thing in free agency. Last season told me everything I needed to know about Spielman’s ability to bring in quality free agents. He has also been quoted as saying they would be looking at “second tier” wide receivers in free agency.  I trust him in the draft, since he did such a great job in the 2012 draft, but with the inexperience of the wide out core of the Vikings (assuming Percy is gone), bringing in a veteran receiver makes a lot of sense.

I highly doubt the Packers are going to Franchise Tag Greg Jennings and pay him $10 million dollars next year. I think they are just playing chicken because the thought of the Vikings bringing Jennings in makes them wet themselves. With all of the offensive weapons that Green Bay has, I highly doubt they are going to pay a 30-year-old Jennings that kind of money when they have Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson, and James Jones on the roster. Jennings isn’t washed up, by any means, but he isn’t exactly young and has some hard miles on him.

I’m not a great sports mind when it comes to the NFL draft. I have just been happy with the fact that the Vikings didn’t do the typical “take the best player available” last year and were intentional with their draft picks. Matt Kalil was a no brainer, as was Harrison Smith. Robert Blanton and Blair Walsh were very pleasant surprises. Jarius Wright and Greg Childs could definitely make big impacts next season.

In looking at the first round, I think the Vikings needs to go with a wide receiver. A good MLB can be had in the second or third round, but I think they really need to make a big splash at the wideout position this draft, especially if they aren’t going to be seeking first tier wide receivers in free agency (thanks for nothing, Rick Spielman). With that said, here is my analysis of the four wide receivers that are being projected to be drafted in the first round that have been linked to Vikings’ interest:

Cordarrelle Patterson:

The explosive wideout out of Tennessee is turning some heads, but I’m really hoping the Vikings don’t bite on him. Even though he isn’t a small receiver (6’3, 205), he isn’t a very physical receiver and has a hard time staying focused on the field. He’s also not terribly good at run blocking and has a tendency to drop passes.

Tavon Austin:

Yes, the West Virginia receiver has been receiving high praise, but the fact remains that he is only 5’8 and 174 pounds. Yes, he’s fast. Yes, he’s dynamic. He’s basically a mini-me of Percy Harvin. I just can’t see blowing a first round pick on this guy. Not enough upside for my tastes.

DeAndre Hopkins:

The wide receiver out of Clemson is fast, runs good routes, and has excellent field vision. He has strong hands, but I really do not think he’s worthy of a first round draft pick. He’s a good sized receiver at 6’1 and 214 pounds. I think he’s a workhorse type of receiver. He’s got good field vision, has good hands, but he’s not going to be an explosive playmaker. I’m voting no on him, at least in the first round.

Keenan Allen:

Allen is out of Cal and is a very, very good possession receiver. He runs good routes, can block, is very athletic, is fast off the line and is a very good combination of speed and size. He is a hard worker and is aggressive. He will make a very good #2 receiver and is the guy I’m hoping the Vikings will draft with their first round pick.

Tune in to the #pandapete program on Sizzlin 99.9 http://thepublicstation.com/ Mondays from 3:00-6:00 to hear yours truly talk sports with @pandapete21.   Also, follow me on Twitter if you haven’t yet :-)   @femalesportslvr and @sizzlinLadyDi

Minnesota Timberwolves

As some of you may know, I do this little radio show on Sizzlin 99.9 with @pandapete.  He was sick today, so I wasn’t able to spout my usual sports insights.  Since I seem to think people should hear/read it, I decided I’d blog my thoughts instead.  You know, since it’s been like forever since I’ve blogged :-)  Just a quick little post about the Timberwolves, since I was just at their game yesterday.

Ok, so I was at the Timberwolves and Golden State game on Sunday afternoon (shout out to @jbhoopsfan for inviting me). I’ve gotta say, it’s become so incredibly painful to watch this squad.  NOBODY, with the exception of Ricky Rubio, looks like they are playing with any real intensity.  He’s the youngest player on the team and yet he seems to be the one who wants the “W” the most.  There was so much sloppy play on both ends of the court.  If I have to watch JJ Barea (who is now being called Va-JJ Barea on Twitter) jack up one more bullshit three poing shot, I will lose my freakin’ mind.  Also, somebody (Rick Adelman) needs to get it through to Barea that he really is 5’8 and not 6’8.  Having the smallest guy on your team challenge the biggest guy on the opponent’s team doesn’t really work.

I’ve pretty much packed it in as far as this season goes.  I was happy that the trade deadline came and went without David Kahn doing something stupid, like trading Ridnour or even Williams.  I would, however, have been totally fine if he had decided to put a ginormous bow on JJ Barea and shipped him off somewhere, ANYWHERE, but here.  I know Kevin Love has been making noise about playing fifteen or twenty games yet this year, and I’m not really that jazzed about it.  He fractures his hand in what most likely was NOT knuckle push-ups and ends up being out for six weeks.  Then he comes back too soon and re-fractures said hand.  Do me a favor, KLove, and don’t f-up our chances at a good draft pick by coming back and winning what will most definitely be meaningless games

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Vikings 2012: In Defense of Christian Ponder

There have been so many tweets on Twitter demanding Christian Ponder’s head on a platter that I just could not take it anymore.  He is a second year quarterback, playing behind a sub par offensive line, with very few quality receivers.  Percy Harvin cannot be the entire passing offense, folks.  If the offensive line cannot give Ponder some time, we are screwed.  I, for one, am not ready to write him off.  Is he going to be the next Peyton Manning?  Maybe not. Can he be a legitimate quarterback in a run-dominated offense?  Yes, I think he can.  So many teams are quick to give up on a struggling, inexperienced quarterback.  Especially in Minnesota.  True, we have had our fair share of terrible starting quarterbacks.  However, if you take a look back at some of the best quarterbacks to ever play, they didn’t start out that way.  Peyton Manning?  Brett Favre?  Tom Brady?  Take a look at these stats:

QB:

G:

TD:

INT:

YD:

PR:

Ponder

9

10

8

1806

82.0

Favre

15

18

13

3227

85.3

Manning

16

26

28

3739

71.2

Brady

15

18

12

2843

86.5

*  Stats courtesy of espn.com

These stats were based on each quarterback’s second season in the league.  If you look closely, none of them exactly covered themselves in glory early in their careers.  Throwing more interceptions than touchdowns is frowned upon in the NFL.  A perfect quarterback passer rating (PR)  in the NFL is 158.3, so you can see that none of these quarterbacks came anywhere close to attaining that.  While throwing for thousands of yards is necessary for success as a quarterback, it isn’t the most important statistic.  If you project Ponder’s stats for the remainder of the season, it’s highly likely that he will have very similar statistics to these elite players.  Therefore, maybe we all need to be a little more patient with him.

I didn’t even factor in what type of offensive weapons all these quarterbacks have had.  While Ponder has Adrian Peterson, arguably the best running back in the league, he has little else outside of Percy Harvin.  Harvin is an excellent slot receiver, but the Vikings do not have a legitimate deep threat to pair him up with.  He doesn’t have a stud tight end, nor does he have an offensive line that is reliably giving him the time and protection he needs.

Am I saying that Ponder is blameless in all of this?  No, I am not.  He has made some very poor decisions and he often looks very tentative in the pocket.  I believe his confidence is sorely lacking at this point and am not sure what Frazier and company can do to help remedy that.  I do know that the Vikings front office has not done enough to surround Ponder with the offensive weapons he needs to be able to fully develop his potential as an NFL top quarterback.

I am not writing the guy off.  I can understand how and why some fans are frustrated.  I am frustrated, too.  I am just trying to be a little more objective and to look at the offense as a whole.  In doing so, I can hardly pin most of the disastrous offensive displays on Ponder alone.  Keep your chin up, Christian.  Some of the greatest quarterbacks to come before you have struggled, and struggled mightily.

2012 Vikings… Who Are They???

​Before the Vikings training camp opened at the end of July, I wrote a blog post suggesting that the Minnesota Vikings could potentially make the playoffs this year.  I was ridiculed widely on Twitter.  Several of my followers questioned my sanity and my intelligence (mostly MALE followers, mind you).  I wasn’t suggesting that they would win the NFC North or go to the Super Bowl, mind you.  I was simply implying that the possibility existed that they could make the playoffs.  Nothing more.

​Flash forward to last week, when the Vikings completely owned the San Francisco 49er’s during the first half of their game.  I’ll be honest… I was completely stunned.  After the loss to Indianapolis, I was very unsure of where this team was headed.  They looked lost on both offense and defense.  The prospect of the playoffs seemed like a complete joke and I was beginning to think that my Twitter followers were right.  Clearly the Niners game showed that they had figured a few things out and Christian Ponder was looking like a real NFL quarterback and that the Vikings defense had some pieces in place.

​Some thought it was a fluke, perhaps.  Even the football analysts were at a loss to explain how the Vikings were able to beat the Niners.  No one expected them to get past the Detroit Lions, who some thought would give Green Bay a run for their money at the NFC North title.  The game started out with a very exciting 105 yard kickoff return by Percy Harvin.  It was beginning to look like the Vikings who beat the Niners were the real deal.  While Christian Ponder didn’t exactly cover himself in glory, he didn’t cost the Vikings, either.  Adrian Peterson looked to be in absolute beast mode, finally showing that his knee was fully healed from his torn ACL injury.

​I think the most surprising thing about the game against Detroit was that the Vikings looked liked they were finally putting together a secondary that could stop somebody.  Jamarca Sanford had a very nice fumble recovery.  Harrison Smith was all over the place in coverage.  He had a huge hit on Calvin “Megatron” Johnson in the end zone which prevented a touchdown.  There was a subsequent play in which Brandon Pettigrew felt the presence of Smith and was unable to make the play in the end zone and the Lions had to settle for three.  While the Vikings offense seemed to be stalled somewhat, the Vikings defense (both pass defense and run defense) came up big.  It was completely refreshing to see a Vikings secondary play some shut down defense.  While I don’t have a tremendous amount of confidence (or respect) for Chris Cook, I did appreciate the play of Sanford, Smith, and Josh Robinson.  The Vikings special teams was outstanding as well.

I’m not saying that this squad is going to go 11-5 or anything.  They do, however, have some very winable games over the course of the next four weeks.  Any given Sunday, people.  Any given Sunday.

Poor Floyd

Before the Gopher football game began today, I was hopeful that Floyd of Rosedale would remain in Minnesota for another year.  Shortly after kick off, however, that started to become much less likely.  The Gopher defense seemed unable to contain the Hawkeye offense, particularly fullback Mark Weisman, who had 155 rushing yards in the first half alone.  The Gophers could get next to nothing going offensively in the first half.  While I’m not a huge fan of MarQueis Gray, Max Shortell looked absolutely terrible out there.  He threw three picks and the Gophers ended up with only 75 total yards in the first two quarters of the game.  Those aren’t the kind of numbers you can get excited about.

There were a number of angry and frustrated Gopher fans calling for Kill’s head on Twitter during and after the game.  While I, too, was angry and frustrated, I do not believe this awful game can be pinned on the coach.  He inherited a huge mess from the previous coach and he deserves some time to put his pieces in place.  I do believe he is the right man for the job.  He’s a no nonsense kind of guy who didn’t announce that he’d be bringing the Gophers to the Rose Bowl at his first press conference (unlike Coach Brew).  

Yes, today’s loss was a tough one to swallow.  The Gophers looked terrible on both sides of the ball.  If you were expecting that they would win the Big 10 this season, you were delusional.  Kill has his work cut out for him to turn this team around.  I, for one, believe he can do it, and I’ll gladly be there in my maroon and gold cheering for the guys.  Like I said on Twitter, the one I feel the most sorry for is poor Floyd, since he’s the one that has to stay in Iowa for a year.

 

Sporting Event Etiquette 101

I have attended sporting events of one kind or another since I was a young girl.  Over the years, I’ve become increasingly irritated with the sheer amount of people (a number of them female) who do not understand the basic etiquette of attending a sporting event.  It really isn’t that difficult to get along with your fellow sports fans.  If you can manage basic good manners and have a minimum amount of common sense, you should be able to avoid these Top Ten sporting event faux paus:

Number 1:  Do NOT expect people to get up and let you in or out of the row during a play.  Ever.  I paid money to see the game, not the back of your head.  I don’t care if you really want to sit down.  Wait until the play is over and then I’d be happy to stand up for the fifteenth time for you and your small bladder.

Number 2:  Do NOT stop and talk to your friend in the row in front of you while the people in your row are standing waiting for you.  It really isn’t very smart to piss off the people who will getting your beer from Wally and sending it down the row.  Think about that.

Number 3:   Try to restrict the number of times you need to get up to go choke down a heater.  I respect your right to develop lung cancer, but I really do not appreciate missing several plays because you need to get a fix.  Also, you really smell.  Perhaps you should consider investing in Febreeze and breath mints.  The  people in your row will thank you, or at the very least, won’t look at you with such disgust.

Number 4:  If you can’t hold your liquor, please don’t go tailgate for six hours before the game begins.  Spilling your beer all over your row mates or else puking all over yourself is not going to win you any friends.  Trust me on this one.

Number 5:   The bottom of the stairs is not a social gathering area.  People are trying to get from their seats to either the beer line or the bathroom line and back as soon as humanly possible.  Do not impede this process.  It could get very ugly for you.

Number 6:  I realize you think your kid is the cutest thing ever and that you’ve completely ruined him for life by giving in to every single one of his demands.  I just don’t think he’s cute, nor do I appreciate hearing him scream at the top of his lungs.  Also, unless you want him to lose a leg, do not let him kick my seat.

Number 7:   If you really don’t want to watch the game, why are you here?  I’ve seen people reading books, doing crossword puzzles, and talking on their cell phones through an entire game.  Can’t you do these activities from the comfort of your own home?!?!

Number 8:  Under no circumstances are you EVER supposed to do The Wave.  Ever.  In any stadium.  Ever.  This is non-negotiable.  This crime is punishable by stoning during halftime.

Number 9:  Sit in your correct seats.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out where Section 212, Row 20 is located.  Seats are clearly labeled at every stadium.  If you are unsure of where you are supposed to sit, track down one of the dorks in a yellow jacket.  The highlight of their night is to help stupid people find their seats.  They surely aren’t going to stop any brawls in the stands.  Also, if you are trying to sit in seats that are nicer than the ones you paid for, stop being such a cheap bastard and pony up for them.

Number 10:  The middle of the concourse is not the place for a family reunion.  Some of us are actually trying to grab a beer and a brat and get back to our seats before the next quarter or period begins.  I don’t care if you haven’t seen your mother/brother/best friend in ten years, get the hell out of the way.

While I cannot promise that following these ten rules will guarantee that you won’t piss off the people around you during a sporting event, it could potentially save your life.

The Loss of a Great Man….

Tim Allen was an incredibly talented writer, but more importantly, he was an incredible person.  He was witty, intelligent, kind, and always kept me on my toes.  Tim and I met online through Twitter, but became friends in “real life”, too.  I just met up with him to see “The Dark Knight Rises” and have lunch with him last week.  He let me pick where to sit in the theater, as long as he could be on the aisle.  When we sat down, I jokingly asked him if we needed to leave a “bro” seat between us.  He said I could sit next to him, but had to promise to keep my hands to myself.  He was always quick with a comeback and his delivery was impeccable.  He was also very skilled at giving me a hard time, which I appreciated.

I remember sitting with him at a Twins game recently.  He knew how much I hate the White Sox, so he decided he’d cheer for them.  I cut him some slack because he was a Cubs fan.  He found it incredibly humorous that the one game I made it to this year was against the White Sox and A. J. Pierzynski wasn’t in the lineup for me to “boo”.  I felt ripped off.

Tim was a big Kobe Bryant fan.  This was difficult for me to swallow because I cannot stand Bryant.  He would routinely text me with some obnoxious stat about Kobe and rub it in.  He even told me that his dog, Sam, had her own Kobe jersey.  I told him I was going to report him to PETA for cruel and unusual punishment of his beloved dog.  He just laughed and shook his head.  We had that kind of friendship where you give each other a lot of crap, but you care very deeply for each other.

I was very jealous that he got to go to the NBA Summer League in Vegas for a week and stay in the SB Nation house.  He was able to meet some fellow bloggers he respected.  He had a great time there, except when he decided to try to walk to the Strip from the house he was staying in.  I remember him texting me and asking me if he should walk the roughly five miles to the Strip.  I told him it might not be bad walking there, but walking back was sure to be a nightmare.  But, Tim was stubborn (I’d venture to say even more stubborn than me and that’s saying something) and he went anyway.  He texted me from the Strip, updating me on his winnings from blackjack.  I didn’t hear from him while he was on his long walk back to the house, but he did eventually tell me it wasn’t a very smart thing to do and even wrote about it briefly on Canis Hoopus.

Tim is the reason I took the plunge and started this blog.  He encouraged and supported me and kicked my rear end when I needed it (which was often).  He was my sounding board and a brutally honest editor.  I knew I could count on him to give me honest and constructive feedback of my writing.  He always answered my endless questions about the Timberwolves, most recently regarding the draft and the trades and signings.  We’d made plans to go down to the Wolves training camp in October and I was really looking forward to that.  He was very passionate about basketball and extremely knowledgeable.  I believe his sports writing career was really going to take him far.  It’s a tragedy that we will never know where it could have taken him.

My deepest condolences to his family, friends, and co-workers.  He was a wonderful man and I am honored to have known him and to have spent time with him.  He leaves a very big hole in my heart.  We had a very close friendship that I will never forget.  Rest in peace, Tim.  I will miss you forever.

Vikings Gamble, Lose For Now on Greg Childs….

When the Minnesota Vikings drafted Greg Childs in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL Draft (134th overall), I was actually pretty impressed.  At 6’3 and 219 lbs, Childs is a big receiver who can use his athleticism on short, vertical routes.  Considering the wide receiver options currently on the Vikings roster, Childs’ physical attributes made him a welcome addition to the team.  Childs would have been a first-round draft pick had he not torn his right patellar tendon in 2010, making him a steal in the fourth round where Rick Spielman, rightfully I believe, gambled on him.

Childs had looked very good during training camp this year.  There were some pretty high expectations for him for the upcoming season.  Then came the ill-fated play on Saturday that would end all of the Vikings’ hopes for him for this season and possibly for his career.  Childs landed awkwardly after going up for a pass and grabbed both of his knees upon coming down.  Early reports were that he had re-injured that right patellar tendon he tore two years ago.  Unfortunately, upon further examination, the Vikings learned that Childs had, in fact, torn the patellar tendons in both of his knees.  Only one player in NFL history–former Cleveland Browns cornerback Gary Baxter in 2006–has suffered this exact injury.  Baxter never played another NFL game.

I spoke with Mike Jacques, the Sports Director/Anchor for 40/29 TV in Fayetteville/Fort Smith, Arkansas (@jockosports on Twitter) about Greg Childs.  Mike covered Childs while he was at the University of Arkansas.  Here is the transcript of our conversation:

Female Sports Lover:     What did you think was the biggest upside to drafting Childs? What did you think he could bring to the Vikings, before his devastating knee injury?

Mike Jacques:     First of all, my heart really goes out to Greg Childs. This guy worked so hard to get back to full strength after an injury in college.  He did not  have the senior season he wanted, but was really impressive in his workouts for NFL teams. I thought he really could have helped the Vikings with their passing game. He is a big receiver, but he is deceptively quick and is not afraid to take a hit.  He is a guy that could go up and get a ball and take it away from defenders. I think he certainly would have helped Christian Ponder and the rest of the offense.

Female Sports Lover:     Do you believe Greg has the work ethic and dedication to come back from such an injury? Only one player in the NFL has suffered this injury before and he was never able to return.

Mike Jacques:  I am a little concerned about his injury ending his career certainly. Having an injury like that is bad enough, but to have it in both legs is really devastating. But, Greg Childs has come back from this type of injury before and I know he is the kind of fighter that will do anything it takes to get back out on the field. I know that Hog fans down here in Arkansas are certainly keeping him in their thoughts and know he is the type of guy that has a big heart and will do everything it takes to get back on the field.

Female Sports Lover:    Jarius Wright is another Arkansas wide receiver the Vikings drafted. Clearly he and Childs are very different types of receivers. Do you think Wright could have as big an impact as Childs would have had this season?

Mike Jacques:     I really think Jay Wright has a chance to do some big things for the Vikings this year. He is so quick and might shine in the slot this year.  He is another great kid with a huge heart and I will not be surprised if he does great things up in Minnesota.  I think having Jarius up there will help Greg to get through this and they will push each other to succeed.

Granted, Greg Childs is not Randy Moss in 1998.  I still believe this injury is particularly hurtful to the Vikings because they believed that Childs would give them the big, athletic receiver they are currently lacking in the lineup.  At this point, the Vikings are hurting at the wideout position.  Percy Harvin will excel in the slot, but the remaining options are not that appealing.  Jarius Wright, Michael Jenkins and Devin Aromashodu are all unproven.  Jerome Simpson is a huge question mark but definitely has some potential.  With that said, the Vikings need to bring in a veteran wide receiver, if possible, or else Christian Ponder will have very few proven targets to throw to, especially with the uncertain status of Adrian Peterson.

Special thanks to Mike Jacques for taking the time to talk with me.  Follow him on Twitter @jockosports.
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