Letters from the Lunar Outpost

As one acts and conducts himself, so does he become. The doer of good becomes good. The doer of evil becomes evil. One becomes virtuous by virtuous action, bad by bad action.
- Upanishads, Hindu Poetic Dialogues on Metaphysics (c. B.C. 800)

nfl

A funny thing happened to me this morning. I woke up and knowing full-well that my Raiders were playing the early game today, it struck me that I had no absolutely no desire to tune into the game or have anything else to do with the NFL. This after four decades of die-hard fandom, following my Raiders almost every single game for what would have been exactly forty years this year. I had no desire to watch any of it – none, zip, zilch, nada.

It was bad enough for sports in general to see ESPN become the equivalent of MSNBC’s sports division, but at least with the propaganda ESPN spews, you couldn’t blame the leagues themselves.  Now we have to witness the same National Football League which cracks down on players for excessive celebrations turning a blind eye to players disrespecting the flag and the national anthem. To hell with those players and to hell with the league which allows it.

Athletes making millions of dollars a year crying about oppression should cry about it to their black president. If they really cared about their people, they would focus on the actual problems inside the community, such as the rate of nearly 6,000 black on black murders last year instead of putting all their energies into playing the victim card over a handful of police shootings.

After 40 years, I am done with the NFL. I have absolutely no desire to watch it any more and it looks like I’m not alone on this, either.

To Hell with the NFL#ToHellwiththeNFL

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As we head into a new football season and I’m reading up on some of the prospects, among all the physical stats like 40-yard dash times and vertical leap, the subject of Wonderlic scores always comes up. Developed in the 1930s by Eldon F. Wonderlic and adopted originally by Tom Landry in testing prospects for the Cowboys in the 1970s, the Wonderlic has become the NFL’s standard for testing IQs.

Suddenly, the thought struck me, how would I stack up on the test? The real test is 50 questions to be performed in 12 minutes. To keep it in the realm of fair use, I’m giving a 20 question sample. Try to keep it under 5 minutes. Take the score you’re given at the end of the quiz on a 0-100 scale and divide that by two to see what your score would be on the 0-50 scale of the Wonderlic exam.

Now to a list of some of the more notable Wonderlic scores for players entering the NFL draft, scores are mainly brought up in regards to quarterbacks and the list reflects that. A few hall of famers with surprisingly low scores, a few players had great scores and careers that didn’t live up to their draft position, but if you’re a Bill’s fan looking at Ryan Fitzpatrick after his breakout year in 2012, it’s got to feel good to know your field general scored a 49 out of 50.

Darren Davis – running back – 4
Vince Young – quarterback – 6
Dan Marino – quarterback – 15
Jim Kelly – quarterback – 15
Terry Bradshaw – quarterback – 16
Tim Tebow – quarterback – 22
Mark Sanchez – quarterback – 28
Eli Manning – quarterback – 39
Drew Henson – quarterback – 42
Greg McElroy – quarterback – 48
Ryan Fitzpatrick – quarterback – 49
Mike Mamula – defensive end / linebacker – 49
Pat McInally – punter – 50

A score of 10 shows basic literacy and the average NFL prospect score mirrors the general population at 19 to 20. Remember to take your final score out of 100 and divide by 2 to get your score on the Wonderlic scale.

source: mandatory.com

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I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.

I didn’t set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I’m happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn’t the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, “I’m different.” If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I’m raising my hand.

My journey of self-discovery and self-acknowledgement began in my hometown of Los Angeles and has taken me through two state high school championships, the NCAA Final Four and the Elite Eight, and nine playoffs in 12 NBA seasons.

I’ve played for six pro teams and have appeared in two NBA Finals. Ever heard of a parlor game called Three Degrees of Jason Collins? If you’re in the league, and I haven’t been your teammate, I surely have been one of your teammates’ teammates. Or one of your teammates’ teammates’ teammates.

source: Sports Illustrated

Jason Collins, Sports Illustrated CoverIf they had been the ones who made the choice, the gay community could not have picked a better man to be the first openly gay athlete in American big league sports. Seriously, how eloquent is this guy? Please do click the link and keep reading. It’s a great read. For all Jason Collins gifts as an athlete, the man is equally gifted with words.

Depending on where you mark the beginnings, Major League Baseball has been around for about 140 years, the NFL is seven years shy of 100, and the NBA will turn 67 in June. Through those three leagues and hundreds of years combined, no active player has come out until now. That is how hard the unwritten code of the locker room was cast. They may as well just have had a sign over the door of the locker room of every sports team in America that read, “NO GAYS ALLOWED.”

Jason Collins just showed a lot of courage to come out the way he did today. We’re not talking courage on the level of Jackie Robinson, Collins won’t face a level of hate anything near what Robinson faced in being the first black man to play in the major leagues, but as far as heroes and heroines go, in one day, I would say the man is already of a larger magnitude than say, Ellen DeGeneres, who came out in a comedian / entertainment community which already had it’s fair share of openly gay performers. This is not to take away anything from Ellen (whose act is surprisingly about as clean as Bob Sagat spinning jokes on America’s Funniest Home Videos) but beloved as Ellen may be by the gay community and supporters of gay rights, what Jason Collins did today was a giant leap forward compared to Ellen’s step out of the closet.

Myself personally? I’m so straight, I once french kissed a guy on a bet and felt even more straight after that kiss because I felt nothing whatsoever in it. I only have eyes for women and nothing but women. I also have a lot of Christian friends who I respect who truly believe that homosexuality is a sin. I will continue respecting them as long as they also live up to Jesus’ teaching to “hate the sin, love the sinner”.

That is their belief, they think homosexuality is a choice and a sinful one at that, and I will respect my Christian friends who believe this even though I have seen with my own eyes plenty examples of people who I believe were born gay. Sure, some people might make the choice as a conscious decision, a choice that they would rather live the alternative lifestyle, but who among us hasn’t also known a two- or three- or four-year-old kid that you already knew was gay many years before they might figure it out themselves?

There are conservatives and there are libertarians. I am much more the latter than the former, but for my conservative friends who believe in “traditional marriage”, I ask you to try to imagine being born different as I give some major props to Jason Collins, because today, he became the first major leaguer to have the courage to come out and say, this is me, and I am who I am.

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Never has an NFL player faced so much doubt and so much hate.

We’ve never seen a player get called out to this degree by fellow players, both current and former, guys like Terrell Suggs, Steve Smith, Jermichael Finley, Joe Flacco and Merrill Hoge . . . it goes beyond a few guys just questioning whether he has what it takes, it’s the level of the criticism, you just never see that kind of sniping from NFL players against another player.

Even as Michael Vick was going to prison for betting on dogs and cheering it on as the dogs tore each other apart, his fellow players had his back and were either silent about it or offered Vick words of encouragement.

What has Tebow ever done to attract all the doubt and all the hate? Bend on one knee after a touchdown and give his Lord and Savior thanks?

“I don’t get it,” said Champ Bailey, the Broncos’ star cornerback. “You can say it looks different or whatever you want, but don’t say he won’t make it. You don’t do that. This is like a big fraternity for me. Guys who do that, I lose respect for them.”

And then there’s the legion of scumbags like Bill Maher, who go far beyond ill will wrapped inside of football analysis and are completely undisguised in their hate for Tebow, hating him for who he is and everything he stands for.

Watching Tebow win, I honestly don’t know which I enjoy more, seeing a kid with such great heart and character exceed all expectations, or thinking of all the Christian-hating bigots like Bill Maher, clutching his remote in anguish, wanting to change the channel, but unable to turn away because Tebow’s shocked the world again, and now Tebow’s down on one knee, praying to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ after another game-winning touchdown and they’re nearly apoplectic because this can’t be happening because they said he couldn’t make it, he wasn’t not good enough, he wasn’t skilled enough . . . ahhhhh! This can’t be happening!!!

 

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Tim Tebow with the John 3:16 Eye Black

In his first NFL playoff game, Tim Tebow threw for 316 yards and averaged 31.6 yards per pass - chapter and verse of Tebow's favorite passage from the Bible: John 3:16.

So for all the haters out there, let’s relive your misery and take a look at what Tebow has treated us to so far in his first season as an NFL starter:

  1. In his first start, led the largest comeback in NFL history with fewer than 3:00 remaining, bringing the Broncos back from down 15 to beat the Dolphins.
  2. In a comeback win against the Jets, Tebow capped the drive with a 20-yard touchdown run with 0:58 remaining, marking the longest game-winning scoring run by a quarterback in the final minute of regulation in NFL history.
  3. Down 8 at the half, another 4th quarter comeback win in Minnesota gives Tebow a tie for the NFL record with five 4th quarter and overtime comeback wins in his first 10 starts.
  4. The very next week, Tebow and the Broncos overcome a 10-point deficit against the Bears with just over two minutes to play. In the history of the NFL, no quarterback has ever had as many as six comeback victories in their first 11 starts.
  5. Add to the six comebacks the fact that in all three of the overtime comebacks, Tebow had to engineer a game-tying 4th quarter drive just to send it into overtime and you could call it three more comebacks within the six comebacks.
  6. Looking back on the 2011 regular season, the Broncos were 1-4 and looked like one of the worst teams in the league when Tebow got the starting job.  At the end of the season, Tebow had helped lift the team to one of the most improbable playoff berths ever.
  7. Tebow’s first NFL playoff game? The best performance of his career. He passes for 316 yards, breaking John Elway’s team record for most passing yards in a playoff debut. Tebow connects on four passes of at least 30 yards in the second quarter alone (first time in a playoff game since 1960) and finishes with 5 for 30+. He sets the Bronco franchise record for QB rating in a playoff game (125.6) and an NFL record for yards per completion (31.6) in a playoff game. Tebow throws for a game-winning touchdown on the first play from scrimmage in overtime, the 80-yard touchdown pass is the longest overtime touchdown pass in NFL playoff history.

Whatever happens against the Patriots Saturday night, Tim Tebow’s rookie season has been more storybook than anyone could have ever imagined – best story of the entire year. Suck on that, haters.

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They got me, they pulled this one off so well, they had me fooled for half the commercial!

Here I was thinking they had just dug up a bunch of classic TV clips with the characters when they just so happened to have worn NFL gear in the scene. It wasn’t until the Marsha Brady getting hit with the football that I realized, “Hey, she wasn’t wearing a Charger jersey in that clip!” Well, it probably took me a while longer to catch on than most that all of this was CGI wizardry, but the fact they were able to put one over on me as long as they did speaks to the quality of the work.

Great concept, flawless execution.

Love those 90210 girls in their LA Raider gear!

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Team of Rivals
by
Doris Kearns Goodwin