Ruffled Feathers With The Goose
An alternative tour around Toronto.

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This is my list of some of the best places in The Dot.

FOOD

Oriental:

Wabora: If you love your sushi, this higher end Japanese restaurant at the swanky Thompson Hotel has all kinds of creative rolls, including one of their most popular, ”The Crispy Crunch” roll. The seared tuna belly is like m&ms.

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Guu This place is for a more adventurous diner. It’s a Japanese delicacy joint; no sushi. The feature menu has all kinds of weird and interesting items and ingredients that are only available at certain times of the year. They also make you feel like a celebrity; the entire staff screams salutations at you when you enter and leave. Vancity heads have probably indulged with these folks out west.

New Ho King Think Chinese food is chicken balls with that red sauce and fried rice? Maybe this isn’t for you. But if you love your Chinese grub authentic, grimy and scuzzy, perhaps a little unsure of the cleanliness of the kitchen, this one is a three decade old mainstay. Open late night, real late; and if you do like chicken balls, they’re unreal. 

Rol San Same as above, but Rol San does all day dim sum. MMMmmm

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Xe Lua: aka Train to Toronto heads. Another great place on Spadina open till around 4am. Vietnamese the was you like it: fast, tasty, cheap, and generous with portions. Nothing really beats a big bowl of pho.

Italian:

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North of Brooklyn Don’t let people fool you. Most people will say if you want the best slice in the city, you should go to Pizza Libretto. FALSE. The correct answer here is this puny little pizza bar. Thin crust, but still a little crisp so you don’t have to roll up your slice like a burrito. Get the “white pizza” - garlic ricotta and a handful of citrus arugula.

La Vecchia This place may be out of the way, but it’s worth the trip to Yonge and Eglington. Simply the best Italian in Toronto.

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Terrazza:   Cute little Italian spot at Shaw and Harbord. Just south of Bloor off of Ossington. My friend Frankie owns it. Good guy, huge sports fan. Tell him Dale sent you, but don’t tell him what I said above about La Vecchia.

Amato: If you can’t make it out of your apartment or hotel, Amato delivers an amazing pie. Don’t walk in and get a slice, it does it zero justice. Fresh and hot delivery though…woah.

Foodie Spots:

Grand Electric: You might not be able to even get a table at this west end hot spot. There’s always a line out the door for dinner service. It was quoted as “the most hyped restaurant of 2012” in Toronto and it doesn’t disappoint. Meets and exceeds actually. Mexican taste on deer antler. Ceviche and all the tacos are outstanding. Also go down the street to check out the same owners’ new spot of equally tantalizing flavours, Electric Mud BBQ.

Stockyards: Business is booming for this trendy joint at Bathurst and St.Clair. Fried chicken and burgers are flying out of the kitchen faster than Steph Curry’s release. Great food, welcoming staff. It’s a must. The ribs are a darkhorse at this place, so good.

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Big Daddy’s: Right around the corner from the hotel the Gillette Drafted top 25 are staying at, I think you’d be hard pressed to find a single person with a bad review of this southern style oyster bar. Make sure to inquire about the various types of oysters from around the world. The duck l’orange is spectacular; the seafood fondu out of this world.

Like brunch? Check out The Drake Hotel, The Federal Reserve, Habits Gastropub, Boom and The Lakeview which is open 24hrs.

SHOPPING

All of these places are on Queen West with the exception of Jonathan + Olivia which is just off it on Ossington.

Nomad

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Jacflash

GravityPope

Jonathan + Olivia

Community 54 - really cool throwback sports gear here

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TNT - this is more for window shopping unless you’re filthy rich. I once bought my brother a $2,000 jacket at this Yorkville store. No kidding. Yorkville is cool though. Hemmingway’s is an awesome bar if you’re strolling through the high life area.

Enjoy Toronto everyone!

The Goose

Oh back to school, back to school.

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For the past 2 months, I’ve spent all my free time breathing Gillette Drafted. My personal goals have changed; of coarse it would be nice to snatch that 25th spot and see how deep of a run I can make in this thing. There’s several contestants in the top 24 who are already nestled in sports media, and have paid dues to get where they are. So I have to stay positive about this experience and be realistic. What this competition has done for me is immeasurable. It’s reinforced for me that this is the dream life. Rather, it’s maybe 1 of 4 dreams, there’s no need to limit yourself to just one. Unfortunately I don’t have the time or money yet to learn how to play golf properly and join the PGA. Drafted has motivated and inspired me to get better, to start building a portfolio of work and hone my craft.

My relationship with sports goes beyond the box score and the on field performances. I get just as excited about the coverage and analysis as I do the event itself. I consume sports media at sickening levels. So from a fans perspective of both sports and broadcasting, these are some thoughts and ideas about the journey so far.

What I’m looking for in a sportscaster:

It’s important to establish this first because a lot of what I’ll say derives from my own personal checklist. It’s completely subjective, as all things we choose to consume are. To give you an example of who my role models are; the opinions that I actively seek out and search for on demand: the PTI crew and almost everyone on Around The Horn, Cam Stewart and Sansone when it was live@thescore, Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose, SVP and Russillo, Johnny Mac, Doris Burke, Chad Millman, shout outs to homegrown Adnan Virk (I just don’t want to listen to that much baseball talk), Jeff Van Gundy, Mary Joe Fernandez, Zach Lowe, Ernie Johnson and retired legend Bill Walton, THROW IT DOWN BIG MAN, THROW IT DOWN!

These guys all do some if not all of the following: they introduces stories and angles, forecast and extend the conversation, ask the right questions, and make me feel dumb for not seeing a story/game/play a certain way.

Stand Out Performers:

Joseph o2: I can listen to this guy deliver the headlines all damn day. It’s easier than oxygen consumption (lame, I know, I couldn’t stop myself). Music taste is a little sketchy with the Classified - “Oh….Canada” post, but music taste is the same thing as this, subjective. He’s so comfortable on camera. His vocal inflections are on point (just the way he says ‘NBA’ is cool). He’s got some great ideas and looks like a lock for the top 6 with his early performance.

***SIDE NOTE: Before moving on, I’ve watched a lot of competitions on television: singing (guilty pleasure, not ashamed), cooking, fashion, sports stuff like Drafted. I think peaking early could be a misstep. Next thing you know, there’s a teenager from Halifax coming from behind to steal the show.

5timeteddy: He’s on a “I could definitely go throw some beer and JD down with this guy” vibe. Guy’s guy; man’s man. He comes off approachable and seasoned. Jenner is the veteran in this competition with a wealth of experience and it’s translating, big time. I listen to enough talk radio to know 5time is good to go.

Courtney “Coco” Hutchings: I hate to go gender on this, but honestly, with limited female contestants left, Coco sure is doing a helluva job for all the ladies out there. The content she’s generated thus far is firing on all cylinders. She glows on screen and looks like she’s having fun doing the challenges. To me, she’s the all Canadian girl next door who knows just as much, if not more about sports than everyone on the block.

Harrison Bourdon: If this dude were in the Tdot, he’d probably be living on queen west. For those not from the best city in Canada, to me, that means he’s sharply dressed, inked up, intellectual and cultured all while not seeming pretentious. This is a first impression only. So far, really dope. The Bartoli angle he took in challenge 3 was original; the Will Farrell reference earlier was well placed.

***TREND ALERT: To me, BC is KILLING it. Dominating. If Drafted were a team sport, British Columbia is pulverizing every other region including my very own, my beloved, the dot.

Andrew Blanchette: I don’t just asterisk and side note someone unless they’re having an impact on something. Young, full of potential. Feels like I’m talking to a buddy. I perceive his opinions as his own and not influenced by outside sources. If he doesn’t work on a national stage by the end of the year, it’s not much further away.

Anthony Bruno: This guy is carrying Toronto and GTA on his back right now. He’s funny. He took the feedback from challenge 1, made adjustments and dropped the schtick. Bruno dialled it back a bit, and is easing us in to his sense of humour which eventually he can unleash full out. The "Let me read off this paper….if you don’t believe me, go check the stats yourself" line coupled with him aggressively throwing a cue card out of frame was the highlight of the night; the best play in all social challenge round 2 submissions.

Try not to think of this as I’m inflating peoples egos by talking about great individual performers. This is more “who the hell am I to say anything negative about anyone?” The people I haven’t commented on simply have yet to make me a believer. I have no authority in this arena. I can only talk about who I am a fan of so far; who is doing the leg work and delivering information that I could ultimately find on my own if I wanted to. This is my top 6. These people have already made me a fan and that’s the most important thing. Nothing is in stone yet. Things will change and the above six could screw it up and drop the ball. Others may charge up the leaderboard. We haven’t even scratched the surface so far.

Completing and Executing Challenges:

I recently saw someone talk basketball in challenge 3; none of it made any sense schematically from an offensive perspective. But they believed it. He said it with confidence, and that’s vital.  We all have our favourite sports and it will come across, no doubt. You can see the serotonin brewing. It’s palpable. For me, it’s a matter of being serviceable in as many things as possible. 

I tune in to American programming for the most part when it comes to sports, and obviously hockey is near the bottom of the totem pole down south. When they do put in their two cents on a puck related story that’s barely mainstream, my favourite broadcasters although not passionate, can join the conversation and are always coherent and informed if nothing else.

There’s a lot of general themes happening in sports, both team and individual. You don’t have to love a sport to understand the concept of things like: being a contender, rebuilding your franchise, cap space, unreasonable expectations. These type of things occur everywhere. So for example, when asked in social challenge #1, “Who was the winner of the 2013 NHL entry draft?”, I ask myself, “Who was the winner of the 1984 NBA draft?”. Wouldn’t we all agree it’s the Chicago Bulls having Michael Jordan fall in their lap at 3rd the same way Seth Jones fell to 4th with the Predators? Portland didn’t take MJ because they already had Clyde Drexler; it wasn’t a position they need to address. I think that is so stupid. You take Jordan, and then shop him around to fill your so called needs. That to me is the end all be all for the position, “take the best talent on the board” and then make some more decisions.

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Even myself though, I know that if I generate an angle, or see a storyline develop a certain way, all on my own, zero influence from other people’s opinions, there’s absolutely no chance that I was the only person in the world who saw it that way. These challenges have proved that none of us are that original when it comes to opinions. There’s only so many possible opinions out there.

In terms of these challenges so far. the most interesting part of doing them is deciding how literal you want to follow the instructions and how specific you interpret the language. The last one for example asked us, “What NBA player will have the greatest ‘impact’ on his new team?”. It forced us to either take the Webster’s definition, or gamble and try to play with that word; see how we can bend or manipulate it. Regardless, it has nothing to do with me selecting Dwight Howard. It has everything to do with why. The explanation to the answer is what we tune in for, not the answer itself.

I had a college professor, he teaches Desktop Publishing, his mantra for life is F.T.F.I - Follow the f**ing instructions. When I knew I was going to go all out for Drafted Season 5, I marathon’d thru the previous seasons faster than the first season of Lost. There’s a lot of great notes and feedback throughout that we can apply to how we attack these challenges. One of the easier ones to pick up was not exceeding the suggested time limit for your videos. Remember when Matty D won a challenge, was given the option of either taking the extra 2 minutes or passing it off for the 5 minute Biznasty interview? He went over his 7 minutes by just a few seconds and was called out on it. You don’t go over the allotted time. If you want more lessons, go hunt. They’re all there, and it’s free.

***SIDE NOTE: You better be really friggin good if your 1-2 minute video is sliced with an editing cut every 5 seconds. Very few are doing this with success. Most are annoying and I can’t even watch the entire video. I think if you are going to do the cut thang, there’s a cleaner way to do it. Be slick, it probably would only take a few minutes more to create smoother transitions. It’s glaringly awkward otherwise and can appear somewhat mickey mouse.

I’m going to get geeky for a second and talk numbers since we’re officially in sports metrics era. For something like when Drafted asked us, “What’s the best story from Wimbledon?”, we’re actually at a time where we have the stats available to give a definitive, inarguable answer from the numbers side. It’s true the best story isn’t always the biggest one. Most of the time it is though. It’s big for a reason. More people found some universal way to connect to it.

We can analyze twitter mentions, google searches. trending topics, etc etc. If I were told, “The biggest story from Wimby is Andy Murray winning the championship, it was trending on twitter for 5 days. Where as Nadal getting bounced lasted only 6 hours”, how am I supposed to retaliate there? I would bet the house that the Andy Murray angle comes out on top every time by any metric. So looking at it like that, if I’m being asked to comment on the biggest or best story, I’m joining in on what the most people are talking about/interested in. If I was asked, “Andy Murray aside, what’s the best story from Wimbledon?”, it’s different. The conversation with the most people participating is the one professionals need to chime in on. If you get hardcore and start listing name after name of bench warmers, 3rd stringers and role guys, rattling off run of the mill stats, it gets a little niche.

It’s been fascinating watching the learning curve of everyone participating, 25th spot hopefuls included. Almost everyone is getting better with each new challenge. Getting more comfortable, correcting mistakes and showing growth. That’s what it’s about man. This really is like being back in school. Everyone in the competition is your classmate, and the Gillette Drafted crew and Sportsnet360 suits are our profs dishing out assignments. Every class comes complete with skippers, the people who aren’t even doing the challenges or meeting the deadlines. It was also interesting watching the people lagging behind try to catch up on all three challenges. I have a lot of respect for those people. You don’t just give up on your dream because you just never know.

Something else I have a ton of respect for are the people who are able to take notes or constructive criticism and spin it in to a positive (Marc Richler). The people who can’t make the adjustments seem entitled. The hosts and judges of this show are giving you a free education. They’re the professionals. They’re the ones who have the job we want. It’s probably a good idea to listen to them.

Some random rapid fire thoughts:

Bianca Tiexeira, aka SnarkCity, aka Snarkface, aka the devil in the (insert colour) dress. She’s been great for the show. I applaud that she opened her last video saying that she wasn’t there to comment on the top 24’s sports IQ, she was there to review delivery, fashion, and entertainment value. Snarkaluffagus is living, breathing proof that there isn’t just one door that could lead to your dream job. If you work hard and enjoy what you do, with talent being the caveat, the results you seek should manifest. Her story gave me more fuel and a little inspiration to write this blog post.

My personal growth: I’m my own worst critique as I’m sure a lot of people out there are for themselves. It’s important to me that I’m able to identify my weaknesses and work on my game. The interview I shot as a side project was one of the most challenging things I’ve done in years. I couldn’t get past the thought, “Why is anybody watching this?”. and “Is the content engaging?”. To be honest, it put me on tilt; broadcasting tilt if there is such a thing. Then I had to look at the positive side and understand that it was the first time I’d produced an interview and that it was just another learning experience and future portfolio work. It was grade A effort, but C+, B- execution at best in my opinion. I can only get better though since my desire to sharpen up is maniacal.

Things I’m working/focusing on: My volume control, ability to generate content, pace in which I speak.

Again, thanks to Gillette Drafted crew for the opportunity, the motivation, and the inspiration. S/O to the top 24 too for raising the bar.

Dale Manucdoc aka The Goose

Thoughts on all 30 NBA teams in 139 characters or less.

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ATLANTIC DIVISION

NEW YORK:  They went all in last year and got crushed. There’s very little wiggle room to improve.

BOSTON:  Offence was built around Rondo and jump shooters, what direction will Stevens go in, there doesn’t appear to be any capable shooters left?

BROOKLYN:  Good luck with that. Should be a top 4 seed. Look to make noise in the playoffs. Ring number 2 for KG? :)

TORONTO:  They were already poised to make the playoffs. Getting rid of Bargnani is a start. Uriji needs to do more to get the credit.

76ers:  This will be a recurring thought for some teams. Let the tanking begin!

CENTRAL

INDIANA:  If Danny Granger won’t accept being “instant scoring guy” off the bench, go get Nate Robinson or trade for Luol Deng.

MILWAUKEE:  Still can’t figure out how these guys did better than the Raptors with last years roster. Lottery bound.

CHICAGO:  Lock up Jimmy Butler. The kid is going to be a great third banana once the prodigal son comes back.

DETROIT: Let the big fella loose.  Drummond’s ceiling looks high. And congrats on giving $56mil to a guy who doesn’t care about winning.

CLEVELAND: The Jack signing feels like an insurance policy when Kyrie bolts town to a bigger market.

SOUTHEAST

MIAMI: Pat Riley needs to stop acting coy. We’ve seen your cards. Miami needs to beef up their front court. Rebounding x 1000000

ATLANTA: There seems to be a misplaced amount of effort to remain mediocre. Why go after Ellis?

WASHINGTON: Just keep doing what you’re doing. They don’t need to tank to end up with a top 5 pick next year.

CHARLOTTE: That “Be like Mike” slogan is really losing its’ luster.

ORLANDO: Love me some Victor Oladipo. Wait for the draft and the blockbuster free agent class of 2014.

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NORTHWEST

OKLAHOMA: Why haven’t they cut Perk yet? Should have amnestied him and got JJ Hickson.

DENVER: Stockpiling big men like David Kahn and PGs. What’s the deal with that?

PORTLAND: Nothing exciting happening here. They’ll contend for a playoff spot.

UTAH: Looks like they’re going to let the young guns free this year. They’ll be good but still lottery bound.

MINNESOTTA: TBD based on how high Pekovic is able to drive his RFA price in the market.

PACIFIC

LAKERS: If they can’t stay competitive without Mamba, do Kupchak and Buss tell Kobe to sit out the entire season? #TankingInDisguise?

CLIPPERS: Chris Paul will no longer be the dominant voice in the locker room. He has back for his demanding nature.

PHOENIX: See 76ers answer.

SACRAMENTO: See Pheonix answer.

GOLDEN STATE: Can’t say enough about the Iggy signing. Beauty! Addresses losing both Jack and Landry and helps your defence.

SOUTHWEST

SAN ANTONIO: Bring the band back. Why not? Just need to get an insurance policy playmaker for Manu.

DALLAS: How long can Cuban keep selling to his fans, “It’s not like we’re not trying to sign a big name.”

HOUSTON: I love James Harden, and enjoyed watching the Rockets, but I can’t possibly cheer for Dwight.

MEMPHIS: John Hollinger is a smart guy. Loves numbers. Won’t be hard to crunch these ones, 4-0. #DOmore #NEEDmore

NEW ORLEANS: Congrats on becoming the new Raps. Destined to be in the 7-10 range for the next 5 years.

The Goose

gillettedrafted:

: In a 1-min video, explain which team “won” the NHL Draft. Tweet your video with the hashtags: #GilletteDrafted and #SocialChallenge.

FAQ:

Q: Gillette Drafted, how do I make a 1-min video?
A: Cellphone, webcam, camera,…

The GOAT Debate

First of all, congrats to Justin Rose, that was an outstanding ho-hum way to win a major championship, very Webb Simpson’esque; great season thus far, great golfer.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk Eldrick. Since Tiger Woods moves the needle in golf and the PGA, it’s always important to discuss him in some facet after every major he plays in. After sifting through post US Open coverage, the thing that popped out most to me was this.

Phil Mickelson’s 6 second-place finishes are most in U.S. Open history. 

Pay attention to that top line. 19 2nd-place finishes in majors for The Golden Bear. 19!!! These aren’t team sports finals here where there’s a winner and a loser. These are golf tournaments with dozens of participants where one man outlasts an entire field of professionals over the course of four days of pressure packed competition at the highest level.

There’s a side of the debate that argues that even without winning 18 majors, Tiger is already the greatest of all time based on the stretch he went on in the early 2000s, the eventual eclipsing of Sam Snead on the all time wins list, and then the affect he’s had globally on the game. He’s more of a transcendent figure than Nicklaus. That may be due to today’s constant news coverage and social media.

I’m close to that position, I thought he needed the 18 majors, and perhaps 100 career victories in addition to the ambassador role he’s played in order to be the consensus GOAT. After seeing this list however, there’s a new wrinkle. Tiger needs 20+ majors. He’s not even on the list above. 19 2nd place finishes in majors is remarkable, unfathomable when you consider he also won 18 of them. Combine them for a moment and say aloud that Jack finished first or second in a major almost 40 times. Are you kidding me!

For now, I think that stat ends the debate. It’s almost as powerful as the Jordan was 6/6 in the finals point. It’s not perfection, but it’s damn close.

The Goose

What are we going to do now!?

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The question and The Answer(s) in the mid 70s and late 90s.

After having watched the NBA TV produced documentary about Julius Erving, aptly titled “The Doctor”, my biggest takeaway was that there should also be a statue erected at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia in honour of The Answer, Allen Iverson. This is not a new or original thought. I was at a friend’s place waiting for the ladies to get dolled up for a NXNE show in the Distillery. Anyhow, the doc was on the television in the background as we all caught up with each other, in and out of chit chat. My eyes were often wandering to the flatscreen to check it out, viewing it almost on mute as the volume smashed with the other noise in the room. 

Every time I peered over, there were images of Erving, luscious fro’, shades, fly tailored suit and all. I was able to catch a few quotable soundbites in reference to The Doc having singlehandedly carried the American Basketball Association thru the mud before its’ eventual merge with the National Basketball Association, and how there was an anticipation, or some hyperbolic excitement every time he stepped on the court to warm up. He changed the game; took it to the air. The colesnotes of the film are about a guy who was at the centre of a moment that shaped the basketball world as we consume it today. 

His style both on and off the court transcended the game and nestled in to pop culture and mainstream America. It was a story about the prevailing icon who will never be considered the greatest of all time, but is perhaps more important to the game than current NBA finalist and consensus top 10 all-timer Tim Duncan. Duncan, dubbed ‘The Big Fundamental’ by contemporary Shaquille O’Neal, is the complete opposite. Only NBA geeks get giddy about going to a Spurs game. There’s no palpable energy or even the possibility that you might see something that never happened before and may never see again.

This is what brought me to my thoughts on Allen Iverson. An eerily similar figure to Erving in terms of his relationship with basketball aside from the obvious 76ers affiliation. Even with the black clouds surrounding him with his pre NBA controversy, there was no doubt that AI would eventually stamp the league with his blood, sweat, and salty discharge.

From the moment he did this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLhI9cgsO4c

To the time he did that:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I65ADt9abU8

The Answer transitioned the league from one era to the next; he was the chain link, much like the gaudy ‘ice’ that defined the early 2000s. He was the most exciting player in the league (perhaps 1 or 1A with this guy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxZ-9mtOtyg).

Like Dr.J, he was the face of basketball, defining a generation both on and off the court. The fashion, the cornrows, the ink. The NBA had never adopted such a polarizing superstar since Bill Russell. It’s clear that Iverson grew up having watched the Michigan Fab Five, and he took that hip hop movement and injected it with ill-advised amounts of PEDs and then showered it in deer antler.

He gave Philly everything he had. No, he didn’t deliver them a championship. However, people talk about that rag tag team his lifted to the finals as one of the more impressive one man shows ever along with the Cavs’ squad LeBron carried in 2007. What he accomplished there needs to be immortalized with something physical, something tourists can go see and reminisce on a very important time in the history of the NBA. There was the lockout, and a bunch of of people vying for the throne, but couldn’t really relate to a mass teen audience and sell sneakers. People couldn’t play like Shaq; they believed they could play like Iverson. He was the man responsible for the ‘still’ the ‘I still love this game’ tagline the NBA used after Jordan’s second retirement. If there is a statue for a fictional boxer, surely we can erect on in that city for a man who carried the league on his 5’11 shoulders for half a decade.

Here’s a quick look at all the existing statues/sculptures of honoured athletes.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/multimedia/photo_gallery/1104/sports.figures.with.statues/content.1.html

Side note: Someone tell Frankie Edgar to get his own damn nickname.

The Goose

The Return of ‘El Artista’

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What a game! What a show. Riveting, riveting theatre.

The dialogue can go in several directions. But given that the greatest player in the world is in these here NBA finals, a lot of people will point out the 8/22 performance from James that seems trendy. They’ll say it was a lack of assertiveness, a lack of aggression. The King got to the line 9 times, don’t be ridiculous. He also got the help he needed from Dwayne Wade who filled up the box score; Ray Allen was perfect from three and finished with 21, and Chris Bosh who had the best +/- on the team tonight. So what went wrong? Did the Spurs simply overwhelm them with Danny Green threes? Did the Spurs simply overwhelm them with Danny Green threes? It had to be asked twice just so you know that’s actually what we’re talking about. Not exactly, this was just the complete effort of a championship calibre team. Everyone is always saying that when the Miami Heat turn it up to their extra gear, no one can stop them. Can’t we say that about San Antonio? Isn’t this their next level? And boy, what a helluva level it is.

First and foremost, that was as clean of a defensive performance as you can play. Clean. Not void of stupidity (see two Ray Allen four point plays). LeBron missed a lot of chippy makables around the basket including a few botched oops. For the most part, the Spurs were able to go straight up and contest with little to no contact. Glad to see the refs weren’t calling too many ticky tacks.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzb1sH3OO1c here’s the one where Parker “Jalen Rosed” Allen.

At the half, Magic Johnson had the line about Manu playing with talent. It makes so much sense. It reveals a guy who a defence can load up on and can shut down when he’s the focal point of the second unit but you put him on the floor with talent, with guys he’s comfortable with, who are threats, the usual chaos he creates is magnificent. The return of El Artista. It was everything. The juking, the jiving, the bob and the weave, everything was clicking. Multiple times during his post game, he said, “I needed it” in terms of of having an elite, clutch performance. RIght out of the gates, draining that 3 was huge for his confidence. It was a foreshadow of things to come. The dimes were as pretty if not more so than the buckets.

A huge benefactor of the unselfishness of these hall of famers is the looming side story, Danny Green, who has evolved in to a Sean Elliot/Bruce Bowen hybrid. A couple of key spurs role guys since the Duncan era started. He defends the wing, and hustles around the perimeter; and then on offence has catapulted himself to one of the deadliest spot up three point specialists.

I was thinking that the MVP of the finals if the Spurs were to go all the way was in limbo. Do you give it to this record setting Danny Green performance? Duncan for the consistency even with his reduced minutes? What if Manu were to duplicate this game 5 in game 6? Then Parker erupted for 9 straight points at the end of the fourth and closed the game, pretty much ending any debate. And that should seal it for him unless Danny green goes 8/10 from deep in game 6.

This game was a teeter, and San Antonio was the heavier kid. That’s not a Boris Diaw joke, unless you laughed. Then by all means. But ball heads know that this is a game of runs, and back and forth we went. It was just a matter of whether or not the Spurs could respond. Don’t think for a second that the pressure wasn’t on San Antonio the whole game. Usually when Miami goes on a run, and they punch back, it’s a death blow. But not against a team like this. Not this mentally tough. Tim Duncan’s post game remarks were telling, ‘He wanted to play well. He wanted to play really badly. I’m really excited for Manu for his performance tonight. But we need him to do it one more time. We need one more win”. Does El Artista have one more great piece in him? We’ll find out in a couple of days.

I almost forgot, Greg Popavic. Greg Popavic and every superlative you can use when talking about a great coaching performance.

The Goose.

Make monay monay MONAY!

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People bag on athletes who are “doing too much” off the field, insofar as their personal ventures can take away from their on field performances. This perspective is so offsides I don’t know where to begin. Sure, they make unprecedented salaries in comparison to the average jack and jill, of coarse. But Jack and Jill’s careers typically last 40+ years. Who are we to judge someone that has the foresight to plan for the future beyond their playing careers. Athletes typically only play until their early thirties; roughly a ten year span assuming they started fresh out of four years of post-secondary. Don’t overlook the possibility of life threatening or physically altering injuries that seem almost inevitable for most pros.

I have absolutely no issue with athletes trying to build themselves in to a brand and capitalize on the unique opportunities that present themselves. There’s little to no risk in taking on a spokesperson role or sponsorship deals for an athlete. It’s extremely one sided; the companies are the ones rolling the dice. Late night TV may fire a few shots about endorsing adult diapers, but who wouldn’t?

From the advertisers perspective, I wonder if it worth the gamble to release campaigns based on forecasting finalists or champions. You know it’s happening in football and basketball for sure. There were several Green Bay Packers who were doing national spots in the lead up to the Super Bowl last year: Aaron Rogers, Clay Mathews. Can you imagine how rattled the companies were when they fell short in the divisional round? Even the latest Gatorade commercials featuring Kevin Durant and Dwayne Wade. You know based on last years playoffs and how the regular season shaped up that advertisers just assumed that OKC and the Heat were on a collision course for a finals rematch. Patrick Beverley singlehandedly put Coca-Cola on tilt. Sleep with one eye open young man.

To the contrary, one of the more amazing spins on a coin flip gone wrong is the elephant in the room, Derrick Rose. The $250 million dollar man. Not only did Adidas in the short term come out the other side alive with the emotional “All in for D-Rose” campaign, they birthed an entire concept that crosses over towards other athletes like the RGIII “All in for week 1” campaign. How could they execute that concept for someone who isn’t injured.  Is injury even relevant?  Is it all just about the underdog and ‘don’t doubt me mentality’? I know NIke wishes they had that campaign for Kobe and his torn achilles injury. Holy shit would that move product. #allinforseasonopener!. I don’t know if it’s Derrick Rose’s persona that conveys the emotion so well or something else, an intangible. Here’s this guy who not once, but twice was crying during nationally televised press conferences.  He’s just so likeable. Then you combine that with how hard he plays, he’s a hometown kid, carrying his city on his back. That spot captured the gravity of a fallen hero just perfectly. It’s about the hunger to be the best, being someone with expectations. Exceptional execution of a multipurpose concept.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVtZFAIhSU4 Derrick Rose MVP speech

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jJ94r2uX1M Derrick Rose Addidas shoe release

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtj-D8HT9BY “All in for D Rose Commericial”

In terms of building a brand, you see someone like Jacoby Jones who went down the Dancing With The Stars path which is getting a little played out; they’re not just doing it because they want to have fun or love to dance. It’s premeditated. You increase your celebrity, you open yourself up to an entirely new demographic, you increase your marketability and the likelihood that you can move product. Whether it’s a fading star or rising one, being in the public eye is all icing. Absolutely no such thing as bad press. Most fans can’t possibly see their favourite athlete doing anything other than what they’ve been accustomed to, but players know that football isn’t forever. And those are the smart ones. Planning for the future. Building their brand now so that when the lights get “turnt” off, corporate america will still knock on their door for anything from wireless services to grills.

Strahan is the new bar. He’s the bees knees. You think about what he’s accomplished: hall of famer, super bowl champion, interim sack record.  Like that wasn’t enough!? Skip to someone who’s even more revered than him in their own field, broadcasting, Regis Philban. Living legend retires. And there’s Strahan taking the chair to wish everyone a good morning and bring the positive vibes to suburban middle american mothers across the country. It’s just a spectacular schwarzeneggerian story. He sure is waving the flag for bucktoothed dudes hard. And his smile is megawatt.

Whether athletes are opening a car wash or taking the Magic Johnson mogul route, it’s not our place to judge other peoples choices. To be in a position where you have a unique talent that can also be exploited commercially is a blessed one. How many of us would turn down more money? This supposed responsibility athletes have to focus singularly on their sport, their craft, is simply absurd. Many people have multiple part time jobs, myself included. The more revenue streams the better. Mo’ money, mo’ problems? I don’t think so. Mo’ money is just mo’ money.

The Goose

I Am Canadian: An Everlasting Legacy

Earmuffs.

Canadian people are so nice.  That’s the cliche.  It’s an awful one.  I hate being the country that’s known as the nice one.  Nice people finish last.  So it made me so proud to see Christine Sinclair stand up for herself, speak her mind and say something she felt was true.  We got ass fucked in regards to that awfully officiated semifinal soccer match against the Americans at the London olympics.  When she stood up for us, that made me feel more patriotic than a gold medal ever could.

She inspired me.  She planted the seed for what will become my greatest contribution to Canadian culture years from now.  It’s a movement.  People love movements.  I’m going to get a colour and a ribbon and a month where we grow beards in the shapes of upside down middle fingers, if people confuse them as dicks, even better.  Everyone will know that we are not to be fucked with.

It’s absolutely okay to be polite.  It’s not okay to be overly polite.  To walk around heavy traffic areas saying excuse me and sorry every five seconds.  Just get where you have to go, as quickly as you need to get there, no one will blame you.  If they do, they’re fucked.  People are too sensitive.  How can all of us be sorry at the same time all of the time?  Sorry is supposed to be a word of remorse, because we did something wrong.  Its not supposed to be used every time we almost bump into someone.  Why should I apologize for almost bumping into someone? NOTHING HAPPENED!  Don’t say sorry, teach the person how to fish, tell them to keep their head up and watch where they’re going.  Let’s all just keep walking and get on with our lives.  It’s no big deal.  You can stuff your fucking sorrys in a fucking sack asshole.

Look at old people, they’ve figured it out.  They’re rude as hell walking around with entitlement like because they’ve lived a long hard life, we should just do whatever they want.  The next time an old person looks at you with the screwface because you won’t give up your seat on the bus, you tell them to fuck off.  They’ve been sitting on the bus for decades, they had their time.  It’s a new world order and we takin’ ooooover!  What do they need to sit down for?  It’s not like they’re working 40 hard hours per week like the rest of us.

Experience tells me that aggression wins out.  It’s not healthy to suppress how you really feel, covering it up with insincere ‘sorrys’ and ‘my faults’.

What’s crazy, is how hard it’s been to strike the word sorry from my vocabulary.  I’m getting better at it, but it was impossibly difficult at first.  If you agree with me in regard to not saying sorry all of the time, I double dare you to give it a try.  Consider it a social experiment.  If successful, you’ll conclude something sensational.  That you have the ability to modify all your stupid little habits.  That you are in complete control of who you are and whom you aspire to be.  That we are all capable of change, even things about ourselves that are so deeply rooted in our personal history, can be wiped out or added to our conscience like we’re plugged into the matrix.  

It’s hard to hear the truth.  Sorry, fuck, ignore that, but that’s just the way shit is.

The Goose

AN ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT

 

Defense wins championships.

gam·ble/ˈgambəl/
Verb:
Play games of chance for money; bet.
Noun:
An act of gambling; an enterprise undertaken or attempted with a risk of loss and a chance of profit or success.

I am a gambling addict.  I have been for over half my life; experienced extremes highs and pathetic lows.  There have definitely been times where it’s ruined my life as well as moments it’s vastly improved it.  I still gamble as a means of income to this day.  Gambling however is a laymen term.  I’m not flipping coins here, which is a 50/50 chance and in the betting world that’s pretty good.  I’m making educated investments in either sports or my own talents at various card games.  It’s a skill that I use to make money.  To keep a roof over my head.  Food in my mouth.  And some money in the bank.  It’s honestly no different then you using the skills you have to make a living for yourself.  But people don’t frown upon your abilities to bake cookies, mediate the selling of condos, or fill out fucking TPS reports.  Society celebrates you.  It likes fancy titles such as executive assistant and account manager.  It loves the ‘s’ word as well as the ‘b’ one.  Not sluts and bitches.  Salary and benefits.  That’s the real mark of a professional career. I celebrate it too.  Good for fucking you man and woman.  Seriously, I applaud that shit.  What I can’t stand is the dismissive and condescending vibe people automatically give off when I tell them this is who I am.  It’s cool.  It’s not your fault.  We’ve all been conditioned to think the word gambling is bad and investment is good.  That’s why I’m here, to play defense and change attitudes.

in·vest·ment/inˈves(t)mənt/
Noun:
1. The action or process of investing money for profit or material result.
2. A thing that is worth buying because it may be profitable or useful in the future.

If you asked me what I do for a living and I replied, “I’m an investor”.  You would think I’m a successful young man.  It’s not untruthful.  I invest in sports.  It’s a very safe market.  See how I use buzz words to manufacture the legitimacy of sports betting.  But it’s the truth.  It’s just like investing in any other business, the return on your dollars is just accelerated.  It’s simpler. Investing in financial industries is complex; there’s so many variables and equations to crunch.  What the suits don’t have the nuts to say is they can’t handle the swings.  They like to sit at desks and extrapolate and make charts and projections.  I do that too actually.  But I’m not looking to get 12% on the dollar 5 years from now.  I want 90% tonight, at 7pm and the next night after because tomorrow isn’t guaranteed.


Let’s say for example you wanted to make an investment in the film industry and I said the safe play is to invest in Pixar or Dreamworks because their track record shows they always come out on top.  Easy sell no?  It’s common knowledge.  Is that really any different than investing on the the Lakers or the Yankees to be successful as they always seem to be? Doesn’t that seem like a safe place to nestle your hard earned dollars?

Let’s take it a step further.  Let’s say Pixar grossed 1 billion dollars worldwide in 2012 largely on the heels of two smash animated films; and because of their success they are going to release sequels in 2013 for both franchises and release the first installment of a new one they believe is even better.  Are they going to crack 1 billion again?  Would you consider that a safe investment?  That’s hypothetical.  Let me give you some facts.  The Los Angelas Lakers won the pacific division in the NBA last season, and the four seasons before that.  They employ one of the ten most decorated athletes in basketball if not all of the four major sports.  They also have a top 5 power forward/top 20 player in Pau Gasol.  This past offseason, they added Dwight Howard, the best centre in the league and a top ten all-time point guard in Steve Nash.  Is it a safe investment that they will repeat as division champs?


These are the situations that sharp investors look for.  That’s a six month investment that this year will return you 25%.

Gambling is an addiction.  It can ruin your life if what you’re looking to do is scratch an itch.  It can however be very profitable if you have the ability to remove emotions from the equation and do it for the money.  I’ve been gambling since I was twelve.  It’s something I love and am passionate about.  It’s something I’m highly skilled at.  My peers don’t care to hear my story though.  It’s not a cute passion like being a musician, painter or writer.

Artists are addicts too.  They’re addicted to their craft.  More often than not it leaves them poverty stricken nomads.  Again, large segments of our society respect that they are chasing their dreams.  I know I do.  I respect anyone who goes against the grain and devotes their life to doing something they love.

Have you ever seen an episode of shark tank where people are addicted to making their dreams a reality? They sometimes can’t see the damage it’s doing to their families.  Those people walk a fine line of success and failure.  Gambling their livelihood on an idea, hoping for a big payoff.  When it works, we marvel their entrepreneurial spirit, if not, we pity their delusion.  Strange how we can have two opposite feelings about people with the same intentions.

We love shows like that: Shark Tank, Masterchef, The Ultimate Fighter, So You Think You Can Dance.  Nothing however captures the hearts of lower to middle class people like the modern day classic, the singing competition.  We flock to televisions to watch The Voice, The X Factor or Idol.   What makes us feel so guilty watching these stupid shows is because we’re living vicariously through people we believe are inferior.  They’re burrito slingers, mail office employees, university drop outs or even tweens.  We envy them.  We love seeing people chase their dreams whether they succeed or fail.

Unlike most, I never ask people what they do or a living when I first meet them, it’s the second thing I ask.  The first is “what do you love to do during your spare time?”, if the answer to question two isn’t the same as the first, I think there’s a problem.  It’s not to say you have to be doing something incredibly exciting.  Like my mother, you may genuinely love helping people, so naturally you’re a nurse or in health care.  I doubt however that in your spare time, you just can’t wait to do someone else’s taxes.

As cliche as it is, life is a fucking gamble and most people play it safe.  ”You can’t lose what you don’t put in the middle, but then again, you can’t win nothing either”, Mike McDermott.


The Goose