“I Hate Christian Laettner” Review

This 30 for 30 or ESPN film, whichever name you prefer, looks at one of the most hated college athletes in the history of the game. It explores many different reasons why the hate for Christian Laettner was so serious. After all, he was just a kid, what did he ever really do to deserve the hate? The film talks to many different people including Christian Laettner himself, his family, Coach K, Coach K’s wife, past teammates, the Fab Five, opponents of his, and many different authors, reporters, etc who wrote books and stories about their hate. Many different perspectives were offered during this film which is what I’ve always loved most about documentaries- especially sports documentaries.

The first reason that they look at is that Laettner was perceived as a rich kid because he attended Duke University and a prep school before that. In reality, Laettner came from a middle class family. His mom was a teacher and his dad was a journalist. He couldn’t afford prep school but they offered a type of work study where he would work these dirty type jobs extremely early in the morning in exchange for his tuition. He only went to Duke because Coach K offered him a full scholarship. This alone gave me personally some new respect for the guy. He didn’t have anything handed to him, he worked for everything he had which is something worthy of respect.

Another reason why people hate Laettner is that he’s a white kid. Some people thought he might be racist or view black people differently since the only black guys on his basketball team were called “Uncle Tom” and things of that sort. Laettner was actually extremely tolerant of other races, maybe even was more against white people than black. His teammates bragged on how impressed they were with his style and his knowledge of hip-hop.

The third reason explored was that he was a bully who preyed on the weak. I actually laughed out loud because they used Kanye West interrupting Taylor Swift as the image for a bully. Yes, Laettner was an animal on the court and he was certainly a big trash talker. The way he carried himself and seemed to get away with so much stuff other players wouldn’t get away with was extremely disheartening and irritating. But he also seemed like a good teammate and actually a cool guy off the court. He just knew how to get under people’s skin.

After watching this documentary, I learned a lot about the background of this guy that got such a terrible reputation over the years. I think it’s sad how much people disliked him and how far some people took it. Like it’s actually ridiculous that his 12-year-old sister was called a whore just for being his sister. Like what did she ever do to deserve that? Sometimes the hatred people have isn’t rational and is fairly upsetting. Ultimately, people hated how good he was and I love that the documentary explored that. But I think it wasn’t just one sided, it also showed the reasons behind why people hate him by talking to the sources directly. Overall, it’s one of my favorite ESPN films.

Best Of MLB Hall Of Famers

There have been many guys that have been inducted into the hall of fame. Among those men, it’s hard to pick out a few that really stand out. I’ve attempted to look at some of the best hall of fame inductees so far.

1. Hank Aaron

Hank Aaron is an incredibly underrated player. Most people instantly think of Babe Ruth when the discussion for the best baseball player comes up. Aaron actually had more home runs than Ruth did. Hank ended up with 755 home runs of all time and Ruth had 714 home runs of all time. I love what his hall of fame profile says about him and I think it really shows what kind of person he was and how he was received by his peers and the public in general.

2. Roberto Clemente

This powerhouse right fielder made history and impressed the world. It’s sad that he wasn’t able to live long enough to see himself get inducted into the hall of fame. His statistics say it all, he’s an incredible player who deserves so much respect.

3. Lou Gehrig

“If you look up the word ‘ballplayer” in the dictionary, it is likely they’ll have a picture of Lou Gehrig, stalwart New York Yankee first baseman.” This is what the Baseball Hall Of Fame says about Lou Gehrig. The short biography about this timeless first basemen is extremely important. Besides his awesome personality, you have to give him credit for playing in 2,130 consecutive games for the Yankees. It’s not hard to see why he was so loved by Yankee fans.

4. Sandy Koufax 

I’ve previously mentioned my love and respect for this pitcher. He’s easily one of the best pitchers and he definitely deserved to be inducted into the Hall Of Fame. As a left-handed pitcher, Koufax showed the most restraint and ability which hadn’t really been seen before in the history of baseball, and hasn’t been seen since.

5. Rickey Henderson

Henderson was an extremely talented left-fielder who made history. Henderson was an athletic guy, he turned down many football scholarships in order to sign a contract with the Oakland Athletics. He holds the single season record for stolen bases with a whopping 130 steals. He is still noted for being the greatest lead off hitter of all time.

Quotes From Vince Lombardi

Vince Lombardi is probably the most beloved coach of all time. His time coaching the Packers placed him on the map and helped him earn the respect of more or less the whole nation. His quotes were beyond inspiring and here some of his best just in case you’re running low on inspiration.

“If you can’t accept losing, you can’t win.”

“Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is.”

“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack in will.”

“The quality of a man’s life is in direct proportion to his commitment to excellence, regardless of his chosen field of endeavor.”

“It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get back up.”

“Winning is a habit, unfortunately, so is losing.”

“If winning isn’t everything, why do they keep score?”

“People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society.”

“Football is a great deal like life in that it teaches that work, sacrifice, perseverance, competitive drive, selflessness and respect for authority is the price that each and every one of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.”

“If you’re lucky enough to find a guy with a lot of head and a lot of heart, he’s never going to come off the field second.”

“Winning is a habit. Watch your thoughts, they become your beliefs. Watch your beliefs, they become your words. Watch your words, they become your actions. Watch your actions, they become your habits. Watch your habits, they become your character.”

Guide To Affordable Workout Clothes

Okay, I know that not all of us can be like Taylor Swift and come from the gym still looking super cute and well put together. However, you can still look trendy even when you’re working out. Here are some suggestions for some trendy yet still super comfy clothing for you to wear when heading to the gym, out for a run, to sports practice, or whatever it might be.

These colorblock capri’s from Kohl’s aren’t my favorite color but they offer several other different colors also. These are the perfect bottoms to wear to the gym. They aren’t sweatpants but they aren’t ridiculously short either, you can still get active without get too hot and sweaty, you know what I mean?

Here’s yet another pair of pants that are colorblocked except this one is from Target. I really love the color of these leggings and think they would be awesome to workout in.

This one isn’t exactly cheap but if you’re looking for a fashionable supportive crossback sports bra, this is for you.

If you’re looking for something bound to make an impression, check this sports bra from Forever 21 out. And these VERY short shorts also from Forever 21 out. They would both go really well together.

Love these Zumiez galaxy workout pants. They are comfortable, affordable, and also cute and trendy. These are must haves for workout wears.

This Roxy’s hoodie is perfect if you’re going outside to run during the colder weather and what not. It’s an equal balance of comfortable and cute, therefore it’s perfect for wearing when working out.

What better place to shop for workout clothes then Nike? A lot of their stuff may seem a bit on the expensive side, but a lot of it is also pretty affordable and always good quality. Be sure to check out this particular sports bra and other workout gear and running shoes.

Best Longform Sports Stories

1. Mike Tyson

I love this story about Mike Tyson. Sports Illustrated uncovers all of Mike Tyson’s boxing success- beginning to end. He even mentions some of his later work, like his brief appearance in the movie The Hangover. I think he does a great job at really digging deeper into all of these decisions made by Tyson and just respecting what a good boxer he is. It’s definitely something sports fans should read.

2. Watching Rocky II With Muhammad Ali

This is Roger Ebert’s interesting encounter with watching Rocky movies with the greatest boxer of all time. Muhammad Ali is hilarious throughout Ebert’s story, at one point he relates to Rocky’s opponent Apollo. Apollo is the heavyweight champion who is taunting Rocky in the ring. I think Ali has a great sense of humor and I love this story.

3. Young, Gifted, and Homeless

I love how this article talks about some famous successful athletes who have openly talked about their past with homelessness. Sports Illustrated asks, “Well it’s great that these guys who are now successful are talking about it, but what about the kids living through it now?” They explore a high school boy who sees sports as an escape from his life of being homeless. And he’s not alone, the article also discusses the fact that this is an issue that’s only gotten worse over the years. It’s interesting to see things from their points of view.

4. The One And Only

This is a rather depressing story about Dan Marino and how he never won a Super Bowl. His one and only chance of winning one was against Joe Montana and the 49’ers. The Dolphins seemed to be on top but the 49’ers came back in the second half and pretty much blew Miami out. It was devastating to Marino and it still haunts him to this day. He figured he’d get a chance to go back considering he was still young at the time, but he never did. I just thought it was really interesting how such a successful quarterback considers himself not the best because he never won a Super Bowl.

5. Following Terry Fox

I’ve already talked about Terry Fox- a Canadian who ran across Canada on one leg raising money for the Cancer Foundation. However, this is a more recent article that shows the impact that this one man had on millions of people. The documentary began to touch on the reaction from the people who began paying attention to what Fox was doing, but it failed to really go in depth and tell the stories of people that Terry touched. Even after he died, his legacy continued to live on and it’s still doing just that even today. You’ll definitely be inspired after reading this.

6. The Man In The Van

Easily the best baseball profile I’ve read so far during this early start to the official season. The opening line of the story says it all, “The future of the Toronto Blue Jays wakes up in a 1978 Volkswagen camper behind the dumpsters at a Wal-mart and wonders if he has anything to eat.” It really paints a picture of how Daniel Norris is receiving so much hype about what he does on the field but off the field he likes living the life of a minimalist. It isn’t a dramatic story but it’s a fascinating one that really kept me interested in his story.

 

Pittsburgh Pirates Update Part 2

Okay, continuing where I left off yesterday. Today, I’m going to look at some of the best starting pitchers, relief pitchers, and closers that we have this season.

Starting Pitchers

1. Francisco Liriano

Franky is one of the best pitchers that we have. Sometimes he can be really on his game and other times he can be a little off and start to throw crazy pitches. He’s not really the type of guy who always shuts you down but he’s still crazy talented nonetheless. He’s had a lot of success here with the Pirates and I definitely expect that to continue. Hopefully, he gets even more controlled and on the ball but either way, he’s still a quality member to the team.

2. Gerrit Cole

This young pitcher was recognized by everyone when the high school prospect did well during his major league debut. The pitcher has continued to turn up the heat and to impress. The big issue with Cole is that he seems to get rattled easier than some of the other more seasoned pitchers. He’s still a young kid with a lot of growing room left. He hasn’t been sent down since he came up to the majors and I highly doubt he will again. He gets outs when he needs to and he’s kind of the same as Liriano in the respect that when he’s on, batters need to be worried. But he’s off, wild pitches can really hurt the Pirates.

3. Jeff Locke

Another starter who’s still fairly young. Locke was an all-star not long ago and after that, he kind of lost his control for awhile. But I think he’s definitely gotten it back to an extent and he’s shown more control than in the past. Like the previous pitchers mentioned, he just needs to stay composed and not let his pitch get out of control. He gives up a lot of walks which seems to be the case for the majority of the starting pitchers. He’s an all-star for a reason, this lefty is one to watch for sure.

4. A.J. Burnett

A.J. was one of the best and most reliable pitchers for this ball club before he left for Philadelphia. Burnett took Edinson Volquez’s spot in the rotation. Volquez was arguably the most consistent pitcher we had last season and he will be missed. But still, it’s nice to have A.J. back since he knows what he’s doing and we have a lot of trust in him as a pitcher. He didn’t have the best season with the Phillies but he didn’t have the worst either. We can only hope that 2013 A.J. will be back and he can finish his career on a high note here in Pittsburgh.

5. Vance Worley

This young pitcher is filling in for Charlie Morton- another one of our best, who’s currently on the DL. Charlie needs to get back to Pittsburgh but Vance isn’t the worst pitcher either. He’s no Charlie (Charlie on a good day I mean) but he still has potential and it’s nice that the ball club is giving him a chance to prove himself as the starting guy for now anyway. Hopefully he can impress us a little bit more and secure a couple of wins along the way.

Relief pitchers

Tony Watson

Sometimes it can be hard to understand why Tony Watson is in the games at certain times. For instance, if he gives up a homerun and still remains in the game, or something similar to that. Truthfully, I can remember more negative moments of Watson’s than the positive but he still is a trusted relief pitcher who typically can get us through the game and to the closers.

I don’t know many of the other relief pitchers since Justin Wilson is no longer with the Pirates and we have some new players. So I’m just going to stick to talking about only Tony and move on to the big closer spot.

Mark Melancon

It can be hard to want him in the game sometimes because he can make some costly errors to say the least. But Melancon is also pretty close to the closer that Jason Grilli was. It may not always be pretty, but he typically manages to get the outs needed and at the end of day that’s all that really matters. He has the same amount of saves as Grilli and that’s pretty impressive since there was a lot of hype behind Grilli during his time as a closer in Pittsburgh. So when he’s doing good, it’s easy to cheer for Melancon.

Pittsburgh Pirates Updates

So I’m already getting a little bored/not sure what direction to go in with this theme. So I figured I’d just stick to talking about what I know best, sports! Okay, I don’t know as much as I would like to but it’s something I enjoy talking about and there’s a lot of news to uncover in it. So right now, I’m going to talk a little about the Pittsburgh Pirates. The organization was fairly respected back when Barry Bonds was on the team. But it gradually went down over the years and didn’t show any signs of hope until a hot prospect from Florida named Andrew McCutchen began playing for the Pirates and they really ended up building the team around him. He’s definitely a star and this season, he’s started out as good as ever, except Saturday night he set himself out of the game in the 9th inning due to a knee injury. However, he’s shown that his knee is better and has started since that night. McCutchen has previously started out pretty much every season ready to go and hasn’t in general been setback by injuries. Fingers crossed that this lucky trend continues.

We all know the potential that McCutchen shows and has shown these past 7 seasons, there are also other players on the Pirates team that should also be singled out. The Pirates have one of the best outfields in the MLB right now. One of those spots obviously belongs to Andrew McCutchen but younger players Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco take the other two spots. Marte is one impressive player and has showed tremendous growth as he enters his third full season of playing in the big leagues. He has a ridiculously high number of home runs and steals, plus his on base percentage is also good. Polanco was one of the best minor league players and moving him up to the big leagues was a smart move to say the least. He’s still getting his footing in the big leagues but that doesn’t say he isn’t impressive, he certainly is and he probably has the most room left to grow out of these three guys.

Josh Harrison is one of my personal favorite players besides McCutchen. Harrison has never been a big all-star or a guy who’s received a lot of hype. He’s a player who worked his way out of the minors gradually. I remember him a couple of seasons ago only being in the game when he was a pinch runner during the games. He’s come miles since those days. However, he still has been thrown around to practically every position out there on the field, which goes to show you how adaptable and talented Josh is. He’s just a quality hitter who has the ability to sneak up when you least expect it and get a home run out of you. He’s certainly a big time threat and I love how humble he is.

There are many other players that I want to talk about. I’m just going to mention some other key players including: Pedro Alvarez, Jordy Mercer, and Neil Walker. These are all guys that are okay and pretty good infielders (Alvarez is the one who notably has some crazy random errors every now and then) who are even better hitters. Walker and Mercer aren’t known for being as powerful as Alvarez (nicknamed El Toro because he’s so strong and awesome) but they are still solid players that the Pirates depend on. The Pirates are still working out the whole catcher situation since losing one of the best catchers around Russell Martin.

I haven’t gotten the chance to touch on all of the starting, relief pitchers, and closing pitchers that I really want to. So I’m just going to save a whole post to talk about that situation. But this is what I’ve come up with so far so I hope that gives you an introduction to the Pirates that you may (probably not) want to know in case you end up watching a game or something like that. But anyway, I’ll shut up now but thank you for reading my rambles!