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No Stone Left Unturned

By Emmett Golden

This Saturday afternoon The Ohio State Buckeyes face Michigan State. After four games MSU has the number one ranked defense in college football only giving up 172 yards of offense per game. OSU’s offense is averaging 340 yards per game, but that stat is deceiving, as the Buckeyes have yet to play a defense the caliber of Michigan State‘s.

Ohio State has run the ball very well to start the season. Junior running back Jordan Hall along with freshman QB Braxton Miller are two of the most explosive players you will find running the football, but there is no question Michigan State will be ready for the Buckeyes run game.

If the OSU offense wants to be successful on Saturday their passing game must be effective. With a young quarterback and a flock of young receivers you expect there to be some growing pains. Receiver Devier Posey’s return from suspension will add some veteran leadership in the passing game.

Right now there is only one guy that can provide that, junior tight end Jake Stoneburner. Stoneburner started the year on fire. He had three touchdowns in the first game against Akron and followed that up by getting in the end zone against Toledo the following week. The main element to Jake’s success was Joe Bauserman. When Bauserman was getting the majority of snaps at quarterback Stoneburner had 93 yards receiving and 4 touchdowns. When head coach Luke Fickell turned to Miller late in the Miami game Stoneburner disappeared.

Over the last two games Jake has not had a catch. This is inexcusable. Stoneburner has the skills to be a dangerous pass catching tight end. Has he disappeared because Miller is not looking for him? Is Stoneburner unhappy about the move at quarterback, and if so, is it affecting his play? I don’t know what the problem is to be honest with you. What I do know is that when Stoneburner is utilized in the passing game this team is better. Whether it’s Braxton staying in the pocket a little longer or Jake running a little harder, they must get on the same page.

If Ohio State wants to be in the Big Ten Championship game at the end of the year, they need EVERYONE to make an impact. Braxton needs to grab Jake and get on the same page. The team will be better for it.

Follow Emmett Golden on twitter at @EGoldie80

Michael Irvin: Out of Bounds

LeCharles Bentley

Our society continues to merge into a homogenized crock-pot of ideas, sexual orientations and religious affiliations.  As with most change there is a level of resistance that leads to the birth of advocates and advocacy groups that spearhead the plight of their constituency to the masses.

But how far is too far in advocating for a cause?

Michael Irvin, one of the most recognizable sports figures of our age, has picked up the torch as a gay rights activist.  His compelling interview with “Out” magazine was one of the most open and honest dialogues witnessed from a sports superstar, in regards to homosexuality.

I happen to completely agree with the fundamental thrust of the interview. Michael Irvin says, “…no one should be telling you who you should love, no one should be telling you who you should be spending the rest of your life with…” and he’s right.  Irvin’s personal battles have not kept him from captivating sports audiences, so it’s not surprising he elevated the conversation to a place it needs to go. The concern, though, isn’t so much what Irvin said, but what he did that has the sports world abuzz.

His decision to pose for a “sexy” photo spread begs the question — how far is too far as an advocate?  “Out: positions itself a lifestyle magazine for gay men and is comparable to Maxim, which means it’s not above selling sex to sell magazines. As advocates you are often asked to lend your voice, time and dime to support the cause.

Irvin lending his body as a pseudo sex symbol for the gay community is a step too far.  What was presented and in the fashion it was done only perpetuates the ugly stereotypes of homosexual men.

Homsosexuality from the male perspective sometimes positions gays as sex crazed maniacs. This is the furthest thing from the truth. But there is a large sect of society that holds antiquated stereotypes near and dear to their hearts.

As a community and as an advocate the objective isn’t to perpetuate stereotypes but to eradicate them through education.  Michael Irvin’s voice is extremely powerful and is enough to draw ears to the cause. But greasing up his body and posterizing it on the cover of a “lifestyle” magazine does more harm than good.

There are those that like to draw the parralels between the civil rights movement and the gay community’s struggles – even though gay struggles pale in comparison to the horrors the black community faced in its fight for equality.

Advocates don’t have to be a part of the community; they just have to believe in the cause.  Martyrs like Dr. Martin Luther King, Medgar Evers and Malcom X paid the ultimate price in advocating their cause, and they were a part of the black community.

Michael Irvin articulated in his interview that he was not a homosexual but a straight male so put him in the category of Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman, white civil rights advocates (CORE)  murdered by Ku Klux Klan members in Philadelphia, Miss., merely for their  involvement with the movement.  They were not a part of the community but were willing to pay the ultimate price.

The presence and voice of those two white men in support of civil rights was extremely powerful.  They didn’t need to dress up in black face and tap shoes to prove their alignment with the struggle.  Unlike Michael Irvin and “Out” magazine they were able to recognize when enough was more than enough.

The movement didn’t need its Caucasian activists to be more than what they were because anything more runs the risk of looking tacky and desperate, which is what happened with Irvin photo shoot. We don’t need to see Irvin to believe in or agree with his principles. We just need to hear him. Doing anything else takes away from the dignity of his argument, and panders to the stereotypes he is trying to eliminate.

In this case, Michael Irvin went too far.

Follow LeCharles on Twitter @LeCharlesBent65

Roda’s Random Thoughts

It hasn’t been pretty as of late, but the Indians are giving me exactly what I asked for, a team that is relevant into the 4th month of the season and maybe beyond.  I’m not sure how it’s going to end, but at least more people, including myself, will be paying attention to them into July, August, September, and who knows, maybe even October!

Having said that, they need to add at least one veteran bat, preferably a right-handed bat. Names to keep in mind: Casey Blake, Carlos Lee, & Jermaine Dye to name a few.

It’s also important that the Indians be relevant because both the NFL and the NBA could be in “Lockout” mode.  So if the Indians can stay in this thing, they’ll be the talk of the town and the focus of every sports fan in Cleveland and most of Ohio.

As far as the NFL and NBA go, figure it out fellas.  There’s too much at stake to not have a season in both leagues.  Forget the owners and players and their money issues, I’m more concerned about the restaurant and bar owners, servers and bartenders. The stadium vendors who count on the money from games as their main source of income.  I don’t feel sorry for the parking lot attendants, except for Lynn and her crew. The rest of you, too bad. Stop charging ridiculous prices to park a car and you’ll have my sympathy.

The Glass Half Full Tavern

By Munch

Truly a whirlwind week (weeks!) for hoops on the North Coast and it continues!  HS…NIT…CSU Women and the BIG DANCE at the Q… are you kidding me?

So cool to take my youngest son to the OSU – UTSA game yesterday and indeed, simply put, OSU did what “They needed to do!”  I know that the Roadrunners wanted to slow it down so the Bucks did not pin a hundo on them, but their name is not the Banana Slugs and their big gun Melvin Johnson III was rendered useless.

Great experience as when the C TOWN Buckeyes were introduced at the start of the game, the crowd showed their love back!  David Lighty from C TOWN and Dallas Lauderdale form Solon were crowd pleasers AND Eddie Days appearance LATE in the game brought shouts of EDD-EE down from the stands of the Q!

Dallas also had TWO JAW DROPPIN’, RING ROCKIN’, SOLON “SOUL – ON” THROW DOWN dunks that dropped jaws all over the arena!

The UTSA cheerleaders tried, but their chant of “RR BEEP BEEP” (yes, they are the ROADRUNNERS) was as weak as their mascots costume!

Enjoy every sandwich!

 

“I have cancer”

Words that Eric Naughton and countless others have to utter each and every year to themselves, their loved ones, themselves again and again questioning the realness of it.

“Don’t wait, follow your dreams NOW.”

It took a cancer diagnosis to change Eric’s life for the better.  And forever changed his attitude.  ”My message is to make people realize that TODAY is the day to do the things you want out of life.

Eric decided he wanted learn to play hockey (who wouldn’t?).  And he’s making a movie about it.  Now here’s a guy who is 40 years old, never skated and wants to learn to play hockey, WHILE he has cancer.

Ballsy.  But gives me goose bumps every time I think about it.  See, I’m biased, but also 100 percent correct when I say hockey is the best sport in the world and cancer is the worst disease in the world.  About two years later, Eric is cancer free, and is a hockey player.

He’s also making a movie about his story.

There are several NHL players with cancer who have beaten it. The most famous is Mario Lemieux.  I discovered Eric through a wonderful article written by massive Dangeroushockey fan, and supporter Puck Daddy (see article) I was immediately drawn to Eric’s story as I’m a hockey player, filmmaker, same age etc.

Finally, this past Saturday, a brief 5 minute emotional meeting that I’ll never forget.  Eric was in Pittsburgh for the fantasy camp (see trailer).  After the first period, Eric and I met.  In 5 minutes we had a conversation with more substance than I have with people in 5 years.

Eric made it clear that he wants people to know they can do anything they want, “there’s no reason you can’t and no time like now.”  I told him that it inspires me every day and how I’ve changed my life partially because of him.  Eric became emotional (sorry Eric). I’m sure I would have as well if my kids weren’t goofing around while I was talking to him.

Eric, is a hero.  I wish I could be surrounded by him and other survivors every day.  We all know life is fleeting, and most of us take it for granted.  Well, you shouldn’t.

Do something wonderful today,

Peace, love and happiness,

Love, your hockey idiot.

Fall From Grace

Jim Brown did it. Robert Smith did it. Brett Favre had the opportunity to do it. Carson Palmer is in the process of doing it. And for a short period of time, Tiki Barber did it as well.

What these football players did or are in the process of doing, few professional football players ever accomplish.

I would venture that the number of players that have achieved this feat is far less than the number of players that have won Super Bowl rings.

The feat that few players manage to accomplish is the ability to leave the game on their own terms.

Imagine a life in which you dictate your own terms and control your own destiny. Now that is what I call freedom! This sense of freedom equates to self-empowerment, which is not commonplace in the NFL.

Most players are forced out of the game due to injury. If injury does not get you, age discrimination will. Imagine at age thirty-three you are told you are too old, and we do not want you anymore.

Besides injury and age discrimination, the other major factor that prevents players from leaving the game on their own terms is the fact that most players do not have the financial freedom to walk away from the game.

How is this, if players are paid so handsomely while playing?

Do the math. If you make a million a year or even a quarter of that but spend at a rate of 70-to-80 percent of your income, outside of football there are not many jobs available that allow players make the type of money they need to sustain their lifestyles, given their skills sets.

Thus players hang on as long as possible until they are graciously kicked out the door. These are the retirement ceremonies, and that type of treatment is reserved for star players. Role players do not even get this royal treatment. They are cut and sent packing unceremoniously via a phone call.

Because of poor off-the-field decisions, Tiki Barber has opted to return to the game that made him rich and famous. Tiki Barber and his decision to un-retire reflect a deep fall from grace.

To play professional football is both a financial blessing and a privilege. I can understand why Tiki would take advantage of the opportunity if in dire straits. However, you tell me, what is the more dignified story line: I walked away from the game a dignified and empowered man, or I had to swallow my pride and hope someone would give me another chance to play?

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