Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Living in the Shadow of a Legend

Austin Walker is a redshirt sophomore safety for the University of Maryland Terrapins. He is not a star; he is one of the many players fighting for playing time and trying to impress his coaches. However, while Austin is identified by many names (which is no different from anyone else), he is best known for is being the son of Rick “Doc” Walker, a former Washington Redskin and Super Bowl winning tight end.

Austin’s dad, who is known simply as “Doc” in the D.C. area, played football in college at UCLA and was part of the Rose Bowl winning Bruins in 1976. In 1977, the Cincinnati Bengals drafted Doc with the 85 overall pick to start his career. After three seasons there, Doc went to the Redskins, where he would spend the rest of his career. As a tight end, Doc was a part of the Redskins famous offensive line that was nicknamed “the hogs,” and won a Super Bowl with the team in 1983. By the time he retired in 1985, Doc had played for nine seasons, six of which were in Washington. He also had caught 70 balls for 673 yards and nine touchdowns despite being used primarily as a blocker.

Unlike many children of football players, Austin does not have any of those stories about growing up in an NFL locker room and meeting all of the players. In fact, he never got to see he dad play football at all. This is because Austin was not born until 1988, three years after Doc retired from football. Instead, Austin grew up watching his father do what he does currently, serve as a football analyst for several different companies. Because Doc still is very involved in football, the fact that Austin never got to see his father play did not affect how much the game had an effect on his life. He still grew up following the game and the team that his father played for.

If you have ever been to areas surrounding the nation’s capital, you understand how big the Redskins are. Every member of the Washington Redskins is more or less larger than life, and it stays that way after one retires. This sentiment is especially true if you were on one of the Redskins’ three Super Bowl winning teams. Seeing that Doc qualifies for that latter category, he is viewed as a celebrity in our area for being a television analyst, as well as for having the Super Bowl XVII ring that he wears regularly. I remember when my dad found out, when I was in the eighth grade, that my new friend Austin’s dad was Doc Walker, he was a bit taken back. This is something that Austin has known for his entire life. Nothing short of winning a Super Bowl of his own would change that.

“The only time you really noticed it was when you went out into a public area. Whenever we would go to a Wizards game or something, we would always get mugged by 20 people before we would get to the damn stadium…Even in Virginia, it happens. Like for Alex’s (Austin’s brother) birthday, we went to IHOP and someone walked up to us. Someone always comes up and talks to Doc,” Austin said.

Austin did not start playing football until the ninth grade because of his dad’s wishes, but picked it up pretty quickly. While at Langley High School, Austin earned a reputation for being one of the hardest workers on the team and for basically living in the weight room. Austin was on the varsity team both his junior and senior seasons, but did not contribute as a junior due to injuries. As a senior, Walker recorded 93 tackles, four pass breakups, two fumble recoveries for touchdowns, one forced fumble, and a blocked kick en route to a 2006 Liberty District Honorable Mention.

When it came time for Walker to try and be recruited, Doc was an important part of the process. He helped make his highlight tape, and since he is the main football analyst for Raycom Sports to the ACC, he had many connections to the coaches Austin was trying to impress. Langley’s head football coach John Howerton knew Austin could play at the next level, but was thinking more along the lines of a division two program; however, Austin said that his dad’s opinion was that if he was going to play in college, he should try to play at the elite level. After having communications with the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, and UMd, Austin joined the Terps as a walk on.

Now that Austin is in college and on the football team, Austin is kept very busy. He has practices almost every day, along with daily tasks like studying film and his work out program. All of this is in addition to the normal school work that every college student athlete is expected to do. Despite the busy schedule, Austin and his father still keep in contact to discuss his football.

“During the season, I call him every Friday or Saturday before my game just to talk about what is going on,” Austin said. “He mainly just does a lot of listening. He knows that I basically know what I have to do, but I talk to him to just keep in touch and stuff.”

While, not the most gifted athlete, Austin’s work ethic is matched by very few. Whatever Austin goes on to do in his remaining years as a Terrapin, it is likely he will hang up his cleats for good afterwards. That work ethic and charm that has got him this far will certainly help him succeed in whatever his next step is. As a communication major, that step will most likely be in the direction of journalism and his father current profession. So you see, even though Austin might not be able to get out of Doc’s shadow, that might not be so bad.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Drivers Worry Patrick Racing Could Be Dangerous (satire)

Two days after Danica Patrick finished sixth in her first stock car race at Daytona, Patrick announced today that she would make her NASCAR debut in Saturday’s Nationwide Series race. This announcement has worried several drivers about their safety.

“I just don’t get why NASCAR is letting her on the track. I didn’t want to be the one to say it, but let’s face the facts, women are crappy drivers. After we lost Dale Earnhardt, they have done such a great job of making things safer out there; I don’t know, this just seems like a huge step backwards,” fellow NASCAR driver Kurt Busch said.

The worry is that Patrick’s inability to drive will endanger the other drivers. This fear is amplified on a track like Daytona where it isn’t “if” someone wrecks, it is “when.” Patrick has already shown she could be a hazard when she spun out during the ARCA race and was lucky to not be hit by anyone. She then was able to regroup and get back into the pack, but she had already shown how problematic she can be.

“I don’t understand why people are making a big deal about this. I lost control because I was doing my makeup and wasn’t paying attention. It could have happened to any of the guys out there. It’s tough being the ‘Go Daddy’ girl. I always have to look my best even when I finish in last place,” Patrick said.

Several drivers have already backed out of the race including Dale Earnhardt Jr. who ironically was the man responsible for bringing her to stock car racing.

“I had no idea how bad she is and I’m truly sorry to any driver she will almost certainly take out of the race. I hadn’t ever seen her race to be honest,” Earnhardt Jr. admitted. “I just figured that she was hot and that maybe it could distract people from realizing I’m a terrible driver. I mean, she is the single reason godaddy.com is so popular! Do you even know what that site freaking does? Yea, me neither. I feel like it sells tanktops”

this article is meant strictly for comedic purposes only and is in no way expressing the view of the author who wrote it. In addition, all quotes have been made up and also do not reflect the opinions of those named.

The Stereotypical Sportscenter Top-10

If you watch Sportscenter as much as I do, you are well aware that the Top-10 is basically the same types of plays with different people doing them. That being said, here is a list of plays that depending on the season, you will see almost guaranteed.

Any Soccer Goal- There are some goals that you see that are truly awesome, but 90 percent of the time, it isn’t. Yet for some reason there is a soccer goal in the list every day. Do they just select a random goal? What makes it funny is if Josh Elliott is hosting because he truly thinks that every soccer goal is the most amazing thing ever. He won’t even give good analysis, just a series of grunts and sighs.

Diving Catch in Baseball- During baseball season, these consume seven or eight spots in the Top-10. That should tell you something right there…it happens seven or eight times a night. Times when the guy is like fully horizontal to the ground are awesome, I’ll give you that, but when the guy slides on his ass as he is catching it, that isn’t hard. Hell, Manny Ramirez has done that. If Manny Ramirez has the ability to do something, it shouldn’t qualify to be in the Top-10 because it isn’t hard.

Buzzer Beating Shots- A shot at the buzzer of the first quarter isn’t a high light, even if it is from half court. I’m sorry. Guys are big enough to where it isn’t even that hard to do anymore. I know you have see Dwight Howard shoot from the other sideline. If it is to win the game, then it is deserving. Other than that, just keep it in the highlight of the game.

Anything Done By LeBron- I think I have seen LeBron tying his shoes in the Top-10 before. Whether it is one of those blocks against the backboard that he does like twice a game, a completely regular dunk, or a pregame prank, LeBron has ESPN totally on his nuts. Any Top-10 is sure to have at least two LeBron plays in it…sometimes even on his day off.

Records- Last time I checked, scoring 50 points in a game, or winning 20 games in a row, doesn’t qualify at a “play,” so why is it in the Top-10? Chances are good that if the record or performance was really that spectacular, half of the episode was focusing on it. Remember Kobe’s 81 point performance a few years ago? They actually showed every shot he made in the game. Then his entire performance was the number one play of the night? No, that shouldn’t be how it works.

Any Football Play- Most of the football plays are warranted because all football games either happen on the same day. On any given Sunday during the football season, 26 teams are playing, which makes for a lot of plays to select from. It is true that it suffers from the same problem baseball does with the diving catches, but football is cooler than baseball.

Saves From a Goalie in Hockey- These are actually legit. My issue is that they aren’t consistent. I have watched some hockey games where a goalie made one of the most amazing plays I have ever seen and he doesn’t even get a shout out.

Well, I think that just about covers it. Occasionally, the Top-10 features ridiculous things like a squirrel waterskiing or guys rolling down a giant hill, but I’m not going to talk crap about them because those make my day.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Superbowl Stories That Don't Matter

Because we have had two weeks since the last NFL action, tv analysts have had the opportunity to not only talk about every important factor of the Superbowl, but ones that don’t matter at all. Whether they want to admit it, many topics that have been discussed (some of them at great length) will have no impact on the game. I have compiled a list of these to help you know what to ignore when watching tv.

Reggie Bush- Ok, I start here because people are stupid and think that he actually could be the “x-factor”. These people need to have duct tape put over their mouths to get them to stop talking. Bush averaged 28 rushing yards and 24 receiving yards a game this year. Does that sound like a guy that could make or break a game? If you are the Saints, you better hope to God it isn’t. After a good rookie year and a brilliant college career Bush has been the epitome of mediocre. After one great game against Arizona, people wanted to call him a great player again…jeez people are stupid.

New Orleans being the “team of destiny”- Can you believe people are actually picking the Saints for this sole reason? Yea. I have heard people say “I know the Colts are the better team, but I feel like the Saints are just destined to win.” Why does the fact that the Saints have been so bad for years, actually give them an advantage? It doesn’t. Yea, it is nice for the city, and everyone on the team is basically a hero, but if they win, it isn’t because of destiny, it is because they played better. And don’t give me that crap about the team being a symbol of New Orleans coming back from Hurricane Katrina. How long are they going to milk that?

Dwight Freeney- Stay with me on this one. As soon as we found out that the ligament in his ankle was actually TORN, people should have stopped asking about how it’s healing. A ligament would need 4-6 weeks to actually heal and that isn’t happening. Will he play through the pain? Yea, probably. Will he be effective? No. As a right end, his quickness and skill is based purely off that right ankle because that is where he plants to get that burst of speed. Without that, he is barely more affective than his backup.

Colt’s hotel- This is my favorite. People including Mike Golic insinuated than the Colts might be more comfortable because they are staying at the same hotel they stayed at a few years ago for the Superbowl. Soak that in. They actually think that what hotel the Colts stayed at three years ago for like five days actually will make them feel comfortable. For one, all hotels are pretty much the same if they are quality enough for an NFL team to stay there, and secondly, these guys have been in so many hotels for either road games, or to have sex with their mistresses, that there is no way they remember that hotel they stayed at three years ago. Why was this even reported?

The Madden Simulation- Did you know that the simulation of the Superbowl done with the Madden game has been right five out of the last six years? You didn’t? Good for you because I wish I didn’t. Talk about a worthless piece of information. So a video game based off of ratings that are based off of some guy’s opinion said that the Saints would win? That doesn’t matter! This isn’t the BCS (zing!).

So, there you have it. If you disagree, I don’t care because you are wrong. Reggie Bush sucks, Dwight Freeney is too injured for Drew Brees to be scared, and “destiny” is about as important as the political opinion of a kid under the age of 18. Seriously…they can’t vote. Why should you care?