Here at The Local Fix, we had our holiday Christmas party at Pinballz Arcade. A very grown up place for our mature bunch. Most companies have holiday parties, some even raise the party stakes and have the coveted White Elephant gift exchange. These can get heated faster than an Irishman at a St. Patrick’s Day Parade (we would know, we’re ¼ Irish).
We’re 99% certain sports teams participate in the White Elephant gift exchange. With the NBA in the middle of their season, we’d like to give helpful hints to make their party a success. Below are a few tips that NBA ballers can bring to make their White Elephant gift the GOAT:
-Cushioned Headgear: Unless you’re Nate Robinson, this is a MUST for all NBA players. If you’re tired of getting bonked in the head every time you walk into a room, on a plane or under bleachers--this cushioned hat is just for you! These stylish padded lid covers come in flatbill, fedora, cangol and sailor.
-Velcro Pant Extensions: Hey big men, how many times have you tried on a pair of pants and looked like a professional clam digger? Well, no more with these one-of-a-kind velcro pant extensions. These extensions fit on the bottom of any pant leg. They come in denim, khaki and even plaid for your special post-game interview threads!
-A "Bad Idea" Man: Every player has an entourage. Rightfully so, who else is going to pay your cell phone bill and order mani-pedis for the crew in the next town? The most important person in an entourage is the guy that’s missing in EVERY entourage--The “Bad Idea” guy. Say you’ve had a few drinks, it’s 3am and you want to keep the party going. You say, “Hey, let’s all go to Waffle House and bring in our Great Dane.” Uh Oh! That’s when “Bad Idea” guy steps in and says, “Look. That’s a bad idea. You’ve got a game tomorrow, now let’s get some rest.” You need a “Bad Idea” guy. This is a sure win at the team Christmas party.
-Plaster of Paris Powder: Replace it in LeBron's chalk bowl. He will cover his hands in this powder, it’ll mix with his sweaty palms and BAM!!!! His hands are now stiff as statues. This is a guaranteed win for your team (unless you’re the New York Knicks, then he will probably still beat you, even with two frozen hands).
-Paternity Tests: We don’t need to explain this one. Guys, get the test or put a cap on your captain.
Mention the city of Schulenburg to even the most well-traveled Texan and even they may have trouble conjuring up something to say. Schulenburg rests on 2.6 square miles of land, just south of La Grange right off of Interstate 10. Those that enjoy kolaches can probably tell you that Schulenburg koclaches are on par or better than those found out in West. Model airplane enthusiast know that Stanzel Flying Models is located in the city. While fans of polka know that Schulenburg is the home of the Texas Polka Music Museum. Since November 22, Schulenburg is now also known as the home of the Class 2A 2014 UIL State Volleyball Champions.
The Schulenburg Lady Horns (boys teams go by the Short Horns, in case you are wondering) season was nothing short of dominating. According to Max Preps, the Lady Horns went 43-8 overall with a perfect 14-0 in district play. Schulenburg plays in the smallest classification in the state, and its only losses of note were during tournament play to powerhouse teams out of larger classifications like: 4A State Winners-Up Dripping Springs, playoff qualifiers La Grange, Sealy, and Smithson Valley. The Lady Horns rolled through their district schedule only dropping two sets to the entire opposition and earning the number two state ranking from the Texas Girls Coaches Association along the way.
With such a strong regular season showing, a deep playoff run was in the picture for the Lady Horns. The playoffs started with Schulenburg having the bye in the first round. In the area round, they quickly dispatched Medina in three sets. Little did Schulenburg know that they were going to be in for a fight with Anderson-Shiro. Anderson-Shiro survived a five-set match in the opening round. They dropped only one set in the area round to set up the match with the Lady Horns. In their match-up, Anderson-Shiro took the first two sets (25-17, 25-22) and were thinking sweep. Schulenburg battled back, almost teasing Anderson-Shiro, as they coasted while winning sets three and four (25-15, 25-13). Then came the most exciting words in volleyball, set five. Schulenburg had all the momentum and fished off Anderson-Shiro 15-11 in the final set to take the match3-2.
The tight win against Anderson-Shiro seemed to have rejuvenated Schulenburg to play to its fullest potential. Kaufer and Harper both got a first hand lesson in dominate volleyball play as the Lady Horns swept both of them on their way to face Iola at the state tournament. For Schulenburg, making their third straight state tournament appearance, Iola was not an easy draw. Iola strolled through the playoffs without conceding a set the entire way. At the state tournament, Schulenburg proved to be a superior adversary. Iola was no match for the machine like precision of the Lady Horns attack and was left to ponder about next year in their 3-1 loss.
The win meant just one game left for the Lady Horns. The 2014 UIL State Volleyball Final. Schulenburg looked prime to dominate yet again as they took a tight first set 25-23. However, teams do not get to the state final if they are not worthy. Lindsay was making its second straight appearance at the state tournament and made sure to bring their best game. The Lady Kinghts fought back and took the second set 25-18. Thoughts of going five must of been on everyone’s mind, except for the Lady Horns. They took set three 25-20 and were just one set away from the championship. Lindsay desperate to extend the match kept the fourth set close the entire way. Both teams traded points from the start. The set went from six-all, to 11-all, and eventually 14-all. Schulenburg dropped a point and called a timeout down 15-14. The Lady Horns and Lady Knights continued the close contest, where it was eventually 21-all. Again, Lindsay was able to take a one point advantage and the Lady Horns used their last timeout. Out of the timeout Schulenburg got a fantastic play from Shannon Mikesky (Sr.), and Lindsay immediately took a timeout with the score at 23-all. Both teams fought even to 24-all and the set when into extras. Schulenburg was up 25-24 and came to match-point. Then the culminating moment that will live on forever in Schulenburg athletic history. Kelsie Fiestem (Sr.) with the serve, a bit of a rally, Shannon Mikesky with a cross court set, then the kill off the left side from Bay Guentert (Jr.) set over, match over. Schulenburg fended off Lindsay 26-24 in the fourth set for the 3-1 match victory.
For Schulenburg High School it was a historic moment capturing the volleyball state title for the first time. Upon their return the Lady Horns were given a well deserved parade with the Schulenburg community in full support. The volleyball community knows where Schulenburg is now, at home celebrating their state title.
WORLD CUP PREDICTIONS AND VIEWING SUGGESTIONS
By: Justin Simmons
One dream, one team, one moment. The passion enthralls each nation lucky enough to qualify. The story of sporting glory will unfold upon the masses in Brazil. Living, breathing, dying with every bounce of the ball. Shakespeare himself could not write a more fitting drama.
As The Local Fix's authority on soccer, it would only be fitting that I would provide you fine readers something about the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup. There already a slew articles that could easily vie for your attention. There are team preview articles, player articles, coaching profiles, almost anything you could possibly want to know about the World Cup is available. With just a little less than two weeks to go until the first kick off, surely there is something I can provide you with about these games that has not been mentioned yet.
Even if you do not follow soccer (yet are still reading this article, by the way, thanks) you probably already know that United States Men's National Team Manager, Jürgen Klinsmann decided to leave Landon Donovan, one of the greatest players in US history, off the roster. The decision was shocking as it was felt by many pundits that a player of Donovan's historical significance simply deserved a spot on the squad. Speculation amongst fans continues, but make no doubt that despite Donovan's exclusion this is the most talented team the USA has ever had the privilege of assembling for a World Cup.
Even if this is your first World Cup, you probably also know that the USA is in Group G and will be facing the powerhouse that is Germany, Cristiano Ronaldo (and his biggest fan) and Portugal, and the team responsible for sending the US home the last two World Cups, Ghana. I must repeat, watch a game. While the odds seem insurmountable, the possibilities of the US moving on to the knock round are still viable. Germany is currently ranked as FIFA's second best team in the world. However, the US would be looking for a valuable point (which means tie, I know ties suck), not victory. It is plausible that the youth, natural athleticism, and specialized mechanics implemented into squad will be enough to keep the game close. As for Portugal, while they have the current best player in the world, that's about all they have. The are some good supporting players for Portugal, but the US finally has the talent to be at the same level or above the rest of Portugal’s squad. As for Ghana, I think the US is due for a victory.
See, the United States has a chance in every match they are in. They are no longer the lowly soccer hating country that got by on spirit and gumption as was the case in 1994. The US is not only expected to compete against the upper echelon of world soccer, but to win. If I had to give you an approximation of how Group G will play out, I was say the only for sure bet is Germany. I legitimately think that US will be the second team to advance out of the Group of Death. My reasoning is part patriotism (I was one of those kids swept up in the 1994 World Cup), hommerism, and evaluative reasoning.
As a sports fan (I really do like them all...for the most part) I always play a game during the World Cup. I basically try to either listen or watch every match live. The last games of the group stage are played simultaneously so I flip in between the two. There are 64 matches including the World Cup Final in 2014. I have been quite creative in the process during the last few cups. I have done everything from switching shifts to make a game, to calling in sick, sneaking in viewing during work, or just simply just being up early enough watch. With this World Cup, expect most matches to happen during the work day.
For the World Cup newbie, let me give you a bit of protocol. If you plan to go to a bar to watch the United States play get there early. More than likely the American Outlaws (the official support group of the United States, I myself one of them) will probably be out in droves. Throw in all those people on top of a usual lunch rush, and you can see where getting early to get a decent viewing spot is imperative.
Wear something that shows you are rooting for a team. Maybe you will pull on some yellow for Brazil, some Orange for Holland, toss on some blue for Italy, France, Japan or Honduras. This is a great time to meet people from other nations or bloodlines that are living here in Austin. Everyone has a story and is generally friendlier when they are tossing back a few beers and hoping for their country's soccer glory. The soccer itself on televisions should be tantalizing, but it is the atmosphere that is found within the live viewing at bar or some other venue packed with other people will be even better. There is this visage identified when people unite to cheer on their country, it is simply glorious. While I love the game itself, it is the fandom of the crowd that really sells the sport. This should be seen at any game involving the more traditional soccer power, or any Mexico and Central America country games. More importantly, if you are going out to watch the games, be courteous to your servers and bartenders. Be extra mindful of the people who are probably cooking your food. Every other country in the world lives and dies with their World Cup team. We American's do not have that concept when it comes down to international soccer, yet.
My dream is to someday that soccer will be important enough to the collective sporting conscious in the US that people will grasp the utter insanity that can ensue. If I had it my way work would be canceled for any important sporting day. With the World Cup, it only happens once every four years, we American's are lucky that our team has qualified consecutively since 1990 (not even those usually quibble English can state that claim). For most of those Central American countries, qualifying for the World Cup is highly unexpected, yet jubilant achievement. Basically, if you food is taking a little long or service is a tad slow, let it slide. I suggest a subtle pregame, ordering food early, and being loud the entire 90 minutes. Come find me with the rest of the Outlaws and I will even buy you a beer. Either way, enjoy the moment, enjoy pageantry, and viva Estatdos Unidos!
March Madness is Driving Me Crazy
By: Justin Simmons
It is done, over, finished, destroyed, decimated, terminated, rendered useless, amongst other words I chose not to use here. The chance to win a billion dollars has eluded everyone who had the gumption to fill out a tournament bracket. I am not saying that I had plans for a billion dollars, but the notion that anyone who was lucky enough to guess the improbable would have been able to walk away with the cash has made this year's failed bracket tougher to handle than usual. Even the chance to win a local pool has been canceled out due to the fact that this has to be one of the zaniest NCAA Tournaments in recent years.
There were so many storylines going into the start of the tournament. You had Wichita State with an unbeaten record strolling into the tournament with little fanfare looking to prove they were more than a result of a mid-major conference schedule. We had the one-and-dones, in Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker looking to make a statement before presumably heading off to the National vBasketball Association. Of course, there were the traditional powerhouses like Syracuse, Kansas, North Carolina, and some underrated good teams in the mix like Iowa State, Florida, and Virginia.
That was all before the tournament started. Now that we have played through a weekend, I do not think anyone can tell you for sure how this NCAA Tournament is going to end. While I picked a few early round upsets like Harvard and Steven F. Austin, I had little faith in Mercer beating Duke or Dayton just ripping the heart out of Aaron Craft and Ohio State. As much as I hate the fact that my bracket was busted right after the first “second round” (I hate how the media or NCAA or both are trying to sell the play-in games as the “first round”) game, I enjoy getting a chance to see some Cinderellas getting a chance to shine at the ball before the clock strikes midnight.
A consensus reason for the more frequent runs to the Sweet Sixteen of lesser teams has been placed on the one-and-done rule that was enacted by the NBA. It states that prospective draft prospect must wait one graduating class year before being eligible for the NBA Draft. The rule does not specify where a player can play, they can go to the NBA-Developmental League, or play overseas, but most touted players opt for one year at a college powerhouse. John Calipari is one coach who has made a living off of playing predominately freshman teams in recent years.
Most pundits have blamed the one-and-done rule in the sloppy play by traditional powerhouse teams in the tournament. It seemed partially true. When Mercer took down Duke, it was squad loaded with upperclassmen. A team like Kansas, who were missing a key cog, could just not overcome the obstacles even with Andrew Wiggins. Those are just a couple examples. Tom Izzo's, Michigan State teams usually make deep runs with little NBA talent on their roster. The thought is that during tournament time, upperclassmen with experience is a commodity. If you have it, then there is a better chance of advancing. During every game I have heard Charles Barkley (whom I enjoy) talking about how the youngsters should stay in school for at least two years.
I was almost ready to agree with him, until a Kentucky team that started five freshman took down what was arguably the best team in the country on Sunday in Wichita State. They did not play like freshman, if anything they grew up before the nation's collective eyes. This weekend starts the Sweet Sixteen as we narrow it down to the Final Four. There is no telling who will walk away with this one. Will it be Louisville, who have looked strong in their title defense? How about Florida, who while rated the number one team in the country, have not received the love of pundits. There is always Michigan State, sneakily waiting to turn some heads. Then you have a Kentucky team that looks just too big and athletic to let a little thing like age, stop it from reaching the title game. UCLA looks like the UCLA of old, but that was against an undersized SFA team. Arizona is rolling through its part of the bracket, while Wisconsin is looking more athletic than I was giving credit for. Baylor has been a surprise, while Michigan is looking to get back to the title game. I know there are some teams I have left out, but even Dayton has a conceivable chance to keep dancing with the way they have been playing.
All I know is that I am actually excited to watch and suggest you be too. As a sports fan that knew that the billion dollars was a pipe dream, I am more than ecstatic to see a tournament with so many twist. I hope you enjoy as much as I do.
Good Bye, Good Knight, and Good Riddance
By: Justin Simmons
We are rounding the end of February and heading into the month of March. Here at The Local Fix, it's drinks, comedy, poorly planned company outings, and now you can throw March Maddness into the mix. While most teams are preparing for a chance to be the next Cinderella of the “Big Dance” things are different on the campus of Lamar University. They are going through another poor basketball season. An invite to lower end tournament like the College Basketball Invitational would be welcomed in Beaumont, Texas at this moment. With five games left in the season the Cardinals fired their basketball head coach, Pat Knight.
Now for you non-basketball fans out there, the last name might sound familiar. That is because he is the son of infamous Bobby Knight. Granted the younger Knight had his moments. He took over Texas Tech in 2008 when his father abruptly retired from coaching. He was able to garner some big wins, but ultimately had only one winning season as head coach of the Red Raiders. He was subsequently let go and took the head gig at NCAA Division I minnow Lamar University.
Most people I have encountered from Beaumont have spent a good portion of their adolescence trying to get out of Beaumont. At the time of Pat Knight's hiring in 2011, it was seen as a fantastic deal for both parties. The coach with the famous pedigree was considered at least a decent coach at the time. The university was able to use the coach's name in order to garner some very pleasurable national media attention.
The hiring of Knight started off well enough for the Cardinals. A team composed of mainly holdovers from the last regime was able to qualify for a play-in-game in the NCAA Tournament. Earlier that same year, he criticized his players harshly in the media. The media, the old school basketball pundits, loved the fact that he essentially threw his players under the proverbial bus. It is a safe assumption that most of those that applauded Pat Knight's style probably yearn for the days of Lombardi, Landry and Bobby Knight. In the old days the best coaches were the ones who could strike fear into their players. Those disciplinarian type of coaches who ruled with an iron fist
Subsequently for the younger Knight, he was never able to garner much more success. He went 3-28 the following season and was 3-22 before his dismal on Sunday. The problem with Pat Knight is that he tried to emulate his father's coaching style. His father was not exactly rationale. I can only speak from what I saw of Bobby Knight in the public eye, but throwing chairs and choking players (who are just college kids) have no place in the modern day. Basically, the elder Knight was fortunate that he was not coaching in today's technological advanced world. Although, winning does solve almost everything, ask Louisville about bringing back Bobby Petrino. Despite his flaws, Bobby Knight got results and championships. His son on the other hand never came close.
I am sure that because of his last name that Pat Knight will get another job. He will continue to berate players, throw fits at the media, and try to act like his old man. Yet, he will still continue to lose games and not be able to recruit. You might as well file this article away on your computer, and just add his next firing after his next coaching stint.
Justin's Top 5 from the Past Week
-Tony Romo play from 1quarter through near the end of the game- There was one paticular play that basically displayed what Tony Romo is capable of. He looked like he was sacked, he rolled away, while still on the run he was able to avoid the continued rush. Then he easily launched the ball down field finding an open receiver.
-Weddings- I love them! Nothing like going without a date only to return with a date, if you know what I mean;) On my facebook I noticed that a lot of my friends were getting married this weekend. It is no lie that the bride basically calls the shots when it comes to the wedding date. I want to applaud my friends on choosing a date where UT was not playing, choosing a borring college football , and staying away from NFL . Ladies nicely done! Shout out to my newly married friends Matt and Justine.
-The art of the play action pass- As much as I dislike Peyton Manning, but enjoy the Manning face (sports people know) I have to respect his ability. Despite all the touchdowns and acolades, Manning is probably the best at play action play fake. He proved it again as he sold the run with such success, that even the camera guy fell for it as he easily scampered into the end zone for the touchdown.
-Pittsburg Pirates- For the past 21 years, the Pirates were the definition of sports futility. They did not have a winning season for 21 years till last season. This year they were able to build on their success. They won their first lpayoff game and now are on the verge of winning their first playoffs series. Best of all, they still have fans like this guy...
Little Knockers, Inside Pee Wee Training Camp- It is no lie that I love me some football. I think one of the best series on television is HBO's Hard Knocks, which takes an inside look at the training camp process for a selected NFL team. Then seemingly out of nowhere Funny or Die came out with the perfect parody. It just like the HBO series, but instead of pro players they are replaced with kids. If you are used to all the typical football stuff, it is hilarious when it's put into context with kids. Watch Episodes HERE
The LSU Tigers lose to Georgia in a high scoring battle which came down to the last series of the game. It was a very exciting game--the only thing missing were the teams defenses. While watching the game over a bowl of shrimp and grits with a bloody mary chaser, I knew the game would be won by whomever scored last. Unfortunately for Tiger fans, the Dawgs found the end zone last. The game changer was a fumbled catch in the 3rd quarter as Georgia punted to LSU. The Bulldogs recovered with great field position and put it in for the score. Game. Changer.
The Saints destroyed the Dolphins 38-17 on Monday Night Football to stay undefeated. They looked great on both sides of the ball. I don't want to jinx anything, do they look as good as the 2009 Saints? Only time will tell, but it will be fun to watch. Who Dat!
Was anyone more surprised than Lane Kiffin about getting the axe from USC? After his flight, he was welcomed home with a pink slip from the AD. It's very karma-like what he did in Tennessee moving to USC. He has a proven track record--I'm sure he will land on his feet.
Proven Track Record:
He's had success in Oakland, right? Wrong.
He won big in Tennessee, right? Nope.
Carried the winning traditions of USC, right? Try again.
What do organizations see in Kiffin? He's cut from the cloth of a strong coaching lineage as his father. OK, he's got that going for him, but for now he will just have to wait for another storied franchise to hire him so he can put them back in the ranks of mediocrity. Good luck, Kiffin, get a job so we can see your wife on TV soon.
Stayed tuned for next week's Local Fix where we discuss UT Football, NFL and college ball around the country. We will also have a surprise or two in store for you.
Ranking the NFL Quarterbacks based on Physical Attractiveness
Based on a scale of 1-4, 1 = Gross - 4=Yes Please! Rankings established by average of score from female poll, tied scores were determined by amount of lower single scores and extra comments.
- By Elizabeth Oberg
32 - 25
32) Ben Roethlisberger-Steelers, 1
31) Andy Dalton- Bengals, 1
30) Carson Palmer- Cardinals, 1
29) Matthew Stafford- Lions, 1.1
28) Colin Kaepernick- 49ers, 1.1
27) Brandon Weeden- Browns, 1.2
26)Jake Locker- Titans, 1.2
25) Josh Freeman- Buccaneers, 1.3 (Benched)
24 - 17
24) Michael Vick- Eagles, 1.3
23) Peyton Manning- Broncos, 1.3
22) Geno Smith- Jets, 1.3 (Replaced Mark Sanchez who was #1 with 3.6)
21) Tony Romo- Cowboys, 1.4
20) Christian Ponder- Vikings, 1.4
19) Matt Flynn- Raiders, 1.5 (Benched)
18) Drew Brees- Saints, 1.5
17) Philip Rivers- Chargers, 1.6
16 - 8
16) Russell Wilson- Seahawks, 1.7
15) Robert Griffin III- Redskins, 1.7
14) Sam Bradford- Rams, 1.8
13) Eli Manning- Giants, 1.8
12) Andrew Luck- Colts, 2
11) Joe Flacco- Ravens, 2
10) Matt Schaub- Texans, 2.1
9) Blaine Gabbert- Jaguars, 2.2
8) Cam Newton- Panthers, 2.3
7 - 1
7) EJ Manuel- Bills, 2.4 (Replaced Kevin Kolb who was 1.3)
6) Ryan Tannehill- Dolphins, 2.5
5) Aaron Rodgers- Packers, 2.5
4) Alex Smith- Chiefs, 2.7
3) Jay Cutler- Bears, 3
2) Matt Ryan- Falcons, 3
1) Tom Brady- Patriots, 3.5
1. Eastern Kentucky's punt-pass for a first down against Morehead State on Saturday
2. Baylor is averaging 70 pts a game so Bears fans have them dropping 60 on Bama in the National Championship game. But let's slow our roll, they played Wofford, Buffalo & LA-Monroe, who are a combined 6-5 this year and they played all their games at home. Next up is a struggling WV team, again in Waco. They may not even face a team with a winning record or a respectable defense until they play OU in November. So, Baylor fans, yes you are a legitimate big12 contender, but national champs?... What the football?
3. Jacoby Jones, WR for the Baltimore ravens, was hit over the head with a champagne bottle by a stripper named sweet pea. WTF?! FULL STORY HERE
1. A pee-wee football player scores an amazing touchdown and the video of the power run goes viral. WTF?!?! Alabama has probably offered the kid a scholarship. And, number 14, with dirty and late block-in-the-back, he'll be getting an offer from Miami.
2. Texas gives up 550 yards rushing to a team lead by a kid in a knee brace and the DC Man-candy Diaz is kicked to the curb. WTF?!?!
3. SI is reporting at least eight Okie Lite football players admit to (allegedly) accepting impermissible benefits while attending the university, including cash money, academic fraud, and "hostesses" arranged to ensure recruits enjoyed their weekend in Stillwater. WTF?!?! The investigation will uncover that every penny was spent on getting the hell out of Oklahoma.
4. Jimmy Fallon & Justin Timeberlake do it again: "The Evolution of End Zone Dancing" takes us on a magical football-scoring journey from the Ickey Shuffle to the Nuh-Uh to Tebowing to Manti Te'o On A Date. WTF?!?! Good stuff, check it out.