Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Little Insanity Needed in Handling Scandals

Nine weeks ago I started what can only be described as a life changing makeover.

My brother sent me the Insanity Workout DVD.  Yes, the same one from those corny infomercials you are watching at 2:30 a.m. after a night at the bar or on Saturday afternoons before the start of golf or baseball.

I was skeptical at first, but figured I'd give it a shot.  I needed to try something different.  I went to the gym a few times a week, but that was getting stale and  I was eating like Morgan Spurlock.  It was time for a change of pace.

On July 1st I started the 63-day Insanity challenge and within five minutes was humbled by how difficult it was.  I poured sweat, Chauncey Billups style.  I was dripping from head to toe. It was disgusting and remarkable at the same time.  Every crevice of my body ached.  I don't think death could feel this bad.

I do my Insanity workouts in the morning and after that first day I remember limping around at work.  I could barely sit comfortably because my muscles were burning so bad even hours afterward.

But, I was determined to finish the two month challenge and pushed on.

I now have a week left and have not missed a day along the way.  At the risk of sounding like those people on the infomercials, Insanity really has made a difference.  Physically I am in the best shape of my life and I have more energy than ever.  I feel more productive at work and socially.  It's  made me a better person.

I detail my Insanity experience to say this...maybe college football needs to get a little insane.

The NCAA should use the recent scandal at Miami as its challenge, just as Insanity was mine.  It could be a game changer.  An extreme makeover is necessary.

There has been talk that the 'U' could face the Death Penalty.  Opponents argue that's too harsh of a punishment and that it hurts not only Miami, but the ACC Conference, and college football as a whole.

I say, so what?

Yes, Miami may lose money in the short term and yes, the Death Penalty has ripple effects throughout the university beyond just the football program, but that type of punishment also could serve as a way to rebuild a cleaner system.

If the NCAA takes away football from one of the historically great programs, it sends a message that it is committed to change.  It shows the Association is no longer going to tolerate rule breaking and corner cutting.  Dropping the hammer on Miami may force other programs across the country to take a closer look at the activities around their programs and act fast to make sure everything is in order.

The status quo isn't working and implementing penalties similar to those given in the past won't result in the necessary changes.

The NCAA needs to think about what it looks like now, realize it's not what it should be, pop in its own Insanity DVD, and transform itself into something better and more positive.

It may hurt in the short term, but over the long run, the changes will turn college football into something better.

It's time to get INSANE!

Monday, August 1, 2011

"Dream Team" Love All About the Approach

I should hate the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots.  They are consistently dominant, have annoying fans, and are a constant reminder of what I wish my Lions were on the field year-after-year.

Yet, even after both teams brought in a cavalcade of free agent superstars this past week, I still have nothing but respect for the franchises.

I feel like a bit of a hypocrite for thinking like this because I've been very outspoken in my disdain for another franchise that tried to win a title by building a "Dream Team" roster, the Miami Heat.

For nine months of the NBA season, I, like most fans outside of South Beach, smiled when Heatles struggled, laughed at every joke along the lines of "why does LeBron only ask for 75-cents when he needs change for a dollar? Because he doesn't believe in four-quarters," and felt extreme satisfaction when Dallas finished the year holding the Larry O'Brien Trophy on Miami's home floor.

Now, as the NFL season draws near, the Eagles and Patriots are putting together their own "Dream Teams."  Philly scored the biggest free agent signing in Nnamdi Asomugha and also added Cullen Jenkins, Jason Babin, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and Vince Young (although, I don't think a backup QB should really be thrown into this list, but he is a two-time pro-bowler, so I'll let it slide.)

That's a lot of talent joining an already stellar roster which is highlighted by arguably the most exciting player in the game, Michael Vick.

If the Eagles hit a free agency home run, the Patriots drilled a triple.

New England's front office is known for bold moves and the signings of Chad OchoCinco and Albert Haynesworth are no exception.  Both men have larger than life personalities, (Haynesworth's gut is also larger than some small planets), and both are famous more for their off-the-field theatrics than their on-field production.

It seems like a perfect formula to spark an NFL version of Miami Heat-type hate, and yet, I still cannot tap into the anger.

The difference is in the approach.

When the Heat joined forces, they celebrated as if a title was a mere afterthought.  They entered the PRESEASON with the mentality that "our skills are better than yours.  Enjoy the show. When's the victory parade?"

Fog machines, light shows, and pep rallies don't result in titles.  Hunger does.  And, that's what I saw out of the Eagles and Patriots new pieces this weekend.

Like LeBron and Bosh, Asomugha, OchoCinco, and Albert Haynesworth have never won titles.  Actually, they have had less post-seaon success than their NBA counterparts.

All of them also took paycuts to join better teams.  A very noble act.

But unlike, 'Bron and Bosh, the NFL stars deferred personal attention for team focus.

Bron held an hour-long special to announce his decision and Bosh was making guest appearances on Entourage.

The gridiron guys aren't viewing their new locations as a promise of legends status and greater fame, but instead as an opportunity to show they can work like champions.

Listening to Chad OchoCinco's press conference, Saturday, was like watching Eric Northman after getting cast with the witches spell on True Blood.  Number 85 had transformed from a brash, outspoken, showoff,  to a humble, focused, team player.  It was eerie, but refreshing.


Nnamdi was his usual quiet, articulate self, but also talked more about his adoration and respect for the Eagles than about his own "talents."

He spoke as though it was a privilege for him to come to Philadelphia, not the other way around. 

The Eagles and Patriots are everything sports fan normally despise.  They are full of big name talent, in historically successful sports cities, and are getting even better.

But, unlike the Heat, they are going about the process with humility and class.   And it's hard to hate on teams and people that conduct business that way.

South Beach should take note.