Archive for February 2012

The Future of the Washington Wizards: The JaVale McGee Story

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The NBA is a league full of freak athletes. And even the laughing stock of the league, the Washington Wizards, have a freak athlete in JaVale McGee. McGee is seven feet tall, and can jump to the moon. But the problem with JaVale is...well...how can I say this...you see...JaVale McGee is an idiot. It seems like every week this guy is doing something stupid, and this week, it was a goaltending call that looked more like an audition tape for the Brazilian volleyball team.

 

With that in mind, my blog post is a tribute to the great JaVale McGee. How bout we start off with a bright spot for JaVale, as he seeks the illustrious triple-double. The magic starts at 1:40. Take note his team is down 20 points.

 

 That was last season, but hows JaVale doing this year? Well, he still plays on the Wizards, so not that well. Hey JaVale, remember when you were in the dunk contest? Oh? You do? And you want to remind us when your team is down in a close game? Awesome. For some strange reason, JaVale was benched immediately after this play!

 

But hey, at least he made it, right? How embarrassing would it be to try a dunk like that and miss. Pshh, I'm sure that never happens, and if it did, I'm sure you'd learn from your mistake. Isn't that right JaVale?



Well, on the bright side, he's always ready to play defence.



But that's just JaVale on the court. Outside of basketball, he's actually quite sophisticated. Tell em' JaVale!




Ladies and gentleman, JaVale McGee.

Life lessons from Lin

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It seems we have another phenomena on our hands in the world of sports, and he goes by the name of, Jeremy Lin.

Why do we love Lin? Sure, he's very talented, but we've certainly seen his type of skill in the game before - just watch a Suns game and you'll see a 38-year-old Steve Nash doing what he's doing and then some.

As good as he is, we are in love with his skill - we're in love with his journey. Lin is an undrafted Harvard graduate who, because of the Ivy League's no athletic scholarship policy, didn't even play on a scholarship. And now he's led the New York Knicks to seven straight wins in his first seven games of his career, and he did so in spectacular fashion. Every team in the league passed up on this kid, and they did it multiple times.

The thing that really gets me about Lin is that he chose to go to Harvard in the first place. He seems to have so much natural talent, so you would think he'd try to go to one of the many NCAA schools with a reputable basketball program. But somewhere during his high school years he made a decision. And for whatever reason, Lin felt Harvard was the best-case scenario for him.

I don't really know what I think about the word, destiny. I don't know if everybody has a destiny, or maybe if just some people do. Maybe there's no such thing as destiny at all, but that's not really the point. Lin made a decision to go to Harvard, get an amazing education, and then let things play out from there. And in making that decision, Lin trusted in who he was, and judging by where he is now, he must really believe in himself.

In basketball terms, there's no way that was a popular decision, and it almost looks like he just gave up on his dream. But what I see here is a kid who did what he thought was right, and trusted that his hard work and purpose driven life would lead him to somewhere where he can make a difference.

What if he chose somewhere else? Would we still be talking about him? Would he still be where he is today?

My honest answer is yes. Because what I'm learning from Jeremy Lin is that success is not always about the decisions we make in life, but it's about the person making the decision.




Darkness and Hope

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We have a tendency to over-glorify professional athletes. Regardless of the sport, you're probably going to hear the cliches, the superhuman comparisons, and the war analogies.

To us, they're living the dream life. They have it all.

Yesterday, Bell Media put on a mental illness awareness day they called Let's Talk. There was a lot of good that was done through this event, with many people engaging in open discussion on the topic, and a lot of encouragement for people in need of help.

But what really caught my attention was the one hour documentary hosted by talk show personality, Michael Landsberg called: Darkness and Hope: Depression, Sports, and Me.

In the documentary, Landsberg shared his story of depression in a way that was eloquent and inspiring. Landsberg is known to be quite the polarizing figure, but what he spoke about was brave, and something I think even had his greatest critics applauding.

As great as Landsberg was, it was the people he had assisting him in his message that opened my eyes the most.

Alongside Landsberg was Montreal Canadians alumni Stephane Richer, baseball legend Darryl Strawberry, and six time Olympic gold medalist Clara Hughes, all sharing about their personal battles with depression.

To some, these people have everything: money, fame, success, legacy. What do they have to be upset about? But as they explain, depression is so much more than that. Depression is an illness. Landsberg said is best when he says, "Depression is not a sports fan. It doesn't just skip players."

When raising awareness for something, one of the best techniques out there is celebrity endorsement. Putting a recognizable face to any type of champaign is often a good idea. But in this case, the celebrity endorsement is so much more. It's powerful.

It shows that people with depression are not alone. Regardless of the life situation you're put in, it can still have a hold on you. Unfortunately, as Landsberg explains, that feeling of loneliness is the most common, and most difficult part of it all.

But that's where the theme of "Let's talk" comes in. Each of the individuals in the documentary had one piece of advice in common: Talk to somebody.

I don't claim to be an expert in this. I don't have depression. I don't know what it feels like. But for some reason over the last year or so, this battle with depression people face has really struck a chord with me.

And even though it's not something I experience directly, I have friends battling depression. And it's important to realize that there are probably more people in my life that struggle as well, but for them it might still be kept inside.

So even though I'm not an expert, I want to spread the same message as Bell did yesterday. From what I gathered, the longer you keep it in, the harder it is. And even though it's probably not just going to disappear, talking to someone gets you on the right track. Whether they are professionals, family, friends, peers, or whoever, there are people out there who want to talk. And in the long run, it can save lives.

So for those in need, we should all be offering an open invitation.

Let's talk.












Here's the link of the documentary. Whether it's something you deal with or not, I think it's an important piece to watch.




The Casual Fan

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As much as I love sports, it's very difficult to keep up with all of them. I've been a hockey player almost all of my life, so obviously I keep up with the NHL. And I've always thought there was something spectacular about the storylines, psychology, and the freak athleticism that's on display in the NBA, so I consider myself a big fan of that too.


When it comes to the NFL, catching a game on Sunday afternoon every once and a while, and watching the highlights Monday morning is great. But I don't consider myself an expert by any means, and think of myself as more of a casual fan.  

So when the Superbowl comes around, my level of excitment depends on who's playing. This year's match-up unfortunately doesn't intrigue me all that much as I don't consider either of these teams as my favorite. 

But one of the great traditions of the Superbowl that hardly ever disappoints is the commercials. In the past few years, companies have been releasing their ads days before the game to start a buzz, and this year I've come across a great ad from Budweiser that surprisingly features hockey. 

I'm a sucker for this stuff. Enjoy!