“The answer to the question everyone wants to know, Justin, what’s your decision?”
“Umm, in this fall, man, this is very tough, umm, in this fall I’m going to take my talents to East Lansing, and umm, join the Michigan State Spartans.”
Sound familiar? Well it should, if not, click here to refresh your memory.
It’s official, I have decided to take my talents to East Lansing and attend Michigan State University. In the end, it was a tough decision for me. Having applied to only Michigan State, I felt the Spartans were the school that best suited me.
In case you were wondering, no I did not notify Oakland University before my decision to leave, and no I did not make any promises to bring a championship to the city of Rochester Hills, Michigan before my departure.
Comparing the two signings, I definitely believe Michigan State will benefit more than the Miami Heat in the long run. Just kidding…Maybe.
Why is this relevant to you? Well for one, you are reading MY blog and two, it has been over a week since my last blog post so I figured I would explain my absence.
Right now, I am in an interesting situation. I am just like a free agent in the NFL. Typically, there are three steps taken before a free agent joins a new team:
- Team X and Player A express mutual interest in one another.
- Team X and Player A meet, discuss and negotiate a contract.
- Pending a physical, Player A joins Team X. *
- After signing the contract, if Player A gets injured or acts poorly, Team X can release Player A and that’s that.
I have currently just completed step three, and am trying to avoid being “released.” With the end of the semester approaching, professors are assigning truck loads of reading in preparation for final exams. Between the increase in homework, and my perfected procrastinating methods, I haven’t had too much time to write.
In the week plus one day since my last blog post, we have seen two epic chokes, letdowns, disappointments, collapses, meltdowns or any other word you can use to describe Butler’s National Championship game performance and Rory McIlroy’s Sunday at Augusta.
After watching the National Championship game I decided to put the 24-hour rule into effect. Basically, that means I needed 24 hours to reflect on what I did and didn’t see. Twenty four hours turned into 48 hours, which increased to 72 hours, and eventually, I decided words couldn’t describe what I had seen.
I feel for the Butler Bulldogs and not just the players. What Butler did was truly special. Going to back-to-back National Championship games as a 5-seed and 8-seed is no small feat.
Over the past two years, the Bulldogs captured America’s heart, and if not for the magical run by VCU, they would have been this year’s cinderella. Unfortunately, the Bulldogs will be remembered for playing one of the worst National Championship games ever.
The stats are difficult to look at. The game was brutal to watch. The effect it took on the players was the worst.
You could see the toll it was taking on them. Every lay up missed, every 18-footer left short, every three pointer bricked, slowly killed them on the inside. You could see it in their eyes, they were demoralized, confused and shocked. I was demoralized, confused and shocked.
If the basketball gods have any conscious, Butler will make it to the National Championship game again, soon, and hopefully they will be victorious.
He is the youngest player to lead after round one of the Masters. He was the leader after rounds one, two and three at Augusta. He shot a final round eight-over-par 80 to finish ten strokes behind eventual winner, Charl Schwartzel. Meet Rory McIlroy.
After shooting a one over on the front nine, McIlroy made the turn to the back nine and left his golf game somewhere on the course. Through the first three holes on the back nine, McIlroy was already six over par. With a triple on nine, a bogey on ten and a double on 11, McIlroy disappeared from the leader board.
McIlroy choked, no doubt about it. He was five-sixths of the way through his sandwich and lost his appetite. The last nine holes at Augusta, the last sixth of his sandwich proved to be too big for McIlroy and I have nothing but sympathy for him.
To me, the real story was not McIlroy’s performance on Sunday. The kid is extremely talented and I have no doubt he will learn and grow from this situation. He will be back.
The real story was the manner in which McIlroy handled himself Sunday. After collapsing on the last nine holes at Augusta, McIlroy had to have known the media was coming. He was a wounded fish and the sharks could smell blood.
McIlroy handed the situation with nothing but class. He was cool, calm, collected and honest. He admitted it was rough out there. He admitted he didn’t play his best golf when it mattered most. He gave all the credit in the world to Charl Schwartzel after collapsing nine holes away from the finish line, which is hard to do. Between McIlroy’s display of class and sportsmanship, I hope nothing but the best for the 21-year-old from Northern Ireland.
The other emerging story that came out of Augusta on Sunday was the surge of Tiger Woods up the leader board. Entering the day seven strokes back, no one gave Tiger a chance. After all, Tiger had never won a major trailing after three rounds. Even though Tiger didn’t win, he showed encouraging signs he will be back. And Golf needs him back.
I won’t go into Tiger’s history. We know who he is. We know what he did, and those of us with a brain know what he did was wrong.
Tiger Woods is not a perfect human being. Forget about Tiger’s personal life and focus on the athlete. As a sports fan, I was hoping he would complete the epic comeback and accept the green jacket once again.
On four separate occasions, Woods missed putts by fractions of inches. The most crushing of these misses coming on the 15th hole where Woods had a chance to jump into the lead with an eagle putt under five feet. He ended up settling for a birdie.
If Woods makes two or three of those putts, the 2011 Masters most likely has a different ending. Instead of Adam Scott and Charl Schwartzel sprinting to the finish line, they would’ve stumbled. The intimidation Tiger Woods used to strike in his opponents would have returned. Heading into the home stretch and seeing Woods atop the leader board, it would have been hard to imagine Scott and Schwartzel not thinking “he’s back!”
Those putts didn’t fall, and even if they had, there’s no definite way of knowing Woods would’ve won. What we do know, whether Woods is winning or losing, he is still the biggest story in golf.