How to Survive Super Bowl Week

When I started this blog last spring the main goal was to help Sports Nerds become more comfortable with sports. I realize that Super Bowl week might just be the worst week of the year for Sports Nerds. But have no fear, the Sports Guru has devised a 3 part plan to get you from the thumb sucking prenatal position to being the hit of Super Bowl Sunday.

For years now, Mary from the IT department and Hank from the mail room have passed by your cubicle during Super Bowl week Monday with a strange looking piece of paper. fooball-squares1

Since you have never stopped them, they walk right past you and down the hall to visit your co-worker Stan (rhymes with Sports Fan). Have you ever wondered about that “magic” piece of paper EVERYBODY else on your floor talks about all of Super Bowl week? The “magic” piece of paper is called the Super Bowl Box Pool. It is really nothing to be afraid of. Here is all you really need to know about the SBBP.

The paper is diveded into 100 boxes. Ten on the x-axis and ten on the y-axis (you are a math nerd also, correct?). What Mary or Hank wants from you is your name or initials in those boxes. Not all of them, just a few. It will cost you money to put your name or initials on the SBBP.

Lets do some quick math now. Using $10 as a base, each SBBP when fully completed will be worth $1,000 (100 boxes times $10 each). Some SBBP are more and some could be less, but the concept is the same. Base bet times 100.

Now here’s the fun part. When Hank walks by your cubicle this week, you need to yell out really loud, “Hank give me 3 boxes this year”. Since Hank has never stopped by your cubicle before, you might have to chase him down the hall. Don’t worry about that. Just be real loud and proud when you yell, “Hank give me 3 boxes this year” and hand over your $30. Exact change will endear you to Hank for at least a year.

So now you have given Hank your 30 bucks and he has picked up his jaw that dropped to the ground and has stopped staring at you like you spoke to him in Mandarin. What’s next on the path from Sports Nerd to Sports Fan? You boldly take your pen and write your name or initials in your 3 boxes. Spread out your boxes around the “magic” paper if you can. Be very careful to keep your marking in your own boxes, it is SBBP etiquette to not run into someone else’s box. At this point Hank will thank you, he will walk away muttering to himself and you have taken step one in your Super Bowl transformation. When you make your way back towards you cubicle make sure to yell real loud again “Thanks for the 3 boxes Hank”. When you do make it back to your cubicle, sit back in your chair and stare blankly at your computer monitor because you really have no idea on what you have just done. Don’t worry, Sports Guru Dave will now tell you more about the “magic” piece of paper.

After an unproductive 90 minutes of work, Mary and Hank made it back to the offices with a fully filled out SBBP and a thousand dollars.

I know what your thinking, “that’s how Hank goes on that fishing trip with his brother-in-law Roscoe every spring”. No, Hank is not ripping off his co-workers. Hank calls over his supervisor Tom to help him with the next step of the SBBP. While Hank has been walking the halls collecting ten bucks a box, Tom has been secretly preparing the next step of the SBBP. He has carefully folded and cut another piece of paper (not magic) into 10 squares. He writes the numbers 0 through 9, one digit on each of the 10 carefully folded and cut squares. He then places those paper squares in a lunch bag or hat. Anything that will protect those squares from being seen by human eyes. Depending on how much free time Tom and Hank have, or how complicated they want to make the next steps, they basically will randomly choose a piece of paper from the hat and write that number over the very first column (x-axis) on the SBBP. They proceed until all 10 numbers have been filled in across the top of the SBBP. They will do the same on the y-axis rows. The next step is critical, they will flip a coin and decide which axis will represent the Arizona Cardinals and which the Pittsburgh Steelers (you did remember they are playing in Super Bowl XLIII this Sunday in Tampa). At this point the SBBP is complete and more fun can happen.

I know, I know. You still have no clue what is going on. Hank will come back down the hall to give you a copy of the completed SBBP. football_pool-1 Remember, he never really stopped in your cubicle so be on the lookout for him with your copy. Hold the “magic” paper copy tightly in your two hands and look for your bold signatures in your 3 boxes (I know you were cheap and only bought one). Now take a yellow high-lighter and mark off your 3 boxes. Notice the numbers along the tops of the columns and along the rows. Mark off these numbers also. As an example your coordinates might look like Pittsburgh 6, Arizona 3 for box one. Pittsburgh 1, Arizona 2 for box two and Pittsburgh 8, Arizona 6 for your third box. These are your “numbers” You will need them for Sunday.

I could tell you more about your “numbers“, but since this is a 3 part plan you will need to wait until part 3 to learn how your “numbers” on the “magic” piece of paper copy will fill your pants pockets with cash next Monday morning. Now go find Mary or Hank, NOW………..

A quick follow-up to last Fridays blog https://sportsnerds.wordpress.com/2009/01/23/losing-builds-character/.

Miss Indiana was named Miss America for 2009, extending Miss Georgia’s not winning streak to 56 years. Miss America And the basketball coach at Covenant high school in Dallas has been fired for letting his team beat the Dallas Academy 100-0. http://sports.espn.go.com/highschool/rise/basketball/girls/news/story?id=3859935

Your Friend in Sports,

Dave the Sports Guru

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Losing Builds Character

churchsign_loserThere is no way the Sports Guru is going to make you believe that losing builds character. Somebody as least as famous as me is given credit (I could not find who the brain surgeon was) for those three little words. All losing is, is not winning. Now doesn’t that sound better. What ever you want to call it, losing or not winning is what the New Jersey Institute of Technology’s (NJIT) mens college basketball team has been doing since beating Longwood on February 19th, 2007. 51 straight losses. That is until Wednesday night when the Highlanders defeated Bryant University 61-51 in Newark, NJ.

Here’s the good news. The 51 game losing streak would have been a NCAA Division I record for futility but because NJIT is what they call a reclassifying school (not three seasons at this division) the record is still held by Sacramento State who lost only 34 straight games from 1997 to 1999. 51 games is a longtime to not win. Since NJIT moved from Division II to Division I during the 2006-2007 they are now 6-71. They posted a 5-24 record during their first season, they were winless last season and are now 1-18 this year. Only one player, junior Dan Stonkus has endured all 51 of those losses. 51 is nothing compared to the all-time NCAA losing streak at any level – 117 games by Division III Rutgers – Camden that did not win from January 22, 1992 until January 9, 1997. That was nearly five years without a win.1138822644t-shirt-for-sayings6

The Sports Guru did a little digging and found that futility happens a lot in sports. Just by coincidence Wednesday night Clemson University visited the University of North Carolina for a mens basketball game. North Carolina won 94-70. It was the 54th straight home win for North Carolina against Clemson. Clemson has NEVER beaten North Carolina when they were the road team.

Next weekend the Arizona Cardinals will play the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLIII. The Cardinals as a franchise started in 1898 and are the oldest continuously run professional football team. They can claim one NFL championship in 1947 when they played in Chicago. They left Chicago after the 1959 season moving to St. Louis the next season and then Arizona for the 1988 season. That’s 61 years without a championship. Since 1947 they have been to the playoffs only six times with a total of five victories. Three of those five have come in this post season.images

It’s now 101 seasons since the Chicago Cubs last won the World Series. The Chicago Blackhawks last won the Stanley Cup in 1961. hall_miller_and_neva_jane_langley1Miss Georgia was last named Miss America in 1953 (Neva Jane Langley), a Collie has not won Best in Show at the Westminster Dog Show since 1929 (poor Lassie). NJ has not elected a Republican Senator since Clifford P Pace in 1972 ( I don’t want to hear from any of you who doubt the Sports Guru mention Nicholas F Brady).

So what is it about not winning (using winning is always better than saying losing) that builds character. Take the girls basketball team at Dallas Academy. Last week they lost to Covenant, a private Christian school in Dallas 100-0. The score was 59-0 at half-time and the girls from Covenant opened up the second half by using a full-court press. Dallas Academy has eight girls on it’s varsity and about 20 girls in its high school. It is winless over the last four seasons. They specialize in teaching students struggling with “learning differences” such as short attention or dyslexia. At their next practice some of the players said they were frustrated during the game but felt it was a learning opportunity (not sure what you learn from losing by a 100 points). Freshman Shelby Hyatt was quoted as saying “Even if you are losing, you might as well keep playing.” “Keep trying, and it’s going to be OK”. A bright spot on not winning by 100 is that Mark Cuban who owns the Dallas Mavericks has invited the girls from the Dallas Academy to see a Mavericks game from the owners suite later in the season. The losers here are the girls from Covenant and the coaching staff that ran up the score. They are now trying to do the right thing by seeking a forfeit and apologizing for the margin of victory.

Which now brings me to what happens when you finally win. Last Friday night the boys basketball team from Palisades High School in Kintnersville PA snapped their 85 game not winning streak by defeating Palmerton 45-35. The 85 game streak was the third longest streak in Pennsylvania history (state record is 88 by Mifflinburg) and lasted over five seasons. When the game ended the Pirates celebration was somewhat muted and given the circumstances, perfectly appropriate. Their coach Mike Viglianti embraced his players and whispered a few things to several of them. The last time the Pirates won was the last game of the 2004-2005 season. Here’s the weird twist. 6 of the boys on the basketball team were on the roster on Palisades District 11 Class AA championship football team.

So whether you call it losing or my coach speak of “not winning”, it happens a lot in the world of Sports and in life. If you don’t win, get over it. The sun will come out tomorrow (no Annie video will ever appear in a Sports Guru blog), you will have bills to pay when you get home and I’m still better looking than you….

Here’s a little YouTube video that will help get you through an entire weekend without football.

Your Friend in Sports,

Dave the Sports Guru