Happy post-Super Bowl, no-football-untill-September to everyone! Hope everyone enjoyed the big game, ate lots of food and were with good enough friends to get you through Barack Obama’s planned power outage (I mean, it had to have been his fault, right?).
As the shortest month of the year, I have always seen February as a waste of space on the sports schedule. NBA, NHL, and college hoops are in the meat of their seasons with little urgency or exciting play for the most part.
It’s around this time I like to take stock of the city and see how we are doing. So lets take a look and, using my scale of 1 to 5 (1 being would rather watch new episodes of Wipeout and 5 being I am buying tickets now), let’s see the state of District.
The State of DC Sports
- Nationals. Pitchers and catchers report to Florida for Spring Training in about a week. The Nationals added a 5th president to the famous President’s Race and we all look forward to a very wobbly Taft losing many races. Star pitcher Gio Gonzalez was named in a steroid report, but we’re unsure if this will have repercussions. The first exhibition game is at the end of March against the New York Yankees…Oh Yea. Excited: 3.5 more presidents the better
- Capitals. Last place; not looking like a team at all. Still major questions in goal. Fans receiving weird magazines. Bottom line here: Ovi needs to step it up, and soon, if there will be playoff hockey in the district this year. Excited: 2 worried this funk will last too long
- Redskins. Rookie of the year honors to RG3. A division title and a win over the Super Bowl Champion Ravens during the season. Lots of players coming back. Excited: 4 as long as RG3 heals well, nothing but upside
- Wizards. … yea, let’s just move on here.
- Georgetown/GWU: Gtown is a top 25 team, big wins over Louisville and UCLA, always gets hot come March. George Washington University is still finding their offense in a much improved Atlantic 10. Excited: 5. MARCH MADNESS IS SOON
Not a bad state of the city. There are a lot of things to feel good about as we glide through this short month. Stay warm everyone!
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- New Yorker’s 101 pizza slices. Yum!
- It has begun. The robots are taking over.
- Paperman. An amazing Pixar short.
I have it said it on many occasions and in previous columns, having a car in the district, while at times annoying, is a difference maker. It makes the city more available and easier to escape. Last week in search of college hoops, my car became especially helpful as thanks to my father the basketball coach, I got tickets and went to College Park to see some University of Maryland men’s hoops.
Many close friends of mine went there while I was at G.W. and not a single person disliked it and with a stadium like this, how could you not? The arena felt like that of a small professional team though my courtside seats also helped with my wow factor. As the game was during academic finals, it was not exactly well attended, but judging by its size and the passionate fans who did go, I can imagine when Duke comes it’s a different story. It was also on national television (ESPN) and because I was sitting behind the Maryland bench, I got on TV.
The other great reason to go to this game was their opponent FIU is coached by Hall of Fame point guard and destroyer of the NY Knicks Isiah Thomas. Every tri-state part of my body wanted to jump the rail and aggressively ask him for my lost decade of New York City basketball back, instead I watched his team lose while eating a hot pretzel.
Hopefully I will be able to get some conference game tickets, particularly either Duke or UNC. Beautiful facility and basketball tradition, College Park is worth spending some time on the Green Line (or car) to enjoy some hoops.
Enjoy Your Holiday Weekend Lebodome Style
NFL: Giants vs Jets Saturday at 1pm, Bears vs Packers Sunday at 8:20 pm. Also realized I play my girlfriend in the semi’s of one of my fantasy leagues (after dispatching fellow Borderstan writer Laura last week); I better win.
NBA: Welcome Back says the NBA with a full slate of games starting at noon. For me, it’s all about Boston and NYKnicks (noon on TNT) actually being a competitive rivalry again and the rematch of last year’s finals with Mavericks vs. Heat (2:30 pm on ABC). The late night Clipper game may be worth a glance to see how their new team looks.
Enjoy Some Chinese Food: I like to think General Tso was a cruel warlord who spread destruction and delicious chicken everywhere he went. Also everyone loves that red sweet and sour sauce with some eggrolls.
See a Movie: Right now I’m thinkin’ new Mission: Impossible movie, but maybe out of sheer laziness I’ll go with RedBox… let’s call it a gameday decision.
Have a great holiday, Borderstan, and a happy new year!
Thought of the Week
I heard D.C. may not get much snow this year…. whooray
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All found by roommate.
As I was digesting my very tasty Thanksgiving meal watching holiday football (the games were pretty good) I noticed something on the bottom ticker that seemed unfamiliar.
Places and numbers were rolling by with the title NCAAM and it took me a few moments to place it. In the excitement of the NFL season and my disgust in the NBA returning (it will take me at least ’till April to care if Lebron James can win in the 4th Quarter) I somehow forgot about college basketball.
Where I am from, this could be considered treason.
DC College Teams
We in the District are pretty fortunate in that there are lots of colleges around and all fairly easy to get to using mass transit. As a former DC college student, I can tell you first hand that many of these gyms have great atmospheres with very passionate fanbases.
You would think with so many teams in the city, there would be a great “Battle of the Metro,” but thanks to general stupidity and the stubbornness of one major school (Hint: the metro doesn’t go there) there is nothing but a watered down version. What a shame.
That aside, here is a just a short rundown of what we got in the District.
George Washington Colonials, Atlantic 10 Conference
Smith Center, Blue Line-Foggy Bottom Metro Stop. With no football team this is where most GWU students get their “big school athletics” fix and over the years have had some success. Located right near the White House, the small stadium provides a loud and intimate crowd that gives you a great college vibe. New coach this years hopes to rebuild GWU and take them back the NCAA tournament.
University of Maryland Terrapins, Atlantic Coast Conference
Comcast Center, Green Line- College Park Metro Stop. If you are looking for the bigger stadium and the long basketball history, look no further than the Terps. While a bit far away from Borderstan, the trip is worth it as during their season, they play national powerhouses Duke and UNC. Terps are starting to rebuild with a new coach, and are always dangerous come tournament time.
George Mason Patriots, Colonial Athletic Association
Patriot Center, Orange Line-Vienna Metro Stop. I think of this team as the “the little engine that could”. Never the flashiest or the most talented, but the Patriots always play consistent and clean basketball. They stole the spotlight by making a historic run to the Final Four in 2006 and have since remained on the D.C. map. Just a feel good team that you hope to see in the postseason.
Georgetown University Hoyas, Big East Conference
McDonough Arena, Somewhere on campus-Verizon Center, Red Line- Chinatown. Yes this school has a long and great basketball history. Yes this school gets the exclusive right to play in the Verizon Center. Yes lots of famous coaches and players have been Hoyas. Frankly though, this team will only be OK and is not a good reason for me to be in that neighborhood of D.C. (Plenty of other places to get cupcakes). But if you want to watch the best conference in the country and some of the best programs, Gtown is the way to go.
I know I left out American University and some other smaller schools but these are the teams worth watching. So start watching now, take your mental notes, and when March rolls along, you’ll be ready to dominate your office March Madness bracket challenge.
Thought of the Week
If you haven’t seen the new Muppets movie, cancel your weekend plans and do it. No excuses people.
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Gravy, more gravy and yes, of course, stuffing. Frankly those things were the only things on my mind this weekend as I enjoyed the season’s first cold weather (I say this because I bitterly wore my winter coat).
But as that weekend ends, we move on to this week, which always tends to get lost in the shuffle in terms of work productivity and actually accomplishing tasks because most people can only think about two things: gravy and stuffing. (Sorry, but actual turkey comes and goes, stuffing is special. Did I forget pie?).
Borderstan has several fine writers to give you recipes and food recommendations in DC, so I’ll just stick to what I know — what’s goin’ on in the sports world over the holiday.
Thanksgiving weekend can be a very full slate of enjoyable contests in a variety of sports. This year, thanks to the unwavering stupidity of the NBA (everyone involved), the menu is a little smaller but no less great. Here is the weekend breakdown, so after your meal, unbutton those pants, slouch a bit and enjoy other people being active.
Thursday: Gobble Gobble Day
12:30 pm, Green Bay Packers (10-0) at Detroit Lions (7-3), Fox. The Lions have been playing on Thanksgiving Day since Tim Allen was the coolest tool-man in Detroit, but for the last decade have been the joke of the league. Not the case this year as this division match-up is easily the best game of the day. Wake up hungover from your previous night’s awkward home reunions and enjoy the smell of the kitchen while watching Aaron Rodgers discount double-check all over the field. Important not to eat too much during this game. Save your capacity for prime-time: the bird.
8:30 pm, San Francisco 49ers (9-1) at Baltimore Ravens (7-3), NFL Network. Two brothers as head coaches facing off with easily two of the best teams in the league. As my roommate often says, if Ray Lewis (Linebacker for the Ravens) started a church, people would flock to him. This is the “digestion game,” most of your relatives will be asleep and others may just be a bit tipsy. This game goes well with a second round of the dinner food, pending there are leftovers available.
Friday: Did we really eat that much? Yeah, get over it!
1 pm, Detroit Red Wings vs. Boston Bruins, NBC. Wake up slowly with this game between the defending Stanley Cup champions and the octopus throwing Red Wings. I recommend hot mulled apple cider with this one.
2:30 pm, Arkansas (10-1) vs. LSU, (11-0), College Football on CBS. Both teams are ranked in the top 3 in the AP, ESPN, BCS, etc. (I really hate this system, but I’ll save that rant for later.) Only one of these teams can advance to the National Championship, so plenty on the line.
Sunday: Yes, I am still eating leftovers. Got a problem?!
6:30 & 9 pm, College basketball tournament finals, ESPN2. November is full of mini-tournaments in fun locations that tend to get the big teams playing each other before they hibernate to easy non-conference games (then around Christmas it switches to all conference). True contenders may show themselves, while flash-in-the-pans retreat to mediocrity.
There are lots of other games over the course of the week, but these are the highlights. This is also a great time of the year for some pickup hoops, backyard football, or cut-throat scrabble. If I missed a great event, let me know, otherwise safe travels everyone and have a great Thanksgiving, Borderstan.
Thought of the Week
- Will old NBA highlight reels get me through the lockout? Doubtful. Ugh Stern, Hunter, and everyone else involved…