Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Turning Over A New Leaf?

As many of you know, I am a huge headcase on a basketball court. Even at noonball, winning is the only thing that matters, and in the heat of a game, I have no problems yelling at people if they are throwing away passes, casting up shots, not playing tough defense or boxing out, and basically doing anything that constitutes not caring about winning, even if these teammates are also my friends. There has sadly been more than one occasion over the years where a teammate and I have had to be separated before a fight broke out. By fight I mean the other guy, usually bigger, tougher, and most times black, punches me and I go down.

So, needless to say, there are plenty of people at noonball who think I am a giant douchebag. I can't blame them; I would probably think that I am a douchebag too. The ones who I am friends with outside of noonball, or that I have been playing noonball with for many years, know that I am only like that on the court. A guy that had recently become my new archenemy was guarding me today, and it wasn't 3 possessions before we were talking shit. However, later in the day we found ourselves on the same team, and after a couple of games of passing each other the ball, screening for each other, and helping each other on D, we were high-fiving like old friends. Afterwards he came up and gave me a handshake, and told me he was glad that it looked like we were "turning over a new leaf." A very classy move on his part. I was just gonna go for the unspoken leaf flip, but it was cool.

So it got me to thinking: maybe I should stop being such a shithead on the court. Besides helping me vent, nothing positive comes from it. Then people wouldn't have to talk to me outside of noonball to know that I am not a dick. So from now on, I will be doing my best to "turn over a new leaf." Good attitudes all around. No more yelling at teammates. Just box your guy out, please.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Don't Buy Soothing Sound Alarm Clocks...

Sorry no posts for a while; I was in the hospital recovering from injuries suffered when the Dolphins bandwagon I was driving crashed into a telephone pole. Daunte Culpepper, you made up that weird celebration that doubles as a traveling or false start call, you made me look like an idiot, and you tried your hardest to kill my fantasy team, which has survived anyway. Fuck you, Daunte Culpepper.

Other random thoughts:

The Departed is my new favorite movie of all-time, surpassing Goodfellas. I have seen it 3 times already, and as soon as someone else asks me to go, I will have seen it 4 times.

The O.C. season 3 on DVD came out a couple days ago, and it was quickly elected into the Hall of Fame of "Things That A 23 Year Old Studying For His CPA Test Probably Shouldn't Spend So Much Time On." Guitar Hero is there, and Madden is a charter member.

It's funny that this Cardinal team, the one that barely made the playoffs, has a brutal pitching staff beyond Chris Carpenter, has no real closer, and features a lineup with an average barely over .200 in the playoffs is probably gonna win the World Series, not the Cardinal teams from the last few years that won 100 games and had stacked lineups and decent pitching.

Maybe too soon to joke about this, but when I read the story about Daric Frans walking down the street brandishing an assualt rifle, all I could think about was the drugs video Mike McFarlane made in high school, where in one of the scenes Mike Opp is strutting along to the sounds of Eric Clapton with a rifle on his shoulder until he is pushed into a snowbank and flipped off.

I purchased a soothing sounds alarm clock at a special price through my credit card (apparently since I'm such a valued customer) looking forward to waking up to some tropical rain forest monkeys, babbling brooks, foghorns, seabirds, thunderstorms, etc. etc. However, to my dismay, I found I can only fall asleep to those sounds. To wake me up, all I have are clanging train whistles, annoying wind chimes, and-get this-alarm clock sounds!!! Get fuckin' serious. I want my $9.97 back. I might as well wake up to the soothing sounds of Daunte Culpepper.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

#1: The Birth Of The Controller To The Face Game

Is everyone ready for #1? This game took place in probably 1993, in the spit-stained basement of the Dunphy household. The game is Super Batter Up, based on either the '91 or '92 MLB stats, when the Toronto Blue Jays were by far the best rated team. One of the funny things about this game was that although every member of the Dunphy family is a diehard Braves fan, they all had absolutely no problem playing as the team that beat them in the World Series the year before. Whatever. I was only 11, I wasn't going to call them on it. I am playing Andy, and I choose the Pirates because Bonds was pretty ridiculous in this game, even pre-steroids.

The first few innings go about how most Super Batter Up games against the older Dunphy brothers go. Lots of infield singles by Devon White and Roberto Alomar (who were both faster than anybody else on Super Nintendo, except maybe Mario with a star and the turbo held down), and lots of doubles by Joe Carter, Dave Winfield, and especially Kelly Gruber, who probably hit .800 against me in his SBU career. There is also a steady stream of shit-talking and spit coming from Andy's chair. However, I am surprisingly scrappy today, and after a grand slam by Gary Redus in the 8th (which earned a loogie on the carpet right at my feet) I had tied the game at 8.

Pissed off and motivated now, Andy storms back in the top of the 9th, and after a three run job by Gruber, he sits back, apparently satisfied, and the shit-talking resumes in full force. It continues into the bottom of the ninth, when his "closer" Jack Morris (actually one of the best starters in the league that year) strikes out the first two batters in my half of the ninth. Jay Bell, at the top of the order, ekes out a bloop single, and then the fireworks begin. Andy Van Slyke is up next, and after laying off three of the up+B pitches that bounce before they reach the plate, Andy has to come with a fastball, which I take out. Only down 11-10 now, and I have Andy's attention again. Jeff King is up next, and he turns a Morris fastball around for another homer. Tie ballgame. Andy is going nuts now, spitting everywhere. I am too scared/excited to say anything. I had the equally silent support of the crowd, which consisted of Dunph and Bergman. Bonds is up next, and Dunph suggests walking him intentionally. Andy tells him to shut the fuck up, then gives up an absolute bomb that leaves Blue Moon Stadium. As Bonds circles the bases for my first career win against one of the older Dunphys, I can't help myself. "Probably should've walked him" I let slip out, and I can barely finish the sentence before a super nintendo controller is bouncing off my forehead. This classy little move apparently made Andy feel better, as it became a staple of the Dunphy Basement Video Game Battles from then on.

I hope everyone enjoyed the top 6, and I look forward to hearing about everyone else's.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

#2: The Golden Foot Of Joey Harrington? Game

This one is, without a doubt, the strangest game of Madden I have ever played. This was the NFC Championship Game for Madden '05. I had led Detroit to a magical 13-3 season, but was seeing my homefield advantage go up in smoke, getting handled by Philadelphia pretty well. They were up 24-10 going into the 4th, and there were signs that this was, as Simmons would call it, a "No Fucking Way Game" as in, there was no fucking way I was going to win this game. I had already wasted two timeouts on failed challenges that were clearly in my favor, and had accidentally blew my third timeout already too. To start the 4th, I put together a nice touchdown drive and a defensive stop, had a big kick return into Eagle territory, and Harrington hit Charles Rogers for a 40 yard TD. Ford Field was rocking.

On the next Philly possession, I pick off McNabb and take it back for a score and a 31-24 lead. As pumped as I was, the computer quickly reminded me that this was a NFW Game. They marched right down the field and scored, and then pushed the Fuck You Button of all Fuck You Buttons. For the first time in my Madden career, they faked the extra point. Of course their 9th string tight end is wide open. 32-31 Philly. There was a stretch of swearing that prompted St. Aubyn to come in and check on me to make sure everything was OK, then give me the disgusted head shake when he realized that my breakdown was from Madden. I seriously had to pause the game and regroup for a couple minutes.

The computer hit the Fuck You Button again, causing me to muff the kickoff, and I was faced with 1st and 10 from my own 15 with 1 minute 58 seconds left. Then Harrington goes to work. I move quickly down the field, and after a 20 yarder to Marcus Pollard, I am sitting at the 7 yard line. I call three basic run plays that get no yardage, and knowing that I can hit a 24 yarder in my sleep, I decide to let the clock run to 2 seconds, call a TO, and kick.

In Madden, whenever the computer knows you are holding to kick a last second field goal, they always calls timeouts so they can get the ball back. Curiously, though, this time they aren't doing it. Laughing to myself, I continue to let the clock run with my QB under center. Finally, with 9 seconds left, with a realization that hits me like a lightning bolt, I don't have any timeouts left. I pause the game to swear at myself , have a mild heart attack, and go over my options. With it being 4th down, I can't spike the ball. The only thing I can do is change my audibles so that one of them is field goal. So I unpause it and audible to field goal. With Harrington as the kicker and RB Kevin Jones holding, the controller jumping out of my hands, and the kick meter moving at approximately the speed of sound, I somehow pull out a 99 distance 99 accuracy kick, which barely squeaks over the bar for the game.

And if you don't think that this deserves to be #2, try and kick a field goal with your quarterback. It doesn't even have to be with the NFC Championship on the line. Just try it.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

#3: The Walk-Off and Walk-Home Game

This game is great because of the fallout resulting from it. It took place in 1994, me and Dunphy playing the original World Series Baseball game for the ol' Sega. We had bags packed, ready to leave to Langdon to watch one of Aaron or Andy's baseball tournaments, but Terry was running behind, so we fired up the Genesis for a quick game. I am the Phillies and he is the Braves, and Tom Glavine and Curt Schilling are having an absolute pitchers' duel. Schilling gives up only a solo homer to Dave Justice early on, and Glavine is perfect through 8 2/3, setting the stage for the last out.

With the pitcher spot coming up, obviously I pinch hit , and bring in John Kruk, probably the slowest player in the history of baseball. Dunphy pulls his infield back, and I see my chance to try and break up the perfecto the cheap way. I drop a beauty of a bunt down the third base line and beat it out. Dunphy begins absolutely freaking out (probably justified) about how gay it was to bring a pinch hitter and bunt to break up the perfect game. He is still yelling at me as Lenny Dykstra steps in. Dunphy grooves a fastball and Dykstra hits it out for the walk-off two-run homer. Dunphy chucks his controller and yells for a while, then tells me to grab my bag and get out. I didn't go with to Langdon that weekend and we didn't talk for literally two months. Worth it.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

#4: Lightning Strikes Three Times On The 17th

A couple years ago T Nels, Moose, Shane and I are playing drinking bingo-bango-bongo for Tiger Woods on the PS2. The teams are me and Shane against T Nels and Moose, and T Nels is basically god at this game, so we are getting rolled pretty good. We come to the famous island green, the 17th at Sawgrass, and we're pretty well tuned up by now. So T Nels walks up and hits a shot that goes into that crazy movie screen view, which basically means it is either close or going in. It takes a couple hops and hits the pin and drops in. Everyone goes nuts, and me and Shane start taking our 20 drinks. I don't even have time to look up before T Nels and Moose start celebrating again, as apparently Moose just slam dunked one that landed straight in the hole. Shane then puts his shot in the water, and now we're wondering if they put cheat codes in, or if there are even cheat codes for this game, and if there were, what would they be?

As Moose and T Nels continue to taunt us, I bet them an extra 50 drinks that I will put my tee shot in, which they gladly take. Considering I had never had a hole-in-one in the game before, maybe not the smartest bet I have ever made. Struggling a little bit to see the screen, I hit a seven iron shot that immediately goes to the movie screen view. Trusting that fate is taking this shot in, a set my controller down, refusing to alter the spin on it. Sure enough, it lands, bounces a couple times, rolls, and barely trickles in. We celebrate Moose and T Nels taking 50 drinks, and the overall craziness of three hole in ones in four shots. Great players make great shots.

Friday, October 13, 2006

#5: The Hole In The Dorm Room Wall Game

This game took place my freshman year of college, where tuesdays and thursdays consisted of comp class, lunch served by the pizza nazi at the terrace dining center, an episode of Beverly Hills 90210, at least 4 games of NCAA football against Lane in the afternoon, and then drinking the rest of the night. Somehow I had a girlfriend at this magical time in my life.

Lane and I had some epic battles, but I'll be honest; he fucking owned me. My lifetime record against him in this game was approximately 0-107. But I usually kept it close, and like an 11 year old kid losing to his 6'5'' dad in one-on-one in the driveway, I always came back for more. We were always random stupid teams, and on this day I happened to be the Kansas Jayhawks, and Lane was Michigan St. Running his triple option up and down the field (literally), Lane builds a 56-20 lead after three quarters. I go into my patented shotgun five wideouts-no huddle-onside kicks after every touchdown offense, or as Lane and I liked to call it, the Chuck and Duck Offense.

Miraculously I cut it to 56-49, as Lane continues to talk trash and pretends not to be worried, and I am white-knuckling the controller with every completed hail mary pass, two point conversion, and onside kick. As time expires, I throw a 50 yard TD pass to cut it to 56-55. As Lane threatens to throw the TV out of Walsh 202A, I make the decision that I am going for the win right now. There is no way I could've survived an OT, I had to do it right then, with Lane more rattled than Peyton Manning in a playoff game. On my two point conversion play, I run a curl route, and my receiver dives back towards the line of scrimmage to make the catch. Dives back across the goal line, that is. He is ruled down at the one-foot line, Lane's undefeated streak survives, and we have to move Paul's Animal House poster to cover the huge hole that I kick in our dorm room wall.

Don't worry, our R.A. lied for us so we didn't have to pay for it.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

#6: The Reggie Miller Game

Also known as the Fuck Kobe Bryant Game. This happened last year, a couple of days after Kobe dropped 81 on Toronto. I was in the middle of a season with the Pacers in NBA Live 95. My offensive strategy was basically this: jack up a three with Reggie the first five possessions, and if he was hitting, then he had the green light until he missed. If he was missing, then I would start shooting with the rest of the starters. Well, he was hitting in this particular game. He had 28 at the half (his per-game average was 29), 50 after three quarters. And then, he really got hot. He opened the fourth with a couple of threes, a couple of transition layups, a couple more threes. This is when I started thinking 81. In case you didn't know, I hate Kobe Bryant with a passion, and I figured that a kid in North Dakota beating his scoring feat on an eleven year old game on a fourteen year old video game system would have to get under his skin.

Anyways, with a last minute flurry of threes, I was sitting at 79 points, but the Pistons were stalling on offense, there were only six seconds left, and I wasn't in the bonus so I couldn't foul on purpose. Now it is almost an impossibility to tip passes, it only happens once every couple of games, but somehow, with two seconds left, Rik Smits gets his hand on one, and it starts bouncing towards halfcourt. I switch to Reggie, turbo at the ball, scoop it up at about my own three point line, and throw it up with probably .1 on the clock. Of course, it goes in for the 82. Beat that, Kobe.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Counting Down The Video Game Moments

Got into an interesting discussion about classic video game moments the other day, which inspired me to actually sit down and think about the most unforgettable (both good and bad) games of my lifetime, games that I was either a part of or witness to. Lots of good stuff, actually. We'll go through the honorable mentions, then go in-depth for the top 6.

The Steve Yzerman Game (1994): After my buddy Marcus talks shit about how awesome he is at NHL 94 for Sega, I drop 27 goals, 5 assists, and injure Pavel Bure for the game with Stevey Y, with Marucs's older brother Chad chanting "goon it up, goon it up" in the background, causing Marcus to throw his controller through his TV. Yeah, he got grounded, and moved to Arizona a couple weeks later.

The SE Slant Game (2000): During Dan Sondreal's infamous Madden Tournament, Godfread played Lane in a much-anticipated quarterfinal matchup. However, Lane rolls Jon-Jon in the first half, thanks to the unstoppable SE Slant play, which Lane calls basically every play. Trailing 28-7 at half, Jon-Jon tells Lane that if he calls the play one more time, he will leave. Lane promises not to do it again, then on the first play from scrimmage runs the SE Slant for an 80 yard touchdown. Jon-Jon sets down his controller and walks out of Haley's basement, and Lane advances to the semis.

The Nick Van Exel Game (1994): Playing Dunphy in NBA Live 95, he unpauses the game in the third quarter while I am upstairs microwaving pizza rolls, allowing him to take a 25 point lead going into the 4th. Instead of quitting, I unleash a barrage of Nick Van Exel three pointers on him, and hit a buzzer beater for his 13th triple of the quarter and the winning margin.

The Fucking Jon Koncak Game (1999): After getting destroyed for months by Haley, Lane, and Danny in NBA Hang Time, I finally break through and upset Lane and capture the Orange Jacket. However, in my first title defense, Jon Fucking Koncak scores like 70 points, single-handedly erases a 9 point deficit in 12 seconds, and hits the patented one-armed under-handed full-court buzzer beater for the W. I declared shenanigans and haven't played the game since.

The 93-0 Game (2000): For those of us in attendance, the score is all I really have to say. In the aforementioned Madden Tournament, Paul proves everyone absolutely right who said he didn't belong in the field of 16, losing to Schneweis by the downright stupid score of 93-0 on seven minute quarters. Just try to lose like this on purpose sometime. You can't. I can't even rationally talk about this game anymore. Did it really happen?

Next time: The Top 6....

Saturday, October 7, 2006

F*ck The Yankees!!!

It never, ever, ever gets old to watch the Yankees lose in the playoffs, and I have just finished watching this occur for the 6th year in a row. Just an amazing performance by Justin Bonderman, pretty ballsy for a 23 year old. There was also the added bonus of Gay-Rod being moved down to 8th in the lineup before the game. I don't really see how anyone can defend him in an argument anymore. To supposedly be one of the best players in the game, and be hitting 8th in an elimination game? To sum it up in one word, he is a pussy. The announcers can't say it, obviously, but that is what he is. Today I allllllmost felt bad for him after a throwing error. Almost. Just fun to watch. Next best feeling after watching the Sox win is watching the Yankees lose. Disappointing loss for the Twins, but the way the Tigers are playing right now, I don't know if they would've had a shot against them anyway. My predictions are shit right now, but whatever, the Yankees lost. I'm happy.

Coming soon: my all-time greatest video game moments. I know you're excited.

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Playoff Baseball And Breaking Par

Finally accomplished my lifelong dream of breaking par today, highlighted by a gutty up-and-down from a horrible lie on the 9th. Great way to finish, especially with all the choke jobs I have had over the years. Thanks to Paul for convincing me to play when I would've rather rocked out on Guitar Hero.

Little bit weird watching playoff baseball when the Sox aren't involved, but whenever you can turn on the TV at noon and watch baseball for 10 hours, it doens't really matter who is playing, it's just sweet. With that being said, I am still bummed that there is no Sox game. My predictions are A's in 5, Yankees in 4, Mets in 5, Cardinals in 3.