Thinking About Shutting Down TSTOS Permanently and Moving On

I started Troy’s Thoughts on Sports in March 2007. At the time, it was just another rinky dink project-blog of mine. I occasionally blogged in 2005 and 2006 on Blogspot/Blogger (or whatever it is called now), but nothing really stuck. One day, as the baseball season loomed, I wanted to write, and I wanted a new platform. I didn’t really give a lot of thought to the name (“no shit!“); I just wanted to emit word vomit onto the screen via my keyboard.

At the time I wanted to be a sportswriter/sports journalist. I consumed every bit of reading material I could possibly get my hands on. I studied the late William Zinsser’s book, “On Writing Well” (still a personal favorite of mine, and I believe I wrote about it during November 2007), read the work of the late, great David Halberstram (who passed away about a month after I started TSTOS)… the list goes on. I read as much different material as I could to find my own voice.

2007 was an extremely fun time to write a sports blog, too. In fact, if anybody else reading this remembers (that is, if you were an active sports blogger that year), there was an emphatic sports blog boom in 2007. I can’t remember all the websites back then (that Bleacher Report now mirrors), but there were a lot of ventures you could go as someone interested in sports and writing about them. WordPress was hotter than ever with people giving their takes in sports. I met a lot of really interesting and nice people. I had a blast.

2008 was a great year for sports blogging, too. While the sports blog boom from 2007 wasn’t as apparent, it was still a hot commodity. I dabbled on a short-term side project that May called “Clogged Arteries”. It was fun while it lasted.

I wrote a decent bit in the first half of 2009, but by June I no longer wanted to bother with TSTOS, and after June 15th of that year, I made TSTOS private for the first time ever. 2009 was an excellent personal year for yours truly. I was ecstatic with my life and didn’t have an urge to write. 2010 — about January or February — is when I reopened TSTOS. I wrote here and there in 2010, but blogging took a backdrop to my life as that year, in contrast with 2009, was incredibly stressful and — in hindsight — infuriating. If I could redo 2010, I would in a heartbeat and I’d make a drastic decision in the beginning of that year that I didn’t make when I could have. I would’ve been better off cutting someone out of my life in February 2010 rather than allowing that same person to string me on until December 2011.

Speaking of 2011, I went on a little bit of a blogging spurt for a while, but not enough to be ‘back’. 2012 and and the majority of 2013 were dead years for TSTOS. However, in the second half of 2013, I went on a spree. I continued to write a lot in 2014. In the last half of 2013 and by June 2014, I had to deal with a few idiots trolling my blog. Here’s a lesson I’d like to give everyone: please don’t reply to trolls, because doing so is like fanning a fire! To be more specific, there was a molecular structured dunce in the guise of a troll that followed TSTOS for months (November 2013 – June 2014) accusing me of stealing work. I never once stole one single solitary piece of work from anybody else. What this troll was doing was, he’d pick bits and pieces out of random writings of mine and try to spin my words off as disingenuous. It all culminated in June 2014 when he tried to cause a big stink with a true Canadian asshole by the name of James Fail. In a ‘mass flood’ sort of way, James Fail and his subordinate group of cronies attempted to flood my blog with comments and other ignorant shit. My biggest mistake is giving the troll the time of day. I made TSTOS private for a few days before returning.

2015 was marked by occasional postings; 2016 has been a drought much like 2012 and the first half of 2013.

Something I didn’t anticipate but happened (pleasantly): I made some money my blogging. It wasn’t a huge amount, but it was nice, and it came from a PR director who advised a few sports sites that wanted to guest post on here. I had a custom domain for two years (March/April 2014 — March 2016) and it was nice. I never anticipated making any kind of money whatsoever from TSTOS, but it happened and I’m grateful for it. I might delve into the venture of blogging with business oriented goals in the future. Stay tuned.

Wait, whatI thought you were shutting TSTOS down permanently? You never explained…

About the wanting to be a sportswriter: by 2011, I lost my passion/luster for it. Why? I don’t know. I just did. I didn’t care about sports journalism anymore. I still don’t. I continued writing for fun. But anyway, why would I want to spend 30-40 years of my life interviewing and writing about entitled assholes with big talents on the fields/courts and even bigger bank accounts? Most of the sportswriters I’ve met have been huge assholes. I guess I can see where they are coming from, but a majority of them are bitter drunkards. I don’t want to live that way.

Business runs in my blood. My late father owned a successful business selling coal mining parts in southwest Virginia. To me, his life (albeit short — 49 years) embodied the All-American dream. He grew up with absolutely nothing. Seven brothers and two sisters. Poorer than dirt. Absolute struggle. All that culminated in a lot of hard work, perseverance, dedication and — ultimately — success. I’m obligated to be successful, too, in his memory. I carry his name and don’t want to let him down. He always pushed me to succeed, to work hard, to chase my goals/dreams and again, I’m obligated to do that. I’m obligated to bust my ass and chase what I want. I’m entitled to absolutely nothing.

So, why do I want to call it quits on TSTOS? Because I want to start something brand new. TSTOS ran its course a long time ago, and I probably should’ve already pulled the plug. Four months shy of the TSTOS 10-year anniversary feels like a good time to take this blog off of life support.

I’ve made a horde of beautiful memories on here.

Ciao.

Kevin Durant Joining the Warriors is Hilarious to Me

I never touched on this subject when Kevin Durant bolted from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the star studded Golden State Warriors.

But I have to, now, because it’s hilarious to me!

Back in the summer of 2010, I defended the hell out of LeBron James for ditching the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat. LeBron was a molecular structured villain for the majority of his four year stint in Miami (especially the first two years). When he left in the summer of 2010, a lot of people placed Kevin Durant on a pedestal and anointed him for how “loyal” he is/was. Even back then, I was smirking and having to stop myself from laughing my ass off at sports fans’ ignorance and the false notion of loyalty in professional sports.

I was always in the Bill Simmons’ camp (2008-2010) of referring to Durant as the future former Oklahoma City Thunder. I never thought that franchise would build the correct pieces around him to get him to stay, but then they drafted Russell Westbrook in 2008 and James Harden in 2009, while Serge Ibaka officially became a member of the Thunder in 2009. The team made a Western Conference Finals appearance in 2011 and ultimately made the NBA Finals in 2012 before being ousted by LeBron James and the Heat in five games.

After that, the train came off the rails. The Thunder decided to keep Serge Ibaka over James Harden (rather than paying Harden a max contract) by sending Harden to Houston, and then injuries to both Westbrook (playoffs/2013) and Durant (2014 and 2015) hampered the team. In the playoffs this past season, the Thunder were primed to capture a title! They had the 73-win Golden State Warriors on the edge of being kicked off the cliff with a 3-1 Western Conference Finals series lead, and the Thunder ensuingly shit the bed and blew three consecutive games to the Warriors.

Durant signed with the Warriors in the offseason, and now he’s the biggest villain in the NBA right now. Once again, it’s hilarious to me, after everybody praised his loyalty back in 2010 when he signed a new contract with the Thunder. He didn’t have to leave the Thunder, y’know? That team was ready to contend and face the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals for years to come, and he bolted!

I’m not mad at Durant; I don’t even dislike Durant. Hell, I’m actually excited for the upcoming season, because it’s going to be incredibly entertaining watching the Warriors play! They are officially the new villains of pro basketball, from Durant to that donkey-looking son of a bitch Draymond Green, the President of Dirty NBA Play, leading the charge! It’s going to be exciting — and amusing — watching detractors become enraged when the Warriors win and elated when they lose.

Oh, and the NBA title is not a ‘gimme‘ for the Warriors this season, either, despite their star studded lineup. They lost key pieces in Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut. Also, the 2003-2004 Lakers didn’t win the NBA title despite their lineup of Gary Payton, Kobe Bryant, Karl Malone and Shaquille O’Neal! Even the Heat failed to win a title their first year together during the LeBron-Wade-Bosh years.

The only thing I’m annoyed about are sports fans who live, breathe and die by the notion of a loyal professional athlete. Just sit back and enjoy the game, folks. Just be a basketball fan and have some fun.

Now, here’s some Kurtis Blow!

A Few Quick Words on Colin Kaepernick/National Anthem and the Lousy LA Rams

Y’know, I don’t agree with Colin Kaepernick sitting and kneeling during the anthem, but that’s his constitutional right. However, all the people whining and crying about it weeks later after the media originally caught onto his shenanigans are the biggest pussies in America right now. Social media can be a disaster for rapid, impulse reactions and silly statements opined by people who trip over themselves when they can’t get to the keyboard fast enough.

Somebody I know posted about boycotting the San Francisco 49ers’ throttling of the Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football last night (before the game, of course; if you are going to boycott the game, boycott it because one awful team — the Rams — let the other awful team — the 49ers — whip ’em), and there were a couple of people in the comments agreeing to do the same. What’s the difference between whining, crybaby idiocy like that & whining, crybaby liberals? Not one thing. The two go together like Blue Moon and mango habanero chicken wings from Buffalo Wild Wings…

At this point, it’s a joke. The media is keeping this story alive, because people like that have their panties in a wad over it! Again, I don’t agree with Kaep, but the world keeps spinning and we all keep eating and shitting! Time for people like the dude on Facebook and others who also ‘boycotted‘ the game to put their big boy/girl pants on and suck it up. Time to be a grownup and accept that everybody has differing opinions, values and views. Hardcore left-wing nuts and right-wing nuts are guilty of the same bullshit. Boycotting a football game because a BACKUP quarterback is kneeling during the anthem? Shew… they say liberals are pussies, but these idiots like the dude on Facebook are getting their panties in a wad just the same.

As for the Rams’ performance last night, it is what it is. I expected a fight out of them. I even expected the team to neutralize the 49ers, since the defense is ‘supposed‘ to be top notch… instead, the 49ers had their way with the Rams and won 28-0.

It shouldn’t, but it amazes me that Jeff Fisher is still around. He’s probably the most overrated head coach in the history of the NFL. He had a few good seasons with Steve McNair and the Titans, including a Super Bowl appearance, before he became comfortable with a reputation of mediocrity and subpar play. Oh, and yeah, he had an anomaly of a good season with Kerry Collins in 2008, but that team bowed out as soon as the divisional round of the playoffs rolled around.

Fisher came to the Rams in 2012 and the team has posted four consecutive losing seasons, and I’m sure this season will mirror the same, but he’ll be kept around with excuses like, “the team just drafted a rookie quarterback!” (who isn’t even playing) and, “the team just moved to Los Angeles! Give him a break!”

Rams’ owner Stan Kroenke isn’t even about winning. He’s about making money from the team. That’s it. However, he’ll eventually find out that the money won’t come around if the product on the field isn’t any good, especially in Los Angeles. Los Angeles sports fans are the biggest fairweather fans on the planet. If the team is good, they’ll be there hootin’ and hollerin’. If the team sucks, you’ll hear crickets in the stadium. Besides, a college football program rules that area, anyway, in the realm of pigskin.

I’m genuinely jealous of sports fans who root for teams with owners with a winning mindset. It must be nice to know that, even when your team sucks, they are actively making moves to become better. The Rams are simply farting in the goddamn wind.

The Rams can keep losing. I’ll still be a fan, because after all, it’s just a game played by spoiled millionaires.

UFC 202 Reaction: Damn! The Hype was Met

Donald Cerrone obliterated Rick Story, Rumble Johnson starched Glover Teixeira in thirteen seconds and the rematch between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz was a blood bath.

diazmcgregor2

It’s rare that MMA rematches live up to the hype. The rematch between Diaz and McGregor has been in talks for five months. Last night, McGregor defeated Diaz via majority decision. As expected, there’s a lot of controversy around the decision, but I don’t see the issue.

While watching the fight with my girlfriend, I told her that — if McGregor were to win by decision — people in the online MMA community (and Nate Diaz & his camp) would cry that he ‘ran’ from Nate the whole fight. Well, what you call ‘running’ is more or less circling your opponent. If you are facing a bigger opponent that has absurdly good boxing skills, are you supposed to stand there and let said opponent tee off on you? No! Circle the cage! Avoid being cut off!

Personally, I scored the first, second and fourth rounds in McGregor’s favor. He knocked Nate down once in the first and twice in the second. A lot of people are saying, “Well, they weren’t devastating knockdowns; Nate wasn’t even hurt”. Doesn’t matter… they were scored knockdowns. Besides, it looked like Nate was engaging in some Fabricio Werdum-esque tactics by trying to goad Conor into jumping into his guard. To me, there’s nothing controversial about last night’s decision. Conor destroyed Nate with kicks and stuffed a shithorde of takedowns when Nate was giving his damned best to take Conor down while against the cage in various rounds.

The Diaz Brothers are the darlings of the online MMA community — and I reckon their boxing and jiu jitsu is slick — but I can’t stand their attitudes. The whole thuggin’ and’ah buggin’ attitude is fucking silly and immature. They are grown men in their 30s walking around like thugs. It’s idiotic. Time to pull your jeans up and wear a belt. A lot of people laud the Diaz Bros for being “real” and “genuine” yet… they make as many excuses after losses just as much as anybody. Nate immediately concocted an excuse last night, about how he was hurt going into this fight and that Conor should have finished him. What a load of horse shit. Yet the online MMA community hivemind will bash Johny Hendricks for doing the same thing (making excuses). As much as I try to be objective, I can’t help but root against the Diaz Brothers because of the online MMA community that makes them out to be the greatest. Maybe it’d be different if I didn’t view them as 30+ year olds acting like little punks… which… is what they portray.

I’m biased. I wanted Conor to win this fight just as I’d hoped he won the first. He’s a polarizing figure that’s fantastic for the sport of MMA. Now, I can only hope he’ll either defend the 145 lb. title against Aldo (and then the winner faces the deserved Max Holloway, who’s on a 9-fight win streak) or vacate the title and fight at 155 lbs.

A Quick Word on UFC 202: McGregor/Diaz 2

The most anticipated fight I’m looking forward to tomorrow night isn’t Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz 2. It’s the co-main event featuring Anthony “Rumble” Johnson and Glover Teixeira. If that fight lives up to the hype, it’s going to be a doozie.

McGregor is promising to starch Diaz, but hardly anybody that is well versed in MMA (sans Irish fans…) thinks that’s going to happen. The whole time leading up to the rematch (including the UFC 200 debacle which saw the original rematch removed from the card) I’ve been in the mindset that this is Nate Diaz’s fight to lose, that he’ll defeat Conor, but I’m having second thoughts.

I admire the Diaz Brothers’ boxing and jiu jitsu abilities. Both of them prefer to stand up and goad their opponents into getting into a slugfest with them, which typically goes in the Diaz Bros’ favor. In the first fight between Nate and Conor, Nate took the fight on nine days’ notice, and Conor had to quickly prepare for a 170-lb. fight when he was originally planning for a 155-lb. superfight against Rafael dos Anjos. In the first round, Conor hit Nate with some bombs that would’ve dropped the 145-lb. fighters Conor was facing before that fight, but his shots — outside of turning Nate’s face into pizza sauce — did next to nothing in regards to damaging Nate.

By the second round, Conor was gassed and Nate started hitting him with combos before he rocked Conor, which then Conor shot in for an anomalous takedown before Nate used his superior grappling and jiu-jitsu to flatten Conor and lock in a rear naked choke for the victory.

I can’t wait to see how this one goes. My girlfriend is even super hyped for this one (she’s a McGregor fangirl).

With Nate Diaz having a full camp this time, will he dominate Conor McGregor even more-so than the first fight?

Will Conor McGregor avoid expending all his energy in the first round against Diaz?

What if McGregor spent the fight utilizing kicks against Diaz? The thing about the Diaz Brothers is that they are stubborn against fighters who execute leg kicks and take their time circling the octagon and avoiding being cut off all night. McGregor could win this spending all five rounds staying on the outside and hitting Nate with kicks all night for a unanimous decision victory, but that wouldn’t be any fun.

I have a feeling that Conor won’t do that. He’s a prideful Irishman, and I reckon he’ll stand and trade with Nate again. I just wonder if he’ll still try to win on points. It’s going to be interesting.

Going against the grain on this one… McGregor by KO/TKO… somehow, someway…

Tim Duncan is Retiring

I’ve been inactive for a few months due to being busy (life and traveling). I’ve missed commenting on such things as the Conor McGregor/UFC debacle, Stipe Miocic winning the UFC Heavyweight title, Michael Bisping shocking the world and winning the UFC Middleweight title on short notice and UFC 200, but this morning Tim Duncan has announced his retirement from basketball after 19 seasons in the NBA.

Duncan is probably my favorite basketball player of all-time. While I’m forever a Celtics fan, I’ve always been a Spurs supporter/apologist. My dad was also a Celtics fan, but he loved the way Gregg Popovich ran the Spurs; in the early 2000s, my dad and I watched a shithorde of Spurs (playoffs) games and practically adopted the team as a western conference favorite. The last NBA Finals we watched together was the 2003 Finals in which Duncan and the Spurs ousted the back-to-back eastern conference champion Nets in six games (David Robinson’s last ever game).

I don’t have anything to say that somebody else couldn’t sum up better about Duncan’s career. I hope he’s not forgotten in the annals of NBA history. I mean, hell, of course he won’t be — he’s one of the greatest players of all-time; he’s in my top 5 based on pure leadership on and off the court as well as the way he played the game. He was never involved in a single controversy nor did he create drama within his franchise like another former NBA player who also played his final season this past year.

I was hoping Duncan would come back to play at least one more season, but it is what it is.

Mahalo and ciao, Big Fundamental.

James Harden Epitomizes My Boredom With the NBA

The Golden State Warriors ran roughshod on the NBA this year. The San Antonio Spurs, a team I’ve had a deep affinity for, for so long, were right behind them. Kobe Bryant retired.

And I’m bored with the Association.

I’ve been bored for a while. I mean, I love the playoffs. I love basketball. But I’m rooting for something interesting to happen. I want rivalries and tough, physical play between players that want to win more than they want to breathe, but most of those days are over. Sure, there may be some ultra competitive players in the league today, but what’s advertised more often than not, and what’s in the limelight, are millionaire buddy-buddy basketball players high-fiving each other and homie-hugging it out on the court while wearing different jerseys. Their mentality seems to be, “Yeah, winning is okay, but I’d like to play with the other team’s star player and make sure we are still cool so we can hang out in cool suites in the offseason”.

I miss that “fuck you” mentality of players.

James Harden of the Houston Rockets is an unequivocal offensive juggernaut. He could be a superstar if he was dedicated enough to the game of basketball to play defense. There’s a video of him going around the web (I’m too lazy to find it and share) allowing a free layup on a fast break last night during game 2 of the Rockets/Warriors series. That’s a common theme with Harden. You can go on YouTube right this instance and spend a whole day watching his defensive blunders and still have room to watch even more.

Here you have a guy that is incredibly marketable (thanks to the beard), who can be among the cream of the crop as far as top basketball players go, yet he’s… unremarkably below average at defense, and not from a deficiency in talent but from being fucking lazy. What’s the point of watching?

The NBA playoffs are outright physical — you can tell from watching the games — but James Harden is one of the players on the court marking his stamp of an exception to that rule. Why?