April 9, 2013

Am I Allowed to be Angry?

Over the years I have tried to mature when it came to my viewpoint of sports. Not because of what I should think, but what I used to think. I used to think they were everything; the only thing. But now, it's different. I've had a topic in my head about what sports mean to people for quite some time. I named it "What are sports, and why do they matter?" I've wanted to write it for a while, but I never got around to it. I figured I'd start writing some existential blogpost and end up accidentally hitting all the points I would've made in that piece. The reason I wanted to write it was mostly therapeutic, and it would definitely help on days like these.

When the clock hit zeroes, there were two things I knew for sure. I knew I was going to get angry. The only thing I knew more than that was that it was going to be something so minuscule and insignificant would upset me that I would look back it and hopefully laugh. I was right on both counts. Right when the game ended, I put on a plastic smile and tried my best to stay positive because I wanted to avoid the anger. Anyone who knows me knows that I am the eternal optimist when it comes to sports. I never get mad at any of the players if they go out and try their best. I'm sure that actually annoys people. Oh well.

Anyway, in my head I tried to start think of all the positives. What a great season it was. Trey Burke is one of the best college athletes I'll ever see, and he provided us all with a moment, nay, moments none of us will ever forget. Mitch McGary went from Big Zack Novak to Big Tyler Hansbrough. They beat MSU and OSU again. They gave me a reason to go to Ann Arbor on a monday night and drink beers with my friends. Etcetera, etcetera. But those things are hard to think of in that moment. All you want to think about is "What happened? Why am I not happy? Why has Kevbo become Sadbo?" It's a hard feeling to shake off. It's a feeling that still exists this morning.

Sadbo decided to sleep at a friend's apartment in Ann Arbor. Wise choice, indeed. Sadbo also happened to agree with getting up at 6:30 a.m. to get my car from the Maynard parking structure via my girlfriend who had to be at work at 7 am. Morning Kevbo did not like this decision, but all in all it was the right one. I got in my car still bitter about the previous night, and I knew I had to pick the right music for the approximately 50 minute car ride home. I chose "Dookie" by Green Day. I stopped at that overpriced BP on Main Street to grab a beverage for the Sahara Desert that was my throat. Vitamin Water was the choice, but I accidentally grabbed Tropical Citrus, which I still haven't finished mainly because it's awful. I got back to the car and I knew Green Day just wasn't cutting it. Scrolling through the old ipod, which yes, those still exist, and I discovered blink-182 just sitting there. I picked Enema of the State because I am 25 years old and everybody who is 25 years old is required to have that album. I started on my journey home, staring into that taunting periwinkle sky. As I listened to Blink, I started to think about my state of mind back when I first listened to this album, which was back around middle school. I recall listening to some of those songs and thinking I knew what depression was. I was an idiot. I thought depression came from the fact a girl in my class didn't "like" me back. Dumb. I kept listening to the album and then Adam's Song came on. For those who don't know, it was a more serious song that was about Mark Hoppus's loneliness while touring and also rumored to be based on a suicide note the band had read about in an article. Whether or not that last part is true, the song has serious implications of which you can check out on wikipedia. It gets you to start thinking about sports and why do they really matter. If I had already written about it, I'd refer to that, but that blogpost still sits in my head. (This post is almost the accidental 'Why Sports Matter' piece I had thought about writing. But I am doing everything in my power to steer away from that). The main thing that song reminds me is that sports are just about fun. There are serious issues that people deal with every day, so it's difficult to say, "I am upset because a group of college athletes won most of their games, but didn't win the last." It seems illogical to have this mindset. We shouldn't be allowed to have things out of our control to affect us in such a way.

At the same time, yes we should. Every one of us has speculated why we are on this planet. Why do we exist. Millions of different opposing ideas are out there, but most of us can agree that regardless of why we may be here, we should try to enjoy our time, as long as your enjoyment doesn't involve something harmful to your fellow man. Sports are my enjoyment. When I can take a step back and use logic, I can admit that it makes no sense to like sports. The mantra that has gotten me through the past few years has been to control what you can, and don't get bent out of shape about the things you cannot. There is not one thing I can do to affect to outcome of a sporting event, but yet, I love them. It makes no sense. But it does. 

Going back to the main question. Am I allowed to be angry about what transpired last night? The answer is yes. Am I? No. Why? Mainly because I sat here and started typing things. There's a good chance I don't even post this. I decided halfway through "Enema of the State" that I was going to write this. I had pretty much written it in my head before I even got to I-96. The only debate was if I was going to stop at Tom Hortons (Yes. Tom.) and grab a coffee or go home and fall asleep and write it later. I did not grab a coffee, nor did I fall asleep. Kinda pulled an audible, eh? I'm happy with my decision. I feel better now. I don't know how, but I do. 

I was never angry at the players. I was never angry at anyone around me. I was never really angry. I was sad and irritable though. And that's ok. I really wanted a National Championship. I really wanted to take my shirt off and hang upside down from the Thompson Street sign. I wanted to sing The Victors with my friends and random people at the bar. Once again, it's ok that I didn't. I was already blessed with watching a child's game with my friends. I was already blessed with ridiculous moments from this run that I will never forget. I'm blessed that I get to feel sadness. 

It's easy to say all of this right now. My phone has been dead since last night, and I haven't turned the tv on or read people's opinions of what happened. I probably will because I am an idiot, and this will probably lead to more sadness and irritability. But in the end, that's ok. That's why we're here, isn't it? Who knows? Do you? Do you want to talk about it? Me neither. Hey look! Sports!


I just finished a quick nap that I needed, and I reread what I wrote. Despite the emo-tendencies, I decided not to change anything because it was honest. The only thing it didn't stress was how much fun this season was. I don't know if I've yelled louder than after Burke's Kansas shot or Jordan Morgan's exclamatory dunk against Syracuse. The amount of laughter I experienced watching things I never thought I'd see come from a basketball player in a Maize jersey will be hard to duplicate. Burke gave us all so many "Oh my" moments that we should give thanks to him every Thanksgiving for next 25 years. Everybody on the team had moments, which is my favorite part about this season and this team. Despite the departures that we will see in the coming weeks, this program is still improving. Beilein has people believing in Michigan again, and I cannot wait the years to come.


There's a picture circulating around taken by Dustin Johnson on UM Hoops where Trey Burke is looking like Sadbo in the midst of maize and blue confetti that had accidentally been deployed. The picture perfectly encapsulated the feelings of everyone associated with Michigan last night. However, I did not want to post it on here. That is not how I want to remember Trey and this season. Too many good things happened to be so sad. Adios 2013 Michigan Wolverines. See some of you next year. Thanks.

Melanie Maxwell ( 

Melanie Maxwell (

April 3, 2013

Final Four *Giddy Laughter*

"I'm telling you, Uncle Phil. This is the year they prove their worth. Our coach finally has the right type of players for his offense, including an experienced junior center. They have a ridiculously talented group of freshmen who is going to put this team over the top. In this freshmen class we have: a sharpshooter with NBA-range; a point guard with poise, capable of running Coach's offense; a wide-bodied power forward who isn't afraid to throw his weight around; a 6-7 forward who is top 25 in his class, and a guard/forward who is ready to contribute and provide depth. They are ready for the next step." These were some boastful words from me to a man who is 1) a devout Spartan and 2) not my actual uncle, but rather a family friend.

"You know what there Kevbo, I'll believe it when I see it. Talk all you want, but when you visit East Lansing, you know my boys will put a whoopin' on your 'talented' freshmen," replied a cocky Uncle Phil.

He was right. All the confidence I had in this team was shattered after the alley-oop fest that was the Michigan-MSU game in East Lansing. It made me reevaluate the direction of this team. Were the freshmen as good as we thought, or were they just shell-shocked in an intimidating environment? Is this the right coach for this team? How do they recover?

That conversation between Uncle Phil and me took place in 1999, and those freshmen were Gavin Groninger, Jamal Crawford, Leland Anderson, LaVell Blanchard, and Kevin Gaines. The junior center: Josh Asselin. The coach: Brian Ellerbe.

Watch the highlights from that game. It still hurts, but it makes games like the ones from the past weekend that much more enjoyable:

Remember ESPN+?

There are many, many turrible memories of my Michigan Basketball fandom. This 114-63 squeeker sticks out because it tends to get posted on Facebook the day before UM and MSU play their first game each season. Watching that game, my rooting interests went from "try to win!" to "try not to get doubled up :-(" Michigan succeeded at the latter, scoring 63, but only losing by 51. Sweet, sweet, sweet victory.

Via UMGoBlog, (who will be shocked to see people clicking on that random page in 2013), Jamal Crawford left Michigan after his sandal-ridden freshman year. Kevin Gaines and Leland Anderson also left for different reasons. The former drove drunk and hit a woman; the latter wanted to be a wrassler. Brian Ellerbe was fired after the following season. Gavin Groniger finished his career a Wolverine, never living up to the hype, but still earning a University of Michigan degree. LaVell Blanchard started for four years at Michigan, leading the team in points and rebounds all 4 years. He also provided one of the positive memories from my youth, sparking a big comeback win over The Vampire and his Wisconsin Badgers in 2003. He still shows up now and then at the Intramural Sports Building on Hoover Street in Ann Arbor. He shoots/dribbles around in thick winter gloves to improve his ball-handling. Nice guy.


11 years later, this happened:


It's hard to deny that the program-changing moment for Michigan basketball came in the same building as that tightly-contested 2000 UM-MSU matchup. If Michigan wants to be considered a quality basketball program that is taken seriously on a national level, you have to start beating MSU. They are the cat's pajamas when it comes to basketball in this state. You can't just win at home every now and then to be considered great. You have to go into their house and take it from them.

"But Kevbo, MSU was unranked and rebuilding. How important of a win could that be?"

You listen here, you made-up question asked by nobody. UM was 1-6 in the Big Ten going into that game. They were coming off a disappointingly stupid season in 2009-2010 that was seen as a step back after their NCAA Tourney appearance in 2009. That win was the first of 8 in the span of 11 games. It propelled them to an 8 seed in the NCAA tournament where they almost took out the top-seeded Duke Blue Devils. That win in East Lansing has been well-documented as a program-changer.


This year, Michigan and its talented group of freshmen walked into the Breslin Center with swagger and walked out with sadness. MSU played a tremendous game and lead by over 30 at one point. The freshmen looked lost, and MSU was poised to reclaim status as unanimous top-dog in the state. The difference between the 2000 and 2013 teams is coaching and attitude. The 2000 team hit rock bottom, shattering into a million pieces and faded away to oblivion. The 2013 team's struggles didn't end in East Lansing. They gave Penn State their first win of the Big Ten season. A missed lay-up gave Indiana a 1-point win and coast UM back-to-back Big Ten Titles. They then lost to the Wisconsin under-cutters in the 2nd round of the Big Ten Tourney.

Like that that 2000 team, the 2013 team crashed into rock bottom. Luckily for them, they hit rock bottom with so much velocity they were able to bounce back to new heights. I was only 5 the last time Michigan made the Final Four, which doesn't technically exist anyway. So this is all new to me. Frankly, this is all new to John Beilein too. He's never been to a Final Four neither. I'm surprised he knew what to do with his hands while talking to an Easter Egg Craig Sager.

Shake and Bake



Why you talking about MSU, bro?
I start writing this piece in a moment of moderate frustration, need an escape from real life. I had already planned on writing it, but needing a break from reality, I opened my blog and got after it. I hadn't even stopped to breathe before I realize I had written close to 1000 words about MSU basketball. That was not the direction I had in mind when I began this post. I tried to justify what I had done, but it was just too obvious. MSU basketball was always ahead of UM basketball. No matter what Michigan did, MSU was way out in front. They have been the bane of UM's existence. In this moment, MSU is still the better program. That's not the question here. The question is: what does all this UM-MSU stuff mean, Basil? It means that we can stop looking at MSU as the Mario to our Luigi. They aren't the benchmark they used to be. We are out on our own now, and we can make our own place in today's NCAA hoops world. From here on out, we can just focus on the very good battles that these programs are sure to have for a few years.

Bad memories
MSU has had the majority of the bad memories of Michigan basketball past. But there are plenty of others that come to mind. Here are some of mine: Knowing A.J. Guyton would hit every transition three. Desperately hoping Joe Crispin, a 90% free throw shooter, misses both free throws in the Big Ten Tournament. That damn Evan Turner shot. Or John Gasser's. Or Ben Brust's, but that just happened. Watching a guy named Scoonie torch your defense. Courtney Sims's missed dunk. Watching Michigan lose to Utah on a very poor feed on my computer. Chris Moore having more fouls than minutes played. At least he looked like a big teddy bear! This Court Design. Chris Hill heaving a 3 pointer at the end of the shot clock to go up 4 (Damn. Another MSU memory, but that one sucked). Brian Cardinal. Having to refresh the gamecast and wonder frustratingly how/why they were losing to Minnesota. This song. Any moment Mike Gotfredson was on the court. Don't get me wrong. I respect the hell out of him. But that was an indication of how bad things had become. Also, the first time I drove to Ann Arbor, I passed by Gotfredson road, and it made me wonder if the two were intertwined... Anyone else have some specific bad memories that made the sweet sixteen that much sweeter (what a pun!).

Watching Kansas
I decided to watch this game in public. It's a bar/restaurant that was mostly full of people who were there to watch either the UM game or MSU game. I was watching quietly and composed. I could hear my girlfriend preparing to give me the "it's just a game speech" which, as you all know, only makes things worse. When Burke launched the game-tying 3, I jumped up so high that I almost kicked some old guy in the head. He was one of the few people there just to eat dinner. Sorry, old guy.

Watching Florida

Hop as in Easter Bunny; Slam as in UM-UF game;
Oh, and I had a celebratory Hopslam afterwards

-Where do we go from here?

Saturday: It's off the heezy for sheezy

I am not about to sit and dissect the 2-3 zone that Syracuse runs. That's not a 2-3 zone. There is a slide package from Hell in there that I cannot wrap my fragile little mind around. I don't even think Jim Boeheim understands it. UMHoops has looked at it a little bit. So has MGoBlog. Jim Beilein is a smart man (and a descendant of Matt Damon!). He'll figure it out.


So why did I write this? Only a handful of people will read it, and only a couple of those people will empathize with it. We have been blessed with 2 great years of Trey Burke. If we are lucky, we will be able to see 2 more games before he travels to the great, mythical NBA, where travelling is encouraged! I do not enjoy the NBA, but I will root for him from here on out.

There have been some true moments of awe in my 25 years of loving sports too much. 2011 Michigan-Notre Dame was one of them. The Kansas game was another. My jaw was dropped for a good half hour after the game. I expressed a smile similar to Phil Mickelson's as he walks up to the 18th green with a big lead. They say that every championship team needs to win a game like that on their road to the title. I'm hoping that was Michigan's game. Whatever happens, that Burke shot will live on the NCAA highlight reel for years. It exists. Forever. Yes.

They have a real shot of winning it all. Syracuse is a tough team defensively, but so were Ohio State, Michigan State, and Kansas. Louisville is playing at an extremely high level, and if Wichita State happens to beat them, they will have proven that they are a legit team that can beat anybody.

It's been a true joy watching this team. It's time to just sit back, and enjoy the weekend. Go Blue.

Sweet 16 Hype

Elite 8 Hype

Final Four Hype

Who will be standing at the end?

October 5, 2012

What up?

I obviously haven't posted in a long time. Sorry, guys. Been busy.

But I must say, not a good start to the season.

UM 2-2.
Lions 1-3.
NHL Lockout Resumes.

The middle school football team I coach is currently undefeated though! 5-0. Already wrapped up that division title. The season's almost over, and with that, I may start to write some previews/recaps of Michigan and Lions games. No promises. Hope all is well.


July 27, 2012

Preseason All Big Ten Football Team 2012

Ok, I just can't wait anymore. Between Big Ten Media Day and rewatching UM-OSU and UM-ND, I am ready to start talking Michigan football. We got a little more than a month left until the start of the 2012 College Footbaw season, and I got some things to write about, including the list of the top 5 most important games for Michigan this year. But I figured I'd get started by putting together my Preseason All Big Ten list. 

This list means absolutely nothing, and is subject to change after I get yelled at by my friends. That means you. Feel free to comment with objections and comments. Here we go.

First Team Offense

Montee Ball...dances?

QB- Denard Robinson - Michigan

RB- Montee Ball - Wisconsin (Offensive Player of the Year)

RB- Fitzgerald Toussaint - Michigan

WR- Keenan Davis - Iowa

WR- Antavian Edison - Purdue

TE- Jake Stoneburner - OSU

OT- Ricky Wagner - Wisconsin

OT- Taylor Lewan - Michigan

OG- Chris McDonald - MSU

OG- Spencer Long - Nebraska

OC- Travis Frederick - Wisconsin

PK- Brett Maher - Nebraska

P- Brett Maher - Nebraska

Click below to see First Team Defense and the Second Teams

July 4, 2012

Top 5 Songs about America

Today we celebrate our independence day...

And I just wanted to thank every single person in our history that has ensured that July 4th, 2012 is another day of freedom in America. So here's a list of great songs about 'Murica


Honorable Mention: God Bless the USA. Lee Greenwood. This reminds me of the Cedar Point laser show, which is awesome, but those memories are also filled with Ohioans who flooded Cedar Point, which lacks awes... too many negatives to put on a positive list.

5. Party in the USA
OMG JUST KIDDING YOU GUYZ lulz... sheesh...

5. American Gladiators Theme Song

This time, not kidding.

This is the classic show where genetically perfect half human, half-titans took on the average american, if average americans had less than 5% body fat. This was Vin Diesel vs. Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, 1990's style. Outside of the name of the show, there is really no relationship between this show and America, but they did have sweet names like Nitro, Zap, and Viper. 


4. Anything by Kid Rock, but specifically Born Free

I will bow to the shining sea and celebrate God's grace on thee

With Americans more polarized than ever, it's great that someone is out there trying to remind people that we are still the best damn country ever, regardless of political opinions. The original American Badass, Kid Rock has spent the last few years trying to reignite faith and patriotism of Americans and specifically Detroiters. His whole arsenal of songs revolve around enjoying what you have, that and something 30 pack of Stroh's and a 30 pack of hoes... 

Top 3 after the jump...

June 25, 2012

5 Worst Announcers in Sports

Here it is. The moment you've waited for. The 5 worst announcers in sports. Because they suck so much, I'm not going to give them the satisfaction of attempting (and ultimately failing) to write a witty introduction.

Thumbs up, let's do this.

5. Don Criqui.

Never heard of him? Well that means CBS is succeeding. He's one of their football announcers. He is at the bottom of the totem pole, but it's not the power bottom. He's awful, and he only calls games when 12 guys call in sick.

Remember my previous post about best announcers? Specifically the part about favorite calls by Musberger. Well, Criqui gave one of the worst calls of all time at the same time Musberger was giving my favorite call.

"He's a poor thrower..."

"This is incredible... Michigan's gonna score..."


The sorrow in his voice is too much. I don't like to laugh at other people's misfortunes, but that one makes me giggle.


4. Joe Buck

"Hello everybody. I'm Joe Buck. I am excited to be here." 

Yea, I know about his throat ailment. It restricts his ability to raise his voice. He got this virus in 2011. So I ask you, what was his excuse for being monotone before? 

Look, he's okay for baseball. Baseball is a slower game. Come playoff time though, he needs to pump up the intensity. I mean...

At least he's a great singer...

That is a disgusting act by Joe Buck...

Click below to see the top(?) 3...

June 15, 2012

Top 5 Current Play-by-play Announcers

Well, it's time to tee off my first new blogpost on blogger. This calls for some sort of ceremony.



There's a slight chance I put too much stock into play-by-play announcers. I feel as if they can have a direct effect on the game's enjoyability. Every tuesday during football season, I check Awful Announcing to find out who will be calling the Michigan and Lions games. Most of the time, my response is "ok." But sometimes I get excited (or saddened. More on that later).

There are certain moments during various sporting events that are engraved in your brain forever. You could never see that moment again and remember it as vividly as the new Macbook Pro retina super ultra colorful cornea clear crayola crayon pupil monitor. I am so hip and with it.

You remember those moments as if you were a part of them. You remember them clearly enough that you can recite the play-by-play word-for-word, shake-and-bake. The best announcers can capture the organic emotion of those moments naturally. Their skill is so ingrained in them that they get lost in the moment as a fan without skipping a beat as an announcer.

These are the top 5 best play-by-play announcers in all of sports today.

(Note: I wanted to throw Jim Nantz on here because he is very good at the Masters. However, he is so atrocious when calling college basketball that it ruins the Masters for me.)

HM1: Keith Jackson. Best ever. He doesn't make the list because he is retired, and therefore ineligible. He is, in my opinion, the best of all time.

HM2: Dave Strader. Number two man for hockey on NBC. Former play-by-play for the Red Wings. Just an overall joy to listen to, but I don't get to hear him that often anymore.

5. Brent Musberger

This will be an unpopular choice. A lot of people dislike him, and I am not quite sure why...

Yes, he has gotten a little up there in age, and it does seem to affect him a little bit. However, when you hear his voice, you know it's time for a big time college football game. ESPN has given Musberger the reigns as Chief announcer for college football, and for good reason. He has called over 3 trillion sporting events, including Rose Bowls, BCS Title Games, many versions of The Game, and most importantly, the Bourbon Bowl.

I get goosebumps whenever I hear, "You are looking live..." He says it before every big game, and it still gives me goosebumps. You know he must love saying that too. I bet sunday mornings after calling a big game, Brent sits at the kitchen table yelling, "You are looking live at a Western Omelette with wheat toast."

How bout a 'best of' montage?:

My favorite Musberger moment came from a game I wasn't even watching on tv because I was there. I wrote about it on my previous blog. Here's the video:

This whole video is Musberger and his best due to the lack of excitement in the first 3 quarters. It must've been bottled up.

At about the 7:00 minute mark, Denard finds a wide open Gallon, and Musberger exclaims in genuine shock, "They left him alone!" I think the gravity of that moment and true disbelief by Musberger will keep that moment in Kevbo's vault For. Ev. Er.


4. Sean McDonough

McDonough does many sports. Basketball, baseball, lacrosse, golf. But I think he excels at football (shocker). This call in the 1998 NCAA tournament was spectacular though.

What makes McDonough great is his ability to change emotions at the right time without seeming disingenuous. He is very good at understanding the natural flow of the game. That is why he can announce different sports at a high level. I don't know too many announcers who are good at football, basketball, baseball, and golf. (Jim Nantz. I'm looking at you. Stick to golf.)

I have two favorite McDonough moments, both involving Michigan football (the sooner you stop being surprised about things like this, the sooner we can go back to being best friends).

The first is the 2003 Michigan-Minnesota game. I always think of his voice when I think of that game.

The second is 2009 Michigan-Notre Dame. This is another game that I attended, so I didn't see the original telecast. But here it is:

Hey guyz, remember Tate Forcier? That kid's got moxy.

At the 4:00 mark, things start to get good. The final drive was very well done by Sean McD. At only 50 years old, he has some good years in front of him.


Top 3 after the jump...