by Ryan Isley
I can’t believe that another year has come and gone. This was my first full year at More Than A Fan and I figured what better way to send it out than to look back at some of the things I wrote for the site in 2012.
I went through every column (damn, I wrote a lot) and picked out 10 of my favorites to share. If you haven’t had a chance to read them before, take a look. If you have read them, I hope you look at them once more.
This was the first column I wrote for the site this year. After being named the new football coach at the University of Akron, Terry Bowden addressed the crowd at a basketball game and then mingled with fans throughout. It was a 180 degree difference from the previous regime.
As he spoke, the crowd screamed and roared. The louder they cheered, the louder he screamed and the more animated he became. By the end, he was sweating like Frank Caliendo doing his impression of Chris Farley as Batman. But he had gotten his point across – this was going to be a different University of Akron football program than has been seen in the past two seasons.
After watching hour upon hour of college football games and pre-draft coverage, I started picking up on the nuances of how broadcasters and “experts” differentiate between a white quarterback and a black quarterback. This was one of the more interesting pieces I wrote all year in my opinion.
Sometimes it can be difficult to read the analysis of quarterbacks in an upcoming NFL Draft and not think that some of the criticisms of black quarterbacks are racially motivated. Of course, nobody is going to come out and say that they think the player will not make a good NFL quarterback because of the color of their skin, but they find ways to word it so that it looks like a legitimate critique, only it is masking a hint of racism.
While Cleveland fans spent all season hating LeBron James, I started to turn a corner when it came to the former Cavs star. By the time the playoffs came around, I had no problem with the Akron native winning his ring. Anyway, I decided halfway through the season that if LeBron ever returned to Cleveland, people would once again embrace him.
If LeBron returns to team up with Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson and whoever the Cavs will have on the roster by then, it will be the best chance the Cavs have ever had at hoisting the trophy come June. That alone will make Cleveland fans get behind the guy who was once one of the most loved players in the history of Cleveland sports.
One of the most difficult pieces I wrote all year. Who am I kidding? This was definitely the most difficult thing to write. It was one year to the date that I had written my mom’s eulogy. In this column, I explain why my mom deserves credit for my writing and how a decision I had to make changed my life forever.
You see, if it wasn’t for my mom and her support, I would not be writing for this site and you would have never read anything I have written for this site or others for which I have written. When I was growing up, the only thing I cared about was sports. School would come and go and I would give an effort, but as my mom always told me – if I spent half as much time on schoolwork as I did on learning sports statistics and history, I would have been a straight-A student.
The Washington Redskins made a trade with the St. Louis Rams for the right to draft Robert Griffin III and Cleveland fans lost their minds that the Browns didn’t jump in and make the deal instead. I explain why it wouldn’t have mattered what the Browns offered because Daniel Snyder is a crazy son of a bitch.
Snyder would have tried throwing in things he didn’t even own to get this deal done. Want the Washington Monument? It’s yours. The statue of Abraham Lincoln? Yeah, he would look good in St. Louis – take him. You get the picture.
What were the Browns going to offer? A guitar from U2 and the “FREE” stamp?
Josh Cribbs has proven this year that he doesn’t make the best decisions on the field or off. In this instance, he spouted off about how teams can “Come Get Some” this season when playing the Browns. I guess we all know how that has worked out for him and the team. He then backed the front office for not drafting a wide receiver.
Of course Browns fans won’t call out Cribbs for his tweeting or his lack of performance if he isn’t able to back up his words. They are more worried about getting a retweet from the Browns wide receiver or trying to get him to show up for their tailgate parties.
As long as Cribbs continues to be accessible to Browns fans, he is untouchable with criticism – they will just blame it on someone else. Cribbs realizes this, so he will continue to take to Twitter.
In this day in sports, it seems that the most important thing besides winning is how much an athlete is talked about in sports radio and on social media, especially Twitter. If there are three athletes that were built perfectly for Twitter debates, they are LeBron James, Tiger Woods and Tim Tebow.
The difference between LeBron, Tiger and Tebow and all of the other athletes is that almost everyone has a strong opinion on those three. People either love them or hate them, and there is very little indifference. With other athletes, there might be love and hate but not to the extent of those three.
With players jumping from team to teams and making the NBA just one huge AAU leagues, I decided to contract some teams and make the NBA just a league of 16 superteams. If the players are going to run the league anyway, we might as well give them what they want.
The last time I checked, the NBA had a lockout at the beginning of this past season because owners were worried about player salaries getting out of control and also about the players having too much power within the league.
Don’t we still have this problem?
There is a simple answer to fix what ails this player-first league. If they want superteams, give them their superteams. But to do that, we need to whittle down the number of teams in the league so that ALL of the teams have the chance to be superteams.
In an opinion that didn’t win me any popularity contests (imagine that), I wrote that Andy Roddick was not nearly as successful as he should have been and that the downfall of American men’s tennis began with him.
For me, it is easy to feel that Roddick never lived up to the hype. Between 1992 and 2001, American men won 22 of 40 grand slam events, with Jim Courier winning three, Agassi winning seven and Sampras winning 12. While Roddick is the last American male to win a grand slam when he triumphed in that 2003 US Open, he was supposed to be the face of American tennis for years to come.
After 10 years, I have decided that I am done with Grady Sizemore. Despite the great times during the early part of his career, the fall off the last few years has just been too much and it is time to move on for Sizemore and the Indians.
We both knew this day was going to come. We may not have thought it would be this soon, but we knew it would happen eventually. After spending hours and days thinking about this, I think it is better if we go our separate ways.
It isn’t you, Grady. Actually, yes it is.
We had so many fun times and made countless memories over the past 10 years. But unfortunately, those times are too far in the rear view mirror for us to go any further.
I hope you enjoyed this look back as much as I enjoyed compiling it. Thank you to all of the fans of More Than A Fan who have made 2012 the best year yet and we look forward to an even better 2013.
Comments? Questions? You can leave them here or email Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org