Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Increased Regulations for Packers’ Children’s Bike Ride Must Be Implemented NOW

It’s one of the greatest traditions in all of sports, and one the biggest injury risks I can think of. As many of you know, since the Lombardi era, Packers players have been riding children’s bikes to practice. Since the Lombardi era, Packers players have also been risking their careers on the hopes of thin metal rod likely manufactured overseas.

All bikes have a weight capacity. On 26” bikes, for instance, the average weight limit is 250 pounds. Did you know the weight limit of Trek bikes is only 275 pounds? This begins to question the general common sense of some of pairings of player and bike.

Let’s imagine a scenario when little Jane VandeHey, a 3rd grader from Highlands Elementary in Appleton, brings her Dora the Explorer bike to training camp with one goal in mind – that her favorite player, Josh Sitton, will ride it during practice. There’s only one problem:  Jane VandeHey is 42 pounds, and Josh Sitton is well over 3 bills. Well, being the good sport that he is, Josh gladly obliges the young girl’s request and sits on her bike – WHICH IMMEDIATELY CRUSHES UNDER THE WEIGHT OF AN NFL LINEMAN!

The bike rods contort awkwardly from the immense pressure, sending a spear-like aluminum rod straight through Josh’s thigh, ruining his career. The chain is jolted off the sprocket and flies through the air off into the crowd like a metal flying death, striking the Grand Poobah of the Pewaukee Packer Backers in the jugular. Women and children scream at the horror. Josh Sitton holds his leg, wailing in agony, while unsuspecting paramedics get the unexpected call.

It’s Josh’s fault and it’s little Jane VandeHey’s fault. In fact, it’s all of our faults for not recognizing that, generally speaking, human giants should not ride atop bikes adorn with cartoons. From now on, I want these bike rides regulated by the natural pairing of a bike’s and player’s size. Backs, Receivers, Kickers, Speedsters, Gunners, Streakers, Blasters, and those under 225, congrats, you have free reign on everything from BMX to Treks. Offensive and Defensive lineman, stick to the mountain bikes. And everyone in between, just use common sense. I think you’ll agree that we’ve had enough preseason injuries.

In the interest of safety, if not in the interest of coolness, maybe some of the players might consider riding one of these:

If you look at the specifications, this bike-thingy is rated up to 880 lbs. That means BJ Raji (337) and Ryan Pickett (338) could ride comfortably, and more importantly, safely, and still have enough structural soundness to give DuJuan Harris (203) a lift.

Not to cause further alarm, but in addition to the weight specs of bicycles, there is also an ever-present risk of head injury from biking accidents. According to the Center for Head Injury Services, 85% of head injuries while biking could be prevented by wearing a helmet. Helmets are standard issue for all NFL players. In fact, as you may or may not know, they are actually required to wear them.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Free Playboy Was Nice. This Season Will Be Better.

In 7th grade, Matt Nackers had a big reveal for the 12-year-old boys at the lunch table – whilst checking box scores in the paper the night before, he found an ad for free trial of Playboy television. All you had to do was call your cable company, mention the ad and Playboy would be yours during for 24 glorious hours starting TONIGHT.

The thought of scrambled TV on forbidden Channel 99 coming in crystal clear was a thought too amazing to fathom. (This was pre-Internet, people, so those born before 1987 might actually understand the reference.) And therefore, as immature middle-school boys, we geeked out for a good 2-3 minutes before re-conversing.

“This will NEVER work!” someone said.
“Oh, but it already HAS…,” Matt reassured them. “I called last night and pretended to be my dad. They TOTALLY BOUGHT IT!”

Another milder, yet equally intense geek out. It was settled: each of us would follow in Matt’s pioneering footsteps and have a childhood fantasy come true.

My conversation went something like: “Hello, I’m calling about this (sweet) deal for free Playboy I saw in the paper / Haha, of course I’m over 18! / Great, so it’s all settled then? / You also have a nice day. / YES!”

I waited on pins and needs as my parents went to bed to sneak downstairs and turn on the TV. It fricken worked. Unreal. The only thing I could compare that initial moment to is this scene in Animal House:


OK, so the free trial turned out to be a much tamer/stranger version I what I was hoping for, including a rather lengthy, unexpected montage of LaToya Jackson dancing around and some weird interviews with a non-attractive swinger group. Even then, I was like, “Really?” It actually got boring and I went to bed. But STILL, I had gotten away with it and it’s all we could talk about the next day at school. “Yeah, that one lady did look like Matt’s mom!” LOLOLOLOL.

I know what you’re saying: “Great anecdote, Robert. It was mildly amusing and perhaps little too long, but what the hell does this have to do with the Packers?” Well, kind reader, as the post title suggests, that was nice, but I believe this season will be much better.

Truth be told: I’m insanely optimistic heading into each season – this is true for most of my teams. Hell, I even thought the Bucks could put something together. But I see a lot that gives me reason to feel this way.

I see a secondary filled with competition and players ready to assume leadership roles.

I see a dynamic running game brewing unlike anything I can remember.

I see key guys on defense returning from injury and fresh talent that will get newfound pressure on the QB.
  
I see a three talented wideouts and a tight end who would not shock anyone by having Pro Bowl years.

I see the premier NFL quarterback at the top of his game who hears your lofty expectations and throws them back in your face, saying, “YOU KNOW NOT WHAT I EXPECT OF MYSELF!”

Most of all, I see a team with a collective chip on its shoulder and some unfinished business that it is more than capable of closing out with glorious proficiency.

Get on the wagon, Packer fans, because despite the doubters, I for one believe it’s going to be one sweet ride in 2013. In fact, I’d go as far as saying this season will be at LEAST ten times better than a late 80’s LaToya Jackson in a nightie.
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