Archive for the 'Sports' Category

The Bri Blog

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011


My dad got some amazing tickets to a Bulls game for my brother Brian’s birthday.  I guess our company was part of his present, which works out well for me.

Brian’s always been pretty obsessed with sports.  My dad famously taught him math using Bears players.  A branch of mathematics my dad dubbed “Brithmatic.”  For example, Jay Hilgenberg + Jim McMah0n = The Fridge  (63 + 9 = 72).

Around his birthday, Brian decided to start The Bri Blog.  In his words:

Just for kicks I started a new blog: It’s mostly dedicated to comparing and contrasting the geothermal implications of potential trans-atlantic heat waves leading to…..just kidding. it’s about sports.

UPDATE: How embarrassing!  I had the math wrong. Not the football players, the actual math.  It’s fixed.

And the Home of the Land and the Land of the Free

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

Kelly, who sings Breaking Up with me, sang the national anthem at a White Sox game. She was really nervous about screwing up the words, but as you can see she did just fine:

Oh wait. Not that one. Here she is:

I think she should have gone with “Bunch of bombs in the air.”

Bear Down, New York Giants

Monday, February 4th, 2008

In October my brother Aric threw an issue of Sports Illustrated at me. “Read the first letter to the editor,” he said. “That’s why I hate Boston.” It was in response to the previous issue that had placed Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon on the cover. The letter was from a Boston fan complaining that Sports Illustrated had jinxed the Red Sox by placing Papelbon on the cover. It concluded with, “Haven’t we [Boston sports fans] been through enough?”

In truth, the main reason that Aric hates Boston sports is jealousy. The Red Sox went on to win another World Series, the Celtics have the best record in the NBA, and the Patriots had won three previous Super Bowls. Jealousy is expected. But now they’re complaining about their suffering? What, exactly, has Boston been through except for world championships in 2002, 2005, and two in 2004.

Meanwhile, in that span, the Bears imploded, the Bulls fell apart, and the Cubs, well, Cubbed. If Boston fans want something to whine about they should try rooting for our teams… or at least Cleveland’s.

Then, when the Patriots finished the regular season 16 and 0 — the only team ever to do so  — it got personal. The two great bastions of glory in Chicago sports are Michael Jordon and the 1985 Chicago Bears. In just about every poll, the ’85 Bears are considered the greatest football team ever. It would be hard to argue that the 18-1 Bears were better than a 19-0 Patriots team. (I’m not saying it couldn’t be done. I’m just saying it would be hard.)

But the Patriots didn’t go 19 and 0.

When Eli Manning eluded a wave of tackles and connected with David Tyree, who miraculously caught the ball on his helmet, I don’t think there was anyone happier than Aric. And when New England’s grumpy, classless, cheater of a coach stormed off the field, there were high fives in Chicago.

It’s Not Called Ping Pong.

Sunday, December 30th, 2007

My brothers and I, accompanied by my friend Jon — a fellow basement ping ponger — ventured to the great lands of McCormick Place for the 2007 Killerspin Spinvitational. While its name may suggest a Bloodsport style underground multi-disciplined martial arts competition, it’s actually a big (free!) ping pong table tennis tournament.

Jon and I arrived just in time to see an 11-year-old Serbian table tennis prodigy in an exhibition match.

The second match was between some British dude and Biba, the Anna Kournikova of table tennis. Mr. British Man really wanted to be the center of attention, but the crowd was clearly more interested in Biba, especially the fellow in front of us who kept shouting throughout the entire match. Most of what he said was in some Eastern European language I didn’t understand, but often he’d just yell, “Biba! You So Beautiful!”

I’d Guess No

Friday, November 23rd, 2007

Last weekend I was watching the Bears game with my brothers as I often do.  After so many disappointing games this season there’s not much left to talk about.  I mean, how many times can someone criticize Cedric Benson?   As Rex Grossman fumbled his way to another Bears loss, my brother Brian tried to spark some conversation:

Brian: Do you think the coaches take showers after the games?

Thank You Charles Tillman

Tuesday, October 9th, 2007

I was at the Bartman game. My dad somehow managed to find bleacher tickets for himself, my brothers, and I. There’s a very clear picture in my head of my brother Brian holding five fingers in the air… one for each out the Cubs needed to move on to the World Series.

My brothers at game 6 of the NLCS in 2003 with high expectations.

We all know what happened next.

I wish I took a picture afterwards, but I was too depressed. The four of us trudged down Sheffield to my brother’s apartment, too miserable to get on the train. We joined thousands of others, dazed, silently wandering in the middle of the street. Every once in a while someone would vocalize their frustrations by shouting: “Dammit,” “8 runs,” or a simple Santo-esque “No!!” It was surreal and awful. Many have compared it to a funeral. In my experience, funerals are happier.

Seventh Inning Stretch — 3 to 0, Cubs — 15 minutes to meltdown.

A week later, looking to vent my frustrations, I sold my ticket stub on eBay with “Worst Game Ever” scrawled on the bottom. It was bought for $22 by someone in Indiana. (I refused to ship to Florida.)

As the Cubs embarrassed themselves against the Diamondbacks this weekend, I felt numb. I was disappointed but not depressed. For some reason I didn’t have very high expectations — maybe because this year’s collection of overpaid underachievers didn’t inspire me much — but I think Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS had something to do with it. That night changed me. I’ve lost my naive childish thrill. To quote Steve Goodman (again) “What do you expect when you raise up a young boy’s hopes and then crush them like so many empty beer cups year after year after year after year after year…” As the playoffs began this year, my dad said he wasn’t sure what made him happier: seeing the Cubs make the playoffs or seeing the Mets collapse. He still holds a grudge from 1969. These things stay with you.

“Worst Game Ever”


I hope someday I can feel that way about the Cubs again. They have some likable young players and 100 years is a nice round number. In the meantime, here’s hoping the back page of the Sun Times has some good news after a pretty depressing couple of weeks. Watching Charles Tillman literally wrestle a win from the arms of the Green Bay Packers was a pretty good start. Thanks Peanut, Chicago needed that.

I’m The Greatest Bouter of All Time!

Monday, September 24th, 2007

Last night I attended an informational session for people interested in volunteering at the World Boxing Championships. I don’t know anything about boxing beyond synthesizer-soundtracked montages. Once I tried it with some oversized boxing gloves for about 20 seconds and it was the most tiring thing I’ve ever done.

worldboxing.pngSo I almost didn’t go because… I don’t know… boxing? But as soon as I arrived at the Chicago Cultural Center I was glad I did. I suspect that most of the people who were there aren’t all that into boxing. I suspect most of them, like me, are totally geeked about the possibility of Chicago hosting the Olympics and want to help out any way they can.

You see, if Chicago is going to host the Olympics, we need to prove that we’re capable of hosting world class international sporting events. This boxing tournament is our biggest test to date. It needs to be a tremendous success. Over 1,000 athletes, coaches, trainers and officials are coming to Chicago in October. It’s our job to ensure that when they leave, they can’t stop talking about it. It’s not a hard — the city does most of the work — we just need to open the curtains.

I have a feeling that I will be at least a little into boxing by the time all this is over. Seeing people practice their craft at the highest level is always fascinating. Besides, I’ve already learned a couple things. Did you know that in amateur boxing they’re called “bouts” instead of “fights?”

I’d encourage all of you to come out and help us show off our city. Sign up to volunteer on the World Boxing Championships website. You must attend one of the remaining informational sessions before you can volunteer:

  • Thursday, September 27: Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington (Millennium Room, 5th Floor) 6:00pm – 7:30pm
  • Tuesday, October 2: U.S. Cellular Field, 333 W. 35th St. (The Conference and Learning Center, enter at Gate 3, free parking in D-lot) 6:00pm – 7:30pm

Do You Smell How Badly We’re Losing?

Thursday, July 19th, 2007

At Jellyvision, we have a cardboard cut-out of The Rock. He’s been with us for ages. Once, when the alarm in the office went off and the cops showed up, they pulled their guns on him as he stood silently in the dark. Thank goodness they didn’t shoot!

The Rock came out to cheer on our Jellyvision softball team during our last game of the season. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough. Though we played our little hearts out, we ended up losing in a fairly lopsided fashion.


After the game the umpire told us we were his favorite team — the season’s Miss Congeniality. We got that from other teams as well, often as they were hitting back-to-back-to-back home runs.

My other softball team is currently undefeated. No one ever tells us we’re their favorite team.

So Much For That

Friday, July 13th, 2007

It seems my fantasy baseball team’s fortunes are inversely related to those of the Cubs.  Remember when my team was in first place while the Cubs were biting it hard?  Well, the Cubbies have been on a tear over the last few weeks, and during that time The Evanston Conans have gone on an unprecedented 7-game losing streak.  They are now in last place.

Oh well, you can’t win ‘em all… or, apparently, any of them.

I’m The Best… Around.

Tuesday, May 29th, 2007

Speaking of unexpected victories and 30th birthdays, I was at Joanie’s 30th birthday the other day. Her husband Jon has a ping pong table in the garage and he gets really excited when folks come over to play.

I have an unfortunate ping pong history. More often than I would prefer, I accidentally hit the ball off of my knuckle. Also, I have an uncanny ability to swing at a ball and, defying all laws of physics, propel it backwards. I’m also known for a powerful backhand that lands in play approximately 3% of the time. When it does, though, it has never been successfully returned.

My main complaint with ping pong, however, is that I’ve never beaten my brother Aric. Never. Ever. There are times I’ve gotten close, but I’m pretty sure he was toying with me.

I’ve never beaten him, that is, until this weekend. On the 26th day of May in the year 2007, Evan beat Aric 21-19 in Jon and Joanie’s garage.

Here’s some bootleg video of the match someone captured: