Ten hours later and I’m still blown away by how the game ended. The catch by Lynch. The bobbled and hauled in pass along the right sideline. Marshawn Lynch getting to the one, only to be relegated to third and fourth down in the event a bizarre slant pass didn’t work? So many thoughts. So much emotion. As mentioned here last week, there were some Cleveland fans who were struggling to find a rooting interest. Not me. Not I. The Seattle Seahawks, to me, represent everything an NFL organization should strive to become. Philanthropist owner, incredible fans, and a team that thrives on toughness instead of finesse. I was pulling for the Seahawks as I believe that the Cleveland Browns have a considerably better shot at becoming them than they do replicating anything the New England Patriots do on the field—now at a 30 percent premium! I guess it’s only fitting that they would blow a winnable game in the final seconds. Apparently the Browns are a lot closer to Seattle than I originally thought.
So, WFNY quietly turned seven years old this past weekend. In years past, we’ve celebrated each birthday with a post of sorts, documenting our journey to where we are today. Like human birthdays, there comes a point where they become more notable for milestones that typically end in something divisible by five. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t incredibly proud of this here venture—seven years in the web space is an eternity. So many other sites have come and gone, experienced half-assed comeback attempts, or are just a hodgepodge of hot takes with poor sentence structure and sloppy syntax.
Behind the scenes, where so much work goes unseen, we’re constantly striving to get better in an ever-changing landscape. There are days where I feel like I’m shooting arrows at a moving target while I’m cruising on a skateboard. Not only are the teams changing, but the way we need to cover them is as well. The way we do things today is vastly different from the way things were back in 2008, and they’ll likely be different in 2016 and beyond—they’ll have to be. But as the delivery process continues to evolve, the passion and mission remain unchanged. To those who have been here since Day 1, we thank you. To those who joined the journey somewhere in the middle, welcome—there’s plenty of room.
I haven’t spoken much about Marshawn Lynch, be it here or on Twitter. Now that the Super Bowl has come to an end, the Lynch versus The Media stuff will (should?) die down for at least a few more months—at least until someone attempts to get him to speak this summer, or the league does something in the way of a fine for whatever they deem unacceptable. But this piece by the most excellent Bruce Arthur sums up a lot of my feelings on the matter: He’s telling the system to go to hell. In the NFL, this is rarely, if ever, a bad thing.
Say what you want about Katy Perry, buy Missy Elliott absolutely killed that cameo.
I finally saw American Sniper this past weekend. Intense. Gut-wrenching. Terrific. The way that the entire theatre left in silence speaks volumes as to the emotional toll experienced throughout the film, especially the final 30-50 minutes. I’ve seen a lot of the backlash, mostly from those who were a part of any American-Iraqi conflict, and am not surprised—we tend to neglect that these films are in fact films and not documentaries or purporting to be top-to-bottom depictions of what has taken and is taking place. I care little for the political rhetoric that many want to attach. I do care, however, about getting my money’s worth when going to see a movie in an actual theatre—which is very, very rare in my current stage of life—and American Sniper did just that.
Reporting over regurgitating. Here’s this week’s edition of #ActualSportswriting:
“Vine: The Best Way to Watch the NBA” by Ben Cohen (WSJ): “But the rise of Vine-like media in NBA circles reflects the changing consumption habits of the modern sports fan. The NBA has more Twitter and Vine followers than any American sports league. It takes social media so seriously that it added its @NBA handle to official game balls this season. NBA fan videos also constantly make it to Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, which has resulted in basketball content thriving online with a younger audience.”1
“The Super Bowl Scammer: Dion Rich Is the Godfather of Gatecrashing” by Brendan Prunty (Rolling Stone): “Hang around Dion Rich long enough and you’re sure to have a story (or several) like Swank’s. Parties at the Playboy Mansion. The Academy Awards. The Olympics. He is the Godfather of the Gatecrash. The Sultan of the Sneak-In. He has been photographed next to Jack Nicholson and Tiger Woods and Bill Clinton. But his biggest claim to fame? Crashing Super Bowls.”2
“Glendale not cheering Super Bowl” by Mina Kimes (ESPN The Magazine): “Much like the women on The Bachelor, host cities adhere to an invisible script. The Super Bowl is an honor, they say, a fount of riches — which is why I was surprised when Jerry Weiers, the mayor of Glendale, Arizona, recently told me he doesn’t expect a windfall when his city hosts the big game in February. In fact, he says, ‘I totally believe we will lose money on this.'”3
Yep, that’s right. I fell off the wagon a bit, but I blame the Super Bowl—and the Browns. While the Seahawks were busy giving away an NFL Championship, I was partaking in an ale that may as well be Old Faithful, No. 9 by Magic Hat Brewing Company. I’ve long enjoyed Magic Hat, mostly due to their hippy-esque labels and brew names that don’t deviate much from the spirit of its Burlington, Vermont headquarters. (Coincidentally, this happens to be the same hometown as the jam band Phish.) No. 9 classifies itself as a “not quite” pale ale; many beer reviewer types classify it as a fruit/vegetable beer. I classify it as the type of beer that goes down well year-round in a session-like scenario thanks to it’s crisp taste and 5.1 percent ABV.
It pours an amber-like orange with a haze at first, but this doesn’t stick around for long. As the reviewers infer, the taste and smell have plenty of fruit weaved in—berries and apricot being among the most prominent. The head is average, retaining a good amount on the glass, but nothing that would compete with a hoppy IPA. The taste replicates the scent with a refreshing mouthfeel of most fruity ales.
When the final drops are finished off, No. 9 won’t compare to the top-flight pale ales like Sierra Nevada or Stone, or the more highly regarded fruit and veggie brews from the likes of Founders, but for the price point, accessibility and its ability to meet in the middle of those two (oftentimes very different) styles, you could do a lot worse than Magic Hat. Oh—hey there, Redd’s Apple Ale… Didn’t see you standing there…