Good To Be Back

It's good to be back. Yesterday was my first game back after missing the first month of basketball due to a torn MCL. The worst part is, I tore my Medial Collateral Ligament in our last soccer game, a game in which we lost 6-0, making our team 0-10 on the season. 

Bottom line, the collision that inflicted this injury was totally unnecessary. That unfortunate collision took place on a Saturday morning, awhile ago. That entire weekend, I couldn't walk. However, my parents insisted that it wasn't anything serious.

By the next Thursday, my parents finally accepted that the swelling and pain wasn't very healthy. So, sure enough, the doctor confirmed that it was bad: Torn MCL, and a tear of the bottom of the quadricep that surrounds the right knee.

Since I am so young, the MCL hadn't fully developed yet. Therefore, I thankfully did not need surgery. In fact, my heeling timetable was much shorter than I thought. But a lot harder than I expected.

I had to painfully watch our basketball team suffer the first loss of the season against Montclair, making us 1-1 on the year. Luckily, games were cancelled due to snow, so I only missed two games.

But of course, I also had to sit out of pickup basketball and football with my friends, along with gym and pretty much the 90% of my life that includes sports. Although, I shouldn't say "sit out", because I always found a way to participate without putting my knee in danger.

On the bright side, I could always watch sports! And yet, I almost couldn't, given that the Knicks are atrocious, the Giants are embarrassing, and I could barely watch Michigan football in their meaningless bowl game last night. Aside from a impressive performance by Shane Morris, TERRIBLE.

Anyway, after a long time, I was cleared to play. Without practicing at all, my first athletic event would be the semifinal of our Holiday Basketball Tournament at Farleigh Dickinson University.

I was so excited to dress up. Suddenly, I feeling of nervousness flushed over me. What if I don't play well? What if I don't play at all? The thought of my knee giving out again didn't occur to me until I was on the floor.

Hey, I was on the floor! But I was nervous. When I first came in, about 12 minutes into the game, I was terrified. But of course, the competitiveness took over. On my first defensive series, Chatam's quick point guard blew past me.

In the 2nd half, I played more. And better. I brought the ball up, staring right at their point guard. I dribbled through my legs, dribbled hard left, hesitated and continued to the basket. I was about to spin, but I felt awkward.

That moment, right there at the block, was the only second I doubted my knee. Instead of spinning, a turned my back to the basket at the block and made a sharp pass inside to our power forward who got the bucket and a foul.

And that was when it all clicked. I never considered my knee again, and I played pretty well for the first game back. No points, but a couple assists and nothing terribly wrong. I was surprised to be in the game with under 2 minutes left, being as close as it was at the time.

But, it obviously worked out, since we are playing for the tournament championship today. And after today's game, it's the SuperBowl: Maplewood vs. South Orange, next Saturday. If you read one of my previous blogs, you'll understand this game. 

I have a basketball tournament championship, and a fantasy football championship today. BIG DAY. Wish me luck! 

Bowl Mania

Unfortunately, the privilege to watch Michigan football on January 1st has been terminated this year. I always look forward to having a big party with my dad's fraternity brothers and their families on New Year's Eve, and then watching Michigan the next day.

However, not this year. Michigan plays on December 28th, in the Buffalo Wild Wings bowl against Kansas State. And for my standards, the Buffalo Wild Wings bowl is a disgrace. But we deserve it. 

When I look back on their season, I think to myself.. "Wow, we were terrible." And we were. Yet, we should have gone 11-1. We were 2 yards away from beating Ohio State, a team that is rightfully excluded from the BCS National Championship.

If Al Borges would've called a good play, rather than a horrendous formation and an inevitable target. Honestly, their entire stadium, and everyone who was watching knew where the ball was going on that two-point conversion.

And yet, they ran the play anyway, capping off an atrocious season. Point is, we should've beaten Penn State, and we would've, if we didn't miss 3 game-winning field goals. Nebraska was a terrible loss, because they were not a good team at all.

 All in all, aside from Michigan State, we honestly should've run the table. However, based on the fact that we were denied the opportunity to play on January 1st, or an even better bowl game for that matter, anyone can conclude that Michigan did not do what they should've and could've. Shoulda Coulda Woulda!

Anyway, this year is the last year of the traditional bowl games. Next year, they'll start the 4-team playoff. I'm not very sure if I like the playoff format or not.

 On one side, I recognize how this system prevents teams like Ohio State (Who went 12-1 playing an awful schedule) from getting into the championship. On the other hand, it sort of ends the bowl game tradition. 

But, I don't really have a major problem with it, so whatever. More importantly, this is the last year for the traditional bowl game format. So, I am going to enjoy it. Also, a bonus would be winning my Bowl Game pool, in which a group of friends and I simply predict the winners of every bowl game and we see who gets the most right.

Here are my bowl picks. 

The highlighted teams are my predicted winners

(The unhighlighted games are the games that I’m having trouble with) Except for the last one, I got Auburn


It is out of 70 points, for the value of each game is a different amount of points. Let's see how I do! And yes, I do think Auburn beats Florida State. For awhile, I was going Florida State all the way. However, I gradually changed my mind.

And yet, what has happened to all the talented offenses that played an SEC team in the National Championship?...Oregon's electric offense lost to Auburn in 2010, Ohio State's electric offense in 2006 and 2007 lost both years to Florida and LSU.

The SEC is just bigger, and better than any other conference. They've won the National Championship the last 7 years! And who has Florida State played? Yeah, they have some really talented players offensively. But so does Auburn! 

I think Tre Mason is going to have a great game as always, but I think the difference maker is gonna be 1. Auburn's defensive line. If they get pressure on Jameis Winston, they're in good shape. 2. Nick Marshall. If he can beat Florida State's secondary consistently, FSU is gonna have a tough night on January 6th.

Today is the day that begins another bowl season, a series of college football games that will go right down to the wire and captivate you from the first whistle to the last. Happy Holidays!

Oh, and by the way... If you haven't seen Anchorman 2 yet, you absolutely have to. It was hilarious!