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Does Winning Really Take Care of Everything?

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Tiger Woods hits a ball 1.68 inches in diameter towards a hole, which is 4.25 inches, and 4 inches deep.

He has won 14 majors and 77 PGA Tour and trails only Jack Nicklaus and Sam Snead respectively. He became a global icon and one of golf’s most celebrated athletes.

His smile, his boyish grin was infectious.

He married Swedish model Elin Nordegren, and it seemingly appeared that Woods had it all; but the brighter the picture, the darker the negative.

The illumination of the Wood’s dark side came on November 27, 2009 when he crashed his Cadillac Escalade into a fire hydrant. The resulting backlash of where Woods was going at 2:25 a.m. led to the discovery of his infidelity with at least a dozen women.

An epic fall from grace as the media pounced, castrated him, and his sponsors moved quickly to distance themselves from him.

Through it all one sponsor remained loyal to Woods albeit preferring to stay in the shadows. It would appear as if their loyalty has been rewarded since Woods has returned to his winning ways and is currently rank #1 in the world.

“Winning Takes Care of Everything” is the new Nike Ad that has received polarizing views from the media and critics.

The ad depicts Woods analyzing a shot with the aforementioned overlay caption.

This has created a firestorm for Nike, which their marketing department should be please with due  to the amount of media attention the ad has garnered, since most people are associating the caption has a vindication for Wood’s past misdeeds and transgressions.

Coupled with the fact that he and Lindsey Vonn are dating. It would appear that Woods is on top of the world in is professional and personal life.

Kate Fagan on ESPN, The Word, stated that we like to live vicariously through our athletes.

Perhaps she was speaking about herself. Her statement gives credence to the fact that one should keep one’s mouth closed and exude the impression of being inept as opposed to opening one’s mouth and removing all doubt.

Admire Woods for his steely determination, his fiery competitive spirit, his unrelenting quest for perfection, and his unwavering composure under pressure.

Qualities that no doubt have enabled him to excel on the golf course, but in no way idolize him, make him a role model for your children, and worse live vicariously though him.

In the final analysis, Woods is merely an athlete, who through his prowess on the golf course provides us with a form of entertainment. To hold him to a higher standard because of this is ludicrous, especially when no one is absolved from shame in his or her own private life.

A wiser man said it best . . . “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to cast the first stone . . .”

Bradley Booth/Freelance Commercial Writer/Author

In My Brother’s House . . .

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All week leading up to Super Bowl XLVI, friends and colleagues were soliciting my thoughts on who would win the game.

“How prophetic,” I answered, “would it be for Eli to win, in the house his brother, Peyton built.”

Perhaps it was idealistic thinking on my part, but my line of reasoning was simply this . . . if Peyton Manning is not going to be a part of the Colts organization going forward, why shouldn’t my last memory of Lucas Stadium be of a Manning winning the Super Bowl.

Much to the chagrin of my friends and colleagues, my perspicaciousness for picking the winning side in ironic situations has been proven once again.

Four years ago, I was the only one among my colleagues and friends admiring the irony of the New England Patriots’ perfect season suffering one Giant loss.

Super Bowl XLVI was a riveting game that had those around me glued to their seats. I on the other hand watched with keen interest at the unfolding irony that was playing out:

  1. The Giants were not supposed to be in the Super Bowl, given the fact that many doubted them, when the team’s record was 7-7.
  2. Tom Coughlin many argued and demanded should be fired for the team’s losing record up to that point.
  3. GM Jerry Reese was highly criticized for not making any offseason acquisitions to improve the team.
  4. Eli Manning should be traded, and he would never be an elite quarterback like Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees.

Perhaps all those naysayers and prognosticators of negativity are not true Giants Fans to begin with.

The New York Giants once again have proven those detractors wrong by shutting down the vaunted New England Patriots offense.

A low scoring game dominated by defense, in which the Giants prevailed 21-17.

Eli Manning once again walked away with the Most Valuable Player award. A fitting tribute since he finished the season, the same way he started it, by leading his team on another fourth quarter comeback.

A Giants season filled with trials and tribulations, but through it all Tom Coughlin’s conviction never wavered . . . down 10 to 9 at half time, he simply told his players, “We can play better than this, and finish.”

Bradley Booth/Freelance Commercial Writer/Author

At Last . . .

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At last, Etta James, the iconic R&B and Blues singer, pain, and suffering is finally gone.

Ms. James, a venerable singer, whose fiery and soul stirring voice, enthralled audiences for over 55 years has succumbed to complications from leukemia.

Now finally . . . her soul is at peace.

Her rendition of “At Last” epitomizes, what one has been seeking, has finally been found.

Most people have characterized blues, as being very depressing. Songs of lost love, lost opportunity, and the turmoil’s of life are often depicted.

James was no stranger to any of these events. She battled a heroin addiction for over two decades. Her weight at one point had ballooned to over 400 pounds. This led to arthritic knees that forced her to perform sitting down.

She was arrested for in 1972 along with her husband Artis Mills for heroin possession. He assumed full responsibility and was sentenced to ten years.

James was entangled in legal trouble again in 1982 for heroin possession, drug addiction, forgery, and accusations that she cashed back checks. She escaped being incarcerated and instead was sent to the Tarzana Rehabilitation Center, in Los Angeles, California.

Up to the time of her death, James’ husband and their two sons were embroiled in a bitter dispute over her estate. The judge finally ruling in Mill’s favor to remain conservator of her million-dollar estate.

“A lot of people think that singing the blues is depressing,” she said in an interview for the Los Angeles Times in 1992, but that’s is not the blues I’m singing. When I’m singing blues, I’m singing life.”

Given the trials and tribulation she endured throughout her life, perhaps she was.

Bradley Booth/Freelance Commercial Writer/Author

Mangini-Mangenuis-Manidiot

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Once heralded as a breath of fresh air from the erratic play calling and time management issues that defined the Herman Edwards’s era, the New York Jets announced their new head coach on 1/17/06.

After a dismal 2005 season of finishing 4-12, the Jets hoped that Mangini (the youngest head coach in NFL history), would bring a refreshing change, a reversal of fortunes, and end the team’s Super Bowl drought.

Mangini guided the Jets to a 10-6 record in his first season, finishing 2nd in the AFC East, and eventually losing in the first round of the playoffs to the New England Patriots. The competitiveness of the team that first year prompted sports talk radio host Max Kellerman to labeled Mangini as Mangenuis.

In 2007, it seemed as if the wheels had fallen off the cart. The Jets matched the record of Herman Edwards’s last season, another putrid 4-12. They say that winning cures all ills, and with this losing record, Mangini’s stoic demeanor became a hot topic of discussion.

In 2008, the Jets responded to their fans to put a better product on the field. They spent 140 million dollars, acquired Brett Farve, and let go of a fan favorite, quarterback Chad Pennington. At first it appeared that the money was well spent as the Jets were 8-3 through the first 11 games of the season.

Jets fans were beside themselves with the team’s early success, and there was talk of the team finally making it to the Super Bowl. But all that wishful thinking was short-lived as the Jets went on to lose the next two out of three games. It was evident that this was not the same team, and it further exposed the fact that the coaching staff had no viable plans for correcting the deficiencies to return the team to its earlier success.

Next was the debacle that exposed Mangini’s lack of confidence in his team when they played the Seattle Seahawks and only managed to score a field goal. On the first drive, the Jets offense was fluid but Mangini perhaps not having confidence in his team, elected to kick a field goal as opposed to going for it on fourth down; although they were only short about a half-a-yard.

Fans were further infuriated that they were assessed a delay of game penalty that move them out of field goal range, and Mangini elected to send the punting team out, when clearly Jay Feeley felt he could make the 50 yard attempt.

What led to Mangini being labeled as buffoon by sports talk radio show host Joe Benigno was in the fourth quarter from the Jets 20, when Mangini elected to go for it, although they were up against the 2 minute warning and had three time outs left. This erratic play calling reminiscence of the Herman Edwards’s era further exposed the ineptness of the coaching staff, and the fact that they entered the game without a viable plan to win.

 Worst was Mangini trying to explain how he and his coaching staff knew that the game between the Jets and the 3-11 Seattle Seahawks was going to be tight, and how the game plan was sound although all they could muster was three points.

The prodigal son (Chad Pennigton) returns to the Meadowlands and leads last year’s 1-15 Miami Dolphins in capturing the AFC East title.

Kairos is an ancient Greek word meaning the right or opportune moment, but in the case of Eric Mangini it has come to mean nothing but another year of heartache for Jets fans. The mental and physical errors on both sides of the ball only illustrate what fans have suspected for a long time. Mangini’s stoic demeanor has rubbed off on his team, and the mental and physical mistakes they make in big spots further corroborates the fact that they have lost confidence in the coaching staff’s ability to arm them with a game plan that they can execute successfully.

New Yorkers have to contend with yet another collapse. The Jets should take a page from the Mets playbook and get rid of Mangini now or the calls for his dismissal will be a distraction if the team gets off to a slow start next season.

A man who couldn’t get his team to play with more passion, in the two most important games needed to salvage their season, isn’t worth being labeled a genius . . .  that title clearly belongs to his mentor . . . Bill Belichick.

Bradley Booth/Freelance Commercial Writer/Author

 

Joker Overshadows Dark Knight . . .

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Heath Ledger’s manic depiction of the Clown Prince of Crime once again upstages the actor playing opposite him in the role of Batman.

Not since Jack Nicholson’s performance as “The Joker” has an actor taken the role to new heights.

Ledger’s transformation into the depraved and sadistic character of the Joker has fans and critics hailing his performance and the level he took it—to be far superior to that of Nicholson’s, and worthy of Oscar consideration.

Ledger’s portrayal was mesmerizing for the mere fact that has you watched the film, there was an inescapable feeling . . . Heath believed that he was the Joker, and the buzz from fans and critics, it would appear that they came away with the same impression as well.

Every scene was unique and it appeared as if Ledger was trying to surpass his performance from the last one.

The make-up on his face which resembled chalk left out in the rain . . . cast a ghastly and demented shadow that seemed to emanate from a hidden side that Ledger knew only too well.

Good versus Evil . . . are they really on both sides of the same coin?

Through Ledger’s performance, the dark side that lies dormant in most of us comes to life. One gets the feeling that Heath is no longer acting, but living out his inner turmoil out on the screen for the world to see.

Sadly the light that once burned so brightly—ceases to flicker with Ledger’s untimely death from an overdose of prescription drugs.

“You complete me,” the Joker disquietly tells Batman.

As far as The Dark Knight is concern . . . Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker is what made this movie complete.

Bradley Booth/Freelance Commercial Writer/Author

 

The Wilpons Should Take A Page From Mara’s Book . . .

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It was a cold and blustery November afternoon, when Giants’ fans voiced their displeasure over their team’s humiliating loss to the Buffalo Bills, 24 to 7. By the third quarter most of the fans started silently filing to the exits. The remaining few thousand fans that stayed and braved the bitter cold didn’t have enough energy to even boo.

“I’m very dissatisfied,” Mara told the Associated Press at the end of the game. “The message comes through loud and clear. All it tells me is that we need to improve the product. And how we go about that is something we will discuss.”

What Wellington Mara understood that November afternoon in 2003, as he apologized to Giants’ fans . . .  sports is a form of entertainment. And when your audience is dissatisfied with the performance and exits without even voicing their displeasure, then the product on the field must be improved.

It’s a pity that the Wilpons’ can’t or won’t take a page from Mara’s book.

The New York Mets’ fans have been voicing their displeasure, but the Wilpons refuse to admit what is obvious to everyone else. The product that Omar Minaya has put on the field is simply no good.

Since the firing of Willie Randolph, who Fred Wilpon claims was doing a good job, the Mets have a record of 3-4. They have become a more animated group under Jerry Manuel, but their ineptitude on the field continues.

How else can a team that was assembled to win the World Series receive such a drubbing last night (11-0) at the hands of the Seattle Mariners, which owns the worst record in baseball?

At the point of sounding redundant . . . the product on the field is not good enough.

Perhaps being swept by the Padres a couple of weeks ago wasn’t compelling enough of an argument, to make the case that for $138 Million dollars, the Wilpons have been sold damage goods.

Hopefully, they can avoid being swept by Seattle tonight.

Why won’t the Wilpons listen to the fans?

Why should they, when the fans show that they care by booing the team?

The only time fans really capture the attention of the owners is when the stadium is filled with empty seats.

While Citi Field is being built:

The fans can send a message to the Wilpons by boycotting games now.

If the product on the field does not provide the level of entertainment that they’re accustomed to, and the owners refuse to do anything about it, why should fans continue to patronize the ballpark?

Hopefully, fans won’t have to go to that extreme. Well, that’s assuming that the average diehard fan still has a voice where the Wilpons are concerned.

In an otherwise perfect world:

The Wilpons would notice the silence and decide to open Mara’s book. They would apologize to the fans for the inferior product that takes the field and do something to improve it.

Fred and Jeff . . . pick up Mara’s book . . . it makes for interesting reading.

If it doesn’t teach you how to run an organization, from top to bottom, that exudes the highest standards of professionalism and class . . . at least you can learn how to ensure that the seats in Citi Field are filled by giving the fans what they’ve paid for:

A team that is built around youthful players, peppered with a few cagey veterans and most important . . . that enthusiastically gives an all out effort every time they take the field.

In other words . . . a competitive team.

If the fans are what the Mets organization truly care about . . . is that too much to ask?

Bradley Booth/Freelance Commercial Writer/Author

Ubuntu . . . I Am, Because We Are

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The literal translation of an idea rooted in African spirituality that means we are all connected, we cannot be ourselves without community, faith and health are always lived out among others, and an individual’s well being is interdependent on the well being of others.

This deep rooted philosophy is what Doc Rivers, the coach of the 2008 N.B.A. World Champions Boston Celtics instilled in the second installment of the Big Three, a label they resist being called in deference to the original threesome of Bird, McHale, and Parish.

Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett now share what has eluded them for most of their careers . . . a NBA title.

The Boston Celtics obliterated the Los Angeles Lakers by 39 points ending a 22 year drought and claiming this storied franchise 17th title.

Arguably the best player, Kobe Bryant, at least on this night was no match for the combination of the Big Three. One man . . . simply was not going to beat . . . the best team.

“They were definitely the best defense I’ve seen the entire playoffs,” Bryant said. “I’ve seen some pretty stiff ones and this was right up there with them. The goal was to win a championship, it wasn’t to win MVP or anything like that, it was to win a championship.”

While it may be true that most championship teams are built around great players, they also must have a supporting cast that can contribute as well. A decisive edge in this series was the contribution of the Celtics’ bench versus the Lakers.

Perhaps Phil Jackson summed it up best, having been denied an opportunity to pass Red Auerbach, the man who had a hand in Boston’s first 16 titles, nine as a coach and seven in the front office . . . “We have to get some players if we’re going to come back and repeat, to have that kind of aggressiveness that we need.”

Doc Rivers, who many thought would be outcoached by Jackson . . . borrowed the word “Ubuntu” to preach a team concept that predicated on unselfish play and stifling defense.His players not only bought into it, but bonded with him because of it.

“This is the reason we came here,” Garnett said. “This is the reason we got together, and Danny made it go down. This is it right now.”

Buying into Doc Rivers’ philosophy is what enabled the Big Three . . . to harness their individual skills and accomplishments to be role models and mentors for the rest of team.

“We sacrificed so much of what we did throughout our careers to get to this point because we’ve done everything we’ve been able to do individually, won all type of awards, but never made it to the mountaintop,” Pierce said. “It’s like a breath of fresh air.”

The road to the title was not an easy one for the Celtics, having been pushed to a 7th game by Atlanta and Cleveland, before dispatching the Detroit Pistons in six. With many of their players saddled with a variety of injuries, other members of the team stepped up and contributed.

“We had bumps along the road. There was frustration,” Allen said. “But we always came back to each other as a team, and to finally win this and prove we’re the best in the NBA this year, everything we went through was definitely worth it. We know exactly what it takes to be the best.”

Doc Rivers pulled Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett with four minutes remaining in the game. Pierce immediately went over to Doc and gave him an emotional embrace . . . Allen and Garnett soon followed.

“They came in as a group, and I thought we should take them out as a group,” Rivers said. “They all said, ‘Thank you,’ and I said, ‘Thank you’ back.

But Pierce had yet another reason to thank his coach. As the longest tenured player on this Celtics team, he thanked Rivers for sticking with him.

After the debacle of last year in which Doc had almost been run out of town, for compiling a record of 24 wins and 58 losses, Rivers thanked Pierce for sticking with him as well.

In the waning moments of the game, Doc Rivers reflected on his dad. By the time he had received the Larry O’Brien Trophy, it was June 18—his late father’s birthday.

“My first thought was what would my dad say,” Rivers said, “and honestly I started laughing because I thought he would probably say, if you knew my dad, ‘It’s about time. What have you been waiting for?’”

As Boston’s faithful and diehard fans celebrate the end of a 22 year drought . . .

Somewhere in the hallow halls of the Boston Garden . . . Red Auerbach is lighting up a cigar and wondering that as well.

Bradley Booth/Freelance Commercial Writer/Author

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