The punches just keep rolling in 2016, as yet another icon has passed, with the death of legendary golfer Arnold Palmer this past Sunday, September 25th, 2016 at the age of 87.
Palmer’s cause of death was a result of complications from cardiac troubles while waiting for heart surgery in his Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Known as “the King” of golf, Arnold Palmer was one of the most transformative and charismatic athletes in not only golf, but all sports.
Arnold Palmer was one of the first superstar athletes in the modern age of sports, with exciting victories and a charming personality that ended up sparking the original golf boom that spawned his devout following better known as “Arnie’s Army” which made him one of the most popular athletes in the world.
Palmer’s most dominant win stretch during his time on the PGA (professional golf association) ran from 1958 to 1964. Throughout those seven years, he won seven major titles: four Masters, a US Open and two British Opens.
While Palmer’s competitive accomplishments were certainly outstanding, Palmer will forever be remembered as the first professional golfer to earn $1 million on the professional circuit, though that was never his primary desire. Palmer had been quoted on multiple occasions as wanting nothing more than to “be remembered for bringing golf to a worldwide audience.”
Palmer’s legacy will forever place him as one of the titan’s of golf, with legendary battles with fellow golfing legends Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player.
It’s natural to revisit Palmer’s competitive career when looking back at his life, but his athletic prowess was only one side of the proverbial “coin” that was his life – Palmer was a personality before the age of social media and a celebrity obsessed culture was the norm. Playing in a sport where most of its participants are considered to be some of the tackiest dressers, Palmer went against the grain, being named one of GQ Magazine’s “50 most stylish men of the past 50 years,” and included on Esquire’s list of the “75 best-dressed men of all time.”
He was a magnetic force of celebrity and sport, and one of the first major convergences of the two realms. He had garnered so much influence and adulation amongst “Arnie’s Army” that his favorite drink concoction that he took to the course with him every day – a thermos filled with iced tea and lemonade – became a widely loved beverage, and was subsequently named after him, leaving yet another cementing mark on his legacy.
Arnold Palmer was widely loved by all, and adored even by his rivals. Palmer was the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom (the highest honor for an American civilian) in 2004, along with the Congressional Gold Medal in 2012. Palmer passed away at a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania hospital while awaiting cardiac surgery. He was 87.
Alternatives to your racist sportsball mascot
It can be hard to let go of something that has always been there as a rallying symbol. But once fellow fans say that your symbol makes them distant and distrustful of you, it’s not a rallying point anymore.
In light of watching the Cubs play the Indians and looking at Chief Wahoo’s deformed face plastered on signs, hats, and babies, it occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, people don’t realize the plethora of other options we have when it comes to mascots.
Look, I get it. I was at U of I when Chief Illiniwek was retired. People were talking about tradition like the administrators decided to shoot Christmas. It can be hard to let go of something that has always been there as a rallying symbol. But once fellow fans say that your symbol makes them distant and distrustful of you, it’s not a rallying point anymore.
“How can my team be represented without a minority cartoon person to honor/disrespect?” you ask. “How will I know how strong and fierce they are?”
Great questions! Luckily, I’ve come up with some alternatives that can uniquely convey that sportsball vigor.
Also known as the water bear, the tardigrade is probably the toughest animal on Earth and, occasionally, unsheltered outer space. They can survive several minutes at near 0° Kelvin, decades at -20° C, and several minutes at 304° F. They can survive in a vacuum and pressure of 6,000 atmospheres. They withstand radiation 1,000 times higher than the kill level of other animals.
This is one tough, and tiny (most are less than 1 mm), motherfucker. If the tardigrade is your mascot, your team can withstand just about anything, including five mass extinctions.
But does it have the charisma to be a mascot? I think so. I mean, look at its chubby body and little legs! It already looks like a mascot suit. Plus the marketing opportunity for hot and cold stadium drinks would be stellar.
Teams love a good natural disaster name: hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, avalanches, thunder, and lightning. But drought remains a seriously underrepresented disaster situation in the sports world, right behind sinkholes. Droughts aren’t a flashy choice, but there’s an untapped well of mascot opportunity here.
If you want to inspire fear with a team name, this is a good one. The visceral, inevitable dread that occurs when plants shrivel and the parched earth cracks is at least as old as agriculture. Drought is the herald of plagues of insects, dust clouds, wild fires, and hunger. It’s scary AF.
But how do you cheer for Team Drought? Like avalanches and hurricanes, it’s best not to go over board or be too literal with this one. There can be a fun cactus character to appeal to kids, and the stadium can play the sound of a plague of locusts on third down or other sporting equivalent. The creativity and enthusiasm of fans will help spur other beloved Drought traditions.
If you must have your mascot be a person, why not choose the crafty, rebellious, and powerful Illuminati?
Again, this isn’t a showy choice, the Illuminati being a secret organization and all. Mascots aren’t just about visible bluster, though. They are also about instilling a sense of confidence and pride in the team and fans. What could make you more confident than knowing all the smartest and most influential people are on your side to bring about the New World Order?
Another perk is that the physical depiction of an Illuminati member could be nearly anything. If you yearn for nostalgia in a sports mascot, you can have an old dude in period dress writing furiously on parchment. If you want something a little scary, you can have a shadowy figure in a cloak with the owl of Minerva perched on their shoulder. If you want to appeal to the conspiracy folks, you could just use JFK.
Unlike ethnic minorities, the Illuminati are unlikely to come out of hiding to sue your ass. If anything they would approve. According to one person on the Internet, the Illuminati are responsible for popular sporting events to prime us for satanic values. Thanks, Illuminati!
Watch Bill Murray react as the Cubs win the World Series
Bill Murray is the best, and so are the Chicago Cubs. Congratulations.
Bill Murray is a Chicago Cubs superfan. The Chicago Cubs beat the team from Cleveland with the racist-ass logo 8-7 in Game 7 of the World Series. This ended the longest title drought in baseball history, as the last time the Cubs won the World Series was in 1908 with their double-play combo, “Tinker to Evers to Chance.” (Here is recently retired announcer Vin Scully reciting the Franklin Pierce Adams poem, “Baseball’s Sad Lexicon,” during an otherwise boring at-bat.) So here’s a video of Bill Murray celebrating the Cubs win. Bill Murray is the best, and so are the Chicago Cubs. Congratulations.
Why watch college football?
It’s odd that given a choice between the best pro-athletes and amateurs, one would choose amateurs.
It’s odd that given a choice between the best pro-athletes and amateurs, one would choose amateurs. Most college football players are not pro-level talent, and the older you get, the more it dawns on you that you are watching people not old enough to drink hit each other. So when the weekend rolls around, why watch football on Saturday instead of/in addition to Sunday?
For one, the game itself is different at the college level. The rules are somewhat different, like only needing one foot in bounds to make a catch, having wide-ass hash marks (20 ft. wider than the NFL), the clock stops to reset the chains on first down, and no sudden death overtime to name a few. But no one cheers for the rules. It’s actually the varied level of talent and skill sets that make college football fun.
Most pro offenses have a pocket passer who occasionally scrambles when a play falls apart, and defenses are tailored to that type of offense. College football, in contrast, is madness and chaos. Sometimes a team has a quarterback whose biggest strength is not throwing. I’ve seen a college quarterback punt. Coaches still have preferred offense styles, but they need to get creative with the talent they have in order to be successful. Sometimes success looks really weird, and that is awesome.
The game becomes something else when you don’t always have the biggest, strongest, most talented guys playing against each other. The variety of offenses, how that affects defensive play, the way anything can happen, adds to the experience of watching college ball. No team is safe, especially in this upset-prone year. For example, (at the time) unbeaten number two Ohio State lost to unranked Penn State. Ohio State is still the better team, but some Angels in the Outfield shit went down.
This brings me to my next point. Take a look at what happens after Penn State wins the game. As a reminder, this was not after a bowl game or a championship game.
Sure, spectators get pretty hyped up at NFL games, but it’s different. I don’t think I’ve ever seen people cry at NFL games, and you sure as hell can’t rush the field. There are no student tickets, no marching bands, and no weird trophies for rivalry matches in the NFL. In college football, it’s like everyone has agreed to keep a strange, old patchwork of random crap we’ve liked since the late-1800s (apparently that includes pig statutes, skillets, and long lineages of various dogs) and engage in something akin to group hysteria once a week. That’s called tradition, folks.
Another part of tradition is that the teams don’t move. Notre Dame football will never move to L.A. to get more money. There is something about trying to maintain an institution and style of play for over a hundred years in the same place that appeals to people. I would argue especially in America since we’re still a young country compared to the rest of the world.
I’ll let Stephen Fry explain some of this wonderful ridiculousness:
Okay, so if you’re newish to college football who should you watch?
If you’re interested in following a team that will have a shot at the National Championship, you have a few options. The Alabama Crimson Tide has been ranked number one for several weeks running for good reason. While they’re not the flashiest team, they get ‘er done. The Michigan Wolverines are ranked number two with one of the best defenses in college football. For the ACC I’m skipping over number three Clemson to tell you to follow number five Louisville because they’re more fun to watch. (You wanna fight about it, Clemson?!) The Cinderella story in the rankings is number four Washington; a team that historically has been overshadowed by the Oregon Ducks, but who beat their asses with a dynamic offense and solid defense.
Honestly though, the National Championship isn’t why people love college football. Most fans are happy if their team gets into a bowl game and wins their rivalry games. If you want to see college football at it’s peak, I’d actually recommend setting aside November 26th for some intense viewing. There’s Alabama vs. Auburn, Florida vs. Florida State, Notre Dame vs. USC, and many more great rivalries. Of course, there’s also Michigan vs. Ohio State, which ESPN has ranked as one of the greatest rivalries of all.
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