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Friday, April 1, 2011

CONFESSIONS OF A MAD SPORTS ADDICT

I'm shaking it up. Since the Sonics have gone off on an extended road trip to Oklahoma City, I think it's only fair that we take a look at other sports road trips. The following posts are from my annual sports road trips. They are being organized for a book - but you can read them here for free. I hope you enjoy reading about 'em as much as I enjoyed the trips.

CONFESSIONS OF A MAD SPORTS ADDICT - The Deep South Experience: Me vs. Memphis; Ole Miss vs. Auburn; Saints vs. Steelers.

CH. 1

Road trips and sports – it’s what many guys dream of. Sadly, many guys never get to
experience them. Things like work, family, and incarceration prevent it. This book is for those guys (and girls!) who want to enjoy our amazing trips and adventures and at a fraction of the cost! It’s also for those just starting their own trips; now you can know what to expect and where to go in the great places we’ve been to; the nightlife, restaurants, hotels, bars and clubs, stadiums, tailgating and more. I’ll even throw in tips on how to handle losing your ID moments before boarding a plane out of New Orleans for free! It’s more than an adventure book; it’s an
Idiot’s Guide. That either makes you an idiot for reading this, or me for writing it. So here we go...

I’ll admit it; I may have a problem. I love sports; football to be more precise and college football to be exact. I’ll watch nearly any college game. It starts with, perhaps, a morning Michigan/Ohio State game and ends with me staying late up to catch a Hawaii home game against Utah. The teams may change but the passion for the game remains steady. I’ve lost entire Saturdays to the games on more than one occasion. I can’t help it, I just love the games.

What I don’t love are fantasy sports. Fantasy sports have become a national obsession for many people, an admitted addiction for some. Everyone’s playing fantasy football, baseball, basketball or scrabble these days. So, let me just get this out of the way now; I don’t play any of ‘em. I never have. I love the games for the game itself, not the stats. Strategy, adjustments,fantastic finishes, great comebacks, missed kicks, crucial turnovers and the passion of intense rivalries are what make games great to me. That’s lost in fantasy sports. I admit I participate
regularly in NCAA tournament pools, but am one of the last few who don’t play in any fantasy leagues.

In all that stat crunching, something gets lost; the game itself. How can you root for your home team while simultaneously hoping the other team’s quarterback throws for 400 yards to move you up in your fantasy league? Sorry, that’s divided loyalties and it waters down the meaning of the game. In this obsessed-with-stat-crunching and want-to-participate-from-the-couch era we live in, I totally understand the allure of fantasy sports. I just don’t play them. I grew up playing the real thing. You know what I do now? I go to the games. A lot of ‘em.

These are the stories of our annual sports trips across America...and they are all true. Who are we? Me; Jeff (real name), John, Steve, and this year we added Mark to the mix (Their names have been changed for their own protection). John grew up in Southern California, played baseball in college and works at a major talent agency in the television department. Mark grew up in Georgia, went to Vanderbilt and also works in television with John. I grew up in Seattle playing sports fanatically and going to every sporting event I could; NFC Championship games, NCAA Finals, Rose Bowls, NBA Finals, endless MLB, NBA, NFL and college football games.

College football has always been my passion. Now I write books about sports trips. Steve is from Cleveland, so naturally he is a frustrated Cleveland sports fan (just some of the heartbreaks; LeDrive, LeFumble, LeBron) and he works in the mobile content business. I don’t really know what that means but it sounds cool. We live and work in Los Angeles.

Four years ago we began taking football trips around the country and it all started on a whim. John, Steve, and I all would meet at Mulberry Street Pizza and we’d always end up talking sports. Steve’s father is a former big-time sports agent who represented some Hall-of-Famers, so sports were a natural topic to us. John suggested the first trip. “Let’s go see a game at Lambeau before Favre is gone. Time is running out.” We did it and it was an adventure. We sat on the 50 yard-line and watched Brett Favre lead the Packers to a 34-0 victory over their bitter
division rival. Luckily, that was prior to all the sad Favre drama that would soon follow. Our trips have grown ambitiously since that game, and now you are about read about them.

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