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You know what Rusts my Steel?

Ok so I was going for a title like “You know what grinds my gears” in honor of my homeboy Peter Griffin and this weaksauce of a title was what I came up with. Anyways enough of that, on to what rusts my steel:

So everyone has certain things that get them hot under the collar, crimson faced and gives them the sudden talent to throw every curse or expletive word they know and throw them into a sentence, that makes sense. We all have them, I am talking about pet peeves. Things that just agitate us to the core, either because they are frustrating things to deal with or just annoying! They can stem from situations we find ourselves in, to the people around us to just dumb things we do ourselves. Mine are a combination of the three, so without further delay, here is top dog pet peeves:

Slow walkers: Have you ever been late for class, doing your best Olympic speed walking impersonation to get there, but get stuck behind a bunch of people wearing cement shoes? Now I am not talking about people with medical conditions that cause slow walking, but normal healthy people who walk as if they know they are annoying the people behind them. These kinds of people seem to stick together in packs and like to appear anytime you need to get anywhere in a short time and seem to walk on both sides of the hallways in large frequencies at the same time, which is usually 5 minutes after you needed to be to class. Now I understand not everyone is always in a rush to get somewhere, but when I am walking ridiculously slow I know am, so how can you not! Then there are the people who like to just stop suddenly for no reason in front of you in the hallways because they are obviously too important to worry about the flow of traffic behind them. Like how Fruit Loops helps make a complete breakfast, nothing makes my day complete until I have the pleasure of being stuck behind these kinds of individuals.

Stupid Chirpers : Those fellow athletes reading this, knows what I am talking about. Those people who try so hard to s*hit talk during competition but absolutely suck at it. Chirping is a skill, used to either throw off an opponent, or just show them that you don’t quite like the cut of their jig. Now with that being said there are some good chirpers and there are some really, really bad chirpers out there, no in between exists, you either have the witty tongue or you don’t. So with having the last name HISCOCK on the back of my jersey made me an easy target when it came to being chirped, like come on it is quite obvious. I have been the victim of some good chirps and also the subject of some rather ridiculously god awful chirps, let me give you an one example. Semi-Finals of my highschool hockey playoffs and we are playing one of the best teams in the province in Grand River Collegiate. I am lined up for a faceoff outside the blueline, in front of their bench, with my back turned to them. So I was ready for something to be said and from their bench and I hear this, ” You suck,you Hiscock, you.” What do you say to that? It was the weakest chirp I have ever had directed my way, like with a lastname like mine and thats the best you can think of? People who try to be funny in situations like this and aren’t not only embarrass their teams, they embarrass themselves more importantly. Showing that sometimes the best diss is to shut up and the let person diss themselves by opening their mouths!

Non Shovelers: That would be those all important people who own houses and cars and feel that there is no need for them to shovel the stretch of sidewalk in front of their house. Just because they don’t use it does not mean others don’t! And from walking to and from school (all of 5 minutes albeit, but walking none the less!) has become sometimes more of a challenge than anything. You are forced to make a decision, walk on fresh powder thus soaking your socks and freezing your feet, or risking traffic and walking on the road. Many people I see outside choose to contend with the prospect of being the victim of a hit and run, rather then freeze all the little piggies on their feet. I am with them on this, I would rather get hit by a vehicle then have cold feet, talk about uncomfortable! I thought that by owning a house your responsibility to the community was at the least to clean your sidewalk off for pedestrians to have a place to stumble! Apparently I am wrong on this one, meaning I either need to get a shovel out or hope for no more snow!

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Well there you have just a few of my pet peeves, I don’t know if it would be good to air everything that ‘rusts my steel’ so to speak. And if i end up walking to school on Tuesday on the snow covered sidewalks, behind slow walking people making frequent stops all while making dumb last name jokes, I will think twice about sharing anymore of my agitations.

I believe that Social Networking is an important way for the world to stay connected, whether it be for work or personal reasons. The fact that it allows you to stay  “in the loop” when you are not physically capable of being there in person is a tremendous resource.  Social Networking allows us to share not only our thoughts, but our resources for research, can only help your network grow. The most important part of Social Networking in my opinion, the ability to remain in contact with people without having to all be in the same place, at the same time. Anyone who has ever worked on a group project with me has usually relied on this tool to get things organized, just because it is difficult to always get everyone together these days. I remember having a discussion last week with my documentary group on how college students got by without MSN years ago. If not for Social Networking tools, like MSN and Facebook, I am not sure any of my projects would get done. I am not too sure about twitter, as it seems like a poor man’s version of Facebook, so I doubt it is a tool I will be using in the future. But Flickr and Delicious are useful enough to at least keep an eye on every now and then. And who knows maybe this blog thing is something I will enjoy doing. I think I need a new outlet to tell the world what “Grinds My Gears” check my last blog post for some of my recent ramblings.

And on that note, I’ll leave you with two words: I’m gone

“100 % of the shots you don’t take don’t go in”

– Wayne Gretzky

Respect is lacking…

For whatever reason it is, no one respects another…whether it be in the simple choice of what you want on your pizza to drunk intension’s, no one respects another these days… it is sad but true, you are unfortunately thrown into a sterotype regardless of your actions…whether good or not…no does not mean no anymore, and to  ask for the truth is an inconvenient measure these days…everything is masked by the world of what ifs…the only thing i have to say is if we lived in a “what if world” we would have none of the things we have today…there is nothing outside of reality and the sooner we realize that, the sooner we can stop fooling ourselves…i understand i have a pessimistic view on life, but that is just me, dont let myself bring you down, only you can decide your fate, its phsycological and mental, if you believe you can achieve…I know its chessy, but if i didnt have that I would have nothing..sometimes we grasp on to what we can hold the easiest…its sad but true, in adversity I turn to the same things, regardless of if they are beneficial or harmful to me, my safety nets are always in place…not that they always catch me tho, i often find times where i hit the bottom of the net and still feel the ground, but am able to ignore that aspect…right or wrong….hitting the bottom is a frequent occurrence  in my day to day life, obvious or not, sometimes i bounce back in the right manor, but often I bounce in the direction that is most harmful to me and those around me…those in authority havent learned by experience, so why should I? if the example set for you is wrong, should you still follow it? even if that is what you have been told…that is my delima, deciding if those that wronged you are wrong, or just blinded by their own insecurities? It is tough to take anyone at face value these days, because no one is true…everyone is only out for their best interest, so why in the hell would you want to allow yourself to become vulnerable around those who appear trustworthy?  I am not sure, but maybe I am just waiting for someone to prove me wrong…it may appear sad but that is the messed up world we live in..

“Nothing makes us so lonely as our secrets” – Dr. Paul Tournier

What I learned from this year’s Australian Open

After an exciting two weeks of tennis it is now time to reflect on what we have learned from this year’s Australian Open. Coming into the Open it was clear that Roger Federer was the clear favorite on the men’s side of the draw, as he was attempting to win his thirteenth career Grand Slam title and third Aussie Open in a row. On the women’s side of the draw it was not so clear cut with a legitimate number one favourite, but names such as Henin and Williams and were expected to claim the first Grand Slam of the season.

But as per usual at the Australian Open, nothing goes according to the book. Like in years passed, a new face has emerged as a future superstar in the sport. In 2006 it was a kid from Cyprus who captured the hearts of Australia when Marcos Baghdatis came out of no where to reach the Australian Open finals. Last year, little-known Fernando Gonzalez ranked in the top 10 and quieted doubters by becoming the first Chilean-born player to reach a Grand Slam final.

Now in 2008, enter stage right 38th ranked Frenchmen Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the darling of the Open this season. With a combination of strong serves, powerful ground strokes from the baseline and soft volleys at the net, Tsonga found his “A” game. The main highlight win for Tsonga on his road the final was a straight sets thrashing of number two seed, Rafael Nadal. Not to mention he lost only nine games in total in the 7-5, 6-3, 6-1 win.

Five things I learned from this years’ Australian Open:

5. The ATP/WTA needs to either use its “HawkEye” computer technology on all courts in play in Grand Slams or eliminate the system altogether. Watching the tournament, it was difficult to remember which courts had the “ HawkEye Shotspot” challenge system or not. Several times during this tournament it seemed as though players had to call their own lines as well as worry about playing. I am not too sure what the line judges are being told, but some appeared reluctant to make a call for fear of being challenged by the player. At times I was wondering if the line judges were there to call the match or just happened to be ordinary fans with good seats. Chair Umpires also had the appearance of being intimidated to overrule calls for the chance of being proven wrong by a “HawkEye” challenge. It is also an uneven playing field across the tourney as only the centre court stadiums have the technology that allows the players to challenge questionable calls. Why the ATP/WTA would have installed a system that favors the top players in the world (they only play on the centre courts all the time) baffles me (HawkEye challenges were introduced in 2006 at the Australian Open).

4. Serbia is the most dominant tennis country in the world right now, having a man and woman compete in both the men’s and women’s finals. Novak Djokovic earned his first major title cementing his status in now the “big three” of men’s tennis, which consists of Federer, Nadal, now Djokovic. These three are the current four Grand Slam title holders and are considered the top contenders whenever they step on the court

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Some would argue Djokovic was a member of the top three already with his Rogers Cup victory over Federer and rise to the US Open finals last year. Novak should be the number three seed when it comes to the French Open in Paris this coming May. Should he be able to win a second major, it would become clear who is going to step up and replace Roger Federer as the world’s number one player. I still think its Roger’s tour, but more on that later.

The women of Serbia are not to be overlooked themselves, with two of their native ladies reaching the semifinals. Jelena Jankovic scored an upset victory of defending champion Serena Williams on her way to the semifinals. Meanwhile, Ana Ivanovic has now established herself as a top player on tour as she is currently ranked second in the world. Her glamour-cover good looks and powerful ground strokes now have her in the same group as Maria Sharapova. The question now is when will she get over her nerves and win her first Grand Slam? (I’m guessing she will get that elusive first Grand Slam at Roland Garros this May.)

3. Maria Sharapova is ready to start dominating the women’s world of tennis again. In a 2007 season which saw her reach three of the four Grand Slam semifinals, including two finals, but winning only one title (Pacific Life Open). The questions about her consistency and her ability to win the in the pressure packed situations began to surface. After battling shoulder injuries and mental fatigue for most of last season, Sharapova appears ready to dominate in 2008. Its not like Sharapova had an easy road to the finals as she defeated Lindsay Davenport,(11) Elena Dementieva, (1)Justine Henin, and (3)Jelena Jankovic.

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Her serve was her Achilles heel last season, as she couldn’t control it during the big matches, which saw her win just one lone tournament. In this year’s Australian Open Sharapova’s serve was a non issue for her as she had a first serve percentage of 59. It’s pretty good when you win 79 per cent of the points on your first serve. The all around improvement in her backhand, which is her best weapon, was a main part of her Australian Open victory. Should she continue to show improved skills in her serving and her court coverage we could see Sharapova win at least one more Grand Slam this season (either Wimbledon or US Open in my opinion ).

2. Tsonga is the real deal. The Australian Open will prove to be no fluke as he demonstrated he has the complete game to compete with the stars on tour. A strong forehand, a good serve, agility, and an ability to cover the entire court are all characteristics of champions. Tsonga’s game possesses all of these attributes and more in his all around game. The key for him is to have success on his first serve as he wins 78 per cent of his points that way, as oppposed to 49 per cent on second serves. If Tsonga can keep his first serve percentage at 50 per cent or higher then he will continue to be successful on the tour.

With an appearance that is strikingly similar to that of Muhammad Ali, he had the fans at the Australian Open chanting “ALI, ALI” during his matches. Tsonga clearly stole the hearts of Australia in his improbable run to the finals. Be looking for “the Muhammad Ali of tennis” to take a major run at the Wimbledon title in June, as his game is more suited to grass and hard courts, as opposed to the clay.

1. Roger Federer is human. But he is still the best player in the world. What he just did in the Australian Open has some people shaking their heads, and for the first time in his domination of the tennis world, questioning if the great Federer has taken steps backwards. Coming into the Open, Roger was feeling the after-effects of a battle with a viral infection that prevented him from his proper pre-Australian open routine. Bed- stricken, Federer was forced to miss his usual season opening warm-up tournament the week leading up to the Aussie Open. So coming in cold, not having played much in the month leading to the tournament, Federer still earned a semifinal birth.

Federer himself admitted he had created a monster with his streak of 10 straight Grand Slam finals appearances. I could only imagine the amount of pressure Federer put on himself to continue that streak of dominance. For him to now have that pressure off and to start fresh is what I think it will take for him to go to the next level (if that’s possible!).

I am not trying to make excuses for Federer because I am a “Fed head” but trying to explain that he still is and will continue to be the number one guy. I can’t help but think that this loss is a good thing for Federer and tennis. It should lure the rest of the tour into thinking he is now vulnerable and ripe for the picking, allowing the tennis world to debate the next number one until about the end of May, I predict, when there will be no need for that discussion for quite some time again.
That’s because when he wins the next three majors (Yes Roland Garros included! I said it!) in a row, the question will be back to who will have more majors, him or Tiger Woods?

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Top 10 SuperBowl Memories

With the SuperBowl now less than a week away, I thought I would reflect on the top 10 memories that come to my mind when hear the word, “SuperBowl.”

This article can also be found on my friends sportsblog: www.theondeckcircle.net

10. Talk about a buzz kill. Super Bowl XXXII: Atlanta Falcons Safety Eugene Robinson gets burned by Rod Smith and John Elway for an 80-yard touchdown pass. Maybe the fact that Robinson spent the night in jail for soliciting a police officer for oral sex threw him off his game? To make the story even more embarrassing, Robinson had received the “Bart Starr Award” for his “high moral character” that season.

9. Hester does it again! SuperBowl XLI: Devin Hester returns the opening kick off for a 92-yard touchdown, the first time the SuperBowl’s opening kickoff was returned for a TD in history. That would be the last chance he was given to display his returning abilities as the Colts avoided Hester like the plague for the rest of the game. The return touchdown was Hester’s 6th of the season, an NFL record.

8. Could someone please get this chicken bone out of my throat! I’m choking! SuperBowl’s XXV-XXVII: Choke is exactly what the Buffalo Bills did in their first of four SuperBowl appearances in a row. The words “Wide Right” are now infamous in the minds of Bills fans everywhere, but luckily I am not one of them! The Bills also choked as they played in four consecutive SuperBowls and came up short in each one. This raises the question for fans: is it better to have played in a championship and lost then to not play in one at all?

7. 49er thumping. SuperBowl XXIX: Being a Chargers fan at the time, I had high expectations for Junior Seau, Stan Humphries, and the rest of the Bolts. Boy was I wrong. Steve Young finally got that “monkey off of his back” in the playoffs and throws a SuperBowl record 6 touchdown passes.

6. Favre’s long run. SuperBowl XXXI: Well, not literally. I remember the 54-yard touchdown bomb to Andre Rison early in the game. After the toss, Favre, with his bucket in one hand in the air, sprints the 54 yards to the endzone to celebrate the opening score. Once again my support was on the side of New England (GO BLEDSOE!). Not!

5. Nipple Gate. SuperBowl XXXVIII: The halftime of this SuperBowl is one that will live on in infamy in CBS and FCC history. At the end of the Janet Jackson-Justin Timberlake performance, JT removes a part of Jackson’s clothing to reveal her breast with a nipple cover. MTV, who produced the show, claims that was all Jackson and J.T, who conveniently invented the term “wardrobe malfunction” to explain the incident. Of course, I was playing hockey at the time as for some reason we were scheduled to play on Super Sunday. But I did see the Adam Vinateri game winning field goal to beat the Panthers.

Here is a link to a blog with an interview with Tom Petty, performer at this year’s SuperBowl halftime: show:www.nflgridirongab.com/2007/12/05/petty-discusses-super-bowl-halftime-show-plans/

4. Ricky Prohl is clutch but can’t win in the SuperBowl! SuperBowls XXXVI-XXXVIII: First with St. Louis, Prohl catches a then game tying 26 yard touchdown from Kurt Warner, with 1:30 left in the 4th quarter. With the game destined for overtime, the legend of Brady is officially born. See moment #2 for details. Then with Carolina, Prohl catches a touchdown pass with 1:08 left in the 4tth quarter to tie the game. But once again he is robbed of his day as hero as John Kasay puts the kickoff out of bounds, putting the Pats on their own 40. Tom Brady and Adam Vinateri contribute the late game heroics and Prohl is left sitting thinking of what could have been. Twice.

3. Elway’s faithful leap. SuperBowl XXXII: In a 17-17 tie, late in the fourth quarter on 3rd and 6, on the Green Bay 12 yard line, John Elway makes the play of the game. Dropping back to pass and seeing no one open, he sprints for the first down, leaping over a defender and getting hit by two others. Spinning in helicopter-like fashion, Elway lands for the first down inside the five in an image that will be replayed thousands of times on Best Damn. This act of leadership in a moment of doubt is one of the best I’ve ever witnessed and will always be imbedded in my mind when I think about the SuperBowl.

2. The prevent only prevents you from winning! SuperBowl XXXVI: After coming back to tie the game at 17-17, the St. Louis Rams decide to play in a prevent defence against the Pats. With no pressure, Tom Brady was given time to hit receivers for quick 5 and 10 yard plays. This ultimately lead to an Adam Vinateri 48-yard field goal as the clock hit zero…for the win.

Are the New England Patriots a dynasty? One blogger tackles this difficult question: www.fannation.com/blogs/post/1299751. So close, but yet so far away. SuperBowl XXXIV: In what was, in my opinion, the best SuperBowl of all time, a childhood dream was lived and crushed at the same time. With 6 seconds left on the clock and trailing 23-16, Steve Mcnair had the ball at the St. Louis 10 yard line, desperately trying to tie the game. Dropping back to pass, Mcnair completes the pass to Kevin Dyson on the 3 yard line, but gets hit and wrapped up by St. Louis linebacker Mike Jones. While going down, Dyson stretches out for the endzone in vain, coming up a yard short of sending the game to overtime. For my money, this is the most memorable image in SuperBowl history.

Time to spill this bowl!

This blog post can also be found on http://www.theondeckcircle.net a sports blog that my friend owns. For my first article i decided to tackle the issue of the current NCAA Football championships.

Time to spill this bowl

Although the Bowl Championship Series has now passed us and the NCAA’s attention turns to basketball, it is time of the annual yearly debate- Is college football ready to scrap the BCS and implement a playoff format?

NCAA football is quite possibly the most unique sports league in the world for the shear fact that no team is given the chance for a playoff hot-streak to become champions. In fact after the regular season ends it is no longer in the hands of the teams, but the hands of the BCS system. The BCS is based on the Associated Press writers poll, the coaches poll and a combination of computer rankings make up the rankings each week. The entire bowl championship series is put together matching up the top teams from the top divisions against each other with one National Championship game at the end. This process of determining the champion of NCAA Division I football has been conducted for almost a hundred years and has sparked constant controversy.

The major hurdle in this whole ordeal is the NCAA’s reluctance to relinquish the system that has determined the champion for so long, regardless of the difficulties it presents. The fact that both NCAA Division II and III football have a playoff system implemented isn’t enough to discontinue the use of the BCS. There is fear among the NCAA and BCS that the significance of longtime bowl games (Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Fiesta Bowl ) would be lost and the tradition gone. Well I have a recommendation for the NCAA for a BCS replacement, it goes as follows:

The NCAA needs to scrap the bowl system but not the bowl games themselves and develop an NFL type format. At the end of the NCAA conference champions, the top six ranked teams advancing into the playoffs. With numbers one and two getting a first round bye, and numbers three and six and four and five would meet respectively. These first round games would be held at neutral sites across the country, so no Rose Bowl like home advantages for USC and Sugar Bowl like advantages for LSU etc.

The second round of the playoffs would consist of once again having neutral sites for all of the playoff games to ensure no home field advantage. The difference here is that teams are going to want to put together a good performance if they lose, but I’ll explain that in a minute. After the second round, winners on each side would advance to one of the BCS semi-finals, whether it be the Rose, Sugar, Orange, or Fiesta Bowl. Each game could be alternating, every year to ensure variety and not harm the integrity and history of the BCA Bowl games.

The winners of the two BCS semi-finals will advance to the National Championship game, which would again rotate to a each BCS site each year. But you may be asking that’s only three BCS games, what happens to the fourth big game? Do you lose the Sugar bowl once every our years? No, you remember the first round of the playoffs, well they are going to be used as an audition game as well. As the team that is determined to have displayed better competition and the better team will be rewarded the final BCS birth. Meaning the BCS would rank the two teams and determine which team would be more worthy. And to determine the final spot in that BCS game would be up to the BCS’ discretion. Ideally you would fit in an undefeated mid-major such as Hawaii this year, or Boise St last year. If there was no such undefeated team then it would the team ranked number seven, or possibly the closest ranked major rival. This would leave some discretion up to the BCS as far as teams worthy to play in that final game.

So the situation would be on the same kind of confusion level as the current state college football is in, but it would finally determine a true National Champion.


“He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery.”

– Harold Wilson

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