Saturday, December 17, 2011

Up, Down, and All Over the Map w/ Buttons and Jules--Part 2:


Miguel Cotto connects on Antonio Margarito (Madison Sq. Garden):

"I just got off the phone with some of my Mexican buddies out in California."

"...like when they had the big match against Muhammad Ali and Smoky Joe."

Antonio Margarito (w/ broken right orbital bone):

"Miguel Cotto’s Puerto Rican, but Madison Square Garden is like his home crowd. All the Puerto Ricans turn out for him. And when they do he sells-out the entire place, not just what they call 'The Theater at Madison Square Garden,' which is a lot smaller. That’s where they usually stage all the fights; but Cotto’s so popular he sells out the whole big Garden."

And that’s who’s fighting tonight?” Buttons asked, wide eyed from her bar stool.

“Yep,” I told her, “he’s fighting a Mexican guy named Antonio Margarito,”

“Oh a Mexican, eh? Wow.”

“Yep, Mexicans and Puerto Ricans have been fighting a long time,” I told her as we clinked glasses filled with fresh drinks, “but the Mexicans usually win.”

“Wow, I didn’t know that.”

“Its true, but I think this is gonna be Cotto’s night.”

Jules suddenly ambled back thru the door. He’d been outside on a call--one of several he had to take despite it being Saturday, but now returned with a determined look to drink his pint of Stella.

“Hey there Lodo,” he said as he smacked my back and grabbed his pint off the bar, “I just got off the phone with a couple of my Mexican buddies out in California and they say that guy Margarito’s one tough mother-fucker and that he’s gonna whip your guy Cotto’s butt!”

“What?!”

“They said (here Jules took another dramatic swig of his beer for Button’s amusement and thrust his finger into my chest) “that Margarito’s one tough fucking Mexican and that you have to kill that guy if you’re gonna beat ‘em and that your man Cotto ain’t the guy to do it!”

“You’ve gotta b...”

“Oh no way!” Buttons suddenly interjected in my defense as she slammed what must have been her third Cosmopolitan down on the bar. “Your guy cheated last time and this is Cotta’s hometown--right Lodo? All the Puerto Ricans are gonna turn out and they’re gonna fill the whole Madison Square Garden like when they had the big match between Muhammad Ali and Smoky Joe. Lodo told me everything, the whole story. "Bout those things inside his gloves; that--plaster. Cotta’s fans are pissed off! You betcha they are. That’s why Lodo couldn’t get tickets.”

Wow reader, I’d really sold Buttons on this fight. That eagerness of her’s. Her sister Rules could never have been convinced to go to a boxing match. Soon as it was mentioned her ears would have turned off. But Buttons gets it. Her and Jules both. A championship fight? HBO? The Garden sold-out to the roof with vengeful Puerto Ricans? Oh yeah, we get that. Made me alittle upset that I’d grown irritated with her earlier.

And even Jules--who’s finger-jab I didn’t like turned out to be a surprise.

“So listen Lodo,” he said to me a short time later, “ Buttons and I definitely want to go this fight. And we want to take you with us.”

“Really Jules?”

“Yeah, really brother. Why don’t you find us three tickets and we’ve got yours covered.” 

"Margarito's one tough fucking Mexican and you have to kill that guy if you're gonna beat em..."

* NOTE: Thanks to anyone who's stuck w/ me so far on this one. I got side-tracked for several days; and also wanted to get some permissions in regards to picture usage (permissions I never could get). I apologize if this installment doesn't really push the narrative along; but I had to get back in the groove/feel of this post. Part 3 should be here a lot faster. All pics included herein were stolen off Google Images. See you in a few days--and thanks again!!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Lodo Grdzak's Sportin' Life: NBA Playoffs, Bernard Hopkins, and The End of the World




46 year-old, Light-Heavyweight Champion of the World: Bernard Hopkins (52 wins; 5 losses; 2 draws. 34 knockouts).


Chauncey Billups:

Worlds Fastest Man: Usain Bolt

Shaq and Jason Kidd a million years ago: "You hate a guy season after season; but after awhile they're the familiar villain from all those games you watched with your buds..."

Sean Penn/Scarlett Johannsen:


As I approach 45 years on this planet, its a safe bet that I’m slightly past the mid-point of my life. Course that assumes I’m not gonna have a heart attack or get cancer--two pretty big ifs based on my lifestyle and temperament. But absent any serious speed bumps, I passed my life’s intermission a few years ago.

I wish I were more excited about the 2nd half of my physical existence; but as I prepare to leave (or lose) yet another job and note the modern state of my country and species, its a little difficult for me to wave the pennant of humanity and yell rah rah rah. Its more like blah blah blah. I was more than prepared for the world to end last week.

But I guess its up to me to find happiness. I didn’t start my blog to be a downer. I’m 40+ years old. White. American, in good health. What exactly are my complaints again?

I suppose I could name a few if I wanted to nitpick.

One of my biggest complaints is that I wasn’t born Lebron James. Or Dirk Nowitzki. That’s gonna be the first thing I mention to my creator if and when we meet. How come you didn’t make me one of those guys? ‘Cause whatever you had in mind with me, people are not getting it!

Along with boxing, NBA basketball’s my favorite sport; and this year the quality of the NBA really improved. Chauncey Billups is my favorite player--even if he is getting old; so now that the Knick’s have got him I have something to look forward to the next 2-3 years of my life. Not much else about my future excites me. But Chauncey and I can age together here in New York.

When I watch NBA Playoffs, I sometimes get jealous of the players. Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Rajon Rondo, Chris Paul, Derrick Rose. So much talent and money. So many hot babes. Plus the joy of competition on an international stage. Going for greatness and eventually reaching it.

That is, if you’re Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. They’re the only ones who are really gonna reach it, by which I mean the championship. Those guys might be 3 of the Top 10 athletes in the world. Lebron is for sure. I suppose a few soccer players are probably up there. And Usain Bolt of course.

I assume Lebron and Dwyane Wade are gonna win it all, but I guess I wouldn’t mind if Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki became champions. I’ve watched those guys for a lot of years; and even though I never rooted for either of ‘em, I have a soft-spot for the older guys. Even guys I hated, which is a phenomenon in sports and pop culture. You hate a guy season after season; but after awhile they’re the familiar villain from all those games you watched with your buds. You have a shared history. You know their story.

So when that old nemesis is matched-up against the new kid on the block you might suddenly find yourself rooting for Shaq or Iverson or even (to my amazement earlier this season) Kobe.

At this point in my life, the closest I’m probably going to get to greatness is to watch others pursue it. My day has come and gone along with the Walkman, the VHS player, Sugar Shane Mosely, and scripted TV. I had my chance to go for it.

But there’s still a few guys out there who give me hope. Jeff Beck’s close to 70 but he’s better than ever. And I love the way he always has a chick in his band now--Jennifer Batten; Tal Wilkenfeld; Imogen Heap; Imelda May; Rhonda Smith. Couple hot one’s in there for sure. Just how I’d do it.

41 year old Jay-Z is still going strong; 38 year old Eminem’s last record went # 1 right away; and 52 year old Sean Penn’s allegedly banging young and fine Scarlett Johannsen. So maybe I have a few good lays/days in front of me after all.

And of course we can’t forget my man Bernard Hopkins, who not only beat 28 year-old Jean Pascal to become champion of the world last Saturday, but had the audacity to do push-ups between rounds. When I saw that, I jumped out my chair and fist pumped--bad back and all. 46 years old and the guy’s still going for greatness. Still winning championships. Still reaching higher.

Maybe there’s a reason to tune in for Part 2 after all.





* NOTE: All pics posted at top were stolen off Google Images and are most likely subject to copyright.