Thursday, May 31, 2007

Top Twelve Ways Work Could Benefit By Being More Like Professional Sports, In Ascending Order Of How Much I Want Them

by Klondike, 2007 KankaNation Laetare Recipient

Editor's Note: This is the second in what Klondike hopes is a monthly series of his opinions on sports. Click on the "If Klondike ran sports" label at the end of this article to check out the complete collection.

#12: Trophies and Recognition. If I sell the most widgets in my industry, then by God I want a trophy with a little bronze man on the top holding a widget high for the world to see. And I want my name in the Widget Hall of Fame.

#11: Mascots. Everybody in the office will get a morale boost after watching Wally the Widget's wacky hijinks.

#10: Pads. And I'm not just talking shin-guards. I want body armor, like a baseball catcher or a hockey goalie or anything football. The possibilities are limitless.

#9: Stadium-style concessions. Hot dogs, beer, Dippin' Dots, Cracker Jacks, and so forth. I want vendors walking the hallways, shouting their wares and tossing them to us as needed.

#8: A penalty box, with associated infractions. Take the last cup of coffee without starting a new pot? That's a two-minute penalty. Cross-check the guy from marketing? That's another two-minute penalty.

#7: A diligent team of personal trainers and physical therapists. You'll never have another muscle cramp again.

#6: The instant replay rule, with multiple slow-motion angles and appropriate in-depth analysis:
"As you can see, Carol, I actually did submit my expense report before the deadline."

#5: Shady recruitment practices:
"Why yes, I will take that Hummer. Weekend in Vegas? No problem. One free pass on steroid use? How thoughtful."

#4: Trading cards. These would include appropriate statistics, position information, and action shots on the back. Free pink-flavored piece of balsa wood with every pack. Rookie and hologram cards would be very rare and sought after.

#3: Cheerleaders.

#2: Play-by-play analysis and color commentary by veterans of the business:
"It appears, Tom, that he's going with the green laser pointer for the second part of his presentation."
"That's an interesting gambit, Joe. I haven't seen this technique since the Widget Design and Analysis overview of '04."
"Right you are. Let's see how it plays out for him."

#1: Multi-million-dollar contracts.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The National Lampoon Sports Minute (Or So)

Written by Steve Hofstetter, Adam Hofstetter, Cody Marley, Ryan Murphy, Rich Ragains, Elliot Steingart, and Chris Strait

This week was the 70th anniversary of the Hindenburg crash. To commemorate the event, the Dallas Mavericks cleaned out their lockers.

The Yankees signed Roger Clemens to a one-year contract giving fans who set fire to their Clemens jerseys a chance to buy new ones. We look forward to next year, when we get to see which team Clemens retires from.

Across town, a fan has been banned from Shea Stadium after pleading guilty to shining a high-powered flashlight at a pair of players. Kansas City offered him season tickets, since the Royals haven't had a bright spot in years.

In another incident at Shea, a Mets fan filed suit after a 300-pound man fell on her at a game. It's the worst thing to happen to the Mets since Juan Samuel.

Phillies pitcher Freddy Garcia was injured in a collision with an equipment cart. This season, everyone is hitting Freddy Garcia.

HBO is producing a six-part miniseries about the 2004 World Champion Red Sox. Jimmy Fallon has already begun laughing on camera.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has touched on the possibility of a Super Bowl outside the United States. Assuming everyone's parole officers let them leave the country.

And Warren Sapp reported to Raiders Camp 50 pounds lighter and can now be weighed by conventional equipment. When asked how he did it, Sapp told reporters he skipped lunch.

For more of the Sports Minute (Or So), visit

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

My Managerial Debut

Due to various, well, pregnancies, I almost wasn't going to have a coed softball team to play on this summer. That was, until F-Bomb and I decided to take charge of the team. Despite being a little last minute, we were able to secure a sponsors and (almost) enough players to put together a team. Once that was settled, I spent the next few weeks researching various thoughts on the defensive spectrum and lineup optimization. You think I'm joking. As I told Dave, it's like one of my EA Sports "people I know" dynasties, but in real life. Of course, there's also the human side of things, like scheduling, "egos," and the like. (In our case, though, most egos need to be inflated rather than deflated.)

The season opener finally came this past Tuesday. Starting Monday night, I was very fired up for my managerial debut. Of course, the league decided to antagonize my anxiousness by giving us the latest possible start time - 8:30. I struggled through work Tuesday, running over dozens of lineup combinations in my head. After I got home from work at 5:30, I immediately fired up Major League in my laptop. I figured there was no better way to mentally prepare for my debut.

Finally it was time to get dressed and make the long drive out to Westlake. I got there 30 minutes early, and was thrilled to see some of my teammates already there. I had too much on my mind to warm up, so instead I made sure everyone had a contact card filled out. The game before us ended at 8:20 (early? what?), and the umpires immediately yelled for lineups for our game. Great, we were still a girl short. I scribbled down a lineup based on some of the options I had prepared in Excel earlier that day. (Again, I kid you not.)

When it came time to take the field, we were still a girl short, and the umps were in no mood to be patient. I quickly reshuffled our defense, and tried to line myself up to cover the entire left side of the outfield against a lefty batter. Of course, the batter promptly hits the ball to the opposite field. As I drifted to my right, I realized I had taken a bad route, and watched the ball sail over my head. Turning back to recover it, I hit an uneven patch with high grass. I struggled to keep my balance, but it wasn't happening. Our season began with an inside the park home run and me flat on my face. Great.

Our final girl showed up a few minutes later. I was my usual uptight self, but fortunately I had F-Bomb in full robble robble mode to keep me in line. Highlights from the rest of the game:

  • Yes we were run-ruled, and yes we only scored some run, but there's some talent on this team. Look out.

  • Our shortstop is a left-handed thrower, but he played fantastic defense to earn his spot.

  • Speaking of defense, we still have some kinks to work out, but there's a lot of potential out there.

  • Personally hitting was just as interesting as my defensive play. For my first plate appearance, I was leading off an inning. I was so preoccupied, I stepped into the box while the pitcher was still warming up... and promptly too a practice pitch square to the crown of my head. There's still a little "rug burn" from my hat on my forehead today.

  • I was afraid to do a Google image search of ball+face, but this isn't too bad.

  • In my next at bat, I hit a trademark infield single. I beat this one out by more than a step, so either I'm getting faster, or the infielder bobbled it and everyone was too nice to tell me.

  • After running out my infield single, I didn't have enough gas to make it to second when the girl following me hit a first-pitch grounder to third. I was easily thrown out at second, and on my way back to the dugout I was chided by our shortstop for not "accidentally" taking out one of the cute middle infielders with a slide. He had done a similar thing last year, and ended up with the girl's number.

  • When the umps announced the end of the game, I told my team to "Shake hands and go drink!" Sounds like a great motto for this team.

Go Ironwood!

Oh, and I already have a great newfound respect for managers and coaches alike.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

The National Lampoon Sports Minute (Or So)

Written by Steve Hofstetter, Adam Hofstetter, Cody Marley, Ryan Murphy, Rich Ragains, Elliot Steingart, and Chris Strait

NBA commissioner David Stern is thinking about adding several teams in China. Spud Webb can finally realize his dream of playing center.

Knicks coach Isaiah Thomas was seen getting cozy with model Tyra Banks at New York's Club 66. If that's what 33 wins gets him, imagine who he could be dating if his team was any good. Perhaps Thomas should be featured on her show, walking around the city in a Rangers uniform to see how a winning coach feels.

Speculation has increased that Heat forward Antoine Walker may retire, which is what we thought he did during half the games this season.

A new study suggests that more than 40 percent of NASCAR fans are women. The survey could be wrong, however, as differentiating between male and female hillbillies is often impossible.

Campbell's spent $58 million on ads for Chunky Soup last year. $56 million of that was spent on feeding Jerome Bettis in between takes.

Boxer Acelino Freitas quit in the ring for the second time. Evander Holyfield? Tommy Morrison? Are you paying attention?

Writers are saying the Mayweather Vs. De la Hoya megafight could return boxing to it's former glory. It will be so much like old times that neither one of them will get to keep any of the white people's money.

And Yankees' pitcher Chien-Ming Wang suffered a split nail on the middle finger of his throwing hand. Tragic, as that's the finger he needs to communicate with fellow New Yorkers. George Steinbrenner is livid, as there's nothing worse than having an injured Wang.

For more of the Sports Minute (Or So), visit

The National Lampoon Sports Minute (Or So)

Written by Steve Hofstetter, Adam Hofstetter, Cody Marley, Ryan Murphy, Rich Ragains, Elliot Steingart, and Chris Strait

FSN Northwest will not renew a broadcast deal with the Portland Trail Blazers. The network has decided to move away from amateur athletics.

Speaking of amateur athletics, the Boston Celtics severed ties with guard Sebastian Telfair after he was arrested with a loaded gun in his car. Too bad - Telfair was the only shooter on the team.

Lenny Wilkens has been promoted from vice chairman to president of the Seattle SuperSonics. Apparently, he was the fifth caller. Congratulations, Lenny - that's the equivalent of being promoted from 1st mate to captain on the Titanic.

In baseball, Milwaukee Brewers manager Ned Yost broke his collarbone while jogging. Thousands of midwestern sports fans plan on using the incident as an excuse to work out even less. A Brewer collapsing. Wow - is it July already?

Deceased running back Damien Nash's brain has been donated to science. What a blow to Pacman Jones, who has been waiting for a brain for some time now.

Parry O'Brien, the 3-time Olympic shot putter who founded the spinning technique, died at age 75. His last words were, "UUUGGGHHHH!!!" His ashes were spread at sea, precisely 75.3 meters from the boat.

And a man in jail for the last 25 years became the nation's 200th inmate to be set free because of DNA evidence. Also this week, O.J. Simpson had a great round of golf.

For more of the Sports Minute (Or So), visit