United States finished at the World Cup; U.S. soccer bandwagon jackknifes, injuring the souls of thousands
Well it had to end sometime. But I'm sure most of us thought it would happen at the hands (and feet) of Uruguay or, given a bit of luck, against Brazil in the semi-finals. Instead, it was Ghana who took advantage of a back line whose rate of success was about the same as playing Russian roulette with three bullets, and a collection of American strikers who scored as many goals as I did. While the U.S. certainly played better in the second half (pretty much controlling the game) against Ghana, it was once again an early defensive failure that cost them in the first half and in extra time.
The cold, brutal reality of this United States team is that they just weren't that good. Like most American soccer squads, they play extremely hard and with fantastic effort, but ultimately they just don't have the total skill needed to win multiple games in a World Cup. We (forgive me as I randomly switch between "them" and "we") have some nice players like Michael Bradley, Benny Feilhaber, Josie Altidore (when he shows up) and Maurice Edu, but those guys can't take (or in Altidore's case haven't) over games. Right now, we have three guys that other teams would want: Donovan, Clint Dempsey and Tim Howard (who made his only big error of the Cup at the worst possible time; the first goal Ghana scored. Also, a healthy Oguchi Onyewu is probably in this category as well). That's it. Our depth and quality has to improve in order ever make a decent run at a World Cup (Note to you young athletically-gifted types: You have a greater chance at making it in professional soccer than just about any other sport. YOUR COUNTRY NEEDS YOU SO WE'LL STOP LOSING TO TEAMS LIKE GHANA.).
Now, given what we do have, we should have beaten Ghana. Any team that plays disciplined defense is going to shut them out, as they were in the group stage (with the exception of penalty kicks). We didn't and now all we can do for the rest of the World Cup is cheer against teams like Mexico, whose pummeling by Argentina was a joy not often found in this world.
The mother country was cheated by the refs, then blasted to pieces by the Germans
I'm not sure if it would have been worse to lose in extra time or to watch your team that had decent odds (9-1) to win the World Cup get torn apart by a team considered your equal. It's the age old question of would you prefer agonizing, slow death or a glimmer of hope followed by a smashing of the face death. That's a tough call, but at the end of the day I'd take a loss to Ghana. Because losing to the Germans IS NOT ACCEPTABLE IN AMERICA. DAMMIT. U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!
Ole Miss gears up for another public relations disaster/humiliation by releasing mascot ideas
In a quest to put some type of mascot on the field after the dismissal of Colonel Rebel, Ole Miss formed a taskforce/committee/wasteofresources to explore mascot options as well as get feedback/ideas from alumni and students. Today, they released the 11 best concepts (I would pay top dollar to see the list of those that didn't make the final cut). So here they are, complete with descriptions and my acceptance or ridicule, which is really the most important part.
Hotty and Toddy
So, basically we're talking about a couple of Muppets with an Ole Miss logo slapped on them, right? The originality is overwhelming. And I see they "love to pump up the crowd," but do they like hands ripping through their rectums? In fairness, I don't think the idea of the names is a bad one, but there's no chance in hell anyone will know which one is which.
Rebel the Black Bear
This idea intrigues me the most because of the potential of having a real, live bear on the sidelines. What does it have to do with Ole Miss? Well, pretty much nothing, but black bears are native to Mississippi and William Faulkner once wrote a novella in between drinks called Old Ben, which was about a bear. Not a bear that talked and had forest animal friends, but one that was hunted and ate people (or I assume he did). I'll gladly throw my support behind the idea if Ole Miss can promise this on the sidelines:
And not this:
In the name of safety (terrible reason) and cost, I'm pretty sure this is what we'll get.
Rebel Blues Musician
Are we just going to give B.B. King like $100K a year to play guitar on the sidelines or will we just create an embarrassingly awful caricature of him and give it an inflatable guitar someone in the administration won at the fair? Either way, we all lose.
Rebel the Cardinal
Let's see, Stanford's nickname is the Cardinal, Ball State is known as the Cardinals and Louisville also uses Cardinals as its nickname. So as you can see, this idea has all sorts of unique properties that belong to OTHER SCHOOLS. Also, I've been following (i.e. understanding what goes on) Ole Miss since I was about 12, went to school there and I have never, ever heard of the Cardinal Club. I suppose there is some connection to Ole Miss since one of the official colors of the school is cardinal red, but I'll be damned if I want to see a version of this walking around with a t-shirt cannon:
ANOTHER DAMN MUPPET. Or it sounds like we'll just steal the Philly Phanatic, paint him red and call him Cardinal. These ideas are not improving as we move down the list.
Rebel the Horse
Well, Polo is a large part of the Ole Miss wardrobe, so this one is kind of interesting (or is Polo on the outs? I have no fingers on the pulse of fashion.), but ultimately stupid. And I was shocked to learn that anything dealing with transportation in the 1800s involved horses. That sounds so rare it could have only happened at Ole Miss. Plus, every other school was probably too poor to have horses, so they were forced to use dirty mules. Ugh. Big uniqueness points here.
Rebel Land Shark
I was always under the impression landshark was one word, but I suppose for the sake of my sanity I shouldn't split hairs when it comes to Ole Miss. One of the most original ideas, probably because it was created by someone not on this committee - former linebacker Tony Fein...pause...(pouring one out for him)...and we're back. It was unique to Ole Miss until Jimmy Buffett gave the OK to start making a shitty beer of the same name. However, I like the spirit of this idea, but I have two concerns. One, it was created by a defensive player for the defense. No offensive player ever makes a fin with his hand like so many of the defensive players do after a big play. And two, and this is pretty much a concern with all of these ideas, the design of the actual mascot will be horrendous. Part cartoon, part shark it will probably end up looking like ANOTHER MUPPET, which is apparently what this committee really wants.
Rebel Lion (Rebellion)
What a clever use of words. And what an incredibly dumb idea. Unless we get a real lion. From Africa. None of this "borrow it from the zoo" crap. If it's on the sidelines for the home opener, then two weeks before that it should have been tagged in a Kenyan game reserve.
How unique! As you know, only Ole Miss can acquire mojo. I didn't think it was possible to have an idea worse than a Muppet, but this is it. UNLESS IT IS A MOJO MUPPET.
Rebel Riverboat Pilot
So we're going to dress up someone to look like Mark Twain and put him in a red suit? That sounds familiar...
An old, distinguished gentleman:
And an old, distinguished gentleman wearing a red suit:
However, as the idea mentions, Ole Miss was called the Flood before becoming the Rebels. I could get on board with going back to the Flood and having a variety of mascots based on the Flood characters from the Halo games.
In the words of Peter Griffin, that entire paragraph insists upon itself. "Ole Miss graduates are Titans of industry, business, politics, sports, music, art and literature." And you wonder why people hate Ole Miss.
You know what else a Titan is? A player on a professional football team three and a half hours from Oxford. They should have stopped this list at ten.
By my tally, that's three interesting ideas (bear, landshark, hotty/toddy) that aren't fully developed, one stolen B.B. King image, one stolen cardinal idea, four dumb ideas involving a Muppet, one remake of Colonel Rebel and two incredibly dumb ideas (Mojo and Titan). It could have been better, could have been worse, but right now, at least with the release of these ideas, Ole Miss has avoided the disaster that was Rebel Bruiser and the gay Mr. Clean (literally gay) from a few year back.
Since every school has a mascot that's allegedly unique, I'd like to see us have no mascot, making us unique for not even having a mascot. And if the mascot was nothing, it would be unique by itself since no one else has nothing as a mascot. Or we could just send a herd of four-year-olds into a Chucky E. Cheese and tell them to pick out one. Then, using our Titans of industry, etc. money, we'll just buy that one.