Monthly Archives: October 2012

The Walk-Ons: Shabazz, Rick, and Halloween

The title says it all. Today, Matt, Ben, and Shane chat about Rick Pitino’s contract extension, Shabazz Muhammad’s lingering eligibility issues at UCLA. We also discuss the sexiest and ugliest basketball players of all time, Halloween costumes, whether it’s okay for journalists to troll entire fan bases, and the last 34 of CBS’ 68 things to watch for the upcoming season. We’re now just a week away from the big games.

E-mail us at WalkOnsPodcast@gmail.com

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Loss and the Ethics of Rivalry, or, Putting a Postitive Spin On Being Told Repeatedly to Go to Hell

The most brutal thing I’ve ever heard anyone say to anyone else was said by a girl to a boy in my tenth grade math class. “I don’t even hate you,” she said back then, “because hatred is a kind of love. I’m indifferent about you.” I won’t dignify the question, of whether or not that boy was me, with a response.[1]

I’ve been proclaiming my status as a future Tar Heel Dead for about as long as I’ve been eating solid food. So I hate Duke, yes, but I realized startlingly how close that hatred was to love sometime in the third quarter of this past battle for the Victory Bell (note to the confused: sometimes Duke and UNC play each other in the sport with the eggish-shaped ball instead of the spherical one). I had always thought of Duke fans in the same way that I imagine Superman probably thinks about Bizarro: as warped reflections of my own strengths and weaknesses, whose values would probably align with my own if they’d only been born on the right planet. Our thoughts on Tyler Hansbrough or Coach K probably couldn’t be more different, for example, but at least we’d both place a basically equivalent value on college basketball. Case in point: I hate seeing Duke lose to teams who aren’t UNC. In a way it reflects poorly on the school I devote so much emotional bandwidth to[2], to see their biggest rival fail to defeat an outsider.

Which is why it was not that surprising to me when I realized that, in terms of narrative payoff and an understanding of athletic victory as a reward for one team’s expenditure of superior effort, Duke had to win. I did not want Duke to win, I merely realized that they should. It was nauseating.

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Sign up for my Humor Workshop – this Saturday!

What’s up guys and gals-

The good folks at the North Carolina Writer’s Network have mistaken me for a writer and invited me to teach a humor workshop at their fall conference. It’s happening THIS SATURDAY, from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm, at the Embassy Suites in Cary, NC. Check this link for details on registration, and please check out the NC Writers Network, a truly class outfit. Also see the details below.

Here’s the humor workshop description:

“Comedy is one of the most rewarding and inspiring forms of writing, but it’s also the most terrifying. An artist is never more exposed than when he or she tries to get laughs from a group of strangers, which is why most comedians are bosom buddies with fear and anxiety. Writing humor is a soul-wrenching challenge, but one that gets easier—and way more fun—with experience and confidence. In this workshop, Grantland’s Shane Ryan (That’s me! I’m writing this!) will help you find your inner reservoir of comedic genius and produce hilarious content. After a brief talk on how to approach comedy through the principles of agreement and positive risk-taking, and how to deal with the pitfalls, such as angry internet commenters trying to ruin your self-esteem, participants will have 20-30 minutes to fine-tune their own material. Examples of strong humor writing will be used to help us along, and we’ll spend the last 50 minutes talking about your work and laughing together. Afterward, you can ask me any question you want about comedy or my personal life or anyone else’s personal life—I’ll make up what I don’t already know. Participants are encouraged to bring a rough draft of a humor piece to work on during the writing portion, or at least a good idea, since it’s hard to be funny or even coherent in 20 minutes without a plan. Speaking of which, the end of this description garbled be a bit little may. See you there!”

The registration deal: Since this is a full-weekend conference, you can’t sign up for an individual course. What you can do is sign up for an entire weekend of awesome classes, panels, and networking opportunities, all of which can be seen at those links. It’s really an all-star cast, and well worth the price of admission ($400 for walk-in registration, which you can do on Friday).

So come by, say hello, and maybe we’ll all go watch college football after or something.

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When you gaze into the Plumlee the Plumlee also gazes into you

There are as many types of Duke fans as autumnal fall colors in the greater Burlington, North Carolina region—which is to say about 3-5. There is, “Holy crap everything is awful! I’m going to set myself aflame in my Duke Snapback!” guy; “Never speak ill of Coach K or I will slit your throat while you take out the recyclables” guy; there is a perennial favorite: guy who wants K fired after Duke looks sluggish against Clemson for 8 minutes in the first half; and guy who yells at Carolina fan not once but twice at Sidewalk Art Festival (that’s me).

And then there are the Duke fans who cringe (or barf Biscuitville) when the Plumlees get mentioned. For nobody embodies the high expectations each Duke season brings, with its tantalizing flashes of brilliance (usually in November) and ultimate letdown (you know, except for those 4 titles) than the brothers Miles, Mason and Marshall.

I’m not one of those fans. I still remember where I was when I heard that Miles had decided to come to Duke instead of Stanford; I hope Mason shatters the Serge Zwikker-esque career trajectory he’s been on with a dominating senior season; I’m irrationally freaked out that Marshall Plumlee already has a foot injury. I might even have looked at pictures of Miles Plumlee’s girlfriend on Facebook because I know the sister of a Facebook friend’s Facebook friend and only felt quasi-dirty about it. (It should also be noted that my wife refers to Miles Plumlee as “the hot Plumlee.”)

But I bring sobering news, based on studious research, about the eldest Plumlee, now a rookie on the Indiana Pacers. News that Duke fans need to digest, news we cannot ignore and pretend doesn’t exist.

Miles Plumlee, of Duke, has the worst college stats of any first round NBA pick…EVER, OF ALL-TIME since before James Naismith hung up the peach baskets EVER. Please gaze into the distance for a few minutes as you ponder that.

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The Walk-Ons: 34 Pressing College Hoops Questions

Today, the gang gets serious. After Matt talks about having a near-meltdown on the radio, accidentally revealing his age and his marital status in the process, and Shane shares a story of crossing a rec softball line that no man should ever cross, they tackle the first half of CBS’ “68 Things to Watch” article. This touches on usual topics like the ACC and Kentucky ball, but veers into the Big East, the A-10, the Pac-12 and elsewhere. Finally, the dudes are turning national! Also, Ben tells a triumphant story of Duke football. That’s not a typo.

E-mail us at WalkOnsPodcast@gmail.com

Or leave a voicemail at our Google Voice #: 818-Walk-On1 (that’s 818-925-5661)

Be a pal and subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. Just click “view in iTunes” once you reach that link, and then ‘subscribe for free.’ Voila. If you’re feeling really generous, you could also rate the podcast and write a positive review.

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If you need to download the file directly, this’ll do it. Enjoy!

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The Walk-Ons: Three Weeks Til We Ball

Three weeks before the regular season begins, Matt, Ben, and Shane are chatting about Nerlens Noel, how the top 6 will fare in the ACC, and whether it’s true that Indiana is a team without weaknesses. We also take a short detour into the land of Bobby Knight and his curious position as an SEC commentator this year. The first ten minutes are a Matt-free zone, where Ben and Shane talk about him like we might talk about an absentee father. Later, Shane decides to take the difficult position of railing against “To Catch a Predator” while still being adamantly against the criminals involved. A short episode, by our standards, but incurably sweet.

E-mail us at WalkOnsPodcast@gmail.com

Or leave a voicemail at our Google Voice #: 818-Walk-On1 (that’s 818-925-5661)

Be a pal and subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. Just click “view in iTunes” once you reach that link, and then ‘subscribe for free.’ Voila. If you’re feeling really generous, you could also rate the podcast and write a positive review.

You can also access our podcast RSS feed.

If you need to download the file directly, this’ll do it. Enjoy!

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Unreadable Episode 3: John Feinstein

In this episode, recorded in June and previously split into two parts for the Walk-Ons podcast, I speak with author John Feinstein about his fearless approach as a journalist and a subject, his approach to storytelling, how he handles potential problems with subjects like Bobby Knight, my perception of him as a doubt-free journalist who was always destined for the job, and the changing landscape of book publishing. We also touch on Duke basketball and Coach K’s wavering motivation, advice for young journalists, and his career as a writer. My supply of previously recorded interviews has now run out, so starting next week, new material!

Unreadable is on iTunes, and you can subscribe to the podcast here. Just click “view in iTunes” once you reach that link, and then ‘subscribe for free.’ Voila. If you like it, you could do me a huge solid and give us a 5-star rating, and maybe even write something nice in the comments.

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If you need to download the file directly, this’ll do it. Enjoy!

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NOTHING TO SEE HERE.

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The Walk-Ons: Jabari Parker, Harrison Twins, and Kissing

Today on the Walk-Ons we talk about the Harrison Twins, Jabari Parker, and the top 10 venues for the game we love. We also review CBS’ player of the year, coach of the year, and freshman of the year predictions, and get three more irate voicemails from Spike, the Pac-12 fan who feels disrespected by our show. At the end, we discuss the mechanics of kissing. Do guys always go top right? Plus, some uncouth behavior from me before Matt brings me back to earth.

Get in touch with us!

E-mail us at WalkOnsPodcast@gmail.com

Or leave a voicemail at our Google Voice #: 818-Walk-On1 (that’s 818-925-5661)

Be a pal and subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. Just click “view in iTunes” once you reach that link, and then ‘subscribe for free.’ Voila. If you’re feeling really generous, you could also rate the podcast and write a positive review.

You can also access our podcast RSS feed.

If you need to download the file directly, this’ll do it. Enjoy!

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Walk-Ons: Preseason Top 25, All-Americans

Today on the Walk-Ons, things begin with Matt telling us about a dream he had involving his friend Drew, the golfer Steve Stricker, and a Saudi Arabian prince who envisions a prostitution ring modeled structurally after Matt’s website. The rest of the episode is a blur, truthfully, but I think we hit on some Ryder Cup talk, Steve Spurrier being the latest coaching bully to attack a pure, defenseless reporter, and of course lots of basketball. Is Frank Martin a good guy? What about The Sporting News’ Top 25, and their preseason All-Americans? Who are the sleepers for the coming year? Who will be this year’s recipient of the Robbie Hummel Award for guy who seems like he’s played on the same team for 10-15 years. What’s the latest on the Mark Emmert’s threats to Duke and UNC? Ben also gets a couple experts on to talk Pac-12 and Big 12 basketball for a few minutes, and Matt tries to defend himself for the time he allegedly screamed at three angelic children in Rupp Arena.

Get in touch with us!

E-mail us at WalkOnsPodcast@gmail.com

Or leave a voicemail at our Google Voice #: 818-WalkOn1 (that’s 818-925-5661)

Be a pal and subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. Just click “view in iTunes” once you reach that link, and then ‘subscribe for free.’ Voila. If you’re feeling really generous, you could also rate the podcast and write a positive review.

You can also access our podcast RSS feed.

If you need to download the file directly, this’ll do it. Enjoy!

Posted in Miscellaneous | 2 Comments