THE COUCH SLOUCH

23 observations on sports and media you won't want to miss

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These are 23 (more) facts, tried and true, about the widening world of sports television:

1. They say that nobody gets out alive – I assume they are referring to ESPN's First Take.

2. Every time I go to the Cheesecake Factory, I can't believe how long the wait is – the food's good, but not that good. College football on TV is sort of the same thing.

3. I would compare Norman Esiason's 18-year run on CBS's The NFL Today favorably with J. Edgar Hoover's 37-year run as FBI director.

4. Here's the thing about ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball: It's unwatchable and unlistenable, which, put in layman's terms, means it's hard to watch and hard to listen to.

5. All I do is tell people to watch more bowling on TV, and all people do is ignore me.

6. I wanted to invite ESPN's Jeremy Schaap and his wife Joclyn over for dinner recently, but we couldn't rent a butler in time.

7. Fellow Terp Scott Van Pelt is so good on SportsCenter, I almost forgive him his blind spot on University of Maryland athletics.

8. Bob Costas is growing on me.

(Column Intermission I: Virtually completing our descent into cultural hell, cbssports.com's Chris Trapasso now offers regular power rankings of NFL practice-squad players. This is likely the final piece in the puzzle for the fast-growing NFL practice-squad fantasy sports industry. For the record, Cardinals quarterback Kyle Sloter – boy, the kid's got great arm talent and eye discipline – currently is ranked No. 1.)

9. If it's all about "launch angle," I suspect Albert Einstein would've been an incredible baseball GM and sports bettor.

10. I always read Barstool Sports' website while on the can to cut out the middleman.

11. One day FS1's Doug Gottlieb will say something that I write down, and when I look at it a bit later, I'll actually think, "Yeah, that makes sense."

12. If Woodstock had morphed into an annual music festival, I'm guessing Joe Lunardi would have another specialty.

13. I understand that MTV doesn't show music videos anymore, but how come every time I turn on the Golf Channel to watch a golf tournament, they're not showing any golf?

14. I hate to state the obvious, but why wouldn't the NFL consider Tuesday Night Football and Wednesday Night Football as well?

15. It is a statistical improbability that no one from esports, cornhole or darts telecasts has called me to provide commentary.

16. The day that synchronized swimming incorporates replay challenges, I'll know it's all but over.

(Column Intermission II: Here is verbatim analysis from Alex Rodriguez during a recent Phillies-Mets game on ESPN: "You always want even leads, versus odd leads. Why? The solo home run doesn't tie it and the grand slam does not beat you." I don't know where to start, so I won't.)

17. In medieval times, every town had a village idiot. Now, there is FS1's Speak for Yourself.

18. While in the middle of a recent appearance on The Dan Patrick Show, NBC's Peter King was ticketed for talking on his cellphone while driving. Actually, I think the cop gave King a ticket for polluting the airwaves.

19. Toni and I never argue over who gets the clicker because we can never find it.

20. I'd bet Jeremy Schaap's last Argyle sock that one day there will be a sports betting show on TV called, No Gamble No Future.

21. 7-Eleven never closes, which makes me wonder if the place ever gets cleaned up really good; I worry about ESPN in the same way.

22. TMZ Sports? Uh, no.

23. Perhaps you could cite my own self-interest in this matter and perhaps I am wrong, but I firmly believe that poker on TV saves lives.

Ask The Slouch

Q. So the Jaguars, your NFL Team of Destiny, now have Gardner Minshew, the "Stache" at Washington State, starting at quarterback. As the "Stache" in the sports writing community, how do you figure this will turn out? (Steve Hintyesz; Spokane, Wash.)

A. I have known about Minshew ever since meeting him at a mustache mixer in 2018. He is destined for greatness and the Jags are still destined for Super Bowl 54.

Q. Does Odell Beckham Jr. wearing a $190,000 watch during games offend you? (Radu Marinescu; Glendale, Ariz.)

A. Critics fail to realize that, by wearing a watch during games, Beckham is the only one on the field to know the time of day after every play.

Q. Sam Darnold out with mononucleosis? Really? (Ben Whitman; St. Petersburg, Fla.)

A. It's an odd ailment attached commonly to New York Jets quarterbacks – didn't Joe Namath have mono after kissing Suzy Kolber?

Q. Historically, which has been the greater jinx: Appearing on a Sports Illustrated cover or being selected as the Couch Slouch Team of Destiny? "Doc" Scoville; Fairfax, Va.)

A. Listen, pal, I have overcome the jinx of working for Sports Illustrated to be here today, of almost sound mind and body.

You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just email asktheslouch@aol.com and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!

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Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and blogger. Check out her new blog, HTown Run Tourist. Follow her on Twitter @jovanabernathy. Instagram @HTownRunTourist. Facebook @jovanabernathy. Join her facebook group: H-Town Run Tourist

Six years ago, I got this great idea to become a tourist of Houston on foot. I had no idea what I was doing or where it was going. All I knew was to put on my running shoes, walk out the door, and just go. Go learn, go talk, go ask without judgements. What I found is that Houston was full of diversity. We all knew that. However, let yourself be immersed in it. Look and listen to the sounds of different languages being spoken around you. Smell the scents of the different cuisines. You would think you were in a foreign country. This made me more curious.

As I explored the emotion of curiosity, it led me to change my behavior. Where I might have rushed to this place and to the next, I took it slower. Where, usually, I would have just assumed that I already knew, I found myself asking more questions. When I asked more questions, I had to acknowledge that I did not already know, so I practiced listening. As I listened more, I felt compelled to show more appreciation to the person who interrupted their busy day to educate me. This made me feel grateful.

I took that gratitude and wanted to share with others. It blew my mind when people would say that they hated Houston. It was boring. The people are mean and it was ugly. And even more shocking was Houston is not walkable. Instead of getting offended, I decided to do my part in brightening up the day of the Houstonians who were stuck in a rut. Who saw and did the same things day after day. I didn't judge because I knew they could get out of that rut by simply deciding that today they do something different. I braced myself for rejection, but put myself out there to share the wonderful things that I had learned about Houston. Given the chance, the vast majority, was ready to learn a different way. This made me proud.

It is true that 2020 has been full of disasters. These are opportunities if we choose to see them that way. If anything that COVID-19 taught me the answer was not MORE, but it is LESS. We have the tendency to take on too much, we had the unique opportunity to take on less. Thus, instead of going to exhaustion, we had the opportunity to rest.

Then, the tragedy of the death of Houston's own George Floyd happened. It could not have happened at a worse time. My heart goes out to his family. Some might use it as an opportunity to work out their own frustrations by causing more problems with violence and looting. My hope is that whatever happens will be an expression of appropriate sadness, but with Houston's best attributes; curiosity, gratitude, and pride. Instead of LESS it is time for MORE. MORE curiosity. To see if Houston's law enforcement cares about the well-being of Houston's black community and make changes in protocols. MORE gratitude. For the opportunity to express the frustration in a peaceful way. MORE pride. To not destroy this city and give it over to violence possibly doing more damage to the economics of business owners. We can see this as the opportunity to take time to heal.

Houston has changed. As I restart my exploration, I'm not looking for LESS. I'm looking for MORE this time. I'm looking with MORE curiosity. Because I know that we have even MORE to show each other. I'm looking with MORE gratitude because we have endured so much already and there are better times ahead. And, I'm looking with MORE pride because just as we did it before, we still have it in us to do it again. I have one request: if you see me in the streets, promise me that you will say hello.

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