SportsMap's on the Map

Boisterous crowd celebrates launch of SportsMap.com at blowout bash

Mingling outside at Hotel ZaZa. For more photos see Houston.Culturemap.com. Photo by Kirsten Gilliam Photography

A few hours after the official launch of SportsMap, a by-invitation-only crowd of 150 gathered for a blowout bash at Hotel ZaZa Thursday night. They toasted the new sports website, which promises "all sports all the time" in a digital format. 

The party, sponsored by CultureMap and ESPN 9.75 FM, spilled out from the hotel's Monarch restaurant into the outdoor area, where DJ Senega’s hot spins set the lively tone as guests took a swing at mini golf and got a real-time view of the work of Franky Cardona, the artist who created the Astros street art display at Home Run Alley at Minute Maid Park. Cardona created a one-of-a-kind painting of Texans star J.J. Watt as guests watched and marveled.

Guests also posed for step-and-repeat photos by Smilebooth, and enjoyed an array of hors d'oeuvres and free-flowing drinks, including ice-cold Coors Light beers and two signature cocktails: The All Star, made with tequila, blood orange juice, lime juice, and agave nectar; and The End Zone, stirred with lemon juice, simple syrup, and a hit of gin.

SportsMap, featuring a variety of written, video, and audio content covering Houston's sports scene, is the latest addition to owner Gow Media's fast-growing multi-platform business ventures, which also include CultureMap, ESPN 97.5 FM, SportsMap 94.1 FM, the SBNation national radio network, PodcastArena, and Gow Media Audio Publishing, an audiobook hosting site.

Joining in the celebration were Gow Media CEO David Gow, Texas Monthly owner Paul Hobby and his wife Janet, SportsMap editor-in-chief Fred Faour, CultureMap editor-in-chief Clifford Pugh, KHOU11 sports reporter Daniel Gotera and his wife, Fox 26 anchor/reporter Rashi Vats, KHOU11 meteorologist Chita Craft and her husband Lane, Butch Alsandor, and Nick Scurfield.

Also spotted in the crowd were Mike McGuff, Tijuana Harvey, Cherry Pie Hospitality’s Lee Ellis, Brittaney Wilmore, Kevin Cooper, Jerry Flores, Gerard Torres, Lawson Gow, Graham McKernan, Jennifer Muller, Brandon Strange, Patrick Dugan, Mark Toon, Julie Griffin, Andy Martinand Leisa Holland-Nelson. 

On-air personalities from the Gow Media sports family on hand included Charlie Pallilo, A.J. Hoffman, Charlie Epps (aka "The Golf Doctor"), Joel Blank, and Robin Carlin.

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Texans fall to 1-6. Photo by Getty Images

Don't you worry, son. It will all be over soon.

- Teddy KGB, Rounders

The Texans horrible season continued on Sunday when they were soundly beaten by the Green Bay Packers. The Texans got some garbage points to make the score look better late, but they were never in this. They could not run the football, and even though he had a receiving score, maybe it's time the David Johnson experiment ended. Aaron Rodgers ate their souls with four touchdown passes and the Texans fell to 1-6. Five thoughts on the game:

1) First impressions? Not so much. For the seventh time this season, the Texans failed to score on their opening drive. They had ONE touchdown last season on their opening drive, week 17 against the Titans. While Bill O'Brien still gets a lot of that blame, Tim Kelly is now 0 for 3 as an OC. Whoever takes over next season has to fix this. Especially against good teams, the Texans simply can't afford to get down early. They were down 21-0 at the half and never had a real chance.

2) There is good news! Hopefully this lets the team know that there is no chance of anything this season. With the trade deadline looming, any veteran not named Watson or Tunsil should be available for draft picks. It remains unlikely they will do anything, but they have some pieces that might bring a return. Hopefully they no longer think the season can be salvaged.

3) They really aren't close against good teams. The little things continue to be a problem. Key penalties to hurt drives; untimely failures on third down. The offense has to do a better job staying on the field, because the defense just is not good enough to stop solid offenses. Things got worse when their best corner, Bradley Roby went out with injury. Overall, the Packers were better on both sides of the ball, and they made the Texans look bad throughout. The Texans needed some breaks to go their way in order to be competitive, like what happened last week against Tennessee. That didn't happen, and they were never in the game.

4) They won special teams! They blocked a punt in the fourth quarter that helped make the final score a little closer. They also blocked a kick last week. Other than their overpaid kicker (who missed a field goal), the special teams have been solid. Their punter might be the best player at his job on the entire team. So there's that. A positive, right?

5) The future? Meh. The Texans get the Jaguars, Browns and Patriots next, so they should have a chance at some wins, but they could also lose to all three of those teams. And with no high draft pick reward at the end of the year, there is little left to play or root for in this season.

With nine games left, you would like to think there was something left to care about. But if it isn't over yet, it's as Teddy said: It will all be over soon.

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