TRICKS AND TREATS

Houston athletes as Halloween candy

Which Halloween candy is your favorite Houston athlete? Getty Images

In the spirit of Halloween I thought I would compare some of Houston’s sports stars to the various types of candy one might expect to receive on Halloween night. As with our sports stars, some types of candy always bring the excitement, while others never make it out of the bottom of the bucket.

Astros

Jose Altuve – Snickers.  A 3 tool MVP player. Chocolate, caramel, and peanuts. You just aren’t the same without it.

Alex Bregman – Sour Patch Kids. A sour exterior followed by an oh so sweet interior. Impossible to quit once you start on them.

Justin Verlander – M&Ms. A gold standard of candy that never seems to age.

Carlos Correa – Three Musketeers. Is solid but more forgettable than you would hope.

Texans 

JJ Watt – Gummy Bears. You think that eventually they would get boring, but they consistently deliver and are ultimately lovable.

Deshaun Watson – Pop Rocks. Deliver that kick of excitement just when you need it.

DeAndre Hopkins – Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup. Simply the best. You know its good but it is always even better than you thought when you bite into it.

Will Fuller – Butterfinger. Disappointingly brittle.

Rockets 

James Harden – Candy Corn. Is the face of Halloween candy but no one actually likes it.

Chris Paul – Hershey Bar. A known entity that commands respect but is likely to be melted by the end of the night.

Carmelo Anthony – Candy that has been sitting in a drawer for 3 years. You think “Hey candy is candy how bad can it be?” You take a bite and realize you have made a huge mistake.

You can find me on Twitter @stephenuzick.

40 years later the amazing moment in sports history still holds its place

Do you (Still) believe in miracles?

Getty Images


It's hard to believe, but this week marks the 40th anniversary of "The Miracle On Ice" A result and event where "if scripted", Hollywood would immediately reject on general premise, due to it's improbability. For a younger generation who is unfamiliar with the story (or the odds), visualize a bunch of nobodies and college kids two weeks ago trying to defeat Patrick Mahomes and the KC Chiefs in the Super Bowl. Then, magnify that by about 50 times, and you'll have the general scope and idea. You see, this is exactly what TEAM USA was comprised of, a bunch of college kids, and nobodies going up against the mighty Soviets.

The average age on the American team was 21. They lacked speed, fire power and the tenure of their opponents. The Soviets hadn't lost an Olympic Hockey game since 1968. They had won 4 straight Gold Medals with their core players intact for entire stretches of their Olympic and Global dominance. By contrast, the only American returning from the 76' games was Buzz Schneider. Schneider would actually score the first goal vs. the Soviets. If you ask most American's today, they probably think Buzz was one of the astronauts. The Soviets were so dominating in this era, they had even defeated the NHL All-Stars 6-0 in 1979 to easily win The Challenge Cup.

Lake Placid, New York served as the backdrop for the 1980 Winter Olympics. Lake Placid is a small village in Essex County, NY with a population today of around 2,500 people. If you visit, it's amazing because everyone in that town claims that "they" were in attendance or had their elders in the tiny 8500 seat arena with their families. What makes the story even more remarkable, is that the matchup wasn't even supposed to happen. The U.S. were heavy underdogs even their opening contests with Sweden & Czechoslovakia. Not to mention, that no one really anticipated a contest vs the Soviets as a mere two weeks prior, the Soviets had easily defeated Team USA in an exhibition game at Madison Square Garden by a score of 10-3. Adding insult to injury in that loss, was defenseman Jack O'Callahan pulling ligaments in his knee. Jack remained on the Olympic roster, but played sparingly throughout the tournament.

The Soviets steamrolled through their tier of countries, defeating Japan, Netherlands, Poland, Finland & Canada by a combined margin of 51-10. The American's railed for a 2-2 draw in their opening game vs. Sweden, then stunned the Czechs, and then handled, Norway, Romania & West Germany. Thus the stage was set. There are edited versions of the historic matchup available for viewing on YouTube. Unlike the late Jim Mckay who refused to reveal the result on ABC's coverage (the game had been played several hours earlier) would never have had the impact in today's age of social media, and technology. Most American's had no idea the result prior to the game's airing on that tape delay. As a 9 year old kid at the time, this was certainly the case for me! This improbable upset didn't actually secure the Gold Medal. Team USA had to play Finland (trailed 2-1) before rallying 4-2 for the victory.

The "Miracle On Ice" launched some amazing sports moments in the decade to come. The Flutie Hail Mary, Lorenzo Charles stunning the Cougars, Nova shocking the Mighty Hoyas, but nothing could ever match American Pride on February 22nd, 1980 after the Soviets went down 4-3.

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