RIP Pete Frates

By: Gerry Sullivan Twitter: @gerrysullivan12/@UltSportsBlogs

Donate: petefrates.com/donate

1575666296542.jpg

ice-bucket-c8449ed0903a78acda70288a2b8933439995a624.jpg

Finals season is upon us, and if you are anything like me you are probably up late into the night, working on assignments that are due or studying for your exams that are coming up. It’s an extremely stressful time of the year and it is easy for you to complain about everything that you have going on and feel sorry for yourself because you are so miserable.

It would have been easy for Pete Frates to do that. For those unfamiliar with his story, Pete was diagnosed with ALS in March of 2012 at age 27. A former Boston College baseball player, Pete was only 5 years out of college when he was diagnosed. He had his entire life in front of him, but suddenly that future was swiped away with his diagnosis. At age 27, Pete was told that his health was going to quickly get worse, and that he did not have much life in front of him. As his disease worsened, Pete was paralyzed and was forced into a wheelchair, lost his ability to talk, and was fed through a tube. With such a terrible situation given to him, it would have been easy for him to give up, feel sorry for himself, and complain to everyone about how his life was ruined.

But he didn’t.

Pete decided he was going to fight ALS, and he fought like hell. He was the one who really helped the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge explode during the summer of 2014, and the Ice Bucket Challenge helped raise $220 million for ALS research. 

Unfortunately, yesterday Pete’s 7-year long fight came to an end, as he died at the age of 34.

Pete Frates is an inspiration. He taught me and many others that no matter how bad a situation gets, you need to keep fighting and try to make the best of it. He inspired everyone he came into contact with, and was the true definition of a superhero. People not only in Boston, but all over the country, will be feeling this loss.

So, during this stressful time where you are facing some small adversity, just take a second to remember how Pete Frates responded to the most severe adversity anyone could face. He’s the ultimate role model, and every single person on this planet can take a lesson from the way he fought a disease in a way that most of us couldn’t. 

Rest in peace Pete Frates. An inspiration to all, and a leader in the fight to stop ALS.

NNNN

 

Our Long National Nightmare is Over

By: Gerry Sullivan Twitter: @gerrysullivan12/@UltSportsBlogs

The world is an interesting place.

Your perspective on the world really tells what type of person you are. Some people like to think that the world is a good place while others think the world at its core is a bad place.

I like to think the world is a good place and ultimately good will win out. I’ve had that theory tested at times, but recently, I have had these beliefs further cemented in my life.

Over the last few years, I think the division of beliefs in the United States of America has become more prominent, especially with social media becoming a tool to discuss and essentially argue with people over disagreements. It’s sad to see close friends have hard feelings against each other over stupid things like politics.

It takes a truly momentous feat to unify an entire nation under the circumstances we are under today.

But it happened- and the world is a better place because of it.

The New York Yankees were eliminated from the playoffs on Saturday.

If you have even half a heart in your body- you hate the New York Yankees. They are the worst. I grew up hating the Yankees. I was taught to hate Derek Jeter from birth, I couldn’t stand A-Rod, and that passionate hatred continues today. It’s really not hard to hate guys like Gary Sanchez and Brett Gardner. It’s even easier to hate their cocky fan base, constantly yelling “27 rings” as if they’ve done anything of relevance within the last 20 years.

Nobody outside of New York cares for that team. Nobody. Everyone resents them. And the last 10 seasons of mediocre baseball from them has been a treat to sports fans everywhere. They are a cocky group of players and fans who act above everyone else as if they don’t have the record for most consecutive losses in the ALCS (4 ALCS defeats in a row for those wondering). They act as if nobody noticed them constantly being bested by the Red Sox ever since the infamous 2004 choke job when they blew a 3-0 lead. They act as if nobody notices that this is the 1st time in 100 years that they went a full decade without making it to the World Series. Their mystique is dead.

They are just like everyone else now.

Some might say sports fans put too much stock into millionaires playing kids games. I’d respond by saying shut up, go back to living your boring lives, and let me watch my sports in peace. The highlight of my weekend was watching Jose Altuve rip the heart out of each and every Yankee fan across the globe as they went into the offseason with nothing for the tenth year in a row. They have been owned this decade by franchises like the Red Sox, Astros, and Texas Rangers. Can you imagine that happening when Derek Jeter was on the team? They are a laughingstock.

They are right there with the Mets*, Jets, and Cleveland Browns.

Our long national nightmare is over. Even though the Red Sox had a rough year, they ended up with the same fate as the Yankees:

Being losers.

And after being losers for 10 years in a row, Yankee fans really don’t know what to do with themselves.

You hate to see it.

NNNN

*- Actually, the Mets made a World Series this decade. The Yankees could be second in their own state right now. What a sad display.

Can We Take a Second and Relax?

By: Jake Sockett Twitter: @SockettJake Instagram: @jake.sockett

Upon doing my morning Twitter scroll, I came across a Bleacher Report tweet of a gif of Zion Williamson clenching his infinity-gauntlet clad fist, captioned “Fun isn’t something one considers when balancing the NBA.” I’m going to take the lead on this one and say to whoever at B/R tweeted that, from the bottom of my heart, shut the fuck up.

(https://twitter.com/BleacherReport/status/1178834171042467840)

Zion Williamson is a 19-year-old kid who hasn’t played a single minute in the NBA and barely played in the Summer League before getting shut down due to injury. He averaged 22.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game at Duke on 68%/33%/64% shooting splits. Those stats are eerily similar to Carmelo Anthony’s lone season at Syracuse when he averaged 22.2 points, 10 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game on 45%/33%/70% splits. I’m not saying that Zion will be the next Melo, but let’s just acknowledge that his year at Duke wasn’t an unprecedented college season.

What I am saying is that we need to pump the breaks on this guy a little bit for his sake. Don’t get me wrong; he’s an incredibly exciting prospect. He’s freakishly athletic, skilled, and he’s great with media. If you’re a Pelicans fan (bless your heart if you are), this is the most excited you’ve been since the Boogie Cousins trade.

But he’s not LeBron James.

He’s got enormous expectations laid out for him and I don’t think there’s any way for him to reach them. What are we supposed to expect out of Zion other than immediate success if all we’ve been told is that he’s going to take the league by storm and dominate? How else are we supposed to be thinking when ESPN ranks him as the 42nd best player in the league right now?

I think Zion will be a good player. He might get the Pelicans to the seventh or eighth seed in an absolutely loaded Western Conference which would be a great feat. David Griffin has built a solid supporting cast for Zion. But keep in mind that a lot will hinge on Lonzo’s ability to stay healthy and mesh well with Jrue Holiday (which would be one of the best defensive guard duos in the league). Brandon Ingram’s health and ability to space the floor for Zion along with JJ Redick bouncing back after a down year in Philly will be key as well.

The only narrative that ESPN and B/R among other media outlets have created is that the Pelicans will only get in the playoffs if Zion drags them there in a herculean effort.

This is not going to happen in the West.

If Zion were in the East we might be having a different conversation, but the West is far too loaded for this to be feasible. If the Pelicans are going back to the playoffs, every single player on that team is going to have to be firing on all cylinders. There are just too many competitive teams that will be better than Zion on his own. But if the Pels make the playoffs that way (which is the only way they realistically will), the narrative of Zion being the savior will change and all these outlets will be pushing the story of “Are We Ready to Call Zion a Bust Yet?” 

It’s an incredibly well set up narrative for the media because regardless of how the guy plays or how his team does; they will have a story to write.

It’s unfair to Zion.

The coaches, the players, and everyone else will know what he really is on the court, and I think he’ll be good. He’s just not going to be LeBron- and that’s ok.

If I had to guess, the Pels will be vying for the eighth seed and will probably make the playoffs because the league wants them to. Zion will average 17-21 points and around 7 rebounds which would be a great rookie season. (Keep that in mind when Bleacher Report posts sad tweets about Zion not averaging 35/15/9).

UPDATE:

Just saw those ugly ass Jordans Zion was wearing during media day- he’s averaging 6/2/0.

NNNN

Editor’s Note:

I don’t know Jake- I see Zion as the second coming of Jesus Christ.

MVP and Championship or gtfo of the league.

A UMass Football Fan’s State of the Union

By Luke Eggers Twitter/Instagram: @Leggers15 

“Because he’s the voice Amherst deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So we’ll hunt him. Because he can take it. Because he’s not our hero. He’s a silent guardian, a watchful protector-

A minuteman”


Before I begin writing my first article for Mr. LaBelle I would like to clear the air regarding my relationship with UMass Athletics.  I am a lifelong UMass fan hands down no questions asked. Not exactly surprising as both of my parents graduated from here. Although I would say that I am a militia member, I have to use my emotions to react to the good, bad, and ugly of UMass athletics.  I will state the facts and let you decide what’s wrong (or right) with UMass athletics. With that being said, I would like to introduce my first UMass sports commentary:

UMASS WON A FOOTBALL GAME YESTERDAY

The University of Massachusetts Amherst won a football game against the only other FBS football team that might be worse.  In modern sports culture, this is of course known as the “toilet bowl”.

Let’s take a look at UMass football in recent years and see how we got here. 

UMASS football
Yes, this a real picture of an NCAA FBS collegiate football game.  Good to see all 500 people supporting the minutemen. (UMass vs Akron 9/24/19)                                                                                                            –

My goal for this piece is to demonstrate the absolutely preposterous development of UMass football in recent years.  From competing toe to toe with top SEC opponents to losing to FCS schools- UMass football follows no logic or correct order of thinking.  Let’s get something straight, SEC football is BIG time football. These games featured NFL caliber football players who UMass had no business even touching the same grass that these guys were on. 

They were not worthy.

worthy.gif

That being said, UMass seemed to get up for some very specific, very random big-time games. Shall we take a trip down memory lane for diehard UMass football fans?

UMass Amherst VS Tennessee 9/23/17

UMass 13 – 17 Tennessee 

L

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHGbWRk0czU  (highlights) 

TENN.jpgOn this day in history, UMass football waltzed into Neyland Stadium in Knoxville Tennessee and lost a nail biter to the Tennessee Vols in front of 102,455 THOUSAND PEOPLE  (I’d say it’s a bit of a different environment compared to McGuirk stadium). In a game where the UMass defense refused to let up a single point in the first 25 minutes of play, the Minutemen kept it close.  

UMass Amherst VS Mississippi State 11/4/17

UMass 23 – 34 Mississippi State 

L

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9y9J4ttzuWU (highlights)

MSU.jpg

Yep, UMass football lost by just 11 points to Mississippi State only TWO years ago.  On a day in which coach Whipple lead the Minuteman charge straight down the teeth of an SEC opponent, the boys were rolling.  Let me remind you that this is the same Mississippi State program that will be playing the best Alabama team of all time later in the season.  On the contrary, this is the same UMass program that went on to play, and lose, to the Old Dominion Monarchs. With Miss. State being a 31 point favorite on the books that day, one might ask “how does this make sense?”.  It makes zero sense and I refuse to credit UMass football for this. I am confident that this game was staged because UMass football is not this good (especially in 2017).  

UMass Amherst VS Florida 9/3/16

UMass 7 – 24 Florida

L

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEglH8VQrFQ (highlights)

UMass.jpg

At this point, I am finding it difficult to even imagine UMass playing in these games.  In this one, UMass went head to head with the 14th ranked college football team in the entire country.  Like, you have to be kidding me! This game should’ve ended in an absolute bloodbath. Florida by 80! Nope, UMass said not so fast and lost by a little over two scores.  This was a VERY competitive football game.  

Although I have only written about losses thus far, these were impressive given the circumstances.  However, my next game example will blow all of your minds. It is possibly the most ridiculous game result in UMass football history.  And no, it isn’t a competitive November tilt against an SEC opponent. Rather a stunning blowout loss to an FCS football program.  FCS!!!!!????  

UMass Amherst Football VS Southern Illinois (FCS)

UMass 45 – Southern Illinois 20

L

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKgm9F9Z_iM (highlights)

AAAUM.jpg

Where do I start folks?  Should I rant as a UMass fan or should I calmly reflect on this disaster from the perspective of a UMass sports reporter?  I think I’ll do a little bit of both. Let me remind you of a few components regarding this game. This was the home opener for UMass football.  Considering the current state of the Minutemen football program, this was possibly the biggest game of the year for them because when students go to the first game for the sake of going to the first game, you better win or else NOBODY will be stumbling in from the tailgate next week.  It’s pretty apparent that the athletic department wanted to schedule a sure-fire win for the boys.

Not exactly how it ended up.

As I reflect upon the game, I would reckon that this was the worst possible outcome for UMass football. I think that the militia and myself would’ve rather seen them get blown out at home by a respectable FBS opponent.  At least then we could go to sleep at night. (Wow, this was certainly all rant and little reporting… but I’m ok with that)

All of these game results are here for a reason.  I want UMass fans to be able to grasp what our football program has become.  What would happen if we put the 2019 UMass football team up against Florida this year?  I genuinely would like to see the result of that. Would UMass lose by 200? 300? Maybe they would be the first-ever football team to lose by 1,000 points.  What a sight that would be.  

With that being said, I didn’t forget about the big win yesterday. 

Let’s get into it:

UMass Amherst (0-4) VS Akron (0-4)

UMass 37 – 24 Akron

W

I apologize but this game was such a disaster that I couldn’t even recover a single highlight tape from all of the internet.

AKRON.jpg

The absolute definition of a “toilet bowl”.  This is a familiar term to many of us millennials. However, in our minds, a “toilet bowl” was simply a figure of speech.  Well, I am proud to announce that I have witnessed the true “toilet bowl”.  Yesterday, I watched UMass squeak by the absolute worst team in all of college football.  Literally, the sole purpose of this game was to pronounce one of these two teams as the worst of the worst.  

130th out of 130 teams baby.  

As I sat at the top of an empty UMass student section, I thought of some interesting things.  I would bet that an SEC fan would be interested to witness a game like this. The game was so preposterous and pathetic that a high-end college football fan would probably want to watch it just to see how it looks, feels, and sounds. 

Let me tell you; it doesn’t look good, feel good, or sound good.

It is the most desperate sporting event that you will ever attend. As a student, they funnel you into the stadium from a widespread UMass endorsed party. Next up, you have to use your ID as a ticket (which is free of course).  That’s right, it costs $0 to attend these games. After this, they give you a plate of the best barbecue that you will ever have. You find yourself sitting in the stands with a gourmet meal in front of you. Aside from the game, there’s really not much else to do besides yelling at the Minutemen to stop fucking around and do something productive.  All that I think about after all this fanfare is just how desperate the scene is. Free game, free food, and free t-shirts.

What’s next, free tuition for anyone who comes out to cheer on the maroon and black?  

From close games with the likes of Tennessee, Mississippi State, and Florida, to blowout loses against FCS teams and close wins over the worst team in the league.  If I could describe the entire football program in one word?

Disappointing.

UMass is a big university with PLENTY of school spirit. If you are a student here, odds are you enjoy it and would be more than willing to cheer on a competitive college football team.  Let me point out one very specific man that doesn’t get enough shit. Whatever athletic director is sitting in their comfy UMass branded chair and is responsible for the last five years is SWEATING right about now. Does anyone have an idea of how this person should be punished?  This one person who has been calling the shots for UMass football has caused so many people so much pain and anguish. I want revenge! Throw ’em in the pond!

I have one last thing to discuss.  My friends and I sat directly behind the UMass men’s hockey team for the entire game.  When I say that these kids were shitting on the football team, I am NOT embellishing whatsoever.  These kids were laughing with us the whole game anytime some dumbass UMass safety let up an 80-yard post down the middle of the field.  Thought I had to share this interesting development.

I hope you all enjoyed my first piece for the site.  Let UMass hockey start so I can stop being so cynical and depressed.  Those boys are going to be a WAGON. Till next time…

-Luke Eggers 

UMass Athletics Aficionado

NNNN

 

The Most 1 Sided Battles in Human History

By Gerry Sullivan Twitter: @gerrysullivan12 and @UltSportsBlogs

The Patriots season has been a major beatdown so far. Sunday was easily their worst showing of the season and they still handled the Jets with ease. Last week’s game against the Dolphins was a beatdown. And the week before against the Steelers? Beatdown. Next week is against the 3-0 Bills and whether or not that game will be a competitive one remains to be seen.

Those 4 teams like to consider themselves rivals of the Patriots, but anyone with a brain knows that those are 1 sided battles. It got me thinking; what are the most 1 sided battles in the history of humanity?

So, without further ado, your official list of the most 1 sided battles in human history:

The NFL vs. The Patriots

I just talked about it and it’s an easy choice. In 19 years? 6 Super Bowls. 9 AFC Titles. Two separate dynasties. The best coach in history. The best quarterback in history. You know the drill.

Notre Dame vs. Teams That Are Actually Elite

The latest chapter of this fabled battle had a familiar ending on Saturday night with “powerhouse” Notre Dame shockingly dropping a nationally televised game against a top ranked team. Notre Dame is now just 1-19 vs top 5 teams in the last 20 seasons. Sheesh. But don’t worry, they’ll be ranked in the top 10 again by the beginning of next year.

Napoleon vs. The Russians

The French revolution- a time of rising French power across Europe led by the little general Napoleon Bonaparte. That is, until Napoleon opted to march into the Russian winter to try and take them on. He was bounced harder than a 16-year-old trying to get into a bar and got the boot off the French throne. Tough look for the little guy.

PS: Just googled it and it turns out Napoleon was 5’7. That’s not even that short. Weren’t people shorter in the 1800’s? Why did this guy get such a bad rap?

Hand Sanitizer vs. Germs

Maybe the most one-sided battle on this list. Despite the fact that hand sanitizer kills 99% of germs, they can never truly get that last 1%. Before you know it, you’re touching everything in sight, spreading your germs across the world. Nobody owns anything more than germs own hand sanitizer. Germs own the world and there is absolutely nothing hand sanitizer can do about it.

2014 Canton Freshman Basketball vs. Franklin

Nothing to see here. Not even sure why this one made the list. Might as well end it at this point since we’re just throwing things that shouldn’t be here on the list of one sided battles.

NNNN

Editor’s Note:

In regards to the last section (for all the non-02021 readers) …

Anyone who was on that team should never be allowed to so much as LOOK at a basketball again. #Couldn’tBeMe