There’s an art to the blowout.
Not of the tire or underwear variety. I’m talking sports. Sometimes you’re the windshield, and sometimes times when you’re the bug. When the score gets away from you and you lose track of how many points have piled up on you.
Or that you’ve racked up against an overmatched foe.
There’s often no mercy. And I don’t mind that.
I don’t want a coach calling off the dogs if his squad is rolling. Just bring it.
Make us stop you. And if you feel compelled to use mercy, don’t announce it. Love it when a coach barks out, “no more shots! Just pass!” which translates to, “let’s make them look like trapped, wounded lemurs until the whistle!”
When we’re behind, we:
- Don’t mention the score.
- Concentrate on effort, little goals.
- Lose with grace. This means fighting hard during the game, then slapping hands with them afterward.
When we’re way ahead, we:
- Don’t mention the score.
- Cap each player’s scoring at three. A hat trick is special. If a kid scores more, there’s something wrong in the game. Or, wrong with her coach.
- Win with grace. This means taking extra players off the field. And not making a huge deal of it.
Speaking of Grace … she didn’t ask the first one this week, for once.
This was Elise’s.
1. Is there a mercy rule in football?
Not past high school, and it depends on your conference. Or what the coaches agree on when it gets ugly.
It’s a North American phenomenon, the mercy rule. It’s usually put into play in sports with no clock. An inning could go on forever. My high school baseball team forfeited a game once. The right fielder made two errors in one 30-minute inning.
I can’t … remember his name.
The mercy rule is also called the slaughter rule or skunk rule. Because getting slaughtered on the playing field kind of sucks, doesn’t it?
2. Do you have contests for the new T-shirt designs at work?
Yes, we do.
And we’ve had some sweet designs.
At Red Ventures, if you don’t have a T-shirt for what you’re doing, you’re doing it wrong. Every team has a T-shirt.
Hell, they have more than one. They have more T-shirt combinations than Oregon football has uniforms. We’re talking the soft, tagless shirts. We writers will have our own shirts soon.
The shirts will feature Billy Shakespeare and the word “Words.” (I wish it just said “word.” That’d be dope).
They even give prizes for the winning designer, like a hundred bucks to spend in the café.
I dream about that.
3. What does PHP mean at the end of a URL?
PHP is a server-side scripting language in web development.
When you open a URL with PHP at the end, it means you’ve requested a PHP type file in the PHP language. It’s a hypertext preprocessor. It’s found on sites with dynamic content. The wiki Grace and I looked up last night to attempt to make rock candy, for instance. It’s our first official WikiFail together, kid.
Doing the rock-candy wiki right was tough. About as tough as understanding what the hell PHP is.
I’m still lost at both.
4. Has any game ever gone overnight?
The Pawtucket Red Sox and Rochester Red Wings went 33 innings in 1981. They played 32 innings in two days, and resumed four days later. Pawtucket won, 3-2. It took only 11 hours, 25 minutes.
I covered a minor-league baseball game years ago that went well past 3 a.m. Well, I was there for the last few innings, anyway. The Knights played a rain-delayed, extra-inning doubleheader that day. And the next morning. When my copy-desk shift ended at 2:30 a.m., they were still going strong. So I stopped by.
There were 40 people left in the stands. A loudmouth in a Red Hot Chili Peppers shirt gave the players the business. Security asked him to curb his heckling because the players could hear every word.
The team put free bagels and peanut butter out in the concourse for the diehards left – for breakfast.
A troop of Cub Scouts camped was there to camp in the outfield after the game. By midnight, they gave up and tossed sleeping bags in the Home Run Café instead. And I walked into the manager’s office for post-game quotes like it was nothin’.
He thought his night was over.
5. Who was that kid who came in and took over the 20 car for a while?
No fewer than 86 drivers have piloted the No. 20 car in NASCAR. Men named Buck Hall, George Mantooth and Bunkie Blackburn. Tony Stewart raced in the No. 20, and won $50 million in 356 races.
The guy you’re thinking of is Joey Logano (pictured right). He became the youngest winner in NASCAR’s top stockcar division. He won in 2009 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He was 19 years, 35 days old. He won five races in 2007 in the Grand National division when he was just 16.
Rob Moroso also drove the No. 20 car, in a career ended way too soon.
Moroso had turned 22 just four days before a fatal auto accident on Sept. 30, 1990. I was a senior in high school. My mom had just gotten his autograph at a mall meet-and-greet she just stumbled on. “He looks like a baby,” she said of him.
He’d just finished a race at North Wilkesboro when he crashed.
Reports say he was driving 75 mph in a 55-mph zone. A woman in the car his hit head-on also died. I’ve driven on those winding roads home from North Wilkesboro, a hilly, beautiful ride. But one you can’t speed around on.
The autopsy report stated Moroso’s blood-alcohol level was twice the legal level.
Judges could have revoked his license for four speeding tickets. But reduced charges let him keep it. In this case, mercy wasn’t the best option. Especially for the mother of two who died in the wreck.
Some lessons come the hard way, even if it means losing your license.
It just might save a life.