The Invaluable Guide to 5 Spring Sports

A funny punIf you took my advice, which is something you should always do, with a grain of salt, of course (because that way I can blame your consequences on you being mentally impaired by extreme sodium intake as opposed to you having followed my terrible advice), then for the past few months you’ve been walking around with your Invaluable Guide to 5 High School Winter Sports.

However, winter is ending soon, which means, among other things, that this guide is about to become more outdated than a Model-T Ford (especially considering that my parents have kept a Model-T Ford in just-barely-working condition for me so that when I get my driver’s license they won’t care if I wreck my car). In that case, I recommend you replace it with our invaluable guide to spring sports.

After all, more teens generally do spring sports than winter sports. This is because most teens, having procrastinated long enough that they missed the winter sports’ registration deadline, decide that they will turn in their athletic clearance in time to do spring sports. And you, as a teen/parent/child/politician, probably need to know a few things about these sports to avoid embarrassing yourself.

Trust me, you don’t want to be the teen who opens their mouth and blurts: “Hey, guys, did you see how many points our school scored at the Track game yesterday? We had at least three grand slams and two aces. And we had a goal with only 59:23:10 left in the third half.” You don’t want to be this person, because it’s people like this who contribute to the problem of litter on public property. By noon the next day after saying something like that, I guarantee your body will be littered amongst the monkey-bars and ominously creaking swing set.

So, without further ado, mostly because I don’t know what ado is, so I can’t further it (not to mention I don’t know how to ‘further’ something, either), here is your invaluable guide to high school spring sports:

Baseball

Often called “America’s Pastime,” as in “In past times, America used to watch baseball until they discovered football and basketball,” this sport is the most jock-heavy sport in the spring. By jock-heavy, I mean that baseball players will make sure that you know they play baseball. To do so, they’ll use tactics such as wearing their baseball uniform to school, playing catch with their gloves (or “Mitts,” as baseball insiders and republicans call them), and walking up to you and saying, “Yo, dude, I play baseball.”

Baseball games are often unexciting. Of course, this is a relative statement. When I say the games are unexciting, I mean that they appear boring when compared to such fascinating things as brushing one’s teeth and the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

This is why the object of the game is to get a ‘home run,’ which, if it happens late enough in the game, ends the game and allows everyone to run home so they can do something more interesting, like knitting. (One study, which took place three seconds ago in my imagination, found that 95% of all teens who knit do so purely because it will set them apart when applying to college).

If you go to a baseball game it is proper to cheer for some violence, which adds interest, by shouting “Hit!”, or cheer for an end to the collective bargaining agreement of baseball players, which would end the game and relieve the boredom, by yelling “Strike!”

Track and Field

Track and Field is a tricky sport to sum up in a few paragraphs, mostly because Track and Field stands for about 600 smaller sub-sports. You’ve got the pole-vault, 100 meter spring, shot-put, 200 meter sprint, hurdles, 400 meter almost-sprint, javelin throw, 1500 meter run, long jump, 4×100 meter relay, high jump, 196000 meter hobble, jump backwards over the pit of lava, 10 meter sneeze, and, the most impressive event of all, the 1400 meter karaoke step while dodging shot puts and javelins.

This wide variety makes Track and Field somewhat more interesting to watch than Baseball, especially if someone gets hit with a thrown object or two runners smack into each other at high speed. To determine who wins a track meet, taking into account every event, the official scorer rolls a dice and/or officiates a rock-paper-scissors tournament between the two teams.

If you go to a track meet, it is proper to cheer things such as “Run!”, “Jump!”, “Throw!”, or “Duck!” I’d also advise wearing a bicycle helmet in case a javelin or shot put hits you and looking both ways before crossing the track.

Tennis

Tennis is a sport for two types of people: the people who are really good at tennis and the people who want to play a sport without having to be incredibly athletically talented or fit. Obviously, the first type of people generally makes up the Varsity team, while the second type of people end up holding umbrellas over the Varsity team so they don’t get rained out.

Tennis is scored using a simple system of counting by 15 twice, and then counting by 10, and then, if needed, using numbers that are actually words, like “ad in,” “ad out,” or “I don’t remember what the score is, do you?” Then, you repeat that at least six times and repeat all of that at least twice. And then you multiply by the combined ages of yourself and your opponent and divide that by the amount of money you both have in your wallets.

You don’t really need to cheer at tennis matches, because most really good players cheer for themselves using a language as simple as the scoring system (so to our complex human ears, it just sounds like grunts and moan-screams). If you want, you can shout out random numbers during the match to mess up the people keeping score.

Lacross

This sport, known as the ‘snowboarding’ of the spring because of the similar injury rates and coolness factors, involves running around with butterfly nets trying to get a super-bounce ball into a goal.

Lacross is scored by counting the number of goals. At a Lacross match, one should cheer things such as “Ouch!” or “Foul?! Are you blind?!”

Softball

Contrary to it’s name, a softball is actually heavier and larger than a baseball, and does more damage when it hits a window than a baseball does (I’m not speaking from experience, of course. I plead the fifth). This is the girl’s equivalent sport to baseball.

Softball is probably just as boring as baseball, except that instead of pitching overhand, one pitches underhand. This is because people needed a way to keep softball and baseball straight.

Again, as I conclude this ultimate invaluable guide, I recommend you print it and save it for any future use it may have. After all, you don’t know the next time someone will ask you “What’s the infield fly ball rule in baseball?” In which case, you can hand them this guide. They’ll start laughing too hard to remember that they asked you a question, and you’ll be off the hook. (FYI: the rule is that if a fruit fly hits the ball in the air when the ball is in the field, or infield, it doesn’t count and the pitch must be re-pitched).

This being one of our longer posts, I’d really appreciate it if you shared it with others you think might enjoy it (if you liked it yourself, of course).

At this point last year, we were warning you about “3 Common Causes of Phone Death.” If you have a phone, have ever used a phone, or know what a phone is, then you should read that post.

Modern-Day Teen Athlete Concussions

ConcussionsNote to readers: I originally wrote this for the high school football season, but I forgot to post it. I figured I could either wait until next fall or post it right after the Superbowl. Because teens are so patient, you can guess what I chose to do. I don’t intend to come across, though, as one of those people who want an end to football. I enjoyed the Superbowl just as much as you.

Thanks to modern medicine, you know that concussions can be a serious issue. For example, concussions can be hard to spell, which could make you look uneducated. And it’s even harder to spell if you are actually concussed, so you’d have a tough time communicating your injury by text. (“i cant go 2 party, have conkushen.” “wats dat? u get a new pet?”).

So, then, while we’re thanking modern medicine for the knowledge of concussions, we should also thank modern technology for spell-check features.

But back to concussions = serious issue. You see, my theory is that concussions are really no more harmful, than, say, getting hit by a falling piano, mostly because getting hit by a falling piano will give you a concussion. Unless it is a cheap electric keyboard, in which case we should again thank modern technology for warning us, in the user’s manual, not to drop keyboard out window.

Now that you understand that concussions are a serious issue, let’s examine who, among teens, going from greatest to least, is most at-risk for concussions (known as the “concussion-prone demographic” for you business professionals out there who aren’t allowed to use monosyllable words if longer words are available, as it says so on your diploma):

  • Football players (on the field)
  • Football players (on the bench)
  • Football players (on the sideline but not on the bench)
  • Football players (in the locker room)
  • Football players (being carted, immobilized, off the field on a golf cart)
  • Other sports’ athletes (on the field/track)

Clearly, a disturbing pattern emerges: if you play football, it is actually better to be carted off immobilized than stay in the locker room. Also, sometimes people in other sports get concussions (like cross country, if you run too close to a low tree branch and you don’t see it and you have a soft skull and people step on you as they pass you). Mostly, though, it looks like football players have the most concussions, which could explain the stereotype that football players get lots of concussions.

So, then, if you do get a concussion, what happens next? Well, first you black out, and if you are two-dimensional, you may also see stars or birds around your head.

Seriously, though, a few things occur. The first is that you visit a doctor who wants to drop a cat on your head, or scare the cat with a scan, or do a cat scan, whatever that is. This tells you if your brain is still inside your head or if it got dislodged and fell down into your small intestine (this has happened to such bright people as Plaxico Burres, Michael Vick, etc. so believe me).

If you are eventually proclaimed healthy to play again (for football players, the estimated recovery time is thirteen minutes or three “You ready to go back in yet?”s from the coach), you also have to re-pass your concussion baseline test.

For those of you who’ve never heard of this, it is a computerized test that you took at the beginning of the season, the idea being that after a concussion you have to re-pass the same test at the same level to show you are fully recovered. That is, unless your brain actually fell into your intestine, in which case you only need to knock on your head to prove it is now hollow so that getting hit on the head again won’t re-concuss you.

The concussion test asks you a number of questions, many of which have terrific job-training skills value, such as, “Where is the x?” Honestly, the test has many obscure questions which may test your brain’s health but don’t show that you know anything more than how to read and/or click the mouse randomly.

Sadly, colleges, sensing that this, too, is a standardized test, require your results. I’ve heard that top colleges now consider your initial score as well as how fast you recover from a concussion in determining acceptance.

Once you’re back in good health, though, you can re-join your teammates and continue giving other people concussions instead. If you think that concussions sound unpleasant, well, I hear they are hard to get bowling, unless somebody accidentally bowls your skull instead of the ball.

The Invaluable Guide to 5 High School Winter Sports

a funny picture of athletesWhen talking about sports, it is important to know what kind of sports person you are, easily determined by this simple test: who is (most likely) going to be the #1 NFL draft pick next year? If you said “The Packers,” then you are probably not a sports person.

Luckily (sports people: no pun intended; non sports people: don’t bother looking for a pun, because you won’t find it) for you, I’m here to explain all you need to know about the winter sports at your high school.

Basketball

We all know what basketball is, so I’m not going to bother with the rules.  No, in high school, the trick is figuring out who the basketball players are.  Generally, this isn’t too hard; take a good look around when you walk in the halls.  The person whose chest is at eye-level is a basketball player. I’ve heard from many a basketball coach that you don’t need to be tall to play basketball, but I didn’t hear them before I quit playing, because it took the words seven light-years to travel from their super-high mouth down to the level of my ears.

Also good to know, for you semi-clueless non-sports people (those of you who didn’t know Andrew Luck was the answer to the first question, or that the pun was about his last name), is that basketball, while being the most popular winter sport, is a little different from football.  If you go to a game, you should avoid shouting things like, “Tackle ‘im!” or “Touchdown!”; rather, you should shout “Batta batta batta swing!” or “Goooooaaaaallllll!”

Wrestling

Remember that look around the halls? Well, the wrestlers are the ones you didn’t see, because they were turned sideways.  Many of you might think of wrestlers as enormous and muscular, but in high school, there’s this thing called ‘weight divisions.’ Just like it sounds, ‘weight divisions’ pit people against each other depending on how long it takes them to divide a random 2-digit number into a random 5-digit number.  Oddly enough, many of the wrestlers misinterpret this to mean that they should diet to get into a lower, and thus easier, weight division, as dieting allows them to spend less time eating and more time practicing math.

I’ve never gone to a high school wrestling match, so I don’t know what you should expect.  I think that if you go, the proper way to cheer is by yelling:  “Wrestle!” or maybe even: “Wrestling!”

Skiing/Snowboarding

The skiers/snowboarders can be identified by the fact that the really ‘intense’ competitors never spend more than three seconds without a cast on some part of their body.  The idea of skiing/snowboarding is usually to go as fast as one can down a mountain laden with rocks, boulders, trees, rocks, bodies of water, rocks, and stones, and a collision with one of these is usually what causes the injury.  These are not spectator sports, so you don’t need to bother cheering (although if you really feel a need, you can shout “Break a leg!”).

Swimming

To identify a swimmer, look for the person with a genetic mutation.  In my experience, the state-level swimmers are often mutated due to the time they’ve spent in chlorine-filled pools.  Examples of mutations include the inability to grow hair on their legs, a lessened sense of smell, webbed hands and feet, or a third eye.

Swim meets are exciting sporting events.  You get hyped up with school spirit, or pep, and travel with a group of fellow students who are equally pep-ed up to the event. Boy, are you planning to kill the other swim team.  But then, the swim meet actually starts, and…nothing happens.  All you see is splashing and waves, and have no idea who wins.  Your excitement quickly fades, not helped by the fact that the scoring system is more difficult than some derivative calculus.

Water Polo

The water polo players are those with both genetic mutations and muscle (when compared to swimmers). Water Polo, as you may know, is the pool-oriented version of Polo, where people ride genetically enlarged seahorses while trying to play golf.  Because so much of Water Polo happens underwater, where the ref can’t see, it is a ruthless sport, with opponents being known to scratch, punch, kick, stab, shoot, skin, bite, burn, bomb, or sue members of the other team under the surface of the water.

If you go to a Water Polo match, it is appropriate to chant: “AoiuahAHGOAOUAwoahweYEAHYEAHOheoweaui!” repeatedly.

I recommend that you print this guide out and reference it whenever you need.  You should also print copies for your friends, Facebook friends, Google+ circle-mates, Twitter followers, and congressmen. After all, you never know when you’ll find you need to know the answer to: “Who will be the number one draft pick in the NFL next year?”

Fortissimo School Pep Assemblies (and Dr. Seuss)

Sound Comparison ChartPep is one of my favorite words, because I know how to spell it.  For this reason, I try to use it whenever possible.  Word that describes you? Pep.  Your best friend? Pep.  Favorite Color? Pep.  See? It’s easy.

Schools have also become attached to this word; instead of having a “time-for-the-school-to-gather-and-scream-their-lungs-out assembly”, we have a “pep assembly.”  In case you didn’t get the description from the first part, the school gathers and screams their lungs out, hoping that the noise is enough for a certain saucy marsupial to hear and believe that there are actually people on a clover.

Oh, wait, I’m sorry, that’s wrong.  I’m getting real life mixed up with my English novel again; I think it’s called “Horton Hears a Who,” or something like that.

Anyways, these pep assemblies are great fun.  At them, there are three groups of people.  The students, the band, and those worthy of receiving pep. I have had the bad fortune to be a part of all three of these groups, at one point or another, so I am definitely an expert on Pep Assemblies.

The band gets there first.  They don’t actually do anything yet, because they have to mentally prepare themselves to play the worst hits from ‘80s.  Then, as people walk in, the band plays, as loud as possible, in the hope that the arbitrary quota of loudness is reached before everyone shows up, so people could skip the assembly and go straight to lunch.  This never happens, though.

As the students arrive, they go to the bleachers on the inside of the gym.  A number of factors that are considered upon arrival are: where are my friends, where are the teachers, and, most importantly, which 20-pound lights hanging from the ceiling look like they are swaying the least.  Then the students sit down and warm up their vocal chords.

While all this is occurring, the people who have lost their pep, and need to borrow some from the student body (the people the assembly features) are in an adjoining room to the gym.  Here, the athletic director goes through the list of names of the people he is introducing.  This is an attempt to psych these people out and make them think that the director will not mispronounce their names.

However, being a seasoned pep-er (no pun intended-actually, yes, yes pun intended.  I’m so sick of everyone saying, “no pun intended” to draw people’s attention to a pun that was obviously intentional but one that the creator is worried won’t be found funny.  I stand by my puns), I can attest to the fact that the athletic director will almost certainly mispronounce your name (unless you are named Bob, which has the same spelling properties as “pep”).

Once the student body and band has settled in, the athletic director will use the mic and make a high-pitched squeal for attention (usually this is the mic malfunctioning, unless your athletic director just hit puberty and his voice is cracking).  After that, the director introduces the people the assembly is featuring.

After the featured people are lined up, having been left to stand awkwardly in front of the student body, the athletic director starts focusing on the true purpose of the assembly: to get loud.  In fact, he’s very open about it, saying something like, “Let’s get LOUD!”

The crowd responds, “aaaAAHAHAaahahah,” so the director goes, “That’s not loud enough! Get LOUDER!” The crowd goes “aaAAAAHAHAAAAHAHAAa,” and the director goes “Still not loud enough.  Let’s get LOUDER!” Then the crowd goes, “AHAAAAAHAAAHAAHAA!” (With a siren in the background as somebody’s esophagus comes loose and a friend calls 9-1-1).  Then, depending on the age of your athletic director, he’ll say, “Can you get ANY LOUDER!” and the crowd will go, “We are here! We are here! We ar-“, oh, sorry, switched into English-book mode again-the crowd will go, “WE CAN’T GET LOUDER THAN ALL CAPS WITHOUT MESSING UP THE FORMATTING!And the director will say, “Alright!  We’re loud!”

After the crowd is sufficiently loud, the athletic director will go on to narrate how amazing the students the assembly is featuring are: “The members of the boy’s sardine-canning team standing before you now have worked extremely hard to get to where they are, tonight, competing in the sardine canning state championship.  They’ve worked hours every week, braving dented cans, pollution-infested sardines, and broken nails.  Ladies and Gentlemen, your NIXON HIGH SCHOOL SARDINE-CANNING DISTRICT CHAMPIONS!”

Next, the athletic director will ‘invent’ a new cheer specifically for the event.  It usually pertains to the sport, so it might be something like, “Can the sardines! Can the sardines! We can can the sardines!”  As you can see, they are usually extremely creative.

The audience practices this cheer a few times, and then the athletic director signals the band.  The band plays the school’s fight song (as loud as possible) so the crowd will realize that the fight song was stolen from a college somewhere.  After the fight song comes the Alma mater.  Everyone mouths the words, listening to the person next to them, because no one actually knows the song.  It doesn’t matter, though, because the band drowns them out.

Lastly, the assembly ends, and the students run to lunch.  Usually, no one actually shows up at the competition that night, probably because they are too tired from the pep assembly.  Instead, the athletic director is forced to grab some people from a nearby apartment complex, explain what they need to do, teach them the cheer, and drive them to game.