My first time watching UFC: I think I’m on board

Just about every month I notice a poster in a bar or restaurant advertising their UFC nights, yet I never once felt the urge to attend one. I got caught up in the hype surrounding the Mayweather – Pacquiao fight last year and ended up ordering it on PPV (all the bars were way too packed) which ended up being a major let down. The last time I had watched any sort of fighting PPV before that was a VHS tape of the 97 Tyson – Holyfield fight my dad brought home from work.

As my wife and I were trying to find something to do yesterday I started noticing a lot of buzz surrounding UFC 214 on social media. Those who were into it seemed way into it, and I started to get curious. We thought about trying to head to Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner and to see the fight, however we ultimately decided that we would probably spend more money on dinner and drinks if we stayed to watch it than we would to eat at home and order the PPV ($60).

The first fight on the card was over before I had managed to crack open a beer, which had me wondering if I had just paid $60 to watch a series of minute long fights. Fortunately, however, as the night went on the fights got better and I started to get more and more into it. I had never heard of any of the fighters, but we basically just started picking favorites and cheered them on. It was more fun than I expected it to be, and certainly more action packed than the Mayweather fight (even as the Woodley match drew boos from the crowd).

The main event lived up to the hype (even if the hype for me started about an hour before the PPV) and ended spectacularly! Jones showed great class after the fight, and I’m genuinely interested in seeing where his career will go from here. I do think that the fight should’ve ended three or four punches sooner, however.  It was painful to watch Cormier take so many unprotected blows to the head as he laid on the mat, especially with all the attention CTE has garnered lately.

In the end I’m glad I went out on a whim and watched UFC 214. I’ll be sure to pay more attention to the sport in the future, even as I still don’t know who any of the fighters are.

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The Legends Football League: Sport or Sexploitation

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I was channel surfing this morning after work and came across an LFL (Legends Football League) game on FUSE. I decided to check it out and was surprised by what I saw. The Legends Football League, formally the Lingerie Football League, has its roots in the Lingerie Bowl halftime shows from 2004-2006. These were PPV events that aired during halftime of the NFL’s Super Bowl in which women dressed in lingerie played football. The main attraction then was of course the scantily clad women.

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An image promoting the 2004 Lingerie Bowl

In 2009 the yearly event morphed into a full on women’s football league, then called the Lingerie Football League. The league featured ten teams from football cities such as Dallas, Denver, Philadelphia and New York, and the teams each played four games during the regular season.

The LFL attempted to move beyond the lingerie aspect of their sport in 2013 when it rebranded itself as the Legends Football League and dropped lingerie uniforms in exchange for a more ‘sporty’ look.

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A look at the LFL uniform in 2015

The uniforms alone make it hard to take the LFL seriously. Why are the jerseys folded up to expose the chest area? Why the bikini bottoms? The answer seems pretty clear, the LFL is less about athleticism and competition and more about sex, sex and sex. Is it wrong to be sexy? Certainly not, but the sexy attire is not at all necessary if the LFL wanted to focus on women playing the sport of football.

LFL

The presentation of the game isn’t very focused on the sport either. In the few minutes that I watched there were several clips of the coach on the sidelines and I felt like I was watching reality TV. The reactions and rampages by the coaches seemed scripted and fictitious. A trailer for the 2015 season (see below) further degrades the sport, seeming more like a trailer for a reality TV show, and at one point a player tells a ref “you ain’t getting none after the game.”

The LFL’s website prominently features a quote from NBC Sports noting that “The LFL is the fastest-growing pro sports league in the nation.” Maybe this is true, yet the 2015 season featured only six teams, down from the ten team league from 2009.

I’m not trying to hate on the LFL, I just think it can do better for both the women who engage in the sport and the public perception of women’s sports in general. Let the players dress up in the same type of protective gear NFL players do. Focus on the athleticism and competitive nature of the sport, not the lack of clothing and sex appeal.

LFL uniforms

The LFL season wraps up this Sunday, August 23, with the 2015 Legends Cup featuring the Seattle Mist (5-1-1) versus the Chicago Bliss (6-0). The game will be played in Washington at 3PM. You can watch the game on Fuse, but it won’t be shown until the week after. This Saturday at 9PM Eastern Fuse will be showing the playoff game between Seattle and Los Angeles which was played on August 15th.

The Boise Hawk’s sun blocking blimp

Last night was the second game of the season for the Boise Hawks, a class A team for the Colorado Rockies (previously for the Chicago Cubs). It was also the night they launched their sun blocking blimp for the first time.

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We always sit on the first base side, so this sounded like a wonderful idea. In reality, it didn’t seem to do very much other than create something for fans to joke about. “That’s it?” was heard often around the first base area, but hey it was the first night so maybe they’ll get something figured out. It did block the sun for us at least once during the night, for about ten minutes or so.

Boise Hawks sun blocking blimp

It was a great night for a ballgame, regardless. I love local baseball and miss the variety I enjoyed on the East Coast, with the York Revolution and Harrisburg Senators being my favorites, while our (York’s) rival Lancaster Barnstormers reside just across the river. (There were also three MLB teams within driving distance…four I suppose if you count Pittsburgh…yuck!)

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The game was enjoyable to watch, and I just enjoyed being in the stands again. The Hawks, however, did not play very well. The pitching and fielding just were not up to par and the Tri-City Dust Devils drifted out of reach as the innings wore on.

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Ultimately the Hawks lost 8-2 as the sun set and the crowd began to grow anxious for the first fireworks night of the season.

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Lily Camera looks amazing!

Check out this video for Lily Camera, a camera that you simply toss into the air and it’ll follow you while recording 1080p video. This looks like the perfect companion for a GoPro so you can get overhead and first person / action shots. The camera is available to pre-order at $499 and releases in February of next year!

Mayweather – Pacquiao: It’s finally here!

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It’s finally here! Tonight Floyd Mayweather Jr. will fight Manny Pacquiao in one of the most anticipated boxing events of all time. Being called “the fight of the century”, there’s an unprecedented amount of hype surrounding this fight, and for good reason. It’s the fight boxing fans have been dying to see for years, but complications and bickering have prevented it over and over again. Now, in 2015, both boxers are considered past their prime, yet the fight is still exciting the masses.

It’s the most expensive boxing PPV, at $99 for HD, and it’s also the highest paying fight, in which Mayweather will earn $180 million and Pacquiao will earn $120 million based on a 60/40 split of the projected $300 million the fight will earn. That’s huge!

I can’t call myself a boxing fan. I’ve watched two fights in my life, Tyson – Holyfield II in 1997 and Pacquaio – Bradley in 2012. I had heard a lot of buzz about the Pacquiao – Bradley fight and decided it would be worth checking out and it was quite exciting though incredibly disappointing in its result (in which Bradley won by an extremely controversial decision). Since then I hadn’t heard very much about the boxing world until recently.

This time the buzz is huge. It has gone beyond fighting fans. It’s even being talked about by those who don’t follow sports. I’d be surprised if there’s anyone who hasn’t heard about tonight’s fight in one way or another. In the way that people who don’t watch a single NFL game tune into the Super Bowl, I think tonight’s fight will find many who have never watched boxing in their life curious enough to watch it.

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If you want to get even more hyped for the fight while also learning of its back story, be sure to check out the HBO documentary, Mayweather/Pacquiao: At Last. It tells the story really well and offers a great behind the scenes look at both the fighters and how the fight came to be (and almost didn’t). Watching it gives me chills of excitement for tonight’s fight!

There is, however, a pretty major hurdle for those wanting to check it out: the price. At $99, the PPV cost is outrageous. Even the WWE, which arguably makes its living on PPV events, abandoned the expensive PPV model. Instead of relying on $60 purchases they’ve decided to broadcast their events on their own network (the WWE Network) and rely on ongoing monthly subscriptions instead.

The next option is heading out to a sports bar to watch the fight. However, at a cost of $3,000-5,000 for a restaurant or bar to air the fight, many or choosing not to (notably Buffalo Wild Wings). Those that are hosting events are charging $20 cover charges just to get in, and when you factor in the cost of drinks and food you might just be better off buying the PPV after all.

I’m still undecided on how I’m going to watch the fight. A bunch of people from working are heading out to a bar to watch it, but when I factor in the cover charge, I’ll be paying $40 up front for Vanessa and I, and after a handful of drinks and snacks we could easily surpass the $100 PPV price. Not to mention it’s sure to be crowded and difficult to pay attention to the fight. I think I’m going to end up cringing as I part with $100 to order the fight and grab some pizza and beers and enjoying the fight while I sit on the edge of my seat, volume cranked enjoying every blow.

Will you be watching the fight? Who do you think will win?

WWE Network free for April / Wrestlemania 31

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WWE Network is currently free for the month of April for new subscribers, so I decided why not check it out and watch last Sunday’s Wrestlemania. Even though I had previously subscribed to the WWE Network last year it still let renew my account while receiving April for free which was pretty cool. It’s also worth noting the six month commitment is no longer in place and you can cancel at anytime. They previously locked subscribers into 6 month subscriptions (billed monthly) so that you couldn’t just drop $10 for Wrestlemania and immediately cancel your subscription.

I’m going to watch Wrestlemania 31 and jot down some thoughts while doing so. Sorry for constantly changing tenses in what follows, you’ll forgive me right?

Note: Wrestlemania spoilers will follow.

I haven’t kept up with the WWE at all for at least the last six months, if not longer. I can’t even recall what was going on when I last watched. I believe I stopped watching around the time when there was the struggle between Daniel Bryan and the “authority” or whatever, where they basically said he wasn’t championship material. It was surprising, then, to see Daniel Bryan participating in the opening seven-man ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship with lower card talent such as Stardust, R-Truth, Dolph Ziggler and defending champion Bad News Barret.

I’ll give the match credit, it was pretty exciting though was often cheesy. The R-Truth ‘scared of heights’ set up was a little lame, as was the opening series of over the rope volleys knocking more and more people to the ground until all seven participants tumbled like bowling pins. It was so absurd it made me laugh, which isn’t all the surprising coming from the WWE these days. I’m glad Bryan was victorious, but I feel like he’s a better talent and not someone who should be relegated to a lower title.

Daniel Bryan Wrestlemania

The Randy Orton – Seth Rollins promo that followed next was pretty exciting. Sure the storyline seems pretty silly (Kane is with the authority, why?) but I’m starting to see parallels between the WWE and comic books. The story lines are silly and often don’t make a whole lot of sense, but you just have to stop trying to justify things and simply enjoy the drama. I kind of wish I had watched the Orton vs. Rollins storyline, it seems interesting (and I don’t think the WWE has been interesting since CM Punk’s reign, though Daniel Bryan’s rise came close).

As I’m watching the match I can’t help but see all the people shielding their eyes from the sun in order to see the action. I’m not sure how much I like the idea of an outdoor venue for wrestling. There’s just something you lose by not having all of the indoor lighting and effects. Maybe it’s just me.

The Orton – Rollins match when on for an excessively long time, though maybe it’s just that I don’t have the patience for wrestling anymore. For the most part it was unremarkable, yet the curb stomp counter into an RKO finish was pretty sweet. Glad Orton won.

This whole Sting – Triple H feud is probably exciting for a lot of long time wrestling fans, but to me it just seems like it’s too late and is overly gimmicky, if that’s even possible for wrestling. I guess it’s all a gimmick, isn’t it? Maybe if there was more of a WCW vs. WWE thing going on it’d be more interesting, but then again I don’t think I can name a single WCW wrestler. Goldberg? He was one right? Meh. Hope Triple H loses.

Sting’s entrance is over the top. They could’ve done something better to build tension. Heck, Triple H’s entrance has hyped me up more and I almost want to cheer for him instead…if he weren’t a total a-hole of course!

I feel like the match is a little unrealistic. I mean Triple H is huge, there aren’t many in the WWE who stack up against his size and power, while Sting is older, less fit and less powerful. It doesn’t make a lot of sense for him to be able to hang in there with Triple H. But here I am, trying to make sense of wrestling again! D-X coming out should’ve been cool, but they’re all so old and terrible looking and they ran out with hardly any energy just to get bowled down by Sting in a scene torn from the opening match of the night. Not as exciting as it should’ve been. Then comes the NWO, another group of elderly men. Why couldn’t this have happened years ago? Hulk Hogan just needs to go away.

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The bat vs sledgehammer scenario was a little cheesy, though why not go all the way? Ultimately I think the match would’ve ended better as a draw. Triple H won, what’s new? The handshake doesn’t really fit with Triple H’s character, or at least what I perceive his character to be at this point. Also I expected more from Hogan (even if I’m sick of him).

Well, I’m not sure how much more of this I can take, so I’m going to stop watching for now. If I get around to finishing it I might drop in with some final thoughts. Until then, thanks for reading. Let me know what your favorite Wrestlemania 31 moments were in the comments!

I love how technology has proved NFL Gameday

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After an exciting, though ultimately disappointing game (for those rooting for the Irish) last night between Notre Dame and Florida State, I’m reading hoping for a better result between the Ravens and the Falcons. So far it’s been pretty positive with Baltimore leading 7-0 early in the second quarter, however just as I began to write this Flacco threw an unfortunate interception in the endzone.

I’m glad to be back in the United States where I can watch football live on Sunday, rather than having to catch games on NFL Rewind (which I subscribed to while I was in Korea). It’s nice to be able to catch all the action as it’s going on, as I juggle games on my MacBook (Ravens), the TV (Seahawks) and my iPad (NFL Redzone / NFL Mobile).

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I love how technology has made keeping track of gameday easier than ever. You no longer have to rely on half time updates or tickers and you can access the information you care about when you want it. With apps such as NFL Mobile and NFL Now you’re able to curate your own information (drive charts, highlights, scoring plays, stats, roster information and so on) with a few taps and swipes.

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In addition to the mobile apps there’s also the NFL app on Xbox One which you can use in snap mode to keep an eye on other scores and also view stats and highlights in real time. I’ll usually snap the NFL app every now and then to get a quick look at everything assuming I’m watching the Ravens game on TV, otherwise having my iPad up next to my MacBook makes it easier to glance over at the NFL Mobile app in-between plays.

NFL on Xbox one