SPORTS TALK: Johnny Football finally comes to Canada

by James McCarthy- June 9, 2018

Honestly, can we stop with all this crap about an actual monster living in Loch Ness?If there was something there, it would have been seen and/or heard of by now. The latest waste of money on finding an invisible inanimate object lurking in the murk of the famous body of Scottish water comes courtesy of Neil Gemmell, a professor from the University of Otago in New Zealand, who plans on doing DNA tests. He doesn’t believe in Nessie but he claims the DNA tests will help bring science to a wider audience and take people on an adventure. There are more cost-effective ways to take people on an adventure to Scotland. Case in point: $100 and a walk down George Street in Glasgow at 2 a.m. is one way.

Someone on Twitter thought this guy singing the national anthem would be a good way to help the National Football League regain trust with the American public. He wouldn’t be the worst … or would he? photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Anyway, on to something that’s real…finally:

He’s here!

After all the bluster and what-ifs, Johnny Manziel is in a Hamilton Tiger-Cats uniform.

Johnny Football made his long-awaited Canadian Football League debut on June 1 against your defending Grey Cup champions, my Toronto Argonauts and he didn’t look out of place at all. He came on for his first series late in the first half and completed his first three passes and finished with 80 passing yards overall in the game.

Now, it’s just the pre-season and a career isn’t made after a few passes but you had to know Manziel was feeling like a million bucks. He’s been out of football for several years dealing with personal and professional issues, which should always come before football. He needed to get his head right before coming back.

It’s a long way from those days at Texas A&M where he won the Heisman Trophy as a freshman, the first time that ever happened and being a first-round draft pick of the Cleveland Browns. He had a spectacular fall from grace but this is the first step back and to sound as corny as ever, a long journey begins with a single step.

It’s a win-win for the Tiger-Cats as well. If Manziel succeeds, they get themselves a great pivot for however many years it lasts. It’s been said Manziel’s style fits the CFL so he should have some success. If Manziel fizzles, no big deal. The Tiger-Cats gave him a legitimate shot and it was his to lose, hypothetically speaking.

My only hope is Manziel doesn’t go all Lawrence Phillips and proclaim himself to be the best player in the CFL. We all saw how that turned out.

That’s one way to do it

Ramadan, the month of fasting in Islam, is happening right now and that means practising Muslims can’t consume any food or drink between sunrise and sunset. That rule goes for athletes as well. No exceptions.

Tunisia’s men’s national soccer team is in the midst of getting set for the 2018 FIFA World Cup by playing friendlies and two of those friendlies in recent weeks have come during Ramadan.

Nutrition is important but there’s no way for the players, all of whom are Muslim, to get a proper meal before playing because the sun is up.

How do they get around it? Easy – when it comes time to break fast, Mouez Hassen, the team’s goalkeeper, goes down with an injury at the point when the sun sets. The team’s trainers go out to “check” on him to make sure he’s alright, which gives the players a chance to fuel up on Gatorade and some quick snacks. It’s a masterful way to do it and it actually works because it gives the players some energy down the stretch of a game.

It’s also the only time I actually don’t mind a player going down to a fake injury because Hassen isn’t doing it to gain an advantage. He’s doing it so he and his teammates can eat. Ramadan will be over by the time the World Cup starts in Russia on June 18 so expect it to come to an end, right? Right!?

Typical hockey guy

The running joke about hockey players that miss the playoffs is they spend the summer golfing. But what about the officials? Welp, one NHL referee is going to be golfing and it will be in one of the biggest tournaments going today.

Garrett Rank of Elmira, Ont., has qualified to play in the U.S. Open later this month. No joke. Rank won a spot to play at Shinnecock Hills through a U.S. Golf Association (USGA) sectional qualifier in Roswell, Georgia and will join fellow Canucks Adam Hadwin and Mackenzie Hughes as the Canadian contingent.

Lest you think this was a one-off fluke, Rank has a rather impressive golfing resume. He’s won the Canadian Mid-Amateur Championship and has played in more than a dozen USGA-sanctioned tournaments over the years. And no, he isn’t becoming a full-time professional golfer. He’s keeping his amateur status because he already has a good job.

And finally …

Good Idea: Listening to the Star-Spangled Banner.

Bad Idea: Listening to Donald Trump singing the Star-Spangled Banner.

Look, the National Football League has enough problems but it doesn’t need to exacerbate anything by having U.S. President Donald Trump belting out the American national anthem.

This was actually suggested by someone named Jacob Wohl as a way for the NFL to regain the respect and trust of the American public. At first glance, you’d think this was parody but he has that vaunted blue checkmark Twitter likes to give out for its trusted accounts.

On second thought, I’d like to hear him give it a shot. It couldn’t be any worse than what we got from Fergie at the 2018 NBA All-Star Game or Roseanne Barr that night in San Diego or Carl Lewis that night in New Jersey or…

Until next time, folks …

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