Lets rewind the clock to the tail end of '08. My take on the year in sports first ran in Chill Magazine . If y'all have any category suggestion for '09 I'm all ears.
The ESPYs (Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly) groundskeepers roll out the red turf and hand out shiny statuettes to premiere athletes each July. But with each individual sport already paying homage to their stars with copious honours, everything from best basketball player under six-feet (college hoops' Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award) to gentlemanly conduct (the NHL's Lady Byng Trophy), ESPY acceptances aren't exactly Oscar moments. Here at the CHILLYs we pride ourselves on being spicier, crisper and 50% less smarmy than all those other award ceremonies that rhyme with testes.
Twilight Delight- Oldest Athlete to…
1) Chris Chelios
Chelly, 46, the second oldest active player in NHL history (Gordie "Mr. Hockey" Howe was still lacing'em up at 52 in 1980 with the Hartford Whalers), became the most senior player to win the Stanley Cup after the Red Wings flambéed Crosby and the Penguins 3-2 in game six. How does a middle-aged blue liner keep pace with all the spry young'ns in the fastest game on ice? Well his secret sure isn't Oil of Olay twice a day though Chelios' age defying workout routine is just as restorative and really good for the pores. His youth reclaiming regimen includes power pedaling on a stationary bike in a sauna for 45 minutes while downing a couple jugs of H20 to keep from dehydrating and passing out. What mere mortals would call a scary new-fangled interrogation technique, Chelly calls his "aerobic wash".
2) Dara Torres
You know that stereotype about 41-year-old mothers not being able to swim like a dolphin? Well, Dara never heard that one either. After the Cali-girl dominated the 50-metre freestyle at the US trials she earned herself a spot on her fifth Olympic team. But the oldest female swimmer in Olympic history didn't just show up and soak in the glory of competing with girls young enough to be her progeny. She swam to silver in her signature event, the 50-meter freestyle, motoring to the wall in 24.07 a new American record and only one-hundreth of a second shy of winner Britta Steffen of Germany. Torres took the photo finish in stride. "Maybe I shouldn't have filed my nails last night," she joked. A half hour later she anchored the 4 X 100 Medley to silver, collecting her third medal of the games.
And the CHILLY Goes to:
This isn't Dara's first time making history. She was also the first athlete to pose for the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue in 1994. Besides, Torres' all-time Olympic haul of a cool dozen medals ties her with Jenny Thompson as the most-decorated female American Olympian. Also rumour has it she hasn't yet ruled out a return for the 2012 Games in London.
Weird Sports Science Score of the Year
1) A Brock University study of Canadian NHL team headshots found that players with wide faces (measured from cheek to cheek) racked up more penalty minutes than those with more svelte noggins.
The profs posit that big headed blokes' extra aggression is related to testosterone. While skepticism of the merits of this seemingly cockamamie academic assertion is understandable, the effect checked out with every team they tried it on. Ottawa Senators' RW Chris Neil who has a huge cheek-to-cheek span spent 199 minutes in the box last season while ex-Leaf Kyle Wellwood (now with the Canucks), who hasn't logged a single penalty minute in his last two campaigns sports a skinny skull.
2) In a study examining 300,000 golfers, researchers at Stockholm's Karolinska Institute found that Swedish golfers live on average five years longer than the general population.
Considering golfing in Scandinavia where riding in a cart is for sissies and invalids only, the longevity benefits of walking six or seven kilometers and burning hundreds of calories every round aren't exactly revelatory. Intriguingly though, life expectancy among golfers actually increased the lower the player's handicap. Lead author Anders Ahlbom doubts the results would be the same in North America where choosing to walk the course is much less popular. But still, this does bode well for Tiger Woods living to see 2090.
And the CHILLY goes to…
Brock's broad-headed hockey brawlers study crosschecks the Swedes helmet first into a fjord. Like much academic bifocal gazing that find correlations between wearing yellow sweaters and having a sunnier disposition than those who wear all black, the golf study boils down to common sense gussied-up for a journal article. Whereas the hockey one give scouts a funky new out of the box metric to assess.
Diddy-est Name Swap
1) Chad Javon Ocho Cinco
The Bengals resident show-boater legally changed his last name to the Spanish translation of his Jersey numerals. Since Chad wasn't going to reimburse Reebok for hundreds of unsold "Johnson" jerseys, the new name never found its way onto his backside.
2) Tampa Bay Rays
Running with the Devil didn't exactly stoke the team's fortunes in their first decade of existence. So before the start of the 2008 season the powers that be decided to strike down all vestiges of Beelzebub to reinvigorate the flagging franchise. The team name was shortened to simply, "Rays". "We are now the 'Rays' - a beacon that radiates throughout Tampa Bay and across the entire state of Florida" waxed owner Stuart Sternberg in a statement on the biblical significance of the re-branding.
And the CHILLY goes to…
No contest. The Rays went from division road kill to division rock stars, riding their feel good story of the year vibes to first place in the AL East. At press time TB continues to shine in the postseason.
1) Usain Bolt
Bolt's 9.69-second 100-meter world record run would be remarkable in and of itself but if he hadn't slowed down and started celebrating before crossing the line he could have easily ran 9.5. Runner-up Richard Thompson of Trinidad and Tobago was .2 secs back, the event's equivalent of being lapped. Wondering what the champion's breakfast was? A: An order of chicken nuggets from McDonald's.
2) B.C.'s Sam Whittingham has been a human powered vehicle (HPV) superstar since 2001, but this past September he broke his own record. Pedaling recumbent style in a Kevlar enclosed contraption that resembles the nose of a fighter plane, the former Canadian National Team cyclist zoomed past the 82 mph barrier (132 KPH) at Nevada's Battle Mountain to win the $25,000 deciMach prize.
And the CHILLY Goes to…
This one took a couple beers worth of deliberation. While Whittingham's prowess owes a lot to the aerodynamic expertise of vehicle builder/sculptor Georgi Georgiev, Bolt was similarly blessed with the gait of a gazelle. In the end our non-partisan judging panel decided and the Jamaican sprinter edged the Canadian biker 4-3.
Appetite for Competition
1) Michael Phelps
While training for Beijing, America's Aquaman loaded 12,000 calories into his buff 6'4 195 pound frame every day. That's more than five times the daily-recommended intake of your average active 23 year old. Upon waking up at 5 a.m. he turned the ignition on his metabolism by imbibing three fried-egg sandwiches topped with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, fried onions, and mayo. This day starting aperitif sets the palette up for a morning snack of a five-egg omlette, bowl of grits, French toast and a stack of chocolate chip pancakes. His lunches consisted of a couple of monster sized ham and cheese sandwiches and pound of pasta washed down with a six-pack of energy drinks. As for dinner chow? He sucked down oodles of noodles (another pound's worth usually bathed in carbonara sauce) and a large pepperoni pizza.
2) This past July 4th, competitive eater Joey "Jaws" Chestnut, 24, proved last year's world record devouring defeat of Japan's Takeru Kobayahsi was no one-wiener stand. He defended his title cramming 59 dogs down his gullet in 10 minutes at the Coney Island contest. Chestnut also made it a three-peat at Philadelphia's Wing Bowl where he polished off 241 chicken limbs in 14 minutes. And his intestinal fortitude knew no bounds at the World Hamburger Eating Championship in Chattanooga Tennessee where he chomped a whopping 93 Krystal hamburgers in eight minutes, just ten paddies short of his all-time mark. The gastronomic feat netted him a cool $20, 000 which should be enough to keep his medicine cabinet stocked with enough Pepto-Bismol to lubricate his guts for the rest of his speed eating career.
And the CHILLY Goes to…
Michael's golden Beijing binge makes "Phelpsian" as Webster worthy an adjective as Shakespearean. But Chestnut's ghastly gurgitation skills simply out-eat the gluttonous pool king so we're going to give Joey his due.
Copyright © Mike Dojc 2009