Friday, December 28, 2012

12/28 (Wrapping Up 2012) Quickie

2012 was an exciting bookend to 2011:

In 2011, Mrs. Quickie got pregnant.
In 2012, we had a beautiful (and smart!) little baby girl.

In 2011, Quickish launched.
In 2012, Quickish was acquired by Gannett.

In 2011, we relocated from New York to DC.
In 2012, we found the house we'll hopefully live in for the next 25 years.

Any one of those things is a big deal. Wrapped together, it made for a truly amazing year.

I am very (very) (...very) lucky, and every day I try to remember that and to certainly not ever take it for granted.

There won't be a new baby in 2013. There won't be a sale of a company I founded. There won't be another new house. (There will be turning 40, so the year isn't without its interesting milestones.)

If it will be slightly less intense, that's OK. I am looking forward to just... being.

Being a better spouse.
Being a better dad.
Being a better colleague.

There are a lot of pathways to "better" that I have been thinking about, and all I can do is pick the ones that make sense and commit to a good-faith effort to try to be better.

Hoping to have some New Year's posts up over the next few days, but if you're checking out until 2013, here's hoping you had a great 2012 and here's to an even better 2013.

-- D.S.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

12/25 (Merry Christmas) Quickie

The best holiday-centric tradition in sports is the NBA on Christmas Day, this year bumping "Lions and Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day" from the top spot, on the strength of a Finals-ish Heat-Thunder -- the day's late-afternoon headliner -- and a frolicky Lakers-Knicks (the mid-afternoon appetizer, with the recently returned Steve Nash as your must-see player). It is the marquee event of the NBA regular season, and its expansion into a 13-hour marathon is welcome.

Enjoy the day. If you celebrate Christmas, enjoy however you might be doing so (and even if you don't celebrate Christmas, there is plenty about the holiday to love, like the "A Christmas Story" movie marathon -- which I will duck into at least a dozen times over the 24 hours -- and, at least for we Jewish people, the traditional Chinese food dinner.

So, to recap: Family, food, fun, NBA. If you are enjoying any level of abundance -- possibly material, but hopefully at least health and happiness -- I hope you can spare some cheer for those less fortunate.

A few notes:

*Rex Ryan says he's sure Tim Tebow would have played if he had been asked. So there's that.

*Chuck Pagano is back, and there can't be a more welcome return in sports this year.

*Mike Vick is back, too, because Nick Foles broke his hand. Week 17 will be ambivalent for Philly, but in all the discussion of it being Andy Reid's final game as coach, it is also the presumptive end of the Mike Vick Experiment, which had some thrilling highs that probably qualify it as "delivering," but only as a sideshow.

*Does anyone think that Ryan Freel's suicide wasn't connected to his many concussions?

*So: Who got/gave the best gifts this year?

Again, happiest holiday wishes to you and your family.

-- D.S.

Monday, December 24, 2012

12/24 (Eve) Quickie

There is this phenomenon in sports newsrooms (and emergency rooms and restaurants and elsewhere) where the non-Christians are happy to work on Christmas Eve and Christmas, letting our observant colleagues enjoy the holidays with their families.

The skeleton crew lends itself to some relaxed moments, and you often will see stories hit the front page that might not otherwise. In that spirit, I'm going to lead with the Tebow debacle, because I'm working today and it's the story that interests me most. Fair enough? I promise not to belabor it, but I think it ties back to the spirit of the season:


Simply put, Tim Tebow is as team-first as any player you will meet. He is single-minded in his interest in helping his team win. He clearly thinks (and has proven) that the best chance for that is with the ball in his hands, but he has also clearly demonstrated that he's willing to do whatever it takes to help.

There are plenty of people who are tired of (or annoyed with) the "Tebowmania" thing, but that is much more of a function of being annoyed with the media than being annoyed with him. If anything, even the haters begrudgingly respect Tebow's complete commitment to winning and to his team. Throughout this season, Tebow has taken any number of relative humiliations -- being assigned as punt protector the most glaring -- in stride and with a "whatever it takes to help the team win" mentality.

What does it say, then, that Tebow was willing to tarnish that very core of his appeal -- that very core of his personality -- by telling the Jets he didn't want to be part of their Wildcat (or faux-Wildcat) inanity this week. He must know he is more popular than the team, and he had to know the Jets would leak his request (or, framed less charitably, refusal) around playing time.

He had to know there would be blowback (with the most common response something akin to how Peter King put it: He totally agrees with Tebow that the Jets have miserably screwed him around, but you can't say you won't play.) He had to know it would instantly become part of the Tebow canon -- the December nadir to bookend the moment in January during the playoffs that would define both his NFL career and Tebowmania in general.

That is how miserable he was. The Jets managed not only to implode their own season, but they made Tebow...flinch. They had him so unhappy that he went against everything he is -- and a sizeable piece of why people believe in him: both off and on the field, his subordination to the greater good... to service.

That is how screwed up the Jets are. So screwed up they could screw up Tim Tebow.

The good news is that the relationship is almost over -- it is a sign of how much the Jets fear Tebow's popularity not just that they didn't play him before, but that when he wouldn't play for them now, they honored it without fuss (until it inevitably fussed). Tebow will land with another team -- probably the Jaguars -- one that will hopefully give him a chance.

It cannot possibly go worse in Jacksonville -- or anywhere else -- than it did in New York with the Jets. The Jets had absolutely no belief -- no faith -- in Tebow.

And, it seemed, Tebow eventually lost enough faith in something he believed in -- "team" -- that he would turn away from that concept for seemingly the first time in his life.

Aside from believing in the essential rightness of his own decision in this particular case, I cannot imagine that was anything but difficult for Tebow in the grand scheme of his unyielding belief in always wanting to do what is right for the team.

Faith -- in oneself, in your team (or the larger concept of "team"), in the human condition, in people we admire (yes, like Tebow)... in anything really -- is essential, not just on Christmas but every day.

To see that faith tested in such a stark way -- by someone who epitomizes faith in football (and I'm not even talking about religious faith) -- is a pretty good reminder of the core position of faith in our lives, however it manifests itself. And it is a pretty good reminder how tenuous that faith can be.

If anything, this is a good moment to remind yourself -- to reaffirm, really -- that no matter what it might be, you've always got to maintain a little faith. Especially for those moments when it is tested.


Don't forget: Starting tonight, the greatest holiday movie of all time "A Christmas Story." 24 hours of it, and in this year's production, the role of Ralphie will be played by Russell Wilson, who -- as absurds as this seems -- deserves NFL Rookie of the Year as much as (or perhaps even more than) the rookie QB who has broken all the meaningful rookie-QB records and led his worst-in-the-league-last-year team to the playoffs AND the rookie QB who has become the most must-see player in the NFL and led his nearly-worst-in-the-league-last-year team to the cusp of the playoffs.

To those of you celebrating: Merry Christmas. And to those of you not? Enjoy the Chinese food and movies.

-- D.S.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

12/23 (Sunday) Quickie

Happy Festivus! My airing of grievances begins and ends with the Wizards...

We went shopping for a new couch last night, and it's hard to overstate how important the couch is for us -- for better or worse, it is the center of our home and we spend incalculable hours on it, hanging out or eating dinner informally or, typically, watching TV. All I can say is that I'm leaning toward the idea that it's probably worth spending a little extra if the couch is particularly comfortable. (Not that couches have to be necessarily expensive -- our current model, which we've had for 5 years, was a cheapie floor sample from Macy's on Fulton Street in Brooklyn, and it has held up great.)

I'm thinking of the couch because today is the second-to-last Sunday of NFL Red Zone, which in less than two seasons has become my favorite TV tradition -- basically 7 hours of being on/around/near the couch with the family, watching games and tracking fantasy teams and ducking in and out but otherwise enjoying the time with each other (and with Red Zone host Scott Hanson). The two boys are down in Florida for the week with their grandparents -- our own holiday tradition/"vacation" -- so watching Red Zone is not quite the same without them. But it just hit me this morning that Red Zone season is almost over. It'll be missed. But next year's season of Red Zone will feature an awesome new couch, so there's that.

Anyway, a few notes on a slow Christmas Eve eve...

*Tebow to the Jaguars? It has always made the most sense, and it sounds like it is finally going to happen. Tebow's No. 15 is even open, right between Justin Blackmon (14) and Jordan Shipley (16). It will be the biggest seller in the NFL next season -- and that's part of the point, isn't it?

*Falcons cruise past Lions and earn No. 1 NFC seed: It's Super Bowl or bust for this team, as it has been since August. Anyone else have zero faith the Falcons will get through the NFC playoffs? I'll be surprised if they win their initial Divisional at home against the 4-5 Wild Card winner.

*NFL Week 16: Good luck to anyone playing for their fantasy-league title. If I'm paying attention to any single game this week, it's the Redskins and RGIII.

*Great day in college hoops yesterday: If you didn't know the name "Ben McLemore" -- the Kansas star redshirt freshman who is taking college hoops by storm in his first season -- you do now, after KU beat Ohio State... Temple gets its annual win over a Top 10 team by KO'ing Syracuse... Another name to know: South Dakota State's Nate Wolters, who led the Jackrabbits over New Mexico in Albuquerque (by NBA Draft night, Wolters' stock will be sky-high)... Tough night for Florida... 

*CFB: Boise State finally got its clutch field goal, a season or two too late.

*NBA: Steve Nash is back and the Lakers already look like a much better team. No coincidence there, of course. LA's playoff seed is irrelevant, as long as they make the playoffs and are healthy heading into late April.

*Wizards' fan lament: Any chance the Wiz can trade promising big man Kevin Seraphin for Sacramento's DeMarcus Cousins (now repped by the same agent as John Wall)? Seems like a decent trade for both sides, and if Cousins isn't quite a happy camper, playing alongside former college teammate Wall could only help, right?

-- D.S.