Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Reggie Who? USC Removes All Public Displays of Bush, Mayo

It was going to take some major to get Your Face is a Sports Blog out of hibernation, and the hiring of Pat Haden as the new USC athletic director is about as big as it gets. While I have some concerns about hiring someone with zero experience in athletic administration, I’m generally OK with it. If you didn’t know, Haden was a Rhodes Scholar, which is something you’ll be hearing referenced a million times this year. He’s also earned a reputation as one of the classiest and most decent people in college football (as evident by Bill Dwyre’s sloppy wet kiss in the Los Angeles Times).

It’s obvious why Haden was the right choice for the job right now. He knows USC intimately but wasn’t involved in the recent scandals which have seriously dented the athletic department. If nothing else, the USC athletic program should be run ethically and with dignity, a complete 180-degree turn from the Machiavellian nature of the Mike Garrett tenure. His hiring sends a clear message to the NCAA that the school is serious about cleaning house as it appeals the severity of the sanctions slapped on the football program.

Clearly, new USC President Max Nikias is putting his stamp on the athletic department, and Garrett’s “retirement” is hardly a surprise. But Haden’s hiring is far from the only change coming to the athletic department. A memo sent to all USC employees today shows that the university is willing to go to great lengths to rehabilitate its image - and distance itself from the two players who were at the center of the athletic department’s fall from grace.

Buried at the end of the announcement of Garrett’s departure and Haden’s hiring is the news that the school is removing all public displays involving Reggie Bush and O.J. Mayo before incoming students arrive in August. This includes removing Bush’s 2005 Heisman Trophy statue from Heritage Hall and returning it to the Heisman Trust.

The memo from President Nikias states that the “Trojan Family honors and respects the USC sporting careers of persons whose actions did not compromise their athletic program or the opportunities of future USC student-athletes.” Ouch. Depending on how you look at it, USC is either attempting to wipe the slate clean or conducting a hand-washing of Pontius Pilate proportions. The university has cleared decided to back away from the defiant nature struck by Garrett and Pete Carroll in the immediate aftermath of the sanctions and turned to Plan B: douse everything in bleach and start over.

In addition to pretending that Reggie Bush and O.J. Mayo never existed, USC is also creating a new position to oversee the athletic department from the outside. They have hired high-powered Los Angeles lawyer (and former Small College All-American football player) David Roberts to fill the role of vice president for athletic compliance. This position will report to senior vice president of administration Todd Dickey and not the athletic department. Essentially, Roberts will serve as an “outside” source of oversight for the athletic department.

So in case you were wondering: you’ll apparently be able to see O.J. Simpson’s retired number at the Coliseum this fall but not Reggie Bush’s. With the resources of the school’s film program, I wouldn’t be shocked if they tried to digitally alter old game footage to replace Reggie Bush with a generic “RB #5” like from an EA Sports College Football game. The university is apparently very serious about sending the message to the NCAA that is changing the culture of its athletic department (and also apparently willing to make people like Bush, Mayo and Garrett into scapegoats). Whether it makes a difference remains to be seen.

Read the memo sent to USC's staff here

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Sunday, May 16, 2010

THE NINJAS ARE BACK! (for a night)

Here's what's happening FOOLS. The Awesome Helicopter Ninjas are returning for one night! That's right, now go change into some clean underwear and keep reading.

Monday night is turn back the clock night for the world famous North Hollywood Hoodlums. They haven't won many games this year, but that shouldn't make their opponents rest easy this week as the Hoodlums are traveling back to a time when the Ninjas dominated North Hollywood kickball, not necessarily through their play - though they often did well - but through the trouble they'd cause on the field.

Expect smoke bombs, and copious amounts of professional-grade confetti (assuming the smoke bombs arrive on time, and Scott makes it to the confetti warehouse and buys some CO2 cartridges.) And travel back with us to WAY back in 2006 when the mercury topped 116 in the valley, Justin Timberlake brought sexy back, and Ricky Bobbby raced into our hearts.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

It's worth like 1,000,000 words.

Kickball is often about more than just playing the game, especially in North Hollywood's "Studio" division. We've got two videos to show just how theatrical and involved the pre-game shenanigans have become. The casting out of Satan and our celebration of mediocrity are this season's newest and most bestest videos. Enjoy.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Game 2 vs. Team Say Tan

I don't even know where to begin when talking about last night's game. Do we start with the pre-game tent revival/healing/casting-out-of-the-devil-himself? Do we begin with a rant on the "umpiring" from the game? Or that we beat Team Say Tan 6 (7?) to 0 in a game where just about everyone contributed in an awesome way?

I guess, because i'm BORING, we'll start with the pre-game shenanigans.

Tent Revival and Spiritual Healing


Preacher/Holy Man: Bill

Satan/Devil/The Dragon/Lucifer/The Morning Star/The Serpent from Below/Bielzebub: Michael

Scott opened up announcing Bill who was coming out to cleanse the field of all the unholyness, and to start blessing and baptizing our teammates. This goes on for a little bit. People start falling down "healed".

Suddenly, the gospel music changes to some rockin' tunes from Dio, and through a cloud of smoke (smoke bomb) The Devil makes an appearance, while humping a blow up doll clad like a ninja. This goes on for a little bit, before The Preacher realizes he's had enough, and starts kicking ass.

Satan begins to cower in shame, and is thrown down to the ground, healed by the Awesome Helicopter Ninja Kickball Gameplay Primer. Then the rest of the team begins to kick Satan's ass. Then Scott shot off the confetti gun.

Big cheers from everybody.

Eventually, we'll get to the start of the game. We shot all this on video, and people took pictures. I shaved my beard to a devil's goatee, and dressed all in red, had a pentagram and pitchfork and generally looked like an ass. It ruled.


The umpiring in the game set the tone. It wasn't just that it was exceptionally bad (it was) or that they had no idea what a strike or a ball was (it's true) or that we got boned on a variety of calls (which happens, but still, never fun). It was the game itself had no rhythm because of this. Every disputed call (and there were many) ate up a lot of time because of the constant discussion at home plate, in the field, wherever. No one wanted to stick to their calls, mostly I feel, because they didn't know the rules, or didn't want to face an argument from either team. So, it really suffered for both sides. And messed up the natural flow of a game. That being said, we still did very well, in spite of it.


This was a great game for everyone. We had a rocky start in the first inning. One of those aforementioned bad calls and the "strike zone" which needed major adjusting to kinda got in our heads. But by the 2nd inning, everything was humming.

Even when Team Say Tan threatened, the defense kept their heads in the game. Be it Bill running all over the field, trying to make every play. Or Sam and Kelly's brilliant game ending pickup at 2nd base that meant no runs scored, or the backup of our players from dropped fly balls, the defense was really present tonight. Adam J had the catch of the night, a diving catch along the left field line, that prevented a sure two runs from scoring.

Offensively, everyone was kicking on all cylinders. Once players adjusted to the strike zone, we had some great kicks. The gaps were found. All of our girls were on fire. Julie right now is 3 for 3. Melinda, with a little dunker down the first base line drove in two runs. A lot of that was great base running by Bill and Joe (a madman).

Adam G had a huge kick that brought in a couple of runs. Adam J (already mentioned) had a perfect kick right over 1st base that went to the outfield that allowed me to score from 1st (I ran like...I don't know what, but it was awesome).

Then we had a team photo thanks to Nathan from the Guy Fawkes Conservatory.

Yeah..it ruled.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Winter 2008. Game 1 vs. Redrum

So, it was the first week of game. Oh, no! Another intense match up vs. Redrum. Yawn. We played. We lost. It's all cool, baby.
I'm over it. I'm sure they are over it. No one really cares about this anymore. The last few games have all been two run affairs. With less tension than Ahsley's weave.
First off, I'd like to welcome all the new Awesome Helicopter Ninjas to the team. Most of them were there last night, which was pretty boner-iffic, if you ask me.
Alicia - She played with me on the Cagey Bees and is Paul's (from the much hated Valley Girls) roommate. Paul also played with me on the Cagey Bees and is one of my closest friends, so yeah. Fuck that guy! Alicia likes pirates, but i'm ignoring that for now.
David - David is a transplant from a Studio team, the Mean Girls 'n Boys Next Door. He ALSO played with me on the Cagey Bees (see, I had a Monopoly going, which is ironic...when my team was Communist themed, but whatever). Dave is a fuckin' powerhouse. A damned dynamo! Dave is that guy who will kick the ball over the moon but can also bunt like a madman. This guy can do it all. His arm is a cannon, that is made of three cannons. I could go on all day.
James - James had a nickname before he was even on the team. It's a secret, so don't ask. He's a real cool dude who will get more tail than anyone in the division. He was super pissed off that he kicked two pop flys last night. As he should be. We expect AWESOME things from him.
Jenn - Already, guys are lining up to hit on her. And those guys are lining up to hit on each other (physically) to be in that line. She never played a game of kickball in her life and in the first game got on base with a beauty of a single, and advanced to 2nd.
Jeremy - Jeremy was the one no-show on Monday. He will be punished. Probably by having to kick first next week. We're not sure. Jeremy is one half of a set of twins, which means there may be some fucking awesome shenanigans if his brother shows up to the park. Oh, you know we will.
Joe - This guy played ball with Scott on the team, back in high-school. I have no doubts about him. You know those guys you look at and say "Yeah, I don't have to worry". That's the feeling I get from Joe.
Melanie - Another friend of Pauls. Mel did some Tripple A work up in San Fran before coming down to LA. I told her where to kick the ball on Monday and she said "I usually kick down the other base line". She ended up kicking it exactly where I told her to. She got out, but that's not the point. The point is, she is money!
Melinda - Like Jenn, another first timer. And another with a perfect on base percentage. What is it with these two?! Does being awesome only come in pairs? Oh, me thinks so.
So, yeah. Welcome to the team. You're Welcome.
As for Shenanigans, we had a bunch. First off was skipping the opening ceremonies to drink in the parking lot from Adam's magic punch. Things no one wanted to see included the Valley Girls giant cardboard trophy. Well, at least they've peaked. Enjoy fellas!
As WAKA now has an official sponsor, Jolt Energy Drink, which are advertising as...well, could you expect any less...as a tramp stamp on the lower back of the t-shirt, we also felt that this needed addressing. The Awesome Helicopter Ninjas are now sponsored by a myriad of companies, including McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Wynn Hotels, Shell, Crown Royal, the Masons and about a dozen other companies that want to get in on some of the action. I don't blame 'em. Even if they didn't know about it.
Redrum got a bit of the action as well. Clark "The so-close-to-being-an-Awesome-Helicopter-Ninja-but-didn't-know-how-to-sign-up-two-or-so-years-ago-and-was-defaulted-to-a-team-that-would-eventually-become-Redrum" Hill is our friend and he sells homes. Go to www.clarksellshomes.com if you don't believe me (See, Clark. Free advertising). Anyway, he's adorable and is always handing out business cards. So, we did too.
We handed out clarksellshoes.com business cards. And clarksellshoes business cards. Richard created one for me which was michaelsellsclarkshomes.com. It was pretty fun. I hope he kept them.
Finally, as we were playing Redrum, and as their infamously slow and methodical pitcher Dave Mauch had left the team to go home to Virginia, we had to pay some sort of tribute to their fallen time-waster. I removed the sleeves of my shirt, and purchased some of his trademark under-armor bodywear and enjoyed slowing down the game from the opening pitch. It was nice to see that Redrum got the joke, and that they played along by doing a traditional count, as I molested the ball in my hands on the mound.
Best night of Ninja kickball since I can't remember when. And that was with a loss! Fuck you, everybody!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Addition to the Enemies List

So many times I've mentioned the name of our kickball team, I've been asked "Have you seen 'Ask a Ninja'? For me this equates to, "Hi, I have terrible taste. Don't be my friend." If you haven't seen "Ask a Ninja" it's like Strong Bad answering his e-mail on the Homestar Runner website except not funny. They try to make up for it by editing really, really fast. The guy doesn't even have a cool voice for it.

"Ask a Ninja" is officially on the Awesome Helicopter Ninjas enemies list.

Go to the Homestar Runner website instead.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Can we be the Giants instead?

Remember when Richard Manfredi made the borderline arrogant post about the Awesome Helicopter Ninjas being the "New England Patriots of Kickball"? It made me uneasy, as most things do, but the parallel of 3 championships makes sense. Tonight though, I heard Michael Strahan speak after the New York Giants beat the nearly undefeated Patriots. First, did you realize Michael Strahan started playing in 1993? Clinton was in his first YEAR as president and I was a SOPHOMORE IN HIGH SCHOOL. But I digress.

Strahan said, "I look at us as a group of misfits who somehow came together and worked well." And who doesn't enjoy a jovial Micahel Strahan? So, yeah. Look at the Ninjas and you'll never see a group of super talented athletes. We're not even that athletic. The Patriots three years ago were similar as they were no-names who pulled it together. Of course now, they've become super stars. Super Duper even.

Anyway, my point. While last seasons Ninjas played like the Cincinnati Bengals of Kickball. I think overall considering the championship games, we played more like the Giants on February 3, 2008. They just went into the game, didn't expect to do anything and just had fun The comparison makes sense because really...the Giants? Who predicted that? (oh, and shut up if you're that guy who predicted the Patriots losing in like 10 other games, and is strutting around like "I told you!" today) But the Giants winning? I mean...come on. Wow.

OK, FAR more impressive. Richard Manfredi guessed IN ORDER, every song Tom Petty would play during the halftime show. The last 3 years now, we've collectively guessed WHAT songs would be played (3.5 for 4 on U2 and 4 for 4 with Prince). But this year, Richard Manfredi guessed what would make you about $10,000 on a $2 bet at any racetrack (It's called a "SUPERFECTA" and it's as insanely difficult as the name sounds).

Meanwhile, on February 3, 2008, I feel like Sofa King Good is the closest thing to the New England Patriots of Kickball. An undefeated season, followed by a championship loss. The only reason I won't draw the connection though is that the Patriots showed up and played in their championship game. Also, they were gracious in defeat.

We can compare all day, it's fun. Uno Mas and Guy Fawkes are the 1990s Kansas City Chiefs. Redum is the Tennessee Titans and let's call the Valley Girls the Denver Broncos of kickball...it just fits. In the end though, the Awesome Helicopter Ninjas are mostly just the Awesome Helicopter Ninjas of kickball and I'm cool with that.