Friday, May 11, 2012

Bill's SportsBinge Summer Preview: NASCAR, The Storm and LL Cool Ray

Posted By on Fri, May 11, 2012 at 12:36 PM

The Tampa Bay Storm in action.
  • The Tampa Bay Storm in action.

Prom, Senior-itis, caps 'n' gowns, awkward breakups ("So HCC is, like 20 minutes away and stuff? I think we owe it to ourselves to be free"), awkward yearbook entries ("I didn't really know you, but we did have a few laughs in...Statistics, was it? Okay, bye") and for the rest of us grown-ups with electric bills and alcoholism, second degree burns from the steering wheel.

Ah, summer is here. (No, spring was canceled, sorry.) So, what kind of half-assed sports writer would I be if I didn't at least make a feeble attempt to help out the average sports fan in this otherwise sleepy sports season? A third-assed one at best? Break out the sun block and throw the weiners on the grill. It's your 2012 summer sports guide. This year, 80 percent man-thong free!

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LL Cool Ray. What's better than a Saturday night watching our beloved Rays under the gentle fluorescent hum of the Trop? Sticking around for the post-game where-are-they-now throwback shindig, that's what. This year's Summer Concert Series is chock full of ’70s and ’80s greats from the artist whose name I cleverly punned on, to ZZ Top, Earth, Wind & Fire, and... the Wiggles. Hold on...'click'...'click'. Ooookay, here they are. Um, yeah, I think they're an Australian version of Raffi or something. Grab some buddies, stuff your booty into those old parachute pants and totally get your rad on.

Speaking of where-are-they-now, get your football fix at the Ice Palace as the Tampa Bay Storm battle it out against such hated foes as the Milwaukee Mustangs, the Spokane Shock and the Denver Donkey Punch (I made one of them up...take your time). While you're there, you can enjoy your favorite college heroes such as UF Champion Chris Leak (Jax), USF's Matt Grothe (Tampa), and many many more (actually, that's it). Take a date for as low as 12 bucks a pop and have plenty left over to treat her to a steamy dreamy mound of Krystal's chili-cheese pups. Share a fork and you can thank me for the second-base make-out session later.

Boogity, boogity, boogity! Let's go racin', boys! For those of you who have no idea what that means, I'm not having an early onset of Alzheimer's. It's Fox's own Darrell Waltrip's battle cry before a NASCAR race. "Turn left, turn left" can still be heard from the ignorant cynics that have pathetically convinced themselves that joke is not only fresh, but funny. We get it. It's not for everybody. But nothing better defines the barebones primal essence of competition than a race. Every snot-nosed kid on this planet has looked over to a buddy at least once in his life and shouted, "Race you to the drinking fountain!" Boom, game on. Well, some of those kids went ahead and growed up and swapped their sneakers for a 200-mile-an-hour rocket strapped to their butts to race for pride, money, groupies, and fame. I'm pretty sure they're oblivious to your "driving in circles" standup routine. But please, enjoy your pseudo-intellectual circle-jerks. I hear the cartoons in The New Yorker are delightful.

Is soccer your thing? Because if it is, I have it on fairly good authority that the Tampa Bay Rowdies still have a team and play all through September with uniforms and everything. Yes, I'm aware of the irony of getting defensive about a bootlegger's sport followed by piling on the most popular game in the world, but I freely admit I just don't get soccer and never will. And it's no secret my view is shared by most Americans. They tried it with Pele when I was a kid, then another time with David Beckham and his hot cyber-wife and the hype just never took. And it never will. Sorry, world, it's like the metric system. It just doesn't do it for us. But hey, if you're into a long night of a scoreless tie, there's a place where everybody knows your name. All 12 of them (sorry).

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Got Olympic fever yet? Me neither. But like karaoke and bowling, everybody makes fun of it until they're dragged in. Then before you know it, people are shocked to hear themselves saying, "How about those curlers!" The Summer Games begin July 27th in jolly old London, England. Gymnastics, diving, fencing, badminton (seriously), and of course, beach freakin' volleyball. Come for the opening ceremonies, stay for the sandy bikini bottoms. It's your patriotic duty. USA! USA!

That should be enough to get you through the dog days before football rolls around again and we can start bitching about the Bucs. Until then, stay cool, stay thirsty and for God's sake stay away from the malls. You'll weep for the future of this country, I shit you not!

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