The Blog About Nothing 5/29 Edition

Logo BANWelcome to another edition of The Blog About Nothing! May has come to an end, and the NBA Finals is soon to kick off. The Cleveland Cavaliers will face off against the Golden State Warriors. The NBA playoffs has been a bit of a bust when it comes to excitement, so let’s hope we get a real nail biter of an NBA Finals. So, while I sit here listening to The Weeknd‘s new single, The Hills, I’m going to craft together a blog worth reading. We good? Let’s do this!

The NBA Finals kick off on June 4th and I have to be honest: the NBA playoffs have been a bit of a bust. Other than a weekend of buzzer beaters, and two playoff series that went the full 7 games, the NBA playoffs haven’t been that exciting. The Los Angeles Clippers blowing the second round series against the Houston Rockets stands out as a highlight, but it was pretty disappointing to see both conference finals series end with a whimper instead of a bang. The Cavs swept the overrated Atlanta Hawks (yeah I said it) and the Warriors dispatched the Rockets with ease in 5 games. How disappointing.

The playoffs so far featured more sweeps than Game 7’s, and star players coming up injured therefore ruining what could have been potentially good matchups. However, all that is behind us now and the NBA Finals are upon us. I’ll stick with the Cleveland Cavaliers since that was the team I predicted would make it to the Finals out of the East, and I think they beat the Warriors in 6 games.

lebronWhile I like Steph Curry, as both a player and as a person, and I’d be more than happy to see him win, I think LeBron gets his 3rd NBA title out of 6 chances. LeBron’s legacy is on the line here. Look he’s a transformative player, and he’s probably the best player in the NBA since the days of Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan, but it’s hard for me to sing his praises with his 2-3 NBA Finals record to date. To be great you got to win the rings, and if the Cavs do lose to the Warriors, and LeBron falls to 2-4 then I would politely ask all those people who rate LeBron over Magic and Michael to shut the fuck up forever.

Your beloved King James wouldn’t rank in that class with another Finals loss and I think he knows that. That’s why I expect him to will a banged up Cavs roster to victory. It’s his first season back in his hometown, and even though he didn’t expect to get the Cavs to this point, this fast, he’s got to step up even more than he has in these playoffs. He doesn’t need to be perfect but he’s got to be damn close to it. So, once again, I think the Cavs take it in 6. Hopefully, it’ll be 6 great games to what has been a bore of a postseason.

Spelling Bee 2015Moving on, you know what really grinds my gears? What really gets me annoyed with competition? Ties. Unless it’s in soccer, I hate ties. There should be a clear victor. So this morning, I’m a bit unhappy that the Scripps National Spelling Bee ended in a tie. What? Earl? The National Spelling Bee?

Yes, I watched the Bee last night and I was unhappy that it ended in a tie. First of all props to Gokul Venkatachalam and Vanya Shivashankar for being co-champs. Those two young dynamos put on a masterclass in spelling that left ordinary people such as myself feeling dumber than rocks. I participated in spelling bees when I was in school. I did well enough, however there is no way in hell I would have came even close to what those kids did. I never even heard of the words that they were spelling with ease.

They were smart, charming, and little Gokul has himself some swag with his approach to knocking out those words. That’s why I was bummed it ended in a draw. The way those two were going, they could have been spelling all night and that’s what it should have been. It should have been a fight to the bloody finish. Let me explain. In the Spelling Bee once the field has been whittled down to the final 3 contestants, they introduce 25 championship words. Once they go through those words, either the other two contestants have eliminated themselves, or they declare co-champions.

Gokul and Vanya weren’t eliminated and they share the spoils of victory. Now, I only watched the Bee because there wasn’t anything else of note to watch on television last night but I was highly entertained. Most of those kids out there last night showed a lot of personality, and honestly you never know what these kids may become. They clearly are super intelligent human beings. You might have seen the next President, or big business person up there. It’s like a weird glimpse into America’s future when you watch events like the Spelling Bee, or my personal favorite since it was my favorite subject in school: the Geography Bee.

So, to Gokul and Vanya I say congrats. To ESPN, I say thanks for airing the National Scripps Spelling Bee. However, to the organizers I say: find a way for breaking the damn ties. Two years in a row there has been a tie and it ain’t fair. One winner. Spell off to the death!! Or something like that …

Fifa, I want to touch briefly on the controversy that is a part of a sport that I love: soccer. To what the world calls football, the organizing body of the sport, FIFA, is under some controversy. The United States and Swiss goverments are conducting two seperate but cooperative investigations into corruption by heads of the North and South American football associations, CONCACAF and CONMEBOL respectively. Other figures are involved but the primaries who have been indicted come from those organizations.

Now I won’t go into some faux outrage here. FIFA is corrupt. This is known, just as we know water is wet. Unless you boil it into vapor, or freeze it into a solid. We know this. President Sepp Blatter might win a 5th term but he is corrupt. His minions are corrupt. Why? Look at decisions like awarding the 2018 World Cup to Russia. A nation rife with racism, and political corruption of their own. Yes, that seemed to be a smart choice. If that doesn’t bother you then what about awarding the 2022 World Cup to Qatar?

Look, I can be wrong but something about 2022 Qatar felt wrong to me the day the vote went down to award it the World Cup. Qatar is a tiny nation of 1.8 million people. Of that over 1.5 million are foreign workers who live under deplorable conditions. It’s a nation that is 164th in size in the World, and honestly it’s a fucking inferno to play sports in. They have to build stadiums in oppressive heat, and then you have to fill them. In a nation which averages about 120 degrees during the month the Cup is played, that was such a no go that a traditional summer event has to be moved to November or December just to accomodate it.

Of course that was a decision FIFA made AFTER awarding the Cup to Qatar. I mean, after they properly hid the dirty money they were given. Oops. I’m not the FBI or the Swiss so I can’t prove that but I sure hope they do. I’m not so pie in the sky dreamer, and I’m more cynical than most so my gut absolutely believes nothing substantial will come from all of this, but in the little piece of hope that I do have, I hope Sepp Blatter et al… are nailed to the wall and FIFA can start again.

Wait? Who am I kidding? They’ll probably just get rid of these band of crooks, just to institute another. Cynical Earl just couldn’t end this blog on a high. I couldn’t. I have to be real. This whole thing is great for the Bob Ley’s of the World, and for people who want to see men like Jack Warner get wrung through the system but nothing, and I mean nothing, is going to come from this. There’s too much money involved, and the real money men, are going to protect theirs. Just wait and see.

I’m done. Thanks for reading and thanks for supporting Peace.

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About Earl (EJ) Brewster 284 Articles
Born, raised, and still reside in Brooklyn, New York. I'm in my mid 30's, and I love sports, music, politics, and blogging about real life. You can find me on Twitter at @EJ_Brooklyn_Own


  1. Earl,

    Another “back-flip” goal here.

    Granted that FIFA has a corporate culture and is rotten to the core, is it wrong to choose Qatar as the championship site? Would you eliminate any country because it is small? Or hot? Or — as in the case of Russia — corrupt and politically unstable? (Note that there is corruption in most of the bodies that oversee popular sports — as well as other activities including entertainment.)

    There may indeed be valid reasons for choosing sites other than Qatar or Russia, but that does not seem to be publicly discussed. The impression I get from you is that (world) football should take the position that “We are football. Don’t even apply if you are not a major player in our game.”

    Or should there be room for the hot, the small, the politically inept to participate in the (frequently profitable) events of the big players?

  2. You know something? I have no problem with countries off the beaten path, so to speak, applying for the World Cup as long as they have the infrastructure to properly host it.

    My issue with Russia is really just the racism issue. There is a history there of black players, being taunted like animals. Banana peels and the like thrown at them. For a nation with a noted history, and an ugly history of racism and hooliganism, I wouldn’t award them the honor. However, they are a large country, with the stadia, and the ability to host. So I have no real beef with Russia OUTSIDE of my own feelings towards racist treatment of black athletes.

    As far as Qatar goes they don’t have the infrastructure. They are building everything from scratch. That means all the stadiums, hotels, and means of transporting all the visitors that they will have to and from each event. Also, I need to be honest they have no history in the game. None. The only thing Qatar is known for in the world of athletics is paying people to take their citizenship and represent their nation in the Olympics and now the World Cup.

    All Qatar is good for is throwing money at people. So, no they don’t deserve it. Not a shot.

  3. EJ —

    Thanks for your article and your response. I am in large part in agreement with what you say. I do have a few reservations regarding the criteria you propose, however.

    I’m glad you backed off somewhat of your stand on having Russia host the World Cup. It’s not that I love what Russia has done currently or in the past, but the argument that it has racism as part of its culture does not separate it from other societies. Many societies demean those with African ancestors around the world. Jews, Serbs, Kurds, and many, many others have suffered the slings and arrows of prejudice in many countries which haven hosted the World Cup in the past. Why single out Russia? The United States, for example, has arguably a worse racial record than Russia and yet was a host once.

    The infrastructure argument is also a difficult position to take. Small countries are (in general) unlikely to have the infrastructure to host a major world event (unless they are independently wealthy due to very generous amounts of natural resources). Would you recommend that FIFA or the World Bank help small, poor countries develop the “proper” infrastructure? Or how would you design things to be sure to include them in world activities?

    The infrastructure of the USA when it was host might have been an issue in the minds of some. The accommodations for attendees — both participants and spectators — was adequate. But the playing fields were marginal. Thankfully the fields for American football could be remarked in many cases as (world) football fields. But as many on the world stage remarked, it was an awkward adaptation.

    In this case, perhaps Qatar is not the best example for a discussion of infrastructure insufficiency since despite the size of the country, it has wealth from its natural resources. But how about El Salvador, Lesotho, or the Maldives? Should we just write off the small and poor from participating in an activity which has the attention and support of most of the world?

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