The Avenue

Peyton, LeBron and the Cubs All Had a Nice 2016, Titans Finish a Respectable 9–7

The Train Daddy is back, as always, bringing sports news, life lessons and politically incorrect talk to you, the loyal reader. Good riddance 2016 and hello 2017. You’re looking sexy, 2017. Oh yeah, turn over and shake that tail, mama, be good to me, honey, because 2016 was, frankly, not very pleasing. I have faith in you, 2017. It’s to be the year of phenomenal sporting events. That’s the fantastic thing about sports in general—no politics, no left or right, just pure competition. Read that last sentence again. Maybe that statement isn’t so true for the NFL anymore . . . nip it in the bud, Goodell.

Take a moment, people, and ponder (meaning “think carefully”) about what you have, where you live, and all of life’s little problems. Not so hopeless, right? I mean, if you’re reading this, you probably live in America, and even America’s worst off have a shot at happiness through hard work! It’s laughable when compared to 90 percent of the rest of the world dealing with true poverty, true starvation and true oppression. Yet people continue to protest, cry, whine and demand change here in the land of the free. In layman’s terms, be thankful you live in America, respect yourself, respect your neighbor, be humble and, dammit, smile. It’s 2017, folks, and you live in America.

cubs-world-series-hugs

So let’s get it on! Let’s break down 2016 and move into 2017. If the media is to be believed, I heard the Cubs won something, and a sports team in Cleveland actually won a championship. They also say people died in 2016—yep, it’s true, famous people and ordinary people alike. One moron named Ryan Lochte was able to embarrass an entire country, because he peed on things and lied. The big news appears to be a reality star named Mr. Trump, who was democratically elected president. There is even a rumor that a seven-foot alien was captured hiding in the mountains of Colorado, surviving on weary hikers. It’s all just speculation, but if I learned one thing, it’s that anything is possible. Let’s take a look at my favorite moments of 2016.

I love entwining sports with politics, crazy stories and patriotism. Does it get any better? I could stick with just sports, rattle off statistics or focus on only football, since that is my sports forte. Enough of you have asked, “Train Daddy, I thought this was a sports article?” This is no normal article, my friends. I am a unique sports writer. I feel that the key to success is having an equal share of people who despise your writing and give you pushback. You can’t say anything these days without offending someone. But life is too short not to laugh, joke and smile. And while I thoroughly enjoy this hobby, my main purpose in journalism has always been to make people laugh. I never purposely attempt to offend. Anything I write is my view on the world. Love it or hate it, I don’t care; just know I appreciate you reading it.

Peyton Manning had a big year in 2016. That’s right! In 40 days he went from being accused of PED use, won his starting job back, played terrible, won a Super Bowl while barely able to throw the ball 15 yards and retired a Super Bowl champ. At least now he doesn’t have to sit around the holiday table listening to his brother brag about having more rings. For now, they’re both tied with two as Eli finishes out his career. Granted, Peyton is sure to be a Hall of Famer. Eli Manning can’t yet say that with conviction.

Let’s not forget the dominance that was and wasn’t the 2016 Golden State Warriors. The sharp-shooting Warriors broke all kinds of records, most impressively eclipsing the ’96 Chicago Bulls for the best regular season record in NBA history, finishing 73–9. A dominant high-scoring team, popping three-point shots from all over the court, led by two-time MVP, the always gracious and humble Steph Curry. The warriors started the season with a 24-game winning streak, yet they couldn’t cap off a magical season, eventually losing to the Cavaliers in the finals. The Warriors did surprise the basketball world this past summer, signing Kevin Durant and creating a superstar-heavy team. Oh my!

I guess this is where I talk about who actually won the NBA Championship. I am no fan of LeBron. I was rooting for Steph all the way, but LeBron did bring it home. Down 3–1 to the defending champions the Cavaliers looked dead in the water. Yet LeBron and company came on hard and tied the series, creating a game 7. It was a thrilling game, and came down to the final seconds. LeBron was a superstar early in his career with Cleveland, then turned traitor and angered the fans of Cleveland signing with Miami and winning back-to-back championships for the Heat. Finally LeBron returned home to Cleveland and brought the city a much deserved 2016 title, he may bring them a few more before he retires.

The Cavs took the NBA championship in 2016, thanks partly to a big-time hustle and blocked shot from LeBron James late in game 7.

The Cavs took the NBA championship in 2016, thanks partly to LeBron James late in game 7.

 

So you all know I hate baseball, yet some sports fans and people out there have told me this is the biggest story of the year: The Chicago Cubs. Yeah, yeah, blah, blah! I get it, it was 108 years, the curse is lifted, Bill Murray was singing, dancing and drunk for weeks after. Sorry baseball, I don’t love you, but 108 years is a long time to be cursed by a goat in a tavern. It’s over now. I congratulate you. OK, enough baseball talk.

In the sports world we lost a few big names in 2016. Tennessee legend Pat Summitt passed away after being diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. She holds the record for most wins in NCAA Division I Basketball. Gone is the man, the legend, the greatest, Muhammad Ali—float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, R.I.P. We also said goodbye to Mr. Arnold Palmer, who made one delicious mixed beverage and was one hell of a golfer—some say the best.

Of course, we all recently said goodbye to Princess Leia Organa (a.k.a. Carrie Fisher), one of the greatest leaders, fearless on the battlefield and dedicated to ending the tyranny of the Empire. Very soon after, Fisher’s real-life mother, Debbie Reynolds, passed away as well. R.I.P.

Kenny Baker

Kenny Baker

In 2016 we also said goodbye to Willy Wonka Wilder, Knock ’em Out Kimbo Slice, and say-no-to-drugs Nancy Reagan. We also lost Kenny Baker, the original actor who played R2-D2. Good riddance, Fidel Castro! We will miss Buddy Ryan, the creator of the greatest NFL defense ever, the ’85 Bears.

These artists didn’t listen to Nancy and say “no” to drugs: the talented David Bowie, Mr. Jitterbug George Michael, the “Okie from Muskogee,” Merle Haggard and the great Purple Rain, Mr. Prince. All of these artists acknowledged, and dealt with, heavy substance abuse.

Maybe people close to you passed away this year. With all seriousness, remember them, live for them. I pray for you and your family if you lost someone. It’s easy to joke about pampered celebrities passing away, but when it hits close to home, you realize how important family truly is.

This may be the biggest news of the year, definitely a game changer in the history books: Mr. Donald Trump was elected president. Some people still cry and complain. They need to stop. Trump was democratically elected to be the 45th president of the United States. Sure, he is a narcissist, a little odd, and has no filter, but he was elected. If he can deliver on these promises, creating jobs, growing the economy and patching up America’s crumbling infrastructure, he has my full support. Cheers!

Thankfully we don’t have to listen to a lying Hillary or a socialist Bernie for four to eight years. Let’s end this welfare state the Dems have created. They want to own your healthcare, your minds and your vote. Okay, I’m sorry, no more opinions on politics. Let’s enter 2017 with Donald at the helm. He may blow us up, he may blow something else up, he may start a reality TV series filmed in the oval office, I don’t know. . . . I do know we all need to be united in 2017. Let’s move forward. You didn’t see Republicans protesting in the streets when Obama won in ’08.

I wasn’t going to discuss the Titans. I was pretty distraught after Marcus suffered a broken leg in December. Titans fans were jacked up, after beating two solid teams in Denver and Kansas back to back. I mean, all we had left was a horrible Jags team and a Texan team with no signal caller, and Titans become AFC South champs, headed to the playoffs. The Jags must have pumped up some juice. They did not look like a 3–13 team; they dominated the Titans and Marcus was carted off the field.

In retrospect, it’s all good now. The Titans outshined all their critics, finishing a healthy 9–7. The future is sweet, and Mike Mularkey deserves a lot of credit. After trading away the No. 1 pick to the Rams last season, the Titans have accumulated a bundle of picks for this upcoming draft. The Titans will have the No. 5 overall pick and another first-round pick. The Titans need to grab a playmaker early at wide receiver. The future is bright, Titans fans—young talent all over, rising stars in the duo Marcus and Henry. I am excited, and I promise you critics won’t overlook the Titans come 2017. They have earned respect around the league after this season. With so much young talent and numerous upcoming draft picks, the Titans are poised to burst out with a magical season very soon.

Congrats Orakpo, Murray, Lewan and Casey for making the Pro Bowl cut.

Mr. Jurell Casey is going to the Pro Bowl

Mr. Jurell Casey is going to the Pro Bowl

 

Tennessee’s nine victories are the most for the team since the 2011 season. The Titans won 5 games combined in previous two seasons.

That’s it, folks! The Train Daddy is ready to roll out the station! I wish you all a truly happy 2017! Let’s focus on uniting this year. Try to understand the point of view of someone you totally disagree with. People seem to love hearing their own voice, I know I do, but I learn to sit back and listen and not always be so defensive. I realized I was more interested in proving someone wrong rather than listening and discussing. I pray we all listen to each other this New Year and give America the respect she deserves. Choo-choo!

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About the Author

The Z-Train is a Murfreesboro resident and enjoys all sports, but bleeds code blue for his beloved Titans, who will one sweet day bring home that beautiful Lombardi Trophy to Tennessee. Always remember the Train's big F's: Faith, Family, Friends, Food and FOOTBALL!

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