Op Ed

Happy Thanksgiving From A Green, New York Sports Fan…


…who’s very thankful DESPITE being a Green, New York sports fan!  One could expect I would be cynical, sarcastic, and downright ornery this Thanksgiving, given the challenges 1) the world faces (or, largely ignores) in reversing the Climate Change Train and 2) of being a Jets/Rutgers/Knicks/Yankees fan (OK it ain’t THAT hard on the Yankee front).  

But, even though getting/keeping a Price on Carbon is proving beyond difficult, even though we’re observing the first anniversary of the Butt Fumble, even though Rutgers Athletics had more self-inflicted wounds than thought to be humanly possible in one year, even though the Knicks are on a 7 game losing streak, even though Yankee fans had to endure a 3rd Red Sox World Championship in a decade (what, you thought I was actually going to show Big Papi getting a big hit? Not. Gonna. Happen), I am thankful!  

No, I’m not kidding! So, with that lightness of spirit, I give you the first annual GSB “Top 10 Things To Be Thankful For In My Green/Sports World”–5 sports and 5 green items on the menu.

  1. The Jets are still relevant (if barely).  I know, the Jets are on a 2 game losing streak, are under .500 for the first time this year (5-6), and have endured awful quarterback play the last 5 games from rookie Geno Smith (wait a minute, I feel cynicism building) BUT the expectations were so low before the season (ESPN had them rated as the worst team in the league, many experts thought they’d finish with 3-4 wins) that I thought the Jets would be out of playoff contention by Halloween much less Thanksgiving.  But, here they sit, in a tie for the last playoff spot (the tie-breakers don’t work in their favor, true) on Turkey Day, having beaten two of the NFL’s elite (New England and New Orleans) along the way.  Any Jets fan, including this one, would’ve signed on for that at the beginning of the season.  So I’m thankful for Jets Relevance!
  2. Renewable energy continued its strong US growth.  Many states, both red and blue, stepped up in 2013, in the face of sometimes strong opposition from Big Oil/Coal, to increase renewable energy standards.  This has helped both wind and solar continue their impressive growth rates.  Check this story out from the Sierra Club on 10 Clean Energy stories to be thankful for!
  3. The Red Bulls Are One NY Team To Be Proud Of.  The media, rightfully, is bemoaning the putrid play of New York’s sports teams–the 4-7 Giants are toast, both the Knicks and Nets NBA “Ships Be Sinking”, the Yanks didn’t make the playoffs, the Mets–all you need to know about the Mets is that their signature star, Matt Harvey, is out until 2015.  The Rangers are 13-12 (over .500!!!) and in 2nd place in the Metropolitan Division but the area’s two other NHL clubs, the Devils and Islanders, are languishing.  That the 5-6 Jets are considered somewhat of a success story in NYC sports is a reflection, at least in part, on how bad the rest of the NY clubs are.  Often left out of the discussion are the Major League Soccer Red Bulls since MLS gets next to no attention in these parts.  This is a shame because 1) the Red Bulls, after being lousy for most of their 19 year existence, are very good–they won the Supporters Shield trophy for having the best regular season record (ok, they lost in the quarterfinals of the playoffs), 2) they play in a terrific stadium, Red Bull Arena, that has great sight lines–you’re on top of the action–and is quite green, 3) the atmosphere is FUN (Barclays Premier League style singing from the Supporters’ Sections throughout the game–without violence), and 4) Ticket prices are very reasonable.  I know, I know–MLS is not the Premier League in terms of quality–but SO WHAT!  It’s getting better, it’s easily accessible and it’s live.  Let’s Go RED BULLS!  Plus check out reason #5 if you’re into the Premier League.
  4. Sheldon Whitehouse.  In a recent GSB post I called the democratic junior senator from Rhode Island “a hero” for his weekly speeches on the senate floor about the need to do something significant NOW to fight climate change.  Also this year, Whitehouse launched, along with Representative Henry A. Waxman (D-CA), the Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change Its goal is to “focus congressional and public attention on climate change and to develop effective policy responses to this urgent challenge.”  I applaud Senator Whitehouse and hope he will be on this list next Thanksgiving, with some legislative successes to his credit.
  5. BPL on NBC.  In April, NBC bought the broadcast rights to the Barclays Premier League (BPL) for $250 million over 3 years, wrestling the games of the top level of English Soccer from ESPN and Fox. The announcers are fantastic (even though ESPN’s Ian Darke didn’t move over to NBC), the production values top-notch, and the matches, despite the occasional nil-nil snoozer, have been compelling.  The strong ratings to date seem to justify NBC’s investment.
  6. The SOCCKET.  The soccer ball from Uncharted Play that generates energy to power lights in underdeveloped areas (how cool is THAT?!?!) continued its strong growth in 2013.  The production run was upped from 9,000 to 50,000.  State Farm continued its sponsorship.  Plans for a jump rope (designed on a 3-D Printer) that generates power are moving forward.  THE SOCCKET ROCKS!
  7. Fantastic NBA Finals:  This series lived up to the hype:  Miami Heat vs. the San Antonio Spurs, the two best teams, with both playing at an incredibly high level over 7 games.  LeBron James for the Heat vs. Tim Duncan for the Spurs.  Dwayne Wade, injured, tried to gut out one more trophy for the Heat.  Kawhi Leonard, an up and coming star for the Spurs, worked to push his club over the finish line.  The first 5 games were blowouts that featured spectacular play by the winning team in each contest.  The Spurs led, 3-2, coming into Miami for Game 6 and were up 5 points with 28 seconds left.  LeBron hits a 3.  Spurs by 2.  Leonard gets fouled, makes only one of two free throws.  Spurs up 3.  Heat miss a 3, but Chris Bosh gets the rebound for Miami, kicks it out to Ray Allen, who nails a 3 to tie it with 3 seconds left!  Overtime.  The Heat win it in OT.  Series tied 3-3.  Both teams were tired for Game 7, which was a seesaw affair.  Finally LeBron and Wade make big plays down the stretch and the Heat survive and win the title.
  8. EPA’s Tough Emission Limits on Coal-Fired Power Plants:  President Obama made a largely ignored but important speech (termed the greatest by any president on climate change by Al Gore) in July in which he proposed major rules changes, through the EPA, that will limit carbon emissions from coal plants, as well as other measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  Big Oil/Coal is fighting it, hard, so it must be a big deal.  But the bet here is that the regulations will largely stick and so any new coal fired power plants will have to have carbon capture technology in order to be approved.
  9. The Jets Aren’t Playing Today.  If there’s a Butt Fumble today, it won’t be by a Jets QB.  I can go to my Thanksgiving dinner RELAXED.  Unlike last year, when the Jets were embarrassed  by the Patriots on Thanksgiving Night in the Butt Fumble Game, today there will be no worrying about the Jets, no scheming about how to excuse myself artfully from an interesting (or not) conversation about Obamacare or the controversial French film Blue Is The Warmest Color to watch the Jets.  Don’t worry, football will be a part of my Thanksgiving (Detroit 17, Green Bay 10 2nd quarter, as I write; Dallas-Oakland to follow, mostly after dinner, and then I will likely fall asleep in a tryptophan-induced haze during Baltimore-Pittsburgh)–it will just be Jets-Angst-Free!!!
  10. GreenSportsBlog Community.  It may be cliche but a big THANK YOU to  GreenSportsBlog readers, commenters (keep ’em coming), and interview subjects.  Also special thanks to Elyssa Emrich, our GSB Midwest Correspondent.  We’ve gone from 0 to 400+ subscribers since May.  The interest in the intersection of Green & Sports–and in the blog itself–continues to grow.  And for that I’m very thankful.  Have a happy and safe and green Thanksgiving and thanks for reading GreenSportsBlog.

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  1. […] Thanksgiving, GreenSportsBlog readers! A year ago, we ran a “Happy Thanksgiving From A Green, New York Sports Fan” column. Because the state of New York sports is so putrid (aren’t you, like me, thankful […]

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