Paying off a bet … yada, yada, yada

The only comment I’ll provide for this abomination is that I pay off my bets. Carolina 54, Virginia 51. Congrats, Jon Dawson, you magnificient bastard.

My stomach, chest and arms have broken out into a rash. May God have mercy on my soul.

Here’s a nice picture to restore order to the universe:

As always, click on the photos for better (or not so better) views.

And we’re taping a Carolina-Duke podcast in a few; I’ll post it here — and you’re going to want to hear it!

Morning Sports Report; Feb. 17, 2012

EASTERN PLAINS 2A CHAMPIONSHIP NIGHT AT VIKING GYM

Kinston’s boys and girls — each a No. 1 seed — play host to the Eastern Plains 2A tournament championship tonight. The girls tip off the night with a game against Farmville Central at 6 p.m.; the boys face surprising Tarboro at 7:30 p.m. in an attempt to win their sixth straight conference tournament title.

My take: While it’s not that much of a stretch to imagine a Kinston/Farmville Central girls matchup, NO ONE would’ve thought Tarboro — the seventh seed in the seven-team EP2A — would’ve upset second-seeded North Pitt and third-seeded Wilson Beddingfield in the first two rounds of the tournament.

And why would they? Tarboro was 1-11 in the league and 4-20 overall entering the tournament. They’re playing for a chance to make it to the 2A state playoffs with nothing to lose — and that’s always a dangerous combination.

And don’t get it twisted — there’s a lot of raw talent on that Tarboro hoops team, which includes several members of the 2A football championship squad.

My predictions for tonight: Kinston’s girls win 53-41; the Kinston boys win a good ‘un, 73-66.

And come on out to the game: I’m giving away two sets of tickets to the Freedom Classic, which takes place next weekend at Grainger Stadium between Air Force and Navy. In fact, the first person who comes up to me at the scorer’s table and says they read this on the blog will get two free tickets to one of the games.

DUKE BREAKS SOME WUFFIE HEARTS

Duke did it again to a Tobacco Road rival last night as the Blue Devils rallied to down N.C. State, 78-73, at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Duke trailed by 20 points with less than 12 minutes in the game and outscored the Wuffies 37-12 to close the game.

My take: Combined with last week’s unbelievable comeback and upset at the Dean Dome, it’s been a great time to be a Dookie.

THE KID’S LAST GAME WAS AN AWESOME WIN

Thanks to Deadspin for this — Gary Carter’s final hit was a game-winner for the Montreal Expos:

My take: Awesome — just awesome. I’ve watched the video five times and it gives me chill bumps every time. I’m not nearly the baseball fan as some of you are here, but if you can watch that and it doesn’t move you, you have no soul.

And what makes it better is that Harry Carey called it. Freaking awesome.

NBA DUNK CONTEST LEAVES A LOT TO BE DESIRED

Four guys you probably haven’t heard of will participate in this year’s NBA Slam Dunk competition as part of the All-Star weekend activities in Orlando.

My take: No pun intended, but I think it’s finally time for the NBA to admit this concept has finally jumped the shark (see what I did there?). Last year’s event was pretty cool with Blake Griffin participating, but if the best you can do is Iman Shumpert … what the hell are you doing, David Stern?

I’d rather see one-on-one contests between LeBron and Kobe or a hottest cheerleader competition than this. For example — who is hotter, these Charlotte Bobcats cheerleaders:

Or these Miami Heat cheerleaders?

You decide. I report. You click on the photos for a better view.

MARIO WILLIAMS READY FOR FREE AGENCY

Former Richlands High School and N.C. State star Mario Williams is arguably the best free agent on the NFL market this year after leading the Houston Texans to the franchise’s first playoff game and win this season.

My take: And now I begin my prayer — Please, Lord … let Dan Snyder sign Mario to my Redskins. Pretty please. Amen.

The iPod shuffle

In Da Club — 50 Cent

Hello Goodbye — The Beatles

Smokin — Boston

Cool The Engines — Boston

Brass Monkey — Beastie Boys

Nightly News Report; Oct. 10, 2011

OCCUPY WALL STREET

The phenomenon known as “Occupy Wall Street” — liberal citizens, mostly unemployed — is entering its fourth week and is spreading all over the country and the world. Here’s an informative primer from the Washington Post on the movement.

My take: Well … if you’re unemployed and don’t have anything to do, I guess it’s cool to go hang out with other unemployed people and whine a little bit.

Yes, as the writer of the link states, it is appalling that the top 1 percent of households in our country own anywhere from 30 to 40 percent of the wealth.

But here’s the beauty of America and the American Dream: the top 1 percent is NOT keeping you from joining its ranks. Go out and invent something. Work your ass off and earn your way into wealth. Go to school and get an education.

I am nowhere near wealthy, rich or even remotely financially comfortable. But I have worked my whole life to get to where I am in life — and I started from virtually nothing. These lazy “Occupiers” want to whine, cry and protest, with the hopes of … what? I really have no idea.

This is anotherarea I agree with Rep. Stephen LaRoque, R-Lenoir, who basically had an “Occupier” contact him recently — if you want a job, they’re there. So what if it’s not the job you dream about? Work that job until you’re able to GET the job you want.

In fact, Wesley Brown’s well-written feature in Sunday’s Free Press was about the reality that there aren’t enough native workers to work the fields, so area farmers HAVE to get workers — legal and illegal — to harvest their crops. Where are the people who used to work with their hands?

It’s this simple: Life ain’t fair. Get over it and stop whining to those who have worked their asses off to get to where they are in life. They’re not going to share with you — nor should they.

MARIO WILLIAMS OUT FOR SEASON

Houston Texans defensive star Mario Williams — a Richlands High School product who played for current South Lenoir coach Kevin Wilson and later became the NFL’s No. 1 overall pick after playing at N.C. State — is out for the season after tearing his pectoral muscle.

My take: It’s too bad, too, because Super Mario was finding his rhythm after being moved to outside linebacker for the Texans.

One thing is certain — there’s absolutely NO argument about who would’ve been the better overall No. 1 pick: Mario Williams or Reggie Bush, who Texans fans wanted their team to pick. Williams has shown how valuable he is to Houston — and they’re about to find out even more after he’s gone with this injury.

RIP, AL DAVIS

It’s a few days old, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the passing of Al Davis, the architect of the Oakland Raiders and a true football legend, whether you liked him or not.

My take: I sort of feel about Al Davis the way I felt about Dale Earnhardt — couldn’t stand him, but respected the hell out of him.

Sure, Davis’ time had passed a while ago, but once upon a time, kiddies: Al Davis was THE man in the NFL. He created a personna that permeated the entire Raiders organization and embraced being the bad guy.

In the late 80s and early 90s — thanks to their winning ways on the field and to NWA — the Raiders were THE epitome in cool in the NFL.

I did think it was poignant and just downright cool that the Raiders won Sunday and to see the reaction of those closest to him.

HOTTEST CHEERLEADERS IN 2011?

Thanks to FOB Richard Clark for this one — a website named the ECU cheerleading staff the 10th-best in the country. There’s not another North Carolina school in the top 20 and only Florida State (12), Miami (13) and Virginia Tech (17) made the list from the ACC.

Here’s the photoof some ECU lovelies they use in the feature:

As always, click on the photo for a much, much better view of ENC’s finest.

My take: Nice. THIS might be reason enough to get ECU into the ACC, right? The Big East, at least?

Makes me wonder if I should re-start the Cheerleader of the Day feature we did for a while a couple of years ago. Your input?

The iPod shuffle

Sweet Talkin’ Woman — Electric Light Orchestra

I Just Want To Be Your Everything — Andy Gibb

99 Problems (Acapella) — Jay-Z

Dr. Feelgood — Motley Crue

Walk On Water — Aerosmith

P.S.: Check out my column this week on a way for you to get some free East Coast Wings in your belly — simply by retweeting Free Press stories on Twitter. I also muse about that awesome freaking game between Kinston and Tarboro that ended up with the hometown Vikings winning 54-48 in overtime.

Didn’t have a chance to put this in the story … but Tarboro coach Jeff Craddock is a really classy dude. He’d just gone up and down a three-and-a-half hour rollercoaster that ended with his team losing a tough game, but he hung around for 15 minutes after the game and answered every question posed to him by a half-dozen reporters. It’s easy to be classy when your team is winning, but to still be classy when your team has lost a tough game is a lost art. Thanks, Coach Craddock.

Whilest you’re at it, check out my boy Richard Clark’s strong column about men needing to be, well, men. Excellent read.

Cheerleaders of the Day; Jan. 11, 2010

Welcome to today’s cheerleader of the day feature.

Every day, we’ll celebrate our favorite sports seasons, teams and school spirit with tasteful views of those student cheerleaders or professional cheerleaders who represent their respective teams.

Today, cheerleader protagonist Darren Becton returns to the college hardwood for tonight’s ESPN premier matchup between Louisville and No. 6 Villanova:

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For a better view of the photos, click on the pictures themselves. To make a suggestion for a future COTD, leave it in the comments or send me an e-mail to bhanks@freedomenc.com

Also — I’m mulling a new COTD competition, where we’ll choose the best cheerleaders of that night’s games or perhaps run the COTD in a tournament-style format (one contest of all-ACC contenders, etc.). Let me know what you think — still haven’t heard from many of you on this…

Cheerleaders of the Day; Jan. 8, 2010

Welcome to today’s cheerleader of the day feature.

Every day, we’ll celebrate our favorite sports seasons, teams and school spirit with tasteful views of those student cheerleaders or professional cheerleaders who represent their respective teams.

Today, NCAA-sanctioned cheerleaderologist Darren Becton presents us with those who support the University of Washington and Arizona State University:

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For a better view of the photos, click on the pictures themselves. To make a suggestion for a future COTD, leave it in the comments or send me an e-mail to bhanks@freedomenc.com

Also — I’m mulling a new COTD competition, where we’ll choose the best cheerleaders of that night’s games or perhaps run the COTD in a tournament-style format (one contest of all-ACC contenders, etc.). Let me know what you think.

Cheerleaders of the Day; Jan. 7, 2009

For the first time in 2010, welcome to today’s cheerleader of the day feature.

Every day, we’ll celebrate our favorite sports seasons, teams and school spirit with tasteful views of those student cheerleaders or professional cheerleaders who represent their respective teams.

Cheerleading expert Darren Becton has selected fine representatives from the Universities of Alabama and Texas — the teams playing for the BCS championship tonight from the Rose Bowl.

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For a better view of the photos, click on the pictures themselves. To make a suggestion for a future COTD, leave it in the comments or send me an e-mail to bhanks@freedomenc.com

Also — I’m mulling a new COTD competition, where we’ll choose the best cheerleaders of that night’s games or perhaps run the COTD in a tournament-style format (one contest of all-ACC contenders, etc.). Let me know what you think.

Christmas Cheerleaders of the Day; Dec. 24, 2009

Welcome to today’s cheerleader of the day feature.

Every day, we’ll celebrate our favorite sports seasons, teams and school spirit with tasteful views of those student cheerleaders or professional cheerleaders who represent their respective teams.

With today being Christmas Eve — and I’m not 100 percent sure I’m going to post anything tomorrow, since I’m going to be on the road all day — here are some special Santa elves masquerading as cheerleaders from

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GOTTA love Arizona State cheerleaders flashing the shocker!

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Giggity.

For a better view of the photos, click on the pictures themselves. To make a suggestion for a future COTD, leave it in the comments or send me an e-mail to bhanks@freedomenc.com

Cheerleaders of the Day; Dec. 23, 2009

Welcome to today’s cheerleader of the day feature.

Every day, we’ll celebrate our favorite sports seasons, teams and school spirit with tasteful views of those student cheerleaders or professional cheerleaders who represent their respective teams.

In honor of the Poinsettia Bowl being played tonight, Darren Becton gives us group shots of the cheerleaders from Utah and Cal:

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For a better view of the photos, click on the pictures themselves. To make a suggestion for a future COTD, leave it in the comments or send me an e-mail to bhanks@freedomenc.com

And some props to J. Taplie Coile, whose observant skills noticed that this cheerleader from yesterday’s COTD:

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was from Oklahoma State, not Oregon State. Good eyes, dude!

Cheerleaders of the Day; Dec. 22, 2009

Welcome to today’s cheerleader of the day feature.

Every day, we’ll celebrate our favorite sports seasons, teams and school spirit with tasteful views of those student cheerleaders or professional cheerleaders who represent their respective teams.

Today, Cheerleading’s chief expert, Darren Becton, presents beauties from Oregon State and BYU, the teams facing off in the Las Vegas Bowl tonight:

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For a better view of the photos, click on the pictures themselves. To make a suggestion for a future COTD, leave it in the comments or send me an e-mail to bhanks@freedomenc.com

Cheerleaders of the Day; Dec. 21, 2009

Welcome to today’s cheerleader of the day feature.

Every day, we’ll celebrate our favorite sports seasons, teams and school spirit with tasteful views of those student cheerleaders or professional cheerleaders who represent their respective teams.

With the Washington Redskins about to rain down pain on the New York Giants tonight on Monday Night Football, Darren Becton has rained down beauties from Redskin cheerleading corps:

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For a better view of the photos, click on the pictures themselves. To make a suggestion for a future COTD, leave it in the comments or send me an e-mail to bhanks@freedomenc.com