Christmas Basketball is Better Than Thanksgiving Football
Sports |  Source: dunk360.com

Christmas Basketball is Better Than Thanksgiving Football

It's just as much of a tradition.

Football on Thanksgiving Day has become just as much of a Turkey day tradition as the Macy's Parade, passionate political debates, and food comas. No holiday and sport has a better connection with each other.

But over the past years, the National Basketball Association has been catching up with their string of all day basketball on Christmas Day. NBA Christmas festivities have become better viewing than the Thanksgiving Day football games. Here is why.

Five is more than three.
From a pure number standpoint, the viewing public gets to watch more basketball, with five games starting at noon and ending past midnight, than the three games we get on Thanksgiving. Maybe the reason because the NFL knows people are probably past out asleep by halftime of the night game, but whatever the reason, giving more to the public works in this situation. You could technically wake up and watch basketball literally all day with no pauses outside of timeouts and halftime.

You see better teams.
Yes, Dallas and Detroit are first place teams so it was fun watching them this season. But for the past decade and a half, fans had to sit through two games where they know the quality of the teams playing would be poor.

Seeing as the Lions are the Cleveland Browns of the NFC, they will probably hit another five years of irreverence in a season or two. Christmas basketball, on the other hand, gives us NBA Finals rematches, elite teams playing each other, young teams with rising stars to show the public a look into the future, and Walt Frazier's wardrobe.

Thursday Football isn't the best quality football.
With only three to four games to rest, you can't expect A+ football on Thanksgiving Day. There are exceptions to the rule, but that's what they are, exceptions.

Even in a less strenuous sport like basketball, the commissioner office makes sure players are rested for the nationally televised games. The NBA gives teams Christmas Eve off for rest and family time, giving players one or two days off before their Christmas game. Those extra 24 to 48 hours can be the difference between a great performance and an above average one.

Christmas basketball is great as an adult.
This Christmas, I need socks, sweatpants, and shoes. As children, we would play with our new toys on Christmas and eat candy all day.

But now we're adults and we ask mostly for needs and not wants. Those traditions of playing all day with family has changed to enjoying basketball games and talking and laughing all day with family. It's a new Christmas tradition that is, at least, on the level of Thanksgiving football.

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Sports |  Source: bostonglobe.com

Is FIBA Better than the NBA?

A definitive comparison.

Have you been wondering why Olympic basketball has such a strange feel to it?

I'll be honest: That's probably because it's like watching a Texas high school basketball juggernaut compete against a third grade rec team from a Portland suburb night in and night out, but not so fast!

The FIBA international basketball rules play a huge role in this too.

But while these weird international rules may be foreign to most NBA fans, does that mean that they're necessarily worse?

So let's stop wasting time and do what America does best: Try to validate our own way of doing something even though literally the entire world does it differently. Because even though the international field stands no chance of beating the USA on the court, maybe they can best us in the rule books (nerds).

Game Length
The first time I watched olympic basketball, I thought that it was just shorter because nobody plays defense. Then I realized that olympic basketball is literally shorter by a whole eight minutes.

Because while the NBA plays four 12-minute quarters, FIBA rules dictate there be four 10-minute quarters. And you know what? Nobody really gives a shit. So let's keep this one short.

Advantage: Nobody.

The Three-Point Line
Thanks to Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and the rest of the 2016 NBA runner ups out in the bay area, the three point arc has had a recent resurgence in the realm of basketball. So much so that some have actually suggested moving the three-point line back a few inches just to make things harder for teams who rely too much on outside shots.

Trying to eliminate something that's actually making the NBA way more fun? It's almost like the NBA is taking some notes from the NFL's playbook. However, that's beside the point.

What really matters here is that the FIBA three-point line is about .5 meters closer to the basket (.15 meters in the corners).And even though that only translates into a difference of around one and a half feet, we can get up on our high horse here like Americans do so well:

What's the matter, every other country in the world? Can't handle and extra foot and a half?

Advantage: NBA

Time-Outs
If you're anything like me, you universally despise the time out. I want to watch sports! Not a bunch of fat, bald old men yelling at a clipboard while their teams completely ignore them.

They ruin the pace of the game!

And in the NBA, they really ruin the pace of a game. Each team gets six full timeouts a game, two twenty-second timeouts a half, and an additional three timeouts should the game go into overtime.

That's why the last minute of a close game can feel like torture. Inbound. Timeout. Inbound. Timeout.

However, FIBA does things right: You get two full time-outs in the first half, three in the second half, and an additional one in overtime. None of that twenty-second BS. And the possibility for more of this.

Advantage: FIBA

Jump Balls
Over the course of NBA history, the jump ball has given us some extremely comical moments. Poor Nate. He never stood a chance.

But that's what makes the NBA great - whether or not Nate Robinson had a chance to win the tip, there's no way he was going to back away from a challenge. He's tough. He's scrappy. He's determined. He fights for everything that he earns. And what's more American than that?

If that had been in a game being played by FIBA rules, the ball simply would have gone to the team that didn't get it during the last jump ball. Yep: jump balls are simply dictated by alternating possession starting with the team that wins the opening tip.

Kind of sounds like one of my 10-year-old sister's CCD-league games. And let me tell you: Those things are torture

Advantage: NBA

Fouling Out
While I may hate timeouts, I am a huge fan of fouling. I always love to see the creative and strategic ways that coaches use their fouls. Hacking at an opposing player, sending some bench-warming scrub out for the sole purpose of committing a foul, you name it.

I love it.

The only gripe I have is the fact that all fouls in the NBA aren't created equal: while six personal fouls will send you packing, it takes just two technical fouls to create the same result.

But in FIBA, technical or personal, it doesn't matter. You get five of them. And given the lack of defense played in Olympic basketball, players probably have a lot more leeway in the technical department. Just imagine if this guy could commit up to five techs per game.

He would literally have the power to send opposing players and referees home crying. I don't know about you, but that seems pretty fun to me.

Advantage: FIBA

Zone Defense
Ah, zone defense. A staple of whiny pickup basketball babies everywhere.

Is there anything worse than when you're trying to have some fun on the basketball court, only to have some gigantic schmuck planting his ass right under the basket, body-checking and fouling anybody who tries to get to the rim? Thankfully, the three-second rule eliminates the possibility of such a schmuck being present in an NBA game.

FIBA, on the other hand, leaves the door open for nonathletic oafs everywhere: Zone defense is 100 percent legal, and a defender doesn't have to be actively guarding an opponent to just sit in the lane.

Advantage: NBA

Goaltending/Basket Interference
It's a universal rule in the basketball world that the ball cannot, under any circumstances, be disturbed while on its downward trajectory towards the basket.

And in most leagues (NBA, WNBA, and NCAA), there exists an imaginary cylinder above the rim as well, dictating when a ball can actually be touched if it's above the rim.

In these leagues, if any part of the ball is within that imaginary cylinder, it's hands off.

Now, if that was a FIBA game, somebody could just reach up and slap that stubborn ball out of there, because the cylinder doesn't exist in international play. Once the ball hits the rim, it's fair game.

And at first glance, that actually seems pretty cool... if your favorite team has a beast like Deandre Jordan or Demarcus Cousins manning the boards. But if your team isn't blessed with an enormous, athletic freak of nature, then this rule would probably make you pull your damn hair out.

Imagine watching Boban Marjanovic reach up with one of his yeti-like hands and just pull shot after shot off of the rim for four quarters.

Not that cool now, right? So for the sake of small ball dominate teams everywhere, we'll have to wag our fingers at FIBA on this one.

Advantage: NBA

And the winner is... with a final record of 4-2-1... the NBA.

USA! USA! USA!

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Sports |  Source: Business Insider

Celebrating The Holidays Abroad

It's the most wonderful time of the year.

I'm 18 years old, and I'm spending my first holiday season away from home. This experience came four years earlier than expected. It's a little bittersweet, but it's also different and exciting.

I've learned that holidays celebrated with friends or even alone can be just as festive. They're just missing the warmth and comfort of family and home.

Thanksgiving isn't a holiday celebrated in Italy. We worried we wouldn't be able to have a Thanksgiving feast because we couldn't find a whole turkey or cranberries in the grocery stores here. Luckily, Marist has a local restaurant prepare an American Thanksgiving dinner for the students every year.

We got dressed up and enjoyed red wine, turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie. It wasn't the same, but it was nice being with the Fox Family, our family away from home.

Everyone felt a bit homesick on Thanksgiving because we all have our own Thanksgiving traditions; however, we made our own this year. It will certainly be memorable.

Christmas, on the other hand, is a huge holiday here. The lights are already on and beautifully lining the city. People sell decorative wreaths at the weekly flower markets, and Tiger (a European Target) has cheap and cute Christmas decorations on full display.

There's Christmas music playing everywhere now, and the cold is finally starting to settle in. It still feels like Christmas just in another place. I feel lucky to be able to experience this holiday outside of the United States. It's so different in a good way!

I am going to be in Budapest, Hungary on actual Christmas day with two of my friends. Our families are coming to visit after Christmas, and we wanted to travel somewhere else for Christmas.

We plan on going to the Christmas markets in Budapest and having a true Friendsmas. Hopefully we can still get a mini tree to put in our AirBnB and a few small gifts to open. We plan on exploring the empty city on Christmas day and hopefully finding somewhere to eat a Christmas dinner.

It's nice being able to go out as an 18-year-old for New Years. I am going to go to a local bar with a friend on New Year's Eve in Florence most likely. I am excited to spend New Year's in a city because it's much more lively than it is in Vermont.

The holiday season is festive no matter where you are. The homesickness hits me at different points, but I just feel lucky to be abroad and surrounded by such incredible friends. So much to be grateful for, so count your blessings and enjoy this holiday season wherever you may be!

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Sports |  Source: sportsonearth.com

The Cowboys, Giants and Dolphins Go Streaking

Week 12 NFL storylines.

Thanksgiving Recap
Aaron Rodgers didn't play on Thanksgiving, but I'm sure he was watching. It's hard to believe that the Packers and their lead man spent the holiday watching both the Lions and Vikings compete for first place in the division, but in a season full of surprises, this was one of the big ones.

The Vikings continued their downward spiral after a 5-0 start to finish the week with a 6-5 record. Matt Stafford has led the resurgent Lions all season, but it was the defense that came up with a crucial pick of Sam Bradford to set up Matt Prater for a last second field goal.

In the second game, it was an old fashioned NFC East grudge match. Washington out gained Dallas, Josh Norman found a new NFC East enemy in Dez Bryant, and Kirk Cousins had himself a game (set a Redskins record with his third 400-yard game), but the Dallas rookies still found a way to come out on top. Dallas has now swept the season series with the defending NFC East Champs...

Finally, the Steelers finished Thanksgiving with a rout of the Andrew Luck-less Colts. Without Andrew Luck, this game was pretty predictable and frankly not that exciting. Antonio Brown finished with three touchdowns and Le'Veon Bell finished with 142 total yards to finish up the Thanksgiving slate. Such a shame to end the holiday with a bad taste in your mouth, but that's the NFL's luck these days, especially with Thursday Night games.

Gone Streaking
The Miami Dolphins and New York Giants are both currently on six-game winning streaks, but both of their recent wins were not very encouraging. Both teams are currently in the thick of their respective wild-card races (Miami is holding a AFC Wild Card spot, while the Giants are currently atop the NFC Wildcard), yet neither looked like a playoff team on Sunday.

The Dolphins needed a last second stand against a surprisingly prolific Colin Kaepernick (who actually rushed for over 100 yards and almost threw for 300) and the Giants went scoreless in the first quarter, and needed a late game fumble and score from Jason Pierre-Paul to secure a victory against the winless Browns. With games against the Steelers (NYG) and Ravens (MIA), these streaks will be put to the test.

The Seahawks Scored Five Points...
This is why I can't trust this team. A team that has scored 10 or fewer points FOUR times this whole season. One week they look Super Bowl bound and the next they score five points. This team just has a lot of questions. Both teams went scoreless in the second half after Jameis and Evans' two first quarter touchdowns. Embarrassing.

Panthers Flashes
Give the Panthers credit, they have a lot of fight in them. They still show some of the qualities that led them to the Super Bowl last year, but unless some changes are made, they look like one-hit wonders. They have lost FIVE games decided by three or fewer points this year, something that hurt my Giants all last year.

On the other end, Derek Carr still continued his MVP run, Amari Cooper almost ruined my fantasy team (well he did, but I still luckily squeezed out some Draft Kings $), and Khalil Mack had his first career touchdown. If it wasn't for the whole blown lead thing, the Raiders looked to have a solid day.

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Sports |  Source: boston.com

Thanksgiving Football is So Stereotypical

Gluttony, violence, and opinions. Oh my!

I don't like when people stereotype Americans.

Actually that didn't sound right: I don't like when people stereotype anybody, but I especially don't like when people stereotype Americans... because I'm American.

It annoys me when people say that Americans are lazy. When people say that Americans are violent and stupid. Or when people say that Americans are (insert offensive, undesirable characteristic here). WE. ARE. NOT. LIKE. THAT.

Unless said person is basing their image of America off of the All-American combo of Thanksgiving and football, in which case, they hit the nail right on top of the head. There is truly nothing more barbarous, more prehistoric, and more stereotypically-American than watching football on Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is supposed to be about coming together. A time when families who normally live very far apart reunite and have a blast.

Instead, Thanksgiving has become just another excuse to stuff our faces with unhealthy food, sit our lazy butts on the couch, and watch football until all of that turkey makes us pass out (normally before 7 p.m.). What was once an honest-to-god reason to spend time with family is now a representation of what other countries think about when they think about America: gluttony, violence, and being loud.

Americans start every Thanksgiving off doing what we do best: indulging. Oh, there are kids starving across the country and people who struggle to eat everyday? That's so sad, but hold that thought. The 20-pound turkey in our oven is done and I have to start putting out the smorgasbord of other unhealthy, artery-clogging food out on the table so that the people we're celebrating with don't get antsy.

And yes, it's Thanksgiving, so it's totally appropriate to make food for 40 even though only 10 people showed up. Leftoversssssss!

And once everybody is stuffed to the brim with cholesterol and tryptophan we indulge further in the classic American pastime of "here's my (often racist) political opinion, listen even though I know you don't care". Call me crazy, but I would bet money on the fact that this year's typically American here's-my-crappy-opinion-listen-even-though-I-really-don't-know-what-I'm-talking-about moment will be somehow tied to preisdent-elect Trump.

Then, for the grand finale, we plop our lethargic bodies down on the couch and watch a bunch of men run into each other as fast as they possible can, hoping (as much as we may hide it) that we get to see some kind of massive hit or hardcore injury.

Nothing screams "FAMILY!" and "THANKFUL!" more than good, old-fashioned head trauma. What's better for the family experience than watching a bunch of underpaid (yes, underpaid) athletes ruining their bodies and minds for our entertainment?

But all jokes aside, one could argue that football on Thanksgiving is actually the essence of America. The freedom to overeat. The freedom to express your political opinions, no matter how stupid, misguided, or ridiculous they are. The freedom to do nothing and cheer on endorsed violence (which is actually a synonym for football, look it up). And the freedom for NFL owners to unfairly exploit and profit off of their athletes.

Okay maybe not that last one, but still!

Eat up and watch football until your eyes bleed and your stomachs burst, everyone! You're being un-American if you don't.

And honestly, who cares what other countries think about us at this point? We just elected a racist, sexist reality TV star to be run our country, so with regards to public opinion, we can only go up from here!

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Sports |  Source: cdn2.headlineshirts.net

Why Being a Jew During Christmas is the Worst

JUST GIVE A GIRL SOME HAM!

Being a Jew during Christmas time is not so fun. Just because we spawn from the sacred tribe of Judah, (I just looked that up on Wikipedia, so I can't guarantee the accuracy of this historical fact), why can't we write letters to Santa? Seems a little chucked up if you ask me.

While I'm all about throwin' on a yamaka and singing in a language I don't understand, I would like to sing some carols in English and drink hot cocoa as well. #JEWS4JESUS