Christmas Basketball is Better Than Thanksgiving Football
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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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Family Holidays as Told by the Griswolds

Hallelujah! Holy shit, where's the Tylenol?

'Tis the season for giving, drinking, and dealing with the joys of family holidays. Not only is Christmas Vacation a holiday classic, it's also oddly relatable when it comes to holidays spent with the family members you see once a year. You'll find yourself identifying with Clark on a very deep level.

When your mom first tells you you're going to you grandparents for Christmas and that your whole extended family is joining along too. She's trying super hard to convince herself-and you-that this won't be a shitshow.

Five minutes after arriving to the lovely family gathering and she's already thrown in the towel on acting like you aren't all going to spend the day ahead of you in complete misery. How many times can your grandma call you by the wrong name and why the hell are all your cousins so fucking weird?

Here comes ever family's resident white trash relatives. Sure to pull up in an old beater and spend the next few hours complaining about financial issues that could really be fixed if someone in the family decided they should get a job. There will most likely be more than a handful of cigarette breaks, teenagers included. But hey, at least they provide some form of entertainment and a chance to reflect on just how together your life is in comparison.

You're half way through the day, way to go trouper. But after that hour of listening to your overly religious Grandma discussing the gays and healthcare your head may actually explode. Time to find a dark corner or empty room to hide in for a while.

You're begging your mother to go home and she's trying to tell you it's not that bad, you can make it another hour or so. Little does she know, you literally cannot make it 5 more minutes.

Finally, the time you have been waiting for. The day is over and it's peace out motherfuckers. See your crazy asses at the next family holiday.

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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

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.


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Why Being a Jew During Christmas is the Worst


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

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Why I Hate Black Friday

I will not be busting any doors, thank you very much.

Thanksgiving is one of my all-time favorite holidays. Being 400 miles away from home for the majority of the year is hard on a girl who puts a lot of value on family and family time. On top of that, I'm an athlete in a fall sport, which takes up all of my weekends.

Thanksgiving is usually the first time I get to go home during the school year, and I get to see my entire family at my aunt's annual Thanksgiving dinner. I love the feeling of giving thanks, and I get to be thankful for a ton of things. For no school, for my family being together, for seeing my little brother for the first time in months, and of course for my uncle's amazinggg turkey. It's what the holiday is about.

Until the next day, when the sentiment of Thanksgiving disappears faster than the iPhones on sale for Black Friday.

I never have been a huge shopper, but I don't think that contributes to the fact that I simply don't understand, and pretty much loathe, most things about Black Friday. Thanksgiving is a time for being thankful for the things that you have, and being happy with, and about, those things. That's of course something that should stay in our minds all year long, but I'm sure it slips all of our minds sometimes.

Either way, let's break down the door to Target at 3 a.m. and spend hundreds of dollars on all the things we don't have...RIGHT after the day we've dedicated to being grateful for all the good things we have going for us. Naturally.

Call me incredibly old-fashioned, but it blows my mind. What bothers me even more is that some Black Friday deals begin on Thursday, the actual day of Thanksgiving. Sorry there Uncle Drew, could you box me up some turkey? Gotta cut dinner short. There's an electronics blowout at Walmart and I need me a Bluetooth speaker. #thankful

It makes my head hurt. News stories will float up the next day about how many people were injured (or killed...) on Black Friday because of overly-competitive shoppers. I remember seeing videos of people practically breaking down the doors to retail centers and poor employees nearly getting trampled. People buy stuff simply for the fact that it's on sale.

In my opinion, this "holiday" basically provides shoppers with an excuse to cause massive traffic jams, storm storefronts like armed soldiers attacking a fortress, and behave in a deplorable manner to other people. It's a bloodbath. May the odds be ever in your favor.

My family shares my resentment towards Black Friday shopping, so we've never been among the queue of campers lined up outside Best Buy at 4 a.m. A few years ago, on Black Friday, my mom and I went out shopping on a whim at around 11 a.m., long after all the good deals were gone. We hit Macy's at a big mall near my house, and when we walked in, we stopped and surveyed the women's clothing department - or rather, the wreckage that might have once been the women's clothing department.

Racks were picked over, sometimes bare, clothes and hangers were strewn everywhere, and a few employees looked genuinely exhausted. I was mildly terrified for my and my mother's well-being. I nabbed a pair of leggings, Mom found some reading glasses, and we walked out in less than 20 minutes. We've never gone again.

Now, I realize some families have Black Friday shopping traditions and make a whole day out of waking up early, grabbing coffee, and waiting, shivering, in line to grab some holiday gifts a little early. They make it about togetherness, focusing on spending time with the family and having fun together. I think that this aspect of Black Friday genuinely reflects the idea of being thankful for the people in your life, and spending a fun (and maybe a little dangerous) day with them.

But when you start knocking people down to grab the last Keurig, screaming at employees that they're all out of the advertised Beats, and otherwise making a shame-worthy fool of yourself in the name of Black Friday deals, then I begin to have a problem.

Enjoy the Thursday with your loved ones, or with whomever you decide to spend the holiday. Enjoy the whole day, and don't cut it short and prioritize shopping over being thankful. Instead of shoving people aside to grab yourself that aforementioned Bluetooth speaker, relax yourself and get it as a Christmas gift for your brother.

Make it a day spent with your mom, whom you probably haven't seen in a while, being away at school. Or make a different tradition! Decorate the house for whatever holiday you celebrate. Make hundreds of cookies. Spend the day watching movies with your family.

If you do go out on Black Friday, keep in mind the spirit of the holiday, which is one of giving, and of thanks. Aha!

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The NFL is Still Better Than College Football

Even with all the digs at the NFL's product.

Baseball might be America's pastime, but that's not what most people would say is their favorite sport. Even with this year's MLB postseason being the most watched ever, there is way more people watching football: both college and pro.
NCAA football and the NFL are both immensely popular. And a lot of people wonder which is better. But whenever someone says college football reigns supreme, they're wrong.
The NFL is a collection of the best college football players. Sometimes, there's athletes who didn't play college football, but they're still elite athletes. Think of the NFL as a collection of college football's best players over the course of the past several years, because that's what it really is.
While the athletes on the field are far superior, there are things that hinder the quality of the product, such as suspensions. The NFL has taken a lot of heat over the way they handle suspensions. They will suspend a guy just one game for domestic abuse (Josh Brown) and then suspend another for four games because of air pressure (Tom Brady). Josh Gordon missed two seasons for smoking weed. We get it. That's terrible judgement.
Thursday Night Football is weak, and so are these morning London games that screw over fan bases. But the skill level is just far superior where people need to take all the excess baggage that comes with the league.
With all this being said, just take a look at college football for a moment. Tim Tebow was great at it. He ran a great read-option in college. Some teams run a triple option and don't even really have a quarterback. They don't have a guy who can throw and they rely upon trickery to gain yards.
Would that work in the NFL long term? Could a team fly just running the ball with a quarterback whose arm is suspect at best?
Probably not. NFL defenses would swallow those guys up. They make their reads and they're well-coached to stop those kinds of plays. So why does it work in college? The players just aren't as good.
There's 100 something FBS schools. There's even more FCS schools. A lot of these teams have 130 players. That's a lot of guys. There's only 30 NFL teams and 53 spots. Exactly 45 guys dress on game day. That's a lot less players. They're older and devote more of their time to the sport. What does that lead to? Better players.
Obviously, there's a lot of people who love college football, and that's fine. But when they say it's better than the NFL, maybe "better" is the wrong word.
The NFL might not have integrity. But it does have skill. And it will forever be better to watch.