I Suppose It Could've Been A Spur...

Hey there peeps. I hardly have enough time to poop anymore, but I thought I'd check in and see how everyone is doing. I see that Tony is upset with the team - sacre bleu! - because they had the nerve to question the severity of his ankle injury.

Maybe the front office is being overly cautious, sensitive as they are to have that luxury tax investment they put into the Jefferson and McDyess signings, and worrying too soon about it the risk. Maybe it's unfair to compare Tony's situation to Manu's. Maybe the front office wasn't worried about the diagnosis at all and just used it as smoke screen to prevent Tony from playing where they otherwise contractually couldn't.

Obviously I would sound like a pretty big hypocrite here if I wrote that I don't want Tony to play after wholeheartedly supporting Manu's decision last year. After all, I compared an athlete being called to play for his country to getting drafted for the military and declining the honor to draft-dodging.

That being said, I don't want Tony to play.

However, I don't think I'm being two-faced about this. The two situations aren't the same. Manu was competing in the Olympics - the ultimate international tournament - he was the captain of a country expected to medal, the leader of the defending Olympic champions, and he was even chosen as the flag bearer of his country in the opening ceremonies.

Tony on the other hand is being asked to participate in some two bit qualifying tournament consisting of a bunch of second-tier European countries and the field is so thin that France is expected to do well enough even without him. If you remember, Manu skipped the qualifying tournament the summer before last and only participated in the actual Olympics (though he was in the World Championships two years before that).

If France qualifies for the Olympics (and again, they probably would, even without Tony), I would fully endorse Parker playing in the tournament, even though France sucks, they have no hope of medaling and they probably wouldn't even beat Turkey if both Turkoglu and Okur are playing.

For other Stampler opinions, clickity click on the jump, as I've got more "talking" to do.

So apparently I'm an adult now, at 31, and I have to say, it kinda sucks.

I have to get up 6:45 every morning to make it to 49ers training camp in time for the 8:30 practice. Needless to say I'm used to getting up well past 8:30, let alone 6:45, so that's a bit bothersome.

Then there's the hour commute each way. That isn't fun, and I'll spare you the bitching about gas prices. The truth of the matter is that I just plain don't enjoy driving very much. It's not something I find very relaxing and I'm definitely not skillful at it. Recently I got a letter from The State of California informing me that it is the official opinion of the California Department of Vehicles that I am "one of the worst" drivers in the state and that I am a danger to other motorists and to myself basically every time I turn the ignition.

The state has warned me to pay far more attention to traffic rules than I have been these past few years and they have strongly suggested that I quit driving altogether. I wish I was kidding. They've basically warned me that if I get one more moving violation I will lose my license for a year.

I wish that I had the DUI excuse to fall back on like most drivers I know under probation, but sadly I don't. I just really, really suck at driving.

No wonder I'm a Spurs fan, am I right? Hey-O!

Anyway, assuming I've made it to the 49ers' complex by 8:30 and without police intervention (5-for-5 so far, knock on wood), I get to start my job, which goes roughly something like this...

8:30-10:30 Watch morning practice. Try to make sense of what's going on out there. Pester the PR guy about injury updates. Formulate sweeping generalizations that will seem stupid three hours from now. Send my editor 10 to 15 emails (20 to 25 words each) about what's happening, most of which is speculation on my part (example - that Frank Gore really looks a lot quicker today!).

10:15 One of the assistant PR guys will ask me who I want to talk to, meaning that they will actually try to pry tired and sweaty professional football players away from their shower or lunch to answer a bunch of my inane, cliche questions (example - "How do you think practice went today?"). I quickly have to come up with a couple of names so that the guys don't think I haven't put any thought into this and that I have no idea what I'm doing. Luckily, everyone I've named so far is an actual 49ers player and not some actor on Trueblood.

(In both cases, plenty of sucking would be involved. Hey-O!)

10:30-10:50 Podium interviews with coaches and maybe the quarterbacks. Every once in a while I manage to sneak in a question among the deluge of professional sportswriters questions. Thus far no one has given me a funny look, so I think I'm doing okay there.

10:50 to 11:10 My 1-on-1 interviews with the players I requested. So far, in three separate attempts I have yet to be given a non-predictable answer to any of my 13 or 14 completely predictable questions. Every guy says he's equally comfortable playing multiple positions. Every guy hasn't been told by the coach what their role is going to be (complete bullshit). Every guy is happy to do whatever they're asked.

11:10 to 11:30 Email my editor 10 to 15 updates based on these interviews ("Coach Singletary said, "The team is really coming along!")

11:30-12:30 Write my daily camp blog for Bleacher Journal where I share my astute observations with devoted 49ers fans across the world (Today's observation: Frank Gore is still good.)

12:30-12:45 Lunch. And it's free! On today's menu, burgers, baked beans and watermelon.

12:45-4:20 Soul-crushing boredom. Basically sitting in the media trailer, staring at my computer, reading about the Eagles (a team I care about but am not being paid to cover versus... well you can figure where I'm going with this), reading Deadspin, Kissing Suzy Kolber, whatever.

While I was done with my "job" at 12:30 - 11:30 technically since they don't pay me to write the blog - I notice that the professional beat guys all around me are busily typing away the whole four hours and I have no idea why. I check their stuff. They have roughly the same material that I do. If they're noticing a lot more stuff than I am they're certainly not sharing it with their readers. Are they saving reams and reams of info for future columns? It's a mystery I'm very curious to solve.

4:20-6:00 Afternoon practice. 90% of my work is done. My editor is sick and tired of me by this point and literally wants no more updates unless someone drops dead on the field. I spend the whole time desperately, pathetically trying to charm my way into the writers' clique.

Here's what I've discovered about sportswriters in my two years as one: Take how jaded and snarky you imagine them being about their jobs, about the athletes and coaches they cover, and about each other, and multiply it by a hundred to have some sense of reality. These guys are merciless to each other (but in a "buddy" way) and to the world around them. There is nothing that can't be turned into a sarcastic quip, a clever turn-of-phrase, or a degrading nickname.

I've already heard a dozen great stories and I can't share any of them.

I've probably missed three hundred others because everyone's a Seinfeld-ish "low-talker" - probably on purpose. These guys have their own language, and I'm trying desperately to decipher it. It might be my imagination but I keep thinking they turn their heads or whisper extra quietly whenever I approach. I'm definitely not in the club yet, but I'm trying.

The most amazing thing is that while these guys seem to be cracking jokes and not even paying attention to the field the whole time, they all seem to notice way more than I do. They all have great reports with the players and can engage them in fifteen minute conversations. They all have memories like steel traps when it comes to the team. Their inside jokes have inside jokes.

It's all very intimidating, but so far no one has told me to stop talking to them, so that's something right?

In other, more depressing news, my Iggles are already royally fucked. Stewart Bradley, their starting middle linebacker, tore his ACL last night and will be out for the season. Bradley slipped on the wet turf during the team's Flight Night! event, a fan promotion they threw at Lincoln Financial Field, they're home stadium so they could get 32,000 screaming no-lifers to watch them practice.

Normally the team holds it camp at Lehigh University, but because of this dumb idea they exposed the players to a wet field that the groundskeepers didn't have time to properly drain and presto, they've lost their third most valuable player. Sure, they did sign receiver Jeremy Maclin, their first round draft pick to a contract today, but with all due respect I'd rather have him hold out the whole year and have a healthy Bradley.

I suppose it could be worse. The Spurs could lose their third most valuable player for the year with an injury, a guy whose name I won't mention, but I think we all know whom I'm talking about.*

Anyway, that's a lot of football news for a basketball blog, and I apologize once again for wasting all your time. For your patience, here's a video...

Head Over Heels: Literal Video Version (via DustoMcNeato)

* I'm referring to Tony Parker of course. Anyone who thinks Tony's better than Manu is a total douchenozzle.

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