By In Stuff

A few birthday thoughts

Today is my 47th birthday which is really strange since last year I turned 20. I thought I was 17 for this story but brilliant reader Michael reminded me that this was in 1987, so I was 20 and in college (but still living at home). I was confusing two different stories. So maybe I really am 47. I seem to be forgetting everything.

Anyway, I was 20 years old. The Cleveland Browns had just beaten the New York Jets in what remains the single greatest sports fan day of my lifetime. The Browns trailed by 10 in that game with three or so minutes left, and they were finished, and I was lower than I had probably ever been as a fan, and then there was an astonishing series of events.

1. The officials gave the Browns an absolutely awesome spot (or terrible, if you’re a Jets fan), giving them a first down when really they were probably a full two yards short.

2. Mark Gastineau committed one of the dumbest roughing-the-passer penalties ever. I remember it being on third down and 495 but that might not be exactly right. The Browns went on to score a touchdown.

3. The Jets recovered the onside kick but decided, for reasons unknown, to run a quarterback draw on third down and the Browns sacked him (in those days the clock stopped on a sack).

4. A sometimes forgotten man in dreadful Jets history, Carl Howard, committed a horrendous pass interference penalty to set the Browns up.

5. The Jets let Webster Slaughter slip behind the defense for a bomb that put the Browns right on the lip of the goal line. The Browns almost celebrated away their chance to win — it was horribly spellbinding watching them dance around while the clock ticked down — but eventually kicked a game-tying field goal.

6. The Browns Mark Moseley missed a chip shot field goal in overtime that would have won it. But at that point the Jets were so defeated they couldn’t have scored if the Browns defense left the field. Moseley got a second chance, and the Browns won the game in double-overtime.

It was perfect. Utterly perfect. Greatest fan day of my life. The Browns were dead and then they were alive and then they were dead again and then they won. I was almost crying with happiness. Nothing that good had ever happened to one of my teams. I was absolutely sure — 100% sure — the Browns were going to the Super Bowl. And for the first 20 years of my life, this was more or less my only life goal. That was the happiest birthday of my life, at least up to that point. I turned 20 four days after the Jets game.

Three days later John Elway led Denver on the Drive and, yeah, the fumble and the Jordan shot and the Mesa game and the Royals and the Chiefs and …

You know that line in City Slickers where they are talking about their greatest day and Phil says it was his wedding day. Then they asked him, “What’s your worst day?” And he says, “every day since is a tie.” There have been a handful of good moments in my sports fan life since I turned 20. But mostly, every day since has been a tie.

* * *

I just got a happy birthday greeting from my credit card company. Didn’t think they cared.

* * *

My wife gave me the single greatest sports birthday present ever today. Well, a few years ago, she gave me a week at Kansas City Royals fantasy camp, which was awesome, especially when I crushed (no, really, crushed) a fly ball that one-hopped the fence (or rolled to it or didn’t quite make it to the fence or — hey, it didn’t get caught). John Mayberry yelled from the dugout, “Big Joe!” It cannot get better than that.

Unfortunately, this led to my lowest sports moment ever, my next at-bat, when George Brett wandered over from his field to watch me hit because he’d heard about my big blast. I looked at a called third strike. I’m sure it was outside. George walked away in disgust.

Anyway, this present might be even better.

I’m going to be playing tennis with John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Mats Wilander and, my personal tennis hero, Ivan Lendl. They’re coming to town for an exhibition and I guess before their matches they put on this clinic with some people and Margo, my beloved wife who knows me better than anyone, got me into the clinic. I’m going to be hitting tennis balls against McEnroe and Connors and Wilander and Lendl. I’m like a kid again. You know, except for that bad back.*

*I’ve never had a massage in my life. I hear people talk about them like they’re good things — are they really?

I should probably mention my one experience with Ivan Lendl. I’ve talked to the other three players before, but Lendl was different. He was playing at a tournament in Cincinnati, this was at the end of his career, and I was columnist in town. I had written something in the paper about how Lendl was my childhood tennis hero. Don’t ask why … I have no idea why I picked Lendl. I liked the way he played, I guess.

As an aside: I don’t think we have much control over things like that — things like who becomes our sports heroes. I went into this Premier League season determined that my teams would be Fulham and Tottenham. Those were two of the teams I visited when I was in London last year, and the people there were fantastic, and the Fulham grounds is beyond awesome, and the Tottenham story is beyond awesome. I had made up my mind. Tottenham and Fulham. My teams.

And the one thing I knew for sure was that I was NOT going to like Arsenal. I figured that Nick Hornby had made liking Arsenal kind of a cliche. Plus, I learned pretty clearly, that Tottenham and Arsenal do not go together (while Fulham is a perfectly fine second choice since no other team really seems to care if you like them or not).

Only this: All year, I have been absolutely mesmerized by an Arsenal player named Mesut Ozil. Have you been watching this guy? He is is like Chris Paul and Wayne Gretzky and Cliff Lee thrown together. Every time he touches the ball, it seems, something magical happens or almost happens or should happen. He constantly makes these ridiculous, brilliant, geometrically gorgeous passes that seem to develop before your eyes like an old Polaroid picture. He pops a pass right over a defender’s head on to a player’s foot. He curves a pass around two guys like it’s on a remote control device. It’s ridiculous how awesome Mesut Ozil is.

I’m constantly stunned by the English lack of interest in statistics — people in England almost never even talk about something as basic as ASSISTS — and that’s a shame because Ozil, from what I can see, is not a goal scorer. He’s a goal creator. He’s this left-footed artist who is playing some sort of four-dimensional game nobody else can follow. And I find myself, against every instinct, loving him and loving Arsenal and, like I say, I’m not sure these things are voluntary.

Anyway, back to Lendl, I wrote that I loved Lendl as a kid, and the next day someone from the U.S. Tennis Association suggested that maybe I’d want to write about Lendl because, you know, it’s not like there are that many former Lendl fans running around. I could be wrong but I think even Lendl had mentioned something to him about it.

So I said that would be great. Unfortunately, Lendl had a match that day, which he lost. After the match, I was the first media person in the interview room. The USTA guy — a good guy who did not want to give up on the dream of Ivan Lendl’s one fan writing a column about him — said: “Before the others get down here, do you want to ask Ivan any questions?”

I looked at Lendl. He had the same look that I think Mike Tyson had before he knocked out Michael Spinks. He had the look that, I imagine, Attila the Hun had before he attacked Italy. He did not look happy.

“No, I’m fine,” i said to the USTA guy.

Lendl almost smiled. Almost. “Good decision,” he said.

* * *

Question about Forest Gump: So in the lamentable plot twist when Forest decided to run back and forth across the country for two years, how is it that the media did not connect that he was a former All-American football player who had won the Congressional Medal of Honor and had played on the first United States table tennis team to go to China?

* * *

So, I’ve known ever since I was a kid that I share a birthday with Elvis Presley. For a while, at work, they would call me “JoeElvis” for this — well, this and for my version of “Love Me Tender.” But I share a few other cool birthdays. David Bowie is exactly 20 years older than me, and Ami Dolenz is exactly two years younger than I am. Soupy Sales and Larry Storch were both born on January 8 as was my favorite confederate general James Longstreet. Bob Eubanks from The Newlywed Game was born on January 8.

In baseball, Hall of Famer pitcher Bruce Sutter and 2000 MVP Jason Giambi were born on my birthday (well, Sutter was born before I was), in football quarterback Billy Joe Hobert was born on my birthday, and and I’m also exactly one year older than R. Kelly.

But the best to be born on my birthday, no doubt, is Jeff Francoeur. He turns 30 today and has already celebrated by signing a minor league with the team of my childhood, the Cleveland Indians. This site has, through the years, provided plenty of updates of Francoeur’s splotchy baseball record and comments about his awesomeness as a person.

Today, we offer only birthday wishes: Happy birthday Jeff. May you lay off that outside slider and may your future be crowded with left-handed pitchers.

60 Responses to A few birthday thoughts

  1. Jan says:

    Happy Birthday Joe. My birthday is today as well.

    • Jan says:

      Even though being a Jets fan is nothing to scream about. I will say the Jets have provided me with 2 playoff victories on my birthday, one vs San Diego and the other against the Colts. Both great games.

  2. Michael says:

    Joe, the Browns-Jets playoff game was in January, 1987, not 1984. I believe it was Jan. 3 or 4 as well. Happy birthday, however.

  3. Jim Haas says:

    Joe: I’m 20 years older than you and a chronic back pain sufferer (and a suffering Twins fan). My advice: get the massage.

  4. Mark Daniel says:

    You may not like massages if you are tactilely defensive.

  5. Happy Birthday! As a person who used to have a bad back, my biggest advice is to never give in an accept it. The people I’ve seen who accept it just get worse and worse until they’re essentially disabled. In my opinion, life cannot possibly be good with a bad back. Back pain kills life. So, try everything until you find something that works. Chiropractic helps, but it can get expensive if you keep going forever. I think it’s great for getting through acute issues and getting back on track. Stretching/Yoga is also very good. The key for me has been continually taking a form of Glucosamine/Chondroiton. I’ve landed on Move Free Advanced (the one with Uniflex). Since I’ve been taking this supplement, I haven’t had ANY problems with my back for 10 years. It does take about three months for the supplement to take hold, so it’s not a quick fix. Lots of people I suggest this to buy the supplement, use it for 2-3 weeks and then stop. That’s not long enough to get the full benefit. The supplement builds up the flexibility in the joints. It does so slowly. So give it three months and you should notice benefits. The longer you continue, the better it is. It’s inexpensive, so why not, eh?

  6. Ben says:

    Just to clarify – it’s not that English fans don’t care about the assists, it’s that we don’t care about the statistics. In 1986 Diego Maradona scored the greatest goal of all time against England, twisting and dancing the length of the field until every English defender was collapsed on the floor in a heap. The same game he cheated and scored the “Hand of God” goal. And statistically they have exactly the same value.

    It’s not that we don’t care about the assists that Ozil creates, it’s that we don’t care about the stat because the game is so much more complex, beautiful, dull and ugly than a “1” in a box every time he was the last player to touch the ball.

    • Jake Bucsko says:

      I am an American who got into the Prem about 5 years ago. I used to wonder the same, but now I know that its because while there will always be players like Luis Suarez and Robin van Persie who grab headlines with their goal scoring (and rightly, they’re both incredible) , a player can just as easily dominate the game in the midfield.

      I adopted Everton as my BPL squad and this year I would say our best player has been James McCarthy, a lad with three assists and exactly ZERO goals. I certainly appreciate Romelu Lukaku’s goal spree thus far, but McCarthy stands out week after week.

    • Spencer says:

      That might be the most pretentious thing I’ve ever read Ben. Not to mention its also a false dichotomy.

      • Ben says:

        Could you explain why it is either pretentious or a dichotomy?
        It’s neither – it’s just the truth. I don’t think it makes English sports fans superior, I didn’t say it as a way of attempting to attach more importance to the way English fans watch soccer as opposed to how American fans view sports. It’s simply inherent in the game. See my Maradona example. If more advanced stats like PER were introduced that might make a difference. But compared to baseball statistics simply don’t matter, partly because baseball is a team sport made up of predominantly individual and measurable performances. Soccer isn’t.

        If that IS, however, the most pretentious thing you’ve ever read, might I suggest you do more reading?

  7. Jake Bucsko says:

    As for your Forrest Gump question, the reason is because it’s a supremely overrated movie that is not nearly as good as you remember it being. It beat out Pulp Fiction and Shawshank Redemption for Best Picture, which seems insane now. Probably the lesser of every Best Pic nominee from that year.

    • Ed says:

      I still love Forrest Gump. It has a lot of flaws, but I can’t help but love it. It definitely should not have beaten Shawshank Redemption, though.

      As for Pulp Fiction… I think I am the only person in the world who finds THAT movie terribly overrated. And it’s not even that I dislike Tarantino — I think Reservoir Dogs, Inglourious Basterds, and Django Unchained are all excellent (although I do not like Kill Bill at all either). It’s just… Pulp Fiction has some undeniably great scenes, but it also has the Bruce Willis and his girlfriend scenes which are painfully bad. To me, it’s more a collection of some great scenes with a few terrible ones than a great movie overall.

      • stevemarines says:

        Ed, as much as it pains me to say it I agree with you about Pulp Fiction. I loved the movie when it came out. I just watched it again this week (it was on satellite) – overall it was no longer interesting and very, very dated.

        I don’t think Forrest Gump was every more than mediocre, though.

  8. Paul Zummo says:

    Ah, the Gastineau game, as I like to call it as someone rooting for the other team in that game. The bitterness of that losts has never faded, even though the other team I root for won the Super Bowl that very same year. Sadly, I think my sports fandom peaked the same year as you, Joe, only I was nine – Mets and Giants win championships, the Jets came close, and even the Rangers made the semifinals. It’s pretty much downhill since for every team I root for except the Giants (and the magical Rangers run in 1994).

  9. Cathead says:

    How cool is it to have a song – “The 8th of January” – named after your birthday. It is an old fiddle tune in celebration of Andrew Jackson’s victory at New Orleans on Jan. 8, 1815. It was later immortalized with words by Johnny Horton in the 1950’s as “The Battle of New Orleans.”

  10. Bill Caffrey says:

    I was 12 years old in January 1987 and making my confirmation later that year. As part of that process I was required to go on an all day religious retreat the day of Jets at Browns. So I recorded it on our top-load VCR (a Quasar).

    I was (and am) a Jets fan. 1986 was quite a year. The previous year they’d gone 11-5 but lost the wildcard game at home to the Patriots. Then in 1986, they started the season 10-1 (including beating Denver, which makes the What If game all the more painful), only to lose their last 5 games (but still manage to host the wildcard game). It go so bad that they actually benched Ken O’Brien and Pat Ryan started both the wildcard game and the game in Cleveland). As an aside, Joe, it was the Chiefs that the Jets beat, 35-15, in the wildcard game to get to Cleveland.

    I got home and started the tape and in the very early going Ryan through a long TD pass to Wesley Walker on a flea flicker and I got very excited. But my dad didn’t have the heart to let me watch the rest of the game so he told me the outcome. It was crushing, but at least I didn’t actually have to sit through the collapse.

    I started following the Mets in 1982, the Jets in 1983 (though i do remember the Richard Todd/AJ Dewey game from the season before) and the Knicks and the Islanders in 1985.

    That’s a total of 120 seasons of rooting (32, 31, 29 and 28 (assuming the Knicks and Isles don’t win titles this year) [hockey 1 less than basketball because of the cancelled season]). I have only the Mets’ title in 1986 to show for my troubles. 1/120. With no reason to think #2 is coming anytime in the near future.

    • Chris M says:

      Wow, getting into the Islanders in 1985 is rough. At least I didn’t get into them until 1991, so there’s a gap between the dynasty years for me. Also, I think God almost every day that my aunt married a guy with Giants season tickets who took me to games as a kid, which turned me into a Giants fan instead of a Jets fan.

      • Bill Caffrey says:

        Yeah, I JUST missed out on the great run. My dad was (and still is) pretty much a baseball-only guy. So I had to come to the Knicks and Islanders more or less on my own. The Jets kind of just followed naturally from the Mets since the Jets were still playing in Shea Stadium at the time.

    • Chris C. says:

      I’m the same age as you – it was the first time the Jets broke my heart, & of course I couldn’t stop crying after that game. I remember going to a friend’s house after the game, hanging out in his room, and when he left the room for a few moments, breaking down in tears again. The swing in emotions for 12 year old me was just too much…the late lead, the blown lead, the Mosely missed field goal (26 yards!) in the first OT, and of course the field goal make in double OT.

      One thing I will never forget – it’s funny what stays in your mind – Paul Maguire was doing the pre-game show for NBC before the week 12 games. And with the Jets 10-1, and I’m guessing at that point the AFC favorite to make the Super Bowl,, Maguire said the Jets would not win another game. I hated him for that like he was a WWF super villain. And of course the Jets finished 10-6 (but winning the wild card game).

      That wild card win was the last Jets playoff win until the 1998 season.

  11. Venu Reddy says:

    Happy birthday Joe! The Royals fantasy camp was in 2004 if you can believe it…

  12. Happy Birthday, Joe…hope it’s a good one. (Always figured us “cool people” didn’t get old…but damned if it ain’t happening.)

  13. wscg says:

    Happy Birthday, Joe! Thank you for all the joy you make.

  14. I’m a middle aged weekend referee. I’m in pretty good shape and never had a back problem but last year I woke up with a pain. I gave it a few weeks of taking it easy but it only got worse. I finally caved in to my wife’s constant barrage of orders to go to a chiropractor (she called this barrage advice). The chiropractor did his snap, crackle, pop thing to my back and told me to come back in 3 days and said I should have electric therapy done also. His office had a complete therapy staff full of machines, trainers, masseuses and I was paying the fee anyway so I said “sure I’ll try it out”. He said to go wait at station 2 and a trainer would come give me the therapy. So the trainer shows up and starts stretching me out. (like you see trainers do to ballplayers before games) I’m fairly limber and athletic for my age but this guy hurt me. Finally he says alright you’re ready to go. I was like what about the electronic mumbo jumbo thing you were supposed to do. He got a surprised look on his face and said wait just a minute. Few minutes later he came back and said I’m really sorry I got you mixed up with someone else we’ll get your electro done now. I had been at this chiropractor for an hour and a half, against my will, and was in pain so I said forget it I’m going home. The next day I woke up and my back felt great so I cancelled my next appointment. After a few days the pain came back so I made a new appointment. I had already put two and two together so when the guy was going to do the snap, crackle, pop thing I told him forget it just give me the stretch guy. Stretch guy puts me through the ringer again and next day I no back pain. Turns out, all along, my hamstrings were getting tight (even though my legs didn’t hurt AT ALL) and pulling down on my hips which made my lower back hurt. Now when I go to the gym I have the trainer there help me stretch. No more back problems what-so-ever. I tried yoga but it didn’t do a thing. That was allot type to just to say you might try having someone help you stretch.

  15. Happy birthday, Joe!

  16. nickolai says:

    Happy birthday Joe! Thanks for being you, and keeping up this marvelous venue for writing on the HOF, baseball, infomercials, movies, daddy moments and whatever else happens to strike you as important. I’ve even gotten my wife (who has no interest in any sports) to tune in on occasion to what you say.

  17. Section 405 says:

    Happy Birthday, Joe! Love your writing, and a tab is permanently opened to your blog on my machine. You have better birthday guys than I do (mine was yesterday) – I get Millard Fillmore, Katie Couric, and Natalie Gulbis.

    Your good wishes for Jeff Francoeur were highly effective – Cleveland just signed him to a minor league contract with an invite.

    A request — when you get around to Bob Gibson in your top 100, please quote Hank Aaron’s haiku “Don’t Dig In against Bob Gibson”

  18. bl says:

    Happy Birthday, Joe! Figures you’re a Longstreet fan. You always have favored guys whose WAR was largely made up of their defensive value. According to Fangraphs his closest career comp is Ambrose Burnside. In fact, their facial hair stats are identical.

  19. Daniel says:

    Happy Birthday, Joe! You share a birthday with my wife!

  20. Andrew says:

    Happy birthday!

  21. ian colman says:

    happy birthday, joe! you’ve made a very wise (if unintentional) choice in supporting arsenal. it’s a good time to be a gooner. oh, and let’s never speak of sp*rs again.

  22. berkowit28 says:

    “I’m constantly stunned by the English lack of interest in statistics. ” Wrong sport for statistics (in England).

    Should you ever develop an interest in cricket, you’ll find a fascination for statistics among fans and media that rivals baseball’s.

  23. wordyduke says:

    Thanks for today’s birthday present, and very best wishes to all the Posnanskis!

  24. Mike says:

    Lifelong Jets fan here, and the double OT loss to the Browns remains the single most painful Jet loss. More than the 98 Championship game loss, more than the 82 Mud Bowl, more than the horrific loss to the Steelers on the Diug Brien game, more than the back-to-back championship game losses in 09 and 10.

    Something about the combo of the 10 point collapse, Gastineau’s penalty, and my belief to this day that they’d have gone on to the Super Bowl if they beat the Browns.

    Still a bit painful. I can still see Freeman McNeil’s TD run and remember how happy I felt.

  25. Tom Wright says:

    Happy birthday, Joe! As a birthday present, we got rid of Jack Morris for you. You’re welcome.

  26. PJS says:

    Happy birthday Joe!

    Same thing happened to me with Arsenal. I decided to start following the Prem a few years ago and decided that Tottenham seemed like a good team to support. Then the games started and by Christmas Thierry Henry (and Wenger) had won my heart. You can’t decide these things intellectually, it just has to happen.

  27. Wilbur says:

    Happy birthday to all who were born on January 8.

    Joe, you are appreciated by those who read you.

  28. otistaylor89 says:

    Happy Birthday Joe!
    I’ve really enjoyed your columns, especially the last few weeks with the countdown.
    And it doesn’t get any cooler than sharing a birthday with David Bowie and The King.

  29. Wilbur says:

    Bob Eubanks and Bushwacker Luke share this birthdate.

  30. After 51 years without a peep out of my back, I woke up to a mildly irritated back. That was 2 years, 2 MRIs, 4 months of physical therapy, two intra-spine injections, 9 months of strength training, 6 months of yoga, 6 months of back specific stretching and calisthenics ago. Oh yeah, and (so far) a year of glucosamine/chondroitin). It is not a lot worse today than 2 years ago, but is certainly not better. Here’s hoping you have better luck than I have so far.

  31. Steve says:

    Joe, I am exactly five days older than you.

  32. John Gale says:

    That George Brett story is hilarious. Like if I air-balled a potential buzzer-beater in front of Michael Jordan. Sorry Joe. Happy Birthday.

  33. Rich Horton says:

    Well, yes, Mesut Ozil is a great player. I know that because my daughter is a big EPL fan. And an Arsenal fan.

    To be sure, her criteria for great soccer players include a few things that aren’t on my list … and by those criteria I’m pretty sure Lukas Podolski is even better than Mesut Ozil.

  34. Eric Haynes says:

    Wait a second! I thought I’ve read every blog by you Joe but I don’t recall a blog about your Royals Fantasy Camp experience. Did I miss that?

  35. BigSteve says:

    I’m much older than you, and I’ve had a bad back longer than you. Try the massage thing. Go to a sports massage place, and get a dude to do it. And not a pretty one. Trust me on this.

    And my other recommendation is yoga. Seriously, it helped my back when nothing else would and I didn’t think I could go on living.

    Oh, and happy belated birthday.

  36. Larry says:

    52 here and 5 years recovered from a bad back. It seems like luck plus I have started working out on my stomach (core). Hope the luck is with you! Bad backs are a constant hindrance to feeling good. The workout stuff sucks, but it sure makes me feel better everyday. Losing weight didn’t happen, but I suppose that would help too. I’ve done the massages, didn’t feel any long term affect. I also didn’t like the time and thought of one (though the masseuses have been great people).

  37. Jesse K. says:

    Happy Birthday Joe! As far as sports go, my love for baseball is exceeded only by my love for tennis. I eagerly await the review of your adventure with those tennis legends.

    By the way, the Power Shares Series website says the Charlotte show is going to be McEnroe, Connors, Lendl and Cash, reprising 1984’s Super Saturday. Another page on the same website says Wilander, not Cash. Do you know which it is?

  38. Michael Green says:

    A belated happy birthday! What a wonderful gift, too.

    By the way, I’ve read that when John Madden would do his telestrator bit, he LOVED to go after Gastineau because he thought he was a selfish phony.

  39. Greg says:

    You can’t do better than Larry Storch and Soupy Sales.

    Singer/songwriter Marshall Chapman also has your birthday. You might like her stuff. She’s a southerner, like Longstreet.

    Happy Birthday.

  40. KHAZAD says:

    Happy Birthday Joe. I am two weeks shy of being two years older than you,( the same birthday as Diane Lane, who I am sure looks younger than both of us) so your childhood stories have always resonated with me.

    When I was 20, I was at game 7 of the Royal’s world series win. As someone who knows KC sports, you know what my life as a sports fan has been since then, up to and including last Sunday when the Chiefs gave away a seemingly insurmountable lead in a playoff game.

    All around though, other than as a sports fan, life is better than it ever has been. After reading about your family over the years, I am sure you would say the same.

  41. Zach says:

    Great minds think alike, Joe. Menut Ozil was far and away my favorite player on the German national team when I recently spent four years in that country.

  42. H. Wechsler says:

    FWIW, yesterday was my birthday as well and as a Phillies fan I am obligated to mention that you forgot Randy Ready.

  43. AlbaNate says:

    One of my favorite of your columns is the “Francoeur Arbitration Case” that you wrote some years ago. It’s a classic, and I hope you rerun it some time.

  44. Brad says:

    As for the back pain, a massage is fine but what really helped me was a spinal decompression. Kind of expensive, but I’m seven years in and still feel great.

  45. Re: back pain. My father was a board certified M.D. in family practice and big believer in the pain relieving treatments, and I’ve seen many chiropractors, from worthless (I won’t lie to you) to great. I’d start with a decent chiropractor. If they insist on X-Rays and try to sell you supplements, I’d be suspicious.

    However, you’re in sports; contact the local teams and ask who they send players to for physical therapy, chiropractic, or massage; once you’re inside that circle, just ask for other recommendations. The best chiropractor I know is in Simi Valley (northwest of Los Angeles), saw my wife on Thanksgiving day after she’d thrown out her back packing. I had to lift her out of the car seat. She went home walking, The problem with chiro and massage is the bad ones tend to ruin the reputations for the good ones, but both can be very effective. Our family orthopedist was team doctor for the Rams back in the 1960s and the physical therapist we used (at nearly an hour drive each way to downtown LA) worked with a lot of the L.A. Kings, but both were recommended through the medical community.

    Good luck,

  46. Eric says:

    Joe, I know Ozil can be mesmerizing, but do you really want to be the guy who starts following a league and immediately starts rooting for the team in first place? What would your friends back in Cleveland say?

    Come back to Tottenham! We traditionally play beautiful soccer, without that dirty stink of bandwagonism that comes with American Arsenal fans. 🙂

  47. tombando says:

    Two words for Joe: Orson Mobley. You’re welcome.

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