Your Monday Reality Check: This is just plain awkward at this point

August 20, 2012 | Glenn Clark

For me, it was probably my 15th birthday party.

ESPNZone had just opened in the Inner Harbor about a month earlier and I wanted absolutely nothing more than to check it out. I convinced my parents to let me have a party there after weeks of haggling.

The agreement came with one significant stipulation. As my parents were by no means wealthy people (although clearly I was more fortunate than others), they informed me I could only bring three friends.

I knew then that the decision I made would easily be the most agonizing of my entire life.

(You probably think I’m being sarcastic. With the gift of hindsight, it’s understandable. But think back to the time you had to make a similar decision. Remember how significant you thought it was? I thought so.)

I was obviously going to bring Brandon, as he and I had been hanging out together almost every day that summer. I had also figured I would take Matt, one of my buddies since first grade. The third choice was by far and away the most difficult. Ryan and Andy were stepbrothers, so how was I going to pick one and not the other? Billy had invited me to his cool birthday party earlier that year, so maybe I owed him. Adam was having a paintball themed birthday later in the month, I definitely didn’t want my decision to jeopardize an invite to his party. And for perhaps the first time in my young life I thought perhaps it was more important to consider inviting a GIRL (Leslie) instead of one of my buddies.

I remember thinking “perhaps I could cheat the system.” I tried convincing my parents I couldn’t invite Ryan without inviting Andy. I tried seeing if they would allow me to invite a fourth if I promised to invite one fewer friend to my 16th birthday. I told them Brandon shouldn’t count against the limit because he was basically living with us that summer anyway. I had hoped to find out someone wouldn’t be able to come anyway because their family already had plans.

I wish I could tell you I remembered who I picked. I don’t. I just remembered how awkward the whole process was.

I’m assuming by this point you clearly see the analogy I’m trying to make between my 15th birthday party and the Baltimore Ravens’ preseason kicking competition. How could you possibly not? I’m laying it on so thick!

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2 Comments For This Post

  1. joe of bel air Says:

    Glenn; you are absolutely right. The Ravens never wanted any real competition for Billy Vanderjagt. That’s why they brought in Tucker instead of signing Neil Rackers or another veteran kicker. They thought Tucker would push Billy Vanderjagt just enough to keep him sharp but never expected him to win the job. I also agree about your comment aboyut them bypassing a 57 yard fg against Detroit as they did the previous week against Atlanta when they could have tried a 55 yarder, but elected to punt instead. I agree that they didn’t try those kicks with Cundiff because they were afraid he would miss and they were afraid to try it with Tucker because they were afraid he would hit both. Trouble is Tucker has outperformed him and if Harbaugh keeps Cundiff after telling everyone the best player will win the job, he will run the risk of losing this team as soon a Cundiff misses a makeable kick. With Billy it is not only the makeable kicks he misses, its the fact that Harbaugh doesn’t even try some longer kicks because he has no confidence in him. Remember the second Steelers’ game in December 2010. We are losing 13-10 with 30 seconds left in the game. It’s 4th and 2 on the Steelers 31 and Harbaugh elects to go for it instead of sending Billy Vanderjagt in for the fg. Enough said.

  2. Paul in Crofton Says:

    I read something last week that Cundiff’s FG% during camp has been around 83%, while Tucker’s is around 94%. That sounds pretty substantial to me.

    Like others have said, if the Ravens don’t keep Tucker, we’ll be watching him kick field goals for another team this season. Sure, he’s a rookie, but he kicked in the Big 12 for Texas, so he’s played in front of substantial crowds in meaningful games. The Ravens already missed out on Ryan Succop a few years back when they assumed he’d be an undrafted rookie, and the Chiefs took him at the end of the draft. Keeping Tucker could make up for that.

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