Great Sports Writing: Federer As Religous Experience

Our newest tradition is to leave you every Friday with one of our picks for all-time great sports articles that we feel you simply cannot miss.  This week we give you David Foster Wallace’s “Federer As Religous Experience” written in 2006 when the Swiss tennis god was at the height of his powers.  If you’ve ever wanted to experience what it’s like to be a professional athlete, Wallace’s writing is about as close as you’re ever going to get.  Read along as he describes the angles, geometry, athletic ability, hand-eye coordination, and timing necessary to execute the kind of shots Federer pulls off during Wimbledon that year.  It’s as if you’re given an opportunity to live a match inside the mind of a player.  “The Spaniard now hits a characteristically heavy topspin forehand deep to Federer’s backhand; Federer comes back with an even heavier topspin backhand, almost a clay-court shot. It’s unexpected and backs Nadal up, slightly, and his response is a low hard short ball that lands just past the service line’s T on Federer’s forehand side. Against most other opponents, Federer could simply end the point on a ball like this, but one reason Nadal gives him trouble is that he’s faster than the others, can get to stuff they can’t; and so Federer here just hits a flat, medium-hard cross-court forehand, going not for a winner but for a low, shallowly angled ball that forces Nadal up and out to the deuce side, his backhand. Nadal, on the run, backhands it hard down the line to Federer’s backhand; Federer slices it right back down the same line, slow and floaty with backspin, making Nadal come back to the same spot. Nadal slices the ball right back — three shots now all down the same line — and Federer slices the ball back to the same spot yet again, this one even slower and floatier, and Nadal gets planted and hits a big two-hander back down the same line — it’s like Nadal’s camped out now on his deuce side; he’s no longer moving all the way back to the baseline’s center between shots; Federer’s hypnotized him a little. Federer now hits a very hard, deep topspin backhand, the kind that hisses, to a point just slightly on the ad side of Nadal’s baseline, which Nadal gets to and forehands cross-court; and Federer responds with an even harder, heavier cross-court backhand, baseline-deep and moving so fast that Nadal has to hit the forehand off his back foot and then scramble to get back to center as the shot lands maybe two feet short on Federer’s backhand side again. Federer steps to this ball and now hits a totally different cross-court backhand, this one much shorter and sharper-angled, an angle no one would anticipate, and so heavy and blurred with topspin that it lands shallow and just inside the sideline and takes off hard after the bounce, and Nadal can’t move in to cut it off and can’t get to it laterally along the baseline, because of all the angle and topspin — end of point.”  Read the entire article here. 

Generation Y signing off.

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Must Read Articles Of The Day

I normally take the time to comment on these but the weekend is starting early so here you go:

A former ESPN writer sounds off on the ESPN.com editor forthe decision to pull the LeBron story from ESPN LA. http://jeffpearlman.com/?p=6440

Former Deadspin editor Will Leitch interviews a guy who wrote a book about greedy owners ruining sports.  It’s good stuff I promise. http://nymag.com/daily/sports/2010/07/taking_bad_owners_with_the_nat.html

And the article you absolutely cannot miss about the development of baseball players in the Dominican Republic.  This thing might go down as an all-time great for what it reveals about the system. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2004099,00.html

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Here’s What Happened To The North Korean Soccer Team

“The entire squad was forced onto a stage at the People’s Palace of Culture and subjected to criticism from Pak Myong-chol, the sports minister, as 400 government officials, students and journalists watched.  The players were subjected to a ‘grand debate’ on July 2 because they failed in their ‘ideological struggle’ to succeed in South Africa, Radio Free Asia and South Korean media reported.”  Failed in their ideological struggle….ha!  But wait!  it gets better, “The team’s coach, Kim Jong-hun, was reportedly forced to become a builder and has been expelled from the Workers’ Party of Korea.”  What a different world.  You can read the whole story here.  Could you imagine if President Bush had summoned Larry Brown and the 2004 USA Basketball team to the White House for failing in their ideological struggle by losing to Puerto Rico and Lithuania en route to a disappointing third place finish??  It would have made for great television; I know I would have watched.  [Telegraph]

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Kings Hire DeMarcus Cousins’ High School Coach

Inside Hoops tries to justify the hiring by naming Otis Hughley’s qualifications: “Hughley had coached at LeFlore High School in Mobile, Ala. for seven years (2004-2010), guiding the Rattlers to six straight regional appearances and a 6A state title in 2007.”  They go on to say, “Before coaching at LeFlore, Hughley was an assistant coach at several universities, including Wright State, Liberty, and Southern. Hughley’s experience also includes coaching for the league’s NBA China program and working over 10 years at Pete Newell’s ‘Big Man Camp.'”  Not exactly NBA pedigree is it?  I’m pretty sure they passed over hundreds of better-qualified candidates to hire this guy, but none of them could say, “While at LeFlore, he coached current Kings center DeMarcus Cousins.”  Hilarious. [Inside Hoops]

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Tim Tebow Signs With Broncos

And on the fifth day, God looked down at his only son, and signed him to a five year contract with $8.7 million guaranteed, and it was good.  Yesterday the Broncos inked Tebow to his rookie deal, ending all the pointless speculation that had been floating around their training camp the past couple days.  I’ve stated my intentions before that I’m going to purchase his jersey once (if?) he becomes the starter.  I have high hopes.  The Broncos organization needs a quarterback who transcends the game.  Yeah we had Jake Plummer who took us to the AFC title game, yeah we had Jay Cutler and his bionic laser rocket cannon of an arm, but neither of those guys was interested in being the next Elway.  Broncos fans will never truly be satisfied until their QB is comfortable with being the heir to Elway, and Tebow is the first real chance they’ve had since #7 retired.  He has no qualms about being the face of the organization or getting heavily involved with community–the ultimate downfall of both Plummer and Orton who were/are both only interested in getting in done on the field (not saying this is a bad thing, but when you step into John Elway’s shoes in Denver, it’s not enough to merely play the game efficiently).  I’m hoping and praying that this all works out.  He is God’s chosen son afterall. [Denver Post]

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Jersey Shore Running Diary

(Editor’s Note: This is your official spoiler alert.  If you haven’t seen the season premier yet and want it to remain a surprise, DO NOT READ ON. )

9:00 – 9:08:59 I’m so excited I just held my face with both hands as I giggled through the first nine minutes of the show.  You didn’t miss much.  Vinnie’s uncles want him to take his talents to South Beach in a big way this year and the kid does seem to have a new air of confidence.  He’s like the Rajon Rondo of the Jersey Shore.  We also find out Pauly D succumbed to the advances of Angelina during the offseason while they were drunk in a club in LA.  I have to hand it to the producers.  It was a brilliant idea having the cast go down to Miami during the harsh northeast winter.  It’s as if the spirit of the Jersey Shore always lives, refusing to be bound by the finite concepts of seasons or snow.

9:09 Angelina is now officially my most intriguing character of season two.  She’s claiming she’s down to party and seems to have a new swagger about her.  I can only hope she has formulated a plot to seduce every guy in the house in their weakest moments while rubbing it in the faces of all the girls.

9:10 Pauly D and the Situation get their Caddie stuck in the mud while attempting to light off firecrackers which also manages to get their AAA rescue truck stuck.  They are saved by a third truck that pulls them all out.

9:11 A southern dude in Savannah, GA tries to hit on Snooki and Jwoww at a BBQ joint.  This guy may have just won himself a spinoff show.

9:12 First commercial break.  MTV is on the clock.  I wager a seven minute time out is in order.

9:16 “The smush captain is on his way,” announces Ronnie out of the commercial break.  Vinnie states his intentions to hook up with sixty different girls in sixty days.  The plot devices are captivating.  I am mesmerized as the first castmates pull into Miami to the tune of Enrique Iglesias’ “I like it.”  The Situation and Pauly D have the first draft picks for rooms…again.  A wise move by the now experienced veterans.

9:19 Angelina nearly surpasses last year’s classy opening with the trash bag suitcases by wearing extremely short jean shorts and pulling her underwear out the sides.  Pauly D is so shocked that she is there that he nearly sucker punches her when she shows her face.

9:20 MTV got me with the old “short commercial break followed by an even shorter viewing of the show” trick.  A great move, I should have seen it coming.  Five minutes of commercials are my guess.

9:24 Four minutes of commercials.

9:25 Sammi Sweetheart is in the building.  The Situation begins formulating a gameplan to get into her pants.  He lets us know, “he may entertain that idea.”  She doesn’t stand a chance.

9:27 Vinnie arrives.  The dude has filled out.  I have high expectations for his smushing this season.  Let’s hope he doesn’t go into a sophomore slump.

9:28 Ronnie wanders into house and is clearly set on losing his mind this year.  He says, rather sheepishly, that he is going to try to “outdo the situation,” ending forever the argument of which male castmate has the most prowess over the opposite sex.  Sammi stares a hole through his gorilla backside and….MTV cuts to a commercial.  /bows head, should have seen it coming

9:32 Big hug from Ronnie and Sammi that lasts a little longer than it should have (upon further viewing he definitely planted a kiss on her too).  The gorilla realizes his rookie mistake and quickly pulls away.

9:33 Jwow and Snookers are the last to arrive.  They run on their own time.  They’re the alpha dogs this year and they quickly lay down their hatred of Angelina, the biggest threat to their Guidette top dog status.

9:35 One of the most underrated aspects of the Situation is his ability to talk people through tense moments, always trying to get cooler heads to prevail.  He’s not down for fighting and really just wants everyone to go through life having as much fun as he does.  He displays this skill as he tries to talk Angelina through a rough moment after the other three girls make it clear she is the outcast. 

9:36 Angelina has been practicing her Guidette accent.  This Jersey Shore veteran is not impressed.

9:39 I’m pretty sure Hurley from Lost is on Teen Mom this year.

9:40 Jwoww is nearly taken out when a shelf collapses from the weight of her clothes.  Anyone else think Angelina may have had something to do with this? I half expected her to be flipping a screwdriver up and down in the confession booth.

9:41 As the girls clean up the clothes from the shelf collapse, Angelina walks by.  She seems pissed that Sammi wasn’t injured.

9:42 We get an inside look at how much of an experience (I estimate it took at least two and a half hours on my second viewing) it is for the cast to get ready—a ritual on par with Ray Allen’s three hour pre-game routine, or the custom of eating the same meal before every contest.  It’s breathtaking.  Pay special attention to the Situation stealing the mirror from Sammi.  Look at that game face.  Solid gold.  A toast is in order to the producers for introducing the mirror cam. 

9:44 Jwoww is the Charles Oakley to Snooki’s MJ (if you didn’t know, Oak is essentially MJ’s lifelong bodyguard both on the court when they were in the NBA and now in real life…he accompanies His Airness everywhere).  OH MY GOD.  She is about to kill Angelina.  Snooki holds her back and tries to dissolve the situation (no pun intended) by acting like an idiot.  Oh no, Angelina…don’t do it…she took the bait and went after Snooki—the only person trying to defend her.  We may have just seen the Staten Island female take her last breath.

9:48 Snooki is completely un-phased.  She proves her MJ status with her ability to block out all the noise and immediately channel her Guidette powers.  She is the first castmate with a drink in hand at the club.  Well played.

9:50 Ronnie sloppily tells Sammi he’s going to make her feel like he feels.  He can’t stop nodding his head and is unable to make eye contact.  He may have just picked up that cocaine addiction so many people were rooting for.

9:51 Ronnie is belligerent.  He’s spent his entire offseason thinking about this moment and he just performed under pressure like Nick the Brick.  Vinnie bites the bullet and serves as his escort the rest of the night because he clearly can’t be around Sam.  The girls, minus Angelina, head home in a cab.

9:55 I defer to Pauly D, “Ronnie is in creep mode.”

9:55 The Situation is concerned.  He introduces the term “landmine” into our lexicon (a grenade that is skinny) to describe the type of girls Ronnie is hooking up with all over the club.  He is completely serious when he describes this— this is why he carries the show.  He dubs Ronnie “Sloppy Joe.”

9:56 Sammi admits she still loves Ronnie when she gets back to the house.  I can’t believe I’m about to say this but we might need to start rooting for their romance to work out or we might have to watch Ronnie get booted from the show to join Dr. Drew’s Celebrity Rehab cast next season.  What am I talking about? That would be awesome.  Smush away Ron.

9:59 We’re teased to Snooki and Angelina fighting next week along with Jwoww and Sammi trading blows.  You’re damn right I watched the second showing that came on immediately after the first.

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Good Morning Generation

The Jersey Shore preview was way better than anticipated, so much so that I immediately watched the replay.  If you watched the show last night you know that Snooki paid the Rock the greatest compliment she can give by calling him the Ultimate Gorilla.  Couldn’t agree more.

Generation Y, where we would have traded for Roy Oswalt had we known the Astros would agree to pay that much of his salary.

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TCU Ranked Third In NBC Sports Preseason Top 25

NBC Sports has ranked TCU number three in its preseason top 25 poll.  Ohio State comes in at number two, while defending national champion Alabama is number one.  I love the respect and I love that this could potentially put us in the national title game if we run the table, but I have to say I don’t want to be a target all year.  I know its naive of me to think TCU can continue to go under the radar every year, but this ranking puts a huge Rocky Mountain-sized target on the back of the Frogs from rival Utah (ranked 21 in this preseason poll) who the Frogs must go on the road to battle this year.  I don’t suspect that the preseason polls that matter will have the Frogs this high, but it is interesting to see experts backing TCU this early.  The biggest surprise in these rankings has to be Boise not coming in ahead of the Frogs, despite beating us last year in the Fiesta Bowl and returning 20 of 22 starters.  Good to see the ‘Canes and the Huskers back in the top ten. [NBC Sports]

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Will LeBron Average a Triple-Double?

Tom Haberstroh of ESPN insider seems to think so. And here’s why (courtesy of ESPN insider):

“Imagine the following scenario. James brings up the ball into a halfcourt set. After coach Erik Spoelstra signals for the pick-and-roll, Bosh obediently jogs to the top of the key to set a high ball screen for James. James uses the hard pick to dribble away to the right wing, luring Mike Miller’s defender from the right corner, sending Bosh rolling to the basket, and leaving Wade to fill the top of the key. Hit the pause button. In this instant, James has four options to alter his team’s chances of scoring: 1) Pass to Miller for the open three. (Miller shot 41-for-67 on open catch-and-shoots last season, according to Synergy Sports Technology) 2) Hit Bosh for a layup underneath. (Bosh scored in 73.3 percent of such situations) 3) Hand the ball off to Wade to restart the offense. (Wade ranks as one of the top isolation scorers in the game) 4) Take a pull-up jumper off the dribble. (James hit 37.4 percent of jumpers off a screen) This pivotal moment captures the beauty of basketball. It would take even the sharpest analyst several minutes to collect all the available data at hand, design a decision tree, calculate the probabilities, and finally arrive at a well-informed choice. But James has only a precious millisecond to make his move. And for most of James’ career in Cleveland, the optimal choice for the Cavaliers often aligned with the optimal choice of his own — take the shot. But as we all know, he’s not in Cleveland anymore and it may not be a good idea to choose what’s behind door No. 4. It may be a better play to draw the defense and use his vision and passing skills to get the better shot. But that means less points for James, and less recognition in the box score. James’ mind will be forced to adjust to a brand new set of variables in Miami. And they’re much, much better. In other words, the scoring probabilities of his teammates have risen to heights he’s never seen. This is why some believe James will become the first person in nearly a half-century to average a triple-double. He just received a new batch of toys and he can pass to them without lowering the chances his team will score. But the big question remains: is LeBron willing to trade personal glory for the sake of victory?”

Let’s take a look at LeBron’s last five seasons statistically (PPG/RPG/APG):

’05-’06: 31.4/7.0/6.6
’06-’07: 27.3/6.8/6.0
’07-’08: 30.0/7.9/7.2
’08-’09 (MVP year): 28.4/7.6/7.2
’09-’10 (MVP): 29.7/7.3/8.6
5-year average: 29.4/7.3/7.1

Now it doesn’t take a genius to see he wasn’t too far off from a triple-double playing on a much inferior team (Cleveland) that required him to carry the entire scoring load night in and night out. With the immense talent surrounding him, is it ridiculous to expect LeBron to average a 24/13/12? This obviously depends on how the Heat utilize him. Is Dwyane Wade definitely going to take on the scoring load? Will LeBron be the primary ball handler? How often will the Heat play small ball (Chalmers/Wade/Miller/’Bron/Bosh or Wade/Miller/’Bron/Haslem/Bosh)? Are the Heat going to dominate many of their opponents to the point that the three kings are off the floor in the fourth quarter? Is the alpha dog issue going to have lingering effects on this team throughout the season?

My main concern is whether or not Wade and James can co-exist. LeBron opted to join a team with an already established and proven winner/alpha dog (whereas he could have been the unquestionable alpha dog on any other team), so maybe he’s ready to be the Robin to Wade’s Batman (leaving Bosh to be the Batgirl, I guess?). Wade and LeBron are best friends off the court; now it’s time to see if they are best friends on the court. If Wade and James learn how to play with one another, while still making the team exponentially better (like they should), they will be an unstoppable duo and an unbeatable team. If Wade and James can’t overcome the alpha dog issue late in games, then this team won’t be as successful as most think. Unfortunately, I think Wade and James will thrive off one another and mesh just fine.

Overall, I think LeBron will fall short of a triple-double this year (will take him a little while to get used to a new role); but, he will become the first player since the Big O to accomplish that rare feat during his time with the Heat – just not next year.

So I end by asking the readers two questions: 1) Who will lead the Heat in scoring? and 2) Will LBJ average a triple-double?

[ESPN]

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The Official Jersey Shore Preview

by Ross Morgan

(Editor’s Note: Gen Y co-founder Ross Morgan makes his writing debut for the site with this awesome Jersey Shore Preview.  A warning to our readers, this column is rated R.  If you have any objections to sexually provocative language or drug references, please pass on this piece.  You’ve been warned.)

image via Huffington Post

Gentlemen, get your hairgel ready; Ladies, get your bumpits in; And Everyone get your mystic tans on. It’s time for the Jersey Shore cast to take their talents to South Beach. As members of Generation Y, the writers of this site are obligated to provide commentary on the most prominent show featuring members of our generation that scare the hell out of middle America.

For those that are blessed and aren’t inundated with MTV promotions, the second season of Jersey Shore starts tonight.

Let us first start with some facts. The show will be taking place in Miami, FL. The original idea for the second season was to split the season into two halves. The first half would take place in Miami, and the second half would take place in the original setting of Seaside Heights, Noo Joisey.  The idea must have sprung from the obvious differences between the two settings, because, you know, it’s not like Florida isn’t made up primarily of emigrants from the North East. The producers from MTV quickly decided that the two settings should be two seasons, therefore, season two is strictly Miami.

This leads to my first prediction. The fact that they’re in Miami will not matter. Nobody who watched season one cared about the actual Jersey Shore. Viewers only care about the characters. Therefore, unless The Situation develops a healthy cocaine habit, they might as well have filmed the season on a Hollywood lot.

And I just thought of my first question. How is it that a show based on hedonism and partying doesn’t show or mention any drug use, other than steroids? I mean they don’t even smoke pot. There’s no way this is realistic, right? The producers have to be editing this stuff out.

On the topic on Miami, if this season bombs, will the viewers blame it on South Beach? Let’s say the characters basically reenact season one, will the viewers decide the fault was on Miami for not creating new plot devices? In addition to the Lebron decision, will this further push Miami to the status of being the most hated city in America?

I can think of only one other city in America that has held that distinction: Dallas, TX. After John F. Kennedy was killed, America harbored immense animosity towards the Big D. You know what reversed those feelings of hate? Two things: a sports team called the Dallas Cowboys and a TV show called Dallas. See the parallels? Much like Dallas killed JFK, Miami killed Cleveland.

Our generation’s perception of Miami will now be shaped by a sports team and a television show. The similarities between what these two entities must do is striking. They must surpass all of the naysayers and win. Lebron James will need to change his game by accepting a role of a lesser alpha-dog, or the Miami Heat won’t win, period. The Miami Heat and LBJ have to win titles to avoid ridicule. The same for Jersey Shore, they will need to up their game, creating something new, in order to attract the same fanfare that they saw in the first season. I’m pretty sure we already ridicule them.

Let’s examine the issues leftover from the first season so I can predict the direction of the second season.

I suppose the most engaging story-line of the offseason has been Ronnie and Sammi’s relationship. Tabloids have been reporting that the relationship has been on-again off-again. The filming for season two started in late March. In searching the newswires for information about the two around that date (sad and pathetic, I know), I saw that the two reportedly called it quits around the beginning of March. Ronnie then started tweeting GTS, a play on GTL (which stands for gym, tan, laundry [a perfect day for guys on Jersey Shore and housewives from Westover Hills]). GTS stands for gym, tan, smush (smush is guido for sex). It sounds like Ronnie utilized his newfound fame and singleness to line-up a string of one-night stands. Here are examples of his tweets, “Early morning GTS.. Busy day gonna be crazy…. @Sn00ki … Come on Snooki u can never GTS to much (u kno that lol)… wooooo… 2 weeks, You ready? bc im not.”

I haven’t seen a tweet like that since Jason Terry tweeted, “2birds with 1 stone if you have kids with bdays in the same month one party coo slappys playhouse made me miss homey the clown.”

I couldn’t find a twitter account for Sammi. But, if I had to predict it’s contents, I would predict she would write the same 2 tweets every day, “I’m the sweetest B*tch you’ll ever meet.” And “My friends call me a heartbreaker.” Sammi’s personality is boring and slightly sucks.

My prediction is that the Ronnie/Sammi drama will be just that, drama. It will be drawn out the whole season. But this is a good thing. For guys that watch the show in mixed company, you can now have the ladies occupied with the tumultous relationship, while you cheer on the Situation and Snooki in their quest to smush.

In regards to the quest to accumulate large quantities of smush, I’ll start by analyzing The Situation. First thought, should I capitalize the s in situation? Second thought, can anyone doubt that the Situation will land as much tail as he wants this season. By all accounts, he’s been extremely successful in training for this in the off-season. He now has fame going for him, enough said. This will be disappointing to me, and most of my friends, as we thought one of the best things about the original season was that the Situation’s game and sexual attempts would always fail. The lack of sex combined with his bragging about having lots of sex made for excellent television. I think it reminded us of middle school, when every guy claimed to have hooked-up with over 10 girls and bragged about having a foot-long schlong. Of course, none of this showboating was ever true, except when I said it.

Snooki is harder to analyze. I want to assume fame will help her gain the same sexual success that I predict for The Situation. But, I might be semi-sexist, or might look at things from a man’s perspective—whichever the case, I think that it’s a different mindset for the guys that will possibly smush with Snookie than for the girls that will be smushing with the Situation (I want to claim the honor of being the first person to use the word smush with a future progressive tense). Readers that are men, let me ask you a question. Would you want to be the guy that hooked up with Snooki on national TV? That thought will go through the mind of every guy she hits on at the club. There are two types of guys that will hook up with her. The first is the blacked out drunk. The second is a guy who has that strange personality-type that leads them to kill people in order to see their picture in the newspaper. The first type reminds me of myself and my friends, a thought that will keep me up tonight. The second type would be awesome for the show. This type likely is desperate for attention and sexual interaction (Holy Crap! A male version of Snooki). He could be her booty-call, and while he’s at their pad, the other housemates could make fun of him. Everybody wins here.

I put the odds at 100% that Pauly D will be the guest DJ at some random club in at least one episode this season. Also, place a wager on him being the Situation’s wingman in at least one episode. A riskier wager can be placed on the over/under for the number of times the word grenade is used (A grenade is an ugly girl with hot friends. The theory is that every group of girlfriends MUST include a grenade). Pauly D would be perfectly predictable if it wasn’t for his desire to hook-up with Jwoww. A hookup of that magnitude could rock the Jersey Shore world to its core.

I want Jwoww to see Pauly D’s piercing again and again and again.

Jwoww provides more to the show than her tension around Pauly D. She likes to fight. Her brawls in season one were always the best, and I predict nothing less going into this season. I hope she fights both Sammi and Angelina. She and Snooki will likely go gorilla hunting (a gorilla is a guy that takes steroids). I don’t think the two of them read the book “Juiced” in which Jose Canseco claims that HGH turned his testicles into caviar eggs. Jwoww will also be single during this season, meaning no more stupid boring phone calls during the show to some random insecure boyfriend. This also means she will be flaunting her fake breasts to the absolute limit of acceptability (low low threshold). Put money down on a wager that they will come out at least once.

I have no p