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Discussion in 'Open Discussion (Work-safe)' started by DEBuckeye, Sep 24, 2004.

  1. DEBuckeye

    DEBuckeye It ain't easy, bein' cheesy.

    This is funny, but really? No cups? That's just askin' for trouble...

    By David Fleming
    Page 2

    The cardboard box sits on a shelf deep inside the Philadelphia Eagles equipment room. It was ordered years ago, yet the contents still sit there -- alone, unopened and collecting dust. Inside is what I consider to be one of the greatest mysteries of today's NFL: 12 brand new plastic protective cups.
    Football, as we all know, is a sport of controlled violence where the consequences of high-speed collisions can be grotesquely catastrophic. Just ask Joe Theismann, Willis McGahee or Virgil Livers (whom you'll meet in a moment). This is why players cover themselves from head to toe in thick armor to protect such vital areas as the knees, the shoulders and the ribs.
    Yes indeed, the NFL will move heaven and earth and spare no expense to create a space-age, super-strong platinum polymer that is guaranteed to protect ... the elbow. The elbow!
    Yet somehow no one in this league bothers to wear A FREAKIN' CUP?
    (An even more perplexing problem, I would think, now that the NFL's Player of the Week Award is sponsored by Levitra.)
    Philly's equipment guy, John Hatfield, 59, has been outfitting football players for 25 years. Like me, he's at a loss. Fifteen years ago, he says, everyone wore them. Back then, they were made out of shards of scrap metal -- or something like that. Ten years ago, it was just the interior linemen. The last player on the Eagles to use a cup was center Steve Everitt in ... 1999.
    And what about today, in the very season that, by some accounts, is The Cup's 100-year anniversary?
    "If I asked the players today if they wanted to wear a cup, the guys would look at me like I was crazy," says Hatfield. (Hey, I know the feeling.) "Let me tell you something. If I'm Brian Westbrook or some other player who might get leg-whipped in the groin -- I'm wearing one. In this sport, you can really do some damage down there. I mean, cleats, helmets, knees flying around everywhere ... you're talking about some real discomfort to the groin area."
    Leg-whipped in the groin.
    I'm sorry.
    Let's just pause for a moment to ponder that expression.
    Or this one: High-velocity impact to the groin.
    "The cup is designed to protect against high-velocity impact to the groin," says Duke Athletic Products president Mark Atwater. "That's usually more consistent with sports like baseball and hockey. Although I think a 270-pound lineman hitting you in the testicles with his shoulder pads might qualify."
    Hmmm. You think?
    See, I know what you're thinking right now.
    Several times during the creation of this column, I myself also had to take a break to deal with the random flop sweat, stomach cramps and wicked nausea associated with any actual reference to this kind of trauma. "Deep breaths," I told myself. "Deep breaths. Breathe. Stay with me, Flem. Stay with me, big guy. No one said tackling the tough issues of your time would be easy."
    At other times, I nearly gave myself a double hernia from the effort required to refrain from writing the obvious, sophomoric puns, double-entendres and hefty FCC fines to which this subject so naturally lends itself.
    After allowing me a moment to collect myself (see, there's one right there!), Hatfield continues. It's a comfort thing and a macho thing, he says. The cups are too bulky and obtrusive for today's player. (As opposed to gonads swollen to the size of grapefruit, which must be a real treat to deal with.) According to Hatfield, no one wants to get teased by Hugh Douglas for, I guess, the outrageous concept of protecting their nards. The ironic jocularity behind that statement is almost unfathomable.
    "If you want to get made fun of by your teammates," says one current NFL player, "wearing a cup would be the fastest way to do it. In all the games I've played -- on every level of the game -- I've only caught a knee down there once or twice. It's not the best feeling in the world. And no one wants to have millions of people watching you cupping your (cashews) in agony. But if someone came out wearing a cup, the rest of the team would be like, 'What's going on with this guy?'"
    Most of the people I talked to for this column -- or at least the ones who didn't think I was part of some new "Punk'd" show -- were probably wondering the same thing about me.
    Please, allow me to explain.
    Last season during the semifinals of my rec roller hockey league tournament, I was planted in front of the net doing my usual task -- screening the goaltender and quoting lines from "Slapshot" -- when a screamer from the point hit me directly in the, uh, Stanley Cup. The puck bounced harmlessly off my standard protective gear and dropped to my feet. While everyone else around me reflexively doubled over with their own phantom groin pain, I spun around and pushed in the winning goal.
    Since then, I have been wondering (OK, some might say obsessing): What would have happened had I not been wearing my cup? I've heard all the arguments. A recent article in a popular men's magazine listed getting hit below the belt as that region's fourth -- that's right, fourth -- biggest problem behind heat, diet and bicycle seats. Support, apparently, is more important than protection.
    "Wearing the proper support garment," says Atwater, "gives protection by keeping the genitalia in close proximity of the body." (I'm not even 100 percent certain what that means.)
    Players say in today's game, trading protection (even in vital areas) for speed is a no-brainer. They say injuries to that area -- the telltale "No. 52 had the wind knocked out him; his return is questionable" -- are just too rare to even worry about.
    Yeah, tell that to Virgil Livers.
    He's a former defensive back who played for the Chicago Bears from 1975-79. While fielding a punt at Soldier Field, Livers was speared in the groin. By halftime, one of his testicles had swollen so badly it had to be -- ugh, more flop sweat, oh the cramps ... breathe, breathe! -- drained with a needle by the trainers. Somehow, Livers suited up for the second half. That was a bad idea. A really, really, really bad idea. Later that night, he was rushed to the hospital where the mangled orb was surgically removed.
    Now, here's the kicker. When I finally reached Livers, who is an assistant principal at a high school in Kentucky, I asked him about his "injury," and the guy started talking about his knee. Can you believe that? His freakin' knee! The one he blew out with the Bears, then rehabbed for two full years in order to play again in the USFL.
    "Uh, well, no, sorry, I was talking about the, uh, the ... "
    "Oh that," he laughed. "It's no secret. It was in all the papers. The truth is, it wasn't really all that painful. It was all just ... numb. My knee injury and the rehab I had to go through was far worse."
    After only a few minutes, Livers had to go. The final school bell had rung and he was off to police the parking lot. It didn't matter. My investigation had flat-lined. I mean, after what he'd been through, if this guy hadn't dedicated the rest of his life to getting fellow football players to don a cup, then why in the world should I care?
    Football players, I thought, hanging up the phone ...
    If you ask me, they're all nuts.

    To cup, or not to cup
  2. osugrad21

    osugrad21 Capo Regime Staff Member

    Thank you for such a pleasant read:roll2:
  3. FKAGobucks877

    FKAGobucks877 The Most Power-Drunk

    I need a new keyboard, since I just vomited all over mine.
  4. gregorylee

    gregorylee I'd rather be napping!!

    I have and empathizing gnad ache!!
  5. coxew

    coxew Newbie

    I never wore one playing football. As a center, the ball would always hit the bottom and jar my nads. Not a pleasant feeling.

    I was a catcher in baseball, so naturally I wore one. When the playing days were over, I was umpiring a baseball game. I never wore one here either as I had the catcher in front of me...big mistake. I had a ball bounce off the back of the playe and skip under the catcher and straight to the groin. Instantenously, I'm in the fetal position in the dirt. Absolutely the worst feeling ever.
  6. ScarletInMyVeins

    ScarletInMyVeins Tanned Fat Looks Better

    I never wore one when I played football either, they are too uncomfortable. It's too hard to run while wearing one, the sides of the cup rubs the insides of your legs raw and the pointed part always stabbs the inbetween.
  7. BuckeyeNation27

    BuckeyeNation27 Goal Goal USA! Staff Member

    why would the eagles wear cups? they dont have anything to protect.....might as well have written an article about the womens soccer team not wearing cups.
  8. osugrad21

    osugrad21 Capo Regime Staff Member

    You mean the Taint?

    Taint your balls and taint your ass....<!-- / message -->
  9. ScarletInMyVeins

    ScarletInMyVeins Tanned Fat Looks Better

    Either way.... taint.... inbetween it's all the same
  10. FKAGobucks877

    FKAGobucks877 The Most Power-Drunk

    I believe you two are attempting to describe the region of the male anatomy known as "the chode".
  11. Jaxbuck

    Jaxbuck I hate tsun ‘18 Fantasy Baseball Champ

    Man, fellas I am here to tell you that player he interviewd is a moron among morons.

    Playing flag football in the Army, I got a full speed knee in the uncupped juiblees one time and it wasn't something I would wish on anyone but a scUMer. It was about a 40 yd running collision.

    Swelling was so bad, I nearly suffered the removal. I could get into far greater detail but its just too horrific. I honestly couldn't get out of the fetal position for 3 days, so this guy telling me it was numb and didn't hurt is full of shit. I thought I was going to die and pretty much wished I would at a couple of points.

    I've had dozens of broken bones, two compund fractures and several surgeries from tearing myself up in my youth and nothing, I mean nothing, came close to that one on the "Please God just kill me" scale.

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