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      Rivalry Stories: Everyday Heroes of Smack Talk

      #SmackZoneEvery fan has an origin story to tell. Sometimes the passion for a particular team is inherited. Geography often plays a role. Rationality rarely comes into play. Logic is laughable. Why do you love the teams you love (and love to hate their rivals)? Sometimes, the answer is as simple as, "Because I always have. And I always will." Smack Zone asked five writers and passionate sports fans to share their fan origin stories this week. All five articles are live as of this morning, and we encourage you to check them out. All of the writers are conducting a giveaway of one Smack Apparel t-shirt of the winner's choice. Enter all five sweepstakes, and you could win five shirts! In addition, all five will co-host the first Smack Zone Twitter party with us on Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET. It will be an hour of smack talk and fun, with $200 in Smack Apparel gift card giveaways. To participate in the Twitter party, follow us on Twitter (@SmackApparel) and use the hashtag, #SmackZone. Here are our writers, with links to their great stories: Jeff Bogle lives near Philadelphia and is the publisher of Out With the Kids. He tells a tale of his love for Michigan State, and what it means to share that passion with his family, in his piece, "A Sometimes Confusing Passion for Sports." Aaron Gouveia lives near Boston and is the publisher of the Daddy Files. He is, shall we say, more than a bit fixated on New England sports (particularly the Patriots). He sheds some light on that unique brand of sports madness in his post, "Sports Rivalries: Why It's Fun to Hate Other Teams." Creed Anthony of Tales From the Poop Deck lives near Indianapolis but is a lifelong fan of the Cleveland Browns. He tells us why even a college career spent in enemy territory (Pittsburgh) couldn't sway his allegiance in his piece, "A Misunderstood Rivalry." Calley Brewer Pate lives near Tampa and publishes the popular environmental and lifestyle blog, the Eco Chic. Her piece, "College Football is the Yin to my Yang," tells of her family's undying devotion to the Georgia Bulldogs. Whit Honea lives in Southern California and publishes the website, Family Life on Earth. He writes lyrically about his long-time passion for University of Arizona sports in his piece, "Of Smack, Bear and the Things We Down."

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      Tell us your fan origin story in the comments. We want to know how and when and why you began to love the teams you love. And be sure to join us Tuesday at 8 p.m. for the #SmackZone Twitter party!

         

      The 4 Greatest Legends of Sports Smack Talk

      Smack ApparekThey are the legends of smack. Sports figures who talked as good a game as they played or coached. Greats who told you what they were going to do; did it; then told you all about it. If there were a Sports Smack Hall of Fame, these guys would be elected on the first ballot. Their mugs would adorn the Mount Rushmore of Smack: Muhammad Ali. Dizzy Dean. Michael Jordan. Steve Spurrier. Oh, we know. There are many others who have raised trash talk to an art form over the years. You might prefer four completely different smack talkers, and who are we to argue? Well … We are Smack Apparel, the nation’s leading sports parody apparel company. We’ve been around since 1998. We make t-shirts for fans who love their teams -- and love to hate their rivals. And this? This is Smack Zone, our new blog dedicated to all things smack talk and sports passion. Check in daily for stories, videos, fan contests and a few surprises along the way. We wanted to kick things off today with a tip of the cap to the smack masters. After all, what would modern-day smack talk be without the breakthrough moments of trash talk engineered by pioneers like Ali, who gave us this all-time epic piece of smack moments after he defeated Sonny Liston in 1964: [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BY6_3Y7OOo8] Come on, who’s better than Ali? No one. He was correct: He is the greatest. But he shares the stage with many. For instance, where would we be today if Hall of Fame pitcher Dizzy Dean hadn’t vowed that he and his brother, Paul, would combine for at least 45 pitching victories for the 1934 St. Louis Cardinals? That was a big promise, and sure enough: They won 49 together that year. Dizzy remains the most recent National League pitcher to win 30 games in a season. It was Dizzy Dean, during his later career as a broadcaster, who gave us one of the all-time truisms of smack talk: “It ain’t bragging if you can back it up.” And who could dish it out better than His Airness? The greatest basketball player of all time also might have been the cockiest. Pity poor Craig Ehlo. The Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star drew the unenviable task of trying to guard Jordan late during a memorable game on March 28, 1990. All Jordan did that day was drop a career-best 69 points – including a sequence of plays when he informed Ehlo exactly what moves he would make and where he would shoot from, then did it. According to Ehlo, Jordan didn’t even sound a bit malicious when he said, matter-of-factly:  “You know you can’t stop this.” Then there’s the Ole Ball Coach. Steve Spurrier loves what he calls “Talkin’ Season,” and few have used the slow summer months to better verbal advantage. Remember, you still can’t spell Citrus Bowl without UT. Spur Dog has a special place in our hearts here at Smack Apparel. You see, our founder and Smack Talker in Chief, Wayne Curtiss, went to Florida State. Our very first shirt was conceived when Wayne thought about that old saying by cowboy performer Will Rogers: “I never met a man I didn’t like.” [caption id="attachment_862" align="alignleft" width="300"]Smack Apparel The very first Smack Apparel t-shirt: an homage to one of the masters of smack, the Old Ball Coach himself.[/caption] Well, thought Wayne. Will Rogers never met Steve Spurrier. And there we had it: our first article of Ready-to-Wear Smack Talk. It was, and remains, a Smack Apparel classic. Who else deserves a spot alongside our four greatest smack talkers of all time? A few potential candidates come to mind: Joe Namath, Deion Sanders, Richard Sherman, Deacon Jones, Warren Sapp, Sean Avery, John Randle, Shannon Sharpe, Chad Johnson, Gary Payton, Floyd Mayweather, Satchel Paige, Terrell Owens, Reggie Miller, Ray Lewis, Mike Tyson, Larry Bird, Steve Smith, A.J. Pierzynski. And so many other legends. We’ll get to them all soon enough. Meanwhile, welcome to Smack Zone. We’re glad you could make it. Hang on … it’s going to be a great ride.

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      Coming tomorrow: As we continue to celebrate the launch of Smack Zone and the kickoff of football season, come with us behind the scenes as founder Wayne Curtiss shows you how we do what we do at Smack Apparel. And be sure to follow us Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for a constant stream of smack throughout the day! [caption id="attachment_864" align="aligncenter" width="266"]Smack Apparel Rosemary and Wayne Curtiss welcome you to Smack Zone. We hope you enjoy wearing our t-shirts as much as we love making them for you![/caption]