A Slumgullion Of Sports

What I have today is sort of a slumgullion of sports – - a little of this and a little of that, one from Column A and two from Column B. If folks are right when they say that you never want to see how sausage is made, then what follows here ought not to be very pretty either.

The Winter Olympic Games are off and running – - actually sliding, not running. People who have been sent to cover these games in Vancouver are very fortunate people in the sense that Vancouver is a great city with wonderful things to see and do and some great restaurants. Hopefully, those folks will find some story lines that will let them do their jobs well because most of the events they need to cover are mediocre spectator sports at best. In the hope of adding spectator interest to future games, here are two suggestions for the IOC:

    1. For the freestyle portion of the pairs figure skating, why not have all the competitors on the ice at the same time doing their thing. It would make one portion of figure skating into a contact sport. Just change the name from “freestyle routine” to “ice demolition derby”. I could get into that…

    2. Take the least exciting spectator sport on the menu – - cross-country skiing or biathlon would be my nominees – - and replace it for one Winter Olympiad with ice fishing. If no one notices the difference, just let the Winter Olympic Games die a quiet death.

NHL Commissioner, Gary Bettman, has his league on hiatus as the players join their national teams for the Olympic ice hockey competition. Bettman sounded less than happy with all that when the AP quoted him thusly:

“It’s difficult for any business, any league, to shut down for two weeks with the attendant loss of attention and everything that flows from that.”

Excuse me; I must have been in a parallel universe connected to this one via a wormhole a few years ago when Gary Bettman shut down his league for an entire season – - “with the attendant loss of attention and everything that flows from that.” Right?

Scott Ostler of the SF Chronicle had an observation relative to the Winter Games and one of its participants that deserves mention:

“Figure skater Johnny Weir, removing the real fur from his wardrobe after protests from animal-rights groups, says, ‘I do not want anything as silly as my costume disrupting my … chance at a medal.’ No problem, Johnny. There’s nothing as silly as your costume.”

The NBA All-Star Game – with affiliated nonsenses – happens this weekend in Dallas. They are going to take this meaningless game and play it in Jerry Jones’ new football stadium. Jones says he wants 100,000 folks in the arena. Good luck to those who are sitting anywhere near the back row. If you want to see the game, get a pair of binoculars and look at the moon; if you cannot find the American Flag that Neil Armstrong left behind up there with those binoculars, you are not going to see much of the game either.

Here is an idea for the NBA as a way to make the All-Star Game more relevant:

    Just suppose the winning conference in that game had home court advantage in the NBA Finals…

After nude pictures of two NBA players showed up on the Internet, I read somewhere that these young men needed to be more cautious and selective in terms of relationships where such “sexting” might occur. Let me say unequivocally that “advice” is nonsense.

The best way to avoid – - in fact the only guaranteed way to avoid – - having a nude picture of yourself show up on the Internet would be to stop posing for such pictures in the first place or to stop taking pictures of yourself in the mirror in a “state of unadornment”. Taking nude pictures of yourself and sending them around to others – or just showing them to others – is not one of those important social skills one’s mother tried instill during the growing-up process. By the way, it is not much of a career enhancer either; just ask Sean Salisbury.

An Internet rumor spread last week that the LA Clippers might hire Isiah Thomas as their GM. The Clippers have denied these rumors and the “furor” seems to have died down. Personally, I think the Clippers deserve Thomas and Thomas deserves the Clippers. The franchise has been a rock-bottom laughingstock for about 25 years; Isiah Thomas has demonstrated less than spectacular managerial acumen with the Raptors, the CBA and the Knicks. Allow me to shamelessly steal a line from Joe Queenan’s hilarious book, Red Lobster, White Trash and The Blue Lagoon, to describe what a Clippers’ team run by Isiah Thomas might become:

“…the deepest recesses of the inner sanctum of the Star Chamber of the Temple of Doom of the Tri-Lateral Commission of Suck.”

Actually, the reason Thomas should not leave Florida International University just yet is that he has not yet destroyed that program – - although it looks as if he is well on his way to doing that. According to reports this week, FIU home games are drawing about 100 fans. That is comparable to the crowd one might draw on a Saturday morning for a 12-and-under soccer game in your typical American suburb…

Here is a note from the agate section of the newspaper last week. The University of Wisconsin named Chris Ash as their new defensive backs coach. How appropriate will that be next season when one of the DBs gets burnt for a long TD?

Coming out of National Signing Day, I saw a note saying that a QB prospect named Munchie Legaux had chosen to go to the University of Cincinnati having also been heavily recruited by the University of Colorado and the University of Oregon. One question here:

    How did LSU miss out on this guy?

A recent issue of Men’s Health rated Fresno California as the “drunkest city” in the US. Question:

    If true, which of the citizenry will be able to walk to the podium to accept the award?

The demolition of Giants Stadium has begun. Here is the question:

    When they find Jimmy Hoffa’s body, will they simply re-inter it or will they bill his estate for the seats he had at all those games?

Finally, Greg Cote of the Miami Herald summarized completely another item that was in the news recently:

“Three-year-old rape allegation against Michael Irvin surfaced this week in a civil suit. It was believed to be the first public blemish in Irvin’s otherwise tranquil, under-the-radar life.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports…

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  • Ed  On February 12, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    Bad choice of words with the sliding – RIP that kid…. hope the family was not watching, understand it was on CTV…

    Ice dancing? I hate the skaters with all the sequins, crying, and runny makeup, and the women are nearly as bad…

    ..and the free skaing? Let’s blindfold them too! That’ll get guys to watch that in all the bars! Human demolition Derby!

  • The Sports Curmudgeon  On February 13, 2010 at 12:33 am


    I did not know of the fatal accident when I wrote the “sliding” line. In light of events, it was certainly in poor taste.

    Putting all the pairs figure skaters on the ice at the same time and blindfolded is even better than my idea. Well played, sir…

  • Ed  On February 15, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    I realize you probably wrote that before the accident. I did not think you meant it as mean-spirited.

    As to the skating, I just refined your idea. The “at the same time” was the key, the possible violence and hilarity was an addition. An America’s Funniest videos tocuh…

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