The Taxman Cometh…

For those of you who have not yet filed your 2009 income tax return and who are frantically dashing about trying to get all of your records into some semblance of order, allow me to jump to the end of your process and give you a final piece of advice. Take a moment and look through your instructions to find where you should mail your return and take the opportunity to use that channel for the delivery of your return. Do not try to deliver the tax forms by flying them through the window of an IRS Field Office in a single engine aircraft. That is an unacceptable delivery mode on so many different levels…

The Masters is over. For reasons that I do not understand, The Masters commanded a large fraction of the front page of the Washington Post this morning – - in addition to virtually the entire front page of the Sports Section. I can certainly understand dedicating that much “real estate” in the sports section; The Masters was the most important sporting event of the weekend. But to cover about one-third of the front page with large pictures and a few short paragraphs about a golf tournament?

The Nike ad that was released as The Masters started – - the one where Tiger Woods hears from his deceased father – - has been described by folks as “creepy” and “disturbing” and “irreverent” and “repulsive”. I have seen the ad twice and it neither speaks to me nor does it offend me in any way. Here is what I just do not understand.

    The folks who do the ad campaigns for Nike are not bozos; those folks know what they are doing; they have made Nike one of the most recognized brands worldwide.

    When they ran this concept – - or even perhaps this ad – - past their focus groups and they heard even a few opinions like “repulsive” or “creepy”, what made them air it anyway?

    How is the content of that ad – - recognizing that I am not one of the folks “offended” by it – - supposed to motivate me to go out and buy shoes or sports apparel?

When I said above that The Masters was the most important sporting event of the weekend, I was almost damning by faint praise. Here is one of the other competing sporting events from last weekend. Evander Holyfield (age 47) knocked out Frans Botha (age 41) in the eighth round of their heavyweight fight. This confrontation happened in Las Vegas – - but not at any of the hotels on The Strip where big time fights happen in Vegas. This fight went on at the Thomas and Mack Center – - where UNLV plays its home basketball games – - and the attendance was 3,127 according to the Associated Press. After the fight, Holyfield repeated his assertion that he plans to become the “undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.” And the dwindling number of boxing fans just sighed when they heard that…

When a freshman athlete performs/behaves like a senior athlete, oftentimes coaches talk about his maturity and his poise and his leadership qualities. In the case of redshirt freshman linebacker Sam Maresh at the University of Minnesota, the coaches may be calling it something else. Maresh has now been arrested twice in a two-week period for the same thing – - consuming alcohol in public. Maresh is not yet 21 years old and on two occasions he has been out on the streets of Minneapolis drinking in the wee hours of the morning and has drawn the attention of the police in the area.

I realize that it is not news to learn that college kids – - athletes or not – - consume alcohol prior to attaining the age of 21 years. Nonetheless, it does not require an Einsteinian intellect to conclude that a run-in with the gendarmes over the matter of underage drinking is far more likely when you are doing that drinking out on the street in a major metropolitan area.

    Memo to Sam Maresh:

      1. Take it indoors, son.

      2. By the way, I am a bit surprised that the school has not devised a course for its athletes that would teach them these kinds of insights. That course ought to be worth at least 3 academic credits. Suggest that to your academic coordinator in the athletic department…

It has been a while since I had heard anything about Isaiah Rider. Well, he is back in the news and, as usual, it is not all good news. Rider has been arrested in Arizona on charges of assaulting his fiancée and then running away from a cab where he owed $150 on the meter. The assault allegedly happened in Mesa, Arizona and then Rider supposedly hopped a cab to Phoenix whereupon he ran away from the cab without paying the bill. Given Rider’s history of arrests, I wonder if he was able to recite the Miranda Warning along with the arresting officer(s).

Golden State Warrior’s coach, Don Nelson, broke the NBA record for wins by a coach over the weekend. Nelson now has 1,333 wins and passed the record previously held by Lenny Wilkins. Interestingly, Nelson achieved this career record with teams that never won a championship and never even reached the NBA Finals. He started coaching 34 years ago. Don Nelson is credited with creating the concept of the “point forward” in basketball and he is also the guy who came up with the “Hack-a-Shaq” strategy.

Iona College has a new basketball coach, Tim Cluess. He had been the coach at Division II C.W. Post where his teams won 81% of their games. This is Cluess’ first assignment with a Division I basketball program meaning that the Iona Athletic department must be convinced that he is indeed Tim Cluess and not Tim Clueless…

Finally, here is word from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times:

“Jewish Major Leaguers, Inc., has named Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun as its Position Player of the Year and Rangers righty Scott Feldman as its Pitcher of the Year.

“Still no word on the Golden Mohel Award, for hitting the cutoff man.”

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

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  • Chris M  On April 12, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    One reason I was offended by the Nike/Eldrick ad was that said company not only dredged up a dead person’s voice as tabloid damage control, but that they even felt the need to acknowledge the rehabilitation or “lesson learning” of their star endorser in the first place, when in fact:

    - The general public aren’t the ones needing EW’s apologies or updates on the orientation of his moral compass

    - The company only wants to sell products

    - The endorser only wants to remain so.

    Meanwhile, some estranged mother is still dealing with her husband having had over a dozen extracurricular relationships. Her life is forever scarred, while TV commentators scour Eldrick’s press conference footage for signs that he may have ‘matured.’ Bah. I skipped the Masters this time for obvious reasons. Keep up the good writing (and bring on the NHL playoffs!).

  • Steve  On April 12, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    I agree with Chris M. who managed to express my thoughts pretty succinctly, excepting that I did not find the ad offensive, but only in poor taste.

    Conversely (or maybe similarly), I thought that Augusta National’s chairman Billy Payne’s public scolding of Woods was inappropriate, was not his business and, I venture to say, condescending.

  • Eric  On April 12, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    Hi SC:

    As Monday’s are my one night off a week from all things work and school related, I use them to catch up on other things. One is to read at least a couple of your postings. I have a couple of comments to make.

    The first is in regards to the Master’s Tournament. Please let me preface my next comment briefly. A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to choose between learning how to play golf and learning how to fly. The latter won out on “coolness” factor alone, but I have become, as a result of my decision, an avid aviation fan. The point of that unsolicited information is to convey the fact that I am not interested in golf and if offered the choice of watching a PGA or PBA tournament, it would be toss up. That said, from what I have read, a good person who is fan oriented won the Master’s this past week. I agree with one of your previous posts regarding Mickelson dealing with personal issues (BTW, from what I read, his mother is also dealing with breast cancer). To me, that is the real story. We should all remember that the issues surrounding Mr. Woods are the doing of one person, him. Cancer associated with loved ones, on the other hand, is a whole different issue.

    As far as your comments regarding the now infamous new Nike commercial with Mr. Woods, I, too, did not find it “creepy;” I watched it on You Tube tonight. That said, I do find it self-serving for both him and Nike. However, considering that money and generating profits are a core corporate concern and endorsements are extremely lucrative for athletes, my “epiphany” does not surprise me. In my view, it is an attempt on both of their parts to revive the Woods’ brand. All of this does lead me to one question for you. If I recall correctly, at one point you were referring to Tiger Woods as Eldrick. When did that change? Obviously, from that statement, it demonstrates I have not read all of your posts and I could be incorrect in my recollection. However, if my memory is right on, would you mind re-educating me on the reason you went back to Tiger?

    I also liked your discussion regarding the University of Connecticut’s Woman’s Basketball team and it being compared to John Wooden and the UCLA college basketball dynasty of the 1960s and 1970s. While that was way before my time, it is my understanding that Mr. Wooden was a true gentleman and a class act. It is nice to know that, at least sometimes, good men do finish first.

    Finally, I enjoyed your response to the National’s fan railing against Philly fans. Having grown up in the Philadelphia area, your observations come as no surprise. Now that I live in DC and go to games regularly (I do not pay for seats, they are the byproduct of corporate seats that my company cannot give away), I know from personal experience that DC is not a baseball town. That said, I hope the Nats keep trucking so I can go keep watching the teams I really enjoy.



  • The Sports Curmudgeon  On April 12, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    Chris M:

    I understand your offense at the Nike ad. I would not even try to take the opposite side of the points you made here in a debate format.

    Personally, I was not offended – - although I did find it significantly off the mark in terms of trying to motivate me to go out and buy Nike product.

    Surely, Nike had to have heard some of that sentiment from their focus groups who previewed that ad – - no?


    I took Billy Payne’s remarks at face-value. I assumed that he was less than enthralled by the activities of Tiger Woods that generated all that negative publicity and took his opportunity at the mic – - as the guy in charge of putting on The Masters – - to say so.

    BTW, previous guys in charge of The Masters have given these kinds of “addresses” to the press annually without much notice because usually there is nothing interesting for them to talk about… Billy Payne did not create a new “art form” just to get his views “out there”.

    Mr. Payne has his opinion; he also has a bully-pulpit based on his office. So, I heard what he had to say and just moved on from there…

    Was it condescending? I’m not sure… It MIGHT be that Billy Payne truly thinks that what Tiger Woods did was beneath contempt for a husband/father. If so, his remarks were very restrained.

    Or … they may also be condescending depending on what Billy Paye really thinks about all of this. But since I don’t read minds, I just can’t make that call…

  • The Sports Curmudgeon  On April 12, 2010 at 9:08 pm


    For the record, my long-suffering wife got her pilot’s license long ago. I was taking lessons along with her; I soloed a plane and was on the way toward a license too. But once she achieved her license, I just learned to fly the “right seat” and to land a plane from the “right seat” in case she expired while the two of us were cruising at 10,000 feet. Flying is a whole lot more interesting as a personal undertaking than is golf!

    Phil Mickelson dealing with cancer in two people that he loves is so much more emotionally powerful and consuming than Tiger Woods dealing with his personal inability to control his id that I prefer not to debate that point with anyone who does not get it.

    I referred to Tiger Woods as Eldrick during a period in his career when he was playing in a lot of tournaments and not dominating them. I said that tigers were always the top predator in any ecosystem where they existed and until he became the top predator again, I would call him Eldrick – - the name his mother gave him. He came out of that “slump”

    John Wooden was – - and remains – - a class act. But do not turn him or any of his UCLA teams into icons of purity. There were “evil forces” at work back in the 60s and 70s that benefited the UCLA basketball program then. By today’s standards, those “evil forces” look like pikers; but they did exist…

    Just a guess here, but you will be able to have all the Nats’ tix you want from your company – - save for when Stephen Strasburg pitches this year – - for at least the next two seasons. Strasburg is for Nats’ fans what Karl Marx called religion – - the opiate of the people.

  • Rich  On April 15, 2010 at 9:51 am

    I didn’t know that Isaih Rider was in Mensa.

  • The Sports Curmudgeon  On April 19, 2010 at 10:02 pm


    Rider is far more likely to spend time in jail than he is to spend time at a MENSA meeting…

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