A difficult loss to handle; and watch out for the Black Stars
Yes, it’s Friday, we have all kinds of NBA stuff in the paper thanks to Nothin’ But Net so we’ll branch out a little bit here, if you don’t mind.
If you do, scroll down; way down.
I didn’t know Sarah Burke, never spoke to her, never saw her compete.
Yet why do I feel a sense of loss now with news of her tragic passing from the injuries sustained in a freestyle skiing training accident?
Because, like you, it is gut-wrenching to hear such news about athletes who push themselves to the limits of their skills in sports that too many of us don’t fully understand or appreciate.
They train and compete harder than any of us can possibly imagine and for what? Mostly for a sense of personal accomplishment; it certainly isn’t for great riches or incredible adulation or anything other than the true love of their sport.
Those of us who are closely associated with professional athletes know the mercenary side of them, they are richly rewarded for their skills and that all too often brings a skewed sense of entitlement that is off-putting in a large measure. Not all of them are like that, of course, but too many are.
But women like Burke, and the hundreds and hundreds of virtually anonymous but brilliantly skilled so-called amateur athletes who push themselves for little more than the love of competition and their sport are what the games should be about.
The world needs women and athletes like Burke to remind us of people who play games and compete in individual sports simply because they love them. Those are the ones we should know more about, ones we should hold up as shining examples of dedication to a craft that goes beyond personal gain.
The world of sports – and the world in general by all accounts – is a darker place now with her death.
I didn’t know her but I admire her.
And all others like her.
So, did you watch Lakers-Heat at all last night?
Only saw highlights here – life got in the way – but I guess the age-old debate would be raging in a few locales:
Kobe or Lebron?
Tough one, no doubt. Kobe’s got the rings, LeBron’s won about five in a row of the head-to-head duels that really don’t mean anything.
Without getting into specifics too much, I’m just going to throw this out there and see what you think:
Both are brilliant players and great athletes and incredible competitors but there just seems to be a more nuanced game to Bryant than there is to James.
He’s just better and more fun to watch; more fluid, less bullish, his jump shot is as consistent as any I’ve ever seen. He plays the game more in the way I would like to see it played and I guess that’s the reason I’d rather sit and watch a Laker game than a Heat game.
Mail? Last shot. Busy day when we land in L.A. tomorrow (the HOTH are practicing out there after an overnight flight so it’s LAX to UCLA) so today might be the lone day to get tomorrow’s done and set up Sunday’s to finish on the plane.
It’s what we’ve done here each week to usurp my friend Magic 8-ball and there’s no sense stopping now, is there?
Baltimore at New England
Remember early in the season – especially after that loss in Buffalo – when the people were writing off the Pats?
Seems kind of silly now, doesn’t it?
They’ve kind of figured out the defensive issues that plagued them, Tom Brady is playing at such a crazily-high level that I’m surprised no one’s comparing him to Tebow and Bill Belichik may be a hoodie-wearing-fun-sapping-sourpus-extraordinaire but the guy seems to come up with plans to maximize the talent available.
The Ravens? They can look like world-beaters one week and rank amateurs the next; Ray Lewis is waaaaaaaaaay to zany intense for me and if Joe Flacco is a starting quarterback in the Super Bowl something is terribly wrong with the world.
Pats, by a mile.
NY Giants at San Francisco
Here’s the thing: Last Saturday, with about six minutes left in the Niners-Saints game, I had to go courtside at the United Centre and missed all the San Fran histrionics. Too bad, looked like a rather wild finish in hindsight. And there is no disputing how good that defence is, how effectively they can run the ball and if pours rain at Kezar Stadium (yeah, I’m dating myself a bit) that has to be good for the home side, no?
And here’s the big butt.
Last Sunday, I did get to sit around and watch Eli Manning and his team dismantle a not bad Packers squad and if you had to pick a quarterback of these four left to handle elements and win a big game, you’d go with Manning, I would think. The guy is just good.
Giants, but it’ll be close.
And that gives us Pats-Giants in the Super Bowl and it’ll be a contest who see who’s the most disagreeable in the week leading up to the game, Coughlin or Belichik. Coach Hoodie will win.
Pucks 4, Wilds 1
World’s a safer place today.
Right, the Raptors.
Hardly anything of substance yesterday; Bayless may play, it’s a work in progress, they’re getting better but not there yet.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
As you know, I have an affinity, borne of simply knowing an old friend in Ghana, for the Black Stars, who have made it to the final eight times but haven’t won one in a while.
I’m worried about the dastardly Ivory Coasts, they’re probably the favourites going in but I need to find my Black Stars cap around here and carry it with me on the road.
Who you got?