Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tiger Returns, Earth continues to rotate!

Tiger Woods is coming back to golf!

Which begs a plethora of questions...starting with: how will he do?

Can this man, who was able to compartmentalize to such an extent that he was Player of the Year while juggling a huge endorsement career, a family, a charitable foundation and, oh yeah, nigh a score of mistresses simultaneously, get back to form?

Will a return to his Buddhist roots give to him inner peace and at the same time allow him to access the killer instinct he so deftly showed while trodding the tees?

Will the Accentures, the AT&Ts and Gatorades forgive and take back their Prodigal Son at what I'm guessing could be bargain-basement prices?

Here's another question...in the great scheme of things, the big picture if you will, does it even matter?

So, the nation's unemployment numbers just got reduced by ONE! How does that affect all the others struggling just to make ends meet.

The economy is better, but does anyone think we're completely out of the woods?

Moody's is deciding whether or not to continue to bestow to the USA and the lion's share of Europe's economies its AAA rating.

And then, there's still Haiti. And Chile. And Darfur. And, to a lesser extent, individuals whose houses were flooded by a late winter deluge.

There are billions of people on the planet that aren't hanging on to every syllable of Tiger's announced return.

What would Jesus do? What does Elin think?

Of course, viewers will tune into CBS by the millions. Such is human nature, especially in our culture fixated as it is on celebrity and the cult of personality.

I, too, will be watching. Because I'm human. I hope to balance that by doing what little I can to help the crises chronicled above.

Maybe we can all do the same!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Local Hoops Teams are on a R-O-L-L!

Collectively, there may not have been a better week for Milwaukee area basketball teams in the storied history of the sport.

Despite rumors to the contrary, I wasn't around when Dr. James Naismith first positioned a peach basket high on a wall to create what we affectionately call Hoops, but I doubt whether the Milwaukee Bucks, Marquette and UWM have had a more glorious seven-day period simultaneously.

Consider the following:

The Bucks have been on a particularly surprising tear, decimating opponents lately like back-to-back against the Washington Wizards. They dropped a close game in Atlanta (against perhaps a fellow playoff team) that they could have easily won.

They have done so because Michael Redd got injured and the remaining players closed ranks and shared the wealth in the form of that big orange ball. Addition by subtraction.

They have done it the addition by addition of Jerry Stackhouse, a savvy veteran, great lockerroom guy who brings playoff experience to this still very young team.

They have also done it with what may go down as one of the top trades in franchise history, wresting John Salmons from the Chicago Bulls in a three-team deal that shipped out some underproducers for this diamond in the rough who is starting to sparkle like a NBA All-Star caliber jewel.

What more needs to be said? Well, hats off to Scott Skiles for melding these different personalities into a cohesive, unselfish unit and for allowing Andrew Bogut to blossom into the player they envisioned hen they tabbed him Number One overall!

Let's not forget the steady, methodical hand of General Manager John Hammond. His fingerprints are all over this success. He has gotten this franchise out from under a
still-suffocating salary cap albatross. Without a doubt, he has to get GM of the year consideration.

Marquette simply followed up three consecutive overtime wins on the road with an oh, so satisfying pasting of Louisville at the Bradley Center.

Guys that go by their initials like DJO (Darius Johnson-Odom) have become household names. The Big East "experts" had this team, which lost a troika of talent through graduation, finishing no higher than 12th in the conference.

Buzz Williams helped his squad recover from several devastating and heartbreaking losses early on, one high-profile defection and a couple of key injuries. With little or no depth, he molded them into a force of nature, toppling teams with more talent and way more height on a regular basis heading into March Madness.

The Milwaukee Panthers had problems of their own. There were some academic storms the team had to weather. Head Coach Rob Jeter's team failed more often than not in the first half of the season, coughing and wheezing its way to a 5-8 mark.

But Jeter's guys have hung in there and won the first two games of the Horizon League tournament, offering at least a sniff of the post-season should they knock off odds-on favorite Butler down the road in Indianapolis.

The hot seat that Jeter was sitting on through that early rough patch has cooled considerably. He has shown himself to be a quality Head Coach in Division I and deserves to return and be extended.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Memo to Tiger: First, I would start out with your very best Brenda Lee impression: "I'm sorry, so sorry!" You simply cannot overdo the mea culpas as it relates to this most indelicate matter. You had best make it an Oscar-worthy performance, we know you have it in you.

Addicted or not, your actions were so reprehensible, so disgusting and so depravedly prolific as to have turned almost the entire female population of the planet against you in a way that women have almost never been so united.

If at all possible, make sure that Elin is in the room. This will immediately start putting brownie points and other favorable capital back into your completely depleted bank account.

If Elin looks at all like she is past all of your "transgressions" -- even as more former porn stars and others claiming a closeness to you reveal pregnancies and the like -- it will be Game Over.

Once the world sees that you have a shot at getting forgiveness, which from those early hours in the morning after Thanksgiving looked like a pipe-dream; you will be preceived to be in the clear and you can finally begin to grab a club and get back at it. The golf, that is.

This skeletal semblence of a press briefing (no questions will be answered) still persists in painting you as the ultimate control freak...trying and succeeding at manipulating all facets of your public persona as you did prior to the escapade in the Escalade.

Do whatever you have to do to dispell the notion that you are in command and complete control of the situation like in all things pre-Turkey Day. That ship has sailed.

Heck, even TMZ is adding a sports arm to its operation based solely on the interest everyone showed in your personal Texas Two-step of your marriage vows that you have done since just about the time you tied the knot.

This balloon has just gotten bigger and bigger over these past nearly 12 weeks and you are wise to finally put a prick in it and let all that air out. Especially since you want to make it back to the tee (hopefully, eschewing the T & A).

The Masters awaits and we all know that is your life's passion (besides Elin and your kids, of course)...winning major championships in a quest to surpass your white whale, the Golden Bear!

This, too, shall pass, Tiger. And I have no doubt that you will emerge from this battered, yet unbowed. This will be especially true once you start proving yourself on the course.

Elin's seemingly sudden about-face coupled with her dumping of the high-priced divorce attorney did much to assist in saving your bacon. I'm sure the multi-million dollar dive boat didn't hurt. It may have even out-Kobe-ied Kobe.

Of course, I will add this one caveat: All bets are off as it relates to your successful return should any Tiger cubs start to roll out. That would surely be a huge gust of wind against what is already a very shaky house of cards.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


It will forever be known as 'THE Call!'

I can't say enough about it. These words just give it the heft that it deserves.

In the XLIV-year history of the Super Bowl, I don't think there has been a singularly more gutsy, more dramatic play call by any head coach than the onside kick to start the second half. Ever! We may go another XLIV years before we see the likes of it again.

More the stuff of a riverboat gambler than a head coach, New Orleans' Sean Payton elevated himself to the Pantheon in one fell swoop by taking that impossible chance.

To my mind, there are simply no other plays worth talking about. Even Tracy Porter's interception with five minutes and change left, pales by comparison. I know the final score was 31-17, but nothing else really matters as it relates to the final outcome.

Without that one call -- at once incredible and unfathomable -- we would be canonizing Colts QB Peyton Manning as the greatest ever, though that would be a travesty best reserved for another blog.

It should it be acknowledged that it's not just the call itself but the successful execution of same that made all the difference. If the Saints had not recovered the ball (and it seemed to me to be the longest time to ever determine possession than I can remember), we would be deriding Payton as the worst person to ever have drawn a breath.

Such is the fickle nature of sports.

Who, in their right mind, would make such a call? Even the great (cough!) Bill Belichick feared Manning enough to go for it on fourth down, ill-advisedly as we now know.

Conventional logic says the best way to beat the elder Manning is to keep him on the sidelines. What better way than to deny him the ball in the second half? Heck, maybe they should always kick it onside.

But that would eliminate the bread and butter of this and any other unconventional or gimmicky call...Surprise!

Payton, of the now victorious Saints, has just rewritten the history books. On the biggest stage and at the most crucial point of the game, Payton rolled the dice.

They had practiced the play. Payton went over and over and over the scenario again and again and again the night before. And as he started his halftime Pep Talk...with the muffled sounds of The Who permeating through the locker room walls...he told his team what they were about to do.

Payton knew that this was risky, enough so that he told his charges to make him look good by converting this play. They did and the rest, as they say...

I think coaches around the world are still stunned, numb to what took place in Miami at Sun Life Stadium.

This was the city where Colt QB Peyton Manning finally got the monkey off his back. No longer was he the best active quarterback to never have won the big one. Of course, Dan Marino, who plied his trade here as a Dolphin; has the lifetime tag.

After succumbing to Destiny (aided and abetted by that fourth quarter pick), Manning is now relegated to having won the same number of Lombardi Trophies as Trent Dilfer and (snort!) Brett Favre. Greatness has once again eluded the passer and pitchman.

Since Super Bowl XLIV was a battle between two number one seeds, can New Orleans' win over Indianapolis be considered an upset? I think the one-time 'aints were the underdog in more ways than just the Vegas line.

I mean, most of the "smart" money had been on the older veteran with the gaudier career stats.

Spout all you want about the statistics or the vagaries of the routes run and the drops by Indy's Reggie Wayne. Go on about Drew Brees and his his near-perfect 45 minutes of football. Say what you will!

To my mind, nothing else need be said other than: "Good Call!"