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.