Saturday, August 16, 2008

Sports Saturday

This Sports Saturday feels like a Beijing Games wrap-up of sorts but here 'tis:

Will Leitch, in his predictably snarky way, takes pains to explain why the Olympics are more reality TV than sports. In a way, he's sort of right: "After the Olympics are over, you’ll never think of Michael Phelps again. I’m gonna be stuck with my Arizona Cardinals forever." Leitch has a point ... we only really hear from Mark Spitz and Carl Lewis every four years or so.

I feel obligated to post the counterpoint to Leitch's essay. Since I'm not really into Michael Phelps' abs or checking out preteen Chinese gymnasts, it's sorta hard to feel Jessica Coen's argument.

More Olympics chatter, this time from the good folks at The Big Lead. They make a great point about the hypocrisy of the American reaction to the Spanish "slant-eyed" picture gaffe. Absolutely. It's awkward to be too critical when a racial slur adorns the name of the pro football team in our nation's capital. Concludes the Lead: "The Spanish basketball team’s picture exposed a problem rooted in ignorance. The last thing the situation needed was a generous dollop of our own."

Chinese officials are struggling to deal with the demands and expectations of the Western media, according to the WSJ. Big surprise there. A Columbia Law School professor says, "The Chinese government's idea of how you impress people is that everything is perfect, even if that means a little bit of deception. And that's exactly the thing that drives the Western media crazy, because it seems sneaky."

An extremely interesting blog post at Newsweek's spot about research that puts merit to the theory that great basketball players simply "feel" the game better than others. Apparently, the guy who yells "buckets" or "and one" before the shot even drops through the net at your pickup game is even better than you thought.

A high school buddy of mine who lives in New Jersey brought it to my attention that "Mike & Mad Dog" wrapped up their final radio show Friday after 19 years on the air. I never really had a chance to listen to those guys but it's tough to imagine the New York sports landscape without them. First the Fat Boys break up. Now this.

Somehow, it seems absolutely appropriate that John Lynch will be playing for the Patriots. And that's not a compliment. (As you'll come to know through football season, I detest the Belichick Boys).

Jason Whitlock is back, writing the only column of his that I'm really and truly a big fan of (we're just total ideological opposites): NFL Truths. But Whitlock has got to be delusional if he thinks Ball State is sniffing any part of the BCS.

I know this is old but I've been meaning to comment on it for awhile: kudos to UT (that's University of Texas for the uninitiated) for deciding to retire Vince Young's No. 10 at the season opener in Austin. Young, believe it or not, might be the most important player in UT's history since Earl Campbell. And, for me, VY will always be the most dynamic athlete I've ever seen with the ball in his hands.

And another set of kudos for Shreveport native Kendrick Farris, who finished eighth in his weightlifting event in Beijing. I had the pleasure of meeting Farris when he came to accept a certificate of some sort at City Hall during my time back in Louisiana. It's always nice to see great things happen to great people. Also, it's somewhat amazing that Farris could set two American records and still not medal. How weak is the U.S. weightlifting team really?

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