Today’s word of the day on Sesame Street was champion. I know because I watched it with my three year old Elliot. They talked about what it means to be a champion, at least in the context of life sized muppets and their human friends. As a guest on the show, LA Clippers forward Blake Griffin contested a muppet chicken in a rooster calling contest. And, spoiler alert, Blake won. So he was the champion.
I always figured it would take an act of God to get me to root for LeBron James. Really, it took just two words. Chicago Bulls. Thanks to an awful display of basketball over the past week, I’ve pulled for LeBron’s Miami Heat over the Bulls in the NBA Eastern Conference semifinals. Right now with a 3-1 lead in a best of seven series, it’s most likely the Heat can end this tonight so I can start hating LeBron again.
Until two days ago, Jason Collins was part of the answer to an obscure trivia question. That is, name the two sets of twins that played center for the Stanford Cardinal men’s basketball team. And the answer is Jason and his brother Jarron along with Brook and Robin Lopez. But now Jason Collins is the answer to a less sports wonky trivia question, kind of first row on Jeopardy. The longtime NBA cener will forevermore be known as the first openly gay male on a current roster in a major American professional team sport.
Kicker Alan Gendreau is hoping to make an NFL roster this year. That’s true for a lot of people right now, with the pro football draft coming Thursday followed by weeks of free agent signings and trades and mini-camps and all the things teams go through to cut down to their game day rosters. Since Gendreau is a kicker, and he sat out last year after finishing his career at Middle Tennessee State, it’s not likely you’ll hear his name on ESPN’s live draft broadcast, even in the late rounds when all but the truest diehards have switched over to The Voice or something. Picking a kicker in the NFL draft is like ordering a diet coke at Serendipity. Just not entirely satisfying.
In 2001, when I was younger and all that goes with that, I was on the US Maccabiah Games triathlon team that would compete in the so-called Jewish Olympics held in Israel every four years. As my friend put it, I wanted to be the world’s fastest Jewish triathlete, something I didn’t do when I competed in the Games four years prior in 1997.
For the price of one four day pass to the Master’s golf tournament this weekend, you could get a) a year’s tuition at a New York State University, b) a trip for two to Paris c) a motorcycle. This isn’t a multiple choice question. I’m saying you can get all of these for the price of one ticket, which right now is averaging over $13,000 on the secondary market. Of course, the list price is only $200, but you have to have been born into that, since an actual ticket hasn’t been up for sale for decades. So if you want in to Augusta National, you have to scalp your passes like everyone else that isn’t a corporate sponsor.
I am the father of two boys, aged 3 and 5, whom I’m actually quite fond of. That’s despite their, shall we say, unpredictable behavior, which can range from angelic to beyond maddening, and I’m being generous. Like one time when they older decided to cover the younger in shampoo, despite not being in the shower. And when these things happen, you try not to lose your cool, which is like trying not to break 55 on a highway in the desert. Sometimes you even say a few words you might regret, like words you can’t say on public radio but your kids manage to repeat in public at remarkably inopportune moments.
Major League Baseball kicked off the 2013 season this week with near perfect pitching, big hits, and big wins.
The LA Dodger’s Clayton Kershaw pitched a complete shut out in his first outing of the season, not to mention his walk off home run to win the game. The powerhouse New York Yankees, depicted on the cover of the New Yorker as geriatric patients, lost to the rival Boston Red Sox. But, the New York Mets won their opening salvo with a commanding 11 to 2 runs scored over the San Diego Padres.
There was an entertaining documentary on ESPN recently about North Carolina State’s unlikely run to an NCAA men’s basketball championship in 1983 where they beat an otherwise unbeatable University of Houston team in the finals. NC State was the ultimate underdog, winning games in the final moments against much deeper competition. And particularly since their coach Jim Valvano’s passing from cancer several years ago, this Wolfpack team has been memorialized as perhaps the most cherished championship team in college basketball history.
Yesterday was a two hour delay in our school district. That’s mainly because we’ve already used up all our snow days, so cancelling the whole day would have cut into spring break, and no one wants that. So in our two hours of free time, my five year old son and I did what most families did, I’m sure. We filled out NCAA tournament brackets. I did mine, and Sloan did his. If Sloan wins, he doesn’t have to put his clothes away for a week. If I win, well, there’s nothing on the table, but I’ll probably feel less guilty when I eat half his Halloween candy next year.