Thursday, June 26, 2008

It's time I weighed in on Tiger Woods.

Tigers victory in the U.S. Open is to be admired. He played in great pain and won. But the comparisons to Willis Reed, Emmit Smith, Michael Jordan, Jack Youngblood and others do not hold water in my opinion.

You see, those players, who played in their sports respective playoffs or championship with a torn ligament, a separated shoulder, a 102 degree fever, or a broken leg, were playing for teams. They had others depending on them, in a situation where there was no tomorrow. It is so incredibly difficult to make a final in team sports, those who played in pain knew that there was no tomorrow. It was play and win, or pack it in.

Tiger plays an individual sport. There are lots of tomorrows for him, both in 2008 and beyond. He has already qualified for every major through 2012. So, Tiger ignored doctor's advice, and played on a knee that was not ready. He knew full well it could cost him the rest of the season, and appearances in two more majors. And he had every right to do so. An individual decision in an individual sport.

But he also knew it could keep him from paying in the Ryder Cup.

America has not won the Ryder Cup since 1999. Three straight losses. Maybe having Tiger on our side ay have improved our odds, just a bit?

This comes after Tiger sat in Roger Federer's guest box at the U.S. Tennis Open final in 2005- America's national championship- and openly rooted against an American playing in the final (Andy Roddick.)

Tiger is an American, which means he can make his own decisions about his livelihood and his health. But I wouldn't put him in the same class as John McEnroe, Jim Courier, Andy Roddick, James Blake, Davis Love, or Jim Furyk, who have never put their own priorities ahead of playing for their country.

Monday, June 23, 2008

I got the chance to see George Carlin perform live in 1990. In his memory, I'm posting the words to one of the routines he did that night. More appropriate than ever.

I don't like words that hide the truth. I don't like words that conceal reality. I don't like euphemisms, or euphemistic language. And American English is loaded with euphemisms. Cause Americans have a lot of trouble dealing with reality. Americans have trouble facing the truth, so they invent the kind of a soft language to protect themselves from it, and it gets worse with every generation. For some reason, it just keeps getting worse. I'll give you an example of that.

There's a condition in combat. Most people know about it. It's when a fighting person's nervous system has been stressed to it's absolute peak and maximum. Can't take anymore input. The nervous system has either (click) snapped or is about to snap. In the first world war, that condition was called shell shock. Simple, honest, direct language. Two syllables, shell shock. Almost sounds like the guns themselves. That was seventy years ago.

Then a whole generation went by and the second world war came along and very same combat condition was called battle fatigue. Four syllables now. Takes a little longer to say. Doesn't seem to hurt as much. Fatigue is a nicer word than shock. Shell shock! Battle fatigue.

Then we had the war in Korea, 1950. Madison avenue was riding high by that time, and the very same combat condition was called operational exhaustion. Hey, were up to eight syllables now! And the humanity has been squeezed completely out of the phrase. It's totally sterile now. Operational exhaustion. Sounds like something that might happen to your car.

Then of course, came the war in Viet Nam, which has only been over for about sixteen or seventeen years, and thanks to the lies and deceits surrounding that war, I guess it's no surprise that the very same condition was called post-traumatic stress disorder. Still eight syllables, but we've added a hyphen! And the pain is completely buried under jargon. Post-traumatic stress disorder. I'll bet you if we'd of still been calling it shell shock, some of those Viet Nam veterans might have gotten the attention they needed at the time. I'll betcha. I'll betcha.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Tim Russert, dead at age 58.

Rest in Peace, Tim. I hope you're hangin' out with Murrow & Mencken.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Headline on CBS sportsline, today:

The Lakers are back in business. While Kobe Bryant plays a role in the 87-81 Game 3 win over the Celtics, it's reserve Sasha Vujacic who leads the way.

Headline on Yahoo! Sports, today:

Kobe Bryant's supporting cast failed in Game 3. Good thing for the Lakers that Bryant steered them through.

Line form Sports Illustrated, today:

Bryant was aggressive from the start, scoring inside or drawing fouls, to keep the Lakers offense going on a night when his supporting cast struggled.

From, today

the Lakers' 87-81 win over Boston was made possible by Sasha Vujacic's supporting role.

Were there two games last night???

Monday, June 09, 2008

All-pro, record-holder, and Super Bowl Champion Michael Strahan retired today.

Thank you, Michael.