Enjoying Each Evolving Season
Friday - September 15, 2010
It seems that we are increasingly in a headlong rush to form conclusions about our sports teams.
Last week, after Boise State came back to nip Virginia Tech in the final moments, the conversation immediately centered on one question: Should the Broncos play in the national championship game?
Excuse me, but this was the first game of the season!
Meanwhile, a panel of experts was breaking down the NFL season, arguing over who would fail to make the playoffs.
And this before a single game had been played! How about letting the season unfold? Enjoy the vagaries and nuances of close games, savor the special moments and endure the inevitable disappointments.
That’s what it always used to be about. It happens here too.
On the second call-the-coach radio show of the season last week, one caller asked UH coach Greg McMackin what he needed to concentrate on for next year’s recruiting.
Perhaps it’s a byproduct of the information age, but the destination has become all and the sweet journey nearly forgotten.
After Hawaii had shown promise in its opening loss to USC, one enthusiastic fan exclaimed that the Warriors would “obviously get double-digit wins.”
That would be fantastic, but it’s a long way off.
I’m more interested in the little improvements and team cohesion that occur over time, often revealed in small bits, game by game.
Those are the simple sporting pleasures.
With all the attention paid to the mega-salaries accorded to the likes of Brett Favre and Tom Brady, it is easy to forget how difficult it is to make a living in the NFL.
On the last big cut day, I always watch the waiver wire in the transactions section where each player’s name represents a failed dream. Some are rookies who hoped for one game in the league, others veterans whose talents are no longer required. The reality is that many excellent players can’t find a roster spot, despite a lifetime of training and practice.
The NFL is a tough business.
One of baseball’s traditions is the occasional late-season collapse by a team that appeared destined for post-season success. This year’s candidate appears to be the San Diego Padres. After leading the NL West by six games in mid-August, the Padres proceeded to lose 10 games in a row.
During the streak they totaled an anemic 23 runs. Never regarded as strong offensively, the Padres bats completely shut down.
Even the terrific pitching they’ve gotten all season long wasn’t enough to halt the slide.
Now we’ll see if the San Francisco Giants have enough to seize the division. But the real winners are baseball fans who will be treated to some drama where there appeared to be little.
The Ryder Cup teams are now set and U.S. captain Corey Pavin chose Tiger Woods, Zack Johnson and Stewart Cink as expected, but also chose the youthful Ricky Fowler, who has yet to win on tour.
If Fowler doesn’t perform well in Wales, Pavin will undoubtedly take some heat.
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