Thursday, May 28, 2009

10 reasons spring treats rabid fan/new dad well

Being both a rabid sports fans and a brand-new dad is much easier this time of year, I'm finding. Here are the top 10 reasons:

10. I don't have to juggle college basketball games, college football games and NFL games at the same time. Recording roundball contests that started at 9 p.m., then watching them from midnight to 1:15 a.m. — even with incessant fastforwarding — was getting a bit old.

9.  The absence of snow means I no longer have to drive 0.000078 miles per hour in an effort to keep my son safe. Now I'm back to my apparently grandfather-esque habit of driving — shudder, gasp, egad — a couples MPHs over the speed limit. How dare I!

8. I have the lull of lopsided baseball games to gently rock me to sleep. It's like a combination of warm milk, rum, a babbling brook and Kevin Costner movies.

7. My kid can focus more of his attention on learning to make fun of TNT basketball commentator/human cheeseburger vacuum Charles Barkley for being such a moron. Like father, like son.

6. I can applaud all those who take part in "fun runs" and marathons, while at the same time realizing why my decision to quit running after I graduated from high school was so brilliant. I've tried to start up again several times, but the sane person who lives inside my brain always scissor-kicks the masochist in me.

5. With less time spent watching games on TV, I can pour much more effort into living vicariously through my son. Tomorrow's lesson: Blasting through a tough screen at the top of the key instead of switching every time. I hope he doesn't bruise easily.

4. The absence of football simply augments my healthy sports blog addiction. There's always a silver lining — unless you recently were drafted by the Detroit Lions. Somewhere in the distance, quarterback Matthew Stafford is sobbing over a "mail-order offensive linemen" catalog.

3. Everyone has stopped snickering at my University of Washington garb for a while — apparently forgetting that they're supposed to constantly mock my favorite college football team's 0-12 season. I don't get as many "poor kid" looks — until August rolls around.

2. Colin Cowherd's radio show has been moved back an hour in the Mountain Time Zone, meaning I no longer am subjected to his mindless, wishy-washy drivel on my way to work each day.

1. Going on walks with my son on a breezy spring day is just about as good as it gets — better than seeing the Seahawks get to the Super Bowl, Shawn Kemp give the Bulls fits in the 1995-96 NBA Finals and Ken Griffey Jr. round third base like a gazelle in 1995.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Season tickets don't warrant charity efforts

Even a wildly devoted Huskies fan such as I should have trouble justifying the University of Washington's latest money-making campaign — a scheme that shows little to no sensitivity for the current financial plight of many Americans.

The school recently rolled out a plan, called "Dawgs Supporting Dawgs," that asks fans to donate money so those who cannot afford to renew their 2009 football season tickets won't have to miss out.

At first glance this seems like simply a creative way for the Athletics Department to stay afloat amid turbulent economic conditions.

But here's what it really means: UW is pleading for ardent sports fans to give their precious money to a completely superflous cause — money that very easily could be used to help those in REAL need. 

I'm sorry, but having to watch a handful of games on one's 32-inch TV at home rather than in person at Husky Stadium doesn't qualify as a charity-worthy condition. Talk to single mothers, recently laid-off workers and hungry children about "need."

Have we really reached the point where tickets to a sporting event are important enough to warrant aid work?

I sure hope not. And coming from a guy who considers "watching sports" his lone hobby, that's saying plenty.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I'm wiped

My List of "people/things that really annoy me" has changed in the past nine months. Check out my new top 3:
  • "Army Wives" commercials on Lifetime (I ONLY watch this channel because of the back-to-back "Frasier" reruns that are on every weeknight. Honestly. No, seriously, it's important that you believe me.)
  • ESPN radio talk-show host Colin Cowherd
  • Baby wipes
Yes, baby wipes. They may seem nonthreatening, but in reality these weapons of mass frustration are capable of sending normally sane fathers into significant hysteria.

First, the packages they're sold in are ridiculous. Unless you have the finger size of an elf, it's impossible to pull out one without grabbing five of its cohorts. Many of my diaper-changing experiences have ended with me chucking the demonic package against the wall -- all the while maintaining a smile, so as not to upset my little one.

Another drawback is that you can't visually tell where one ends another begins. The edge of those things is like some sort of black hole. If a million dollars were riding on whether I could determine how many of those I'm holding at any given time, I'd never get the cash.

Further, I have a big-time aversion to wet paper products. Maybe that makes me a wimp. Regardless, I don't consider holding copious amounts of odd-smelling, soaked napkins a "good time." 

Does all this complaining make me a bad dad? Maybe.

Should the CEO of the Scott company watch his back? Absolutely.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Mayo learned it from watching you, CWebb

Sports fans are more and more often being taught a lesson I certainly don't want my son to learn: Superstars aren't held accountable for their actions.

When USC basketball coach Tim Floyd last week was accused of giving a "handler" money to get current NBA rookie O.J. Mayo to choose the school, analysts immediately began predicting the sort of penalties that might subsequently be inflicted on the program and the coach. That's fine, as such issues need to be addressed.

What's not fine is the complete lack of focus on one of the major players in this case: the player himself.

If the story is true, it should be assumed Mayo knew exactly what was going on. Even worse, Mayo has been accused of accepting about $30,000 in cash and other benefits during high school and his one year of college, according to

So why isn't anyone talking about the possible failings of Mayo, as well as what those missteps could mean for his former university? Maybe Chris Webber can answer that question.

Webber, who starred as a forward in both college and the NBA, is the perfect example of a great player whose mistakes have gone practically unnoticed. First Webber took an undisclosed amount of money from University of Michigan booster Ed Martin, whose lawyer said the amount was at least $280,000. Then Webber admittedly paid some of the money back after becoming a pro player — I guess that's one admirable action.

Then, after years of lying to the public and even a grand jury, he admitted to taking the money — but only as a prospective prison sentence loomed.

As a result of this large-scale, multi-player scandal in which Webber was embroiled, UM was forced to self-impose these penalties, according to
  • A 2003 postseason ban.
  • The forfeiture of 112 regular-season and tournament victories and its victory in the 1992 NCAA Tournament semifinal game.
  • The return of $450,000 to the NCAA for money earned at the tournament
  • Two years of probation.
  • The removal of four banners from Crisler Arena: the 1992 and 1993 Final Four, the 1997 NIT title and the 1998 Big Ten Tournament title.
Webber's ramifications were, uh, a bit more subdued. While some columnists took him to task, he didn't really suffer. He continued to receive millions of dollars to play a game. Now he's a burgeoning commentator on the TNT broadcast team.

One of his TV partners is no stranger to ridiculous mistakes: former All-Star Charles Barkley is back in his usual spot behind the desk after a brief hiatus. The reason for the break? Barkley had been arrested for DUI, which he admitted occurred while he was on his way to have sex with someone other than his wife.

In 1997 Barkley was fined and forced into community service after being arresting for hurling a bar patron through a glass window.

Everyone makes mistakes. But it would be awesome if everyone, even incredible athletes, had to actually answer for what they've done.

And here's a piece of advice for TNT: There are hundreds of upstanding ex-players who would be more than willing to fill the role of "guy who says extremely obvious stuff about basketball while wearing an incredibly overpriced suit." You don't need Webber and Barkley on your staff.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Point, procreator

My son thinks he's big stuff now, but he's got a lot to learn about the feistiness of a dad who's loyally defended dozens of horrible Seahawk, Mariner and Husky teams during the past 20 years.

A few nights ago K started standing up in his crib in the middle of the night. He never made the leap for freedom, but you could just tell he was mulling the use of the Fosbury Flop. 

Not so fast, son. If you're gonna bring it against Big Papa, you best bring it strong and without hesitation. Yesterday, during K's Rotary Club meeting, my wife and I lowered the crib as far as it would go. Now, unless he's capable of pulling a Brent Barry — circa 1996 — K is relegated to the friendly confines of his wooden palace/jail.

Point, procreator.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Talk about reaching

My son is now reaching for and grabbing everything in sight, which means I basically spend my spare time moving paper, dishes, etc., from new location to new location to new location.

When I fail to do this, I find half-chewed bits of paper stuck to his leg. Nice.

As much as I love seeing my son improve his "physicality" — to use a now-popular sports term — this reaching phase is really frustrating. But it's still far less annoying than the reaching Roger Clemens is doing amid the release of the new book detailing his alleged steroid use.

C'mon, Roger. You need to just hole up in your house, relax, stick your arm into some rice — that's how you got "country strong," right? — and hope no one finds hard evidence that you lied to Congress. It's not the time for you to go on "Mike and Mike in the Morning" and say foolish things.

In all fairness, Clemens wasn't awful in his interview this morning. He said several things that there coherent and difficult to prove wrong.

But most of his points were vague and off point. And some were just plain stupid.  For example, he said he would have been crazy to take steroids because of his family history of heart problems, which he said includes his stepfather. Uh, okay. I'm not sure what would be worse: Clemens being so stupid that he doesn't know why that doesn't make sense or him knowing yet thinking the American public is dumb enough to not pick up on it.

Either way, Clemens is the current King of Reaching. My son will have to settle for the paper-eating throne.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Rockets and my wife impress

Two things I already knew were made even more clear today: Always count on the sports jinx and never forget how much work it is to be a mother.

Brooks and done
When ESPN Radio's Freddie Coleman, the tapioca pudding of sports talk-show hosts, and his "expert" guest informed the nation this morning that Ron Artest is the only Houston Rockets player besides the injured Yao Ming who is capable of scoring 25 points in a game, I should have immediately placed money on the game. 

Everyone knows about the certainty of sports jinxes, right? If not, here's a tutorial: Anyone who says a team has no chance of winning is actually guaranteeing the opposite. Trust me.

Beyond the jinx factor, these commentators' remarks were just plain ignorant. Anyone who's seen this team play knows Aaron Brooks, Luis Scola and Von Wafer are all capable of prolific scoring in the right situation — and with Shane Battier busting threes on everyone's mugs, even he could probably pour in 25 points.

This afternoon, in game four of the Rockets' series against the L.A. Lakers, the sports jinx came through in a big way. Brooks scorched the nets for 34 points on a mixture of 3-pointers and strong drives to the rack. Battier hit five trifectas on his way to 23 points. And, most importantly, the combination of Houston's incredible ball movement and the Lakers' awful defensive rotation gave the Rockets open shots after wide open shots after wide, wide open shots.

Plus, don't discount what lots of analysts have been pointing out all season: The Rockets have great depth. In fact, their depth might be as good as the Lakers'.  Who else in the league can lose its two best players and still bring the likes of Kyle Lowry, Carl Landry and Wafer off the bench? Impressive.

But the moral of the story? Houston coaches, players and fans owe Coleman and [insert name of nondescript NBA blogger who ESPN calls an expert] a steak dinner.

I don't have what it takes
After further review, I don't have what it takes to be a mother.

Today is the first Mother's Day since my first child was born, so I tried hard to do some very nice things for my wife. Along the way, I paid particular attention to her day-to-day activities, realizing how much she does for me and Kellen.

From constantly washing cloth diapers to serving as a 24-hour buffet, her work to provide a healthful, good life for my son is incredible.

I may not always fully appreciate her efforts. In fact, I know I don't. But I will strive to rectify my lack of gratitude in the future. It's the least I can do for such a clutch performer.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Alston, meet Ventura

Congratulations, Robin Ventura. You have more company.

Orlando Magic gurad Rafter Alston's schoolgirl slap to the back of Eddie House's head earlier this week reminded me of something an old lady would do after having her handbag swiped. It also joined Ventura's noogie-laden defeat at the hands of senior citizen Nolan Ryan as one of the most embarrassing confrontations in sports history.

You may think I'm exaggerating, but think again. There is nothing more embarrassing than hitting someone:
A) From behind
B) Extremely softly
C) In the form of a slap, not a punch

Is Eddie House annoying? Yes? Is he the most outrageously arrogant one-dimensional role player in the NBA? Sure? Did you deserve to be knocked upside the head with a weak, open-handed slap? No. All House did was drain a three in Alston's mug.

And all Alston did in return was bust out a move Pippi Longstocking would have been envious of.

What's next?
My son pulled him self up the other day. Now that I know what he's capable of, his days of being coddled are numbered. If you can go from sitting to standing in mere seconds, there's no plausible excuse for refusing to do defensive slide drills.