Monday, April 21, 2008

Random Sports Thoughts

Danica Patrick made history this past weekend by becoming the first woman to win a major auto race when she won the Indy Racing League race in Japan. It's a great achievement and a monkey off her back. She was in danger of becoming the "Anna Kournikova or racing," thanks to shots like these which for obvious reasons were never done by Richard Petty or Bobby Allison. She certainly has been a marketing whiz and while I always thought she was a great driver, everyone knew it would take a win to stop the Kournikova comparison. Immediately, the talk turned of her jumping to NASCAR (again). I think she will at some point, but for now it's wise for the Indy league to hang onto her as long as they can. She's their poster more ways than one. When she jumps to NASCAR she'll return to having a huge learning curve, a lot of expectations, and a lot of guys in front of her. The question beckons, when she jumps to NASCAR, will she pose in a rebel flag bikini?

I've watched some of the NBA playoffs. There's a soft spot in my heart for New Orleans, and I'm enjoying watching the play of Chris Paul. My "local" team, the Memphis Grizzlies are so awful. Maybe they can get lucky in the lottery and get Derrick Rose. It seems the point guards have been better in recent years than the big men as far as draft picks are concerned. I used to be a big NBA fan back in the day of Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain and Willis Reed. My favorite players then were Wilt,West, Gale Goodrich and Earl Monroe. I returned as a fan to watch Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan, but it lost me when the league devolved into wrestling matches and one on one playground games where "walking" and fouls were not called. It lost it's grace and beauty. Also a buddy of mine drove charters for several NBA teams recently and told me how he had been treated by several of the league's players. Certainly not graceful. These days, when I watch, I'm reminded of what David Brenner said several years ago. "Just give em both 100 points, and 2 minutes to play." It's too bad. It used to be such a beautiful game.

I'm pleasantly surprised by the St. Louis Cardinals' great start! Can they keep it up? I don't think so, but that's the beauty of baseball. You never know.

This weekend, I'll be sneaking a peek at the NFL Draft. It's always fascinated me. There will always be "can't miss" busts, and late round "steals." Trouble is, it usually takes a year or two or three before you really know. My friend Jerry Reese from Tiptonville has done quite well at it, so I'll be watching how he drafts this year, along with the Titans and several other teams. There are so many great athletes. Perhaps the trick is predicting what those great athletes will do once they become millionaires. Will they still be "hungry" even though they'll never be hungry again?

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