SPORTS – The Jock 2-25

coming to Players By The Sea July 15-22
Imagination Movers – May 17

by Tom Weppel
You know things are a little different….perhaps even a little odd…in college basketball this season when, as of this week, Butler, New Mexico, Northern Iowa, and Richmond were all in the Top 25 rankings!
That, my friends, is simply crazy…and borderline ridiculous.
Overall, it seems college basketball is showing us the continued slide down the slope in their level of play. You watch any game this season…even when the best teams are on the court, and you see a lot of passing, lame turnovers, missed shots, and slow movement among players. All of this will come out amazingly, perhaps, when the field of 65 teams is announced for the NCAA Tournament. Whil March Madness will give us top seeds and interesting matchups, we will also see some unfamiliar names of schools we’re not used to seeing and hearing about.
Meanwhile, some major schools have had very disappointing seasons. Two in particular have been stalwarts in their own right throughout the years, always showing up for big games.
The Carolina Tar Heels have simply folded their tents this season. After winning the title last season, UNC has been a total abomination this season. Afer their loss at home to FSU on Wednesday night, Carolina has a .500 record (14-14), while their conference record is a paltry 3-10. THAT, my friends, is ridiculous! For UNC to only have three ACC victories in 13 games is completely unheard of! Roy Williams has struggled mightily to take this all in, as have the Tar Heels faithful, many of whom are not even showing up for games at the Dean Dome.
On the West Coast, the UCLA Bruins are essentially doing the same thing. Their 12-14 overall record, as of Wednesday, was WORSE than UNC! Its amazing, for all intents!
What is happening here? Without question, the landscape of college basketball has completely changed, and the product that we are being given has certainly dropped a notch or two from what it was even ten years ago. Makes you wonder if basketball overall has lost its luster in the U.S…

The NFL is holding their annual Combine in the next few days. It gives all the teams another opportunity to evaluate the college talent. After watching the players during games over the years, they now get a chance to test them as to their individual skills off the field. It also makes for interesting fare, as times and stats mean so much to the Head Coaches, GM’s, and scouts. Their reputations are completely tested in being able to find the right players to bring in to their respective franchises. It can make all the difference in the world. It can also mean a pay raise, or a firing!
On the other side, the players are all there to perform, although some guys choose to wait to do things until their schools have team days on campus. Some QB’s, like Tim Tebow and Jimmy Clausen, will not go thru passing drills. In a way, it makes no sense, putting the onus completely on the NFL-types to figure out whether they like those guys for past performance on the field.
In the meantime, so many players will be getting measured, checked, and tested, it can get a little antsy. There will be a lot of coverage, especially by the NFL Network.

The Winter Games will wind down this weekend, and I think its fair to say the USA participants did a pretty good job in their performances. The names we heard about at the beginning, including the skiers Bode Miller and Lindsay Vonn, pulled medals in a couple of runs, while skaters Apolo Anton Ohno and Shani Davis did the same in theirs.
What I find interesting is how only a certain niche’ of fans has developed an interest in the newer events, including snowboarding. From the downhill runs, to the halfpipes, there is plenty of action going on. And while there is certainly a tremendous amount of skill involved in riding those snowboards, it certainly hasn’t been completely embraced by everyone. That said, it actually seems possible that one day we will see nothing BUT snowboards being ridden by those on the slopes in the Winter, replacing skis.
One other item that gained a lot of discussion involved the way in which NBC has shown us events, with a lot of them being tape-delayed, as opposed to live action. You would think hat in this day and age, with technology coming at us at a rabid speed, and so many options, that we would be able to witness ANY event in live form, as it is happening.
But NBC has invested a ton of money in retaining the rights to air these Games. They own the ability to dictate where, when, and how we can and will see things happen.
It is entirely fair to fault NBC in that respect. Perhaps for the next Olympic Games, things will change…

Have you heard enough about Tiger Woods? If you have, well I’m sorry, but you will probably hear a whole lot more in the very near future.
This weekend the PGA Tour is playing in Phoenix, where the crowds are large and rowdy. Golf is only secondary to the partying that goes on around the course during this tournament.
Obviously, Mr, Woods will not be a participant, and we have no idea when he will be coming back, after his comments last week.
That said, I can only imagine the fan reactions and taunts that would occur if Woods would be playing in this event. It would be a wild, wild, situation, without question!
For so many golf tournaments, the crowds are totally disciplined in their actions. You never hear taunting, loud cheering during action, or even signs held up or displayed during shots. But this weekend in Phoenix, the rules are bent, and the fans take it all in. Golfers, meanwhile, essentially accept what is going on, and if they don’t, they simply don’t come to play in the tournament.
If Tiger were here playing, his play would be extremely anticipated by all, and the scene would be otherworldly!
In the meantime, we’ll see how things play out, for the PGA Tour, and for Eldrick, as the drama continues to unfold…