In case you missed the news, the Tonya Harding/Daisy D "fight" was canceled. It never happened. They didn't box; they didn't wrestle; the promoter
claims to have lost $15K on the deal - maybe a cautionary note for future promoters of such silliness?
The State Police were there threatening to arrest anyone and everyone involved if the match took place; less than 200 potential spectators showed up
in the first place. Remember, we are talking about Tonya Harding here so let's not get wrapped up in thoughts of how could this have ever happened or
any threads of thinking that involve any sense of responsibility to fans or "the game". This was a publicity event for her probably from the
beginning. Remember, she said she never realized that Daisy D was a transvestite; well Daisy D does a radio or TV show in Florida called Queen on the
Scene and advertises openly her/his "gender confusion".
After the fight was canceled, Harding went into her "talk nice to the media" mode saying that if she had fought, "I would have been stripped of my
boxing title." Excuse me, what title does she hold? So far, she has lost most of her legit fights and her most famous victory was over Paula Jones who
- like Daisy D - was not a boxer at all. She also said she felt bad for "all her fans" - remember less than 200 people total showed up - who wanted to
see her "kick someone's butt". Then why didn't you wrestle Daisy D and kick her/his butt?
In Canada, the NHL strike/lockout is a much bigger deal than it is here in the Washington DC area. And Canadians will have to get their season's worth
of hockey by watching the Legends of Hockey game from Montreal next month. It is an old-timers' game but one that hopes to draw widely from retired
NHL stars. As is always the case these days, the event has a corporate sponsor; and this time, the sponsor is Viagra.
Memo to Canadian Viewers: Expect to see a lot of high sticking penalties in this game.
The NHL owners and players met again recently to see if they could make progress in their talks before they need to cancel the 2005/06 season. They
hadn't been in touch with each other for about a month; and at the end of the session, the announcement was that no progress was made. Well, at least
they didn't lose any momentum in the talks given the month hiatus... Some people say that the NHL owners are posturing and driving the negotiations in
such a way that they will have a legal basis to declare an impasse and sign up replacement players. I don't know if that is true, but if it is, there
is probably a segment of hockey fandom that would consider the following as a reasonable solution:
A. Fire every player and get 100% replacement players.
B. Fire every owner and get 100% replacement owners.
C. Stringent salary caps for all teams.
D. Significant cash bonuses for teams to divide when they win.
About a month ago as the hockey kerfuffle (to use his word) was reaching its crescendo, I got an e-mail via the website from a reader in Canada who
pointed out that hockey - and the right to get tickets at a reasonable price - is not an entitlement within the social contract even in Canada; it is
not something the citizenry ought to expect in their lives such as law and order or health care. He pointed out that hockey is a business and that
economic constraints were merely imposing a "correction" in this particular industry and that it was not cause for social alarm or governmental
regulation. I think there is a lot of wisdom in these words and I thank the reader for passing them along.
I read that the Arizona Cardinals signed RB, Troy Hambrick. He was the guy in Dallas who said that Emmitt Smith was over the hill and needed to get
out of the way so Hambrick could take over the RB duties. Well, the Cowboys got Smith out of the way and then got Hambrick out of the way too. Now
Hambrick goes to Arizona hoping once again to fill in behind Emmitt Smith. If there is karma at work, the Cards will cut him too.
Maryland did not get an invitation to the NCAA tournament; they certainly did not deserve one. Some Terp fans in the DC area are crowing about how
this team beat Duke twice this year even though Maryland was in a "down year" and those two victories validate the whole season and show that the
Maryland program is actually one of the dominant programs in the country. Fans using that logic and thought stream may have just demonstrated why they
are going to Maryland and not Duke. Whatever. Maryland did indeed win both its games versus Duke this year but they lost to Clemson three times. Let
me give you a college football analogy here. Imagine that conference teams played home and home series against conference opponents in a football
season and that Michigan State had beaten Michigan twice in a season but had they turned around and lost home and home to Northwestern and then to
Indiana. Would you think Michigan State ought to be considered an elite team under those circumstances? Well, that is the basketball stature of
Clemson. They are the ACC basketball equivalent of Indiana in Big-10 football.
Maryland is in the NIT. If the team plays as nonchalantly there as it did in losing its way down the stretch of the season, it could get bounced by
anyone in the field. Remember, this team has 4 starters back from the team that won the ACC tournament last year and its point guard is rumored to be
giving serious thought to leaving school after this year to "take his game to the NBA". The far more likely destination for John Gilchrist's game is
the CBA, but that's his problem and not mine.
I presume you noticed that Indiana is not in the NCAA tournament either. Earlier this year, they lost a game to Ohio State and scored only 44 points
in that loss. When Mike Davis took over and rallied the Hoosiers through the NCAA tournament to the final game, people hailed him as a budding star on
the coaching scene. Please recall that he was coaching players recruited by Bob Knight and not by Mike Davis. He got a nice contract extension then as
a "budding star" and has gone downhill since. It would not surprise me to see him fired/bought out in the next couple of weeks; if he does survive
another season, Indiana will need to make the tournament and win two games next year to save his job. And if my memory is correct, it was Dr. Myles
Brand who hired him and gave him that contract extension at Indiana when Dr. Brand was the university president who was going to take back the rogue
athletic programs there and put them within the mainstream mission of the university. How's that workin' out in Bloomington?
Finally, all my talk about hockey and the NHL reminded me of a quote I read recently of a line used by the late Jimmy Cannon who described a hockey
puck as "a hard rubber disk that hockey players strike when they can't hit one another."
But don't get me wrong, I love sports...
Copyright The Sports Curmudgeon