One more thing about the Olympics if I may. I have gotten mighty tired of Dick Pound over the past 5 years or so. This guy has a huge job to do
being in charge of the World Anti-Doping Agency and he's obviously not doing it nearly as effectively as he would have all of us believe he is.
Please recall his grandstanding and clucking a year ago when he called baseball's drug testing a 'complete and utter joke' and how he preened and
strutted around when folks said that US professional athletes should be tested to 'the Olympic standards'. He seemed to feel as if he was really E.F.
Hutton and when he talked, people listened.
Now I don't want to get all theological on you here but as I recall it was in the Book of Proverbs where I learned that 'Pride goeth before
destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.' Well, the Olympics had another brush with a blood doping scandal in the final week of the
competition and it wasn't Dick Pound and his super sleuths or his army of testers who broke the case. To make it worse, it seems to have been
perpetrated by the same folks who got caught doing the same things in Salt Lake City four years ago indicating that Dick Pound and his bloodhounds are
no more adept at their jobs than are the NCAA sleuths who seek to find point shaving scandals in collegiate sports.
It seems as if the Austrian skiers rolled into Turin with syringes and drugs and a 'blood transfusion machine' and that didn't raise any suspicions at
first. Look, I can understand if you go to Atlantic City and pull in to see a show with Bobby Rydell and Frankie Avalon as the headliners; they may
need a transfusion machine to change their embalming fluid between shows, but a ski team? Puhleeez! The Italian police raided the place where all
this was stored and the athletes made a dash for the border. Before getting across the border, the police managed to apprehend - because there was a
car accident that slowed the escape attempt - Walter Mayer who is the father of Mark Mayer who was stripped of his medal in the 2002 Olympics because
of just this kind of nonsense. Oh, and Mayer is a ski coach too. So let's review the bidding here:
The Austrians cheated in 2002 and did not get caught until after the fact.
The same team cheated in 2006 using the same techniques and with the participation of some folks closely associated with the 2002 incidents and it
took the Italian police - never to be confused with 'The Untouchables' - to crack the case.
And I'm supposed to continue to believe that Dick Pound is anything more than a huge waste of skin???
Well, to give Dick Pound his due, he and his super-sleuths did catch that US skeleton team member for using a hair restoration medicine on his scalp
and banned him from competition. Now that's what I call getting tough on the druggies...
For a well written although not thoroughly reverent summary of the Winter Games in Turin, may I refer you to Bernie Linciciome's summation in the
Rocky Mountain News. It is worth reading.
Before I left on my trip, I asked you to go to the World Wildlife Fund website to vote for the yak as your favorite animal to get it into that
organization's March Madness Tournament for the world's favorite animal. Well, you let me down; the yak didn't make it. But you can still go there
and vote for other animals in this tournament - currently, I'm partial to the snow leopard but that's just me. I said I wanted this to be The Year of
the Yak but it won't be so - - unless I inaugurate a new category of infamy for people in sports who say really stupid things. For the rest of 2006,
I'll classify their stupid utterances as 'Yack' and mention that they are demonstrating the intellect of a Yak in the Year of the Yak. Why not?
There will be plenty of people on whom such honor may be bestowed.
And so let me bestow the first 'Year of the Yak Honor' on Delonte West of the Boston Celtics. He said to ESPN.com that his dream date would be to
take his date on a boat, eat some Popeye's chicken and then go skinny-dipping. That's hardly up there with the great seduction scenes of literature
and/or the silver screen but I'm willing to give him a break there. Then he added that it would be cool if his date were be eaten by a shark so he
could inherit all her money. Amazingly, some folks thought that was a bit over the line and sought an explanation. And it is I consideration of his
explanation that earns Delonte West his 'Year of the Yak Honor':
'I was just being myself, just talking. That's how I talk. I conversate.'
I know the Jesuits at St. Joe's in Philadelphia are happy to see that Delonte has properly learned to conjugate the verb, 'to conversate'.
There has been a boatload of commentary on Vince Young getting a '6' on his Wonderlic test. Look, I know that playing quarterback is not the
intellectual equivalent of being a theoretical physicist, but the Wonderlic results do correlate with IQ and in that way, they do have some relevance
to native intellect and reasoning capacity. Maybe some of those traits are important to playing quarterback effectively; maybe not? Here is
something from a former colleague who has a PhD in psychology regarding the Wonderlic test:
'A Wonderlic score of 6 is equivalent to an IQ score of 71. The IQ range for a categorization of mentally retarded is 69 and below.
In a sample of 23,000 persons ages 16 to 30, 98.2% of the sample scored better than a 6 on the Wonderlic.
Median Wonderlic score for Custodians is14. Porters clock in with a median score at 15. Maid median is 16.
There are 50 items on the Wonderlic. If half of the items were multiple choice with 4 options, GUESSING should get you a 'six'.'
So when you read the ranting and raving over the irrelevance of the Wonderlic test itself, keep this data in mind. The test is not something that
someone pulled out of his 'fundamental orifice'. It may not be a perfect predictor nor may it have any relevance at all to playing quarterback, but
it is a real test and it has lots of data behind it.
Did you know that March 3rd was 'National If Pets Had Thumbs Day'? Well, it was. And that reminded me of the old line, if my grandmother had two
wheels she'd be a bicycle...
Finally, Greg Cote in the Miami Herald had a succinct and cogent analysis of Bode Miller and his performance in the Olympics:
'...his medal shutout in five skiing events has been named by (this column) as the biggest bust in sports since Morganna the Kissing Bandit.'
But don't get me wrong, I love sports... ... ...
[Edited on 10/3/06 by TRD]