One of the constants in the childhood of my three boys was sports --- I could probably rationalize the reasons into building strong young men but the reality of it was that I really like sports and I am pretty lazy so I watched sports and went to sporting events and played sports so the boys watched sports with me, went to sporting events with me, and played sports – with me and then with each other and friends.
My wife and I are kind of like the Flintstones on our court – we are the ones who have three newspapers delivered on our driveway every morning. (caveat – I do read them on my iPad when I am on the road so that is kind of like a cross between Flintstones and Jetsons). The first thing I do in the morning is to grab the sports page from the Contra Costa Times and the sports page from the San Francisco Chronicle and read them cover to cover (I read the Wall Street Journal at night and their one-page sports page gets devoured each evening).
With that as background into my pitiful little life … I offer this set of observations. Tonight I read an article on-line that had the odds for which college team would win this year’s NCAA Football Championship – and they had odds for 53 teams with the 53rd team coming in at about 1000-1 or so (Spoiler alert – Cal was not in the list of 53 teams). I am amazed that people can feel confident predicting how teams of 19, 20, 21 year old (and sometimes 26 year old) men will perform over the course of a four to five month season … and it made me consider the fact that there are much easier sports predictions that can be made year in and year out.
- Right before the NFL pre-season starts, then again after the first pre-season game, and then again after the third pre-season game, and then again after the regular season week two, week six, and week nine … there will be a headline in the Contra Costa Times that reads:
*”RAIDERS COACHING STAFF TO PLACE MORE IMPORTANCE AND FOCUS ON REDUCING PENALTIES”
- At some point during the Major League Baseball Season the Giants will be in a losing streak (of some length) and during that streak the following headline will appear in the San Francisco Chronicle:
*”GIANTS PLAYERS HOLD CLOSED-DOOR PLAYERS ONLY MEETING”
- Note – I have always wondered the value of closing the doors and some veteran telling his teammates that they need to get the critical two-out hit … but I’m not a professional baseball player so I guess this is a good thing.
- At some point during the summer, the home of the best team in baseball will become the subject of a headline:
*”Oakland Coliseum (aka McAfee, O.co, Oracle, Grocery Outlet) – toilets back up and flood locker rooms … all 3300 fans made it out safely … Oakland City Officials confirm their commitment to keeping the A’s in the Coliseum.”
Note- That last part of the headline gives me the visual of the Oakland City Officials with a picture of Lew Wolff holding today’s newspaper while standing in the prehistoric A’s Clubhouse (for those who don’t get my humor --- think hostage tape).
Other sports stories mystify me as far as their importance. For example neither Tiger Woods nor I have won a Major in the past six years – and last weekend the sports networks were flashing alerts that Tiger Woods was going to take a practice round – coincidentally that same day I went to the golf range to hit a bucket of balls --- not one network ran the story about me … they all picked up the Tiger Woods (non-story) instead.
Finally – although this was a story from a couple of years ago … the press became obsessed with Notre Dame Football Player (now San Diego Charger) Manti Te’o when he happened to invent a fake girlfriend. I don’t know Mr. Te’o but I can guarantee you that if he is an NFL Linebacker – I have had far more imaginary girlfriends than him … and yet … not one article published with the scoop that I have had imaginary girlfriends. You can call it a West Coast Bias or a vast conspiracy against Polish-Americans – I cannot explain the popular press I can just offer observations.