One quick note, before I unload some pile-up that’s in my head. If any of you use AOL’s Instant Messenger, I now have a screen name: DDBinIndy. Shoot me a message sometime if you’re online.
Things on my mind:
In addition to being all whacked out about time here, I think there’s some kind of suspension of normal physics laws in Indiana. I’m only exaggerating in the slightest when I say that everyday a large truck flips over on one of the local highways, snarling rush hour traffic for hours. Not that if affects me, since my morning commute involves walking from the bedroom, down the stairs, and opening up the laptop. As an added bonus, yesterday a truck carrying painters and paint supplies burst into flames near the airport, snarling traffic there for several hours. Initial word had it that someone on the truck lit a cigarette. One person died and 12 others who were on the truck are in the hospital, most in critical condition. I just think something very Stephen King is going on here.
The downtown loop in Kansas City used to drive me crazy. All it took was one truck trying to get down to 45 to make those turns, then attempt to reaccelerate up the hills to back traffic up 10 miles. I thought about one day running for mayor on a rush hour platform: no big trucks on the highways between 7:00-8:30 AM and 4:30-6:00 PM. Sure, big business would use all their resources to trounce me like a beetle, but the momentum would start, my friends! You can’t keep the people down!
I’m working up a rant on preseason football, but it will have to wait until a few of those travesties have been broadcast.
Tour de France: I read Lance Armstrong’s first book while on our honeymoon. A fantastic read. I remember when it first came out and everyone who read it started referring to Lance as if he’s a friend (I’m doing it by calling him Lance). It’s a must read whether you’re into cycling, have any experience with cancer, or not. He’s really an amazing person. I watched more of the Tour this year than ever before. Mostly because it was on each morning and the TV is only 22 steps away. It was interesting to watch the doubters (at times even Lance seemed to doubt) hovering as he failed to stretch his lead to the length of previous Tours. The day he basically won the Tour, last Monday, with his amazing climb that included one fall and one slip, was the day that will be written about in the year-end columns. Is there any better sports metaphor than falling off the bike and getting right back on? He literally does it, and still manages to absolutely crush the will of his closest competitor. I think I watched the entire time trial Saturday, which was terrific drama with the rain and win.
I’m flabbergasted by the people who say Lance and his achievements are overrated or unimportant. First, what better message to the public, who face obstacles like cancer everyday than to beat it and win the world’s most grueling sports event. Five times. Second, I think all the doubters remember the carefree days of riding their bike all day, every day, during the summer. Try doing it for 80 hours over three weeks and 2100 miles, with thousand foot climbs and descents. Then tell me it’s no big deal to win the Tour.
Finally, local sports brief. I’m sure many of you were interested in my reaction to the Pacers acquiring Scot Pollard. On a personal level, I’m excited. There’s a special thrill to watching someone from your school play in the pros. Even cooler is someone like Pollard that you actually went to school with and saw around campus (He used to harass everyone outside my Sociology of the Family class). I don’t feel like I know the him, but I have a couple good stories I can share in a loud voice at games so people around me think I’m cool (not that they don’t already, it just reinforces the impression). Hell, for all the grief I give Greg Ostertag, I still claim him.
However, on a purely basketball level, it was not a great move by Larry Bird and Donnie Walsh. Pollard is an effective NBA player, and when he’s been healthy and started, he’s put up respectable numbers (7 points, almost 9 rebounds a game when Chris Webber missed extended time two seasons ago). I think he’ll work nicely with Jermaine O’Neal. However, the whole reason for the trade was the Pacers’ desire to keep old man Reggie Miller around for one more season, rather than resign Brad Miller. Let’s restate: a washed-up, has-been player for one year, or a young, dedicated, 7’ center who was in the All-Star game last year for the next 6-7 years? The math gets even worse when you learn that the Pacers will probably sign Jon Barry as well. One more time: a brittle, geriatric swingman who can’t hit the big shot anymore, plus a bench player to fill Reggie’s role as the defense stretcher for a center who compliments your franchise player perfectly. If the Pacers are so worried about having Reggie around to put asses in the seats, have Larry Bird walk around the court before, during, and after each game. That should do the trick. All that said, I wouldn’t be shocked if Pollard surprises a lot of people here. Anytime you replace a Purdue player with a KU alum, you’ve traded up.