Lots of sports, and sports-related things, from the weekend.
Friday I had my first boys basketball game of the season. It was a 20-point loss, which is about what I expected. My team actually got as close as seven in the second half, which was not expected. Thanks to a double overtime JV game, I only had time to file a brief story, which was just fine with me.
The news from the evening was my attempt at local food. When I arrived I headed to the concession stand for a drink and perhaps a snack. There was a handmade sign that offered a pulled pork sandwich on a kaiser roll for just $2. Wow, that seemed like a fine deal. I do love pulled pork. And it’s kind of hard to mess that up. I figured I’d give it a shot. I ordered one and a kid took a massive roll, picked up a ladle, and started dumping meat onto it. He slopped like three huge helpings onto it. This was going to be some snack!
I took my sandwich and headed back to my seat. I grabbed the sandwich, took a bite, and…was afraid to chew. The meat wasn’t ice cold, but neither was it even room temperature. Apparently the crock pot it was sitting in either hadn’t been turned on or the meat had been in it about 2 minutes. I rotated the sandwich and tried the other side, hoping perhaps it had been warmed. No dice. And this bite was full of chunky, gristly meat. Yuck. My stomach was starting to turn a little. There wasn’t anyone sitting around me, so I carefully covered the sandwich with napkins and slid the plate under the bleachers. Then I moved to another spot. Man, was it nasty. For $2 I didn’t mind just calling it a failed experiment, but neither did I go tell them they might want to warm the meat before they sold it. I hoped someone else would take care of that.
I made it home in time to catch the end of the Pac-12 championship game. I loved having it at the home field of the higher ranked team (I think that’s how it worked). Make having the best record mean something. Of course, it was at Stanford, which has a small stadium, and hardly anyone showed up, which isn’t exactly the financial windfall the conference was looking for, I’m sure. But man did Fox make those 35,000 people sound loud. Seriously, they cranked up the crowd mics so much that it sounded like 100,000 people were screaming at the tops of their lungs. And Gus Johnson was all-too-happy to try to scream over them. I think Fox even turned his mic down to make the crowd seem louder.
Saturday I got a text from a grad school friend who went to West Virginia for undergrad. He wanted to know if I was interested in a KU-WVU bet. He got the football margin of victory, I got the cumulative basketball one, for a six pack of good beer. Sure, I responded, but I should just go ahead and send it to him since I figured WVU would win by 50 Saturday. I was off by one. He was generous enough to give me a potential Big 12 tournament game, too, so I may have three chances to make up the margin. Despite my friend’s lack of confidence in Bob Huggins’ crew this year, I still think that’s going to be a long climb for my boys.
A quick post-mortem on the football Jayhawks. It says much about the program that you can look at a 1-10 season and say, with a straight face, things got better this year. They were much closer to the early Mangino years, where teams tried hard but were beaten because of talent/depth issues, than the Gill years, when the teams had no idea what they were doing. It’s not going to be easy, and I’m still far from certain Charlie Weis is the guy to right the ship, but at least it’s not sinking anymore. For the time being.
Speaking of the SEC, that conference’s title game was awesome. Many times it seems like someone rolls into that game, whether it’s Alabama, LSU, Florida, or whoever, and just destroys who they play. This year, though, it was a classic game. Props to Georgia for showing up and taking ‘Bama to the wire.
Here is where I must come clean: Sunday I gave up on the Colts. I think they were down 10 and had just given up possession in the fourth quarter. “Game over,” I thought. I got my list and headed to the grocery store. While I was checking out, I saw it was down to a five-point game, but Detroit had the ball and the 2:00 warning was fast approaching. Another tough day of learning for the young Colts. Or so it seemed.
By the time I was in our garage the Colts were inside the Detroit 30 and had roughly half-a-minute to take a few cracks at the end zone. I raced inside in time to see the last 4-5 plays, including the brilliant Luck-Avery game-winner. Just when you think this season can’t get any crazier or more magical for the Colts, something like that happens.
8-4 with four games to play. It would have been nice if Pittsburgh and Cincinnati had lost their games yesterday, but still, if the Colts go 2-2, they should be in the playoffs. Tennessee, Kansas City, and Houston twice. And the Texans likely won’t have anything to play for in week 17, so there’s always the chance they rest their starters that day. I’ve been trying to poo-poo playoff talk all season, but it’s moving into the realm of likely instead of just possible. And while the seedings still have to play out, I have a feeling it will work out that they go to Denver for their Wild Card round game.
Of course the big sports news over the weekend was the Jovan Belcher incident in Kansas City. I don’t know what to say about it. I’ve been touched by suicide, if that’s the right way to put it, and it was awful. This is so much worse than even that, I can’t imagine how the survivors will even begin to deal with it. The only positive thing is in a public event like this, there will be no shortage of offers of assistance for those who have to carry on after. Not that that will erase the pain or explain it all to the little girl who is now parentless.