The Blog Squad

Friday, May 30, 2008

Fighting is Not Part of the Game

I wonder what I would do if Danica Patrick walked toward me, appearing to have intentions of fighting. Fist fighting?

In my estimation, that’s what it looked like last weekend when she marched with her helmet still on toward the pit area of Ryan Briscoe. Moments earlier, Briscoe clipped Patrick’s car and put the best female driver in the world out of the Indianapolis 500.

Fortunately for all involved, Patrick was intercepted and convinced to stop her march and return to her area. If she had continued, it might have gotten ugly. Briscoe could have hit back in self-defense and done more damage to Patrick’s face than he did to her car.

Still, I have several problems with Patrick’s temper tantrum.

First, I’m sure she realized that this was an opportunity for “good television.” She’s no dummy. Patrick understands the value of air time. Call it the Anna Kournikova factor — become very rich despite little success in the arena of play.

However, Patrick is good at her sport. She’s so good that it’s disappointing that she needs to reduce herself to challenging other racers to a fight.

But this was an opportunity to win without taking the checkered flag. That’s why I believe she knew whatever she did in response would be good television. She was right. Even though Scott Dixon won the race, most everybody was talking about Patrick’s hissy fit after the race.

Second, Patrick probably believes that no male racer will hit her back. She has free reign to embarrass, to confront and to challenge her counterparts because she knows nobody will call her bluff.

That’s something I hope racing addresses soon, especially if she decides to cross over into NASCAR, where I think the men aren’t as gentlemanly as those in Indy. She might be a good lion tamer today, but at some point, if she keeps poking the beast in the eye, she will be bitten.

Third, what’s also unfortunate in this case is that Patrick may never be judged as wrong. She’s a minority in a world dominated by men. She’s had to fight to get to where she is now. But the majority of that fight was on the racetrack where she proved herself worthy. To take the struggle outside the lines, well, is crossing the line.

But the media responses have been disturbing. Some have praised Patrick for standing up for herself. Others have said she had every right to confront Briscoe since it was clearly his fault.

Perhaps she was well within her bounds to march.

But a professional always understands that bad events are part of the game and at times beyond anyone’s control. In this situation, that was the case.

Contrast what Patrick did to how her teammate, Tony Kanaan, responded after he was knocked out of the race by another woman driver, Sarah Fisher.

Fisher struggled to secure financial commitments from sponsors for the race and then experienced car troubles before the start. She spun out and ran into Kanaan’s car at the race’s midway point.

In a television interview after the race, Kanaan said, “I feel so sorry for her. I drove back in the ambulance with her, and she was just crying so much. She put so much into it, and I just feel bad for her. She apologized to me, and I should be the one apologizing to her.”

OUT AT HOME: I couldn’t sleep last night. I kept seeing Jeremy Bentham’s face in the coffin.

VIDEO OF THE WEEK: Whoa. Who cares how she throws.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Bearer of Bad News

“Welcome everybody to the banks of the Potomac. It’s a beautiful day and we expect a sellout crowd to what will be a historical event.

"Today, your Washington Redskin will face the always tough bear in a life or death situation. Win and you move on. Lose and you won’t have a leg to stand on.

"What a treat we have for you today. I’m Frank Herzog along with Sonny Jurgensen and Sam Huff. I’ll start with you Sam. What will the Redskin have to do defensively today to come out of this alive?”

“I’ll tell you Frank. It’s man time. There’s gonna be some hittin’ today. I’m excited! But for the Redskin to survive, well, I just don’t see it.”

“And Sonny, what will the Redskin have to do offensively to prevent from getting eaten alive?”

“Run fast!”

Laughter from Sam.

“I’m serious. The Redskin will need to use his fear. That’s a good thing. It can motivate you. But Frank, I’m with Sam. I don’t think the Redskin wins today.”

“Gentlemen, we’ll know very soon. The Redskin is back to receive the kickoff. He’s got it at the goal line. Out to the 10, the 20, and angles out to the 30, the hungry bear chases, there’s a claw, a gouge, a bite. Down goes the Redskin near midfield…”

This was the image when I saw the video on ESPN2’s “First Take” that ridiculously asked: Could a top kick returner run from one goal line to the other goal line with a hungry bear in between?

Apparently the people who work the show became obsessed with the question and produced a segment trying to explain it. I thought it was such a stupid waste of time that I watched. Then I saw it was actually entertaining because Antwaan Randle El was allegedly the top kick returner even though he has run back two kickoffs in the past three seasons.

But nonetheless, I watched. My beloved Redskin was confident in the fact that he could outsmart and outmaneuver the bear. I for a moment agreed.

That’s until the segment cut away to Dr. Lynn Rogers, who was tending to a 900-pound bruin named Ted E. Bear. YIKES! Actually, WTF?

Bears are freaking huge. And they can run up to 35 mph. They have claws. They have John Elway teeth.

I suddenly had a vision of 5-foot-10, 190-pound Randle El juking and deking pathetically as the, let me emphasize again, 900-pound bruin bears down on the runner. That’s not Brian Urlacher chasing Twaan. That’s a bonafide American grizzly built Ford tough.

I just gotta say again, the bear is 900 pounds and runs a sub-4.0 in the 40. That’s freakish natural gifts.

Sorry Randle El. You would lose.

OUT AT HOME: Got on my roof to clean the gutters. Every year, my house seems to get taller and taller. I really need to hire a professional next year before I hurt myself.

VIDEO OF THE WEEK:What was she reading on Delonte West’s arm? Or was she just admiring the muscles?

Friday, May 16, 2008


Dream assignment?

I love her little dance.

He might owe a Las Vegas casino $400,000, but at least he still has a sense of humor.

Go ahead. Indulge.

As one of my friends wrote, “If this doesn’t give you goose bumps, you might be dead.”

Even as a video game, it makes me happy.

I want to kiss you.

Let’s end it with our play of the day.

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Home Run

I will let this story speak for me this week. Sometimes, sports do matter and it's nice to know that such experiences can exist between the lines.

OUT AT HOME: I can only hope my daughter would do the same.

VIDEO OF THE WEEK: Here's the video version of the story. It confirms she suffered an ACL tear.