Category Archives: sports

St. Louis on a High Note

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My all-time favorite hockey team beat the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Chicago Blackhawks, in the seventh and final game of their first round playoff series.  They will now take on the hometown Dallas Stars in round two.  I can’t afford to see them play here in town, or even on TV, which we don’t have at the moment.  But I can root on the Blues to defeat the hometown Stars, and maybe… just maybe… it is finally our year!

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Tarasenko is the scoring star of this year’s Blues team.

I have been a Blues hockey fan since the team was founded in the 60’s.  Their first three years saw them in the Stanley Cup finals against the Montreal Canadiens in ’68 and ’69 and the Boston Bruins in ’70.  They represented the six expansion teams from the six-team expansion division, and they didn’t stand a chance.  They lost all four games in all three series.  But I was hooked.  I was a hockey fan and Blues fan for life after that.  And they haven’t been back to the Stanley Cup Finals since.  They have had great teams capable of it.  They have had stars like Brett Hull, Al MacInnis, Curtis Joseph, and Brenden Shanahan.  Hall of Famers like Glen Hall and Jaques Plante gave them their previous chances at the championship.  This year, it will be up to team captain David Backes, goalie Brian Elliot, and Vladimir Tarasenko to lead the team to the wins they have never managed before.

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It is premature for me to celebrate already.  The Blues play the Dallas Stars in the next round, a resurgent team led by Jamie Benn, an emerging superstar.  But the Blues have lost in the first round of the playoffs for three years in row, even when they were the favorite to win the Cup.  And it was the Blackhawks who did it to them last year.  This year is big even if they don’t win another game.  But I think it is significant that they have taken out the biggest roadblock to victory already.  There is hope.

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Filed under hockey, sports, St. Louis

Elmer Mater Does Good!

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I am a graduate of both Iowa State University, where I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in English, and the University of Iowa where I got my remedial master’s degree so I could teach English.  It sometimes makes rooting for college sports difficult due to divided loyalties.  But not yesterday.  Yesterday we rocked the NCAA basketball tournament.  The Iowa Hawkeyes beat tenth-seeded Temple 72 to 70.  The Iowa State Cyclones beat Iona 94 to 81.  And my little sister’s team, the UNI Panthers, even stunned the tournament by beating Texas with a last second shot 75 to 72.  All three Iowa teams in the tournament advanced to the second round.  It was the first time ever.  And Iowa State is looking especially good as an advancing number 4 seed.  I rarely get such a chance to gloat over Elmer Mater’s success.  (I do realize it is supposed to be Alma Mater, but we are Iowa country folk… Elmer sounds more likely.)

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NCAA Basketball Tournament - First Round - Northern Iowa v Texas

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – MARCH 18: Paul Jesperson #4 of the Northern Iowa Panthers celebrates with his teammates after hitting a half court three pointer at the buzzer to defeat the Texas Longhorns with a score of 75 to 72 during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Chesapeake Energy Arena on March 18, 2016 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

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Filed under humor, Iowa, sports

The Superb Owl

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Explaining to my wife why I had to watch the Super Bowl, even though my favorite team was humiliated in the last round… I tried to text her about the game.  The auto-correct kept insisting I was planning to watch the Superb Owl on the big-screen TV.

Well, it was kind of a Superb Owl.  I went in hating the Panthers for their treatment of my team.  I have also always been a Broncos fan.  I actually played for the Broncos in high school.  I played outside linebacker for the Belmond Broncos in Belmond, Iowa.

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Carolina was supposed to win because Cam Newton had been so dominant through the entire 2016 season.

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A lot of people I know hate Cam Newton because of the dancing and celebrating.  They seem to think he is inappropriately arrogant and somehow bad because of it.  But I don’t agree.  I kind of like him.  He has that easy Magic Johnson sparkle in his eyes.  Talent and ability roll off him and infect his whole team with confidence and swagger.  I actually like the thing he started with giving touchdown footballs away to kids in the crowd.  I think he’s a gifted athlete and a good role  model.  But, of course, I do not have that innate redneck ability to find fault in people of color.

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Of course, this was probably Peyton Manning’s final game.  It was nice for him to win a final Superb Owl to finish off such a monumental career.  He is suffering from numerous injuries and eroding skills.  He had to win the game with his brain instead of his arm.  He is also under a cloud of suspicion about using human growth hormone to come back from injury.  I am also not offended by athletes that want to take advantage of pharmacological science to prolong and enhance their careers.  If it is actually cheating and not just something we are presumptuously trying to protect them from, then I don’t think the players themselves are primarily responsible.  The clubs, the owners, and the media drive that problem and are enablers.

Despite all the ruffled owl feathers, the game was a classic good game.  And the team that most deserved to win is the one that took home the Superb Owl trophy.  Denver has a magnificent defense, and they were able to keep Newton and the Panthers from doing all the remarkable things they are capable of doing.  I wish Arizona’s defense had played that well.  The MVP Von Miller personally helped the Denver defense score a fumble-recovery touchdown that probably decided the game.  He also stripped the ball from Newton late in the game to take away Carolina’s last shot at a come-from-behind victory.  The Broncos earned that victory.  Peyton didn’t actually win it, so much as he preserved it by not messing up so badly the Panthers could recover.  It was not a showboat game like the Cardinals played against the Steelers in 2009.  It was a good defensive game.

And I am not one of those people who want to make fun of Cam Newton for being upset at the loss.  He has a right to disappointment, especially considering how drastic his personal change in fortunes really was in this game.  My team was where he is now two weeks ago.  So, this was an ugly, messy, hard-fought game, and I am really glad I got the wife to let me watch it with her on the big-screen TV she bought at Christmas time… Superb Owl 50!

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Filed under feeling sorry for myself, football fan, humor, sports

A Little Note of Blues From a Cardinals’ Fan

Yep, we did it again.  We had a great season, better than we’ve ever had (since we were the Chicago Cardinals before I was born).  But, just like last year, the Carolina Panthers put a wooden stake through the heart of our dreams.  We are still a team that has never won a Superbowl.  And I wish the best to you, Carolina, who has also never won a Superbowl (the “best” here means that the Denver Broncos’ defense turns the Panthers’ offense into hamburger, and keeps you on the list just as the Steelers did to us in ’08).

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Wait til next year!  Oh, and there are still the St. Louis Blues in hockey who have yet to win the Stanley Cup!

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Filed under cardinals, football fan, grumpiness, sports

Wow!

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Larry makes a 76-yard catch and run on a pass from Carson Palmer in overtime. and then follows with a short TouchDown catch on the next play!  I am walking on clouds tonight after cussing my tongue purple earlier in the game.

 

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Filed under cardinals, Celebration, sports

Game Day

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Yes, I am an Arizona Cardinals fan.  I have been rooting for the Cardinals since the days of Jim Hart, Mel Gray, Otis Anderson, Terry Metcalf, and Jackie Smith.  My team has ALWAYS been the underdog.  They won the NFL Championship as the Chicago Cardinals before I was born.  They never won it all in all the time they were in St. Louis.  In 2008 they played in the Superbowl and led late in the 4th quarter.  The Steelers beat them in last second heroic fashion.  I still hope for wins and glory.  Tonight they are actually favored to beat the Green Bay Packers.  That has always been the kiss of death for my team.  When they are favored, they lose.  But you never know.  This could be the year I’ve waited so long for.

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Flag Football

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Yesterday was a long trek by car followed by what I thought was going to be a second straight flag football wipe-out all to get to see number two son play in a game.  I spent four years as a band parent lugging kid and equipment to and from band practices, bus-catches, concession stand work, fund-raising, and performances.  Number one son was a gung-ho marcher with dreams of joining a nationally ranked drum and bugle corps.  Wow!  The effort almost killed me.  But number two son reached high school with a different set of goals and skills, and due to educational forces beyond our control, and evilly opposed to us, he didn’t even stay landed in the big Texas 5A School he wanted to be in.  We settled for a charter school that provides a completely different format that Henry can handle.  Number two son is more like me than the first one was.  He’s brainy and thin and athletically capable, but not athletically experienced.  He is gifted in so many ways, but not in ways that are normally considered acceptable in cowboy country and the Greater Dallas Cowboy Area Football Imperative.

Henry is number 3, and like usual, back to the camera.

Henry is number 3, and like usual, back to the camera.

So this year we are taking on football.  I mean, not ferociously Texas high school tackle and kill football, but FLAG FOOTBALL.  The teams wear two yellow or white flags that have to be grabbed and pulled to stop the advance of the ball.  As a parent, I appreciate the sissy version of the meat-grinding, brain-fracking sport that Texas loves more than pornography.  I know it is not considered as manly to play flag football, but having been subject to a hospitalizing head trauma in my own high school football days, I would rather have him play the safer, cleaner version.  And, let’s face it, he weighs a hundred pounds less than some of the high school guys that would be chasing him to bulldog him in regular high school football.   And his school, a small charter school, is just starting it’s flag football program.  That allows Henry to be on the starting team, and play a sport that he wouldn’t stand a ghost of a chance of even making the team otherwise.

So, how did we get to yesterday?  Well, a week ago, the very first game for the Mighty Ospreys was a total disaster.  It started before two of the required seven players even arrived.  So, the first touchdown was scored by the other team when they intercepted the pass from the only girl in the game, playing quarterback for us even though she couldn’t throw the ball at better than a wounded-duck wobble.  We played a good portion of the first half, five players against seven.  And when the other two showed up, the other side was still the only side to score.  And they scored at will.  It ended mercilessly at ungodly-high-score to nothing.

So I was expecting another humiliation yesterday.  This reveals the true advantage of being a total pessimist.  I can only be pleasantly surprised.  The other guys were almost all shorter than our guys.  And our guys, after an extra week of practice, were handling the ball BETTER.  We found a quarterback who could throw the ball on target.  We scored two touchdowns and a two-point conversion to win 14 to 6.  And Henry was almost able to catch a touchdown pass.  It was deflected and he almost caught it anyway!

So, I came home sicker than Marmaduke after rancid pork, but happy.  Of course, the Princess mentioned that she wants to be in marching band when she gets to high school next year.  Oh, my aching sit-down parts!

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Filed under autobiography, humor, sports