Leader Blues

Friday, November 28, 2008

SPORTS>>From top to bottom, sports figures have reasons for thanks

By KELLY FENTON
Leader sports editor

Though Thanksgiving is now two days behind us, I thought it might not be too late to consider just what the sports world has to be grateful for in 2008.

Vic Joyner, Jacksonville head basketball coach – That the Arkansas Activities Association decided against including UCLA and Kansas alongside Little Rock Parkview and Little Rock Hall among the new teams being added to the unbelievably difficult 6A-East this season.

Denny Tipton, Sylvan Hills head baseball coach — That, with a 2008 state title already in his pocket, he still has another season of ace D.J. Baxendale on the mound … and in a lower classification this year.

Private football schools around the state — That the cost of gas has fallen so dramatically just as recruiting season gets under way.

Bart McFarland, former Searcy head football coach — That, with his resignation tendered and accepted, the yahoo hate-mongers who all but set fire to the trees in his front yard, will turn their demented focus on someone or something else.

Houston Nutt, Ole Miss football coach — That Arkansas rode him out of town just as the cupboard went officially bare in Fayetteville, while Oxford welcomed him with a fully stocked pantry, compliments of former coach Ed Orgeron; that when Ole Miss blocked the extra point that handed Florida its lone loss this season, he “called that play.”

Ole Miss football fans — That for every low that accompanies an unexpected and disappointing loss under Houston Nutt, they can count on an equally unexpected and thrilling win over a top team just around the corner.

Unemployed mathematicians — That, with the BCS college football season figuring to end in the most muddled mess since the system that could stagger Pythagoras was created, thousands of their profession will be needed to unmuddle the mess.

NFL fans — That the league and the networks once again showed us the winless, luckless, hapless and listless Detroit Lions this Thanksgiving Day, making it easier to comply when girlfriends and wives demanded they “turn off the stupid game and listen to Uncle Louie’s colonoscopy story.”

Pacman Jones, oft-suspended but just-as-oft-reinstated Dallas Cowboy defensive back — For the NFL’s 23-strikes-and-you’re-out policy.

John Daly, former lovable, grip-it-and-rip-it golfer, now tiresome waste of talent — For Australia, the last remaining continent on which he is not only allowed to compete but is not wanted for sundry felonious behavior.
Tiger Woods, greatest golfer ever — For possessing a talent so eclipsing that he can win on one leg, for his stunningly gorgeous wife, for his ridiculously adorable daughter, for having enough money to buy diamond-encrusted, gold ball markers that cost more than my house, for … well, simply for being the most blessed man in the history of the universe.

Wally Hall, sports columnist — For having a tap dancing cat that walks across his keyboard every night and cranks out another amazing column.

Peyton Hillis, Denver Bronco running back — For staying healthy enough to out-gain more-famous Arkansas Razorback alumni Darren McFadden and Felix Jones.
Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboy quarterback — That, though he injured his little pinky and missed three games, his index fingers remain healthy, allowing him to plug his ears when girlfriend Jessica Simpson begins nattering.

Seattle sports fans – That, with the Washington Huskies (0-11), Seattle Seahawks (2-10) and Seattle Mariners (61-101) combining to go 63-122, the Seattle Supersonics had the decency to split town for Oklahoma City, where they are carrying on the tradition with a 1-15 start.

Kansas City Chiefs and St. Louis Rams — That, despite being among the very worst teams in the NFL, each can make a valid claim to being the second-best team in the state of Missouri … behind the Missouri Tigers.