By Brian Hoffman – Sports Editor
Today is day 77 AG, or the 77th day since Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz tested positive for Covid-19 and all sports as we know it came to an end.
This week we celebrated Memorial Day, a very special day to honor those who gave their lives for our country. I’ve never had Memorial Day off since it’s always been a big day for sports as well. In the past Memorial Day was a time when high school teams were involved in regional play, and since schools were closed there were usually games from morning until evening. I’d be driving all over wherever trying to get photos of five or six region baseball, softball, soccer or lacrosse games for most of the day.
And, by the way, I loved it.
Well, this Memorial Day I’m sitting in my office writing about what sports we didn’t have this year. The pools aren’t open and kids are graduating in cars and on line. Meanwhile, it’s only two more months until football camps are supposed to open and aren’t we all sweating that out?
I had a big Sunday. I played a little golf at the Salem Municipal “sand greens” course, and was surprised to find they added a few water hazards in the past week. Then I came home and sat on the porch and read some old ESPN magazines from 15 years ago that I found in the closest. By the way, one of the magazines had a story about NFL quarterbacks and suggested Tom Brady might not be a top quarterback much longer. Nice prediction, eh?
When I got bored of that I decided to watch the only two live sporting events on TV I had any interest in, NASCAR racing and football players playing golf. Ironically, rain played a factor in both the race and the golf. Several rain delays pushed the finish of the race to about midnight, and the golfers were playing in the rain for much of their match. Is this some kind of a cruel joke or what?
I thought the golf match was interesting. I found it odd that Charles Barkley was one of the commentators. If you ever watched Charles play he has one of the worst swings you’ll ever see. It reminds me of a birthday card I once saw in the drugstore that goes like this.
Character A: Who taught you how to swing a golf club?
Character B: My dad.
Character A: What was he, a ditch digger?
I’m sure many of you watched the match, and even if you preferred the racing you could have switched over during the rain delays. If you missed it, Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning were playing a match against Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady.
Brady got off to a rough start, drawing some razzing from Barkley, but he came on strong after draining a fairway iron shot that hit past the hole and backed up, right into the cup.
It’s amazing how good these guys are. On the 15th hole, a par 3, the broadcast cut to Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, who offered to pay for 100,000 meals for the needy if anyone could put their drive within 12 feet of the hole. Mickelson and Brady both put shots within that distance, then Manning followed with a drive that came within 17 inches of the pin. Of the four golfers only Tiger Woods, of all people, failed to get that close, but that was still good for 300,000 meals from Wilson.
My question is, how did Brady get good at golf? From what I read his pretty wife, Gisele Bundchen, had been on his case for always spending the whole off-season working on football instead of being with the family. So where does that leave time for golf? And that’s a sport you have to practice to be good.
At one point Brady split his pants, and I thought that only happened to fat people. I know it happened to me a few times.
I remember one time in particular I was at a track meet at Glenvar High School. I was standing around talking to a few coaches and somehow the subject of gymnastics came up. That was one thing I always hated in high school gym because I couldn’t do anything and had no desire to.
I’ve always loved basketball, and when we were doing basketball in gym I’d race to the locker room and be the first one changed to get out there and shoot some hoops. However, that day always came when I raced to get shorts and jockstrap on and opened the gym door to find the gymnastics equipment set up. Bummer!!!
I didn’t like doing stuff on the rings and high bar because it looked dangerous. And what’s the deal with climbing a rope to the very top of the gym? Do they still make kids do that?
In seventh grade I had a teacher named Mr. Chiefo, and gymnastics was his favorite. He had big arms and a small waist and he could do all that stuff and couldn’t understand why I couldn’t as well. Then again, I could score against him at will on the basketball court but, none the less, gymnastics was the only subject I got less than a C in during all my days in junior high and high school.
Whatever. At that track meet at Glenvar I was telling the coaches how I hated gymnastics and the only thing I could do was the “frog stand.” They didn’t understand, so I commenced to demonstrate how you put both hands on the ground, then lean forward in a “froglike” position until your hands are the only thing touching the ground. And, just as I leaned forward, my pants split up the middle, front to back. I can remember everyone laughing while Roger Martin took me in the locker room to lend me a pair of Glenvar sweatpants until the end of the meet.
Unfortunately for Brady, he didn’t have Roger there to lend him some sweats until the end of the match so he had to play in the rain with a big split up his backside. Then again, he’s Tom Brady so no one cares.
And isn’t it ironic that he’s still winning Super Bowls and ESPN the Magazine is out of business.
Pick up line must have worked
One more thing while we’re talking about Tiger Woods. Did you ever hear this story?
When Tiger was a young man he was having a drink in a bar with Michael Jordan and Derek Jeter. He confessed that he would get nervous around women and could Michael and Derek give him some tips on what he should say to pick up girls
With that, Jeter gave him this advice. “Just say Hi, I’m Tiger Woods.”
And you know the rest of the story.