Stocking Stuffers: Candy, Coal and Curios(ities)

I know, Christmas was so yesterday. But, hey, better late than never. Blame it on the, uh, blizzard . . . yeah, that’s it . . . blame it on the blizzard up northeast.

Candy. For both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. These guys have arguably the most intense one on one, man to man rivalry in sport. Yet they seem to be genuine friends off the court, respectful in a way that doesn’t seem manufactured. They played some exhibitions last week and Federer actually picked up Nadal at the airport. Publicity stunt? Perhaps. Promo for that red hot gull wing Benz? More than likely. But still they did it. Never hear one of them talking about how the other is disrespecting him, do you?

Coal. For Rick Stansbury. I’ve always thought the Mississippi State b-ball coach to be not quite as good as the respect he seems to get. I remember watching him during a subregional practice session, sitting in the stands while his next day’s foe, Butler, was practicing. He paid zero attention. His heavy favorite squad lost. That he has expended so much energy in obvious troublemaker Renardo Sidney has been most telling to me. When Sidney got in a fight with his teammate/ roomate Elgin Bailey in the stands the other day at a holiday tourney, it just seemed so appropriate.

Curio(sity). As to why Claude Sullivan has been lost in the pantheon of UK lore to the tsunami that is the love for Cawood Ledford? Old time Wildcat fans surely remember with fondness the Voice of the Wildcats. I happened across a video of the UK’s title W over Seattle yesterday on Wazoo. I’d forgotten how much action he could describe in so few words. Candy to Claude Sullivan (And Cawood, who was damn good himself.) Coal to those responsible for diminishing Sullivan’s legacy.

Coal. To NCAA. Sure the organization has a thankless job, trying to enforce its thousands of rules. Which, I might add, most all of its member institutions and “student atheletes” break regularly. But its sense of equal justice is absurd. Bruce Pearl hasn’t been penalized for admitting major violations and admitting that he lied about them. Tom Izzo sits a game for some arcane minor irregularity. Ohio State’s scofflaws get to play in a bowl game, but will have to sit out games against Whatsamatta U. and Nowhere A & M that open next season. Then there’s the Cam Newton justifications.

Candy. To Joker Phillips for sitting down his starting QB Mike Hartline for the latter’s idiotic behavior unbecoming a senior. Were he still a frosh, maybe he walks for getting drunk and acting stupid, but not now.

Candy. To Ken Lolla and the entire U of L soccer team for turning this once nonentity program into a national playa.

Coal. To the Yum! Center for its not so yummy concessions, which are also very, very, very, very, very, absurdly expensive. And I’m not so sure those aisles meet fire codes. Am I the only one who thinks they are very narrow and too few in number?

Candy. For Armando Galarraga. The Detroit Tiger hurler was absolutely robbed of a perfect game by an awful ump’s call on what should have been the last play of the game. Yet he immediately forgave the ump Jim Joyce, who manned up immediately to the mistake. No Coal for Joyce because of his contrition. No Candy either. It was a joke of a call.

Curio(sity). I’m inclined to give a lump of carbon to I Am LeBron, but he’s no different than most other Me First pro atheletes in this age. But, because of that Miami talent heist, and the pub, and their awful start, I find myself watching more pro hoops at this time of year than . . . ever. I bet I’ve watched more regular season minutes than the last decade total. I’m not alone, according to the numbers.

Candy. For Charlie Strong. Because he is his own guy with little of the cult of personality affectation that plague his profession these days. And he seems genuinely grateful for the opportunity here in Louisville and truly loyal.

Coal. For Geno Auriemma, who is as gracious as Scrooge.

– Seedy K

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