Sports Shorts

* Super Bowls, we were again reminded, are Sunday evening games preceded by week of entertainment, economic impact and marketing pizzazz. But Minneapolis–or New York–in early February!
Time was when the Roman-numeraled spectacles were the purview of weather-friendly Southern California, New Orleans, Miami or Tampa. But that was before stadium-construction/renovation became the main driver. But, hey, we get our next shot in three years. And those pricey, gigantic video screen/scoreboards and other RayJay amenities such as renovated club and suite areas were not exactly non-factors in awarding Tampa Bay SB LV. It is what it is. We’re fortunate we have a great venue with enviable February weather.
* When you watch pro football, including the Super Bowl, do you rationalize the game’s concussion cause-and-effect–or just put that on hold to enjoy the big game? Do you feel guilty? Awkward? Callous? Enabling? Hypocritical? Here’s another take.
“I have no problem watching the NFL–these are grown men making grown men’s decisions,” says former New York Times reporter Alan Schwarz, who exposed the concussion crisis. “After being kept in the dark for so many years by their employers, they now know they could wind up brain-damaged. … They’re professional daredevils. It wasn’t immoral to watch Evel Knievel. We watch stuntmen in movies.”
Never quite thought of it that way–although the risk-award factor is obvious, even if underplayed. But who would have thought the Wallenda family and pro football would wind up in the same sentence?
* Each Olympics there are new events added. No exception this year in the Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. But co-ed curling?
* I’m no fan of the “one-and-done” era of college basketball. I think it’s a “hire-ed” sham. Most University of Kentucky fans, I’m sure, would disagree. They would probably appreciate the take of Warren K. Zola, a Boston College sports law expert, on UK’s high-profile “one-and-dones.” It’s a rationale we’ve heard before about certain student-athletes in certain revenue sports.
“If one accepts the premise that the purpose of college is to help students enter the workforce,” says Zola, “then students who play for one year then progress into the NBA could be considered a success.” One, however, should also be required to accept the premise that a university is much more than a selectively elevated trade school.
* Nice to see Bay Area golfer Brittany Lincicome in the winner’s’ circle again. The Seminole High grad, 32, recently won the Bahamas LPGA Classic for the second straight year. She’s also one of the nicest, down-to-earth athletes you’ll ever meet. Reportedly she’s still on track for early retirement. “Sometimes, I think I’ll retire at 35,” she said in an interview a few years back. “Buy a home on the water with a dock. The travel is hard.”
* Joe Maddon was in the news recently for more than hosting another big Bayshore Gasparilla party and still living next to Jill Kelly. He was honored in Tampa as Dreammaker of the Year by the Children’s Dream Fund for work related to pediatric cancer causes.

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