Soap opera sports just a proliferation of pundits

The Ball Boy brings the ball to town courts
April 9, 2024

Cognition crazies  - Perhaps women's college basketball was better off before the crazies without credentials got drawn into viewership and turned a journey by exquisite athletes into a sports soap opera. Members of the media  – not “The Media” – have been complicit by amping the hype machine full blast for weeks at a time, pushing the cadre of couch conspiracy creatures to the thin edges of sanity.  If you can’t go left with the remote while  eating buttered  popcorn with the right, how can you coordinate colorful commentary into your sports matrix?  A common quote I’ve been hearing from pundits sitting at long tables that look like lunch counters is, “The women’s game is finally getting the attention it deserves,” but that's not what will drive viewers to WNBA games; it's all about the attractiveness of the product. Time will tell if this translates into sustained interest and viewership of women's college basketball and the WNBA, along with more advertising revenue and network TV deals. 

The Baller Boy - I brought grandson James  to the town courts in Lewes Friday afternoon. A crew of Cape linemen was sitting on benches; they brought no ball since they play positions that don’t allow them to touch the ball, and no one actually owns one. The irony is fifth-grader James was the ball boy for the Cape football team last season, and he brought his ball. They divided into teams and James said, ”I’ll shoot for possession,” and promptly buried a three from behind the circle. James plays two hours a day every day; he goes to courts looking for games.  He will be at Fred Thomas School next fall, where his uncle Dave will be his principal. There are courts at the high school, but the town courts with those glass backboards are the perfect length for linemen who ain’t about running. 

Head northwest, turn right - A traveling sportswriter with Google maps on his phone gets to faraway fields, then faces the challenge of hitting reverse and getting back home. Plus my GPS British-accented woman has got jokes. Saturday heading out to Kent Island, the voice said, “Go to the end of your street and make a U-turn. Talking back, I said, “I ain’t doing that.” Leaving the parking lot at Kent Island High, the voice said, “Head northwest, then turn right.” “Who am I, Magellan?“ I blurted at my windshield and decided to follow Fred Harvey’s Big Yellow Taxi, which went a completely different and more direct way. I started this sports school year getting lost coming back from a scrimmage in Easton, Mad. I am destined to be the guy who leaves the driveway for a night game and comes home three days later like a cat that’s been missing but knew all along where he was. 

Ball player - I spent $34 for an extra MLB package so I could watch the Oakland Athletics games and follow Zach Gelof. Susan said, “That's nice that you are doing that.” I saw Zack on Saturday walk three times and eventually score each time after working the free pass, helping the A’s beat the Tigers  4-0 . I said out loud, ”Ball Player! He’s not hitting yet, but that’s coming!” Zack will get after this game in all facets and intricacies. That is just his nature. On Sunday, Zackzilla had four hits and four RBIs in a  7-1 second consecutive win over the Tigers, raising his average to .243. That is higher than the entire Phillies infield except for Harper. 

Snippets -  Eric Gooch sent me a photo he took of Bill Collick and Charles Turner at a 90th birthday celebration for the Rev. George Edwards. Charles was an undefeated state champion wrestler at 167 pounds back in 1980 for coach Bill Collick and was a jumper on a track team I coached, clearing 6-10 in the high jump and 47-5 in the triple jump. Charles is one of Cape’s all-time best athletes. He pinned all but one opponent in his senior year. Caitlin Clark will be the WNBA No. 1 pick by the Indiana Fever April 15. There are 12 teams in the league divided into two six-team conferences. If you can name them without looking at your phone, you are a sports savant. I’ve only ever known one guy who could name every team in every league ever created, including the North American Soccer League. Just too much stuff and too many teams out there. Go on now, git! 



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