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Friday 2/28/20

Can't sleep. Some sports thoughts.


Today is the tenth anniversary of Sidney Crosby's Golden Goal. I knew someone once who really disliked Sidney Crosby. They would have told you this was irrational. This person then likened me to Crosby. "You're the best at what you do and you know it." I remember thinking, is that bad? Is that not allowed? Crosby is the best of his generation. He's maybe one of the ten best hockey players of all-time.


As for the Golden Goal, I know it's a big deal to Canadians, but it just doesn't impress me much. Pros in the Olympics is anticlimactic to me. I saw people discussing the goal's importance today. Not surprisingly, because people know nothing about history and recency rules all, it was cited as the biggest goal ever. Reminded me of an online discussion I encountered a couple weeks back when people were debating the biggest miscarriages of justice in sports history. And everything was from like a slam dunk context from a year ago. Are people serious? Are they this stupid? Or this vain, thinking that the most recent think they can remember has more weight? Or do people just say whatever the fuck they please thinking that's right because it came from them? The miscarriage of justice thing is, fairly obviously, I should think, Ted Williams getting hosed out of MVPs in 1942 and 1947 when he won Triple Crowns because the writers hated him. Gee, there's a theme.


This is like almost forty years before my time, so no, this choice isn't because I'm 100, but rather because--the horror--I know things. Do you know how long I've known this? Since I was about seven. And not because my dad or grandad told me as much. I was walking around the world and one day I said, "fuck me, there's a lot to know, I should haul ass and get busy learning shit." So I did. And at the time, I thought that's just what you did. Not that you'd pay a price for it later, and be resented and ostracized. And your teachers were always like, "Learn shit," so I thought, okay, yeah, I'll do that.


As for the best goal in hockey history. Boomers will cite the Paul Henderson goal against the Soviets in 1972. I found that series kind of embarrassing for Canada. They showed up cocky and out of shape. They barely eked out a series win and Bobby Clarke had to break a dude's ankle on purpose for that to happen. The Soviets were good, but hockey was still so young in the Soviet Union, and I think they were getting better still. To me, the greatest ever goal is the Lemieux goal in Game Three of the 1987 Canada Cup. Best hockey I have ever seen. Art. But what makes that goal the single greatest sports play I know is what Wayne Gretzky does, which is something no one else who has ever played hockey would have done. Puck squirts out of the Canadian defensive zone on the face-off, Gretzky is first out of the zone, and what anyone else would do is they'd get the puck. Anyone. Ever. Not Gretzky. It's fucked up what he does. He ignores the puck. He does not want it. Skates past it. Which allows an attacking geometric pattern to formulate which will soon allow Gretzky to make the pass to Lemieux that essentially wins the series. A brilliant thinker.


People are excited about the NFL Combine. You should not be excited about the NFL Combine. It means very little. Mike Mamula. Playing in the NFL is a whole different thing than running a certain speed all by yourself on a clean track, or jumping to a certain height on your lonesome. The draft is also largely meaningless.


Someone from ESPN, in an attempt to generate clicks, posted something about how they would be very surprised if Tom Brady comes back to the Patriots at this point. You can be wrong with sports takes and no one cares. So you might as well say something. I would be shocked if Brady does not return to New England. Further, I expect him to play for three more years in Foxborough. He does that, he can win one or two more titles and an MVP. Go to Oakland or wherever, his career ends fast. Too much new stuff to incorporate. It's not about being a system QB. I don't think he has any desire to go to the Titans and play for Vrabel. They were teammates. Brady went way past Vrabel, a guy his age just about, and now he's going to go play under him? I don't buy that for a second. Brady can't prove anything playing anywhere else that he can't prove on the Patriots. I also saw a stat--which did not surprise me at all--revealing that Brady had the best completion percentage last year with tight window throws--basically, when the man was blanket-covered.


I had never looked up the benefits of climbing stairs until tonight. It's pretty hard going up and down the Monument, most people are really struggling to do it once without running any of it, and stop often for breaks. Actually, today, this woman at the top said, "This asshole is turning right around," when I got to the top and immediately started coming back down. Can you imagine me saying, I don't know, "This fat load is sitting on her ass sucking wind." Just out of the blue. Within my hearing. But patriarchy, right? Anyway, by climbing stairs, your early mortality rate goes way down, your chances of heart attack and heart disease go way down, all of these crazy stats. Your arteries are less likely to be blocked, good things happen pulmonary-wise. It seems that I do some of the best things you can do, just kind of ending up doing them. Climb the stairs, don't drink alcohol, drink black coffee, drink water, don't have a lot of sodium. Something as little as like eight flights of stairs makes your early mortality rate go down I think it was 30%. What's eight flights? Like eight stories? That's not a lot. I think that's about the same as not even going half-way up the Monument once. The Monument is 294 stairs, and I believe 225 feet high. So that's eighteen or twenty stories, no? It's more than 1/5 as tall as the Empire State Building.


Sent a sports piece and a sports idea to my USA Today op-ed editor tonight. It has been too long since I have been in there. Not happy with how it has gone for a while. I'm doing the same thing, but something seems to have changed, and I'd like to change it back.


"The Adventure of the Missing Three-Quarter" is a pretty good Sherlock Holmes story with a sports element, the title referring to a star rugby player who goes missing. It's quite sad in the end, and also one of those stories where Holmes solves nothing. A little secret with the Holmes stories: He's not this amazing detective. He's pretty good, but a lot of that is how hard he works and his prep work and energy. But he doesn't actually do a ton of brilliant things. And he's also helping out people like Lestrade and Stanley Hopkins who aren't amazing at their jobs. The chumminess of the stories and the interesting situations are their selling points, especially the former.