Archive for October, 2009

A.P. Men’s Top 25.. My Vote..
October 27, 2009

Much of my college career at St. Lawrence University was spent arguing about sports (the rest involved other assorted non-printable social activities, spritzed every once in a while with a class.)  The most heated discussions outside of who was more hated (the Redskins or Giants) came with the college polls, football and basketball.

They add layers of nuance, grief, frustration, and exultation.  Their inherent subjectivity inspire more opinions, more discussion, and therefore greater interest.  What do we love to do more, than argue about who should really be number one?

And now, I have an opinion that matters.   Along with 66 others from around the country I will rank ’em from one to 25 each week for men’s college basketball.

It’s a task I see as a privilege, one the gravity of which will weigh heavily on my mind each week.

I will publish my rankings here each week, inviting discussion and dissent.

Now I’m assuming the first one is the toughest because we have no body of work to judge.  But to get things started for 09-10, here it is:

1) Kentucky

2) Michigan State

3) Kansas

4) North Carolina

5) Texas

6) Villanova

7) West Virginia

8)  Butler

9) Purdue

10) Connecticut

11) Washington

12) Oklahoma State

13) Duke

14) Ohio State

15) Minnesota

16) Tennessee

17) Florida

18) Notre Dame

19) Missouri

20) Michigan

21) Maryland

22) California

23) Georgia Tech

24) Florida State

25) Georgetown

Also included, my preseason All America team.  Again, tough to judge only on potential and past performance, but I wanted to select those that did amazing things last season, but are capable of more this season.  Here it is:

Scottie Reynolds, G – Villanova

Greivis Vasquez, G – Maryland

Patrick Patterson, F – Kentucky

Cole Aldrich, F – Kansas

Luke Harangody, C – Notre Dame

Can’t wait to see how this thing plays out, and I’m now officially allowed to watch even more college basketball at home (thanks honey), what could be better than that!

Pro’s Pro
October 1, 2009

Amazingly, 18 holes of watching my off plane swing did not affect Jay Haas in round one of the Constellation Energy Sr. Players Championship.  Haas went low with a 66 Thursday, earning a tie for 2nd place with Tom Watson, one shot back of Lonnie Nielsen.

Haas was forced to endure, as he is every week out here on the Champions Tour, the dreaded Pro-Am.  The best golfers in the world, thrust into a fivesome (guaranteeing at least a five hour round) of amateurs that have non stop questions, uninformed swings, and likely poor etiquette (not my group the ams were great partners.)

Now, it’s not the worst thing in the world.  Again, the group with whom Haas played worked quickly and with smiles.  But I’ve witnessed enough pro-ams and you certainly know enough golfers that are horrible to endure for a round.  Now imagine those guys when they really feel entitled.  That can make for a miserable afternoon.

But from the moment we met Jay on the first tee his mission was clear.  He was our host.  Haas took it upon himself to read nearly every putt, to offer thoughtful advice, and answer all the questions we had about his life as a pro golfer.  He didn’t just give tips, he delivered real lessons.  There was a moment on the back nine, about three hours into the round, when Jay and I were standing on the right side of 13 green while one of our partners was kind of stuck in the woods on the left side.  She had a scoreboard in her way, and was planning to hit over it and through a tree.  Haas jogged over before she hit, explained she could take relief, and helped her plan the shot.

That is going above and beyond what any of us could have hoped for, much less expected.

I asked Haas why he was so committed to our enjoyment of the day.  He made it clear that Wednesday is just as important as Thursday through Sunday because without the sponsors and fans, he has no tour on which to continue earning millions.  This is a business decision, but also a personal one.  He simply feels blessed for his opportunities, and if he can share what it’s like to be inside the ropes if only for a round, he does it with glee.

So hats off to Haas for “getting it”, and here’s hoping his influence on the rest of his brethren remains strong.