Yes, folks, I’ve loved/followed sports for a long time–but certain things drive me NUTS, too; yeah, it’s truly a love/hate thing. Here are a few reasons why:
* I LOVE when a wide receiver beats the defender, makes a terrific catch, and gives that extra effort to get into the end zone; I HATE when that same guy celebrates wildly, does a showboating dance, and acts as if he hasn’t scored a TD since the fifth grade.
* I LOVE seeing a pitcher have complete control of a baseball game–mowing hitters down and frustrating them until the late innings; I HATE when the manager removes that hurler from the game SIMPLY because the dreaded pitch counter has struck the century mark.
* I LOVE seeing a hockey player steal the puck, go the length of the ice, and score a tie-breaking goal; I HATE when an opposing player takes exception to it out of frustration, takes a sucker punch at someone, and sets off a silly fight that holds up the game WAY too long.
* I LOVE the way sportscaster Vin Scully calls a baseball game–effectively describing the action in a “non-showy” way; I HATE it that guys like John Sterling think they ARE the show.
* I LOVE the memories of paying $1.50 for a bleacher seat at Yankee Stadium during my college days–this after having taken an inexpensive subway ride to get there; I HATE the fact that a family of four now has to decide whether or not to go to ONE Yankee game in lieu of a yearly vacation.
* I LOVE hearing terrific renditions of the National Anthem being sung at sporting events; I HATE the fact that these are as scarce as lunar eclipses.
* I LOVE guys like Wes Welker, Craig Breslow, and Ray Allen–true GOOD guys in the world of sports–both on and off the field; I HATE that criminals/bums like Plaxico Burress and Adam “Pacman” Jones garner more headlines than their law-abiding fellow players.
* I LOVE going to the TPC in Cromwell each year and watching the Traveler’s Championship; I HATE that there are so many people in attendance there who do nothing but sip martinis in luxury tents–individuals who wouldn’t know a golf ball from an Inaugural Ball.
* I LOVE watching Rafael Nadal play tennis–hustling constantly and never giving up on a point; I HATE that he has to towel off after EVERY point and that the TV viewer sees more close-ups of him wiping his face/brow than of him “wiping out” his opponent.
* I LOVE that we still see basketball courts/rims in the playgrounds of schools; I HATE that many of them go unused due to kids being indoors playing video games instead.
* I LOVE watching the annual Army/Navy football game–complete with its in-sync marching, sportsmanship, and classy behavior; I HATE that Navy has TOTALLY dominated this series over the past decade or so–rendering non-competitive, blowout victories usually decided by the end of the third quarter.
* I LOVE going to the Yale Bowl–a truly historic, special structure; I HATE it when it rains there–turning the parking area into a true mud-wrestler’s paradise.
* I LOVE watching the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders perform–who seem to become more lovely/talented as each year passes by; I HATE the sad reality that I’m old enough to be the FATHER of each and every one of these lovely young ladies.
* I LOVE picking up the sports section during baseball season and examining boxscores; I HATE that a player’s salary is the first thing I think of rather than what he accomplished on the field that particular day.
* I LOVE the smell of hot dogs, nachos, pizza, etc. at various sporting events; I HATE the fact that I gain weight just THINKING about indulging in those types of foods.
* I LOVE the excitement of college athletics and the competitive games that result from the various sports; I HATE the fact that many so-called “scholar-athletes” involved in these sports would have trouble spelling their school’s name if it wasn’t stamped on a jersey/tee shirt they owned.
* I LOVE watching Tiger Woods swing a golf club–the combination of fluidity and power being a true thing of beauty; I HATE the fact that when he doesn’t birdie a hole, it looks as if he is angry at the entire WORLD.
* I LOVE that women’s college basketball has grown exponentially over the years–and is now getting the attention that it richly deserves; I HATE the fact that it is MUCH less competitive than the men’s game–as the #1 team can still beat the #2 team by a ridiculous 30 points.
* I LOVE watching Manny Ramirez swing a baseball bat–an awesome combination of concentration, ease, and power; I HATE it when “Manny is Manny”–a moody guy who truly believes that quitting on a team is no big deal.
* I LOVE hosting/producing a cable TV sports talk show–speaking to a variety of guests and learning more about them; I HATE that some people who are given an invitation to come on the show can’t find the time to even RESPOND via email/telephone with a simple “yes” or “no”–thus holding up the guest-booking process.
* I LOVE watching/covering the Connecticut Defenders at a fine, fun facility like Dodd Stadium; I HATE that more people don’t take advantage of the affordability of minor league games and that there continues to be more empty seats at games than there SHOULD be.
* I LOVE coaching baseball at the middle-school level and helping some youngsters reach their potential; I HATE those 45-degree/damp days at practice when my aching joints remind me that I’m not 20–or even 40–anymore.
* I LOVE playing golf; I HATE playing golf (I guess it all depends if my last shot traveled straight or not).
* I LOVE true “journalists” whose expertise happens to lie in the area of sports; I HATE the fact that these individuals are few and far between as the phenomenon of “jocks” infiltrating the sports media business has reached epidemic proportions.
* I LOVE writing a sports column weekly–sharing my thoughts and receiving terrific feedback from readers; I HATE it when the dreaded “writer’s block” strikes–something that usually happens yearly during the last week of January