The Better Story

February 17, 2010

Leading up to the Women’s Snowboard Cross final in the Olympics yesterday, all the talk on NBC was about Lindsey Jacobellis and her redemption arc. Telegenic young U.S. athlete making up for the boneheaded hotdog move that caused her to fall and throw away a certain gold in the final in the Torino games four years ago.

But there was a better story right in front of them. A more heartwarming story. Vancouver-area native Maelle Ricker had been in that same final four years ago. And unlike Jacobellis, Ricker didn’t walk away from the hill with egg on her face. Maelle was airlifted off the hill after a scary crash the product of trying too hard to win.

When I finally heard that story last night (belatedly told in midcompetition by NBC talking heads looking for some redemptive quality for the final once their golden girl choice had failed again), I had no trouble cheering for the Canadian snowboarder to take the gold she won with an aggressive but controlled ride.

While Jacobellis post competition was trying to sell herself as having learned a lesson because at least she didn’t just quit in the consolation heat like she normally would (why, how noble of you angelic one!), Ricker was celebrating a home field hard fought victory.

Maybe by the time Jacobellis finds her way to the other side of 30 she’ll have figured out what it means not to take the competition for granted.

Advertisements

I’m Gumby Damn It!

July 23, 2008

I haven’t been impressed so far with what Rick Reilly brings to ESPN’s events. He seems uncomfortable on camera, disjointed in his presentation, and really lacking in insight. But I used to enjoy his work in Sports Illustrated back in the day, so I expected to feel the same way about his work on ESPN.com. On the contrary. His newest column is the second one so far that had me submitting a comment form critical of his efforts.

This one is about being mistaken for other people, which can be embarrassing, I know. However, I think the issue for Rick is that he wants desperately to be recognized, and then is disappointed to realize that he isn’t really important, famous, or popular enough to be recognized. I’d suggest that if you are paid to go to the U.S. Open, a golf tournament at Lake Tahoe, and on the “Today Show,” you probably are living a pretty charmed life. If being mistaken for Mitch Albom, Rick Rhoden, or the oven guy is the cost, it doesn’t seem to me it would be too high a price to pay.


A New Hockey Pen

June 23, 2008

It looks like Sam Carchidi, who for many years has been covering high school sports for the Philadelphia Inquirer, will be the new Flyers beat writer. Sam’s a solid professional, but his passion has been high school sports for quite a while. I sure hope he can find the same joy in covering the game so many Philadelphians love above all others.

Flyers fans are demanding consumers. I’m a little worried there’ll be a rude welcome for the new guy on the block. But I’m looking forward to seeing what Sam does with this.


Root for Phil?

June 15, 2008

Rick Reilly seems to be feeling sorry for Phil Mickelson. He wants Tiger fans to leave the fold and root for Phil.

I root for plenty of other guys, like Rocco Mediate (with whose sister in law I’ve worked for many years), local boy Sean O’Hair, and Rich Beem. But Lefty? Please. He has plenty of fans rooting for him as the anti-Tiger. You know, lack of fitness, insufficient preparation, and repeated mind farts resulting in unbelievably poor decisions that result in exactly what you’d expect under the circumstances.

I don’t need Reilly to tell me who I should be rooting for. I can see clearly who’s sincerely trying to win and who’s merely trying my patience. I can do without the Phil Mickelson pity party.


Red Wings Machine not Mechanical

May 28, 2008

I really thought the folks doom and glooming about the Red Wings being unlikely to get credit for their victory were off base. Yes, there’d be some discussion of the Pens being the team of the future, and some writers are obsessed with how this series will affect the Pens in the long run, like ESPN’s Scott Burnside.

But in a world ruled by the Bettman PR machine, in all its ineffectual glory, I figured the media that are paying attention would manage to see past the hype to what a talented team the Red Wings are, what a beautiful game they play, and how deserving they will be as the 2008 Stanley Cup Champions.

And then I read a column by my buddy ESPN’s John Buccigross and I just went Red Wings red in anger. What is this evil empire crap? Comparing this Red Wings team with a mechanical joyless Soviet menace? Are you kidding me? Read the rest of this entry »