Cupid's sport sickness

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Posted Wednesday, February 11, 2009 - 5:20pm

Rumor has it that Cupid is a sport fan.

But along time ago, Cupid shot his real arrows, not his love arrows, in the backside of sport scheduling.

Tough love in the middle of February. A sports fan's nightmare. It's the off-season for anyone who follows almost any kind of sport. The dead of winter and the dead of athletics both come at the same time.

And you thought this was Valentines when everyone gives and gets sweet expressions of love? What do sports fans have to look forward to? Where's the love?

Maybe it's time to drop the remote or even the TIVO and actually pay attention to your significant other. Maybe this is the reason why Valentine's Day became the big buzz that it is: To take the dead time of sports and try to entice most of the male gender into something other than sports. Like chocolate. Or sappy cards. Or, dread the thought, red underpants with hearts on them.

The facts:

In the middle of February, the Super Bowl is an afterthought. The pro-bowl is awful, watching overpaid football players expend as much energy as it takes to not get hurt. And nobody watches. There is a reason why the game is moving from Hawaii to the mainland next year.

The NBA? It's all-star weekend so the only thing to look forward to is the high-flying action of the dunk contest. The all-star game itself is more like a match at the YMCA with old guys who care about offense, play defense that would make any matador jealous, and don't want to get hurt.

Then we come to college basketball. I'll ask just one question: Is it March yet? With March comes conference championships and the big dance of the top 65 teams in the season-ending tournament, where a clear-cut champion (listening BCS?) is determined.

In college football, the only thing to look forward to is National Letter of Intent Signing Day where 18-year-olds sign their lives away to a football program, and all college coaches say the same thing: Great class. Great athletes. Glory ensured for four more years. (Note: in the Rare Honesty Department, new Washington Coach Steve Sarkisian graded his incoming class as a "C.") But oops, Signing Day was on Feb. 4, so that mini-bump in interest has come and gone.

Good luck following baseball this time around. All your favorite players are reporting right now to training camp. And yes, they are overweight. That's a given. The off-season was very good to them. Not only did they not work, and kick back with their nightly Ben & Jerry's, the Yankees did the work for them. The Yankees all but wrapped up winning the World Series with a buying spree of $430 million this off-season in acquisitions, and they are not done. Who do these guys think they are? Congress?

I officially have lost interest in the MLB, thanks to Bud Selig and the Steinbrenner family. Speaking of Bud Selig, the milk-toast commissioner of baseball, it was reported last week that Bud, who turned a blind eye to steroids and allowed the Yankees to make a mockery of the game, will receive an 18% pay raise in 2009, now earning a little more than $17 million a year. Obviously, the recession hasn't hit Bud's pocket. Keep up the mediocre work, Mr. Commissioner. If you ever get good at your job, you might make as much as, say, a Yankee shortstop.

Then, we move onto the National Hockey League. Yup, that's about it. For hockey's sake, I acknowledge that it is the most exciting sport to watch in person. I have caught a few NHL games and dozens of minor league games and they are always a thrill. But on TV? I'd just as soon watch reruns of "The Brady Bunch."

To finish up the Valentine's Day sport circuit, we have golf that is still without Tiger Woods, so nobody really cares unless you are sixty years old and own a couple of Buicks. And tennis is owned by Nadal and Federer, with one of the Williams sisters mopping up the women's side. It's predictable and not much fun, although the grunting has improved through the years.

So it's the middle of February and it's safe to say that Cupid is now officially not a sports fan.

Hand me a box of chocolates or get me a girlfriend.

How long before college football season begins?

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