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Sports Watching & Wondering

To me, the most impressive thing about the NBA All-Star Game was that Kobe and Shaq were civil, even friendly, to each other. I don't believe that either of them has the education or the temperament to ever have the kind of relationship that David Robinson and Tim Duncan have. However, they seem to have moved beyond the childish behavior that each of them has displayed in the past. Many athletes are so focused on the glory that they seek that they forget how fortunate they already are. I suspect that there is not a single professional athlete in the world who is not already earning more money than he or she ever dreamed that they would. When they were younger and fantasizing about the possibilities, they assumed that financial success would automatically bring them happiness.

I would never get a tattoo, and I also encourage young people to not get them either. At the same time, since I believe in freedom, I recognize that anyone who wants tattoos should be able to get them. I also have to say that I am amazed that so many people voluntarily subject themselves to enable injections. I was in the Army with a lot of tough guys, and none of us like to get shots, and some of us had a deathly fear of getting them. Being shot at was one thing, but getting a needle was scary. I don't know what tattoos cost, but it seems to me that they are very expensive. I have seen some athletes with missing or disfigured teeth, but with full body tattoos, that must have cost thousands of dollars. Occasionally, I hear about someone whose tattoo became infected to the point where they required medical attention. Again, in a free country everyone has the right to do as they choose. However, from my point of view, getting a tattoo is not a good idea.

Before the college basketball season began, UCLA had dreams of a national championship. Some people who are supposed to know about these things, also had him ranked number one. Then the season started and their record in the Pacific 10 is 8-4, and they are and fourth-place. Worse still, Washington and Washington State are coming to town this weekend. Washington, with a record of 10-3, has been especially tough on the Bruins.

Lorenzo Romar seems to have figured out how to beat Ben Howland. Under a different set of circumstances, Romar could have been the UCLA coach. The Bruins chances are better against Washington State, though the Cougars are a difficult team to play. Their coach, Tony Bennett, uses the Princeton ball control offense. And they keep grinding for the entire 48 minutes. A lot of teams have left their hearts with him.

Things are not going well for the USC Trojans. Their Pac-10 record is only 6-6, and overall it is 15-9. They had hoped that they would do much better this year. Last year, they had a better record than Cal Berkeley, or winless Oregon State. Cal hired Mike Montgomery, and OSU hired the Brother-in-law. And neither of these teams was expected to do well this year. Someone forgot to tell them because Cal is now 19-6, and an OSU is a shocking 11-13. This is change that you can believe in. If USC falls below previously pitiful OSU, USC may have to reevaluate the performance of Coach Tim Floyd.

Floyd has been the coach at USC for four years. He did resurrect a moribund program. He seems to be a conscientious, competent, well-liked, hard-working coach. Despite his best efforts, the Trojans seemed to be stuck in mediocrity. What will Mike Garrett do, if the Brother-in-law's OSU team rises from the cellar and finishes higher than the Trojans? Would that suggest that USC needs a better coach?

College basketball is a coach's game. If you can hire Roy Williams, the way that North Carolina did, then in a year or two you will have the number one rated team in the country. Being a championship coach is not easy which is why the great ones make the big bucks. There are some who can turn out top-rated teams year after year. Coach Wooden did in the past, and Coach K., Williams, Pitino, and Calipari are doing so now. All coaches seem to be doing the same things, but some get much better results. You can't fake being a great coach any more than you can fake being a great short order cook. You can either do it, or you can't.

For many years, the Trojans did not know how to do basketball. Regrettably for them, they were in the same city with Coach Wooden's UCLA Champions. They have now built their own basketball palace, the Galen Center. The time for change has come!

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