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High 5 Headlines: Silly Soccer Celebrations, Wie Wins, Kershaw’s Ks, and Penn State Pencils in Premium Players

dancing-soccer

OK, for the last time: This is MY dance space, this is YOUR dance space.

1 – The U.S. Men’s Soccer Team played to a 2-2 draw with Portugal on Sunday, much to the frustration of fans who, after the U.S. defeat of Ghana, were excited at our very real prospects of qualifying outright for the final Round of 16. Now we must at least tie Germany, who gave a Deutsche drubbing to Portugal last week, 4-0. Game time: 12 noon ET this Thursday (or as many Americans will call it, a sick day).

PS –Colombia’s team jubilation dance was one of the best moments of the tournament ; scroll down for a fun clip of soccer celebrations.

2 – Michelle Wie, who sparked the golf scene at age 10 when she qualified for a USGA amateur championship, won the U.S. Women’s Open Sunday. There’s a reason this is pretty cool. Since she turned pro at age 15, along with a flood of endorsements and the pressure of publicity, the 6-1 daughter of a professor and golf champ/beauty queen never won a “major” championship, but just the weekly tourneys that rarely merit any TV time. Frustrated, Wie retreated from the game for a time and attended Stanford, graduating with a degree in communications.

Now 24, she’s back in the golf spotlight at a more acceptable age—and must have experienced both happiness and concern for Lucy Li, 11. Li was the youngest player ever to qualify for the Open, but didn’t make the cut. Didn’t seem to bother her though; she wore braces, ate ice cream and joked with the media. Hopefully she will learn some lessons from Wie, and golf will remain fun, not forced.

3 – Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw threw a no-hitter June 18 against the Colorado Rockies. A no-hitter occurs when the pitcher allows no batter to record a hit. Batters can reach base in other ways, like a walk or error, but this is rare. Most no-hitters are also complete games and shutouts. However, one higher honor exists: the perfect game, in which no batters reach base at all. This is much rarer. There have been 284 no-hitters since 1875; there have been 23 perfect games.

4 – Now that college football’s National Signing Day, on which high school players make their formal college commitments, is behind us, news outlets have ranked the schools’ “recruiting classes.” Naturally the top schools are no surprise, institutions like Alabama, LSU and Ohio State. But what caught my attention is the inclusion of Penn State at around #24 although I’ve seen them as high as five.

I think this is kinda neat because 2014 is roughly the first year the Nittany Lions team will be comprised of players who did not have to endure the 2011 Jerry Sandusky child sex assault scandal. Since then, Sandusky rots in prison, head coach Joe Paterno was fired for allegedly covering up Sandusky’s acts and subsequently died, players transferred elsewhere, and the entire university was penalized by the NCAA for falling down on the job, a decision that, in my opinion only hurts blameless players and fans in the end. For PSU to be getting attention again from players and media is a good sign that, while we should never forget what happened, a historic program can return to its former glory.

5 – Granted I am little biased on this one, but I’m thrilled that one of sports’ most fun and exciting events is coming to my backyard in DC. The Winter Classic is the NHL’s annual game featuring two teams playing outdoors. Even if you don’t follow hockey, it’s great to see two teams take on the elements as well as each other in the old-fashioned way. The Capitals will play January 1, 2015, reportedly against the Chicago Blackhawks at a venue TBD. It doesn’t have to snow, but I would buy up all the milk and bread in the region for a chance to see it in real winter conditions. Fingers crossed!


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He’s Here. He’s Queer. Rams Show No Fear.

Even the truest fans will admit the NFL Draft can be a drawn-out dog and pony show (just where the dogs and ponies are the size of T-Rexes). People will watch maybe the first round to see where the best-known college players wind up, but tune out once the marquee names are called.

Sam. I. Am.

Sam. I. Am. Who are you?

This was not the case in 2014, when the “most-watched draft ever,” according to ESPN, had more drama than a “Real Housewives” catfight.

First, there was the suspense over who would be the very first picks—specifically Texas A&M quarterback and 2012-13 Heisman winner Johnny “Johnny Football” Manziel.

But a defensive player got the nod from Houston as first pick overall: South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, best known for one of the most exciting hits ever made in college football.

And Johnny Football? He waited. And waited. And waited. Even the Dallas Cowboys, for whom he was rumored a lock, passed. Manziel finally found his new home with Cleveland in the 22nd Round.

The story took another interesting turn the following day, when it was announced the Browns’ top receiver Josh Gordon faced a season-long suspension for marijuana use. The other Browns receiver, Nate Burleson, currently has a fractured arm. So the beleaguered Browns fans, who have had only two winning seasons since 1999, will have to wait and see.

But like any good reality show, the biggest story of all came at the very end. Missouri’s Michael Sam, Defensive Player of the Year for the Southeastern Conference (SEC, considered the most competitive college league) would seem a sensible early-round pick.

But Sam is also openly gay. And his February NFL Combine performance—where potential rookies demonstrate their speed and strength in really tight underwear—was also lacking. Sam became the first SEC defensive player of the year since 2006 not to be taken in the first round. His Missouri teammate Kony Ealy was chosen in the second round by the Carolina Panthers.

Was it his performance? Was it his sexual orientation? No one knew for sure as round after round went by, and Sam waited by the phone.

In the seventh and final round, finally the call came. Sam was selected by the St. Louis Rams as the 249th pick overall—and the first ever openly gay professional football player. He nearly collapsed with emotion as he cried and kissed his boyfriend on national television. Other ESPN cameras showed fans at gay bars celebrating. (I sense a Saturday Night Live skit coming on this one.) Only seven more players were chosen, then the draft was over.

Coincidentally that night, the Brooklyn Nets’ Jason Collins, the first openly gay NBA player, shared his support of Sam, then helped the Nets defeat the Miami Heat in a playoff game. Social media also went bonkers for Sam with celebrities, new teammates and respected athletes showing their support, including Deion Sanders, hall of fame Rams running back Erick Dickerson, and President Obama.

“I’m using every ounce of this to achieve greatness!!” tweeted Sam.

But he wasn’t completely nice.

“I knew I was going to get picked somewhere,” he said. “Every team that passed me, I was thinking how I’m going to sack their quarterback.”

Will he make it? Who knows. Just being drafted does not guarantee you a spot on the 53-man roster. And last season’s Miami Dolphins bullying scandal shed light on what might really go on behind locker room doors, even among straight players.

Rams coach Jeff Fisher fully supports Sam, noting that the Rams actually signed an African-American football player a year before Jackie Robinson entered major league baseball. Fisher believes the Rams, near Columbia, Mo. where Sam went to college, are the perfect fit and does not expect tension.

“We’re in an age of diversity,” he said. “Players understand that. They know that.”

Had Sam not been drafted, he could have signed as a free agent and attended a team’s training camp (roughly a third of NFL players last year were undrafted).

But the fact that he was drafted—even though so late in the draft I expected Jeff Probst to pop out and issue Sam some “Survivor” challenge—it’s a good sign the NFL can overlook the possible distraction his sexual orientation may cause and focus on the skills Sam, and eventually others like him, bring to the rainbow-colored table.

Re-hiring a Man Rihanna Wouldn’t Take Back, Why Ski-Jumping Hurts Your Lady Parts, and Why Won’t Alex Rodriguez JUST GO AWAY ALREADY????

1–I forget whether “SMH” means “shaking my head” or scratching it, but I’ve been doing both, along with most of Louisville, since the University re-hired its former football coach Bobby Petrino on Thursday. Petrino will replace Charlie Strong, who departed to coach the University of Texas.

Can we speed up this press conference? I've got an interview--I mean, a date, I mean, I gotta take my Mom to church at 2.

Can we speed up this press conference? I’ve got an interview–I mean, a date, I mean, I gotta take my Mom to church at 2.

Petrino, a 52-year-old married father of three and a grandfather, spent the last decade sneaking interviews behind schools’ backs (and getting caught), abandoning jobs (his one pro season with the Atlanta Falcons lasted 9 games) and BEST OF ALL, for crashing a motorcycle with his mistress, a 25-year-old former volleyball player and his football staff employee, while he was the Arkansas head coach in 2012. He was subsequently fired. (Her too.)

I mean, Rihanna wouldn’t take this guy back.

Still, Louisville chose Petrino (not to be confused with Louisville men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino, but we will get to him in a second…). This may seem to make sense. He did lead the Cardinals to a 41-9 record from 2003-2006 and an Orange Bowl title. Louisville finished 12-1 this year under Strong, so I guess they wanted a sure winner. Now Petrino has a 7-year, $24.5 million contract, alongside Pitino, a married father of five who over the years has been alleged to have several affairs, and in 2009 admitted sexual relations with the wife of the team equipment manager (she was charged with extortion by federal officials).

As a Memphis fan, Louisville has traditionally been our biggest rival, but Cardinals, I feel for you here. And you ladies who were part of this, I’m lookin’ at you too. SMH.

2–Speaking of Charlie Strong, his hiring (the first black coach ever) at perennial powerhouse Texas was overshadowed this week when billionaire booster Red McCombs complained to the university, the media, his dog, anyone who would listen, that Strong was not fit for the job. OK, McCombs has given $100 million to UT and has a statue in the stadium, so sure, he has a right to voice his opinion. Unfortunately, remarks like calling the choice “a kick in the face” came across to some as just a wee bit racist for one of the last schools to integrate its football team.

Actually I think McCombs just felt burned for not being consulted more in the hiring process. The co-founder of Clear Channel Communications and former owner of the San Antonio Spurs, the Denver Nuggets and the Minnesota Vikings, McCombs must have some idea of how to manage sports right. I don’t think he consciously intended to come across as racist, and he did apologize. I mean, come on, surely a grown white man in the South would know better than to do something so stupid.

(Then again, please refer to this column’s item #1.)

3—Champion skier Lindsey Vonn, 29, will not compete in the 2014 Sochi Games due to ongoing complications with her right knee. Vonn won the gold in Olympic downhill four years ago.

“On a positive note, this means there will be an additional spot so that one of my teammates can go for the gold,” Vonn tweeted. More good news: this year’s Games will see the debut of women’s ski jumping, so hopefully athletes like Jessica Jerome and Lindsey Van can make the podium—unless it’s too high, of course! After all, jumping off things “seems not to be appropriate for ladies from a medical point of view,” said Gian Franco Kasper, president of the International Ski Federation. (Not a doctor. Not even on TV.) In other words, ski jumping can make you infertile.

OK, this isn’t an official reason the International Olympics Committee has overlooked the sport since the men debuted 90 years ago, but it’s been an off-the-record, “If we believe it, it must be true” kind of belief. Kind of like a flat Earth. Or Sasquatch. Or whatever invisible thing on the wall my deaf dog barks at all the time. Yeah, like that.

4—The Baseball Hall of Fame 2014 Class was announced last week: pitcher Greg Maddux, pitcher Tom Glavine, and designated hitter Frank Thomas, who was a five-time all-star and spent most of his career with the Chicago White Sox. Maddux won the Gold Glove so many times his number, 31, was retired at both the Chicago Cubs and the Atlanta Braves. And Glavine was a multiple all-star, Cy Young and Silver Slugger winner. All three were voted in their first year, a total 180 from last year in which no living, modern-era player made the cut, largely due to the shadow of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs).

Oh, PEDs you say?

5—New York Yankees’ third baseman Alex Rodriguez learned his original suspension for alleged PED use would be shortened by independent arbitrator Fredric Horowitz from 211 games to 162 games. This constitutes one full season of baseball. But Rodriguez, 38, is not satisfied, claiming he did not use any banned substances despite being named as a client of the now-defunct Coral Gables, Fla., anti-aging clinic Biogenesis, and he will take his case to federal court. Biogenesis founder Anthony Bosch says he injected Rodriguez with banned substances. Legal experts say arbitration rulings are rarely overturned.

High Five Headlines: A Crap-Ton of Football. And a Little Men’s Figure Skating.

1–Like most kids, I was a very logical little girl. So I never could understand why our U.S. service academy football teams always seemed like sort of an afterthought. They were America’s smartest, bravest, and fittest young men, weren’t they? So why didn’t we see them in the sports headlines, like, every single day? I didn’t grasp that the academies don’t have as much flexibility in recruiting like other schools, and these soldiers were also tasked with the tiny burden of defending our country and that football might not be their top priority.

Can somebody help me up, please?

I’ve fallen since last season, and I can’t get up. (No, really, lil’ help here?)

Except for one day a year—the annual Army-Navy Game in Philadelphia, when the U.S. Military Academy and the Naval Academy square off in what is considered by many to be college football’s greatest rivalry. Unfortunately, the last decade or so, it really hasn’t been. Navy has won every year since 2004, including Saturday 34-7 over an Army team that has averaged fewer than three wins a season since 1998. Navy’s Keenan Reynolds set a Division I record for quarterbacks when he rushed for his 29th touchdown of the year and will lead the 8-4 Midshipmen to the Armed Forces Bowl against Middle Tennessee State. As for Army, well at least they will always be our heroes, long after their football careers end.

2–Speaking of struggling programs, I usually try not to focus on my local Washington Redskins, but they were the NFL’s top story last week, so…

OK, so Coach Mike Shanahan “shut down” quarterback Robert Griffin III for the rest of the season, ostensibly to rest the knee he blew out in last year’s playoffs. He won’t play at all, while backup Kirk Cousins has taken the helm. RGIII was literally in the national sports news every day the last year—fans and non-fans alike wanted to see the affable, witty, Subway Sandwich-loving Offensive Rookie of the Year return to full strength. He did not. Challenged by his knee, a weak defense and a shaky relationship with Shanahan, RGIII’s sophomore year was middling at best, with a bunch of icky stats I don’t even have the heart to go into.

Then there is the Family Shanahan: Coach Mike, who by most accounts seems to be lobbying to be fired so he can depart his Skins losing legacy fully paid. His son Kyle is the offensive coordinator—therefore having a direct hand in RGIII’s performance. Would he be fired too? Or follow Dad if he quits? Or stay on and try to atone for the “RedSins” of the father? To be continued. Wish *I* could authorize a shutdown.

3—Florida State freshman quarterback Jameis Winston was named the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner by a landslide Saturday over five other players, including last year’s winner Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M) and Alabama’s A.J. McCarron–who I calculate got about 1/16 of the camera time as his girlfriend (you know it by now, say it with me) Miss Alabama Katherine Webb in the audience. Winston thanked his family and coaches ebulliently, noting several times his gratitude for the “truth” being on his side. Winston was cleared last week of potential rape charges from a 2012 incident, and will lead FSU into the national championship game against Auburn January 6. The alleged victim, meanwhile, has had to withdraw from FSU. I’ve said it before—no one knows what happened but the accuser and Winston. There are unscrupulous people out there of both genders. It’s just sad to me that one party is starting a great career, while the other is likely launching one at Taco Bell. But the law has spoken, so we move forward.

4–Sometimes good just isn’t good enough. Head football coach Mack Brown resigned from the University of Texas Saturday, but will stay on to coach the Longhorns against Oregon in the Alamo Bowl. Texas went 8-4 this year, but detractors still have questioned Brown since the program began declining—despite double-digit win seasons from 2001-2009—after its 2005 national championship. Coaches come and go every year, but if you know “Friday Night Lights,” you have some inkling of what football means to the Lone Star State. Brown’s departure is major news because he has had what is, in his words, “the best coaching job at the premier football program in the country” since 1998.

Another reason football fans’ antennae were up over this one was the possibility of Alabama coach Nick Saban coming aboard, and he’s won the last two national championships. But the hope didn’t last long—Saban signed a deal last week to remain with the Crimson Tide for roughly $7 million a year, a raise of about $1.5 million a year and more than that of most NFL coaches.

5—American 2010 Olympic figure skating gold medalist Evan Lysacek will not be able to defend his title at the Sochi Winter Games due to ongoing issues with a torn labrum in his hip. Lysacek hadn’t competed since his win in Vancouver four years ago, but had remained optimistic for Sochi. During his comeback attempt last year, he experienced an abdominal tear, followed by the hip injury, which doctors feared could be permanent if he did not stop.

But in happier news, skier (and Tiger Woods paramour) Lindsey Vonn returned to the snow for practice runs in Colorado this weekend for the first time in the nine days since she reinjured her right knee. She had torn it completely February 5 of last year. Vonn hopes to return to competition next weekend and keep her Olympic hopes alive. She is the defending downhill gold medalist, holds four World Cup titles and is considered the most accomplished Alpine skier in American history.

Hingle McCringleberry. THE Ohio State University. Real vs. Key & Peele Names

key and peele football character bismo funyuns

Don’t you CALL me Bismo Bugles!

Once again Wednesday, my favorite skit-sters Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele delivered, in honor of football bowl season, their lead-up to the annual “East-West Bowl” with the usual curious characters, including a player who speaks in Morse Code and one named for a popular, onion-y snack.

Of course what’s really going on is “Key & Peele’s” gentle skewering of some African-American athlete name choices. But the truth is, black, white, male, female–there are some pretty odd or downright unfortunate sports names out there. So I wonder, can you tell which of these names are real, and which are Key & Peele? (Scroll down for answers.)

And speaking of weird names, you need look no further than some of this year’s bowl games. Famous Idaho Potato? Royal Purple Las Vegas? AdvoCare V100? Think I’ll watch my Key & Peele reruns. OK here we go….

  1. Tyrell Smoochie-Wallace
  2. Craphonso Ja’won Thorpe
  3. Ibrahim Moizoos
  4. Phyllis Mangina
  5. God Shammgod
  6. L’Carpetron Dookmarriot
  7. Jenni Asserholt
  8. Quatro Quatro
  9. Coco Crisp
  10. Ozmataz Buckshank
  11. Dick Trickle
  12. Fartrell Cluggins
  13. Dick Felt
  14. Elipses Corter
  15. Richie Incognito
  16. Nyquillus Dillwad
  17. Dean Windass
  18. Decatholac Mango
  19. Irina Slutskaya
  20. Goolius Boozler

—ANSWERS—

(Scroll down…)

*

*

*

  1. Tyrell Smoochie-Wallace: K&P
  2. Craphonso Ja’won “Cro” Thorpe: REAL. Professional wide receiver for numerous NFL and Canadian teams, currently a free agent
  3. Ibrahim Moizoos: K&P
  4. Phyllis Mangina: REAL. Former Seton Hall women’s basketball coach.
  5. God Shammgod: REAL. Former professional basketball point guard for the Washington Wizards
  6. L’Carpetron Dookmarriot: K&P
  7. Jenni Asserholt: REAL. Swedish hockey player
  8. Quatro Quatro: K&P
  9. Covelli Loyce “Coco” Crisp: REAL. Professional center fielder for the Oakland As
  10. Ozmataz Buckshank: K&P
  11. Richard “Dick” Trickle: REAL. American multi-champion racecar driver
  12. Fartrell Cluggins: K&P
  13. Dick Felt: REAL. Former American Football League defensive back for the New York Titans and the Boston Patriots
  14. Elipses Corter: K&P
  15. Richard Dominick “Richie” Incognito, Jr.: REAL. NFL guard currently on indefinite suspension for harassment of Miami Dolphins teammate Jonathan Martin
  16. Nyquillus Dillwad: K&P
  17. Dean Windass: REAL. English former professional soccer player for Bradford City
  18. Decatholac Mango: K&P
  19. Irina Slutskaya: REAL. Russian figure skater and Olympic medalist
  20. Goolius Boozler: K&P

High Five Headlines! A Painting Pony, Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Prayer Answered, and Archery “Catching Fire” with Girls

1–I hate—hate—cleaning the kitchen. Which is why I am especially glad I skipped it Saturday or I would have missed what is being hailed as one of the greatest college games played in recent memory. Fourth-ranked Auburn topped undefeated and top-ranked Alabama in a closely contested “Iron Bowl,” 34-28 Saturday, locking Auburn into the SEC championship next week over the current national champion Crimson Tide.

The game also saw:

–Alabama’s longest-ever receiving touchdown (T.J. McCarron to Amari Cooper for 99 yards)
–An emergency sewing machine brought out in the fourth quarter to repair Auburn defensive end LaDarius Owens’ ripped jersey (normally there would be backups, but maybe an equipment manager stayed a little too late at the Sigma Chi house Friday?)
–A missed but valiant 57-yard field goal attempt by Bama redshirt freshman kicker Adam Griffith, which was…
–Returned 109 yards by Auburn’s Chris Davis for the winning touchdown
–And an “I’m sorry” kiss to McCarron from his girlfriend and former Miss Alabama, Katherine Webb—an Auburn grad.

Ecstatic Auburn students flooded the Jordan-Hare Stadium field so densely the team could barely move, and the Tiger mascot enjoyed crowd surfing as stunned Alabama fans could only wait it out. The famous rivalry began being played primarily in Birmingham, and dubbed the Iron Bowl as a nod to Birmingham’s role in the steel industry. (As for my kitchen, well I can eat off paper plates for a few days.)

Dames hunger for archery lessons.

Dames hunger for archery lessons.

2–Normally I eschew movie blockbusters, but I freaking loved “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.” A flailing dystopian society. Liam Hemsworth. My girl crush Jennifer Lawrence at her REAL WOMAN, kickass bodily best. My admittedly-weird guy crush Woody Harrelson. (Did I mention Liam Hemsworth?) The best part is how the movies have caused a wild increase in archery nationwide—especially for young girls hoping to emulate hunting heroine Katniss Everdeen. Apparently the franchise has caused a huge burst in the sport’s popularity—so much that equipment makers can’t keep up, and USA Archery, the sport’s Olympic governing body, can’t train instructors fast enough. May the odds be ever in their favor—because there are still two movies to come.

3–A horse is a horse, of course, of course—unless he is a former racetrack champion who now paints pictures raising money–not just for treatment of his own life-threatening knee condition, but to save the lives of other racetrack rejects. Meet Metro Meteor, a retired Maryland thoroughbred whose adoptive owners taught him to use his bobbing head motion to paint and raise awareness of injured and unwanted former racehorses (he’s raised more than $45,000!). The story from legendary sportswriter Frank Deford (who reminds me a little of Grandpa from “The Munsters”) played as part of a Thanksgiving series on NPR.

4—The NFL regular season is nearing its end, so every game now—at least for some teams (not my 3-9 Redskins, sadly)—really counts. Tonight, 9-2 New Orleans meets the 10-1 Seattle Seahawks for an NFC Monday Night Football battle. In another highly-anticipated matchup Sunday, the AFC West’s Denver defeated Kansas City 35-28. Yet even teams like Philadelphia and Detroit, both 7-5, and Green Bay (5-6-1) have a little life left depending on their division’s “wild card” scenario. Regardless, if you don’t watch the NFL, now is certainly a fun time to start.

5–And finally, from a kid with maybe the best holiday name ever, Huntington (Ind.) University senior Shane Merryman stunned a crowd possibly bigger than his school’s 1,000-student enrollment with this three-quarter court buzzer beater against Marian, winning with one second left, 61-59.

High 5 Headlines! Rose Wilts, Worries for Winston, and Puppy Snuggles Cost Me the BEST NFL GAME EVER!

chester

Football, or fuzzy kisses? Chester is the clear winner, no OT.

1) It is a testament to the snuggliness of my dog (and maybe some wine) that I fell asleep with him on the couch last night and missed the end of an incredible NFL comeback. Denver visited Boston and brought along many storylines: two of the best quarterbacks, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady squaring off again; Denver receiver Wes Welker returning to play his former Patriots for the first time, and coming off a concussion last week; and temperatures colder than polar bear poop. Denver led 24-0 at the half, but Tom Brady returned reborn in the second,  completing more than 80 percent of his passes to erase the deficit–that Manning shredded with one last touchdown, sending the game into OT. Boston won on a field goal 34-31. Brady inked his 38th career game with 3+ TD passes and no interceptions, the second-most all-time to–guess who–Peyton Manning (42).

2) By the way, the Patriots’ Bill Belichick isn’t the only coach in the family. His daughter Amanda, a Wesleyan University grad, is the head women’s lacrosse coach at Wesleyan, where Dad himself played lacrosse in the early 70s. Both Belichicks were captains of their teams as seniors.

3) That slapping sound you are hearing is Chicago NBA fans’ collective foreheads this week as Bulls star (aka Michael Jordan 2.0) Derrick Rose is once again out for the season, requiring surgery on a torn meniscus in his right knee. He missed last season after tearing the ACL in his left knee. Rose has been Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player, and an NBA All-Star, so his frustration must be only slightly worse than Adidas, who just launched his new shoe collection and “The Return of D Rose” campaign. (Or the frustration of Memphians like me, who had our national-runner-up 2008 season erased by the NCAA over allegations that Rose had someone else take his SATs for him. Sigh.) But Rose is only 25, having turned pro after just one year of college play (otherwise snarkily known as a “one and done”). Steve Nash (39, Lakers) and Manu Ginobli (36, San Antonio Spurs) are just a couple of superstar starters playing for super teams well into their 30s. And Chicago still has their NHL champion Blackhawks, currently among the top of the Western Conference.

4) The slapping sound you are still hearing is me. My forehead. Because it just couldn’t be a football season without a sexual assault case. Oh wait, my bad. Just before the season, a group of Vanderbilt players were indicted on counts of aggravated rape and sexual battery against a victim in a dorm room. (The case is ongoing and getting uglier). Now, Florida State quarterback and Heisman Trophy hopeful Jameis Winston is at the center of a potential rape charge stemming from an encounter in December 2012. Details are still unclear, but we at least know the following: 1, The victim reported the event a year ago and asserts it was not consensual. 2, The case was only referred to the Florida State Attorney General two weeks ago. 3, There is a DNA evidence match confirmed. 4, Some affidavits support Winston; others support the alleged victim. And 5, Winston is a redshirt freshman leading the Seminoles to their first potential championship since 1999. Whatever the outcome, we can hope whoever is telling the truth will see justice, and that the athletes of a storied program won’t see their hard work overshadowed by scandal. But I have to wonder if either will happen.

5) OK, let’s end on a funny note. If you missed it last weekend (and I did because I haven’t found “Saturday Night Live” reliably funny since 1982. Yeah, I said it. Except for episodes with Justin Timberlake, also from Memphis. Naturally.), SNL really did come through with a parody of “The Red Zone” channel. Each Sunday, Red Zone allows fans to see any potential NFL scoring play–when the ball is within 20 yards of the goal line, aka “the red zone.” (I must admit I do have this channel.) But if you’re not into sports, you now have “The Rosé Zone“–a women’s channel with all the best (worst?) reality TV moments without the charity benefits and fashion shows. As one “viewer” puts it, “B*tches be crazy. But not all the time. Sometimes b*tches just be standin’ around and thinkin’.” <cut to Kim Kardashian staring vacantly>. “And mama ain’t about that.” Hilarious.