I was browsing espn.com when I came upon this: "North Dakota has suspended men's basketball play-by-play radio announcer Paul Ralston for two games after he used the phrase "choke job" following an overtime loss to Northern Arizona. Ralston used the words during his interview with coach Brian Jones after the team's 74-72 home loss Saturday.
North Dakota led in the final minute of regulation, but Northern Arizona rallied to force overtime and win. North Dakota missed five free throws over the final four minutes of regulation."
Firstly, it sure sounds like a probable choke job to me. Secondly, it's North Dakota - who was even listening? Thirdly, by punishing the announcer for using the phrase, the university showed they are quite capable of being petty. They should be glad the radio announcer cared enough about not insulting the intelligence of his audience, that he pointed out what everyone just heard - the team gagged away the game in the late-going. Usually a college athletic department, or a hockey coach or a baseball general manager needs to have a thick skin - the higher the level of play, the thicker the skin needs to be. Golfers used to get mad at outspoken commentator Johnny Miller when he'd say something like "Davis Love III just choked" and then golfer would get in a snit, even though he just hooked a tee shot on the 18th hole of a major and cost himself a tournament.
Guess what, bub? You choked. When you needed a good shot, your ball ended up in a small lake. (I'm just using Davis Love III as an example, it's not because I don't like him because seems bit kind of snobbish. "Davis Love III"... that's not pretentious at all, is it?).
And of course, any sportswriter who's done the job for more than a week has ticked off somebody out there (usually a coach, some of whom have control issues. Although in some respects being a control freak is often a necessity for a coach, who has to deal with so many personalities on his team – plus parents. And we know how some of them can act). Like, there was one time, a coach I won't name got mad at me and wouldn't answer my phone calls for a week because I picked his team to lose a playoff series. He got over it eventually and although he wouldn't say he was wrong and had over-reacted, I didn't mind because I said it for him. By the way, this coach's team won the series, so at the end of the day (that phrase annoys me but hockey people seem to love saying it), we both looked a little dumb.
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I was in a public bathroom recently when I saw a sign above the sink reminding people to wash their hands. And I thought, "Thanks for the memo, but I picked up that habit about 40 years ago". Then I thought, "Yeah some people likely do need to be pointed in that direction sometimes."
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Here's something that I found surprising: the Toronto Raptors have actually fought their way into the NBA playoff picture. The Raptors, who have been terrible for almost all of their existence, are still on the outside looking in, but as of this writing, they're five games out of the final playoff berth with 28 games remaining. Plenty of time. They've been rolling of late, and some opposing players, after playing the Raptors, have commented on how tough the Raptors have become. They're no longer a pushover, in other words. The Raptors get good big support for a hockey-mad like Toronto, especially since they've done more than a lot of losing. Even if they fall short of the playoffs this season, they're at least giving fans their money's worth. And some hope.