Pawing through the Duffle Bag

 

Masha

As I watch the snow flakes float down to the six inches of snow already in the front yard (six inches that was supposed to be a “dusting”), I am reevaluating what I’m going to wear tomorrow to Opening Day in Denver. As a part of that, I’m not going to cover the topic I had picked for today’s blog – the Cardinal/Reds game – since it’s currently in a rain delay.

So I’ve decided to write about all the little, strange things that have happened in a variety of sports this week that usually aren’t enough to write a full blog  about. So they get tucked into the duffle bag of topics that may be a Facebook posting, but often they just lurk in the back of my mind doing nothing. Let’s do some nothing:

1) Tiger’s Back. And not in a good way. A ‘pinched nerve’ in sports parlance is a herniated disc in a neurosurgeon’s mind. Now I’m not a doctor (and I don’t even play one on T.V.), but I am a golfer. I know there are as many adaptions to the golf swing as there are golfers, but there is one consistent theme in the swing – shoulder turn, which is only possible if your back twists. If you have a herniated disc, that’s a big ouch. Trimming the disc may relieve the pain, but the disc may continue to break down, or other discs in the spinal column may join the party and that leads to more pain. I hope for Tiger’s sake that this works – I would love for him to break Jack’s record. But it’s looking less likely with every knee and back surgery he has.

2) Baseball Managers and shaving. I know, no one rates baseball managers on their personal grooming, including me. But I’m always amazed at how scraggly most Managers look on game day. This Opening Day’s broadcasts included some of the best (or worst, depending on your viewpoint) examples of usually unshaven Managers proving they do have a razor: Kirk Gibson, Don Mattingly, and Clint Hurdle – all clean shaven, all looking fabulous. Hey, guys – you’re the leaders of MLB teams; be the leader and pick one. Beard or clean shaven, either one. Just pick. The days of the 3-day growth went out with Miami Vice.

3) Andrew Wiggins declaring for the draft. Bad decision, Andrew. You need some seasoning and Kansas would have been a great place for you to develop into a world-class player – in a couple of years. Bill Self could have taught you how to play as a teammate, not a star. But you’re off to prove you’re the star everyone says you are. Best of luck – I believe you’re going to get crushed the first year by all the NBA guys who are looking to prove you’re not ready. Prove me wrong.

4) Vin Scully announcing during the LA earthquake. In only the way Vin can do, he calmly announced the 5.1 earthquake and then continued on with his play-by-play. I’ve attached the link for your enjoyment. Compare this with the LA T.V. announcer…. Vin’s been in LA a long time and it’s going to take more than a 5.1 earthquake to break his stride. I love Vin Scully…

Vin Scully Earthquake announcement – unshaken

Pat

1)  Tiger’s swing has always put a lot of stress on his body.  He’s had stress fractures in his leg and knee surgeries, sore elbows and now the the back surgery.  One thing I do know is that Tiger Woods works harder on his body and his golf game than any other golfer on the PGA tour.  Given his dedication to winning, I have to believe that Tiger still will figure out how to make his swing work to achieve many more wins and several more majors.

4)  I was raised in St. Louis listening to Jack Buck and Harry Cary doing Cardinal Baseball on the Radio.  It was wonderful.  But I must say that Vin Scully has to be one of the best ever and I love the way he pulls off broadcasting a ballgame all by himself.   It takes a lot of work and style to pull that off.

HOW I RELATE TO SPORTS

Can't understand how he stays on his feet...

Can’t understand how he stays on his feet…

Pat

I can’t believe it took me ’til age sixty to figure out why I love some sports and why I am not as interested in others. Through all the years, I just never got very interested in hockey and I finally realized that since I have never even been on a pair of ice skates, I really could not relate to how difficult it is to do what hockey players do. Likewise, as a kid I had asthma and couldn’t really play basketball. Running up and down that court just didn’t work for me so played very little basketball as a kid. Later in life I played some pick-up two-on-two or three-on-three games a local gym and enjoyed it as part of my work-out schedule. I wasn’t great at it, but I picked up outside shooting and ball movement. I’m 5′ 11″, not optimum for basketball, but neither were the guys I was playing with.  So that is probably why I enjoy college basketball way better than the pro game.

I did play baseball and football and was pretty good at both. Later I got into tennis and golf.  These are the main sports I love. I totally understand what it takes field a ground ball and make the throw. How hard it is to hit a baseball. I also get all the strategy involved in the game of baseball. When to steal a base and when the pitcher needs to come out due to pitch count. The same goes for football. I have run a pass route and defended a pass receiver, studied the game enough while playing it to understand play calling both offensive and defensive. So when I watch I do understand what they are doing and understand how difficult it is to do. Golf and tennis is the same. I have played them enough to get what they are doing and why.

So that is why Baseball, Football, Tennis and golf are my favorite games to watch and follow.  I am still playing golf and I hope to play more tennis when my ailing knee gets stronger.  Believe me, I do understand how hard it is to make that perfect golf shot. I make very few of them but really enjoy it when I do. I truly understand how good those pro golfers really are. So if I understand what it takes to play a sport and understand and enjoy the strategies of the game, I love the sport. That’s what it has taken me sixty years to understand.

The fragile golf swing

Pat

I’ve always said that the golf swing does not come natural to me. I played baseball as a kid and into high school and college. I blamed the baseball swing on my lack of skills with my golf swing. The other day I mentioned to my club pro how fragile my golf swing was. He said everybody’s gold swing is fragile, just watch the PGA Tour. I figured he was just humoring me to make me feel better. But I do watch the PGA and after watching Rory Mcilroy melt down on Sunday at the Honda Classic, I have finally come to the conclusion that golf is the most difficult game we humans play. Masha and I watch a lot of golf together and when a pro doesn’t get out of a sand trap or hits one into the water or misses a fairway by 50 yards, we say that makes us feel a lot better about our game. As mean as that sounds, it’s really true.

If a professional golfer making a good living playing golf, practicing most every day and repeating his golf swing hundreds of times a day can hit a terrible shot at anytime, we hackers playing once a week haven’t got a chance. So when I go out a hit some really good shots along with my really bad shots, I am going feel better about my game and enjoy being out on a beautiful golf course instead of complaining about a very fragile golf swing.

Masha

I laughed when I saw the title of today’s blog. Pat is a natural athlete and was used to many sports coming to him easily, so when golf didn’t fall in line with baseball, archery, basketball, softball, tennis, swimming, and football, it was a shock. We play a lot of golf (I’ll play more after knee replacement surgery but that’s another blog for another day…), and are always amazed at how quickly the golf swing can break down. I curse the Scots each and every round for coming up with a swing that is uncomfortable, unnatural, and ungainly, and that’s when you’re doing it  correctly – imagine what it’s like when it’s off just a bit, also known as my swing.

So we laugh in the “misery loves company” chortle that all golfers share when the guys who make money doing this sport miss a shot. Or two. Or even three. And we nod our heads sagely when the 24-year-old breaks under the stress of Sunday’s final round. Even when Rory McIlroy is 86 years old, he’ll play a better, more consistent ball than I do. But as supple as his 24-year-old body is, his swing is still fragile, the balls still go in the water and skate by the holes. Golf is just a difficult sport. As Pat says frequently – “And that’s why they call it golf, f@#$ was already taken.”

Congratulations to Russell Henley for hanging in there on a Sunday when everyone’s swing was fragile.