From time to time, when I sit down to prepare thoughts for this space, I come up with things and suggestions for sports, acting as if I were the Sports Czar.
If I had that much control, I would make the following things happen:
1. For all the basketball coaches out there who constantly wonder why their teams falter in the last three minutes of a game: Practice, practice, practice. Never enter a game not having prepared for any aspect of it. Spend 20 minutes a day working on what to do with a lead and what to do when you’re behind in those last three minutes.
2. For basketball players everywhere: Never leave your feet unless you plan to shoot. This common malady needs to be fixed.
3. For basketball referees everywhere: Keep doing what you’re doing by continuing to set an example for players and coaches with your eye on professionalism in everything from decorum to dress. The Czar knows you take your hits, personally and in the media, from TV guys to the Internet. Persevere. We need you.
4. For basketball scorers and timers at all levels: Could we please get referee shirts for you gentlemen and ladies to aid the floor officials, especially in crowded settings?
5. For athletic administrators everywhere who are in charge of gymnasiums: Could we please have all the rims painted orange each and every year? There’s nothing worse than a faded, chipped-paint rim. That affects the game for players and officials.
6. For fans across the region: Start treating all the players on the floor as if they were your own children.
Obviously, not all sports that need tending to by the Czar are basketball.
Let’s talk football.
7. If I were in a Sports Czar position, I’d order up a dome-like facility for the University of Maine in Orono. Remember all the dome talk a number of years ago, coming out of Dr. John Winkin’s office at Husson University?
I do, and it might be just the right time to reopen those discussions again. October and November can bring very cold temps to Maine, not to mention all the rain.
Crowds would increase, and what we saw during the Black Bears’ playoff run seemed nice and cozy on the road and made fans up here jealous of such a facility like the one they saw in Iowa.
8. For television moguls across the region: Wouldn’t it be nice if the good folks at WABI-TV 5 could find a financial way to televise all games played by the University of Maine in Orono in all major sports?
Sounds ridiculous, you’re saying. But, consider this: What a following that would bring the Orono-based sports.
9. How about this for Bangor planners and the recently proposed new Auditorium: Include in the civic thinking an all-sports arena and civic center, which could include track and field, ice hockey, basketball, and football facilities.
Now there’s an idea whose time may have come.
30-Second Time Out
Santa Claus was good to everyone at my house.
This year, old Saint Nick dropped off a book for the old coach. “Alphabet Juice: The Energies, Gists, and Spirits of Letters, Words, and Combinations Thereof; Their Roots, Bones, Innards, Piths, Pipe, and Secret Parts, Tinctures, Tonics, and Essences; With Examples of Their Usage Foul and Savory,” by former Sports Illustrated writer Roy Blount Jr. It is an interesting treatise about the use of the English language and all aspects of writing. You have to know Mr. Blount to appreciate the title.
Yes, there are sections in this funny book about common maladies and abuses of the language by such people as Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona and his inherent struggles with words like fun. You know Terry and his “This was the funnest game I ever managed.” Since there’s no such word as “funnest,” and Tito should be saying something like “most fun,” Blount’s account finds us all guilty.
And then there’s this: Actor Mandy Patinkin, playing a TV sleuth, once said, “We are pursuing the most prolific serial killer in history.” According to Blount, prolific means giving lots of life or producing lots of creations.
Well, I think you get the picture — thanks, Santa.