Luke Graham's column appears periodically in the Steamboat Today. Contact him at 970-871-4229 or lgraham@SteamboatToday.com.
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Steamboat Springs We’re on the brink of sports purgatory.
It’s the time of year when the NBA and NHL seasons have wrapped up. In baseball, we’re not quite at the season’s midpoint and a ton of teams are still in it.
Of course, there is the World Cup, which has been enjoyable to watch for someone like myself who doesn’t know a ton about the game.
But it’s at this point every year that I am reminded of some of the things I hate about sports.
This year, I’ve especially noticed.
In no particular order:
This, of course, relates to the realignment in college football. For two torrid weeks not one single person would go on the record, be a man and put their name out there. Every news outlet that covered the story used “a high-ranking official,” “an unnamed source,” or “a person close to the situation.” Come on, this isn’t Watergate. It’s college football. I hate unnamed sources.
The technique allows reporters to throw rumors at the fan and hope something sticks. An unnamed ESPN reporter used the phrase “one source” or “unnamed source” at least seven times in a 250-word story. Of course, said reporter’s story said Texas moving to the Pac-10 was imminent and the Longhorns staying in the Big 12 had “zero” chance of happening.
My unnamed sources tell me he’s wrong.
Probably the most unforgiving job in sports. But it seems too often, referees make the game about them. In the NBA Finals, the officiating went from bad to worse, from make-up calls to no calls then to too many calls. The only thing I want is for a referee to be consistent. Of course, in Friday’s USA-Slovenia soccer game, referee Koman Coulibaly was consistently bad. It seems the referees at this level try to make the game about them. The best game I’ve seen all year was the Butler-Duke national championship basketball game. There, the refs made it clear early on that they were going to let the two teams play. Then they were consistent throughout the game.
Blaming a loss on the refs
Hey, we all do it, but it’s pointless. Boston, if you want to win an NBA championship, rebound the ball. Team USA, you want to advance to the World Cup’s knockout round? Then come out in the first 45 minutes and play with an ounce of passion.
It’s easy to put losses or ties on the referees, but there always is something teams could do to take care of things on their end.
As an admitted Colorado fan, I’m glad to have left the Texas 10, or Big 12 or whatever the heck it’s going to be called now. When Texas came into the Big 12, power immediately shifted. With this realignment, Texas held the remaining teams powerless. Because of its money, its power and its influence, Texas will get its own television deal, a bigger piece of the conference television deal than any other school, and when Colorado and Nebraska pay exit penalties, that money will go to Texas.
To rework Davy Crockett’s famous line, “I would rather play in hell, than in any conference with Texas.”
— To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org