From the Sandbox
By Sanders Lightfoot
10/5/2004 10:25 PM EST
Courtesy of http://www.sportsinsights.com
When I was a kid growing up in suburban New Jersey during the late 70’s and early 80’s, I had it made. I had a horseshoe driveway, around which we would cruise like Cutters. We had an in-ground pool, the only one in the neighborhood. There was a killer deck that surrounded the back of the house, making for a mini replica of the Polo Grounds, wiffleball style. To this day, even if I’m only back home for a day or two, my brothers and I manage to get in a quick game. Although now that my sister is in college, there is no one to fish homeruns out of the pool, so we tend to call it a day after four full innings. (Three and a half if the home team is winning.)
Please do not get me wrong, I was not a child of privilege. I learned the lesson of heartache and defeat at a very young age. You see, I was a Baltimore Colts fan, and to be nine and a Colts fan back in the early 80’s you had no choice but to learn what it meant to lose. The Colts were so bad my favorite player was the Rohn Stark, the punter. Yeah, the punter. That’s like growing up and having the Village People as your favorite band.
It was such an embarrassment to be a Baltimore fan at that time; they didn’t even make Colts jerseys. My mom had to buy me a Detroit Lions shirt and paint the silver arms strips white.
Despite all the obstacles, I did not despair. Two or three times a year we would pack the car and drive down I95 to old Memorial Stadium and watch the Colts. The result was always the same, a Colts loss, but the experience was always memorable. Like November 1, 1981 when I set off for the Inner Harbor with my Dad, two uncles and my dad’s crazy cousin Frankie. It was an unseasonably cold day, pouring rain, and the car broke down at the Fort McHenry Tunnel toll booth on the way into town.
We did manage to make it to the game on time, only to sit in a monsoon and watch the Miami Dolphins embarrass the Colts, handing them their eighth of an eventual fourteen losses on the season. As if that was not bad enough, Crazy Cousin Frankie (who reeked of cigarettes, Jack Daniels and the early on-set of mental illness) spent the entire game explaining to me the pros and cons of teasing a home dog to the over.
It’s almost 23 years later, and I have not forgotten that game. But more importantly, I have not forgotten what it was like to root for the worst team in football. So, speaking from experience, I can say to all those nine year old Dolphin fans, who have never felt the shame of being the laughing stock of the NFL…. “feel my pain, you little punks.”
You may not ever know what it is like to have a cousin Frankie, but you’ll certainly know what it is like to go 2-14 because the 2K4 Dolphins stink.
This article ran a little short, so I am going to pose this week’s addition of freaklently asked questions a little early:
Are my standards getting lower or is ESPN’s Linda Cohen getting better looking with age? Isn’t that against some kind of law of nature?
Did anyone notice the CBS announcers giving themselves props for the implementation of the “Gametrax” in-game statistics scroll? Didn’t CNN Headline News think of this like twenty years ago?
Speaking of CNN, when are they going to do a “Ladies of CNN” swimsuit calendar? Sophia Choi? Brooke Anderson? Michelle Bonner? Am I alone here?
Can you look me in the eye and tell me that you did not get goose bumps when you realized Shaq and Kobe will meet on Christmas Day?
Can you imagine if Ichiro sticks around long enough to break Pete Roses’ hit record? Don’t you think Pete Rose would end up in a bell tower with a rifle before he would let that happen in his lifetime?
When viewing this week’s picks, pans and props, please keep in mind that I am only human.
Sure beats “Dolphins plus 6.”
Pan: Pluto Nash. Call it karma, but I was forced to watch this entire monstrosity last night.
Prop of the Week: Will Lindsay Lohan will be posing for Playboy before 2006? Yes (-500)
Props to my good buddy T.B. for teasing the Colts and the Bears. The kid was on fire this weekend. But even bigger props to him for not teasing BYU to anything. That took a lot will power bro.
Ok guys, see you next Tuesday.
Sanders Lightfoot, author and columnist, appears courtesy of 100 Proof Publishing and Sports Insights. Email your questions, comments and concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org