Published May 17, 2001 – Cameron Citizen-Observer
There have been some great individual performances in the past couple of weeks. Randy Johnson striking out 20 batters in nine innings. A.J. Burnett of the Florida Marlins, allowing no hits but walking nine. Three Game 7’s in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Vince Carter hitting his first eight three-pointers, on his way to 50 points. But to watch Allen Iverson score 54 points in Game 2 of the Toronto-Philadelphia series is remarkable.
At 6 feet, Iverson is regularly outsized and overmatched physically. True, there is no one as fast as him, but basketball is a tall man’s game. For him to be able to dominate is a testament not only to his ability, but also to his teammates and his coach, Larry Brown.
Brown has designed this team for Iverson to shine, surrounding him with role players. Scorers like Jerry Stackhouse and Larry Hughes were traded for this reason. Players like Eric Snow and Tyrone Hill start for this reason. Regardless if Iverson is named the MVP this year, Larry Brown should be Coach of the Year for building and guiding this team as one cohesive unit towards one goal.
Fortunately, that goal was not back up vocals on Iverson’s CD, which, thankfully, has been pushed back since the season started. Few remember the chaos that nearly erupted at the start of this season, but even less know that Iverson is a poor rapper at best. His attempt to join the ranks of other successful athletes in the music industry fell short because there are no successful athletes in the music industry.
Wayland Tisdale tops the list and he hasn’t topped anything except scales since college. Music is the soundtrack to life and sporting events are no exception. With the proposed rule changes in the NBA, the major difference between professional and college basketball next year will be organist vs. marching band. That’s why I enjoy college basketball more than the pros. An organist or stadium DJ can hype up a crowd during long unnecessary breaks, like commercials.
Unless the commercial is the Nike campaign, where pros and playground stars dribbling and dancing to a break beat. Go to a soccer (or football) game in Jamaica, Brazil or Italy. There is a sound; a constant beat that accompanies the match. Normally, you just watch a game, but music adds the need for another sense.
That’s what I think Vince McMahon was going after with the XFL. They wanted a sensory overload with each broadcast. Strippers, I mean, cheerleaders and fireworks and on-field cameras and microphones to pick up every bone-breaking hit. It was a good idea. There is a lull in the sports season right after the Super Bowl. March Madness is weeks away and the NBA and NHL seasons are slowly coming to a close.
The XFL ratings were not that bad, when compared to Major League Soccer and the NHL. You know, sports people don’t watch. Their major problem, however, was the national media coverage and their inability to separate WWF entertainment and XFL second-rate football.
Right now, my New York Mets are playing second-rate baseball. But as the defending National League Champions, once Fox starts its Saturday Game of the Week, they will be on TV. But it’s the rare occasions like last Saturday that I really appreciate.
The New York Mets were at the San Francisco Giants on FX Saturday Baseball. And I was covering the Cameron Track team at Platte City. I have no regrets. It was my first track meet and I was pleased to see our young team perform well. But everyone I meet keeps asking me, “Why did you come here?”
The problem is, there doesn’t seem to be a correct answer. At least, an answer that will put the question to bed. My answer is, I came here to cover high school track meets. I came here to see the smile of Tausha Cook after winning her 300-meter hurdles race. The cheers of support from teammates that can’t be heard across the football field, but still seem to reach their mark.
I came here to see and live in the Midwest. I came here to become a part of a community, by writing and reporting for its newspaper. I came here so I can raise my cat Smokey in a nice neighborhood.
As you can read, I have many varied opinions about the world of sports and I’m not afraid to share them. The topics may vary but it will always be within the world of sports. I’m not smart enough, yet, to talk politics.
But most importantly, I’m here to report on any sporting event that affects Cameron and its people, like a district track meet in Platte City. Whether the Mets are on TV or not; I can always watch Sportscenter and that’s the truth.