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Sports

Ode to sports year: lots of rhyme, less reason

December 29, 2010

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Come closer, just listen: What do you hear?

It’s loud and it seems we’ve heard it all year.

Is it roars for the Saints echoing still,

After Katrina before the big spill?

Or shrieks for Nadal? The World Cup for Spain?

There’s nothing quite like a strong summer reign.

Or gasps for Butler and a halfcourt heave

Ending a run we could hardly believe?

All that was music but not quite the sounds

Stuck in our heads as the year made its rounds.

Fight songs? The anthem before the first pitch?

Olympic theme music serving up kitsch?

That classic of peanuts and Cracker Jack?

Not on this playlist. We’re swerving off track.

What, then? Beethoven’s "Fifth"? Clapton’s "Layla"?

No, just the buzz of a vuvuzela.

Reputations this year rolled through the mud.

Exhibit A, Tiger: one chastened stud.

Woods chased women like a barracuda,

Then rued he strayed from the path of Buddha.

He split with his swing coach, grew a goatee —

Not that it mattered from fairway to tee.

So little went right, his drives and his putts.

Divorce lawyers, though, took nice, healthy cuts.

Roethlisberger, Favre: Two more names defiled,

More scandal yet of libidos run wild.

And no year, for sure, is truly complete

Without someone asking, "Is Lance a cheat?"

Then there’s Contador, who thought his race won.

He should have sent back that filet mignon.

The list goes on of those taken to task.

Like coach Rick Pitino? Don’t even ask.

And what of Pete Carroll at USC?

He saw the storm clouds, decided to flee,

While Reggie Bush struck his own Heisman pose,

Returning the trophy like store-bought clothes.

And sometimes before you’re an undergrad

The money trail’s leading to dear old Dad.

Says the NCAA: merely a flaw.

Yes, life’s good at Auburn with Newton’s Law.

And what could be dumber, you might presume,

Than brandishing guns in a locker room?

The rules are quite clear beyond any doubt.

It takes no Wizard to figure that out.

But men are from Mars, women from Venus —

Like common sense and Gilbert Arenas.

Then came the night of LeBron’s "Decision,"

A prime-time special met with derision.

With Jim Gray looking like some game-show host,

King James decreed what he really wants most.

He longs for the Heat, provoking a howl

From wounded Cleveland crying flagrant foul.

Baseball this season was not without charms —

No-hitters each week in this call to arms.

And Galarraga nearly joined the club.

Perfect! Except for an umpire’s flub.

Safe or out? That was the call for Jim Joyce.

Sometimes we simply don’t make the right choice.

The playoffs were nothing but downright weird

When the Giants taught us to Fear the Beard.

These castoffs and misfits bought on the cheap

Somehow rose to the top of baseball’s heap.

On deck are Clemens and Bonds, don’t forget,

The law’s long arm hardly done with them yet.

Football met science but this wasn’t dull —

Assessing the force of hits to the skull.

This much was clear from the studies discussed:

When helmets collide heads may be concussed.

The damage, of course, goes beyond the brain,

Like a busted shoulder that’s racked with pain.

Favre honored his streak, but to no avail.

His Viking ship was unable to sail.

And before Vancouver could light the flame

The order of business was grief and blame.

A luger was dead, with blood on the track.

The Olympics went on, no turning back.

Kim Yu-na sparkled, a jewel to behold.

Canada’s hockey team traded in gold,

While Norwegian curlers looked sharp and loose

Wearing pants whose colors could blind a moose.

UConn and Duke showed once more how to win,

While at Alabama the Tide rolled in,

And college sports sorted out its affairs,

Its conferences playing musical chairs.

The Big Ten has 12 teams. How’s that again?

It makes perfect sense: The Big 12 has 10.

It was the Lakers’ crown, Chicago’s Cup.

Make a movie and call it "Blackhawk Up,"

And a big-budget film, all heart and will:

The Masters, co-starring Amy and Phil.

The PGA brought not tears but debates

About grounding a club at Whistling Straits.

Wimbledon traveled to The Twilight Zone,

With Isner-Mahut a world all their own.

These were eerie doings across the pond.

They played to infinity and beyond.

In Dallas, the Cowboys galloped off course

Into the sunset and flung from their horse.

But restoration can indeed be quick,

If you can run and throw like Michael Vick.

Pacquiao fought as if on a mission —

Can’t lay a glove on this politician.

In the rear-view mirror, wouldn’t you know,

Comes Jimmie Johnson for five in a row.

Zenyatta was beaten; Rachel was done.

We all turned for home, the year had its run,

With 2011 now in close pursuit,

And with the vuvuzelas put on mute.

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