Ah, the lament is so familiar . . . and what a sad song it is.
"If only I (we) could only do it over . . . "
And just who is, or should be, singing this melancholy tune?
Start with . . .
Sail America and/or San Diego Yacht Club.
This comes under the heading of: "They who hesitate won't be allowed to wait."
Remember those triumphant days of February, when Dennis Conner and his crew from Stars & Stripes returned to San Diego with the America's Cup? They had retrieved that precious antique with a flourish in the waters off Fremantle, Australia, and were greeted as if they had won World War III.
But remember also the controversy?
The America's Cup would be defended . . . where? The America's Cup would be defended . . . when?
These were questions that could have and should have been quickly resolved, yet the uncertainty dragged on and on. In this scenario, Sail America pitted its home town against Hawaii and Rhode Island and San Francisco and, for all I know, Lake Wobegon in a bidding battle for the right to be the site of the next defense.
It seemed all along that San Diego would, indeed, be the site, but maybe it had to be made to feel it was not a lock. Maybe it had to be made to feel that it had better up the ante to be sure this billion-dollar bonanza was not whisked from under its nose.
Finally, roll the drums, it was announced that the next defense would be off San Diego in 1991.
Or would it?
During this period of procrastination, New Zealand's Michael Fay challenged to race in 1988 with a 90-foot yacht. He was considered to be a most pesky Kiwi who had come up with the most preposterous of schemes.
Preposterous though it might have been, it was also perfectly within the guidelines of the America's Cup Deed of Gift. This was determined this week by a New York Supreme Court judge.
Exit 12-meters in 1991 and enter "aircraft carriers" in 1988. Exit two- to three-year buildup with syndicates tucked into every available dock in San Diego Harbor and enter two- to three-month buildup with barely enough entries to play a game of bridge. Maybe exit America's Cup.
And so this event will transpire in the fall of 1988. That's right, fall of 1988. Exit also a dominant position on America's and maybe the world's sports pages. After all, the next America's Cup regatta will clash with the Olympic Games, the baseball playoffs and World Series and professional and collegiate football. Enter the bottom of the front page . . . or even page 17.
If only this whole act could be played again. If only.
Not to imply that the kid from San Diego State is guilty, but maybe he should have been somewhere other than where he was the other night.
Murray, who had been the starting center on the Aztecs' basketball team, would have been in Fresno playing with his now-former teammates Friday night, if he had not been in Mission Valley Tuesday night. According to police, he was selling cocaine to an undercover officer, allegedly for the second time.
This comes under the heading of "could have and should have known better."
Consider that Murray previously had been arrested in a Sept. 1 raid of an East San Diego apartment. Police at that time said they seized 3.2 ounces of rock cocaine valued at nearly $4,000, a hand gun, $5,600 in cash and a police scanner.
However, the district attorney's office announced on Oct. 7 that it declined to file charges.
Thus, it appeared that Murray was off the hook. Guilty or innocent at the time, he was getting a second chance to make good . . . and be good. He could play basketball and go to class and generally be a 22-year-old guy getting on with his life.
Surely, what had happened should have gotten his attention.
Indeed, what had happened did get the attention of the San Diego police. They would keep their eyes on this young man. You almost wonder if they put a tag on his wing and then let him loose just to see which way he would fly.
If only Gerald Murray could do this all again. If only.
The Sockers have always been a rambunctious bunch, given to bickering among themselves and berating management and coaches for real and imagined slights.
However, this is a new era in ownership and management. Bob Bell is gone as managing general partner and Ron Fowler is now principal owner. Ron Cady is chief executive officer, and that title alone says something about the coolly efficient manner in which the new regime plans to operate this business.
The first of the clues appeared before Sunday's game at the Sports Arena, when the hype and hoopla of previous pregame introductions was gone. The flashing Socker sign and the ethereal "smoke" were missing. Management would sell the sport rather than the sparkle.
Juli Veee's downfall would come at the end of the game, when he slapped assistant coach Johan Aarnio upside the head. Since high fives are not generally applied to the cheek, this was a rather startling gesture on Veee's part. Aarnio attempted to return the salute, but missed.
Meanwhile, a camera was recording the exchange.
In the past, this might have been laughingly shunted aside as yet another twist in a seemingly endless plot involving those frisky Sockers. You know, guess what? They're at it again.
Not this time. Juli Veee became Exhibit A. This front office means business, and that means this team will deport itself in a businesslike manner. Exhibit A was suspended for 30 days, an unexpected "vacation" that will result in a loss of $8,000 in paychecks.
If only Juli Veee had done something more civil, such as screaming at Johan Aarnio. If only.
If only foresight was 20-20, hindsight wouldn't be so cruel.