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The Inside Track | Chris Dufresne SECOND THOUGHTS

From Shaq to Salchows, Here's News With a Twist

January 14, 2002|Chris Dufresne

A recap of the news while on the mend after watching a bad martial arts movie ("Shaq-Fu") and missing on my fourth attempt at a quadruple salchow (with a lime twist).

News item: Shaquille O'Neal goes bull-istic in Chicago.

Second thought: There haven't been so many held breaths in Lakerdom since Chick Hearn was rolled into surgery.

Good thing Shaq whiffed on that first haymaker directed at Brad Miller or this could have been the sequel to Kermit Washington vs. Rudy Tomjanovich. It was that close, folks, to being that ugly.

A few observations: Yes, Shaq gets hammered more than Dennis Rodman on a bender. Yes, this Shaq attack was bound to happen. No, the fact Shaq is a hulk does not give NBA kids the right to hang on him as if he were a jungle gym.

Also true: If O'Neal were a better free-throw shooter, players would not be as compelled to hack him in the fourth quarter of close games.

News item: UCLA loses to USC and defeats No. 1 Kansas in men's basketball.

Second thought: Welcome to another edition of "48 Hours." This week, Dan Rather investigates the dramatic transformation of a basketball team from Thursday night to noon Saturday.

News item: U.S. Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) retracts demand that baseball Commissioner Bud Selig resign after details emerge of a questionable $3-million loan Selig received from a fellow baseball owner.

Second thought: Selig told Conyers that if he didn't back off he was going to eliminate Michigan as part of major league baseball's U.S. contraction plan.

News item: Conflict with NFL playoffs forces ABC to move figure skating championships to Family Channel.

Second thought: On my list of favorite cable shows, I'd now have to rank figure skating somewhere between "Wayne's World" and VH1's "Behind the Music."

News item: Elvis Presley fans celebrate what would have been the late rock singer's 67th birthday Jan. 8.

Second thought: A day earlier, Baltimore Raven quarterback Elvis Grbac played as if he was 67.

News item: Tim Goebel finishes second in U.S. Figure Skating Championships after landing a salchow in combination with a triple toe loop.

Second thought: I thought it was classy how Goebel, for the postskate interview, changed out of his uniform into black slacks, white pressed shirt, vest and wide-knotted tie. Oh, that was his uniform?

News item: Staples Center charges fans $20 for parking at last week's ice dancing compulsories.

Second thought: I'd sooner pay $20 for ice fishing compulsories.

News item: Oscar De La Hoya and Fernando Vargas set to fight May 4 in Las Vegas barring any last-minute snags.

Second thought: Claiming a boxing match is set barring last-minute snags is like saying you'll be home in time for dinner barring any last-minute traffic on the 405.

News item: Green Bay Packer quarterback Brett Favre's phantom fall allows Michael Strahan of the New York Giants to break Mark Gastineau's NFL season sack record.

Second thought: What's the big deal? Didn't Denny McLain groove a fastball to allow Mickey Mantle to clobber his 535th homer? Didn't former Green Bay coach Mike Holmgren order his defense to intentionally allow a touchdown against Denver in the Super Bowl?

Bottom line: Any act to get Gastineau's name out of the NFL record book has to be commended.

As to whether Favre purposely took a sack, well, that's something only he and Jim Everett know for sure.

News item: Forty-four former Philadelphia Eagle cheerleaders join lawsuit charging that visiting players spied on them as they showered and dressed in a Veterans Stadium locker room.

Second thought: Scriptwriters for HBO series "Arliss" break for lunch after the premise for next season's opening episode falls in their laps.

News item: Miami's 37-14 victory over Nebraska in Rose Bowl rebroadcast on ESPN Classic.

Second thought: Turner Classic Movies this week offers special screenings of "Bedtime for Bonzo," "Fever Pitch," "Stone Cold" and "Freddy Got Fingered."

News item: Ram quarterback Kurt Warner wins his second NFL most-valuable-player award.

Second thought: The former grocery store stock boy calls it his biggest thrill since twice being named "employee of the month."

News item: Austrian ski champion Hermann Maier tries to return from serious leg injury to compete in Salt Lake City Olympics.

Second thought: To inspire Maier, Austrian coaches regale skier with the oft-told story of former Vienna center Wilhelm Reed, who limped out of a warming hut in 1970 to lead his team to a dramatic victory over the Liechtenstein Lakers at the old Madison Square Beer Gardens.

News item: Dodgers win negotiating rights to left-handed Japanese pitcher Kazuhisa Ishii, saying "he's a scaled-down version of Randy Johnson."

Second thought: Clippers consider moving Earl Boykins to center, claiming he's "a scaled-down version of Shaquille O'Neal."

News item: Stanford appoints Buddy Teevens football coach.

Second thought: Teevens won out after an exhaustive search of Buddys that included Ebsen, Ryan and Hackett.

Actually, Stanford Athletic Director Ted Leland had a pretty good retort for not wanting to break the bank in finding a replacement for Tyrone Willingham.

"You look at it sarcastically and say, 'Geez, you're paying all this money for head coaches and Georgia Tech beat us without one,'" Leland told the San Jose Mercury News.

Consider that a teensy jab at Willingham, who lost his last game at Stanford in the Seattle Bowl to a team directed by assistant Mac McWhorter, who took over for George O'Leary.

News item: Minnesota Vikings hire O'Leary as defensive line coach.

Second thought: A perfect fit. According to the biographical information given, O'Leary once started alongside Alan Page on the Viking defensive front known as "The Purple People Eaters."

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