It’s a crazy time of year for sports. But if you’re any sort of sports fan, you already knew that. You’ve been watching the Olympics. You know all about Michelle Kwan’s disappointing exit. You’ve seen the Trail Blazers fall apart in their last three games, losing each by over 30 points. And surely you can see that the Vikings men’s basketball season is almost over with their saddening OT loss to Eastern Washington Saturday that dropped the Vikings’ record to 1-9.
I’ve got to admit that I haven’t had the stomach to watch much of anything these days. The Olympics bore me for the most part. It’s not that I don’t have national pride and I certainly do respect the athletes that represent their countries in the spirit of competition. But I hate NBC’s overly slick packaging and the distracting pop-up ads that appear at random during events. “See Apollo Ohno in only 17 minutes.” “More singles luge in just half an hour.” Please. Not even a week in and I’m already sick of it.
I want to see the U.S. win a bunch of medals and stick it to the rest of the world. Isn’t that what they Olympics are for? There’s been too much of the bland Bob Costas and his minions and not enough winning, though American multi-sport star Shaun White’s sick run to win gold in the snowboarding halfpipe has been a true highlight so far.
As for the Blazers, what is wrong with this “young, fun to watch” team? It’s not fun to watch three blowouts in a row. Not fun at all. I think Duke or UCONN could beat this team right now. Have the boys given up on Nate Mac this early? It’s not even All-Star weekend yet. These last three games have been a shock. Who gives up 114 points to Toronto? If the Blazers keep this up, they might just get into the Adam Morrison sweepstakes.
I’m not holding my breath on the Vikings’ season, either. Sorry Viking fans, but it doesn’t look good. What it looks like, actually, is a six-game losing streak that is a direct result of this team’s poor execution down the stretch. Much like the similarly underachieving Oregon Ducks that PSU beat back in December, who are riding their own six-game slide, the opportunities have been there for the Viks. Yet the kind rolls and the calls haven’t been there and now there are only four games left and the Vikings have one conference win. Its getting ugly, folks.
Ernie Kent has done such a miserable job with the talent he has that the Duck faithful are calling for his head. However, first year Viking head coach Ken Bone needn’t worry about his job security. Bone’s a lock to stick around for a while and he will get a chance to build a winner at Portland State. The university got a taste of what it’s like to win in 2005 and the Northwest-focused Bone is the perfect choice to lead the team back to the top.
The team overachieved by going 7-6 in non-conference play, but two wins came over Division II schools. Then things got kind of sticky. Like 1-9 conference record sticky. Fine. There’s a good core here in junior forward Juma Kamara, centers Anthony Washington and Scott Morrison and point guard Ryan Sommer. Until next year, the focus should be grabbing a couple more conference wins so the Vikings can avoid the dubious distinction of being the worst team in the Big Sky.
It may seem like I’m coming down pretty hard on sports right now. That may be true. I don’t like seeing long losing streaks and embarrassing blowout losses. But I haven’t given up hope. The Blazers and the Vikings are young teams that will get better with time (I hope). NBC might be ruining my enjoyment of the Olympics, but I’m still watching because the Olympics only come around every two years and some of these sports are truly awe-inspiring. So I’ll do my part, sitting in front of my big screen armed with the remote and a cold one, like a true sports fan.