I could easily use this opportunity to weigh in on the Tiger Woods car crash scandal, and the ensuing fallout that has added Tiger’s name to an ever-growing list of disgraced athletes. Or, I could use my last column of 2009 to reflect on a beloved veteran’s return to Philadelphia, where it all began.
However, what with the holiday season being right around the corner, and the fact that I, for whatever reason, have been feeling particularly happy as of late ... I’m going to refrain from passing judgement on Woods. (Though, the question must be asked –– which offense is worse: cheating yourself, and the game for that matter, à la performance-enhancing drugs ... or (allegedly) cheating on your wife?). But no, in the spirit of Chrismukkah –– gotta love The O.C. –– I will abstain, and save my token cynicism for a new year.
As for No. 3’s Second Coming, all I have to say is this: Welcome back, Allen. It’s been far too long. Thank you for giving me reason to actually spare a thought for the Sixers again.
Instead –– call me unoriginal –– I’m going to revisit what myself and fellow sports columnists have already preached time and again –– that is, contrary to popular belief, Cornell sports are actually quite legitimate, and most definitely worthy of our support. This season in particular; what up, Madison Square Garden?
And for the record, the hockey team isn’t the only thing that’s been “Red Hot” in Ithaca this winter; the season is barely three weeks old, and already Cornell’s men’s basketball team has received a shoutout from ESPN’s Dick Vitale on national television, and a mention in Sports Illustrated’s annual College Basketball Preview. In case you haven’t already, it’s time to take a cue from the pros, and take note. There’s no time like the present –– in just a few short weeks, Steve Donahue’s squad will also head to The Garden, as part of its Holiday Festival.
[First of two tangential thoughts: From this point forward, I will abbreviate Madison Square Garden as simply “The Garden.” Because “MSG,” as any devoted Chem major can verify, is a chemical commonly found in Chinese food. Furthermore, I cringe every time I hear the venue referred to as “The World’s Most Famous Arena.” This distinction is already common knowledge –– there’s no need to copyright a nickname and spell it out and everything. It’s redundant, much like that last sentence.]
That said, I’m issuing a plea to Newman Nation: make the trek to New York City this Winter Break. There’s nothing stopping us from inducing another Garden sellout. And by all means, bring the “safety school” cheer with you. Maybe the reason it makes us sound pretentious and arrogant, is because we are pretentious and arrogant. But, in the words of a certain boxing legend by the name of Muhammad Ali, “It’s not bragging if you can back it up.” If anything, the chant’s ironic.
The point I’m trying to make is: it doesn’t matter what cheer we use, so long as we cheer –– preferably from our feet. After all, that pride, or –– dare I say it –– that holier-than-thou mentality, and, more importantly, the subsequent intensity it brings to us as fans (and sports reporters who consistently violate the rules of press row by becoming visibly emotionally-invested in games) is what’s going to help our teams reach the Frozen Four, advance beyond the first round of the NCAA tournament and, come spring, return to the pinnacle game of men’s college lacrosse. You know, the 12th Man effect.
So, provided you’re not traveling to Cabo or someplace equally exotic this Winter Break, perhaps consider following the basketball team. Take it from me, going to Syracuse last week to watch the guys play at the Carrier Dome was totally worth sacrificing an extra day of vacation. Heck, it was worth being harassed by Otto the Orange, even though I was definitely within 30 seconds of filing a restraining order –– especially when he came one keystroke away from deleting my GameDay notes.
[Second of two tangential thoughts: I have yet to discern the rationale behind this phenomenon, but every time I go to a college or professional sporting event ... I am constantly hounded by the home team’s mascot. Something about me must invite provocation. Otto the Orange elected to badger me not once, but twice in the same game. And, speaking of the Sixers, don’t even get me started on my encounters with their mascot “Hip Hop,” who, for the record, looks like a freaking drug hustler-meets-crystal meth-addicted-rabbit.]
Anyway, that’s enough non sequiturs for one column. It’s been a fun semester; now I’m off to go embrace the holiday cheer –– at least before finals start –– and indulge this uncharacteristically-jovial mood of mine by watching Love Actually and drinking eggnog.
Here’s the kicker: I don’t even like eggnog. Seriously, what’s happening to me?