It's been an interesting week in sports and elsewhere. In honor of the announcement that the George Michaels' Sports Machine will come to an end this spring, let's go to the highlights.
Life After Football, Part I
Former Cowboy great and future Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith won Dancing with the Stars. Some might say this accomplishment pales in comparison to, say, winning three Super Bowls, but I would argue that Mario Lopez and Joey Lawrence put up a better fight than the Buffalo Bills. When contacted for comment, the NFL offices replied that Smith would be flagged for "excessive celebration" and penalized 15 yards on the ensuing kickoff.
Life After Football, Part II
In his neverending quest to find the real killers in the Nicole Brown Simpson-Ron Goldman murders, once and future prime suspect O.J. Simpson is coming out with a book entitled, "If I Did It." The following is a transcript FitzFacts obtained of the meeting between Simpson and his publisher, Judith Regan.
Judith Regan: OJ, thanks for meeting with me. I've read your manuscript, and I have to say, I am very impressed. This is real cutting-edge writing , very incisive, especially for a first draft.
OJ: Thanks, Judith. I just took a whack at it, but once I got into the guts of the thing, I just kept hacking away until it was dead, I mean, done.
JR: Interesting metaphor choice. Anyway, as I was saying, you really seemed to be able to place yourself at the scene of the crime. Every detail throughout the narrative rings true. I would like to recommend once small change, though.
OJ: Okay. What's that?
JR: It's just one word, really. In your proposed title, what if we changed the word "How" to "If"? I think that gives it a little more suspense, really draws the reader into the mysterious, whodunit aspect of the story.
OJ: I don't know Judith. I really like to make my own cuts.
JR: Indeed, well, just a suggestion. Otherwise, I think we're a go.
OJ: Fantastic, I'll take your suggestion under consideration. Meantime, I need to go sharpen up my interview skills.
Local Hoop I
GW plays Longwood tonight at Smith Center. The Colonials are 2-0 after stomping Dartmouth like a barrel of grapes Tuesday night. GW led 46-18 with less than a minute to play in the first half when Carl Elliott tossed in a three and then fed Noel Wilmore for another trey to beat the buzzer. Elliott outscored Dartmouth 19-18 in the first period and wound up with a career-high 29 points, besting his 25-point effort against BU in the Colonials' opener. GW needs a big year from Elliott to have a successful season, and so far he has delivered. If he keeps this up, expect to see his name surface in All-America and Wooden Award discussions as the season progresses. More important for the team is the continued development of the frontcourt, Regis Koundjia, Rob Diggs and Dokun Akingbade. Their performance has been strong, if a bit inconsistent, against weak competition; BU has little atheticism and less experience and Dartmouth, like all Ivy League basketball teams outside Princeton and Penn, really puts the scholar in scholar-athlete. If the GW big men keep showing improvement against the upcoming two opponents (Longwood and Kennesaw State), this team night not backslide as much as predicted by many. The schedule toughens up after Thanksgiving with games at Providence and against Virginia Tech.
Local Hoops II
I'll never be mistaken for a Maryland fan, but this year's Terrapins are taking shape as a classic Gary Williams success story. After two years of disappointment in the NIT, Williams has the chip on his shoulder and the talent on his roster to make a solid, yet familiar, run in the NCAA. Seniors DJ Strawberry, Mike Jones and Ekene Ibekwe have blended nicely with a pair of freshman guards, Eric Hayes and Greivis Vasquez, and juco bulkster Bambale Osby (6-8, 250), to rip off a 4-0 start with an average 29-point margin of victory. Vasquez and Hayes' emergence has allowed Strawberry to escape his one-year hell at point guard and the Terps are playing at Williams' preferred breakneck pace. They also seem to have shaken off the bad chemistry and poor leadership that fogged up the John Gilchrist-Chris McCray-Nik Caner Medley period. The Terps play tonight at Madison Square Garden against Michigan State in the 2K SPorts Hoop Classic championship game. Win or lose, expect Maryland to land in the Top 25 next week and Terp fans to come out in droves to hop back on the bandwagon. Warning to College Park residents: hide your couches, mattresses and other flammable furniture items.
Local Hoops III
I've only seen Georgetown for a few minutes, but they looked pretty good coming back to beat Vanderbilt the other night. Still can't get used to the Vandy court, with the benches on the baselines instead of the sideline. Like the Boise State blue Astroturf, it's just different for no good reason, but harmless. Must have been designed by a relative of Gilbert Arenas.
Local Hoops Final
Speaking of Gilbert, the Wizards took one of the NBA's highest scoring offenses into Madision Square Garden to face one of the NBA's worst defenses and promptly got drilled 102-82 by the Knicks, who hadn't won a home game this season. Washington played horrible defense, making New York reserves Nate Robinson and David Lee look like a negative image Stockton and Malone on the pick and roll. I can't be the only fan tired of watching opposing players drive from the wing, around the key, and into the lane for an easy bucket, assist or foul. And the offensive failure can't be laid entirely at Arenas' feet. All of the WIzards big three had awful shooting nights and nobody made a three-pointer on 15 attempts. Eddie Jordan needs to get his team focused, and quickly, because a tough stretch of road games looms, beginning tonight at Detroit.