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    GOOD SPORTS

    By Sorcha Blaine

    Itís mid-August and the Boys of Summer who were winding up are winding down. The end of the season is at hand and in that hand is a baseball. Or a golf ball. Or a soccer ball. Any ball at all, really, except a football because itís too early - no, wait. Theyíre playing football now, too.

    I havenít been able to watch a lot of sports this summer.

    Or any other summer.

    Or any other fall, winter or spring, for that matter.

    It used to be that the sports were all nicely divided up - summer was baseball, winter was basketball - and I would know what I was avoiding. Now Iím running for my no-sports life with my remote control. Sadly, and all too often, I get caught in the act of seeing one of those ball shows. I quake. I cower. I wonder why anyone would spend time watching a game designed for failure. The players are required to negotiate impossibly difficult goalposts, tees, bases, etc., and they can rarely do it successfully.

    And they make mistakes.

    And a time-out is called.

    And I end up missing Will and Grace because the stupid game runs over.

    This is so wrong on so many levels.

    So Iím here to offer my advice to the pros and semi-pros and semi-hemi-demi pros and all their bosses. Maybe youíve been looking at the game so long you canít see it anymore. Maybe you need a different perspective on what would work, whatís slowing things down and what changes would speed things up..

    Iím offering my analysis here. Free. And Iíll be done way before Will and Grace comes on.

    GOLF The main problem seems to be the big pools of sand everyplace. I donít want to criticize how someone else manages their budget but youíd think the owners of the golf courses would put a teensy bit of money into cleaning out those sandy areas before a tournament - pay some kid $10 an hour, give him a shovel, a wheelbarrow and let him go to work As it is, whenever a ball lands in one of those beachy-places, the poor player spends forever trying to knock it back onto the grass. This is a lot of work for a golfer to go through just because the owners canít manage their money efficiently. Again: not my business, but an obvious improvement that would move things right along.

    BASEBALL Here, everybody is too far apart - move the bases in closer so the batter can see where the ball is going to be, for Heavenís sake. How can he hit it if he canít see it? Another thing would be to make the bats or the balls bigger. Maybe both. And if the balls were wiffleballs that would be good because it would slow them down even more.

    FOOTBALL Take away the padding. All that protective gear just prevents the players from getting hurt and getting hurt is the objective, here, isnít it? Youíve got a field full of huge guys running and slamming into each other with all their force. Maybe Iím missing something but it seems to me the point of the game is to disable as many of the other team as you can until you win. So I say tell the players to quit being such babies about pain and make them throw away the damn padding. Instead of padding, an acceptable alternative might be cute little leather togas like Russell Crowe wore in Gladiator. I guarantee you female viewership would go up 100%.

    I know Iíd gladly miss Will and Grace for that.


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