2001-11-10 / Sports

Ode To The A: Random Thoughts and Random Beliefs

By Elio Velez

Ode To The A:
Random Thoughts and Random Beliefs
By Elio Velez

I make my somewhat return this week to writing this column after taking a break. After Sept. 11th, I decided to wait at least 2 months passed before evaluating some of the sports world. Sports have come back to the fold with exciting play in all sports. There are a few moments in the past 2 months that have caught my eye and ear.

The New York Yankees and the Arizona Diamondbacks played a World Series that will people will remember for a long time. Performances by Arizona’s Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson were so dominant that there was no hesitation in awarding them co-MVP. I don’t think I will ever see again the Yanks or any other team coming back to tie the game with two outs in the 9th inning in two consecutive games. The happy days are over and gloom and doom is in, as baseball may drop 2 to 4 teams from existence. Here come the storm clouds.

The local high school football teams, Beach Channel and Far Rockaway, have made the PSAL playoffs. The new season, the new football fields (Far Rock now, B.C. soon) and new optimism are some of the factors in those teams making the playoffs. For rallying the troops, a great hand goes to B.C. Coach Marty Senall and Far Rock Coach Les Sabbah for getting their players to play hard every week. Kudos should be given to the players for going out and playing with pride and passion. So people, travel to Canarsie and root for Far Rock and cheer Broad Channel as they play their home game against Columbus at Far Rock field.

Parity may be the key word that the NFL uses when explaining about the lack of dominant teams. Some people may call it mediocrity. Teams such as Chicago, San Francisco and Cleveland may now be considered viable playoff contenders and Tampa Bay, Tennessee and Minnesota are playoff pretenders.

Larry Johnson retired from the New York Knicks due to complications from back and other injuries. For most Knick fans, Johnson’s tenure here was very hit and miss but N.Y. did not see even 50% of the player he once was. What N.Y. saw was a shell of the 6’ 5 inch player who once dominated the small forward position from UNLV and his first two years at Charlotte. Johnson changed his game from a leaping high scorer to a defensive oriented player and floor leader.

As his skills declined even further, Johnson sucked up the pain and performed admirably. On most nights, Johnson’s statistics would not be eye popping. The stats didn’t show the clutch three to win the game or his tough defensive play against the other team’s best forward or even sometimes against the center. People may forget Grandmama’s clubhouse lawyering in holding the team together from almost breaking up into mutiny with older forces (Patrick Ewing) and new arrivals (Latrell Sprewell and Marcus Camby). His relationship with the press was strained and the most noted event was Johnson’s dissing of NBC analyst Bill Walton during the 1999 NBA Finals. The Knicks didn’t win a championship during his tenure, but it was a very interesting ride when he was here.

There is so much more to cover and discuss different sports. Basketball and hockey started up again. The N.Y.C. Marathon was another successful event that showed the world on how people will not be afraid to run here. So many sports, so little time. I’ll be back soon.


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