Ramble on the roof

Torrin Thatcher

It is one thing to look older than the people you’re competing against – Greg Oden at Ohio State comes to mind – but it is entirely another thing to actually be way older than your competition.
We’ve seen Danny Almonte pretending to be 12 years old in the Little League World Series many moons ago, and we’ve seen guys like Miguel Tejada that lie about their age to sign a pro contract.
But last week, we saw something slightly new in the state of Texas. A basketball player at a high school was found to be 22 and not a 16-year-old Haitian refugee like he had said.
How’d it slip out? At a tournament in Arkansas, three coaches who knew him from his actual high school days in Fort Lauderdale recognized him. There is more to the man’s story about him pretending to be homeless, but needless to say that this caused some chuckles across the news wire.
In preparation for Wednesday night’s hockey games I did something that I usually tend to do around playoff time: watch way too many hockey highlight videos on YouTube.
It’s always the videos with spectacular plays by the guys between the pipes that always draw my eye: glove saves, kick saves, stick slaps and flexibility are all impressive from guys on skates in a crease.
The playoffs are when goalies make their dough (think Jean-Sébastien GiguŠre in 2003), so it’s only fitting to get excited for the games by watching the men behind the masks.
Speaking of GiguŠre, remember when he shaved his beard when the Ducks lost their last game that year and no one recognized him afterwards? Fantastic.
This whole Brian Cushing thing is annoying. If he took a banned substance – it was found out to be a masking agent – shouldn’t it make complete sense to take away his trophy for winning defensive rookie honors? That’s fine, but holding another round of voting seems lame.
Go over to Cushing’s house, take the trophy off his mantle, and fly it over to the house of the Bills’ Jairus Byrd, who finished second in the voting.
It’s just odd to me that they wouldn’t take it away from him. Even though it’s a different sport, obviously, I am sure that if people could prove anything on Barry Bonds or Sammy Sosa, a guy named Albert Pujols would have a couple more MVP trophies.
And don’t forget Luis Gonzalez or Adrián Beltré, either, who put up huge years and finished behind Bonds and Sosa. Let’s try to forget that the best years of Gonzalez’s career didn’t start to happen until he was well into his thirties – there have been whispers about the possibility of him dipping into drugs. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.
We can throw Roger Clemens into this too, but that’s even more tiresome.
How great would it have been if Cushing lost his award and All-Pro status, too? We’ve seen stripped awards before – Marion Jones, anyone? – so it would have not been anything we haven’t seen before. But since the NFL has monster levels of influence, setting a precedent for things like this to happen in all four major North American sport leagues was probably something the Associated Press wanted to avoid.
Oddly enough, a Steelers writer switched his vote from Byrd to Cushing after the scandal broke! That’s right, he changed his vote to the guy who cheated. 19 voters switched away from Cushing, 17 kept Cushing and Ed Bouchette switches to the guy. Classy.
This Sunday I am running my second half-marathon in Green Bay, while my mom and sister are doing the full. Wish me luck.
Am I looking forward to it?
Well, when I ran my first one a few days before Christmas in Jacksonville, I was able to have a good training schedule because, as you all know, we’d been out of classes for over a month. This time around, the amount of training has not been as high as I had hoped – school and playoffs take priority some of the time – so we shall see how it goes.
I’m going to be quite stiff on Monday when I have a midterm, so I’ll just have to relax that night by watching the Lakers and Suns start off the Western Conference Finals.

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