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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    My love affair with sports

    Shane Baconstaff writer
    Shane Bacon
    staff writer

    I was teeing it up with a buddy of mine the other day on a perfect February afternoon when love filtered its way into the conversation.

    After talking about the subject from tee to green my friend came to the conclusion that love was bull.

    He didn’t believe in it or think it existed and thought it belonged in the realm of “”Star Wars”” and “”South Park.””

    That is when I decided that for Valentine’s Day, the day based on love, I would explain to him (and all of you) what true love is all about.

    True love is exactly what we were doing – standing on the tee of a 200-yard par-3 and sticking it 5 feet with your 7-iron.

    Love is sitting around a week after the Sub-par Bowl and talking with your cronies more about the Bud Light commercials than the Steelers’ thumb ring.

    The love I feel settles deep with the Willie Tuitamas of this world, who come out of the shadows of a rather desolate area and begin ruling the land long before the dynasty settles there.

    I love combos off the eight ball, aces that nick the tape and squeeze plays.

    Most of the time I’d take 6-irons over sensual snuggling, Smush Parker over a good smooch.

    The love I feel that my friend can’t relate to is one for exactly what I want to do with my life – sports.

    I love the fact that the Red Sox beat the Yankees in what may have been the biggest comeback in history, just edging the Backstreet Boys’ comeback performance during halftime of the Pro Bowl on Sunday (kidding … absolutely kidding).

    I love headfirst slides, listening to people mispronounce Ivan Radenovic’s name over and over again (thanks, “”SportsCenter””) and that lasting hope that this year’s Arizona men’s basketball team can still turn it around.

    I love the fact that the only Minor in Possession I ever received was at a Diamondbacks-Pirates game my freshman year, and it still didn’t ruin our night (the casino did).

    I love the fact that even though Lute Olson has made more of an impact in Southern Arizona than booty shorts and bottled water, he is still considering extending his contract because it is what he does – coaching kids to be better at basketball.

    I love the simple things in sports that sometimes get overlooked. The seventh-inning stretch, The Ooh-Ahh Man, “”Stooooops,”” retiring numbers, Gilbert Arenas, Championship Drive, Desert Swarm and any nickname that makes the athlete seem more untouchable.

    I love that no matter how much I hate Kobe Bryant and J.J. Redick, I can’t turn off the television when those two are playing. You never know when Bryant and Redick lace on their kicks if they are going to break records or hit game-winners.

    I love (and this one is a deep love) the fact that the Sunday night crew for ESPN football is finally going to be sent in different directions, hopefully very far south and very far from a microphone.

    I love St. Andrews, Fenway, Wrigley, Augusta and Wimbledon.

    I love that during the Olympics, I feel more compelled to root for Americans in all sports, not just the ones competing in Italy.

    With that, I love sports figures who I feel carry an American flag even when empty-handed – Andy Roddick, Chris DiMarco, Roger Clemens, Magic Johnson and the one who stands on a podium all alone, Pat Tillman.

    I love college sports, pure and simple. I love the fire, the want, the get and the camaraderie.

    I love the fact that guys like Hassan Adams, Radenovic and Mohamed Tangara can be on the same team and nobody thinks anything of it.

    I love sports images that have stuck in my head since I first saw them. The Joe Carter jump, Desmond Howard’s Heisman pose, Jose Canseco’s off-the-head homer, Leon Lett’s fumble in the snow, John Elway’s flip for the first down, Christian Laettner’s jumper, Bryce Drew’s triple for Valpo and the one I’ll never forget no matter how hard the Alzheimer’s sets in, Jack Nicklaus’ arm-raising birdie on 17 in the 1986 Masters.

    I love sports, I love sports, I love sports, and if you don’t think that’s a true love, there are plenty of other fish in the sea.

    For me, I’ll never throw back this thing I’ve caught.

    Shane Bacon is a journalism senior. He can be reached at:

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