(I worked as a Sports Editor from late 2004 until the summer of 2006. This is one of the many columns I was able to save that were originally published in The Sun-Times of Heber Springs, Arkansas.)
I almost pre-empted this column about ‘Sports Kids Moms & Dads’ to write 1,000 words on why Phil Jackson decided to become the next head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers again. And I was momentarily going to eschew that idea in favor of a 1,500-word essay on why Batman Begins is one of the Top 5 movies ever made in the history of cinema.
I saw Batman on Wednesday, a day after Jackson ended his year-long sabbatical from the NBA by accepting the Lakers’ offer to become head Zen man. He has to be out of his spiritually balanced mind, right?
Maybe this is just some elaborate subterfuge to further ruin Kobe’s career. After all, Phil laid out just how much he despised coaching Kobe in his book, then said on television he left the Lakes because of Bryant.
In his press conference, Jackson said he would be surprised if Los Angeles was close to a championship in his third year, which is how long his contract is for. Why would he choose to lead a team that by his own estimation wouldn’t be a contender?
He also said that he was confident that Kobe was confident that they could work together again. Is it me or did he miss out on a chance to give his seal of approval for coaching Bryant?
One of two things will happen in three years. Jackson will have his tenth ring or Kobe will be out of the league or playing with the New Orleans Hornets, averaging 30 points on 35-percent shooting.
I wonder how much of what is wrong with Kobe is his dad Jellybean’s fault? I’m not sure, but we can vicariously watch some other ‘Sports Kids Moms & Dads’ ruin their kids.
9:02 – If this is the third show, and this series will be running all summer, what’s Karli going to do without a horse? Karen is so concerned about Karli that she doesn’t pick her up at some seedy train station downtown after being gone 4 days.
9:05 – Sharon says Sarah’s not into playing, just working. On the way to jazz workouts, Sarah says she just wants to nap. Sharon says, “That would be nice wouldn’t it?” After watching Sharon reprogram Sarah in a scene reminiscent of A Clockwork Orange, I conclude she has a Ph.D. in brain washing.
9:09 – Craig is making Trenton run bleachers. For 30 minutes. He’s 8-years-old. By the time he’s 15 I bet he breaks into hives at the mention of either foot or ball. Craig just told Trenton “You look tired today.” Maybe it’s because now he’s running the bleachers for his life as the coach who made him cry last week is chasing him.
9:16 – Dad takes Bryce to skating practice because Kim’s presence is so overpowering it alters the gravity in the skating rink. Bryce is about to crack. He just screamed at his dad to “Go away!” Then is shown saying “My dad sucks. My mom sucks. My brother sucks. They all suck”.
9:20 – The cameras follow Lindsay into the classroom. It’s a good thing she’s a good student or that might be a distraction. Ooops. She had to sit out the last game because of bad grades. One of the other players on T.J.’s 7-girl team breaks a leg. Now she takes an interest in helping with Lindsay’s grades.
9:23 – Karli and Karen do an awkward job of not talking about the issue of selling the horse. When they do broach the subject Karli looks like she comes dangerously close to flinging chocolate ice cream all over the kitchen.
9:29 – Sharon paints Sarah’s face like a geisha girl in preparation for a meet. While doing this she scoffs at the idea that Sarah wear make-up at 10. Miss Nicole says Sarah was really tired at practice, but that doesn’t keep her from getting into her face and almost making her cry.
9:33 – T.J. says she’s going to work on just letting the girls play today. T.J. is putting all the pressure of her team on the shoulders of her freshman daughter who still isn’t up to snuff in the classroom. Aaaah, priorities.
9:34 – Trenton looks like he’s about to cry right before kickoff of a “must-win” game. Trenton just got run over on the way to the end zone. The cameras start following some obnoxious parent-fans around. I guess this is supposed to make our down-to-earth heroes look that much better.
9:42 – Bryce’s grandmother took him clothes shopping. At last, someone who sees Bryce as a confused teenager instead of a confused ice skater. He says he has expensive tastes because he likes “$20 shirts”.
9:44 – Lindsay takes over the game like she’s Lisa Leslie, but her team still loses by four. T.J. hands out praise to everyone but (surprise!) Lindsay.
9:47 – Trenton goes to his regularly scheduled chiropractic appointment. Did I mention he was 8? For a moment Craig almost looks regretful while watching Trenton’s head get jerked around like Linda Blair’s in the Exorcist. Almost.
9:51 – Bryce is shown warming up to the most watered-down, lounge version of ‘Eye of the Tiger’ that I’ve ever had the displeasure of hearing. Kim just said Bryce had to practice “Choctaws and Mohawks” among other skating moves. His grandma shows up and actually supports Bryce, who then skates like Mary Lou Retton.
9:54 – Karli is now focused on college and getting a job. She then orders Karen around and talks about Karen under her breath. Karen charges upstairs and asks who’s burning incense? Just when I thought a pot bust was coming up, it turns into a Smokey the Bear fire lecture.
9:57 – “Are you stretching as hard as you can?” “Stop! What are you doing with your arms?” “That’s messy!” Just a few of the nuggets from Sharon. Sarah has the showdown with the fruit basket girl and wins first place. Her mom says “I feel great”.
9:59 – Highlights from next week include Trenton watching a high school game and looking terrified; Bryce choosing a figure skating costume in front of hockey players; Sharon says of Sarah “I’m going to push her”; and Karli cusses Karen out. Good times!