Marathon 2017

Every year, a bit after 10 AM, I walk down to where the course turns onto Beacon Street to see the firsts in each category.

Highlight (as always): The leaders, radiant with vitality, know they have a strong shot at winning if they are in that position at that stage of the race. I tear up every time.

Lowlights (this year): Windy. A stranger, seeing my Cubs cap, assumes I’m a diehard fan and starts yakking up about the team. When I explain the cap is more about attending a few games with the journalist friend (Mark Caro) who gave me the headgear, the stranger gives me this look that suggests it’s weird, even wrong, hell — immoral to wear a logo if you aren’t proclaiming your love-object to the world.

Yes, Boston has taught me everything I know about how not to be a good sports follower.

R.I.P.: Pat Summitt

One of our all-time favorite sports champs in any role.  This hurts as much as a music icon. I was most devastated, however, at the announcement about five years ago, that she suffered from early-onset Alzheimer’s. That accursed disease has twisted my world more than once and shows there is no mercy or justice in this life.

Years ago, I assumed, from casual watching, that womens’ basketball was just less dynamic than the male version. Coach Summitt showed me how wrong I was.Every time I came across one of her games on TV it was a must-watch. Like all master coaches she fused with her teams and their iron-boned determination was a thrill to behold. They never lost because they went slack or tried something stupid. The record wins were apt rewards.

And I loved her wonderful life story. She was just my age.

The NFL Was Right To Hide the Truth About Concussions

… if only because the honchos understood how bad the the facts would be for business.

And once the facts are out there as fully as they are now, they can’t fade away. Most important, I’ve got my doubts the drawbacks can be sufficiently minimized.

Blog goers under 30 may find it a bit hard to believe, but professional prizefighting was once yuuuge. Manning and Newton’s joint announcement they were officially joining a campaign to defeat Trump would have been far less of a jolt and a headline than when Muhammad Ali refused his induction into the army.

My Dad was a devoted boxing fan when I was growing up. He’d been on the team in college and sparred some at the local gym. We didn’t miss a major match on TV, he taught me all the fine points he could and made sure I knew some of the finest sports writing had been inspired by the ring.

But in his old age he turned against prizefighting. He announced that he was no longer a fan not least because almost all the elderly (and even not-so-senior) boxers he knew had mush for brains. And, I suspect, he wondered if his days swinging gloves had any connection with what he saw an an abrupt decline in his mental acuity during his 70s.

At any rate, more and more Americans came around to his way of looking at prize fights. And it sure could happen the same way with football.

Go Pats! (Never a Moment’s Doubt … Yeah, Sure)

I could have lived with a KC win (and wait ’til next year, Mags — I’m serious, very strong young team with coaching as good as it gets — they will be back and much more seasoned and steady), but I admit this hot, take-out pizza is ambrosia tonight. A true test and contest. Steelers are doomed in Foxboro, but I don’t bet that will be the match.