A Stones Throw 1-31-13

714

Who would want to vacation in Sochi, Russia?

Until today, I had never heard of Sochi, Russia. I don’t know where Sochi is in Russia. And actually, I don’t care. I don’t plan on going to Russia – let alone Sochi.

On the other hand, Nick Goepper is probably looking forward to a visit to Sochi – not as a tourist – but as one of the best Ski Slopestyle athletes in the world.

Last Sunday Nick won an X-Games gold medal in Slopestyle competition. At this point, winning Slopestyle gold in the X-Games means you are the best Slopestyle skier in the world.

And Nick won the 2013 gold medal.

Nick Goepper is 18 years old. He is a former Dearborn County High School student. He began his quest for gold on the Slopestyle course at the Perfect North Slopes just outside of Lawrenceburg.

From the beginner slopes at Perfect North to X-Games gold at the age of 18, where does he go next?

Recently Slopestyle was added to the 2014 Winter Olympics to be held in Sochi, Russia. One of the early favorites will be X-Games gold medal winner Nick Goepper.

Nick won’t be on vacation.

He will be in Sochi representing the United States. Representing Southeast Indiana. Representing the town of Lawrenceburg. Representing Perfect North Slopes.

Representing you and me.

He will be out to win the first Olympic gold medal in Slopestyle for each of us.

*

Instead of watching the X-Games on television last Sunday, I watched some of the National Football League’s Pro Bowl. All in all, it was a fairly enjoyable game. I actually thought it was classy when NFC center Jeff Saturday was in the game with the AFC offense – snapping the ball to Peyton Manning.

Saturday had announced he would retire; that the Pro Bowl would be his last game. He had spent almost his entire career snapping the ball to Peyton Manning. The coaches for each team, along with the National Football League, allowed Jeff Saturday to snap the ball to Manning one last time.

As I said, I thought this was a class move.

At the same time, it typified all of the negatives attributed to the Pro Bowl.

The Pro Bowl is not a real football game. It doesn’t even reach the level of a preseason game. In fact, it is so farcical it should be eliminated.

Nobody cares about the Pro Bowl – not players – not fans.

I guess that means nobody cares about Baseball’s World Series.

Point in fact – The Pro Bowl – the football game that is not a football game – the game that nobody cares about – had as many people watch it on television as watched last year’s World Series.

I bet Major League Baseball would like to see that kind of popularity for its annual All Star Game. The same goes with the National Basketball Association and its All Star game.

As for hockey – Never mind, not even I care about hockey.

*

Speaking of a farce – the National Football League showed it should be called the National Farcical League in determining what is best for football, its fans, and its players.

While constantly talking about the safety of its players, the NFL has officials throwing penalty flags at the slightest hint of a “high hit.” Players have been fined – even suspended for “helmet to helmet” hits or “hits on a defenseless receiver” or even worse “hits on a favored quarterback.”

So – last week fines were handed down.

Tom Brady was fined $10,000 for a slide with his feet high in the air aimed at the groin area of a defending player. I have to admit for the NFL to fine fair haired quarterback Tom Brady for anything is certainly sending a message that the safety of its players is paramount.

Well – maybe not.

At the same time, San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore was fined $10,500 for what obviously is a more serious infraction than attempting to hurt an opponent.

Frank Gore deserved the punishment. He deserved to be fined more than Tom Brady. After all – Frank Gore had the audacity to have his socks pulled down lower than the NFL fashion police want to see.

As I said – The National Farcical League has spoken.

Or, maybe I don’t understand. Maybe the league was afraid Gore would hurt an opponent who had to look at his bare legs.

*

Speaking of Tom Brady, while I often tell you about my favorites, I have to admit New England quarterback Tom Brady is one athlete I always cheer against.

I think he is conceited and only for Tom Brady. The only time I want to watch him – unless he is losing a football game – is when he is with his wife Gisele Bundchen – one of the most beautiful and smartest women in the world. (Obviously, I am not looking at Brady if Gisele Bundchen is in the picture.)

I don’t know if Brady is trying to protect Gisele, protect himself, or just show the world he is Tom Brady, but after seeing pictures of his new home it has to be one of the three. The 22,000 square foot home is a monument of sorts.

It is not the only 22,000 square foot home owned by celebrities or other ultra-rich people. But – I think it is probably the only one with a moat all the way around it.

A moat!

I don’t know if alligators are included.

*

Finally, I like Tiger Woods the golfer. I, like millions of other golf fans, am more likely to watch a golf tournament that Tiger is playing (now that my favorite – Kenny Perry – is playing on the over 50 Champions tour) than a tournament he is not playing.

Tiger dominated last week’s Farmers Insurance Open.

While watching Tiger dominate, I got tired of listening to the “golf experts” debate whether Tiger was “all the way back,” or if he still has a long way to go. It seemed the consensus was that he still has a way to go before he can be considered the elite golfer he once was.

Okay – Today, Tiger Woods is ranked as the number two golfer in the world.

Number Two!

The second best golfer in the world and the “experts” think he has a “way to go” to re-establish elite status.

What a joke.

When Tiger plays, thousands of fans walk the course with him, watching every shot. At the same time television ratings go up.

When Tiger does not play, those same television ratings go down.

In other words – Tiger is back.

And I am glad he is.

– Mike Cooney