The Breakdown: Hurray for me?
I’m cursed – or at least, I seem to have pretty rotten luck on my birthday. No, really, bad things happen nearly every year. It’s weird, it’s annoying, and for a person who loves his birthday about as much as Tiger Woods loves IHOP waitresses, it’s a big-time bummer.
When I turned 12, I remember running home from the bus stop, icing still on my fingers from school … to learn my brother was diagnosed with Type I diabetes. The next year? Good ol’ lucky No. 13? Well, that was celebrated by the death of my grandpa. Happy birthday, kiddo!
While those two years are certainly the worst, most birthdays since have had more minor occurrences. One year, I had a God-awful round in a high school golf tournament. Another, I got my #@%$ tossed in a hockey game – the first I was ever old enough to play in that allowed checking. Last year, I was stuck at an airport for a delayed flight.
(Historical note: I am told that my 21st birthday was actually pretty great; I just don’t have any recollection of it.)
And Monday, on yet another wonderful birthday, my car essentially broke down – twice. Long story short, I spent most of the evening waiting for a tow truck and sounding oddly like Rex Ryan on “Hard Knocks.” Tony Dungy would’ve been shaking his head.
(Tangent: This just gave me a great idea for segments on SportsCenter. Remember how in “Happy Gilmore” Lee Trevino is there shaking his head at every dumb thing Happy does? Well, wouldn’t it be great if every time ESPN ran a story of a player acting badly (on or off the field), they had a little cutout of Dungy shaking his head at the bottom of the screen? It’d be the only time people would laugh or smile at something having to do with Albert Haynesworth.)
This isn’t meant to be a pity party. I mean, that’s what my Cubs columns are for. And with being a Cubs’ fan, I like to think of myself as an eternal optimist. Actually, my wife is the eternal optimist, but I like to think it rubs off on me – a little.
After the ordeal with the car she, in her great second-grade-teacher style, told me to “count all my blessings.” I thought about it for a few seconds and thought she might be right. After all, the Cubs might’ve still won while I was standing on the side of the road for two hours cursing. Then I saw they got ripped by the friggin’ Reds.
Thanks, sweety, now I feel better.
Anyway, there is something to my wife’s advice (don’t tell her I said that), in that we all normally notice the bad more than the good in life – or at least, we dwell on it a bit more.
So, for the sake of positivity (and making sure this column actually talks about sports at some point), I’ve racked my brain for some random, happy thoughts. Here we go …
Happy thought No. 1: The NFL and its players actually met Tuesday to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement. I’ve always felt that actually talking about something with each other is a great way to negotiate. Obviously, they all do, too. That’s why they’ll continue the discussions … in June.
Happy thought No. 2: On Sunday, the University of Denver men’s lacrosse squad became the first team west of the Mississippi River to ever host an NCAA tourney game. And they won. It’s history, and it was almost as cool as the “hidden-ball” trick Maryland pulled off against North Carolina the day before.
Happy thought No. 3: Sure, it was a tight-collar moment when David Toms missed a two-foot putt to lose the Players Championship in a playoff on Sunday. But, since Toms is only about 5-foot-1, that putt is proportionately like eight feet to a normal-sized person. So, it wasn’t all that easy for him. And, the winner, K.J. Choi, has one of my favorite names to say.
Happy thought No. 4: Rain delays are pretty boring, but, some college baseball players came up with a good way to pass the time: bat jousting. Yup, it consisted of a player from each side, bat in hand and catcher gear on, sitting atop a teammates shoulders, you know, like a horse. Then the bottom guys take off running at each other, and the guys on top try to knock the other off with a sharply angled bat. No, I’m serious; Google it.
Happy thought No. 5: Even though the Cubs are sitting five games below .500 as I write this, 21-year-old phenom Starlin Castro has finally broken out of his Sports Illustrated-cover jinx. (He went 2-25 after gracing the cover at the beginning of May).
You know, maybe that’s a sign of how things can turn around. I mean, just because something feels cursed doesn’t mean it stays that way, right? Well, I have a year until I can find out.
Sports editor Bryce Evans doesn’t actually feel he’s cursed. In fact, he feels lucky to be the owner of a 14-year-old Suburban that can’t be driven.
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