February 22, 2013 in Sports

Blanchette: Hey you, Oscar, now listen up pal

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Colin Mulvany photo

Spokesman-Review contributing sports columnist John Blanchette.
(Full-size photo)

Until Manti Te’o’s girlfriend shows up in a remake of “Ghost,” sports will continue to get the back of Oscar’s hand.

I mean, what’s the “sports” offering at Sunday’s Academy Awards? “Silver Linings Playbook?” Great. Robert DeNiro representing all football fans by being so obsessively dysfunctional about the Philadelphia Eagles that he’s been banned from the stadium for life. He also hectors his bipolar son for dropping the ball on the 1-yard line of life the way DeSean Jackson did on that would-have-been touchdown pass. Because, you know, DeSean Jackson didn’t amount to siccum after that bit of showboating or win the Miracle at the New Meadowlands all by himself.

Is there a category for “Strained Metaphors Adapted from Another Medium?”

I’ll say it again: Oscar doesn’t know whether the ball is stuffed or pumped. I might think differently if the academy ever went back and redressed its wrongs in ignoring the three best sports movies ever made: “Slap Shot,” “Fat City” and “Hoosiers.” Although any basketball coach with principles would have told Jimmy Chitwood to take his midseason “I’m playing” speech and transfer to Terhune, job or no job.

So it’s no surprise that all these fine sports flicks of 2012 will be overlooked Sunday:

“Zero Dark Thirty” – Pac-12 Networks sets the starting time for Washington State’s football game against Utah. On Nov. 23.

“Seeking a Friend for the End of the World” – A 72-year-old woman keeps a mummified corpse in her house for 18 months so they could watch NASCAR races together on TV. Oh, wait. That really happened. So put this under documentaries.

“Wreck-It Ralph” – The newspaper’s next EWU road-to-adventure is aborted when the younger of the Walter brothers drives their cart into the lake at the Ron Raver Memorial Golf Classic and frogmen have to be summoned to make the rescue.

“Lincoln” – Who’s the head of the “abolitionists” trying to keep the NBA from returning to Seattle? Why it’s none other than the Mariners’ CEO, lobbying against an arena project near Safeco Field.

“A Liar’s Autobiography” – Sally Jenkins’ account of Lance Armstrong’s life gets a new title, and she gets to take her name off the cover.

“Arbitrage” – Washington State football fans giddily welcome coach Mike Leach and his $2 million-a-year contract, paid for with Pac-12 TV money they’d never muster themselves.

“Already Famous” – All it takes is some on-air leering from Brent Musburger to get Katherine Webb, a Miss Alabama and Crimson Tide quarterback A.J. McCarron’s girlfiend, into the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

“This Is 40” – Alex Rodriguez gets a taste of his baseball career in two years when he’s benched for hitting .130 in the postseason.

“Life of Pi” – Mark Few and the Zags deliver pizzas to the Tent City of Kennel Clubbers camped outside McCarthey Athletic Center for another ESPN game, while moms and dads wonder who’s occupying the dorm rooms going on their tab.

“Beasts of the Southern Wild” – Alabama wins the SEC’s seventh straight BCS championship, but it’s the league’s boosters and educrats who are really running amok, spending more than $150,000 on each athlete every year.

“Here Comes the Boom” – The Mariners address their power shortage – by moving in the fences at Safeco Field.

“The Campaign” – How can a defensive player get in the conversation for the Heisman Trophy? By continuing to tell stories about a girlfriend dying of leukemia, even when he knows she doesn’t exist.

“The Expendables 2” – Mike Leach runs off 18 players in his first season as WSU’s head football coach. Who’ll be around for spring ball?

“Argo” – NFL referees are held hostage by an owner-enforced lockout, until a film crew captures two replacement officials giving conflicting calls on a Hail Mary in the Green Bay-Seattle game. Just that suddenly the season is rescued.

“Magic Mike” – Though he averages just two points a game, former walk-on Mike Hart’s relentless play turns him into a Gonzaga basketball cult figure – to the point that he gets an in-game standing ovation for yanking down back-to-back offensive rebounds.

“Les Miserables” – The Idaho Vandals see the Western Athletic Conference crumble around them, have their entreaties to other FBS leagues rebuffed, resort to playing football as an independent and retrench into the Big Sky Conference for all other sports, making those athletes look like afterthoughts since the school won’t deign to play football at that level.

“Underworld Awakening” – After calling his players “zombies” and “empty corpses” during the season, Mike Leach sees the Cougars make a spirited comeback to beat hated Washington in the Apple Cup.

“Silver Linings Playbook” – Oregon coach Chip Kelly takes his cutting-edge offense to the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles, which is liable to make Pac-12 football a little less interesting. But at least now he’ll have to make his injury report public every week.


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