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Grip on Sports: End of season always tender

Sun., March 2, 2014

Haiden Palmer made her final appearance at McCarthey Athletic Center on Saturday. (Tyler Tjomsland)
Haiden Palmer made her final appearance at McCarthey Athletic Center on Saturday. (Tyler Tjomsland)

Thursday: You know what’s sort of sad for a sports fan? When you get to the final ticket or two of a season. When you realize there are only a couple of more games left before it all ends.

If you’ve ever been lucky enough to own season tickets, you know what I mean. Just before the season begins, the package arrives in the mail. Inside is only a bunch of thin cardboard covered with ink, but it is so much more than that.

You feel like Navin R. Johnson in “The Jerk” when the phone book arrived. Yes, you are that happy. You are going places. The crisp new tickets are your window to the games you can’t wait to see, the season you can’t wait to experience.

As the games roll by, each marked by a careful tearing out of the ticket, the packet grows smaller. Then one day you wake up and realize there are just one or two tickets left. The season is almost over.

If the tickets were to a college team’s games, there is a double whammy. Not only is the season about done but, you quickly realize, so is Jim Doe’s or Jane Smith’s career. You’ve watched the play, sometimes from a sit-mainly-on-the-bench freshman to a go-to senior. You’ve seen their best games and their worst. You’ve been there as they’ve entertained the home crowd, sharing the joy of the victories and the tears of defeat.

All of that goes through your mind as you tear off a couple more pieces of cardboard. The season is almost over. And then you realize. Next year may be even better.

Wednesday: Deone Bucannon  had his day at the scouting combine yesterday and it was OK. Not  phenomenal, but OK.

And probably helped his draft status. Why? Because Bucannon ran a 4.49 40-yard dash, better than some expected out of the 6-foot-1, 211-pound hard-hitting safety. It was the third-best 40 among safeties in Indianapolis and had to help Bucannon overcome one of the things detractors say about him (not fast enough).

The other question mark (coverage skills) was more than likely not assuaged. That’s because Bucannon’s times in the three-cone drill and the 20-yard shuttle, drills designed to measure quickness and agility, weren’t as dominating as his 40 or his bench press or his jumping. The three-cone time of 6.96 wasn’t bad, but a tenth or two quicker would have really made him a lot of money.

Still, Bucannon has so many upsides – he loves to hit, he’s great on special teams and he’s a solid, solid citizen – there is little chance he’ll last past the third round. In fact, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise if someone takes a flyer on him and drafts him late in the second round.

Tuesday: It’s a little odd I mentioned “Stripes” yesterday without knowing the sad news that writer/director/actor Harold Ramis had died earlier in the morning. Ramis wasn’t an Oscar winner, but if you want to hand out awards based on the comedies my generation quotes, he would be the runaway winner. He had a hand in so many.

The best? Hard to say. There was “Animal House,” “Caddyshack,” “Ghostbusters,” “Stripes” and, my personal favorite, “Groundhog Day.” It’s been a while since Ramis has reached those peaks, due to a variety of reasons, including a debilitating and finally fatal illness. But I know I speak for a lot of us when I say thanks for the laughs.

Monday: It wasn’t  “War of the Worlds” deceiving, but a lot of people seemed to think Jimmy Johnson won the Daytona 500 yesterday. I wonder if it was because of a replay took the place of the real race or if it was just because Johnson always seems to win.

With the live race delayed, and the only option watching a replay of cars making 1,000 left turns, I flipped around the dial. And lo and behold I came upon “Stripes.”

Laughter is, as they say, the best medicine for boredom.

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