As is the norm in September – when football is starting up, baseball is winding down and basketball and hockey are waiting in the wings – there’s a lot going on in the sports world.
Subsequently, there’s a lot on my mind, so let’s get cracking …
For everyone trying to pick through all the NCAA stories about arrests and broken rules to find a good story, here it is.
Tomorrow night, when the San Jose State football team takes on Nevada, the feel-good moment of the year will probably take place.
That’s because Neil Parry will make his return as a member of the Spartans’ punt-return unit.
Thursday will mark the 1,069th day – just less than three years – since Parry suffered one of the worst injuries in football history. During a kick return against UTEP, a teammate was blocked into him, annihilating Parry’s right leg.
Nine days later, after an infection developed in the gruesomely broken leg, Parry’s doctors were forced to amputate below the knee.
But now, 25 operations later, Parry, thanks to the help of a prosthetic leg, will take the field for the Spartans.
“Personally, I don’t think I’m doing something that anybody else wouldn’t do in my situation,” Parry told The Associated Press about his heart-warming comeback. “I just want to play football. Anything inside the white lines is better than a hospital bed, which is where I was three years ago.”
In a year where Maurice Clarett, Rick Neuheisel and so many others have embarrassed stories have plagued the NCAA, smacking it with one black eye after another, Parry has earned a right to have his story told. If for no other reason than to prove that college athletics is still more than victories and profits.
“This is not a charity gesture,” San Jose State coach Fitz Hill said. “If he can’t get the job done, he’ll be replaced like anyone else. But I have confidence in him and his desire to play again. It’s a wonderful story.”
I’ve never worked for Nike and I have no affiliation with the Oregon athletic department.
But, whoever is responsible for the Ducks’ new alternate uniforms ought to be fired immediately and given the, “You’ll never work in this town again” speech.
Oregon’s new threads – bright yellow from head to toe with a couple green stripes, just for fun – are quite possibly the worst uniforms in sports history.
Yes, I’ve seen all of the other apparel that is in contention for the award: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ and Denver Broncos’ old orange entries, the San Diego Padres’ camouflaged “troop tribute” efforts, and all the rest of those disasters.
Oregon’s take the cake.
It looks like Nike took Oregon’s normal home and away jerseys – which aren’t that bad – and had a banana throw up on them. If you ever played “Ice Hockey” on the original Nintendo, you might remember the uniforms of the Swedish team. That’s what we’re dealing with here.
Hopefully, the Ducks don’t make the choice to wear these monstrosities when the Wolverines venture into Eugene, Ore. on Saturday, because Michigan has enough to worry about without the fear of going blind.
I can’t decide what to think about the WNBA.
The Detroit Shock and Los Angeles Sparks played last night in the WNBA Finals’ deciding game three.
And I think my biggest gripe with the league lies in that sentence.
No major professional sport should have a deciding Game 3.
In my opinion, it either needs to be a one-game elimination tournament, like NCAA basketball, or it needs to be a real series, at least five games long.
The WNBA season lasts just 34 games, and the all-star game is ridiculously early. The Shock had played 15 measly games before the break for those festivities.
The league itself has probably gotten more coverage this season than any other, and the crowds have been pretty decent across the board. There were almost 18,000 people in the Palace when the Shock hosted game 2 of the finals. It’s a great source of entertainment and inspiration for the young girls across the country.
But if the WNBA really wants to be taken seriously as a legitimate league on America’s sports radar, then the season needs to be at least 41 games – half the length of the NBA’s regular season – and the finals must be best-of-five.
And finally, go Tigers. The last thing Detroit needs is the record for worst baseball team ever.
That’s it … that one was short.
– Chris Burke can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.