As Mase put it best (over and over again)
at last weekend’s MTV Video Music Awards, “Welcome
Back.”

Daniel Bremmer
Tiger Woods, left, lost his No. 1 world ranking to Vijay Singh on Sunday
Daniel Bremmer

Being back on campus is a nice change for me, especially
following one of the longest sports-related summers of recent
memory. I’m still a little bitter, so you’ll have to
bear with me.

It began in May, with the highs and lows of the NBA playoffs
— my beloved New Jersey Nets against the overwhelmingly
boring Detroit Pistons.

The Nets go down 0-2. It’s a low point, but I’ve
still got faith.

The Nets reel off three straight, capped off by a 127-120
overtime-thriller at the Palace. I’m higher than Ricky
Williams at a Snoop concert.

Next, the Nets go back home and lose the potential
series-clinching Game 6. Back down to where I started, and losing
faith.

To end it all, the Nets pull a disappearing act in Game 7 that
would make David Copperfield proud, and play themselves out of the
playoffs. Coincidentally, the same night that the Pistons knocked
the Nets out happened to be the same night that a dozen or so of my
friends from school (Pistons fans) decided to call me after the
game, just to say hello. Go figure.

A few weeks later I find out that Kenyon Martin has been traded
and is heading west to join the Denver Nuggets. Words can’t
describe my anger.

So for me, as far as sports are concerned, it hasn’t been
a good summer. I’ve tried my best to keep my head up while
watching the Nets crash and burn, but it hasn’t been
easy.

Maybe that’s why my view of other sporting headlines of
the past several weeks is a little tainted. But nonetheless, here
are a collection of my thoughts — some recent, and some
not-so-recent:

The World Series of Poker officially takes over ESPN
primetime.

I hate this thing more than staying in class the entire time on
the first day of school. I don’t know what’s worse
— watching the World Series itself, or watching that damn
countdown-to-the-“main-event” timer that has nested its
way onto the bottom line on ESPN. I’ll admit it — I
liked watching the World Series last year, when it made its debut.
ESPN aired the whole tournament in a quick seven episodes. But this
year, I had to suffer through weeks of ridiculous tune-up Hold
‘Em tournaments, just to get to the first round of the
“Main Event.”

And just when I thought this couldn’t get any worse, I
turn on the TV to see other variations like stud poker and Omaha.
What’s Next? Go Fish? Another thing: Why the hell does ESPN
air this thing three months after it is played in Vegas? Are they
hoping that you’ll watch MSNBC or flip through Newsweek one
day in the meantime and have the winner spoiled for you?
What’s next? ABC airs the Super Bowl in April and expects you
not to figure out the winner in the meantime? And just for the
record, when did poker even become a sport?

Dikembe Mutombo was traded to the Houston Rockets.

Most shocking part of this news? Not that the Bulls center and
giant string-bean was traded, but more so that he’s still in
the NBA at all. Have you seen Mutombo lately? This guy looks like
he can barely stand up on his own, let alone run down the court.
He’s skinnier than an Olsen twin, old enough to apply for an
AARP card and his shot-blocking ability is going downhill faster
than a J. Lo wedding.

One bright note comes from this trade: Mutombo can now serve as
a mentor to Houston big man Yao Ming. Can you imagine a
conversation between these two? Hopefully Yao’s translator
can convert deep-voiced, broken English into Chinese. (Insert
hideous Mutombo impression here).

Michigan starts true-freshman Chad Henne at quarterback and
knocks off Miami (Ohio).

Henne looked good, especially considering the circumstances, and
will most likely start again at Notre Dame on Saturday. If Henne
continues playing well, he could conceivably be a four-year starter
at quarterback, especially if Matt Gutierrez’s arm
doesn’t get well soon. The best part about Henne is where
he’s from — Wyomissing, Pa. After plucking Marlin
Jackson, Steve Breaston and now Henne from the great land of the
Nittany Lions, it’s safe to say Lloyd owns JoePa for at least
a few years now. Make sure you tell your friends from Penn
State.

Tiger Woods loses his No. 1 ranking to Vijay Singh after
finishing second at the Deutsche Bank Championship this
weekend.

First of all, how on earth was Tiger still number one after a
year and a half of not playing well? Sure, he’s played better
recently — finishing in the top 10 in eight of his last 10
outings. But before that, the guy only finished in the top 10 twice
in his last two years of majors, and he consistently struggled for
multiple stretches over that time period. The only thing Tiger
deserved to be No. 1 in is needless SportsCenter coverage (a
category also dominated by the Lakers, Yankees, Cowboys, and even
ESPN itself — have you seen this 25th anniversary crap?).
Whatever. Now that Tiger has dropped into No. 2, everyone can
continue not to care about professional golf.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Have fun watching the
World Series of Poker.

 

— Daniel Bremmer can be reached at
“mailto:bremmerd@umich.edu”>bremmerd@umich.edu. If you are a
Pistons fan, don’t even bother.

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