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Sports Watching & Wondering

African American news from Pasadena - Sports WatchingI have to confess to you, that I am going to try to write this week's column, but my heart is not in it. The news about Tiger Woods hit me like a punch in the stomach. I do understand that Tiger Woods is not a perfect person and that we all make mistakes. However, I was not prepared for the magnitude of this one. This is bad. Very bad. And all of us who look up to Tiger have been hurt. My heart goes out to his mother, his wife, and children, and to Tiger himself. Without making excuses for him, I realized that he has been living an incredibly stressful life. He has earned our admiration and respect. Eventhough he caused the problem, he can still use our best wishes and our hopes for his future successes. In addition, I know that many of you will join me in hoping that he can keep his family together and get past what may be the worst time in his career. Local fans have been eagerly awaiting this year's game between UCLA and USC. The Trojans had been stumbling, and the Bruins had showing rapid improvement. So, after many years of frustration, we could expect a match that was nearly even. At least, that is what we thought would happen. However, what we actually got was a game that was so poor that even Cave Men could have played it. Both teams behaved as if they were being introduced to football for the first time. They could not run, pass, tackle, or score. To their credit, they were trying, but I don't recall seeing any two teams that were more inept. It was difficult to believe, that I was watching teams from major universities. I was wondering if there is an explanation for what has happened, and I am also hopeful that whatever is wrong with these teams, gets fixed as soon as possible.

I went to see the movie "Blind Side." I had resisted going to see it, because I felt that I had seen every kind of movie like this. You know the story; downtrodden African-American gets help from someone, and then manages to succeed. I like the idea of the story, but I felt that I had already seen it at least 100 times. Having said that, I still went to see it. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was a well made movie, and I enjoyed it immensely. This movie is based on the life of Baltimore Ravens lineman Michael Oher. He was taken into the home of a wealthy white couple, and nurtured by them.

He became an outstanding athlete and a great student. He earned an athletic scholarship to Old Miss, and he was later drafted in the first round by the Baltimore Ravens. He is now being considered for rookie of the year honors. This movie is inspirational, and it has an important message, and I strongly recommend it.

Mike Garrett is the greatest Athletic Director that USC has ever had. The football team has enjoyed unparalleled success. Also, on his watch, the Galen Center was built, and now it is one of the world's most beautiful basketball venues. USC has been planning to build that Center for about 40 years. With Garrett's leadership, the dream became a reality. So the once woebegone basketball teams, should now become a thing of the past. It is well past time for Mr. Garrett and UCLA's Mr. Guerrero to remind their coaches, players, and fans, that they represent two of the greatest universities in the world. Therefore, it should not be acceptable for coaches to taunt each other, or to allow their players to do it. They should play the games as hard and as fairly as they can, and they should show respect for their opponents. That is one of the most important lessons that players can learn in college. So, while USC had the right to score a meaningless touchdown late in the game, the accompanying taunting was the wrong thing to do. The sooner there is a stop to this bad behavior, the better off the players will be.

The Lakers are odds-on favorites to repeat as champions of the NBA.

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