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Keith Strudler

  • I will fully admit that I derive no pleasure from gambling. That goes pretty much across the spectrum, from slot machines to blackjack and everything in-between. I get no rush from putting money on the line, and I don’t even get that excited if I win. It’s really more of a relief than anything. As I told someone recently, I’d much rather buy something on a $10 off sale than win $10, which I’m sure a psychologist would suggest has something to do with my upbringing. Regardless, I don’t like gambling, Vegas, Atlantic City, or anything of the sort.
  • Novak Djokovic didn’t need to give tennis fans any other reasons to hate him. Considering he may be the most accomplished tennis player of all time, he is remarkably not well received. For example, when he goes down a set at a major, fans almost instinctively cheer for the other guy. Compare that to other historic greats, like Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal or Serena Williams, or any of the other legendary figures in tennis history. Fans always rallied for greatness, as being witness to near perfection was its own reward. It’s simply never been the case with Djokovic, a reality he’s both seemingly engendered while also clearly disliking.
  • To play or not to play, that is the question. That’s the question for college football teams in bowl games, for college and NBA basketball teams that are basically fielding players from local playgrounds. And it’s the question for pretty much every youth or school league that’s entering into one protocol or another. That is sports in the age of Omicron, where you never know who might play in the Pinstripe Bowl or the Guaranteed Rate Bowl or any number of superfluous games that were once seen as a reward for college players and a way for coaches to extend their practice seasons. Already, a whole bunch of teams have pulled out, new teams have jumped in, and some games – five so far – have been cancelled altogether. In one example, Memphis flew all the way out to Hawaii for a bowl game only for the University of Hawaii to tell them they can’t play. Obviously, that scenario could have been worse – it could have been, say Shreveport, Louisiana. Rutgers filled in for Texas A&M to play against Wake Forest in the Gator Bowl, which is kind of like flying coach after selling your private jet. And the four college football playoff teams are basically crossing their fingers and trying to make sure they don’t lose either too many players or certain key players before their games on the 31st.
  • For all the professional hockey players who lamented the fact that they’d have to work through the holiday, there’s good news. From today until Sunday, all NHL team facilities are shut down, and all games are cancelled until the 27th.
  • There are two numbers that matter right now in the context of Steph Curry and his legacy in the NBA. The first is 2,974. That was the total number of three-point shots the Golden State guard hit when he broke the record for three-pointers previously held by Ray Allen.
  • In the unfortunate case that US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg is a huge fan of the bobsled, he will be saddened to know that he will not be able to watch that competition at the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing in person.
  • A long time ago, back when I was in graduate school in Florida, former INXS front man Michael Hutchence and then Florida Governor Lawton Chiles died in the same week, both seemingly out of nowhere. I happened to be a big, longtime fan of both, for different reasons of course. And this was back when it was still okay to admire a politician without it being almost obscene. And I remember writing for the University of Florida newspaper that as hard as it is to watch your heroes grow old, it’s even harder to watch them die too young.
  • This is, of course, the giving season, something most us mark by scouring the Internet during work hours to find the lowest price on an ever bigger screen TV that won’t arrive until March. It’s the giving season in college football as well. More specifically, this is the time of the year when especially big time college football programs tell their struggling head coach that they’re done at the end of the season, and then they give them some exorbitant buyout balloon payment to no longer coach the team.
  • There’s a graveyard of companies that have sponsored sports arenas and stadiums before going under. Perhaps the most notable was Enron Field in Houston, now Minute Maid Park, where the Astros play baseball. Obviously, the previous relationship came to an unceremonious end when, well, Enron.
  • When it comes to fines given by the NFL for breaking Covid protocol, Green Bay Packers wide receiver Allen Lazard did seem to get the Rodgers rate, a reference to longstanding ad campaign by State Farm Insurance. That’s because Aaron Rodgers, Packers star quarterback and a protagonist in this campaign who foolishly assumes he gets the best rate on State Farm Insurance even though it seems like everyone gets the same rate, has been given the same exact fine as Lazard from the NFL for his transgressions in breaking Covid rules.