This is, without a doubt, the biggest sports week of the year in Tucson. Consider:
• The Tucson rodeo—La Fiesta De Los Vaqueros—is rocking the rodeo grounds on the south side of town. This gives you the opportunity to see horses and cows and goats, plus people wearing really cool hats. Hailing originally, as I do, from soulless Los Angeles, I'm not really a Western person or an animal person or even an outdoor guy. But the rodeo is way cool. There's no way somebody could go to the rodeo and not get at least a little bit pumped.
Of course, if you go, you'll probably have to navigate your way through the PETA people, with their hairy underarms and twisted logic. These are the folks who would rather see a bull euthanized than have the animal participate in an event in which the bull has a decided advantage.
The PETA people have a point, but then they go about eight miles past that point. You know you're Out There when you make even less sense than Tea Party people.
• I may have mentioned this before; I once rode a bull. It was at the Cochise College rodeo grounds and I did it to win a $5 bet with one of my baseball teammates. (Yes, five dollars. And no, even back then, that wasn't a lot of money.) I don't even remember it being that scary. I think the bull's name was Narcolepsy.
• Meanwhile, way up on the northwest side, the Accenture Match Play Championship is in full throttle. The golf course itself is ridiculous. It's as though the grounds crew used tweezers to remove every offending blade of grass not to their liking. You take one look at the fairways, get all Buddhist and don't even want to walk on the grass.
Then there are the golfers themselves, who are even more ridiculous than the course. I think it should be humanly impossible to hit a golf ball squarely more than two or three times in any one day. But these guys do it almost every damn time! Their only saving grace is that they then miss putts just like the rest of us.
(I've also played golf, but I had much better results on that bull.)
• With temps in the low 70s in February, the golf announcers will repeatedly mention "Tucson's chamber of commerce weather." I know we have weather, but do we have a chamber of commerce?
• With both major events in town at the same time, I think that local movers and shakers are missing out on a big opportunity. Why not cross-pollinate? Seriously, how much would you pay to watch Tiger Woods ride a bull? Or you could have the rodeo cowboys try to hit a golf ball. I just visualized one of those rodeo guys walking on the fairway with boots and spurs on and I about got the vapors. (However, clowns on the golf course would be a nice touch.)
• The defending national champion Arizona Wildcats baseball team has a three-game series against San Jose State at Hi Corbett Field this weekend, while the UA men's basketball team played Washington last night at McKale and hosts Washington State Saturday afternoon.
Did you happen to catch the remarks by former Arizona basketball player Daniel Bejarano, who left the Wildcats program after his freshman year, mostly because he wasn't good enough (although there may have been some other stuff going on as well)? Bejarano was quoted in a Colorado newspaper as saying that Arizona coach Sean Miller "cares more about money than winning."
That zoomed right past America's National Dumbass, Ted Nugent, on the Stupid Meter. First of all, have you seen the look on Miller's face during a game? It's like he's fighting constipation and holding back diarrhea at the same time. He's totally focused on winning. Then there's the fact that one doesn't reach the level that Miller has (at such a relatively young age) unless they have won a lot of games. Most important, I don't care if you're coaching the neighborhood Little League team for free, making a couple of thousand bucks to coach a high school team, or pulling down millions as an NBA coach. If you're in coaching for the money, you're doomed to fail. Money's nice, but that's not why good coaches coach. And Sean Miller is a good coach.
• Finally, the Desert Diamond Cup soccer series winds up with the third-place game and the championship match Saturday at Kino Stadium.
Like all good Americans, I'm not a soccer fan, but doggone it, you've got to give credit where it's due. The people behind FC Tucson are wizards. Arizona Daily Star columnist Greg Hansen nailed it when he wrote that if the FC Tucson people had been involved in baseball, we'd probably still have spring training here.
I was somewhat taken aback by the fact that the editor(s) at the Star allowed writer Dave Ord to refer to the games as "football." It's not football; it's soccer. Real football involves helmets and pads and freakishly large human beings. The simplest way to tell the two apart is that in real football, if one of the players is lying on the ground writhing in pain, you know that he's really hurt.