B y T o m D a n e h y
I DON'T EVEN want to think about this past year. It reeked. The Republicans took over Congress, Friends clones took over TV, and stupidity and disappointment took over the world of sports.
Look at the UA. The football team bit the big one. They've gone from 10-2 to 8-4 and now 6-5 in the past three seasons. I could be wrong, but that appears to be a trend.
And that 6-5 appears to be legitimate. They won a couple games they shouldn't have (ASU and Georgia Tech) and lost a couple they should've won (Illinois and Oregon). Most unpleasant.
The men's basketball team lost in the first round of the NCAAs again. This doesn't bother me as much as it does other people because I like to think I understand the nature of the tournament and I realize anybody can get beaten in the first round. Heck, defending champion Arkansas, with all five starters back from a national championship team, came this close to losing in the first round. And the second and the third.
Upsets and close games are what make the NCAAs the best sporting event in the world each year. I just wish it were some other school which had the nasty reputation of losing in the first round.
The UA women's softball team, led by the greatest power hitter of all time in that sport, Laura Espinoza, demolished all competition and was on its way to a third straight national championship when it was derailed by a subpar performance in the title game. In that game they ran into arch-rival UCLA and the Bruins' ringer pitcher, Tonya Harding, a hired-gun professional pitcher from Australia who flew in for the season, then skipped town the day after the title game, leaving school work undone, tests untaken, and many questions unanswered.
Sorry-ass Michael Jordan tried to ruin the NBA all by himself. Fortunately, enough players were content to be making several million dollars a year and they told Mike to perform an anatomically impossible act upon himself.
Major league Baseball came back, but who cares anymore? Attendance was down, but not by enough to convince the overpaid quasi-athletes they had screwed up royally.
The Angels blew a double-digit lead in just a few weeks and choked right at the end. The Dodgers played the worst defense in all of baseball and still won their division with pitching and hitting, only to slip into a coma come playoff time.
The much-hated Atlanta Braves won the World Series, ruining the storybook finish of the Cleveland Indians.
Yeah, it's been a bad year.
I really don't think I'll remember a whole lot about this year as time goes by. Certainly not a lot about sports. So let's look at some other things.
BEST BOOK I READ THIS YEAR: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb by Richard Reeves. About a decade ago, this guy wrote The Making of the Atomic Bomb, which is my all-time favorite book, a magnificent mixture of science and history. It won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award and just about every other book award there is.
Now he's written the natural sequel, which is almost as good.
In between the two epics, he wrote a book about his "hobby" of masturbating. The line between genius and madness was never so fuzzy.
WORST CONTINUING TREND: Yoko Ono keeps making albums and rock reviewers keep taking her seriously. I don't know which trend is worse. The woman's voice sounds like she's torturing a cat. She can't sing, she can't write, she can't entertain. And she won't go away.
Life is nasty sometimes. I don't wish anybody ill will, but gee whiz. John Lennon was hit by a hail of bullets. Yoko Ono's standing five feet away and nothing. Maybe one could've creased her vocal chords. Probably would've made things better.
What I don't understand is why even one rock critic, let alone several, takes her seriously. She's horrible.
I think a long time ago when she started recording, John paid a few people a ton of money to write nice things about her. Or maybe it's just a gang-goof on the rest of us. A bunch of guys got together in the Catskills and agreed to write good things about the worst recording artist of all time (yes, even worse than Vanilla Ice) to see if they could get away with it. These guys are more dangerous that the Trilateral Commission.
WORST NEW TREND: The headlong rush to raise speed limits. The impotent old fossils in Congress think they're preaching to the chorus when they do stupid things like this, but they don't consider the consequences of their actions.
Many more people will die next year and in years after because the speed limit was raised, and for what? So people can get to Phoenix 10 minutes sooner? That's nuts.
I'm not going to claim I've never exceeded the speed limit. I'm sure I have. But I've never gotten a ticket, nor have I even been pulled over. Speeding is stupid, as are speeders.
WORST GAME OF THE YEAR (1996): The Super Bowl will be played in Tempe on January 28. We have no idea who will be playing, but we do know the NFC will win in a blowout and there will be all kinds of new commercials premiered during the game.
Plus Diana Ross will sing at halftime.
Next year isn't shaping up any better than this one. Happy New Year. Ho ho ho.
| © 1995-97 Tucson Weekly . Info Booth