Saturday, March 4, 2017

Renaming sports awards

Some of the names on awards annually given out are quite dopey if one stops to think about it.

Everybody's heard of the NHL's Stanley Cup. It was named after Sir Frederick Arthur Stanley, Lord of Preston and son of the Earl of Derby, Canadian blue-bloods of the 1800's. Old Stan bought it for about 50 bucks. He never played or coached a game in his life. So why does his name still belong on the most coveted trophy in all of hockey? How about renaming it the Howe or Gretzky Cup, true legends of the game?

College hoops fans put great store in the Wooden Award(s). True, John had his heyday at UCLA back in the 60's, but he's not even in the top 10 all-time winning coaches. Why not rename it the Knight, Krzyzewski, Williams, or even Boeheim Award? All those guys chalked up far more wins than Wooden in their careers.

What's truly laughable is there's a female version of a Wooden Award winner. Wooden never coached any girl's teams. Not long ago, it would have been appropriate to re-dub it the Pat Summit Award. She was the true pioneer in women's college hoops. But few would doubt Geno Auriemma will blow by her career win record shortly and continues to preside over the most dominant dynasty in the history of ALL sports. The formidable UConn Lady Huskies. They're on a 100+ game winning streak, have won the last four national titles, a whopping 11 overall, and are heavily favored to win a fifth in a row this year. So be proactive and get it over with. Geno's going to eventually set so many records so far out of sight that they'll never be approached again. Name this version of the Wooden trophy after him.

The best defensive college football player of the year gets the Chuck Bednarik trophy. True, Chucky was a great player. But he was also arguably the dirtiest one to ever play the game. He took pride in maiming opponents -- beating their brains out, as it were.

In today's politically correct world, not to mention the sensitivity to head injuries that continue to mount up, what's this guy doing with an award still named after him? Here's an idea. Rename it after a Detroit Lion defensive player -- pick one. They never hit anybody, except maybe that boy named Suh guy. And all he did was stomp on people after they were already down. A chip off the old Chuck blockhead. But any Stomper Award just doesn't sound right.

Super Bowl champs get the Lombardi Trophy, named after the late Vince, once head coach of the Green Bay Packers. But his crews only ever won two Super Bowls, the first two, when the competition wasn't nearly as brutal as it is today. So rename it after somebody who has won far more championships, five so far. The Bellichick Trophy.

Curious how the USA and Team Europe square off for the Ryder Cup in golf every couple years. Don't know the namesake of that bauble and am too lazy to look it up. But I hope it doesn't have anything to do with yellow self-rented moving trucks or anybody named Winona. Why not just get generic and call it the Pond Cup? Whoever's the best on either side of it that year -- wins.

Tennis has their Davis Cup. Evidently, Geena, Bette, Miles, and Sammy Jr. had meaner ground games than we ever knew. Not sure who to rename this cup after, These days all the men certainly wear them, lest Draymond Green comes rampaging out of the stands to deliver them a thunderous kick downstairs on the court for some mysterious reason -- and few of the women seem to need them upstairs. So why not just get rid of it and give the winners something they would appreciate much more? Like world-wide tax-free status on their earnings for a year.

NASCAR has long had its Cup, but they keep changing the name of it. Winston, Sprint, Monster, who knows what they'll come up with next? It's all about who will pony up the most money. NASCAR's got more money than they'll ever know what to do with. So why not rename it something even casual stock car racing fans could relate to? Like the Left Turn Cup. Or Roundy Round Cup. Or the Great American Waste of Sheet Metal Cup?

NBA champs are annually presented with the Larry O'Brien Award. O'Brien was a lifelong Democratic political operator whose office was broken into in the Watergate affair. He was also the "brains" behind the George McGovern presidential run of 1972. That election resulted in the most colossal landslide victory in the history of American presidential elections -- against his candidate. So just a couple years later some panel of geniuses decided to appoint him the Commissioner of the NBA, though he likely didn't know a basketball from a highball, an antiquated term, but O'Brien was an antiquated kind of guy. During his tenure, the league was rife with illegal drug usage speculation, labor unrest, and the popularity of the NBA sunk to all-time lows among the public. So naturally he had an award named after him. It's the American way. When you don't know what to do with one that has proven himself hopelessly incompetent at his present level -- give him a promotion.

Yet while the O'Brien Award remains laughable, the question remains as to who it would be better named after. Let's see. Who's been really successful in the NBA over the years? Michael Jordan? Arguably one of the best players ever, but a total flop ever since he got into the business side of basketball. Rule him out. Lebron James? Well, he seems to think he's king of everything roundball, but the last thing the world needs is to feed his ego even more. Nah. The late Red Auerbach certainly won a lot of titles with the Boston Celtics back in the day. But that was a bit too FAR back in the day to be relevant now. Phil Jackson won rings for every finger during his days in Chicago and LA, but he's since appeared to go a bit brain deader than your average Kardashian since taking over the Knicks. Probably not a good candidate. Pat Reilly? No, too greasy.

Hmmm. There must be somebody out there worthy of such an honor.

Eureka!! I have it.

Gregg Popovich, long of the San Antonio Spurs. They've not only won several titles under his guidance, but have forever remained humble, play the ultimate unselfish team basketball, never been even a whisper of any off-court troubles, and ya gotta love Coach Pop just because of how he has driven reporters absolutely crazy over the years with how he responds -- or doesn't -- in the interviews they continue to insist on.

Out with O'Brien and in with the Pop Award. Plus the very name -- "Pop" Award -- would resonate with the NBA marketing people. After all, folks like those at Coke and Pepsi would be climbing all over themselves throwing money at the league for the honor of being the "pop" behind such an accolade. Cha-ching. A win-win for the money grubbers once again.

And there you have it, boys and girls. It was as simple as Trump's cabinet picks all along.

Like Colonel Hannibal of the A-Team was so fond of saying ---

I love it when a plan comes together.

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