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Serbia's Novak Djokovic kisses the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup after defeating Russia's Daniil Medvedev in the men's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021.(AP Photo/Mark Dadswell)

Weekend winners

Novak Djokovic. Dude won the Aussie Open, which is still a major, at least in name, so he's now within two of the record 20 held by Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Pause for just a second and imagine being the fourth best tennis player in the world in this generation. You're the fourth best at anything, and you're going to have major success, right? Fourth-best baseball player is who, Francisco Linder or Max Scherzer? Both of those dudes are future Hall of Famers. The fourth best tennis player? Forget it. Well, The Joker now has won more than $147.9 million playing tennis, which is more than $18 million than Federer and more than $24 million than Nadal.

Me, and anyone who got outside this weekend. Whether you played golf, took a walk, practiced softball with her daughter, you name it. Saturday night we gathered around the fire pit. And Sunday was beautiful too.

Margzetta Frazier. The head-turning UCLA gymnast who routinely puts the exclamation point on the floor exercise got to FaceTime with Janet Jackson, the legendary recording artist who Frazier uses in her routine. Man, stories like this one make me proud of humans everywhere. War People doing kind things. (And while we're here praising decency and kindness, kudos to Joe Biden this weekend. No, not for anything he did or said as our president. He stopped by to see Bob Dole, who is in the hospital.)    

Herschel Walker. First, he wins every weekend because he's Herschel Bleepin' Walker friends. Second, I completely agree with the greatest college running back ever on slavery reparations. War Herschel. (Side note: Yes, even though my dog's name is Bo Jackson, Herschel was the best to ever tote it in college. Barry Sanders had the best season; Herschel was the best to ever do it on Saturdays, though.)

Michigan. Yes, I know Gonzaga and Baylor are unbeaten. Yes, I know there are a slew of teams that can heat up and beat anyone. Looking at you Alabama. But for my money, the Wolverines are the best team in college hoops. (And in truth, Illinois firing on all cylinders may be No. 2.) The third-ranked Wolverines went to Columbus and bounced No. 4-ranked THE Ohio State on Sunday in a nearly flawless college basketball game that was so much fun to watch. Michigan's first five is pretty special, and the offense runs through Hunter Dickinson, a multi-skilled 7-foot freshman in the post and a slew of dudes who are


 

Weekend losers

Baltimore Orioles. One of the great things about baseball is the hope. Baseball, more than any team sport, offers the chance of even the worst teams to catch lightning in a bottle. Whether it's a pitching staff coming of age, two free agent additions having career years, help from young minor leaguers, whatever, the worst-to-first stories are commonplace. One of the factors in that is baseball is such a mental game. Being able to deal with failure — remember, the all-time best in the game failed seven out of 10 trips to the plate — is crucial.  But when a perceived bad team fires out of the gate, the inherent confidence boost is invaluable. Well, for the Orioles, apparently it's nonexistent, even before the first pitch is released. According to simulations and statistical breakdowns, the Orioles have Blutarsky's GPA chance of making the playoffs. "Zero point zero."

Woody Allen. This one could be pretty universal, but man while Kevin Spacey and a slew of others have rightly been exiled, Woody got a very large pass on his personal choices. The recent HBO documentary looked at some of the top levels of ickiness that are Allen's family life. How bad, well, Woody's kids with Mia Farrow are simultaneously his children and his brothers- and sisters-in-law, considering Woody married his adopted daughter. Gross.

Tennessee basketball. Another frequent name here of late. And yes, UK won the game Saturday and as Chas will detail in a moment, Cal's Cats are playing their best at the right time. (Side note: Let the Wildcats run wild in the SEC tournament and the conspiracy-theorists will have a field day with that one. Granted, UK is playing as well as any team in the SEC right now, and they have eye-popping length, but still.) Anywell, this is about the unmitigated unraveling of Rick Barnes' rickety boys. The Vols looked to be a team that understandably had legitimate Final Four aspirations. Now, heck, if this team survives the first weekend of the tournament, it will be surprising. (Side note on the side note: How bad is UK's résumé after an inexplicable start? Saturday's home loss was a Q3 setback for the Vols.) Heck, why am I dragging on about this? Here's Weeds on college hoops, because dem's the rules.  

Sam Burns. Another entry that could have celebrated the success of the victor rather than the failures of the defeated, but this weekend's PGA event at the glorious grounds at Riviera Country Club are accurately described as the tournament Burns lost more than the Max Homa won. Burns' had a multiple-shot lead all day Saturday before a 74 brought him closer to the back. He started Sunday's final round with a two shot lead and while there was a birdie barrage Sunday afternoon that turned the scoreboard into a sprint to the front, Burns was parked right around par all day.        

Me, when I read this story. Yes, it details Trump's intended next moves and what will be a crazy week in South Florida. Oh my.

Whomever stole Deion Sanders' stuff. The new coach at Jackson State won his first college football game Sunday. Then returned to the locker room to see his coaches' office had been ransacked.    

Bonus: Chuck Todd. OK, it's never easy being the guy who has to replace THE guy, especially when THE guy leaves his/her gig by dying. So Todd was trying to fill the Munson-like void left when Tim Russert died when he slid into the host seat of Meet The Press. And Todd is, cue Chuck Barkley — TURRRR-ible. I love Meet The Press. Have watched it for years. Decades maybe. But I'm done. I can't stomach Chuck Todd, and it's not because he's so far left he has to turn to his right to see a Clinton. Yeah, being anything when you're playing point guard in what should be the most party-less seat in news — Russert was so down the middle and fair, yet tough, on all sides; not all liked him but everyone respected him — it becomes much more magnified. Todd has turned the gold standard in a news discussion show into something that should be on MSNBC from 9:30-10 p.m. weeknights. I'm done.

 

Speaking of being done      

I have written this multiple times, and deleted it at least twice. Heck, I wrestled with even including it.

But I did because I believe it to be an important conversation.

Did you see the story that Coke is having its employees train online to be "Less White?"

Did you see the story about the school principal whop asked parents to reflect on their whiteness and offered a scale of various degrees of whiteness?

Imagine asking anyone group to gauge their status like that? It's really kind of mind-boggling.

And, the regulars around these parts can attest to the following two statements.

I am a hard-and-fast conservative. I am 100 percent ready for Trump to go away.

But if you are wondering how he continues to remain powerful and retain supporters, it's because of the growing narrative be it at the largest soft drink company in the world or from a principal in the largest city in the U.S., that we need to be less white.    

Hey, I know we're all flawed. We can all be better. More tolerant, more accepting, more kind, just more better.

But assuming anyone is anything less because of the color of their skin is what we were trying to fight to begin with, right?  

 

This and that

— Thought this was very cool and very interesting. It's every professional franchise's Jackie Robinson.

— Gina Carano vowed over the weekend not to be cancelled without a fight against LucasFilms and its parent company Disney. Carano was fired from The Mandolorian for comments, that included a Nazi Germany reference. (Side note: First, if you have not gotten into The Mandolorian, well, that's on you. Easily the best new show I've binged during the COVID. Side note on the side note: Her comments were pretty benign. Yes, any Nazi reference is sketchy and every Hitler references is a poor idea from the start. But in full, I could see calling them insensitive, but a far cray from anti-semitic, in my opinion.) Here's more on Carano, who spoke out over the weekend with Ben Shapiro.

— Not sure why it was trending on Twitter, but the conversation of "Which band do you prefer, Fleetwood Mac or Chicago?" That's not even a question, right? It's the former. Every single time. Rumours is in the team picture of all-time best albums. (Ask your parents, 'Dro.)  

— Here's Saturday's A2 column on a slew of things, including Ted Cruz and Tim Kelly's celebration over Rush Limbaugh's death.

— Side question: Why do folks hate Cam Newton as much as they do?

— You know the rules. Here's Stephen Hargis on high school sports, and a scoop that Tyrus Ward will be the lead engineer on the Ram Train at Tyner. Ward is a home run hire, and checks all the boxes. Still not sure why Wayne Turner was walked to the curb, but Ward is a star.

— You know the rules. Here's Paschall on the mass exodus of the recruiting class that was headed to Knoxville. Friends, 2021 with Tennessee football is going to be rough. I believe supporters may need to tweak the nickname a bit, and embrace the Volun-Beers, cause you may need some CoColas to watch them on Saturdays.

— Hey we already linked Weeds on college hoops, but here was his take on the improving Lady Vols and Kelly Harper finding her stride.

 

Today's questions

Weekend winners and losers. Go.

As for today, well, Drew Barrymore is 46.
Does she have a Rushmore.

Go and practice random acts of kindness today gang.

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