This past week and weekend boasted tons of sports accomplishments and failures, so I thought I would mix things up and start the week with both “ins” and “outs.”
The first on my list, look no further than the futball team in the nation’s capital.
Charlie Davies and D.C. United are IN. A successful 3-1 home opener against the Columbus Crew took place under the watchful eyes and cheers of D.C. United support groups La Barra Brava and the Screaming Eagles on Saturday night.
This win is a feel-good story on so many different levels, the obvious two being the comeback of Davies, who survived a horrifying car accident, and the successful start to the season for new head coach and former D.C. player favorite Ben Olsen, who took over a team in transition last season on an interim basis before being awarded the job in the offseason.
Ohio State Coach Jim Tressel is OUT. After the school announced earlier this month that the football coach would be suspended for the first two games of next season and fined $250,000, Tressel says he should be suspended for five. In my opinion this is a clear case of using an unfortunate situation to garner goodwill points.
Intense media scrutiny followed the original announcement, with many pointing out that Tressel would be sitting out games against two opponents that some Columbus high schools teams could beat and that the players embroiled in the scandal involving the selling of team merchandise received five-game suspensions.
Way to rally the troops, coach. In one move, Tressel is trying to show unity with his suspended players and claim the moral high ground in a scandal that took place squarely under his watch. He’s assuring recruits and their parents that he’s a stand-up guy who won’t accept less punishment than his players after failing to report them to NCAA officials for violations.
In the process, he might have attracted even more media attention for himself and his program, watching how Tressel’s carefully planned scheme of how to look and work under these conditions. So after breaking the rules and then failing to report it, Ohio State somehow will benefit more from all this than if it had never happened.
As a Penn State alum, I may be a tad bit biased, and I do believe in redemption, but even so, a guy who failed to handle his business when he had the chance and now wants to position himself as accountable just rubs me the wrong way, especially when schools such as PSU play by the rules and have nothing to apologize for later.
The NCAA tournament always has mind-blowing upsets, but none may be bigger than Saturday night at Verizon Center, where Butler remained IN and the Panthers were left OUT.
Butler senior forward Matt Howard hit the winning free throw with 0.8 seconds remaining to seal the eighth-seeded Bulldogs’ 71-70 upset of No. 1 seed Pittsburgh.
All I can say about this one is they did almost win it all last year, so maybe the bigger surprise is that they came in as an eighth seed.
Many felt that they would struggle to get past Old Dominion because of the size disparity down low. The prognosticators felt the better matchup would be Pitt vs ODU, but hey, this is March Madness and Butler took both teams on and advanced.
I don’t know what the future holds for Butler, but these are the teams that make the tournaments must-see television.
A team can go all season long dominating its competition, but in one moment, that very team can fall victim to an underdog and end up sitting at home watching like so many other teams.
How does the saying go? “That’s why you play the game”? Indeed it is.
More to come, so stayed tuned, people.