First Things First -- Tracee Hamilton on the latest sports news

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Tracee Hamilton
Thursday, January 27, 2011; 9:30 AM

Every morning, Post columnist Tracee Hamilton discusses the most amazing and outrageous news from the world of sports.

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Jerry the Great: Pats Fan

Tracee Hamilton: Hadn't seen it; thanks for the laugh! For those with power this morning, I highly recommend it.And good morning, everyone. I hope none of you had to abandon his car or was stuck on the Beltway overnight. Let's get started.

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Packers Kansas Connection: Morning, Tracee, assuming you can see outside. Are you supporting the Packers in the Super Bowl? Coach Mike McCarthy played tight end at Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas and his first coaching job was at Fort Hays State in Hays, Kansas.

Tracee Hamilton: My support spells doom for many, so I will not dash the hopes of half the nation in a careless fashion. But glad to know about McCarthy's connections!

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redskins' woes: You're overlooking the perfect solution: Herschel Walker wants to come back and he was a really good player a long time ago. Sounds like a perfect fit for Dan Snyder!

Tracee Hamilton: Ugh. He looks great but that's not all it takes, sadly.

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Son of Snowpocalypse: Hope you survived the insanity of yesterday evening. While for most people it was just be a good story to tell their grandkids one day, it does raise a sobering point: what if we really had to evacuate the city, for something worse than a snow storm?

Tracee Hamilton: Oh, it would be a nightmare. I can't even imagine. Although without the snow and slush, traffic would actually be able to move, even at a snail's pace. It sounds like last night that just didn't happen. Very scary.

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Worst. Snowstorm. Ever.: Bad enough to make the commute a hell. Not bad enough to keep me from having to come to work on time.Also, I work by the Farragut West Metro stop, live in Bowie, left at 5:30, and was home by 7:30. One of my colleagues left at 3:30, lives in Georgetown, and was home at 9:30. Weather's a crazy thing.Also, the Caps lost, which is getting annoying.

Tracee Hamilton: My friend Bonnie has a one-mile drive from the Vienna Metro to her house. 1 hour 20 minutes.

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High School Phys Ed: Last fall, our son started high school. He is small for his age; and phys ed isn't going well. The teacher selects two kids as captains, and they pick their teams. Our son tells us he is always either the last, or next to to the last to be picked. Not good for self esteem to say the least. Rather than form teams using this approach, does a teacher have the option to select the teams - and positions played - himself? It seems to me that would be better for everyone since he could match similar sized players. A 92 lb trying to block a 167 lb in football just doesn't seem right.

Tracee Hamilton: Why not just do it alphabetically, or draw straws. It's just phys ed class, for heaven's sake. I'm really sorry for your son.We did our sports alphabetically in grade school, which explains why Lincoln, Kansas, never produced a major league named, say, White. I always wondered why the teacher didn't start with a different letter other than A every now and then.

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Defending Nerf Football: Tracee -First greetings from Texas - as a transplanted Northern Virginianite I must say I won't be missing the snow.Second - I have to defend Nerf Football as not a catalyst for a wimpy culture that may now permeate our souls these days. Quite the contrary - some of the no pads, toughskin jean slugfests were served up in my childhood with a Nerf Football. And trust me, when one missed on running a particular pass route, coming back to the huddle and being 'beamed' with the Nerf still hurt!Thanks as always for the daily chats!

Tracee Hamilton: I'm so old that Nerf hadn't been invented when I played football as a kid, so I'll have to take your word for it. Enjoy the not having snow. Sounds good about now.

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Fellow Former Kansan here: Tracee--I just recently discovered your discussion and I love it! I lived in Wichita for the first 18 years of my life until I brought great shame upon my KU alumni parents and decided to go to the Naval Academy for college. Fortunately, both my younger sisters chose to be Jayhawks, so all was forgiven. I still love my 'Hawks and distinctly remember walking to school in the 4th grade after they won the 1988 championship, proudly sporting my "Beak 'Em Hawks" t-shirt. Anyway, keep up the great work and I'll catch up on your transcripts as I'm nursing my 5-month-old in the middle of the night. Even though I don't like beer, am allergic to cats, and have no interest in hockey, I love reading about them (and all your other topics) every day!

Tracee Hamilton: I can't imagine they were too ashamed that you got into the Naval Academy; good for you! A valid alternative, in my opinion. Glad you like the chats and welcome!

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Kansas Day Week Trivia : Three today: 1) In NFL history, only two players have had 50 rushing yards, 50 receiving yards and 100 returns yards in a single game. One of them was an ex-Jayhawk, the other an ex-Wildcat. Who were they? 2) A chance to redeem yourself from Monday: Lynette Woodard was the second ex-Jayhawk to play for the Harlem Globetrotters. Who was the first?3) This is a gimme for you, but your readers may like it: Who was the only KU basketball coach with a losing record?Good luck with your speech - is it Kansas Day-related?-K-Stater

Tracee Hamilton: 1. I'm going to guess Gale Sayers and Larry Brown.2. Another one? Oh, I had forgotten this, but Wilt did play for them for a bit. That was in his first autobiography.3. This is an all-time favorite: James Naismith. He was pretty famous for not believing coaching was an important part of the game. Phog Allen, happily, believed otherwise. My dad took PE from Allen and I have a book signed by him somewhere.

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tomlin and Gibbs: My point, why even compare him to Gibbs-- I am sorry I don't buy that they are showing how hard it is, since any one watching ESPN knows how hard it is Why not just say Tomlin is taking his second team to the super bowl in his first four years, and leave Gibbs out of it.

Tracee Hamilton: Because they love phrases like "the first one to do it since..." or "the second time in x number of years..." That's my only explanation.

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One more on Cutler?: Very early submission due to the ensuing snow frenzy... Here's a thought on Cutler: Who cares? I am struck by how fickle we have become in assigning who needs to set a better example and be a role model on and off the field. How well did the kickoff team maintain their discipline in their coverage lanes -- was it role-model-worthy? In Cutler's case, his knee was injured, he did not finish the game, and he appears to have some personality issues. The uproar about pride, courage, heart, and team loyalty? And what to tell our kids? Here's a suggestion: Some people you meet and work with are imperfect at best and might even be jerks. So learn to deal with it, don't emulate them, and learn from their flaws. Oh, and most importantly, get over yourself.

Tracee Hamilton: Fair enough. I always hate the "what do I tell my kids?" argument. Give your kids better role models than athletes, for starters.

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Gilbert and his ilk: I truly don't understand how some people can live with themselves. How, for example, can you morally justify buying an $8,000 toy car and spending $5,000/month on some freaking sharks while children are starving to death around the world?And why do we all spend so much money to actually cheer these people on??

Tracee Hamilton: Well, they aren't all like this guy, to answer your second question first. For every Gil who takes up a lot of time and attention there are 10 guys who are steady, hard-working guys who appreciate the opportunity, who take care of their kids and do a lot of work and give a lot of money to charity.And of course I wouldn't morally justify it. I think he's got a lot of issues. But some of that was brought on by having to live in a car for a stretch of his life. I'm not making excuses but I didn't have his upbringing.

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Pressing Kansas Day Question(s): In college, I was forever giving my best-friend/roommate - now a sportswriter of some prominence at a national magazine - grief for his proudly-hung Kansas flag. Why, you ask? Do you or any of my fellow reader-regulars know of any other state flag in which TWO OTHER STATES - in Kansas' case, Colorado and her mountains and Missouri's river - form the central features of the banner? I sure don't. Amazingly, my Kansas ex- also had no defense when I asked/needled her the same. These are two truly brilliant, proud, Quantrill-despising, Sunflower Staters, and they had nothing, Tracee, NOTHING! (hand waves spastically through the air)Can't anyone put me in my place? Or is this something Kansas actually deserves - for once - to be made fun of for?(And yes: I've somehow filled my life with Kansans, despite being DC-born and -bred. Marvelous, lovely people.)Thank you, Tracee.Stevie-in-GP

Tracee Hamilton: Oh, ho, Stevie, you have come to the right place. The woman who designed the state flag was from Lincoln, Kansas. Here is an article that will tell you what you need to know, i.e., that's not Colorado or the Mississippi river! I put a flower on Hazel's grave every year because she doesn't have any other family that I know of. So glad you asked! Love sharing my other passion; that article is part of a website I host about genealogy for my home county.

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Sorry about the Caps: But Georgetown won. However, 'Cuse and 'Nova lost. The Big East is a really tough conference.

Tracee Hamilton: It sure is.

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Beverages: We haven't discussed beverages for a while. What's everyone's favorite drink on a snowy night in front of the fireplace (if you have one)? For me it's hot chocolate hands down, with a dollop of frozen whipped cream (doesn't melt as fast) and maybe a shot of Kahlua or Bailey's.

Tracee Hamilton: That sounds pretty good. I just realized I have some dreadful but available hot chocolate mix in the cupboard. Now I know where I'm heading after the chat.

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Four corners: T-Ham: Greetings from Wichita, where it's gonna hit 60 later this week. Yesterday you said: "I'm with you; I hated the four corners."And the only team to "break" the four corners was ....? My Marquette Warriors in the '77 title game under Al McGuire. I watched the DVD'd videotape not long ago. Slowest 10 minutes in the history of college basketball that was. (And Ricardo Montalban hawking Chryslers .. yikes.) I think that's what made it so obnoxious, aside from just being another form of playing chicken.Of course, we got bumped in the first round the following year and, aside from D.Wade, have done nothing since.

Tracee Hamilton: Man, I'm big in Wichita this week. Greetings! I sure hope I get out of here tomorrow morning because once I get to Kansas it should be smooth sailing. Thanks for the history lesson; I don't remember that game but sadly do remember Ricardo Montalban selling cars. ("Fine Corinthian leather")

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Snowmageddon, the return: Tracee: Fascinating phenomena during yesterday's commute...thousands simply abandoned their cars along the side of the road...I've never seen anything like it. Certainly made for an interesting drive in this morning. Not only do you have to contend with the snowpack, but you have to navigate an obstacle course as well!

Tracee Hamilton: It's happened in DC before but I think probably it was more widespread last night, or so it seemed to me. I keep hearing these stories about people sitting in their cars for 10 hours. Yeesh. I was lucky to be safe and dry.

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"One of my colleagues left at 3:30, lives in Georgetown, and was home at 9:30.": I can walk from there to Georgetown faster than that! Why is this person driving that distance? (I'm assuming driving and not taking the bus--if taking the bus, I feel for the colleague).

Tracee Hamilton: Well, I don't think a lot of people realized when they got their cars out and hit the road, just how bad those roads were. Once they are in their cars, they can abandon them, creating hazards, or stick with it. No idea what I'd do in that situation. Glad I live close to the Metro, I guess.

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Better Role Models?: There are some athletes who are good role models. Cal Jr., for example, epitomized work ethic. Most athletes stand for dedication to their chosen field and physical fitness. The same could be said of professional dancers (except for some anorexic ballerinas), classical musicians. etc. And many of them are active in their communities, support worthwhile charities, etc. Darrell Green appeared to have been a worthy role model, among others. . .

Tracee Hamilton: Of course there are athletes who are good role models. I was very careful with my nephew in steering him away from some guys he liked, but that I knew were not good people. That mostly worked until he got old enough to make judgments for himself, and I'm happy to say he makes the right ones, or so it seems.

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My friend Bonnie has a one-mile drive from the Vienna Metro to her house. 1 hour 20 minutes.: Ans: Leave your car at the Metro.

Tracee Hamilton: Again, how was she to know it was going to take an hour and 20 minutes to make a two minute drive? I would have done the same thing. She didn't know how bad Nutley was till she hit Nutley. I think it's really easy to second-guess people.

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Beverages on a snowy night...: Hot Dr Pepper, with a slice of lemon.It's what most flavored tea bags wished they could brew.

Tracee Hamilton: Shudder, but okay.

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NHL All-Star Game?: Do you know if there's a way to watch it online? I can't get Versus here, and am curious to watch, since the way the teams are being done this year is an amusing way to sort them out. (Amusing because it's not a high-school gym class, of course; these are all highly-paid athletes and someone has to be last.)

Tracee Hamilton: A quick Google search says yes. I'm sorry I'll miss the draft; sounds like it will be fun.

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Gilbert: He does a lot of charity, and with his income $5,000 is like pocket change to the rest of us. To me he has always seemed to be a bit "off." It's fascinating to me that there's really no way to predict how children will turn out. Some with absolutely horrific childhoods - much worse than his -- turn out just fine, while others with all sorts of advantages still manage to blow it. Which is why I'm sticking to cats.

Tracee Hamilton: Yes, I look at siblings raised in exactly the same house, the same rules, etc., who turn out completely different from each other, and wonder.

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Beverages: Skip the frozen whipped topping on hot chocolate and go straight for a small spoonful of vanilla ice cream. I learned that secret from my mother, who learned it working at a soda fountain in Newton, KS.

Tracee Hamilton: Yum. Those old soda fountains were great. A lot of towns in Kansas have restored them as tourist draws but Lincoln's, alas, will never return.

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Pro Bowl: I know no one cares about the outcome, but I live in H awaii and to us it's a pretty big deal. We have a decent college football team but seeing an NFL game is, for most of us, out of the question. We try to show the players a good time and most of them seem to appreciate it. I gather many of you are having a pretty rough winter this year and any of you would be welcome here as well. There are many attractive packages that include other Island highlighs. Seriously.

Tracee Hamilton: I don't think anyone in the DC area would turn down a trip to Hawaii about now.

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Caps...going, going, where?: What is the inside dirt on the Caps? Why are they so off? What happened to the team I loved to watch last year? Is it Ovi's partying or lack of practice? What's up with Backstrom? Is it coaching? Definition of insanity-doing the same thing over and over again. This is just plain painful to watch...

Tracee Hamilton: I'll tell you the truth: No one seems to know. They all look kind of bewildered when it's discussed over there. I still say it's too early to get worked up about it. The playoffs are what matters. As long as they don't play themselves out of contention...

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role models: Most athletes are good role models, bu then again, most adults are generally. The problem seems to be that most parents who wail "what about the kids" over the slightest issue are probably bad role models...Speaking of which, I love the story Brent Sopel's wife told about a time a guy gave him $5 to get a haircut because his hair made him a bad role model for the guy's son. I don't remember Sopel's response (as she reported it), but it was along the lines of why wasn't the guy being his son's role model (as he returned the money, of course).

Tracee Hamilton: Hadn't heard that story, but it's pretty funny.

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MoCo & HoCo: My husband drove from Olney to his office in Hanover (MD). He said the roads were very badly plowed until he came to the Howard County line; it was clear in HoCo. That happened at least once before when I was with him. It's like night and day. Unbelievable! Someone needs to get on these people to LOWER THEIR BLADES and do a good job.

Tracee Hamilton: Go Howard County! You'd think after last year every jurisdiction in the area would know how to plow snow.

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Hoyas: What a roller coaster. Sure hope last night's team shows up for the Tournment, but with this group you never can tell.

Tracee Hamilton: Ain't that the truth!? Freeman seems to have come out of his slump or funk or whatever it was, which is good. Still wonder if he was having blood sugar problems, although he denied it. That's got to be tough.

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Tiger's Leg: Ok, playing golf is not as physically rigorous as playing football. But in an attempt to defend Jay Cutler, some people making it sound like Tiger's winning a major on a broken leg is no big deal. That's absurd. You don't just need your leg to walk the course - you need it to plant, rotate, and pivot through the shot. What Tiger did is absolutely amazing.

Tracee Hamilton: Yes, in the rash of Cutler talk Tiger's feat probably did get too diminished. It was incredible. But it's still apples and oranges to me because he's not being hit by 300 pound men. Tiger is a tough, tough guy and I'm not trying to imply otherwise. But there's the hitting aspect, and the fact that very, very often, ligament tears and sprains are more painful than bone breaks. If I could chose again between breaking my arm and tearing up my shoulder, there's no question which I'd choose. :)Okay, time to stop. Everyone get some hot chocolate or hot Dr. Pepper in you, stat! Boz is supposed to chat at 11 today so check that out. Don't forget, Sally will be here tomorrow so bring your Contador/Lance questions and anything else you want to ask. Lord willing and the creek don't rise, I'll be back Monday. Have a great weekend, everyone!


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