Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of the Challenger explosion. I’ve always looked at that event as a major influence in making me the person I am today.
It’s the first news event I remember, though some of the details are a bit hazy. My recollections have me sitting in my first grade classroom while the class watched liftoff. But, I did the math yesterday. I was in 2nd grade when it happened. And I didn’t see the shuttle explode live, so chances are we weren’t actually watching lift off at all. There are a couple of facts I am sure of though. We were told we would take part in Christa McAuliffe’s lessons from space. (I remember this because, even as a 7 year old, I had a feeling my school would somehow manage to screw it up and we would get screwed out of the experience.) I also remember a 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Dowling, coming into our classroom and, in a loud and somewhat innapropriate because she was dealing with 7 and 8 year olds voice, saying “The shuttle blew up!”
So, yeah, pretty big moment for a kid who would grow up to become a news and information junkie. But, it was something that happened later in the day that really cast the dye of my personality.
My dad came home from work that night and came to find me. Textbook parenting would call for him to have sat me down, asked me if I was ok with having heard about a national tragedy, then talked me through the emotions of it all. But, we were never a textbook sort of family.
Instead, Steve walked into the room with a giant smile on his face and said…
“Hey, did you know that Christa Mcauliffe had really bad dandruff? They found her head and shoulders all over the beach.”
And THAT, ladies and gentleman, is why I am who I am.
We start with Jim Abbott. Not Jim Abbot, the pitcher with one arm. Jim Abbott, the letter writer with what appears to be one braincell.
Peter King’s comparison of Patriots owner Robert Kraft with the Steelers’ Rooney family (NFL Playoff Preview, Jan. 10) is borderline blasphemy. While they both have built championship teams, the Rooneys hold their coaches and players accountable for their actions, often handing down stiff punishments for bad behavior. Kraft, on the other hand, retained a head coach who blatantly cheated.
Jim Abbott, Turner, Maine
Hey, Jim, remember when Ben Roethlisberger raped two ladies? Yeah. That’s worse than cheating at football.
The Hits Keep Coming by Tim Layden
Let’s get this out of the way right away. It’s going to take a lot to get me excited about this Superbowl. Neither one of these teams are particularly compelling. I’m glad SI has so far steered clear of writing about the “struggles” Ben Roethlisberger was forced to overcome this season. I get the sense that, if Peter King had written about Pittsburgh, that’s the angle he would have adopted. Instead, Tim Layden focused a lot on James Harrison, who is obviously a dirty dirty player. But, for as dirty as he is, he’s even more whiny. The Steelers are unlikable.
Pack Where They Belong by Peter King
The Steelers are unlikable. The Packers are boring as shit. Aaron Rodgers has no perceptible personality. He’s a fine quarterback. I guess I’ll root for the Packers in the Superbowl. None of them are whiny rapists.
A Real Jimmer Dandy by Kelli Anderson
It’s still kind of early to get into College Basketball, though I think watching Jimmer Fredette may be a good way to jump right into the fray. Anderson makes him seem pleasant and enjoyable to root for. But one question still stands out: Are we really supposed to take his 27 year old brother’s rap career seriously? Shouldn’t we be mocking this? It’s for the dudes’ own good.
10 Days To Live by Lee Jenkins
This is exactly the type of article that makes me love Sports Illustrated. We focus in on a little known player at the fringe of a sport we love. And we come away rooting for him to be successful. Allow me to add this coda from NBA.com’s transactions page:
Thursday, Jan. 27
• Chicago assigned forward James Johnson to Iowa (NBA D-League).
• Phoenix signed guard Zabian Dowdell to a second 10-day contract.
It’s a happy ending. (Well, maybe not for James Johnson.)
A Whole New Game by Sarah Kwak
Thank you, Ms. Kwak, for writing a hockey article that isn’t choked with puns and world play. Until, reading this I didn’t know much of Ryan Kesler, short of his roster spot on the US Olympic team and, more importantly, his incredibly key role on my Fantasy hockey squad this season.
Speaking of which, did you guys watch the All Star fantasy draft? It was actually pretty compelling TV for the full hour. Kudos to the NHL for going ahead with the plan, which was dreamed up by Brendan Shanahan.
The Heart of Football Beats in Aliquippa by S.L. Price
I don’t know what to do with the information I gained while reading this article. This place sounds terrible. I’m sorry for anyone who has to live there. But I refuse to sign up for the line of thinking that reasons a tough childhood makes for a great football player. All it makes for is a damaged adult. Someone made the argument that these kids deal with so much emotional pain, that they aren’t scared of the physical pain that comes from football. Well, they should be scared. Physical pain hurts. A lot.
Point After by Phil Taylor
I also have life long friends. A lot of them. But, we don’t need gimmicks to keep us in contact. Does that make us more or less worthy of attention?