Tuesday, October 31, 2006

In four days, two football games; and two things I've never, ever seen before

On a miserable, rainy Friday night, I trudged out to cover a football game. Schools in our area are notorious for postponing football games in even moderate rainfall, so it was a bit of a surprise that one of the area's biggest games was still going on.

But on it went, and I made the drenching walk from my car to the press box, where I dropped my stuff and made my way to find a program. Because it's helpful to identify those players we write about, and my boss wouldn't much appreciate reading about how punter #26 was tackled in the end zone for a safety.

I struck up a conversation with a guy who had arrived as early as I did - which was early. Said he drove up from King George County, (we're in Prince William County) though I never bothered to ask why he drove up from King George County. He managed to pluck a seat in the front row, and while talking to him, I noticed a strange deal on the field.

I excused myself from the conversation and took a walk onto the field. Sure enough, something I'd never seen before in my life: Black yardlines. It sort of made sense, since the grass on the field was mostly yellow.

The home team's coach told me later that their Bermuda grass goes dormant when it gets cold and turns yellow. It was completely legal, since yardlines aren't required to be white, only contrasting to the field. Plus, this was their way of celebrating Homecoming.

I took a quick photo with my cell phone for posterity, thinking the dude at the Uniwatch blog might be interested in it. Sure enough, he was.

Fast forward a few days later. On Monday night, I'm covering a different game in a different corner of the county. One of our local teams is playing a league opponent from Shenandoah County (wow, I'm helpful with maps today, huh?).

Our local team is up by two touchdowns, and the visiting team's offense is frustrated by a solid performance by the home team's defense, which allowed 102 yards of total offense and forced five three-and-out series.

After one such series, for the second time in four days, I saw (or in this case, heard) something I've never ever seen before at a football game: Cheerleaders talking shit. To their own team.

"We're over here screaming our heads off and you guys aren't doing a thing out there!" one yelled.

A few seconds later after the ball was punted, most of the players on the sideline lingered near the original line of scrimmage.

"Hey guys," another yelled, "the ball's down there!"


And the crazy thing about all this? Just last week - before Friday night - I was thinking how it seems I never see anything different at a football game.

Guess I won't be thinking that this Thursday.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Holy crap...it's been a year already?

That's been the reaction when I've told people that today is our one-year anniversary. Come to think of it, that's been my reaction, too.

It went by so quickly. But I couldn't be happier. (Warning: Gooeyness ahead.)

My wife is the yin to my yang, and basically takes care of things for us that I couldn't take care of myself - like having a home-cooked meal each night or making sure our apartment doesn't deteorate into a pigsty. (Don't get me wrong, I help in these areas when I can; but without her, I'd be lost. Like lost in a foreign country on a different continent with no grasp of the language and no map or compass - that kind of lost.)

She's also the more thoughtful, analytical of the two of us, unlike the spur-of-the-moment type that I am. I'm ready to rush into something, and she urges a cautious approach. Or I get pissed off when the Eagles play like crap, and she reminds me of some silver lining I failed to see. She seems to be a lot better at the big-picture stuff than I.

And she's humble. I can guarantee that if I weren't writing this sentence, she'd leave a comment telling everyone that I overexaggerated these claims, that I'm not as helpless as I make it seem.

She'd be wrong.

But most of all, she's the most patient, tolerant person I know. I'm a handful to live with - all the constant farting and burping and harrassing of her cat. And from time to time, I do some dumb, short-sighted things. Like the night when we went out for dinner and I stopped to buy a video game on the way home.

It was her birthday.

What the hell was I thinking? What a complete moron I can be sometimes.

But she brushed it off and seemed only slightly annoyed - which is a lot less than I can say for me, looking back on how idiotic I was.

She puts up with a sportswriter's schedule, meaning that Friday nights and alternating Sundays in the fall are non-existent. And though I try and get home early when I can, there are some nights it can't be helped. And she takes it all in stride. (I think I knew she was a keeper when she accompanied me to a couple of far-away wrestling tournaments only a few weeks after we met.) She also puts up with a sportswriter's pay, and that's not an easy deal.

She's a dream wife, and it's been a dream year.

Here's to many more. Love ya, sweetie.

(And for those of you that came out of the gooeyness a little worse for wear, this should help you out.)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Video wall: The '90s

Back again, a bank of Brian's favorite songs, courtesy of YouTube. Now with limited commentary!

One of my favorite songs ever. Reminds me of the wintertime, since I think I overplayed it that time of year...

I completely forgot how wonderful this one was. I've been reminded and am having a blast re-discovering it - proves loud doesn't always equal good. (You'll recall I interviewed these guys in DC earlier this year and saw them play a brief set at RIR.)

Another favorite - for its musical quality, not for the story. I like my happy home!

Completely safe for work. Trust me, I previewed it. This is also the first time I ever saw the video.

This is among my very favorite songs of all-time. RIP, Layne.

Very underrated. Might be my No. 1 GNR song. A damn shame Axel lost his mind...

No better song on earth to listen to while driving down the highway.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

My candidate for Virginia's junior Senator is...

I still haven't exactly picked out who I'll vote for in two weeks. Most of our frequent visitors here are from states that aren't the Commonwealth of Virginia, so some quick background:

The incumbent is Sen. George Allen, a Republican, son of the former Redskins coach of the same name. According to thomas.loc.gov, 50 of his colleagues have sponsored as much or more legislation than he has.

Of the bills he has introduced, some look pretty good - like the government providing relief to people taken hostage by terrorists, a bill that prevents Congress from being paid if appropriations acts aren't passed by a certain date - but a lot of them leave me just scratching my head.

Of his 89 pieces of legislation, four are formal congratulations to college teams that won a national championship. I know this is standard procedure - my wife's boss did much the same when Las Vegas native Kurt Busch won the Nextel Cup title a few years back - but four seems like a lot.

Furthermore, there are several bills "to suspend temporarily the duty" on all of the following, word for word from the legislation: handheld electronic can openers, electric knives, toaster ovens with single-slot traditional toaster opening on top of oven, ice shavers, dual-press sandwich makers with floating upper lid and lock, electric drink mixers with tilt mixing heads and two-speed motors, electric juice extractors greater than 300 watts but less than 400 watts, open-top electric indoor grills, electric coffee grinders, electric percolators, automatic drip coffeemakers other than those with clocks, automatic drip coffeemakers with electronic clocks, electronic under-the-cabinet mounting electric can openers and food slicers and shredders with top-mounted motors and replaceable mixing bowls.

What. The. Fuck.

If you have any sort of political inclination, you probably know that Allen was in the middle of the macaca flap, a controversy which has broiled since the temperature was hot. (The U.Va. Center for Politics' Crystal Ball gives good insight into the major moments of the race so far.)

Plus, if you'll recall, you may remember I'm not George Allen's biggest fan in the first place.

So that means I'm voting for Democrat Jim Webb, right?


Webb has made several missteps in the past, long before his Senate candidacy. They are now coming back to haunt him. According to several reports, he was pretty hostile towards women during his time in Annapolis at the U.S. Naval Academy.

If Allen's attack ads are to be believed - and I've seen no Webb counterattack to make me think otherwise - Webb was prepared to say that the late Ronald Reagan would have endorsed his candidacy. Webb served as Secretary of Navy under Reagan, but left after 10 months. He later penned a book and referred to Reagan as a fool, or some other moniker that uh, wasn't exactly glowing.

Webb pressed ahead with wanting to use Reagan's name, even after a letter from Nancy Reagan that asked him not to.

So that means I'm going with Gail Parker, the independent choice, representing the Green Party, right?


Some of her answers to this Connection Newspapers questionnaire are just baffling.

"... [B]uild[ing] rail now, right now, high-speed rail, beginning in Virginia, is an excellent long term strategy for combating terrorism."

Voters in Virginia have express [sic] dissatisfaction to me with No Child Left Behind. I strongly support education. Rail can provide rapid transit to choices in education."

Huh? Are you joking?

In that same questionnaire, she did not answer yes/no questions about same-sex marriage, net neutrality, and a guest worker program. At least Allen and Webb answered the questions, though Webb did not answer whether he believed in evolution.

So the point of it all is this:

-- I'm not voting to send someone to the Senate to be a middle-of-the-road member in terms of legislation and influence.

-- I'm not voting to send someone to the Senate who has such a persistent past of intolerance.

-- I'm not voting to send someone to the Senate who has one platform, doesn't conjugate verbs correctly and won't answer tough questions.

As a result, I'll be writing in a candidate: Santa Claus. Or maybe Lewis Black.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Why is it about me?

Matt made reference to a game review in one of his comments, and I'm happy to oblige. My two latest pickups were both from the sports genre, NASCAR 07 and Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07, both from EA Sports.

Both are OK, but neither is exciting enough for me to be really pumped about them.

I'll start with Tiger, since that's the one I've played most recently - and the one that leads me to the title of this post.

Why does it have to be about me?

I've played several rounds in the PGA Tour season mode, and there are a few things that I don't get - things that don't jive with what happens over the course of a weekend of golf on the Tour.

First, regardless of my score, I always tee off last. This just doesn't happen; on Thursdays and Fridays, there's a draw to see who tees off when. And if I'm not in the lead after Friday's round, then I sure shouldn't be teeing off last.

I'd prefer a little more realism here. If I don't play well enough in the first two rounds, then I should have to sweat a little after the final round. Give me a screen that says, "Waiting for all rounds to be completed..." and let me know how I finished up.

Second, it seems as though the field tends to keep pace with however I'm playing. I played one course well, but it wasn't well enough to beat the final score - 38 under. A week later, on a harder course, I played horribly, yet the leaders hung right around even par.

Again, realism is needed. If I suck on one course, that doesn't mean the rest of the field will. If I don't play well enough, I don't make the cut. That's always how it's been, yet that's not how it is in the game.

Then, of course, there are the myriad problems that this game seems to have every year, particularly with the audio. No matter how you've played, Gary McCord likes to tell you you're tied atop the leaderboard after you hole out on 18 - even if you're not in the same ZIP code as the leaderboard. And, around the third hole of each Tour event I've played, McCord tells me it was a great/poor finish to my tournament.

This game had the same problem in the last version I bought - 2005. Surely two versions later the problem would be corrected, right? Hardly.

I keep looking for other, non-sports games that will hold my attention, but those games are pretty rare. I need something to keep me from buying another half-ass product from EA Sports.

NASCAR 07 isn't as bad on the inside, but the game's release date is. It comes near the end of the season. As a result, Elliott Sadler is on the cover. Not a problem, except Sadler changed teams in the middle of the season. So there we see him, proudly displaying that M&M's uniform when he was driving a Robert Yates Racing Ford.

Except now he's in an Evernham Motorsports Dodge. Oops.

The game included a new tryout mini-game that was supposed to help you advance to the top series, Nextel Cup, more quickly than before. Fair enough...I drove well enough that I earned a ride in the Busch series, the AAA cousin to the major-league Nextel Cup.

Except that I dominated Busch - around 15 wins, 20+ top 10s in 34 races. (Truth be told, I did as well as I did because all of the driving aids were turned on - only becuse I couldn't figure out how to turn them off. That is the absolute truth, I swear.) Cup teams would be lining up to get me in their stable, right?

Nope. I got a bunch of offers from second-tier teams. (Really, about fourth-tier teams, since they were all fictional.)

And the rival system has gotten out of hand. If I accidentally tag someone on the track, they understandably get pissed off at me. But then, if I happen to see them again, they ram into the side of my car.

If a scenario like this were to ever happen in real life, there would at least be a fine involved and many questions to answer later. Think about Tony Stewart's run-in with Clint Bowyer (and, eventually, Carl Edwards) at the July Pocono race this year.

Like Tiger, it's not a whole lot different than the game I purchased two years ago.

So, Matt, to answer your question: Ho-hum.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Google echo

It's OK to admit it - we're all friends here. We know you've done it. We know you've Googled yourself.

I do it from time to time to see, on the off chance, if any random newspaper has picked up one of my stories. I don't generally make it a habit to distribute them, but one never knows.

But I haven't done it in a while. So let's go visit a search a couple different places and see what comes up. First off, from our friends at Google. Brian Hunsicker comes up with...

-- A pretty decent high school running back in Alaska.

-- Vice President/Convention of the Underground Utility Contractors of Florida.

-- A member of the 2002 Dordt College men's tennis team. (Someday, I will have my revenge, Shane Tukker.)

-- Hey, that football player wrestles, too.

-- Ninety-third place finisher in the 27th Annual ISL Boys Cross Country championships. (How in the hell did I finish that high?!)

-- A member of the board of directors of the Florida Concrete Pipe Institute. (I'm all about construction in Florida.)

-- A letterman in 1979 for the Central Florida football team.

-- A somewhat accomplished fisherman.

-- A bassist/vocalist for the band Bodega.

Damn. I've done some stuff.

I was going to list Blogger search results, but there were only four of them - three of which were actually about me. Metasearch engine Dogpile came up with much the same thing as Google.

So there you go. And you thought you knew me...

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

One of THOSE days

Hey, golf's fun no matter when you do it, right? Why let a little rain dampen the party?

Well, golf in the rain isn't as much fun as golf in the sunshine. And covering golf in the rain sure as hell ain't as much fun as covering golf in the sunshine. Trust me. I know this now.

I was tasked with covering the Virginia State Girls Golf Open at nearby Forest Greens Golf Course. Covering yesterday would've been all right - it was sunny, after all. But covering today? Not so much.

Temps around 60. Steady rain - sometimes light, sometimes heavier, but always rain.

The tournament director is a sweet woman who will talk your ear off, and she was determined to get two days of the tournament in, come hell or high water. At times, it felt like the latter might actually be applicable. (I'm certain the raindrops on the windshield are the most notable aspect of the pic above; at the lower right, however, you'll also notice a stream of water running down the water channel er, cart path.

So off I went, driving around, trying to stay dry (and generally failing) in the trusty cart that was lent to me. Obviously, this situation wasn't as bad as for the golfers and their parents, who were walking and soaked to the core.

But I stayed 'til the bitter end and wrote down every single score, even though I knew I probably wouldn't need them all. But one of our local girls was in one of the final groups, so I didn't have much choice.

After spending nearly nine hours outside in the miserable weather, I rejoiced at the thought of heading back to the office. Bang out a story, get a little warmer, head home.

But you know better. That's not how the story goes. Otherwise it wouldn't be one of those days.

While in the office, one of our former colleagues calls to let us know he was watching ESPN and an Atlanta Falcons offensive lineman was suspended for four games for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. That might seem irrelevant, but considering he grew up and went to high school in our county...

Balls. So much for getting home in time to see The Simpsons.

I try to patch together a story on what we know, which isn't much. Per the Falcons' Web site, this was the sum total of the NFL announcement:

"Matt Lehr of the Atlanta Falcons has been suspended without pay for the team's next four games for violating the NFL Policy on Anabolic Steroids and Related Substances. The suspension begins immediately. Lehr will be eligible to return to the Falcons' active roster on Monday, November 13."

So there's that. And that ain't much. So we get some background - three-year starter at Virginia Tech, drafted by Dallas, signed as a UFA with Atlanta in '04 - and make it sound pretty. Give some notice about the timing (he's back in time for a game with Baltimore, two weeks before Atlanta comes to DC), make the obligatory call to his agent.

But it's something, and I was able to whip it together in 30 minutes.

I figure when I leave the office, I'll be able to whip something together at home to eat - since by now, it's been about seven hours since I had any sustenance. But then I come to my senses and I realize I'm a piss-poor cook when I'm not standing in front of a grill. So I opt for Subway instead.

I walk in and am really looking forward to my meatball sub. So I place my order and...

wait. And wait a little more, while my sandwich-maker disappears.

She comes back and says she's making more meatballs, and it'll take 5-10 minutes.


Fine, just give me a ham and cheese. She does and proceeds to go awfully light on the accompanying mustard and pickles. Perhaps there was something in my worn-our, exasperated expression that told her, "Damn, this dude really wants his pickles." I asked for more mustard while we were at it, too.

But the positive part of the day is that it's over. I'm here in comfy clothing, in a quiet room, just relaxing.

I gotta be honest: It's a hell of a lot better than listening to the rain go splat on the roof of a cart.

A glimpse from Dinwiddie

It occurred to me a few minutes ago as I was sucking it up on Tiger 07 that perhaps I just ought to come in and do something with this thing. (I played in a tournament called Fantasy Courses Challenge, and wound up +30 in two rounds. I particularly sucked in the second round at The Predator, which isn't very hard. Consider this: The longest major in golf history was at this year's PGA Championship at Medinah, weighing in at 7,561 yards. The Predator, to the best of my recollection, is a monstrous 8,500 yards - including two 700-yard par-5s. But I digress.)

So instead, I'll give you a quick look at the NHRA event I made it to a handful of times in the last 10 days.

First off, it's loud. I mean really loud. If you've ever been to a NASCAR race, it's much, much louder. At one point when the funny cars were running, I stood behind the media center, which shielded me from the starting line. Despite the protection, I still felt a vibration in my chest.

Our photgrapher, Jason DeMott, called me on Sunday when he was ready to leave.

"My God, that was intense," he said. "I was standing there when the funny cars launched - I may have shit my pants."

The speed is unreal. The posted speeds for the funny cars are usually well in excess of 300 mph; if they were travelling on a longer line and could maintain that speed, they'd pass five miles in a single minute.

As most of you know, my only basis for comparison is NASCAR. Of the 100,000 people or so that attend a race each week, maybe - maybe - 1,000 get pit passes. Those allow you to check out pit road before the race. Far less get garage passes, and only a handful get hot passes, which allow you to be in the garage during the race.

At the NHRA event, the garage area was completely open for anyone who wanted to pass by. Whether you wanted to see one of the top fuel cars or the funny cars or the pro stock cars, you could do just that.

Again, comparing to NASCAR: At the track, I've had a one-on-one interview with a Cup driver for maybe two minutes. Prior to going to Dinwiddie, I had made arrangements to talk to John Force, a 13-time NHRA champion who has his own reality show on A&E, Driving Force. In drag racing, he is the rock star to end all rock stars.

I called his cell phone and left a message because I knew he was about to make a qualifying run and, because of some lengthy track clean-ups, I couldn't stick around to see his run. On my way back to the office, he called. I made arrangements when I talked to him to talk with him when I got in the office.

I was in the office for roughly five seconds when he called back again. A guy of his stature calling back - twice? Unheard of.

OK, I realize that my words can only do so much. So while I was down there, I picked a random run between two funny cars - random guys who aren't in title contention - and used my cell phone to tape it. So, here you go. And keep in mind when you hear the engines roar, I was inside the media center when I did this. Enjoy ... and by all means, let me know what you think.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

I know, I know...shame on me.

Updates have been a longtime coming, I know. Last week was a mega-busy week that included two more trips to Petersburg. (And, adding to the overall frustration, I didn't get anything accomplished that I needed to in either trip.)

I probably would add something more substantial tonight, but I'm waiting to see a series of shows that I've not seen and would love to. It's the second half of a series on the Military Channel about the first few weeks and months of training for Navy SEALs. The show is called BUD/S Class 234. (BUD/S, as the show told me, is Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training).

The first three episodes are shown pretty frequently. Sadly, the remaining three are not; I've only seen the fourth one once and have never seen the fifth or sixth.

The fourth episode is about the trainess' endurance of "Hellweek." I can't remember all that it entails, but I think they go for a few days straight (yes, days) and then take like a 5-hour nap.

The thing that strikes me most about the SEAL instructors is that they aren't all in your face and screaming like we see with drill instructors. But they're supremely intense, and sometimes sarcastic. Like one dude seemed to be dogging it on a four-mile run, so the instructor drove behind him in a SUV and played salsa music over the SUV's intercom. (He'd also do a little sing-songy routine: Hurrrr-y up, don't fall back. Hurrrr-y up, catch the pack.)

If you get the Military Channel, I'd highly recommend watching it. It really makes you appreciate what our guys have to go through to join one of those elite counterterrorism units. Because it ain't easy, and that's about the biggest understatement I've ever made in my life. I would be passed out within three hours (OK, two) of arriving at their beach in Coronado.

And I'm hardly the only one. According to one write-up, 83 members entered Class 234; 17 made it through the end.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Dark sucker?

I can't take credit for this thought, but I'll pass it along anyway.

What if our lights and other luminescent devices didn't really emit light? What if they were, well, dark suckers?

Obviously, that brings in a wide range of physics-related discussion, which I'm probably not qualified to be a part of. Like darkness being a substance in and of itself, instead of simply being the absence of something. But again, that's for folks that have a "p," an "h" and a "d" after their name.

The idea - most likely in jest - was brought up by a high school classmate of mine, Jared Schoenberger. Jared was (and I presume still is) a damn smart dude, probably a lot smarter than we ever gave him credit for. (In college, I lived with his younger brother for two years, and he told me that Jared basically skated through high school knowing that he could turn on the smarts when he got to college.)

For some reason, it's stuck with me as the years have passed. Most likely, it's because it's probably the most original thought I can ever remember hearing.

We've populated this planet for how long and technology has advanced incredibly far in a relatively short amount of time. A good many of our discoveries, it seems, are simply re-adaptations or refinements. Pong begat San Andreas when you get down to it.

What a wonderful feeling it must be to come up with something truly original. That moment when the light bulb flips on and suddenly you see two profiles where everyone else only saw the vase.

Perhaps the true joy is finding out that, in fact, no one ever has discovered what you have. That's a bit different, more after-the-fact than the light-bulb moment.

So often in our lives, we repeat what we've done before. When I go to Redskins Park tomorrow, I can't imagine I'll hear anything but the typical coach-speak. When I go interview a golfer later in the afternoon, I don't know what she's going to say but I have a pretty good idea. When I cover football on Sunday (I'm on desk Friday night), I can't imagine I'll see something that I haven't already seen in 21 years of playing or covering or being a fan of the sport.

But then again, maybe I will. And that's where the joy lies.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Petersburg...or was it?

I know, I know, been too long since I've written something up. It's been a pretty hectic week at work, juggling multiple projects - all, of course, are time sensitive, to a degree - so I'm not much for writing more when I get home.

One of those projects involved a road trip today to Petersburg and the NHRA event at Virginia Motorsports Park. Well, the track's address is in Petersburg anyway.

I was expecting more of a town-like setting. Instead, this place is waaaayyyy out there. Like 20 minutes past Petersburg, which itself is 20 minutes past Richmond. So far away that I had to use an interstate - I-85 - that I've only used once in my life, when my wife and I went to Charlotte a few years ago.

(Referencing this post: I was reminded that I saw a destination city I've never been to, as the link in the previous graf points out. Check out this photo. That sign, I'm certain, is the only possible link between those two places.)

Once I exited the interstate, I found myself driving past a community gas station - that really IS what the sign said - that sold Daytona brand fuel. Another sign really DID say that, too.

I made my way down Rt. 1 and eventually found the track. Though all the teams were set up and working, it was a pretty laid-back atmosphere. If you've ever watched Driving Force or one of the NHRA broadcasts on ESPN, you see folks riding in golf carts or scooters. And it's easy to see why: the 'garage area' is massive. Like triple the garage and hauler space for Nextel Cup teams at Richmond - probably even more than that.

There are some folks from our county who run in one of NHRA's touring series, so I was there talking to them. And they couldn't have been nicer. I'd heard stories about the general availability of principals in NASCAR vs. NHRA, and those stories are on the mark. I had a good 30-minute chat with the driver and another 15 minutes with his wife, who is the team manager.

Imagine getting 45 minutes with a driver and a crew chief, even in the Craftsman Truck Series. Can't see it happening except in special circumstances. Can't see it ever happening with a Cup driver.

While it made for a long day, it was an interesting one. There wasn't any on-track activity, unfortunately, so I didn't get to experience that aspect of it. But there's always next year, I suppose.

And I still have the press parking sticker on my car if I wind up changing my mind.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Lamont Lovett? You suck

If you've ever listened to a college football game on the radio, you know that the game's announcers can be one-sided. I'm not talking about national network broadcasts, I mean the ones that are produced for the areas near the university they serve. (This can happen beyond college football, and if you've ever heard a Houston Astros broadcast, you know this is true.) I've seen this true with schools I like (Penn State) and schools I don't (Notre Dame). It swings both ways.

With that as a backdrop, I'll go into my late Saturday night. Because I've jumped on the bandwagon with those Washington Huskies - I like to think of them as my college-in-law, since I married into the extended UW family - I listened to the Huskies' game at Arizona, a 21-10 Washington win. (The game wasn't broadcast anywhere on television, so that's why I had the radio on.)

I listened on XM, which delivers the broadcast of the home team. But hey, listening to Arizona's broadcast team is better than nothing, right? I listened as the Huskies played a near-flawless first half, then struggled to maintain that lead in a less-than-stellar second half.

All throughout, I was subjected to the musings of former Arizona running back Lamont Lovett, who is the color analyst for Wildcats broadcasts. Besides the homerism, which is to be expected, we had to listen to Lovett's near continual whining about the officials and his overbearing explanation of one "dirty" UW hit. Funny that I never heard anything bad about Arizona's play.

(It's entirely possible that the Wildcats played a completely clean game. I think Mike Stoops is a solid coach, and certainly not a person who I connect with a dirty program in any way. That said, that's a lot to ask of 20-year old kids.)

But I come not to bury Lovett for that. Instead, there was a far greater breach of protocol.

After an incomplete pass from Washington quarterback Isaiah Stanback, the officials flew a flag near the intended receiver, a likely spot for a defensive pass interference call. As had become normal by then, Lovett went into his whiny spiel about how bad the call was and, in a rather pouty fashion, said it was a phantom penalty.

The UA faithful was equally incensed and, Jeffries noted, began tossing water bottles onto the field as the officials were huddling to discuss the call. Lovett continued whining.

A minute later, the officials reached a decision, and the referee announced there was no penalty because the ball had been tipped.

Jeffries again mentioned the water bottles strewn about the edges of the playing field. Seeing that his mouth had just enough room for a former running-back-sized foot, Lovett seized the moment. Again paraphrasing:

"Well, they had every right to be mad and I don't blame them," Lovett countered. "That ball was clearly tipped."

Beg pardon?

Tacit approval of unsportsmanlike acts is no way to go through life, son.

Throwing debris on the field has no place at any level of football or in any other sport. None. I don't care who is signing your check or where you're sending alumni gifts, you had a perfect chance to lower the boom on the folks who tried to ruin a perfectly fine football game.

It's real simple and doesn't take a Rhodes scholar to figure that out. "Yeah Brian, that was a horrid call," you could have said, "but it's really disappointing to see people throwing stuff on the field like that. I've been around here long enough to know that these fans and this community is better than that. The refs got the call right, and that's ultimately what counts."

But no, it was far too easy to take the low road. In politics, they call it pandering to the constituency.

You're in the public eye, and people ought to expect more of you given the platform that you have.

Shame on you, Mr. Lovett, for not delivering.