Balls, Sticks, & Stuff
The Un-Midas Touch
Ever have the feeling no one you root for wins?

The Phillies have been broken all season long (technically its longer than that, but don't get me started), playing well in stretches just long enough to make your heart over-rule your head. You do the math and you know the chances against them are very, very, high, but still you hope.

It's almost time to turn my attention to football, but what awaits me there? The Eagles have had done very well the last several years, making it to the NFC Championship three years in a row. On one hand, I am thrilled my team has been in the hunt, but each NFC title-game loss hurts more than the last. For years the Florida Gators were perennial SEC powerhouses until I began rooting for them. Almost as soon as I became a fan (I enrolled in a graduate program), Steve Spurrier left and under Ron Zook the Gators have been also-rans in the SEC.

On Sunday, I was pulling for Justin Leonard in the PGA Championship. I've rooted for Justin Leonard for a long time, he and I are similar in stature, roughly the same age, and have similar games - not the longest of hitters, keep the ball in play, get it on the green, par is a good score (the only difference in our games is that he is infinitely better at all of those things). On the back nine, he was in control until two bogies coming in. He dropped into a three-hole playoff with Vijay Singh and Chris DiMarco and lost to Singh by one shot in the playoff.

Notice a pattern here?

Me too. No one I root for ever wins. The teams I follow might win a game, but they don't win it all. It's been since April since I had a significant win, Phil Mickelson in the Masters, and before Phil there was... Anyway, there were lots of headlines at the time exalting Mickelson's breakthrough in the majors, but there could have just as easily been a headline on The Onion, "Hapless Fan in Richmond Finally has Something in Sports to Smile About."

And so it is with great pride that Balls, Sticks,& Stuff can announce that the mascot of my primary alma mater, the James Madison University Duke Dog is in the finals of the Capitol One Mascot of the Year contest. Fans can go online and vote between October 11 and December 26, 2004, for who they think should be Mascot of the Year. To quote Mayor Daley of Chicago, "Vote early, vote often."

Hey, everyone has got to hang their hat on something.

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