A Very Unsporting Column

SPORTS

I'm in really big trouble now. I have to fill all this space, but there are no sporting events in Cambridge this weekend. I could tell you about everything that has happened to me in the past week, but I'm sure someone else will take care of that when they write my biography, or at least a short novel on my life.

But just because there are no listings on the intercollegiate schedule doesn't mean that there isn't anything to do this weekend. This is the penultimate weekend of grueling and sweaty work for many seniors who are writing theses. And thesis watching has fast become one of America's great spectator sports. There is nothing like the thrill of watching a well-trained athlete laying into the typewriter and coming up with incredible insights that could earn him honors (the thrill of victory) or, with some bad luck, no distinction (the agony of defeat).

This sport is my favorite. I can appreciate seeing other people suffering, all of them knowing that for the next two weeks it's do or die. You're Bernie Carbo up at bat with two men on and two out. You're Muhammed Ali in the fifteenth round of his bout with Leon Spinks (almost).

There are certainly many other things the inveterate spectator can indulge in this weekend. Snow will always be melting, and there will always be traffic in Harvard Square.

You didn't really think that I forgot the ECAC hockey playoffs this weekend, did you? I mean, this typewriter is still clean, and it isn't going to be making any mistakes.

The four teams in the ECAC playoffs are Providence, Brown, Boston College and Boston University. The first three of these teams were the seventh, sixth, and fifth seeds in the ECAC tourney and they pulled off big upsets. Cornell had to eat it on their home ice against Providence. Clarkson bit the dust in Potsdam, New York, losing to Brown (a team the Crimson beat twice this year). And B.C. took it to R.P.I. in overtime, 7-6. The only seed in the first half of the standings to make it into the semi-finals is B.U.

So, at the Boston Garden Friday and Saturday night the ECAC playoffs will be concluded. On Friday night the doubleheader will pit Brown against B.C. and Providence versus B.U. And on Saturday the finals will see the two finalists playing each other in the final game of the ECAC season. Two weeks from this weekend the two finalists will see action in the NCAA tournament at Brown.

The last time I went to an ECAC playoff was the winter of '75 when Harvard made the finals and won a trip to St. Louis for the NCAA's. I remember listening to the game between Harvard and Minnesota on the radio while I was talking on the phone and nearly fainting as the Golden Gophers scored three quick goals to put Harvard out of the national championship. Needless to say, I never talked to the girl on the other end of the phone again.

The NCAA basketball championships are beginning this weekend, although the fun won't really start until next week when there will be too many games to watch. Sunday afternoon the four games are Rhode Island-Duke, Furman-Indiana, Penn-St. Bonaventure, and Villanove-LaSalle. Consult listings in your newspaper for time and station.

And let's not forget the professional sports scene. At the Boston Garden, Sunday afternoon, it's your last chance to catch the Denver Nuggets this season. The Nuggets are currently in first place in their division, and they boast the talents of David Thompson, who can almost jump as high as I can.

And Sunday night let's not forget the return of the Los Angeles Kings. They're in second place in their division, but the first-place team is the Montreal Canadiens, who have already clinched the division title. The Kings are a much-improved team since their innovation of having their center ride the Zamboni during the game to screen the goalie. The center just parks in the crease and catches the action from there.

And speaking of from there, that's about all I have to say from here. If you want to discuss your paper topic or you want an extension, don't hesitate to call my office.

I'll catch you next week, unless you catch me first. Until then,

Be there. Catatonia.