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Give Me A Break!

Griff Notes

By David S. Griffel

Those of you who know me pretty well know I like to complain about things quite often, whether it be school work (too much), dining hall food (what in the world did they put in that escalloped turkey?), the weather (too cold), the quality of officiating in a New York Giants football game (complete bull#@!% in their game against Detroit, etc.

If I weren't complaining about something or other, it might be time to send me to UHS. (Actually that might solve the problem, since very few patients come out of UHS not complaining about something.)

But that's besides the point.

There's almost always something or other that gets me mad. So, if you see me or know I'm going to be at some sporting event, please try to refrain from the following:

1) Don't foul and don't call timeouts near the end of a basketball game if your team has a smaller chance of winning the game than the L.A. Clippers do of winning the NBA Championship this year.

Case in point--Saturday night at Briggs Cage, the Harvard women's basketball team was leading Cornell by 13 points with six seconds to go. Instead of running out the clock, Cornell decided to call time-out.

OK, Coach--set up that 13-point play. I mean, a basket a second and you're right back in it.

2) If you are a hockey referee, know what a penalty shot is and call one when the situation arises.

The penalty shot is the most exciting play in the game, as Steve Martins showed with his penalty shot goal at Dartmouth back in January. But most referees--college and professional--have no guts.

Friday night at Bright Hockey Center, Harvard was trailing Princeton, 4-1, early in the third period when Brad Konik was pulled down from behind on a shorthanded breakaway. A measly minor penalty was called on Princeton, and the Tigers scored on the ensuing four-on-four situation.

3) Let the crowd yell all it wants at golf and tennis matches.

If a basketball player has to shoot free throws with fans doing everything except exposing themselves, then a golfer certainly can putt with fans screaming.

Hey, you don't want Andre Agassi to win a tennis match? Hold up a picture of Brooke Shields and sing "Go Grease Lightning" when he's serving, and you'll accomplish your task.

4) Lefty-Righty, Righty-Lefty. Baseball managers make almost half their relief decisions in order to get a right-handed pitcher facing a right-handed batter or lefty facing a lefty, while the team at bat tries to get a righty to face a lefty.

While same-handed confrontations on the average favor the pitcher, managers can let the situation get out of hand. A great pitcher hurls well against almost everybody, while your old heap of scrap metal reliever will stink against most batters. Please don't relieve Roger Clemens with Greg Harris unless the guy is really tired--it just isn't fair to the fans.

5) Prevent defense in football just has to be abolished. If your team is knocking the tar out of another team and you're up by, say, three touchdowns, there probably is a very good reason for it--your offence is doing well and most likely your defense is, too.

What do many coaches do in that situation in the second half? They play cream-puff prevent defenses, which are intended to prevent the big play.

So what happens? The opposing offense gets many small plays and often gets itself back in the game, preventing your seemingly easy win.

And it gets your fans and, well, me very infuriated. Now you wouldn't want to do that, right?

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