Confessions of a sports novice

Published 1:49 pm Saturday, March 21, 2015

You might have noticed in the sports page on Wednesday the picture of some weird-looking middle-aged man with an uncalled-for smirk. That would be me, of course.

It’s practice for the look I’ll give my co-workers when I win the Men’s Basketball Championship Bracket on April 6. This will be especially painful to them because they know that what I know about basketball — or most any other sport — couldn’t fill a thimble.

Sad, but true. Discussion about this football team, that basketball game or the even World Series leaves me cold.

Now, before any of you start sending in hateful comments, assuming anyone even reads this column, let me make one thing clear: I’m genuinely happy for those of you whose passion is sports, whether it’s playing them or watching them or both. “Each to their own” is my simple philosophy, and it can be yours as well.

I genuinely respect the hard-earned skills needed by tennis pros, softball teams, quarterbacks, defense, offense and special teams (whatever those are). Playing the games for fun, health or profit is worthy in and of itself.

But talking about sports ad infinitum, ad nauseum is usually a mystery to me.

Remember, haters. Save your venom for someone who really deserves your wrath: Cain Madden and his rant against chickens being raised at home. There’s someone whose goose should be cooked.

But all is not lost. Earlier this week, as indicated, I evidently succumbed to March Madness. Fellow staff writer Andrew Lind repeatedly assured me how easy it can be. Gosh, he was right! For 10 minutes I read over the scores and team names to make my forecasts.

Several of those depended on which state a team was based. Arizona, Virginia, Indiana, Texas and even Idaho jumped out because they are places where my family and I have lived. Occasionally the nicknames pulled me toward their favor. But game records to date were a more concrete source of guessing.

Imagine my delight on Thursday when Notre Dame beat Northeastern 69-65. Though I was pained by Perdue losing to Cincinnati that night, the consolation is the one-point difference. Better luck next year, guys.

And yes, I guess that I will be watching this weekend as this team and that team battle one another on the courts. But having to listen to those announcers yap and yap about every little thing. Lordy. I’ll just keep the sound off and play opera music instead.

Opera. Now there’s something worth discussing until the cows come home!

STEPHEN H. COWLES is the staff writer for The Tidewater News. He predicts that Notre Dame and Virginia will face off on April 6, and the Cavaliers will win. Which is as it should be. Call him at 562-3187 or email at