I don’t know the exact number of people who asked me who I was rooting for in the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl – but it was a lot. It’s not cool being the radio sports guy and having to find so many different ways to say, “I genuinely don’t care who wins” but I found a way. Then it dawned on me a couple days before kickoff…Niners coach Jim Harbaugh is not only perhaps the biggest horse’s backside in the NFL but his team is in the same division as the Hawks. Very easy to root against. Go Ravens.
I didn’t do anything big for the game – just laid low at home. But let the record show I did make my annual Chili Cheese Nachos a la Scholten. And since you asked yes it is just chili and cheese melted together but for some of us that’s a big accomplishment in the kitchen. I ate and ate well.
I feel guilty saying it because so much of my radio life is dedicated to pre- and post-game shows but I had little use for the CBS pre-game festivities. Instead I watched a week’s worth of DVR’d sitcoms up until kickoff. Didn’t time it very well because I missed Alicia Keys doing the national anthem, and Alicia Keys is in my top-10 if you know what I mean. Maybe top-5.
Settled in for the game and really enjoyed the Ravens getting off to a hot start and Jim Harbaugh not getting off to one. I know you’re not supposed to derive pleasure from the pain of others but Jim Harbaugh’s pain brought me great joy. Hope I’m not the only Seahawk fan to say it or feel it.
Being a healthy American male I greatly enjoyed Beyonce at halftime. I still can’t say or hear the word ‘Booty-licious’ without chuckling like a 5th grader but I got by. And with apologies to Kelly and Michelle the Destiny’s Child reunion was lost on me. I won’t be at the reunion tour.
And then…the lights went out. The now-famous 35-minute power outage early in the 3rd quarter. Like everybody else I texted friends and loved ones with a version of the joke “Geez what did you plug in to blow out the Superdome?” Sent out four, got three responses. Would’ve loved to know exactly how long the delay was going to be so I could’ve taken a nap but fought through and stayed up the whole time.
And then wouldn’t you know it actually became a heckuva football game. Fun and entertaining to watch with a finish that came down to the final minute. And most importantly, and I can’t stress this enough, JIM HARBAUGH DIDN’T WIN.
My name is Mark Scholten, I’m 43 years old, and I am so ashamed of my golf game that I now almost can’t golf in front of people. There I said it. Shame is not too strong a word. It’s almost a full-blown phobia. It was all brought back to the forefront again recently when Doug Lange and I were invited to participate in the Bring Back Western Washington University Football golf tournament at Avalon in Burlington. We quickly settled on driving the beverage cart so we wouldn’t have to golf in front of people.
There is absolutely no good reason why a sports enthusiast my age shouldn’t be a good golfer. Doug and I get invited to golf in tournaments all the time but I’m too chicken to play. Now in the name of complete honesty the reason for my ineptitude is self-inflicted. I have been golfing for more than three decades. First started going out with my dad, grandpa and brother in about 4th or 5th grade. I exaggerate only slightly when I say I’m not a heck of a lot better now than I was then. I’ve only broken 100 three times (have all three scorecards by the way).
I love going out a few times a year with close friends and loved ones. I can usually make it through a round and only humiliate myself a couple times. But the leap from that to being able to call myself a golfer (rather than just “a guy who golfs”) has alluded me all these years.
There have been flashes of brilliance. About 10 years ago in Winthrop I knocked in a 9-iron from about 110 yards. The bad news was it was my 5th shot on a par-5. Last summer I saw I was going to have to tee off on #1 at Raspberry Ridge in front of a huge group of people. Totally freaked out. The driver wasn’t really an option because I would probably kill someone so out came the 3-iron. Totally lucked into about a 220-yarder right down the middle. The little gallery actually applauded. But that’s about it for good memories. After that it’s all just a blur of hooks, slices, topped drives, duffed long irons and 4-putts.
The goal when I was younger was to be a good golfer by the time I was 40. Well I botched that one. I should probably be at peace by now with the fact I’ll never be good, but I’m not. Doug and I did a live broadcast from The Hitting Zone a few years ago and local pro Dean Russell said I had a “pretty athletic” looking swing. I hope I’m not doomed to just be a guy with potential who SHOULD be a good golfer but isn’t. I realize it’s going to take a level of commitment (like playing more than three rounds a year or getting clubs custom made for a 6-6 guy) I haven’t shown yet, but I will hold out hope. Until then look for me lurking in the shadows and trying not to draw attention to myself on the course. Or maybe it’s better if you don’t look for me.
Maybe by the time I’m 50…
I can’t lie to you – at this point we go back too many years. I just can’t muster a shred of enthusiasm for the 2011 Seahawks. I don’t know if that should come with an apology or not but it’s the ugly truth. Any team that starts Tarvaris Jackson at quarterback is not to be taken seriously. I’m a Minnesota Viking fan and he was a long-time unimpressive Viking. I’ve seen what he is (or isn’t) capable of. All of Coach Pete Carroll’s player moves lead to too many boring names. Admittedly last season looked like a step in the right direction in the coach’s first year but now comes the step back. I don’t think I’m up to it. If it gets to December and they’re in the Andrew Luck draft sweepstakes I may take some reverse joy in rooting for losses to get him, but don’t call until then. Which leads to our next point…
If there’s been a better invention in the last 50 years than the NFL Red Zone channel I don’t know what it is. Have you had the pleasure yet? It’s an off-shoot of the NFL Network. They have an anchor sitting in the studio starting with the kickoffs of the 10 AM games every Sunday and he just plays traffic cop going to whatever game is the closest to getting a touchdown. If they miss one in another game they go back as soon as they can and replay it for us. Then back to whatever game is again closest to scoring. Completely and whole-heartedly addicting. Especially for a fantasy football degenerate like myself. Anchor Scott Hanson’s favorite phrase is “We don’t do commercials here on the Red Zone” so the action just keeps going. Then more of the same for the 1:00 games. They show every scoring play. At last check I still have the ability to watch an actual game, but this channel looks like it will ruin that here before too long. And one more while we’re on a roll…
Do yourself a favor and check out the Lynden High School football team sometime this season. They look to be the class of Whatcom County and may be as good as anybody in the state – and I’m comfortable saying that without having seen them in person yet. You’ll recall they were mostly sophomores last year, had an undefeated regular season, got as high as #2 in the state rankings, and lost to 3rd ranked and eventual state champion Tumwater in the first round of the playoffs. They’re back as mostly juniors now and look out. Quarterback Josh Kraght was as impressive as any player I saw last year when he was one of those sophomores and now he’s back another year more experienced. They have the luxury of multiple tall, talented wide receivers this year so Kraght can go to whoever has the best match-up. Nice luxury to have for Coach Curt Kramme. A frequent question I get from local fans no matter the year or the athletic season is “Who’s good this year?” Well this fall the answer is the Lynden Lions.
So here I go again trying to explain my love of Vancouver Canucks playoff hockey. And I don’t know if I can. I may not even fully get it myself. It was driven home again on Easter Sunday at my parents’ house when I excused myself to the living room and tuned in to sneak a check on the Canucks and Blackhawks. My dad happened into the room, looked at the TV, and gave me a nice loud, “HOCKEY? WHAAAAT?”
It was clearly the first time hockey had been on at their house. I didn’t grow up a hockey fan at all. I made fun of the Quebec Nordiques just because of their name. I remember when my brother and I were kids we had a babysitter at our house who was excited to watch hockey. We thought he was from Mars.
I was even indifferent when the Canucks made their run to the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals. I knew the name Pavel Bure but that was about it.
But then something happened. We started covering them a little more at the station and I learned some of their names and faces. One year when the Naslund-Bertuzzi era Canucks started the playoffs I felt like I knew them a little bit and gave it a sniff. And that was the beginning of an addiction I’m living with to this day.
I don’t care about the regular season. I don’t care about other teams (but might check out Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals). But Canucks playoff hockey has me hooked. Doug and I were at the NFL Draft recently and I just had to know the Canucks score.
And this post-season might take it to another level as the Canucks have the best record in the league and the #1 overall seed. They’re the favorite to win the whole thing and hoist the Cup. As of this writing they struggled past Chicago in the first round and are in the second round against Nashville. If they take it all the way it’ll be one of the best rides ever.
I’m not quite ready to follow the tradition of growing a “playoff beard”, but it’s close.