Dream of a perfect column must wait two more weeks

July 03, 2003|by ANDREW MASON

When I was a kid, most of my sports dreams involved dunks, home runs and touchdowns.

These days, they're mostly about writing the perfect column on such feats.

For today, though, I'll probably have to put that one on the back burner as well.

It's about 3 p.m. on Tuesday and - as I was locking the door behind me for a short trip out of town, while trying to remember what I forgot to pack - it just hit me: I forgot to leave something behind.

I never wrote my column for (today's) paper.

Uh, oh. ... How did that happen? It must be the temporary freeze the summer air programmed my mind to go on many moons ago. Since mostly what I cover is high school sports, I guess that's where my head is - on break.

And if I don't finish writing this soon, I'll end up spending this upcoming break stuck on the Capital Beltway.


I need to fill this space in a hurry. Every sentence helps (including this one).

But what should I write about? The local high schools and colleges finished too long ago and don't get started for even longer.

But I'm getting closer (to the end of this column).

How about the NFL? If Patrick Ramsey learned anything from his first year in Washington, the Redskins should be good. If he didn't, they'll be average at worst.

So, what else?

I received an e-mail yesterday from a friend who's a Phillies fanatic. He was gloating about their big weekend sweep at Camden Yards while also telling me how excited I, being an O's fan, must be about the potential of Jay Gibbons, Luis Matos and Brian Roberts.

I wrote back: "Yeah, it excites me ... until they take the field and Pat Hentgen and 7.5-million-dollar-man Omar Daal start serving up BP."

I need a quick fix of Orioles Magic, something Eddie Murray couldn't even give me in the old-school home run derby on Saturday.

Even fantasy baseball, which I'm playing for the first time this season, is too gut-wrenching for me. Not only does my fantasy team stink, but my players only seem to produce against the O's.

I can't even watch the rest of Wimbledon now that Andre Agassi has been eliminated. If he doesn't reach another Grand Slam final soon, I may decide to grow my hair back.

I guess Tiger Woods is also in a slump. But since I'm one of the last remaining Americans without any golf insight, I won't attempt to take that issue any further.

Same with NASCAR. I may be the last guy living on this side of the Mason-Dixon who has never sat down and watched a race and never plans to.

I've been told that if I actually saw one live I'd fall in love with it, and maybe even want to put a big Tony Stewart sticker on my car. So I guess I shouldn't be so quick to judge.

My favorite race, however, is about to start. I love everything about the Tour de France ... the world's greatest cyclists covering more than 2,000 miles over 20 stages in three weeks. I know of no other event that requires as much speed, strength, endurance and guts. As much as the climbs will burn your legs off, the downhills are straight-out deadly.

It also may be the best excuse in the world for consuming 14,000 calories a day ... and the only place on earth where skinny guys wearing tight yellow and polka-dotted shirts are the most feared.

OK, that should do it. I'll try to be more prepared next time.

Andy Mason is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. His column appears every other Thursday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2334, or by e-mail at

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