Football commentators like to remind people that there are only two current Dallas Cowboys who were a part of the team's early- and mid-'90s Super Bowl wins: Darren Woodson and Larry Allen. Actually, we think there's only one and a half of them, because Allen is half the player he used to be. Now that's not all his fault. Apparently, Allen is the victim of a physiological defect that causes his ankle to "puff" like a well-made tempura batter. His puffy ankle is why he struggled through the early part of the season, we're told. We think it's great that afflictions normally associated with pregnancy or water retention are now being claimed by 300-pound professional athletes. Next, Allen misses the fourth quarter of the Thanksgiving game because his nipples are sore.

Remember the photo that appeared in your inbox this summer? No, not the one with the horse and car battery. The ones of two Dallas Mavs, Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash, out on the town, tippling themselves silly. Who among us hasn't regretted being in front of a camera lens after seven too many cocktails, right? But for the N&N boys to be so fully looped that they didn't immediately destroy the camera--that's just awesome.

Have you seen those photos of Bill Parcells stalking the Dallas Cowboys sidelines during practice? The ones where he's wearing a big old-woman hat, oversized shorts tucked under his man breasts and a big floppy T-shirt tucked into said shorts? All he needs is a wig and he's Jonathan Winters.

There are exactly seven certainties in the local sports world: On the whole, Rangers pitching will suck; Dale Hansen will be friendlier on the air than off; Mike Modano will have hot women near him when in public; Steve Nash will hit that clutch free throw; Darren Woodson will do the right thing; Mark Cuban will say the wrong thing; and the incredible porntasticity of Dave Tippett's Corey Pavin/Elliot Gould (circa M*A*S*H) mustache will make our heart go pitter-patter. No trendy goatee or mutton chops for this man. Just a straight-up shot of lip hair. Bless his heart.

Really, this award ought to be a lifetime achievement sort of thing, and it should probably be retired hereafter, because Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is just so good at lying that no one is going to be able to beat him. That said, he had a career year in this category. First he told us how he was fully behind quarterback Quincy Carter. By midseason, Chad Hutchinson was in the mix. He made a point of telling us that Dave Campo was his head coach. Then Campo got the ax. He paraded Emmitt Smith in front of the world and praised the running back when he became the all-time leading rusher. He said that he hoped Smith would be a Cowboy forever. Then he watched Smith head off to the Arizona Cardinals, of all unsavory places. And now? Now he's saying that he's going to stay out of new head coach Bill Parcells' way. Yeah. We believe you, Jerry, we really do.

OK, OK, so he sucked in the playoffs. So what? Who the hell wants to watch hockey in the summer, anyway? No, see, Marty Turco did us all a favor. Besides, everybody stumbles here and there, right? Just look at what the Stars goalie did during the regular season, though. Turco was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, given to the league's best goalie, an award he probably should have won after he posted a 1.72 goals-against average, the lowest by any goalie in the modern era. He was also named a second-team postseason All-Star. All fine accomplishments for a guy who before this past season had never started a playoff game, and all that without trying to bribe a cop for a billion dollars.
Uh, let's see now, the other candidates were: Buck Showalter, who tried mightily but all for naught; Dave Tippett, who had a fine season but was a bit boring, to tell the truth; and Dave Campo, who...well, he coached the Pokes for a while--let's just leave it at that. So congrats, Nellie, you da man by default. Actually, Nelson would have won anyway. The gregarious Mavericks coach led his charges to the NBA Western Conference Finals, the first time Dallas had advanced that far since 1988. He did that despite the fact he had no interior players worth mentioning and an owner who refused to re-sign him until after the season. He did that, and he was congenial, too, always joking with the media and playing to the crowd. He's our kind of guy. Glad you're coming back, Nellie.

Best Response to a Dumb Sports Question

Dirk Nowitzki

Last season, Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki was laid up with an injury. During that period, a reporter from a very well-respected national magazine decided that he wanted to talk to Nowitzki about international basketball--a story that most every sports writer addressed some two years ago. This reporter, being particularly dim and oblivious, also decided to interview Nowitzki after a game instead of during practice hours, which is when the players are 1) more accessible and 2) more affable. This reporter waited more than an hour after the game had ended for Nowitzki to materialize. Most would have taken the hint. This reporter did not. Undeterred, this reporter finally got a moment alone with Nowitzki before asking a question that went something like, "Well, Dirk, how have foreign players changed the NBA?" Nowitzki looked down at this reporter and with a straight, serious face replied, "Oh, that's a good question." Without missing a beat, he immediately gave the reporter a thumbs down sign, stuck his tongue out and, like a child (albeit a very, very funny child), made a "thpppffff" noise.

Our friend has asked us to go on a camping trip with him. We are too embarrassed to tell him that we are scared of the bears/ticks/spiders/mosquitoes/dark, and that we, like Glenn Frey, belong to the city. So we suck it up and go to REI, a place where we can buy so much cool camping gear that we can actually feel like a man again. But that's not all REI offers. If you need cycling wear, fly-fishing stuff or any number of other outdoorsy gadgets, this is the place to go.
The players who show up for Glencoe's all-day Saturday runs are serious, arriving at 9 a.m. with coolers and lawn chairs, digging in for the long haul. The games are just as serious, which makes sense, since if you lose, you lose the court. So don't bring that weak stuff up in here. We say this, because we tried to and left a couple of hours later with wounded pride and a Spalding tattoo on our forehead.

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