Quick Takes


    I知 having root canal today. My dentist graduated USC. I知 a UCLA fan, and I値l wear my Bruins cap and shirt to his office like I always do. Damn right; I知 fearless!


    The NFL regular season kicks off tonight with my favorite team, the New Orleans Saints, taking on Indianapolis. College football is now in full swing. MLB contending teams will spend the rest of the month fighting for playoff spots, and then the real baseball fun begins. The NHL and NBA regular seasons don稚 mean much, but they池e right around the corner. And then college basketball. To quote the song title, 的t痴 The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year for sports fans.


    Truman beats Dewey. Douglas beats Tyson. They pale by comparison to September Fools Day in Ann Arbor. Appalachian State, located in the thriving metropolis of Boone, North Carolina, wherever that is, watched their team depart from its stagecoach and dump the #5 ranked Michigan Wolverines on national tv. The Division I-AA痴 student enrollment is 15,117; Michigan痴 student enrollment is 40,025. 110,000 Michigan fans were in attendance for the football upset for the ages; some of them should have played. When the game began, none of them knew where Appalachian State is located; when the game ended, none of them cared. Saturday, Appalachian State hosts little Lenoir-Rhyne College; maybe the latter would be a more logical opponent for Michigan.


    To hell with pocket aces. Based on the Appalachian State upset of Michigan, from now on I知 playing 2-7 off-suit, and I知 gonna raise with them.


Story of the Week


    It was 35 years ago yesterday, but it is as vivid as yesterday in my mind. It always will be.


    On Sept. 5, with six days left in the Olympic Games in Munich, eight Arab commandos slipped into the Olympic Village, killed two Israeli team members and seized nine others as hostages. Early the next morning, all nine were killed in a shootout between the terrorists and West German police at a military airport.


    The tragedy stunned the world and stopped the XXth Olympiad in its tracks. But after suspending competition for 24 hours and holding a memorial service attended by 80,000 at the main stadium, 84-year-old outgoing IOC president Avery Brundage (a known anti-semite and racist) and his committee ordered 鍍he Games must go on.


    They went on without 22-year-old swimmer Mark Spitz, who had set an Olympic gold medal record by winning four individual and three relay events, all in world record times. Spitz, an American Jew, was an inviting target for further terrorism, and agreed with West German officials when they advised him to leave the country.


    The pall that fell over Munich quieted an otherwise boisterous Games in which American swimmer Rick DeMont was stripped of a gold medal for taking asthma medication and track medalists Vince Matthews and Wayne Collett of the U.S. were banned for life for fooling around on the victory stand during the American national anthem.


    The United States also lost an Olympic basketball game for the first time ever when the Soviets were given three chances to convert a last-second inbound pass and finally won, 51-50. The U.S. refused the silver medal.

It was perhaps the most controversial result in Olympic history. The United States basketball team had been unbeaten in 62 Olympic competitions. Then they met the Soviets in the 1972 gold medal game.

    USA guard Doug Collins sank two foul shots late in the game, giving the Americans a 50-49 lead with three seconds remaining and what looked like the gold medal. The Soviets inbounded the ball right away but the referee, Renato Righetto of Brazil, blew the whistle with one second on the clock.

    Following a conference with the officials, it was determined that the Soviet head coach Vladimir Kondrashkin had called a time out. The Soviets were given a second opportunity to inbound the ball with three seconds left. After a Soviet player heaved a desperation miss from half court, the U.S. began their celebration, which proved to be grossly premature. The Soviet coach, Kondrashkin, protested that the clock had been reset incorrectly and demanded a third chance.

    The Russian team received the ball, and this time got the ball to their star player Aleksandr Belov, who sank the winning basket at the buzzer. The U.S. team, convinced they were robbed of the gold, flatly refused the silver and did not attend the victory ceremony, filing an offical protest.

    A five-man jury, despite testimony from the referee and the timekeeper pointing to the contrary, ruled the result fair.


    Per Jeff Gordon of Fox Sports.com.
USSR basketball gold medal. 1972 Olympics.

The U.S. had never lost a basketball game in the Olympics until facing the Soviets in the 1972 finals at Munich. The U. S. record was 62-0 heading into the gold medal game.

The Americans believed they had beaten the Soviets 50-49 in a hard-fought game. They rallied fiercely and scored the would-be winning points with three seconds left on two Doug Collins free throws. The Russians had one last chance to win, but they were unable to get off a shot as time expired. As the U.S. team celebrated its victory, game officials conferred and decided to give the Soviets a second chance to win the game. R. William Jones, the secretary-general of the International Amateur Basketball Federation, ordered three seconds be put back on the clock.

Russian player Ivan Edeshko was then able to threw a long pass to Alexander Belov, who scored the winning basket and made hoops history. The U.S. appealed the decision to the five-man Jury of Appeal, but three of the judges were from Soviet-bloc countries. Case closed.

The U.S. players never accepted their silver medals. "If we had gotten beat, I would be proud to display my silver medal today," team member Mike Bantom later said. "But, we didn't get beat, we got cheated."


    To place it all in proper perspective, a basketball game is just that. The Israeli tragedy that was the 1972 Olympics lives in our minds forever.


Last Week痴 Trivia


    Who holds the NHL痴 all-time highest plus-minus rating for one season? (The plus-minus rating refers to goals a player痴 team scores versus goals that player痴 team allows while he is on the ice.) Boston Bruin Bobby Orr, who痴 almost universally regarded as the best defenseman in NHL history, registered an incredible plus-minus rating of +124 during the 1970-1971 season.


Trivia Question of the Week


    It was a happier Olympic moment. In the 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid, New York, when our upstart group of hockey amateurs beat the heavily favored Soviet team of professionals, essentially, on their way to the gold medal, what were the classic words of announcer Al Michaels as the game clock ticked down to an American victory? See next week痴 Sports Junkie for the answer.