WHAT would YOU do for a sports “fix” right about now? 

Marc Elliott

NBA legend Kevin McHale.
NBA legend Kevin McHale.

LARSMONT… I am a certified sports nut to the nth degree and I am fully aware of it. Of course I have my favorites and especially with hockey, I am all in. During the NHL season if I’m not at a game, it’s easy for me to see at least two games on any given night, probably three on weekends as well as some college puck too. I keep up on league issues, team news and events, and I keep up on players, transactions, injuries and the like. I begin to take in serious amounts of info every season in late August, and I am welded to the game until the Stanley Cup gets hoisted. That’s one of the grandest moments in all of sports. In the summer I am crazy about baseball, following my beloved Minnesota Twins and my second favorite, the St. Louis Cardinals.

When I was younger and still in school, my folks, brother and I would visit family back in Illinois and we were a little over an hour drive from St. Louis so they had the dominant TV stations in the area and of course they were all Cardinals all of the time, even when the NFL Cards were still there. It seemed that in Central Illinois you were either a Cards fan or a Cubs fan and thus, let the battles begin. It is very much Viking-Packer like. The White Sox seem to get short shrift south of the Windy City. I can recall hopping on the Amtrak to go up to Chicago for lunch years ago and the train was absolutely packed. It was a Cards-Cubs weekend at Wrigley Field and Cards Nation would be there in full force.

I love football and even though I am not enamored by the individuals and powers that run the NFL these past several years, I still have Purple blood in my veins on autumn Sundays. Always have, always will. My childhood guarantees that fact. I like hoops, but my NBA viewing had been mostly relegated to the Kevin McHale era Celtics, and I was absolutely fascinated by the Chicago Bulls run in the nineties. I have viewed the Minnesota Timberwolves a little bit, but not much. I always liked college hoops much more than the NBA, and Gophers basketball was my go to team. But with the time I dedicate to hockey, I don’t see much of that these days. There are other sports I love, horse racing is very dear to me with the Triple Crown and Breeders Cup. I love Indy car racing and Formula One. In the summers of my youth when back “home” there were many Fri-Sat-Sun nights spent at local dirt tracks watching stock cars, sprints or midgets. I had an uncle who was crazy about that and he was a sponsor at one time of a USAC sprint car.

There are a few “niche” sports I love as well, and probably at the top of that list is Bobsledding, Luge and Skeleton. Having grown up across the street from a bowling alley in St. Paul on West 7th, I loved that too and had aspirations of becoming a TV bowler at one time. I was in Junior leagues and the like as a young kid. As a young man in need of regaining some physical abilities after a lengthy illness, I turned back to bowling. My parents neighbor was a high level bowler at one time, competing in a Midwestern touring league. I think it was known as the Central Bowlers Association. (don’t quote me on that) Anyway, we would get out 2 to 3 times a week. He was pretty good and I was still in the process of learning how to run again and regain muscle tone. I started to regain my physical ability, even though a return to hockey was still a ways off. I would get to the point where we’d have some intense matches. In the end I would only ever best him one time. He rolled a 265. I rolled a 266. We would golf frequently too. I don’t think he ever realized how important he was to me regaining my strength and physical ability. I am both indebted to him and grateful.

Sports have played a huge role in my life from an early age forward. And now, at least for the foreseeable future, there are no sports. Most winter sports at the amateur level are simply done for the year. The professional leagues are in wait, and the way the world situation stands at the moment with the Coronavirus battle enduring, their return is most uncertain at this time. I have gone from full days of hockey games and activity to no games or activity. Some of the sports networks are doing their best to fill in with games from yesteryear, some I have watched, some I haven’t. I’m fortunate to have other interests, and they are keeping me occupied and busy, but I won’t lie to you, I’d love to see some college or pro puck right now. We are now at the two week-no hockey marker now, but I’m holding in there.

How long can I do that before going stir crazy? I’m not sure, but I can tell you that if I see one more idiotic car insurance commercial on TV, somethings going to break. (my brain or TV) Having spent several years in the sales-marketing world I used to marvel at some of the well crafted ad campaigns of the past. I came to appreciate a truly good effort at building name brand recognition (not very easy) and maintaining it. Today, at least in the auto insurance game, it seems that the ability for a company to make that mental imprint upon the consumers mind is reliant upon creating the stupidest commercial possible. In their mind the potential consumer will go around loathing that ad for the rest of the day the ad was observed but if a mental imprint of the company and their product or service is achieved, their objective is accomplished. When the time arrives that a consumer has a need for that product or service, they hope their company name implantation will work before their competition.

For me, I’ve only ever done business with two car insurers in my life. The quality of their service has gained them a lifetime of loyalty from me. When I see these dumb spots now the first thing I think is how much less my annual premium be without these moronic multi-million dollar TV ad campaigns. My ultimate dream right now is to see Flo from Progressive driving a steamroller down the street, eventually running over the Geico green lizard and the Liberty Mutual Emu. Make 'em both flat, just like in the cartoons. There are other offenders, but those three are the standouts at this point. Geez… maybe I’m cracking after all. PEACE

NEXT WEEK; The 2020 Stanley Cup as played out on my calculator… OVER & OUT!