The year is coming to an end, which means everyone is coming up with end of year lists about everything. Sports editor Jon Styf and columnist Tom Musick discuss their lists.
Styf: My Christmas cheer is over, done with. More than a few people have called me Scrooge in the past week. So I’ll start with the Heartbreaker of the Year, pretty much the worst softball story ever told. Marengo had a good team this season (You know, like they always do) and held a four-run lead with one out left in the sectional final. Then utter chaos occurred. Three straight singles and the oddest bases-clearing error you could imagine later, they lost, 6-5, and their season abruptly ended. As coach Dwain Nance said afterward, “99 times out of 100 we’re going to make the throw there.” That play will make the 2011 state champs, who finished No. 2 in 2012, even more hungry to get back to the state finals this year.
Musick: Thanks a lot, Scrooge. One minute, I’m staring at a lovely Christmas tree, and the next minute, I’m thinking about Marengo’s utter chaos. I’m also thinking about udder chaos, which would involve a cow, plastic wrap and the rim of a toilet. Anyway. You want a real Scrooge story? How about Derrick Rose and the Bulls, who were supposed to be title contenders but ended up as a hobbled laughingstock?
Styf: Not bad, if we’re choosing the bad teams. Speaking of hobbled, my Tiny Tim Award goes to Prairie Ridge football. They stumbled after winning a state title two years ago, then we counted them out of it this year. But they proved a lot of people (including me) wrong by collecting themselves and going on an impressive run to make the playoffs and then win twice in the playoffs. Heck, they had Boylan on the ropes but just couldn’t finish them off.
Musick: I remember going to Prairie Ridge’s first practice of the season. The Wolves players worked for two-plus hours under the sun and looked exhausted, and then the coaches lined them up for sprints. I tried to hide behind the blocking sled in case one of the coaches confused me for a player. Speaking of football coaches, I’m going to give Vito Andriola of Dundee-Crown the Inspirational Coach And Unprintable Quote Award. Because he did amazing work to lead the once hapless Chargers into the playoffs, and many of his insightful (but profane) quotes could not make it into this newspaper.
Styf: I only hope I can live up to his inspirational and profane abilities here in the newsroom. Speaking of profane, I see a lot of profane things on Twitter. But not from my favorite tweeters of the year, Johnsburg coach Mike Toussaint (@CoachTous) and Woodstock coach Al Baker (@Coach_Al_Baker). I’m always looking for a good tweet (or a bad Tim Tebow joke) to put on the sports front when you are having an off day, joke-wise, and most often they provide.
Musick: I have no off days. I’m perfect, duh. Kind of like Jordan Lynch, who gets my Mr. Perfect award as the most important athlete to grace our state’s fine soil since Michael Jordan. Or was it Mike Ditka? OK, so I’m making fun of our constant attention on Lynch, but the truth is that he is a good player and NIU football is a good story. I hope he makes it to the NFL. And I still think I’m right about him being similar to your boy Tebow.
Styf: You can keep needling me about that and remain wrong. Tebow outlifted the linemen, NFL players. He was country strong, or Christian strong or whatever. He’s much bigger, he also throws worse. You probably think Jay Cutler and Josh McCown are pretty much the same guy too then, huh? Which brings me to my last and most negative award, Mr. Overrated. You guessed it, that’s Mr. Fourth Quarter himself Cutler. He’s got a big-money arm, a reality TV star wife and a 10 cent head. Yet the Bears just might mortgage their future for him this offseason. It’s like “Moneyball.” Every team is trying to buy wins with what they pay each player. I don’t think they’re getting enough return for their investment to do that.
Musick: I would sign him to a short-term deal, but it’s tough to argue your points. Oh, and we forgot something in this chat: The Wait Till Next Year Award. Congratulations, Cubs. You’ve won it again.