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NEWS | May 4, 2009

A collection of sports thoughts

By Airman 1st Class Patrick McKenna Capital Flyer sports writer

Considering this past week was one of the high points of the year for us sports junkies (NFL Draft, NHL and NBA first round matchups heating up and a good baseball rivalry weekend), I felt it only appropriate to make this week's column a collection of thoughts from around the sports world. OK, that's not exactly the whole truth. The truth is I had about 800 words on the NFL Draft ready to go this week until my computer decided to play some funny tricks on me and now that document is nowhere to be found. It's 1 a.m. and I'm taking my laptop's impersonation of "Eagle Eye" as a sign that I should switch things up. Here it is folks:

It's a fact that the NHL is a distant fourth in popularity when compared to the other three major American sports leagues, but there's something about playoff hockey that is so exhilarating. Whether it be the fact that a number eight seed actually has a chance to take out a number one (see Anaheim knocking out San Jose), the sudden death overtimes or the great matchups of young superstars (Crosby's Penguins vs. Ovechkin's Capitals next round), the NHL can hold its own with the other leagues during this time of year, even if it's only for a few weeks.

While watching the NFL draft this past weekend it was announced that number one overall pick, quarterback Matthew Stafford, had signed a contract worth more than $72 million over six years with $42 million guaranteed. Unfortunately, with enormous contracts getting handed out to athletes like Snickers on Halloween, the sheer magnitude of Stafford's contract didn't hit me until I looked up some numbers. Let me put it in perspective for you: Stafford is now paid more than Tom Brady. That's right. A rookie who's never taken a snap in the NFL is now taking home a bigger paycheck than a guy who has won three Super Bowls. For the sake of Lions fans everywhere, I sincerely hope Stafford is more Matt Ryan than Matt Leinart.

I'm not going to mince words. I'm not only on the Dwayne Wade for MVP bandwagon, I'm driving it. He led the league in scoring. He was among the top 15 in blocked shots and most importantly, Wade took a team that had the worst record last season and singlehandedly carried them back to the playoffs. Is he going to win it? Of course not. Lebron has it locked up, but Wade deserves to be in the discussion.

To say golfer Brendon Todd of the Nationwide Tour accomplished something golfers of
all skill levels envy would be an understatement. Getting a hole in one is the Holy Grail of golf. A solid golfer can chase that feat their entire life and never get it. Todd hit a hole-in-one on consecutive days on the same hole. I don't think I've even done that in miniature golf.

I learned a few lessons following this year's NCAA basketball tournament. Never underestimate the heart of a great player (Ty Lawson). Never second guess how far a dominant defensive player (Hasheem Thabeet) can carry a team. Lastly, never pick a team that struggles to hit free throws (Memphis) to win it all. I don't care if their average margin of victory during the regular season is 50 points. When March rolls around, the teams that win are the ones that can hit free throws with less than two minutes to go. If I follow these three simple lessons next year perhaps my bracket won't be covered by red ink and tears before the Sweet 16 even starts.