He's a Hall of Fame high school gymnastics coach. A molder of talent, character, integrity, pride and accomplishment. He makes people better. Not just better gymnasts (he's had multiple team state champions and too many individual champions to count). He makes them better people.
They become coaches. Teachers. Parents. Mentors. Administrators. Athletics directors. You name it. Then they help students become better people, athletes, gymnasts ... you get it by now.
The world needs more Jim Guests. He was the same person I met when we played softball together more than 20 years ago as he is now, entering the Illinois High School Association Girls Gymnastics Coaches Association Hall of Fame a few weeks ago. I was honored to attend his luncheon. Listen to his presenter, a former athlete of his, tell the funny and poignant tales that make him who he is.
And I'll be as honored to buy him a beer one of these nights, if we can find one, as I always was to buy him one after a softball game, after he got a key hit or made a key defensive play to help us to a win. Or not.
Jim's one of those guys intensely focused on winning. Gymnastics titles. Team titles. And, more importantly, family titles. Like successful dad, husband, provider.
And my friend. Thanks, Jim...
According to www.dictionary.com, the word "inflection" means "...
...the process or device of adding affixes to or changing the shape of a base to give it a different syntactic function without changing its form."
I'm concentrating on it here because Cubs' owner Tom Ricketts used it repeatedly with the media the other day in Arizona as the Cubs, who haven't won a World Series in 103+ years, prepare for year 104. He called this year's shake-up of the front office "an inflection point...an inflection point for the organization."
I don't know about any of you out there, but the "syntactic" part is the thing I'm really excited about. Can't wait for that to take shape.
Ricketts also told the media, assembled in sunny Mesa, Ariz., that Cubs fans should "...have expectations" this year, as opposed to patience. He expects to have a good year, a great year. He's excited about the "Cubs Way" manual new Baseball President Theo Epstein is instilling throughout the entire organization.
Have expectations, huh fans? Be careful what you ask for, Mr. Ricketts. Cubs fans with expectations are called people who still hate Steve Bartman.
ESPN the Magazine wants to know what the greatest rivalry in sports is. Ohio State-Michigan football is what they say.
And here I always thought it was, "Scott Pilgrim Versus The World." The difference between ESPN the Magazine's pick and mine is that Scott Pilgrim gets laid if he wins. The Ohio State-Michigan loser, well, gets f--ked.
Do you believe in conspiracies? If not, why haven't the Patriots won the Super Bowl since the famous "Spygate" incident of 2007 when they were caught filming the Jets sideline in a game, the tape was destroyed and the once dynastic team is still searching for a Super Bowl win (thank you, Eli Manning)?
Screw you and your God-damn hoodie, Belichick...
What's the best sports movie ever? "Moneyball," nominated for this year's best? "Remember the Titans." "Slapshot." "Bad News Bears" (the original - it was pretty freakin' funny with Walter Matthau as a convincing drunk for a coach).
Me? I'll take "Miracle." The 1980 U.S. Hockey Team's upset of the Russians might have been the greatest sports upset ever and it definitely spawned the single greatest sports photo I've ever seen. The cover of the ensuing S.I. was just the team falling over itself and the American flag waving in the background in the stands and no other words on the cover except, "Sports Illustrated" and the date.
How do I know? I'm staring at it right now. It remains and always will remain centered in my office/den bookcase. Thank you S.I. And Herb Brooks. And Kurt Russell, who had him down perfectly in the flick.
Almost cried. Almost...Can never see Mike Eruzione's goal go in enough times or hear Al Michaels' call, "Do you believe in miracles?" enough times.
All those other great sports flicks have great endings and the heroes overcome adversity and win. So does the U.S. team in "Miracle."
Except, for real...
Peyton Manning and $28 million. Andrew Luck and about $19 million (see Newton, Cam). Give me both and shut up about the whole thing already, OK everybody? Manning deserves to finish his career in the town renamed in his honor - Peytonapolis. Sorry, Reggie Miller. Conference final's greatness, even at Madison Square Garden, doesn't override a Super Bowl title. You get Miller Avenue, maybe.
Irsay, give Manning what he deserves and Luck what he needs - Manning to groom him.
Howard Schlossberg is editor of the Journal of Sports Media, with his first edition due out this year. He's an associate professor of journalism at Columbia College Chicago, where creativity and learning are embraced hand-in-hand. And he still writes sports for the Daily Herald in Chicago's northwest suburbs. http://journalsportsmedia.blogspot.com; www.colum.edu; http://www.facebook.com/pages/CCC-Journalism-Columbia-College-Chicago/115604591875424