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Pigeons vs. Soccer 

HEY, IT COULD HAVE BEEN BUD COLLINS...

Apparently the only thing dropping from Wimbledon faster than Americans and top-seeds are the pigeons.

Championship officials last week hired an assassin to take out pigeons who weren't scared of by the two hawks originally hired to rid the area of flying rats. The dive-bombing birds were a nuisance to players for sure, but they were also creating a health hazard in one of the restaurant areas of the All England Club, officials said, when they began defecating on patron tables. Sort of puts the yuck factor in the traditional Wimbledon indulgence: strawberries and cream.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, of course, wound themselves up in a tizzy admonishing championship officials, saying the marksmen were used as a "first, rather than last resort" according to ESPN.com.

But the whole thing got me thinking about where marksmen might be appropriate in the American sporting arena - and where PETA has no jurisdiction.


-To take out the first person to yell "YOU DA MAN!" after a golfer hits a shot.

-To rub out the 8-year-old kid sitting in front of you at a ball game banging together those plastic, noise maker tubey things all night long.

-To eliminate the guy at Bend Elks games who yells "get your head in the game!" to a college freshman who makes his best effort at, yet simply mishandled, a ground ball.

Just a thought. The sniper could always just use rubber bullets right?

IT'S OVER ALREADY?

So apparently Spain defeated Germany 1-nil in the Euro 2008 finals over the weekend, ending a month-long soccer love-in for folks sad that the Premier League is over and for those anxiously anticipating the next World Cup, whenever and wherever that might be.

See, I stopped playing - and caring about - soccer when I realized I had opposable thumbs and had the coordination to throw, catch, and hit both moving and stationary objects with something like, say, a baseball bat or golf club.

It's not the recreational playing of soccer that perplexes me - I've even played Parks and Rec soccer in Bend. It's good exercise and competitive. But I am fascinated with people's interest in the following of the sport here in America and that fascination grows each time there is a soccer event such as this.

Even in little ole Bend, Oregon people were having Euro parties and missing events so they could watch the Euro.

Hell, the U.S. wasn't even allowed to have a team in the tournament - which, apparently might be a good thing. I don't know a lot about soccer, but I know we don't exactly strike fear in the eyes of the rest of the world out there on the pitch.

Sports Illustrated recently ran a funny piece about why Americans hate soccer, including the facts that there is no strategy, it's dull and "soccer players are wimpy athletes." Hey those are the SI's writer's words, not mine. They sent a soccer-hating writer on a five-day soccer immersion mission where he spent time with some of the MLS's most ardent fans and where he watched a game with star Claudio Reyna. It's funny stuff if you hate soccer like I do. It's more ammo in the "Americans are stupid" argument for the soccer lovers out there.

To read the rest, go here: http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1139486/4/index.htm

IT'S ADAM - MR. JONES IF YOU'RE NASTY

Puff Daddy's done it. So has Jay-Z, sort of. Apparently so too now has Pacman Jones.

Who is Pacman Jones? Well, he was a close-down cornerback and punt return specialist for the Tennessee Titans with a future in the NFL as bright as he'd let it be. But trouble with the law, including his connection in a Las Vegas shooting, sidelined him in 2007. According to USA Today, he has been arrested six times and been involved in a dozen incidents that required police intervention since 2005.

After the NFL benched him all of last season, he signed a new multi-million contract with the Dallas Cowboys this off-season and has recommitted himself to the game. So much so that he has asked that the media now refer to him by his given name, Adam. He says teammates, friends and, of course, his mom will still call her son Pacman, the nickname she gave to him as an infant. But he hopes that shedding the moniker will go a long way toward getting rid of an image as an NFL star who can't stay out of trouble.

It's an honorable attempt by someone trying to create a new and better life for themselves. The only hope is that Mr. Jones realizes that it's going to take more than changing his name to turn his life around.

So who is Adam Jones?

As of now he's a talented athlete with a clean slate, but one wrong move away from being another ex-NFLer who decided to throw his abilities away.

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