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The Frozen Tundra Strikes Again 

The hole in the roof distilling the elements onto the artificial turf of Texas Stadium in Dallas, the prescription athletic turf in Foxboro, the sterile

The hole in the roof distilling the elements onto the artificial turf of Texas Stadium in Dallas, the prescription athletic turf in Foxboro, the sterile confines of the RCA Dome in Indianapolis - then, there is Green Bay. Real grass, deca des of championships, legends and history oozing from the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field, a sea of green, cheeseheads, fans bundled in layers of warm clothing, snow, lots of snow on the ground-could you ask for a better setting for playoff football?

Yeah, the Seahawks were trampled by the resurgent Packers, but, boy, wasn't that scene beautiful?

Somehow, in a strange, touching way, Left Field found Terrell Owen's tears in defense of quarterback Tony Romo during the press conference after the Cowboys' 21-17 loss to the New York Giants in the NFC championship game a very humanizing moment in a sport filled with testosterone-fueled machismo.

Oh, my, if San Diego upsets New England in the AFC championship game, would that rank with Villanova-Georgetown, Appalachian State-Michigan, USA-Soviet Union Olympic hockey, Buster Douglas-Mike Tyson, and the New York Jets-Baltimore Colts Super Bowl as one of the biggest upsets in sports history?

Who would have guessed that if only one Manning remained after last weekend's division playoffs in the National Football League, his name would be Eli?


During the Golf Channel's broadcast of the Mercedes-Benz Championship, Nick Faldo offered his assessment of the tour's younger players' ability to challenge nine-time PGA Player of the Year, Tiger Woods: "To take Tiger on, well, yeah, they should just gang up for a while until..." Fellow commentator Kelly Tilghman interrupted the six-time majors champion, and chuckling, said, "Lynch him in a back alley."

Racially insensitive? Yes. Thoughtless? Yes. Adolescent? Yes. Suggesting deep-seated racism? Not enough information. Malicious? Apparently, no. Welcome to the world of live television.

Was Tiger Woods offended? The Orlando, Florida resident is a friend of Tilghman and through his agent, issued a statement indicating, "We know unequivocally that there was no ill intent in her comments." Tiger's representative, IMG, indicated that Tilghman's remark is "a non-issue in our eyes, Case closed." After initially indicating no action would be taken, the Golf Channel suspended Tilghman for two weeks.

Now, what if Tilghman had used the word "mug" or "pound" or "beat him up" instead of "lynch?" Would the reaction, spearheaded by Rev. Al Sharpton, be so robust? No doubt, the use of the word 'lynch'-the reprehensible practice of a mob executing a hanging without legal process, one that is usually racially motivated-has explosive connotations-as the Jena Six case vividly illustrates-and is a word far more charged and insensitive than others Tilghman could have uttered to illustrate her point. Tiger, by the way, is 1/4 Thai, 1/4 African, 1/4 Chinese, 1/8 American Indian, and 1/8 Caucasian.

Some observers have cited his father's remarks in a 1996 article in Sports Illustrated that Tiger would "transcend this game...and bring to the world...a humanitarianism...which has never been known before. The world will be a better place to live virtue of his existence...and his presence" as reasons Woods should seize Tilghman's insensitive remark to realize that destiny.

But, these were Earl Woods' words, not his son's expressed desires. Tiger has not publicly embraced the externally-driven ascension to civil rights icon (remember his non-insertion into the Augusta National's women's admittance issue a few years ago?). Should we hold Tiger accountable for his father's wishes that may not necessarily be his?

Should Tilghman be fired? Left Field will leave that to others to decide-we would like to see more attention, energy and effort directed to the institutionally entrenched and politically-driven instances of racism and sexism in a country that has come so far, yet has so far to go.


Left Field is a regular blood donor, which I point out, not to paint myself as a hero, but to offer perspective for the next statement: I don't like needles. When the time comes to actually draw the blood, I read intensely, find something heretofore non-descript on the ceiling, embrace some deeply personal thought, meditate on the calculations inherent in the BCS or distract myself with ruminations on various players' candidacy for the baseball Hall of Fame.

According to a study by TVG in 2006, more than 20 million Americans suffer from blenophobia, the fear of needles or needle sticks. And, that doesn't count those who are just painfully reluctant, but pragmatically tolerant, like me.

So, if Roger Clemens really, really wanted a daily dose of B-12, wouldn't pill form make much more sense? The vitamin is available at just about any pharmacy, grocery store, or convenience counter imaginable. Geez, Roger, I suspect even big box warehouses carry the stuff in bulk if you ingest B-12 like Kobiyashi eats hot dogs. B-12? Stick a needle in that idea...

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