FROM THE VALLEY: 'Belgium is a beautiful city'

Tom Valley

If you haven't heard, there is a new football league, with games being presently played. It's the XFL. I don't know what the letters stand for, but can assume “Football League” is the latter two thirds of that equation. And “X” has gained popularity and is now the go-to letter as attested to by the annual X Games, The X-Files and a plethora of products and model numbers affixed (with said illiterate's signature) to identify them as superbly unique. (Disclosure: they're not.)

But as a fan of football, I think the timing couldn't be better, at least for me. Even though February is the shortest month of the year, without this league, the void of interesting ball games combined with the misery of cabin fever would add up to an insufferably long month.

And, as long as we are on a sports topic: what's up with baseball? America's worldwide symbol of what's right about this country is now embroiled in a cheating scandal of heartbreaking magnitude. It's pathetic that teams had to resort to illegal technology to gain an edge over the purity of great athleticism — and in the process mutilate the sport's integrity. Shame on the perpetrators.

It's also sad that the stain of the issue will more than likely deny some otherwise great players their chance of Hall of Fame recognition down the line. But as the saying goes, “You've made your bed, now lie in it.” (I never really understood that adage ... “you made your bed …!” Hmm, whatever.)

OK, I've gone off the rails here, big time. I've not introduced what this never-to-be-made-into-a-movie column is all about, have I? It's comedy! What else?

As elated as I am about watching more football games, I'm just as happy because now more coaches and athletes will utter inane and ridiculous things. And when that happens, I get to quote them in a condescending manner — which I'm about to do here — and laugh in an anemic attempt to make myself look smarter. (My guess is, it isn't working.)

Admittedly, I've done this sort of bit before, but because of the reaction I got, I'm doing it again. Fact is, I got no reaction at all. Unbelievably, no one complained that they thought I said something bad about Trump. Very unusual. And so, I thought it was a safe area. (Note: By just saying that, it's a given that some people will write me about my bad attitude toward you-know-who.)

But let's get going. And so, without further ado, here are some words to absolutely not live by.

• • •

Boxing trainer Lou Duva made it here in a previous column. It's hard to not include him again when he says things like: “He's a guy who gets up every single morning at six o'clock ... no matter what time it is.”

When asked if he thought Mike Tyson learned anything after three years in prison, Lou also said: “Why would anyone expect him to come out smarter? He went to prison … not Princeton.” Good point.

Coaches aren't immune from the ludicrous. Florida State football coach Bill Peterson: “You guys line up alphabetically by height … pair up in groups of three … and line up in a circle.” Got that?

At a North Carolina State basketball practice, the late, great Coach Jim Valvano once asked a player, Chuck Nevitt, why he was so nervous. Nevitt replied: “Well, it's my sister; she's expecting a baby. And I'm not sure if I'm going to be an aunt or an uncle.”

Another player from NC State, Charles Shackleford : “I can go to my left as well as my right. I'm amphibious.” Almost the same problem as the last guy.

A senior on the Pittsburgh University basketball team once boasted, “I'm going to graduate on time … no matter how long it takes.” According to those in the know, his senior year was the best decade of his scholastic career.

And finally, there was the guy who said “Now we have that gorgeous 'word.' I never thought a 'word' would sound so good. It's called: 'total acquittal'.” Apparently, arithmetic isn't this guy's bag.

It matters little that I did not mention who spoke those words. I'm still going to get wished into the cornfield. No doubt about it. (And BTW, the "cornfield" shoutout? That's for those Twilight Zone fans out there. You're welcome.)

That's the way it looks from the Valley.


The title? Belgium is a country, not a city, Mr. President.

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