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Now in our third calendar year
PCR #101. (Vol. 3, No. 9) This edition is for the week of February 25--March 3, 2002.
Matt's Rail

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SMALL PRICE TO PAY
Certainly the Tampa Bay area, if not all of football, is now in discussion on the compensation sent to Al Davis and his Oakland Raiders for the rights to hire new Buccaneer Head Coach Jon Gruden. Even my home boy, Mike, chimed in with his belief that the Bucs paid too steep a price for his services. He did disqualify himself from error when he added "I guess we shall see", lending 'some' credence to the hire. As you probubly surmised from last weeks Rail, I totally and emphatically disagree!!! Sure, you have to assume the 2 #1 picks and 2 #2's possibly could've helped the franchise, but maybe not! If you look at the Bucs #1 and 2 picks back to 1997, you find only 4 full time starters, situational players, receivers who have never lived up to their promise, and a stud running back who has only put together 2 healthy seasons. As proof, I look to history....

(Round taken--Name of player--Year selected--Current Status)

1 Kenyatta Walker 2001 (Starter)
2 Cosey Coleman 2000 (Starter)
1 Anthony McFarland 1999 (Starter)
2 Shawn King 1999 (Couldn't hold starter job)
2 Jaquez Green 1998 (FINALLY showed "something" this year)
2 Brian Kelly 1998 (Shares time with Donnie Abraham)
1 Warrick Dunn 1997 (How good can he be? Will we ever find out? Could Gruden be the key?)
1 Reidel Anthony 1997 (Bust for a 1st rounder!)

One of the magical efforts of McKays rule as GM has been his ability to nab top flight aggressive hard hitting take no crap studs in the later rounds of the draft. Does it every single year! Will do it again this year. Always does!

And look at this year's Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots! Who are their #1 and #2 picks?...Well, their two biggest in the last 7 years, Drew Bledsoe and Terry Glenn, didn't even play in the game....hardly played this year at all. The guys who did the job for them started at the top, with Head Coach Bill Belichick, who's "Team or bust" attitude flowed thru his team so universally they ended the year hoisting the Lombardi Trophy! The guys hoisting it were unknowns or unwanted cast-offs from other teams and had names like Troy Brown, Darren Patton, Brian Cox, Antwain Smith, and Tom Brady. Hardly house hold names this time last year, even to the more than casual football enthusiast.

And their competition, the Rams? Kurt Warner and Marshall Faulk didn't get there on the NFL Draft highway! Certainly without those two guys, the Rams have nothing. Even Isaac Bruce, who was a #1 pick and is "definitely" a stud, has only put together 5 healthy seasons in about 8 years. The best receiver for the team in the super bowl was Az-zahir Akeem! Who? Exactly.

Jon Gruden, I think it's fair to say, could possibly be the Head Coach of this franchise for more than the next 10 years! The prima donnas coming out of college today will be less than a memory compared to the legacy that could be before us. Once in a lifetime opportunities require once in a lifetime actions. This is one where I feel certain time will show in favor of.

"I guess we shall see".

AMERICAN PRIDE
With all the scandal and drama of the Olympics and all the outright ridiculousness of the Russion Olympic Delegation, it can be easy sometimes not to fully understand what competition is all about. And then, in the midst of our confusion, we're granted the enviable right to witness perfection of spirit, for that's exactly what Michelle Kwan gave us.

Myself, along with most of you I'm sure, grimaced in agony when Michelle fell to the ground during the Long Program, practically assuring herself of less than the Gold medal she had so hoped for. And yet, like the true champion she is, she forged ahead and gave us what ended up to be one of the greatest skating recoveries in the history of the sport. As if that's not enough, she also was congratulatory toward the winner, and gracious of the Bronze medal, which must pale to the Silver she won 4 years ago.

As she took the ice to accept her medal, she demonstrated what I believe the American spirit is all about. Joy of accomplishment, admiration for her competitors, and the desire to succeed. And out of tragedy, we're given one of those precious moments in life.

RUSSIAN ALL AROUND THE PLACE!!!
Alluded to in the previous stanza, the Russian Olympic Delegation has totally lost its marbles! Its evident the people running this organization are the same fascist communist scum who ruled during the dark days of the Empire. These folks feel that the most important thing in life is not winning, but insulting the accomplishment of hard working young people. Lets take a look at the charges:

They say the US didn't beat them in hockey because the officiating was fixed.

They say in essence their athletes shouldn't be banned for using illegal substances. (yes, its true).

They say Sarah Hughes, who won the Gold in skating, should not have won, but their skater should have. You know....the one who demonstrated her ability to balance on one skate and not fall on her ass when she totally screws up a triple lutz! The one who didn't follow her program and did a triple double in place of the triple triple she was supposed to do! What did Sarah Hughs do to get the gold? Only skate a FLAWLESS performance littered with Triple triples all, landing each one with the grace of a ballerina! It was beautiful.

But, instead of them being proud of their skater and her accomplishments, they try to bastardize what the true winner did. Don't they realize their actions are a massive insult to their own people? Haven't they discovered the joy of competition? In place of showing valor, grace, and pride in true effort, they showed malice, hatred, and denial of the truth. I thought that type of stupid thinking was done away with in the Ukrane.

I guess if you had to find one positive in their lack of class, it would be that Putin ordered them to stay in Salt Lake instead of leaving, as the ROD had threatened. Maybe there is hope after all.

A LEGEND LEAVES US
Chuck Jones, animator for Warner Bros and creator of Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, Porky Pig, Roadrunner, and Wile E. Coyote to name a few, died last week at the age of 89. Surely this won't be the only mention on these pages of this extraordinary man, who looked at his life as nothing less than a blessing to be able to make people laugh for a living. In his honor, I put in my VHS of Elmer Fudd's comedy capers and laughed hysterically, only pausing to reflect on the genius that has left us. Who will ever forget his "What's Opera Doc?" with the now famous "Kill the Wabbitt, Kill the Wabbitt" sung by Elmer to the tunes of Wagner. Or Marvin the Martian with his "OOOOOOOoooooo you make me so ANgry. I'm going to zap you with my atomic pul-sa-tor". This most amazing man also brought to cartoon life "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and "Horton Hears a Who", again to name a few. His joy of life will live on in the magical moments that have stood the test of time and will live forever.

Till next time, take care and God bless,
Matthew


"Matt's Rail" is ©2002 by Matthew Drinnenberg. Webpage design and all graphics herein are creations of Nolan B. Canova. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review is ©2002 by Nolan B. Canova.