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Sports Shorts

The Old Man And The Tee – Ah, if only novelist Ernest Hemingway would have been an avid golfer instead of an avid fisherman. Can you imagine Ernie spinning the tale of an aging professional golfer, instead of an aging fisherman, battling a young, energetic, strong-willed phenom at the top of his game, instead of an energetic, strong-willed marlin at the top of his game? The golfer deftly wielding a red-hot putter? The fisherman wielding a red-hot (from holding it so damn long!) fishing pole?
Now that the parallels have been drawn let’s delve further into this novel, er, novel way of telling the story of how 47-year-old Phil Mickelson stared down the hottest young-gun golfer on the planet recently at 7,382 feet above sea level in Mexico City to reel in the trophy and the $1,700,000 first-place cash prize at the PGA World Golf Championships-Mexico golf tournament. World #2 Justin Thomas, the 24-year-old who has won seemingly everything but a dilapidated dinghy similar to that of Hemingway’s character Santiago in his classic novel The Old Man And The Sea, took old man Mickelson to a sudden-death hole but couldn’t drop a 10-footer for par to extend the playoff.
The golf world was abuzz with Phil’s first victory in over four years. Mickelson is always a fan favorite, what with his “aw, shucks” proclivities while pulling off seemingly impossible shots, particularly around the greens. Thomas showed real class after the loss by praising Phil for rising to the challenge and showing that he has plenty left in the tank.
So, that’s the end of the tale. Or, the tail of the tale if you will. And if you won’t, then stay tuned for Ernest Hemingway’s latest refresher novel, culled from the archives after his passing. It’s about an old man who blazed a carpet trail to the bathroom, precipitated by the urge to urinate numerous times each night, entitled, The Old Man And The Pee.  
Nice Dilemma – The Cleveland Browns, who ran the table backwards this past football season to post a sparkling 0-16 record, find themselves loaded at the top of the upcoming NFL draft. With the #1 and #4 picks, options abound. 
The recent NFL combine showcased the available talent. The good news for the Browns is that there is an unusually capable number of quarterbacks available upon which a club could possibly build a team around. Let’s look at the top three.
Consensus #1 Sam Darnold out of USC is a bulldog type with great presence and awareness. Darnold chose not to throw at the combine, which probably ticked some scouts off. UCLA’s Josh Rosen appears to have the best mechanics and is the most pure passer of the bunch. His off-field maturity issues, however, give possible suitors pause. Josh Allen comes out of the University of Wyoming with the big arm but a completion rate somewhere in the 50-percentile range, which is a concern.
So what’s a Brownie to do? With that talented triumvirate available it says here that Cleveland takes Penn State running back Saquon Barkley with the first pick which leaves at least one of the aforementioned qbs open for the Browns to pick up at the #4 slot. 
Barkley is 229 lbs. of trouble coming out of the backfield. He is an inside/outside runner who displays shiftiness and power. His pass-catching ability is non-parallel for a back and once he evades the initial defensive lineman he can most certainly take it to the house. Dilemma? Nice!
Cold-Shouldered – The Winter Olympics were here and gone faster than a Kardashian boyfriend. The abysmally low television ratings showed that the viewing public just could not get behind the winter wonderland in South Korea where the athletes gave it their all. 
We heard more about social issues, politics and doping charges than we did about, say, the American women winning hockey gold or the men’s curling team sweeping their way to the top of the heap from out of absolutely nowhere. 
One possible positive action that may eventually come from the games is that there now exists a thin ray of hope that dialogue between certain countries is forthcoming regarding denuclearization. Though for the most part the world public gave these games the cold shoulder, let us believe that recently extended olive branches shall be signature events that will define these games and make our world a safer place to live. 

By Michael Elliott

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