Last week was crazier than usual, and we won’t even shame the San Jose Sharks by mentioning their blown series. This weekly offering, remember, is designed to kick off your Monday morning with a smile, not a whimper. So here we go:
•Strong like Doc:
If you had to choose someone to coach the Los Angeles Clippers during these difficult past few days, someone capable of dealing with the Donald Sterling situation with dignity, class, perspective, and the appropriate anger it roused in so many people, it would be Doc Rivers. He prepped for this moment – unknowingly – for his entire life. The son of an interracial couple, he is married to a white woman, Kris, experienced racism throughout his life, and yet has always looked at people as individuals. In a competition sense, he has known tremendous highs (coached the Boston Celtics to 2008 NBA Championship) and crushing lows (he was on the Atlanta Hawks team that lost Game 7 to the Boston Celtics in the spectacular duel between Dominique Wilkins and Larry Bird). This last week was totally different. He had to battle the Donald Sterling demons while leading – and leading is the term – his team past a dangerous Golden State Warriors team.
Adam Silver took the pulse of his players/sponsors/fans, consulted with the NBA’s hefty legal team, and did what he really wanted to do all along. He banned Sterling from associating with his Clippers team, fined the owner the maximim $2.5 million, and began pressuring the league’s longest-tenured owner to sell. The players’ and sponsors’ reaction gave him little choice, but this was the appropriate action. But Sterling’s wife, Shelly, keeps remindings folks that California is a community property state. And no word yet on divorce proceedings. She has been married to the most litigious owner in pro sorts for, oh, half a century. This is not going to be an easy, by any means.
•California takes over Kentucky:
California Chrome became only the fourth California-bred horse to win the Kentucky Derby, and his owners are from Yuba City and Northern Nevada, which is very cool in a parochial sense. Is there a museum in the works? The trip to Willits for a visit to the “Seabiscuit” museum is worth the drive, and a few miles farther south, to the barn where the beauty was housed, is one of those memorable sports moments.
•Passionate fan support:
Republic FC only has one home game remaining at Hughes Stadium before moving to Cal Expo. Too bad. While the field is too narrow for the ball control/passing/finesse style that the legendary Preki coaches – and Preki’s voice has to be heard – the setting at the Sac City College campus is impressive. Fans park blocks away and walk along Sutterville and Freeport, with all their energy and in their colorful attire. There was no way to cover the track and expand the field with synthetic turf as opposed to throwing together a facility with temporary toilets and bleachers at Cal Expo? Too bad.