Last blog before vacation:
Tennessee reserve quarterback Chris Simms says he was smoking cigarettes, and not pot, before he was arrested in New York. If you make your living with your body, why are you smoking cigarettes? What do you do, take a drag before you run sprints in the Nashville training camp heat? How's your wind when you report for the second practice during two-a-days? As defenses go, this one reeks.
Watching Argentina get pounded by Germany in the World Cup was like watching the Phoenix Suns get pounded in the NBA playoffs, except that a 4-0 defeat in soccer is like a 135-30 defeat in the NBA. Argentina is entertaining, a perpetual full-court press, with little interest in defense. I'm not a soccer fan, but I've thoroughly enjoyed the World Cup. To continue to, I need somebody to pull for. Spain is the only country still playing that I've spent time in. My mom's mom was from Germany and her dad was one generation removed. But any connection I felt to the country ended when I studied the language in college. I never liked being the dumbest guy in the class. Maybe it will be Uruguay, maybe it will be the Netherlands, maybe it will be Spain. I loved Madrid. I won't know until the games begin. But I have to find somebody. I didn't enjoy the NBA finals nearly as much as I should have because I pulled against Los Angeles and Boston.
I've done several national sports talk shows recently. Most ask how the Panthers will do this season. I have no idea. It's too early. Training camp usually offers answers. Based on what I saw at the OTAs, I can say that second-round pick Jimmy Clausen is not a great athlete and does not have a great arm. I don't know if he can lead. But he will be the best passer Carolina has ever had.
Interesting story in the Observer Sunday about athletes that take chances in the off-season. Some people go through life as spectators. Others participate. If you prefer to play -- and why wouldn't you? -- it would be tough to turn that instinct off when the season ends. Do you suddenly stop riding the snowmobile, flying down the dirt path on your mountain bike or playing touch football? Steve Smith put himself in position to be hurt by playing in the flag football league at the Siskey YMCA. But I understand the instinct.
Got my email invitation this week to play in the Siskey YMCA flag football league. Apparently there is an opening.
People know I like going to Spartanburg for Carolina's training camp. Because this is a slow time in sports, they figure I can't wait. I can wait. I like camp. I learn more about football there than I do during the season. Also, none of the players dislike me yet. But I love summer. There are dirt paths to ride, miles to run, water to swim in, dogs to walk, meat and vegetables to grill, wine and beer to drink, hot days and, I hope, cool nights. And nobody blows a whistle. Camp can't wait.