In 2010 in the basketball world, we were once again treated to some life lessons.
Lesson 1: Losing in the first round of the playoffs is only satisfying if you have not made the playoffs in 10 years, or if you are a former coach of the Dallas Cowboys.
Lesson 2: Making a spectacle of yourself by going on a sports network in a prime-time event called "The Decision,'' and making everyone who is not a fan of the particular team you chose, is not a good way to get people across the country to like you. Who could have anticipated such a negative reaction?
Lesson 3: There is something to be gained by a team staying slightly under the radar and not being crowned champions before the season starts.
Finally, Lesson 4: You should not get all bent out of shape and make an ass of yourself just because you got stuck out in the rain. You should save the "making an ass out of yourself" for really important stuff like if the diner you frequent runs out of coffee and tries to get by with sneaking you a cup of decaf, in which case going homicidal is perfectly understandable.
A lot of news programs at the end of the year feature a list of the most important people who died last year. I have always found it somewhat silly because almost everyone is important to someone, but I have to say this year some of the names got my attention.
Tony Curtis was in some of my favorite movies "Some Like it Hot,'' "Operation Petticoat'' and "Lobster Man from Mars.'' Blake Edwards was the director and screenwriter for "The Pink Panther'' series, and is responsible for elevating the art of slapstick to a level not seen since the immortal Three Stooges, and probably helped carry the style of comedy through into "Airplane'' and the "Naked Gun'' series, from which we lost another immortal Leslie Nielsen.
Dennis Hopper was an icon to my generation simply for the opening of "Easy Rider.'' He also was probably responsible for my hairstyle back in my teen years.
Jimmy Dean, who is probably unknown to today's generation for anything other than sausage, actually helped me a lot with my self esteem by teaching me it was okay to be 6-6 and 245 pounds. He once said, "I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination." Which has led me more than once to warn people around me they may need to adjust their sails because the wind is coming.
Don Meredith was probably the guy as much as anyone who got me interested in football. Sure, it was initially a sense of frustration because the Cowboys never quite got over the top in those days, but he got us to the point where we could see the prize, and years later on Monday Night Football, I enjoyed singing along to "Turn Out the Lights the Party's Over'' after a Cowboys win. He made football fun at a level we had not really seen before. I remember the night when in discussing NFL wide receiver Fair Hooker, Don observed, "Isn't that a great name? But, I've never met one."
A lot of really significant people died in 2010. Paul Tibbets who was the pilot of the Enola Gay that dropped the first atomic bomb at Hiroshima … Edwin Newman, who was an icon in news reporting … Gary Coleman a cute kid in a television sitcom that in later years taught us more about the seriousness of life and its brevity.
However, for a kid who grew up in the 60's there was no one bigger than Fess Parker, Davy Crockett himself. Later of course he played Daniel Boone, but it was really the same character – Frontiersman -- and who single-handedly made every kid my age wear a coonskin cap at some time in their life. I still have mine.
I expect a lot from this year. Every year I expect perfection but in the words of Dandy Don Meredith, "Tom Landry is such a perfectionist, if he was married to Raquel Welch, he'd expect her to cook."
Happy New Year.