Upper Deck: How To Eliminate A Varmint

How to eliminate a varmint. First, you have to find a varmint. The second step is to eliminate. There are three problems with these seemingly simplistic steps. ...

The initial problem is that not all varmints come with simple labels which readily identify what is inside. Possums as an general rule do not wear purple jerseys with the words "THE DRAMA QUEEN'' emblazoned across the back. You just have to assume that possums are unwanted creatures. No matter what they say. It is an established fact -- I believe I saw it on an episode of "Mythbusters'' -- that possums do not tell the truth. They pretend to be wounded or dead, just waiting for you to get close enough for them to bite your face off. Let down your guard for a second and a seemingly dead possum will jump 10 feet and tear off your face.

This brings us to the Mavericks and Lakers series because the Lakers are very much like possums. They are looking pretty dead at the moment, They are moving sluggishly, kicking a little dirt, and sheepishly saying stuff like, "I don't think its over yet," while hinting that they do indeed believe it is over.

Earlier this week, my dog found a dead possum in the back yard. It appeared to be a possum that may have fallen out of a tree, but there it laid, the dog picked it up and shook it good before I could get a good look at it but the possum appeared totally lifeless.

I am a tough west Texas boy. I was raised around varmints, snakes, possums, raccoons, insurance salesmen, I have had to deal with all kinds. I also know possums can be very tricky. They can lay there completely still, playing, well, possum. Then just like that the jump on you and bite your face off. I have seen it happen, well not first hand, but I know a guy that swears it happened to someone his sister knows.

So, I picked this dead possum up with my shovel and placed it in a shoe box and put it in the trash can. I was certain it was dead but not certain enough to actually touch it. This morning when I took a load of trash out and there in the can was the "dead" possum, snarling at me, just like Kobe Bryant. I step out of the way just in time to save my face, but as the possum hurdled past me into the brush I began to think about the Lakers.

They look like a dead possum, act like a dead possum, probably even smell like a dead possum (I'm going to ask Fish to get a whiff of Pau Gasol to verify) ... but they are not dead yet. They are just pretending.

The possum is down 0-3 going into this afternoon's game, but the Mavericks cannot assume for a moment that it is over. Big-game hunters know the most dangerous animal in the wild is the wounded and cornered blood-thirsty possum. You can see this in Kobe's eyes: he has the look of a wild and crazed possum just waiting for someone to get close enough so that he can bite their face off.


It is time for the Dallas Mavericks to bring out a killer instinct that is inside all elite athletes, the instinct that the national media assume they do not have. Put the Lakers away now. Don't drag it out by assuming they are dead and haul the carcass prematurely to the dumpster only to allow them later to bite your face off.

My advice, use a shovel. Hit them with it early in Game 4 and keep hitting them with it until the referee blows the whistle at the end of the game and calls you for "illegal use of shovel.''

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