|Some like it Cool|
By Brian Murphy
Special to Page 2
Who comes to work on Memorial Day? Come on. Unless you work at a 7-11, or for a 911 dispatcher, Memorial Day is all about grilling some red meat, catching a ballgame, pretending to care about the Brazilian who won the Indy 500, and tuning in to the "Firecracker 500'' countdown on your local oldies station.
As such, Cooler-dwellers, we're hanging a "Gone Fishin' " sign on The Cooler today. There will be no recap of the NBA conference finals. There will be no Giambi-gushing over that Yanks-BoSox series at the Fens. There will be no breakdown of Big Bob Tway's flirtation with victory at Jack Nicklaus' Memorial tournament.
Mostly, dwellers, because this is being written on Friday.
Above all, we traffic in honesty at The Cooler. We might not traffic in sobriety, lucidity or profundity. But honesty? Got it cornered. (Hey, the boys in Bristol, Conn. -- World HQ -- want a little Family Time today. They, too, want to hang out in the backyard, and listen to "Hey, Jude'' work its way up to the No. 2 spot on the oldies station "Firecracker 500!'' countdown.)
So what to do for this Holiday Cooler? Why, the age-old column gimmick, naturally -- Cooler Awards.
As we ease into our seventh ice-cold lager of the afternoon, our mind turns to all things nice and chilly. Forthwith, then, the First Annual -- perhaps Last Annual, pending its success rate -- Cooler's Coolest Awards:
Coolest Gig in Sports: PGA Tour player
Almost, but not quite.
I mean, sure, there's the nettlesome matter of having to be great at the game, and having to hold up to pressure, and having to be consistent at the world's most inconsistent game, but who wants to dwell on the negative?
Coolest Current Uniforms in Sports: Penn State football
But the Nittany Lions get the nod because the Nittany Lions have done two things well:
1.) They've remained unchanged through the years. In an era of sports marketing that has produced heinous black jerseys in baseball, NFL uniform changes that look more USFL than Canton and NBA jerseys that look like cereal boxes, the lads in Happy Valley have stayed true; and
2.) They're perfect in their minimalism. When in doubt, America tends to lean toward wretched excess. Not Penn State. Blue jerseys, white pants, black cleats. Topped off with the white helmet. With the blue stripe. Did we mention the black cleats? Damn, those guys look pure.
Coolest Venue in Sports: Lambeau Field
I once heard George Seifert rant against baseball, saying it was crazy that they would play this sport on playing fields of different dimensions, depending on who was the home team. My take was: Au contraire, mon frere. In fact, those very qualities -- that Yankee Stadium has a short porch, and that the Metrodome has a Glad Bag in right field -- are what make ballfields the epic things they are.
Lambeau wins because it's located in the NFL's version of Bedford Falls. Lambeau wins because you'll meet no nicer lunatics than Packers fans grilling brats in a sleetstorm. Lambeau wins because when you attend a game there, you can hardly see the field through the ghosts. (Or was that the freezing rain that clouded my contact lenses?) Lambeau wins because it is that rare football stadium that feels like a ballyard.
Now somebody go get me a brat.
Coolest Cat I'd Like to Party With: Shaq
This guy should have a better rep as one of America's All-time Goodtime Charlies/Superstar Athletes. In fact, he might be at the top of the list.
Then again, Wilt the Stilt might have shagged upwards of 20,000 birds. Guess he's sort of got a lock on that Goodtime Charlie thing.
A nap. A paintball war in your backyard. A dinner of barbecued ribs. A limo.
Tons of babes. A nightclub scene in which you are with Shaq, a 7-foot-3 tower of hilarious power. Late-night Kobe jokes. Home in the limo, with the babes. Video games until sunrise.
Rinse, lather and repeat.
Hey, anybody got Shaq's mobile phone number?
Coolest Current Sports Tradition: The Ceremonial Tee Shot at Augusta
Slammin' Sammy is gone now. Who to take his place?
Certainly, Arnie seems logical. The King would be worthy.
But for now? Here's a Cooler idea. Wait a year. Don't have anyone do it next spring. Instead, have everyone gather 'round, close their eyes for a meditative moment, and imagine that buttery swing of Sam Snead.
There was nothing Cooler.
Brian Murphy of the San Francisco Chronicle writes the "Weekend Water Cooler" every Monday for Page 2.