The Ballad of 2003
By Brian Murphy
Special to Page 2

It's late December, time to sum up 2003, and since "The Year in Sex" has already been co-opted -- first by Playboy, then by Page 2 -- I'm left with the age-old device: Rhyming Couplets.

Worked for Shakespeare, right?

Although, we must note, his sonnets were in iambic pentameter, a form far too lofty for this Page 2 correspondent. Besides, Page 2 is already in the books with the Year in Sex.

Does Page 2, then, deserve the hard work of iambic pentameter?

The Year in Sex. What a concept. When I was 12, and sneaking into my buddy's Dad's bathroom to check out Playboy's 1979 "Year in Sex", it was all about the still photo from the "Emmanuelle" series; or the shot of Bo Derek in a transparent gown at the Golden Globes.

Now, it's Page 2 material.

The evolution of the world never ceases to amaze. Well-done, Bristol lads.

So, how to go about composing the Ode to 2003?

Grady Little
Grady Little will forever be remembered for leaving Pedro in too long in Game 7.
Here's one tried-and-true formula:

Roses are Red

Violets are Blue

When Joe Namath is drunk

He wants to kiss you

Hmm. Needs some work. How about the eternal crowd-pleaser, the limerick:

The year was two thousand and three

The decision came down to Grady

Should he leave Petey in?

To guarantee the big win?

Or forever be hung in effigy?

Nah. I'm sticking with Rhyming Couplets.

Sit back, then, to hear the Ballad of 2003:

The events of January seem so long ago,

So ancient, even the Raiders put on a good show;

But in San Diego, Barret Robbins missed a team meal-a,

He preferred, it turned out, a vat of tequila;

The Bucs proved more ready, a far better team,

That it was Al Davis he beat made Jon Gruden beam;

Al stewed and wondered why he gave Gruden the boot,

But he soon found new purpose -- another lawsuit!

Eleven months later both teams stunk out the joint,

That glory is fleeting seemed the much larger point.

It was February when Tiger Woods did return,

Ernie's wins plus a knee injury and Tiger's insides did burn;

Then Lefty, for some reason, decided to diss Tiger's club,

So, at Torrey, Tiger reminded Phil just who is the schlub.

Carmelo Anthony
Carmelo Anthony led the 'Cuse to a national championship.
March Madness was awesome, as usual, it's such a great time,

It just always seemed to escape a bald man named Boeheim.

But he called a few plays for a kid named Carmelo,

Who said, "Thanks, coach, and NBA: Hel-lo!"

You wonder how the tourney would have gone for Iowa State,

But Eustachy, told "Less filling", yelled back: "Tastes great!"

In the blur of the Final Game loss, Kansas felt pain, just a bit,

So much so, that talk of Chapel Hill meant Roy "could give a "s---!"

In May, we turned to golf, and Annika said, "Why not me?"

Vijay responded with words from a Bunker named Archie,

She proved quite the gamer, and only was stopped by her putter,

And reduced all male complaints to a distant little mutter.

In June, the NBA Finals took place at the Alamo,

Though the Admiral was sweet, the Nielsens shouted: "No!"

But could you hardly blame the TV-watching nation?

No Shaq, no Kobe -- yo, change the station!

In July, we tuned in for tennis across the pond,

The only question, it seemed: Would Serena show up blonde?

She won Wimbledon, as usual, so did Federer for the men,

Little did we know that England would soon ring for Big Ben.

Two weeks later at St. George's, the British Open went down,

You'd be excused, at the start, to think Ben Curtis was a clown.

But he kept making par, and a few birdies -- who knew?

When he kissed the Claret Jug, the tabloids screamed: BEN WHO?

Steve Bartman
Steve Bartman will never live down what happened at Wrigley.
In August, the dog days of ball took care of our needs,

While the Bosox and Cubbies quietly planted the seeds.

Somewhere in Chi-town, Steve Bartman went about his life,

Not knowing, in two months, his existence would be strife.

In September, at the Open, we learned to love Andy,

Holy Smokes: He's a tennis star, AND he gets to shag Mandy?

Then came October, and opera on the ball field,

The A's couldn't touch home plate, and in Miami, Pudge just wouldn't yield.

America braced for the wholly unthinkable,

The Red Sox and Cubs? A dream so good, almost unsinkable.

But Aaron Boone stepped to the plate, ball soaring high in the Bronx night,

All over New England, there could be no more wrenching a sight.

From New Hampshire to Beantown all the way up to Maine,

A dream so close and warm ... turned to cold autumn rain.

Meanwhile, over at Wrigley, they were five outs away,

Belushi, Murray, even Harry's ghost were saying: No way!

And then sure enough, the ball floated to left, soft as balata,

Moises jumped, Bartman reached -- now he's persona non grata.

But give credit to Florida, they really did come quite far,

To their manager Jack, just shout: Pal, enjoy that cigar!

November dawned and we all watched LeBron,

LeBron James
The phenomenon of LeBron was clearly one of the biggest sports stories of the year.
Whenever he played, our TVs were flipped on,

That jumper, those hops, that all-around sheen,

That beard and that body: No WAY he's eighteen!

Meanwhile, all through the fall, we learned of BALCO,

To our 'roided-up heroes, we said, "Say it ain't so!"

But there was plenty of evidence our boys took the juice,

The homers, the muscles, their hat size -- like a moose.

And then came December, the year's come so far,

The Sox said: We want A-Rod! How 'bout you take Nomar?

What are we left with? In a world saddened by hate,

We're looking to '04, to find something great,

Perhaps in Joe Namath, we can find something true,

For in a world filled with tears, he simply wants to kiss you!

Brian Murphy of the San Francisco Chronicle writes every Monday for Page 2.



Brian Murphy Archive

Murphy: College hoops pros

Murphy: Winter meeting quiz

Murphy: Inhuman nature

Murphy: Tiger's wedding plans

Murphy: The best sports holiday

Murphy: Ah, the revelry of a rivalry

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