And here’s why I think that …

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 12, 2007

4. Hockey is great &045; I’m a very big NHL fan.

I know, strange right? In my childhood efforts to do everything that went against the norm, I refused to root for the Braves, Hawks, Falcons, Auburn or Alabama. And I found joy in sports none of my other friends cared about. Mostly because I could shut down any debate by whipping out my knowledge of one-timers (hockey’s version of the alley-oop) and the dynamics of the power play.

I began to really love the game in the mid 1990s when the Detroit Red Wings were the best thing on ice.

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Unlike my sister, I watch the game for more than just the hitting.

3. Racing, too &045; You can clip this out and remember I said it: Race car drivers are the best athletes in the world.

Think about it. How many of us could drive a 3,500-pound machine 180 miles per hour while talking to someone over the radio, escaping other cars, and managing with a single finger to let the guy in front of us know how we feel about that &8220;bump&8221; 12 laps ago?

Millions of Americans get in far more trouble drinking coffee while doing 55.

Race cars are hot, crowded and the finest of mistakes result in injuries and lost lives.

Now that’s pressure.

2. Go West

and stay &045; The NBA’s Eastern Conference should be disbanded and somehow combined with the West.

I mean, what does it say when you’re near .500 and probably going into the playoffs as a top-four seed?

1. Bench cheerleaders stink &045; If you’re beating the snot out of a team, players should shut up.

If you’re getting the snot beat out of you, shut up.

No one likes braggarts, and people hate whiners and losers who taunt even more.

I think I’ll propose a rule: Talking smack while leading or trailing by a certain amount should warrant some penalty.

Let’s just say a football team that’s ahead or down by four or more touchdowns forfeits the right to jaw at its opponents. Same rule applies for a 20-point margin in basketball and a seven-run margin in baseball or softball.

Of course, if no one felt the need to mouth off at all, that would be even better.

Also List-worthy: My favorite waitress at the Restaurant at Grumble’s Alley had a little girl; more than half the New York Yankees are old enough to join AARP; Daisuke Matsuzaka will probably underachieve; Rafael Soriano will save the Atlanta Braves.

George L. Jones is sports editor of The Selma Times-Journal. He can be reached at (334) 410-1744 or .