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Covering the Spread (COLUMN)

Opinion, insight into the world of sports

May 15, 2012
B.J. LISKO - Salem News Sports Editor ( , Salem News

I'm going to start today's column with the latest entry to the "What on earth are they thinking" file. It should leave most of you as dumbfounded as it did me.

Salem tennis standout Mitch Maroscher was out-voted for league player of the year by Northeastern Buckeye Conference tennis coaches in a secret ballot. Maroscher went 19-0 this season, won his sectional and didn't lose a single set all season to anyone. He also beat the to-be-named NBC Player of the Year twice in straight sets. I normally don't get involved when it comes to high school politics like this and when student athletes are affected by them, because they are after all only in high school.

But this is just plain ridiculous. Salem tied Louisville for the NBC league title in tennis this season. I suppose the coaches in the NBC will want an asterisk next to it, too? Maybe they can secret ballot the title away or tell a team who absolutely earned a share of the league crown it doesn't count because they're the new guy or because they have some personal problem on some level with a coach or player?

Point blank, the NBC Player of the Year award should go to the best player in the NBC. Statistically, without a doubt, that is Maroscher. It's as simple as that.

Salem is very likely a welcome addition to the conference in other sports so I don't want to get too ahead of myself here. But this is by far bad politicking at its finest and the ugliest side of high school sports.


Nothing is worse than a dreadfully slow round of golf. I can't play on weekends because I don't have the patience for it. I don't hate the rest of my life that much to want to spend six hours playing 18 holes of golf when I know that I could do it in two or three on foot depending on how many other players were in my group.

Everyone's favorite golf mental patient Kevin Na has the PGA scrambling what to do to figure out combating slow play. Na was so agonizingly bad Saturday and Sunday it was actually entertaining to watch at first. Then of course it got to the point where you wanted to jump through the television and hit the ball for him.

The ball isn't moving. It's just sitting there. It's either going where you want it to or it isn't. Hit the thing.

The Players Championship was mind-numbingly slow, and it's not only Na. It shouldn't take professionals five and a half hours per round, but that's what the game routinely has.

Thing is a guy like Na will fix it in time. He was sprinting to his ball to get a head start for his playing partners both days, and you can tell he feels terrible about it. It probably ended up costing him a shot at the tournament not to mention thousands of dollars.

But for every Na who is trying to fix the problem, there's the Stewart Cinks or the Ben Cranes, or the Webb Simpsons or the Zach Johnsons who take forever figuring out yardages, wind direction, grass grain and whether or not a fly might interfere with the flight of the ball.

Look, I know these guys are good. But half the time they take three years to hit and then miss their intended target by 20 yards.

The PGA does really need to start penalizing guys who take too long. Despite PGA Commissioner Tim Finchem's assessment that he doesn't see it making a difference, start clocking guys and dishing out extra strokes or fines. Money talks.

'til next time ...

E-mail B.J. Lisko at



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