Spending the holidays wired, watching sports

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By Brad Spencer

Sports Editor

I'm trickling this column out mid-afternoon on Monday. I'm drained. I have nearly overdosed on the highly-addictive narcotic of sports spectating. From Christmas till now, it's been high school and college basketball, Bulls, Bears and lots of college football. If I followed hockey and the Blackhawks, I think the EMTs would have been called by now. I hear the Hawks are doing well.

The Bulls made Christmas special. Seeing Derrick Rose float one over 7-footer Pau Gasol for what ended up being the game-winning shot made me feel the way I did when that shiny Schwinn bicycle was propped against the couch in the living room one Christmas morn long ago. "Merry Christmas!"

I saw the Indiana Hoosiers upset second-ranked Ohio State on New Year's Eve. It wasn't quite as thrilling as when Indiana beat Kentucky a few weeks prior — when the Wildcats were ranked No. 1 — but it made the fam and me believers that there's a Big Ten hoops team to ride through March this season. Besides, my wife is an Indiana alum, and the resurgence of the Hoosiers has been a blessing. No longer am I sitting all by my lonesome, hollering at the television in the final minutes of a college basketball game. Now I have someone to make fun of me hollering at the television in the final minutes of a college basketball game.

The Indiana win prompted me to attempt a 20-footer in the alley before putting the car away. My 9-year-old daughter Sarah hit me with a good solid chest pass and we watched the ball spin through the darkness and shred the net. "Happy New Year!"

The Bears crushed all the warm-and-fuzziness of Christmas with their performance against Green Bay. The loss was their fourth in a row, and the house flag came down immediately. Sunday's unceremonious 17-13 win over the Vikings did nothing to warrant a return of the flag. If head coach Lovie Smith and GM Jerry Angelo are comfortable with an 8-8 season in which an injury-plagued Bears team didn't make the playoffs but an 8-8 team like Denver did after having QB issues, then it seems an overhaul is in order in Chicago. I'm still irked about last season, when the team — at full strength — failed to eliminate the Packers twice from the playoffs. The Packers could be headed for yet another Super Bowl appearance. Let's just hope if that happens, a formidable team like New England is there to give them fits and not — I pray — Denver.

At least the Bulls came back and started the year off right by thumping the Grizzlies 104-64, but I cringed and groaned at C.J. Watson's elbow injury. I came to like Watson last season as he spelled Rose with such efficiency. He reminds me of B.J. Armstrong. He'd probably be starting for any other team. Just hope this doesn't go the same path as the Bears, when Jay Cutler got hurt followed by Matt Forte followed by Brian Urlacher, whose knee has plenty of time to heal before he plays another meaningful game.

That's enough jibber-jabbering for now. I'm about to conclude this sports-watching binge with Wisconsin taking on Oregon in the Rose Bowl. Besides, withdrawal symptoms are setting in.

Email: bspencer@oakpark.com Twitter: OakParkSports

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