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Lou Pickney's Online Commentary

3-0 Series Lead

May 6, 2011

It's been a busy last few weeks for me, in no small part because of the 2011 NFL Draft and the associated work I've done for it in conjunction for my NFL Draft website, There are plenty of other NFL Draft sites out there, not to mention experts on television like Mel Kiper, Todd McShay, and Mike Mayock, which requires me to put in a great deal of work in order to give people reason to visit my site. That means doing lots and lots of research, sifting through rumors and smokescreens and email tips, and doing the types of things associated with such a venture. But Draft King is a labor of love, a combination of two things I really enjoy: writing and the NFL.

The first round of the draft took place one week ago Thursday (4/28/2011), a prime-time spectacle that I wrote about in great detail. But that night I also noticed the beginning of a cough that wouldn't quit, which was the onset of one of the most vicious cough/cold combinations to hit me in years. It waylaid me to the point where only today was I finally feeling close to 100% again, and I'm still fighting the remnants of the cough as I type this tonight.

I'm fortunate to be a rather physically healthy person; I might be a bit crazy at times, but physically, less the migraines and neck muscle spasms, I'm pretty healthy. But there was a two-year run (2001-2003) during my time working as a news producer at WTSP television in Tampa/St. Petersburg, FL where I was sick much more often than usual. That I suspect is in part because of that station being run out of a facility that multiple people I worked with there described as a "sick building". I have no evidence of toxic mold having been present there, but it wouldn't surprise me at all if that was the case.

How bad was it? My co-worker Neal, who *never* missed a day of school with illness in his life, all the way through college, found himself getting sick multiple times while working at WTSP. When Neal jumped ship for a producing gig at WFLA-TV, something he was free to do thanks to the geniuses in charge of the WTSP news department at the time not signing him to a contract (nice move, Lane), he abruptly stopped getting sick. That wasn't a matter of happenstance, at least not in my opinion.

My schedule is booked pretty solid for the next several weeks. Busy season for the NFL Draft was supposed to parlay into busy season for weddings and graduations, beginning with a wedding in Cleveland, TN that my girlfriend Stacy and I were slated to attend last Saturday. But on Saturday morning she wasn't feeling well and I was coughing so hard that, at times, I thought I might pass out. That's not an exaggeration. So we had to miss that wedding unfortunately, but the schedule has plenty more in store for the near future.

Here's a look at what I have lined up: tomorrow my friend Rich Karg, who I've known since I was a kid, is getting hitched in downtown Nashville in what is going to be a huge wedding. No joke, it might have more people at it than any other I've ever attended. To point, they had to rent out the Cannery Ballroom for the reception dinner, and that's a venue that normally hosts concerts.

Sunday is Mother's Day, which will be great but also will be a logistical adventure with Stacy's mother (and father) coming to town that morning so that Stacy can spend Mother's Day with her mom. That only seems fair since I'm going to also be spending the day with my mother. But restaurants are typically slammed on Mother's Day, and finding a table for eight in the late lunch rush will be an interesting challenge.

One week from today I'll be in Alabama, where my sister Mary Beth will have her capping ceremony, a special event that Birmingham Southern has for its students who are about to graduate. She chose me to be the person to do the capping, and I feel honored that she picked me for it. Then on Saturday morning her graduation takes place, and I imagine after that we'll go out to eat somewhere in town. But we won't be able to linger in Birmingham for long -- the weekend has more waiting for us in Nashville.

The next day, Sunday 5/15/2011, my cousin Patrick graduates from Father Ryan High School in a ceremony being held at Belmont University. The event requires attendees to have a ticket to attend, and I'm sure I'll be able to acquire one. But, if for some reason I can't, I'll make it inside anyway. I can talk my way into just about any venue without a cover charge. After that he's having a graduation party out in West Nashville which will last well into the evening.

Organization is not my strong suit, but thanks in part to technology and things like Google Calendar, even ADD-minded people like me can keep track of what's going on and when. There was a time not that long ago where I'd be terrified of double-booking in a scenario like this. Now? It's simple enough to keep everything straight, and with my Android phone I have my schedule available for my perusal at all times. It's not a bad setup, I have to say.

Stacy watched tonight's Lakers/Mavericks game with rapt attention. She's a fan of LeBron James, to the point of becoming a Miami Heat fan because of him jumping there from Cleveland. But, perhaps even more intensely than she cheers for LeBron, she loathes Kobe Bryant. I don't use the word loathes lightly; she cannot stand him or the Lakers. She can't stand Pau Gasol's mannerisms or his unkempt facial hair. But, most of all, she desperately doesn't want Kobe to match Michael Jordan (who she cheered for during his time with the Bulls) with six NBA championship rings, and as a Spurs fan I concur with her sentiment there. It was painful enough for me to see Kobe pass Tim Duncan's four championships last year, but Kobe matching Jordan would have to sting for anyone who saw Jordan in his prime do things on the court that no other basketball player has ever replicated.

The Mavs entered tonight's action up 2-0 in the series, and they rallied in the fourth quarter to capture a victory and go up 3-0 in their best-of-seven Western Conference semi-final matchup. No team has ever rallied from a 3-0 deficit to win an NBA playoff series, but I'll forever be haunted from talking smack in 2004 when my favorite MLB team, the New York Yankees, had a 3-0 lead over the hated Boston Red Sox in the ALCS. I actually wrote this: "The Red Sox in '04? No no, Nannette. Who's your daddy, Pedro? Who's your daddy? The Yankees, that's who."

Of course, as most baseball fans know, the Red Sox became the first team in MLB history to rally from a 3-0 hole to win a best-of-seven series, and from there Boston went on to win their first World Series since 1918. And, as if that wasn't bad enough, I had been foolish enough to mock the Red Sox and celebrate a presumptive Yankees win in a forum where what I wrote could be kept alive in perpetuity. So I'm keeping my trap shut until the two-time defending champion Lakers are out.

At the same time, the smartass in me nonetheless wants to channel Gorilla Monsoon from the 1992 Royal Rumble where he taunted Bobby Heenan when Ric Flair drew #3, pointing out that no one at that time had ever drawn #1-5 and been in there at the end. Then again, Flair won the 1992 Rumble, so I'd best just not write anything more about Kobe and friends until if/when the Lakers are eliminated.

One great image from tonight's game came from German-native Dirk Nowitzki, who played tremendously well for the Mavericks. Celebrating a three-point shot, Nowitzki flashed three fingers to the crowd. And, much to the delight of fans of the great film Inglorious Basterds, Nowitzki held true to form and utilized the "German three" style gesture that played a pivotal role in the film's fantastic tavern scene, one of the best scenes of any film made in the past ten years.

Dirk Nowitzki and the German three

Very nice, Dirk, but you've still got to win one more game to advance to the 2011 NBA Western Conference Finals.

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