It's hard to stay calm about sports

By Jeffery Armstrong

Okay, I'll admit it. I'm pretty emotional when it comes to sports, whether it's high school, college and professional. I'm a laid-back kind of guy in most other things, but when it comes to sports and to an extent, women (don't ask), I have been known to get pretty emotional.

But, it's not totally my fault that I'm emotional about sports. I think it was my dad's fault n he helped me become a basket case about sports.

When I was a kid, it would be fun to watch him get emotionally involved with sports, especially football. If a running back on a team he liked made a long TD run against a team he didn't like, he would jump up and yell at the TV, encouraging the back to go all the way.

It wasn't long before I was doing that when the Steelers would play and I'm still that way now. Although as I've gotten older, I'm less nervous and less excitable when the Steelers or any other team I like. That is, unless they do something completely stupid, like drop an easy interception or try a trick play on 3rd down and inches ? you know, junk like that.

I was pretty funny back in the day ? I remember pacing back and forth in my grad school dorm room when the Steelers had to make a goal-line drive against the Cleveland Browns on fourth down years ago. I would curse the team when they'd mess up, praise them when they did well.

What possessed me to write this column was how sports can bring out the emotions in people. When I visited my friend Raquel in Columbus, OH in 1997, we went to her friends' house to watch the '97 Rose Bowl (Ohio State vs. Arizona State).

The game was close and Ohio State had a chance to win the Rose Bowl for the first time in years. Raquel was so nervous, her hands shook and she had to go outside plenty of times or else she might have passed out. Thank God Ohio State won or she would've been an emotional wreck. I'll never forget that.

Two years ago, Jonesboro High guard Shade' Smith's father would yell at her on the court during her games, especially if she made a mistake on defense. It got so bad that once I got to know her dad, I had to tease him about his actions and he's much better. He's still vocal, but nowhere near as loud.

Money for nothing: For all you 30 and over folks, remember "Money for Nothing," an 80's song by Dire Straits?

Well, it seems that Mr. Keyshawn Johnson of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be living up to that song.

For irritating the hell out of Tampa's head coach, the controversial wide receiver was "de-activated" from the team and will not play with them this season. Wow. I have watched football for 29 years and I've never heard of anyone being de-activated before. Keyshawn can't even go to the Bucs' practice facilities or to the stadium.

He'll still get paid for the next six games, however, so he can get his money for nothing and his chicks for free, like the song says. Now football won't get in the way of more important things for Keyshawn, like moaning and groaning, chasing women, talking smack to people or taking an illegal drug or two.

Jeffery Armstrong is a sports writer for the News Daily and Daily Herald and his column appears on Thursdays. He can be reached at jarmstrong@news-daily.com.