Five things I'm thinking about this weekend while trying to get over my accent envy toward the Jamaicans.
1. Something that seems true (and totally is): Carl Lewis and Usain Bolt are both right.
Carl Lewis, the former Houston Cougar and American track legend, is skeptical that Jamaica, a country with the same population as Kansas, is producing reams of the world's best sprinters on the up and up. He is skeptical that Usain Bolt's 100-meter dash time dropped by three-tenths of a second in one year without some pharmaceutical help. He is skeptical of the sport of sprinting in general.
(It seems relevant, here, that Lewis lost to Canadian Ben Johnson, who was born in Jamaica, in the 1988 Olympics, only to see Johnson stripped of his medal after a positive steroids test).
"No one is accusing anyone," Lewis told the London's Daily Telegraph. "But don't live by a different rule and expect the same kind of respect. They Jamaican track officials say, 'Oh, we've been great for the sport.' No, you have not. No country has had that kind of dominance. I'm not saying they've done anything for certain. I don't know. But how dare anybody feel that there shouldn't be scrutiny, especially in our sport?"
Bolt responded to this by more or less saying Lewis can go find himself, if you know what I mean.
"I have no respect for him," he said.
And you know what? They're both right.
Carl Lewis is not the Governor of Sprinting, he's not the head of the International Olympic Committee, he can't do anything. He's just a guy with an opinion. He's a guy with some pretty significant real-world experience in international sprinting who has had a perfectly understandable reaction to the Jamaican sprinting phenomenon of the last several years. Take him seriously, don't take him seriously. Whatever. He's just a guy expressing a thought.
Bolt, meanwhile, is the greatest sprinter of all time and, as far as any of us knows, clean. As far as we know his teammates are all clean, too. And if Bolt doesn't feel like he should be having to deal with this crap from a guy who hasn't run an Olympic sprint in 20 years, well, I get that too.
Carl Lewis can say what he wants, and Usain Bolt can say what he wants right back, and we don't need to twist ourselves up in knots over it.
2. Something that doesn't seem true (but totally is): Unless someone buys it, the Astrodome is just going to sit there and rot for a long, long time.
The more local politicians and such I talk to the more convinced I become that this is the case. This spring was the closest Houston has ever been to "fixing the Astrodome problem." There was a feasibility study, and the recommendations came back and Harris County was going to put it up for a vote until it wasn't. No matter what is done, it's going to include a tax increase and beyond the "It's just sitting there! Rotting!" argument, it is pretty difficult to articulate to the general public why anything needs to be done out there. It isn't in the way and it isn't going to fall over any time soon. So why would 2013 be any different from 2012? Why would 2020 be different from 2010?
What would cause the people of Harris County to vote to raise their own taxes to repair a building Houston doesn't need or to tear down a building that isn't causing any trouble?
The only way the dome is going anywhere is if a private investor buys it. Looking at you, St. Arnold's.
3. Something that is neither true nor untrue (but is fun to talk about): The Dwight Howard deal says a lot about Daryl Morey's approach to managing the Houston Rockets, and what it mainly says is that it doesn't work.
That's one way of looking at it. It's the most obvious way. I mean, Rockets fans have been teased with Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony and now Dwight Howard. They've been teased by this idea that stockpiling assets is a way of eventually landing a superstar, and that it is possible to (sort of) win while also putting yourself in position to acquire a star player.
And this is certainly true: It has not worked (which is only slightly different from saying it doesn't work).
To this point, that method has failed. Dwight Howard was traded to the Lakers, Andrew Bynum was traded to the 76ers and the Rockets and their stockpile weren't even involved in the deal.
This was the big one. This was what the last two frustrating years were supposed to be leading toward, and the Rockets came out of it with Jeremy Lin and a bunch of projects.
Alas, there is always next year.
4. Something that recently happened: Last night I was up late and came across a broadcast of a college football game between a Big East team and an ACC team. This game was played last season, and I should say that although I did not know the outcome of the game, I also had no interest whatsoever in either team. Had I come across this game on the day it was actually played, I would almost certainly not have watched it.
But last night I sat there and watched it.
Not because I wanted to know how it turned out. That would have been easy to find out. And not because I wanted to relive a fond memory. I had no memory of this game at all.
I watched because I simply wanted to watch football being played. I think you guys can understand the feeling.
5. Something that is about to happen: The Texans are going to play their first preseason game Saturday, and chances are they will run Matt Schaub, Arian Foster and most of the starting offense out there for a couple series. Why? Nobody knows.
There is this highly conventional "wisdom" that your starters need game reps with each other in the preseason and I can't argue that it doesn't help. I never played in the NFL, obviously. But the risk seems to outweigh the reward. By a lot.
Especially when we're talking about Schaub, who is coming off a major injury anyway, I can't see any point in putting him out there. He's 31 years old. He doesn't need the reps. He knows the offense. He's not going to run out there Week One and be surprised by the speed of the game.
Putting Schaub on the field Saturday night is just asking for trouble.