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FIS can save sports world from a winterlong downhill slide

On Sports
Rochester Business Journal
November 2, 2012

This is the time of year when the sports world makes me want to hibernate-you know, cuddle up in a den with a warm, fuzzy bear and not wake up till ... well, maybe mid-March. That is, assuming there's not another Sandy out there somewhere.
The baseball season is over. The professional golf season is all but over. The NFL is basically half over; unless the Buffalo Bills revive themselves and the New Orleans Saints put the S back on their Aints defense, both are dead in the water. Neither of those things is likely to happen.
College football is OK, but I'm far less riveted than I once was when going to Tiger Stadium to cover an LSU game in the "Death Valley" of college sports. I still check to see how the Demons of my alma mater, Northwestern State U., do every week, as well as NSU's former archenemy, Louisiana Tech, now nationally ranked in Division I for only the second time since it first reached that height for one week back in 1999.
I feel bad for Penn State, for obvious reasons, I hope Notre Dame goes undefeated, and I wish the Boise State Broncos (7-1) would get the respect they deserve. And I can't believe how good the Oregon Ducks are, given that they're west of the Cascade Mountains.
As I recall from when I lived in the Northwest, high school football is only so-so in that state-which is better than it being a religion, as it is in some states-so I checked the Ducks' roster. Only 21 of the 117 players are from Oregon; many more are from California, and some are from Hawaii, where football is king. So I guess if you like rain, you want to be a Duck, right, guys?
Who knows? Maybe my interest will come back when or if all D-I college football stars actually have to go to class and be academically responsible instead of being graded by their tackles or touchdowns. Until then, maybe I'll get fired up when there is a real post-season tournament instead of this BS-uh, BCS-we have now.
Then there's hockey-well, at least here in Rochester. The NHL is stuck in its second lockout since the 2004-05 season, just another example of owners and players saying, "Give me what I want or I'll blow my brains out." Hmmm. ... All November games have been cancelled, so why don't they just call November a "bye month"? Sounds much more pleasant.
As for basketball-a game I played and once loved-and the NBA, I won't even go there. Most of you out there know how today's so-called basketball turns me off because of the rules they don't follow anymore, haven't for a while and probably never will again.
So, LeBron, you and your teammates palm and travel yourselves to another championship, OK? That's LeBron James, this generation's greatest basketball player in the history of the sport. I can't help but wonder who'll be the next greatest hoopster of all time.
Last, but not least, there is one hot topic that will pan out in a cold climate, will wake me up and be great to watch, if it happens: Lindsey Vonn, the skier with 53 World Cup wins and the reigning Olympic champion, wants to race against the men in the Nov. 24 downhill at Lake Louise, Alberta.
FIS-the International Ski Federation-is scheduled to meet and maybe vote on it this weekend. And why in the snow world would it say no? It's not as if Vonn is pushing to get into the ring with some muscle-bound WWE brute or wants to try to beat some guy in a boxing match. She's not demanding that she be allowed to try out for an NFL team or play major-league baseball.
If LPGA pro Michelle Wie was allowed to play in more than a dozen men's golf tournaments and lived to tell about it, then why not let Lindsey ski against the dudes? Anybody have a problem with Danica Patrick racing cars against men? NASCAR doesn't. Oh yeah, and women can ride in the Kentucky Derby.
Skiing is a non-contact sport-unless you catch an edge and get into a conflict with a tree. Otherwise, it's the skier against the snow.
The world's best female skier going against the world's best male skiers? If the FIS is the first sports organization that has no interest in drawing attention, then hey, bag it. But Vonn skiing against the men would be big news, and the world would be watching-including yours truly.
FIS, don't disappointment us. Vote Vonn in!
Rick Woodson's column appears each Thursday on the Rochester Business Journal website at His book, "Words of Woodson," is available at Listen to his weekly program, "The Golf Tee," at 9 a.m. Sunday on WHTK-AM 1280 and FM 107.11/2/12 (c) 2012 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email

What You're Saying 

Lisa Gorman at 11:39:50 AM on 11/5/2012
Would love to see Lindsey Vonn accomplish her goal to race against the men! She desrves it and has worked hard to get there! While watching my own children and all the effort they have put into this sport, gave me a better appreciation of what it takes to be that amazing ath...  Read More >

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