Hot Corner: He’s going out like a lion

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See that rakishly handsome devil pictured above? The fun-loving fellow grinning like a cat with a belly full of canary?

Yeah, forget that. He’s annoyed. Agitated. Apoplectic, if you’re into big words and alliteration.

And if you’re not, too bad.

Not sure what brought this on. Too many nights of interrupted or non-existent sleep, perhaps. Maybe it’s the incessant sound of the furnace these last two days after my drawing the delusional conclusion that I wouldn’t be spending another dime to stay warm until October. Or a March Madness bracket that’s been splintered beyond recognition.

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Whatever the case, I’m mad at the sports world and you’re standing in the way. Forewarned is forearmed.

– It doesn’t matter if you made the mindless decision to etch Kentucky’s name into the center rectangle on your pool sheet. Root for the Wildcats and you exhibit everything that is wrong, soulless and hopeless about college sports.

Kentucky is nothing more than a D-League team. Best piece of research I’ve read in years was columnist Rick Reilly’s declaration that he couldn’t find the Wildcats’ academic majors listed anywhere in a 208-page media guide.

Time for the NBA to scrap its symbolic minimum-age rule and save us the charade of seeing Greg Oden, Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose and now John Wall use the NCAA as glorified prep school. One year of college accomplished absolutely nothing for those guys except put them at risk for injuries that could jeopardize a $200 million contract. Higher education’s sole purpose is to increase a person’s earning potential. Period. Exclamation point! The end.

No, wait, that isn’t the end. Any rational, thinking person would be remiss if not nauseated by that slicked-back shyster John Calipari. Although I’ll say one thing for that Rick Pitino wannabe: At least all this success in his first season with Kentucky might minimize the chances that he flouted the rulebook to achieve it. So maybe, just maybe, if Kentucky found a way to beat West Virginia and win the Hillbilly Region on Saturday night, this could be the first time Calipari makes it to the Final Four without ultimately having to forfeit the entire season.

Guess there’s something to be said for that.

– There you go again, Lewiston Maineiacs “fans.” The combined — yes, COMBINED — attendance for the ‘Yaks two playoff games against Drummondville last week was a lusty 1,700. And that was the announced crowd.

At any time Friday there were more people milling around the new Goodwill superstore in South Portland, for Guy Lafleur’s sake.

I’ve heard all the excuses before. People don’t go out on Tuesday or Wednesday night. (Because there’s sooooo much else to do in Androscoggin County on a random night in March.) It’s a building year. (Now there’s loyalty. C’mon, you might miss a good brawl or something.)

Bottom line, if you do the math, every fan who paid for a ticket to Game 3 or Game 4 could have played musical chairs, plunked themselves into another seat that went unoccupied, and it still would have left 200 to 300 in the upright position and collecting dust.

To those of you who couldn’t pull yourself away from “American Idol”: When your team ends up headquartered in a one-stoplight town north of the border two or three years from now, don’t blame anyone out of the mirror’s reach.

– The Red Sox signed Scott Schoeneweis. Yeah, that’ll fix the bullpen. He’s tucked right between Scott Rolen and Scott Stapp on the list of American sports and pop culture has-beens.

– One month down the road and Cheverus High School’s Class A boys’ basketball championship remains in litigation limbo. At least as far as many of us outside the private school’s inner circle are concerned.

In question: Whether or not a Maine Principals’ Association rule restricting student-athletes to eight consecutive semesters of eligibility is somehow “discriminatory” to Australia’s Indiana Faithfull due to his national origin. At stake, in my estimation: The sanctity of competition and the significance of rules as we know and try to teach them.

– Although if there ever was a time for flexibility in rules, it was with the sport season dates for this early spring.

I’ll bet you $10 right now that March will be our warmest, driest month until June. Heck, maybe including June. And what did most of our student-athletes do from February vacation until the “official” start of the spring season Monday? Sit around playing video games and updating their Facebook statuses.

You’re telling me Gov. John Baldacci can declare an “emergency” and move up the start of open-water fishing season, but the MPA couldn’t send out a memo saying, OK, track coaches, you can get outside a week earlier and watch your kids throw around a javelin for an hour each day?

Maine’s gap between the winter and spring athletic season is the longest and most excruciating in the nation. It’d be nice to break the monotony in the one year out of 10 when it’s feasible.

If for no other reason than to restore the smile on my face.

Kalle Oakes is a staff columnist. His email is koakes@sunjournal.com.

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