Aug. 12, 2005

Sometimes the slimmest of margins separates winners and losers. One stroke, one run, one goal — or one point.

My FOX basketball team made it to the playoffs this year. We had a solid squad with height, depth, good ball handlers, and the league's leading scorer, Nick Kalman. After many losing seasons and near misses, we thought this might be our best shot at a championship.

We lost. In the first round. By one point.

It didn't help that my buddy Hollywood got a technical on a questionable foul call, then drew a second T and got tossed out of the gym with the game barely five minutes old. He's our second tallest player and a tough defender, but has a habit of kicking trashcans on bad calls. That's how he drew the first T. His tirade towards the bench and scorers table earned the second tech, and the hook. They got six free throws AND the ball, but we still ended the first half with the score tied at 14. (Yes, this was a defensive struggle, and our lowest scoring game of the season).

It also didn't help that the referees seemed to call every touch we made on an opposing player, but lost their whistles whenever we had the ball. We had guys hit hard countless times with no call, including three consecutive trips down the floor in the final minute.

I don't want to blame the refs, but the other team went to the line at least twice as often as we did, and scored their winning points on free throws.

Even with a man out, and a lack of calls, we had a last shot. Five seconds left, down by one. Inbounds pass to Teddy at mid-court, who found Jose streaking down the right side. He drove past a defender and tossed up a shot from just outside the lane that hit glass, and iron, and bounced away from the basket as the horn sounded.

Game over. Summer season over. Maybe this fall...?

E-mail Rick!

Gas isn't yet $3.00 a gallon, but it is close in South Alabama where I live. Yet, the Feds rave on and on about how strong our economy is! I don't get that when I am sacrificing the few simple pleasures I can afford so that I can drive back and forth to work. It isn't like my employer is giving me a fuel adjustment every time the rates go up! I am also learning to consolidate trips and use less gas in my travels by staying home more often on the weekends. So, how can the economy be growing by leaps and bounds with the average (or maybe below
average by now) consumer can't afford to drive anywhere?

— Robbi

Rick,

It's important to note that out of every dollar you spend at the pump 70 cents on average goes towards taxes. Governments (especially ours) both national and local love to place taxes on every drop that comes out, travels through, is refined, or delivered in any part of their territory. All these taxes are paid for by the consumer at the pump.

— Zacrey

Hi Rick,

I am a single mother with two children, I work ever day. It is getting to the point of either buying gas to go to work or buying food. It is like no one cares anymore about the American people.

— Carolyn


I'm getting so fed up with being at the mercy of the oil companies that I just feel like walking. Too bad my city doesn't have bike/walk paths. I wish everyone in America would just say "enough," and go on strike and didn't buy any gas for a few weeks or until they are forced to lower prices, and just refuse to pay these ridiculous prices. Yeah, yeah, it's just a dream.

JK
"Hotlanta"