Monday, March 5, 2007

MARCH 5, 2007

I don't think fans should attack student athletes, and I don't think they should cross the line when yelling at a ref or coach, but I think this may be going too far.

Athletic officials in Washington state are considering banning one of sports' most time-honored traditions: booing your opponents.

Mike Colbrese, executive director of the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association, says it's hard to hire coaches and referees because of the abuse they have to endure from fans during games. He hopes that, by banning booing, they can foster a more welcoming atmosphere on the court and on the field.

"It's the organized effort to try to intimidate or try to make fun of someone that becomes personal in nature that can escalate then into other concerns that we might have," Colbrese says, adding, "I'm trying to figure out why people think booing is acceptable in the first place."

People think it's acceptable because it is. Sports are all about competition, and people in the stands are there because they're rooting for their team and against the other guys -- it's as simple as that. As I said, I agree that yelling out racial slurs or throwing beers and chairs is over the line, but booing? Fans need some kind of release during a game, and the last time I checked, no on was killed because people booed at them

The fans in Washington aren't taking a propose booing ban lightly. At the state high school basketball championships over the weekend, people were saying things like "The crowd should be able to say what they want to say. They pay their money. They should be able to boo if they want to," while another asked, "What are they going to do, put everybody out of the stadium?". And don't get me started on pro athletes, I think anyone making over $1 million a year to play a sport should be able to take some good natured ribbing.

So, you're crusing down the street listening to 97.7 The Breeze when you get pulled over... Here's what insiders say may be able to get you out of a ticket.

STEP #1.) Remember that cops are people, too. But they've also probably heard of every single excuse in the world people have used to try to get out of a ticket. There is no one tactic that will work every time.

STEP #2.) KNOW the speed limit. Pleading ignorance and saying you thought it was a "55" instead of a "35" will REALLY annoy the cop.

STEP #3.) Show respect and be polite. Even if the cop is on a power trip and bullying you or mistreating you. . . don't argue or talk back. Get their badge number and make a phone call or write a letter to his or her superior when you get home.

STEP #4.) Don't get out of your car unless you're asked to.

STEP #5.) Keep your hands IN SIGHT. It will look suspicious if you're rummaging around in your glove box or under your seat when they are approaching your car. Even if you want to get a head start on whipping out the "license and registration". . . just wait until they ask for it.

STEP #6.) Roll your window down BEFORE the officer gets to your car. . . especially if you have tinted windows. Usually they'll shine a bright light on your car if it's dark. . . but to cover all your bases. . . turn the light on inside your car to show you have nothing to hide.

STEP #7.) Leave your seatbelt buckled, or you may risk getting a ticket for that, as well. And if, for some reason, you're UNBUCKLED when they pull you over. . . secretly put it ON.

"Consumer Reports" just put out their annual list of the year's best vehicles. . . Check it out. . .

--BUDGET: Honda Fit
--SMALL SEDAN: Honda Civic
--FAMILY SEDAN: Honda Accord
--UPSCALE SEDAN: Infiniti G35
--LUXURY SEDAN: Infiniti M35
--FUN TO DRIVE: Mazda MX-5 Miata
--SMALL SUV: Toyota RAV4
--MIDSIZE SUV: Toyota Highlander hybrid
--MINIVAN: Toyota Sienna
--"GREEN" CAR: Toyota Prius

"Consumer Reports" also ranked all of the major car brands on how reliable they are overall. . . Toyota came in first. . . Honda second. . . Scion (--which is a spinoff brand from Toyota) in third. . . Acura in fourth. . . and Lexus (--also owned by Toyota) in fifth.

The highest-ranking American brand is Mercury, which came in 10th.

Infiniti made the biggest jump: Last year, they were 28th. . . this year, they finished eighth.

Coming in at the bottom of the list: Mercedes-Benz. They finished right below Land Rover, Hummer, Jaguar and Jeep.