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For the increasingly Karen Carpenter-ish print platform of Washington City Paper, I wrote a column this week about a bizarre local high school eligibility case. The basketball team from Cesar Chavez dropped out of the WCSSA, the city’s charter school conference, just because league commissioner Don Cole wouldn’t allow the Chavez team to play fifth-year players; Chavez’ best player was in his fifth year at the school. So Chavez athletic director Ernesto Natera went to D.C. Public Schools athletic czar Marcus Ellis, and somehow got DCPS’ top jock to approve the use of fifth-year players this season.

Allowing fifth-year players has gotten DCPS in trouble before: Michelle Rhee, shortly after becoming chancellor, said she would allow so-called redshirting in her schools. Rhee apparently didn’t understand that fifth-year athletes are banned in essentially every other jurisdiction in the country for competitive and, in some cases, safety reasons. When she realized this, Rhee backed off.

Or so everybody thought.

(AFTER THE JUMP: Hockey the way it was meant to be viewed: On a laptop? Catching up with Satan? Gibbs bagged Brenner and Michael. When’s he gonna get to Herzog? Whites-only basketball? Would Pat Buchanan watch? Brock Lesnar slams Obama, too? Another Guided By Voices reference? Video proof that GBV was the best band ever?)

But it appears DCPS is back to allowing redshirting. In response to Washington City Paper‘s inquiries about why Chavez was sanctioned with a fifth-year player, Ellis requested that questions be put in writing and e-mailed to him, but then Ellis did not respond to the e-mails he’d asked for. However, when asked for an explanation of the Chavez situation, Rhee’s spokesperson Jennifer Calloway said via e-mail: “When a team applies to be sanctioned they must agree to fully comply with DCIAA eligibility rules —which currently allows students to play a fifth season if they have not participated all 5 years.”

In other words: Redshirting a high school athlete is A-OK in D.C.

So I quoted Calloway’s response to an official with a school from the WCAC, the powerhouse league for local Catholic schools, and asked that if the redshirt-friendly situation she described is indeed in place in DCIAA, would the WCAC be forced to stop scheduling DC schools?

“Yes,” he said.

Could Rhee’s athletic eligibility rules mean an end to the city title basketball game, traditionally a huge moneymaker for both DCIAA and the WCAC? Or will Rhee back off again? Hmmmm…


Huge. Regular. Season. Game.

When’s the last time you could use those words, in that order, when talking about a D.C. sports franchise? Before last night’s Caps/Penguins tilt in Pittsburgh, that is. I can say with certainty that that was the hugest regular season game I’ve ever “watched” on my laptop via NHL.com’s GameCenter. You gotta have a jet pilot’s brain to process all the game information thrown at you in near-real time at those sites. It ain’t just like being there, by any means, but the tension is addictive. The technology, great as it is, probably wouldn’t make a 0-0 game “watchable” on your computer, unless you’ve got money on it.

But for a 6-3 contest, with all the back and forth this one had for the first two periods, it all worked wondrously.

Last time the Capitals played in Pittsburgh was in last year’s brutal Stanley Cup series. The Penguins, of course, took that series. Last night’s Caps win didn’t even the score, but, again, it was a Huge. Regular. Season. Win.

My analysis of the difference between last season and last night: Pittsburgh still has Crosby. But they no longer have Satan.

That would be Miroslav Satan, who helped the Pens past the Caps and on to the Stanley Cup last season. Pittsburgh renounced Satan after taking the Cup, however. Satan was embraced by the Boston Bruins earlier this year. With the loss, the Satan-less Penguins remain two points behind…wait for it…the Devils!


Speaking of Satan…

Joe Gibbs has a higher save pecentage than Jose Theodore. He claimed George Michael for Jesus at yesterday’s memorial service at National Cathedral. Gibbs proclaimed Glenn Brenner spiritually cleansed at his 1992 funeral, also.

Wonder if Gibbs is calling Frank Herzog?


The Road to the Washington Warriors Reds (cont.): A Colorado lawmaker wants Indian-themed mascots to get approval from a state board or go away.

From the Denver Post blog:

The bill requires all public and charter high schools with Indian mascots to “either cease using the American Indian mascot or obtain approval for the continued use of the American Indian mascot or another American Indian mascot from the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs.”

Some Colorado teams have dropped their Indian monikers.
Arvada High School switched from Redskins to the Reds in 1993, and the school stopped using its Indian mascot and adopted a bulldog.

Hey, Chief Zee: Can you say “Ribbit!”?


Brock Lesnar announces he’s back from a mystery illness and uses the bully pulpit to go after the Obama health care plan. He says he’s proof there shouldn’t be any Canada-style reforms to our system.

Lesnar compared his time at a hospital in Canada to being in a third world country.

“They couldn’t do nothing for me. It was like I was in a third world country,” Lesnar told the media during a telephone press conference on Wednesday morning. “I had to get outta there.”

The comment followed a question about what was the lowest moment for Lesnar during his three-month battle with diverticulitis.

“Probably the lowest moment was getting care from Canada,” Lesnar said. “I hate to bash them. Our health care system is a little radical, but listen, we’ve got the best doctors I believe in the world here. It does need some restructuring, but I don’t believe a total reform is the answer.”

When pressed by a Canadian reporter as to where he had been in Canada, Lesnar stated he did not want to talk about it any further.

“The only reason I’m mentioning this, I’m mentioning this to the United States of America because President Obama is pushing this health care reform and obviously I don’t want it,” he said.“I’m a conservative Republican and I’m glad to see that finally the state of Massachusetts has got a Republican. We got the Republican seat up there. I’m speaking on the behalf of Americans. I’m speaking on behalf of the doctors in the United States that don’t want this to happen and neither do I.”

Lesnar’s tale of woe is real vague, and it seems as if Lesnar doesn’t realizes that, unlike the promos he cut back in his wrestling days, people are going to fact-check his public statements these days. I’m a huge Lesnar fan, but I bet this performance comes back to bite him.


Only the ball wasn’t white: Can’t Stop the Bleeding writes up the All American Basketball Alliance, billed as the first all-white basketball league. Well, since the early NBA or the ACC of the 1960s, anyway.

A snippet of CStB’s story, taken from the Augusta Chronicle:

“There’s nothing hatred about what we’re doing,” he said. “I don’t hate anyone of color. But people of white, American-born citizens are in the minority now. Here’s a league for white players to play fundamental basketball, which they like.”

Lewis said he wants to emphasize fundamental basketball instead of “street-ball” played by “people of color.” He pointed out recent incidents in the NBA, including Gilbert Arenas’ indefinite suspension after bringing guns into the Washington Wizards locker room, as examples of fans’ dissatisfaction with the way current professional sports are run.

“Would you want to go to the game and worry about a player flipping you off or attacking you in the stands or grabbing their crotch?” he said. “That’s the culture today, and in a free country we should have the right to move ourselves in a better direction.”

Normally I’d bet the whole Alliance thingee has already been exposed as a Borat-style hoax. But just before I typed this, I read Pat Buchanan‘s latest column. So I’m not so sure there’s not somebody out there who thinks a white basketball league could float. I still think: hoax. But I’m not betting.

On a happier note, this tale allows me to point out that the brain behind the great Can’t Stop the Bleeding site is Gerard Cosloy, a founder of Matador Records. That’s a record label that was once home to Guided By Voices, easily the greatest band of all time from anywhere. I’ve kinda fallen away from GBV in recent years, but whenever I listen to or even think about ’em, I smile and smile. Go check ’em out and get back to me. Sing with me: “I’ve waited to long to have you….”

Thanks for trying to get GBV to the masses, Gerard.


Story tips? Wanna Play the Feud? Tube amps for sale? Send to: cheapseats@washingtoncitypaper.com