Sports Gumbo Recipe #8: Prince and Pelicans and Protest Bowls
It’s such a weird part of the year sports-wise with the NFL season behind us. The NBA and NHL are still early enough in their respective seasons to not be must watch TV and college basketball still has a few weeks before the madness sets in. Major league baseball, thankfully, is still not a thing and college baseball remains an afterthought to most of the nation due to a mystifying lack of coverage and promotion. Which is a long way of saying here comes another blunderbuss of stories and thoughts that I like to throw in a pot and mix it like gumbo.
Like I mentioned above, as you read this, the Super Bowl has come and gone. Who won? I have no idea because I’m writing this at 2 p.m. and have no plans of watching any game involving the 49ers. So let me start with a story about something bigger than the Super Bowl…Prince.
If you’ve never watched Prince’s performance during Super Bowl 41 then please allow me to be the first to welcome you to planet Earth. It was a Super Bowl performance that will never be topped. Prince took the stage in a teal and orange suit and turned what is really just a marketing ploy for album sales into a work of art. He made the moment his. He transcended the biggest sporting event in America. He put in the work and delivered a chill-inducing set. When the opening chords of “Purple Rain” dropped it seemed like Mother Earth wanted to be part of the show and poured down the rain even harder.
Speaking of great performances, the New Orleans Pelicans are an enticing storyline to follow. Sure, defense is nowhere to be found but it’s the NBA baby. Defense is for the playoff season. Anyway, the Pels ripped off three wins a row, two against possible playoff teams (Grizzlies, Celtics) and gave the Rockets a game (at least for a half). I don’t know how that ended because, again, I’m writing this early in the day watching Prince videos. No matter how that game ended, the Pelicans have a formidable lineup on the floor and it’s young talent so the future looks bright.
Props to Michael Thomas for being named the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year. One hundred forty nine catches and 1,725 yards are Super Tecmo Bowl numbers and were a thrill to watch. Obviously it’s nice having a Hall of Fame quarterback throwing you the ball, but don’t forget, Thomas clicked just as easily with Teddy Bridgewater. It’s going to be an anxious offseason for New Orleans but I don’t want to write or think about that until I absolutely have to.
Also want to give a shout out to the Krewe of Amon-Ra Ball. It’s the oldest gay ball in New Orleans (celebrating 55 years) and was an absolute blast to behold. After the beautiful tableau we hit the dance floor with a passion.
In the “not fun” category is the recent stretch of Tulane Green Wave men’s basketball. Since heading to Philly and upsetting Temple, the Green Wave has gone colder than cold during a five game losing streak, a streak that has seen the club lose by an average of sixteen points a game. Ouch.
On the flip side, the women’s basketball team is sitting all alone in second place in AAC play at 7-2. The team has no shot at the regular season title because UConn remains to be UConn but will be a threat during the conference tournament. It’s been a wild run for the team and you need to get out to Devlin to show your support.
I’m sort of surprised there wasn’t a big Boycott Bowl this year. That was an absolute blast a year ago. If you missed it, let me be the first to welcome you to Planet New Orleans. Here’s what you missed.
One of the best takeaways from Prince’s “The Beautiful Ones” book, edited by Dan Piepenberg, was that Prince never wanted the word magic applied to his music. He was adamant that nothing about his music was magic. It was hard work. It was funk. Damn I miss that guy.
In less than two weeks the college baseball season will kick off and yours truly could not be happier. It will be an interesting year of local ball. The University of New Orleans is coming off a season in which they did not qualify for the Southland Conference tournament, their first miss under Coach Blake Dean. If I were a betting man, I would lay money down on Dean and company to kick a lot of conference tail this year. Dean has done a great job at UNO and this team seems right around the corner from making a big jump. It’s the school’s 50th season of baseball so why not this year?
It will be a tense year in Uptown as the Tulane Green Wave attempt to grab a piece of allusive success under Coach Travis Jewett. The team has missed the NCAA regionals three straight seasons and that’s a big no-no for Greenies. As I’ve said before, even with the football team’s recent bowl run, the baseball program is the “big horse” at Tulane and demands success. Even with having to replace the big bat of Kody Hoese, I think this club gets off the schneid and makes the regionals this year. The club needs a big season from Keagan Gillies and I think that kid’s all-star potential will shine through.
Get outside. It’s beautiful!