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The Globe and Mail

Wacky sports week proves it: there is no sanity clause

Look, there just has to be an explanation for such madness.

Perhaps it was the full moon that arrived this past week.

A wiser guess, however, might be to blame it all on 2005 YU55, that city-block-sized asteroid that blew close enough to earth on Tuesday to send a chill down the spine of anyone who has ever watched Star Trek.

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The last time 2005 YU55 came that close to smacking us silly was 1976, a year renowned in history for its unusual sporting and other events: Darryl Sittler scoring 10 points in a single NHL game; the Montreal Canadiens sweeping the defending-champion Philadelphia Flyers four in a row to take the Stanley Cup; the Phillies' Mike Schmidt hitting four consecutive homers in a baseball game; Muhammad Ali and Ken Norton in a heavyweight boxing match that both seemed to win; the Ottawa Rough Riders winning their final Grey Cup; NBC launching The Donnie & Marie Show ….

But just look at what's happened this past week in 2011:

*Vulnerable young people rioting at Penn State to save the job of an 84-year-old football coach, Joe Paterno, who allegedly failed to do what the law requires to protect vulnerable youths. He was hardly alone – neither did the college president act as common sense, let alone the law, requires when he learned a former assistant coach was using college facilities as a pedophile paradise.

*An NHL game breaking down in ridicule when the Philadelphia Flyers refuse to attack and the Tampa Bay Lightning refuse to check – the Flyers' rather-inspired response to the Lightning's fan-insulting 1-3-1 system that is, in fact, far more a 1-4-0 system, as a true 1-3-1 at least has the fore-checker entering the opposition zone.

*Multimillionaire players and multibillionaire owners walking away from the NBA's bargaining table over one percentage point the same night Twitter – the world's goofiest news service – had them reaching agreement to start the already delayed season.

*The golf world – already renowned for its restrictive Masters rules and a failed attempt by the LPGA to require all players to be efficient in English – seeming to bend over backward to suggest there can't possibly be any racism involved when Tiger Woods's former caddie, Steve Williams, says he was happy when his new employer, Adam Scott, won a tournament so Williams could "shove it up his black" … uh … bunker.

*Woods himself, actually leading in a tournament, the Australian Open, after two years of missed putts and reconstructed swings following the largest out-of-bounds penalty ever imposed on a player.

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*In that same tournament, John (Wild Thing) Daly suddenly quitting and storming off the course after hitting five, six or seven – there appears to be some dispute as to the total – balls into the water on the 11th hole.

*Former NHL enforcer Georges Laraque launching a new book that purports to spill the goods on professional hockey players who do steroids and take other performance-enhancing drugs – and then failing to identify a single guilty player.

*Wednesday night in Valencia, Venezuela, catcher Wilson Ramos of the Washington Nationals being abducted outside his parents' home and, presumably, being held for ransom. Don't these people know you're supposed to steal home, not the catcher?

Such insanity must have sporting fans wondering if perhaps they have somehow misplaced their passions, cheering for hockey teams that won't engage, basketball teams that won't play, golfers who won't finish and college football organizations who simply do not get it.

Isn't money supposed to make you rich – not crazy?

But such has been this bizarre week in early November, 2011.

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No evidence it is all caused by the full moon, and no proof whatsoever that the passing of 2005 YU55 had anything to do with the energy forces that surround and control professional sport.

Yet the way things have been going, the next thing you know we'll be hearing is that a Toronto Maple Leafs player is leading the NHL scoring race….

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