WHITT’S END: 6.17.22
Whether you’re at the end of your coffee, your day, your week or even your rope, welcome to Whitt’s End …
*Football, scootch a bit for some football.
So what were you doing 28 years ago?
Coming off consecutive seasons of 11 and 13 wins, the Dallas Mavericks were two weeks away from drafting a future Hall-of-Fame point guard named Jason Kidd. The Dallas Cowboys were in the midst of their three-Super-Bowls-in-four-years dynasty, but also only three months removed from the bitter Jerry Jones-Jimmy Johnson divorce. Powered by Jose Canseco, the Texas Rangers were on their way to the best record in the American League West without a chance at the World Series because of a players strike that would halt the season in six weeks.
And also in June 1994, DFW was getting introduced – by way of being host of the 1994 World Cup – to soccer. Fast forward to Thursday at AT&T Stadium and, sure enough, what goes around comes around.
“Dallas” has again been named as a World Cup host city, this time at AT&T Stadium in 2026.
Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott anchored a congratulatory video that included Mavericks Luka Doncic and Dirk Nowitzki, and Jones even committed soccer-over-football blasphemy when asked if the World Cup in his stadium was bigger than his team winning the Super Bowl.
Said Jerry, “Candidly, I think it’s a broader interest from the perspective of Dallas.”
ace to Fort Worth Star-Telegram writer on the doorstep of turning 30, I was assigned to cover the ’94 World Cup from start to finish. I remember going to the Rose Bowl for the final between Italy and Brazil in which neither team scored for 120 minutes of regulation and – yawn – overtime. I also apparently attended a game between Nigeria and Bulgaria at the Cotton Bowl that provided some levity.
The World Cup was supposed to awaken America to the globe’s “beautiful game.” But has Major League Soccer, which was created in 1993 specifically to help attract the World Cup bid to the US, really grown in importance on our sports landscape? In North Texas three decades later, soccer still feels like a skill-building hobby played by children who eventually outgrow it for football or cheerleading or TikTok.
My most enduring memory since that month immersed in soccer 28 Summers ago: Being huddled around a TV shoulder-to-shoulder with international media in the press room of the Cotton Bowl watching … OJ Simpson’s slow-speed chase.
*A second NFL team in DFW? I think Dallas Major Eric Johnson’s idea is brilliant. Consider all the local sports fans who love football but hate Jerry Jones the owner because he won’t fire Jerry Jones the GM. Wouldn’t all those folks love to support a team that would actually beat Jerry’s ass?
*Last week in this space I openly longed – re: whined – for a new Mavericks big man who could protect the rim and average a double-double without having specific plays called for him. A player – I opined – like the Houston Rockets’ Christian Wood. Tuh-DUH! He’s perfect, except maybe for the rim-protecting bit.
But none of the Mavs traded away in the deal were rotation players, so bravo to general manager Nico Harrison for strengthening a weakness without diluting the present or mortgaging the future.
*By my math, the Golden State Warriors winning the title Thursday night marks the sixth time the eventual NBA champion vanquished the Mavs en route. The other five: ’88 Lakers, ’06 Heat and Spurs of ’03, ’05 and ’14.
We feel better that the Warriors won though, right?
*Hold your nose next time you jump in the water, lest you ingest a brain-eating amoeba found in Texas that has a 97-percent chance of killing you.
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*Once upon a time, Matt Moore was a lefty ace with Cy Young potential for the Tampa Bay Rays. He went 17-4 in 2013. Then came Tommy John surgery, a career detour to Japan and – now – a prominent role in the Rangers’ revival. A surprisingly reliable arm in Texas’ bullpen, Moore is 3-0 with a save and heart-warming comeback tale.
*You’ve read about me Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring of my lil’ bro Ha. One of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. There are 430 kids in DFW currently on the waiting list for a mentor. If you’re interested you can find out more and sign up here. Highly recommend.
*Why was I running in the 102-degree heat last weekend? To become comfortable with being uncomfortable. That, and because I’m going to attempt to survive this crazy Spartan thingy Saturday at AT&T Stadium. Pro-active thoughts and prayers, please.
*First time the Cowboys commit some unfathomable pre-snap penalty in the regular season, some wise acre is gonna remember way back in June when coach Mike McCarthy blew off a minicamp practice to take his team to play fake golf.
Will probably me, come to think of it. And I’ll be right.
*Got the first dose of my Shingles vaccination last month – you have to wait two months in between shots – and Justin Bieber’s paralyzed face is making me glad I did.
*Wait, just as I was turning Mike McSofty into a punchline he’s … being fined for having his team be too physical during offseason workouts in Frisco. Second year in a row the NFL has slapped the Cowboys, this time with a $100,000 punishment and the loss of one OTA day next season.
Wonder who tattled?
*Mavs barely pushed the Warriors in their 4-1 series loss in the Western Conference Finals. But you know they – unlike the Boston Celtics – didn’t do: Surrender a 21-0 run in a closeout game and watch an NBA championship celebrated on their own court.
*It happened in Uvalde and this week it happened at my alma mater – Duncanville High School. A gunman walked into the fieldhouse with a gun and opened fire on a kids camp before police quickly responded and killed him. Look, we can keep all the guns as long as we make bullets cost $10,000 each. Until then, good to see a bipartisan bill that is attempting to take even tiny steps in the right direction.
*Sure the Rangers are under .500. But ask any fan – before spring training or after their abysmal 6-14 start – if they would’ve taken 30-33 with 99 games remaining and 100 percent would’ve said “yes.” Make that “Hell yes!”
*Those freaked out that the Fed this week raised interest rates three-quarters of a point to 5.78 percent, consider this: When I bought my first house in 1995 I was ecstatic to lock in my 30-year fixed mortgage at the low, low rate of 8.25.
*Speaking of money, those cutesy “Crypto is dead!” naysayer TV commercials might be hitting too close to home for radical investors. Bitcoin, the world’s largest cryptocurrency, fell another eight percent this week to $20,289, its lowest value since December 2020. It has lost around 28 percent since June 10 and more than half of its value this year. Since its record high of $69,000 in November 2021, it has slumped about 70 percent.
Mavs owner Mark Cuban is even saying Crypto – at least the too-good-to-be-true aspect of it – might indeed be dead.
*Tell me one more time how the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders are all about athleticism and teamwork and not primarily about, well, sex. If so, why produce a bikini calendar, accessorized by a sizzle-reel video?
*If you’re lucky enough to still have a Dad to hug, squeeze him extra strong this Father’s Day. ‘Cuz you never know when it will be the last one. In March 2020 my pops was in the hospital, diagnosed with Leukemia and dodging COVID. Many a time I visited his bedside of him thinking he’d never get out of there. But he did. And boy how. Now 82 and with a clean bill of health, he plays golf at least three times per week, regularly shoots his age from him and recently bounded around Colonial like someone who, well, never had cancer. Happy Father’s Day indeed.
*This weekend? Friday let’s watch some US Open and College World Series. Saturday let’s try to survive a Spartan. Sunday let’s visit dear ol’ Dad. As always, don’t be a stranger.