THE SPORTS DOCTOR-Wishin' and hopin': My laundry list for the 2011 sports scene

a jock
Flickr/SD Dirk

So 2010 is over. Have we gotten all we wanted? If your answer is "not really," I agree. 

The NCAA is still lily-livered and weak-kneed, the BCS doesn't have any intention of listening to college football fans, Tiger Woods still has a bad temper, LeBron James still has a big mouth, and America isn't ready to win an Olympic ski jump competition. 

But does such predictability mean we should give up all our sports hopes? Of course not. Here are a few of mine for the year ahead.

Not necessarily my hope, but the hope of many, has to do with the NFL draft, specifically whom the Washington Redskins will make their top pick. Before Dan Snyder decides to put Cam Newton in the old burgundy and gold, let me voice the opinion of thousands of fans: Stop! Linemen, linemen, linemen– draft linemen!

Who give Peyton Manning and Tom Brady that extra second to make a play? Offensive linemen. Shoot, even Kevin Kolb can make something happen if he has adequate protection. Mark Rypien won a Super Bowl, for heaven's sake, and he's no great shakes. One decent lineman is worth 10 quarterbacks to the Redskins, but all evidence proves it might be too much to expect miracles (i.e. common sense) from Redskins management.

Speaking of common sense, it is too much to hope the Chicago Cubs have found some? With the re-signing of the once phenomenal pitcher Kerry Wood, whom the Cubs sent packing to Cleveland in 2009, Chicago seems to be apologizing, if not repenting, for dismantling the best team the city had seen in decades. The 2003 Cubs was a team fans still pine for, a team so ripe with promise that GM Jim Hendry, who has made a fine career of failure, had no choice but to destroy its beautiful headiness. Is it too fantastical that Kerry Wood's second act as a Cub might mark the return of those halcyon days? I'm afraid we dare not hope—

Back to the Redskins for a minute– or at least Donovan McNabb. In 2011, I hope to learn what exactly is wrong with the oft-maligned former Eagle. Why does everyone hate him so much? He's certainly not the worst quarterback in the world (see Tony Romo or Derek Anderson), but for some reason he's about as popular as a bedbug infestation. Am I missing something? He seems perfectly affable in interviews, but I've never seen any athlete treated so shabbily. It's a real mystery.

This year I'd love to see women in sports get the attention they deserve– and I don't mean wearing tube tops and tight jeans on the sidelines. Let's stop comparing UConn women's basketball to UCLA men, okay? Can't they just be fantastic on their own without having to be denigrated? Haven't we come that far?

It's my sincere hope, futile as it may be, to have Mark Cuban give up the belief that owning the Dallas Mavericks makes him an expert on all things sports. Being a bazillionaire team owner doesn't necessarily make someone a savior. While he's right that the BCS is crooked and unfair, his suggestion that he personally pay colleges across the country to put their teams into a playoff system of his design makes me yearn for the days when George Steinbrenner had the biggest ego in sports. According to Cuban, the only thing keeping the BCS from instituting a playoff is "a lack of capital, which I can deal with. ..."

If Cuban thinks the BCS lacks capital, he's really not smart enough to engineer a playoff system.

I don't have room to list all my hopes for 2011, but a few are understood: that Mike London make good on his potential, that the Lance Armstrong witch hunt dies a quick death, that Roger Federer wins Wimbledon, and that Heisman voters actually read their mission statement. 

It's a long and perhaps unrealistic list, I know, but a girl can dream, can't she?


Juanita Giles lives on a farm in Charlotte County with her husband, son and many dogs.