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Sports ode 2012: London, Lance, a Tide of Giants

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Sports ode 2012: London, Lance, a Tide of Giants

So how was your year? Setbacks, advances?

Hey, no doubt, it went better than Lance's.

First up on sports' yearlong ride:

An unrelenting Crimson Tide.

JoePa makes his great migration

Trailed by heartache, litigation.

Eli's coming and Giants roll

Past Brady in the Super Bowl.

Suddenly, all's Linsanity:

Headlines, puns, sheer inanity.

Banned Ryan Braun left fans aghast.

An arbiter says not so fast.

Daytona, Kenseth - let's explain:

The night sets fire to the rain.

Then football gets its jolt of jolts

When Peyton's place is not with Colts.

Tebow leaves the Mile High air

And joins the Jets - a time for prayer.

Kentucky wins, backed by Davis.

Rent a team (call Hertz or Avis).

Baylor follows. Need a reason?

Brittney Griner, perfect season.

Ozzie Guillen, with much to tell,

Sings loving praises of Fidel.

The shaken Saints now turn to Vitt.

Pat Summitt says it's time to quit.

Out at Indy, sitting pretty,

Once again it's all Franchitti.

Pro football vets demand their due.

Concussed and angry, thousands sue.

I'll Have Another's path seems clear,

But still no Triple Crown this year.

Wait a second. Can this be right?

Manny Pacquiao lost a fight?

Lord Stanley's Cup goes to the Kings

While hockey's woes wait in the wings.

After all the sound and fury,

Clemens walks, cleared by a jury.

The Heat are champs. It looks like reign.

South Beach party - LeBron and Dwyane.

Sandusky's jury has its say:

This coach won't see the light of day.

Soccer's armada, mighty Spain,

Captures the Euros in Ukraine.

Come Wimbledon, Serena's crown.

Paterno's statue taken down.

Then Wiggins rides with guile and grit.

The Tour de France goes to a Brit.

Olympics start, McCartney sings.

Phelps swims with gills, Bolt soars with wings.

Pistorius runs, Gabby's great.

A specter looms: Badmintongate.

Brilliant games, with heart and brio.

Snuff the flame and on to Rio.

Augusta bends. How awfully nice.

A female member - Condi Rice.

Lance lambasted for all to see,

His lies unfold as sponsors flee,

His titles stripped, life off its hinge.

Now it's all about the syringe.

Perfect time to make this wager:

Andy Murray wins a major.

The NHL then shuts its door.

(I think we've heard this song before.)

Replacement refs prove one big mess.

The league is forced to acquiesce.

Ryder Cup comes to Medinah.

Europe gives U.S. angina.

Hold no vote, form no committee -

Washington's a baseball city.

Those Oakland A's, no hand-me-down.

Miguel Cabrera, Triple Crown.

Buster Posey and Hunter Pence.

This really doesn't make much sense.

The Giants sweep to take it all.

Black and orange, the style for fall.

No marathon, New York City.

Sandy strikes and shows no pity.

Colts ride a wave of splendid Luck.

They shave their heads and play for Chuck.

The Lakers stumble, won't sit still,

Sign Mike D'Antoni, pass on Phil.

Keselowski, Penske Sprint to Cup.

Notre Dame, `Bama, coming up.

College conferences realign,

In thrall to TV's dollar sign.

Maryland, Rutgers, Big Ten bound.

The money chase goes round and round.

The Chiefs and Cowboys reel from blows.

The NFL's in mourning clothes.

Johnny Football wins Heisman race.

Pacquiao's crushed, flat on his face.

The year is quickly put to bed,

With what's been done and what's been said,

While limbering up sight unseen

For what's on deck ... 2013.

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Dwayne Haskins reflects on bond with Kobe Bryant from pre-draft workouts

Dwayne Haskins reflects on bond with Kobe Bryant from pre-draft workouts

Terrible news hit America on Sunday when word came out that basketball legend Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash along with his daughter and seven others. 

A tragic event for a man and a player that made an impact far beyond basketball. Bryant was known for many things, but more than any, it might have been his competitive spirit. A five-time NBA champion and an 18-time All-Star, Bryant's play was defined by a fluid game and an unstoppable spirit. 

For Redskins quarterback Dwayne Haskins, he got to see some of Bryant's spirit up close. Last year, before the NFL Draft, Haskins trained at Bryant's gym in Los Angeles, and their encounters made an impression on the signal-caller. 

"He's definitely a guy that brings a lot to the table as far as how he trains, how he prepares and what he expects out of his teammates. Very, very demanding," Haskins said of Bryant. "I want to be able to have that other tool, being able to have that edge that Kobe had. Of course, I play like that, but I'd be able to lead like that. That's why I studied Kobe."

Haskins is one of many young athletes that grew up watching Bryant, and for plenty, idolizing Bryant. 

After the news broke Sunday, Haskins reacted on Twitter.

Haskins said it well: RIP to a legend. Gone too soon. 

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Scott Brooks has a simple reason for why Bradley Beal should be an All-Star

Scott Brooks has a simple reason for why Bradley Beal should be an All-Star

WASHINGTON -- Bradley Beal was not picked as a starter for next month's NBA All-Star Game through a voting process that included fans, the media and fellow players. Now it is up to NBA head coaches, who select the seven reserves for each conference.

Wizards head coach Scott Brooks is not allowed to vote for his own player, but believes Beal has a good chance to be picked based on one simple reason. He can tell how much opposing coaches respect Beal each and every night the Wizards play a game.

"Brad's an All-Star. I know that because every night I get to see it. Every night I get to see the defensive schemes against him. He gets double-teamed I want to say every game. That tells me that coaches feel the same way," Brooks said.

Brooks doesn't lobby other coaches to vote for his players, but said others have tried to persuade him in the past. He will "respectfully listen," he says, but believes it is important to do his own research and make his own choices.

"We all take pride in our choice," Brooks said. "It's an elite group and it's hard to get in."

Though Beal isn't a starter, he has a good case for being a reserve. This season he is averaging 28.1 points (third in East), 6.3 assists (10th in East) and 4.5 rebounds per game. 

If Beal doesn't make the All-Star team, it will likely be blamed on the Wizards' record. They are 15-30 and some of his competitors could get credit for being on better teams.

Brooks, though, believes other coaches should consider the circumstances Beal has been in. He says he takes that stuff into account with his own vote.

"There's a lot of factors that go in," Brooks explained. "It's situations. Guys that are on teams that are not playing well... are they not playing well because of him or are they not playing well because they have a lot of young guys, or because they're injured? A lot of players are injured. We've had a lot of injuries this year."

Beal has been an All-Star each of the past two years. We will find out on Thursday if he is in for the third time.

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