I never watch 'Sopranos' reruns back home. As far as I am concerned, the nuclear family is still sitting around the luncheonette in New Jersey, munching and chatting, safe and together, and that's how it ended for me.
Weary soccer players just cannot run anymore and must resort to shootouts after 120 minutes when a result is mandatory, but men on skates can go indefinitely, no matter how badly it disrupts the television network's schedule.
When I was a kid, my father brought home the autobiography of Sid Luckman, the great Chicago Bears quarterback - probably an extra copy from the sports department where he worked. It was the first sports biography I ever read.
Some of the most inspiring moments in sports have come from players with physical defects. Tom Dempsey, born without toes on his right foot, kicked a 63-yard field goal in 1970, using a straighter, wider shoe.
When the Mets were on their run in the 1980s, Gary Carter was often seen hugging somebody. It was easy to joke about that. The best hug of all was with Jesse Orosco at the end of the 1986 World Series.
I've seen elbows that broke eye sockets. I've seen a German goalkeeper just level a French guy. His teammates thought he was dead lying on the ground. This was in 1982 at my first World Cup. But a bite is outside any kind of contact collision: dirty foul play. A bite is a bite.
In recent generations, women's sports have been a blessing. Some of us can remember the bad old days in the '50s, when we would discover in casual schoolyard play that a girl could outrun most of us or hold her own in basketball or hit a softball - but there were no teams, no coaches, for girls.
Every spring, this happens: People discover hockey when daylight lasts longer and men grow beards and tie games do not end in shootouts but rather continue until a goal is scored. The seventh game only heightens the mood for players and fans alike.
Hockey historians say the handshake dates to English settlers in Canada, who preached an upper-class version of sportsmanship in the 19th century. Soon, tough kids in urban and prairie rinks began imitating imagined dukes and earls of the old country.
Having been aware of the Red Sox since the 1946 World Series, having been growled at by Ted Williams as a young reporter in 1960, having been present at the horror of 1986 and the comeback of 2004, I have seen the highs and lows of some other people's favorite team.
Tom Seaver was let loose twice by the Mets and pitched a no-hitter for the Reds and won his 300th game for the White Sox, but he wears a Mets cap in the Hall of Fame as homage to the 1969 championship.
Athletes are used to battling. The public would never learn their names if professional athletes had not shown courage at an early age. They learn they can overcome, but sometimes this becomes a false sense of security that leads them to the edge.
Under a pulsating full moon, the gussied-up Billie Jean King National Tennis Center seems much softer and prettier at night, with the fountains bubbling and fans without tickets to the big stadium sitting in the plaza and watching a big screen.
Pennant races drain the energy from the best of them. Old-fashioned baseball races are to me the most grueling daily test in any sport. Gotta keep coming out, every day, in the face of looming disaster.
All our lives are enriched by the leadership and excellence and confidence of female athletes, whether the Mia Hamms and Maya Moores we know or the field hockey, lacrosse and track and field athletes we do not necessarily know.