BRAD LOCKE: Playing the field; who to love, hate; jinxing Pujols

A high school football player said this to a newspaper recently: “To be honest, I haven't made any final decision as to where I'm going to school next year.”

Certainly, this kid has some Division I schools looking at him. Thing is, he's still got a year of prep ball left.

The newspaper is the Tampa Tribune, and the football player is quarterback Andrew Nowels of Clearwater Central Catholic. The Trib reported that Nowels is considering transferring to Lakeland, which is where his parents now live.

Just a coincidence, I'm sure, that Lakeland is the No. 1 team in the nation and the two-time Class 5A defending state champ.

The kid actually missed practices last week and hasn't talked to his current coach since May 20. What, is he holding out for a better contract?

Or perhaps he's pondering the academic advantages Lakeland could afford him. I'm sure that's it.

n Deserving or not? I can't decide who to pull for in the NBA Finals, which starts tonight.

Both teams have good guys and villains alike.

The deserving from Dallas: Dirk Nowitzki, coach Avery Johnson; from Miami: Alonzo Mourning, Shaquille O'Neal, Dwyane Wade.

Dirk's paid his dues, Avery's the perpetual underdog, Zo doesn't need no stinkin' kidney, Shaq is a winner, and Wade is both superhuman and humble.

The undeserving from Dallas: Mark Cuban; from Miami: Gary Payton, Pat Riley, Antoine Walker, Jason Williams.

Cuban is just annoying, Payton, Walker and Williams – while they get kudos for subduing their egos – are still on my poopy list, and Riley forced a perfectly good coach (Stan Van Gundy) out of a job for his own glory.

So naturally, I'm pulling for Miami. No clue why.

n Dora the Oiler: Since it was a No. 8 seed, nobody figured Edmonton to reach the Stanley Cup finals. Which is why Dora the Explorer's stage show is scheduled for Rexall Place the same night as Game 6, if the Oilers' magical run goes that far.

Dora is my youngest daughter's favorite cartoon character, so I asked Trinity if they should have the Dora show or the hockey game that night.

“Dora show! So I can watch it,” she said.

“Well,” I said, “it's in Edmonton.”


Game on.

n Bird brained: A seagull was beaned by a pitch during a minor league game in Buffalo, N.Y., on Sunday. It flew between home and the mound just as the pitcher delivered, but at least it survived, unlike the dove Randy Johnson exploded in spring training a few years back.

Too bad it wasn't A Flock of Seagulls that got beaned.

Quick hitters

n Notice how there are no Michelle Wies competing in real sports?

n An Egyptian TV mogul, complaining of exorbitant broadcasting fees for the World Cup, has called viewing the event a “human right.” This shocked Chinese President Hu Jintao, who exclaimed, “Humans have rights?”

n I feel horrible. Last week I wrote that I hoped Albert Pujols didn't “pull a Barbaro.” Well, at least his career isn't over.

Brad Locke ( is afraid he just ended Pujols' career with that last statement.

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