Laverty’s notes from the Sportsdesk

"Ain’t life a bitch?"

So asked Billy Cole from the movie The Last Boy Scout just following an on-field killing spree as he then proceeds to turn his pistol on himself. If fiction mirrors reality then that scene is the dramatization of Mike Tyson’s rapidly approaching end.

Once feared for his punishing blows and calculated attack, Tyson is perhaps scarier than ever. His uneven and unpredictable demeanour have spiraled out of control since his loss to Buster Douglas in 1997. Following a rape-conviction, an assault on a man who cut him off on the road, a highly publicized ear-biting incident that cost him his Nevada State boxing license and now a plain-clothes fight with Heavyweight Champ Lennox Lewis, "Iron Mike" is clearly no longer the athlete he once was. What’s worse is he is no longer the person he once was.

The one-time undisputed champ, Tyson has never been accused of being the most stable guy around but at least he was under control. Once the epicenter of mass destruction, he now seems more like the epicenter of self-destruction. Tremor after unbelievable tremor leaves me wondering just when the big one will hit. When and who will feel the wrath of this deranged lunatic? We know it won’t be Lewis-at least not in Las Vegas since Nevada’s boxing commission has denied his reinstatement.

But one thing is nearly certain, the end is coming for Mike Tyson and anyone near him at the time will suffer the same fate as Cole’s opposition on the grid-iron-a bullet to the head.

What’s the deal?

Why is it that the University of Alberta’s athletic facilities kick our ass? Where do they keep getting the money to build monstrosities like the Universiade Pavillion, a.k.a. The Butterdome, or the newly built, but not quite completed, Foote Field? As good as we think we have it, we don’t. When you look at the Butterdome alone, it’s a two minute, indoor walk from the world-class track facility to the 1,000-person capacity gymnasium (complete with Jumbotron and instant replay capabilities), to the legendary Clare Drake Arena. This could have something to do with why the Bears and the Pandas actually have regular students, and not just the football team, come and watch their games. Hell, the university teams are so popular they have their own "Superfans," a group of pear-shaped students who live and breathe U of A athletics.

What do we have? Families. An Olympic Oval where just about no U of C students, minus the women’s hockey team, actually compete. A rink so far away you have to actually walk outside-for five freezing minutes just to get to it-and the Dinos have to share with about 15 other teams. We do have the Jack, which does cause teams from across the nation to salivate. And I suppose we do have McMahon, but come on, that’s nothing to rave about. Anyone who’s been to the Bears’ new cave at Foote Field could tell you that.

So I ask again: What’s the deal? Where’s the love? Who is responsible for this travesty? Is it alumni? And if so who could blame them. Maybe years of unsatisfactory facilities and support from the U of C community left a bitter taste in their mouths that was enough to make them not want to give back to their institution. Or-and I suppose more likely the case-maybe U of C just doesn’t have the history, or old money, that our northern neighbours have. I guess we’ll just have to wait until some old boys start kicking the bucket before we’ll see sports facilities that could rival the world.


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