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For love and sports (cont.)

Posted: Wednesday May 10, 2006 11:18AM; Updated: Wednesday May 10, 2006 1:53PM
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Living in Tampa, I am an avid Buccaneers fan. I don't get the chance to go to many home games because I go to school in Tally, but hopefully I will get to take in the beautiful scenery that is Raymond James sometime next season. We had a rough time of it last season in the playoffs after winning the NFC South. Hopefully my boys will start the season with the flair they did in 2002-03, when we went on to win the Super Bowl. I was a little surprised by their draft picks, specifically Boston College tackle Jeremy Trueblood (Miami's Eric Winston was still available) and Oklahoma offensive tackle Davin Joseph. The Bucs didn't make any big free-agent acquisitions, either, so I hope their core players can keep up the good work and Chris Simms can play to his full potential.

As for American Idol, as much as I like Chris Daughtry, I'm going with Taylor Hicks on this one. I have been a huge fan of Chris since the show started; his style is edgy and brings something different to the competition. But Taylor's singing is a lot more soulful and he's got a broader repertoire than the other contestants -- that's what will win the competition.


Jenn, when is Lorenzo Booker going to be the No. 1 back for FSU? I think Bobby Bowden is playing favorites. I'm not saying that the other backs in the lineup aren't talented, but Booker is electric and the nation hasn't seen him yet. What have you heard on campus to either agree or disagree with my points? Maybe it's too early, but the season is right around the corner.
-- Isaac, Moorpark, Calif.

Booker is back as a senior this year, and I think he is going to make a name for himself. If our offensive line can stay healthy, I think he and Antone Smith are going to be a lethal one-two punch on offense. Booker hasn't gotten nearly enough recognition for what he has brought to Florida State. He is capable of being a back in the Warrick Dunn mold and, if used effectively, would give us one of the top offenses in the nation.

Since you mentioned gym etiquette: Am I the only one who thinks that walking around nude, barefoot and with no towel in sight in the locker room is rude, not to mention unsanitary? Do women do this, or only men over 50? (It seems generational.)
-- Kurt, Long Valley, Calif.

I cannot tell you how many times I have walked into the locker room and seen something that I wish I hadn't ... cellulite, tan lines, weird rashes, you name it. There are dressing rooms for a reason. There are plenty of girls at Florida State who are in perfectly good shape to walk around in the buff, but that doesn't mean they should do it. Same with spandex. Nudity and spandex are a privilege, not a right, so why abuse them? And walking around barefoot is just as gross. I'm sorry, but if pre-baby, hot-bodied Britney Spears couldn't pull it off at the gas station, why try it in the locker room? There are just as many disgusting germs lurking on the locker room floor, so unless you want to be treating yourself for ringworm or some rare fungus condition, sandals might be a wise investment.

In review: no shirt, no shoes = BIG PROBLEM.

My favorite teams always seem to play better when my girlfriend is in the other room and the door is closed. How can I persuade her not to watch with me without starting a fight?
-- Phil Saferstein, Los Angeles

I completely understand ritualistic things. For example, my dad has a chair that he has to sit in when Miami plays. When he is absent from said chair, it is going to be a bad day for the Hurricanes. But getting a girlfriend to understand a quirky superstition like this is impossible.

The best way to get your girlfriend to vacate the premises during game time is to do trade-outs: take her shopping, take her to a chick flick, whatever floats her boat. This keeps you happy because you get to watch the game alone, and it keeps your girlfriend happy because she wanted to see In Her Shoes. If all this fails, your best bet may be finding a new girlfriend, preferably one who doesn't come with a curse.

I have a blind date this Friday. Any tips or suggestions? Should I just recommend that we go to dinner or should it be just coffee? This is my first one and I don't know what to expect. Any advice would be appreciated.
-- Robert, Boston

Find out in advance where you are going; that way you can dress appropriately. If she shows up wearing her "A game" and you roll up in your John Deere hat and pink, popped-collar polo, I am not thinking you are off to a good start.

Second, under NO circumstances do you speak of your ex, or the fact that you have spent the past two nights drunk on her doorstep because she wouldn't take your calls. Leave your baggage with the bellhop, we don't want it.

Third, I don't care if the evening involves drinking adult beverages, but at no point in the evening do you EVER drop the "L" bomb. You just met, she doesn't want to move in with you or have your kids that week, so don't push your luck. This is the part in the date where any sane woman will pull the emergency fire alarm to get out of sitting through the rest of dinner with you.

Finally, be yourself. I know this is the lamest advice ever, but it's the truth. Sure, you could lie and say that you own the house (that is really your parents') and that you have a job in the entertainment industry (when you sell tickets at the movie theater), but what good would it do you when she found out the truth. If Matthew McConaughey couldn't pull it off in Failure to Launch, what makes you think you can win some chick's heart by spewing some lies to her?

Remember, it's a blind date, not an arranged marriage. Just have fun with it.