Texas Mike here.

This self-proclaimed sports nut is coming off a doozy of a disappointing season in Dallas. April is usually one of my favorite times of the sports year. Opening day for the Texas Rangers. Dallas Stars bring me a good dose of playoff hockey and there’s nothing better. Dallas Mavericks begin the push for their first-ever NBA basketball championship. We’ve got the NFL draft and NASCAR at TMS to keep it interesting. How about the Byron Nelson PGA golf tourney in Dallas, too? I feel fortunate to live in such a sports mecca.

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But, not this year. Tonight may just be the icing on my pity-party cake. If Dirk and the Mavericks lose, we’ll win the honor as the short end of the biggest playoff upset in NBA history. I came into April full of hope and giddy as a school boy, but the wheels came off quick. Dallas Stars – lost in the first round for the third straight year. Rangers – again mounting a less than competitive campaign. Everyone skipped the Byron Nelson. Can’t even say much about the Cowboys draft or the Nascar race. What the heck?

Maybe I need a change of pace; greener pastures; a new perspective for the time being (until next season). We experienced some new sports and ran into fanatics of other sorts along our journey last year. Anyone out there have room for a slightly disgruntled, somewhat intense, loyal yet critical fan from Texas?

All Blacks - a New Zealand tradition

I know, I could join the legions of All Blacks fans! Rugby is tough and breeds some tough fans. The All Blacks are New Zealand’s pride and joy. From talking to some fans there, it truly seems more like a religion than a game. I think I’ll fit in just fine. They like beer; I like beer. They like Maori dances; I can learn the haka: “Ka mate!” They wear shirts and hats that proclaim “All Blacks!”; … (I might get some looks there)

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We watched bits and pieces of cricket as we trekked Australia. Even stayed at the same hotel as the NZ team in Sydney. Yeah, we ate the same buffet. But I think I’d have to jump on the green and gold bandwagon of the Aussie team. They have the rival British; we have a heated history with them. They just won their third World Cup in a row; I like championships… three times more than most. They say “Go off in green and gold!” My elementary school colors were, you guessed it, green and gold. Maybe it’s meant to be.

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Maybe I’ll add a dash of (inter)national pride to the mix. Chinese ping pong is fast, furious heated by nature. But it’s a whole different beast leading up to the Summer Olympcs in Beijing. I’m ready. I watched some amateur action in the Hutong Ci and picked up a few pointers. Chinese people grow up with tables in every park; I grew up with a table in my garage. They bring heart to the game (apparently 4 players from the national team were sent home in 2004 for having romantic affairs with each other); I appreciate a good drama.

The possibilties are endless, and there’s certainly enough love to go around for this sporting man.

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