The good, the bad and the nutty

  (Reprinted from
Aug. 18, 2011)

  Sports stories come in all varieties. Here are three recent examples representing, in order, the good, the bad and the nutty.
• The 10 degrees of Sensei Keiko Fukuda
  First off, most of us are never going to see our 98th birthday. And the ones who do might not be in any condition to remember the special occasion, or even know where or who they are at that particular moment.
  And when it comes to exercise — well, let’s just say wrapping a shawl around one’s shoulders can constitute a full-fledged physical workout at that advanced age.
  But enough tasteless jabs aimed at my elders. I’d better shut the trap, lest I anger Sensei Keiko Fukada.
  Fukada is 98 years old, which in Asian culture automatically makes her a respected figure. In Fukada’s case, what also helps to engender esteem is the fact that she can beat the snot out of any smart mouths that cross her path.

  Yahoo! Sports reported that Fukada not only became the oldest person to achieve a 10th-degree black belt in judo, but the first woman as well. She is also one of only four people still living who has done so, and just 16 individuals in the history of that particular martial art have accomplished the feat.
  Fukada might not have had to wait that long had women been permitted to pursue a 10th-degree belt back when she first got involved with judo in 1935. But they were unable to rise past the fifth degree until 1972, when a separate women’s division was finally established and Fukada became a sixth-degree black belt.
  Fukada told Yahoo!Sports that she has approached both judo and life in general with the intent of being “gentle, kind and beautiful, yet firm and strong, both mentally and physically.”
  I’d say it was a mission accomplished — and I’d say that even if I didn’t think she could beat the snot out of me.
• Taking a real hands-on approach
  You know how Sensei Keiko Fukuda talked about being mentally strong? Well, at least one bonehead never received the instruction booklet.
  An unidentified football fan recently decided that simply being a passive observer just wasn’t good enough. So during an Arena League playoff game, he decided to become part of the action by reaching out and touching someone.
  Actually, said fan wrapped his arms around C.J. Johnson of the Jacksonville Sharks in an effort to prevent the player from returning a kick. The guy also attempted to rip Johnson’s facemask off, something that so impressed members of the Georgia Force that several of them high-fived the intrusive clown once the play was whistled dead.
  Evidently, the idiot quotient isn’t already high enough in fandom. By congratulating Mr. Interference, Force players were basically inviting other members of the lunatic fringe to engage in similar behavior whenever an opportunity presents itself.
  Too bad Johnson didn’t employ his own hands-on approach in dealing with the grabby fan. It’s obviously a credit to Johnson’s character that he didn’t retaliate, and also wise in a monetary sense since the knucklehead can’t turn around and file an assault charge against the Shark.
  But I hate to see the jerk get away without having to deal with any physical repercussions. Hey, anybody know how to get in touch with Sensei Keiko Fukuda?
• The hanging (around) Chad
  While so many of his NFL counterparts do whatever they can to avoid contact of any kind with fans, Chad Ochocinco wants to get closer.
  Ochocinco, who recently signed with New England, told that he would like to stay with some “lucky” fan for the first two or three weeks of the season. According to Mike Reiss on the website, Ochocinco said the experience “should be fun, until I get myself acclimated and learn my way around.”
  The newest Patriot hasn’t decided his destination just yet, but those interested in vying for an Ochocinco guest stay have to meet a couple requirements: Their household must have Internet and Xbox, but “that’s about it.”
  Seems like a small price to pay, especially if Ochocinco takes his rightful turn doing chores, picks up after himself and doesn’t eat too much. Having him offer the homeowner free tickets to Patriots games would be a nice touch, too.
  Ochocinco’s plan is certainly unique and adds yet another dimension to a rather compelling personality. Some think his free-spirited nature is good for the game, others believe it’s bad.
  This latest routine is neither. It’s just plain nutty.