Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 18, 1998

By Michael Kiral / L’Observateur / February 18, 1998

A few random thoughts second lining through my head during this Mardi Gras season: I am not usually a big fan of auto racing, but I was able to catch the tail end of the Daytona 500 Sunday afternoon. It was good to see DaleEarnhardt, one of the greats of the sport, finally win the Daytona in his 20th try. What was better was seeing the crews of the other competitorslining up to greet him as he drove to Victory Lane.

* Remember the days when a Kentucky loss in Rupp Arena occurred as often as the Olympic Games? Well, the Wildcats have already lost three times on their home court this season, the latest to Ole Miss Saturday. A fewmore performances like that and fans in the Blue Grass state might be blue come March Madness.

* Dream Team? What Dream Team? Sunday’s loss (or Monday’s, depending on what continent you were on) to Canada was the second of this here Olympic hockey tournament for the boys from the U.S. That is two morethan the dreamers from the NBA have suffered in two prior Olympics.

Seems like the American ladies, who defeated Canada for the gold medal yesterday, could show the boys from the NHL a thing or two about shooting the puck in the Olympics.

* For those who wonder how much a downhill skier is in shape, just check out the highlights of Herman Maier’s tumble down the slope in the downhill. Not only was he not seriously injured, but he came back to winthe Super G Monday. That is what the Olympic spirit is all about.* Let’s see. First, it was Morten Andersen. Then Sam Mills and Wesley Walls.Now it is Winfred Tubbs taking his show (and 100 plus tackles) to a divisional foe. To say that free agency has not been kind to the Saints islike saying the ice berg was not kind to the Titanic (Hey, Iron Mike, where are the lifeboats? You better find a player to fill this gaping hole or that number four ranked defense could have a sinking feeling.)* One of the arguments the PGA had for not allowing Casey Martin to use a cart was that a league cannot have different rules for its competitors.

Have the folks on high in the organization checked out a NBA game lately? (Traveling on Mr. Jordan? Surely you jest.) * How would you like to shoot 21 under par and find yourself seven strokes behind the leader? That is what happened to Tom Watson in the Hawaiian Open this weekend when John Huston blistered the course for a PGA record 28 strokes under par. Huston probably wishes he could save some of thosestrokes for another day like a baseball team winning a 15-0 game.

* Finally, get well soon, Harry. The seventh inning stretch would not be thesame without you.

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