Brian VanderBeek

Satisfied customer? Not at all these days

I blame the holiday shopping season for the way I'm feeling right now.

Nothing satisfies me. Not even a Snickers bar. And it started Thanksgiving Day.

For 32 years, Detroit was the one NFL team that always played on the holiday, and then Dallas hopped on the holiday hayride in 1966. Now, we get three games with a side of stuffing, creating another three-hour programming time block filled with commercials for the 4 a.m. next-day opening of your local big-box store.

And I still craved more -- football, not shopping.

That feeling carries over to everything in the sports world. It's understandable how we get no satisfaction from the play of the 49ers and Raiders these days, but it's more than that. If we're lucky enough to see an undefeated team this year, somehow it won't seem legitimate unless the Patriots cover every one of these 20-point Vegas spreads.

It won't take much to fill my emptiness, just a few adjustments, additions and changes in attitude.

For example:

CENTRAL CATHOLIC VOTED IN -- I'm extremely excited for the Raiders in their quest for the state Division III bowl championship, and I wish Oakdale were joining them in Carson.

Perhaps had Oakdale scheduled McNair in Week 3 instead of losing to Cardinal Newman, we would be seeing a Mustangs' southward drive. But then, McNair was busy that week losing to a playoff-bound Modesto Metro Conference team.

I want more.

I want at least five divisions in statewide play instead of the current three, and I want a system of playoffs between section champions to determine berths instead of selecting teams via a poll of section commissioners.

It won't be easy. All regular-season high school football schedules would have to be synchronized to end on the same weekend.

The payoff would be great, allowing a team like unbeaten Sutter to see how good it really is. Instead, the Sutter-Central Catholic matchup will have to wait until next season. Yes, it's on the schedule.

BRITS DISRESPECT AMERICA -- Depending on which account you trust, there may have been 25,000 British fans in Las Vegas over the weekend to watch countryman Ricky Hatton battle Floyd Mayweather in a welterweight showdown.

The fight was great, by the way, with Hatton the early aggressor before Mayweather took over. And had the referee not stepped in to stop Mayweather before he pulled the trigger on one final right hand, Hatton might still be on the canvas.

We all expect regrettable behavior from British sports fans, but after the crowd stood and heard Tom Jones sing "God Save the Queen," the Brits yelled, whistled and stomped their feet during the singing of the American national anthem.

Had this been a group of Americans doing the same in any other country, it would have been an international incident. Since it was done by Brits in America (the great forgiver) it was shrugged off as innocent hooliganism.

I want more outrage. I will settle for any outrage.

On the other hand, our anthem is a recount of a battle in the Revoutionary War -- the Brits lost that fight, too.

Maybe the next time a British fighter comes to this country for a big bout, his anthem could be performed by Johnny Rotten.

NATIONAL TITLE WEEKEND -- While we have to wait another three weeks for the BCS bowl games to play out, college football's other divisions are deciding titles on the field this weekend.

Delaware meets Appalachian State on Friday in the FCS (formerly I-AA) title game, then Northwest Missouri State and Valdosta (Ga.) play Saturday for the Division II title, Mount Union (Ohio) and Wisconsin-Whitewater battle for the Division III crown and Sioux Falls (S.D.) faces Carroll (Mont.) for the NAIA championship.

I want more than having to settle for watching the lower divisions crown champions on the field.

And so do you.

VICK GETS 23 MONTHS -- My first question: Was Michael Vick's term based on the number of dogs this canine mass murderer had a hand in killing?

I want more, and not necessarily additional prison time. I want remorse.

My second question: "Mr. Vick, please stop me at the moment you remember feeling remorse over the killing of one of your animals.

"Was it after the first dog died?

"Was it the second dog?

"The third dog?"

I think that line of questioning might be lengthy.

Better grab a Snickers.

Bee staff writer Brian VanderBeek can be reached or 578-2300.