For some ex-coaches and players, the playing field and all its trappings issue a Circe-like call, beckoning them back to the site of their joys and triumphs.
So far, CBS football analyst Steve Tasker has been able to resist any pangs of regret that he might have ended his 14-year career a bit prematurely.
Well, there was that once, when Tasker's parents visited a few weeks ago, and a tape of the 1992-93 season, one in which his Buffalo Bills made a Super Bowl trip, was played.
But Tasker, a five-time Pro Bowl special teams performer, says that, most of the time, he's been too busy getting ready to do games on the weekend with his partner Gus Johnson to miss the NFL.
"It's not a grind for me," said Tasker. "It [the routine] goes faster now than it did when I was playing. The preparation is easy for me. I enjoy watching the film and learning the plays. The hardest part has been to see the big picture. When I was a player, I had to be a laser beam and focus on one thing. Now, I need to be more of a floodlight and see the whole thing."
Tasker and Johnson will work their third straight Ravens game, Sunday's contest with the San Diego Chargers (Channel 13, 4 p.m.), and they've seen the Baltimore team at its worst (the 45-19 loss to Jacksonville) and close to its best (Sunday's 13-10 win over Oakland).
It's precisely that kind of inconsistency that Tasker says has made the Ravens' playoff hopes virtually nonexistent.
"They dug themselves a huge hole, but the reality is that they did it against a lot of good football teams," said Tasker. "Letting those games slide is going to come back to haunt them. Those are ones you can never get back."
Officers and gentlemen
If Lou Holtz, the Notre Dame football coach turned CBS studio analyst, had been preparing the 12th-ranked Irish for tomorrow's meeting with an overmatched opponent like Navy (Channel 13, 3: 30 p.m.), he'd tell them to expect the Midshipmen to bring their best.
"Anytime you play a service academy, and especially the Naval Academy, you have to know that they will play for 60 minutes. They'll play together and hard and intelligently. They'll represent themselves and the military well. Don't expect them to fold over," said Holtz.
A study of 130 female athletes announced yesterday revealed that while many believe news coverage of women's athletics has improved, they still report overall dissatisfaction with the quality and quantity of coverage.
The study, released through the auspices of "Women, Men and Media," a research and outreach organization that studies media gender issues, reports that half the responding group found fault with the reporters who covered them, saying the coverage tended to be more skeptical of their ability to compete, compared with the "hero worship" afforded male athletes.
In addition, the group made up of athletes from eight different sports said that its athletes received less coverage than that of males in the same sports, with the exception of figure skaters and gymnasts.
Around the dial
Yes, it's only the second weekend in November, but it's the first big weekend of the college basketball season, and Home Team Sports kicks off its 52-game men's schedule with tonight's Appalachian State-North Carolina mismatch at 7: 30 p.m.
Fairfield will be offered up to the Dukies for the ritual early-season slaughter tomorrow at 5 p.m.
Meanwhile, the rather paltry 20-game women's schedule of ESPN and ESPN2 commences Sunday with split-doubleheader coverage of the State Farm Classic from West Lafayette, Ind.
ESPN2 carries the Kansas-North Carolina game at 2 p.m., with ESPN getting the Purdue-Tennessee game at about 4: 30 p.m.
Lifetime will carry the "Four in the Fall" tournament from San Jose, Calif., the site of this year's women's Final Four, as Arkansas and Stanford meet in the opener at 9 tonight, and Duke and Connecticut play in the nightcap, with the winners meeting tomorrow at 7 p.m. Siblings Cheryl and Reggie Miller will be doing the color.
In between games tonight, Lifetime will air a 30-minute special based on a forum taking place in San Jose to help women and their daughters deal with self-esteem issues.
We neglected to mention last week that Orioles radio announcer Jim Hunter is hosting a weekly "hot stove" show from the ESPN Zone each Friday at 6 p.m. on WBAL (1090 AM). So, now, we have.
On the Sunday NFL pre-game show beat, ESPN's two-hour extravaganza (11 a.m.) will have a visit from injured New York Giants defensive back Jason Sehorn, and Terry Bradshaw will chat with Arizona quarterback Jake Plummer during Fox's soiree (Channel 45, noon).
For those who need a golf fix, NBC (Channel 11) has taped coverage of the Golf Skills Challenge in which eight players compete for $500,000 in prize money, taking a variety of shots from the same hole on an Ojai, Calif., course.
And finally, TNT will offer live coverage of the "Masters of Figure Skating" tomorrow at 8 p.m. from Boise, Idaho, with Michelle Kwan among the competitors.
Pub Date: 11/13/98