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We sports fans are a dramatic bunch when it comes to our teams – everything is life and death – but in real life we shrug sadness and tragedy off like it’s nothing. “My Uncle Maury died? What are ya gonna do? He had a good run. Can you pass the ketchup?” But if the team we root for goes into a slump or, God forbid, gets knocked out of the playoffs, we’re screaming, tears are falling like Niagara Falls and we’re pulling what’s left of our hair out. Think back to the 1994 Stanley Cup and tears of joy start falling. Think of the Wilpons or James Dolan owning your team, and tears of sadness reign down. And if you’re like me and Rip Torn, you’ll get so drunk you’ll mistakenly take a local bank for your house, break in and pass out as I did when the 2007 baseball season ended and the Mets pulled off the collapse hear round the world. I was in such bad shape that I was nearly fired from my job, my wife almost left me and even my daughter put herself up for adoption. We’ll even cry at the end of sports movies. Sure, the waterworks will be unstoppable during Brian’s Song (how can anyone not cry during that tear-fest?), but Dennis Quaid throws an inning for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays with every member of his hometown surprising him after the game, and I’m a quivering mess.

The local teams have been filled with ups and downs this week, which means tears, anger, happiness and hope. We cried when the Knicks blew a lead to the Timberwolves and laughed a giddy guffaw when the Rangers beat Colorado. But we cried again when the Blueshirts fell to LA. But we laughed once more when we saw pictures of Stephon Marbury sitting on a bench in China. There were more downs than ups, though, this week, but whatever the case may be, our emotions were running high one way or the other. But when our sweet, loving grandmother tripped over our retro John Gianelli Knicks jersey that was left in a heap on the floor, broke her hip and cried out for help, we shushed her and said, “Not now, Grandma, the game’s about to start.”

Here are the top stories in the world of New York sports this past week:

The $50,000 Finger: Just like Evel Knievel and Elvis Presley were the only two men on the face of the earth who could get away with wearing a cape, Rex Ryan is the only local coach who can give the finger to a group of his team’s rival fans and walk away unscathed with a “That’s just Rex being Rex” excuse. Well, he did get fined $50,000. And come to think of it, maybe I can see John Tortorella doing that. And Mike D’Antoni is pretty emotional. So maybe all the local coaches can get away with that. And it turns out an unruly fan goaded him into it by possibly spitting on him. But has Ryan already entered flakey, Manny Being Manny territory? Is he out of control and on a rampage or is it all part of his master plan to have everybody hate the Jets? Crazy? Or crazy genius?

Hello Olli: The Rangers didn’t so much as trade for Olli Jokinen as get rid of Ales Kotalik’s contract. Is Glen Sather actually going to admit to all his mistakes and start working on rectifying the mess he created? Earlier in the week, and for the first time ever, Chris Drury showed actual signs of a personality and humor while being interviewed between periods of Sunday’s game. I almost fell out of my chair, but then I found out he was just plugging his Connecticut pizzeria that will be opening soon. It figures he had an ulterior motive. He certainly doesn’t get that frisky talking about the Rangers. On the ice, Sunday vs. Colorado, Chad Johnson earned his first NHL win, and just like old times, Marian Gaborik did most of the scoring for the team this week until last night’s crazy, undisciplined goal-fest.

Hello Ilya: The Devils have been scoring about as much as their ancestors, the Kansas City Scouts, lately, and they’re 3-6-1 in their last 10 games, but yesterday’s blockbuster trade should help them out. They acquired Ilya Kovalchuk and Anssi Samlema from Atlanta for Johnny Oduya, Niclas Berfors, prospect Patrice Cormier and a first-round draft pick.

Hello Nate, Good-bye Del: The Knicks salvaged the week with a win against Washington on Wednesday. The energetic defense that proved so successful had disappeared for the Knicks, and with it went the winning. They even lost to lowly Minnesota. But when Al Harrington’s scoring off the bench returned, and with Nate Robinson replacing Chris Duhon, they may get back to winning again. As for their counterpart across the river, the losing is so bad the coaches aren’t getting fired, they’re quitting. Del Harris has left the Nets, but can you really blame him? If Kike Vandeweghe disappears, the players may have to get in a van and drive down to Houston to see if Kelly Leak’s father will coach them. The Nets are so bad, we may hear their fans start chanting, “Don’t let them play!”

Growing Pains: No, we’re not talking about Alan Thicke (though he is Canadian and can play hockey with the best of them). We’re referring to the young Islanders. They’ve have lost six games in a row now. John Tavares and Matt Moulson (though he scored last night) are struggling, Josh Bailey‘s injured and Rick DiPietro is still trying to shake the rust off. They’re young, so bumps in the road are to be expected. And the bumps have arrived.

Giant Demands: Osi Umenyiora recently went on the radio and demanded to start next year or else he’d quit. On the day he was hired, new defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said that Osi would be starting again. How easy was that? With his demands met before he even uttered them, Umenyiora has now also insisted that that he be paid money for his services and that the team provide him with a uniform. Former Giant Plaxico Burress has stated that he’ll resume his playing career when he’s released from the slammer – that is if he doesn’t accidentally shiv himself in the leg.

Gone But Not Forgotten, Part One: Former Shea Stadium organist Jane Jarvis died this past week. She was 94. She played the organ at Mets games from 1964 to 1979. Not only did she play standards such as “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” but she mixed in the jazzy classics of Charlie Parker as well. Before joining the Mets, she was the organist for the Milwaukee Braves for eight years and was an accomplished jazz musician and also wrote Muzak. She was as much a part of Mets tradition as Kiner’s Korner, Mr. Met and Banner Day. And listening to her soothing yet groovy sound was much more preferable than the ear-splitting, blaring musical assault that goes on today.

Gone But Not Forgotten, Part Two: Mr. Knick Dick McGuire died on Wednesday. He was a player, coach, assistant coach and scout for the Knicks, spending 53 years with the team. Tricky Dick led the Knickerbockers to three straight finals in the early ’50s, played in five All-Star games while with the team and was second team All-NBA in 1951. His #15 has been retired by the team, and he’s third on the Knicks’ career assists list, with 2,950. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993. McGuire was unselfish on the court, and just as unselfish off it.

Gone But Not Forgotten, Part Three: Tom Brookshier died last week as well. He wasn’t really a New York guy (in fact, he played defensive back for the Eagles), but he was paired with Pat Summerall on many, many Giants games in the 1970s and early ’80s on CBS, making for one of the all-time great announcing duos (they also teamed up for many legendary drinking escapades in their time together with CBS). The two broadcast a handful of Super Bowls and hosted the classic highlight show This Week in Pro Football. Known for his wit and sense of humor, he was one of the best.

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