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Ok, so I’m at Penn Station in the men’s room the other day (and no, I wasn’t “loitering” or “hanging out” or “experimenting” – I was just “freshening up” before my train ride home), and this guy is holding a fancy Victoria’s Secret gift bag with a wrapped present sticking out of it, when he drops it on the floor as he’s zipping up. Now, of course, the floor in there is, shall we say, wet. In fact, it’s sort of like a pond. A pond filled with scum. And other things that you don’t even want to be stepping in, let alone dropping a fancy present in. The guy picks up his bag, gives it a wipe or two with his hand, splashing the run-off on himself now, and then goes on his merry way. Oh, that poor, poor girlfriend or wife. Little does she know the journey that her thoughtful gift has traveled. The only way she could find out, is if that schlemiel boyfriend of hers came home and announced, “Happy birthday, Honey! Your gift is drenched in authentic Penn Station men’s room urine! Enjoy!” Or maybe he did it on purpose: “Happy birthday, Honey! Your gift is drenched in authentic Penn Station men’s room urine – just the way you like it! Enjoy!” That story has nothing to do with the week in New York sports; I just thought it was a nice, little slice of life story that I found amusing and wanted to share.

Now on to sports (sort of). Olympic fever is finally spreading through my house. My daughter watched some of the speed skating, and she decided that she needed to win a Gold medal in that event. So she pulled on her Rollerblades, and proceeded to slowly skate around our basement a few times, and then declared herself the Gold medalist. What she was really interested in, though, was the pomp and circumstance of the medal-winning ceremony. She stood on the couch, which acted as the podium the winner stands on, with her stuffed Winnie the Pooh being the Silver medal winner sitting (he can’t really stand) a level below her, and SpongeBob winning the Bronze. I formally presented my daughter with her Gold medal (ok, a toy necklace), and, yes, she then made me sing the National Anthem. The whole thing. And if you’ve never sung it, it’s a tough song to sing, spanning a range of octaves and all. But, fortunately, I didn’t have to sing the Hundred Acre Wood or Bikini Bottom anthems. Of course, my daughter inherited that kind of monkey-see-monkey-do behavior from her father and her uncles. After watching the James Caan classic Rollerball on TV once when we were kids, the next day, my brothers and I plus a group of friends tried to play our own version of the game. There were some bicycles, roller skates, hockey gloves and a softball involved, but it just didn’t quite work out for some reason. It’s too bad my daughter didn’t get caught up in curling the last two weeks. Maybe that would have led to her sweeping or vacuuming the house.

Now on to sports (really). Here are the biggest stories in the world of New York sports this week:

Dawning of a New Era: It was a newsworthy week for the Knicks, but unfortunately, they didn’t win any games. The Tracy McGrady era (as short as it may be) began on Saturday (along with the Sergio Rodriguez era, as he’s now the team’s new point guard). McGrady starred, pouring in 26 points, but he and the team ran out of steam and lost in OT to Oklahoma City. On Monday, the Knicks honored their first-ever world champion team from 1970. The ongoing interviews during the game were a good distraction from what went on out on the court. The 2010 Knicks are not in the same universe as their 1970 forefathers. Chemistry and teamwork were the buzz words of that champion team, and those aspects of the game were nowhere to found during the Knicks-Bucks game. Of course, their recent trades had a lot to do with that, and they lost a lot of defense and size. McGrady had to leave the game with an injured knee. That didn’t take long. He looked rusty, tentative and out of game shape in their loss to Nate Robinson and Boston on Wednesday. It looks like he may have peaked on Saturday.

Down in FLA: The Mets signed Rod Barajas to a reasonably cheap one-year contract. One year for him is better than Bengie Molina for two or three years at $12 million or whatever it would have been. They both play defense, they both hit home runs, and that’s about it. I feel bad for Omir Santos. He went from major league starter to Triple A backup in one stroke of the pen. It looks like Jerry Manuel may bat Jose Reyes third to start the season. If it’s only until Carlos Beltran comes back, why bother? Reyes is sensitive enough as it is, so shouldn’t Manuel make him as comfortable as possible coming back from his injury? Jenrry Mejia has impressed Manuel in camp so far. And Sandy Koufax is the next in line to take a stab at fixing the mysterious Oliver Perez. Over in Tampa, the Yankees signed Chan Ho Park – throw another reliever on the pile. Jorge Posada and A.J. Burnett began working together after last year’s disastrous partnership. Shouldn’t Posada be a DH at this point in his career? In last year’s playoffs he couldn’t catch the ball no matter who was pitching. Johnny Damon officially became a Tiger, and Derek Jeter declared he wants to be a Yankee forever. Where else is he going to go?

Do You Believe in Slight Upsets?! It wasn’t exactly a miracle, but it was an upset nonetheless. The U.S. beat Canada in a great game, almost 30 years to the day of the Miracle on Ice. Hey, even Chris Drury scored – he’s obviously been pacing himself with the Rangers, saving his offensive output for the Olympics. Jamie Langenbrunner scored (and assisted on another), and ex-Devil Brian Rafalski netted two goals. Whenever I think of a Devil or ex-Devil’s name, in my mind it’s always said in Mike Emrick’s excitable voice. He’s so ubiquitous, he’s now doing the play-by-play of my everyday life in my head, which isn’t so bad really. Maybe it’s a new undiagnosed disease – Emrick Syndrome. It could be worse – it could be Suzyn Waldman’s voice I’m hearing. Ryan Miller saved the day for the USA, while poor Martin Brodeur looked like he just lost to the Rangers again, and then he was benched for Canada’s game against Germany. He now has to slink back to New Jersey, as he has all of Canada wanting to come after him with torches and pitchforks. Canada recovered to beat Germany and steamroll over Russia, though. And the USA kept their dream alive with a win over Switzerland, with Zach Parise providing all the offense they would need. Debate time: With the Miracle on Ice on everybody’s mind, who was the better Herb BrooksKurt Russell or Karl Malden?

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