Noting the sports world:
• A poet named McLandburgh Wilson wrote a verse about 100 years ago that reminds me of Panthers linebacker Jon Beason today.
Between the optimist and pessimist
The difference is droll:
The optimist sees the doughnut
But the pessimist sees the hole.
Beason sees the doughnut. Always. His close friend and fellow Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis does, too.
More evidence of this came in Joseph Person's story in Sunday's Observer about Beason and Davis and their continuing rehab as they each try to come back from serious injuries that forced them to miss almost all of the 2011 season.
Beason said this at the end of the story of the Panthers' prospects for 2012: "No more playing for winning seasons or playing to make the playoffs or to go deep in the playoffs. The pieces are in place to win the whole thing, and that's really how I feel about it. Anything less than at least an appearance (in the Super Bowl) is a weak year."
From 6-10 to the Super Bowl? It's difficult, but it can be done. The Panthers were 7-9 in 2002 and made the Super Bowl in 2003. Their defense will have to get a whole lot better, though - it allowed franchise highs in points and yards in 2011.
Now Beason's cheeriness isn't always correct. Coming off a 2-14 season in 2010, he said in the 2011 training camp that the Panthers should and could win nine games. They won six.
Like Beason, Davis is a team leader and relentlessly optimistic. He is making an attempt to come back from three ACL surgeries on the same knee - no NFL player has ever done that. Davis thinks he can.
That's the same Davis who in September 2009, after the Panthers started 0-2, said: "We've only lost two games so far, so we can come back and go 14-2."
The Panthers went 8-8 that season.
But instead of laughing at the constant doughnut-spotting of Beason and Davis, I applaud it.
Often in sports, and in life, believing in yourself - or your family, or your team - is half the battle. These guys have that part right. Pass the doughnuts.
• The ACC men's basketball standings are a wonderful mess. Duke, North Carolina and Florida State are tied for first at 10-2, with Virginia, N.C. State and Miami tied for fourth at 7-5.
I think Miami and the Wolfpack are the only two of those six in danger of missing the NCAA tournament. A Wolfpack win against No. 7 North Carolina tonight would erase much of the terrible aftertaste of blowing a 20-point lead in the final 12 minutes at No. 5 Duke and, I believe, ultimately push N.C. State into the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2006.
• Former Wolfpack greats Chris Corchiani and Tom Gugliotta getting kicked out of N.C. State's home game Saturday by rabbit-eared ref Karl Hess reminds me that Roy Williams' son Scott once was kicked out in similar circumstances by official Larry Rose. Scott Williams, a good guy who lives in Charlotte and who was a reserve guard for the Tar Heels in the late 1990s, was seated in the stands at the Smith Center and yelled to Rose that Mike Krzyzewski "owned" him during a 2005 Duke-UNC game. Rose ordered Williams to vacate his second-row seat.
But don't officials have to ignore stuff like that? Throwing things, repeated profane abuse - those should never be tolerated. But the officials should be able to block out the rest of it.