Ode to sports: Lance to LeBron, Rodman to A-Rod

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(AP) - Now the year's in the books, and what do you say?

Was it wine and champagne or deer antler spray?

An emphatic thumbs-up? Maybe a veto.

No, not very clear. In fact, Incognito.

But think back a year and who'd disagree:

It's all Alabama, all SEC.

Soon Manti Te'o speaks with conviction

Of one special girl _ turns out she's fiction.

What's more, it turns out this "girlfriend" is dead.

(Hey, he plays football. He wasn't pre-med.)

The truth proved elusive, just look at Lance.

It's all a big sham, those triumphs in France.

He sits with Oprah, says he's a liar,

His cycling pants now clearly on fire.

Darkness descends, the Super Bowl's wacko.

But let there be light, let there be Flacco.

Valentine's Day: Oscar Pistorius

Finds glory gone, his name notorious.

Daytona means NASCAR's ready to roll.

Danica wows `em by winning the pole.

And then in one jaw-dropping boomerang

Dennis Rodman flies off to Pyongyang.

Wily diplomat or tattooed buffoon?

He's best friends forever with Kim Jong Un.

By March, it's a surge _ the Heat have the goods.

Speaking of heat ... Lindsey Vonn, Tiger Woods.

Come tournament time, dear Harvard we hail.

Kevin Ware snaps his leg, one ghastly wail.

Louisville wins it under Pitino.

Toast to the champs with glasses of vino.

At Rutgers, Mike Rice is soon out of work,

Caught ranting on tape, a coach gone berserk.

Scott takes the Masters. He's decked out in green.

And that Chinese kid? What was he, 14?

Then in the rumble of clattering feet

It's mayhem and heartbreak on Boylston Street.

Jason Collins comes out, says that he's gay

(And still unemployed in the NBA).

Orb captures the Derby splashing through slop,

Runs fourth in the Preakness _ Oxbow's on top.

Sergio's crack about Tiger is low.

He jokes of fried chicken then must eat crow.

For Tony Kanaan, it finally clicks.

Indy is his and he kisses the bricks.

Nadal rules Paris, a monarch on clay,

Like Louis XIV, back in the day.

Phil's runner-up at the Open once more _

Six times and counting for those keeping score.

LeBron soars again, the Spurs taken down.

It's June and it's time to re-Heat this crown.

Likewise, the Blackhawks go all the way up,

Getting familiar with hoisting the cup.

Football camps open, a shadow looms large:

Aaron Hernandez and a murder charge.

Then a burden lifts and the deed is done:

A Brit, Andy Murray, wins Wimbledon.

Rivera trots in from the bullpen gates,

With All-Stars saluting one of the greats.

Next, a tale to delight every cynic:

A Florida anti-aging clinic

Is accused of dispensing PEDs,

And Major League Baseball puts on the squeeze.

It bans 13 players _ very big news _

Among them Rodriguez and Nelson Cruz.

A-Rod's indignant with righteous fury

And sues everyone but cousin Yuri.

How's this for a ban? Manziel's docked a half.

The price, so it seems, for an autograph.

The Olympics near and the Russians try

To make sure the rainbow flag doesn't fly.

Pro football's lawsuit over head trauma

Ends in settlement not courtroom drama.

At a New York court, though, tension heightens:

Nadal v. Novak, clash of the titans,

While a major force sweeps this arena _

Seventeen Grand Slam crowns for Serena.

On the bay, it's Oracle. Well done, mate.

A mighty comeback at the Golden Gate.

The Pirates light up the National League

While all baseball's ablaze with Yasiel Puig

And Michael Wacha (now go figure that)

And David Ortiz with pop in his bat.

Come the World Series, time for instruction

In disentangling rules of obstruction.

Beards rise to high fashion, scruffy and long.

There's no doubting these Red Sox _ Boston Strong.

NFL coaches start dropping from stress.

The Dolphins' locker room is one fine mess.

Jonathan Martin cites verbal abuse.

Says Incognito: Hey, just hangin' loose.

But his slurs and threats offend most others

Not part of this muscled band of brothers.

It's now six times Jimmie Johnson is champ.

Does this guy ever take the exit ramp?

A seismic Iron Bowl _ Auburn prevails,

The finish best measured on Richter scales.

Then soon it's quiet and we look about.

Where's Mariano to close the year out?

So we can put this to rest, nice and clean.

There's a big game coming: 2014.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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