Count me among those that are very happy we have this two-week diversion called the Winter Olympics. 

A general view during the Cross Country Men's 4x10km Relay at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics (Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

As we’ve been consumed with talk about the weather and many of us have been beaten down with bad news I have been able to escape at times thanks to skiers, snowboarders, hockey players, figure skaters and yes even curlers. (Okay I’ll admit I can’t watch more than a few minutes of that).  It’s nice to forget about the polar vortex, shoveling and scraping and instead focus on twizzles, half pipes and slap shots.

Even the 9-hour time difference has not been a problem…as a matter of fact it works well for me.  I watch the various NBC Channels from the time I get in my office at 3:30 in the morning and have been able to see much of the action live instead of waiting for the prime time show at night.

Part of the Olympic appeal to many is the whole national pride thing. I mean, you hear people all the time talk about the medal race.  Of course I want to see the American athletes and teams do well but you learn to realize those from other countries often have compelling stories which makes it just as easy to root for them.

Let’s face it, the Olympics are far different from what they used to be and there are plenty of athletes earning serious money but there are an equal number of bobsledders, speed skaters and biathletes who needed plenty of help at home to make it to Sochi.

Throw in the fact that there held only once every four years and while far from perfect the Olympics are still a significant event and came at a perfect time.  Save talk of the rain/ice/snow line for another day. I’m more interested in the hockey game between the US and Czechoslovakia later today.

St. Rose senior Matt Skea scored the game-winning basket in the Purple Roses' SCT win over Brick Memorial.(Townsquare Media NJ)

The Shore Conference Basketball Tournament is to me the highlight of the season and 28 boys and 25 girl’s teams began the quest last night to call themselves Shore Conference champions.  Boy’s top seeds Point Beach, CBA, Lakewood and Matawan drew opening round byes and there were some surprises, including #25 Marlboro knocking off 8th seeded Shore and 23rd seeded Holmdel besting #10 Freehold Township.

I saw a young and improving Toms River North team lead from start-to-finish and dispose of Manchester to move into the round of 16 Thursday night at defending champion Lakewood in what could be an interesting game.  Form held up on the girl’s side where the top six teams, including St. John Vianney, St. Rose, Rumson and Neptune had opening round byes.