Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sportsball Update!

I've noticed lately that people have begun to use "sportsball" as a derogatory (in my opinion) term to describe a) sports in general when they don't care for sports in general; and b) sports that they don't care for, when they may be passionate about others.  Either way, it strikes me as a way to appear superior to all of us yahoos who (to quote my mom) will watch any contest where they keep score.

So...screw that.  Instead of falling prey to the temptation to demonstrate one's superiority for not being into something that appeals to the masses, how about just keeping those thoughts to yourself?  And meanwhile, I promise not to publicly comment on any of your obsessions that I find to be particularly uninspiring.

And now that I've got that out of my system, there's a lot been going on lately in the world of sportsball, and I've been remiss in not commenting on any of it!

Let's start with the U.S. Open, both men's and women's division.  For the first time, both tournaments were played in consecutive weeks on the same course (Pinehurst No. 2), which was plenty cool in and of itself.  And notwithstanding the rants of one Donald the Trump, who likes his courses lush and green, the course looked great - and more importantly, looked exactly like the kind of course that our national tournament should be played on.

Admittedly, there wasn't a lot of drama to be found over either of the respective weekends, but that's not entirely a bad thing, because you can't sneeze at the type of dominating performance that Martin Kaymer turned in for the men.  And Michelle Wie?  She may only be 24, but she's been around forever.  She is clearly the superstar that women's golf needs to take it to the next level.  And there's something about potential fulfilled that is gratifying.  She's been through a lot, and some of her problems may have been self-inflicted, but Wie now seems poised to grab the spotlight in a way that no other golfer could hope to, outside of a couple of guys named Tiger and Phil.

And how about those San Antonio Spurs?  They may not be a "dynasty" as the term is defined by Phil Jackson, but they've certainly managed to achieve a level of sustained excellence that no other NBA team in history (outside of the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers) can match.  Tim Duncan may not be the best player in the history of the league, but as Bill Simmons astutely noted last week, only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar may have had a better career than Duncan.  Championships 15 years apart, and still playing at a high level.  Parker and Ginobli?  Mainstays for a decade.  And Kawhi Leonard, the series MVP?  The guy was SEVEN YEARS OLD when Duncan won his first title.  And when challenged by mastermind Gregg Popovich, he came through like few others have - effectively outplaying the man who might just be the best who's ever played the game.

And so what about Lebron and his legacy?  He's got his two rings and he's recovered from the asinine way he publicly portrayed his entry into Miami four years ago, but at the same time he's lost two finals and now he seems chained to a ship that, if not sinking, is certainly starting to take on water.  If he leaves for greener pastures, anywhere except Cleveland, he puts the entire "asshole" argument back in play.  If he stays and the Heat can't pull themselves together for another title run, he never challenges Jordan for the title of "best of all time."  What's important to him?   I guess we'll find out.

World Cup?  Yeah, it's been awesome this year, with dramatic games nearly every day.  And how painful was that 2-2 tie today with Portugal?  Well, it reminded me of how I felt when Robert Horry stuck a dagger through the heart of the Kings way back in 2002, in Game 4 of the greatest NBA series ever played.  But our next game is against Germany, and what have they ever done in the World Cup?  Right?

Hat tip to Rafael Nadal - great win over Novak Djokovic in the French Open Final; and all of a sudden Roger Federer's title as the greatest major player in history is at doubt.

And last but not least, kudos to the L.A. Kings - who were down THREE GAMES TO ZERO in the FIRST round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.  I'd call that resilience.

Sportsball, baby...that's where it's at.

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