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Sports Roundup

2010 Tour de France

I explained (here and here) yesterday why I’ve been AWOL for the better part of two weeks. In addition to the distractions described therein, there’s the further on-going distraction of keeping up with major sporting events. In my effort to clear my blog klog, I will briefly touch on these.

1. Lacrosse. I left off in my lacrosse series on Memorial Day, previewing the Duke-Notre Dame men’s college championship game just hours before it began. Their presence as finalists ensured that the first new school since 1992 would be declared champion, and the first to break the stranglehold on the title of the super seven — Syracuse, Hopkins, Princeton, Virginia, UNC, Cornell, Maryland. I won’t repeat what I wrote about at length already. I’ll just note that Duke had been knocking at the door for years. They were due after two runner-up finishes and two additional semi-final appearances in their last five years (the fifth being the year that the school suspended the season in mid-stream). Notre Dame hadn’t been far off from breaking into the elite either, entering last year’s tournament as the #2 seed before being upset in the first round. Duke was the obvious favorite between the two, having beaten favorites all tournament long, especially after its upset victory over #1 seed Virginia in the semi-finals. But ND was impressive too, thanks to its great goalie and strong defense, which had led to successive, low-scoring upsets of Princeton, Maryland, and Cornell earlier in the tournament.

The game was another defensive gem, as the two teams traded goals to repeatedly tie the game at 1-1, 2-2, 3-3, 4-4, and 5-5, forcing the inevitable sudden-death overtime. And then it was over in a snap. Duke’s Costabile took the overtime’s opening faceoff at midfield, ran straight down the middle toward the ND goal, squeezing between Duke defenders, took a shot, and beat ND goalie Scott Rodgers for the victory with only five seconds gone. Game over. Duke had won. A stunner.

2. Tennis. I can’t say I watched much of the French Open. I followed it on-line, but didn’t see much live action. I awakened two Saturdays ago too late to catch the women’s final, which after all didn’t last long. The next morning, as described elsewhere, I was absorbed in learning OmniFocus. When I remembered, I ran to the TV and turned it on, only to see Nadal celebrating his just-completed win over Soderling. Oh well.

3. Basketball. Speaking of not watching much, I have been allergic to watching basketball for years now. Not that I’m uninterested. I keep up with who’s who and what’s what. But I spent enough years devoted to the NBA. I have nothing left to give.

Championship seventh games aren’t that common. I figured I had to watch last night. But I didn’t turn it on until the start of the fourth quarter, and even then, it just didn’t interest me enough to stay with it. I came back with 3 minutes to go. The Celtics were once my life. No more. Still, I was rooting for them, to the extent that I cared. Disappointing result. Joel pointed out that I should be pleased that the Laker victory hinged on the performance of my namesake (Ron Artest). There’s that. I wondered how much satisfaction I should take in Reagan’s presidency.

4. Hockey. I noted in my preview post on the Stanley Cup finals that I would be rooting for the Blackhawks over the Flyers. I watched more of this series than the basketball championship series — a period here, a period there. Last week, the three of us gathered in front of the TV with takeout teriyaki dinner to watch the overtime period of the 6th game. Patrick Kane’s goal 4:10 into overtime ended the game and the series. Very satisfying. I kept watching for the usual festivities — each player skating around with the cup, the group photo. Excellent.

5. Soccer. It all started a week ago this morning. The World Cup, that is. Just two hours ago, we watched the end of the US-Slovenia tie. We still don’t understand why the referee disallowed the US winning goal. Even Joel is waking up daily for the 7:00 AM broadcast. Typically we miss the 4:30 AM game, but watch the 7:00 AM game and perhaps part of the 11:30 AM game. Yesterday, not by design, I was up for the 4:30 game. I don’t always watch with full attention, or continuously, but the morning routine of turning on the game first thing has been one of the reasons I’m not blogging much lately.

I have no special insights, as Joel has consistently pointed out. I will say no more.

6. Golf. The US Open started yesterday. We watched just a few minutes of coverage. That will change tomorrow. Sunday I will cash in my Father’s Day rights by watching it all day. Oh, maybe I need to watch soccer too. Sunday’s 11:30 AM game is Brazil versus Ivory Coast. That’s a must see, and the Open leaders may not have teed off yet. Could do both.

7. Coming up. July is always the peak sporting month of the year for me. There’s the weekend when Wimbledon ends and the Tour de France starts. Two weeks later comes the biggest sporting weekend of the year, as the British Open golf championships run in parallel with the second week of the Tour. Enough! But this year, thanks to the World Cup, with semi-finals and finals running during the first week of the Tour, [It’s two weeks later and I see that through an editing error, this sentence didn’t get completed. I hesitate to fill in the blank retroactively. Perhaps the intended point was clear enough.]

Though this post might give the impression that I follow sports full time, I will have other obligations those weeks. Indeed, I just realized that I managed to schedule a lecture and a doctor’s appointment on the Wednesday of the second World Cup semi-final. What was I thinking?

Perhaps I’ll have more to say in the coming weeks, if I have any time.

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