The ups & down unders of the week
Jan 31, 2012 / 5:00 am
This week is best described as a whirlwind of sports emotionality, the veritable highs and lows and shifting sands of public opinion displayed daily like a U.S. Republican race, which despite Stephen Colbert’s best efforts is sadly still missing the Pizza Godfather, politico-Casanova, snake oil salesman with no cure for foot-in-mouth that is Herman Cain. Writers of all description miss him but our loss will no doubt be FOX’s gain allowing him to form the Holy Trinity of TV Super Villains along with Glenn Beck and American Idol. My deepest apologies to Charles Adler who for once I didn’t feel was enough of a right wing crackpot to qualify for a home-grown analogy – maybe next time Charles keep working at it! But onward, to Sports we march and let’s talk about the week that was, what you may have seen, what you probably missed and events which would have been best left to the imagination and because it’s been a while – it’s List Time!
5. Those too exhausted from staying up late to catch the superb Men’s Semi-Finals from Australia on Wednesday and Thursday nights/next morning, that chose to skip the Women’s Final between Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka – well done. Not only did one have to suffer through more grunting that a Tim Allan concert in the ‘80’s but after losing the first 2 games of the match, Viki or Aza or whatever cute nickname Brad Gilbert was coining at the moment went on to destroy Shazza 6-3, 6-0 leaving the commentators with barely enough time to document all the reasons Serena Williams really should have been in the Final. On the Up-Side though I really hope you had a chance to catch not only the Nadal/Federer, Djokovic/Murray Semi-Finals but also…ugh… I have to say it… the Epic Instant Classic Final which went 5 sets and almost 6 hours and deserves a same breath mention with the Nadal/Federer 2008 Wimbledon Final amongst the greatest matches ever played. It now sets the stage for the Joker Slam at the French Open – stay tuned.
4. Golf Fans everywhere were cringing watching Kyle Stanley trying to coax a 3-shot lead down the 18th Hole at Torrey Pines yesterday and failing miserably by taking an 8 and handing his $1M+ winners cheque to Brandt Snedeker on the 2nd Hole of the Playoff. So sure was everyone that the tourney was done that announcer Gary McCord actually had to be called back from what was presumably his drive to the airport! Yes, Stanley may now become a better player and person for this mishap but I think of Robert Garrigus who last year posted the dreaded Triple on the 18th at the St. Jude Classic to lose in a playoff and, although he later won in Orlando, the TV cameras have yet to pick him out of a crowd in this young season. In true Colbert fashion, allow me to give a rather large foam #1 “Wag of the (Middle) Finger” to the PGA Tour and The Farmer’s Insurance Open for not inviting 2004 Champion John Daly to be in the field this week because trust me when I tell you Nation – there is an entire legion of JD Fans out there who realize that that if anyone should be making 8 on the last… And there was a Tiger sighting in the Middle East for the briefest of moments but let’s wait until he starts his North American Tour before we mention his Masters odds dropping to 4-1!
3. Would it be safe to say that you were not expecting Women’s Soccer to make the list? Well a little bit of nationalistic pride has come to the fore! Amidst great attendance in Vancouver and surprisingly solid TV numbers, the Canadian Women’s National Team, led by the dominant Christine Sinclair (#12) started down the road to redemption after last year’s debacle at the World Cup by qualifying for the London Olympics with a 3-1 Semi-Final victory over Mexico on Friday night in the CONCACAF qualifier. The Down-Side here was perhaps the letdown that came on Sunday with a 4-0 loss in the Final vs. USA when new Team Coach John Herdman was able to see that although his side ranks #7 in the world there is a distinct separation in class, especially on the defensive side of the ball, between a #1 ranked USA side and us. There is still much to be done but there is time.
2. While Tim Thomas was busy being a Free Citizen in his own little post-Apocalyptic Tea Party Brave New World (if you have any doubts how I feel about his White House absence as a Bruins Fan then check out www.freethesportsman.com), Logan Couture was wondering what kind of Fast and Furious upgrades were available for his Kessel car courtesy of the Draft and hockey Fans everywhere were wondering why, every year we think there might be a somewhat intelligent reason to watch the All-Star Game. There really isn’t one – even Alex Ovechkin knows that and headed to South Beach making sure enough cell-phone pictures got taken to let the Commish know; “I’m in Miami trick,” and not really interested who wins Fastest Skater or Silliest Prop in a Shoot-Out. Saving graces on the Up-side, Big Z might one day break the 110 mph on Hardest Shot and comparably the NHL All-Star Game is still head and shoulders above the other 3 Major Sports when it comes to their corporate showcase, jersey signing and palm greaser.
1. There is very little not to like about the Hawaiian Islands and I tell you this as someone who lived there. Sure, the squashing of native culture beneath wave upon wave of tourism and an endless stream of trinket stores specializing in plastic pineapple sake sets and surfboard Christmas lights is enough to make you bury yourself head-down on Waikiki Beach but there is no worse spectacle on the Islands of Aloha than the NFL Pro Bowl. Watching professional players avoid all contact while jogging through practice squad trick-play drills and Tweeting on NFL regulated sideline computers in a half-empty stadium is as uninteresting and antiseptic an endeavour as there is in sports. NBC commentators did everything but laugh out loud at the thought that they get to pass the torch to NFL Network for the New Orleans version next year. Two Up-Sides here – Fans finally get to see that Brandon Marshall can live up to his potential as a WR if only people would stop preventing him from catching the ball and thankfully there is no ridiculous Major League Baseball rule in place stating that due to their 59-41 win over the NFC, the AFC gets home field advantage in next year’s Super Bowl! On that note friends, “Mahalo” for listening as always.
Read more A Sports Fan Speaks articles
- There comes a time... Mar 5
- The envelope please... Feb 26
- Bullet in the Chamber Feb 19
- A superb Super Bowl...honestly Feb 5
- Playoffs? Are you kidding me? Jan 29
- And we're back... Jan 22
- Looking ahead...and a bit behind Jan 15
- Collective disregard Jan 8
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