Monday, July 12, 2010

While Watching the World Cup Final

There haven't been many sports posts lately, and for those of you who rely upon The Burrow to keep you up-to-date on the world of televised athletics, I apologize.  Baseball doesn't do much for me during the regular season (though I did enjoy watching the Diamondback's no-hitter), golf is pretty, boring and without reportable story-lines (I refuse to comment on Tiger), TBG has the Tour de France on every morning but I don't think you need a travelogue and the scenery is all I understand about the intricacies of long distance bicycle racing..... it's a dry season, Interwebians.  

The World Cup has captured my boys' attention.  The Big Cuter is at a bar cheering for Spain along with the regulars, most of whom, he reports, have a more personal connection to the cause.  I'm not sure where the Dutch fans are gathering; can you come up with a Netherland-ish sports bar in your neighborhood?  I've been following the World Cup sporadically, with most of my watching done on the flat screen in the nail salon where the owner's brother-in-law sits, mesmerized, watching Telemundo, the poor man's ESPN, he explains.  No, Spanish is not among his languages, but it really doesn't matter.  It's his game, the sport he played as a child.  The international players are stars he has followed in European Leagues. Thousands of miles from his Vietnamese birthplace, here in the desert Southwest, he sits with a gray haired Jewish girl from New York watching a sport her daughter played. When the announcers declared the Final Game to be the largest mass gathering in history, I think this is what they had in mind.

The match wasn't pretty.  Scoreless through the 90 minutes of regulation, the players seemed to have forgotten Mom's Basic Rule to Remember in Sports:  Aiming Is Crucial.  Spain scored in the 117th minute, thus sparing us days of nattering over whether championships should be decided by penalty shootouts.  There was much rejoicing and disrobing, both on the field and in the stands.  Royals were hugging royals and men wearing wigs and hats decorated with air horns and flags and plush soccer balls and small animals were crying into their face paint.  When the game ended 5 minutes later, the Dutch were despondent and the Spanish goalie was sobbing hysterically on the pitch.  The very dapper Dutch coach patted his players' heads as I listened for what I hope is the last time in a long time to the whining of the vuvuzelas. 
******
A brief word on LeBron, Cleveland and fame.

The Cavaliers weren't able to put together a supporting cast for this larger than life nice guy, so he's doing what young adults are supposed to do - he's moving on.  Dan Gilbert's email screed, excoriating LeBron for everything from disloyalty to laziness to the lack of water on Mars, was more offensive than LeBron's absurd one hour announcement show.  I know, I know, the ad revenue went to the Boys and Girls Clubs, and that's a good thing, but really, did we need to rehash the details again?  Hardly.  I'm still wondering why he had to travel to Connecticut; surely there were Clubs closer to hand. 

This may make the NBA marginally more interesting to me during the regular season, but only on the fringes.  Cleveland suffers, and you have to feel sorry for what is surely the most beleaguered sports town in America.  But it seems that fame is not enough.  LeBron wants his winner's jewelry and I can't really blame him.  And honestly, even if you're not a party animal, given the choice between Cleveland and Miami........

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