sports last week

ESPN had a crazy week last week.

World Cup. Wimbledon. Plus all the other stuff going on … getting your sports news fix in the morning could be a harrowing experience with the channel guide as some mornings you had to go to espnu or espn classic or espn 333 (they have a zillion channels these days) just to watch sportscenter.


Here is how crazy it was.


Michael Jackson actually was mentioned in sports. In baseball for gods sake.

There was a no hitter by a guy named Jackson. And the sonovabitch does it on the anniversary of the chimp owning Michael Jackson’s death.

Sure. It wasn’t a perfect game (was Michael?). A Hit batter. A Wild pitch (maybe 2). 149 pitches (which is a lot). It was kind of nasty (oops. wrong Jackson) looking game. But this guy for the Diamondbacks named Jackson, on the anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death, throws a no hitter. Crazy.


wimbledon matchSo. Pretty much every high seed on the men’s side has looked like crap in the first week and is shanking balls against some guys who typically play in tournaments in Antarctica. But the story comes down to the longest match ever played (and that would be the 5th set all by itself).

Almost 140 games came and went in the fifth set alone.

7 hours plus playing JUST on the last set.

I think at least 4 World Cup matches were completed during this one match.

Sure. After some point neither was playing to win and focused on not losing so the play wasn’t stellar at points but they gutted it out refusing to lose.

And the craziest thing?

Neither player had a tantrum or some mysterious injury or anything close to some meltdown on the court.

They were classy and professional and for two young 20s type guys in the throes of competition quite mature.

Wimbledon should have been proud. They embodied everything Wimbledon stands for (and neither was British and in fact one was one of the ‘hated’ French. Sacre bleu!).

And then the World Cup.

Sure. USA is out but last week was something.

Look. I am sure there are a couple of other teams playing in the world cup but I haven’t seen one goal other than a USA goal on espn yet. But the one score in the Algeria-USA game is the reason why you watch the stupid slow 2 hour affair where there are maybe 12 entire shots in the ‘pitch.’

SOCCER-WORLD/As I noted in my ‘nod to the world cup’ post I was spoiled by my high school soccer team. They were exciting to watch and actually had several versions of a “fast break” because of the amazing goalie they had. A guy named Bart Farley (also one of the most genuinely nice guys you could ever meet as well as a world class soccer goalie). The team would sometimes play a three-striker team on the field so that any time Bart would get his hands on the ball it was like watching the Celtics breaking out on a fast break where guys just turned around and started running and filling the lanes waiting for Bart to distribute the ball. A third of the way down the field, half way down the field, even more … didn’t matter where someone was he got it to him (he even scored a couple of goals on field long drop kicks that bounced once and went in the goal).


I will be a son of a bitch if USA didn’t do exactly the same thing.

A save.

An outlet pass.

A three man fast break.

The trailing guy slams the missed shot in on a dunk.

Oops. Not basketball. Soccer. Anyway. You get the point.

And maybe even better than basketball (which happens in mere seconds) you get to watch this fast break unfold in front of your eyes. There is actually time to see everything. Awesome.

That’s the reason to watch soccer. For moments like this where you get a glimpse of greatness unfolding before your eyes.

Baseball again.

This is a glimpse into focus of professional athletes … or professional sports.

Friday night there was a momentary thing that most people probably never saw or will ever hear about but it gave us a glimpse into the amount of focus a professional brings to their job.

A home plate umpire got hit square in the face mask with a rising fast ball when the catcher couldn’t get his glove up fast enough.WORLD SERIES

The umpire is focused on watching the pitch and what happens with the pitch to insure he doesn’t miss a call and just has the faith the catcher will get his glove on it.

His head is rock solid still watching the pitch coming straight in at him.

He doesn’t react until the millisecond before the 95+ hour fastball hits his mask.

At that last moment he ducks and this hard object going 95+ mph slightly glances off the face mask.

Now. Let me tell you. I have never been hit in the face with a 90+ ball but I have surely taken a couple in other places. And it hurts like hell. And it can rock you a little if it isn’t a glancing shot.

But the story here is the focus.

The guy has a job to do. And he is gonna do it. Nice little lesson.

Crazy week last week.

But. Kinda reminds you why sports are fun (if you needed nay reminders).

Written by Bruce