Category: Sports

The Peasant Sentiment

The Greatest Game Ever Played is a true story about an unaccomplished young golfer, Francis Ouimet, at the turn of the century and how he beat the world’s top two golfers in an 18-hole playoff at the 1913 U.S. Open.

Francis’s goal to be a great golfer is juxtaposed against his father’s more mundane ideas. Mr. Ouimet is a hard-working immigrant from the old school. His attitude toward Francis’s ambitions is summed up by his words: “Being a man means knowing one’s place in the world and making peace with it” (quote isn’t exact). Although the movie is somewhat sympathetic to Mr. Ouimet, overall his thinking is portrayed as peasant-like: backward, old world, and as un-American as his foreign accent.

The movie portrays Francis’s struggle and eventual championship at the U.S. Open as the American way. His battle celebrates initiative (trying to be the best), democratic social leveling (crashing through barriers that surrounded the game at the turn of the century), and individualism (doing what he wants, even against his father’s wishes).… Read the rest

What I Saw at the NCAA Tournament Yesterday

Welcome to the first day of spring.

So I’m a bit whipped this morning. My last son, Max, is a huge college basketball fan. Over the years, he has gotten kind of screwed when it comes to sporting events. I always tell my kids, “Every stage of life brings its advantages and disadvantages, and so does the order in which you’re born.” In Max’s case, it means his parents had more money to provide him with things but less time to do things. I know that sounds kinda horrible, and perhaps it is, but I’ve always been comforted by the fact that his older siblings had plenty of time to do things with him.

But they couldn’t take him to sporting events.

So I made up for it a bit yesterday, and crossed-off an item on my bucket list: Go to the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

We got screwed by the NCAA right off the bat. In order to get tickets (which sold out in less than a minute), you just had to pick a location and slot. In our case, Max selected “Lucas Oil, First Game.” We then waited a week to see which of the 32 games we got for our $111 per seat.

We got Baylor v. Hartford. Hands-down the worst game of the 32.

And that’s not just my opinion. The free market agrees. Whereas most resale value of … Read the rest

Random College Football Thoughts

american football playing
Photo by David Morris on Pexels.com

Notre Dame will apparently get the fourth spot, which makes me happy, but (i) I think Texas A&M is a better choice, and (ii) it annoys me that the ACC will get two teams into the playoffs.

I have little doubt the ACC is corrupt. Prior to Clemson’s unquestionable rise to national prominence, the ACC used its officiating crews to make sure one of its teams emerged toward the top of the national rankings. I’ve also read allegations that Frank Beamer exercised undue influence on the selection committee, using his connections to make sure an ACC team made it every year.

Yeah, I know: Neither allegation can be proven. And I might be wrong. Of the two allegations, I’m more comfortable with the first (corrupt officiating).


But it’s good to see ND start to emerge as a national power . . . possible (that was a beat-down yesterday). An ardent ND-hater once told me, “Notre Dame is like the Yankees. College football is better when they’re in the discussion.”

I agree with that.

I would extend the analogy by saying Michigan is like the St. Louis Cardinals.

But if they don’t get their act together, they’re going to end up more like the St. Louis Browns.


So they’ve moved the CFP semis from the Rose Bowl in California to AT&T Stadium in Texas. Why? Escalating COVID cases in … Read the rest

The Flopping Men Who Play Soccer

And Miscellaneous Other Matters

I guess I really, really don’t like soccer

Look, I couldn’t care less about soccer. I agree with Colin Cowherd’s observation that, if you live on a dirt road with chickens running around, kicking a ball is probably pretty cool, but this is America. We have money; we have wealth.

Readers of TDE understand that I don’t think such wealth is an unequivocally good thing, but it does do one thing: it gives us a lot of options. We don’t need to resign ourselves to kicking a ball and we definitely don’t need to resign ourselves to watching others kick a ball, so I’ll opt for those games that cost a lot more money: baseball, hockey, and football (basketball doesn’t).

I also detest the outrageous flopping that soccer features. Again, I (proudly) don’t know much about it, but I gotta believe the flopping is a result of nanny officiating, which in turn stems from mandates from league officials who prize safety and health to the exclusion of all else (maybe we oughtta make soccer the official sport of the COVID generation).

So, it’s not like there’s much that would prompt me to hold soccer in much lower regard, but this story did it: Phoenix Rising FC Player Suspended For Homophobic Slur: USL.

That wasn’t surprising, of course. You can’t say “f***ot” or “f’ng f**” or any other (oh so) clever

Read the rest

Tuesday

ultimate

If you’re like me and enjoy sports but only marginally like baseball, you might want to get a Roku and check out some of the lesser-known sports. ESPN3 shows a lot of great stuff: cricket, Arena Football, lacrosse, and ultimate frisbee. I only watch on Saturday nights when I’m winding down the week and occasionally on Friday nights when I’m winding down my drinking, but I’ve seen enough to endorse these off-beat sports.

Of these, Arena Football is probably my favorite, unless ESPN is doing a bad camera job (which happens; these productions are pretty low-budget). I attended a handful of Arena Football games, back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the Detroit Drive dominated the league. Those games were a lot of fun to watch, so watching today’s Arena Football brings back some of those memories.

I’ve enjoyed watching cricket enough to consider learning the rules. Granted, I’ve watched a total of 15 minutes of cricket this summer, but that’s a lot for me (I can’t get through an NFL football game without multi-tasking or turning it off in the late second quarter and doing something else during half-time and the early third quarter . . . unless I’m drinking). Based on what I’ve seen, I’d probably be better off not trying to analogize to baseball. I think it’ll just confuse me.

I really like lacrosse in person, but the television coverage … Read the rest

Tuesday

Boxing

I used to enjoy greatly boxing. I lost $5 on the Hearns/Leonard fight (big Tommy fan), which was a lot of money back in the early 1980s for a high school kid. I boxed at the University of Michigan for a short spell (club sport; no ability required). I read a lot about boxing and, as a kid, could recite the heavyweight champions from Sullivan to Joe Louis. But I lost interest in it once the corruption became too much to overlook and especially when the sanctioning bodies split into four different groups, thereby making it ridiculously-confusing to know who, indeed, is the champ of a particular weight class.

But once in awhile, my interest is piqued, and the upcoming Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight is one of those times. Paul Beston at City Journal has packed a ton of facts into a concise article about the May 2nd rumble. Worth a read. A few excerpts:

“[T]he fight should shatter records for total revenue, live gate, and pay-per-view receipts, to say nothing of the more than $100 million both boxers will haul in (in Mayweather’s case, it’s perhaps closer to $200 million). Boxing remains the only sport whose participants can top the career earnings of other athletes in one night. In fact, Mayweather and Pacquiao will make more than the total payrolls of some Major League Baseball teams.”

“Pacquiao is so easy to like that … Read the rest

Saturday

Sports

Congratulations to Michigan State University, which has plowed into the Elite 8 . . . as a seven seed.

It makes you wonder: What was the selection committee thinking? Why in the world would you give MSU, which almost always turns into a Top 10 team in March, a 7 seed?

I might have the answer: The team selection and seeding don’t depend on what the committee thinks a team will do. It’s based on what a team did during the regular season.

And Michigan State lost 11 games in the regular season, going 26-11. Can you blame the selection committee for seeding them 7th?

Actually, you probably can. Most of those 11 losses came against powerhouse teams: ND, Duke, Kansas, Maryland, Wisconsin. And the AP voters were impressed enough to rank MSU 23rd in the nation at the end of the regular season . . . which should translate to, at a minimum, a sixth seed. And to the extent the committee takes into account late-season performance (which pundits say it does, which would, incidentally, imply that a projection for how a team will do plays into the committee’s analysis), the committee shouldn’t have ignored MSU’s late season surge: winning four straight before losing to Wisconsin in over-time in the Big Ten championship game.

I’m reminded about how well the Big Ten did in the football bowl games this year . . . and … Read the rest

Monday

Miscellaneous Rambling

My eldest brother moved to Mississippi back in the 1990s. I took my first trip down there in 1999. I had always been a fan of the old South, so I was greatly looking forward to roaming around the oldest of the Old. Although we stayed in the northern reaches (my brother lives in Tupelo), I saw a lot of the Mississippi delta life and history, even breaking into Arkansas briefly.

My favorite spot was Oxford, home of Faulkner and home of Ole Miss. We spent quite a bit of time walking around campus, and I was favorably impressed. It had a “grand” feel to it, something cavalier. After that trip, I adopted Ole Miss as my “second favorite team” (after Michigan) and started rooting for them: partly out of respect for what I saw and the fact that I, after spending 90 minutes there and eating lunch on its quad, could boast that few people in Michigan had ever spent as much time on Ole Miss’ campus as I; partly out of my inborn tendency to root for the underdog; and partly out of affection for my eldest brother.

I renewed my adoption last year when I went back to Oxford and drove around the campus with my kids before my niece’s wedding.

So Saturday night was hard. I can’t say I watched the entire Mississippi-Auburn game (I rarely watch entire football … Read the rest