Summer Hoops, Last Season’s Hoops & Other Stuff . . . OK, Soccer

sportsnewsSo, I was going to spend my July Friday night the way my generation has been doing it for decades. I was  headed to the movies. The Film Noir Series at the Palace, if you must know specifics, to watch breathtaking Rita Hayworth in “Gilda.”

Don’t get me started about that opening shot of her, when rises up from a sofa and flips that glorious mane of hair. Calm down, son.

Anyway, I had a few minutes to kill, so I turned on the USA vs. Canada Pan American Games basketball semifinal just at the beginning of the second half.

Such a scintillating contest it turned out to be, I stayed until the end. (Sorry, Ms. Rita, my next viewing of your flick, which I’ve already seen several times will have to wait.)

Anyhow, the tilt was back and forth. The US was behind until about midway through the 3d, then went up 5, maybe 7. Then the Hosers came back, took a lead by 5, at least. And the Americans fought back.

It was tit for tat. Continue reading Summer Hoops, Last Season’s Hoops & Other Stuff . . . OK, Soccer

Hump Day Eve Harangues: Spieth Slips, Serena’s Soaring & Terry Rozier’s Sandwich

sportsnewsI’m a sandwich kind of guy.

It’s tough when I’m dieting (which is most all the time given my propensity for corpulence) since I don’t eat bread then.

But I did slip over the other day to the recently opened Epic Sammich Co. in a little storefront on Highland between Cherokee Road and Baxter.

Now those dudes know how to make a sandwich, even if they need work on their spelling.

Tasty. Unique. And bountiful. Rarely am I, a husko gordo of the highest order, felled by only a half a sandwich. But, I actually took half of my Cuban home to finish later in the day.

They’re also savvy enough over there to serve “Dirty” Chips, which are, one guy’s opinion, the best.

Which sandwich eating interlude I thought of, when I viewed Terry Rozier’s appearance on some folly of an NBA Network TV show, during which he made his favorite sandwich.

Two slices of white bread, crust removed. Spaghetti with tomato sauce. Upon which is added table sugar and mixed. That combo is places on one slice of bread. Then is doused with a generous portion of ranch dressing. Top with other slice of crustless white bread.


Or, demur. Continue reading Hump Day Eve Harangues: Spieth Slips, Serena’s Soaring & Terry Rozier’s Sandwich

Monday’s Sports Missive: Serena, Novak, Jordan, Roger & Wayne

sportsnewsNo Louisville Cardinal fan rooted harder for Wayne Blackshear to succeed, and become a major Double Arches AA-quality collegian, than I did.

Some have even used the word apologist.

Truth is he never met fans, coaches, or his expectations. It happens.

I happened upon a couple of his summer league games during the last week or so.

In the first, contested in Utah, he played about half the minutes, but contributed little. In the second, after the Spurs had moved on to the Vegas competition, it was all pine time. He never took off his warmup.

So, it is somewhat sad, how he’s expressed his views of his years on the Belknap Campus.

I agree with him. For most of his career, he did sublimate his game to the offensive sets run by The Rick. But . . . a lot of that had to do with the fact that he never displayed the eye of the tiger, the will to take charge, that it was believed he had in him. He never really showed he deserved to have sets run for him. Continue reading Monday’s Sports Missive: Serena, Novak, Jordan, Roger & Wayne

Praise the Lloyd: U.S. Women Reign

carliThe visual that remains for me more than others, from Carli Lloyd’s for the ages performance in the USWNT’s W over Japan for the World Cup title, is not from any of her once, twice, thrice hat trick in the game’s first sixteen minutes.

Though those are magnificent visions.

It is the head shot of Lloyd, the look on her face, after she missed what could have been, should have been her fourth goal of the final’s opening half.

Lloyd had a relatively unimpeded, just about point blank header. Which she knocked wide.

The camera caught Lloyd, mouth agape, eyes bright but quizzical, with a look of how did that not net?

So, in the zone was Lloyd, it was as if she couldn’t conceptualize missing such a chance.

Her performance, arguably one of the greatest in sports on such a world stage, was, but for that miss, just as she planned. During training, Lloyd continually visualized tallying four goals in the final. Continue reading Praise the Lloyd: U.S. Women Reign

Hump Day Harangues: Auf Wiedersehen Deutschland, Sayonara Maverick, Luke’s Itinerary

carliThere is a brutal athletic competition that has been taking place in Florence, Italy since the 15th century. It is said to be the most barbaric extant, or, at least, in the Western World.

It’s called calcio storico, and you can read about it here.

Essentially teams of 27 mean motherfuckers from four quadrants of the city, compete for pride only — literally, no money or medals to the winners — in a sand pit, scoring goals by any means necessary. There are apparently no rules. Lots of medics present, performing lots of serious triage.

It is obviously a grizzly endeavor.

But, no more so than last evening’s roughly contested World Cup semi-final, in which the U.S. of A. upset Germany, 2 nil.

I’m not sure if I’ve seen a men’s soccer game with as much pushing and shoving and kicking and tripping, or as many elbows and forearms and knees not so delicately nudged into opponents body parts. The most noteworthy set-to was that first half noggin’ crash on a set piece, drawing blood from both American Morgan Brian and Germany’s Alexandra Popp, the latter of whom came out for the second half with her head bandaged, looking like an on-field advert for Johnson & Johnson.

It was the bloodiest conflict between these two adversaries since Allies vs. Axis in WWII. Continue reading Hump Day Harangues: Auf Wiedersehen Deutschland, Sayonara Maverick, Luke’s Itinerary

Hump Day Harangue: Rose vs. Rose, Tiger vs. Lance, ‘Dores vs. ‘Hoos & 3 vs. 3

allsportsWith the majority of my readership located in the heart of Hoopsylvania, and therefore obsessed with and frothing at the mouth over tomorrow night’s NBA draft, I daresay few have noticed the great move by the NHL Board of Governors.

So, yes, I’ll get to other stuff soon enough, but first a high five to hockey.

I’ve oft said, and shall now repeat, that there’s nothing as exhilarating as OT pucks.

It’s harum scarum. End to end. Chaos on ice.

Now the prospect of a more open competition, should the clubs be tied after 60, is a comin’. Three on three, may the swifter on skates, the more adept at avoidance, prevail.

Only after five minutes of such careening into the corners and across the blue lines will regular season games resort to the reasonably exciting, but skewed decider of a winner, those singular skater against goalie shootouts.

Every once in awhile hockey’s muckety mucks get it right. This is one of those times.

Now on to stuff you may care about. Continue reading Hump Day Harangue: Rose vs. Rose, Tiger vs. Lance, ‘Dores vs. ‘Hoos & 3 vs. 3

Masters, Open in Hand, Spieth Spies Slam

golfOne of the annual traditions of the Masters every April in Augusta is that the defending champ gets to choose the menu for the dinner that precedes the next year’s tourney.

If the U.S.Open were to have such a ritual, it would be only fitting that Jordan Spieth’s repast before next year’s event would feature broccoli.

Since that’s the clever but derogatory descriptor most mentioned by this year’s Open participants, when describing the nature of the bumpy, multi-hued “greens” of Chambers Bay.

It was a lovely but most quirky venue indeed.

In the end though, carping legit or otherwise notwithstanding, the course was not the story.

Neither was Dustin Johnson’s choke job on the 72d. Though he had a makeable eagle putt for the W, and an even easier “gimme” for birdie and a spot in a playoff, neither of which he drained. Continue reading Masters, Open in Hand, Spieth Spies Slam

Golden Warriors Win; Iggy, MVP

hoopgaz3The deciding game’s defining moment came with 9:58 on the clock.

For three quarters, Golden State had kept Cleveland measured since the tilt had settled in, and were up a dozen, heading into the last, 14 after Leandro Barbosa tallied after a Draymond Green assist for the stanza’s first bucket.

Then the Cavs fashioned a mini-run — a J.R. Smith FT, a LeBron layup, 2 Timofey Mozgov FTs and another James tally —  scoring seven straight, cutting their deficit in half.

The pulse of Cavs Nation quickened.

On the ensuing possession, Klay Thompson, who was pretty much off his feed for the entire series, missed a jumper. But, Green displayed his inner Sparty, as, while tumbling toward the end line, leapt above the fray and batted the ball to a friendly jersey, keeping GS’s possession alive for a second life.

Which tenancy with the rock, ended with Stephen Curry doing what Stephen Curry has done his entire stellar season. He rainbowed in a trey, pushing the advantage back to double digits, 78-68.

Cleveland was toast. Continue reading Golden Warriors Win; Iggy, MVP

Hoops Last Hurrah: Warriors, Cavs On The Brink

hoopgaz3By the weekend, beating the official tip off of summer which is just beyond, we’ll know who the NBA champion is.

We already are so sure, actually, we have had it confirmed yet again, that LeBron James is King o’ the Court, the best. Today anyway. Though it certainly would have been more self effacing, had he not felt compelled to verbalize that himself the other night.

It would appear that Golden State, small and quick and more dead-eyed, shall prevail. Two to win one makes them odds on.

But, stranger things have happened. Like Cleveland making it this far with neither Star #2 not Star #3 on the hardwood. Lesser forces than LeBron have willed their followers to victory. At least, I’m sure I could think of one, had I more time.

I’d love to see the Cavs win tonight. A token of appreciation to the beleaguered fans of the City on the Lake. A further testament to the strength of James’ broad shoulders. Continue reading Hoops Last Hurrah: Warriors, Cavs On The Brink

Friday Final Edition: Pharoah, Pitino & Iggy

ampahBack before they supersized Churchill Downs, making it casino-ready, ripping away much of its timeless charm, turning it into the equivalent of an Oldham County McMansion with too many rooms and roofs and vaulted ceilings, there were nooks and crannies of the facility that were ageless.

There was a minor eating venue along the brick walkway underneath the first floor clubhouse, almost to the first turn. You could stroll in there on Derby Day, and it felt like yesteryear, like the ladies should be wearing bustles; the gentlemen, fedoras.

You could almost hear the touts whispering, “It’s gonna be Old Rosebud’s day.”

That spot , gone with reconstruction, comes to mind in the wake of the aftermath of American Pharoah’s Triple Crown triumph. Continue reading Friday Final Edition: Pharoah, Pitino & Iggy