Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sporting notes

While I'm still struggling with the motivation to write - as evidenced by my lack of posts on this blog recently - I thought one potential way to jump-start my creative flow was to jot down a few thoughts I've had about recent sporting news. No rhyme or reason here. Just word salad. The only thing that ties these thoughts together is that they pertain to sports.

* I'm a bit of an Olympics junkie, and I'm definitely getting my fix this week with numerous NBC-family channels dedicated to the games as well as a tablet app where I can watch all the events live. While I'm in sports heaven, my wife's frustration continues to grow. She hates the Olympics, and although the best events are on in the evenings when we're both together, I try to mix in some cooking shows to keep her engaged. However, she even caught the Team USA bug the other day, and even admitted she enjoyed watching swimming and cheering for Michael Phelps.

* Speaking of Phelps, congratulations to the greatest Olympic athlete of all time.

* Speaking of greatness, congratulations to Serena Williams, this year's tennis singles gold medalist. I have no doubt Serena will be remembered as the greatest, most dominating female athlete of this era.

* I normally don't watch basketball, but it's been awfully fun watching Team USA play. Saturday's 99-94 victory over Lithuania was an old-fashioned nail-biter. And before that, Thursday's record-setting blowout 156-73 win against Nigeria was incredible to see. Earlier in these games, I enjoyed seeing First Lady Michelle Obama congratulate the team after a big win. But my favorite Team USA moment was Tuesday's 110-63 win over Tunisia. You don't see athletes have fun very often, especially in the Olympics. But the Team USA men, each of them millionaires or soon-to-be millionaires, looked like kids at a rec league game on Tuesday. They smiled, clapped and cheered at each big play. And after the game was over, each player gave warm hugs to the completely over-matched opponents from Tunisia, who seemed to revel in defeat at the hands of one of the greatest teams ever assembled. Kobe Bryant even graciously signed an autograph for one of the Tunisian players. That was cool.

* I've heard the commentators mention the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014. Although I'm an even bigger fan of the Winter Olympics than the summer games, I have to admit... I had to Google "Sochi" to  figure out it was in Russia. In 2014, prepare yourself for two weeks' worth of Yakov Smirnoff-inspired "In Russia, bobsled rides you!" humor.

* Now to some decidedly non-Olympic athletes: the Kansas City Royals. It's been a rough few weeks for the home team, and it's been hard to cheer for them. But I have to applaud general manager Dayton Moore for the trade that sent Jonathan Broxton to the Reds for minor-league pitchers J.C. Sularban and Donnie Joseph. Broxton put up good numbers for the Royals as the team's closer, but anybody who watched any of those games knows numbers can be deceiving. In exchange for Broxton, the Royals received a Triple A-level relief pitcher and a Double-A starter. Hanley Ramirez, one of the most talented young players in the game (who has, admittedly, underachieved recently), was traded - along with a major league relief pitcher - from the Marlins to the Dodgers for what? A Single-A reliever and a starting pitcher who just broke into the majors this year. By comparison, the haul for Broxton seems downright bountiful.

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