Monday, June 2, 2014

Sports News

So apparently I get to keep watching hockey for a little longer.

I like hockey.  It’s my favorite of the four major sports in the US, which only goes to show you just how far out of touch I am with my own culture since most Americans wouldn’t think to list it as a sport until well after competitive eating or people driving around in circles at high speeds.

Don’t even get me started on what my newfound appreciation for soccer means.  Most Americans don’t even know soccer exists, which is why the fact that there is indeed a professional soccer league in the US – two, in fact, one for each gender – is frankly odd.  But the rest of the world enjoys it immensely, and I have begun to understand why.  World Cup in two weeks!

The nice part about watching soccer is that unless I’m watching international play where I know the countries involved I really don’t have any idea who to cheer for.  They broadcast the entire English Premier League season here last year and while I watched quite a few of the games (excuse me – matches), I never did develop a particular fondness for any individual team.  Lauren liked Chelsea because their uniforms were blue and they seemed to win a lot, but I tend to have a hard time cheering for Goliath.  I have no favorites, not yet, so I can just relax and enjoy the game. 

In hockey, I have favorites.

First on the list, of course, are the Flyers, my home team.  They are the coolest team in American professional sports, and it is just my bad fortune to be cheering for a team that hasn’t won a championship since Nixon was still in office. 

There are a number of other teams that I like and cheer for.  The Pittsburgh Penguins, from when I lived there and used to watch Mario Lemieux do things that even now I would swear are physically impossible.  The New Jersey Devils, because I like their name and logo – anything that ticks off the Religious Right is fine by me, and really how can you not like a successful team from New Jersey that actually advertises that it is from New Jersey?  Take that, “New York” Giants, and stick it in your Meadowlands.  I’ve long had a soft spot for the Carolina Hurricanes, mostly because I went to a game where they played the Flyers and their goalie just seemed like a decent guy.  I also like the Minnesota Wild, for no particular reason that I can discern.

Then there are teams I don’t like.  

Most of those teams are on that list because of things they’ve done to the teams I like, though the Boston Bruins are there just on principle.  I’ve never liked the Rangers, for example, and I still haven’t forgiven the Detroit Red Wings for their ruthless destruction of the Flyers in the Stanley Cup Finals a few years back.  Neither have I forgiven the Chicago Blackhawks, for much the same reason.

Which brings me to this year.

The Rangers – who eliminated the Flyers in the first round, only adding to their nefarious nature as far as I am concerned – are in the Finals.

The Blackhawks had fought their way back from a 3-1 deficit in the Conference Final to tie up the series at 3, heading home for Game 7.

My continued interest in hockey this season rested on the Los Angeles Kings.

Now, the Kings are another team that I like.  It has always struck me as faintly ridiculous that there should be a professional ice hockey team in Los Angeles, for one thing, and ridiculous things appeal to me just for their sheer absurdity.  Further, given the player moves of the past few years, they are essentially the Flyers West and it feels like cheering for my own team sometimes.

They had to win.  A Blackhawks-Rangers Final would just be a dismal end to a great season.

And so they did.  In overtime.  After clawing back from behind three separate times.  It was an exciting game to watch, for the four or five dozen of us tuned in.

Meanwhile, vastly elongated men were tossing a large orange ball into a bucket half a mile in the air in front of large television audiences.  This is why the nation is in decline, I’m sure of it.  Any sport where good defense consists of limiting your opponent to double-digit point totals is clearly a travesty, and the fact that it is inexplicably popular just confirms the imminent fall of the republic as far as I am concerned.

So I’ve got at least four more hockey games to watch – possibly as many as seven – which should tide me over to the World Cup quite nicely.

Life is good, sporting-wise.


vince said...

I think the fact that so many big hairy dudes get paid to chase after some kind of ball for ridiculous amounts of money and acclaim is a sure sign of the coming apocalypse. At one time I was a huge hockey fan, but now the only time I watch a game any more is when I can watch it in person with my daughter.

David said...

I'm okay with big hairy dudes getting lots of money to play games. They're entertaining and it keeps them off the streets. Plus, no athlete has ever lied us into a war or signed legislation making it harder for citizens to vote, which puts them one up on our politicians.

Dr. Phil (Physics) said...

I like hockey. Especially on New Year's when they play it outdoors.

I admire soccer, but don't follow it much.

For us, it's baseball. There's no clock. There's skill. There's strategy. And in theory, you can be down 22-0 in the bottom of the ninth with two outs and two strikes, and still win the game.

Unless you're our beloved Cubs, where you'd come back from 22-0 in the bottom of the ninth with two outs and two strikes -- and fly out with bases loaded, losing 22-19.

And if you're a Cubs fan, it's the Evil Padres. (grin)

Dr. Phil

David said...

I go in and out with baseball.

I grew up with it and followed it pretty closely for a while.

I lost track of it after the 1994 strike - life is liquid, and once you take baseball out of it there's no baseball-sized hole left to put it back into.

I've been slowly getting reacquainted with it over the last decade or so, but it's still not something I'll watch on TV much. I like going to games - we have a minor league team not far south of here.

As a Phillies fan, the Mets are the source of all evil (although the Cubs' plundering of the Phillies' farm system in the 1980s was also evil). Plus, the Phillies have lost more games than the Cubs and nobody thinks the Phillies are cute. ;)

Tom said...

Infidel! Bad-mouthing a Boston sports team? Karma will get you for that. Or, if it (karma) happens to pass you by, you're welcome to just watch while a Boston team beats your local favorite. It's been a pretty good 2K for us.

Basketball? I'm with you there. I just don't like having rules that say it's a good thing, you know, strategic, to foul somebody. Sure, you can win games by breaking the rules. That's a great lesson to teach our youth. And I have the solution. A foul in the last 2 minutes should cause a 30-second time run-off. That would fix them.

But I'm sorry, soccer? If there is such an outrage over the name of a team, the Redskins, then why isn't there similar outrage over the name of a sport? Sock-her? No thanks. I like my ladies un-punched, is what I'm saying. Personally, I think that's why they call it football, they're so ashamed.

David said...

Tom, how can Boston teams have karma when they can't even pronounce it?

On that note, what evil led the Red Sox to sign Nomar Garciaparra, a player who spent his whole career making the local play-by-play announcer sound like he was gargling?

I'd be okay with a 30-second run-off for every foul in basketball. They could finish the games in about a quarter hour and move on to something more entertaining, like dentistry.

Tom said...

"Can't panounce kama..."

You win. I give up...