Monday, June 12, 2006

Sports Shorts

A few sports observations from the weekend past:
  • We've entered the once-every-four-years cycle that's even less appealing than the presidential election: the soccer World Cup. This is the period when every major media outlet tries to bang the drum for the world's most popular (and boring) sport, which is about as popular in America as a tight belt at a rap concert. Sports Illustrated, ABC, ESPN, and the usual suspects are already days into their month-long campaign to try to make us feel like parochial rubes for not enjoying "the world's sport."

    I'm sorry, but I refuse to feel guilty for rejecting something that's only enjoyed by Europeans and other third-worlders. If it's such a tremendous jewel in the worldwide crown of athletics, why is ESPN giving priority to things like the College Baseball World Series and showing the whole soccer shmear on ESPN 2?

    Remember, these are all the same media outlets that have been trying to push the moribund WNBA on a clearly-unwilling American public for years now. For 3 1/2 more weeks, the major sports outlets will keep acting as if we cared about the World Cup, and for 3 1/2 more weeks, we will continue not caring.
  • I'm not a big NBA fan. Probably because St. Louis (where I grew up) had no NBA team, I've always been much more interested in college hoops. But I do watch the NBA finals.

    Is it too late to cancel this year's finals due to a lack of interest? Yes, Dallas finally turned things on a bit in third quarter of last night's game, but other than that, this series has been brutal. I've had to turn over to old series on ESPN Classic just to see somebody score. If turnovers and balls clanking off the rim are your idea of entertainment, then this is the series for you. Personally, I'd just as soon go watch the guys at the court near my house. They clank just as many shots, but it seems like less of a ripoff since they're not actually getting paid anything.
  • As I said, I don't watch except for the finals. So despite living in South Florida, this is my first real look at this Heat team. My newest copy of SI has Dwayne Wade on the cover, and I'm told his is the best-selling jersey in the NBA.

    Let me say: I'm not impressed.

    This is probably self-evident, but let us put these inane Michael Jordan comparisons aside once and for all now. Jordan was an unearthly player who somehow found a way to even get better when everything was on the line in the finals. Wade has folded like an origami carnation. I'm sure there's some reason somewhere for all the fuss over Wade, but I ain't seen it. True superstars like Jordan, Magic, Bird, and Isaiah all made their bones in the finals. Wade, meanwhile, is currently in the Federal Witness Protection program working at a bank in Provo.
  • That commercial with neighborhood sports being played by little kids who have full-sized athletes heads (like Derek Jeter and Peyton Manning) isn't cute, it's downright disturbing. I think I had nightmares about it last night.
  • And speaking of commercials, what's the deal with the Haines commercial with MJ and Kevin Bacon. Kevin Bacon? What, was Tom Berringer unavailable? Who seeks to bolster Michael Freaking Jordan--King of All Celebrity Endorsers--with Kevin Bacon? And what kind of work is Bacon having done? He ages slower than Pat Riley.

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