Last weekend, while watching the Knicks pull out their one playoff victory over the Heat, I realized that I had barely spoken about my newly discovered love for Tyson Chandler. I enjoyed Linsanity, of course, and I still think the New York media should cut Melo a break, but I was raised on the bruising, defensive basketball of the Big Eight and Big XII — a true defensive star is always going to catch my eye. Although, there are other reasons for Tyson to catch my eye, which I will be happy to share with you while I gush.
Since the Cardinals played the Opening Night game on ESPN this year, on actual Opening Day I had my pick of games on MLB.tv. By the time I got home from work, the Indians and Blue Jays were tied in the 9th inning. “Oh, I’ll just watch this quick dramatic conclusion,” I thought. Then it turned out to be the longest Opening Day game ever played. It went on so long, in fact, that the benches for both teams saw a lot of work. Which brought in Omar Vizquel. Who yesterday turned 45.
A longtime Indian now with Toronto, Vizquel got a warm round of applause from the Cleveland fans both when he was first inserted as a defensive replacement, and later when the game went on long enough to give him an at bat. In an MLB where players my age are now considered on the far side of their prime, and where many of his contemporaries are now mangers, Vizquel’s longevity is both remarkable and jarring. (Related: Chipper Jones turned 40 the same day. Chipper. Jones. is 40.)
Other sports news properly introduced with “it seems like only yesterday….”
I have no particular attachment to Pat Summitt or Tennessee women’s basketball. I came of age after Title IX, where women’s sports, if not always culturally or popularly supported, at least had an acknowledged right of existence. The way I understood it during my childhood, Pat Summitt was like any other great coach in her chosen sport; famous, respected, and of course, the architect of teams you never wanted your favorite team to run into in the tournament.
I didn’t know back then, that she started coaching Tennessee before the NCAA Women’s Tournament even existed, for a salary of $250 a month. I didn’t know that the women’s Olympic team she played on, in 1976, was the first ever women’s basketball event at the Olympics. (Seriously, go read her Wikipedia page, it’s like a primer in women’s sports history.) For someone my age, she was just always there, glaring over the court from the sidelines. The media fanfare over her retirement is remarkable because it’s not suprising, simply her due as a prominent figure in her field.
Best of luck, Pat. And thanks.
I really, really intended to post this last week, but I thought y’all would appreciate an Opening Day post on Opening Day (and CuteSports did an awesome job with it, too). Then my weekend social schedule got inverted at the last minute and I never quite got back to the computer. So, with my apologies, here is the Bracket Brawl Wrap-Up for 2012. After all, even if everyone expected Kentucky to win, we did make a little history in our tournament.
Let’s see, my beloved Sooner women’s basketball team lost a heartbreaker Tuesday, then yesterday there was You-Know-Who to the Jets, oh, and you might remember my boyfriend’s a Saints fan… it’s been a frustrating sports week.
Here are three things making me happy.
1. Brittany Griner and the Baylor Women’s Basketball Team. I suppose I should hate them since they smoked my girls twice this year, but they’ve smoked everyone this year (at 36-0, their margin of victory was in the single digits only 4 times; 3 of those victories were over Tennessee, UConn, and defending champion Texas A&M). The Bears, and star player Brittany Griner, are so good that you can’t help admiring their skill. I know accusing ESPN of bias is nothing new, but let’s just say that if this team had “UConn” on their jerseys we’d be hearing a lot of “Best Women’s Team Ever” talk out of Bristol. Do yourselves a favor and check out one of their tourney games in the next couple of weeks.
Today’s zen meditation: when the only upset 3/4 of the way through the first day of play is the one upset everyone was predicting, is it really an upset? (Not to mention that at least one 12 seed has won a game in 23 of the last 24 tournaments, so statistics were even on VCU’s side.)
I delayed and delayed and delayed putting up the post in hopes that March Madness would break out, but despite some close games (and one burgeoning conspiracy theory involving Syracuse), the surprise of this tournament has been the lack of surprise.
Let’s see, Louisville, Florida State, Missouri … was there any major conference tournament where the 1 seed came out on top? And are those results foreshadowing another chaotic NCAA tournament, or just a sign of the top teams saving their best efforts for a national championship run?
You tell us, because the Ladies…Bracket Brawl is back! Just join our Tournament Challenge group (the password is ladiesdotdotdot) and see if you can be the first reader in three years to come out on top. The Ladies are just playing for bragging rights; our readers are playing for their very own guest post. Of course you have to win first. And to win you have to enter a bracket before the games begin on Thursday, March 15.* Just click the link and get started!
*The First Four play-in games, which take place earlier in the week, aren’t included in the brackets. Sorry, that’s just how ESPN sets it up.