Thursday, June 14, 2007

Sports Notes

I did everything I could for Ottawa in the Stanley Cup Finals.

I learned how to spell "Ottawa." I sang the Canadian national anthem (most of it, anyway), which might be the most beautiful national anthem in the world.

I'm starting to suspect that I may actually be Canadian.

Nothing helped, though. Anaheim dominated for too many stretches. There's no such thing as a bad NHL final, though--at least, I've never seen one. And there's something about the incredible effort expended in hockey that makes it hard to resent the team that wins a playoff series.

In other news, are the NBA playoffs still going on? I was all amped up after watching the incredible performance of LeBron James in game five and Daniel Gibson in game six.

Then the NBA said, "We'll start the finals in five days. Have a soda." The wait drained my ability to remain interested. Even though I like San Antonio, I haven't seen a minute of the first three games.

Good grief. When even I'm not watching, that's a problem.

I never thought I'd argue for this, but I think it's time the NBA removed conference designations for the playoffs. For a league that's already struggling mightily with its television ratings, having the fifth or sixth best team in the league in the finals because of the playoff bracket just doesn't make any sense.

It's not that I don't like the Cavaliers. They play hard and they're very young, and they're going to get much better. But if they're in the Western Conference, they're either the fifth or sixth seed. And the talent disparity between the East and the West is going to get even worse, because Portland and Seattle are going to get Greg Oden and Kevin Durant.

The NBA can't afford to have its best playoff series in the second round.

Here are some interesting articles on Oakmont, where the U.S. Open will be played starting today:
Oakmont Returns To Its Roots
Oakmont Is On The Cutting Edge99697
Putting the "Oh!" in Oakmont

Oakmont is a pretty fascinating course, because over 5,000 trees have been removed to return the course to the original vision of course architect Henry Fownes. Those links tell the story, and also give you an idea of how tremendously punishing the course can be.

I'm only a golf fan for sixteen days a year--during the four majors--but for those sixteen days, I'm all in.

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