I realized it has both been quite some times since I wrote anything, but also since we had any articles about sports. So I'm killing two birds with one stone here. Generally this would come out at 11am on the day it's published but it's been a busy long period of time, and now I finally have a chance to write something.
So here's the deal: a lot has been happening in the world of sports lately. Rather than just write about one of these things, this article is going to be a grab-bag of thoughts from things happening over the last little while.
First things first: Congratulations to the Pittsburgh Penguins for their Stanley Cup win. I legitimately didn't expect it. After the horrendous start they had, I had them down for the count before Christmas even hit. But they sure did right that ship. A new coach, replacing 10 players on their team… that doesn't seem like the sort of thing a team destined to win the Stanley Cup does. That's the sort of thing a team that's looking to dump players to rebuild does. And yet; it clearly worked out for them.
Admittedly, I was cheering for San Jose. This was for a few reasons. Firstly, I have much admiration for Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau. I really wanted to see them win a cup. They had never even made it to the finals, so I was hoping this was their time. Sadly, they did not get to bring a championship to the Bay Area (starting a trend… but I'll get to that in a bit.)
Secondly, I prefer Western Conference teams over Eastern Conference, so unless it's a team I despise playing for the West, I'll typically cheer for the Western Conference.
Thirdly; I don't love the Penguins. I know Shaun is a massive fan, and to each their own, but I don't love them. Never have. I also really don't care for Sidney Crosby. I have my reasons. So because of all this, I didn't cheer for them.
Fourthly, and possibly most importantly: I like seeing new teams win the Cup. I really like Chicago and LA but was actually quite pleased when they lost. This meant we'd have somebody other than those two teams win the cup for the first time since 2011. I don't like seeing the same teams win over and over. I like new teams getting a chance to win. Sure, the Pens haven't won since 2009, but that's still less than a decade ago. This was San Jose's first finals! It would have been so cool to see them win. But alas it was not meant to be.
Pittsburgh was clearly the better team, and they were the hottest team going into the playoffs. While I didn't love seeing them win, I could think of other teams I'd hate to see win more than the Penguins.
The best part about being a hockey fan is that when the playoffs are done, that's just not the end of it all. There's always something to look forward to. Friday is the NHL draft. I've heard rumblings that the Flames are trying to move up in selection. I have no idea if that'll happen but it would be cool if we did. Regardless, I'm always interested to see who goes where in the draft. After that, on Canada Day, we have free agent frenzy. This is when contracts expire and players can choose where they want to sign. I have no idea what the Flames' plan is but I look forward to seeing what they do. Once free agency has slowed down, it's nearly time for the preseason to start. I mean… there's a bit of time in between, but not a lot. Basically what I'm saying is, despite the fact that the season just ended, it feels like the new season is just around the corner!
Stupid, stupid Cavs. I'm not even upset about the team winning. I just really don't like Lebron. I'm actually really happy for Cleveland fans. They've endured a LOT of hardships over the past 50 years. They've earned a championship. I mean, at least Boston fans had the Celtics, Bruins and Patriots to celebrate when the Red Sox were in their drought. What did Clevelanders have? On top of that, they have to live in Cleveland!
I got into a conversation with some family members yesterday, before the game started. I posited the following (alarmingly prophetic) question: Which is worse, the Patriots going 16-0 and losing in the Super Bowl or the Warriors going 73-9 and losing the NBA championship. While the Patriots went undefeated in the regular season, they only had to win 16 games. The Warriors lost 9 of 82. NINE. That's remarkable. I'm not trying to say that the Golden State's loss last night is worse than the Pats'. In fact, as somebody who loves football (especially the Patriots) far more than I like basketball, the Pats' loss hurts me more and is more devastating. I'd be curious to hear what other people have to say, though.
Anyway. I'm not surprised about the outcome of the series. Apparently stupid Lebron was lights out in the series and he was motivated to win after coming up short last year. Also, Golden State nearly lost to the Thunder. They were down 3-1 and had to come back to avoid defeat. On top of that, Steph Curry wasn't in full form and the Warriors just didn't seem as untouchable as they were made out to be. While I'm disappointed they didn't beat the Cavs, I wasn't shocked to hear about the loss. (Having not watched game 7 because it was basketball.)
Dustin Johnson, am I right?
The guy finally has himself a Major. After last year's collapse at the US Open, he was due for some good luck. The guy can absolutely crush the ball but, as you'll see in the video I linked above, his short game is something to be desired.
I'm fairly ambivalent towards DJ. He's not my favourite golfer but I have nothing against him. He's so stoic and calm, it's hard to have any reaction towards him. (Unless you're my cousin who doesn't like him because he doesn't show any emotions…) Ambivalence or not, I thought he played phenomenally yesterday. Considering he was 3 shots back of the leader, Shane Lowry, he just kept chugging along and didn't get rattled at all, even when he ended up losing a stroke in a ridiculous debacle by the PGA. But he endured. All through the annoyingness that is the PGA trying to decide whether his putter, being behind the ball, magically caused the ball to move backwards. I don't get it. But he endured. And he won.
The Euro Cup
Truthfully, I haven't been watching as much of this as I should. It's been hard with all the games happening at 7am.
The one thing I will say is that I appreciate that they've expanded how many teams are able to play. Makes for a better tournament. I cheer for Italy, as I am of Italian descent and they generally have a team actually in the tournament. With the new teams added, though, a lot more of my countries of origin (read: all of them) are in the tournament this year. The crappy thing is: 3 of the 4 of them are in the same pool. With the exception of Northern Ireland; Italy, Sweden and The Republic of Ireland are all in the same division. This means that one of my countries of ancestry have a 75% chance of getting out (though, Belgium is a very good team) but this also means that only one of my countries will likely move on. Right now, it looks good for the Azzurri, but not so good for the rest of the teams. Ireland and Sweden are both basically boned. I don't think they can get out at all. I might be missing something, but I'm pretty sure they're hooped.
That said, it's still a great tournament. I prefer the World Cup, but I do like the Euro. Typically this means that when the finals happen, I get to see some friends I basically only ever see when major football finals happen. So because we're closing in on one of those major finals, hopefully that means some pub time with good people! Time will tell.
We're not even halfway through the season yet. This means that there are still more than 80 games to play. I'll check back in with this sport when it means more.
Go Red Sox.
That's it, my friends: my stroll around the world of sports. It's good to be back writing something again. It's been a long time and now that I have a little less crappy schedule, I'll try to get more stuff down in the near future. There's always stuff coming down the pipe, it's just that Shaun is usually the guy to do it. I'm going to try to rectify that. It's just that sometimes life gets in the way.
Anyway, thanks for enduring. See you all on the other side.