Friday, June 5

Random Thoughts On A Friday

While things are slow(er) here at ASD, I have decided to ramble a bit on a few subjects from this week in the sporting world. My thoughts would probably be more concise had I no eaten that Cuatro Leches cake at lunch. That's right, not the traditional tres leches, one extra leche for supreme immobilization of all physical functions and complex mental processes. I feel like I have been hit with a tranquilizer dart.

Club Fed

Roger Federer is, as I punch the keys, battling in the 5th set with Juan Del Porto in the semifinals at Roland Garros [Update: He won]. If Roger holds on and makes it to the final he has his chance at the career Slam and will tie Pete Sampras for all-time Slam titles. If eventually surpasses Pete would this make Federer the best ever? Maybe by the numbers, but one thing I would agree with Sampras on, even though he said it sounding like sour grapes, was that the level of competition in men's tennis was miles ahead of where it is today back in the late 70s, 80s, and 90s. While Roger is a master of his craft, up until the recent surge of Nadal, no one has challenged him. Pete and Andre had all they could handle in challengers early and late in their career. Right now as Federer's career is tailing off is when we could be witnessing a rise of stars at the top of tennis. Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal represent tremendous players who could beswtow us with great rivalries for years to come. If Roger wins the French, it will go a long way in the conversation of him versus Sampras, but pound for pound I still think Pete was the better and that is not all Roger's fault because he has not had the competition.

One story that should not be lost in the red clay of Roland Garros is the run of Robin Soderling. Even though he and Nadal had a verbal spat of words in the past, he pulled the unthinkable by beating Rafa on clay and then turned around and beat Andy Murray. If he faces Roger Federer in the finals and wins, he will have beaten the number 1,2, and 3 seeds. That would be akin to Arizona beating Kansas, Carolina, and Kentucky in the 1997 NCAA Tournament. You may notice I left one name out so far in this tennis conversation. While Andy Roddick shed the pounds, talked the game, and was winning handily, he did not even get the opportunity to face his old nemesis Federer. Instead he went out whining to Monfils in the 4th round. We should not be surprised by this performance by Andy, who has never done well at the French Open but is is nevertheless dissapointing. While Roddick wins at life, on the court his time is running out and that U.S. Open may be the only major he ever sees.

Tell Me How My Ring Tastes

Nice gesture by Shaq tweeting that he hopes Kobe wins. Would he be saying this if the Lakers were not likely to run away with this series? Who knows but the whole argument about Kobe's legacy on the line is pretty dumb. I have never liked Kobe, from the moment he pronounced he would not play for the Hornets (no I don't fucking care if you say that the trade with the Lakers was already in the works, he still initiated it with his statement. Would he have had the stones to sit out that year while Charlotte held his draft rights? Answer is no.) to his drama with Shaq, to his sneak attack on the brown in Denver, to his overall persona the guy is not someone I admire personally. But there is no doubt the dude can ball and is one of the ten best players ever in the NBA. The fade away shot he hit from almost three-point range last night made me just shake my head.

The argument over his legacy is pretty much a barroom argument that is being presented for lack of other storylines. In all sports there is a double standard that you must win a championship to vindicate your career yet players like Malone, Marino, Barkely, Bonds are given passes because of their greatness. Bryant has three rings no matter what happens in those series. Despite Shaq being the dominant player, it is doubtful the Lakers succeed time after time without Bryant. I stated earlier this week that to me this championship would be like Peyton Manning's for Kobe. Of course Kobe already had his three but it would be the total monkey off his back title. So while I cannot spurn the argument until Kobe probably puts it to rest in this series, his place in NBA lore is quite secure.

The Price To Pay

I have eluded to the subject of Florida Gators' legal troubles before so this is nothing new in my mind, but worth discussion. People have been talking about the 24 Gator players arrested in the last four years and also discussing how the major outlets (twwl leader mainly) are ignoring it. While the four-letter network has had fire side chats with Tebow and Pope Urban has been mum on the subject, Florida is now officialy a college football dynasty. It is unavoidable for a program to attain this level of talent with its players and success without some of the negative. In this light I am not bashing Florida as some renegade program, it is simply the price of multiple titles. If you are a young college man and everyone in your community is telling you how great you are and media outlets are dubbing you as righteous champions, your head is going to swell. Dave Hide of the Sun-Sentinel has the correct perspective on this in his article on the arrest situation of the big three Sunshine State schools. The Miami Hurricanes are always sensitive to issues like these and that is mainly because as Hyde states, "Once you lose your reputation, it's hard to get back." The U will never get any respectable reputation back and that adds to the edge with which its players carry themselves and a galvinizing force for all who have played for the program. The Gators have had problems with behavior since winning their 2nd title in 3 years but not "Tainted Title" or Luther Campbell problems like FSU and UM. That being said, it is not balanced coverage when one of the ratings giants' mistakes are swept under the rug while Meyer speaks out of how ever many sides of his mouth he has and Tebow is praised for his character. A football team is exactly that, a team and all members are answerable.

That's all I have for this Friday, it would have been more fluent had office interruptions not occured.

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