International sports

   I have been going through withdrawal.
   With no high school sports to go to live, I have been channel hopping. First of all, few if any sports translate well to television. Some examples:
   • Hockey has to be seen in person, period.
   • Tennis is a game meant to be played. Television and tennis are a stretch.
   • Golf jumps around too much on the tube. The director goes from a put on nine to a drive on six to an approach on 13 to an interview with a player who just shot a 45 on the back nine.
   • Soccer? I will do a special article on the World Cup and soccer. But I truly hope that television does not capture the essence of soccer. If it does, I for one have trouble watching 120 minutes of nil/nil football between two countries that I never studied in any geography course that I have taken or didn’t exist when I took the course. And I had a minor in social science.
   One thing is obvious on every channel I hit. Sport is international. American sports are international. The NBA is international. MLB is international. Men’s and women’s pro soccer in the United States (They change acronyms too often. I think that the MSL is current for men and the WPS is current for women.) have to be international to draw more than four score in the stands. Foreign exchange students are on most rosters in college sports. Foreign exchange students are not uncommon on high school rosters.
   International sports are just that—international. And now there is global parity. The former USSR and the USA have true competition in most if not all international sports.
   Around the dial: Wimbledon. London, England. Big names from big countries are being beaten by no-names from big and little countries. Players from former satellites of the USSR and from a country we didn’t acknowledge until Nixon went to China are matching the traditional tennis powers shot for shot.  An 11-plus hour match is probably tougher on the spectators than it was on the players. 
   The NBA draft. Give me a break. How exciting? One thing I did notice is there are about as many college graduates working at a car wash than were drafted in the NBA draft.
   Major League Baseball. I just finished watching a big league game being played in Puerto Rico. Last year games were played in China and Japan. Europe is not catching on to baseball as well as America is catching on to football (soccer). Most major league rosters have players from more than two continents.
   Golf.  Maybe the most international of all sports. Most tournaments have good players from six continents. Antarctica has yet to contribute a tour pro or good amateur. How many women would be watching if they knew that golf is an acronym for Gentlemen Only Ladies Forbidden? It is an old acronym. Tiger isn’t playing. When he isn’t playing the leader board’s names are all candidates for a remake of What’s My Line.
  College baseball. My favorite. All of the athletes hustle. There were more comeback victories than Elvis sightings. Unlike in the major leagues, every member in the lineup can and does bunt when necessary.
   Car Racing. Cars and/or drivers from six continents. The drivers don’t text but they do talk on a phone while driving. The celebrations after races are a waste of champagne except at Indianapolis where they drink milk instead of shooting it all over the audience.
   I have a satellite so I can get too many sports and these days there are too many sports and sporting events on the telly. I hit the sports button and I can do more reading than I did in high school. Enough is enough.
   I am seeing too many dog piles. UCLA was without its second baseman because of a dog pile. The Angels are without their best hitter because of a dog pile type of a celebration. In some sports they only have a dog pile after an important win or after clinching a series or championship. In soccer they have one after every goal. I did like the dog pile that the Bulldogs did after they won the Valley League in baseball but I did worry about injuries.
   As a kid I lived for summers in Manhattan Beach and Hawthorne. As a sports writer and fan I can’t wait for school to start. Let the real games begin.

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Posted by bsands on Jul 8 2010. Filed under Archive. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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