Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sports Update

Tiger Woods held off Rocco Mediate in a marathon U.S. Open. How Woods did it, while dealing with knee pain, for an extra 18 holes and then a sudden death hole, is quite an epic story. But so is Rocco, at least where I come from. He's from Latrobe, PA, about 10 miles from where I grew up, and where one of my sisters and her husband have pretty much always lived. Latrobe was also the hometown of golf legend Arnold Palmer (the Latrobe airport is named after him now) but though he's cultivated a western PA image, he's more of the Rolling Rock Country Club set than the Rolling Rock Beer plant guys. But a guy named Rocco Mediate, that's more like it. Rocco is 45, pretty old to be out on the tour, and he's made a life for himself playing golf, despite the fact that he rarely wins a tournament. This was his big, big chance. I suppose it satisfies some working class hero dynamic to come close, but not be the winner. But if he had won, that would be quite a story, too.

I've begun watching the Lakers again, who got into the finals with the Boston Celtics. I started watching NBA basketball in the first place when these two teams played each other in the finals just about every year, and the games were tape-delayed and shown late at night. Magic, Kareem, Bird. Some really great games. This year's Lakers looked good in the western semis and championship, but once again they aren't measuring up to an Eastern team that had less formidable competition and had a tougher time with it. The Lakers lost two in Boston, although they came back from 20 behind to almost win the second. They won the third at home, and had a huge lead early in the fourth, but Boston came back to win it, the biggest collapse in NBA history. They got a big lead in the fifth game (also at home) and almost lost that. In his postgame interview, Kobe said the cocky words about going to Boston and winning both games, but I could see he didn't believe it himself. LA has a good team but they're inexperienced, and for the Celtics Doc Rivers is a very good coach, with more seasoned players. I don't see this going past the sixth game.

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