From the Bleachersby Cormac Eklof
- Offensive NFL sign outside restaurant just a symptom of a larger problem
- Katherine Webb and the morbid depths of US sports 'journalism'
- Alabama to change their mantra ‘Roll Tide’ to ‘Part, Tide’.
- Guinness Book Of Records confirms: Seattle Seahawks have easily the most annoying fans
- Panthers unveil dominant new defensive play to win against the New England Patriots
First to the full disclosure. This column is a gigantic fan of Spanish soccer. Except for a hard to explain, forlorn love for Sunderland, the sometimes Premiership English club, the Spanish La Liga takes precedence in terms of weekend soccer on this column's TV. They just make it look so pretty, don't they? Barcelona, Real Madrid, Athletic Bilbao and even Raya Vallecano. They play the beautiful game like the beautiful game should be played. Beautifully.
We could babble on about how much respect we have for the Spanish game, but as always, money talks. If someone handed this column one million euros, dollars or pounds sterling and said, 'You can have this, but you have to bet it on who is going to win the European Championships' basically, it would be going on the Italians.
To set the scene, Italy were facing England in the European Championship quarter finals, and the Italians had attacked all match long but couldn't get passed the massed ranks of English defenders, the latter having decided to adopt distasteful 'park the bus (in front of the goal)' tactics. As first normal time and then extra time fizzled out slowly, England were clearly playing for penalties.
What is it they say, be careful what you wish for?
What is clear from ESPN’s clear, unbiased and even-handed reporting on the NBA finals, is that ‘The King finally has his ring’. You simply cannot beat headline writing like that. The UK’s Sun newspaper, famous for inane headlines, would eat a handful of rusty nails, shoot itself in the face and then go to work on itself if it produced a headline like that. ESPN had another cracker emblazoned on its front also, ‘Ring him up’.
Not ‘Ring them up’.
Judge for yourself, but his beautiful, crisp volley, executed at speed with the clinical precision of an assassin, might be hard to top.
So tonight Ireland's Euro 2012 effectively came to an end. Sure we still have to play Italy, and who would bet against the Irish playing out of their skins and causing a huge upset, this team has a lot of pride and will want to go out on a high, not just for themselves but for their loyal fans too. Tonight however they ran up against possibly the greatest team in the world in the Spanish, and the result was a predictable 0-4 trashing.
Bizarrely, what most will remember from the match will be the absolutely incredible display of support the magnificent travelling Irish fans showed, as the clock ticked down first to 90 minutes and then through the last three minutes of added time. With the match dying out, the masses of Irish fans ripped out a six minute long, stirring rendition of 'The fields of Athenry'. Several TV shows (I hear German, Dutch and even Spanish) deliberately didn't speak over the singing to allow their viewers experience it properly.
It all started innocently enough, a Canadian journalist asking Harper what kind of beer he was into. Of course Harper is a devout Mormon, and thus does no partake in such a beverage. Harper's answer to the gentleman? 'That's a clown question, bro'.
Perhaps Harper was confused and thought the scribe asked, 'Bryce, which Joker was better, Jack Nicholson or Heath Ledger?' in which case his answer would have made more sense.
I remember Tyson, Bruno, Evander Holyfield, George Foreman and heck, even Lennox Lewis had a certain ‘draw’ to him. The great heavyweight fights, the drama and the prestige. Being allowed stay up late to watch a big bout. People talking about it the next day in school, college and then work. Well, people are still talking about fights, however the water-cooler conversation is now invariably based around whatever controversy is drowning Boxing at the time.
The once great sport is absolutely reeling right now in the wake of the incredible scenes after the Pacquiao versus Bradley fight from the weekend just passed.
The Celtics, injury ravaged to an unbelievable degree, teased us with an early ten point lead, only to tire and get worn down with the ridiculous LeBron precession to the free throw line, finally succumbing to the abhorrent Heat and their Nuremberg Rally like fans (Note to Miami: Big rallies where everyone dresses the exact same, and chants to pre-arranged material handed down from 'the authorities' has been done before, and is pretty creepy). Ireland? What can you say about Ireland? Well, I had this to say about them last week in my Irish Central column;
''There are some in Ireland suggesting this Irish team might unite the country much like the Jackie Charlton led teams and indeed the Mick McCarthy World Cup team did in years previous. Largely fueled by greedy companies trying to cash in on merchandising and such, Ireland is being led down a blind alley of false hope in the inevitably doomed belief it might win a match or two and qualify for the next round. A huge dose of realism is well overdue. Glenn Whelan in midfield? This might be the single worst quality team to qualify for a European Championship in the last decade. Having said all that, Ireland's undoubted grit and determination, and wonderful, colourful and positive fans (the single greatest traveling fans, bar none, in all sports) will bring something to the tournament, even if Ireland don’t score in any of the three matches.''
Now, in light of the unbelievably poor showing against Croatia, we don't want to get all Brian Griffin on you, however, it must be noted, we did tell you so!
Last night the Boston Celtics absolutely stunned the Miami Heat with a potentially devastating hay-maker of a game five road win. Several key plays accumulated to the Boston win, and several Boston players are walking around with a little extra swagger this morning. Michael Pietrus, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, amongst others.
However, none more so than the sensational Rajon Rondo.
Consider the weight of evidence to date.
Let’s start with the most recent and work backwards to the most dramatic.