Sports Snippets

  • The New York Football Giants are now 0-6, their worst start since 1976. Arrgghhhh! Let’s see if they can redeem themselves tomorrow night against the Vikings on Monday Night Football.
  • Maybe the only thing that upsets me more as a football fan was watching PBS’s Frontline program on the NFL and concussions. The program revealed the lengths that the NFL went to deny that there is a serious problem with players and head injuries. I still love the game, but it’s tempered by the knowledge of the major damage inflicted not only on professional players, but on young people who play the game from the elementary school level all the way up to college.
  • Also keeping an eye on the Ed O’Bannon lawsuit against the NCAA, EA Sports, and the Collegiate Licensing Company. More players have been added to the suit, which involves the use of their image in video games and videos, without their permission and without compensation. While folks may argue about whether college athletes should receive some type of compensation, it can’t be denied that college sports, especially the men’s football and basketball programs, are billion-dollar enterprises, and everyone but the students are making money. It’s hard to make the argument that the price of the scholarship should be the only compensation that these students deserve, especially when many of them come from families that are struggling economically, and attending college is a sacrifice and a hardship.
  • One person on top of the world these days in Rafael Nadal, who’s currently ranked as the No. 1 male tennis player, a tremendous feat after recovering from injury.
  • Serena Williams keeps rolling on like there’s no tomorrow. Very happy for her as well.
  • And congrats to Scotsman Andy Murray, who received his OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) for his services to tennis. He won gold at the London Olympics, then a month later became the first Brit to win Wimbledon in 77 years. Well done!
  • As I write this, I’m watching the ISU Grand Prix: Skate America championships. A good look at the figure skaters who may represent the United States at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. We’re 109 days away from the game, and of course, it wouldn’t be the Olympics without some controversy. This time, it’s over the passage of the anti-gay propaganda laws in Russia, which bans the public discussion of gay rights and relationships anywhere children might hear it. There’s been calls for a boycott of the Sochi games; but most athletes who have spoken on the issue would rather attend the Games as a show of solidarity to the Russian LGBT community. While Russia has made assurances to the IOC that gay athletes who participate in the games will be welcomed and treated fairly, those assurances are ambiguous at best, and does nothing to address the discrimination and persecution against the LGBT community in Russia. Stay tuned…
  • CNN International’s web page has some great articles about the controversy. When you go to the website, change the setting in top left corner from the U.S. Edition to International Edition. And while you’re on the site, check out the page for my favorite sports show, World Sport (http://edition.cnn.com/SPORT/). Probably the best sports show that you’ve never heard of…a roundup of sports from around the world. The show airs several times a day. Check your cable or satellite provider to see if you have access to the CNN International channel, and check out the show. You won’t regret it.
  • Last night, the Boston Red Sox won the AL Championship, and punched their ticket to the World Series. They’ll go up against the NL Champions, the St. Louis Cardinals. I feel bad for Robin, the husband of my good friend Annette, who’s from Michigan and a Tigers fan. The Red Sox snuffed out the Tigers to win the ALCS. But I’m happy for Tara, a colleague at my office, who’s a die-hard Cardinals fan. I got no dog in the hunt, since my Mets were long taken out of the running. If I do root for any team, it’ll be for the Cards, since they’re the NL champs, and we New Yorkers universally hate any team coming out of Boston.

This reminds me of an e-mail that I got from my younger son, who’s currently serving in the Navy. At the time, he was deployed on the USS San Jacinto, and he e-mailed to ask: “My friend wants to know why Mets and Yankees fans hate each other.” Here was my answer:

  • It all goes back to the days when AL and NL meant something. AL=American League, NL=National League. They were rival leagues, not one big happy like they are now under MLB. No self-respecting baseball fan would root for the rival league.In NYC, Yankees are AL; Brooklyn Dodgers were NL. Then the Dodgers moved to L.A., so NL fans were left without a team until The Mets were established in mid-60s. So Mets fans were former Dodger fans, or their kids. I’d speculate that some interboro rivalry between Bronx and Brooklyn is also a part of it. Also explains why Guiliani rooted for the Bosox a few years ago when they beat the Yanks & went on to win the World Series, even though New Yorkers hate Boston teams more than they hate each other. He’s a diehard Yankees fan, so there’s no way that he’ll ever root for an NL team.

My son grew up with me and his dad as the Mets fans, and his favorite uncle, my youngest brother Azam, as a Yankees fan. So he had firsthand knowledge of this rivalry. I’m still trying to figure out where we went wrong, because my family grew up in Queens and went to Mets games. And if that weren’t enough, Azam is a Jets fan and I’m a Giants fan. He now lives in Tacoma, Washington, so whenever we get on the phone and talk sports, people on both sides of the coast will clear the room!

And that’s the snip!

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