Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Relishing a wide world of sport

The Art of Sport / London 2012 Olympic Games
This poster by British artist Rachel Whiteread
will be on display at the Tate Britain
 as part of the London 2012 festival.

It's a great time to be a sports fan.

Let's see: Between the European Championships in football, the French Open in tennis, the Stanley Cup in ice hockey and the NBA Finals in American professional basketball, there's something for every sports fan during this second week in June. Add to the mix, Major League Baseball with its inter-league play and pennant races starting to formulate, and there's just not enough hours in the day to watch everything.

* Thanks to the worldwide interest in the World Cup, America's interest in the European Championships of football has grown, too. ESPN is broadcasting all of the matches in this year's tournament which continues through July 1. It will be interesting to see if Spain can live up to its pre-tournament billing as the favorite to win the Euro 2012 championship  ~ and, to see the merger of Barcelona and Real Madrid players, despite their differences at the club level during La Liga, can provide a spark of inventiveness and create enough chances for La Furia Roja to bring home the trophy.

* History was made in Monday's French Open final as Rafa Nadal, the undisputed "King of Clay" won a record seventh Roland Garros singles title by defeating the world's No. 1 player, Novak Djokovic, in four grueling sets. En route to Lucky No. 7, Nadal surpassed the record of six that was first set by the legendary Bjorn Borg a generation ago. He began his incredible string of fortune by winning his first French Open title in 2005 and, except for losing in the 2009 final, he's won it every year since while compiling a remarkable record of 52-1 on the red clay at Roland Garros.

* On Monday night in Los Angeles, the Kings became king of ice hockey by skating to a 6-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils to win the NHL Stanley Cup for the first time in the franchise's 45-year history. It's always a thrill to see the players of the winning team kissing Lord Stanley's Cup and hoisting it above their heads as they skate around the rink in jubilation. It's an experience every hockey player wants to experience.

* Tonight, the NBA season reaches its tipping point as "The Finals" between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Miami Heat begin. The best-of-seven series features two of pro basketball's biggest stars in Kevin Durant and LeBron James, neither whom have won a championship.

* With the weather heating up across America, expect the Major League Baseball pennant races to heat up, too. And, of course, there's the classic rivalries of baseball ~ Giants- Dodgers and Yankees-Red Sox come to mind ~ that make the Summer Game so enjoyable.

Lest we forget: The United States Open golf championship will be contested this week in San Francisco, and the Wimbledon Championships start in less than two weeks. Next month, it will be time for the London 2012 Olympics to romance us.

Indeed, it's a time for relishing a wide world of sport.

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