Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Relishing our wide world of sport

The beautiful game / Relishing our wide world of sport.

What a week it's been to be an international sports fan.

Let's see: Between the FIFA World Cup in football, the Stanley Cup in ice hockey, the NBA Finals in American professional basketball, and the U.S. Open golf championship, which crowned its champion on Father's Day, there's been something for every sports fan to enjoy during the month of June. Add to the mix, Major League Baseball with its pennant races taking shape here in the U.S., and there's just not enough hours in the day to watch everything being shown on TV or now made available for viewing via our mobiles.

It's a beautiful game.
• Thanks to the worldwide interest in international football (known to American audiences as soccer), the quadrennial World Cup tournament in Brazil has become must-see viewing around the globe. Here in the U.S., ESPN (and its sister networks) is broadcasting all 64 matches in this year's tournament, which continues through July 13.

There's new "made for TV" drama unfolding with each match and curiosity is building day by day. It will be interesting to see if the Netherlands can continue its dominance after the Clockwork Oranje dealt Spain a shocking World Cup defeat last Friday with a 5-1 annihilation of La Furia Roja. Also, the Nationalmannschaft of Germany looked very solid as Thomas Müller scored a hat trick during a 4-0 shutout of the Ronaldo-led Portugal on Monday. And, three cheers for the Stars and Stripes as Clint Dempsey scored the fastest goal in U.S. World Cup history (29 seconds) and the Americans beat Ghana 2-1. Of course, host Brazil plays the sport dubbed the beautiful game oh so beautifully, and the Canarinho are a sentimental favorite of many worldwide fans.

• On Friday night in Los Angeles, the Kings became king of ice hockey as they skated to a 3-2 overtime victory over the New York Rangers to capture the NHL Stanley Cup for the second time in three years. It's always a thrill to see the players of the winning team kissing Lord Stanley's Cup and hoisting it proudly above their heads as they jubilantly skate around the rink in celebration. It's an experience every hockey player wants to enjoy at least once in their career.

The Spurs' Parker, Duncan, Ginobili.
• On Sunday night, the San Antonio Spurs showed that it's cool to be a team -- again -- and to play like a team, too. The Spurs beat the star-studded Miami Heat 104-87 to win their fifth NBA Finals championship, thanks to a total team effort from an eclectic roster filled with international flavor, including: Tim Duncan of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Tony Parker of France, Manu Ginobili of Argentina, Patty Mills of Australia, Tiago Splitter of Brazil, Cory Joseph of Canada and Kahwi Leonard of the U.S.

• With the weather heating up across America, the Major League Baseball pennant races are heating up, too. Here in the Bay Area, thanks to San Francisco Giants and Oakland A's compiling the best records in their respective leagues, interest in the Summer Game is filling ballparks on both sides of the Bay nearly every night.

• Lest we forget: The United States Open golf championship crowned a new champion Sunday in Pinehurst, N.C. as Martin Kaymer, a 29-year-old German, won an historic eight-stroke victory in a what many described as a totally dominating performance.

• Finally: The Wimbledon Championships fortnight start next Monday in London SW19 as Scotland's Andy Murray defends his gentlemen's singles title against the likes of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal in the world's premier grass-court tennis event. Break out the strawberries and cream.

Indeed, it's a time for relishing the spirit and passion of a truly wide world of sport.

Photographs courtesy of Google Images.

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