If 40 is the new 30, then American sprinter Tyson Gay has a long decade ahead of him. Because at 30, he’s suddenly looking quite old, especially compared to the emergent track stars Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake of Jamaica, who at 26 and 23 make Gay look like at parent at a Taylor Swift show. Gay has certainly aged years in the past several days, when it was revealed that he tested positive for a banned performance enhancing substance. That has forced him to withdraw from next month’s world championships in Moscow, where he would have but faint hopes of topping a field that has since passed him by.
I’ll admit something I probably shouldn’t. I haven’t watched a baseball game start to finish all season. That won’t change until I actually go to a Mets game in a couple of weeks, and then it’s because I don’t really have a choice. Although I could just stand in the Shake Shack line for a few innings.
A few years ago, the athletic shoe company Adidas had this ad slogan that went, “Impossible is nothing.” It always seemed to be worn by people who I doubt adhered to that ethic, but certainly held their favorite athletes to that standard. More to the point, the slogan itself doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. For example, I have stared at a 10 foot basketball hoop since I was about five, all with the hope that I might someday grab it on the way down from a windmill dunk. That never happened. The closest I ever got was when we played on seven foot rims at the elementary school.
The main difference between yesterday and today for Aaron Hernandez is that yesterday he spent the night in his own house in Attleboro, Mass, not far from the stadium where he plays tight end for the New England Patriots. And today, he’s in the custody of the Massachusetts State Police, who arrested him in his home this morning in relation to the murder of Oden Lloyd, a 27 year-old semi-professional football player and acquaintance of Hernandez. So quite a difference a day makes.
I suppose it’s low hanging fruit to write a column criticizing NBA refs. That’s like criticizing the IRS or the DMV. Calling an NBA game correctly is as easy as catching a Cheetah with a bicycle; it’s just not possible. Not with the unbridled speed and athleticism— all inconceivable when the game was created. Today’s professional basketball is lightning fast, fiercely physical, and hard to assess in slow motion, much less full speed. So, just getting most calls right is a herculean task. It’s like keeping most of the kindergarten class quiet during story time.
In the period of the next several days, the history of basketball may or may not be rewritten. At stake is far more than the next NBA Title, which will go to either the San Antonio Spurs or the Miami Heat. The Spurs hold a 2-1 game lead in the best of seven series and could potentially defeat the favored Heat team before ever having to return to Miami for Games 6 and 7. Or, Miami could rebound and overwhelm the Spurs with superior talent and up-tempo play, taking their second consecutive title and laying the groundwork as the league’s most current dynasty. With that comes the historical directive of one superstar LeBron James, the most dominant player in the league.
Today’s word of the day on Sesame Street was champion. I know because I watched it with my three year old Elliot. They talked about what it means to be a champion, at least in the context of life sized muppets and their human friends. As a guest on the show, LA Clippers forward Blake Griffin contested a muppet chicken in a rooster calling contest. And, spoiler alert, Blake won. So he was the champion.
I always figured it would take an act of God to get me to root for LeBron James. Really, it took just two words. Chicago Bulls. Thanks to an awful display of basketball over the past week, I’ve pulled for LeBron’s Miami Heat over the Bulls in the NBA Eastern Conference semifinals. Right now with a 3-1 lead in a best of seven series, it’s most likely the Heat can end this tonight so I can start hating LeBron again.
Until two days ago, Jason Collins was part of the answer to an obscure trivia question. That is, name the two sets of twins that played center for the Stanford Cardinal men’s basketball team. And the answer is Jason and his brother Jarron along with Brook and Robin Lopez. But now Jason Collins is the answer to a less sports wonky trivia question, kind of first row on Jeopardy. The longtime NBA cener will forevermore be known as the first openly gay male on a current roster in a major American professional team sport.
Kicker Alan Gendreau is hoping to make an NFL roster this year. That’s true for a lot of people right now, with the pro football draft coming Thursday followed by weeks of free agent signings and trades and mini-camps and all the things teams go through to cut down to their game day rosters. Since Gendreau is a kicker, and he sat out last year after finishing his career at Middle Tennessee State, it’s not likely you’ll hear his name on ESPN’s live draft broadcast, even in the late rounds when all but the truest diehards have switched over to The Voice or something. Picking a kicker in the NFL draft is like ordering a diet coke at Serendipity. Just not entirely satisfying.