Monday, July 12, 2010

THE "BEAUTIFUL GAME," YOU SAY?

Every time I hear soccer referred to as the beautiful game, it reminds me of a drunk guy in a bar telling another drunk guy that he just met an hour ago that he's the greatest guy in the world. There may be an element of emotionally if not alcoholically-fuelled sincerity, but there's no credibility. There was nothing "beautiful" about Spain's stultifyingly tedious 1-0 win over the Netherlands in yesterday's World Cup final. It was merely a continuation of a painfully dull tournament that had some terrific feel good elements as an event, but offered nothing in the way of defining moments on the pitch, unless you count brutal officiating among cherished memories...If there's such a thing as a sore winner, Red Bull's Mark Webber was it at the F1 British Grand Prix, where Webber complained bitterly before and after the race about preferential treatment for teammate Sebastien Vettel. What's ironic and more than a little hypocritical is that Webber and Red Bull team principal Christian Horner spent part of the week speculating on team morale at McLaren...Every professional, amateur and aspiring stadium public address announcer lost the ultimate role model yesterday when Bob Sheppard, the voice of Yankee Stadium for more than half a century, passed away at the age of 99. Sheppard was unapologetically old school, and his understated class and consistency will be sorely missed in a profession that's become a breeding ground for shrill and shameless homerism...I'm as moderately pleased as the next Canadian that we've got a rider in the top 10 at the Tour de France, but the downside to that kind of success is that it's only going to encourage the Lance Armstrong wanna-be's who already consider Lakeshore Boulevard and the Lachine Canal bike path their own personal Champs-Elysees...And yes, you heard me right: the score in the World Cup final was 1-nothing, not 1-nil. It might be 1-nil if you're British, but where I grew up and where I live, if one team gets one goal and the other team gets none, the score is 1-nothing, or 1-zero, not 1-nil. Just like Billy Preston didn't sing nil from nil leaves nil, and I don't drink Coke Nil.

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