After a fun-filled weekend of moving (my sister and bro-in-law from one apartment on the 3rd floor to another apartment on the 3rd floor), and cleaning (the bomb shelter we refer to as our home), I sat down last night to watch my beloved Terps take on the Tar Heals of North Carolina. As the buzzer sounded on a heartbreaking 87-76 loss, I realized I had essentially gone the entire college basketball season without talking sports. Sure, there was my trip to Cameron Indoor Stadium in early January where I watched my Terps valiantly battle the Blue Devils. But other than that mid-season, one game report, I haven’t spoken much about one of my great passions in life (behind my wife and kids of course)…sports!
A lot has happened in the world of sports over the past several months, most of which has been spoken about more times than the word “baby” in a Dick Vitale broadcast. Anyone who follows the NFL knows we are just days away from the current CBA (collective bargaining agreement between the owners and players) expiring. Translation: husbands and fathers everywhere are cringing at the thought of having to spend Sundays with their families rather than on the couch watching football. There is plenty of time between now and the official start of the 2011 season, so don’t go jumping off a roof just yet. But the fact that millionaires and billionaires can’t agree on how big a piece of the pie they each deserve, is enough to make average Joes like you and me start climbing the stairs.
The NBA is getting interesting again. Some say it always was while others, like me, prefer to wait for playoff time before tuning in. It’s hard to not pay attention though this year, as we have seen teams compile rosters of superstars, the likes of which haven’t been seen since the Olympic Dream Teams. You’ve got LeBron and Dwayne Wade in Miami (along with Chris Bosh clinging desperately to their coat tails) and now New York has added Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups to a team led by Amare Stoudemire. Thanks to this latest mega-deal, which I’m pretty sure involved 8 teams and something like 37 players, basketball in New York City is exciting again, which makes the NBA very happy.
Everyone knows the story of Tiger Woods. Arguably the greatest golfer to ever swing a club has lost his game, his head, and his wife over the past year or so and is frantically trying to get at least two of those three things back. Now into his mid-30’s, questions of whether he will ever regain his past form and challenge Jack Nicklaus for the all-time majors record, have been called into question. It wasn’t that long ago that we all wondered when it would happen, not if. This past week at the Accenture Match Play Championship, an event he has won 3 times, Woods was ousted in the first round leading to even more questions about where his game and his head are at this point in his career.
These are some of the major sports stories being discussed all over the country by columnists, television analysts, and bloggers alike. I’ve added my two cents above so no need to go any further with it. Now I want to give a little love to my home town teams that not many people outside of Maryland are talking about. First, my previously mentioned, beloved Terps.
Last night’s defeat at the hands of the Tar Heals, essentially eliminated Maryland from any chance at the NCAA tournament. The truth is the Terps have been on the outside of the proverbial bubble looking in for weeks now, this just cemented what we already assumed. So shy of winning the ACC tournament in a couple of weeks, the Terps will likely be headed to the NIT or “losers bracket” as I fondly refer to it. While I hate seeing my Terps fall out of contention and miss the Big Dance, I am forced to examine the season and come to the realization that we simply did the best we could do with the players we have. I say we because, as is the case every year, I played an integral role for the team from the comfort of my couch. Alas, it was not enough. This year’s Terps team can be summed up as the best almost-good team in the country.
As my depression over the Terps underwhelming season sets in, I am consoled by the possibility of a turn around season for the Baltimore Orioles. Spring training has arrived and the O’s are ready to begin a season that many fans in Baltimore think could define the team for years to come. After a managerial change two-thirds of the way through last season, the Birds seemed to take on new life with Buck Showalter at the helm. What looked like a historically bad season for the O’s at the start of last year ended with a simply dismal 66-96 record. The offseason saw many changes to the Orioles roster as the team added Mark Reynolds, Derrek Lee and Vlad Guerrero to name a few and the Wall Street Journal (that’s what smart people read) even said the O’s had the best offseason of any team in the league. With a young pitching staff and solid veterans that add pop to the lineup, there is reason to be excited again here in Birdland!
I’m looking forward to attending some Orioles games this year which will help me cross another item off of my 30 Before 30 list. Speaking of the list, I need to get going on tickets to the Caps and Wizards as both seasons will be winding down soon. Anyone with free tickets, feel free to send them to me. Hope you enjoyed talking a little sports with me, it felt good didn’t it? Now excuse me while I go ice down my shoulder from all the moving and scrubbing this weekend.