Thursday, June 24th, 2010...1:55 am
The Heavenly Sports Day
I’ve just experienced one of the best days of sports fandom in my entire life. It’s one of those days that I would love to bottle up and have my kid give to me for Father’s Day in twenty years. It’s 2AM but I’m still so pumped up that I want to share it with all my Littyhoops teammates out there.
It started this morning at 10am (an unnaturally early time for us East Coasters) with the USA soccer game. I set up the espn3.com feed through a large screen television and ordered some bagels and juice. Suddenly, the Sportsvite pod was as hot as Shahrukh Khan in Dilwale Dulhaniye Le Jayenge.
I was psyched by the World Cup (I freaking podcasted about it) but until today didn’t have much faith in our team. It was exasperating watching the US come so close to scoring the entire game without putting the ball in the net. My boy Dempsey had chance after chance but couldn’t convert (kind of like me last weekend). I was sure they were going to score. Then at around the 85th minute I was sure they weren’t going to score. But with one Tim Howard fastball, the Yanks were able to instantly turn the USA into a soccer mad country. With one streaking run, Landon Donovan went from a goat to the GOAT — Greatest (American) Of All Time! With a favorable match-up vs. Ghana (during Dudefest no less) and then a potential quarterfinal match between the winner of Uruguay-South Korea dare I say…
By the way, in the 80th minute of the match the UPS guy delivered a box of vuvuzelas to my office. For anybody who does not believe in love at first site, it is my most prized poessesion.
Just a few hours after the thrilling victory my buddy Neal hit me up to inform me that there was a tennis match tied at 30-30 in the 5th set at Wimbledon. At first I didn’t believe him. I was fascinated and headed straight back to espn3.com to check out the action. American John Isner (think of Chris Dudley playing tennis) was bombing ace after ace against unknown (at least to me) Frenchy Nicolas Mahut. I watched till 39-39 as both players seemed unaffected by the fatigue, pressure and insanity of it all. I was called into a few meetings and had a few work related things (the nerve of work to get in the way of my great sports day) and when I got back to it the match was tied at 55! The match was stopped due to darkness tied at 59. Thank the good lord because the announcers were pretty sure that ESPN would never air Sportscenter ever again. That number is so high I’m not sure what to make of it. It’s like if that Syracuse vs. UCONN game went to 14 overtimes of if Tiger Woods won a US Open via a 72 hole sudden death playoff. Just think of anything that is impossible and you got yourself a great analogy.
This is so mind boggling that it could be the opening episode of season seven of LOST. For goodness sake, even the scoreboard broke. I’m not sure how neither guy lost concentration or just plain old gave up. Mahut didn’t even look tired! Isner said “nothing like this will ever happen again. Ever.” One person more geeked than me is Roger Federer who kept on saying how much he loved watching the match. They broke just about every single record for tennis longevity in the book. In fact, there are no longer any empty pages in the darn book.
The match stirred up two of my most deep-rooted pre-adolescence fascinations. The first is the idea that I could fall asleep during a Yankee game and awake in the morning and the game would still be going on in extra extra innings. That way I could continue to watch the game in the morning as I ate cheerios and corn pops.
The second is the method in which I challenged myself when playing ping pong with my little sister. If we were playing to 21 I would give her as big as lead as possible. Then I would battle back to tie it at 20-20. Since ping pong is win by two points, I would then see how long we could play (without her blatantly knowing my scheme). I’m not sure what the point of this was besides allowing me to star in my very own mental Sportscenter and scarring my little sister psyche for life.
Here’s an even more mind blowing fact of the day. My dad is flying to London to watch the completion of the match tomorrow! No, no, no. It’s not what you’re thinking…that would be perverted/sick. My parents happen to be going to England tomorrow for a European summer vacation. My sister just happened to be able to get them Wimbledon tickets. So there is a chance that they might see the completion of the Isner match. Considering my pops was flipping out more than I am in this post, it might be the most serendipitous occurrence since two tennis players tied each other at 59 in the 5th set.
Despite a great afternoon of sports action, little did I know it would improve. Lisa was able to score some fourth row tickets at Citified so we headed out to the game. Do you know how good free food tastes at a sporting event? We sat next to David Lee. RA Dickey was spectacular and is having one of those fairy tale storybook years that can only can happen to 30-something, messy-haired knuckle ballers as he stymied Detroit over eight shutout innings. I’ve spent a good portion of the last few years herbing the Mets but got to give the Amazins some credit. They are playing inspired ball and have some young, unheralded guys stepping up. Ike Davis got some schnoz on him! For at least one night, the Mets won me over.
Finally, I got home and tuned into the Yankee game. They tied it in the 9th off of Arizona closer Aaron Heilman (ha – laughable). After a Grandy-Man homer, Mariano came back out to work a second inning but the D-Backs quickly loaded the bases with no out. Two infield pop-ups and a K later and the greatest reliever to ever play the game had done his job once again. Every time I watch Rivera pitch I appreciate that I am watching greatness. As Rivera ages, I dread the day that he is no longer the Yankee closer. Luckily, even at the age of 40, he shows no signs of slowing down. When it’s all said and done there’s a good chance Rivera will have a monument (yes a monument) at Yankee Stadium.
Still not convinced on how great of a day it was. Giambi hit a walk-off homer to beat Papelbon and the Red Sox. How awesome is that!
Heck this day should have it’s own 30 for 30 episode!
Please good lord Hashem, let this happen every day and I’ll promise to recycle, share, clean my room and be a better person!