Sports Sunday: British Edition + Bonus Stateside Stuff

As if to desensitize us to the plethora of shots of Big Ben we’ll be seeing in the weeks to come during coverage of the London Olympics, we were “treated” to an all Brit all the time weekend of sports. Two of the world’s great sporting events wound up today, one dominated by Brits, the other contested in the Motherland.

Unfortunately for members of the English Speaking Union, those who long for the days of guys in khaki in charge in India and a vast empire, Adam Scott spit out the bit in “The Open.” Which is the euphemism for the British Open Golf tournament.

But Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish and Christopher Froome conquered Gaul in unprecedented fashion in the Tour de France.

The Open. Ernie Els shot 2 under and overcame a seemingly insurmountable 6 stroke deficit to capture the Claret Jug at Royal Lytham.

Adam Scott lost it really. Choked to be honest. He bogeyed the final four holes with a four stroke lead. Didn’t even make it to a playoff.

Could it have been that bad Stevie Williams karma? Perhaps.

Though Williams former boss fared even worse. He Who Would Be Tiger was only 5 back as he teed off for the final round. But he was three over for the day, including a devastating triple bogey 7 at the 6th. All together now . . . Awwwwwwwww!

While the Aussie Scott was proving he’s not ready for prime time, Els fired a 4 under 32 on the back nine. Including a bold, go for broke birdie putt on the 72d to steal the deal.

What I loved about today’s TV coverage was the absence of those smug homie announcers, whose fawning makes Jim Nantz sound positively objective.

The Tour. Unlike, of course, Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwin, the Brits who do such a splendid job describing the world’s most arduous sports event.

Bradley Wiggins is the first Brit to win the Tour de France. Christopher Froome, also from that island just a chunnel’s ride a way, finished second. They both ride for the same team, Sky Procycling. I believe it’s the first time that teammates have finished first and second in the race. Plus teammate Mark Cavendish, a/k/a The Missle, won three stages. Including today’s finale along the Champs Élysées for the fourth time . . . in four attempts.

Sky dominated the three week race, but technically lost the team title to RadioShack Nissan. Even though that squad lost its two stars during the race. Frank Schleck was sent home for doping violations. Fabian Cancellara went home for dope violations. He started the Tour even though his wife was seriously preggers, and dropped out to be with her only after he faltered in the race and it became apparent he wasn’t going to contend.

Meanwhile in State College . . . JoPa’s statue is coming down. It’s the right thing to do. The former Nittany Lion coach did a lot of things right during his career, but, when faced with a situation that sets apart those with true character from those without, he failed miserably.

And, if today’s reports are correct, the NCAA is going to turn its attention tomorrow from the heinous situation at Cal Tech, to level “corrective and punitive measures” against Penn State. The word is: No Death Penalty. Though the carcass is likely to be drawn and quartered and left by the side of the road for the vultures to descend.

. . . and in Chapel Hill . . . there is more trouble brewing. Seems as if this ACC power has been keeping jocks eligible with dummy courses. Like courses with no classroom meetings, and only jock enrollees.

Stay tuned you Tar Heel bashers, big smiles are on the horizon, but . . .

. . . Fans of Other Schools best not Look in the Mirror. Bunny courses to keep athletes eligible have been part of the scene since before Bo McMillan and a bunch of mercenaries went C6-H0.

When I was at U of L, one favored class was Athletic Training, taught by a football assistant. In which, attendees had to design a training room for the final. Then there was Trees and Shrubs, where the class studied flora along Eastern Parkway.

Much has been made through the years of the decline of Louisville’s basketball program in Denny Crum’s final years. A lot of the blame has been directed toward the institution of the three point shot, which Crum didn’t embrace soon enough or heartily enough. Or, so the argument goes.

Another major factor, rarely mentioned, was the demise of University College. It was essentially a night school program with easier profs and classes, in which a lot of premier athletes were enrolled.

Which is to say, no school’s fans should ever feel pleased with themselves. It’s everywhere, it’s everywhere.

– Seedy K


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