bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: U.S. women lose to Japan in an exciting World Cup final

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I may have mentioned before that I am not much of a soccer fan. If you watched the final of the Women’s World Cup on Sunday, though, you could easily tell how even a non-fan could get sucked in. The second half of that match, including extra time and the penalty kicks, was pretty damn riveting. Even though the Americans lost in the end, it was a great match to watch and the culmination of a great run for the U.S team, while an underdog Japanese team came away with a huge win.

I don’t watch enough soccer to know all of the rules, and there are a number of things about the game that just seem wrong to me. The fact that you never actually know how much time is left is bizarre. The constant faking of injuries is embarrassing (although the women seem to do this a lot less than the men do), and the long stretches of nothing are frustrating. I am not even one of those guys that thinks that sports need to have constant action. I am a huge baseball fan, and that’s certainly not a game that is jam packed with activity. I never played soccer, and that may have something to do with the fact that I am quick to find fault with it, but it’s more than that. I don’t want to focus on the negative here, though, as I really found the final match thoroughly engrossing on Sunday. I also enjoyed the fact that so many of the athletes I follow on Twitter, most of them male,  were commenting on the tournament throughout the last couple of weeks. Sure, I got to read a lot of comments about the attractiveness of Alex Morgan and Hope Solo, but there were just as many tweets about the incredible talent of Abby Wambach, who was nearly the hero once again, scoring a go-ahead goal in extra time that would have been the game-winner, had the Japanese team not scored in the 117th minute, shortly before the game was supposedly going to end (who could tell?).

The other thing that made watching this match an enjoyable experience, despite the loss, was the fact that if someone had to beat the U.S., I was glad it was Japan. The Japanese people have had quite a rough time of it this year, and it is pretty great that they will get to celebrate this victory and the sense of unity that will no doubt accompany it. Just as the people of New Orleans were buoyed by the Saints’ Super Bowl victory after Hurricane Katrina, the people of Japan will hopefully take something positive from their team’s huge win.

Good sports, continued:

2) Although he finished at 6-over par, 11 shots behind winner Darren Clarke, ageless wonder Tom Watson made big news at the British Open on Friday, as he managed a hole-in-one on the sixth hole.

3) Also on Friday, South African golfer Charl Schwartzel had quite an eventful 14th hole, as did a fan who was watching him. As Schwartzel’s tee shot headed toward some deep rough, it came in contact with the fan’s noggin, which redirected it back into a bunker that was far more playable than the ball’s original destination would have been. He managed a par on the hole.

4) It was All-Star week for Major League Baseball. The game was Tuesday, and it was preceded on Monday by various festivities, including the annual Home Run Derby. I find the derby pretty unwatchable anymore, honestly, and I am pretty sure I never again need to hear Chris Berman’s “back back back back” homerun call. The night did provide a good story, though. Robinson Cano, the second baseman for the New York Yankees, won the event with a record-breaking final round. Even better, the person pitching to him was his father, a former major leaguer for an extremely brief time back in the late eighties.

Bad sports:

1) Former Philadelphia Eagles running back Reno Mahe was arrested this week and charged with stealing gasoline from a construction company in Utah over the last few years, along with four other men.

2) The Cincinnati Bengals, often considered the worst franchise in the NFL, are having a less-than-banner offseason. Just this week, safety Marvin White and running back Cedric Benson were arrested in separate incidents. White was charged with simple assault and disturbing the peace after an incident at his child’s day care, and Benson was also charged with assault. Benson still has a pending legal issue involving a previous arrest after a bar fight.

3) Every player on the team that wins hockey’s Stanley Cup Championship gets to spend a day with the Cup, doing whatever he pleases with it. Nathan Horton, a forward for the Boston Bruins, was supposed to have his day on Sunday, as his hometown of Dunnville, Ontario, was planning to hold a parade for the player. There was only one problem: somebody lost the Cup. For a while, anyway, as it was eventually found and made its way to Dunnville.

Bad sports, good sports appears every Monday

Alan Spoll is a software quality assurance director from the suburbs of Philadelphia where he lives with his wonderful wife and children. He has spent his entire life as a passionate fan of the Eagles, Phillies, Sixers, Flyers, and Penn State. Recent Phillies success aside, you will understand his natural negativity. Follow me on Twitter - @DocAlan02
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