Missed Half the Sports Action

Triple Crown What?

Yesterday was kicked off by the UEFA Champion’s League showdown between Bayern Munich and Chelsea. On paper, in the press, and just about every place on the planet said, Bayern was the better team. I had even lamented the downfall of English football (soccer) in an earlier post. To follow the UEFA match was the Sprint All-Star commercial fest on Speed Channel. By the time the match was over, it was nap time. So, that was my afternoon-evening.

Do we really need to recap the UEFA fiasco? Bayern, the better team on paper and pitch did everything right, but, win the trophy. You might think it was a masterful coaching job and a gutty performance by the English side. Having seen hundreds of matches amateur and professional, I can say, it wasn’t anything more than one of those days in which the better team did everything right but win. Yes, it happens, even the champ gets knocked down once in a while. The winner was Roman Abramovich. He managed to keep a few more Rubles in his bank account by Chelsea winning the match and qualifying for next year’s Champion’s League.

Dateline– Boring

Nascar’s All Star Race may have lined up the big names for a “short track Saturday Nite,” but, the racing card was stacked. The new format meant heat winner’s could coast around for the next heats get tires and gas, and line up 1-2-3 for the final. With new tires and a car full of more trick parts than hooker’s arsenal Hendrick’s #48 left the field wondering why they even bothered to line up for the final 10 laps. Boring. Need I repeat it? Yes, I will, the final 10 laps were boring.

Did the guys behind Johnson work real hard to be competitive? Yes? Were they? Against each other, they were exciting. After the first heat, there was good hard racing. And, no wrecks. Which meant it was about the best cars showing what they had for 20 laps. Bravo on the heats between #1 and #5.

Somewhere in there I missed the pole qualifying for the Indy 500. Oh, well. That should say something about the state of what was once the premier racing division in the U.S. (USAC). All the great names in U.S. racing were there in the heyday of USAC. And, the racing was good week in and week out. My one and only USAC race was at Pocono. Exciting.

I followed IRL until they went from a mostly oval circuit to a “wanna-be F1.” USAC was an oval series with a couple of road races. They raced on dirt, long tracks, short tracks, week ends, week nights – all across the U.S. I said my only USAC race was at Pocono, but, I did see a short track stock car race at I-70 Speedway in Odessa, MO. They put on a good show back then.

We can relate the woes of Indy Car (IRL) with those of Nascar, “they ain’t what they used to be.” But, when one considers the money required to compete, they can’t be what they were. Today, they are mobile marketing companies. Without national TV contracts and national sponsorship IRL and Nascar would be out of business. And, because they require so much cash, they can’t be in Odessa, MO on a Wednesday night for a 200 lapper. AND, without those local shows the support base slowly erodes. Both IRL and Nascar’s days are numbered on the national stage.

Pole Day–

Along with missing Indy Pole Day, a horse with no name won round two of the Triple Crown. “I’ll Have Another” beat Bodemeister again. The finish at the Preakness was even more thrilling (by press description) than “The Derby.” One could say, I missed an exciting event. In today’s world, that was probably the second most exciting event of the day. But, in my childhood, it might have Monday morning’s paper or news from a neighbor who heard it on the radio which gave me the winner’s name.

Horse racing is for the wealthy. Following horse racing is for those who have the time and energy to invest following the trade papers and watching countless horse of the racing channels on Direct. Do not get me wrong, I love horses and have ridden many, many horses. None thoroughbred race horses. Horses are magnificent and watching them run is a thing of beauty, even when they are not in an organized race. So, missing the Preakness was shame. Especially since I have DVR.

There was enough excitement in the UEFA Cup to wear me out. And, the heat races were exciting, so why did I really need Pole Day and the Preakness? Does one ever have enough adrenalin?

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