Cumberland Times-News

Columns

July 11, 2014

What have we learned this past month?

— Some serious soccer withdrawal is on the horizon for disciples of the Beautiful Game as the month of mania concludes Sunday with the World Cup final. Germany and Argentina, I believe?

How’s that for timing? Just as the World Cup frenzy comes to a close, so, too, does the traditional first half of the baseball season, with the All-Star break beginning Monday to set up the All-Star Game on Tuesday and then Wednesday, the deadest, most boring day of the sports year when absolutely nothing takes place. (Or is it when absolutely nil takes place?)

Coincidence? I think not. I believe it’s all part of a carefully designed plot by the soccer zealots to trick non-soccer dopes such as myself into believing we will miss all that we witnessed, or at least mindlessly sat through, over the past month.

(Speaking of sitting mindlessly through something, here is your annual Home Run Derby warning: If Chris Berman is making the call on ESPN’s Monday night coverage of the so-called event, either turn down the sound or turn away. Personally, I would rather have a tarantula lay eggs in my ears than subject them to so much as one “BACK, BACK, BACK, BACK!!!!” But you have been warned.)

Did I watch the World Cup? I’m as patriotic as the next guy. I know all the words to “Over There”. So, yes, I watched the United States’ games (or is it matches?) and I rooted for our country, which, in part, was represented by one Norwegian and three German players, and a German head coach who agreed to an armistice before the first ball was kicked in beauty.

Is that what the NSA is doing over there, recruiting soccer players? Hey, every little bit helps. J. Robert Oppenheimer’s pops, after all, was from Germany, and that ended up coming in handy. But no, other than the U.S. games, I didn’t watch too much of it despite the subliminal tactics attempted by my friend Dave.

Did I learn anything? Not that I really tried to, but no, I learned nothing. But then I have a pretty good track record of that anyway. What I did take out of it was our team went 1-2-1 and concluded Cup play with three straight non-winning decisions and now we’re supposed to put these guys up there with the Miracle on Ice guys, who, oh, by the way, won their tournament?

I understand it’s all part of The Movement. I understand that in soccer, as in life, it is of the utmost importance to distance oneself as far as possible from the Group of Death. And I understand what a great accomplishment it was for U.S. soccer to reach the round of 16. But we lost two out of the last three and didn’t win any of them. It’s just not in the DNA of old guys like me (double-nickels, baby!) to feel giddy about that.

Nonetheless, when in Rome ... So if everybody who actually knows anything about soccer is happy with the U.S. team’s World Cup showing, then who am I to be unhappy? About that, anyway.

Meanwhile, America Held Hostage by LeBron, Part II seems to be drawing to a close, so there’s really no point in discussing that since The Decision II could come at any moment. (It hadn’t come at the time of this writing.) Personally, I’d like to see him go back to Cleveland, and I’d like to see Chris Bosh go to Houston. Why? Because Cleveland deserves a break. Plus, I’m still a little touchy about Pat Riley’s days of coaching the Lakers. By the way, has anybody seen the Lakers lately? Wait a minute, nobody’s seen the Celtics either, so I’ll just shut up.

I will say all of this LeBron, Bosh and Carmelo stuff has made for a fascinating NBA offseason. Even folks who have no use for the NBA have lent a curious eye. But until LeBron announces, all we know is he will be in Brazil for the World Cup final. That’s it. That’s what we know.

It was believed he would make The Decision II before he leaves for Brazil, but who ever knows with this jasper? Maybe ABC will ask him to make the announcement Sunday on center spot of the pitch during the interval.

That’s in the middle of the field during halftime for those of you who know nothing about soccer.

Mike Burke is sports editor of the Cumberland Times-News. Write to him at mburke@times-news.com

1
Text Only
Columns
  • Sleep under the stars! Be a game warden!

    July 27, 2014

  • He was here long before Duck Dynasty

    July 27, 2014

  • Very first memories of a very long life

    July 27, 2014

  • FSU Planetarium has new outreach program

    Several years ago, the FSU planetarium acquired an iPad. Months later, we purchased an iPad projector with necessary cables. I purchased a number of astronomical apps this year for the iPad. So I’m interested in visiting schools in this county to teach the stars and planets to classes. The astronomical apps allow you to survey the current evening night sky and show the planets, bright stars and star groups. One of the apps shows the planets close up with wonderful surface detail (as if you were cruising by in a spaceship). The apps I’ll be using can be purchased from the iTunes app store for a few dollars.

    July 27, 2014

  • O’s, Pirates will be buyers, but when?

    Not that we should expect any blockbuster deals to go down as Thursday’s non-waiver trade deadline approaches, but the names you hear in Baltimore are catcher Kurt Suzuki and starting pitchers Ian Kennedy, A.J. Burnett and Jorge De La Rosa.

    July 27, 2014

  • Expectations too high for a rehabbing Woods

    July 27, 2014

  • Peanuts and Cracker Jack beat any foam finger

    Times have changed, and for the better, as this week marks the third year in a row NFL training camps have opened and have not taken center stage in the cities of Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Washington. That, of course, is due to the play of the three baseball teams that inhabit said cities, the Orioles, the Pirates and the Nationals — two of whom hold first place in their respective divisions, with the other one entering play on Wednesday just 2 1/2 games out of first.

    July 23, 2014

  • Big loophole Big loophole

    How ironic — and how sad — that the Potomac Highlands Airport Authority plans a closed executive session to discuss the open meetings law.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • Don’t do it. Don’t do it

    Temperatures have been moderate recently but are projected to rise to the upper 80s and low 90s later this week, so we want to remind you: Never leave children unattended in a vehicle.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • He means well, and this time they spared his life

    Our pal Phil is the only re-enactor certified in writing by both the Lee and Custis families to portray Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee (whose wife was Mary Anna Custis Lee). When he’s in uniform, he generally stops at the bottom of the path that leads to the summit of Little Round Top, salutes Capt. Gary and First Sgt. Goldy and asks permission to join us. (Get it? Generally ... General Lee?) We always return his salute and grant him permission, in part because he’s our friend and also because the real Lee never got to see what it really looks like from up there. (Get it? Grant ... Grant? U.S. Grant? Real Lee ... really? OK. I hear you. That’s enough. Seriouslee.) Phil gets a kick out of being able to sneak up on us while we’re distracted by tourists.

    July 20, 2014