Hesjedal gives us one of those moments that just gets you
There really isn’t anything like a sport win that comes somewhat out of nowhere in the eyes of the general populace and stirs that patriotic heartstrings, is there?
Yes, Ryder Hesjedal’s win in the Giro d’Italia on Sunday (Cathal’s take on it is here; basic reportage by yours truly here) was one of those moments and even if I hadn’t been part of it on the periphery, it would have been cool.
It would have sent people who have no knowledge whatsoever to their TV screens or computer laptops to find out just how he did what he did, just as, say, non-golf fans went to learn more about Mike Weir that year he won the Masters.
And that’s another great thing about sports; men and women we don’t know doing something we weren’t all that aware of but something that is truly significant and substantial.
Every now and then something happens and we collectively sit back and go, “hey, that’s cool, I didn’t know that guy. Good for him.”
Sure, there are diehard cycling fans out there – we had the Giro on the TV by our sports desk all last week and I learned a fair amount more thanks to a poobah in the photo department who is a huge race fan – and they were able to follow things far more closely and appreciate Hesjedal’s efforts better than you and I.
But we got into it at some point on Sunday – at least I imagine more than a few of us did – and for a very little while it made us feel good.
We were proud of the fact a Canadian did something a Canadian has never done; we were proud of the fact on of us worked so hard for so long for relatively little glory in his home country because we want our athletes to compete for the right reasons.
I’m sure a few of you smiled when you saw his eyes glisten as they played O Canada and he stood in that gaudy pink jersey; a few of you smiled when he started celebrating and they showed he and his family sharing what has to be an incredible moment.
Now, I don’t imagine Hesjedal’s accomplishment – and it truly was something special – will spawn a new generation of devoted cycling fans across this land. He will become a bit more famous, when people see or hear his name in the next few months they’ll say “hey, that’s the guy who won the thing in Italy, isn’t it?”
But for a day or two, Hesjedal made us feel a bit better, he made us a bit proud that he was out there representing our country and doing well.
Another aspect of the beauty of sport.
This is how my mind works and it’s a scary, scary place.
For some reason – I have no clue why – this song got in my head and I can’t get rid of it.
And, no, you cannot get enough Tennessee Ernie Ford on a Monday morning.
How fitting is this?
It’s Bike To Work Day!
No, I’m not; not sure I’m leaving Hazelville today after a rather busy weekend and facing a 7:30 a.m. flight tomorrow and a whole bunch of work this week.
The pucks final start yet?
Doesn’t it seem like forever ago when they figured out who was in it?
This whole Kyle Lowry-Kevin McHale thing that’s been going on in Houston over the weekend (Jon Feigen’s got the dope here) may end up being little more than a tempest in a teapot.
And I don’t know what anyone out there really thinks of Lowry as a guy but I do know he comes with a huge recommendation from one guy I know who is, and always has been, a pretty good judge of character and talent.
Al and Lowry are boys, they are Villanova cats who have hung out for years, Al has worked as some kind of summer mentor to Lowry the past few years and when Williams tells me the kid is a tough-minded, first-rate guy, I believe him.
Now, it wouldn’t surprise at all if, after this first little public brouhaha blows over a bit, that the Rockets don’t explore trade options for Lowry.
And, yes, there will be maybe a couple of dozen teams that will call the Rockets but I promise you that Alvin will be in Bryan’s office urging him to see what he can do.
Now that’s what basketball looks like.
Hope many of you got to see a bit of Spurs-Thunder on Sunday night because after the relative slop we’ve been subjected to here in the East, it was a pleasure to see a game played at what looked like warp speed.
It wasn’t the greatest of games – too many turnovers – but it did have all the things we want: various runs by each team, a game not decided until the final couple of minutes and at a tempo that at times made the head spin.
I will say this: If Manu Ginobili can play like he did, and if James Harden plays like he did, this one might not last seven and not be nearly as great as we hope.
I don’t think that’s going happen – and I really hope it doesn’t – because this series could salvage what really has been a ho-hum post-season.
Draft lottery Wednesday? Everyone pumped?
So the Shawinigans win the Memorial Cup, I see.
Now, I know why they do a four-team tournament in a site selected a year earlier; it’s good for cross-country interest and TV and whatnot and it’s always nice when the host team doesn’t embarrassed itself but …
How many of you Irregulars remember the days of “8-point” finals, where it was team-against-team in a best-of-seven series that didn’t have overtime games (so it could conceivably go eight or even nine or 10 games) and it was played all in one city.
I can remember lying around the house late at night with the transistor radio listening to Paul and Hap Emms lead the Niagara Falls Flyers against, I believe, the Estevan Bruins one year and being amazed at the enthusiasm of the play-by-play guy on old CJRN Niagara.
Maybe you Buffalo Sabres fans have heard of him.
And thus endeth today’s trip down memory lane.