The UEFA Champions League resumes play in the knockout stage today as Italian giant Inter Milan travel to Germany to take on perennial world power Bayern Munich. The other match features world renowned Manchester United from England hosting top level French squad Marseille. The start time for both contests is 3:45 p.m. EST.
Before last weekend’s daylight saving time clock switch trick, Champions League games regularly began at 2:45 p.m. EST. The Beautiful Game reminds us why it is so. The soccer, I mean futbol, gods are not concerned with mere human perspective, but with a more natural, spiritual representation of the order of things. Time, as we know it, is irrelevant. The position of the sun is what matters here. That is beautiful, we agree.
The beautiful game seems to be quite prevalent lately. At least that is what occurred last night for the Miami Heat as they extracted a bit of revenge on the San Antonio Spurs, topping the league-leaders by 30 ten days after these same Spurs laid a 30-point smack down against the Heat in Texas.
Coach Erik Spoelstra should frame the box score from last night’s victory. If the Heat need to be reminded of what type of effort it takes to win when it counts, this game is the true measuring stick. Chris Bosh playing big down low. Dwyane Wade and LeBron James streaking up and down the court while Wade takes on more of the scoring load and James acting as more of a facilitator, albeit a facilitator who can create easy scores for himself as well. The entire team committing to the defensive side of the ball. Everyone contributing in some fashion.
The Heat have another opportunity to record a statement when red hot Oklahoma City visit American Airlines Arena Wednesday night. Sure, the Lakers are the champs and the Spurs are the class, but the true beasts of the west may be the Thunder. Kendrick Perkins made his debut last night, adding bulk to the athletic yet slim OKC front line, addressing the main issue that faced this team in last year’s playoffs.
The Thunder have flown under the radar most of this season, despite offering the league’s leading scorer in tandem with one of the most electric of the new breed of NBA point guards. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook form one of the most formidable duos the league boasts. The complimentary pieces fit nicely as each player knows his role. Perkins and Serge Ibaka hold the fort in the trenches as Thabo Sefolosha provides a defensive presence on the perimeter. James Harden comes off the bench and is expected to contribute on the offensive end, adding to the already potent scoring abilities of the two stars. Nazr Mohammed and Eric Maynor providing stability and depth during the long haul that is a 48-minute NBA adventure.
While the Heat have plenty of obstacles to deal with in their own territory, they will be well-served by recording a documented statement, or documenting a recorded statement, or just stating their case to the Thunder, a team they should expect to see in about three months, by sweeping the regular-season series.
The NFL is a true joke. There is a pattern here that the elitist, better than thou, owners AND players need to recognize. Baseball used to be our country’s preferred sport. While there are several factors over a long period of time that have allowed the NFL to overcome MLB and the NBA as America’s favorite pastime, baseball’s strike in 1994 due to labor agreement disagreements is the single event that led this author to slowly remove himself from what was probably his favorite sport growing up.
It did not help that the Florida Marlins twice blew up their World Series winning squads, furthering my discontent with everything diamond.
However, it was beyond me how there was not going to be a fall classic that year. How could that be? There is always a postseason in baseball. How could anything stand in the way of what was considered a staple of American life, a highly-anticipated yearly event that seemed to usurp everyone’s attention and passion for as long as is was necessary to determine a champion, or at least until a game 7? What do you mean there’s no more apple pie?
Of course, I was a youngster. The business side of sports was as foreign to me then as it is to me now. Sure, I understand more now than back then. Sports is a business, as is everything in this world. But I do not care, nor should we as fans, how much money is made or divided among these selfish bmillionaires. I have a favorite sports bar in town, but I have about as much interest in their day to day business dealings as I have an interest in what color undergarments the chef is currently sporting.
There are several factors that lead to a loyal customer severing ties with his or her favorite vendor. Supermarket A is right down the street, always reliable, and easy on the wallet. One day, unfortunately, while waiting patiently to order my favorite steak and cheese hero sub job, a baby rat snuck its way from the air conditioning vent past the ice chest and through a well-concealed hole in the ground corner. I go to supermarket B now.
This rat most assuredly had been in supermarket A during my entire relationship with them, but I never saw it. When I did, I took my talents to another supermarket, one that may be a bit further down the road, but still offers edible foods for honest dollars.
I hope professional football irons out the kinks sooner than later, but if they do not, they risk losing their legions of followers to the more powerful than ever, at least since Michael Jordan graced us with his basketball presence, NBA or, dare I say, world football, also known as futbol, or soccer.
No, not the current population, but the younger generation who may wonder, how could there be no football, no Super Bowl? Does this mean I’m not going to have a birthday this year either? I don’t understand.
Wait, what’s that? The Champions League?
That looks cool.