BY EMILY BERMAN AND LISA AWAITEY
Welcome to the first Around the Gorge of the semester. They called, so we answered … not that we were desperately waiting by the phone or anything. This issue, we’ll be discussing a very, very small selection of all the mildly sporty things that happened this summer. Players were traded; hopes were dashed; butts were plopped in front of TVs to watch other people run around in the sun. We even know specific things that happened to specific people: Jeter’s final season is less “home run” and more “foul ball that hit a child in the face;” Spain fell slightly short of expectations on soccer’s biggest stage; Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer played a very, very, very long tennis match somewhere in England.
E.B.: I’m Emily Berman, or so my birth certificate tells me.
L.A.: And I’m Lisa Awaitey, an aspiring Beyoncé impersonator.
This Summer In: Basketball Too Hot for the Heat
E.B.: In a move familiar to recent graduates everywhere, LeBron James fairly skipped out of his hometown, had four of what might be the greatest years of his life and then returned home to the place it seemed he had only just escaped. In this case, though, LeBron returned by choice, not by the money-saving convenience of living with your parents as you navigate a quarter-life crisis in which you decide that maybe being an improv teacher is what you were really meant to be (to hell with that pre-med chemistry degree).
L.A.: I was team LeBron for about four to five minutes during the summer and then we found out Kevin Love would also be making his way to Cleveland … Why anyone would WANT to be in Cleveland for any portion of time is a mystery to me, but whatever. A lot of sports analysts saw this move coming for LeBron, it was just a matter of when he would be finally returning, forcing Cleveland fans to sew back together their burnt jerseys and throw away their LeBron voodoo dolls. Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.
E.B.: At least Cleveland fans seem to be willing to accept LeBron with open arms … and championship ring-less hands. After The Decision, which was the P.R. equivalent of pointing an Uzi at your own face, pulling the trigger and thinking you’d look prettier with the bullet holes, it is nice to see the calm way both cities have accepted this quieter transition. Possibly because Miami continues to be too distracted or drunk to truly care–if Canadians turned a city upside down over a Stanley Cup Finals loss, you’d think an NBA Finals loss plus the loss of James would cause steroid-utopia Miami to at least knock over a few dumpsters or something.
L.A.: This has been an all-around struggle-filled year for the Heat. I mean, they made it to the finals, only to be crushed by the Spurs and the demigod that is Kawhi Leonard. They lost the best player in basketball as a free agent and Dwyane Wade looks about as athletic as the freshmen during their inaugural walk up the slope after their first Saturday night in collegetown. Steps on soap box. But this proves what’s wrong with basketball coverage in the media. Why is everyone talking about the Heat and Cavs instead of pointing out the flawless basketball played during the NBA finals by the Spurs?
This Summer in: The World Cup, or: Americans Watched Soccer, By Choice, For Fun
L.A.: The World Cup was absolutely pitiful to watch. Spain was a mess right from the start, the United States had a delusional sense of accomplishment, and Luis Suarez was let off his leash. The ending was predictable.
E.B.: Disagree. So much disagree. I played competitive soccer from the tender age of five through the precociously jaded age of 17 — during my senior year of high school I was the president and co-founder of the “S*** Squad” a selective group within our varsity team made up of the long-term benchwarmers — but I have never, and I mean never, been able to enjoy watching soccer. And I loved every second of the World Cup. From its vaguely cannibalistic elements to a French loss so characteristically French all that’s missing is a scooter and a beret having a ménage à trois with the Arc de Triomphe, I was hooked.
L.A.: Are you serious? The last World Cup was a much better display of skill and entertainment. All we got this year was controversy off the field and mediocrity on it. Every once in a while we’d have an incredible goal, but that was it. Isolated moments. AND if I have to hear one more person cheer about America beating Ghana or only losing to Germany by one after Brazil’s embarrassing 7-1 loss, I’m going to lose it. It’s okay to admit it, the US got lucky on more than one occasion.
E.B.: It was the luck that made it entertaining.
L.A.: There’s that delusional sense of accomplishment, nicely coupled with a more than healthy serving of pride.
This Summer In: Golf Finds a New Messiah, Until It Finds Another One
E.B.: On a dark, dark, really ridiculously dark, I mean how-were-they-playing-golf-it-looked-like-a-black-cat-had-a-baby-with-some-onyx night, Rory McIlroy neatly tapped in a par to take home the PGA Championship, his third straight victory overall win, second straight major win and leaving him with only the Masters left to complete his set of majors. And, just like spring will turn into summer or Kanye West will give an incoherent interview, golf and its unnecessary savior complex anointed the 25-year-old Northern Irishman the new Best Player Everrrrrr. And that’s all from golf.
L.A.: I watched zero golf this summer, as it should be.
This Summer In: Some Other Things That Happened
The Red Sox decided that last place in the division is where all the cool kids sit; the world began to teach Johnny Manziel that maybe he isn’t God’s gift to football; the NFL continues to have some downright hilarious views on domestic violence and assault; New Yorkers added yet another thing to complain about as the Kings practically waltzed by the Rangers; NASCAR existed. In short: some people won, some people lost and some people fell asleep in front of their TVs and woke up without knowing who won, who lost or what sport they had even been watching in the first place.
Email all concerns, comments and fan letters to Scootz Chiu$ano at [email protected]