Twining’s Take on the week in sports: World Cup, Wimbledon, NBA Lockout
It has been an exciting week in the sports world. The 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup commenced, Wimbledon completed its two-week championships with two first-time winners and the NBA joined the NFL as the second professional league to stop work this year because of a labor dispute. I welcome you to read along as I take a look back at some of the big sporting news and events from the previous week.
As we all prepare to celebrate our most patriotic holiday, the Fourth of July, I thought it would be fitting to begin this installment of Twining’s Take on the Week in Sports with a discussion of the most patriotic event currently taking place: the FIFA World Cup.
2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup
Fresh off a disappointing outcome from our men’s national team in the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup, I was more than ready to sit down and watch the only U.S. national soccer team I’ve ever seen succeed on the national scale – the women. Back in 1999, Brandi Chastain scored the most famous goal in U.S. soccer history to help the United States knock off China in a shoot-out. No doubt most of you have seen the clip, but if you haven’t you can still find it all over YouTube.
This year, the women opened with a relatively-easy 2-0 victory over North Korea on Tuesday, which featured goals from Lauren Chesney and Rachel Buehler. Yesterday, the U.S. cruised to a 3-0 victory over Colombia, featuring goals from Heather O’Reilly, Megan Rapinoe and Carli lloyd, and have quickly jumped to the top of the Group C standings with six points. This sets up a crucial match Wednesday against Sweden, who have also knocked off North Korea and Columbia.
I’ll admit I haven’t followed women’s soccer much since 1999, but I am looking forward to this pending match against Sweden because winning is a welcome respite from the embarrassment put forth by the men’s team recently. I implore you to take 90 minutes out of your day next Wednesday to tune in to what is going to be the best match in the 2011 World Cup thus far, mark my words.
NBA and NFL Lockouts
The San Diego County Credit Union has a good ad campaign right now where people in need of banking help go into a big bank hoping to either set up a new account or make a deposit. On the other side of the counter or desk, the bank employees, who all appear to be acting a little weird, can only say one word. The commercial goes something like this:
Woman: “Hi, I’d like help making a depost.”
Banker: “Money. Money, money.”
Woman: “Um, can I speak to your manager.”
Manager: “Money money money. Money?
With the NBA owners and the NBA Players Association unable to agree on a new collective bargaining agreement Thursday, they became the second professional sports league to lockout its players because of a labor dispute. The NFL is in the fourth month of its work stoppage, and just when everything looked like they would resolve their dispute, it was reported that talks had stalled, and possibly even regressed.
It’s no surprise to anyone that our economy is struggling. Therefore when I think of these two lockouts, I imagine the owners sound lot like those bankers in the SDCCU commercials; they can only think about money.
It’s often difficult in negotiations to come to a compromise as neither side wants the other side to get the better end of the deal. But, in both the NBA and NFL lockouts this isn’t necessarily an issue of the owners and players unable to compromise; it’s more about the owners unwilling to give up a significant chunk of revenue.
While I do see the NFL coming to an agreement within the next couple months and salvaging the 2011-2012 season, I can’t say the same thing about the NBA. It is disappointing to think that the owners and players are so far off in what each side wants that they would sacrifice all the momentum generated by the exciting just-completed 2011 playoffs.
The 2011 Championships Wimbledon came to a close Saturday as Novak Djokovic beat Rafael Nadal 6-4, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 to win his first Wimbledon title; the same week he ascended to the top of the World Tennis rankings. Since February 2004, that’s 383 weeks if you can’t do the quick math, Nadal and Roger Federer have ruled the tennis world. With Djokovic’s victory over Nadal, he solidified himself as the number one player in the world, having only lost one match all year.
“I can’t find words to describe the feeling that I have right now,” Djokovic said following the match. “I managed to achieve a lifetime goal and I managed to make my dream come true, all in three days’ time.”
Similar to Tiger Woods’ fall from grace in professional golf, which included a descent from number one in the world to number 14, the decline of Federer and the success of Djokovic can only help improve the product of men’s tennis. Just as Tiger Woods had built himself into a seemingly-unbeatable power in golf, so had Federer and Nadal in tennis. Finally, someone other than these two was able to take over the world number one ranking. I can’t wait to see what happens next month at Flushing Meadows in the U.S. Open, the final major of the year.
On the ladies side on Saturday, Petra Kvikova also won her first Wimbledon title, in her first finals appearance, by beating favorite Maria Sharapova in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4. As you might remember, Sharapova struggled with her serve throughout her semifinal match, committing 13 double faults. The same occurred during the final as Sharapova committed another nine double-faults. Fittingly, Kvitova finished off Sharapova with an untouchable ace down the middle of the court.
Photo courtesy of Europa Press on Flickr and videos courtesy of ESPNFrontRow and SanDiegoCountyCU on YouTube.