Wednesday, June 18, 2008


The sites I read have already hashed and rehashed Kevin Garnett's exorcism/bloodletting/"interview" after the C's secured the title last night. FreeDarko as usual seems on track here. I'll admit that it was strange, but I think it really did encapsulate who and what KG is. His extended riff on "beating up the bully" was excellent as well. I spent the evening bellowing "Top of the World, Ma!" - mainly because that was about the only thing that KG said that I understood.

And rather humorously, today people at work were talking about that interview but complaining that they couldn't understand what he was saying - in some ways implying that he was stupid/a lower life form. I decided against chiming in with my explanation of how Garnett is extremely well-spoken and that simply at that time being understood wasn't that important to him. He had a lot of weight on him - expectations of others, expectations of himself - that he felt coming off. And trying to explain that cogently in anything other than guttural screams probably wasn't going to work. I am of the view that whatever it was that he was saying was heartfelt and not about the millions of people watching. It was about what he was feeling, about what the title meant to him, about the road he had traveled to get there. And while the joke today is that he is certifiable rather than certified, it made sense for him to say he was certified. He knew how he would be judged - many people already had done so - and he knew he needed this title. If Michelle Tafoya wanted someone to make sense, she should have interviewed Ray Allen. Garnett is little more than intensity painted on a heart sewn on a sleeve. And when such a creature achieves something this great, the only response is: AAAUUGHHHH!!!!!!!! Top of the world!

Later, while speaking to the interview, Garnett made the simplest and yet most correct summation of this Celtics team: "We said all along, we're a defensive team that can score the ball." That may not sound, for lack of a better word, sexy, but that is how teams win titles. All season, the Celtics defended better than any other team and often they were the best at scoring as well. They definitely deserve the title.

I know I picked the Lakers to win. I was wrong and glad to be so. I blame the Spurs for my failed prediction. I thought the Spurs were good, but they got waxed by the Lakers. Since I believed the Spurs to be good this meant the Lakers had to be very good. Thus, by the transitive property of basketball, the Lakers should beat the Celtics. Apparently, the Spurs were not good, but the Celtics definitely are.


Sunday, June 8, 2008

Working for the Weekend

I'm heading back to Yuma today after a weekend in Tucson with Kat. We had a good time, I got to play some basketball and also do some laundry.

I got up at 6 a.m. today, so I could take in Federer-Nadal from the French Open, but it wasn't much of a match. It was still good tennis here and there, but Nadal is just way, way, way, way better than anyone else on clay. It's kind of ridiculous. Nadal seems much closer to winning Wimbledon than Federer is to winning the French. As long as Nadal stays healthy and focused, I really don't see Federer ever winning the French, which will probably hurt his resume as the greatest tennis player ever.

However, I don't necessarily think that it should. Grass and hard courts are so much different than playing on clay that maybe Federer should not be penalized to such a degree. The other factor is that he just happened to be playing at the same time as Nadal, who likely will go down as the greatest clay court player to ever live.

Since clay is such a small percentage of the tennis season, it seems that Federer's inability to beat Nadal should not immediately disqualify him from GOAT status. It reminds me of the Mitch Hedberg bit about how as soon as he got good at standup comedy, people were always asking him if he could act in a sitcom. "That's like asking a cook: can you farm?" Clay and grass/hard courts are a little bit closer than that, but nonetheless it seems that Federer is being asked to be the greatest tennis player ever on every surface - which he is, except for clay, where he is among many that rank behind the emerging greatest ever on that surface. Today, Federer, who looks like the Michael Jordan of basketball on grass, looked like the Michael Jordan of baseball on clay.

Kat thought it was pretty sad to see Federer getting destroyed like that, and I agreed it was. But I found it inspiring that he wouldn't give up and vowed to work even harder for next year. Lots of people - even many professional athletes - would rather quit than be humbled like that by someone who was five years younger. Their egos couldn't take it, but I liked how Federer hung in there until the end and didn't shy away from talking about the beating. I'm sure it wasn't easy, but most important things aren't. He'll just have to get back to work and bring his A game for Wimbledon because it looks like a lock that Nadal will bring his.

I enjoyed Federer's humility and his attitude. I did not enjoy the humility and attitude of one Rick Dutrow, trainer of Big Brown. Considering I don't pay attention to horse racing and had never heard of Dutrow before the other day, it is an achievement for him to get mentioned in the Boom. Here is his quote on May 29 about Big Brown winning the Triple Crown in the Belmont:

"I feel like it's actually a foregone conclusion. To me, I just see the horses he's in with and I see our horse so I expect him to win this race. ... I know that when that day actually does come, and if our horse is in good shape, it will be the most exciting, thrilling moment of my life. So I just ... I know that that's coming, but right now I'm just staying involved with our horse and what we think is best to get him there the right way and it keeps us plenty busy."

Belmont final results on June 7: Big Brown finishes last.

It was not a foregone conclusion, Rick, for many reasons. A big one is that you're talking about a freaking horse that may or may not actually know it is even in a race. And yet you are absolutely certain of what this animal is going to do on a certain day. Another is that if something hasn't happened in 30 years, it probably isn't that bright to call its occurrence a foregone conclusion.

A little more humility and a little less hubris in the future would be advisable, Rick.