Welcome again to Sports News from Nowhere — so named because I am located nowhere near any of these sports going on. Such as Belmont Park, New York, where American Pharoah had his date with destiny on Saturday afternoon and ended 37 years of misery for the race fans there.
They showed scenes of the stands after Pharoah crossed the finish line first, and it was just jubilation there after he won the Triple Crown. The fans were way happier than the horse seemed to be.
This begs the obvious question “will this boost interest in horse racing,” given all the gloom and doom about the state of the sport’s popularity in North America. Honestly, I don’t know, it will take plenty of work to reverse the years of decline. I will say this — American Pharoah surely did more for horse racing this weekend than Mayweather and Pacquiao did for boxing with their ridiculous fight. If American Pharoah can’t boost horse racing’s popularity with the mainstream public after this epic performance, nothing can.
As for sports that are popular among the fans, Cleveland and Golden State continue to do battle in the NBA finals, and despite Kyrie Irving being out for the series with his bust knee, the Cavaliers managed to win game two in OT thanks to another epic performance by LeBron James, a triple-double. After game one I was all ready to write off Cleveland, but if there is one thing that is the Warriors’ Achilles heel so far in this series it has been their inability to stop LeBron. 44 points in game one and 39 last night. If this keeps up, the hapless city of Cleveland might actually celebrate a championship after all.
Finally, the Women’s World Cup of Soccer is well under way here in Canada and it’s great to see what are usually CFL stadiums actually filled with fans, for a change. I saw the scene at that first game between Canada-China in Edmonton, and the stadium and the city looked great on TV. Totally world-class.
But the locale didn’t please everyone. The big controversy prior to game one was that ridiculous article in the Globe and Mail by Cathal Kelly complaining about how the opening game of the Cup should have been in Toronto, because Toronto’s the most important city in Canada and so on. Well, the folks in Edmonton and the rest of Canada were insulted, and they should be, because there is far more to Canada than Toronto.
But face it, folks, the real reason you’re getting this Toronto-centric column from Kelly is because Toronto is beside themselves that they aren’t hosting any games at all! Because Toronto is hosting the Pan Am Games, they have to skip out on the Cup. This must drive Torontonians crazy. Every summer when a World Cup is held, people in Toronto absolutely get into it and go to their favourite watering holes to cheer on their favourite countries. The locals there practically consider it their tournament. So to finally have a FIFA World Cup event in Canada, with Toronto on the outside with no games at all, is surely a jolt to the system. Fans there must be reeling.
Then again, we don’t have any World Cup games in Saskatchewan, either. But our reaction is different. It’s more an indignant “I don’t care and it’s FIFA’s loss, and when is CFL season starting again?”
The answer to that last question is: tonight! Pre-season game is on between Hamilton and Ottawa! Woo hoo! And that is it for now.