On Sports Shorts 062509

On the U.S. Open
Only hours following the conclusion of our national golf championship, many headlines were about Phil Mickelson’s second-place finish. Yes, he was playing in the shadow of his wife’s recently-announced cancer. Yes, he is a popular figure. Yes, he is a favorite of the Bethpage crowd. But hey – Lucas Glover deservingly won by having the lowest score over the predetermined tournament length. Congratulations Lucas!

On Past Players and Finances
It’s never good to hear bad news about notable people from the past. I’m not fond of the Cleveland Browns by any means, but this story about former quarterback Bernie Kosar filing for bankruptcy isn’t one I expected.

On Civil Rights Baseball Weekend
As I mentioned last week, MLB’s Civil Rights game and festivities were held in Cincinnati. Attending were honorees Hank Aaron, Muhammad Ali, & Bill Cosby; Major league greats Frank Robinson, Tony Perez, and Ernie Banks; as did the first African-American Cincinnati Red Chuck Harmon; Negro League players Charlie Whip Davis, Don Johnson, Tom Turner, and Ron Bunny Warren; as did former player Harold Reynolds, singer BeBe Winnans, Sugar Ray Leonard, CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, and President Bill Clinton; as did the Reds Hall of Fame with their display honoring the Negro Leagues; as did the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (located nearby the stadium) acting as an event host and also having a Negro League exhibit; as did local celebrities, plus I’m sure a few others that I don’t know.

I also discovered that the San Diego Padres honored a group of Negro League players during pregame ceremonies on the same day. Good for the Padres and hopefully other teams would do the same in the future. On the other hand, they had the chance. Seems the Padres front office was the only one to tap into MLB’s promotion. Well done Padres on demonstrating one aspect of the weekend’s intent.

On the Reds
Oh how my Cincinnati Reds are struggling. Oh the pain. Then again, I’m not that surprised. Although they are better than a year ago, there are still gaps to fill.

On Golf’s U.S. Open

My favorite golf tournament starts today at Bethpage – an American classic, the USGA U.S. Open. Take your pick: Father’s Day week, a standard of excellence, a tradition of greatness, the high rough, narrow fairways, tough pin placements, and ultra-slick greens – simply a measure of survival as winning requires strength, skill, stamina, intelligent course management, and exceptional execution.

The U.S. Open is our national championship that gives everyone a chance to earn their way by qualifying, which means a dream come true for a few – something they may never achieve in the future and possibly for only two days.

The U.S. Open is very demanding: a major test of mind, body, and skill. The conditions push the limits of the world’s best players, but within the rules of golf and the same for all. For the players who think it’s too demanding or even unfair, keep it in the fairway or don’t play. For spectators who miss a shootout of birdies, then don’t go or don’t watch.

The U.S. Open is about surviving to glory, but as no golfer wants this brutally on a regular basis. Even though I root for the course to bring the best players in the world to their knees, this is the one week a year I marvel at the skills rising to meet the challenge. So good luck guys and advance cheers to the victor. Well, as long as you’re over par.