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Friday, Aug. 26, 2016

What spoiled fans we are

Posted Sunday, July 6, 2008, at 9:47 PM

I spent the better part of Sunday afternoon watching the men's Wimbledon singles final. My lord, what time well spent. (Unless you ask my wife.)

I'm not a tennis fan, and I don't even consider myself a casual tennis fan in these lean days. (Beyond the duo involved in Sunday's final, men's tennis is a joke. And please don't talk to be about Andy Roddick because that ship has sailed.)

However, the rivalry between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal is becoming one of the best individual rivalries in sports these days. Basketball doesn't have a Larry/Magic dynamic. Tiger has no rival in golf. Boxing has become a joke in general.

But provided Federer is not in decline (at 26, he could be in tennis), this could be the most compelling one-on-one rivalry sports fans have to watch for the next several years.

As someone who isn't a tennis guy, I have no place putting a number on this, but Sunday had to be one of the top five Grand Slam finals of all time. I'm just glad I decided to tune in.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised, though. If you look back on 2008 so far, you find some sweet goings on in major sports.

It all started in early February with the Super Bowl. Not only did we get to see the big, evil, 18-0 Pats knocked off, but we got to see the best fourth quarter in Super Bowl history.

I am a football guy and I am saying that with confidence.

Then came my favorite event of the year with the NCAA tournament. While I was deeply disappointed in all four No. 1 seeds making the Final Four, it made for a very competitive final weekend.

And what of the final game? Had any of us ever seen a team come from down nine with 2:12 to go in the championship game? Kansas gave us a comeback and overtime for the ages.

There was also the U.S. Open (the golf one). Who knew at the time that the mighty Tiger was limping around with injuries most of us wouldn't leave the house with? Even if he'd been only mildly injured, the tournament he and Rocco Mediate gave us was a truly memorable one.

The NBA finals ended up a bit anticlimactic, but at least it was the Celtics and Lakers. Did anyone else feel like it was 1986?

I guess what I'm trying to say is that 2008 has thus far been an awesome year for sports fans. I'm not sure if that means the rest of the year will be great or completely awful. The optimist in me is betting on the former, though.

I like to get down on the Olympics sometimes, but it should be pretty sweet. (Provided that Beijing's smog doesn't win every event.) Look for Michael Phelps to break the Mark Spitz record of seven gold medals. Spitz himself thinks it will happen, so who are any of us to argue?

Then we can look forward to a good World Series. Neither of my teams will make it, so I'm just looking for a seven-game affair between any two teams not from the Northeast. (Sorry Yanks and Sawx fans.)

Then we can top it off with a sweet football regular season in both the NFL and college, and the sports fan in me will be satisfied.


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I'll juat say one thing. You don't have to be rivals to be competitive. I love my friends to death but when it comes to football, hold em', beerpong, or whatever we might be playing.....I'm gonna try to go for the gold.

-- Posted by joey_cope on Sat, Jul 12, 2008, at 5:57 PM

You may not consider this a sport just yet BUT last night SAT I mean a rivalry may have started. Quinton RAMPAGE Jackson and Forrest Griffin in Mixed Martial Arts. These guys are fierce rivals but they do not hate each other.

-- Posted by jaredscousin on Sun, Jul 6, 2008, at 11:14 PM
Jared Jernagan's response:
I'd certainly call it a sport. And it's getting more mainstream all the time.

Actually, MMA is one of the contributing factors to boxing's decline. (Although the general crap that the sport has produced over the last 15 years hasn't helped, either.)

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Jared Jernagan
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Jared Jernagan is a 2003 graduate of Wabash College and has been in journalism since 2005.
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