Since we love sports and art, not to mention finding ways to make our city better resemble something out of the movie Synecdoche, New York or the brilliant novel Remainder by Tom McCarthy, we were quite pleased overall with the Tie-Break performance as part of Nuit Blanche this year, weren’t we? We had an ongoing shot-for-shot recreation of Bjorn Borg vs John McEnroe, historic fourth-set tie-breaker, Gentlemen’s Final at Wimbledon 1980. (Also excellent are the promo videos the artists made showing the two tennis greats training for the big match.)
Not to be outdone, I’ve been impersonating celebrated recording artist Meat Loaf, gigging as the match entertainment at sporting events all around the globe. Check me out. But be warned, I’m not very good yet. And if time loops of any sort have been distracting you from keeping up with the world of sports, here are the highlights from what you might have missed.
1. Fruits and labour. Game one is for dropping knowledge if you’re running the show for the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays surprised the Texas Rangers in game one of their series on Friday night by starting rookie pitcher Matt Moore. I can’t say they threw the Rangers a curve ball, because the kid’s actually only got a fast ball. And he’s had just one previous start in his career, but was great. And the veteran-heavy Rangers (who love to research opponents) had never even seen him pitch before. The Rays went up in the series 1-0. Then Texas outfielder Josh Hamilton put on a t-shirt for his post-game interviews with a picture of a lemon on it, saying ‘don’t get bitter, get better.’ The Rangers followed the shirt’s advice and came back to win game two of the series, despite the mixed metaphor of Florida being the better climate for citrus fruit than Texas.
2. The spotlight. The Buffalo Bills surrendered their unbeaten status on weekend. The Detroit Lions hung on to theirs. But tonight, all eyes will be on the Indianapolis Colts. Which is unfortunate, really. I’m sure the league thought having the Colts in all of these marquee Monday night games would be great because of the Peyton Manning showcase factor, but without Manning, it’s sort of cruel and unusual to put so much attention on their efforts to win a football game. I’m going to get behind the hapless (read: Manningless) Colts all year.
3. The personalities. The Milwaukee Brewers have the formula, even if they’re boring (see what they did in the 6th inning on Sunday against the Diamondbacks—the most runs they’ve ever scored in a single inning in the post-season save for when they had 6 in the 7th inning of a game in, like, 1984). The Detroit Tigers have the bullpen, even if they’re up against the Yankees. But don’t you miss the band of renegades that was last year’s San Francisco Giants? Maybe the reality TV show did them in. But Doc Halladay is trying to spice things up with some Shakespeare, informing a reporter that he’s come to bury the Cardinals, not to praise them.
4. D-Wade vs D-Stern. Like me, one of the things you’re most frustrated about concerning the potential of missing the upcoming NBA season because of ongoing labor problems is not getting to see the evolution of the Memphis Grizzlies (who shocked the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs in last year’s playoffs). But this game that saw Chris Paul and Kevin Durant lead their team to victory over Lebron James and Carmelo Anthony also provided the first evidence that the best scorer in Memphis, Rudy Gay, is back from injury and ready for basketball to never stop. But also, in a meeting over the weekend between team owners and players, Dwayne Wade apparently shouted down NBA commissioner David Stern, telling him not the point his finger at Wade as if Wade was a disobedient son and commissioner Stern was the ‘this hurts me as much as it hurts you’ father figure. Now that should be up on Youtube.
5. The talk. At your Thanksgiving parties this year, depending on what circles you run in, you might need some talking points at-the-ready about the CFL (Toronto’s terrible, BC has strung together a curiously long win streak), about WNBA finals (Angel McCoughtry may be killing it for the Atlanta Dream, scoring 19 3rd quarter points in game one on Sunday night, but there seems to be no answer for the flawless team execution of the Minnesota Lynx who are now up 1-0 in the series), or American college football (it is all about Wisconsin: Go Badgers). But if you really want to be able to drop enlightened sports-talk on friends and family alike, I think it’s going to be about keeping your eye on this soon-to-be launched site: the classical.
Kyle Buckley is the Toronto Standard Sports Critic.