Thought of the day

I love that Boston* has been the City of Champions for the best 11 years. 2001, 2003, 2004?** Patriots. 2004, 2007? Red Sox. 2008? Celtics. 2011? Bruins.

What makes this all even greater is that many of these series have been spectacular. All of the Patriots victories either came in the final moments of the game (’01, ’03) or it wasn’t sealed until the very end (’04). The Red Sox made their way through an epic comeback against the Yankees in order to get to the World Series and capture their first title in 86 years. The Celtics, insofar as basketball matters, beat the Lakers to get their league-leading championship. And now the Bruins have ended their own lengthy drought (39 years), winning three game 7’s in the process, one of which was against the rival Canadiens (the second greatest rivalry in sports), not to mention the redeeming second-round sweep of the Flyers.

And as if it can’t get better, the Patriots always have a shot, the Bruins are well-positioned to make another run next season, and the Red Sox are the best team in the American League right now. Not only has the best decade+ belonged to Boston, but it looks like the trend might continue into the next several years.

*Yes, I know the Patriots are not located in Boston.
**While the Patriots actually won in ’02, ’04, ’05, the NFL counts those victories as occurring in the ’01, ’03, and ’04 seasons.

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Screw you, NBA

I was angry with the NHL for helping Refuffalo against the Bruins. Fortunately, the Bruins still won their series because, well, Ryan Miller can’t do it all, even with the men in stripes helping his team. Then I was even more angry when Refadelphia was given the right to not take penalty minutes despite deserving them. But at least they lost to a better term in the end. And at home. Fuck you, Philly fans. You are the worst fans in sports. (You’re still number 2, New York.)

But none of that represented a fundamental problem with the NHL. This was an issue of terrible reffing in two series I watched closely. And, sure, the reffing was pretty bad throughout the playoffs besides where the Bruins were involved. It wasn’t as bad as the two Bruins series, but it was bad. But again, that isn’t typical. There isn’t a fundamental issue with the rules or reffing in general in the NHL. It’s still the most exciting sport there is.

And until now I thought soccer was on the exact other end of the spectrum. Take this video for instance.

I don’t care enough to look up the names of those involved, but basically the Nigerian player (green) went to kick the ball as the Greek (white) player picked it up after it went out of bounds. It was obviously just a reflex: “Hey, a soccer ball! Kick it!” It doesn’t appear he made much contact, if any, but that doesn’t matter. Soccer is filled with a bunch of divers, so the Greek player hammed it up, falling to the ground like he tore 11 ACLs. (Yes, 11.) This got the Nigerian player a Red Card, kicking him out of the game. And all because soccer is such a mamma’s boy sport.

If someone tries to get a call in hockey and overdoes it like that, he may well get the call, but he’ll also be given 2 minutes for diving. The NHL doesn’t accept this weak, hamming-it-up play that soccer embraces.

But as it turns out, that isn’t the other end of the spectrum. The NBA is nothing but feather-touch penalties. Brush a guy with the ball? Foul. Make contact with the ball and maybe touch a loose jersey? Foul. Look at a guy wrong? Foul. That’s all it was last night during the final 45 minutes of Game 7. (And by 45 minutes, I mean 7:30 minutes of actual clock time.)

It seemed like the entire game rested on who could make the most free throws. And in order to do that the NBA has made virtually everything a foul. Not that the players don’t embellish or ham it up. They do. But the NBA and people like David Stern (the worst commissioner in sports – don’t worry, Goodell, you’re a close number 2), hold most of the blame. And it is blame. Game 7 of the 2010 NBA finals was perhaps the worst sporting event I have ever watched, worse than the 2006 World Series where the ‘Champion’ Cardinals didn’t win anything (the Tigers just lost, is all).

NBA basketball is the antithesis of what a good sport, such as hockey, should be.

In the interest of full disclosure, everyone who reads this blog knows I’m a Boston/New England sports fan. But my interest in basketball, especially the NBA’s nancy-variety, is extremely limited. I wanted the Celtics to win by default, but I’m far from torn up over their loss. What bugs me more is that I wasted so much time watching such a terrible, terrible sport.