17 year old Ryo Ishikawa

We are on the precipice of my second favorite sports weekend of the year. Only Masters week is more exciting than U.S. Open week. With round 1 done, the no-names on top of the leader board will wake up and collapse under the pressure. I think Pebble Beach, especially the way the USGA sets it up for the Open, may be one of the toughest Open courses yet!, Tiger already complained about the skinned poa greens. The fairways have been narrowed and of course, the rough is long and thick.

I have so many favorites now on the tour, it’s hard for me to just root for one guy. Most of my favorites are now the ‘young guns” out there. I love watching these guys with their 130 plus mile per hour swings launching 330 yard rising draw shots. An absolute thing of athletic beauty! I identify with them because for most of my life I’ve been told by golfing “experts” to slow my swing down. Six years ago, I was in the cage getting marked and measured for my new set of custom Tommy Armour irons. While there, I experimented with my driver, and then many other off the shelf drivers. They clocked me at 133 mph with a state of the art light weight big head driver. By the way, that is now the driver in my bag, a Titlest D series! Until a few years ago, I could out drive most every body I partnered with on the course. But, age, condition, and numerous injuries have forced me to play a less exciting brand of golf now. I must be settling into old age golf! I digress. I would be ecstatic if a Ryo, Rory, Rickey or any of the other “kids” came away with the title. Anyway, plenty of weekend time in front of the big screen in seventh heaven!

My beloved Twins folded yesterday to Ubaldo Jimenez, arguably putting together the best season for a starting pitcher in the majors since Bob Gibson in 1968! Gibby was 22-7 with an astounding era of 1.12! He also had 19 complete games that year. Oh, for the days of no pitch counts again! Jimenez is now 13-1 with an era of around one! Phenomenal! Now the Twins march into Philly tonight for a weekend series that begins by facing Roy Halliday. The Twins really always sink in a mental fog when facing any great pitcher, any way overweight Latino junk-balling pitcher, or the Yankees. To the team’s credit though, they are still in first place in spite of having to play with line-ups consisting of as many as three minor league players at a time. The injury bug has been hard on them this year. They need to kick it in gear now, Detroit is playing great ball and is now only a game and a half behind the Twins.

With the Twins on a road trip, Target Field will host the Minnesota State High School Baseball Championships. All three classes will play there on Saturday. I am going to try to get there to watch. Fortunetly, the Open television coverage goes late into the night so I won’t have to miss much of it to see the baseball tournament. What a wonderful opportunity for these kids to play on the field of their favorite home team. It’s a beautiful brand new stadium that the Twins donated to the Minnesota State High School League for the championships. I can’t ever say it enough, I love the Twins. A truly quality organization from the top down. There is not a single thug on the roster. The Twins draft and trade for players of high moral and ethical values and it shows. They are all involved in community benefit programs. I’ll bet you can’t find an NBA or NFL franchise that can make that claim!

The boredom and droning on of the World Cup continues this weekend. Thank God, adult America won’t embrace this sport! Because America has so many other sports to offer, soccer just can’t get a foothold in here. Hockey, too, has had trouble catching on. This is why soccer won’t ever make it in America. American’s are very competitive. American’s demand action with results. In every walk of our lives, we are measured by results. With soccer, there is a better chance than not that the game will end in a 0-0 tie or 1-1 tie. Soccer games do sometimes produce a winner. But, the agony of the length of the game, the endless running back and forth by the players on this huge field usually puts America asleep. At least hockey, played on a much smaller surface, is very fast, very athletic, and very physical. There is a lot of hitting on the ice and that kind of excitement can overcome some lack of scoring. But, even hockey isn’t really catching on with Americans. I have a friend in the Washington DC area who owned an indoor soccer facility. In conversation with him, I gleaned his take on soccer in America. Alan is a Brit, a soccer player, played in the old and failed U.S. Soccer league. He played and coached the Washington Diplomat franchise. Alan told me soccer works for kids in America because he says it’s a “catch-all” activity for the kids and for the parents to get their kids involved in something. He was telling me that the traditional American sports create problems for much of American youth. Baseball is a real “skill” sport, that requires very hard work, focus and practice. Football for kids requires size and some athleticism. And basketball requires speed, size, endurance, athleticism and very specific skills like shooting, passing, receiving, and playing defense. Alan thinks because there are so many kids that can’t qualify for those sports end up in soccer. At the youth level, soccer is about running and kicking the ball. He says it’s an easier sport for most kids to grasp and participate. He did note, however, that soccer by high school age in America is pretty much dead.

So all around the world where soccer is THE sport, fans of the game are fanatics. Ever notice the riots that occur at soccer games around the world. People literally trampled to death by crowds at games. If a city’s team wins a major game, most of those cities pay the price with a burned down central business district! They call this exuberance? I call it insanity. The worst that happens in the U.S. is if the city of Detroit wins some kind of sports championship, some cars get tipped over and burned, store windows get smashed, some looting follows, and police are generally attacked. But, that’s only in Detroit, and most of us know Detroit is generally a problem city anyway!

That’s this weekend in sports, have a great weekend and thank you for today’s read.
Cam Obert


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