1—Two things confused me Friday night at the sports bar. 1) Why was Justin Bieber suddenly singing where my Kentucky-Baylor hoops game had been? And 2) When I checked my phone, how had said Kentucky hoops game leapt from the first half to four overtimes?
Then I pieced it together. It was after midnight, thus the Bieber Fever, when the sports bar in my Millennial mecca of Arlington, Virginia, becomes a nightclub (and I start getting “ma’am-ed”). And the UK men had been playing so late because the #5 Kentucky women’s hoops team had battled #9 Baylor before the guys to win 133-130 at the same Dallas venue.
Yes I, a female sports blogger, saw the score on my phone and immediately assumed it was the #3 UK guys (who lost, coincidentally, to the #20 Baylor men). Shame on me because the ladies put up record-breaking numbers: Baylor’s Odyssey Sims scored 47 points, and UK’s Jennifer O’Neill 43, a career high—and she didn’t even start! Altogether, it was the highest-scoring Division I women’s game in history.
2—Auburn topped Missouri Saturday for the SEC title and a berth in the national championship, but fans are still talking about last week’s victory over Alabama. Auburn radio announcer Rod Bramblett’s joyous, “Oh, my Lord in heaven!” ecstasy over Auburn’s last-second touchdown return has been lauded and played so often, fans have it memorized, including 21-year-old Kaitlyn Reed, who recreates the entire sequence spot-on in this video.
3—The 2014 Men’s Soccer World Cup had its group drawings in host country Brazil Friday, determining which teams will play whom in the first rounds. Team USA landed in Group G, which could be described as something like the movie “A Christmas Story”: the U.S. is Ralphie and pretty much everyone else is Scut Farcus. Group G’s other three teams are #2 Germany, #5 Portugal and #24 Ghana (the U.S. is #14). It’s the only group with two teams in the FIFA top five, and Ghana has knocked the U.S. out of the World Cup before. U.S. midfielder Sacha Kljestan tweeted it as the “Group of Death.”
Here’s hoping the U.S. goes all ‘Roid Ralphie on them: Kricken cracken goldang no good futzipuzz freckle crackle fudge fudge fudgers!!!
4—Speaking of Portugal soccer, you might as well get to know Cristiano Ronaldo now, because you will probably be seeing a lot of him when the World Cup starts next summer. The team captain, he normally plays for Spain’s Real Madrid and is the highest-paid soccer player in the world. He’s also very pretty. Naturally with so many gifts, a museum is being built in his honor.
Except he is the one building it. Well, allegedly. Rumors differ, but Ronaldo’s home island of Madeira has announced a museum for the 28-year-old who, unlike most museum honorees, hasn’t done the courtesy of dying quite yet. In some cases he is just donating some trophies; in others, it was his own idea. Regardless, he can certainly back it up with 11 major titles and endless player of the year awards.5—You know of course about Nelson Mandela’s passing. What you might not know was the role sports played in his life and the transformation of his country.
Mandela was an amateur boxer in his youth, crediting the sport with giving him a sense of equality—your opponent was simply your opponent, no matter his class or color. A year into his presidency, his appearance at the 1995 Rugby World Cup final in Johannesburg was considered the moment when South Africa was truly united—they beat New Zealand in an upset after years of being banned from international play. Later he was instrumental in landing South Africa the 2010 men’s soccer World Cup. Rest in peace, Madiba.