1 – The U.S. Men’s Soccer Team played to a 2-2 draw with Portugal on Sunday, much to the frustration of fans who, after the U.S. defeat of Ghana, were excited at our very real prospects of qualifying outright for the final Round of 16. Now we must at least tie Germany, who gave a Deutsche drubbing to Portugal last week, 4-0. Game time: 12 noon ET this Thursday (or as many Americans will call it, a sick day).
PS –Colombia’s team jubilation dance was one of the best moments of the tournament ; scroll down for a fun clip of soccer celebrations.
2 – Michelle Wie, who sparked the golf scene at age 10 when she qualified for a USGA amateur championship, won the U.S. Women’s Open Sunday. There’s a reason this is pretty cool. Since she turned pro at age 15, along with a flood of endorsements and the pressure of publicity, the 6-1 daughter of a professor and golf champ/beauty queen never won a “major” championship, but just the weekly tourneys that rarely merit any TV time. Frustrated, Wie retreated from the game for a time and attended Stanford, graduating with a degree in communications.
Now 24, she’s back in the golf spotlight at a more acceptable age—and must have experienced both happiness and concern for Lucy Li, 11. Li was the youngest player ever to qualify for the Open, but didn’t make the cut. Didn’t seem to bother her though; she wore braces, ate ice cream and joked with the media. Hopefully she will learn some lessons from Wie, and golf will remain fun, not forced.
3 – Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw threw a no-hitter June 18 against the Colorado Rockies. A no-hitter occurs when the pitcher allows no batter to record a hit. Batters can reach base in other ways, like a walk or error, but this is rare. Most no-hitters are also complete games and shutouts. However, one higher honor exists: the perfect game, in which no batters reach base at all. This is much rarer. There have been 284 no-hitters since 1875; there have been 23 perfect games.
4 – Now that college football’s National Signing Day, on which high school players make their formal college commitments, is behind us, news outlets have ranked the schools’ “recruiting classes.” Naturally the top schools are no surprise, institutions like Alabama, LSU and Ohio State. But what caught my attention is the inclusion of Penn State at around #24 although I’ve seen them as high as five.
I think this is kinda neat because 2014 is roughly the first year the Nittany Lions team will be comprised of players who did not have to endure the 2011 Jerry Sandusky child sex assault scandal. Since then, Sandusky rots in prison, head coach Joe Paterno was fired for allegedly covering up Sandusky’s acts and subsequently died, players transferred elsewhere, and the entire university was penalized by the NCAA for falling down on the job, a decision that, in my opinion only hurts blameless players and fans in the end. For PSU to be getting attention again from players and media is a good sign that, while we should never forget what happened, a historic program can return to its former glory.
5 – Granted I am little biased on this one, but I’m thrilled that one of sports’ most fun and exciting events is coming to my backyard in DC. The Winter Classic is the NHL’s annual game featuring two teams playing outdoors. Even if you don’t follow hockey, it’s great to see two teams take on the elements as well as each other in the old-fashioned way. The Capitals will play January 1, 2015, reportedly against the Chicago Blackhawks at a venue TBD. It doesn’t have to snow, but I would buy up all the milk and bread in the region for a chance to see it in real winter conditions. Fingers crossed!