Sunday, July 06, 2008

the age of sport

(photo: New York Times)

I’ve become mildly obsessed with the challenge of Dara Torres and her fifth Olympic Games. Mind you, it’s a challenge to make a fifth Olympic team over the course of seven Summer Games – she retired a few times. At 41, she’s set American records, and won, both the 50 and 100 freestyle at the trials in Omaha – smacking down some more than twenty years her junior. I’ve got no clue just how hard it is to win any Olympic event but I’m pretty sure the dead sprints must be both the toughest to overcome, and the best option for an older swimmer. Maybe it’s like big punchers in boxing always maintaining the ability to hit real hard even if they can’t go 12 rounds anymore. Regardless, it’s an amazing run.

Speaking of endurance, Nadal and Federer went nearly five hours of court time before deciding the final 9-7 in the fifth. I was following the BBC text online all day before realizing that NBC was broadcasting the live video feed; I caught the last three games. What it made me think about, while reading the text online for over four hours, was just how great sportswriters of yore must have been; to relay the epic event while still providing the details that made you feel as if you were there even as you read the paper the next day. I quite enjoy it.

I turned to X tonight and said, “If I say MacArthur (as in Gen. Douglas…) what’s the first thing to comes to mind?” She says, “He smoked a corncob pipe.” Right. What I was looking for was some explanation of why I didn’t really equate his history (WWI, WWII, and Korea) with any particular time, event, or MacArthurian quip. Once again, I was not flexing my history ability – yet, I read a lot of historical stuff. I told her that what I was looking for was more along the lines of: he fought on both World Wars, escaped (?) to Australia in WWII before “returning” and flexing his military mind, he led the forces in Korea at 70 years-old, and was relieved by Truman because we were at a point of transitioning between the civilian on an military complex. She said she thought it was more of a free association exercise. I told her the corncob pipe comment was pretty free.

Cubs won two of three in St. Louis this weekend.


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