It’s not your typical Wednesday in June when you get two amazing, heart-stopping, nail-chewing sports events.
But Wednesday was one of those glorious, wonderful days when it’s a joy to be a sports fan.
First the United States of America’s national soccer team had me on the edge of the couch for 90 minutes, screaming and yelling at the TV like I only usually do for Jets and Duke basketball games.
It absolutely, positively was maddening watching our boys in red, white and blue miss chance after chance against our longtime rival, Algeria (Seriously, could most Americans find Algeria on a map?).
I was convinced we’d blow it, especially when Landon Donovan hit the freaking post in the second half. But then, a goal was scored we’ll be talking about years from now. Donovan redeemed himself, knocking home a rebound in the 91st minutes.
I screamed. I yelled. I’m an Olympics kind of soccer fan (once every four years, I care about the sport), but this was a great moment.
Course, we were playing Algeria, not exactly a soccer powerhouse. And we just earned a berth in the second round, which is still a long way from winning. You could argue, in a glass is half-empty kind of way, that the U.S. just lived up to expectations so far.
Still, although I felt that way for a few minutes, I talked myself out of it. This does a lot for soccer in America, and for my many friends who are fans of futbol, I am happy.
Not as happy as these people, though; absolutely love the reaction from these fans at a bar in Nebraska. I love the first 40 seconds of despair, followed by incredible euphoria:
For a great take on the game, here’s SI’s Grant Wahl:
**Then, because we needed some more sports excitement, two men named John Isner and Nicolas Mahut decided to play the longest match in tennis history. They set the record while playing one unbelievable, mind-boggling set of tennis, for more than seven hours. The match didn’t end; it picks up again this morning, U.S. time.
The score? 59-59. Let me repeat that. FIFTY-NINE TO FIFTY-NINE! It’s pretty much incomprehensible to me, and there are so many astonishing facts contained in that 59-59. (Here are two: The seven hours of the fifth set is longer than any match in history. Just the fifth set! And in that entire set, there were only four break points faced by the servers. And oh yeah, 98 aces for Isner for the match, and 94 for Mahut.)
It’s truly a once in a lifetime match. I left my house at 28-all, to go have lunch with my friend Buddy, and figured I’d miss the end of the match. Got back an hour later, and it was 42-42 and my jaw literally dropped.
9:30 a.m. today on ESPNU, these two exhausted warriors resume the match. And it’s a travesty that Wimbledon isn’t putting them on Centre Court. An absolute travesty.
**I have absolutely no sympathy for General Stanley McChrystal today. None. From all accounts, he’s a pompous, egotistical military man who, like so many before him, holds politicians who are his bosses in contempt.
He’s gotten his way a lot throughout his career, but he did the one thing you really, really can’t do: Criticize the commander in chief and the VP, his bosses. I’m glad McChrystal didn’t try to claim he was misquoted, or was taken out of context. And I’m glad that President Obama wasted no time in canning his rear end.
Good riddance. Of course, what we really need is not a new general, but to get the hell out of Afghanistan. My former colleague Pierre Tristam, who I often disagree with but who is a really smart guy, has a good column on this here.