Daily Archives: October 30, 2013

ESPN’s Jimmy Connors doc is terrific. A gopher video makes me laugh. And the Red Sox win the World Series (again)

connors-0827-704x1024

There are few things that sports fans can all agree upon, but one that I’ve found meets almost universal unanimity on is that Jimmy Connors is a pretty big a-hole.

And happily, in the ESPN’s new 30-for-30 documentary, “This Is What They Want,” Connors himself confirms it toward the end, but says “I’m a fun asshole.”

Well, that’s good enough for me. The movie, the latest in a great batch of 30-f0r-30s (really like the ABA St. Louis Spirits one a couple weeks ago), takes a look at maybe the most famous U.S. Open run in history, when 39-year-old Connors shocked the world in 1991 by making the semifinals.

He was washed up and forgotten about prior to the tournament, but the documentary does a fabulous job putting his career in context. And besides the accomplishments and the rivalries (he and John McEnroe are very honest about their dislike for each other in the film), the movie focuses on just what an unlikeable jerk Connors is (and was).

The movie hits its stride in talking about the famous Connors-Aaron Krickstein match at the ’91 Open, and Krickstein is fabulous talking in present day about his epic collapse that day. He and Connors were good friends before the match, but Krickstein says they haven’t talked since. The match cemented the Jimbo legend, but Connors hasn’t once picked up a phone, or said hello at a tournament when Krickstein was still playing, nothing.

Everyone else interviewed in the film, when hearing that, is dumbfounded. But they shouldn’t be: Connors is one of the biggest douchebags in all of sports.

Still, the film is terrific, and I highly recommend it (it’s on again Sunday at 9 p.m. on ESPN2).  For all his faults, Connors was a tennis legend, and nobody ever fired up a crowd like he did.

And that ’91 run was something special to see.

**Next up, we don’t feature enough gopher videos on this blog. And today, that changes. Because this promo for the University of Minnesota (the Golden Gophers, of course) made me laugh out loud at its bizarreness.

Somewhere, “Caddyshack” fans are smiling.

**As much as I hate the Boston Red Sox, I have to admit I was excited to see Game 6 of the World Series Wednesday night. First game of this crazy, oddball Series I’ve watched from start to finish, and I don’t think the Fenway Park crowd sat down once in more than three hours.

These people haven’t seen Boston win a World Series at home since 1918, and amazingly, it sounded like real fans were in the park going full-throat, not corporate suits just there to be seen (as we see at a lot of big-time sporting events these days).

Couple thoughts on the Red Sox’ clinching victory:

— David Ortiz. Hall of Famer? I never would’ve thought Big Papi, a slow, non-fielding slugger, would have a shot at the Hall a few years ago. But the guy has now had three amazing postseasons, a hell of a long career, and always seems to come up big in the clutch. And he’s never really been linked to steroids, except for one random allegation a decade ago. I think he’s close to getting in.

— Shane Victorino, who hit the three-run triple to get Boston on the board, just has that Jim Leyritz-y feel to him, that he comes up big when you least expect it.

— Three championships in 9 years for the Red Sox. Never thought I’d see that in my lifetime. Dammit.

— For the sake of the small children in New England, let’s hope this now means the Red Sox players will shave their hideous beards. Then again, it is Halloween, maybe they should keep the scary facial hair for one more day.

The guy who knit a sweater while running a marathon. Jason Kertson amazes me. And Is the NSA going to make us more enemies than Dick Cheney did?

marathon_knitter_660

I love stories that leave me shaking my head in awe and complete puzzlement, all at the same time.

Like this one. A man named David Babcock recently ran into the Guinness Book of Records, when he finished the Kansas City Marathon in 5:48.27.
While knitting a 12-foot scarf.
Yes, Babcock is a college graphic design professor by day, and a speed knitter in his spare time!

So here are some of my many questions: Is he a knitter who likes to run, or a runner who just happens to find knitting fun? How does he prevent pricking himself with the needle while running around rough terrain? When he finishes a race before finishing his scarves or sweaters, does he keep running so he can finish? Does the person who gets the scarf from Babcock complain that it’s all sweaty?

I could go on. But you get the idea. Knitting and running, who ever thought of it? Reminds me of the old Seinfeld joke about the biathlon. “Let’s combine cross-country skiing, with shooting a gun. That makes sense.”

**Next up today, I have no idea where this came across my radar this week; honestly, I’ve looked in all the usual places I go to but came up empty (maybe I dreamed it or something).

Anyway, it’s not new but still incredibly awesome: A kid named Jason Kertson has perfected the art of playing two guitars at once. It was actually hypnotic for me to watch this guy so zoned in and playing them so perfectly.

nsaspying

**Finally, I’m really, really getting sick of the NSA, and how we are basically spying on every country, all the time, and every day I wake up to headlines like this one, from NPR: “U.S. did not spy on French, Spanish citizens.”

We had the NSA chief, Keith Alexander, declaring the most recent documents revealed by leaker Edward Snowden were false, that nosireeebob, we did not spy on any French or Spanish citizens.

Just like we didn’t spy on Angela Merkel, and we don’t go through Americans’ telephone calls, and we don’t… you get the picture.

I never thought I’d say this in my lifetime, but with all of this international spying crap going on, the U.S. might be heading to levels of world unpopularity not seen since the reign of W. and Cheney.

Look, I know it’s a dangerous world out there, and we have to do all we can to fight terrorism, yada yada yada. But every day, every week, come more revelations of American intelligence doing things in secret that they really ought to be ashamed of doing.

Can’t wait to see what next week’s headlines will bring: “U.S. put hidden camera on Italian prostitute to spy on Silvio Burlesconi.”

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/10/29/241661110/u-s-did-not-spy-on-french-spanish-citizens-says-spy-chief