Tag Archives: Wimbledon

Thoughts from a destination wedding on top of Windham Mountain: lots of fun, and a scary chair-lift. A dog wants a baby out of the deep end of the pool. And Coco-mania hits Wimbledon, as a 15-year-old wows the world

Hi y’all! Just wanted to let you know about something special/different I’m going to be doing in this space next week: July 11th will be the 10-year anniversary of my blog’s existence, so to celebrate, for five days next week I’m going to be re-running some of my most popular posts I’ve ever written at Wide World of Stuff, and some that meant the most to me personally. If there was any post in particular that you enjoyed or would love to see again, drop me a line this week at sweeterlew@yahoo.com. Thanks!

Hope you all had a wonderful Independence Day weekend, me and the family just returned Saturday night from a unique wedding weekend in more ways than one. My wife’s best friend Jodi and her terrific fiancee Seth decided a few months ago to get married on top of Windham Mountain, near the Catskill region in upstate New York, on July 4th.

This clearly made me wonder lots of things, like “will there be fireworks at a July 4th wedding? (Answer: yes, there were, and they were fabulous). What happens if someone drops the wedding ring down the mountain, going to be kind of hard to retrieve, no?

And of course for someone like me who is deathly afraid of heights: Do I have to ride one of those terrifying chair lifts up to the top of the mountain? (Answer: Yes).

But it all worked out and was such a terrific three days for us and our two boys.

Some assorted thoughts from a destination wedding that was thoroughly enjoyable:

— So first of all, the chair lift up to the top of the mountain wasn’t so bad. I didn’t love the “open air” aspect of it, or the fact that my feet were kinda dangling a hundred feet of the ground. But the truly unsettling part was actually that, at least four or five times on the way up the mountain and back down, our lift car stopped. To let more people on at the top or bottom. So for like 30 seconds, were were just kinda hanging in mid-air.

I didn’t love that.

— Destination weddings of friends are strange in that, at most, you’ve met most of these people once or twice in your life, at the bride or groom’s house or at some party they threw. And then for three days or so, you seem them everywhere: At the hotel, at breakfast in the little town, at pre- and post-wedding stuff. And then Saturday comes and you all drive or fly back home, and it’s possible I’ll never see most of these people again.

Which is too bad, because I really liked a lot of them.

— Apropos of nothing, I just wanted to run this hilarious photo, of my 20-month-old son Theo and our good friend Dan, wearing the same color shirt and giving us a visual I’ll never forget. My caption? “Now Theo, I’m very disappointed in you. I thought we agreed not to wear the same color shirt today.”

— Finally, gotta toot my own horn for a minute: I saved the hora at the wedding Thursday night. The hora was going great, but nobody had gotten two chairs into the circle for the traditional “lift up the bride and groom and carry them around.” It happens at EVERY Jewish wedding and bar mitzvah, and it has to happen.

I asked my wife “shouldn’t we go get a chair?” and she was all like “No, someone else is on it.” And then minutes passed, and no one was on it, and so I ran inside with a friend, grabbed two chairs, and forced our way through dozens of people to the center of the hora circle. Whereupon bride and groom were lifted, and cheered, and I am a hero who should be saluted by all!

OK I just wanted to get that on the record.

**Next up, this short, sweet video just says summer to me. A dog sees a man holding a baby in a pool, and the pooch clearly wants the baby to be brought somewhere a little safer.

I Tweeted the person commenting on it too because that cracked me up big-time.

Man’s best friend, AND baby’s best friend!

**And finally today, I believe I told you all about a young female tennis phenom named Coco Gauff last year in this space, with the words “remember her name” being in there somewhere.

Well, I think by now most people who follow sports even a little bit have heard of this incredible 15-year-old girl who has taken Wimbledon by storm. In her first-ever Wimbledon, Gauff won three qualifying matches just to make the most famous tournament in the world, then went out and beat legend Venus Williams in the first round.

That was just the opening act, though: Gauff then won her second-round match, and Friday she pulled off a Harry Houdini act in the third round against Polona Hercog. Down a set and 5-2 in the second, and then facing a couple of match points, this kid who isn’t even old enough for a driver’s permit yet rallied to win, 3-6, 7-6, 7-5 and stunningly advance to the fourth round.

Gauff is the future of women’s tennis, and what a bright future it is. I’ve interviewed her a few times the last couple years at the U.S. Open when she played juniors, and I can tell you she is absolutely grounded, with little ego, and a maturity and intelligence far beyond her years. She has been, as they say, raised right.

She faces former world No. 1 Simona Halep today in the fourth round (on ESPN2 at around 10 a.m. this morning, Eastern time), and even if Gauff loses, this has been her tournament.

What a delight she is. I hope she always stays as excited about winning as in that photo above.

 

 

 

Thoughts on a glorious 2 days at Wimbledon, where crowds are deathly quiet and the champagne flows

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And a Happy 4th of July to all of you there in Web-land! Hope everyone has a safe and fun holiday (and that means no fireworks for you, Jason Pierre-Paul).

My apologies for not having a post up last Friday; I fully intended to write about my incredible adventures at Wimbledon on that day, but I caught some sort of cold/sinus/virus thingy on the plane home from England and had no energy for a couple of days.

However, thanks to the power of Advil Cold & Sinus and some hot tea, I’m feeling much better and ready to try to put into words the wonderful, strange, and dream-fulfilling trip.

— It’s not often in life that something you build up in your mind for decades ends up being as great as you hoped. But Wimbledon absolutely was. As my friend and SI writer Jon Wertheim has written, nobody ever comes to Wimbledon for the first time and comes home and says “Meh. Wasn’t so great.” From the historic grounds of the All England Club, to the friendly British ushers/fans/security people, to the fabulous tennis we watched, the two days my wife and I spent at Wimbledon last Monday and Tuesday will go down as some of the best of my life.

— OK, so some details. First off, the most immediate and striking difference from Wimbledon to the U.S. Open or any other sporting event I’ve been to in America? The quiet. The absolute, library-like silence in the stands even after a great shot or exciting point. I’m telling you, it’s three or four seconds of polite applause, nobody says anything, then you could hear a pin drop.

No lie, I must have gotten a dozen dirty looks over the course of two days just for saying things like “Way to go, Venus!” or “Great shot, Denis!” in a normal tone of voice. The British tennis fans simply do not like exhortations.

— On the other hand, the other thing that struck me most about watching Wimbledon live was that on multiple courts, we saw fans drinking and pouring Champagne out of full-sized, glass bottles. Like it was no big deal.

I asked someone about it and they told me it’s basically encouraged. “It’s a British thing and a Wimbledon thing,” she said matter-of-factly.

I cannot even imagine any American sporting event allowing glass Champagne bottles to be brought in. So odd.

— The jokes write themselves when it comes to British food, but it actually wasn’t that bad. We are, I think, legally required to eat the strawberries and cream while at Wimbledon, and they were decent. The rest of the food was typical middling British fare, but we had a great dinner at a Lebanese restaurant one night that was very different than what we’re used to.

— Much less seating on the outdoor courts at Wimbledon than at U.S. Open; we stood a lot of the time, even on matches that it would seem few cared about. The upshot of that is that you’re often standing a few feet away from a player’s girlfriend or coach. Makes for great eaves-dropping.

–Two major highlights stood out from the two days: First, we didn’t have Centre Court tickets for Monday but Roger Federer, my all-time tennis idol, was playing on that cathedral of the sport at the end of the day. So even though the way you’re “supposed” to get onto Centre Court if you don’t have tickets is to go to the window and buy “returned” CC tickets after 5 p.m. that day, we did it the unauthorized way:  We stood outside a gate and as people walked out, begged them for their tickets if they were leaving. Two nice folks gave my wife and I their seats, and for one glorious set and a half, I got to watch Federer on Centre Court.

Imagine watching Michelangelo paint the Sistine Chapel, or seeing the Beatles at Shea Stadium. That’s what it felt like.

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— The second highlight was what happens when you push your luck just a little bit. After the rains came Tuesday around 5, lots of fans left and there were plenty of seats close to Centre Court. Our CC tickets were for a pretty high section, but we had made a friend with amazing 2nd row CC seats and I asked if we could try to sneak down there with her. At the gate entrance I of course started schmoozing the nice female security guard, threw every reason I had as to why she should let us sit there for a pretty un-exciting match (Coco Vandeweghe vs. Kateryna Bondarenko), and finally she relented.

So for an hour this was our view (above) for tennis. It was … breathtaking being that close to world-class tennis on the greatest court in the world. I was praying for a three-setter but alas, we only got two.

— Other different vibe from U.S. Open: Way more ushers/security guards here, fewer lines to get into matches on outside courts, and much fewer food choices.

— Grass court tennis is wild; the ball stays so low, skids and goes very fast, players have to be fast to scoop the ball off their shoe-tops. We never see grass tennis in the U.S. so seeing it up close was pretty fabulous.

— Not Wimbledon but still cool: My favorite new thing I saw in London was in a bathroom near the London Eye tourist wheel thingie: It was a water faucet that also doubled as a hand dryer. The whole hand-cleaning and drying process all in one spot! I get excited by things like this.

— We picked one hell of a week to be across the pond, when it comes to news. I arrived two days after the shocking Brexit vote (and I highly recommend John Oliver’s take on it.) , and then while we were there the English national team lost to Iceland (Iceland!) in soccer.

Honestly, reading the London tabloids I’m not sure which calamity was more painful. The English athletes get killed 100 times worse in the press than American athletes do. U.S. stars have no idea how easy they have it. My favorite story included “The 23 members of the English soccer team, having made complete asses of themselves earlier that night, flew home to Heathrow Airport…”

And they only lost 2-1! Imagine if they’d lost 6-0, I think they might not be allowed back in the country.

Alex Rodriguez and Tiger Woods, you should thank your lucky stars you weren’t born in the U.K.

 

 

I’m about to cross off the No.1 item on my sports “bucket list,” and I’m insanely excited. And the NBA’s D’Angelo Russell show his humor in a great commercial

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I’ve never written a blog post on speed, and don’t intend to, but you’ll forgive me if I ramble a bit. I’m just so freaking excited, maybe as excited as I’ve ever been about a trip.

I’m headed to London tonight, to fulfill a lifelong dream.

We all carry around, mentally in our heads or on paper, a “things to do before we die” list. Once that Morgan Freeman/Jack Nicholson movie “The Bucket List” came out, people started calling it that.

I’ve got one of those, and because I’m a sports fanatic, some of the things on my list are sports venue-related.

I’ve crossed off quite a few: I went to Wrigley Field,  I went to Dyersville, Iowa to see the Field of Dreams, covered NCAA Tournament games, and seen a few ballgames at Fenway Park.

But the No.1 sports item on my list has always, always been going to Wimbledon to watch “The Championships.” Ever since I first saw it on TV in 1981, when I was 6 and saw McEnroe and Borg slug it out, I’ve been in love with the place.

The beauty of the courts, the grass, the surroundings, the history involved with the most famous tennis tournament in the world… it’s been intoxicating to me.

I didn’t know if I’d ever get there, just to walk around and take in the place, see if I could feel it in my bones. It is tennis heaven, it’s a cathedral, it is magical.

In March, 2008, my ex-wife and I spent a week in London on vacation. I did, of course, go to the All England Club for a tour. I bought some souvenirs, I tried to pilfer a blade of grass from the grounds (I was politely told not to), but it wasn’t quite as great as I hoped. Center Court and Court 1 were closed to us because of construction, and of course there was no tennis being played there.

It was a taste of Wimbledon, and I was happy I got to go, but it wasn’t quite the same as being there for the main event.

Eight years later, I’m going. Really, truly going.

My wife has a work conference in London every other year in late June, so I’m flying over to meet her this weekend, and God bless her indulgent soul, we splurged for a travel package of two tickets to the first two days of Wimbledon. Monday we’ve got Court 1 tickets, and Tuesday we’ll be in heaven, sitting at Center Court with the Queen and Prince William and whoever else we get to see.

Our little guy is staying with the grandparents and yeah it’ll be hard not seeing him for five straight days, the longest I’ve ever been away, but you only live once and he’ll understand (when he’s older and I’ve made him into a fellow tennis nut, of course!)

In my head for the past week I’ve kept saying “I’m going to Wimbledon! I’m going to Wimbledon!” Trips never seem real to me until I’m actually on the airplane, but this time, I think until I walk through the gates and smell the grass, it still won’t be real.

Wimbledon. Me. Hopefully Roger Federer. So damn excited.

If you hear a news report on Tuesday about a crazy American man who chained himself to the gates of the All England Club and refused to leave, well, you’ll know it’s me.

Wimbledon!

**Finally today, this made me laugh. D’Angelo Russell had a really rough rookie season with the Los Angeles Lakers last season, low-lighted by a scandal in which he secretly recorded, with his cell phone, teammate Nick Young talking about two-timing his girlfriend.

The video became public, and for a few days sports folks lost their mind decrying Russell for “breaking the code of the locker room” and other ridiculous things like that. Was it stupid what Russell did? Sure. Was it the crime of the century for a 19-year-old? No.

Anyway, Russell and some other NBA players are in a new Foot Locker ad, and it’s hilarious to see Russell poke fun at the whole situation. Enjoy.

Djokovic outlasts Federer in another epic Wimbledon final. Some fireworks in reverse. And remembering Louis Zamperini, an all-time great American hero.

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At the risk of sounding like a grandpa, young tennis fans don’t know how good they’ve got it.

Really, they don’t. If you’ve only been following tennis for the past decade or so, maybe you think it’s always been like this. Three or four all-time greats, battling it out in epic, high-quality matches at Grand Slam Final after Grand Slam Final.

But I remember the Lleyton Hewitt-Yevgeny Kafelnikov years of the late ‘90s and early aughts; the Marcelo Rios-Guillermo Coria (shudder) era.

Which is why I don’t ever take incredible matches like Sunday’s men’s (excuse me, gentlemen’s) singles final for granted. For five tight, thrilling sets, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer played sublime, scintillating tennis, and I enjoyed every minute of it.
First it looked like Federer had the upper hand, winning the first set. Then Djokovic, so many times in the past few years having come up short in major moments, winning the next two sets playing fantastic defensive tennis.

In the fourth, with Djokovic up 5-2, I got dressed and put my sneakers on; my best friend’s in town and we were headed to the Met (an aside: still the best museum in NYC; spent 3 hours there Sunday but easily could’ve spent 6 or 7), and I thought the great Federer was cooked.
My buddy ended up going to the museum ahead of me, because with absolutely no warning, Federer stormed back and won the last five games of the set, a gag job of Buckner-ian proportions.
“No way Djokovic can recover in the fifth,” my Mom and I agreed on the phone.
Only he did, winning a 6-4 fifth set that finished with the soon-to-be father crying hysterically, dropping down to the ground and eating a blade of Wimbledon grass.

Sensational match. Of course I was pulling big-time for Federer, my all-time favorite athlete, but I can’t be too mad he lost; he played attacking, ferocious tennis, and proved he can still hang with the big boys. And I was happy for Djokovic, who’s suffered a lot the last few years and really deserved this win.

I honestly think if he’d just held on and won 6-3 in the fourth set, it wouldn’t have been as impressive as the way he ended up winning.

Another incredible Wimbledon final, at least the fifth classic final we’ve had since 2007. We are SO, so spoiled in tennis right now; greatness is with us everywhere.

Can’t wait for the U.S. Open…

**And now, after watching fireworks this weekend, try watching fireworks in reverse. Cool, and a little trippy…

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**Finally today, I didn’t blog Friday so I’m a few days late on this, but don’t want to let the passing of American legend Louis Zamperini pass by without a few words. I wrote about Louie after reading the incredible New York Times bestselling book about his life, Laura Hillenbrand’s “Unbroken,” which I highly, highly recommend.

Zamperini was 97 when he died Thursday, and he packed so much living, and endured so much suffering, in that time. What amazed me most about his life was his complete lack of bitterness and good humor about life; a man who endured what he did as a prisoner of war still found so much good. He is a role model in every sense of the term.

Here’s a great obit of Zamperini from the L.A. Times, and below, a “CBS Sunday Morning” piece from 2012 that shows his humanity beautifully:

 

The drought is over: A Brit finally wins Wimbledon. A celeb 1st pitch like you’ve never seen. And more shameful U.S. secret spying revealed

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It has to be difficult carrying the expectations and hopes of an entire kingdom on your shoulders.

For most of his tennis career, that burden was too much for Andy Murray. It weighed on him, this idea that it had been seven decades-plus since a British man had won Wimbledon, and that he would be the chosen one to break that epic drought.

He came close, oh so close, a few times. Last year when Roger Federer beat him in a close final, he cried and said “I’m getting closer.”

Then he won Olympic gold on Center Court, and then the U.S. Open, his first Grand Slam tournament win, and suddenly you got the feeling maybe Murray would actually win the greatest trophy in tennis one day.

Sunday was that day. I didn’t think it would happen; I thought Novak Djokovic would be too strong, too steady, too mentally tough for Murray to handle.
But as I often am, I was wrong. Murray was fabulous, Djokovic was less than at his best, and for the first time since 1936, a British man is the champion of Wimbledon.

So many questions spring up in the wake of this tremendous win. Can Murray get to No. 1 in the world now? What the hell will the Brits complain about now? Did Djokovic’s epic 5-set semifinal win on Friday take too much out of him for Sunday’s final?

Man oh man, the storylines in tennis just keep getting better. Can’t wait for the U.S. Open.

**And now, one of the most unusual first pitches you’ll ever see. Many celebrity tosses are terrible, but this one is fantastic thanks to the delivery by  Shin Soo-ji, a rhythmic gymnast throwing out the first pitch at a Korean Baseball League game last week.

Very, very cool.

**Finally today, more ugliness revealed about the National Security Agency and their vast, secret spying on Americans. If anyone thought that the information Edward Snowden revealed a few weeks ago was the end of the NSA’s secret doings, I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

This New York Times story reports that America’s “surveillance court” has “created a secret body of law giving the NSA the power to amass vast collections of data on Americans while pursuing not only terrorism suspects, but also people possibly involved in nuclear proliferation, espionage and cyberattacks, officials say.”

There are people who will be OK with this, who say that it’s all in the name of fighting terror, and that anything our government has to do, anything, it’s all well and good because we’re at war, we’re fighting the bad guys and this is how we have to do it, yada yada yada.

I could not disagree more with those people. This is NOT what America is about. This is NOT a nation where we just blindly trust our government to do what’s right and look the other way because we’re at war (how’d that go in 2003 when Congress let Bush/Cheney take us into that quagmire of Iraq?)

What President Obama and the NSA are doing is going outside the law without American citizens’ knowledge and doing things that just shouldn’t be done.

It’s shameful, and I hope more U.S. citizens start paying attention to what civil liberties of ours are being given up in the name of “security.”

My Grandma turns 94, and a family comes together. An Onion story that rings bitterly true. And a bizarrely awesome Wimbledon bet that paid off for a dead guy.

Last Saturday we held a 94th birthday party for my grandma, who now lives in a nursing home on Long Island, near my mother’s home.
I have written emotionally before about how difficult it is for the family to see her like this, as Alzheimer’s ravages the mind of the greatest person I’ve ever known.

But  it’s been at least six years since she’s really been herself, and a year and a half since she’s been at this facility, so we’ve all learned to adjust. Take our good moments where we can get them.
We don’t focus on the fact that she falls asleep during conversations with us, or that she doesn’t speak in understandable words anymore, save for a rare “Yes, yes!” when answering a question.

With Alzheimer’s patients, it’s so easy to focus on the negative, and all that they can’t do anymore. I know it’s a fight for my mother, for me, for anyone who sees her regularly to not remember how vibrant, smart and funny Grandma used to be, and just feel tremendous sadness that she’s not that way anymore.

But sometimes, you enjoy the good moments. Like Saturday.

The whole family came to her nursing home to celebrate; about 20 of us were there, including four of Grandma’s great-grandchildren (the other two are away at sleepaway camp). We had a Carvel cake, we hugged and kissed her, and fussed over her like crazy.
Sure, she didn’t remember any of our names.

But she kept smiling and hugging and kissing right back, as she always has done for all nine decades of her life, and I have to believe that somewhere inside, she knew we were all there to celebrate with her.

We didn’t talk about the fact that it likely will be the last big birthday party we have for Grandma; we all just kinda knew. And when we left her, when my mom and aunt wheeled their mother back to Room 110, I couldn’t help but notice that every single one of us looked back at her just a little bit longer than usual.

For a few hours, she was the Grandma we’d always known and loved. And for a few hours, she made us all feel so much better.

As she has done all our lives.

**Sometimes the brilliant satirical website “The Onion” hits so close to home, that you’re cringing while you’re laughing.

The great journalist Tommy Tomlinson Tweeted this Onion story on Monday, and it cracked me up.
Headline:  “Economically Healthy ‘Daily Planet’ Now Most Unrealistic Part of Superman Universe.”

It continues:  NEW YORK—”Frustrated fans of the Superman comic book said Monday the continued financial stability and cultural relevance of the series’ Daily Planet newspaper is now the most unrealistic part of its universe and an annoying distraction that has ruined their reading experience.”

Read the rest here, and if you’re a current or former newspaper scribe like me, read it and weep.

**Finally, as Roger Federer fans the world over continue to celebrate his Wimbledon championship Sunday, one of the most bizarre betting stories ever was still being talked about.
A man named Nick Newlife (above) placed a wager of 1,520 pounds on Federer in 2003,  betting that Federer would win Wimbledon seven times by the year 2019.
It was a hell of a risky bet at that time, as Federer had just won his first Wimbledon that year.
But Sunday it came true, only Newlife wasn’t around to collect the 100,000 pounds he was owed. He died in 2009.
Instead, the international charity Oxfam,  a poverty-fighting group whom Newlife had left his worldly possessions and money to, received all the money as a donation.

Even in death, Nick Newlife was a generous soul. And even in victory, Roger Federer turns out to be a hell of a charitable fellow.

What I won’t miss about being a sportswriter. R.I.P., Lorenzo Charles. And ordering a lawyer like pizza

Follow me on Twitter here. Check out my daily Wimbledon blog here.

So yesterday in this space I wrote about all the things I will miss most about being a sportswriter. And believe me, there’s been plenty of wonderful things about my career.
But you know, it hasn’t all been peaches and ice cream, as a famous philosopher once said.
Here are some of the things I definitely won’t miss:

–Obnoxious parents. Of high school athletes. Who call or email or better yet, accost you in person and want to know why you favor Team X or Player Y instead of their perfectly wonderful child who oh by the way averaged three points per game last year. I was once told by a Mom that I’d “ruined her daughter’s life forever” when we didn’t pick her kid for player of the year. Somehow, I think the kid has survived.
— The awful feeling when your story changes right before deadline. An Auburn kicker named Wes Byrum once ruined my entire night by kicking a game-winning field goal against Florida in the final seconds. I’d already written my column and was about to file it. Then the dude hits like a 49-yarder and I’m cursing him and furiously re-writing at the same time.

— Athletes who are so not big-time acting like they are, and treating you like scum for daring to invade their space to ask a few questions.

— Getting locked inside stadiums. When you’re the last one to leave because you’re working while everyone else is driving home, it happens. At least three times, it happened to me. One time I had to call the cops. He was chuckling as he got out of the car, I swear.

— The “hurry up and wait” parts of the job. We rush down to the locker room, only to twiddle our thumbs for 20 minutes while the players spent an eternity hiding in the showers.

— The awful feeling when you wake up in bed at 3 a.m., bolt upright, and think “Dammit, did I call him Kelly instead of Keith in my story?” And knowing there’s nothing you can do about it.

Ah, the 3 a.m. sweats. I take it back; I will miss those.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

**There are some athletes who have only one truly memorable moment in their careers. But their moments happen on such a huge stage, that one moment is all they need.
I’m talking about Larry Mize in golf. Timmy Smith in football. And Mr. Lorenzo Charles, former power forward for the 1983 N.C. State basketball team.
He was on the other end of the most famous alley-oop in college basketball history, dunking in a wild shot from teammate Dereck Whittenburg in the ’83 NCAA title game and giving the Wolfpack the national title.

It was, of course, followed by the iconic image of Jim Valvano dashing onto the court and looking for someone to hug. Charles, who I always remember looking a little confused after his winning shot, died Monday in Raleigh, when the bus he was driving crashed on I-40.

From all accounts, he was a warm, generous man who will be sorely missed.
But he’ll always be remembered for one glorious moment in ’83.

**Finally today, this story left me brimming with questions. A new service called Lawyer Up Now guarantees its subscribers that if they get into a jam and need an attorney, one will be delivered to you in 15 minutes.
First of all, it takes 30 minutes for Domino’s to get a pizza to me (not that I eat their swill; I much prefer Papa John’s), but you’re telling me I can get a dude to advise me in half that time?
Secondly, what, are there lawyers for this company just manning a call center, waiting for a call and then dashing off across town? I picture them as, like, low-rent superheroes in suspenders and a tie, just waiting for that legal emergency.
My guess is the only people using this service are drunk college kids at 3 a.m. on the weekends.
Come to think of it, there’s a lot of those around. Could be a lucrative business.

A glorious day as marriage equality comes to New York. A crazy soccer celebration. And the shot of Wimbledon

Follow me on Twitter here. And check out my daily Wimbledon blog here.

“New York made a powerful statement. Not just for the people of New York, but people all across this nation. We reached a new level of social justice this evening.” — Governor Andrew Cuomo

Today is a glorious day for those who believe we really are all created equal.
A glorious day for the opponents of intolerance and bigotry, and hatred.
Just before 11 p.m. Friday night, the New York state senate passed a law that will finally allow gay couples to marry in the state.

The third-most populous state in these United States has made it legal for gays and lesbians to do the most simple and time-honored tradition known to man: get married.

It was a spectacular, spine-tingling moment, hearing the roll called, then the vote total announced, followed by whooping and cheering and chants of “U-S-A!” going up in the New York state capitol building.

Major kudos to the four Republicans who voted for this bill, though I continue to fail to see why this is a left/right political issue. The Republicans who voted for it deserve a lot of credit.

And young Governor Cuomo is quickly establishing himself as a serious political force. He’s gotten NY’s unions to agree to concessions, is on his way to balancing the budget, and had a major role in getting this legislation passed. Maybe we were just one generation too early, expecting a President Cuomo.

It’s a wonderful day for all who believe in equal rights. Take it away, Sam Cooke…

**Couple quick videos to entertain you on this Saturday. First a very cool shot by Lleyton Hewitt at Wimbledon the other day. He lost the match, but this was an incredible play:

And then a very cool celebration by a soccer player for the Seattle Sounders after he scores a goal. Watch the replay starting at 0:58 to see a pretty cool move:

HBO examines Neda’s life in Iran. A great career that should exist. And those Lohans love them some Carvel!

**Just a reminder that if you’re into Wimbledon, you can check out my daily blog about tennis here.

It’s been a little over a year since a real revolution tried and failed to take hold in Iran.
What was an amazing display of courage, hope and faith in each other by the young people of that country spread throughout the world last June. Despite attacks from the police, despite the threats from the Ayatollah, millions of Iranians risked their lives to protest a hugely fraudulent election.

One of those people was Neda Agha-Soltan. She was a beautiful young girl who decided to get involved in the protests. When video of her being shot to death, then dying in the street in Tehran, hit YouTube, she became an incredible worldwide symbol of the disgusting repression of Iran, and the stakes the Iranians were fighting for.

HBO debuted a documentary about Neda a few weeks ago, called “For Neda.” and I watched it Sunday. It’s tremendous. Using interviews with her family, friends, and witnesses to her murder, you get a picture of who Neda was, far beyond the horrible, bleeding image we know of her.

She was one woman, among hundreds and thousands of others who were beaten and killed last summer. Things have not changed much in Iran since the Green Revolution was squashed. A dictator is still in power. The state still runs everything. But read this hopeful essay by an Iranian journalist in Newsweek, and believe that while last summer didn’t topple the regime, it’s certainly the beginning of the end.

Check out the HBO documentary when you have a chance (it’s running all month). Look at the faces of those who marched for justice.

You won’t be able to forget them so quickly.

**These are the kinds of things that my wife and I talk about: Something came on the radio the other day that made me think of mimes.

“You know it would be really hard to do an interview with a mime,” Julie said.
“You know what would be a great career? Being a transcriber for mime interviews with other mimes,” I replied.
“Totally. You could just sit there the whole time, and at the end of your shift, just hand in a blank piece of paper.”

Yeah, we’re a little strange. But we amuse each other, and isn’t that the key to a good marriage?

**If you grew up in the Northeast, you know all about the glory of Carvel ice cream. Soft serve at its finest, with the great Tom Carvel doing the voice on the commercials. They had Fudgie the Whale (above, right), Cookiepuss, the whole gang.

Well, apparently some people love Carvel a little too much. The fine folks at the company decided to give some celebrities a “black card” entitling them to free ice cream. A little good publicity, right?

Except the Lohan clan of Long Island just can’t play by the rules. Mom Dina and the clan abused the card so much in a six-month period that the store had to actually cut them off, and explained that the celebrities are the ones who are supposed to use the card, not their soul-sucking parents. Turns out Mom even called the cops to get her Carvel card back.

No Flying Saucers for her!

Two incredible sports events thrill me Wednesday. And buh-bye, Mr. McChrystal

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.