Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Let The Games Begin

TigerBlog asked TigerBlog Jr. the following question: If you could go to any sporting event in the world, what would it be.

His answer? The Super Bowl. Or the Duel in Denver.

For those who don't know, the Duel in Denver is a rematch of the 2010 World Lacrosse Championship final between the United States and Canada, to be held in Denver in September.

So, let's stick with the first part of his answer.

The Super Bowl.

What would it be for you?

Super Bowl? World Series? NCAA basketball Final Four?

The more TigerBlog thought about it, were he able to attend any single sporting event in the world, he'd probably choose the World Cup.

His answer makes him chuckle, because it wasn't that long ago that international soccer bored him. The last two World Cups, though, have been great television, and TB's experience at the Costa Rica-El Salvador World Cup qualifier last month has only heightened his interest.

TB was overwhelmed by the sheer level of fervor among the two fan bases at that game, and at that moment, he realized why the U.S. doesn't compete at the top level in the sport. It's not a talent issue; it's that the country simply doesn't care nearly as much as its competitors, and that makes it hard to win.

When the list of sporting events that sports fans would love to attend is made, the Olympics of course would be part of it as well.

TB has never really had that much interest in attending the Olympics. If not for the World Cup, then TB would put the Super Bowl second.

The Olympics, as you might have heard, start this weekend in London.

TB was a big Olympics fans as a kid, went through a phase where he didn't really care much about them and now has reached the level where he's back to tuning in.

He has three main problems with the Olympics, the first of which is shared by millions of others. The TV coverage at times can be a tad overdone with the glorification of the athletes and the need to paint as many as possible as having overcome terrible adversity. Some have; most haven't.

Then there's the jingoism of the Games. Why should TigerBlog blindly root for every American athlete just because he's an American? What if the American is a jerk and the Canadian is nice? What if the Americans are huge favorites, like in basketball, and the underdog is making a serious run?

Lastly, TB struggles with how much he feels badly for the people who finish fourth.

Princeton has had at least one athlete at every Summer Olympiad except for the 1960 games in Rome.

The 2012 London Games will feature 16 current or former Princeton athletes, which is the largest contingent the school has produced.

The group of 16 is split between field hockey, rowing, track and field, soccer and fencing.

If you're looking for your jingoistic dilemma, are you going to root for the Americans or Canadians in the women's 8, given that the American boat has one Princeton alum (Caroline Lind) and the Canadian boat has two (Andreanne Morin and Lauren Wilkinson)?

You can apply the same logic, by the way, to women's soccer, where Princeton alum Diana Matheson plays for the Canadians.

Then there's the Australian men's rowers, who will be coached by former Princeton coach Curtis Jordan.

The U.S. field hockey run will be interesting to watch, after the Americans qualified for the games after defeating Argentina, who has as good a chance of winning it all as anyone.

And of course, every Princeton alum and fan will be checking in to see if Donn Cabral can make it to the final in the steeplechase.

Tune in. To Cabral, the Princetonians and everyone else.

It's not quite the World Cup, but the Olympics are fine too.

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