The Play by Play
Ryder Cup Rematch
This past weekend golf enthusiasts, or perhaps those looking to take an excellent nap (there’s just something about the tone of the entire broadcast that causes eyelids to droop), tuned in to watch the 82nd Masters Tournament. Familiar faces graced the leaderboard during the four day tournament. However, it was two players – Patrick Reed and Rory McIlroy – who found themselves in Sunday’s top pairing. The two faced off in a rematch of one of the most epic Ryder Cup showdowns in recent years and fans tuned in hoping to see a similar back and forth. Unfortunately however, this final round came without the stare downs and finger pointing, as McIlroy struggled to keep up and ultimately finished tied for 5th. The most exciting part of Sunday was probably Jordan Spieth flying up the leaderboard. Despite falling just two shots short of Reed (the ultimate winner of the green jacket), Spieth can now claim to be one of only seven to shoot a 64 on the final day of the tournament. That means he birdied half the holes he played. Impressive.
Tragedy in Saskatchewan
Friday evening a bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos, a Canadian junior hockey team, collided with a tractor trailer in rural Saskatoon. Fifteen (10 players between the age of 16-21 and 5 staff) were killed, thirteen remain hospitalized, and one has been released. The twenty nine individuals on board, including coaches, players and broadcasters, were traveling to a semi-final game in Nipawin when the accident occurred. While the cause of the collision remains unclear it is, unfortunately, not the first at this intersection. A family from British Columbia was also killed in a traffic accident at Armley Corner in 1997. The tragedy has been felt far beyond the borders of Saskatchewan, particularly within the NHL. Many professional hockey players sadly recognized that it could just have been them, as they started their careers on such junior teams and know first hand about the long bus rides. Before their games this week, teams acknowledged and paid tribute to those affected by the incident. Many arenas held a prolonged moment of silence. A few teams contributed directly to the GoFundMe page set up to help the victims. And two, the Winnipeg Jets and Chicago Blackhawks, wore jerseys with the word “Broncos” in place of their own individual names.
The Faces and Facts
Featured Female – Bethany Hamilton (Surfing): At the age of 13, in Lihue, Hawaii, Bethany was attacked by a shark and subsequently lost her left arm. Rather than hanging up her board, Hamilton continued surfing, both for fun and professionally, winning multiple first place medals in competitions around the world. She has also started her own foundation to support shark attack survivors and amputees.
James Paxton (Baseball): A pitcher for the Seattle Mariners who grabbed national headlines during the Minnesota Twins’ home opener. During the pregame ceremony, a bald eagle was released from the outfield, with a second handler prepared to catch it in the infield. The bird, however, had other plans, circling Paxton and actually attempting to land directly on his shoulder. James played it far cooler than most would when an exceptionally large bird of prey approaches, standing relatively still and allowing the situation to play out. For that, he won Men’s Health #manliestmoment of the week.
Conor McGregor (UFC): A member of the UFC who was arrested over the weekend for assault. McGregor and a few friends entered Barclays Center and proceeded to throw rocks at a bus containing numerous UFC fighters. His actions resulted in the hospitalization of one fighter and the cancellation of 3 matches.
NHL Playoffs (Hockey): Sixteen teams have made it into the 2018 playoffs, which culminate in the Stanley Cup Finals. Las Vegas and Pittsburgh look to make history – as the first team to win in its inaugural season and as one of only a few teams to win three straight championships- but if those aren’t your teams, fear not. Check out the first round schedule and find the games you want to watch!
Chicago Bulls v. Detroit Pistons (Basketball): One of the NBA’s great rivalries, dating back to the 1980s, when the Pistons eliminated the Bulls from the playoffs three years in a row. Finally, in 1991 Chicago came out on top and went on to win the championship (Michael Jordan’s first). The Pistons, known back then as the Bad Boys of basketball, famously walked off the court following their loss without shaking hands with the Bulls players. Because neither team is looking to make it into this year’s playoffs, which start on Saturday, this will be the final game of their seasons. Tip off is on Wednesday, April 11th at 8pm EST.
The Social Hour
Sometimes it is just fun to see athletes having fun. This past week, members of the Charlotte Hornets basketball team jumped on the “rapping nursery rhyme” bandwagon. An LA radio host started it all by asking various hip hop artists to freestyle rap the children’s book Llama Llama Red Pajama and the end result has been amazing video after amazing video. Ludacris, DJ Khaled and now the Charlotte Hornets count themselves as member of this hilarious group. Talk about widening an audience!