Monday, May 23, 2005

LONG WEEKEND, TALKING ABOUT SPORTS

I don't have much to say except I spent the weekend watching sports on TV and watching Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones on TV.

The Memorial Cup is going on so all the hockey fans are tuned into that and glued to their sets, and glued to Sidney Crosby, but I really don't care. It isn't the NHL. Mind you the NHL would have been ending by now anyway, most of the Canadian teams would have been defeated.

Read that Gary Bettman and Bob Goodenow had several hours of meetings last week and frankly, I think there will be a settlement soon. The NHL is under heavy pressure from advertisers who are wondering if they'll have a season or ever come back. Well, the pressure is finally on. Money talks, so now these two are talking. And I think they are close enough now on the issues to come to a settlement. They basically have to make a deal, now that the advertising people are on their case. If they lose the advertisers, well, that's their whole business up in smoke. And they have to figure out whether the NHL players will play in the Olympic Games, which is the biggest showcase the sport of hockey has in the world, period. Olympic hockey gets the highest ratings for this sport in the United States. And they also have to do something about a draft.

This NHL mess cannot go on for one more season. They have disgraced themselves and let down the fans, and frankly the fans are finding other things to do. So I predict they will be back. Besides, a lot of these NBA arenas are going to need tenants for the coming season, because it looks like those bozos are going to lock themselves right out. Unbelievable, and I thought the NBA was one of the leagues that actually had its act together. I guess not.

Anyway the official replacement for hockey here in Canada continues to be the movies. People were lined up in the streets to get into Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. See, this is what you get when people have no hockey to follow, they go nuts over Star Wars. And of course that movie set every box office weekend opening record you can think of. George Lucas is a rich man. So there you go, Canada is the land of movies.

The Stanley Cup playoffs of the film industry took place last week as well, the Cannes Film Festival, and they gave the Palme D'or to, well, neither David Cronenberg or Atom Egoyan. That's all I know, that's the only thing the press here cares about, whether a Canadian won. Instead they gave the prize to somebody from Belgium. Anyway it's been a big week for the movies.

This is the biggest week of the motor racing season, by the way as the Monaco Grand Prix was held this week and Bump Day took place at the Indy 500. Next week is the Indianapolis 500 and the big question is whether the Nextel Cup race, the Coca-Cola 600, beats it in the ratings again. The IRL is sure getting kicked by NASCAR, but the tragedy is that the IRL actually has really good racing and faster cars. I think it's a lot better than NASCAR but NASCAR has more personalities and appeals to the good ol' boys in middle America. The New York Times did some story thumbing its nose at NASCAR and treating it as some hick sport that appeals to all the rednecks in the red states and all that. They should wake up because NASCAR is taking over the world.

Personally, I am more of a fan of open-wheel racing. I prefer the Indy 500 and I like ChampCar, even though the series has had a lot of problems. I really like Formula 1. That actually is more of what I like to see, all these rich international playboy-type drivers with the fast cars and fast women, driving down the streets of Monte Carlo and hanging with the royals. I'm just not into this good ol' boy stuff that NASCAR has going.

Me, I'll still watch NASCAR, I think they've done a great job with the sport, but I happen to be a big Indianapolis fan and that Brickyard is truly the greatest venue to watch motor racing in the United States, much better than Daytona. Of course the track in Charlotte is a prestige venue for NASCAR as well and a great race in its own right. So I plan to watch BOTH races, the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600, back to back. One note of interest for ChampCar fans is that Sebastien Bourdais is competing at Indy. He won at the Toronto Molson Indy last year and won the overall ChampCar title.

I hope it's a better race than the one last year, the Indy 500. Last year it almost got rained out in mid-race, and then it resumed, and then the rains came at the end of the race to cut the whole thing short. Buddy Rice ended up winning the 500 in the pouring rain under a yellow flag. Anyway, the 500 is something I'll look forward to.

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