Last week, I had plans for two events on Saturday ó checking out the C.C. Fuel soccer game (which was unfortunately cancelled) and stopping by Crude City Roller Derbyís first bout of the season.
These certainly werenít the kinds of things I imagined doing when I started sports reporting full-time. But I couldnít help but think how much better it was than sitting on the couch watching Sports Center run the same old stuff.
The U.S. has always had a bit of tunnel vision when it comes to the world of sports. Major professional sports are pretty much centered around baseball, basketball and, of course, football.
While myself and many others are frustrated with the recent developments of two lockouts and several recruiting scandals dominating the news, something seems to be lost in the shuffle.
This past weekend there were three major sports stories. The first was Derek Jeterís performance in reaching the 3,000 hit milestone. After years of being Mr. Yankee, Jeter not only joined an elite fraternity, but did it in spectacular fashion.
Two hits shy before Saturdayís game against Tampa Bay, Jeter went 5-for-5. Hit number 3,000 was a home run and hit 3,003 broke a 4-4 tie and eventually won the game. You canít script such an achievement any better.
So, what was story No. 2?
Oh yeah, the U.S. Womenís Soccer team beat Brazil in a shootout to advance to the World Cup Semifinals against France (A game that will have taken place by the time you read this).
No big deal, right?
Donít get me wrong ó the game received plenty of publicity. But itís hard to gauge if it will change the sports culture we see in this county.
Baseball is Americaís pastime and football is Americaís game. But soccer is the worldís sport. Unfortunately, history has shown that the sport has struggled to make the same presence in the U.S. as it enjoys in other countries around the globe.
While strides have been made, with Major League Soccer growing from 10 to 18 teams in the last 15 years, soccer still sits behind the likes of Derek Jeter-type events. The bottom line is that not being part of the big three sports means you stand at the end of the line.
According to most reports, the NFL will most likely be reaching a new collective bargaining agreement in the next few weeks.
While this would mean no lost time to the 2011 season, it also means that more than likely the American tunnel vision will continue.
Iíll be the first to admit that itís hard to break convention. But having worked with soccer teams, boxers, power lifters and roller derby girls in the last few weeks, it makes me think that maybe itís time to stop for a moment and take a look around.
After all, the third big story from last weekend was NBA All-Star Deron Williams announcing that he will be playing basketball overseas during the lockout. To add complexity to the matter, Williams hinted that he may not be the only NBA star to do so. Seems like we may be losing a lot more than just a few games from our major sports.
For now, I say you put a hold on getting an NFL ticket this year. Trust me ó both the C.C. Fuel and Crude City Roller Derby are worth getting off the couch.