A day without sports isn’t all that bad | VailDaily.com

A day without sports isn’t all that bad

Daily Staff Report
Ian Cropp

Ciao, World Cup. Cheers, Wimbledon. See you later, baseball’s first half.Monday was a day of good-byes and much-needed rest in the sports world. Don’t get me wrong, I love sports, but every so often a little respite is welcome.Other than the Home Run Derby, which isn’t any more of a thrill than the World Curling Championships, there wasn’t one major sporting event Monday. I couldn’t even watch a polo match in Palm Beach, Fla., or a cricket test between Pakistan and England. Woe is me.What’s to be done in these trying times? Relax, reflect and opine. Let me start with the World Cup. When the planet’s premier tournament began, I couldn’t have been more pumped to wake up each morning and watch commercial-free games. Day after day, I listened to the announcers laud the “pure sublime performances” of strikers from Togo, Trinidad and Tobago and Tunisia. But after one month, the World Cup gets to be a little too much. I knew I’d lost my fervor for the game when half the reason I tuned in to Sunday’s game was so I could hear the announcers on Univision give a once-in-four-years goal call. I even skipped Saturday’s third-place game. When the Italian side won, I let out my own primal cry, but I also let out a sigh of relief. No longer would I have to yell at my TV for Italian players to get up after running into a perilous blade of grass, then suffering a near-death fall that necessitated the Red Cross to transport the player off the field, only to see the player run back onto the field moments later in what the announcers would laud as a heroic effort.

As wonderful as it was to see Italy win, I just couldn’t stomach the World Cup being decided by penalty kicks. When a crossbar is the reason that one teams sheds tears of joy and the other sheds tears of sorrow, I feel like an extra period would have made the loss a bit more bearable. Yeah, 120 minutes is an excessive amount of time to play soccer, but almost every other professional sports uses an infinite number of extra periods to decide a championship.Some people think that the World Cup should occur more often, but I think a four-year cycle is the perfect amount of time. The Olympics, presidential elections, and the revival of the mullet all come in four-year cycles. Let’s keep soccer in that prestigious group.A real day offOne group of guys who surely deserve a rest is the cyclist at the Tour de France. Monday, after eight days of riding about 920 miles, the riders had the day off. Most people wouldn’t drive that far. I’m even more impressed with the tenacity of the guys on two wheels considering the number of bloody crashes. Then there is Floyd Landis, the American who is racing on a hip that should have been replaced a while ago. Doctors marvel that this guy can walk, let alone hold down second place overall.I know that Lance Armstrong isn’t in this year’s race, but do I have to hear about it from every angle possible? Lance is probably sick of his post-Tour hype. Well, at least it’s better than the coverage European journalists gave Lance last year when they accused him of using drugs.

It was sad to see Glenwood’s Bobby Julich make an early exit from the Tour with a broken wrist. Let’s hope Landis can represent our country better than our soccer team.Are you ready for some football?With the NBA off the radar and NHL transactions coming to a slowdown, I wanted to see what was going on in the NFL. The first two team Web sites I went to had cheerleading features. Go team.Oh, the other big news is Todd Sauerbrun’s four-game suspension, which the league slapped on him after he tested positive for ephedra. For those of you who don’t know, Sauerbrun is the Broncos punter. Why a punter would ever take a performance-enhancing drug is beyond my comprehension.I’m glad there’s not much hype with the NFL yet. Other than who doesn’t show up to minicamp, I don’t need to know anything about the preseason. Oh, well I guess I’d like to know if my team’s starting quarterback sustains a season-ending injury during camp (If anyone on the Buffalo Bills defense is reading this, know that I really wouldn’t mind).Big Papi

If David Ortiz hits a homer into the Allegheny River and it isn’t a walk-off home run, does anyone care?The Home Run Derby is fun to watch, but I’d rather see the sluggers save their power for the All-Star game, when home-field advantage is at stake.After the fan-selected All-Star squads duke it out tonight, I’ll be able to concentrate on real baseball – the pennant races.So until the pigskin flies around the gridiron, I’ll have my mind on the boys of summer. Ah, now that’ll was relaxing.Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or icropp@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado

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