Today marks the beginning of the 2014 World Cup. And, I'm excited for it! It's the best soccer (futbol) you're going to see at any time...truly great athletes playing a compelling game.
But, the World Cup also marks the start of what I'll call my own "sports bridge to football."
Since I'm not a big baseball or golf fan the June-late August period is often devoid of anything interesting to in the world of sports. But this year there are three things I think will do the trick to get me from now to that magical time of the year called "football season."
Perhaps you may find interest in these events too:
First up is indeed the World Cup - mid-June to mid-July. You can bet I'll be rooting for the USA as my #1 teem to support, but the odds are they won't go far. So, I've picked a few backup teams to root for that might do better. First, England. I've got English heritage, English friends and English players are among the best in the world. After that, I like Chile (fast paced offensive style), Netherlands (just like the country) and Uruguay (liked how they played last time).
Next up is the Tour de France - July. This is a highly compelling event for me. The team aspect, the individual races (overall leader, sprint champ, king of the mountains), scenery, strategy and sheer endurance make this a wonderful athletic event to watch. Has it been marred by doping scandal in the recent past? Yes. But, so has baseball with steroids. Like baseball, cycling has cleaned up its act and what you're seeing is (as far as anyone can tell) legit. And I love it. I'll be watching. I'll be rooting for any American who can get himself into the top 5 overall (TJ Vangardren may be the guy) and some favorites (Sagan for sprint points, Cavendish for sprint finishes, Jens Voigt...he's 40-something and still going strong...and a few others).
As a kicker, I'll be doing the Seattle to Portland (STP) bike ride during the Tour. So, I'll be participating in a cycling event as well as watching one on TV.
Sounders FC - July onward. Yes, more soccer. It's my local MLS club and they feature a great record and stars (Dempsey, Yedlin, Martins, Neagle and Alonzo to name a few). This is a fun club to watch and I think they have a real shot of going far this season. I'll be watching them on TV and also attending a home match Aug. 30 - the same day college football kicks off.
So, that'll be the end of the bridge. I'll be safely across the chasm and into the fat of my own annual sports schedule rooting for my Oregon Ducks and Seattle Seahawks.
And hey, if the Seattle Mariners somehow emerge after June above .500 I may take some interest in them too. I'm on record as being an out-and-out fair weather fan when it comes to the Ms. If or when they are good (not often) I'll take interest.