With a career that revolves around sports, I sometimes forget to simply watch sports as a fan.
When I spend most of my work week tracking statistics for any number of events, sometimes the last thing I want to do is watch more sports in my free time. Even worse, having to keep stats just to keep me interested in a game or match.
Saturday, however, was one of those days that reminded me the only reality television I really enjoy watching is the original reality programming: sports on television.
Let me apologize right now to my wife and daughter for doing nothing other than watching sports Saturday. I did make up for it, however, on Sunday — which I’ll get into later.
Anyway, for whatever reason I woke up at 6 a.m. and couldn’t go back to sleep. I realized the French Open men’s championship match was being played so while it wasn’t breakfast at Wimbledon, it was coffee at the French as I watched Novac Djokovic take the first set from Rafael Nadal. I saw the first few breaks of the second set, noticed Rafa won set No. 2 and was well on his way to his ninth French Open title in 10 years. Nadal is the best player to ever set foot on clay and No. 2 is not even close.
I spent about two hours with the tennis match before taking the dog out to play fetch and run some errands. I brought lunch back home and settled in for the San Jose Earthquakes-Toronto FC Major League Soccer game. Injuries blunted San Jose’s attack and a dubious penalty called against the Quakes led to the game’s only goal in the first half.
With more than six hours up on a Saturday and full tummy, I napped through the second half of the soccer game — and woke up just in time to catch some Belmont Stakes pregame programming, while at the same time, flipping over to the U.S.-Nigeria soccer game.
The U.S. Men’s National Team was playing its final tune-up game ahead the World Cup and striker Jozy Altidore looks ready to break out as he snapped a long scoreless drought to score both American goals.
The Belmont Stakes had California Chrome trying to make the record books with a Triple Crown campaign, only to fade fourth and become the latest hopeful to fall short.
But the race was a mere warmup as Chrome’s co-owner, Steve Coburn, gave one of the all-time best “sour grapes” interview of all time. He chastised and even insulted a number of other horses and their syndicates, saying by not racing in the first two legs of the Triple Crown — the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes — they were ganging up on Chrome to deny him the win.
“Coward’s way out,” was a direct quote. Even better, however, was when the camera and microphone captured Coburn’s wife poo-pooing her husband’s acerbic interview, to which he responded, “I don’t care!”
Coburn finally came out with an apology Monday, but I found it refreshing for someone to finally have the guts to say what was on his mind. Coburn and his partner had been lauded for their rough-around-the-edges personas in the decided prim and proper world of high-stakes horse racing. Who else would you expect to call these blue-bloods “cowards?”
After the race, I spent a little time watching the Oakland A’s-Baltimore game, missing the histrionics with Baltimore’s Manny Machado, while also taking in some of Game 2 of the NHL Stanley Cup finals. I left it with the New York Rangers holding a 4-2 lead after two periods and was shocked to learn the L.A. Kings tied it and then won in overtime.
At this point, I jokingly told my wife I could spend the rest of the day watching sports and, when she didn’t balk at the idea, it was on to the Giants-New York Mets game. San Francisco starting pitcher Tim Hudson struggled, but the offense bailed him out with a Michael Morse walk-off single.
With nearly 14 hours of sports under my belt, it was time to chalk up Saturday to being a good day, knowing there was more Sunday.
After a day of watching sports Saturday, I decided to become a participant Sunday.
I floated the idea Saturday to my wife I’d like to go to the beach Sunday and take my daughter bodyboarding for the first time. It was triple digits by 1 p.m. at home Sunday and took almost two hours to get to Half Moon Bay, where the temperature was nearly 40 degrees cooler than the valley.
I rented a wetsuit and a couple boards and headed out to El Granada’s Surfers Beach, right next to the jetty off of Highway 1.
The waves weren’t massive, which was fine for my daughter, who took to the board and water like a natural. Faces were in the four- to six-foot range at their max, but pretty mushy and surprisingly fast, making it difficult to actually ride the waves.
It’s the first time in several years that I’ve actually been on a bodyboard — the last being about seven years prior with my then-4-year-old daughter. Before that, I would say it had been about 25 years since I’d been out there.
Both dad and daughter had a great time and my daughter has already asked about going again. Maybe I’m about to revisit my youth again? This dad stuff is alright.
Nathan Mollat can be reached by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: 344-5200 ext. 117. He can also be followed on Twitter @CheckkThissOutt.