Hey there, sports fans.
I went to my first golf lesson today. My instructors were…impressed. Kind of. But I think what impressed them most was how bad I was at times.
“Señor, you have two swings. One swing is muy bonito. One swing is no muy bonito.”
They’re so polite here. It’s actually kind of cute. Well, they didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know. What I’m not sure of is where my ugly swing came from.
However I acquired it, acquire it I did. Now all I have to do is figure out how to get rid of it. Hopefully, the lessons will help with that. The lessons cost 75 pesos, around four bucks. Life here so incredibly… economical. Among other things.
Last week, my golf wife, Phyllis, came up with a plan for world golf domination. Now that we’re both members of the Chapala Country Club, were going to play nine holes on Monday. I take golf lessons on Tuesday, she goes on Wednesday. Play nine holes on Thursday, and eighteen holes on Saturday.
We’ll see how that goes. My scores right now vary anywhere from the low fifties to the low sixties for nine holes, depending on how many times I utilize my very ugly swing, I suppose.
If I actually get any better at golf, you’ll be the next to know.
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Well, in case you weren’t aware, the Minnesota Vikings ended their run to the Super Bowl last Sunday by playing their worst game of the season against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Final score: 38-7. The Eagles scored 38 points, not the Vikings.
It wasn’t the best way to finish what had been a pretty remarkable season for them. The Vikings scored on their first drive, and that was probably a good thing. I don’t think they came close to scoring for the reminder of the game.
On the bright side, it wasn’t a nail biter/heartbreaker kind of loss. You know, where the game was tied and Philly scored late to win. This game was probably over before halftime. Vikings fans had a lots of time to come to terms with the fact that their team was going to get its ass kicked. Soundly.
That part does kind of suck. If only the best teams make it to the playoffs, how does a really good team get beat by 31 points?
Good question. Watching the game, I noticed a couple of things. The Vikings were out of position on most of the plays in that game, and the Eagles weren’t. Minnesota couldn’t do much right, and Philly didn’t do much wrong.
It’s rare, but sometimes it happens, and you never want to be the on the wrong side of that equation, especially in the playoffs. I look at it as good incentive for the Vikings next year. That loss is going to stick with them a long time. Far longer than it will with me.
I’m not a football player, or a coach. I just love watching the games.
My lovely supermodel wife and I used to attend Vikings games when we lived in Minneapolis. The Metrodome was five miles from our house. We went to one of their games when we lived in Arizona. University of Phoenix Stadium, home of the Cardinals, was eight miles from our house.
By the way, the Vikings clobbered the Cardinals that day. By the start of the fourth quarter, almost all of the Cardinals fans had left. When we walked out of the stadium at the end of game, it was all Vikings fans.
That memory still makes me smile.
* * * *
Being a sports fan in Minnesota isn’t easy. Minnesota has at least four men’s professional sports teams. The Vikings in football. The Twins in baseball. The Wild in hockey. And Timberwolves in basketball.
Additionally, Minnesota has a professional soccer team, I think. I suppose I could look on the Interweb and find out, but I’ve never been a big soccer fan. It is very popular here in Mexico, so maybe I’ll start watching it. Someday.
And, Minnesota also has a professional women’s basketball team. The Lynx.
Professional sports are a big deal not just in the US, but worldwide. If you doubt this, take a look at the salaries some professional athletes make. They’re outrageous! Be that as it may, it’s part of the world we created. And without the presence of these teams, Minnesota would essentially be, you know, Iowa.
Minnesota sports teams have historically let their fans down. Not just once. A lots of times. All of them.
It’s so bad that all of the Minnesota teams have nicknames denoting their high level of mediocrity. The Vikings/Viqueens. The Twins/Twinkies. The Timberwolves/Timberpups. The Wild/Mild.
I outlined the Vikings history of falling apart in the playoffs in my last post, and I don’t have the heart to repeat it again. If you’re at all interested, you can read about them there, or on the Wikipedia.
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The Minnesota Twins were a small market, mediocre team for a good part of their history. They did make it to the postseason a couple of times in the Sixties and Seventies, but they lost in the ACLS at least twice. But then there was a magical three year period from 1989 to 1991. The Twins won two World Series, beating National League teams from St Louis and Atlanta.
The Twins haven’t performed all that well in any of their subsequent postseason appearances. They haven’t been back to World Series since. Be that as it may, the Twins have given all of Minnesota something we don’t have to be athletically embarrassed about, and for that, I will always love the Twins, even if I’m not a big baseball fan.
I always thought baseball was kind of boring, especially on TV. Lea and I went to several Twins games back when they were really good. The Metrodome wasn’t the best venue for baseball. It probably wasn’t all that great for football, to be honest. I was very happy when the Dome was destroyed and both the Twins and the Vikings now have new stadiums.
We’re planning a trip back to Minnesota later this year. I definitely want to see the new stadiums. I’ve heard they’re both beautiful.
* * * *
The Minnesota Wild, our professional hockey team, has a history much like unto the Vikings. They play good hockey, sometimes even great hockey, during the regular season. Once the playoffs begin, they become mediocre at best. I don’t think they’ve ever made it to the Stanley Cup Finals.
I like hockey, but I’ve never been a huge hockey fan. It’s fast paced, and the puck goes about two hundred miles an hour. You really have to keep your eyes open to follow the game. There’s one strange thing about Canadian TV. We can see every Vikings game here in Mexico, but the Wild are almost always blacked out for some strange reason. If not for that kooky fact, I might be a much bigger hockey fan now.
I don’t watch much baseball or basketball. I might watch more if either the Twins or the Wolves were broadcasted by Canadian TV, but they aren’t. And there’s my lovely supermodel wife. While she does love football, she doesn’t love all sports equally.
I’d probably watch any sporting event, even knitting, if it was in an arena…
Lea and I used to go to hockey games when we lived in Minneapolis, and in Surprise. Arizona also has a hockey team, the Coyotes. Their arena is across the parking lot from University of Phoenix Stadium. I think I loved hockey fans far more than I loved hockey. Those guys were fucking hilarious.
Minnesota used to have a different hockey team, the North Stars. Much like the Wild, they tended to fall apart in the postseason, until they moved to Dallas and finally won the Stanley Cup. However, by then they were no longer a Minnesota team.
* * * *
The Timberwolves are the NBA team. They were a very bad basketball team until roughly 1997, when they made it to the playoffs several times, but never advanced to the NBA Finals. Ever.
They have a good, young team now. They might become a force to reckon with. Someday. Hopefully, soon.
I used to take my nephew, Michael, to Timberwolves games. He liked basketball, and their arena was maybe seven miles from our house. I can’t remember how many games we went to together, but I never saw the Wolves win a game in person.
Minnesota used to have another basketball team. From 1947 to 1959, the Minneapolis Lakers were a great basketball team. They were the one of the best teams ever in the NBA, and because they were so good they clearly didn’t belong in Minnesota, and they moved to Los Angeles. Where they have continued to be a very good basketball team.
* * * *
The Lynx are without a doubt the most successful current professional sports team, male or female, in all of Minnesota. The Lynx have qualified for the WNBA playoffs nine times. With four championships, the Lynx are tied with the Houston Comets for the most titles in WNBA history, and they have won more Western Conference championships than any other franchise.
Those gals are good, so they’ll probably move to New York. Or Florida. Or anywhere but Minnesota soon.
* * * *
Yah, and that’s about it from here regarding the Minnesota sports scene. The Vikings can practice their golf games, much like me, until August when their season starts again. Maybe they’ll win it all next year.
Basketball and hockey seasons are in full swing. I have no idea how either the Wild or the Timberwolves are doing. If either of them make it to the playoffs, I’ll probably watch their games, and cheer for them.
Baseball season probably starts in a couple of months. The Twins had a pretty good team last year. They might make some noise this year.
The Lynx will probably win their conference, and they might win another championship.
You never know. This might be the year for one of those teams, but they are Minnesota teams. And almost every sports season in Minnesota ends with these words:
There’s always next year…