Sports, Sports, Sports – A Bit of Prevention Goes a Long Way to Beating Sports-Related Injuries

   The last month has been jam-packed with a lot of exciting play for sports fans. The Miami Heat clinched its second straight NBA title by beating the San Antonio Spurs on June 20 in Game 7, 95-88. The Chicago Blackhawks snagged its second Stanley Cup in three years in Game 6 of the NHL finals in Boston on June 24 in a rousing finish with back-to-back goals. There were injuries, naturally – such as a collision in Game 6 of the NBA Finals that caused Dwyane Wade’s left knee to swell very badly when he was already suffering with an injured right knee. Chicago Blackhawks Captain Jonathan Toews got hit in the head and sat out part of Game 5, while Andrew Shaw took a puck to the face in the first period of Game 6, but returned in the second period after receiving stitches. For those that enjoy their spectator sports with a bit more starch and less blood, how about Wimbledon, which officially started on June 24 with fifth-ranked Rafael Nadal getting knocked out for the very first time in the first round of a Grand Slam! On June 20, Abby Wambach broke Mia Hamm’s record for international career goals by a soccer player, scoring four times in the first half against South Korea to increase her total to 160. While I was watching her the next day on Good Morning America with a recap of one of the goals she scored by heading the ball, I thought about the number of sports- and recreation-related injuries and concussions suffered every year by professional and amateur athletes alike.

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Flushing Meadows … Rolling Ghettos and Tennis In Between

Jeff and I enjoy watching tennis as much as playing tennis. So we look forward to watching the four Grand Slams when they air – either on network TV or streaming from ESPN. This year the streaming quality from ESPN was sketchy, but we still managed to watch enough tennis to get our fill. It is our ultimate dream to attend the US Open in person one day – my sister has done so at least three times for free – thanks to a connection she has, or had. Ironic, considering she doesn’t play tennis and really has no interest in the game other than to rub shoulders with celebrities. Reflections on Flushing Meadows – The 2012 US Open The closest I have ever gotten to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center was when I flew out of LaGuardia Airport in late August 2010 and got a spectacular birds-eye view of the entire complex. My daughter and I had been staying at a hotel where some of the qualifiers were staying and we spotted many others in Midtown – very cool, indeed. I was rooting for Andy Murray to win his first Grand Slam – the guy tries so hard and always seems to be the runner-up … with the exception of this summer’s Olympics. I was very happy to see him beat Novak Djokovic in what turned out to be a mind-blowing, exhausting 5-set match. It was very windy, but not as bad as it was during Murray’s match against Tomas Berdych – that was downright insane.

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Geico Commercials

Ugh. While watching a US Open match this week, I was forced to endure one of those lame, stupid, annoying and played-to-death Geico commercials. This one features their dumb “Caveman” trying to hit tennis balls flung at him by a ball machine next to which Billie Jean King sits. At first I thought it was a new one, but Betsy thought it wasn’t. After some quick research I found she was right. It originally came out last year. If you haven’t seen it already, here it is if you dare: I have to say these caveman commercials are the worst, but I detest all of their various ad campaigns. The Gecko, the Question Guy… oh I almost forgot the “money eyes” which were almost as horrid. There are others. Perhaps I’m being unreasonable, but I would not go to Geico for my auto insurance no matter how much money they would save me.

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Ode to Public Tennis Courts

Jeff and I are tennis fanatics and love to play, but we do not have the funds to join a private tennis club, especially now that I am unemployed. So we play on park district tennis courts or sometimes at the nearby high school. The behaviors that we have encountered on these courts could fill a novel, but I will highlight some of the most memorable ones in this blog. The major problem is that the park district tennis courts seem to have been built as afterthoughts – erected after the playgrounds and baseball fields which are in very close proximity. Our favorite court is a single one amid a lovely pastoral field with very beautiful houses on the perimeter. Alas, the brainiacs did not build this lovely tennis court with a fence – it is open and quite close to the playground with a path leading to the court. Just today we had the pleasure of a very odd man riding his bicycle in circles on the concrete abutting the court. Then he suddenly stopped riding and sat on his bike for 15 minutes watching us play. After he rode off to a nearby bench and continued to watch us from afar, a 2-year-old boy toddled over to the court followed by his slightly older brother and dad. He started to scream and the dad decided to play catch with both boys way too close to the court. After a few minutes of this, they went back to the playground, only to return two more times. The last time, Jeff tried to tell him that this was distracting, and he replied, “That’s OK, keep playing, you aren’t bothering us!” This particular distraction happens way too frequently. The parents appear totally oblivious that we are actually trying to play tennis and have let…

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Tennis Musings

Shortly after finding myself unemployed in mid-June for the first time in 20 years, Jeff and I decided to take our tennis obsession to a new level and attend our first USTA event. We had the nice opportunity on a weekday to see several good matches at the Nielsen USTA Pro Tennis Tournament in lovely Winnetka, Ill. I had nearly forgotten about this beautiful day in late June until three players surfaced front and center at the US Open, which Jeff and I have been watching religiously. Although Nielsen runner-up Bobby Reynolds was  eliminated in the first round of the US Open by David Nalbandian, it was nice to see him honored on Tuesday night as a member of the Washington Kastles, who won the 2011 World Team Tennis Championships. It was very exciting to see veteran journeyman Michael Russell give Andy Roddick a run for his money in round two. He won Set 3 6-4 and inevitably went down in Set 4, 7-5, but what a gutsy  performance. Not bad for a 33-year-old whose greatest claim to fame was getting to the final round of 16 at the 2001 French Open. I think his guns have gotten even more impressive than they were in June – his arms are really enormous. And then of course Chicago boy Donald Young, who showed such promise as a junior champion but has struggled as an adult. Donald displayed bad boy behavior at Nielsen, screaming profanities at the umpire, even losing a point due to his antics. I found it hard to root for him even though he was clearly the better player that day and did win his match after calming down. I missed his spectacular 5-set US Open win over good-natured Stan Wawrinka, but did catch part of the press conference. He needs to learn some humility and grow…

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