TWIST: This Week in Sports Talk is a weekly recap of the three (and only three) things you need to know this coming week if you want to know how to talk about sports. Game on.
There’s drama, heartbreak and thrills in the world of sports this week. We begin with news of a working mom fighting hard to keep it all going. Serena Williams’ amazing comeback at the French Open – her first Grand Slam since becoming a mother 16 months ago – came to an end when she suffered a pectoral muscle tear and had to withdraw from the tournament. Her highly-anticipated match-up with Maria Sharapova had to be cancelled (Sharapova, who was benched for 15 months for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, proceeded to get blown out by Garbine Muguruza, which we view as karma for Sharapova’s continued churlishness toward Serena – really, girl, you just need to stop that. Now.) The experts say that Serena will be back for Wimbledon, and we’re all pulling for her. Get some rest, Serena! You are still the G.O.A.T.!
Meanwhile, Simona Halep of Romania won her first Grand Slam at Roland Garros yesterday, after losing her first three major finals, defeating American Sloane Stephens (who won the US Open last year). On the men’s side at the French, Rafael Nadal is playing Dominic Thiem at this very moment; Nadal is attempting to win his 11th French Open title.
And there’s a 13th Triple Crown winner! The unbeaten Justify completed the trifecta by winning the Belmont Stakes. The thoroughbred did not race as a 2-year-old, and had only five races on his short but impressive resumé prior to this race. The last horse to win the Triple Crown was American Pharaoh in 2015 – and he was trained by the same man as Justify, Bob Baffert. Prior to that, no horse had done it since 1978, when Affirmed won the Triple Crown.
For Those Who Do Not Follow Professional Sports, here’s what you need to know this week.
3 for the week of June 10, 2018:
1. NBA Finals. Must know: The Golden State Warriors swept the Cleveland Cavaliers and clinched the NBA national championship on Friday night, winning the series with a perfect 4-0. The Warriors have now won 3 of the last 4 national championships, and the word “dynasty” is one again being tossed around. The Warriors’ forward Kevin Durant was the break-out star of the tourney, and was awarded his second straight post-season MVP title. Nice to know: LeBron James of the Cavs gave interviews all week that sounded philosophical, and previewed what seemed to be his resignation at losing the series. Many think that LeBron is now done in Cleveland, but only time will tell — he can declare free agency next month. One poignant insight that came out after the game was that LeBron was playing with a broken right hand, the result of a “self-inflicted injury” after the team’s heart-breaking loss in Game 1. Extra credit: The General Manager of the rising-star Philadelphia 76’ers was fired after it was discovered that his wife was maintaining “burner” Twitter accounts and leaking sensitive information about the team.
2. NHL Stanley Cup victors. Must know: The NHL season concluded this week with a victory for the Washington Capitals, who took the series 4-1. Lord Stanley will be in the house in Washington for the first time since the team was established in 1974. It’s also the first major league sports title won by a D.C. team in 26 years. Nice to know: Alex Ovechkin, often referred to as “the Great Eight” or “Ovi”, is the captain of the Washington Capitals. Ovechkin, one of the very best players in the league, and now 33 years old, has finally won his first Stanley Cup. Extra Credit: Each player on the winning team gets to spend one night in possession of the Cup. What they choose to do is the stuff of legend. Over to you, Caps. Keep it classy.
3. It’s all about the AL East. Must know: The New York Yankees remain hot, as do the Boston Red Sox, making the American League East seriously fun to watch. As of this posting, the Yanks are a half game ahead of the Sox; the two teams have the best records in the majors right now. Nice to know: There’s a big Subway Series being played this weekend in New York, the first one this season, with the Mets and Yanks currently heading in opposite directions in the standings. As of this posting, the Mets have lost the first two games. Extra Credit: Slugger Aaron Judge set a new Yankees record playing a double-header against our hometown Detroit Tigers – he struck out 8 times. Like the song says, even the best fall down sometimes.
Finally, for those who cannot wait for the NFL season to begin (and you know who you are), here are a few tidbits to tide you over. In Patriots Nation, there is joy that Tom Brady and Gronk are back in training camp. Gronkowski, the horse, ran in the Belmont Stakes yesterday (the actual Gronk is his part owner) and came in second. He started out in last place, but made a late charge and almost won! Cool. The Pat’s wide receiver Julian Edelman is likely to be suspended for the first four games of the season for performance-enhancing drug use. So for those of you who are not members of Patriots Nation, this is your cue to declare “the Cheatriots are at it again!”
That’s it. You’re good to go. See you next week.