Wow…is this month action packed with sports or what! The Stanley Cup Finals, the NBA Finals, US Open, College World Series and the granddaddy of them all (at least worldwide), the World Cup.
First, a few quick notes on the Stanley Cup. What an amazing 2010 season it was, along with a fantastic Olympics. The first round of the playoffs was the best I’ve ever seen, so many games were competitive and both Montreal and Philadelphia made some stellar runs. Congrats to the Blackhawks and their fans on the win. I feel a little bad for the fans as they were cheated slightly that dynamic initial celebration since only Kane knew they won. I’m glad to see the quailty of hockey be so entertaining as the Finals this year were fun to watch. We seem so far removed from the plodding, neutral zone trap, dump and chase brand a decade ago. From an arena perspective, when I went to the Flyers/Thrashers game to visit Wachovia Center on March 21st, I never, NEVER would have imagined the Cup be skated on that ice less than three months later. Their goaltending (Boucher) was so suspect in that game, it seemed they wouldn’t even make the playoffs. Just an incredible three month stretch that team had. From a fan’s perspective in watching the games, I would much prefer Wachovia over the United Center, because that Chicago’s building seems so cavernous and the noise gets lost. Hopefully, I’ll learn if that’s true or not live. In the meantime, losing Chicago Stadium is just as much of a shame now as it was 15 years ago.
Shifting gears to soccer, I am pumped for the World Cup and really looking forward to the U.S. game tomorrow. I feel like this go-round, the event has garnered a little more fan and media interest in the U.S….which is great. The FIFA website has a wonderful guide to all of the Stadiums being used in South Africa for the event. These are beautiful facilities with a wide range of old and new. From Green Point Stadium and Durban Stadium to Ellis Park and Soccer City, there is quite a variation in design. Not sure which is my favorite yet, but I’ll have to settle on taking a closer look at them on the HD.
And lastly, don’t forget the College World Series starts June 19th in Omaha and this is sadly the last one in Rosenblatt Stadium. I wrote briefly about this last year and it is awful this is the last one there in a perfectly fine stadium. What really makes this crappy is the whole experience around the ballpark and neighborhood will likely be lost once they move to the new park. So soak it all in for one last ride and count yourself lucky if your there.