Sports Column

It always feels good when you make a prediction, and you end up hitting it right on the money. You bet that’s how I felt when Kansas and Memphis met in the title game and the Jayhawks won the national title. In my column in November, during the first week of the College Basketball season, my bold prediction was that the two teams would play each other in the championship and I had been picking Kansas to win it all since December.

Okay, I got my gloating in. Now it is time to talk about what’s on my mind regarding the world of sports.

Did anyone happen to catch the Masters this weekend?

While the Masters is golf’s Holy Grail of tournaments, this year’s version almost put me to sleep. The third-round leader, Trevor Immelman, cruised to victory by playing it safe and watched his competition choke when they had the chance to put pressure on him. Even Tiger Woods looked horrible on the putting green; I had not seen him struggle in that capacity for many years of major tournaments.

I know what you are probably thinking: “golf is boring anyway” or “why would I watch that sport?”

The intensity of the sport’s four majors is just incredible, especially when it comes to the Masters and the tradition of its winner getting the Green Jacket. Add in Tiger Woods, widely recognized as the most dominant athlete in sports, to a field of other legitimate contenders and we’ve got ourselves an intense tournament with the possibility of a down-to-the-wire finish.

Well, that is what usually can occur at the Masters. I have to admit that the tournament’s buildup had me counting down the days until last Thursday, but Augusta did not live up to its normal expectations.

Another sport which is losing its appeal recently is hockey. I really feel bad for the NHL and its lack of viewers during the hockey playoffs this year. What is going on here, Mr. Bettman?

Personally, this is a shame because there really is nothing like the NHL playoffs. It is tough to put the excitement of each game and arena’s atmosphere into words, but you will know what I mean if you get to watch an overtime game during the playoffs. These players leave it all on the line for over sixty minutes of hockey and battle it out for the opportunity to hoist up Lord Stanley’s Cup.

It seems like the NHL is using its star player, Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, to sell the playoffs to the viewing public by putting all of Washington’s games in primetime or on NBC. It is a good idea to get ratings, considering Ovechkin is one of the more exciting players to come into the league in the last 20 years. In my opinion, Bettman and the NHL are doing the right thing with Ovechkin because they need to use whatever sale techniques possible to keep the sport’s popularity intact. I am rooting for the sport of hockey and hoping that players like Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby and Jarome Iginla attract attention due to their exciting style of the play and the passion they bring to the ice.

Bold Prediction #1: Red Wings over Avalanche in the West, and the Rangers over the Penguins in the East. Then, I like the Detroit Red Wings winning the Cup in six.

Bold Prediction #2: The San Francisco Giants continue to be the worst team in baseball.

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