“Are you mad? That was the greatest goalkeeping performance by an American since Captain Robert Hatch in Escape to Victory.” – Azlan Rore, Junoir’s Rugby friend.
EL BARIO, BRONX – This week’s article was done by Thursday night as your good Deacon Blaber got an ultimatum from his wife to NOT mess up the holiday weekend. So this week’s sports bully pulpit will cover the latest/great American, Tim Howard, and his performance in the World Cup. Howard’s performance, as mentioned above, reminded onlookers of the greatest soccer movie ever, Escape to Victory. Also on the docket are some of the hysterical events of the NHL and the NBA off-season.
Tim Howard – USA Soccer has never been blessed with great goal scorers but it has had some fantastic goalkeepers. Maybe because the majority of American sports are hand sports, so it is an easier transition. Or maybe it’s that good goalkeeping is not about the natural feel and technical ability, like a striker, but more mechanical and reflex-based. Either way, from Kasey Keller to Brad Friedal to now… Tim Howard.
Through out the 3 group stage games, Howard did his best to keep the USA in it. The USA defense has looked a bit ropey, especially on that last-gasp goal to Portugal. However, that Belgium game was a masterclass in a goalie keeping his team in the game. 39 shots by Beer makers, 28 on target with 16 saves – a World Cup record. My lady is not a sports fan, so in describing the game to her, she summoned it up perfectly: “So, they did what the Rangers did to Lundqvist!?” Exactly!! They Lundqvisted him. He did all he could and if he could have made maybe one more save… the USA would have been in the quarterfinals.
Escape to Victory – The quote about Capt. Robert Hatch came from an online discussion with fellow ruggers. One guy claimed that the Belgians didn’t get enough shots on target to test Howard. For those of you that don’t know, Escape to Victory is the greatest soccer movie ever made. It is a far-reach movie, like The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh, yet fully entertaining. The move stars Sly Stallone as Captain Robert Hatch, an escaped POW who is sent back to the camp he escaped from, to help free the other POWs. In the movie, Zee Germans have organized a soccer game between German soldiers and prisoners. The POWs have Micheal Caine (the only real actor) and soccer legends Pele, Sir Bobby Charlton and more. Being the American, Hatch has to get on the team because the plan is for them to escape at halftime from a hole in the locker room. They break the first-choice keeper’s arm and voilia… Hatch is the goalie. Hatch learns quickly to be a keeper and shuts out the Germans in the first half. It is time for the escape but they guys change their minds because they want to take on the Germans and win the game. I will stop there and not spoil the ending. Thoroughly enjoyable, as long as you suspend belief in facts and history.
NHL Offseason – The main story out of NYC is that Rangers were going to buyout either Brad Richards or Rick Nash. It turned out to be Richards, who signed a 1-year deal with Chicago at a reduced 2 mil to fit in the cap constraints…Seems like Milk Carton Nash will be staying. Richards actually had some stats to show from the post-season while Nash was invisible.
NBA Offseason – Apparently, LeBron is out for maximum money. That’s fine, but if I was negotiating with him, I’d demand a no-cramp clause. Meanwhile from the Awkward Department, Carmelo Anthony and Jeremy Lin continue to plague each other. This time the Houston Rockets, not the Knicks, are in the middle. In their wooing Melo, they have a photo of him wearing a Rocket’s #7 jersey, since that is what Tony Big Balls always wears seven. Problem is the Houston 7 jersey belongs to Lin. It is that kind of awkward where you tell a buddy check out the girl with the great “eyes” [ahem] and he replies by asking, “My new girlfriend?” If Melo does land in Houston, I am sure he will make a massive donation to Lin’s Church, get the #7 and all will be forgiven. Until, at least, until Houston is eliminated from the playoffs and Melo is once again exposed as a poor defender.
That is it for now, hope you enjoyed by article and hope to hear from you below. Come back tomorrow for the one and only Cheesy Bruin.
P.s… If you want to read more of my ramblings as a Rugby Guy, you can find them on RugbyWrapUp.com and our Facebook Rugby Wrap Up Page and follow us on Twitter @RugbyWrapUp and @JunoirBlaber, respectively