SportsProf

(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.

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Sunday, May 23, 2004

First Post, Thoughts of the Day

This is my first attempt in the Blog world, and what I will attempt to do is to provide some thoughtful commentary on the world of sports. I'll try not to be partisan (there are enough chat rooms and message boards about anyone's favorite team) or the opposite (I'm not enough Yankee haters, but if you ever listen to WFAN in New York, you'll come to feel that the world is made up of two types of people, Yankee fans and Yankee haters). With that out of the way, here are some thoughts of the day.

First, college lacrosse. It's May, it's time for the Division I playoffs, and, well, this could be the one sport that few know about that more should know about. SportsProf caught most of the Syracuse-Georgetown game, the last Round of 8 playoff game to determine who would join top-seeded Johns Hopkins, second-seeded Navy and sixth-seed Princeton in the Final Four to be played next weekend in Baltimore. (For the uninitiated, the three top lacrosse hotbeds in the country -- at least for men -- are the Central Valley of New York State (near Syracuse), Long Island, and Baltimore. In any event, what ensued at Cornell's Schoelkopf Field (and my apologies to Big Red alumni and relates of the person or family after whom the stadium is named for any misspellings) was a great game, with Syracuse winning 8-7 on a goal with about 5 seconds left in the game. There was great drama in this contest (as, I am sure, the one before it, where Navy eked out a 6-5 win over host Cornell), great play by one of the game's all-time best players (Syracuse's Mike Powell), and a clutch play by a team who is now going to its 22nd consecutive Final Four (Syracuse). It certainly beat watching most of the other sports that were featured on TV today.

The Final Four next weekend has a ton of drama and lots of great stories. Top-seeded Johns Hopkins waxed the Syracuse team 17-5 early in the season, and this season hasn't been the Orange's best (but, even so, the Orange were one of the top four seeds). The second-seeded Naval Academy is bucking for a championship when the country is at war, when many grads will end up in action overseas in a matter of months. Sixth-seeded Princeton has won 6 national titles since 1992 under coach Bill Tierney, who put the Tigers on the map with an unlikely upset of Syracuse at the 1992 national title game at Penn's Franklin Field in 1992. And then there is Syracuse, with now it's 22nd consecutive trip to the national semifinals. Okay, so it isn't as though there are as many Division I lacrosse programs as there are Division I basketball programs, but 22 straight final fours is impressive, even in NAIA Division II tiddlywinks. Check out the action next weekend -- and become a fan if you aren't already.

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