UVa. season tix, Tech, Lakers-Celtics

Best Seat in the House column by Chris Graham
freepress2@ntelos.net

Some random thoughts on what’s going on in sports these days …

– How do you like the way UVa. is selling its football packages next year? You can buy Southern Cal tickets without having to buy season tickets now, but you have to buy them in a package with Richmond and East Carolina. Pretty smart, eh? You can watch USC, sure, but you have to watch a couple of dogs as part of the deal.

– Lay off of Frank Beamer on the recruiting-bad-kids front. Everybody and their brother’s offensive coordinator wanted Amherst QB Peter Rose. It’s not Beamer’s fault that the kid didn’t have the sense to take a scholarship to play Virginia Tech and stay on the straight and narrow. And no, Tech is no more home to an epidemic of this kind of thing than anybody else.

– It’s been awful quiet on the Triple Crown front. Big Brown looks like the horse that will break the 30-year drought, but you wouldn’t know it from the hype, or lack thereof. Remember a few years ago when Smarty Jones was making the last (to now) bid for the trifecta? You couldn’t escape the hoopla leading into the ’04 Preakness. I don’t want to say that we’re seeing the fallout from the Eight Belles tragedy and the Barbaro tragedy, mainly because I’m still seeing hundreds of thousands of people watching the big races in person and seeing TV ratings that suggest that horse racing, at least Triple Crown horse racing, is still a popular home-spectator sport.

– Am I the only guy totally marking out for a Lakers-Celtics NBA Finals? I don’t know that we’re going to see it now that Boston fell at home in Game 2 to Detroit – you know, since the Celtics haven’t been able to win a single game on the road in the 2008 playoffs, and Detroit isn’t exactly Atlanta or Cleveland. Part of it is nostalgia for me. I spent many a late spring and summer watching Larry Bird and Kevin McHale and Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar duking it out for the hardware. An equal part is my loathing for the way Detroit and San Antonio (the other team in the NBA Final Four) play basketball. A Pistons-Spurs Final will go unwatched in my household.

– I actually sat down and watched most of the second half and the entirety of the extra periods and shootout of the UEFA Champions League final between Chelsea and Manchester United the other night. And I know, I’m probably the only guy on the East Coast who did, but let me tell you, you missed something. The drama in the OT sessions was palpable – a fight broke out toward the end of the second session that led to an ejection and several yellow cards being given out, and that was before the broken nose that came about when a Chelsea player and Man U player battled for a 50-50 ball in front of the Man U goal.

And then the penalty shootout – wow. Man U star Ronaldo flubbed on his kick, leaving the door open for Chelsea to take home the title, only to see captain John Terry slip on what could have been the title-winning shot and send his kick sailing wide right.

– Don’t know what’s better … that the Cubs are in first place, or that the Yankees are in last …



uva basketball team of destiny

Team of Destiny: Inside UVA Basketball's improbable run

Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25.

The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.



 
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