Thursday, June 25, 2009

Craziest. National Handshake Day. Ever.

Aside from the fact that my sixth favorite June observance (after Bloomsday, National Sauntering Day, National Old-Time Fiddler's Week, 6/22 and the NBA Draft) is ruined by my fears of swine and pirate flu, today is the most topsy-turvy NHS Day in recent memory, to be sure. Like right up there with that unforgetabble NHS Day in 1876 when Georgie Custer and his boys were upset by Sitting Bull at Little Big Horn.

How, you ask, is this the craziest National Handshake Day (which is not to be confused with World Handshake Day observed separately)?

First of all, we all awoke in a world where the US Men's National Soccer Team had toppled top-ranked Spain, 2-0, in the semifinals of the Confederation Cup in South Africa. And they did it by outplaying a full-strength Spanish side. I followed the minute-by-minutes reports on and while at work but I was still surprised by quality of the US side when I watched a replay of the game late last night. From the opening whistle, Uncle Sam's boys were getting after the Spaniards. They closed down in all three thirds of the field and weren't giving an inch without a fight. And whenever Torres or Villa or Fabregras or Xavi (or any of the bold-type names in the Spanish lineup) managed to find an inch, the US came through in waves to keep them from taking a mile. The tenacity and optimism of the outfield players was backed by superb goaltending from Tim Howard and the US won convincingly. And by "convincingly" I mean that the held of an opponent that clearly was going all out for the win in the second half. Spain didn't roll over. The upset win ends Spain's record-setting 15-match winning streak and record-tying 35-match unbeaten run. Spain had not lost since 2006. The same year that the US finished last in it's group at the World Cup. This win isn't the Miracle on Ice. I know. But it's something.

Secondly, Shaq has reportedly been traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Thirdly, Jamal Crawford has reportedly been traded to the Atlanta Hawks.

Fourthly, the Knicks may close the day having traded for Darko Milic.

Fifthly, the NBA Draft takes place tonight at Madison Square Garden.

Sixthly, Johan Santana and Chris Carpenter square off in a matinee at Citi Field.

Seventhly, Farrah Fawcett died.

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