Father's Day and sports are made for each other

A lot of Father's Day narratives will unfold between the time I submit this on Sunday morning and the time you read it on Monday (or maybe even Tuesday or Wednesday, given all of the sports-related stories set to played out later today).

Who will have won the U.S. Open?


Who won Game 7 of the NBA Finals?

Were there any conspiracies or controversies that made the outcomes less than clean or at least arguably, fairly contested?


And, what will those narratives be, based on the various outcomes?

Did Dustin Johnson win one of golf's majors to validate his talent? Did Jason Day continue to build momentum toward and/or as the world's No. 1 golfer? Did Sergio Garcia fight back father time a bit and win at Oakmont?

Did the Cavs win? And, if so, how many stories will be written in the next few days asking if and/or arguing that his performance in these Finals moves LeBron closer to Michael Jordan as the best basketball player of all-time? And, if so, will LeBron take his talents elsewhere again next season — to LA or back to Miami — having delivered Cleveland its first championship since 1964?

Did the Warriors win?

And, if so, how many big-time 3s did Steph and/or Klay hit? And where does winning back-to-back championships, one at the end of a 73-win season, put the Warriors on the all-time teams rankings?

If there was or were controversial calls, what were they? And, did the call contradict what would seem to be the so-called right one, as seen/shown by way of super-slow-mo(tion) HD replay?

What a difference a day will make!

I spent the past few days in Georgia at a community-based sports camp put on by an NFL lineman for his hometown.

My 6 a.m. flight Friday put me in bed before the end of Game 6, and my day-long commitments at the camp and travel to and from Georgia mean I haven't seen much of the Open. But, two things happened to me in the past few days that seemed at least somewhat relevant to the story lines surrounding the Finals series and the Open's traditional Father's Day finish.

The first relates to the questionable calls, particularly those that went against Steph in Game 6, and to the NBA-based conspiracy theories that were, once again, brought front and center by fans and media alike in the wake thereof.

To his credit, the Warriors' Steve Kerr said that the Cavs deserved to win the game, as they'd outplayed his team. But, he then went on to state, with relative specificity, why he took such issue with the calls, including, calling out by comparison, the commonplace of non-calls against the Cavs who hold his star players on their cuts on nearly every possession.

Maybe there is a fine line between human fallibility and motivated self-interest. Maybe there's a morass between mistakes that are erroneous versus those that are egregious and/or made by way of some intentional, internal and/or external motivation.


I'd like to be able to say that I give referees the benefit of the doubt; that I believe they are all out there doing and giving it their best to get it right on every possession. Unfortunately, while I think that can be said of certain refs — I've seen too many blatantly bad calls, most of them seemingly intentionally and knowingly so, to believe they're made erroneously, in some version of innocent or mistaken error.

For me, this year, it was the end of the Syracuse-Gonzaga men's basketball game in the Sweet Sixteen, when a referee called one of Cuse's guards out of bounds for stepping on the baseline with just a few seconds left in a close game that would send one team on to the Elite Eight.

What made this call so blatantly bad and highly/rightfully questionable was how out of place (and out of line) the referee was. On this particular play, the referee was standing at or above the penetration line (near half court), and called the player for stepping out of bounds on the baseline under the basket.

There was absolutely no way that referee saw or could have seen whether the player was out of bounds from that angle!

(The call may have "had" to have been upheld based on the ability to use or not to use replay in certain situations, which begets another question of why use it and/or why show it in those situations where it cannot be utilized to correct a call made in error, whether the innocent or intentional kind.)

On Thursday, I stopped at the dry cleaner to pick up some clothes I needed for my trip. There, as I waited at the dry cleaners I saw the local example of the not-so-fine line between human fallibility and those that are there to enforce the rules/laws intentionally ignoring (and/or acting above) them (literally).

As is the case with most shopping centers in Westminster, there is just enough room for two-way traffic to travel back and forth in front of such shopping centers' stores, with a parking lot full of mostly empty parking spaces no more than 10-15 feet from the sidewalk to the stores.

And, as is the case with most such shopping centers — he curb to said sidewalks was painted a bright yellow.

As I stood inside the dry cleaners, up pulled a Westminster City police car. I watched with a sort of bewildered amusement as the officer, put his car in park right there in front of the dry cleaners — on the yellow curb (to avoid any confusion); left it running, and grabbed his garments and came inside the dry cleaner.

As he stood at the counter, and unbeknownst to him, traffic backed up. But, well, because it was a police car, nobody could complain.

The officer, acting as if this was commonplace and his routine, bid the dry cleaner adieu, got back into his car, and pulled away.

By their/our nature, we're all "just running in to [pick up/drop off our dry cleaning or to get coffee]."

I mentioned above that two things happened during my travels, and that the second related to Father's Day.

On Saturday, I was sitting on a bench on a football field, watching a few hundred kids run through drills. I was sitting with a six-year NFL veteran, and we were talking about young athletes, the parents of young athletes, the unrealistic expectations of both, people asking about his son playing football, etc. When talk turned to his son, we talked about how, no matter what we do as kids, and no matter how much our dads may know about a particular activity — in this case, sport — we may pursue, that inevitably, it's not until it's almost too late that we realize that our dads were right.

He said he called his dad almost every week during college just to say, "you were right."

For him, it was mostly about football.

As a belated Father's Day present to all the dads out there, though it may mean and/or may have been about something different for each of you: You were right.



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