Wednesday, June 23, 2010

JMR's List of the 5 Longest Sporting Events Ever

They probably didn't think that they would have to play each other three days in a row.  But here we are.  John Isner, a 19th seeded! American has battled qualifier Nicolas Mahut to a virtual draw.  It even made the cover of ESPN, something men's tennis has failed to do in years (except when talking about Andre Agassi's drug habits or the rampant betting that occurs in Men's Tennis).  Incidentally, this match has been suspended not once, but twice, because of darkness.

Even though the match winner still has not been determined, almost every record in the history of tennis match play has been broken - number of games, length of match, number of points, longest set, most aces.  In fact, I saw a table of longest matches, and the Isner-Mahut match is longer by 50 PERCENT than the second longest match.  It got me to thinking about what the longest games have been in the five major sports in the U.S.  At first, I looked here for the answers, but decided that that was a little over the top.

1. Baseball.  It wouldn't be baseball unless there were actually TWO records.  One record for most innings and one record for longest game in hours.  In fact the game that holds the record for most innings (26) actually ended as a tie game (Dodgers 1 Braves 1, May 1, 1920).  There is no doubt that Bud Selig used this game as his litmus test when he called a tie in the All Star game 5 years ago.  The longest game in time occured back in 1984 when the White Sox defeated the Brewers 7-6 in a game that lasted 8 hours and 6 minutes.  The fans I'm sure were excited to sit through that game knowing that beer and food were sold out at hour 2 of that game.

2.  Football.  Christmas Day, 1971.  An NFL Playoff Game between the Dolphins and the Chiefs.  The Dolphins eventualy won this game with 7 minutes and 40 seconds gone in the Second Overtime.  The funny thing about this actually was my research.  So many people were condemned for asking such a "stupid" question.  They were scolded that games end up in a tie after the 15 minute overtime.  Followed shortly by the answer given above.   At least three research sites had this string of questions, snarky answers and salty responses.

3.  Basketball.  In a 6 overtime thriller, the Indianapolis Olympians defeated the Rochester Royals 75-73 on January 6, 1951.  A real yawner of a game, if you ask me.  I understand that in the 30 minutes of overtime play, only 23 shots were taken.  23 SHOTS?  How is this entertaining?  By the way, how did the team from Indiana get the name, the "Olympians?"

4.  Hockey.  March 24, 1936.  This is the time of the original 6.  Mud Brunteau scored the game winner for the Red Wings as Detroit defeated the Montreal (soon to be) the Canadiens in the sixth overtime of a semifinal playoff game.

5.  Soccer. (European Football).  Who cares?

So tomorrow, John Isner and Nicolas Mahut will face each other for a third consecutive day.  Neither of these guys will win their second round match regardless, and maybe they don't care.  They just want this to end.  I don't blame them.  As John Isner said at the end of Day 2, "Nothing like this will ever happen again.  Ever."  I hope not, for their sake.

photo courtesy of

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Night We Went to the Derby

If you know me and this space, when you read about the "Night We Went to the Derby," you're probably thinking we went to the Kentucky Derby or some other type of horse race, or perhaps we strolled the local shopping mall.  Not this time.  This time we went to the Derby where, in the immortal words of my three year old "the girls go to kill each other!!"  I admit that that was a sentence that was uttered out of my mouth to engender some excitement - but who cares?  JMR and crew was going to see the Boston Derby Dames.

It all started on a fateful afternoon in April.  Desperate to look for some weekend entertainment for C, G and DLG, I came across a flyer for the Boston Derby Dames.  I remember Roller Derby from when I was growing up (and frankly Roller Derby brings all of us back to a more innocent time, when the Fonz was cool and Pinky Tuscadero was the bomb), and remembered fondly a couple of times that I watched Roller Derby when I was younger.  So we decided to check out the "bout."

With names like the Nutcrackers, the Cosmonaughties and the Wicked Pissahs, I asked around to see if perhaps this was not the kind of show I should be taking three impressionable children to.  When convinced that the show was at worst a "rated PG" type event, I decided to roll with it.  I just hope that Anna WrecksYa and Ivanna Shankabitch are not in the first bout.  Those names might be kind of hard to explain since they will understand some of the other play on words that these ladies travel with.

4pm. April 2010.  We arrive at Shriners Auditorium early so we can get good seats.  As we're walking slowly toward the front entrance, I notice dozens of people milling around the parking lot, cooking food on grills, drinking beer out of the standard red plastic cups and playing muscle music as loudly as possible.  Is this where Pats fans go during the offseason?  I then notice a line out the door comprising fans waiting to get in.  Strange, I think to myself.  We park ourselves in line under the door where we see the letter in our last name is.  I suppose this is organized almost like the Pinewood Derby - sitting in alphabetical order.  Soon I realize that we're in a will call line.  

"Where do I buy tickets?" I ask the two biker chicks standing in front of me.  They look at each other and smile.  One of them spits some sort liquid out of her mouth and laughs at us.

"This bout was sold out weeks ago!" She gruffly answers.

"You're kidding?!" I say incredulously.  "Really?"

"Really."  She snorts.  "If you wait around, you can probably scalp some tickets toward the start of the bout."  That, I find utterly ridiculous.  I'm not going to teach my kids that you can get what you want by paying more than face value to purchase tickets illegally - well at least for Roller Derby.  The Sox or the Pats are a different story.  

Disappointed, we return home.  But the JMR clan will not be denied our fun, so the next month we purchase our tickets online well before.  The kids are warily looking at me as we get in the car for the one hour drive to Wilmington.  When my 8 year old asks to hold the tickets, I tell him that we have to get them when we get there.  He looks sort of pissed when he chimes "That's what you said last month, Dad!"  I ask him if he wants to see the credit card statement proving that I actually bought them this time, with only a slight hint of sarcasm.

4pm. May 2010. Wilmington, MA.  This time we confidentally stand in line where the first letter of our first name is to get our tickets.  After a couple of minutes, we're inside.  Just in time to see the first bout, the Wicked Pissahs versus the Cosmonaughties.  I'm not sure if these teams are both based in Boston; I assume that they are.  This is the "warm up" bout before the Boston Massacre take on the best team - Olympia - for the main bout.

The rules are little too complex to explain in this space.  If you're interested, check out the full rules here.  There are a lot of referees, a lot of skating around in circles and a lot of points scored.  But suffice it to say that each team has a skater that needs to get by all of the other skaters in order to earn points within a 2 minute timeframe.  That and you can't really hit each other to block people, you can just get in their way.  Incidentally, that rule will later come back to haunt us.  I try to explain some of the rules to the kids.  My 6 year old doesn't really give much consideration to the rules when he blurts out "When are the girls going to kill each other??"  Some people look around with me to try to find the perpetrator of such an ignorant statement.  My 8 year old is horrified.

Luckily, the lights go down and a buzz starts growing from the crowd.  We're all getting excited, not knowing what's going to happen.   Finally, after a ten minute introduction about the rules, the teams are introduced and play begins.  Led by co-captains Hayley Contagious and Splitter Noggin (my 8 year old's favorite name), we decide to root for team blue (I call them that instead of the "Cosmonaughties" to avoid the inevitable questions.) 

Unfortunately, while I am enjoying myself watching the bout and figuring out the nuances of scoring, the kids start getting restless.  The girls aren't killing each other enough, I learn.  We decide to leave just as the bout turns really exciting (the Wicked Pissahs eek out a five point victory, I find out later).  I try to talk them into staying, but once one of them utters "McDonalds" it's all downhill from there.  So we end up leaving, but not before the kids try some Kickass Cupcakes and we take a couple of photos.  Despite them claiming to be bored, the Roller Derby is all we talk about as we drive home.  Maybe they had a better time than I thought?

You know, whether they had a good time (which I think they did) or they were bored, they will always be able to say to their friends that they went to see Roller Derby when they were kids.  Just like learning the piano, you don't appreciate experiences like that until you're older.  Maybe they will go with me next Saturday?