Every-Thing Sports

Jermaine Every: Summer sporting events to hold you over

The World Cup should give you a sports diversion. @FIFAWorldCup verified Twitter account

Summer is here. The heat has ratcheted up a notch or 12. I took the wife on a lunch date Sunday afternoon and we did some shopping. Our leftovers were still hot when we got home. School is out, so the inevitable conundrum of what to do with your kids for the summer is something parents wrestle with every year. But hey, at least the traffic will be light. Community pools are open to help cool you off, and keep the kids busy. Beware of the urine dye indicator and floating turds. It’s also vacation time. A lot of you will be going on vacation and taking trips. Thanks to the guys at ESPN 97.5 and SB Nation who are taking time off and giving my podcast partner Craig Koskin and I an opportunity to fill in.

Summer descending upon us also means the sports landscape will amount to a barren waste land according to most. Baseball is the only of the major sports that is still in-season. Some of you feel as if baseball is secondary. I know lots of people who don’t like it. But the Astros are poised for another World Series run so we should be along for the ride. Sure the bullpen sucks, and the bats have narcolepsy, but this team will make the playoffs. They also have the best pitching staff in MLB and that is all you need to have a shot. The true titans are the NBA, and reiging sports king of the hill the NFL. The NBA Finals are soon to be over. Emphasis on soon if the Cavs can’t pull it together fight back. We’re still 59 days away from the first NFL preseason Hall of Fame Game and 94 days away from the Eagles/Falcons Kickoff Game for the regular season. This could be a long couple months for some…unless you open your mind to some alternatives.

When I say “alternatives” I’m talking strictly sports. I mean, sure you could pick up a hobby, or get some much needed rest. However, as sports fans, we aren’t wired like that. We love the competition and drama that comes along with it. If your sports appetite can’t wait a couple months, here are several alternatives:

The World Cup (June 14-July 15)

This is the premiere sporting event of the summer. The world will be watching. I know people who root for certain countries to win because their favorite player/s play/s for said country. Soccer is such a global game because all you need is a ball and two makeshift goals. The World Cup only comes around every four years. After the corruption scandal erupted a few years ago, FIFA has seemingly recovered and they’re looking forward to what is looking to be a great Cup. Jerry Bo wrote a great article for anyone needing a beginner’s guide to the Cup.

Men’s College World Series (June 16-26)

The Men’s College World Series produces some of the most exciting moments in sports every year. LSU’s Warren Morris won an ESPY with his walk-off homerun to win the 1996 title. Since 1950, it’s been held in Omaha, Nebraska. From 1950-2010, it was played in Rosenblatt Stadium. From 2011 on, it’s been played at the TD Ameritrade Park Omaha. That’s the history and tradition sports fans love.

PGA US Open (June 11-17)

I know. I know. “Golf is boring!” “I use golf to take naps on the weekends.” “If Tiger’s not in contention, I’m not watching.” I’ve heard it all before. Heck, I’ve even said some myself. But this major is different because it’s the longest, and sometimes most difficult, course of the year. Watching the top pro golfers in the world struggle is a good reminder that nobody owns this game. Winners are often times barely under par. It’s going to be held at Shinnecock Hills in New York. The last three winners were at -4, E, and -1.

Wimbledon (July 2-15)

If you think golf is boring, chances are you feel the same way about tennis. This major has all the pomp and circumstance expected of an event held in England and attended by members of the royal family. Players are held to a very strict all white dress code. Men are to bow and women are to curtsy. Did I mention it’s played on grass? The ball doesn’t spin or bounce the same so players with power aren’t always at an advantage. Centre Court on a Saturday or Sunday for the finals is a sight to see.

These are just four big sporting events I’ve listed for you to watch. There are at least three to four more that are worth your attention. Personally, I’ll be glued to each one of these I’ve listed, especially The World Cup. I’ve become a fan of soccer since I moved to Texas in 2000. If there are any more you’d suggest, or you want to interact with me about the subject matter, give me a follow on Twitter so we can discuss. I hope to hear from you guys because I’d love to get your feedback!

 

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Composite photo by Jack Brame

As things continue to relax as far as the COVID-19 pandemic is concerned, a return to a semblance of normalcy seems imminent. The NBA has some parameters in place for a potential return. Training camps are set to open late this month and the season is supposed to open July 31. Whether that's the rumored Disney-centered one-stop shop or another form, they have a plan in place to return. There's also no argument between the league and players going back and forth about money either (MLB could learn a lesson here).

So when it comes to the potential return, how does that fare for the local team? The Rockets were 40-24 and tied for the fifth seed in the West when the season was shut down. Since they're getting ready to return potentially, we need to be looking at what chances they may have in making a run in the playoffs towards an NBA title.



Harden's new physique

According to his new trainer, James Harden has done more cardio workouts and lost some weight. Specifically, he's done more football player workouts as opposed to basketball player workouts. There was a pic of Harden floating around showing an obvious loss of weight. His new-found cardio and weight loss could mean more late-game and late-season success for Harden and the Rockets.

Westbrook's edge

Russell Westbrook has a competitive fire that can't be put out. It's like one of those never-ending burning torches you see at monuments. He wants nothing more than to prove he's a winner on a high level. Given that he's reunited with a long time friend in Harden, his competitive nature could help fill the gap where Harden may lack. These two have proven they can coexist very well this season. Now could be their time to take surge.

Small-ball

When the Rockets traded Clint Capela, they fully committed to small-ball. There were times they didn't have a guy in the lineup over 6'5. The tallest guy that gets regular time is roughly 6'8. The smaller, quicker lineup is an advantage on the offensive end, but can be a huge liability on the defensive end. Given the stoppage and restart of the season, it could help them. Suppose other teams are sluggish and can't get their chemistry straight. Houston's advantage is that they go through one or two guys and eat off their shooting. Shooting can be worked on during times like these, whereas other aspects of your game can't.


I'm not saying the Rockets have a built-in advantage, but they have as good a shot as they've ever had in the past. The field is wide open to any team that's in the playoff hunt. No team will have a built-in advantage over others. With the Rockets' unique brand of ball, they may be able to make a run at a title this season. Couple that with Harden's weight loss and Westbrook's competitive nature, it could be very interesting. Whenever the NBA comes back this season, which I believe they will, I think this team has a legit shot at winning it all.

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