Bethpage Black: Existing to Outlast

Bethpage Black #4Take your Reds and Greens and Yellows too. It’s The Black we want. Membership dues need not apply. The course is open to all. Fireman. Financiers. Teachers too. The Black cares not what you do or who you are so long as you have the courage to step foot on one of golf’s ultimate exercises in futility. Your wits will be strained. Your legs fatigued. Your soul crushed. Punishing. Unrelenting. Unyielding. The Black will make you question a lot of things. About golf, and about yourself. Is your game good enough to survive 18? Is your heart strong enough to overcome a lover’s rebuke? Is your mind disciplined enough to stay the course, to endure the undulating ups and downs? The only way to find out, the only way to know if you’re up to the test is to play.

The Black knows your frustration. The Black hears your words. You are not the first to travel cross the threshold full of high hopes and desires only to have those dreams turn to a nightmare that you cannot escape, that you cannot avoid. The clubhouse is nowhere in sight. The 19th hole an oasis on the horizon. Your playing partners will offer words of encouragement but their support, their empathy, will fall on deaf ears. It’s just you and your thoughts.

The Black will speak to you. But are you willing to listen, are you patient enough to understand? Will you lay up on a par 4? Will you take iron instead of wood? Will you accept the reality that you are nothing more than a transient here on a brief stay and that the hills and trees that block your approach will remain long after your visit has expired. Those rocks. That heather. Reminders that the sports of golf is more nature than nurture. All the lessons in Long Island won’t help you solve the eternal, evolving mystery of The Black.

If you are one of the lucky few to cross that finish line, body and spirit still intact, take a second to look back down the hill, across the fairways and bunkers that fit together like pieces of a puzzle waiting to be solved. That view, that sense of accomplishment regardless of score is one of the greatest satisfactions the game has to offer. The Black knows this, The Black has seen it all before. It knows you’ll come back again, confident that the next time will be different. But the challenge remains. The challenge will not succumb. Bethpage Black exists to outlast.

 

Morning Musings: Becoming a Fan of the Barclays Premier League

Becoming a Barclays Premier League soccer fan is a lot like attending a cocktail party with strangers. Sure all the names sound familiar but it is impossible to remember what anyone does or who came with who without asking a friend.

This is the primary challenge in adopting a new sport. The World Cup made soccer so appealing that sports fans like myself are looking for more exposure to the global game. The BPL offers the best option to newbies because of A) some familiarity with the teams at the top like Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool B) NBC Sports Network, which broadcasts and streams most games, is standard on most cable packages unlike beIN which carries La Liga and Serie A C) overall quality of play and competitive balance throughout the league.

In order to make room on the plate for another sport something has to give and the most likely casualty is football. Easier said than done, especially during the preseason when NFL games are as unwatchable as anything on tv. The real test will come during the Fall when the regular season begins and the choice between a morning Premier League match between Everton and Crystal Palace and an afternoon divisional matchup between Green Bay and Chicago becomes that much more difficult.

The good news is that soccer games come tidily package in palatable two hour blocks unlike the three plus hour slogfests in the NFL. If you think about it in these terms dropping a football game for a soccer match is like picking up an extra hour to your day. In an instant, your life has become more productive!

For now, the Premier League is the first choice on the “telly” and it’s fun becoming a new fan of an old sport. Check back after Labor Day however.

-JL

 

 

 

Ryan Ballengee of Golf News Net

View My Seats golf insider Ryan Ballengee calls in to discuss Tiger’s back, the upcoming PGA Championship and the PGA Tour’s not so secretive secretive suspension policy.

Hollywood Prepares For the Moneyball Sequel

Dateline Los Angeles:

Casting has begun on Hollywood’s latest big budget sports drama tentatively titled Moneyball II: The Rise of the Small Market. The film follows in the footsteps of the wildly successful 2011 film Moneyball starring Brad Pitt as Oakland Athletics maverick general manager Billy Beane on a never ending quest to validate the erection of every SABRmetric loving baseball journalist.

No word yet as to whether or not Mr. Pitt will return to play Beane but industry sources continue to claim that the actor has grown increasingly disillusioned with the general manager’s un-small market like behavior during the 2014 baseball season including the team’s latest trade for pitcher Jon Lester. An acquaintance of Pitt said that upon hearing news of this latest move the actor said, “who do the A’s think they are, the Yankees?”

With Lester joining Jess Samardzija, Sonny Gray and Scott Kazmir atop the Oakland rotation the A’s smell like favorites, that is if they can get past their division rivals the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of Orange Country next to Disneyland.

Producers have indicated that if Pitt is unable to play Bill Beane in the Moneyball sequel that they will pursue Channing Tatum for the roll of the handsome general manager citing the actor’s strong chemistry with Jonah Hill. No word yet on the rest of the cast although it has been rumored that Zach Galifianakis is circling the role of grizzly, stalky A’s catcher Derek Norris.

Financing for the Moneyball sequel is in place however some movie studios would prefer that the Oakland A’s lose in the first or second round of the 2014 playoffs which would lend itself quite nicely to the third movie in the trilogy Moneyball III: The Death of FIP and WAR and All The Other Statistics That Most Non-Fantasy Playing Baseball Fans Have Ever Heard Of.