For sports fans across the country on this lovely summer Saturday, the television viewing options were rather limited today. The options boiled down to the Euro 2012, the US Open, the College World Series or a sprinkle of the Kardashian marathon. Soccer, golf and baseball. Welcome to summer, folks. If you are either a) a soccer fan or b) one of the people who finds themselves oddly addicted to the Euro Cup for 3 weeks every 4 years–sometimes due to a lack of other options, then you probably witnessed the first Cinderella story of the tournament this afternoon. Greece, both a country and a soccer program facing some tough times as of late, shocked thousands of chanting fans this afternoon by scoring a goal in the waning moments of stoppage time right before halftime. The Greek opponent, a flashy Russian team, seemed to already be halfway to the locker room after a dominating first half. That’s when Greece struck, tallying the game’s only goal moments before the referee concluded the half.
Forty five minutes later, a nation in the throes of terrible economic times, found cause to rejoice and celebrate. Greece advanced into the knockout stage of the Euro 2012. Although a result on the soccer field does very little to mask the much deeper issues, for at least one day– the country can feel immense pride. Moments like that are one of the many, many reasons we love sports. Sports can momentarily transcend whatever else is happening in the world. For anyone watching the Euro 2012 coverage this afternoon, you saw an entire host country pouring into the streets to hover around the big screens in the streets to support their team. The world stops turning for nearly every European country when a major soccer game takes place. Enjoy your moment, Greece. And let’s all take a moment to remember one of many reasons we love sports.
Giorgos Karagounis (scored the game-winning goal for Greece) had this to say about the moment: “The moments are pure magic for all of us. This is a great night for all Greeks. I cannot describe how I feel. It’s so great.”
- As we expected with the midnight rule change on Friday, and the kickoff of the summer AAU circuit, the 2013 recruiting news has finally started to arrive. The players are talking, the coaches are texting and the lists are constantly being trimmed and re-trimmed and expanded, etc. A few pieces of news that may be of interest to Kentucky fans came out this afternoon. As many expected to hear, Top 10 2013 prospect James Young has received an official offer from Calipari and his staff. Young has long been considered a highly probable pick-up for Calipari’s 2013 class. Young has had good things to say about Kentucky throughout the recruitment process. According to Young’s coach, he has been holding an offer from Kentucky for a while.
- Looking even further into the future, a consensus Top 10 2014 center/power forward, Cliff Alexander, told ESPN that his “dream school” is Kentucky. Though Alexander is likely still a ways off from making any kind of decision, the fact that he was openly labeling Kentucky as a favorite to a national media outlet can’t be a bad sign.
- Jabari Parker, the top prospect in the 2013 class, told ZagsBlog.com that he will be making his college decision in November. He said that he wants to “do it for me because I want to get it over with before the season starts.” Parker’s current list contains 14 schools, one of which is Kentucky.
- John Calipari had to cut his Dominican Republic national team roster to 12 players. Two very familiar names, Eloy Vargas and Edgar Sosa, were unfortunately not on the list. Although neither player was able to make the list to compete for a spot in the London Olympics, both have always spoken very positively about the experience and the opportunity to learn under Calipari. Vargas was able to have the opportunity to train with talented players before trying his hand at a professional career overseas. Sosa was able to start the path to recovery from his broken leg by training at a high level with the team. Karl Towns, the top 2015 prospect and a Kentucky target, was included on the 12-man roster. Along with the experience of practicing and playing against NBA-level and international-level talent, the inroads that Calipari has to be making with the top player in the 2015 class are astounding.
- Matt posted a picture of the newly created GPA Wall of Fame on campus for the Kentucky basketball players who make a 3.00 GPA or better. As if on cue, the naysayers began questioning the course load and types of classes these players are taking to achieve the GPAs. Let me save you the time it takes to worry about what classes a college student is taking and what they wrote their open response topic on: Just finish writing your father’s day card to Pete Thamel and call it a night.
- In random, sporting but not Kentucky-related news, did you know that Florida and Georgetown will be playing a game next season on an aircraft carrier? In case you missed it, Matt Norlander believes the tradition–though young– might already be getting watered down.
- In the “awww” moment of the day, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist got a little nostalgic…
- And in the “let’s do 3 goggles on Indiana’s campus” moment of the day…
- Happy Father’s Day tomorrow to all of Big Blue Nation. I hope everyone has a chance to spend some times with their loved ones, or at least give them a call. A special father’s day shoutout to my Dad, who I was lucky enough to experience my first ever Kentucky basketball game in Rupp Arena with when I was in high school. He also faithfully sends me a “Go Cats” text message before the tip-off of every single game. Love ya, Dad. Go Cats.
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Bill Keightley Report : Never to be forgotten.
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