The Lo Down: June the Greatest Month in Sports
It was a beautiful weekend, and not only did it seem like warmer temperatures finally joined us for good here in Maine; but we turned the page on our calendars welcoming June … the greatest month in sports.
I look forward to this month every year, as a fan of all things sports there is no shortage of things to enjoy. And this year we’re visited by a statistically rare feat, we’ll be able to watch an attempt at the Triple Crown as well as the World Cup; the last time this happened was in 2002 when War Emblem made a run at the Crown and The FIFA World Cup was held in South Korea. So here’s a listing of what you have to look forward to in this glorious month, sports fans rejoice!
The Stanley Cup Finals – Starts Wednesday, June 4th 8 PM EST
While I was rooting for a Blackhawks / Rangers match up, these two teams will suffice; and what is there not to love about Lord Stanley’s cup and the intensity of playoff hockey. Even as a casual hockey fan I tune in to watch and I always appreciate when an “Original Six” team is in the Finals.
The NBA Finals – Starts Thursday, June 5th 9 PM EST
LeBron’s quest for a three-peat has landed him a rematch of last year’s finals. I don’t want to over-hype this, as all that does is create unattainable expectations for sports fans but this series should be special for so many reasons. Tim Duncan is a legend, one of the greatest to ever play the game; not to mention LeBron and both have quests to solidify their career with additional Championships. The series comes along with subplots as well … Pat Riley never to have earned a “Three-peat” as a coach or player … Will the Miami “Big 3” opt-out? … Is Tim Duncan going to retire after a championship?
The French Open – Semifinal play begins Thursday, June 5th
One of my favorite tennis tournaments, the red clay wreaks havoc on player’s rankings. Upsets galore is what this tournament has made for a reputation and I enjoy it immensely. Who doesn’t love a good upset? As it’s already in-play; we have already said farewell to staples like Federer and both Williams sisters. However, Nadal still remains on the men side at his trademark tournament and continues his quest for his 9th French Open title; his 5th in a row.
The Belmont Stakes / Triple Crown – Saturday, June 7th 430 PM EST
The first of our two rare occurrences during our June sports spectacular. Sure, the Belmont stakes is traditionally held in June but lets be honest; who is watching if there’s no Triple Crown winner at stake? California Chrome will make an attempt to address the drought and become the first Triple Crown horse since Affirmed in 1978. It’s a great story, and if California Chrome wins the backstory is going straight to a motion picture (my assumption, but you heard it here first!) but the odds seem against this happening – but what the hell the thrill is in watching the race not the victory!
The World Series of Poker – Happening now through July 5th
Remember when Poker first hit the TV screens and it seemed like its all you could find on television? I’m sure some people even thought an all ESPN: Poker network was soon to arrive (thank heavens it didn’t). Well, that fervor has cooled but its still pretty fun to watch a few hands I must admit. The biggest of the events, the “No-limit Hold em” tournament happens later in the month, but for now all the many variations of the game plus play-ins and tournaments leading up to the big July 5th finale will be happening, it makes for perfect fill-in channel surfing during commercial breaks of the larger events.
FIFA World Cup – Starts Thursday, June 12th 4 PM EST
America maybe a sports culture, but for the rest of the world it’s all about the World Cup. I for one can’t wait. I’ll admit I’m a converted soccer fanatic, FIFA’s grand-scheme to charm American’s into Soccer by hosting the 94 games here in the United States didn’t affect me; but for some reason playing it and as I grew older I’ve joined the revolution. Every four years I love the international competition, sure there’s the Olympics, but this is simplified one sport, many games, and only one victor. Best of all Brazil while an international host doesn’t have much of a time zone disparity so expect convenient game times for your viewing pleasure!
US Open (Golf) – June 12th through the 15th
I’ll admit, I am one of those “Without Tiger” guys. It’s tough for me to follow golf without an easily accessible backstory. Full disclosure, I also have a terrible hate-love relationship with golf. Like most players I’m lured in by the natural instincts to enjoy a “swing-sport” but that attraction is immediately stomp on upon my first shank (typically on hole 1, swing 1 of my summer golf-season). With that said, similar to my rationale behind hockey and tennis, it’s a major and no matter what I still pay attention even if there’s no compelling reason to watch.
The NBA Draft – June 26, 2014 7 PM EST
By now the NBA champion will have been crowned, but for teams not in the playoffs we will have closed the chapter on this season many weeks ago, and the NBA draft is our championship. We’ll finally find out what all that losing will have resulted in and who we’ll welcome to our respective franchises. For me, I’m hoping for a Kevin Love trade and a given the uproar, hopefully the Bucks are smart enough just to have Mallory Edens be their representative; because I’m pretty sure that was the last time America cared about the Milwaukee Bucks since… I’m still pondering that one and will have to get back to you America.
And there it is a summary of the greatest month in sports, and to top it off; it goes without mention that regular season baseball is happening as well. The Red Sox are starting to win again which makes tuning in even easier, and as if June couldn’t get any better, the sports god send you exiting June right with an always entertaining series against the Red Sox and Yankees. Happy viewing sports fans.