Some October observations while re-grouping between Bedford's Fall Foliage weekends
Captain Colin Montgomerie called Europe's Ryder Cup victory the "greatest moment of my golfing career." That's a strong statement in a sport as solitary as golf. It is always a joy to watch the Ryder Cup: it is fun to see some of the biggest names in the PGA high-five and hug each other rather than their caddies and their wives. The team pride is evident, as is the camaraderie and respect shown between the European and American delegations. And in what other sport does the award ceremony happen in sport jackets? It's too bad we have to wait two years for the next round.
It was nice to see Greg Biffle in NASCAR's victory lane on Sunday, and back in striking distance for the championship. It would also be nice to see someone different win the Cup this year. It is hard to believe that Jimmie Johnson is leading the standings again. With 40-plus cars going to the track for qualifying every week, and a dozen strong teams in the Chase, one has to wonder how Johnson does it year after year, and even more so: why can't some of that success rub off on Hendrick teammate, Dale Earnhardt, Jr.? Nothing would have been better for the sport than to have racing's most popular driver in the thick of things for the Cup championship. Nothing could be worse for it than anyone winning five straight titles. Still, you have to hand it to Hendrick Motorsports and the No. 48 team. Their dominance is amazing, and Johnson has handled his unprecedented success with class.
The popularity of fantasy football is growing faster than a NASCAR hot lap. NBC sports estimates that more than 19 million people in the U.S. and Canada enjoy fantasy football, so much so that ESPN devotes whole programs to the season-long competition. It's only in fantasy land that you can own Brett Favre, Hines Ward and Reggie Bush. The great thing about a fantasy league is that you become invested in every game; you want to entire days of football, even when your hometown team has the week off. Plus, thanks to the internet, you can play against someone in California or Canada. The flip-side: one report estimates that in one week, the country loses 500-million dollars in productivity while owners work on their fantasy teams while on-the-job. Still, think of the water cooler camaraderie
I remember at 11 years old, my Philadelphia-loving father letting me stay up way past my bedtime to watch his beloved Phillies play for the 1980 World Series Championship. His reasoning to my mother was that "we may never see this again." Who would have thought that the Phils could become a mainstay in the pennant race and keep us rooting for a Pennsylvania big league ball team well into October? Somewhere my Dad is smiling. Go Phillies!
Kellie Goodman Shaffer can be reached at Kellie@BedfordCountyChamber.org. Her column appears on Tuesdays.