It was the first weekend jam-packed with sports in a long time. Good thing we had a fourish-day weekend to squeeze it all in!1

Friday night I took C and three friends to the Cathedral football game (M was also there with her own friend group). The 2–0, class 5A #1 Irish played a perennial 6A power from up north that has fallen off a bit in the past couple seasons. CHS was up 37–0 at halftime, played subs the entire second half, and cruised to a running clock win by the same score. Next week they take on arch rivals Bishop Chatard, defending class 3A champs who are off to a rough 0–3 start.

KU was playing their season opener at the same time. I was able to follow most of the second half. Not the most confidence-building experience – a 17–14 win over South Dakota that required a last-minute touchdown to win – but I’m not sure how you properly assess anything this season since the new coaching staff came in after spring practice was complete. There was already a lot of work to be done and that just complicates matters more.

I had hoped the offensive line would be improved. Sounds like that’s not the case. Or at least not yet. Most of the big plays were made by young guys, though, so that has to be good. Then again, there aren’t a lot of old guys in front of them.

I heard from multiple people about KU students rushing the field. Yawn. 1) Those kids hadn’t seen a win in over two years. 2) They may not see another win for two more years. 3) Do you really think after everything KU fans have been through over the past decade I’m going to get fired up about kids rushing the field after barely beating an FCS team? That’s like the 150th worst thing that has gone on around this program since the 2008 Orange Bowl win.

I watched stretches of the US Open throughout the weekend. I’ve said this before but it’s tough to get invested in tennis when so many of the best players are A) from Eastern Europe (or their parents were from there) and B) I don’t pay much attention to tennis the rest of the year.

I’m sad I’ve missed all of the Leylah Fernandez experience so far. Carlos Alcaraz beating Stefanos Tsitsipas Friday was terrific fun. I also enjoyed watching Shelby Rogers beat Ashleigh Barty on Saturday. I missed Rogers’ loss on Monday but was disappointed that she was the second American player to speak out about the abuse she expected to take online after the loss. I just don’t get why you would berate any athlete for their performance. And harassing tennis players is especially baffling to me. Is there really a big pool of super-fired up tennis fans who go ballistic when people lose?

I don’t think so. I’m assuming it’s just frustrated, idiot gamblers or people who can only find pleasure in life by cutting other people down.

The Naomi Osaka situation was especially disheartening. This is clearly a woman who is not in a good mental place. And yet some people were almost gleeful that she lost and seemed on the verge of a breakdown, both emotionally and physically.

How do you root for someone to fall apart? And how do you not understand that even when someone is successful and famous and has money they can still face mental/emotional/physical challenges that overwhelm them?

The first full weekend of college football rolled through, too. I watched probably too much football on Saturday, even when we were hanging out with people in the evening. I spent the most time with eyes on Penn State – Wisconsin and Clemson – Georgia. Not well played, not very entertaining, but at least they were competitive.

There was a lot of hype going into the year for Indiana. Iowa took about 10 minutes to destroy most of it. But as an IU-fan relative told me Monday, 8–4 was what he expected and that’s still in play, no matter how ugly the Hoosiers looked Saturday.

I struggled a bit with seeing full stadiums and the constant chatter from the announcers about how great it was to be back to normal again. I had mixed feelings because we’re not back to normal. And the arguments about how to make things better just keep getting less-and-less constructive as the deniers dig in deeper and deeper. This fall should have been the time when we were truly reopening and getting back to normal. But Covid numbers are skyrocketing, schools are going back to masks, and it feels like this is just a momentary blip before large crowds start getting banned again because too many people think being asked to wear a piece of cloth across their face is some great impingement on their freedoms.

I had never heard of Duke’s Mayo before Saturday. And I had no idea it was a big enough deal to sponsor the premier prime time matchup of week one.

I watched a few minutes here-and-there of LSU-UCLA. I expected an easy LSU win. I was not expecting UCLA to pull away and win comfortably.

While watching I had the thought that when Chip Kelly left Oregon, it totally derailed both him and the Oregon program. When he left it seemed like just a matter of time before Oregon won a national title. The Ducks have had a couple good seasons since he departed, but several mediocre ones and even a 4–8 season. Kelly, meanwhile, was a disaster in the NFL and seemed close to being done at UCLA.

But maybe he has something going in Westwood, finally.

Lastly, the Solheim Cup in women’s golf was fantastic. In a mild upset, the European team beat the Americans 15–13. I was struck by how different the Solheim’s entire vibe was from how the Ryder Cup will be in a couple weeks. At the Ryder Cup there are always a couple guys on both teams who are way too fired up and take the slightest possible sign of disrespect as some great challenge to their manhood and team’s legitimacy. By Sunday the red asses have taken over and the entire event is weighed down by that intensity. While there are some moments of genuine respect as the singles matches finish, you are just as likely to see opponents get the post-match handshake over as quickly as they can.

There were a few moments of disagreement and conflict this weekend amongst the women. But none of them turned into big deals. Brief handshakes were the exception, with most competitors hugging after their matches regardless of the score. The crowds also seemed way less unruly than Ryder Cup crowds do.

All the bullshit that goes along with the Ryder Cup is kind of fun, to be honest. I’m always rooting for there to be extremely bad blood during and after, because it makes golfers look silly.

The Solheim Cup, though, was just about good, fun competition.