Pearls & Vodka

Maybe it’s time to dry up our tears, and watch some soccer…

Soccer:  I mean absolutely zero disrespect to all those who are suffering under horrible circumstances right now, but some of the folks I follow on social media have nearly lost their minds in their anguish over often times falsified stories and pictures in the media. And maybe, just maybe, a little soccer might help.

PSA: for all the haters, there are some very real and very horrible things happening in our country and our world today, this is not an attempt to belittle that at all. It’s simply an encouragement to take a deep breath, maybe a soccer match will help you decompress, maybe it won’t, but breathe either way.

Nothing but net…or being traded

The 2018 NBA draft was held last night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

In the hours leading up to the draft last night, speculations were high for a dramatic first round. Truth be told, the NBA has gradually slipped from view in the past few years. If I’m being honest, NBA love is cyclical for me. I grew up a child of the 90s and a Bulls fan, so the years of Jordan and Pippen were a high for me. Following MJ’s retirement, there was a lull. I never bought into the Lebron hype. Granted, the man is incredible. His talent is undeniable. I’ve just always been a Jordan loyalist. I was bored with his start in Cleveland but bought in a bit more in Miami. I’ve always loved Dwyane Wade so it worked for me. And then of course, there was Lamar Odom. Yep, I said it. The quintessential NBA’s 6th man. His tenure in LA while being married to Khloe Kardashian was a fave of mine. And here we are today, in the era of the “super team.” I’m a Steph Curry fan. My fandom is probably just as much for his personal life/online personality with his wife Ayesha as for his shooting ability.

But like many sports fans, I’m bored to tears of the Warriors/Cavs in the Finals.

Here’s hoping Lebron comes to Houston so I can see him play in person and finally have another “super team” with the potential to take down the Warriors.

The NBA draft had some winners: the Mavericks finally got their future star to replace Dirk in Doncic. I think the 76ers actually came out winners as well, even after trading Bridges for Zhaire Smith. Smith has a ton of talent, but really it was the unprotected pick they got from the Heat that I think is a game-changer, undoubtedly they will use that to pursue Kawhi Leonard this summer, along with the rest of the NBA.

As with anything in sports, there were some losers: Michael Porter Jr. has to top that list. Surgeries and injuries have crept up on the star and he fell to the Nuggets at #14. Last year, pre-back surgery and hip injury, he was a top 3 pick. And Mikal Bridges, his subsequent trade to Phoenix after being drafted by the hometown 76ers was brutal. His Mom is their VP of HR for goodness sakes.

All in all, I think more basketball fans are consumed with Lebron’s next move than the draft, but best wishes to all these young kids chasing dreams.

Batter up

College baseball is winding down in Omaha, Nebraska, as the College World Series is dwindling down.

My Arkansas Razorbacks are in it to win it…at least we hope.

The Hogs play Florida today in the bracket 2 final. The Gators have won 2 straight coming off a loss to Texas Tech in the CWS opener. Florida is the defending champion, #1 seed nationally, and will have to beat the Hogs today and tomorrow to secure another trip to the championship series.

Bracket 2 finalists Florida and Arkansas haven’t met since they opened SEC play in late March. The Gators won two of three in Gainesville, Florida, with India going 6 for 9 with a homer and four RBIs in the series.

Razorback fans know heartbreak.

We do it well, and frequently.

Dave Van Horn is arguably the best coach on campus in Fayetteville right now, but the trophy has remained elusive. I dare told my best friend last night that I’m ready to part ways with Van Horn if he can’t get it this time. Go big or go home right? He’s been the Hogs’ head skipper for 16 years now. That’s a long time. I was a sophomore in college when he took over, that seems like a lifetime ago. He’s won 4 SEC West titles, never the SEC title. We’ve been to the World Series 4 times and no title.

Always the bridesmaid, never the bride, and I’m bored with it.

Dreaming about football

It’s almost July. Which means it’s almost August. Which means it’s almost football season!

If you follow me at all, you know I’m a hybrid Arkansas/Auburn fan.

Yes, it’s possible.

I still believe in unicorns.

I grew up a Hogs fan, and no matter how lackluster our team is (which seems to be frequently now) I’ll always love the Razorbacks. I’m an Auburn fan by default. I love Gus Malzahn, and his family. During Gus’ tenure at Auburn, I’ve fallen in love with the heritage and tradition of football on The Plains as well.

In looking at the Arkansas team and schedule, I’m going to go out on a limb and say we may win 4 games. I don’t know that we will win an SEC game though. The coaching pick seems lackluster, the recruiting advantages are not there for us. It’s a Hail Mary for us at this point. On the flip side, I think there’s a chance Auburn could run the table. I always leave the Alabama game out of the equation.

Regardless of how my teams do, I just love college football.

It’s a frequent topic here on the blog with my weekly top ten lists.

There are some big games I’m already looking forward to, like Michigan vs. Notre Dame, Ohio State vs. Penn State, Texas vs. Oklahoma, Wisconsin vs. Michigan, Clemson at Florida State, and of course, Auburn at Alabama.

The putt heard ’round the world

Golf is my love language. And Phil Mickelson is my leading man. My dog’s name is Augusta Mickelson. It’s just in my blood.

Last weekend at the US Open, there were two big apologies. One from the USGA for the unhittable shots on Saturday and one from Phil Mickelson for a snafu on the 13th hole.

Frustrations were running wild, the pins were just unattainable and a difficult course on a normal day was nearly unplayable in the third round. The USGA ended up apologizing, and the tale of two courses unfolded as Sunday was much more approachable.

Phil ran into some putting trouble on the 13th hole on Saturday.

Frustrated, angry and a “bit” out of character, Phil chased a putt in motion and hit the ball back towards the hole as it was moving. He accepted a 2 stroke penalty for his actions which he felt was better than the back and forth that was sure to ensue. Phil said following the round that he knew it was his right in the rulebook and he had thought about doing it before.

It took a few days, but eventually, he apologized. It wasn’t a good look for the Lefty. But my love hasn’t faltered. It’s just more fun with guys like Phil and Tiger in the mix, no matter how old they get!

Goooooaaaallllllllll…soccer has set it’s biggest stage

The FIFA World Cup is underway in Russia right now.

Truth be told, I’m not a huge soccer fan. Unless we are talking about my 2.5-year-old Soccer Shots star!

But it’s growing on me.

I love competition and international events are my favorite…when I typed that, I seriously heard chants of USA! USA!…but alas…

32 teams, vying for one title, over a month.

With no more David “Bend it like” Beckham on the field, there are still some big names in the game.

Guys like Cristiano Ronaldo have already scored 4 goals so far in this tournament.

Internationally, soccer is a phenomenon.

If you want a taste of the love for the game, check out Giselle’s Instastory when she watches Brazil score in their match vs. Costa Rica this morning. It’s priceless for the reserved, picturesque model.

The 32 teams are divided into 8 groups hoping to make the championship brackets.

Group A is dominated by Russia and Uruguay. Group B is neck and neck with Spain, Portugal, and Iran. Group C is between France and Denmark, with the French having the lead. Croatia seems to be dominating Group D. Giselle’s beloved Brazilian team seems to have a handle on Group E. Groups F, G and H are slowly getting into bracket play with Sweden, Mexico, Belgium, England, Japan and Senegal all sitting with 1 win, no losses.

Without a dog in the fight since the US team didn’t make it (wah wah), I really just have to go for some random underdog at this point. But I’d say the odds are with teams like Portugal being led by Ronaldo, or the one name wonder Neymar leading Brazil. Maybe Messi will get the crown for team Argentina, coming back from a rough start seems daunting though.

Where are your priorities

In the grand scheme of things, there’s a lot going on in the world, and sports is probably really far down the priority list. But sometimes, you need to escape. Sometimes you need to get lost in a game. And sometimes, you just need something to cheer for.

Henry David Thoreau once said, “Many men go fishing all their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.”

Photo by Thomas Serer on Unsplash