Somebody give me a score, any score please
Somebody give a score, any score please
Okay, what did I miss?
After nine days in sports no-man’s land, I’m desperate for an update. Give me a baseball score, for that matter show me a baseball field. Tell me four days after the fact that the Celtics traded Pierce and Garnett. Update me on Dave Driscoll and Mark Olsen’s summer running programs.
Give me something. Please. I’m begging you.
I wouldn’t trade the last week and a half for anything even my mother’s chicken and dumplings which is pretty heavenly. There’s something to be said for London and Paris, especially when it is with my 13-year old son who was seeing some of the rest of the outside-of-U.S. world for the first time. Of course having my wife Caroline and brother-in-law Peter who was out of the country for the first time was simply smashing, too.
A week ago today in sun-drenched 80 degree weather I was at Windsor Castle, having tea and crumpets with the Queen (she was there but alas I did not get the invite). On the 4th of July I walked Omaha Beach, Pointe du Hoc and the American Cemetery in Normandy, site of the D-Day invasion. We hung out with Louis XIV at Versailles. Absolutely awesome.
We ate baguettes, walked to the top of Notre Dame Cathedral, toured the Roman city of Bath, walked the land of Stonehenge, walked to the top of St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Arc De Triomphe. I meandered through Churchill’s war rooms and swear I could still smell cigar smoke. We ate a lot cheese (frommage for our French readers) and sipped some Kronenbourg’s near the Sorbonne in Paris.
It was glorious. With the most miniscule of asterisks to be factored in.
Hey, I’m a sports guy, have been my whole life. We were on a sports desert island. How can that be you say in the era of the world-wide web. No. 1, I did not take my phone with me. Too expensive. So there was no looking for scoring updates every 15 minutes or even twice a day.
No. 2, I couldn’t find a store that sold the U.S. Today overseas edition. I found about two copies during our time across the pond. Enough to tease, tantalize and whet the appetite that’s it.
Television? In London it is the BBC and let’s be honest, The Celts were up in Scotland back in the day and baseball is not on anyone’s radar and that includes the RAF. What was on tap was Wimbledon and rugby with a bit of cricket thrown in.
Teen sensation Laura Robson who made it the women’s quarterfinals was all over the British newspapers while of course eventual winner Andy Murray stole the men’s side. Then there was the huge rugby test match between the British-Irish Lions and Australia down under. This was worth 2-3 pages in every sports section.
And just because I know you want to know, the Lions won the third and deciding test match, 41-16, to win the series for the first time since 1997. This wasn’t small-type stuff. This was like NBA finals big.
No hoop, no baseball. Although interestingly enough all the stores were well-stocked with NBA jerseys to go with the soccer, excuse me, futbol jerseys. By the way, My son and I now own Manchester United jerseys which will upset my friend Joe Palladino who is a big West Ham guy when he’s not listening to Rigoletto.
The British press did provide one moment of mirth. There was a huge rock concert in Glastonbury highlighted by an appearance by the Rolling Stones. One of the papers ran a perfectly ghastly photo of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards both of whom who looked like they had already been embalmed. The headline -“Night of the Living Dead.” By the way, they praised the Stones’ performance.
In France, it was no better. First of all were the papers and television. For God’s sake, they were both in French. What the heck is that all about? To make matters worse, the French could give a rat’s baguette about baseball, basketball, rugby or much of anything else for that matter.
Even Wimbledon got spotty coverage. The French were all about the Tour de France, in recent decades a testament to have drugs, use them now. The former Lance Armstrong Open was all over the print media and I know because I figured out the photos and a few words in the headlines.
By the way both hotels we stayed in did indeed have computer access where I could have kept up but no time. Pass up a Kronenbourg for a baseball score? Nope. It was tough I’ll tell you. Breakfasts of bangers and beans or in France with frommage and cold meats and no newspaper? Blimey.
You know sometimes you have to sacrifice and what better place to do it than in London and Paris. Churchill, the Queen, Napoleon, Louis XIV, they all would have been proud of us.
Finally, Friday night we found an American bar by the Sorbonne. All the usual drinks and ESPN on the television. Baseball. Manna from heaven. Basketball news. Glorious. A French bartenderess who went to Penn and a guy who lived in New York.
I wouldn’t have traded the trip for a chance to shoot baskets with Larry Bird. But, man was it nice to return and see some familiarity and read a language I can actually read. To get my morning fix.
You know Dorothy had something there when she banged those ruby red slippers together. There’s no place like home. Now, excuse me while I go find out why the Orioles are suddenly losing to the Yankees and the Celtics hired a coach that will need an ID to get a drink.
It’s great to be home.