Yeah, yeah, I know:
In the real sports news, however,
That's not a slap at one of SI's most popular swimsuit models, a legit, world-class driver whose sixth-place finish in Fort Worth on Saturday snapped her streak of four straight top-five finishes. It's a lament at the oligopoly in sports today; an observation that, entertaining as they can be, the NFL, NBA and MLB, have a tendency to suck all the oxygen out of the room.
Seriously, if it's not one of the The Big Three (or their NCAA farm clubs), if it isn't one of golf's major tournaments, or if a one-name celebrity isn't in the mix, did it really happen? If
The cold truth is,
The dynamic between those two, the exquisite tension, is already one of the best soap operas in sports. But watch Versus's Tour ratings go through the floor if and when it becomes apparent that Armstrong has no shot at an eighth victory. Americans -- or should I say "the Lance freaks," as one of his ex-teammates described them to me -- will bail by the thousands, even though they'll be turning their backs on a dozen storylines that are, arguably, no less compelling.
I make these points not to scold, but to remind readers that sports is not a prix fix menu, but a sumptuous buffet. Even if Armstrong fades from contention, give the Tour a chance. Keep an eye on
Open your mind, in other words, to the cornucopia of sporting options -- from rugby to track and field (yes -- even in non-Olympic years) to horse-racing (yes -- even when a Triple Crown is not at stake.) If you give it half a chance, you may find yourself sucked in by the College World Series, which begins in Omaha on Saturday. Did you happen to catch the joyous dog pile formed by the Virginia players following their Super Regional victory over Ole Miss, which gave the Cavs a spot in their first CWS? I worried for the safety of the guys on the bottom. That mound of humanity served as a reminder that the number of Nielsen ratings points an event earns is often inversely proportional to the amount of passion it packs. There's a wealth of drama and great stories outside the Big Three. And you'll find them not quite as stale.
In the meantime, have you heard the news?