Acadia, Tiger, and Miscellany

I took last Friday off and went exploring with Jill. Not having experienced the Maine coast, we took our time driving up and enjoyed the scenery that Route 1 had to offer in Bath, Camden, and Belfast before descending upon Mount Desert Island, home to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park.

I've seen a lot of trees and a lot of hills and a lot of water in my life, and I'm not easily impressed by any of the lot. From the top of Cadillac Mountain, every tree and every hill and every square foot of Atlantic Ocean is like the first you've ever seen. A panoramic montage of glistening water and untrodden islands is enough to make the land ends, ocean begins mantra of your local beach feel obsolete.

After a short trip through Acadia, we checked out Bar Harbor, an ice cream and antiques village reminiscent of Lake George, if you replaced the lake with miles of the most spectacular ocean shoreline in the country. We enjoyed a few Bar Harbor Real Ales with dinner, stayed at a cozy B&B, bid a slow adieu to MDI in the morning, and headed inland.

The next stop was the Marston cottage on Lake Cobbosseecontee in Manchester. We helped the cousins pick up sticks and install windows and put the dock together before settling in for more Bar Harbor Real Ales and some US Open golf.

That brings us to Tiger. I watched several holes of golf this weekend, and for the first time every, found myself rooting for Tiger. Just about every sports rooting interest I've ever had has been based on the idea of sharing the wealth. I hate the Yankes and the Cowboys and the Lakers becuase they always win (or at least, over some extended period of my life, they always won). I can't root for UCLA basketball or Notre Dame football or the USA basketball team in international events. If one unexpected championship in the face of decades of adversity can bring more joy than five $200 million championships won with all the best talent and all the best luck, and I truly belive it can, what's the point of rooting for the favorite?

I've always applied this philosophy to Tiger, the world's most dominant athlete (ever?), but I'm starting to change my mind. Here's what sets Tiger apart: golf is rarely played one-on-one. The idea of throwing 156 players onto a golf course for a long weekend is almost immune to dominance. Groundskeepers make the courses as difficult as possible and essentially eliminate golfers as they make a few mistakes. Two double bogeys on Thursday and you probably won't be around on Saturday. One drive into the water on Sunday afternoon and all of a sudden you're off the leaderboard. Everyone goes into a tournament with something in the vicinity of a 1 in 156 chance to win.

Everyone, that is, except Tiger. This guy is so good and so consistent that majors have essentially been reduced to Tiger against the field, with each having a fifty percent chance to win. Now slice up Tiger's knee, don't give him much time to heal, and pit him against a mob of 155 able-bodied golfers, one on one, over 72 holes, and who's your underdog? Not ready to root for him yet? Put him over par and a few strokes off the lead on Thursday. Start him with double bogeys on the first hole on three of four days. Put him a stroke behind the leader heading onto the 18th green on Saturday (eagle) and Sunday (birdie). Make him play an additional 19 holes on Monday to break a tie, and put him a stroke behind after 17 again (another birdie!).

I rooted for Tiger, and I'm not apologizing. And I'll root for him again, if he ever recovers.

In other news, I don't watch much NBA basketball these days, but I watched a few games of these finals, including last night's delightful romp of a clincher, and while it wasn't the ultimate good vs. evil story, there was certainly plenty of evil to overcome. I've never rooted for the Celtics, but I like Garnett, and I took a shining to Rondo and Big Baby and Leon Powe, and I was thrilled to be up well after midnight celebrating with them.

Clam Dip put together a gutsy short-handed win last week, and we stand 3-4 going into the regular season finale tomorrow. Meanwhile, Welcome to the Fukudome, my softball team, is 0-2 despite batting .565 collectively through two games.

Off to Kim and Matt's wedding this weekend. Congrats to the happy couple.


At 10:38 PM, Anonymous Colleen said...

Sounds like a good weekend. I still recommend checking out Novare Res (the beer garden) Let me know next time you head up to the cottage...


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