OK, so I missed a little time there. A few things happened--the Brooklyn Banks (the best BMX spot in the universe) re-opened after an 8-month shutdown, the Tour de France entered the interesting time, and I had a few things to kick out for KICKS. And yesterday I got hit with a head cold that makes it feel like my sinuses and nasal passages are filled with half-dried Elmer's Glue. How's that for imagery?
But hell, it's 95 degrees out and humid, so I might as well sit in the AC and put down some thoughts on a few things:
• The Tour de Lance: Hey, I'm American—I'm happy that Lance won his seventh. But whay did it all have to be so anticlimactic? For the last two weeks, any attacks came from guys who didn't have a chance in hell of winning, while main contenders Ivan Basso and Jan Ullrich couldn't do anything to make things interesting.
There were moments, of course—Armstrong teammate George Hincapie winning a stage (and the toughest one, at that), Robbie McEwen's leg-melting sprint stage wins, Mickael Rasmussen's tireless climbing (and Agony of Defeat signature time trial), Lance's blazing time trial second half, and Alexander Vinokourov's last stage win (and his sprint duel with Levi Leipheimer). But all in all, there wasn't much drama regarding the outcome. It seemed like a given that Armstrong was going to win from the first week, and, of course, he did.
Not that it takes anything away from the accomplishment. Over 2,000 miles in three weeks isn't just hard—it's insane—and to beat all comers SEVEN years in a row after overcoming a nasty case of cancer, well, that just isn't human. The only question now is whether Armstrong will stay retired. After all, he is only 34.
But even if he does, I'm already looking forward to next year's Tour. With the mechanical rabbit sidelined, the greyhounds should (hopefully) battle from the first day to the last. Ullrich has won before, Basso—long considered the future of cycling—is already 29 without a Tour win to show for it, and Vinokourov is still a beast at 31. Then there's 25-year-old Ukranian Yaroslav Popovych, who pushed the Discovery team along, and along with Hincapie, should be right there in '06. There will be no shortage of American riders to follow, either, with Leipheimer, Bobby Julich and David Zabriskie all turning in respectable performances.
• Larry Brown coaching the Knicks: Yikes. I suppose it's a way to sort of circumvent the salary cap and the luxury tax, but unless he can bring half the Pistons along, why bother? It's like hiring Dale Earnhardt to drive your lawnmower. The Knicks are NOT going to win an NBA Championship in the next three years—and Next Town Brown won't be staying any longer than that—so what exactly will he accomplish? Especially with Isiah having long been on the side of Stephon Marbury, who's absolutely NOT a Larry Brown point guard. (And boy, is he going to love Tim Thomas.)
Will Brown make the Knicks better? Of course. (And for $12 million a year, he'd damn well better.) But what will he make them into? Even the best chef in the world can't make the simplest dish when you're missing half of the ingredients. Their best defender is in Phoenix, they don't have a true point guard, and their free-agent signing is a center who's played well exclusively in his contract year. Oh yeah, and their tradeable assets are Penny Hardaway and Tim Thomas. Stay in the Hamptons, Larry!
• Roller skating: Went a couple weeks ago, to The Skate Key in the South Bronx. Hadn't been to a rink in several years, and all I have to say is, what a racket! I'm convinced nothing in there had changed since roughly 1975. The lights, the carpeting, the lockers, and especially the rental skates. It's quite possible the rental skates were used in the Civil War. When I exchanged my left skate because it insisted on turning right, I got another one that did exactly the same thing.
But the investment! I'm not sure how much the building cost (or whether it was rented or leased or what), but other than utilities and employees, there are essentially no expenses! Admission and skate rental was $10, and that's because we were part of a party. I need to invest in a roller rink.