POSTED ON JULY 13, 2011:
Beat the Heat
Chill out with some cool Tulsa sports
Heat wave talk is a real snoozaroni. It is understandable in office settings when incidental eye-contact and awkward moments of silence can be averted by mentioning the sun's powerful rays. Otherwise, we should strive for wittier banter.
Here are a few topical... um... topics to bail you out next time someone complains about sweat, humidity or general crabbiness. Let's work to keep it cool. These subjects are certain to cool you off just talking about them.
Ice pops, Big Splash, Charlize Theron, Bumblebee, straw hats, beer, Zach Galifianakis, the Blue Hole, hipsters, Jack Sparrow, breathable undies, frozen margaritas, a tic tac, linen pants, Oktoberfest, an Arnold Palmer (the drink, not the golfer), oscillating fans, Jennifer Aniston's resurgence, flip-flops, Casey Anthony outrage, a Weekend at Bernie's, Rock n' Rib Festival, water guns, beer, water guns filled with beer and of course Drillers' and Talons' games.
Chances are we could fill this space with examples of coolness. But since we are sporty, let's talk about one of our local teams. It can be cool to talk about our home teams too.
"If we take cool literally, you get to enjoy a great sport in an air conditioned venue and avoid sitting outside in the Oklahoma summer," said Talons general manager Corey MacIntyre.
He is right. The comfort level at a Talons game goes beyond the controlled temperature. The entire experience exudes coolness on multiple levels.
"I think the coolest thing about the Talons is the excitement of the game. The constant action whether the play is going on or not. The interaction/access with/to the players that the fans have," MacIntyre said.
Example: Earlier this season an opposing player's last name was Devoe. Well, Devoe was apparently close enough to a movie character named Deebo from "Friday" to encourage movie quotes tossed his way throughout the game.
When the Kansas City Command won on the final play of the game, the arena emptied. Players lingered, an overdressed reported in stilettos flocked to the field and an enthusiastic fan kept the heat on Devoe. Sure enough the player came over to the wall and shared a couple of laughs with the Talons supporter.
"It is also a requirement by the league that all playerssign autographs after every home game," he said. "I have not been involved with a sport where the fans have as much access to the players as our fans do." He would know.
Just when the soccer world was ready to eliminate one more fan due to awful officiating, flopping and general stupidity; Abby Wambach lifted the U.S. to a rousing victory over the Brazilian women this past Sunday.
The win came against all odds. The heart, passion and stick-to-itiveness the ladies exhibited should be played on a loop for the US Men's squad.
Soccer at its best can be cool. Soccer at its worst can cause Ebola-like symptoms.
So with this in mind, what does the Tulsa Sports Commission hope to accomplish with the big announcement last week?
"We have been working with Eddie (Marles) and the A.C. Milan organization for several months to put this together and are thrilled to be able to make the announcement today," said Ray Hoyt, senior vice president of VisitTulsa and executive director of TSC.
"This is a great opportunity for Tulsa to not only host a major international youth event, but to be able to partner with the world's leading soccer club. This opens Tulsa up to an entirely new audience and once again puts us on an international stage attracting visitors who wouldn't normally have the opportunity to see our great city."
We are all about showcasing our city. The TSC has done solid work in the past. They are branching out in directions and taking risks which should be commended. The USA vs. Brazil men's match was well received by those aware of the event.
The organization also pitches in with Tulsa Tough, the Route 66 Marathon and other ventures.
But let's break down this international event. For starters, calling A.C. Milan the world's leading soccer club is being kind at best. Perhaps a more accurate description would be one of the most historic clubs.
Having said that, are you familiar with A.C. Milan? Do they carry the same weight in your sports mind as the New York Yankees or Dallas Cowboys? Ask a casual sports fan to name a Euro club and chances are you would come up with Manchester United.
The TSC is working with the Italian-based squad to create an international youth soccer tournament in Tulsa. The tournament is scheduled for Memorial Day weekend, May 25-28, 2012, and will feature three Milan Junior League Elite teams comprised of youth ages 11-14.
It will be interesting to see how this comes together. Soccer is often cited as the major league sport that got away. History indicates a professional soccer club may have succeeded in T-Town.
The youth soccer movement is clear. With more and more parents taking a long hard look at collision sports like football, soccer seems to be the recipient of the athletic-bound teens.
Will this translate into an annual worldwide event in Tulsa?
Did A.C. Milan press forward and attack the TSC? Did they force their brand upon us? Or was it a cognitive decision to pursue the Euro club?
Was Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan and the American squad too busy? If the U.S. Women go on to capture the World Cup, wouldn't their presence make more since from a PR standpoint?
Maybe A.C. Milan's history can make this tourney thrive. Perhaps we'll look back in five years and applaud the foresight the committee showed.
It would be a lot cooler if it did.
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