5-at-10: Real heroes in Thailand, Betting business, Theory on U.S. men's soccer struggles, True or false Tuesday, Rushmore of ensemble sitcoms

5-at-10: Real heroes in Thailand, Betting business, Theory on U.S. men's soccer struggles, True or false Tuesday, Rushmore of ensemble sitcoms

July 10th, 2018 by Jay Greeson in Breaking News

Two ambulances arrive near the cave to wait for more evacuations of the boys and their soccer coach who have been trapped since June 23, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand Monday, July 9, 2018.

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

Real meaning of heroes

We have become too lax in our use of words in describing sports.

Heroes. Courage. True bravery.

Those should not be used for guys who can hit or a throw a 100-m.p.h. fastball, drain a 3 as the buzzer sounds or lead a two-minute drive down four on the road.

(Side point: Yes, the words and phrases, be them direct or indirect, linking sports to the serious and life-changing aspects of war — good and bad — are nonsensical.)

We got to watch across the globe the true meaning of hero. And courage.

The experts and SEALs and all the folks that saved those 12 Thailand soccer players and their coaches from those flooded caves are amazing.

God bless, and thanks Big Guy for helping them through the ordeal.

FILE - In this Nov. 24, 2015 file photo, FanDuel advertising covers the post at an NCAA college basketball matchup in the FanDuel Legends Classic consolation game, at the Barclays Center in New York. Daily fantasy sports rivals DraftKings and FanDuel have agreed to merge after months of speculation and increasing regulatory scrutiny. The two companies made the announcement Friday, Nov. 18, 2016, saying the combined organization would be able to reduce costs as they work to become profitable and battle with regulators across the country to remain legal.(AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)

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Photo by The Associated Press/Times Free Press.



Business gambles

OK, there has been a slew of gambling news in the sports world over the last few months.

The Supreme Court reversing course on federal laws regard gambling. New Jersey, Delaware and Mississippi have added legalized sports betting in their state. 

In a lot of ways, the explosion of the daily fantasy sports leagues and websites hastened this reality. Sports betting was already legal before it official became legal considering you could assemble golf teams for any tournament, daily, weekly or season-long fantasy football, baseball, basketball or NASCAR teams.

And today we will discuss the gamble that directly applies to almost everyone in this country whether they make a bet or not.

The original founders of FanDuel, the forerunner of the DFS craze, are no longer with the company, which merged with Draft Kings in the last couple of years.

Paddy Power Betfair, a Dubline, Ireland-based bookmaker, has bought FanDuel. Normally, that means good things for any company's founders, who in almost every case would make a pretty penny on any transaction of that ilk.

Well, Fan Duel, which was valued at more than $1 billion less than three years ago, was actually worth less than half of that in the eyes of Paddy Power, which bought the company for $465 million. Since FanDuel raised roughly $420 million in investments and capital funding, all of the proceeds of the sale will go to investors and the current leadership and primary stockholders. 

Man, well, at least one betting axiom stands true, whether it's betting, fantasy sports or BID-ness. The house always wins.  

Axel Witsel celebrates after the final whistle of Belgium's 2-1 win against Brazil in a World Cup quarterfinal Friday in Kazan, Russia. Belgium will take on France in the semifinals Tuesday in St. Petersburg.

Axel Witsel celebrates after the final whistle of...

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.



Soccer hand-wringing

OK, there has been a whole lot of discussion about the "why" on U.S. soccer program and its extremely noticeable absence in this World Cup kickball event.

There's the hand-wringing of tradition and commitment and all the other angles that make the numbers seem mind-boggling.

How crazy are the numbers? Well, Croatia is smaller than the state of Tennessee and has the population of roughly 2/3 of New York City, and the Croats are two wins from a World Cup cup. 

The U.S.? We're sitting at home and watching (or pretending to).

And all the talk of the 'soccer explosion' and huge increased numbers of kids playing soccer compared to previous generations and other sports.

Friends, we are not a soccer expert. Never claimed to be, and never intend to change that.

And we see, agree and understand that the number of kids in the U.S. playing soccer is on the increase.

But that's nowhere near enough to compete on a global stage to a sport on which that every other country in the world is focused.

This is beyond the "best athletes are playing basketball and football." Although a team of athletes of say Odell Beckham, LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and say, Jadeveon Clowney would be amazing, right? If those four had been born in England, they likely would have chased soccer glory.

It's also beyond the shallow argument that soccer is cost prohibitive for young soccer players. That argument is hollow because a) travel sports of all ills are increasingly expensive, and b) if that's the case in this country, why are the U.S. women a juggernaut and the men stickers?

Here's our theory on this: The inability of the U.S. national team to continue the traction of increasing numbers among youth sports has very few options beyond high school. Call it another wave of the Title IX ripple effect if you'd like, but almost every college of any size across the South — where more and more of your elite athletes are being raised, friends — has a female soccer program and no men soccer programs.

Maybe we're way off base. And maybe there will never be an answer because the following for day-to-day soccer starting at the high school level and up will not be as cool and socially embraced as hoops and football. 

But the fact that we're looking up to Croatia is more than telling that the soccer eruption in this country among the XY species is more dud than explosion.

This and that

— This is a great story. Michigan State all-star defensive back has put aside his NFL dreams to join the Air Force. Good on you young man. And thanks for your intentions to serve. 

— Nick Saban told linebacker VanDairus Cowan to hit the bricks


— PGA Tour pro John Peterson appears to be retiring. Man, we hear time and again that the one shot could make all the difference. For Peterson, one shot over the course of last weekend Greenbrier would be the difference in playing the rest of the season and starting a new job in real estate. 

— He's not playing this week, but we saw on the PGA website that Baylor School alum Luke List has qualified for the British Open.

— First concert ever to be at Notre Dame Stadium has been agreed on by the school. The artist? Garth Brooks. Kudos to CBSsports.com writer Will Brinson for this Tweet when hearing that news: "Two legendary icons last relevant in the 1990s come together for one magical night."

— Sad story here as a New York Giants defensive tackle is understandably upset at the TSA agents who examined the urn that contained his mother's ashes and did not secure the lid after checking. The ashes split all over his clothes in his luggage. 

— You know the rules. Weeds writes on hoops, we read Weeds' view on hoops. Here's Mark Wiedmer's take on the brawl at the AAU event over the weekend. Weeds on the basketball fight at LakePoint in Emerson, Ga. 

Today's questions

True or false Tuesday. Giddy-up.

True or false, Garth Brooks is on the Rushmore of country music.

On this day in 1999, Brandi Chastain ripped off her shirt and made the sports bra part of the vernacular after kicking the U.S. women to the World Cup title.

Arthur Ashe would have been 75 today. Andre Dawson is 64. Jessica Simpson is 37.

Urban Meyer is 53 today. In honor of Sofia Vergara, who is 46 today, Rushmore of ensemble TV sit-coms.

Go, and I need some mailbag questions early this week if possible.

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