Words from the Wise: Climaxes and new beginnings

The NBA enters final two weeks; Chelsea wraps up the Premier League; White Sox prepare to defend their title; ...and golf.

david wiseman 88 (photo credit: )
david wiseman 88
(photo credit: )
This past weekend most countries around the world turned their clocks either an hour forward or back. This marks the changing of the seasons and in turn means many sporting competitions are coming to a culmination while others are just getting under way. In America, the NBA is entering its final two weeks of the regular season. At this stage Detroit looks the team to beat but don't be surprised if San Antonio pull the rug from under their feet again. Yet again Phoenix, Dallas, Miami and New Jersey are challenging and the new blood of the Clippers, Cavaliers, Bucks and Nuggets indicates some fresh names might be lifting up Championship banners in a few years to come. That would be a welcome relief as over the last 19 years only five different teams (Lakers, Spurs, Bulls, Pistons and Rockets) have held aloft the Larry O'Brien trophy. In England, Chelsea have cracked open the duopoly Arsenal and Manchester United held over the English Premier League and look like they have nine fingers around their second straight title. United have done well to reduce Chelsea's lead to seven points but it seems a case of too little too late. At one stage, United looked to be in dire straits and Sir Alex Ferguson out the door but somehow they pulled it all together. Ferguson has now had 20 straight years in charge at Old Trafford and it may be time for him to move on. After a 2-0 win at home in the first leg, Arsenal look well placed to progress to the quarter finals of the Champions League. Struggling domestically while excelling on the continent has been the hallmark of the Gunners current season. Ever since Arsene Wenger took control of the reins at Highbury, Arsenal has struggled to make an impact in Europe. This could be the year they piece it all together and, given Arsenal's French connection, victory in the final to be played in Paris would be more than fitting. Elsewhere in Europe it looks like championships yet again for Barcelona, Lyon, Bayern Munich, Juventus, PSV and of course Maccabi Haifa. While everyone was losing their head and manager, it was business as usual up at Kiryat Eliezer as the Greens marched to their fifth title in six years. Once again their real litmus test will come in August and Champions League qualifying. To their credit, Haifa has been able to get over the failure to qualify for the Champions League and win the league but it remains to be seen how many more times they can do this? Conversely, the once much heralded 'Galacticos' of Maccabi Tel-Aviv have faced one disaster after another and currently sit some 25 points behind top spot. They will be hoping at Bloomfield that an annus horribilis such as this only comes around once every 100 years. Meanwhile, baseball has begun and Opening Day occurred a few days ago where President Bush threw out the first pitch in Cincinnati. The Reds proceeded to get walloped 16-7 by the Cubs. Chicago's other team, the White Sox began the defence of their World Series win with a determined victory over Cleveland. The first week of April also means the azaleas are in full bloom at Augusta for the US Masters. This year's event looks to be as open as ever and promises to deliver drama and emotion in high amounts. When there is a Tiger lurking in the field, hard to go past him. Someone is going to have to play very well to beat him. Usually the only person in the field who can beat Tiger is himself. [email protected]