50 Years of Memories

Tomorrow marks the 50th anniversary of Open tennis — that is, when the U.S. National Championships became the U.S. Open and allowed professionals to compete.

Let’s take a look back at some of the most iconic moments in the tournament’s history, shall we?

  • 1968: Arthur Ashe, a lieutenant in the United States Army at the time, wins the inaugural U.S. Open. Fun fact: As an amateur, Ashe was unable to receive the champion’s prize of $14K, so he took home a mere $280 in per diem.
  • 1971: 16-year-old Chris Evert takes two weeks off from high school to play and advances all the way to the semifinals. She’d win five of the next nine U.S. Opens while advancing to at least the semifinals in all of them.
  • 1988: Steffi Graf completes the “Golden Slam,” winning all four majors AND a gold medal at the Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea.
  • 1991: 39-year-old Jimmy Connors makes an improbable run, eventually losing in the semifinals. His performance was so memorable they made a 30 for 30 about it. Watch this, it’s awesome.
  • 2006: Andre Agassi addresses the crowd after playing his final match (a third-round loss): “The scoreboard said I lost today. But what the scoreboard doesn’t say is what it is I have found. Over the last 21 years, I have found loyalty. You have pulled for me on the court and in life.”
  • 2008: Roger Federer becomes the first man in the Open Era to win the five consecutive U.S. Open titles. Not bad!

Blue-collar or White-collar?

Last week, we compiled a list of every U.S. city with at least three major sports teams (there are 24), and asked you to vote: blue-collar or white-collar?

Survey results:

  • Blue-collar: Cleveland (97%), Detroit (97%), Pittsburgh (97%), Philadelphia (90%), Milwaukee/Green Bay (89%), Baltimore (83%), Oakland (73%), Minneapolis (63%), Boston (58%), Chicago (53%)
  • White-collar: Washington D.C. (100%), Dallas (97%), Phoenix (97%), Miami (93%), San Francisco (93%), Los Angeles (90%), Toronto (90%), Seattle (90%), Atlanta (86%), Tampa Bay (83%), New York (83%), Denver (80%), Charlotte/Raleigh (79%), Houston (73%)

Reflection (last week in review)

College Football: Ohio State suspended head football coach Urban Meyer for three games after an investigation found that he mishandled domestic assault allegations made against assistant coach Zach Smith.

College Basketball: The rating percentage index (RPI), the metric that’s been used for the last 37 years to help determine who makes the NCAA tournament, is dead. Taking its place: The NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET).

Golf / Media: The highly anticipated showdown between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will be produced by Turner Sports and televised via pay-per-view by Turner’s B/R Live platform, DirecTV, and AT&T U-verse. No word yet on pricing.

Scripture (articles worth reading)

ESPN: Behind The Scenes Of Barry Sanders’ Untouchable 1988 Season:“Outside Stillwater, few in college football even knew Sanders existed when he returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown against Miami (Ohio) to start the ’88 season. Yet by the end, he had captured the Heisman Trophy in a landslide.”

*The Ringer: Could The Modern NFL Ever Embrace A Two-Way Star Like Shohei Ohtani? “In an era of positionless football, those around the league still have doubts about — and dreams of — a player starring on both offense and defense.”

*FiveThirtyEight: The A’s Changed Baseball Once. They May Be Changing It Again: “What on-base percentage was to the Moneyball A’s, fly-ball percentage is to this group of upstarts.”

Looking Ahead (coming up this week)

*Tuesday, 8 & 10 PM (ESPN2) ➞ WNBA Playoffs: First game: Washington Mystics vs. Atlanta Dream // Second game: Phoenix Mercury vs. Seattle Storm.

*Thursday, 7 PM (ESPNU) ➞ UCF (21) vs. UConn: The defending national champs (lol) are on TV!! In all seriousness, this should hold you over until Saturday’s “official” kickoff.

*Saturday, all day ➞ College football is officially back. Best games: (14) Michigan vs. (12) Notre Dame // Louisville vs. (1) Alabama // (6) Washington vs. (9) Auburn.

Kendall Baker for Religion of Sports