This is a great time of year for an armchair jock like me. Football (soccer) and hockey seasons have been going for a few weeks now, there have been some important cricket matches in sunnier climes, and the Fall basho began just yesterday in Koyushu.
The great sumo champion Asashoryu seems to be confirming negative views of his fading career by withdrawing from this basho because of an injury. That news seemed to leave fellow yokozuna Hakuho with an easy path to his 9th Emperor’s Cup. The main interest for this tournament was to see if our favourite, Ama, the smallest rikishi in the sport’s senior ranks, could gain 11 wins out of the 15 bouts and thus win promotion to ozeki. But then came last night’s opening. Ama won a challenging first fight against Kotoshogiku. But Hakuho found himself floored by the popular though erratic Aminishiki. Hometown favourite ozeki Kaio lost too, as did ozeki Kotooshu (confirming, perhaps, the belief that his Cup victory in May was a lucky blip). Even after just one day, this basho already seems excitingly unpredictable and open for a surprise victor.
In the NHL, our beloved Canucks started the season with a series of victories. They then slumped, but now, after last night’s game, and due in no small part to three straight shutouts by goaltender Roberto Luongo, they lead the Northwest Division. They are an exciting, attacking team with 48 goals already, and from a wide range of players. Whatever changes GM Mike Gillis wanted in the team, coach Alain Vigneault seems to be delivering. If only he could have been half this positive last year!
Over in England, Chelsea still march forward, leading the Premier League with an incredible +25 goal difference. With Manchester United losing yet again today, only Liverpool stand in the way of total domination! [Reader Alert: cliche-ridden sentence to follow:] But there’s a long way to go in the season yet, we have to take it one game at a time, believe in ourselves and give 110%.