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Column: June will give us several big sporting events

The views of the author are not necessarily the views of AllOnGeorgia.

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The calendar still reads May, and the long Memorial Day weekend is here.

Of course, it’s a big weekend with graduations taking place locally and people celebrating the accomplishments of those young people graduating from our local high schools.

Friday is also the last day of school for all students in the local school system, so their summers officially begin when the school bell rings for the final time this afternoon.

And people here in Glynn County will celebrate the holiday weekend much like others all over the place with family gatherings, picnics and maybe spending time on the beach or around the pool relaxing and soaking in the sun if rainy weather doesn’t ruin those plans.

But, let’s all make sure we don’t forget the true meaning of Memorial Day and let’s pause to remember those who lost their lives defending our freedom and putting our country ahead of themselves and their personal agendas.

For a sports fan, it’s a decent weekend for relaxing on the couch and watching the action unfold in the NBA playoffs where two Game 7s are possible in the Eastern and Western Conference Finals.

There is good college baseball taking place in conference tournaments and women’s college softball teams are vying for spots in the upcoming Women’s College World Series.

There is also good major league baseball including a Braves-Red Sox matchup in Boston.

And as always, Memorial Day weekend means a marathon day on Sunday for auto racing with the green flag dropping on the Indianapolis 500 shortly after noon and then NASCAR taking the track at the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte in early evening.

This time next week the calendar will flip to June, and that means several big events in the sports world will be upon us.

Two premier events will already be under way, and they might be the two people here in coastal Georgia could care the least about, really.

One is the Stanley Cup finals featuring Vegas and Washington which gets cranked up on Monday night.

And the other is the French Open, which is now under way as well at Roland Garros and is taking place without Roger Federer competing, seemingly improving Rafael Nadal’s chances to win yet again on the clay surface.

In no particular order, several other big-time events are on tap next month, too.

I guess the biggest for me would have to be golf’s U.S. Open, the second major tournament in professional golf on the annual calendar. This year’s tournament will of course include Tiger Woods for the first time in several years, but it also will feature Phil Mickelson who only needs a U.S. Open win to complete the career Grand Slam.

If you are aware of Lefty’s history in the tournament, you know he has finished second six times in his career and one of those runner-up finishes came at Shinnecock Hills back in 2004. That year, he was tied for the lead with eventual winner Retief Goosen when he three-putted from about 5 feet for a double-bogey on the penultimate hole.

It would be great stuff if Woods and Mickelson were tied coming down the home stretch on Sunday afternoon, but that also is nothing more than wishful thinking to be honest.

Also coming up is the NBA Finals, and we are still awaiting the matchup as Cleveland and Boston get set to play Game 6 tonight in the Eastern Conference Finals with the Celtics holding a 3-2 lead and Houston and Golden State playing Game 6 in the Western Conference Finals tomorrow night with the Rockets also leading 3-2 over the Warriors.

Me, I expect a seventh game out West with the Warriors getting the job done, and with much hesitation I will stick with my pick of the Cavaliers in the East until they are sent packing.

Also, soon after the NBA crowns a champion, the league will also hold its annual draft. Like the football draft, this has become a made-for-TV event in prime time, but I remember watching this thing as a teenager in the middle of the day in the summer time.

June also will bring us the world series in both college softball and college baseball and the SEC figures to be well-represented in both tournaments.

And lastly, June also brings us the Belmont Stakes which this year makes for a compelling story as Justify is set to race for the Triple Crown after winning both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes already.

Justify is the 1-1 betting favorite at the moment, but he will be challenged by a large field and of course the longest of the the three Triple Crown races.

Justify’s path to the Crown got a bit easier today, though, when the trainer for top contender Audible said the horse would not run the Belmont. Audible finished third in the Derby and might have started the Belmont as the second choice behind the Triple Crown hopeful.

So, there you have it. June is a big month where big titles will be handed out in a variety of sports.

Surely, there is something there that you can find compelling. I know I can.




Kevin Price is a freelance writer for AllOnGeorgia with more than 20 years experience in journalism and communications.

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