Yeah, that sounds cool. Surely Reid could give Bowden plenty of insight on the finer points of the game.
But instead of watching a recent Eagles game, Bowden and Reid poured through the 1958 NFL Championship between the Baltimore Colts and New York Giants – the game most football historians call the greatest game ever played.
Here’s the caveat: Reid had never seen the game before, which Bowden says is kind of like an English professor claiming he never read Macbeth.
Nevertheless, Reid dives in and breaks down the game, play- by-play, for Bowden. Better yet, it makes for a fascinating read.
One of the crazy things about the sub-elite running or bicycling races is that one never really knows who the competition will be. For months a guy can train and prepare for a big race without the knowledge of who he will be up against.
Ryan Howard and the Phillies are pretty sure they are going to face Jair Jurrjens and the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday night. After all, such things are published all over the place. As a result, the Phillies can dive into the stats and study video tape in order to prepare for the completion.
Imagine if the Phillies showed up at the park every day with no idea who they were going to face. Maybe it is the Braves one day or the Mets another – they just show up whenever they feel like it and play.
That’s exactly the way it is for runners and riders on the local racing scene. Maybe a really fast guy was out too late the night before a race and decided to sleep in. Or perhaps an elite-level racer was in town visiting friends and decided to show up for the local 10k – it’s very unlike most organized sports.
So imagine the horror (yes, horror) some of the faster mountain bikers in Snowmass, Colo. last weekend when some dude in a black and yellow Livestrong kit rolled up just before the start of the 12-hour team race. Rather than just some fast guy with a custom Trek and major-corporation sponsorship, the bike racers in Colorado had to line up against Lance Armstrong.
You know, the guy who won seven Tour de France titles in a row… he was in the area and thought it would be fun to just show up and race.
Imagine if Cole Hamels just suddenly showed up to pitch in the backyard wiffle ball game or if Kobe called winners at the neighborhood basketball court. In this case, Lance Armstrong just gathered up a couple of friends, put Livestrong jerseys on them and went out and won the team title at the 12 Hours of Snowmass…
Just taking on all comers.
Armstrong, of course, announced that he will return to professional cycling in 2009 after a three-year retirement with the hope of winning another Tour de France. Pushing 37, Armstrong says he was motivated by some older athletes who won medals in the Beijing Olympics as well as his ongoing quest to raise money and awareness for cancer research.
However, Armstrong’s coach Chris Carmichael says he also wants to ride his bike again.
“He fell in love with bike racing again,” Carmichael said. “This is the life he knows, the world he knows.”
In the meantime Armstrong, was out there mixing it up with some pretty serious athletes, just like he did when he chose to run three marathons over the past couple of years. Coming up, the plan is to prepare for the 2009 racing season with a few more races, including a cyclocross race or two.
Who knows… maybe he’ll show up to race in another local criterium or mountain ride.
Next up: Ryan Howard, J.A. Happ and the playoff race.