Sports’ dazzling dozen: the countdown begins

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Not everybody in sports is a star. For every Babe Ruth, there were a dozen guys like Joe Schlobotnik. For every Gordie Howe, there was a locker room full of Pat Falloons. Sports stars come and go. 

Today’s superstar pitcher is tomorrow’s ligament-damaged has-been. But in one man’s opinion, here is the first half of the Dazzling Dozen, the 12 most compelling people — from a Canadian perspective — in the world of sports today.

Let’s start the countdown:

12.) Roger Federer. No longer the No. 1 men’s tennis player in the world, Federer is the epitome of the class athlete. 

The 39-year-old Swiss star has 20 Grand Slam titles, tied with Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal for the most all time. Federer is so easy to root for.

11.) Jay Onrait. We’re deviating from the world of athletes, but staying with the world of sports. Canada’s No. 1 TV sports personality, Onrait is goofy, irreverent, funny, controversial and, most of all, entertaining. 

His nightly hour-long sportscast on TSN is can’t-miss viewing for the avid Canadian sports fan.

10.) Brooke Henderson. Not the world’s best female golfer, but certainly among the best. 

In a sport dominated by Asian players, the Smiths Falls, Ont., product, ranked No. 7 in the world, stands out from the crowd and is a darling of TV producers because of her blonde hair, good looks, great smile and skill level.

9.) Bianca Andreescu. The Toronto tennis star won the 2019 U.S. Open, a first for a Canadian, but missed the 2020 season due to a knee injury. 

She has returned to action, but still suffering from nagging injuries. Ranked seventh in the world, Andreescu is still only 21 years of age, with a tremendously bright future.

8,) Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. The always-smiling Guerrero, Jr., the brightest baseball star in Canada, is having a breakthrough season with the Blue Jays and is among the group of young stars that has burst onto the Major League Baseball scene. 

He’s No. 1 in almost every hitting category and if he learns to speak English, corporate Canada will be offering him truckloads of endorsement money.

7.) Tom Brady. He’s 43. Still winning Super Bowls (he’s up to seven now). Married to a super model. His income of about $25 million a year is reportedly second highest in his household. 

TV executives love him, as evidenced by his recent participation in a televised golf match where he teamed with Phil Mickelson in an exhibition against Bryson DeChambeau and Aaron Rodgers. 

Amazingly, at his advanced age, he’s still dominant at what is arguably the toughest position in pro sports.

Next week, the countdown continues, from No. 6 down to No. 1 of the Dazzling Dozen.

Slap shots

• Phil Mushnick of the New York Post, on the Chiefs’ Frank Clark arguing the Uzi for which he was arrested for possessing, was actually his bodyguard’s. “Help me on this, Barrister: In what environment would Clark — a 6-foot-3, 260-pound NFL defensive lineman — need not just a bodyguard, but a bodyguard with a submachine gun?”

• RJ Currie of sportsdeke.com: “Hayley Wickenheiser said the University of Calgary helped her get a degree by planning exams around her hockey schedule. In response, NCAA athletes said, ‘Exams?’”

• Steve Simmons of Sun Media: “Bianca Andreescu has signed with IMG. The I is for International, not for injury.”

• Patti Dawn Swansson, on Twitter: “So, the NHL dropped the puck in mid-January and the Tampa Bay Lightning repeated as Stanley Cup champions six months later. And after all that time, Elliotte Friedman still hasn’t found his hair brush.”

• Comedy writer Alex Kaseberg: “The Scripps National Spelling Bee was won by a 14-year-old math and basketball prodigy, Zaila Avant-garde. That is truly an amazing acompli, acomplish, ecomplush, that is really something.”

• Kaseberg again: “In ‘The Match,’ Tom Brady crushed a drive 390 yards four feet from the hole. Aaron Rodgers sank six long birdie putts. Makes you wonder how Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau would do at third and long in the last minute of the Super Bowl.”

• Greg Cote of the Miami Herald: “The NFL has had a gay player (Carl Nassib) for more than a week now and league is still operating. Everything is OK!”

• Jack Finarelli at sportscurmudgeon.com, on Nathans’s Fourth of July hotdog eating contest: “At exactly what point did gluttony cease to be one of the seven deadly sins and become a sport?”

• Headline at the onion.com: “LeBron James Buys Courtside Seat At Finals To Continue Arguing Foul Call From First Round”

• fark.com headline: “Tom Brady warned to not attempt to throw or deflate the Stanley Cup.”

 

Care to comment? Email brucepenton2003@yahoo.ca.

by Bruce Penton

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