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Monday, February 22, 2021
There's a changing of the guard on women's tennis, no doubt about it. And it played out in the first Grand Slam tournament in 2021. Japan's Naomi Osaka knocked off American legend Serena Williams in the Australian Open semifinals which had all the making of a passing of the torch. Serena had little to defend against the younger, more athletic Osaka. Neither did fellow American Jennifer Brady who put together a great tournament to even get to the finals, but could muster no more than the 7 games Serena did over 2 sets. Only Garbine Muguruza could win a set against Osaka and along with the two Americans, the only ones to win 4 games in a set. The 23 year old Osaka looks all the part of a humble tennis superstar, and this is her second Sportswoman of the Week!
Tuesday, February 16, 2021
An annual rite of Spring (or at least late winter) is the restart of the NASCAR season in warm and sunny Florida for the Daytona 500. Well at least it was warm and later, the rain that precluded the sun abated. As unpredictable as the weather was the result of the race. With former Cup champions Denny Hamlin leading the most laps, and Penske teammates Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski leading the final lap, it seemed certain a winner would be from the Final Four of 2020. Au Contraire. After Brad took out Joey, it was underdog Michael McDowell who took the checker after a fiery final lap and a yellow flag just before he was passed by 2020 Cup winner Chase Elliott. It was McDowell's 358th Cup Series career start. And first Cup Series race victory. He was listed somewhere between 66-1 and 100-1 at the start. But he's number one so far in 2021 and now punched his ticket to the NASCAR playoffs. Michael McDowell is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!
Monday, February 8, 2021
Hard to call it an upset when the winning quarterback already has six Super Bowl title. Make it seven. But he wasn't the only experienced player on the field for the winning Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His partner in crime from the New England Patriots days tight end Rob Gronkowski joined him and made two huge touchdown catches in the first half to send the Swashbucklers on their way to an easy 31-9 victory over the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. That Buccaneers quarterback of some renown, Tom Brady, hit his favorite tight end twice for touchdowns in a short 9:32 span to take a 3-0 deficit to a 14-3 lead they would never relinquish. Gronk led the Buccaneers receiving corps in targets, catches, and yards (in addition to touchdowns) showing once again his big game ability. When he wasn't catching passes, he was a key run blocker on the edge helping the Pirates in Pewter Pants rush for 4.5 yards per carry to keep the Chiefs defense off balance. Brady to Gronkowski will go down in Super Bowl lore, and the latter is a deserving Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!
Monday, February 1, 2021
It's the bye week for the NFL before the Super Bowl, which means we turn toward Spring Sports. The National Hockey League is in full throat and a new star has emerged. American net minder Thatcher Demko of the Vancouver Canucks emerged to snipe three victories (two against the Ottawa Senators, the other against the Winnipeg Jets), each allowing 1 goal. And his Canucks charge toward the top of the North (a.k.a Canada) Division looking up at the big market Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens. Overall 100 shots faced in the 3 games, 3 in. My math says that's 97% save percentage, which is pretty good. The 25 year-old Demko will be a key if the Canucks can make a run toward the Stanley Cup, and is our Sportsman of the Week!