Sacramento, my sports town, and I'm not talking about the NBA Kings. It's World Cup soccer, the USA Track and Field championships, MLS minor league soccer and Triple-A baseball.
USA! The soccer chant heard round the bars of Sacramento from Firestone's, a classy family-friendly sort of upscale Hooters sports bar for the USA matches, to Hot Italian, an immaculate almost sterile pizzeria for the Italian matches, to Tapa the World, our local American Spanish bodega for the Spanish matches, to the Fox & Goose English pub-like for the English matches. In my case I can holler for the USA, Mexico and Costa Rica, native me and friends from the other nations.
With a day of soccer hollering done, its off to the USA Track and Field championships at Hornet Field on the Sacramento State University campus. Once upon a time we had the Olympic Track and Field trials here in town, but we were eventually outbid by Eugene, Oregon with all its Nike money.
And what a scene at the track meet, from the Viking-like hammer throw to the Greek games javelin, to the unbelievable beauty of the women's 800 meters qualification, bodies etched from sensuous stone, to the leaping gazelles of the women's long jump.
I'm sitting in the stands in the hot sun when one of the 800 women sits down next to me, still panting after just completing her race. She isn't beautiful, she is beauty. I'm not exactly speechless. I get out a few questions about her best time, her best result (bronze in the World Indoors in Istanbul — my eyes almost popping out), her Seattle track club and her quest to get to the Rio Olympics in 2016. And then she is gone. I'm blinking in the bright sun, thinking that she was just a mirage.
Then tomorrow night at the Track and Field they will be honoring the athletes of the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City which means two of my heroes, Don Carlos and Tommy Smith of their black glove protest on the medal stand. A must.
More soccer is a must with our MLS minor match at our new Bonney Field (naming rights for our local Bonney Plumbing and Heating — could be worse, could be Roto-Rooter) almost 8,000 in attendance. Bit of a bring down from the World Cup but on a brand-new pitch with our side coming out on top.
If that ain't enough, there's still the Rivercats, our Triple-A baseball team in the tiny stadium Raley Field tucked in beside the Sacramento River.
Now if the NBA Kings could just sign Lebron James and Minnesota's Kevin Love we'd be in better shape.