John Wooden Dies. It's hard to come up with enough superlatives for the Wizard of Westwood. John Wooden, who died Friday evening at the age of 99, was first and foremost a fantastic basketball coach, winning ten national championships at UCLA. But he was also the epitome of what a coach was to many, a teacher whose leadership was legendary and whose tutelage was life-altering. And he was Nell's husband, too. The love Wooden shared with his wife of 53 years, even after her passing in 1985, inspired countless columns and anecdotes, but mostly served to confirm this: John Wooden was a great, graceful man whose teachings, especially those done by example, were timeless. Mike DeCourcy has one of the many wonderful Wooden pieces that will surely be written in the coming days, but I feel inadequate to say much more than this: Rest in peace, Coach Wooden, and say hello to Nell for all of us.
Wooden's passing was also acknowledged by the fans at Dodger Stadium, who gave him a standing ovation when Scully announced his passing to them before the seventh inning.
Squared Stanley Cup Finals. Chicago went into Philadelphia flying high; now, after two straight wins, the Flyers are soaring. Philly won Friday's Game 4 5-3, evening the Stanley Cup Finals at 2-2, and will return to Chicago for Game 5 with their young captain, Mike Richards, leading the charge. For the Blackhawks, figuring out how to score more on the power play would help: A Derek Bolland goal on the power play in Game 4 made them 1-for-9 on the series.
Nadal-Soderling II: Claymageddon. Last year, Rafael Nadal and Robin Soderling met and played one of the more shocking matches in French Open history: The Swede handed Rafa his first defeat at Roland Garros. Soderling went on to lose to Roger Federer in the finals that year; this year, he ended Federer's absurd Grand Slam semifinals streak, and now will meet the King of Clay for the French Open crown. It's a different, healthier Nadal this year, but perhaps a more confident Soderling, and the final should be one of the better matches in tennis this year.â†µ
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