Beliefnet
Idol Chatter

While an avalanche of “reality TV” shows fill our airwaves, I’m still glad for seasons like this, when the truest reality TV—sports television—has a large presence. Rarely is that presence greater than the once-every-four-years season of World Cup soccer, the NBA playoff finals, the NHL playoff dinals, and the U.S. Open of golf. In this season thus far, here are my top most and least inspiring moments from the events, which are as authentic and unrehearsed as “reality TV” can get:

Most Inspiring #5: Phil Michelson taking responsibility for his blown opportunity at the U.S. Open, calling himself an “idiot.”

Least Inspiring #5: Michelson blowing his lead by making very poor choices down the stretch.

Most Inspiring #4: The U.S. scoring its first point ever in Europe in World Cup soccer, despite being a man down.

Least Inspiring #4: Brazil’s heralded “Renaldo” showing himself to be embarrassingly old and out of shape, a living icon and soccer brand that is clearly less sharp than the young man who replaced him

Most Inspiring #3: The Edmonton Oilers coming back from a 3-games-to-1-deficit.

Least Inspiring #3: The fact that relatively no one was watching Edmonton come back from its 3-games-to-1-deficit, as NASCAR has officially replaced the NHL as our fourth major sport.

Most Inspiring #2: Miami coming back to win three in a row after being down 0-2.

Least Inspiring #2: The fact that neither my Lakers nor my Clippers are in it!

Most Inspiring #1: The beauty with which some of the international teams play soccer and the international golfers play golf, and the reminder to all of us Americans that we are not the only ones on the sporting planet.

Least Inspiring #1: Every World Cup soccer player who takes a dive hoping to induce a penalty on the other team, and the prospect of the U.S. not making it into the rest of the tournament. In soccer–with all respect to millions of sacrificial soccer moms–we’re barely a blip on the international screen.

I’m sure there are some inspiring baseball stories, too, but we’ve got the rest of the summer and into the Fall to talk about those. And these other sporting events, perhaps because they’re more rare, seem to be more memorable, and more inspiring.

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