June 26, 2013

Direct Kick: Wambach etches her name in record book

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Recently one of the most impressive records in all of sports was broken, but chances are you missed it. On the same night that the Miami Heat won the NBA title over the San Antonio Spurs, Abby Wambach made history by scoring four goals against South Korea, taking her career total to 160, breaking the old mark of 158 set by the legendary Mia Hamm, a mark that many believed would never fall.

To me, that was a bigger story than the Heat winning their second title. At least it should have been. But no, it got lost in the shuffle. But think about it for a moment.

One hundred and sixty goals. Americans complain that there’s not enough scoring in soccer, so for a person to put 160 balls past various keepers in 207 games, that’s something. And remember she missed a good chunk of playing time with a broken leg a few years ago. It took Hamm 275 matches to score 158. The two were even teammates at the tail end of Hamm’s career, and Hamm tweeted “Congratulations @AbbyWambach. So proud of you, my friend. You are a warrior and true champion. Enjoy this.” To put this in even more perspective, the men’s record is held by Iran’s Ali Daei with 109 goals in 149 appearances for his national team.

To compare Wambach and Hamm is unfair. Hamm could not only score goals, but she also set other people up, having racked up 144 assists during her career. I think Hamm was the better all-around player, while Wambach is a scoring machine. She was born to score goals. If you were building a prototype for a striker, Wambach would be it. And she can score in a variety of ways, although heading the ball is her favorite way to score.

Wambach still has a few years left in her international career, so her goal total should only rise. I can conceivably see her finishing with between 170-180 goals if she can play injury-free for the next few years. After that, it looks like it will be Alex Morgan who has the best shot at breaking her teammate’s record. Through 66 appearances, Morgan has already scored 44 goals.

But this moment is about Abby Wambach to bask in the limelight. She truly deserves it.

• Well looks like I was wrong in my Stanley Cup predication, as Chicago ended up beating Boston, 4-2.

I got to watch all but two of the games, but it was an exciting series, and like I said before, I’m happy because those two are my two favorite teams.

• Just saw where Jackie Fargo has passed away.

For those unfamiliar with Fargo, he was a mainstay of the Memphis wrestling scene for many, many years, and was instrumental in the careers of Jerry Lawler, Jeff Jarrett, Stan Lane, Steve Keirn and countless others.

In fact, it was Fargo who came up with the idea of The Fabulous Ones tag team of the 1980s, comprised of Lane and Keirn. He was the originator of the “Fargo Strut,” which has been copied by wrestlers throughout the industry, including Jarrett, the Fabulous Ones and Ric Flair. He comprised a successful tag team with his “brother” Don Fargo, winning the Chicago and Georgia versions of the NWA World Tag Team titles in 1958. He also teamed with the likes of Lester Welch, Tex Riley, Mario Milano, Sonny Fargo, Len Rossi, Dennis Hall, Jerry Lawler, Mr. Wrestling and Lou Thesz to capture gold.

A true legend that the world of wrestling will sadly miss.

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Now that school is out, what are your family’s summer vacation plans?

A. No major plans. We will probably hang out around Laurel County.
B. Going to the beach!
C. Kentucky has a lot of wonderful state parks, and we plan to visit a few and enjoy quality family time.
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