Soccer is More Exciting than Baseball

November 9, 2010

Now that I have your attention, let me assure you that this statement is true.  Before you get all hissy and start spewing your hate and “you are un-American” comments at me, read this short argument and understand where I am coming from.

First, soccer is the most popular sport in the world.  Hands down.  If someone is trying to argue this fact then they are either to ignorant to accept the truth or are simply defiant.  The reason for its popularity is simply the fact that it can be played anywhere at any time.  The only needed equipment is a ball and a net.

Baseball, although gaining in popularity around the world primarily due to the Little League World Series, is popular in far fewer countries.  Americans are proud of “their” sport, calling it the American Past-time and indulging in the beer and hot dogs that go with it.

Baseball is boring because it takes little physical endurance (unless you are a pitcher), it is very slow paced, games can last for far too many hours and, in many cases, there is very little scoring.  Players stand around all game long hoping a ball is hit in their direction.

Soccer is boring because of the perceptions that people who can’t play American football play soccer.  It is for geeks, sissies and weaklings.  Players run around kicking the ball for 90 minutes and often, the games end in a 0-0 tie.  Players are constantly faking injuries and rolling around hurt like little babies.

ATTENTION: My next statement is going to sum up this whole debate.  Are you ready?  Here I go.  IF SOMEONE DOESN’T UNDERSTAND A SPORT FULLY AND WASN’T RAISED TO LIKE IT, IT WILL BE CONSTRUED AS LESS EXCITEABLE THAN THE SPORT ONE WAS BROUGHT UP TO ENJOY.

It is impossible to differentiate between excitements of sports because various true fan bases enjoy, and understand, their sports better than casual fans.  I once talked to a friend who thought American football was boring because players lined up, ran into each other, stopped, huddled up and did it again.  He thought the break in action was boring because he didn’t really understand the sport.

Baseball players defend their sports by saying it’s the true mental aspect of the game that makes it so exciting.  I say that statement is a load of crap.  I don’t want to watch players standing around thinking for hours.  If that was the case, I would watch chess.

I prefer to watch the constant action of a good soccer match.  Plays are exciting as every chance can turn the flow of a game.  Players have to be in shape, both physically and mentally.  It’s a sprint for near 90 minutes.

But what about the ties and low scores in soccer? Isn’t that boring?  Not really.  How many baseball games end in a 1-0 fashion after 10 plus innings?  The answer is a lot.  However, baseball fans will say that it was a great pitcher’s duel or defensive battle.  So why is it a great defensive game in a low scoring baseball game but a boring game of running around doing nothing in a soccer match?  I see a double standard here.

But really, it is the flopping and faking of injuries that really makes soccer unwatchable.  Are you serious with this statement?  How many times do baseball players fake being hit by a pitch in baseball?  All sports have gamesmanship in different ways.  Basketball players fake fouls all the time.  NFL receivers try to draw pass interference calls all the time.  Soccer players take dives to try and draw penalties in the exact same ways.  So, why is it gamesmanship in all of the sports other than soccer?  In soccer, most Americans call it being a pussy.  I say that is just ignorant.

So, to sum up my thoughts, I find baseball extremely boring to watch, especially live as a fan.  Baseball fans sit around getting drunk to make the game more exciting while soccer stadiums are filled with singing, chanting and true fan passion.  Soccer goals are fluid and exciting and soccer fans are some of the craziest in the world.

And before everyone complains about how nobody watches soccer, just take a look at these average attendance numbers for America’s professional sports:

1. NFL – 67,508.69 (2009 season)
2. MLB – 30,213.37 (2009 season)
3. MLS – 18,452.14 (2010 season, as of 04/11/2010)
4. NBA – 17,149.61 (2009/10 season)
5. NHL – 16,985.31 (2009/10 season)

As of now, soccer is more popular in America than professional basketball and hockey.  As more and more teams are brought into the league, and the economy remains slow to recover, more and more people will turn to soccer for live sport entertainment.  The reason for this: Season tickets for MLS teams run for as low as 300 dollars.  You can’t even take your whole family to a baseball game for 300 bucks.

I look forward to the criticism from this blog post, but it’s true.  Soccer is more exciting to watch than baseball and is slowly catching up in popularity in the United States.  I AM SO EXCITED FOR THE PORTLAND TIMBERS TO GET THEIR MLS ROSTER TOGETHER.  PGE Park is looking awesome, and I’m ready for the season to start!

Athletes Accept Risk; Luging Death Arguments are Ridiculous

February 20, 2010

The death of Nodar Kumaritashvili the day of the Vancouver Winter Olympics opening ceremony was both tragic and horrifying.  Don’t miss understand anything I write in this article.  I feel for the small nation of Georgia and for all the luge athletes who compete with him.  However, I do have a big problem with the Republic of Georgia and how they are handling the situation.

After Nodar’s wreck, the country made a huge deal about the track and how the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was at fault for his death.  The claimed that the track was unsafe, too fast and should not have been used.

Most of the comments came from the Republic of Georgia president, Mikheil Saakashvili, who was seemingly infuriated with the safety of the track.  My favorite comment he made was that “no sports mistake is supposed to lead to death.”

First off, this is the president of the nation.  Doesn’t he have better things to be doing other than wasting time arguing with the Olympic Committee?  Secondly, what is he talking about!?  People die is sports from mistakes ALL THE TIME.  Maybe in your country, where competitive sports must not take place, people dying in sport are not an uncommon thing.  The simplest case that comes to mind is the death of Dale Earnhardt.  Did you hear the president coming out and spending time yelling at NASCAR about how unsafe the sport is?

Listen, the sport is luging! You are sitting on a tiny sled, flying down the ice track at 70 miles per hour.  Did you think this sport is safe?  As a football player, I consciously made the decision to risk my life every play for a game I loved.  If I am a luger, or the family of a luger, do I think that there is no inherent risk of being seriously hurt?  The mere concept of this is ridiculous.

Other athletes have come out with concerns about the track.  One of my favorite comments was from Australian luger Hannah Campbell-Pegg who said, “They are pushing it a little too much.  To what extent are we just little lemmings that they just throw down a track and we’re crash-test dummies? I mean, this is our lives.”

This really irritates me.  NO ONE IS THROWING YOU DOWN A TRACK!!  You make a conscious decision to go down the track if you want to.  Nobody is holding a gun to your head and saying luge or die!  If you are so concerned for your life, don’t luge.  That is your option.  In fact, if you can’t handle the course, then maybe you shouldn’t be considered an elite athlete competing at the Olympics.  This quote and concept would kill luging.  Why don’t we make the track nicer so that everyone can finish perfectly?  Doesn’t that sound terrific?  Hannah, if you want an easier competition, then maybe you should change sports.

German skeleton racer Anja Huber said, “They don’t understand that they’re playing with our lives.”

Again, who are they?  Where did this false sense that some outside person is controlling your life?  Who is forcing you to race?  This is the Olympics.  It is a competition for the best athletes in the world.  The track needs to be difficult, challenging and fast.  In a sport where medals come down to hundredths of a second, the course can’t aid in leveling the playing field.

I agree with the German engineer who designed and built the track, Udo Gurgel, who defended his course.  He said, “The track is not dangerous.  The track is safe.  The track is just fast.  It is only when one defines fast as dangerous that it becomes dangerous.  The fatal accident was a chain of unfortunate circumstances.”

This is the perfect explanation.  Over 5,000 runs have been made with only one serious incident.  The course may be scary fast, but it is obviously not a killer.  Here is my advice.  If you aren’t good enough to handle the highest level of competition, don’t do it.  If I could step on the field with professional football players and was allowed to play, do you not think that I would get absolutely obliterated?  Players train to become the best they can be, and only a certain number actually become elite in the things they do.  An athlete must accept the inevitable that they just might not be that good.

If I was the family of Kumaritashvili, I would feel ashamed at how the country of Georgia has treated this accident.  All of sudden this “no name” country with nothing to offer the world is jumping all over its “five minutes of fame” and annoying the world.  Georgia, constantly complaining to the world about your one athlete is not going to make you any better.  Kumaritashvili had a tragic accident and Georgia should accept that.  Instead of whining, why don’t you make him, and your nationality, look better with the truth in one simple statement: Our luger knew the risks in pursuing a dangerous sport, but put the fear past him to do what he loved.  He will be missed and remembered.

Instead, Georgia made such a big deal about the whole issue that the IOC made all of the men start from the women’s starting line.  Although it did not slow the top speeds of the athletes, it did shorten the track by over a football field.  Many of the elite athletes where irritated, saying that it levels the playing field, changed their training and hindered their overall performance.  It’s funny that some athletes wanted it more challenging while others are scared.  I’ll bet you anything that the athletes afraid of the track will not win medals.  The true elite athletes who love to luge and race the most challenging race will emerge the victors.

Again, this was a tragedy and an unfortunate circumstance.  But pretending that the wreck was the “track’s fault” is completely ridiculous.  If my country was making excuses and causing issues, I would be ashamed.  Every athlete accepts the fact that they could die playing in extreme and dangerous sports.  Pretending that luge is not dangerous is ignorant and distasteful.  The Republic of Georgia should issue an apology.

Does “luck” exsist in sport?

February 17, 2010

Yesterday, I was having a conversation with one of my best friends when an interesting point was brought to my attention in the form of a debate.  Of course, I truly believe that I am right, and as expected, she is convinced that she is not in the wrong.  A conundrum presents itself.  We obviously both can’t be right, but there is no way to solve the riddle at hand.  Oh wait, yes there is.  Thanks to the glory of the internet, you can all help us to solve this debate.

The question is simple: Does luck exist in sports?

I see her argument.  She is saying that because everything is done by an individual, such as the ball being hit, a pass being made, a shot being taken, luck can’t be taking part in any of the outcomes.  This concept would be saying an occurrence was more of a bad break than actual luck.  For example, if a ball is punted towards the “coffin corner” and is rolling on the 2 yard line towards the end zone but takes a drastic 90 degree bounce straight out of bounds, it would be a bad break for the defense and skill by the punter.

I agree with this concept.  But honestly, it really expands on the concept I am trying to explain in my favor.  First, the punter is very skilled to even get the ball into the position to down it deep in enemy territory.  There is no denying that it was not luck for the punter to be able to put the ball within the 5 yard line.  However, the fact that the ball took a sudden veer off its normal course to defeat the touchback was in no physical control of the punter.  The ball, seemingly having a mind of its own, changed directions unexpectedly, saving the punting team 18 yards of field position.  Luck is when the opportunity meets preparation.

She points out the fact that skill should not “run out,” so therefore, luck should never be needed.  I completely agree that a player’s abilities never just disappear, but it doesn’t mean that certain aspects of a game are not in his or her control.  I used the example that a player shoots a basketball and it gets stuck on the back of the rim.  That is an incredible stroke of luck.  The player shot the ball with his “skill and abilities,” it bounced around, and the ball decided that the rim was the best spot to stop.  It was purely accidental and lucky.

If a baseball is grounded towards the shortstop and hits a random piece of trod and bounces off in some weird direction, is it not luck?  The batter by no means meant to hit the ball and bounce it like a pin ball.  This result was the player’s skill and preparation meeting a random opportunity: luck.  I am not saying that teams have a magical leprechaun who runs around and throws teams little gifts in the form of coincidental happenings, but there is some psychological feeling that a team is and can get lucky.

I would love to hear what y’all have to say on this concept.  I am a firm believer in the concept of luck.  When a football hits the upright and bounces in, it was luck.  When a NASCAR spins out in the middle of the track, bounces off the wall and has very little damage, the driver and team got lucky.  When a basketball player dives out of bounds, throws the ball over his head backwards and the ball goes in the hoop for two points, luck played a huge part.

So, POST SOME RESPONSES AND LET ME KNOW.  I want to hear what you all think about this concept.  I would love to hear some other opinions.  If everyone thinks that I am wrong, I will concede defeat and beg for forgiveness.  However, I do think that I am right.

Take a Lesson in Sportsmanship from NASCAR!

February 14, 2010

The Nationwide Series started yesterday, and I was one of many who was watching the race.  Today, I had the Daytona 500 on (along with the Olympics) the entire day while I was working on taxes and a an exercise program.  I take a lot of flak for not only liking NASCAR a lot but for watching it pretty much every Sunday.  It doesn’t really bother me.  I know who I am and what I like, and watching these crews working together at such incredible speeds in fascinating.

NASCAR and the other racing divisions have the second largest following in the United States, behind football.  In fact, there are more people in attendance at the Indianapolis 500 (Indy Car…I know, I know) than 6 NFL football games combined.  To the uneducated spectator, a race does seem like a bunch of cars driving in circles.  However, for the many of us, there is a lot of strategy and teamwork going into every lap.  NASCAR is a sport and the people who disagree are complete close-minded individuals who love to hate things that they do not understand.

I could go on scolding the haters for seven pages, but that is not what I want to focus this quick ditty on.  In my opinion, NASCAR drivers, as a whole, have the best sportsmanship and are the most humble athletes of all sports.

When interviewed, the first comment is always about how the crew put together a fast car.  The drivers know all the hard work and preparation that goes into making a car run at 200 miles an hour for 500 miles, and they are all very appreciative of it.  The drivers put all of their faith into the crew chief behind the microphone, calling the race and leading them through imminent danger.

When asked about other racers, they are always mentioning how tough of a competitor they are or how good of a race they had.  Before and after races, most drivers are talking with other competitors and helping the team put together a car.  When teams are in trouble, teams pitch in parts and lend hands to get things together.  It’s the equivalent of the Indianapolis Colts being 6 helmets short and the Pittsburg Steelers not only hand over the equipment, but help the players strap them on.

Obviously the sport has its “bad boys” who break the rule and are annoying (Kyle Bush, Kurt Bush and Brian Vickers to name a few), but for the most part, most are great role models and competitors.  NASCAR does a tremendous job of not only keeping its races clean and respectable but keeping control of its sponsors, drivers and fans.

So, Danica Patrick and the huge delay for a hole in the track aside, I am very excited for the upcoming NASCAR season.  It’s a great sport for background noise while being in the house for a day.  I mean, by no way is it less exciting than baseball, and people love that sport.  I want to race cars so bad.

FUTURAMA: An Initial Tribute

February 13, 2010

A few days ago, I learned that my favorite animated series, Futurama, is coming back for 26 episodes this June!  How exciting is that!?  The answer: VERY EXCITING!

It’s kind of funny to think, but Futurama is a huge part of my life.  I don’t know what I would do without it.  Every night before (or while) I go to bed, I put my computer next to me and watch this cartoon.  I am not making this up, and I am sure that Laurel can vouch for it.  When I’m having a bad day, this animated series cheers me up.  When I’m bored, the loveable characters entertain me.  When I’m just in the mood to smile and laugh, Futurama never disappoints.  From the flowing story to outstanding comedy, Futurama is by far the best animated cartoon around.

When people ask me questions about the show, I often have trouble answering.  The reason for this is that there are so many aspects of the show that I love.  I’ll be talking more about this show in the future, but today, let’s start with characters.  All of the individuals in this futuristic world are excellent.  They are all so very different from one another which makes picking just one near impossible.

On some days, the dim-witted, immature pizza delivery boy is my favorite character.  Frozen in 1999 to awake in the future, he is easy to relate to in all his simplicities and makes you feel better about yourself through comparison.  I mean, the man did get sucked into the past to Roswell, New Mexico, meet his grandma, and proceeded to become his own grandpa.  Nevertheless, he never ceases to hold the episodes together as he travels through space and time.

How can my favorite character not be Bender Bending Rodriguez!?  Bender, with his in-your face interface, gambling problems, heavy drinking, cigar smoking, floozy-loving and kleptomania problems, is always entertaining.  Although rude and personal, Bender has that soft side once in a while that really makes one like him.  For instance, he is willing to sacrifice himself so turtles can survive and he has a deep desire to be a folk singer and chef.   Bender says he hates all organisms, but he loves his roommate, Fry, more than anything.  Bender, on some days, is easily my favorite character.

But then there is Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth, the 160+ year old scientist who is Fry’s distant nephew and only living relative.  How can one not instantly love the Professor?  With his senile statements and comments and his disregard for anyone, Hubert is constantly putting his crew (the rest of the characters) into interesting and dangerous situations.  The voice acting behind this character is perfect and irreplaceable.

Turanga Leela, known more commonly as just Leela, is one of only two competent employees of Planet Express Ship.  Even being an orphan mutant with one eye, she is the captain of the crew and is constantly forced to rescue the rest of the crew from imminent danger.  Fry is in love with Leela, and upon occasions, Leela has actually shown reciprocated feelings.  However, her better judgment always seems to get in the way of what her heart tells her.  I am very interested to see what becomes of this relationship in the new seasons.

And who could forget the loveable Dr. John A. Zoidberg.  Zoidberg is a lobster-like alien from the planet Decapod 10 who is the staff physician for Planet Express Ship.  Although he continuously claims to be an expert on humans, his actual knowledge is obviously lacking.  Zoidberg is homeless, broke and despite being Professor Farnsworth long-time friend, is the company punching bag for every character, accept Fry.  Despite constantly being made fun of by everyone, Zoidberg is always happy and in good spirit, which makes him very relatable.

Zapp Brannigan is easily one of the most entertaining characters in the futuristic world.  He is an award winning, incompetent captain of the starship Nimbus for the Democratic Order of Planets (DOOP).   Wearing a short, scandalous velour uniform, he is a strutting, egocentric man with amazing one liners.  He is a satirical version of Captain Kirk and William Shatner who find Leela to be the most irresistible woman in the universe and is constantly in pursuit of her.  Even though he believes himself to be an irresistible womanizer, he seldom actually gets any girls, making his character all the more funny.  Although he is one of the primary antagonists, he really is more of a burdensome nuisance than an actual problem, making him all the more hilarious.

Mom is the primary villain.  Owner of the company that produces every robot in the universe, she is very well off and set on expanding her empire.  Although evil and manipulative, she has the general public fooled as being the world’s nicest billionaire.  We learn that Mom and the Professor where once passionate lovers when they where about 100 years younger and the spark is constantly being rejuvenated and extinguished in the length of an episode.

Hermes Conrad is the Jamaican accountant for Planet Express.  As a bureaucrat, he is infatuated with policy, red tape and paperwork.  Hermes does have a loose side as he was once an Olympic Champion in the Limbo.

Amy Wong is an incredibly rich, spoiled, naïve, accident-prone intern for Planet Express.  She is an engineering student at Mars University.  Although her parents owns the Western Hemisphere of Mars and being born there, she is ethnically Chinese and is known for swearing in Cantonese and using hip, 31st century slang.  Although being very promiscuous, she has long since changed her ways and formed a long-lasting relationship with Kif Kroker.

Kif Kroker is Zapp Brannigan’s assistant.  It is a terrible job as every day he is ridiculed and degraded by the captain.  He is strange, amphibious specie from Amphibios 9.  He is very sincere and shy, but, thanks to Brannigan, has found his “smismar” in Amy.

The final main character is Nibbler.  Although he wasn’t originally a main character, he is added once Leela rescued him from an imploding planet.  Although he is smaller than a cat, his species is capable of devouring much larger food sources (including live animals and objects 10 times his size).  Despite pretending to be unintelligent, Nibbler is actually a highly intelligent super-being whose race is responsible for maintaining order in the Universe.

As you can see, every character brings something different to the table.  Each and everyone is stared in various episodes and picking a favorite is near impossible.  The lessons they learn and teach to their audience are both humorous and truthful.  Trust me.  Watching this cartoon will not only make you smile, but it will leave you with a reassuring sense of satisfaction about a true group of friends.

I’m Back for Good!!! I Promise!!!

January 29, 2010

It’s not a matter of whether I enjoy this blog or not.  The fact is I absolutely love writing and updating this as much as possible.  The truth of life is that it is quite easy to get bogged down with so many things that it keeps me from sharing my thoughts, opinions and feelings with you all on a regular basis.

Yesterday, I was really thinking about why I haven’t dedicated the 20 minutes it takes me to whip out a quick blirp about something.  I wish I could blame it on my job.  However, truth be told, I am not much more busy than ever before.  I wish I could blame it on my friends at home and the amount of time I spend playing Modern Warfare with them online every night, but I can’t.  I wish I could pin it on the fact that many of my friends and followers rarely post any replies or comments on what I write, therefore hindering the want to proceed.  I know that’s not true.

What it REALLY comes down to is two things:  Boston and sports.  Yes, this sounds ridiculous.  However, there is no other way to put it.  I will start with the city of Boston.

Boston is a city that does nothing but get on your nerves.  From its cult of a sports nation to the drivers who believe they are playing grand theft auto, there is something about the attitude of Bostonians that just pisses a person off.  It seems that the people here are all in a hurry to get to the next Dunkin’ Donuts.  Honking the horn, flipping you the bird, parking in the middle of the road with the “emergency flashers” on, the annoyances never stop.

And it’s not just the drivers.  A true Bostonian is never wrong.  They don’t listen.  In fact, I can think of 5 or 6 third graders that I have had more intellectual conversations with.  It’s just plain East Coast arrogance in most cases.  Even being from the West Coast, I feel that I (along with most people) have a general idea of where the states are.  You say Iowa, and I could point to the general location on a map.  You say Georgia, and my finger will guide you to the southern states.  You don’t know how many times I tell people I am from Oregon, and they answer, “Where is that?”  THERE ARE THREE FRICKIN’ STATES ON THE WEST COAST!!!  It’s not like I’m asking you to name, in order, all the states on the East Coast from Maine to Florida!  If I answer, “It’s above California,” they usually figure it out.

This is an actual conversation that I have had with MORE THAN ONE BOSTONIAN:

BOSTONIAN:  So, you are from Oregon (pronounced ORY-GUN).

ME:  Oregon.

BOSTONIAN:  You mean ORY-GUN.

ME:  Nope, I am from there.  It’s pronounced Oregon.

BOSTONIAN:  ORY-GON

ME:  That’s closer, but there is not “EEE” sound in the middle of it.

BOSTONIAN:  But there is an “E” in the middle of it.  It’s pronounced ORY-GON

ME:  Kind sir, I am from there.  I implore you to listen to my vast knowledge about how we Oregonians pronounce our own state’s name.  It is pronounced OREGON.  In fact, just say it like an “ORGAN” in your body, and that will be close enough.

BOSTONIAN:  Then why do you spell it with an “e” in it.

ME:  Many words in the English dictionary contain letters that are silent.

BOSTONIAN:  But not states.

ME:  What about Hawaii and Connecticut?

BOSTONIAN:  I mean real states.

ME:  Wha?

This IS NOT an exaggerated conversation.  This is almost word for word.  The problem is that these people are so set on their beliefs that they won’t even listen to what I’m trying to tell them.  Now, try having your boss and coworkers be people like this.  You can see why I want to spend all my free time zoning out and not paying attention to anything.  That is the first reason why I have been unmotivated to dedicate my time to this blog.

The other reason is kind of funny, but it is 100% true.  I am a HUGE sports fan, especially when it comes to football.  I know a lot about players, franchises, the draft and everything in between.  I am truly passionate and bleed for ONE sports franchise: the Oregon Ducks.  However, there are many teams that I am constantly watching and REALLY wanting to win: the Portland Trailblazers, Seattle Mariners, Seattle Seahawks, Oregon State Beavers and any team that Brett Farve plays for.  To go along with this concept, there are also those teams that I watch week in and week out just to see lose because I can’t stand them.  For example:  the Texas Longhorns, any SEC team, Ohio State, Oklahoma, any Boston sports team, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Yankees.  These teams losing, and losing big, can help boost my emotional level.  A loss from the Lakers is the same as a Blazer win.

When the Ducks lose, I am so emotionally depleted that I honestly can’t write anything good for a week or so.  After the Ducks lost in the Rose Bowl, I could not bring myself to want to share any of my thoughts and feelings with any of y’all…..sorry, it’s true.  When Brett Farve and the Vikings lost in an amazing game last Sunday, I was sick to my stomach knowing that all the haters would be flocking back out of hiding after a superb season by the 40-year old veteran.

They are “just games,” people try to tell me.  They are wrong.  Being a true sports fan is a way of life and is worse than many diseases affecting contemporary society.  I have no control of my emotional level based on the fact that I am not playing or coaching any of the competitions that are taking place on the field, court or rink.  I am at the mercy of the outcomes of athletic competition that I cannot influence.

Have I recovered from the Ducks losing to Ohio State in the Rose Bowl?  Absolutely not!!  And I will have this bitter taste in my mouth and stomach until Oregon crushes New Mexico on September 4th and Tennessee on September 11th.    Brett Farve making it to the Super Bowl would have helped, but now my emotions rest solely on the injury ridden Blazers and the Seattle Mariners continuing some great offseason moves.  Only 8 more months until I can feel perfect again.   I can’t wait.  In the meantime, I will be back on my blog at least three times a week.  That is a guarantee!  I hope to see all your comments and support for the years to come!

Oregon Football Gives me a Heart Attack!

November 22, 2009

AND THAT MY FRIENDS IS WHY WE FANS LOVE OUR TEAMS!  Just hours ago, the University of Oregon finished an amazing comeback in double overtime to beat the Arizona Wildcats in Tucson to keep its Pac-10 Championship and Rose Bowl hopes alive.  To sum up my feelings is difficult.  Basically, my heart has been in my throat for about 2 hours and it has dropped below 140 beats per minute.  Watching the last drive down the field at the end of regulation about gave me an aneurism.  But, in the end, the Oregon Ducks emerged victorious.

Masoli TRUCKS the Wildcats

Masoli against USC

This is the man I owe my season too.  Jeremiah Masoli led the Ducks 80 yards with 3:11 left to play in the game to score with just six seconds remaining.  Masoli is a new breed of quarterback.  Not only did he have ice in his veins that entire final drive, but he managed both the clock and the team perfectly.  Masoli is a high-breed quarterback; a duel threat.  He is just as dangerous passing as he is running.

In this game alone, Masoli threw for three touchdowns and ran for three more.  Incredible.  He is a Fullback playing quarterback.  Nothing gets a team going more than watching your quarterback truck a linebacker on his way to the first down.

Freshman runningback LaMichael James also broke the PAC-10 all-time rushing record tonight after rushing 117 yards on 19 carries.  A special congratulations goes out to him.  The Oregon Ducks also became the first team to ever score 40+ points in five straight PAC-10 games.

The Ducks put me through ups and downs tonight.  I was cursing at the television and getting fed up with life, and then two minutes later I was jumping up and down screaming.  The refs where brewing up some home cooking and an imaginary facemask call in the first overtime almost gave the game to Arizona.  However, in the end, the team I bleed for won.  Here are a few more pictures of my team just because I want to share them (and their awesome uniform combinations) with the world.

Ducks celebrate double OT victory

Masoli makes a move

More Masoli

The Duck can Fly!

James has Amazing Vision.

Masoli has ICE in his veins on the final drive

This win sets up the biggest Civil War in history.  On Thursday, December 3, Oregon and Oregon State will battle in Autzen Stadium for the right to play Ohio State in the Rose Bowl.  The Beavers where up to their normal antics this season…. you know…. lose 3 games early before making a push for the conference title and ending the season ranked.  With both teams winning today, both teams control their own destiny for the journey to Pasadena.

Jacquizz upsets USC

Beaver Nation is a Proud Nation!

Oregon State’s runningback Jacquizz Rodgers is now the enemy.  I have rooted for the Beavers all season (they are my second favorite team), but now, the war is on.  The hatred that Oregon and Oregon State has for one another will be reborn over the next week and a half.  I will write more during the week about the upcoming Civil War, but for now, I just want to congratulate both teams on showing why Oregon is one of the best football states in America.  Way to make all Oregonians proud.

CIVIL WAR TIME! BRING IT!

Locker Room Etiquette

November 21, 2009

Having competed in many various athletic competitions in my life, I am no stranger to the locker room.  Most men’s locker rooms do not have individual showers, and the YMCA is no different.  From muddy, gross football guys to exhausted, defeated basketball players, I have showered next to them all.  Boys will be boys, and I have seen (and fallen victim too) many a naked prank.  A lot of guys have no shame about leaving a hand-shaped, red turkey on another man’s ass, while others very much enjoy showing you the various tricks they can do with their penises.  However, never before have I seen what goes on in the Oak Square YMCA locker room on a daily basis.

Now, unlike the athletic competitions I have partaken in, the YMCA is composed of a large population of elderly people, mostly Russian.  Maybe old people have lost all shame when it comes to their nudity, but the people who pass by have not.  Here are some quick points I have.  One, a 75 year old man does not need to shave his chest and “manly” areas… especially when it’s completely uncovered in front of the sinks without ANYTHING on.  Two, you cannot sit in the public hot tub in the nark.  You ESPECIALLY can’t walk through the lobby of the YMCA naked to get to the hot tub.  Three, when members are complaining that so many “old Russian balls” are flopping loosely on the benches in the steam room that we have to post signs on the door warning of this practice, something is wrong.

The design of the locker room was very poorly thought out.  Once you walk in the door and around the corner, there is a narrow hallway of lockers on both sides of the walkway.  When it is crowded and a lot of people are changing, it is like walking a gauntlet of droopy, fleshy, naked butts pointed right at you.  It’s inevitable that every old man will be bent over drying his feet whenever someone needs to walk through the gauntlet to the showers or sinks.  It’s a very interesting phenomenon.

I saved my favorite complaint for a certain Asian man.  I understand that you have your daily ritual of “good morning salutations” and other stretching exercises you need to do to stay healthy, but the showers are not the place for them.  I am not making this up.  This guy does “downward” dog stretch STARK NAKED in a full shower of seven other guys.  Now, I don’t need to remind you of the male anatomy, but when you are stretching in the nude, with your hands and feet on the ground with your bum facing straight up in the air, certain parts dangle effortlessly and sway back and forth as if dancing on the wind.  It’s not a pretty site.  This guy continues to fulfill his daily, naked stretching regime and ends with his squatting knee twists.

Now, I can stand pranks and people prancing around naked like idiots, but these issues draw the line.  Maybe I just have a problem with naked OLD people.  I don’t know.  But can anyone actually say that any of these things are okay?  I didn’t think so.  Other than that, work continues to be swell.

 

Jeep Versus Hummer: Part 1

November 16, 2009

There has always been the classic debate about what vehicle is best.  Is it a Ford?  A Chevy?  Certainly, the best manufactured vehicle isn’t a foreign brand.  Well honestly, its way too hard to debate which vehicle is the best.  That is way too hard and completely based on personal preference.  However, I got in another argument today about which all terrain vehicle is the best for off-roading.  Is it the hummer or the Jeep?  I will make myself very very clear.  When it comes to defeating pure off road obstacles and portraying physical toughness, no manufactured, passenger carrying automobile is more durable, reliable or sexier than a Willys Jeep.

Let me set something straight before I begin.  I am a Jeep owner.  In fact, here is a picture of the group I run with.

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The group parked on top of the Callahans.

I owe my love for Jeeps to my dad.  He has built many Jeeps, but none as important as his own and two others: my brother’s and myself.  These vehicles are designed to overcome any obstacle that steps in the way.  Here are some examples of what we like to do.

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Dad's Jeep pushing the limits!

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Derek's Jeep plowing the way.

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He made this crick crossing look real easy.

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Just goofin' around.

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This is NOT a Jeep... but his name is Billybob, so we allow him.

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Opening a new road.

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Dad striking a pose!

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Accidents happen!

Obviously, what we do for “fun” is not “normal.”  We get a rush out of building machines and pushing them to the limit of what they can do versus nature.  It takes guts, skill, knowledge and sometimes, a lead foot.

The Jeep and the Hummer are both military invented tools.  The Jeep was born in 1941 when the military decided that it needed a vehicle to meet certain military needs.  Ford and Willys-Overland Company teamed up to designed the perfect automobile.  Willys designed it,and Ford made it happen!  What they created was the the Bantam BRC 40.

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Just look at the Bad-Assery!!!

The term “Jeep” is a mystery.  Most people believe that the term came from the letters the Jeep bore, GP, meaning either “Government Purpose” or “General Purpose.”  These letter where then just shortened to the term Jeep.  However, experts also believe that the vehicle was designed for specific duties and was never referred to as “General Purpose.”   They believe and that the name may have been derived from Ford’s nomenclature referring to the vehicle as GP, G for government use, and P to designate its 80-inch (2,000 mm) wheelbase.

The original Hummer (HMMWV or Humvee) was created in 1992 and discontinued in 2006.  Originally designed strictly for military use, this absolutely massive four-wheel-drive utility vehicle earned its 15 minutes of fame as a civilian conveyance when it became the ride of choice among Hollywood celebrities and professional athletes who thought it oh-so-chic to pilot the ultimate ruff-and-tuff image machine.

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The original is not bad looking.

I am not making the claim that a Jeep is better than a Hummer in extreme off-road situations without a STRONG foundation of what it takes to survive driving in these environments.

Both vehicles can handle any muscle you want to throw under the hood.  Although a Hummer will have more space and few modifications will need to be made.  I have seen many Jeeps run with Big Block engines.  The benefit to having a Jeep is that they weigh a couple hundred pounds lighter.  Think about it: if two vehicles are turning the tires at the same speed and velocity up a muddy hill against gravity, which one is going to crawl up easier?  Obviously, the answer is the lighter one.

The thing that sets the Jeep apart from the Hummer is pure dimensions.  The Hummer is longer and fatter than Jeep.  When it comes to narrowly weaving in and out of trees and obstacles, the Jeep takes the cake.

The Humvee’s claim to fame is that it “boasted 16 inches (40 cm) of ground clearance as well as super-aggressive approach and departure angles.  The Humvee could clamber over a 22-inch (56 cm) high obstacle, handle a 60 percent grade and wade through up to 30 inches (76 cm) of water.”

First off, there is only one fact in that statement that a Jeep can’t do itself.  I will accept the Jeeps defeat when it comes to percent grade.  Having a longer wheel base, the Hummer can go up steeper inclines without tipping over backwards.  Jeeps, which are raised above stock level, are taller and a little awkward.

As far as the driving through water, a Jeep with a snorkel and a little customization can do the same thing.  Is there a 22-inch obstacle in the way?  Please, a Jeep can handle that without blinking an eye.  Other than the pure storage capabilities and percent grade, a Jeep dominates the Hummer front ways and back.

I only began to touch on this topic, and I will cover it more in depth in the future.  However, for now, I think this gets the conversation moving.  I am going to leave this Blog with one last argument.  Look at these two pictures and you will understand which vehicle is better.

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Cool!

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NOT COOL!!!

My Annoying Neighbors Turning me into Batman!!

November 15, 2009

I have not been able to write much lately, and I apologize! Hopefully, this will get me back on track!

I accidentally live on a party street.  I am not exaggerating.  In fact, Ashford Street may very well be worse than any Fraternity row I have ever seen.  Come Friday and Saturday nights, the street is alive with the sound of drunk bustling people, cop car sirens and the neighboring band who thinks they are really good.  I expect craziness.  However, what went down at our place Friday night may be one of the more intriguing stories I’ve had the privilege to tell.  Here’s a quick taste of where I live.

First off, do I enjoy living on this street?  Well, if I wasn’t supposed to feel like a grown-up working a full time job and supporting my girlfriend and I lived in a houseful of guys, I would absolutely love it!!!  There is always something to do and people to watch.  It makes for a very entertaining life style.  However, I’m not allowed to do all the stupid things I would normally do, so it’s just an empty temptation.

These “kids” take their lives way to seriously.  A few weeks ago, an apartment was having a house party as we walked by.  This is not an exaggeration!!  They had a line of about 50 people outside, all with TICKETS in their hand, all waiting to get into a house party.  Yes!!!  They sold tickets to their house party!!  And the funny thing about it was that they sold too many tickets.  The resident throwing the party was yelling over the angry crowd waiting to get in that “there are too many people at the party and the cops have already come by twice and the next time they are going to shut down the party.”  Why is the police giving three strike warnings to a house party full of drunkin, hormone raging underclassmen?   I was just curious.

The band next door is pretty funny… and annoying!  I have no problem with them playing their music all day and afternoon and even into the evening.  But when it starts to be 10…11…12…1…2 in the morning, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!  This band will start playing at 2 in the morning on a Monday night when some of us normal people have to be at work by 5:30 am.  The cops are continually called by neighbors on both sides, but nothing ever gets done.  I am going to have to take matters into my own hands.  And I will win a fight against the band!  I’ve seen them!  They are coked out, skinny little losers!  And if that’s not bad enough, they are not good!!!  They sound terrible and the singer makes the hair on the back of your neck melt off.

And if this is not bad enough, they think they are the hottest shit this side of Calcutta.  On more than one occasion, we have come home to see two or three guitarists who have climbed out of the upstairs window onto the top of the patio covering the entry way.  They aren’t just sitting there drinking beer like an acceptable person.  Nope, they are seated overhanging the street of belligerent college (and high school) kids playing their guitars and singing to passer biers.  And again, THEY ARE NOT GOOD!!  They are just embarrassing themselves.

When I saw this, I went downstairs to get my paintball gun.  I was going to light them up from across the street and have a REALLY hearty laugh, but alas, I had no paintballs.  But next time, NEXT TIME, they are going to get it!  And I really don’t believe that this is being mean.  I am honestly just giving them a reawakening.  It’s kind of like a spanking that their mothers should give them all for being inconsiderate douche bags, except my spankings leave quarter sized welts.

Anywho, on to Friday night!  Its 2 am.  I am happily asleep.  All of a sudden Laurel and I are awaken to people yelling and see a huge orange and yellow ball of flame engulfing our bedroom window.  At first, I was nervous, but upon looking out the window, I saw that the drunken idiots outside had started to get the flames under control.  Thinking that it was just idiots being idiots, I laid back into bed before our roommates went running outside.  Reluctant, pretty much because I didn’t care, I got out of bed to see what was going on.

We had to call the fire department to come assure that everything was out.  The idiots had lit a bag of leaves on fire which got out of control and moved to the side of our house.  Underneath our bedroom window, the entire siding was melted off.  Needless to say, the culprits instantly ran off when it got ugly and good Samaritans where actually the ones running over to help put it out.  No one knew who did it, but we are pretty sure it was the band playing coke addicts next to us because this driveway is in between our two houses and moments after the chaos was over, they started playing music again… at 2:30 in the morning.

I am losing my patience with these fools.  Its one thing to consistently rape my eardrums on a nightly basis, but trying to light my apartment on fire is pushing the line.  In the words of a famous Bugs Bunny, “Of course you know, this means war!”  Why lie!?  Now, this does not mean I am going to go across the street with 6 moltav cocktails and burn their place down.  I am a very funny, and revenge seeking individual.  When it comes to practical jokes and annoying deserving company, I can think of no better qualified individual.  This is going to be VERY entertaining!

The next time they are playing their music past 11 pm, I am going to walk over and confront them about it.  If it doesn’t stop, then the fireworks will begin.  I’ll let you know people, we are at war, and it’s a war that I can’t lose.  Sooner or later, they will get the picture.  If the Boston Police Department can’t get something as simple as this taken care of after about 20 calls (not just from our apartment but from above and surrounding neighbors)in three months, then it is my civic duty to take action.  I will become a vigilante.  Call me Batman!


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