Wednesday, December 21, 2011
This morning I read an article on ESPN about Chelsea and England skipper John Terry being fined for "racially abusing" another player during a game in October. Tuesday, Luis Suarez, of Liverpool, was given a 8 match ban and a $62,000 fine for remarks made against a Manchester United player also in October. Terry's fine of only about $4,000 American, is nothing compared to that of the fine that Suarez received, but to me, a captain not only of one of the top teams in all of the world, but as well as England, should know when to keep his thoughts to himself. Sure, football is a game of spirited, and heated match-ups, and we all know by reading the lips of our favorite players that the term "gentlemen's game" does not apply any longer, but to honestly not be able to come up with a "your momma is so fat" jibe on the spot is nothing short of ridiculous. Why is it that so many people revert to racism to get under another person's skin. We all are guilty of it, even if we don't say it aloud, we think it in our minds. In North America once Willie O'Ree first stepped on the ice as a member of the Boston Bruins, this battle should have been over. Yet hockey, being the only predominantly white sport left on the earth, still has its fair share of racially fueled incidents. Just this season, there has been speculation that Philadelphia Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds has been the victim of racial abuse. Not helping his fight at all, Simmonds then turns around and verbally abusing the Rangers Sean Avery by calling him a "fag" in the middle of a play, not saying that Sean Avery does not deserve any and all criticism, but this kind of slur is wrong as well. Today's athletes are bigger, tougher, faster, and smarter than those of our past. Every day they change the game for the better. They make higher leaps to catch a football, hit a home run farther than anybody had before, find new and improved ways to deke a goalie out of the net, learn to play a game with 10 other people from 10 different cultural backgrounds, but yet they cannot seam for the life of them to leave the racial slurs at home. It is a sad day indeed for the English Premier League, and for football all over for that matter. Even though this happened in England, does not mean it isn't happening in our own back yard as well. Parents, students, coaches, and players, we all need to be awakened to this. We are not the ignorant country we used to be, we know better now. We need to learn how to prove it now.
Friday, December 16, 2011
The Chris Paul trade finally went down this week, and much to the dismay of Kobe, CP3 did not go to the Lakers. Now Kobe is showing his disapproval about the Lakers through the media. Possibly he is upset that he did not get his perennial back court mate that he wanted, or maybe he knows that he can't compete with the Paul to Griffin combo that the Clippers now have, or maybe even still, he found out that he does not control the NBA anymore. Kobe has been the lone star on the Lakers in the one horse town of L.A. since the departure of Shaq. Back then, Kobe was the spoiled superstar that could not win a championship without Shaq. The media likened him to the next Jordon, and this went straight to his head. Now that he has won championships without a fellow superstar, Pao being withheld, he truly believes that L.A. is his town. Had Paul come to the Lakers instead, it would have been a story book style tale, with the good, (the Lakers) possibly meeting the bad (the Heat) for a championship. But now, it's good vs. bad in the city of L.A., with the Lakers taking the role of the villain in the inner-city rivalry. Everybody has now joined the Clippers bandwagon, linking them to the Cubs as the nations top "lovable losers." And Kobe has taken the role of Snidely Whiplash, a bitter old man, who no longer has the NBA wrapped around his finger. So Kobe, doing what he does best, has taken a media blitz style hissy fit against Jerry Buss nationwide through sports writers, ESPN, and national media. Kobe is now calling for a trade. What kind of superstar runs away from a challenge? You never saw Michael Jordon run away from his team when the going got tough. True, there was only one team in Chicago, but Jordon knew the NBA was his, Kobe is now realizing that this is not the case for him anymore. I do believe the higher-ups in the NBA, mainly David Stern, should be shipped off to prison for tampering, conspiracy, and monopolization, but that will never happen. Bernie Madoff got off easy for what David Stern should have coming to him, but once again, that will never happen. Kobe Bryant has every right to be angry in this situation, but I believe he is directing his anger in the wrong direction. David Stern is to blame for this situation. By taking over the negotiations and making a closed door deal that would secure Billups signing to the Clippers, allowing the addition of Gordon to the Paul trade, single handily manipulated the whole league, Kobe included. The NBA is now a dictatorship. Kobe, and every player and fan in the country, have every right to be outraged by this. But in true Kobe Bryant fashion, he makes it all about himself. This will be the downfall of his legacy, not the accusations of rape, nor the feuding with Shaq. Kobe has written his suicide note, and signed it in blood.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
The USA finally got the offensive effort that was promised when Jurgen Klinsmann took over for Bob Bradley. It was a fantastic show of offensive prowess, at least for the first 45 minutes today in Slovenia. Up 1-0 inside the 10 minute mark, thanks to a far out shot by Edson Buddle. The U.S. could have doubled their tally at the 13 minute mark, but Jozey Altidore's boot was just under the cross right at the foot of the net, pushing it up and over the cross bar. I personally think the added presence of Michael Bradley, who has been almost non-existent since the departure of his father as the national team coach, was the difference. Known for his tenacity on the ball defending, he was the main supplier for balls going forward today. His keen corner set up Clint Dempsey for a header to make it a 2-0 game early on, right after Slovenia almost made it a 1-1 game. Following a foul inside the box, Altidore finally found the back of the net on a penalty furthering the Slovenia deficit to 3-1. For the first time since taking over, Klinsmann finally had the right squad out there today. Going with 2 up front is what we need to do to score goals, and I think also the fact that it was a predominately European squad helped out a lot as well. Clint Dempsey is proving to be the go to guy for the Americans, and really can take over a game when needed. Here's to hoping that this was just a sneak peak of what is to come in the future with Klinsmann at the Helm.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
After years of trying to find the perfect exit strategy for their legendary, but aging, coach JoPa, Penn St. University finally have found their way out. Though this is probably not the exit strategy that either the AD, or coach Paterno had initially thought, but he will finally step down at the seasons end. This is an unfortunate event for the storied coach. A series of reports of sexual abuse to kids as young as 11 years old by an assistant coach, and a cover-up allegation to go with it by coach Paterno himself. Penn St. have been feeling the push from alumni the past few seasons to move in a different direction, with alumni saying Paterno's outdated coaching style doesn't fit with the modern game. The year after the pending move made national headlines, JoPa responded by leading Penn St. to a bowl game. In the following seasons since that first report, Paterno has made a mockery of himself, his product, and Penn St. football with a series of comical events. Florida St. had a similar choice to make with coach Bowden when it came time for him to move on, but at least he wasn't seen booking it for the bathroom running his players over because he couldn't hold it any longer. Notre Dame faced had a JoPa ordeal they went through with Charlie Weis when he was incapacitated, but at least he remained on the side lines to coach, unlike Paterno who retreated to the press box. This is an unfortunate occurrence to a storied football coach indeed, but for every new recruit, current player, and alumni, this will be a blessing in disguise. Hopefully Sandusky will not be allowed to rear his ugly head around children ever again, and hopefully this black cloud will not linger above College Station Pa. for too long.
Saturday, November 5, 2011
So tonight the so called "game of the century" should have had the national title at stake, and it most likely did, but, LSU will still have to wait until early January to claim their title. The BCS is broke, and it is taking college football down as well. Gone are the days of meaningful bowl games, only to be replaced with BCS sponsored bowl games and the national championship game. Gone too, or soon to be gone, are the regional rivalries that make college football so great. The Pac 10, er I mean 12, the Big Ten, I believe it is still called that, and a portion of the Big 12, are the only traditional college football conferences left. To my disliking, the Pac 12 expanded this year all in the name of gaining a conference championship game, and ultimately, a better shot at a BCS title contender. So many schools are jumping their own conferences for new conferences for a hope of some big BCS money. The landscape of college football is suffering. Just think of what kind of world it will be with Texas A&M not playing Texas every year. To the Aggies fans, they may like this idea at first, but that will only last as long as their first season in the SEC. Facing the likes of Alabama, Arkansas, LSU, and Florida year in and year out will leave them yearning for the days of a Baylor or Kansas matchup. Likewise with the rumor of Boise State going to the Big East. What on earth are they even thinking? Traveling to the east coast every other week is going to become extremely expensive for this tiny school in the middle of Idaho. Sure they have been a "powerhouse", I use quotations because they still haven't proven they can fare well in a real FBS conference, but they still aren't giving themselves the proper footing for a much desired BCS championship berth. The big east may be a glamorous conference to the Broncos, but how about trying their luck filling one of the vacant spots in the Big 12, that would be a better scenario for regionality, and for tougher competition. I for one am ashamed at the Pac 10 for not going after a big time program when they decided on expansion. Utah and Colorado are not big time programs in the least. Sure now they can have their precious conference championship game, that is if it is not vacated by USC this year, since they cannot keep their players or coaches from breaking the rules for more than five minutes at a time. The matchup most fans would want to see this season would be Oregon vs. Stanford. But the rules do not allow for this in the new and improved Pac 12. Chances are it will be Oregon vs. ASU, which could be a decent matchup, but with a BCS berth on the line, Oregon vs. Stanford should be the game that decides the champion. Just like tonight in the Alabama vs. LSU game. That should be the national championship game, not just the SEC championship game, and not that it ever could to begin with, now that will never happen. Alabama has to hope that LSU loses a game now, just to catch a glimmer of a chance at the BCS national championship game. We are in dire need of a playoff in college football. Purists say the bowls are too important to get rid of, but last time I checked, the integrity of them went down the drain when the BCS came into play. Let's get rid of this nonsense, restore regional rivalries even if non-conference, and get a damned playoff. The players deserve this as much as the fans do.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Well on a night that ended a little bit short of the expectations of this fan, Seattle says goodbye to one of the best professionals that the state of Washington has ever produced. Kasey Keller posted a clean sheat in his last professional game of his storied career that has seen fantastic keeping on just about every continent in the world. Keller made only one save tonight, a big one, that kept the Sounders ahead in the game, but ultimately found them losing 3-2 on aggregate goals to Real Salt Lake. It's always toughest to lose the series when your team posts a 2-0 shutout, but that's just the way the game is played. RSL go on to the next round, and the Sounders are forced to take an early trip to the offseason. What might have been, is what we will be talking about until next season, but what was, is what we will be talking about forever. Kasey Keller was the first superstar in the modern age of professional soccer in the pacific northwest. He kept the net like the world class keeper he was for three seasons at the end of his glorious career. On the way helping Seattle to not one, not two, but three straight Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final matches, and three straight victories to follow each time. Not since the year I was born had the city of Seattle been able to raise a championship trophy of any kind all of our own, and with the Sonics gone, this is the only current one in the city. Of course there were the two by the Storm, and the co-national championship by U-Dub with the Buffalos of Colorado, but this is big time, real, professional sports. Yes, it is not the MLS cup, which is the reason why we play the game, but three straight championships over every available team in America is even more of a feat if you ask me. So, so long Kasey, go ahead and hang up your boots now. Your presence was much appreciated, and will never be forgotten.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
After watching tonight's horrific 0-3 loss at RSL, it donned on me why the English game is so perfect. The promotion/relegation for starters is genius, but on top of that, the one league table is absolute perfection. A lot of purists have been calling for the one league table for quite some time here in America. I know, I am a little biased after the beat down my team recieved tonight, but honestly, the Sounders went deeper than any other MLS team in tournament play this year. Those are added minutes on tired and injured legs. And yes I know that L.A. would've still won the cup this year in that format, but it makes the regular season matches that much more important. Take the top four in the premier league. They have their mandatory 38 games, plus the Carling cup, the FA, and their European matches. That could be an extra 20 games this year. Sure, they have a lot more depth than any MLS squad, but when the games count, their star players are in. This year the Sounders won their 3rd straigh US Open Cup. That right there is added games to an already expanded schedule, plus they had their CONCACAF Champions league matches, plus CCL group stage too. And then, after it is all said and done, they have playoff games. Let's just assume the Sounders win 4-0 this week, and make it all the way to the cup final. They would end up playing their 34 regular season games, plus the 14 they played in the US Open Cup, plus the 6 CCL group matches, plus the CCL qualifying matches, plus the 5 MLS playoff mactches. That's 63 matches in one year. That's a lot of football, for any team in any league! Now let's assume once again that the playoffs were abolished, leaving the team with the most points at the end of the regular season the champion. This would cut down considerably the fatigue, aggression, and possible injuries on the players. We all know that the MLS isn't the NFL, so the league won't be missing out on too much tv revenue from the playoffs anyway, and it could also be a chance to get some credibility from the rest of the world at the same time. I mean seriously, we don't even do the aggregate goal thing correctly! It's supposed to be away goals, but here, it's just accumulated goals. I love watching the game of football. I enjoy the English game the most, simply because of the passion the fans have for the game over there. There is beginning to be that same feel here, especially in Seattle and Portland, but watching a FC Dallas game is just depressing to me. They have this beautiful stadium, and I swear they only get 600 people to come watch them. This year the Sounders would have been top 10 in attendance in England. Where is the love America? This is why we should adopt the promotion/relagation format once Montreal and the Cosmos enter the MLS. There are plenty of teams over here for at least 3 divisions. Then we could also use the one league table format as well. There will always be cup compititions, and they make the game more fun, but playoffs do not belong in this game. We do not have to Americanize everything over here to try to make it better. Some things are just better off how they were. They don't call it the beautiful game for nothing.