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2010 June | The Sports Report Girl

College Football Preseason Top 25: #14 Georgia

Why They’re Here: There’s another hot seat in the SEC and it belongs to Mark Richt. The fact that Les Miles (although, he deserves it for that monumental brain fart in the Ole Miss game) and Richt have questionable job security really shows you how outrageous people’s expectations are in college football. Richt is 90-27 all-time at Georgia and has a 7-2 bowl record. But that’s not what’s important to people in Athens. All they know is Richt hasn’t won an SEC title since 2005 or even an SEC East title since that year. They’ve been owned by fierce rivals Florida (excluding that little episode in 2007 that we won’t speak of) and Georgia Tech since 2005 as well. Having a number one draft pick guide the team, which was ranked number one to start the season, to a 10-3 record and an appearance in the Capitol One Bowl in 2008 didn’t help things. And last year’s starter Joe Cox and an 8-5 record weren’t much help for Richt’s cause either.

The Good: Georgia is still considered an elite SEC team and can legitimately make a run in the polls. The team returns its entire O-line, star-in-the-making RB Washaun Ealey, and WR AJ Green, who is probably the best receiver in the conference. This team has weapons on offense and if there’s a coach in the SEC, other than Urban Meyer, who knows how to use offensive weapons, it’s Mark Richt.

The Bad: Quarterback isn’t just a position in college football, it’s THE position in college football. Having a quarterback is 90 percent of the battle at this level and the knife cuts both ways. The Dawgs had a QB in waiting with Logan Gray and a top 25 recruiting class this year that included two potential QB starters, Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger. Unfortunately Mettenberger was dismissed from the team and Gray was converted to wide receiver and then almost transferred. With guys like Matt Stafford, DJ Shcokley, Quincy Carter and David Greene in recent memory, it’s hard for Dawgs fans to put up with sloppy quarterback play. Last year’s starter, Joe Cox, was probably the worst Georgia QB in 15 years. If no one shows up behind center for Georgia this year, it’s game over.

The Last Word: The big question for Georgia going into the season is what Richt will do at quarterback. With a stacked running attack (rhyme unintentional) and an offensive line like the one Georgia has returning this year, anyone worth a scholarship should be able to get out there and put some points on the board. The defense should be rebuilt as well, but may still have some problems getting to the quarterback. This team is flying under most people’s radar right now, which should help them. Their September 11 game against South Carolina will go a long way toward measuring both teams potential this season.

Final Record: 9-4

Doomsday Scenario Almost Came True

It almost happened again. Another one of my teams, one that was favored, superior on paper, came close to losing.

What would have happened had the Lakers not won two home games in a row? Defending champs, favored to do it again, and what’s best, they were playing the Boston Celtics. Revenge time, it all comes full circle, not only is there redemption for what happened in 2008 …

It almost blew up.

See, in 2008 when the Lakers lost I wasn’t devastated. Sure it was sad. It was even worse that the clincher, game six in Boston, was a serious stomping. But it was fine, the Lakers shouldn’t have been there. They were just another NBA team that got Pau Gasol donated and all of a sudden they get to the championship.

Just happy to be there.

But they rallied the next year. This one had potential for major hurt because the Lakers were the better team. And when the better team loses it’s heartbreaking.

I have had a few bouts with my favorite teams losing when they were the better team. Some I have recovered from, others haunt me to this day. Luckily, I don’t have to recover from a 2010 Lakers collapse.

Oakland Raiders vs. New England Patriots, 2001 AFC semifinals
Although I’m not from Oakland, as a kid the Raiders played in Los Angeles. They were my pro team. So when they moved to Oakland I still followed them.

This was a solid team that seemed like they had made a big defensive stand by stripping the ball from Tom Brady. They were on the verge of securing a win in snowy New England.

Then the inexplicable tuck rule was called. That must be the most replayed play in NFL history. Brady clearly wasn’t throwing the ball. So it’s a fumble, right? To this day that’s one of the strangest calls in sports history.

The Patriots went on to win Super Bowl XXXVI.

Oakland Raiders vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Super Bowl XXXVII
The Raiders with their wealth of veteran talent went to the Super Bowl and were favored against the Buccaneers. Oakland had more talent and was led by NFL MVP Rich Gannon.

Unfortunately for them, their former coach, Jon Gruden left to lead Tampa Bay. When these teams met, it wasn’t even close. Gruden knew exactly what his former team was going to run. Raiders coach Bill Callahan changed nothing.

What should have been a sweet taste of the Vince Lombardi trophy for the Raiders turned into gut-punching defeat. How could a team with Gannon, future Hall of Famer Jerry Rice, Tim Brown, Rod Woodson, Bill Romanowski and other Pro Bowl caliber players lose so badly?

In NFL films footage Buccaneers safety John Lynch tells his teammates during the game what plays are about to happen. In some instances Callahan didn’t even change the audibles for the Raiders.

With that inside knowledge Tampa Bay won, 48-21. Thanks for nothing, Bill Callahan.

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Detroit Pistons, 2004 NBA Finals
This was the one that had the potential of being the most devastating run in sports history. Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal and coach Phil Jackson … This was too good to be true.

Like Persephone in “The Matrix Reloaded” noted, “Such a thing was not meant to last.” It’s easier to hear when Monica Bellucci in a sexy dress says it. The Lakers were making their fourth trip to the finals in five years.

They had dominated the league during Jackson’s reign. The Lakers were so fearsome when they returned to the finals in 2004, forward Rick Fox said the previous year’s misstep was a “pause.” People had said Shaq and Kobe were so good, it was like Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain were on the same team.

Who could stop these guys? NBA Commissioner David Stern once noted the best finals matchup would be the Lakers vs. the Lakers. And that’s what happened.

The Detroit Pistons happened to be there. Kobe vs. Shaq, Big Chief Triangle vs. the organization, Gary Payton vs. the team, Karl Malone’s injury. NBA analyst Tom Tolbert said if the Lakers lost the championship the whole season would be a disappointment.
He was right. The franchise was dismantled after the loss. Shaq was traded for far below value, Malone retired, Payton and Fox were traded, and Derek Fisher signed elsewhere. But Kobe re-signed. These guys had limitless potential.

Shaq still plays and had he been teamed with Kobe, along with other prime free agents, the Lakers could have won more than five titles in 11 years. Those were sad years after Shaq left.

USC Trojans vs. Texas Longhorns, 2006 college football national championship
Texas was a great team. I think USC was a bit better. Unlike a seven-game series, however, the better team doesn’t always win in football.

This one really crushed me. USC had won two straight national championships and were in line for a third. This was and still is unprecedented in the modern era. And don’t think for a second that Reggie Bush’s parents living in some house had something to do with success on the field.

Trojans quarterback Matt Leinart came close to capping off a career with three national titles and one loss. These numbers would have put Leinart up there with one of the best, if not the best college quarterbacks of all time. But Vince Young of the Longhorns had a monstrous game passing for 267 yards and rushing for 200.

Surprisingly, Young’s effort gave him so much notoriety, ESPN named him one of the 25 greatest players in college football history and not Leinart. So Leinart wins more national titles than Young, wins a Heisman Trophy, puts up better numbers and wins more games and Young gets named to this list?

Curious.

USC Trojans vs. UCLA Bruins, college football, 2006 regular season finale
In a rebuilding year USC needed to win one game to advance to the Bowl Championship Series title game. UCLA was an average team, but had some strong players on defense.

It was a game Bruins fans will remember forever. And Trojans want to forget it. I was at that game, sitting on the UCLA side, my friend and I the only ones wearing cardinal USC shirts.

The Bruins put together one of the most stellar defensive efforts ever, holding the Trojans, an offensive powerhouse, to just nine points.

What hurt most about this loss was the potential opponent for USC in the title game: Ohio State, the whipping dog of championship foes for years. Florida whipped the Buckeyes for the national championship. That could have been USC.

The Greatest Day In Sports Ever!

Where were you on June 23, 2010? Normally, the time between the end of the NBA Finals and the beginning of college football season is the barren dead ground of sports, but not this year. If you were as lucky as me on the 23rd, you were sitting at home on your couch, watching your high definition TV as the greatest sports day in the history of the world unfolded.

I don’t care how you feel about soccer (personally, I refer to it as women’s competitive ball kicking), Donovan’s goal in penalty time was amazing. That one goal by that one player may single handedly change the face of not only American women’s competitive ball kicking soccer, but soccer around the world.

The introduction of the American market into world soccer would forever alter the face of the sport.
The Ghana-Germany game was also huge because it sets up the US against the only African nation left in the tournament in South Africa, where they should be dogs, despite winning their group and it pits England against Germany, another intriguing matchup.

That was followed up by the unbelievable Wimbledon match between John Isner, the 6’9 250 lb American ranked 23rd in the world, and Nicolas Mahut, the diminutive Frenchman. He became my new third favorite tennis player, behind Tsonga and Federer today (yes two of my favorite tennis players are French, deal with it). Isner and Mahut played their fifth set to 59-59, before the game was called due to darkness – it began at 2 in the afternoon.

Neither man won a single break point and they set just about every Wimbledon and tennis record in existence. Mahut put on probably the gutsiest performance I’ve ever seen from a French player. The juxtaposition of him diving head-first for multiple balls in the sixth and seventh hours of play against the French team getting bounced from the World Cup days after pouting and refusing to practice in “protest” of one of their players being thrown out of the Cup really saved what’s left of France’s reputation in the world.

In between those amazing performances, we were treated to images of Lawrence Taylor being indicted on rape, child prostitution and sex abuse.

But there was no time to laugh at LT. The best rookie pitcher in MLB history, Steven Strasburg, was pitching against the hapless Kansas City Royals…and LOST. He lost on a 95 pitch, 75 strike, one run, nine strikeout performance.

I immediately turned to ESPN U where TCU was mounting an amazing comeback against Florida State in the College World Series. In the eighth inning, the Horned Frogs’ Matt Curry hit a grand slam and Jantzen Witte (who had only hit three home runs all season long) hit another homer that lifted the crowd in Oklahoma City to chants of “TCU.”

The Horned Frogs came back from down 7-3 and put up eight runs in the inning – eight! – to win 11-7. Pitcher Kaleb Merck then got out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the inning with a virtuoso pitching performance that would’ve made Strasburg proud.

I nightcapped all that action by watching a replay of the Kentucky-Mississippi State thriller from the SEC Championship tournament earlier this year. There was a “Cheaters” marathon on G4, but I needed more sports.

Oh yeah, and how about the Rockies walk-off homerun to beat the Red Sox?

Wednesday truly was a great sports day. Not only was there something for everybody, there was something for everybody all over the world.

Soccer’s World Cup Runneth Over

June 24, 2010 by Jennie Cote  
Filed under Other Sports, SRG's Blog

Soccer, aka “football” to the rest of the world, is the most popular sport on planet earth. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, World Cup soccer is in full swing, and has more drama then Snookie and her cohorts on “Jersey Shore.”

Episode number 1: Unfortunately, team USA has been on the back of a hand slap a few times already. In their game against Slovenia, veteran referee, and calling his first World Cup match, Koman Coulibaly blatantly robbed USA of their go-ahead goal by calling an offsides infraction (that no one else apparently saw). Afterward, Coulibaly did not offer an explanation as to how he saw what he did. Since then, the soccer governing body, FIFA, has not allowed Coulibaly to referee any matches in the next round.

Episode number 2: In the recent USA vs. Algeria vs. the referee game, horrendous calls reared their ugly heads once again. USA’s Clint Dempsey scored in the 20th minute, but the referee waved that goal off because he claimed Dempsey was offsides. The television replay clearly shows that he was even with the defender; hence the goal should have been allowed. USA, feeling like a jilted lover, stayed focused and scored their winning goal during the excess time.

Episode number 3: After the loss to USA, Algerian player Rafik Saifi slapped a female writer across the face as he walked through the interview area. Algerian journalist Asma Halimi, who hit him back, said the slap was unprovoked. Witnesses also confirmed the unfortunate event. She had previously written an article for her newspaper and apparently this non-starting player had a difference of opinion.

Episode number 4: The man who will definitely be left off the “sportsmanship of the year “ ballot has got to be France’s coach Raymond Domenech. Not only did he call his team “unspeakably stupid”, he sent home player Nicolas Anelka early, the team boycotted a training session, and the sponsors dropped France like overcooked french fries.

When the final whistle blew in South Africa’s 2-1 win over France, South African coach Carlos Alberto Parreira offered the customary handshake. Although Domenech shook hands with others around him, he refused Parreira’s hand, instead wagging his finger and giving him a tongue-lashing. Unapologetic, Domenech refused to answer any of the media’s questions regarding his behavior. Being such a disgrace for the entire world to see, one would think that Domenech attended the Bobby Knight “principles of coaching” class.

Round one of World Cup soccer is almost complete. With our collective breaths held, and DVR’s set to record the upcoming episodes….err, matches, the shenanigans of the referees, coaches, and players will continue to entertain. Stay tuned…

Preseason College Football Top 25: # 15 LSU

Why They’re Here: Last year, an uninspired offense kept LSU from challenging for the SEC Championship. Well, that and Les Miles blowing it against Ole Miss and costing me $150. This year, Jordan Jefferson and co. are looking to show the Southeastern Conference and the nation that they’re not all defense. Losing RB Charles Scott, WR Brandon LaFell, RB/WR Trindon Holiday and RB Keiland Williams is going to make that a little tough, though. Last year was a rebuilding season for Miles’ team, but in the SEC you don’t really get too many of those, so it’s expected that the Tigers will be back on their game this year.

The Good: It might just be me, but I really think Jordan Jefferson could make a case for the Heisman this year. With Scott gone to the NFL, the offense will really be on his shoulders. If Jefferson can have the kind of season that he’s capable of, the Tigers can compete for a title. My favorite player in all of college football, center T-Bob Hebert (pronounced Tee-Bob A-Bear; I’m not kidding), is still anchoring the offensive line and wide receiver Terrence Toliver is poised to have a big year.

The Bad: Did you see the list of players the Tigers lost on offense? They only return four starters on that side of the ball. And that’s just on offense. They’ll only be returning four starters on defense as well, and defense is the backbone of any LSU team. The benefit of the doubt is generally given to a great defensive mind like Les Miles, but with all the talent he had last year and what he was able to do with it (9-4 and a loss to Penn State in the Capitol One Bowl) maybe Tigers fans should be worried.

The Last Word: This season will come down to two people: Les Miles and Jordan Jefferson. If Miles has recruited the talent to step in and play – and it certainly looks like he did, bringing in a top 10 recruiting class – and Jefferson can play at an elite level, LSU could reclaim some of its past glory. If the freshmen aren’t ready, though, and last year’s backups haven’t done what it takes to prepare themselves for the big stage of SEC football, this could be another rebuilding year and Les Miles’ seat could start getting pretty warm. Fans in Baton Rouge still haven’t forgotten about that Ole Miss game and nothing short of an SEC championship is going to get them to.

Final Record: 10-3

Homecourt Advantage in L.A.? Not Really!

Lakers fans suck. At least the ones who cheer at Staples Center. They aren’t the true Lakers fans, they’re the ones who can afford the seats.

When Boston comes back to Los Angeles to try to clinch the NBA finals there is a chance for victory. Sure, the Lakers have a tremendous record at home. They almost set an NBA playoff record for most consecutive wins at home.

But don’t attribute that to the fantastic crowd. Had they been playing in a neutral court similar results may have taken place.

This wasn’t always the case for the purple and gold. During the creaky Great Western Forum days (that dump was once state of the art) fans howled in unison at Showtime. Magic, Kareem and James Worthy kept the crowd involved all game long.

At one time Staples Center harnessed great Lakers energy. When it first opened, fans were treated to three straight championships. Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant and whoever the other three players on the court were amazed the fans.

They were loud. Very loud, especially when the Lakers needed the noise the most: game seven of the 2000 Western conference finals against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Real Lakers fans will remember this game. Before the tip-off the crowd was up. They chanted defense on the opening possession. Loudly. And they needed it against Portland, one of the most loaded teams never to win a championship. That team was so stacked their second unit probably could have won 50 games.

Their roster consisted of ballers such as Scottie Pippen, Rasheed Wallace, Steve Smith, Damon Stoudemire, Brian Grant, Arvydas Sabonis, Greg Anthony, Bonzi Wells, Stacey Augmon and Detlef Schrempf. A young Jermaine O’Neal was also on that team and he wasn’t even in the rotation.

In that game seven, Portland had a 16-point lead in the third quarter. The Staples crowd kept the faith, the Lakers tightened up on D, Portland went almost eight minutes without a point in the fourth quarter and Los Angeles came back.

That game finished with one of the most iconic plays in NBA history as Kobe beat Pippen off the dribble and alley-ooped a pass to Shaq for one of those demoralizing dunks.

The crowd throughout all of this stayed strong. After Shaq’s dunk they went into a ridiculous frenzy. Can the Staples Center crowd do the same for game six and maybe, game seven against the Celtics?

Unlikely.

It seems as if the Staples Center ticketholders are growing more timid with each year. How can this be? The Lakers have the most talent in the league led by Kobe and the Spanish Jesus, Pau Gasol. They’ve played in three straight NBA finals. They won four championships in the last decade.

The almighty dollar has silenced Lakers fans. Only the rich or the truly lucky or truly stupid can afford to go to Lakers games. Insane ticket prices keep the real fans out.

So who gets in? Celebrities who are more concerned with getting on camera. Whoever has the newest movie, E from Entourage and the Kardashians. Only Kim deserves courtside seats. Corporate types. Businessmen who wear suits to work every day. People who live off mommy and daddy’s money.

Are these the guys who should be cheering for the Lakers to defeat the hated Celtics? Is this who the Lakers want when they have their backs to the walls and must win two home games in a row?

These fakers are no better than the bandwagoners who update their sudden love for the Lakers on Facebook (which happen to begin around playoff time), go to bars and rock their brand-new Lakers gear.

They claim to be fans but can’t even remember the lean Randy Pfund years, the angst of losing to the Celtics for decades or even a rough East Coast trip this season.

This is the time Staples Center needs to support the Lakers the most. Look at the Boston crowd. They’re jacked well before the game starts. The Los Angeles crowd, they don’t seem to give a damn, and if that’s the case they will be rewarded with another Celtics championship on the Lakers home floor.

Tie Versus England Is A Win For American Soccer

June 13, 2010 by Thomas Gerard  
Filed under Other Sports, SRG's Blog

After the match yesterday, someone said to me, “That was a very uninspiring game.” It was obvious the man lacked knowledge of the game, as most Americans do. I kindly smiled at the man and politely disagreed saying, “I could not have been more inspired.”

Yes, there were only two goals.
Yes, there wasn’t much threat from the American side in the second half as the English controlled the majority of possession.

And yes we did not win the game. So what is there to be excited about?
A lot actually.
We just tied England, one of the best teams in the world. They are full of talent. They have a world-class manager. And they have a rich football history. This is their sport, not ours. Many fans weren’t giving the United States much of a chance, saying we would get blown out of this game. To me that is just ignorance. This is a sport where anyone can beat or play with anyone on any given day. It’s as simple as that.

Over the past couple years I’ll admit that I was not very excited about the team being put together for this World Cup. I am used to seeing a bunch of kick and run and not much soccer sense on the pitch from the U.S side. Yesterday’s performance gave all Americans a reason to be excited about our team’s chance the remainder of the way.

For the majority of the first half, the U.S. was controlling the pace of the game. We knocked the ball around great for our standards. We didn’t panic like I did after an early first strike from Steven Gerrard. Our composure was brilliant.

We also managed to take one of the best strikers in the world in Wayne Rooney out of the game. He was nowhere to be seen. Our defenders did an excellent job marking him and an even better job of clearing the ball from our end in dangerous situations.

With that said, Tim Howard is the anchor of our team. He is one of the best keepers in the world and will keep us in every game. The guy plays with heart and purpose. He is aggressive and committed to every play. He came up huge yesterday and a strong goalie can take you a long way.
This was a great way to start the tournament and a huge confidence builder. The result is what matters most, and the Yanks gave fans a reason to be inspired the rest of the way.

Co-players of the game for the United States: Tim Howard and Steve Cherundolo
England’s man of the match: Glen Johnson

Next game: Slovenia 10AM eastern Friday morning. Support our team. Support our country. This game brings the world together.

Back To The (NBA Finals) Future

The Boston Celtics have gone back in time. Two years to be exact. Somehow, two players — power forward Glen “Big Baby” Davis and point guard Nate Robinson — have got a hold of plutonium and used it to power “Doc” Brown’s DeLorean.

Rather than going to the future and buying a sports almanac like Biff, these two have gone to the past and witnessed what it takes to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA finals.

What they saw was a perfect formula; somehow, they have recreated the circumstances of 2008 by getting back to the future without the use of lightning or the speed of a train. Former Celtics P.J. Brown and James Posey killed the Lakers off the bench.

The DeLorean doesn’t have enough room for four large NBA players (well, Robinson’s only 5-foot-8) so Big Baby and the three-time Slam Dunk Contest champion came back by themselves. And they have recreated Brown and Posey’s play.

In 2008 Brown banged bodies, grabbed rebounds and scored in the paint. Big Baby has done the same thing and stomped the Lakers in the Celtics’ 96-89 game four victory. He scored 18 points on seven for 10 shooting.

Posey nailed three pointers and provided a great spark off the bench. Robinson doesn’t play the same type of lockdown defense, but his spark is just as lively. His drives to the basket and accurate outside shooting helped the C’s pull away from a close game. He scored 12 points in game four.

Somehow, Boston received the good fortune of not having to contend with the Lakers’ Andrew Bynum. The seven-footer played only 12 minutes and none in the fourth quarter. Without his presence, the C’s attacked the basket and all of a sudden the Lakers were dangerously thin up front.

What will happen in game five? The winner will be in the driver’s seat to clinch the series with a three-games-to-two lead.

Unless the Celtics luck out with some more plutonium, it is unlikely they’ll get 30 points off the bench from only two players. At this point, only “Doc” Brown (and maybe Marty McFly) knows. He could go to the future, check out the game five results and let everybody know.

Does Andrew Bynum bounce back and play? Does Paul Pierce finally come through in the clutch? Do any other Lakers help out Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol? Does Celtics coach Doc Rivers have any more complaints about the officiating?

Then again, Biff knows too because of that sports almanac, but he’s probably too busy to divulge secrets. Good luck, Biff. Even with that almanac this series has been so competitive, it wouldn’t be a surprise if those pages were wrong.

The NCAA Makes Me Sick!

June 10, 2010 by Dion Rabouin  
Filed under College Football, Football, SRG's Blog

Has no one else picked up on the irony of the N-C-Double-Assholes bringing down sanctions on USC for “violations of amateurism” on the exact same day that it announced that multiple schools are leaving their conferences, voiding a number of century-long conference rivalries and competition, to get more money?

Do these people realize how ridiculously hypocritical they’re being? Various outlets are reporting that Colorado and other schools joining the Pac-10 may be getting somewhere in the neighborhood of $20 million a season for coming onboard. That’s about double what they’re getting in the Big XII and that, coupled with Nebraska leaving, essentially spells the end of the conference.

All in the name of the Holy Dollar, an entire conference is being dissolved. The Big XII rivalries of Nebraska versus Colorado and Nebraska versus Oklahoma are dead, and odds are the teams won’t even play anymore. If rumors are true, Texas, Oklahoma and Texas A&M may be headed in separate directions as well. Those are some of the biggest conference rivalries in the history of football. And that’s just where it starts.

The Big East conference may be all but done. We could literally see two conferences fall, reducing the BCS to four conferences. Think about what that will do to the hegemony of the “haves” in college football, who already dominate the “have-nots” with every single advantage imaginable. With all the teams competing with one another in four mammoth conferences – The Big Ten, Pac-10, SEC and ACC (the first couple will probably need to be renamed) – all the dollars and all the BCS attention will be on four conferences and it will be nearly impossible for smaller schools to get a piece of the pie. This also completely redefines how the BCS will have to select bowl game participants and you can bet the small schools won’t be getting any love there either.

What gets me though, is all of these schools are making tens of millions of dollars and nobody is even considering paying the players who make it all happen.

Yeah, they get to go to school for free, but at best that’s worth about $50,000 a year (and most times it’s closer to $15,000 because most players go to some state university). Not to mention, their coaches are making about 10 times that much. And the athletic directors are making even more money.

I am absolutely dumbfounded that these people have the audacity to make a public spectacle of vacating wins and even possibly taking away Reggie Bush’s Heisman for allowing the school to pay for a house for his mother. Are you kidding me? The hypocrisy is truly, truly nauseating.

The Lucky Few

June 10, 2010 by Gabe Zaldivar  
Filed under Other Sports, SRG's Blog

It’s Christmas in June. Soccer fans throughout the world are holding their breaths just a bit today, ready to exhale for an entire month. I am, for lack of a better term, excited. But if you have a better term please send it in. My symptoms include dry mouth, perspiration, and a complete inability to work.

The World Cup is March Madness in June. That is if March Madness were an international affair pitting the top athletes in their sport against each other every four years. So yes, World Cup is better than March Madness. That should say something to those nay sayers out there. Especially since I used to loathe futbol.

But now I am part of the lucky few. I am aligned with those in this country that can witness and marinate in the greater picture that is soccer. I was once befuddled by those that could sit around and watch a game that had no score for an hour and a half. Now I know the answer to that question is easy. You sit and watch. Once you do so, you will never look back.

My arguments were the same as yours. The scoring is too low. Well that’s a very American thing to say. Sometimes the foreplay is just as tantalizing as the act itself. In soccer the build up of a potential goal is like an hour with a beautiful woman. Except if you’re me, you are drinking beer and the room probably smells like carnitas. I am talking about the game watching not the being with a woman…but the same for that too. Either way the passing and movements in open space are like poetry. That is of course if poetry was awesome.

What else? Oh yeah the flopping. I can’t help this. I hate it. You hate it. The players feel foolish doing it. Its a necessary evil that more people should just accept. Running around for ninety minutes is tiring. So if there are no timeouts in this sport, why not just fall down and say “Hold on a fucking second, I’m Super winded over here.” I can deal with that. I think I might employ this tactic in my daily life, perhaps after reaching the top of a flight of stairs.

Then there is the possibility of a game going to kicks. This is another acceptance that one has to make for a game that already takes from every player all they can muster. When running for 90 minutes does not give us a winner, the players will run for thirty more. If they still have none they can either run for a little more and make a complete mess of the field or they can just kick the ball and call it a day. I hate that this happens, but really there is no other way.

But in the arbitrariness of the free kick is the justice of it all. Both teams get a coin flip. The rest is left up to fate. I like that idea. Let’s let some magical mysticism decide the game. I guess. I’m sure I will still be pissed in the end. But here’s to the journey. That is all soccer is after all.

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