Category: News

Football Foul Play

Ever since the world cup, I have become quite the football/soccer fan. The only sport I enjoy equally as much or maybe a little bit more is basketball and that’s saying a lot because I love the game of basketball. At this point, I know that when North London’s Arsenal are facing FC Barcelona at the Camp Nou in Barcelona for a chance at a spot in the UEFA Champion’s League quarterfinals, it’s far beyond  a “big game”. Even bigger perhaps are the many stars that battle it out on the pitch for supremacy. One of these stars, Robin van Persie, was questionable for the match, but did end up starting. The start was huge news for the Gunners. van Persie not only scored the first goal in their eventual 2-1 defeat of Barcelona at the Emirates for the first leg of the round, but he arguably increases his team’s level of play greatly whenever he is on the pitch.

So, imagine the horror on Arsene Wenger’s face when van Persie gets a second yellow (first yellow was ticky-tack to begin with) and a sending off for a shot at goal, less than two seconds after the offside whistle was blown and the flag went up. The referee’s excuse? Time wasting. van Persie’s argument? 90,000 plus screaming fans. There is no way that the official is justified in that booking and sending off. van Persie was focused completely on the ball and framing his shot. As soon as he got control, he shot it. He didn’t even dribble the ball. In a battle between 90,00 screaming fans (This is European football. Truly exuberant, screaming fans.) versus a small whistle tens of yards away from a running, focused player, the 90,000 fans have the sonic upper hand. At the point of the sending off, Arsenal was obviously down to 10 men. Barca goes on to score two unanswered goals. there are calls that UEFA is corrupt from pitch to penthouse but I won’t call it that. This was just horrid officiating that caused Arsenal to end their UCL hopes with their heads hung low in Barcelona. Just embarrassing. What do you think? Justifiable red or down right mistake of a call? Feel free to air your opinion in the comments.

The Duke Two Step

One of my favorite, I mean favorite, plays to see unfurl on a basketball court is the crossover to defender fall. It is a bittersweet moment of triumph for the victor and shame for the victim. For the crowd, it’s instant comedy. Bad defense should be punished, and the crossover to fall is the harshest sentence. With that prologue out the way, above is footage of JJ Redick being subjected to the deadly crossover dribble of  Randy Foye. A Dukie being left for dead? Not something you see often. Oh, wait, never mind…..

Heavy Metal

I reside in a family filled with car enthusiasts and automotive geeks. It is a trait that runs in our bloodline and we are quite proud of this fact. So, whenever I can get a chance to see all of my favorite cars, under one roof, up close and personal, for a small fee, I cordially accept the invitation. For the next week or so at the Washington Convention Center, you too will be able to accept the invitation and experience all of the majesty and grandeur of the 2011 Washington Auto Show. The show runs from January 28th until February 9th and is going to be choc full of special events, giveaways, and guest appearances. If all you care about is the cars, then I suggest you come early (I, for instance, was there at the 10 AM opening on the first day of the show. No funny business.). If you’re all about the entertainment, check the event schedule before you go to plan your trip accordingly.

For the car enthusiast the show provides a consumer angle and a spectator angle. The show is populated with many exotics and classics as well as cup and touring race cars and most major domestic and import makers have their latest year line-ups on the floor for full interaction as well. Going to the booths and interacting with fellow show goers can produce some intriguing conversations and arguments. For example, while at the Volkswagen booth (VW>*insert car maker here*), I struck up a conversation with a former Jetta owner while we both stared at the beautiful 2012 Passat. He told me about how the Jetta was the best car he’s ever owned and I sympathized with him on its untimely and tragic death. Another conversation had me and a man twice my age lamenting at the fact that the new S-Class Mercedes came with a donut instead of a full size spare.  It is always a fun and inviting atmospheres with families checking out potential buys, up-and-coming business men and women scoping out their next sportscar purchase and enthusiast mucking it up about what car is best.

If you’re in the area, check it out. It’s really great fun, especially if you love the automobile. More info here.

Serious Funny Business

I honestly don’t know what’s funnier. The fact that Charlie Murphy wasn’t funny at all and was verbally notified of this by the crowd’s”boos” or the fact that he took the money and threw the “boos” back at them with a two word phrase and dipped. From what I can see in the video, CM wasn’t really providing the laughs that the crowd paid for and he probably didn’t really care because he’s Charlie Murphy. When you pay someone up-front I guess these things are liable to happen.

Bringing the Heat

A new NBA season is quickly approaching us fans, and that means a new Lebron signature shoe is coming as well. I donned the Air Max Lebron VII the best so far of a pretty good serious of Lebron signature footwear. I went so far as to say that the VII was the best Nike basketball shoe in years. With all that high praise I gave to the VII, I was really excited about the thought of the VIII blowing me out the water and changing the game again. The early photos showed little promise though. The shoe was bulky, flywired to the brim, and had the same 360 Air sole as the VII. I was ready to write it off and condemn Nike for not keeping up the VII’s design momentum but, now with the final, refined version of the VIII set to release some time later this year, I can truly say, I’ve changed my mind. The kind of twist upper looks very cool and the materials look very premium. The Flywire touches are tastefully done but I really wish Nike would have worked in it’s Torch technology that is also found in their Hyperfuse model. The new 360 sole looks like it has a little bit more flexibility in it which I felt was a minor problem of the VIIs, so it’s nice to see the designers fix that. Check out the video with lead designer Jason Petrie to get a little bit more information on the brand new Lebron VIII.

Bring it home

Right before the 2010 World Cup Final, I did a post about the history and current state of soccer in America. I, not unlike many new fans of the “beautiful game”, scrambled to absorb as much of the sport as I possibly could. My fervor for soccer has not died since the night of the 2010 World Cup Final. I try to faithfully watch my favorite Barclays Premier League team, Tottenham Hotspur, play, even though I’m an ocean away from White Hart Lane and I watched painfully as my now beloved DC United failed to defend fixture (game) after fixture to net themselves a last place finish in the MLS. I never thought I would say this, but I really do have a true passion for soccer, just as much as football and basketball. Now, I can’t say I would trade a Knicks game on Madison Ave for a DC United game at RFK, the Knicks and Ravens will always be the teams my heart beats for above anything else, but I definitely can say that I aspire to be a DC United season ticket holder one day and I definitely want to see my Tottenham Hotspur play at White Hart Lane in their lily whites before I bite the dust.

Part of this new found love for soccer that I have came from the spectacle of the 2006 and 2010 FIFA World Cups. The pageantry, the ardor, the desperation, and the emotion were all things that truly captivated me. Seeing countries peacefully battle for supremacy despite their religion, socio-economic standing, race and language is just beautiful. And honestly, what better stage for the World Cup than the world’s supreme melting pot? You may be thinking, “Here goes the American claiming that America is the greatest at everything again”. It’s not that, but I can see how that may cross some people’s minds. It’s just that we have a extremely diverse population, a great network of state-of-the-art sport venues, and most of all, great cities to greet our guests arriving from all around the world. Our first crack at hosting the cup was a surprising success and now with soccer’s interest in the US booming, 2018 0r 2012 would both be great years for a climax of soccer explosion in this country. With that amount of time, if we get the bid, the MLS could aggressively promote the league with the backing of FIFA’s  most prestigious competition coming to the same pitches where American teams play.

There is very little in sports that can rival watching your home country hoist the World Cup in your home country! And until December, we, as Americans, can collectively make that possible. Below is a little video that gives a little insight into exactly how many different people love the game in America. After you check that out, head on over to GOUSABID.COM and to sign the official petition (we’re now over a million strong), vote for your city to be a host city, and to learn more information. The game is in us, so help bring it to us!

Stick to the “Grass” Sports

I think EA Sports might take on another loss when it comes to indoor sports this year, now that I see the brand new trailer for NBA 2K11. I’m most excited about the classic player feature. Imagine putting “The Glove” against “CP3” or “The Reignman” against Dwight Howard. I also heard that the inclusion of Jordan being playable allowed 2K to put all 23 of the numbered Air Jordans in the game. Now my created player can shoot three pointers on Madison Ave in style! As far as the gameplay, everything looks a little bit more fluid and imaginative. I think 2K will really deliver on their promise to put more control in the players hands. The presentation touches are always my favorite. It’s cool to see John Wall do his dance and Mo Williams throw up the One Eye when he strikes a three. Now, if only 2K could make football games again.

It’s Playoff time!!!

Now that the tumultuous NCAA basketball season is over (Shout out to the new kings of choke in the NCAA, the Syracuse Orange. It would be Kansas, but I didn’t pick them as champions) it’s time for the NBA Playoffs. Unfortunately, the Knicks didn’t make it, again, but I still get to look forward to seeing some of my other favorite players play for the championship. I’m really looking forward to Lebron putting in work this post-season and Nike seems to be prepared as well. They re-worked his seventh signature shoe, one of the best basketball shoes in a very long time in my opinion, for the sprint to the Larry O’Brien trophy. I’m kind of a shoe geek myself, in terms of knowing shoe technology and what not so I really enjoyed this video of Jason Petrie breaking down the brand new Lebron VII P.S. Check it out below.

“They are who we thought they were!”

As I watch this Kansas State/Xavier game on my television (GREAT GAME. It may be over by the time I finish writing this though), one thought keeps creeping up in my mind. That precise thought is this: My bracket this year is fucked the fuck up. Where do I begin America? Georgetown and Notre Dame, two of my Final Four picks and Big East powerhouses, lose in the first round to Ohio (Not State. Ohio University) and Old Dominion respectively. What about Kansas? The overall number one seed of the tournament loses in the second round to the University of Northern Iowa. No disrespect to the UNI students and faithful, but that shit still hasn’t sunk in for me yet. Let me bring up Murray State’s beat down of Vanderbilt in the first round, making that like four years in a row of first round exits for the Commodores of Vanderbilt. Oh, but the Big East is really looking silly out there. I already touched on the Hoyas and Fighting Irish, but what about the Villanova Wildcats? They go to overtime with Robert Morris and lose in the second round to the Saint Mary’s Gaels. What the fuck is a Gael? Ridiculous. There are a couple more upsets to mention, but I want to keep it in the Big East for what I feel is the biggest upset of them all.

If you follow college basketball, you might of heard of Syracuse basketball. Former National Champions a few years ago with Carmelo Anthony and coached by the sure hall of famer, Jim Boeheim, many people in the nation felt that this was the best team in the nation this year. Hell, I picked them as the nation’s champion. That zone defense the Syracuse Orange played seemed impenetrable to me and even with the lost of Arinze Onuaku, I still felt that Syracuse had the personnel to make a championship run. The combination of Jardine, Johnson, and Rautins is hard to bet against. But Butler found a way to beat them and so did all these other mid-major teams that had upsets this year. Considering this brings me to a perplexing question.

Are the “power” teams over-rated, or are these mid-majors really as good as these key wins their amassing? I mean there are only a handful of big conference, high profile teams to grab recruits, and many of these recruits are going to have to sit behind upper-classmen for a while before they get their real shot at stardom (unless you’re John Wall). So, why not go to, say, a UNI, be the main option, and become a star? Mike Beasley went to K-State, and not saying that K-State wasn’t a respectable program before him, but he was the last nudge to put the Wildcats on the map. They racked up on the top recruits and are fighting for a title as I write this. Beasley could have went to any other big name college and played limited minutes but he chose a less popular school in K-State as his springboard to the league. It looks like a lot of players are following in Beasley’s steps. I can’t call it now, but a major power shift may be occurring on college basketball. The rise of the mid-major may truly be happening.

I don’t know what the hell is going on, but it has been making for some captivating basketball. This year’s tournament truly put the “Madness” back into March Madness.

And then there were….64?

March is upon us folks. Fuck the coming of a new season, it’s NCAA tournament time. The long 2009-2010 regular season and conference tournaments are all in the books and the fight for the championship begins. And what a great season it was! There were upsets galore, especially in the ultra competitive Big East, which I still feel is the strongest conference in the NCAA. Outside of the great games the world was able to witness (Kansas State/Texas was my favorite, although it wasn’t the best), there were a select handful of players that showed unparalleled ability on the court. Standouts that come to mind include Evan Turner, Wesley Johnson, Sherron Collins, Greg Monroe, Dennis Clemente, John Wall, Kyle Singler, and Robbie Hummel but there are many, many more. My favorite part about the tournament and why I am so obsessive over it is the high level of basketball these young men (and women, even though the women’s bracket is UCONN and fuck the rest) exhibit. The intensity of the players is primal even. The need to win is evident on every possession. No play comes and goes without 110% effort from the ten players on the floor. It’s such a more simple and fundamental game at the collegiate level and when infused with such a high level of intensity, the viewer is forced to appreciate the game of basketball even more than they already do.

The biggest part of March Madnees for NCAA basketball fans  is filling out brackets. I used to fill out like 5-6 brackets back in the day. And it wasn’t a coin flip affair either. I mean I would crunch numbers and research match-ups until my brain hurt. If I didn’t know shit about a team, I damn sure educated myself as quickly as possible and analyzed the matchup they had. I can’t remember most of my brackets well enough to recall how correct I picked the winners, but I know I predicted champions in Maryland (2002) and Florida (2006) before. Without actually finishing my bracket ( I still have until 7 on Tuesday) my early, and probably final picks for the Final Four are Georgetown versus Syracuse in the West Region and Kentucky versus Notre Dame in the East Region. My eventual winner in the Kentucky/Syracuse title game would be the Syracuse Orangemen.

I can’t wait until the tourney gets underway and all 64 of these teams go head to head. It looks like there is going to be some great games, but I think the upsets will be minimal. I hope you enjoy the tournament as much as I. Good luck to all the teams participating!