Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Anyway, I promise to post tomorrow :)
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Mary: i wish there was an olympic schedule search function, where you can type in an athlete's name and it will tell you when he/she will be on.
Mary: "when will hot, single, shirtless men be featured? tuesday at 9 pm? excellent. I'm there"
Sara: I am about to go to bed, but I just wanted to let you know that synchronized swimming makes me embarrassed to be a swimmer
Sara: I feel like I forget how lame it is over the course of the four years, my burning hatred kind of mellows
Sara: "these two picked a light jazzy routine." They actually just said that.
Mary: synchronized swimmers, rhythmic gymasts, and trampoliners are just a waste of olympic medals that could just be given to Michael Phelps
Sara: I've decided I'd rather eat bad food and watch people work out (olympics) than work out and watch the food network
Mary: if I were a diver, a male one, I would list in my Olympic bio under interests: "women." that's it.
Susan: I've had pretty much No motivation this week whatsoever. all i do is think about the olympics and how i want aaron piersol
http://www.topnews.in/sports/files/images/Sascha-Klein1.jpg Mary: Check out the shoulder tattoo...HOT...he looks dirty.
"Dear Ryan Lochte: There's no need to speak. Just stand there & look hot. Thanks. Signed, Everyone"
Me: I’m so mad, I would have been such a good swimmer, with my abnormally long torso, midget legs and big shoulders. My parents are assholes
Sara: I am totally on team USA dont get the wrong idea... but dont you ever want to go into the locker room and cheat with Alain Bernard from France???
Mary: omg last night's heats were so hot. Lochte and Phelps
Normal people, good people watch gymnastics and take it very, very personally. No matter how creepy the little freaks are. But we're lucky this year, because our little freaks are Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin. – SportSquee, a really funny blog.
Amy: I was crying watching it last night. I got SO into it
I love gymnastics.
I used to do floor gymnastics competitions!
I could have been good if i didnt get boobs and a butt
Amy: It would have helped too if my father was the coach
in search of a (fantasy) football primer, although my plan of drafting the hottest player available at the time has seemed to work in the past
Friday, August 22, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Shawn Johnson -- This chick is the cutest thing I've ever seen. You look at her and you can't help but smile, she's so gosh-darn cute. She's all apple cheeks, a little bit of buck teeth, she's 4'9" and she's awesome. These best part is, she is totally kick-ass... she seems like the kind of girl who you would go to the fair with and she'd want to ride the zipper and all of the crazy rides you'd have to pay me to get on, and then she's want to go bungee jumping, and she'd try to convince me to go, but couldn't, then she'd bounce up to the bungee platform, jump down, and bounce back to you after like it was nothing. I <3 her.
Jason Lezak -- The best relay swimmer in American history often goes unnoticed... til you swim a 46.06 final 100 in the 4x100 free to steal the gold medal from the French... reasons Lezak is our hero:
1. He kept Michael Phelps' quest for 8 gold medals alive; we all know that is what would have been the real tragedy if the US had lost the gold medal. But, this dude totally put his team on his back, swam them out of a hole, and because of HIM they won the gold and set the world record in probably the best swimming race ever.
2. He beat the French guy. Okay, so we all know the French are pretty much all a-holes (yes, I'm incredibly PC today), but this Alain Bernard guy kind of takes it to another level. He talked a ton of smack about how the French were going to "smash" the Americans, making himself an instant villain, plus he has a wicked hot body, but his pin head looks like it is photoshopped onto it. They totally don't go together, it's super freaky.
3. In his 3rd Olympics, he finally won an individual medal - a bronze medal in the 100-meter free. Previously, Lezak had 5 relay medals, including 3 gold, but no medals on his own. We all wanted Phelps to win the race (come on, you know you did), but I think we were all cheering just as hard for Lezak to take home the silver or bronze... and I don't think I've ever seen anyone so happy to come in 3rd.
4. At 32, he is the oldest man to ever qualify for an Olympic swim team. Sure, at 41 Dara Torres makes him look like a toddler, but it's still pretty awesome.
Dara Torres -- at 41, just making the Olympics was an amazing feat... but Torres won individual silver in the 50 free, then just SEVEN MINUTES after standing on the podium, anchored the US women to a silver in the 4x100 free. This lady is kick-ass. (please don't let her be on drugs, please don't let her be on drugs, please don't let her be on drugs...)
Jonathan Horton -- Kid was the best US men's gymnast bar-none, and had the best competition of his life at the Olympics. He took the team on his back and stuck 6-of-6 routines in the team competition to give the Americans a suprise bronze. Then, on the last day of competition, he threw two new elements into his high bar routine because he didn't just want to make a good showing in the event finals, he wanted to compete for a medal. It paid off, and he won the silver.
Usain Bolt -- Okay, so if you haven't yet seen the 200 meter final, DO NOT READ THE REST OF THIS PARAGRAPH. That's my disclaimer.
Now: why Usain Bolt is evil.
1. He is 21 years old. If he is legit this good at 21, he makes me sick.
2. He won the gold and broke the WR in the 100 meter dash, and he slowed down at the end to celebrate. I don't care that he celebrated, if I was the world's fastest man I'd be doing backflips down the track and telling everyone else in the world to suck it, but come on man... finish the race.
3. He broke Michael Johnson's World Record in the 200 meters. That is literal track blasphemy.
Milo Cavic -- I have a few reasons to dislike Mr. Cavic.
1. He was born in America, yet swims for Serbia. I mean his parents are from there and all, but he grew up here, went to college here, then he swims a medal for Serbia? What, you didn't think you were good enough to make the American team or something?
But that's not the worst part...
2. Cavic decided that he spoke for the world when he said that it would be good for swimming in Phelps lost a race. Ummm Milo, good for swimming or good for you? Yeah, that's what I thought. I love when athletes no one has ever heard of open their mouths to bash the stars, so that their names are in the papers too. Whatever dude. He put up a great showing in the 100M fly, barely losing to Phelps, but then he started complaining like a bitch that he had actually won, and the results were wrong, blah blah. Get over it dude, you lost. It wasn't better for anyone except YOU if Phelps lost. Oh, and now you're the a-hole who talking smack about America's hero. WAY TO GO JERK
CHINA -- Yeah, they put on a good Opening Ceremonies, and the water cube and bird's nest are fricken awesome... but this country needs a serious reality check.
1. Smog -- seriously, that shit is nasty. "But it isn't like that every day." That's something to be proud of? Once every three days you can see more than 100 yards in front of you? It's disgusting. The best male marathoner in the world, Haile Gebrselassie, won't even run it there because he's afraid of what it will do to his lungs. Um, don't you think that's a problem China? Seriously, over a billion people and you can't figure out how to clean?
2. Communism - seriously? So the US won't trade with Cuba, and we can't go to Cuba, but we're free to go to China, and most of our crap is made there... double standard much? US Speedskater Joey Cheek, the founder of Team Darfur, had his visa "mysteriously" revoked just hours before he was supposed to go to Beijing to try to urge China, an economic partner of Sudan, to help make peace in Sudan's war-torn Darfur region. How is this possible in 2008?
3. No freedom of speech -- International journalists aren't allowed onto any websites that mention the massacre at Tiananmen Square, or anything that puts the Chinese government in a bad light. Nothing to do with the Dalai Lama is allowed. The Chinese promised before they were awarded the games that they would give 100% freedom to the press. LIARS.
4. Chinese athletes -- now, before you read this and think I'm racist or something, please let me explain: I feel SO sorry for Chinese athletes. Especially gymnasts. The kids are taken from their families when they're like 4 years old, and basically are turned into strong, flipping robots. Their families are given a home and the knowledge that their child is doing good for China. Then the kids see their families maybe once a year. They train like 8 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. You never see beaming Chinese parents in the stands, because they don't even know their own children. It's basically child abuse and it makes me sick.
...There are probably 100 other reasons China is a villian in these Olympics, and I don't even mean how He Kexin stole the uneven bars gold medal from Nastia Liukin.
That's all I can think of now... definitely let me know who you think I missed and why!
Monday, August 18, 2008
Michael Phelps and Brady Quinn... I <3 them both, but seriously, can you imagine their conversations? Please boys, stop talking. Just stand on each side of me and look pretty. Oh, and fan me with your money.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Okay, when I say "sometimes" I kind of mean all of the time.
But give me a break, I know I'm a "tomboy" when it comes to knowing a lot about sports, but when it comes to everything else, I'm pretty girly - I love chick flicks, I cry at TV, I love getting a good mani/pedi, I like to cook, and I rarely leave the house without ironing my clothes.
So yeah, I cry at sports. Those "make a wish" segments on ESPN kill me. And I guess I'm the sucker NBC is gearing towards to, cause the stories on Lopez Lomong, etc., cause me to well up. I cry whenever I see what a win really means to someone... because it's not even about sport, its about accomplishing something they have worked their entire lives to. And I cry when someone loses something they have worked their entire lives for.
These Olympics have been no exception.
I have watched gymnastics ever since I can remember, I even tried gymnastics for a few years until I realized I was way too tall, and hadn't started at 4, so any Olympic asperations I may have had were to stay in my dreams. But I still love watching gymnastics, more amazed each year at what the young girls can do.
On Tuesday, I watched Massachusetts' own Alicia Sacramone fall of the beam and then fall on the floor, destroying her Olympic ideals. My eyes welled up with hers, knowing that she had hurt her team, and after years of spending 6 days a week, 6 hours a day in the gym, it all came down to a couple of falls.
In the all-around, America's hopes were tightly in the hands of 4'9 Shawn Johnson, and slightly behind her was Nastia Liukin, the Moscow-born, Texas bred daughter of an Olympic gold medal gymnast. Johnson's mid-west attitude, chipmunk cheeks and toothy grin scream "America's darling," while the more cold Liukin lurked in the background. For some reason, I was pulling for the calm and cool Liukin.
Definitely what would be considered an ice princess, Liukin is all business, and all beauty. Watching Johnson, she is simply missing something that Liukin has. Liukin gained her strength from her father, a 1988 gold medalist for the Soviet Union, but she got her beauty and grace from her mother, a World Champion rhythmic gymnast (yeah, I don't think its a sport but it's still pretty). Luikin's lines are impeccable, and her longer, less muscular body is just a lot prettier to watch that Johnson's tiny muscular stout body.
So when Liukin walked onto the floor needing barely a 14.8 to take the gold, I got chills. When she finished a gorgeous routine and all but secured the gold, I started to feel tears in my eyes.
When the routines were done, and the places were secure, Liukin finally broke into a smile for the first time in the entire competition. And when she hugged her father, now with the bond of an Olympic gold between them, and stood on the medal stand and finally showed real emotion - holding back the tears, - I knew I was alone in my bed and didn't have to show the same strength.
Saturday night when Phelps won his 8th gold, I cried as though I was his mother, so proud that he hasn't let the hype or the pressure overtake him. It makes me especially proud that he really seems to know what it means, and he doesn't take it for granted.
This year alone, I cried when the Red Sox won the World Series, when the Celtics won the Championship, and when Patriots lost. I cry when Bob Costas tells his stories about amazing athletes, and when Bryant Gumble tells the story of the treatment of racehorses.
Sometimes I feel like a wuss when I'm crying at sports. But then I remember that I could kick your ass at fantasy football, and I could tell most guys a thing or two about a cover-two. So there.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Through 5 events, Phelps has 5 gold medals, and 5 World Records. Oh yeah, and his total gold medal count now stands at 11, the most ever by an athlete in the Olympics.
And yet, even though this was expected of him, this dominance was almost a given, we are still in awe.
We are in awe of the man-fish, who, swimming against the best swimmers in the world, won the 200 meter freestyle by over two seconds, and broke the world record by more than a full second.
Even in his "questionable" race, meaning, not the one that he wasn't great at, but the one that had swimmers that were seemingly capable of beating him, it simply wasn't so -- Phelps won the gold by more than two seconds, with the man who everyone thought had a chance to beat him, teammate Ryan Lochte, fading to third, more than four seconds behind Phelps.
Much has been talked about Phelps and his natural abilities - his 6'4 frame, his abnormally long torso which is that of a man 6'8", and his shorter legs, which therefore create less drag in the water, with his core being lower in his body, more like that of a fish. His size 14 feet resemble flippers, he has a 6'7" wingspan, and is double jointed. Somehow his body creates about 1/2 the lactic acid of other world-class athletes, which prevents his muscles from tiring and cramping when others would. But, despite the physical attributes that make him almost born to spend much of his life in the water, it is Phelps' drive and determination that have made him the best Olympian ever. And he's not done yet.
Phelps' is Jordan-eque in his hatred of losing; he is Roger Clemens-esque in the intensity of his workouts (minus the 'roids)... he doesn't seem to hate killer workouts or putting his personal life on hold to concentrate on his ultimate goal.
He must consume between 8,000 and 10,000 calories a day just to make up for how hard he trains... and he has 2% body fat.
And to prove to the world that he isn't cheating, that it is God-given ability and hard-as-heck training that has made him the champion that he is, Phelps' volunteered for rigorous drug testing during the Olympics, being tested at LEAST once a day.
And I think one of the things that draws us into Phelps, besides his 6'4" perfect frame, is that he is like a kid when he gets each and every gold medal around his neck - smiling and taking it in, not like the Chinese robots who look solemn, and almost relieved, to get their gold.
So even though we expected this of Phelps, it is still fun to watch, we all still cheer him on each and every race, almost like we do Tiger Woods. They are two of the few Goliath-like athletes that the world cheers for against the underdog Davids of the sporting world. And that is because each time we see Phelps or Woods competing, we KNOW that we are watching history, the best to ever do their sport, and that is exciting, and awe-inspiring.
Oh, and for those of you keeping up, who want to see history live, here are Phelps' remaining races:
• Race No. 6 -- 200 individual medley: Friday morning Beijing time, Thursday night in the U.S.
• Race No. 7 -- 100 butterfly: Saturday morning Beijing time, Friday night in the U.S.
• Race No. 8 -- 4x100 medley relay: Sunday morning Beijing time, Saturday night in the U.S.
Finally, for your viewing pleasure...
Monday, August 11, 2008
And, of course, I'm American, so I'm pretty much only writing about the US. I mean, Korea beating Germany in women's handball might be a big deal over there, but I, and probably pretty much everyone reading this, really don't care.
Okay, top moments so far.
#1 - men's 4x100 meter freestyle relay takes gold
Was there any doubt as to what would be #1?! This was the most amazing relay I have ever seen.
The Americans, formerly unbeatable in this event, hadn't won gold in the past 2 Olympics, and were heavy underdogs to the French (I didn't know French were good swimmers... color me suprised). Phelps went out strong, and touched about even with the French and South Africans. Second leg Garrett Weber-Gale kept it going, and third leg Collen Jones lost it a bit to the French, who had their best racer still to hit the pool.
Then came the final leg.
Alain Bernard dove into the pool with a comfortable lead, a full body length, and kept it doing. American Jason Lezak, America's anchorman for years, tried all he could, but stayed behind for that 150 meters as expected.
With 50 yards to go Bernard, who earlier in the week said the French were going to 'smash' the Americans , had a comfortable lead on Lezak. I was so bummed out, I wanted to really stick it to those high-and-mighty Frenchmen. But with 25 meters to go, I sat up - Bernard seemed to tighten up, and Lezak must have felt it, riding his wave to cut down on drag. With 10 meters, I was on my feet on my bed -- THERE IS NO WAY. With 5 meters it suddenly seemed like the impossible was going to happen. Then with one gigantic reach, the 32-year old American out-touched the a-hole Frenchman to win the gold. Ahhh sweet, sweet redemption.
Oh, and not for nothing, but it keeps Michael Phelps' quest for 8 gold medals alive... I don't think I've ever seen someone so pumped.
#2 US women and men's gymnastics plagued with injury
So for the men, Morgan and Paul Hamm are both out, leaving the US with no athletes with prior Olympic experience. With two of three alternates now competing, the US men managed to advance to the finals in fourth place, with 365.200 points, behind China (373.600), Japan (369.500) and Russia (365.425). This isn't suprising in and of itself, because even with both Hamm's, the best I think the men could have done is the bronze. now they will be scratching at the eyes of the Ruskis, with only .225 points seperating them from the podium with 6 rotations to go. The US will need every athlete to step up and give their greatest performances for a chance at a medal.
As for the women...
The gold medal favorites coming off of a gold medal performance at the 2007 Worlds, and with two of the best All-Around athletes in the world in Shawn Johnson (yes, that is a girl) and Nastia Liukin (yes, that is an American). But all of a sudden this week, the team was knocked down with injuries: first to Chellsie (what were her parents thinking with that spelling?) Memmel, who was originally competing on all 4 events forced to draw out of all but the uneven bars with an ankle injury. If that wasn't bad enough, just minutes before she was to take the floor in the opening rotation of the team event Sunday, Samantha Peszek, who was also slated to compete in all four events in the team all-around, sprained her left ankle while warming up on the floor. Cut to the events, where the US was forced to enter just 4 athletes (instead of 5) on 3-of-4 events (excluding the bars) and all of the scores would have to count to the team total (instead of dropping the lowest).
Then came the competition...
Two stepped out of bounds on the floor.
Vault proved strong.
Then uneven bars, usually a strength, but it was far from that Sunday night, with both former world champions in the event, Memmel and Liukin, having uncharacteristic falls.
The girls ended on beam, which of course is the "heart attack" event for those of us watching at home. It was strong, and despite all odds stacked against them, at the end of the event,Team USA was in second place, less than 1.5 points behind China (which is kind of a lot in gymnastics). Johnson and Liukin finished 1-2 in individual qualifiers, and at least one member of Team USA qualified in each individual event.
So all ended well, but the US women, injuries and all, have quite an uphill climb Tuesday night if they want ANY chance of beating the hosts.
Saturday, August 9, 2008
But once that was over, USA was carrying the Angola vs. France women's handball game, and MSNBC was showing dressage. It's like, I lose both ways. I decided to give each a chance... but both were as ridiculous as I assumed. Handball is pretty physical, but dressage is a joke. You don't even know what they are doing, what scores they get, or even what they are supposed to be doing - they did nothing, NOTHING, to sway my opinion.
Then real sports came on... the US women's volleyball took on a strong Japanese team, but beat them 3-1. It was a good match, but marred by the news of the stabbing death of a US men's volleyball coach's father-in-law. He, his wife, daughter (a 2004 Olympian herself) and a Chinese tour guide were attacked by a Chinese terrorist in a tourist area. The daughter was unharmed, but the wife and tour guide are both in critical condition at the hospital. THe murderer then committed suicide. A sad, sad event to start the games.
But back to sports - the US women put on a good show! Their best player is 6'7", and was just putting away kill after kill, really pummeling Japan's best player... who is 5'7. Can we say mismatch?!
Now I am watching women's fencing. The US women swept the medals in the sabre, and thats cool and all, but I now need to add fencing to my list of events that are NOT sports, and should not be in the Olympics. It is completely ridiculous. All they have to do is touch the other person above the waist. I dont get the draw, but congrats to the US women.
OH and I watched women's weightlifting -- the women were 106 pound and were lifting 237. It was incredible. but the Chinese woman who won was a literal machine ... its only her 2nd international competition (hmmm), the first being the World Championships in 2007 where she won gold (hmmmm). She set the Olympic Record, and didn't miss a single lift (hmmm)... I'm not sayin, I'm just sayin' - seems a little too good to be true, coming out of nowhere to just completely dominate the best in the world.
OK, so many random sports to watch, so little time... I'll probably get carpal tunnel (sp?) from flicking the channels so much.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
"Sports that should NOT be in the Olympics, (and even calling them sports in the first place is a stretch)"
Handball - I've said this before, but I really didn't know it was a legitimate "sport." I thought it was like that game suicide you played in elementary school, where you threw the ball against the wall, and if you caught it you threw it back against the wall as hard as you could, but if you touched the ball and didn't catch it you had to run up to the wall before the next person threw the ball against the wall. If you didnt beat the throw, you had to stand against the wall, and the thrower got to whip the ball at you, and you always hoped it was a girl or a weak boy throwing so it didn't hurt too much. Oh my God, can you imagine that game being played at schools these days?! Kids would get in trouble for assault or something. Geez, so much has changed in 15 years. Anyway, if they have handball in the Olmypics they might as well have school-yard "suicide". It's like soccer, but the opposite - you can't use your feet. No one even knows this sport exists outside of the Olympics, and even then, it's not even on TV.
Badmitton - I already went over this one... it is something we WASPS used to play after church while we were waiting for grandma to cook Sunday dinner. It is as much a sport as croquet, which is NOT in the Olympics (yet... just give them time. Hey, maybe they'll take away basketball to make room for it!) Oh, and the thing they hit is called a shuttlecock - how are we supposed to take this seriously??
Synchronized swimming - Okay, any "sport" where you wear a costume shouldn't be in the Olmypics. Is it hard? Hell yes. Should it be in the Olmypics? Hell NO. They wear makeup in the pool... give me a break.
Synchronized diving - OK... so, they just added this sport in the last Olympics. It makes me mad cause, its just the same as diving, but they put two people from the same country next to each other on the platform, then they do the same dive at the same time. It's always the people who are already competing in the individual event, and they just want another event to give medals in. Seriously, they are taking away baseball and softball, but added synchronized diving and trampoline. I'm going to gorge out my eyeballs.
Trampoline - The newest of the Olympic "sports." It is really cool to watch, but...
me: thats something you do in the backyard for fun when youre 12
Mary: those people can't hack real gymnastics OR skiing
me: i mean, anyone can flip on a trampoline, honestly
Mary: don't they have music
i think they have music
me: then at the end when they "land"
its wicked funny
me: "he stuck the landing!"
"oooh a small bounce after landing. they're going to deduct a tenth for that"
Mary: i think they do some crazy flips
Mary: but its still pretty retarded
Me: yeah they do crazy stuff. but its stupid.
Rhythmic Gymnastics - Okay, like synchronized swimming, any sport that you wear a "costume" shouldn't be in the Olympics. Along the same lines, any "sport" where props are used? NOT A SPORT.
Racewalking - Any event that makes you look like a dork shouldn't be in the Olympics. When your kids are older they can tell their friends their Daddy won an Olympic gold medal. When they ask for what sport and they have to say "racewalking," just see the look on their friend's faces (pity, trying not to laugh.
Dressage (part of equestrian) - OK, so it's part of a three-part event, but it's basically a pageant for horses. They see how well they trot, walk, run, etc. And the horses aren't even the rider's own, they pick them at the beginning of the competition. Like a costume, any sport where the person has to wear a top hat and a coat with tails should not garner an Olympic medal.
Modern pentathlon - For most of you who don't know, this event consistns of fencing, running, swimming, shooting (rifle) and riding (a horse)... so basically you are an adequate fencer, runner, swimmer, shooter and horseback rider
but you're not good enough to be the best at any of these so... you just do them all.
Canoe/kayak - Fun activities. Not sports.
Sailing - This one I did wrestle with, cause sailing is cool, and really difficult. I just don't think it should be in the Olympics if something like golf isn't. Only rich white people do it, and no one cares to watch cause, well, its out in the ocean so you can't even see it.
Table Tennis - This one KILLS me. First of all, it's ping pong. Second, its sooo lame. I mean, the Chinese go crazy for it, but they also go crazy for badmitton, soooo... Anyway, a sport that Forrest Gump (even in a movie) can be World Champion in clearly isn't a sport. Ahhhhh it's a game you play in your basement after hitting the bong, not something for Olympians! I need to move on, I'm getting angry.
Ice Dancing - Mary: "What the hell?! you can't even do the coolest figure skating moves! okay, you're athletes, but you can't do jumps or throws
awesome. sounds like fun."
So yeah, let's do the tango on the ice, and call it a sport. Then why not friggen ballroom dancing? Oh no, I probably just gave the IOC an idea...
Aerial skiing - Aerial skiing is a a huge jump basically, they do twists and turns, then land and get a score
Mary: "Its for people who couldn't do real gymnastics (too tall, probably)but can ski."
Ski jumping - I mean, it takes guts, that's for sure... but it isn't a sport, its something Evel Knievel would do!
Biathlon - So, you aren't THAT great at xc skiing, or shooting... but you're pretty good at both - maybe you can win an Olympic medal!
last but not least...
Curling - The least athletic "sport" in the world. If there is any sport that makes you look like a dork, this is it.
I will let Mary have the final word:
Mary: "Synchronized swimmers, rhythmic gymasts, and trampoliners are just a waste of Olympic medals that could just be given to Michael Phelps."
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Thursday, Aug. 7
MSNBC, 4:30-7 a.m. — Men's Soccer, USA vs. Japan (LIVE)
Just in case you don't know, in the Olympics, soccer teams are U-23, with 3 (I think) players above 23. However, with World Cup qualifying going on, most national team players are unavailable for the Olympics, so it's the U-23s who aren't quite good enough to be on the Senior National team, and 3 over-the-hill players who aren't good enough to be on the Senior National team anymore. The Olympics ladies and gentlemen!
That said, the men's team is good, led by Freddy Adu, but in a tough group with The Netherlands, Nigeria and Japan. The U.S. men MUST get a win against Japan if they have any hope of advancing out of the group stage.
TELEMUNDO, 4:30-7 a.m. — Men's Soccer, Honduras vs. Italy (LIVE) Italy, always a powerhouse, should beat up on poor Honduras, who snuck into the Olympics.
7:30-10 a.m. — Men's Soccer, Ivory Coast vs. Argentina (LIVE)
Heavy favorites to win the gold, Argentina will face a strong Ivory Coast that won their group to make it to the Games
UNIVERSAL HD, 4:30-7 a.m. — Men's Soccer, USA vs. Japan (Simulcast)
El equipo masculino es muy fuerte, pero en un grupo resistente con los Países Bajos, Nigeria y Japón. Los hombres estadounidenses DEBEN conseguir un triunfo contra Japón si ellos tienen alguna esperanza del avance de la etapa de grupo.
(or something... hahaha)
NBC OLYMPIC SOCCER CHANNEL, 5 a.m.-5 p.m. — Men's games
Friday, Aug. 8
NBC and NBC HD, 8 p.m.-Midnight — Opening Ceremony
Always kinda boring, but a must-see. I sit around all night waiting for the athletes to enter, and I always somehow miss the US. I don't know why. I watch for 3 hours and my phone will ring during the US - it in inevitable. Let's watch China try to prove why they were chosen as hosts. That, in my opinion, was a ridiculous decision. I mean, what was the IOC (International Olympic Committee) thinking? "Yeah, I think it would be a really fantastic idea to hold the Olympics, the world's premier ATHLETIC EVENT, in the city with the highest amount of pollution, and air that is practically unbreathable. Congratulations Beijing!"
Saturday, Aug. 9 -- LET THE EVENTS BEGIN!!!!!!
NBC and NBC HD, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. — Women's Volleyball - USA vs. Japan (LIVE); Swimming; Beach Volleyball - USA Match; Men's Cycling - Road Race; Women's Fencing - Individual Sabre Gold Medal Final; Rowing
Day 1 of Michael Phelps mania. Going for the record of 8 golds, he is the highlight of the early events on Day 1.
6:50pm 400 IM prelims
Fittingly, Phelps is in the first race of the meet, and he can basically swim it like a workout and advance.
8 p.m.-Midnight — Swimming (LIVE): Gold Medal Finals: Men's 400-meter Freestyle, 400-meter Individual Medley; Women's 400-meter Individual Medley, 4x100-meter Freestyle Relay; Men's 100 breaststroke semifinals (LIVE); Women's 100-meter Butterfly semifinals (LIVE); Beach Volleyball - USA Match (LIVE); Men's Gymnastics Team Competition
Gymnastics, always a viewer-favorite. This year's U.S. men's team just got a whole lot weaker with Paul Hamm (2004 gold medalist) having to bow out with an injury. I love men's gymnastics, but I really hate when they interview them after and I see that they are 5'4 and have chipmunk voices. It just kills it.
12:30-2 a.m. — Men's Volleyball - USA vs. Venezuela (LIVE)
The US men are good, not medal favorites by any means (*Brazil, Russia, China), but never count the Americans out of an event in which athleticism rules.
USA and USA HD, 2 a.m.-2 p.m. — Women's Soccer - USA vs. Japan (LIVE) and Canada vs. China; Women's Basketball - USA vs. Czech Republic (LIVE); Equestrian - Eventing Dressage; Beach Volleyball; Women's Fencing - Individual Sabre Gold Medal Final; Women's Shooting - Air Rifle Gold Medal Final; Badminton Singles Competition; Women's Weightlifting - Flyweight Gold Medal Final
USA women's soccer looking to make up for embarassing showing at the 2007 World Cup.
USA women's basketball is, of course, the team to beat, and I don't know much about Czech basketball... which I guess tells me all I need to know, doesn't it? Easy win for the Americans.
Equestrian Dressage? GIVE ME A BREAK how is this in the Olympics, but they are taking out baseball and softball? It baffles me. Any event you compete in a top hat and a jacket with tails is not a sport.
Not a huge fan of weightlifting, but watching how much "flyweight" women can lift will blow your mind.
CNBC and CNBC HD, 2-4:30 a.m. — Boxing 75kg, 81kg Competition (LIVE)
Olympic boxing is NOTHING like the boxing we see from Las Vegas. If you ask me, it's more fun to watch, with actual skill and not just beating each other to smitherines.
5-8 p.m. — Boxing 75kg, 81kg Competition
MSNBC, 5 a.m.-5 p.m. — Women's Soccer - Nigeria vs. Germany (LIVE) and Brazil vs. North Korea (LIVE); Women's Volleyball - Italy vs. Russia and Poland vs. Cuba; Women's Handball - France vs. Angola and Russia vs. South Korea; Badminton Singles Competition
Brazil won the Women's World Cup in '07, and they are looking to prove it wasn't a fluke. Germany is good as always
I didn't know handball was a sport, I thought it was something you did as a joke on a raquetball court.
In the US, badmitton is what we WASPS play after church on Sunday while grandma is cooking supper. In China, it was the first Olympic sport to see out of tickets. No lie.
TELEMUNDO, 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m. — Women's Soccer - USA vs. Japan (LIVE); Beach Volleyball; Boxing; Women's Volleyball
Si habla espanol, mirar este programo
6-8 p.m. — Beach Volleyball; Boxing
Beach volleyball. In China. Really? The only reason anyone watching this sport is to see women in bikinis and no one can deny that.
Midnight-1 a.m. — TBA
NBC OLYMPIC BASKETBALL CHANNEL, 2:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. — Women's games
NBC OLYMPIC SOCCER CHANNEL, 5 a.m.-5 p.m. — Women's games
Sunday, Aug. 10
NBC and NBC HD, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. — Men's Basketball - USA vs. China (LIVE); Swimming; Beach Volleyball; Men's Water Polo - USA vs. China; Women's Cycling Road Race; Women's Weightlifting - 53kg Gold Medal Final; Men's & Women's Badminton; Rowing
Hmmm let's see USA men's basketball (Kobe, LeBron, Dwyane, etc.) vs. China, a country of people who are 5'4". Oh yeah, they have Yao Ming... ok, so he'll score 20 of their 40 points in a 50 point loss.
10am 400 IM final - Phelps is the WR holder in this event, and the reigning Olympic and World Championship gold medalist -- GOLD #1
7 p.m.-Midnight — Swimming (LIVE): Gold Medal Finals: Men's 100-meter Breaststroke, Men's 4x100-meter Freestyle Relay, Women's 100-meter Butterfly, Women's 400-meter Freestyle; Men's 200-meter Freestyle semifinals; Men's 100-meter Backstroke semifinals; Women's 100-meter Backstroke semifinals and Women's 100-meter Breaststroke semifinals; Women's Gymnastics Team Competition; Women's Diving - Springboard Synchronized Gold Medal Final; Men's and Women's Rowing - Eights Competition
7:30pm 200 Free Prelims
The finals is 9 hours earlier, so Phelps will have plenty of energy for his best stroke. it's a prelim race, so he can coast and move on.
Women's gymnastics begins, and they are saying the gold is the US's to lose, which of course means they will choke and the Chinese will step up on home soil.
Synchronized swimming is another "sport" that baffles me. Yes, I understand that it is difficult and takes athleticism, but really. They wear makeup and costumes. That is ballet in water, and not a sport.
Synchronized diving is another one that pisses me off. I mean, all they do is put two good divers from the same country together and have them do the same dive. Again, they are taking away Olympic baseball, but synchronized diving is an event. I will watch it of course, but it still grinds my gears.
12:35-2 a.m. — Women's Volleyball - USA vs. Cuba (LIVE)
Cuba = volleyball powerhouse
CNBC and CNBC HD, Midnight-4:30 a.m. — Tennis (LIVE); Boxing 64kg, 69kg Competition (LIVE)
I like tennis, but Grand Slams are 100 times more important in the sport than the Olympics. For women, Maria Sharapova is competing for Russia (even though she is about as Russian as I am) and will be a favorite, along with the Williams' sisters. On the men's side, it's Federer's tournament to lose.
4-7 p.m. — Boxing 64kg, 69kg Competition
USA and USA HD, 2 a.m.-2 p.m. — Men's Soccer - USA vs. Netherlands (LIVE) and Argentina vs. Australia; Men's Basketball - Lithuania vs. Argentina (LIVE); Tennis (LIVE); Beach Volleyball; Equestrian - Dressage; Women's Archery - Team Gold Medal Final; Men's Weightlifting 56kg Gold Medal Final
The US men's soccer team is led by Freddy Adu, who is finally showing the talent we all knew he had 4 years ago, and Brian McBride, who should be playing on the master's team, not with the U-23s. There isn't a masters team? Ok, then he should retire. The only reason he made the team is because the teams get 3 over 23 players, and all of the senior national team members have World Cup qualifying committments, which means the only players available are cast-offs. Anyway, the US is playing The Netherlands, where soccer is, quite literally, life. I'm gonna go ahead and say Holland wins this one.
MSNBC, 5 a.m.-5 p.m. — Men's Soccer - Italy vs. South Korea (LIVE); Men's Volleyball - Serbia vs. Russia and Bulgaria vs. China; Women's Field Hockey - USA vs. Argentina (LIVE); Men's Shooting - Trap Gold Medal Final; Men's Water Polo - Hungary vs. Montenegro and Croatia vs. Italy; Badminton; Men's Handball - Croatia vs. Spain
Italy will rout South Korea in soccer.
Russia and China will win in men's volleyball... is it just me or does anyone else find it weird that CHINA is so good at volleyball, where players are 6'4 and taller?
I didn't even know field hockey was in the Olympics. Hm. Color me suprised. I bet this is one of those sports where India is good or something random.
Okay, men's water polo... Do I care about the sport? No. Will I watch? HELL YES. Why? I think you ladies should just take a look at this: http://www.usawaterpolo.org/NationalTeams/MensNationalTeam.aspx
Seriously, just look at them, then tell me you won't be watching them, in the water... in speedos. I'm just sayin'.
Badmitton, handball... I can't even talk about these. These are the Olympics, not "Games you play drunk cause it's funny"
TELEMUNDO — 4 a.m.-2 p.m. — Men's Soccer - Argentina vs. Australia (LIVE) and New Zealand vs. Brazil; Men's Volleyball; Swimming - Gold Medal Finals; Men's Basketball; Men's Gymnastics; Beach Volleyball
6-7 p.m. — Boxing Elimination Bouts
In case you care.
Midnight-1 a.m. — TBA
UNIVERSAL HD — 24-hour MSNBC & CNBC HD Simulcasts and Coverage
NBC OLYMPIC BASKETBALL CHANNEL, 2:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. — Men's games
NBC OLYMPIC SOCCER CHANNEL, 5 a.m.-7 p.m. — Men's games
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
I really can't get enough of the Olympics. I even went out and got a bigger tv (I had a 19 inch because I'm cheap). I would DIE for HD, but, alas, can't afford it :(
ANYWAY. I will be writing a lot about the Olympics. I'll start my preview asap (unfortunately I have "work" I have to do first).
USA! USA! USA!
Monday, July 14, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
As I watched Kevin Garnett celebrate his first NBA title, and the Celtics first since 1986, I couldn't help being almost jealous of KG's complete elation. I've been spoiled by the past six years of Boston sports domination.
It began back in 2001-2002 with the Patriots first Super Bowl win. Now THAT was excitement. It was the first time I'd ever really seen one of my teams win a championship (I was only 3 when the Celtics won their last in 1986), so it was elation like I'd never felt.
In February 2004, when the Pats won their second Super Bowl, it defintely lost a bit of its luster. By 2005, it was practically old hat.
Then 2004 happened, and the Red Sox won their first World Series since 1918. I have never been so happy at a sporting event, not even the first Patriots title. I was watching at the Dugout in Boston, crying, cheering and hugging strangers. Hearing Joe Buck say "Red Sox fans have longed to hear it: the Boston Red Sox are world champions!" still gives me goosebumps. And no matter what I think of Joe Buck from now on, or what I thought of him before 2004, I will always love the way he called the last play of that game.
But then our teams kept winning. The Pats won again in 2004, the Sox was again in 2006, and it just wasn't the same. I was happy, sure, but not the euphoria of the first Patriots Super Bowl, or the 2004 Red Sox.
When the Celtics won their 17th NBA title Tuesday, it was that same almost hollow-happiness. I can't believe that I, a Boston fan, is actually used to winning. Boston and winning had been almost contradictory for my entire life. Now, all of a sudden, people are sick of Boston winning all the time? How did this happen?!
I have to think it's cyclical, and New England sports domination surely can't last forever. In 10 or 20 years I'll be looking back on this decade as "the golden age," and not believing that I took it for granted.
So I need to try to be like KG and be on top of the woooooorld!!!! while it lasts. I'm starting to feel like... shudder... a Yankees fan in the 90s, who thought they would win every year, and therefore winning it all isn't exciting, it's just expected, which takes a lot of the fun out of it.
My teams can still lose, trust me I know that... I'm still not over the Patriots loss to the Giants... actually, that never happened so I don't know what I'm talking about. Never mind.
But I long for the 2004 World Series, when my team winning brought me to tears, and ended my lifetime of suffering. I wish the Celtics win had tugged at my heartstrings in the same way as Vinitieri's game-winning field goal in 2002... but, alas, I've become jaded.
New England is now the city of Champions... I never thought I'd say that, but I've certainly gotten used to it.
Monday, April 28, 2008
After I read that ESPN post a few weeks ago, I decided that I really wanted to put my two cents in, as someone who is close to the Army, and to football. So here goes...
Former United States Military Academy (Army) defensive back Caleb Campbell was selected by the Detroit Lions as selection #218 in the NFL Draft. For Campbell, basically, this means that he heads to Detroit instead of Iraq.
I was lucky enough to interview Caleb twice at the Army-Navy game in Philadelphia in 2005 and 2006, and I remember being very impressed by him - not primarily because his stature, which is very big for a Cadet (6-foot-2, 229-pounds), but by his maturity in the face of adversity and defeat (Army had lost on both occasions to Navy - and by lost, I mean BIG). To see how he reacted in the face of defeat - humbled, but strong. And though he took the loss hard, you could tell he knew it wasn't the end of the world. In other words, the perfect Army officer.
Campbell "embodies what the academy is all about, and that's what everyone in
this country should be trying to be," Millen said. "He's got skills, he's got
desire and he's going to get a great opportunity."
But Caleb is taking a different course that his fellow Cadets, for now at least. It is rare that a (former) cadet or plebe (from the Naval Academy) play in the NFL - it is even more rare for one to be selected in the draft, prven in the fact that Campbell was the first (and only) non-kicker in Military Academy history to be invited to the NFL Combine.
But Campbell going to the NFL isn't so cut and dry. The Army has regulations, and graduates of the Military Academy owe the Army five years of active service after their graduation in return for the free education they received.
So then, many of you may be asking how Campbell can even do this, go right to the NFL, since graduates of the Military Academy owe the military active service in return for their free education. Well, there is a very new Army regulation that offers its top athletes a side door to professional sports - West Point has implemented an alternative service option program that allows cadets to turn pro – and play – right away.
Cadets accepted into the program "will owe two years of active service in the Army, during which time they will be allowed to play their sport in the player-development systems of their respective organizations and be assigned to recruiting stations. If they remain in professional sports following those two years, they will be provided the option of buying out the remaining three years of their active-duty commitment in exchange for six years of reserve time." The Air Force Academy and Naval Academy do not offer such a program. Both academies require two years of active service upon graduation before presenting the option of swapping the final three years of active time for six years in the reserves.
So, if Campbell can get into the program, it's a simple choice, right? WRONG.
It seems like an obvious choice, that he would be thrilled that he doesn't have to go overseas... but for a man who chose to attend the Military Academy in a time of war, it certainly isn't so black-and-white.
Meanwhile, his former teammates and classmates all face the prospect of going toCampbell CHOSE to attend Army, over many other schools, he knew that he would likely be going to war after he graduated. He didn't go to Army just to play football - he went to be a Soldier who played football on the side. Well, God gave Caleb athletic talent, and it is beyond that of almost anyone else who has ever donned a Army football jersey, and that in-and-of itself is a burden on Campbell's shoulders.
war in Iraq, where more than 4,000 servicemen and women have been killed in the
war that's been going on for more than five years with no end in sight. Campbell
wouldn't hesitate to join them. "I didn't come to the academy to play football,"
he said. "I came to the academy to become an officer." He initially had
misgivings about passing up on the chance to lead a platoon."
There are those who don't think he should get out of his active service, and there are those who don't think his recruiting mission equals that of what the other Cadets will have to do. While I agree that it isn't equal, I think the mission - recruiting - is just as important. In being a public figure, Campbell will help the Army in a very important, though different, way that he would have leading a platoon.
E:60 on ESPN did a package on Campbell before the draft... it's a good story, but I personally don't like the spin they took. it's almost like they're saying that is Campbell isn't drafted, he's heading to his death sentence in Iraq. Yes, he would likely, as a young lieutenant right out of West Point he would be heading overseas to Operation Iraqi Freedom or the Global War On Terror, but that is far from definite.
With the new Army regulations, Campbell, if he makes the Lions squad, will not be (literally) fighting for his country, but he WILL be actively serving the Army, through recruiting - and what young man thinking about going into the Army wouldn't listen to a professional football player, who also happens to be a Soldier?
It's not the typical Cadet route, but then again, Caleb Campbell isn't the typical Cadet.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Let me start from the beginning...
Thanks to a couple of friends, I feel in love with the Bruins when I was 14 (for those of you who don't know, that was in 1997). I grew up in a non-hockey house in Massachusetts, mainly because my dad grew up in Florida, then went to high school in New Jersey. But I met Lauren and Alexa, and suddenly I was watching games, learning player's names, reading the Boston Globe every morning for Bruins stories, and basically becoming a hockey-knowledge sponge.
When I fall for something, I fall hard. I would bring my Walkman with me whenever I left home if there was a game on so I wouldn't miss a minute of the action; when I was at home and the games weren't on TV (this was, sadly, before my parents had NESN, which broadcasts the Bruins games - they righted this travesty quite soon), I would listen in the dark in my bedroom on AM radio; I had posters of Sergei Samsonov and Joe Thornton, I loved Byron Dafoe, PJ Axelsson, and even "the great" Hal Gill. To put it bluntly - I was obsessed.
But over the years, as my wide-eyed optimism and 100% faith in the team began to pale, I began to see a trend - the Bruins not signing free agents unless they came at a bargain; letting go of talented free agents at their peak. It took awhile for me to see the truth, because I didn't want to believe what was staring me in the face. But in 2004, after the Bruins, and the #1 seed, lost to the Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the playoffs , I finally accepted it; I realized what many other already knew but I was too naive to see - the organization cared more about making money than winning the Cup.
The straw that broke the camel's back for me as a Bruins fan was the unthinkable trade of Joe Thornton. The Bruins traded away their captain, their best player, and the face of their franchise, to San Jose (don't even get me started on HOCKEY teams playing in California, Florida, or anywhere else in the South). Then, to make matters 9832481 times worse, at the end of the SAME SEASON he won the MVP Award. WHAT?! Has any (other) team EVER traded away a player who went on to win the MVP in the same season (I'll help you out- the answer isn't yes). It was a travesty - in order to keep from signing Jumbo Joe to a contract he deserved after playing with the team since he was the #1 overall pick at 18 years old, the spineless Harry Sinden traded him so he wouldn't have to pony up the dough, and could get something (even though it was maybe 20 cents on the dollar) in return.
It was like a slap in the face. I'd fallen in love, and after almost 10 years of hard-core dedication, it was like I'd been cheated on and thrown to the curb. How can you care about someone who doesn't care about you back? How can you invest time, money, and you heart into something that won't give you anything in return. Sure, the regular season may show you some good times, but, inevitably in the playoffs, the Bruins will lose in the first round (if they even make it), and the small amount of casual fans who jumped on the Bruins bandwagon as they post-season approached will be back on the sidelines until the following April.
This year was much of the same... the Bruins skated into the playoffs to play their former arch-nemesis, the Montreal Canadiens. They went down 3 games to 1, just as I expected. But then, somehow, they came roaring back to tie the series at 3-3 and head back up to the Great White North to play game 7. Suddenly there was some buzz about the B's, could they really pull this off? Momentum was surely on their side!
But, of course, the Canadiens won the game, and in a 5-0 shutout no less, to shove the nails into the coffin that is the Bruins franchise.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Whenever we get confused about athletes being heroes, people like Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Monsoor remind us what a true hero is. http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/04/08/seal.medal/index.html
DJ Gallo's AL preview... hysterical http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=gallo/080401&sportCat=mlb
Anaheim -- "Fun Fact: Third baseman Chone Figgins' first name is actually pronounced "Shawn." And his last name is actually pronounced "Weinberg" (it's a silent "Figgins")."
Seattle -- "Fun Fact: With just 130 more hits, Ichiro will have 3,000 hits between Japan and MLB at just 34 years of age. Whoop-dee-do. Between playing Little League and "RBI Baseball" on Nintendo, I had, like, four times that many hits by the time I was 13."
Toronto Blue Jays -- "The Blue Jays made some solid additions this offseason, including Scott Rolen, Marco Scutaro, Shannon Stewart and David Eckstein. This should allow them to finish in a much more solid third place than they normally do."
One quote I did NOT enjoy, the so-called "Fun Fact" attached to the NY Yankees - NOT fun.
Garnett for MVP!
"Argument? There's no argument, it's Garnett. I went to almost every home
game. He's standing on the bench screaming for his teammates when we're up 30
points. He's a maniac! A few weeks ago, I couldn't go to a Wednesday night game
so I put my tickets online and they sold in four minutes. Four minutes! Last
year, I would have been walking around my office asking if anyone wanted to go,
and I would have probably ended up eating the tickets. This year? Four minutes.
Who did more for a team in one year? We lost 18 straight games last season. We
were nothing. Didn't you watch the games? How could anyone be more valuable than
KG was this season?"
So what now? Well, let's see... baseball is a week into the season, the NBA and NHL playoffs are about to begin, and the NFL draft is only a few weeks away - No lull here!
Ahhh baseball. My beloved Red Sox are off to a mediocre start (4-4), but I am confident they will bounce back, after all, the Tigers are 0-7 after everyone and their mother picked them for a monster year. As much as I love baseball, it's hard for me to get really into it until at least summer, when the games feel like they start to matter more.
The NHL playoffs are ready to begin, and since most of my friends are hockey-fanatics, I figure I'll write a bit about it, so here goes!
First Round match-ups:
Montreal Canadiens-Boston Bruins
I'm from Boston, but I have little faith in the Bruins. I hate Jeremy Jacobs (WHO trades a league MVP in the middle of the season?), and until he is gone I will NEVER bet on the Bruins.
Go Habs, 4 games to 2.
ACTUAL: Habs in 7
Pittsburgh Penguins-Ottawa Senators
I won't bet against Sydney Crosby, and with a supporting cast of points-leader Evgeni Malkin (second in the league behind Ovechkin), Marc-Andre Fleury, Sergei Gonchar, Marian Hossa et all, I think they will cruise past the Sens. Ottawa who started off hot, but are ice-cold as of late, with shaky goaltending, lack of scoring and playing without Daniel Alfredsson and and Mike Fisher.
There is one major reason I will root against Pitt, but we really don't need to get into that.
Pens 4 games to 1
ACTUAL: Pens in a sweep
Washington Capitals-Philadelphia Flyers
If I picked anyone but the Caps, my friends would kill me. Led by likely Hart Trophy winner Alex Ovechkin, who plays with as much HART (heh heh) as anyone in the league, the Caps enter the playoffs having won 11 of their last 12 games, which always puts a team in a great mindset going into the playoffs (refer to: Colorado Rockies, circa 2007). Plus, having Mike Green's breakout season, possible ROY Nicklas Backstom's talent, and recently acquired Sergei Federov's playoff experience doesn't hurt either. Caps possible downfall? Lack of experience in net, with Huet taking the place of Olie Kolzig (Whose only injury, I was informed, is his pride).
It will be a close, ugly, physical battle, but Ovie will lift his boys to the second round in game 7.
Caps 4 games to 3.
ACTUAL: Flyers in 7, much to the dismay of my Caps season ticket-holding friends.
NJ Devils-NY Rangers
I swear this is a matchup every single year. NJ-NY, the media tries to make it out to be a battle, but no one outside of the tri-state area cares. The Devils are good, but boring as usual, and the Rangers are good, and the aura of the Rangers stands firm. Both teams depend on their goalie to stand on his head each night, and Martin Brodeur (NJ) and Henrik Lundqvist(NY) Mmmm Henrik Lundqvist mmmm, oh sorry, I got distracted... um, what was I saying? Oh yeah, they are both exceptional in net, but you can't bet against Marty in the playoffs.
The Rangers are led by Chris Drury, who you can never bet against on a big stage (GO BU!), Jaromir Jagr, who though past his prime, is playing his best hockey of the season, and Scott Gomez, though he's been slowed by injuries as of late. On the other side of the puck, NJ is led by... um... Zach Parise? Are you serious? The little squirt from the University of North Dakota is the leading scoring on the New Jersey Devils, with only 65 points? OUCH Brodeur will definitely need to step it up, seeing as how his team was shut out a franchise-high 11 times this season.
A team depending solely on a goaltender, against a team of hard-nosed grinders who also have a good goal tender, but also scoring to back it up?
Rangers 4 games to 2 (By the way, the Rangers were 7-1, with 3 OT wins and 1 OT loss, against the Devs this year. I'm just saying...)
ACTUAL: Rangers in 5
(wait, there's a Western Conference in the NHL? You're telling me there are HOCKEY teams in Texas, Arizona and California?)
Detroit Red Wings-Nashville Predators
Detroit is probably the only West team anyone outside of the West (ie 85% of hockey fans) cares about. They are also the top seed in the West, thus Nashville is the lowest. Yes, Nashville finished 3-3-2 against the Wings this season, but that wasn't the playoffs.
Nicklas Lindstrom, Dan Cleary, Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Brian Rafalski and co. were the top scoring team and the top power play unit in the leagues, will have an easy go against the the inexperienced and much less talented Preds.
Wings in 5.
ACTUAL: Wings in a suprising 6
San Jose Sharks-Calgary Flames
The Sharks have Joe Thornton, and this is their year to take it all. Evgeni Nabokov is arguably the strongest goaltender in the league, Patrick Marleau had 19 points in his final 20 games after truggling through most of the season, and Billy Guerin, an all-time fav of mine, add a certain je nes-se-qua to the Sharks.
Jerome Iginla had another stellar 50-goal season, but he doesn't have too much surrounding him, and he bears most of the Flames' scoring burden himself (Kristian Huselius, the second highest scorer on the team, has a whopping 32 points less than Iggy).
I like Thornton and company, and I know they are probably the best team in the league top-to-bottom, but if another California team is in the Stanley Cup Finals, the league will be doomed to 10 more years on Versus... I'm just being honest, and everyone knows it. For the good of the league, Joe, get the hell out of Cali and back up to Canada! PLEASE!
That said, San Jose in an easy 5
ACTUAL: Sharks in a shocking 7
Minnesota Wild-Colorado Avalanche
HEY! Two states in the Western Conference that actually SHOULD have hockey teams!
The Avs barely made the playoffs, having to go 5-0-1 in their last 6 just to qualify. Minnesota plays strong, confident, steady, if un-exciting, hockey - but in the playoffs, that tends to be what wins games.
Colorado depends on stars like goalie Jose Theodore (who has really stepped up in the final 20 or so games of the season, and is the main reason Colorado is even IN the playoffs), Paul Statsny (71 points) Joe Sakic (who is years past his prime, but is still the "emotional leader" of the team), Peter Forsberg (seriously? I thought he was still in Sweden), Adam Foote (I think I'm looking at the roster from 1999)... while Minnesota has no real stand outs, but steady scoring from Marian Gaborik, Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Brian Rolston (another all-time fav of mine) but steady play all around. But I don' t think they can withstand the
Boring series, Minnesota 4 games to 2
ACTUAL: Avs in 6, and CORRECTION! I put Minnesota as my pick, which was not what I meant. I knew the Avs would win -- oops!
Anaheim (No more Mighty) Ducks-Dallas Stars
Conversation with my friend M, a HUGE hockey fan:
J: Wait! They play hockey in California?
M: Yeah, damn good hockey too
J: But... If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?
That is how I think of the Western Conference... these are supposedly the superior teams, but NO ONE CARES, and because of that, NO ONE watches the Stanley Cup Finals besides the fans of the teams playing, and a few die-hard hockey fans. Wait, the Ducks won the title last year? Really?! NO ONE CARES
That said, Dallas is on a roll entering the playoffs, and Anaheim is a dismal 4-8-2.
DALLAS in 7, 4 games to 3.
ACTUAL: Stars in 6
Monday, March 24, 2008
Prediction: (1) UNC vs. (4) Washington State
Actual: (1) UNC vs. (4) Washington State
... right on. I took UNC in this round, and after seeing them play in the first 2 rounds I am so not changing that pick. Look for a tough game, but for Carolina to pull it out by 9 in the late second half.
Prediction: (2) Tennessee vs. (11) St. Joe's
Actual: (2) Tennessee vs. (3) Louisville
...I should have seen this one coming, but I didn't want to pick 1-2-3-4. Regardless, I had Tennessee advancing to the Elite Eight, and I still think they can pull it off. Louisville is looking very good, but here's hoping the Vols put up some big numbers, after barely squeaking past Butler. UT by 4.
Prediction: (1) Kansas vs. (5) Clemson
Actual: (1) Kansas vs. (12) Villanova
Nova is the biggest shock of the Sweet 16, I think. I was SURE Clemson would be here, but I was also sure Kansas would beat them to advance to the Elite Eight. Now I'm VERY sure Kansas will advance to the Elite Eight, and hopefully the championship game, as I predicted. Kansas by 12.
Prediction: (2) Georgetown vs. (3) Wisconsin
Actual: (3) Wisconsin vs. (10) Davidson
Davidson has played strong ball in the first two rounds, and so far the tournament MVP has unquestionably been Stephen Curry, who had 30 points in the SECOND HALF in Davidson's win over Georgetown (40 overall). Curry has been impressive, but Wisconsin looks very, very strong. I had Georgetown advancing to the Elite Eight... so I'm hoping it's Davidson, for the feel-good story, but expecting them to fall down to earth, and taking the Badgers by 9.
Prediction: (1) Memphis vs. (4) Pittsburgh
Actual: (1) Memphis vs. (5) Michigan State
After the way they've played the last month or so, it was a huge shock to see Pitt go down over the weekend. I thought Memphis would go down this round, but to Pitt. The Tigers' freethrow shooting is horrendous, and if it doesn't improve, then the Spartans will surely advance to the Elite Eight. But Im going to try to have a little more faith in the #1 seed, and take them in a nail-biter by 3 points.
Prediction: (2) Texas vs. (3) Stanford
Actual: (2) Texas vs. (3) Stanford
woot woot! I knew these teams were both very strong, but I think the Longhorns are a little stronger. I look for DJ Augustin to lead Texas to the Elite Eight with a 9-point win.
Prediction: (1) UCLA vs. (4) UConn
Actual: (1) UCLA vs. (12) Western Kentucky
Connecticut losing in the first round cause groans from bracketeers around the country. Western Kentucky lucked out in facing Drake in the second round, but their luck stops here. UCLA hasn't looked as strong as I'd hoped (since they are my pick to win it all) or expected, but I think they will step it up against WKU, show everyone why they are the #1 seed, and easily win the game by 12.
Prediction: (3) Xavier vs. (10) Arizona
Actual: (3) Xavier vs. (7) West Virginia
Sooo off on Arizona, and kicking myself because I was THIS CLOSE to taking West Virginia to the Sweet 16, but was swayed by so-called "Bracketologists" grrrrrrr Either way I lose, but Xavier is one of the most consistent and balanced teams in the tournament, and West Virginia, while they played well their last two games, have been inconsitent all season. I'm going to take Xavier by 5, but wouldn't be shocked either way.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
So I figured I'd share my picks, and my reasons of them. I'll start with the first round today. ACTUAL OUTCOME IN ORANGE UNDER ORIGINAL PREDICTION
Let's start with the East.
Carolina is clearly the class of the field, but Tennessee could give them a run for their money.
(1)UNC over (16) Mt. St. Mary's -- I really don't think I even need to explain this one. Plus, a 16 seed has NEVER beat a 1 seed. UNC by 20
APPARENTLY I WASN'T GIVING NORTH CAROLINA ENOUGH CREDIT -- 39 POINT WIN
(9) Arkansas over (8) Indiana -- I'm a sucker for 8 over 9, I can't really explain it. Plus Arkansas plays in a tougher division, IMO. It will be a close one, but I'm taking the Razorbacks by 7
I WENT 2-FOR-4 ON MY 9 OVER 8 SELECTIONS! INDIANA TOOK A TAILSPIN AFTER THE LOSS OF COACH SAMPSON. EASY WIN BY THE PIGS - 86-72.
(5) Notre Dame over (12) George Mason -- two years ago GM stunned the world and made the Final Four. George Mason will NOT be this year's George Mason... ha. Notre Dame played a tough Big East schedule, and probably would have gone undefeated in Mason's CAA. Irish by 10.
RIGHT ON THE OUTCOME - ND BY 18
(4) Wash State over (13) Winthrop -- Washington State played in arguably the strongest conference this year, and Winthrop never makes much noise. Wash State by 6.
RIGHT ON THE WINNER, WAY OFF ON THE SCORE - WSU BY 31
(11) St Joe's over (6) Oklahoma -- Oklahoma isn't coming into the tourney on a good note, and though this looks like an upset pick, many Vegas boards have St Joe's as the favorite. They'll take it to the Sooners and win by 11.
OFF ON THIS ONE... I THINK THE SOONERS HAD THE OLD "NO ONE THINKS WE CAN WIN!" CHIP ON THEIR SHOULDER, AND TOOK THE GAME 72-64
(3) Louisville over (14) Boise State -- Rick Pitino coaches a good college team, and they will walkover the Boise State Broncos in the first round. Boise State put together a good little season at 25-8, but they didn't face the same game-in-game-out pressure of a Big East schedule like Louisville. Cards by 14
RIGHT ON. L'VILLE WON BY 18
(10) South Alabama over (7) Butler -- for one reason, and one reason only - the game is in Birmingham. Butler is a decent team, worthy of a 7 seed, but they couldn't have gotten a worse 10 to play than the scrappy South Alabama squad playing in their own state. It will be close, but the crowd with make the difference in this one, and S. Bama will take it by 4.
APPARENTLY THE CROWD WASN'T ON S. BAMA'S SIDE. BUTLER ROLLED TO A 20 POINT WIN.
(2) Tennessee over (15) American -- Tennessee is a strong squad, American has never been in the Big Dance. Looks like a massacre to me, UT by 20.
I WASN'T OFF BY MUCH ... TENNESSE WINS BY 15, 72-57
Again, there are two teams that are the class of the field, Kansas and Georgetown, but they won't have an easy road.
(1) Kansas over (16) Portland State -- just looking at this makes me laugh. Poor Portland State. Jayhawks by 21
COULDN'T HAVE BEEN MUCH CLOSER -- KU WINS BY 24
(9) Kent State over (8) UNLV -- I told you I'm a sucker for 9 over 8. UNLV won their tourney - again- at home - again, but Kent State is a strong team and will win for the first NCAA tourney game in 6 years. Too bad they face Kansas in the second round.
OUCH, WRONG! UNLV HANDED IT TO KENT STATE, 71-58
(5) Clemson over (12) Villanova -- Clemson is on a roll, Villanova is young and inexperienced. Tigers by 9.
WRONG WRONG WRONG. NOVA HAS BEEN THE SUPRISE OF THE TOURNAMENT SO FA, IMO. THEY DEFEATED THE RED-HOT TIGERS BY 14
(4) Vanderbilt over Siena (13) -- Siena is quick and many think that Vanderbilt is overrated... but I can't forget the Commodore's win over Tennessee, who is not only an in-state rival, but was also, at the time, the #1 team in the land. Siena could keep it close, but Vandy's schedule will help them and they'll pull away at the end to win by 6.
OUCH! I AT LEAST AM COMFORTED BY THE FACT THAT NOOO ONEE PICKED SIENA OVER VANDY. COMMODORE'S CHOKE AGAIN, AND SIENA SAILS TO A 11 POINT VICTORY.
(11) Kansas State over (6) USC -- My potential bracket buster. Battle of the frosh, with Trojan OJ Mayo taking on rookie of the year Michael Beasley. I think Beasley has the Kevin Durant-esque willpower to take it to a good team in a big game, and I think he leads his team into the second round. K State by 6, with Beasley putting up over 30.
MY FAVORITE PICK OF THE FIRST ROUND - A BIT OFF ON THE SCORING, KSU WON BY 13, WITH BEASLEY SCORING 23
(3) Wisconsin over (14) Cal-State Fullerton -- Won't even be a game. Badgers by 17.
RIGHT ON - WISCONSIN WON BY 15
(10) Davidson over (7) Gonzaga -- the Zags won't get me this year. A "risky" pick, and probably an unpopular one, but I CAN NOT go for Gonzaga again until they win a big game. Davidson by 4.
I WAS SO RIGHT ABOUT THIS ONE IT KILLS ME... DAVIDSON PULLS THE "UPSET" YOURS TRULY CALLED WITH A 6-POINT WIN, 82-76.
(2) Georgetown over (15) UMBC -- As a Boston University grad, I should go for the America East school... but as a BU grad, I'm also no dummy. Georgetown in a rout.
DUH. GU SAILED IN THE FIRST ROUND BY 19... DIDN'T LAST LONG THOUGH.
Memphis is #1, but they have probably with toughest bracket, with the liklihood of facing red-hot Pitt in the Sweet 16, and, if they somehow get beyond that, Texas and DJ Augustin in the Elite Eight.
(1) Memphis over (16) Texas- Arlington -- Any D1 school with a city name after the state doesn't stand a chance, with the exception on UCLA. Look it up. Memphis by 16
SPOT-ON. MEMPHIS BY 14
(9) Oregon over (8) Mississippi State -- I again went with 9 over 8. This was the toughest, but I think Oregon was underrated in a tough Pac-10. It will be close, but I give it to the Ducks by 5.
I WAS DRAWN IN BY 9 OVER 8, AND THIS ONE WAS OFF. MISS STATE WON 76-69
(5) Michigan State over (12) Temple -- Temple has two good players - and that's it. MSU is a good team, and will exploit the Owl's weaknesses, lowpost, and win by 9.
RIGHT ON AGAIN -- MICHIGAN STATE WON BY 11
(4) Pittsbugh over (13) Oral Roberts --A team with a person's name doesn't stand a chance in the NCAA tournament. Pitt shocked the NCAA world by defeating Georgetown for the Big East title, and are probably the hottest team in college bball. Pitt by 15
RIGHT -- PITT WON 82-63
(6) Marquette over (11) Kentucky -- Kentucky shouldn't have even made the tournament. An experienced Marquette squad will take it by 11.
ANOTHER FAVORITE PICK... A THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE WERE BLINDED BY THE MYSTIQUE THAT IS KENTUCKY, BUT AS I SAID THEY SUCK THIS YEAR AND LOST BY 8.
(3) Stanford over (14) Cornell -- Battle of the smarty-pants will be taken by the "a little less" smarty-pants, ie the school that can give scholarships. Stanford by 13.
RIGHT ON THE WINNER, A BIT OFF ON THE SCORE - STANFORD TOOK IT BY 24
(10) St. Mary's over (7) Miami -- The Hurricane's are one giant question mark, while St. Mary's is battle-tested. They advance to the second round for a tough rematch against Texas, where they will lose - again.
HOW VERY WRONG I WAS... THERE WILL BE NO TEXAS-ST MARY'S REMATCH, AS MIAMI TOOK IT TO THEM WITH A SOUND 78-64 WIN. CONGRATS MIAMI, NOW YOU GET TO TAKE ON THE LONGHORNS.
(2) Texas over (15) Austin Peay -- I wouldn't even know where Austin Peay was if I hadn't met a friend at Fort Belvoir who was stationed at Fort Campbell and went to Austin Peay (it's in Clarksville, Tennessee). That said, I will reiterate - a team with a person's name doesn't stand a chance in the NCAA tournament. Plus, Texas is nasty. Horns by 15.
TEXAS BY 20
UCLA is my pick to take it all.
(1) UCLA over (16) Mississippi Valley State -- unless it's a major state school (ie Penn State, Ohio State), they don't stand a chance in a D1 tourney. Kevin Love and co. will glide into the second round with a 24-point rout.
COME ON, OF COURSE I GOT THIS ONE - BUT EVEN 24 POINTS WASN'T GIVING UCLA ENOUGH CREDIT (OR GIVING TOO MUCH TO MISSISSIPPI VALLEY ) - MY PICK TO TAKE IT ALL WON BY 41
(9) Texas A&M over (8) BYU -- I picked every 9 over 8, I don't know why I do that. But I do know I have more faith (ironically) in A&M than BYU. I dunno, Mormon's just don't seem that tough to me, and you know those boys from Texas are. Aggies by 8.
I WENT 1-FOR-2 ON 9 OVER 8 ON DAY ONE, WITH THE AGGIES WINNING BY 5
(12) Western Kentucky over (5) Drake -- Why? Call it a hunch. Drake is overrated, coming from a mid-major, and the Hilltoppers will exploit their lack of experience with a 6 point victory.
GOOD PICK. GREATTT GAME. WKU IN A 2-POINT OT WIN.
(4) UConn over (13) San Diego -- Is there even any doubt? Come on. What's up. Huskies by 12.
SHOCK OF THE FIRST ROUND, RUINING THOUSANDS OF BRACKETS. SAN DIEGO BY 1 IN THE CLOSING SECONDS.
(11) Baylor over (6) Purdue -- Call me a sucker, but I love me a feel-good story. The Bears are playing on emotion, and Purdue's best players are underclassmen. Baylor by 4.
OUCH, PRETTY OFF ON THIS ONE... I LET MY EMOTIONS GET THE MOST OF ME. PURDUE HANDILY BEAT BAYLOR 90-79
(3) Xavier over (14) Georgia -- As a resident of the peach state I'd love to pick the Bulldogs, and I have to admit their unexpected SEC tourney win was shocking, especially by winning 3 games in less than 30 hours. But the buck stops here for the Dawgs, cause Xavier is better than the SEC. Xavier by 9.
CORRECT - GEORGIA STARTED OFF STRONG, BUT COULDNT KEEP UP THE INTENSITY. XAVIER TOOK OVER IN THE SECOND HALD TO WIN BY 12
(10) Arizona over (7) West Virginia -- BEST GAME OF THE FIRST ROUND, bar none. I went back-and-forth on this game about 8 times, no joke. The teams have played evenly all year, but if Zona is at full-capacity, they are better than the Mountaineers. Look for this team to make a nice little run. 'Cats by 4.
WRONG - THIS COULD BE THE GAME THAT COSTS ME. WVU TOOK IT BY 10. I HAD ARIZONA GOING TO THE ELITE EIGHT, OUCH.
(2) Duke over (15) Belmont - I hate Duke, but even I couldn't take them to lose this one. Devils by 13.
RIGHT - BELMONT MADE IT VERY INTERESTING, WITH A 1 POINT LEAD WITH SECOND ON THE CLOCK... BUT THE DUKE EXPERIENCE WON OVER, AND THE DEVILS WON BY THE SLIMMEST OF MARGIANS - 71-70.
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Too depressed to write about sports.
Haven't turned on ESPN since Sunday night.
Haven't listened to ESPN Radio or read ESPN.com.
I have nothing to say about it.
I'll let you know when I am over the biggest upset in football history.
Monday, January 28, 2008
So if I know all of the rules of football then I'm intimidating or somehow less feminine? Here's what I have to say to that - get over it. Just because I'm a woman and can't actually play football doesn't mean I can't like and know a lot about it. I'm sure very few of the men who watch their team actually played in the NFL, and they can still appreciate the talent, so what's the difference?
I get the latter -- trying to watch a game with someone who knows nothing about football can be frustrating. Like today - I was talking to my best friend, who is of course from Boston and considers herself a Patriots fan, and I mentioned Wes Welker, to which she replied "who is that?"
I'm not kidding, I nearly had a heart attack. I can't even fathom how someone living in Boston can not know who Wes Welker is, especially someone who considers herself a Patriots fan.
Granted, I know she's not a huge sports fan or super knowledgeable about football, but how can you have watched any Patriots games this season, and have to ask who Wes Welker is? It literally blows my mind.
I know that most women aren't as into football as I am, but I still can't understand how you can watch a game and not remember who the leading receiver on the team is (and yes, I know Randy Moss had more touchdown receptions, but Welker led the team, and the NFL in total receptions).
Then I tried to think of it from her side - she probably thinks I'm a freak and can't fathom how I know, or why I care, that Wes Welker's 112 receptions this season is an NFL record for a receiver in his first year with a team.
I've long ago realized that I can't sit around with my girlfriends and talk about football, because after about three minutes their eyes glass over and I realize I've lost them - so the only people I can really discuss football with are men (if you are a woman who likes football too, don't be offended, we just haven't met).
Some guys think it's cool that I know as much as they do about football, but I'm sure there are many who think I should shut up and get back in the kitchen. I've read from a lot of sports writers, including my favorite columnist Bill Simmons, that a woman who knows to much about sports is suddenly less attractive because women are supposed to be feminine or something stupid like that.
Clearly I'm not the woman to sit on the couch during a football game whose only comments coming are how hot Tom Brady is -- not that I don't think it. Don't get me wrong, I can appreciate Tom Brady for his chisled features, but I also appreciate his rocket arm, and I'm proud of that fact - if you can't handle that, you can't handle a real woman.
edit: I was just told that I don't have the male perspective quite right - that it's more that the guy is emasculated if the girl knows more about sports, not that the girl isn't feminine enough. To that I also say -- get over it. Just cause you're a guy doesn't mean you have to know a lot about sports, and just cause you're a woman doesn't mean you shouldn't.
Monday, January 7, 2008
The pink paraphernalia thing has gotten out of control, made even more ridiculous by Jessica Simpson wearing a pink Tony Romo jersey to a Cowboys game. All of a sudden women think its not only OK, but that it's actually cute to wear pink team jerseys. Ladies, I'm here to tell you that it is NOT.
Here's why -- your team's color's aren't pink.
I have a lot of Red Sox stuff, and I have a lot of Patriots stuff, but you will never, under any circumstance, find a piece of pink sports paraphernalia anywhere in my house. And it's not because I have a problem with pink as a color - I just have a problem with pink representing your team, when their actual colors are green and gold, or orange and black, or blue and white.
Here's the other major problem with pink jerseys: they are all the same. The Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys do NOT have the same team colors, so why are Annie and Sally wearing almost identical jerseys, but cheering for opposite teams?
I don't care if you are a Cleveland Browns fan and hate the teams awful brown, orange and white colors -- team spirit should always, I repeat, ALWAYS, trump fashion.
ESPN.com posed this question in a poll: Are pink jerseys acceptable?The overwhelming answer (71%) was No. And what is the majority that reads ESPN.com? Men, or women who like sports. So, therefore, if you're trying to impress a guy who is into football, he most likely does NOT think you look cute in your pink Colts jersey -- he thinks you look stupid, as do all women who like sports.
I would like to quote an article I read about a year ago by ESPN.com's Mary Buckheit:
"I'm not one to stereotype -- OK, maybe I am -- but a pink jersey shows the world that you are not actually a fan, since you either don't know your team's colors, or worse, you just don't understand the importance of wearing them." Here, here.
So, you can be a fashionista from NY, but come gameday, I want to see you in the Jets green or the Giants blue and red (well actually, I don't ever want to see anyone in a Jets jersey, but that's a whole other story).
I posed this question to a couple of my girlfriends, including C., who is a HUGE sports fan, and also a HUGE lover of the color pink:
"Yes, I love pink... but I believe that if you are supporting a team, that you should wear said teams' colors. Especially when it comes to a jersey."
Let's move onto S.:
"That's as lame as getting your own name on a football jersey."
There you have it: Just because you are a girl doesn't mean you need an extra dose of stereotypical femininity when you sport your team.
So, ladies, if I can give you one tip, here it is: if you want people to take you seriously when it comes to watching or talking about sports, put down the pink jersey and purchase the authentic one.
Let me know what you think -- take the poll in the top right corner of the page.