Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

I’ve been thinking about this year’s big game a great deal. It’s important to do so, you know.

Anyway, here’s what’s going to happen. Before the game even starts, we’ll run out of 7 layer dip. I hate that. It’s okay, though, because I will have had my fill by then.

A very important decision we’ll have to be made before the game starts, and the outcome of that decision could have broad implications on the entire event — margaritas or beer.

Beer has been my strategy for the entire season. It’s what’s gotten me to the Super Bowl, and there is certainly wisdom in sticking to what works. On the other hand, margaritas go very well with 7-layer dip, and after all, it is the Super Bowl, so I have the whole season to recover.

My prediction is that I’ll probably make the worst of all decisions, which is to choose both. This decision is a lack of decision, and I’m sure I’ll pay for it by the 4th quarter while I’m still trying to act like I care about this game.

I predict that there will be a bowl of nuts, a bowl of chips, a bowl of dip, a bowl of snack mix, and a bowl of candy. All of these bowls will be super. There may even at some point, be a bowl with salad in it. It will not be super; it will be salad — a salad bowl, if you will. A super salad bowl if you rather.

Deep inside, everybody at the party will want to see Madona at half-time, but nobody will admit it, so the host will turn the sound down during half time, and most of us will download her performance later.

At some point during the game, a party guest will make a political joke that will make a different party guest very mad. But we’ll all laugh just to be polite. At some point during the game, somebody will say something about Tim Tebow. If nobody else does, then I will.

What am I forgetting? Ah yes, the winner. I predict the winner will be supermarkets and liquor stores. Unless you live in an area where supermarkets can sell liquor. Then the winner will be supermarkets or super liquor stores.

The loser will be Home Depot.

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Why I like Tim Tebow

The day after the Broncos lost to the Patriots and ended their winning streak, one of my Facebook friends posted the following on his status update:

“Can we shut up about Tebow now. One of the most overrated a-holes in the NFL.”

I definitely take issue with this post. It clearly shows that my friend in no way understands the Tim Tebow excitement.

First of all, Tim Tebow is not overrated. On the contrary, I have heard almost nothing but criticism for his skills as a quarterback, especially his throwing skills. He, himself, is probably his own harshest critique. What we like about him is that he’s over-achieving.

Secondly, — he’s not an a-hole. I find him to be the complete antithesis of such a character. He has carried himself with far more dignity and class than we’ve become accustomed to expect from professional athletes. So far, I’ve heard of no DUIs, wife-beatings, womanizing, dog fighting, tax evasion, or anything else that cause me to put him into an “a-hole” category.  Instead, we see exemplary sportsmanship, positive personality, humble interviews, and unprecedented determination.

Well, then there’s the Christian thing. I will concede that I’ve always had cognitive dissonance over the role God plays in professional sports. It’s kind of troublesome — while God gives one team a victory, the other gets a defeat, so is it divine intervention? Does prayer or faith really play into it? Or is it really just that one team is better than the other? Furthermore, I would venture to guess that God has much more important endeavors than the outcome of a Bronco game. But that’s just not the point when it comes to Tebow.

The Tebow point is this: He has turned his talents, successes, and celebrity over to Christ. Tebow’s success and subsequent attributions to God inspires all Christians to give God the glory in our lives. I certainly don’t know the guy personally, so I certainly can’t question his true heart. Does he give God the glory because he believes that it will help him win football games? Or does he win football games so he can inspire people to follow Christ? I don’t know. I do know that I’ll take his antics over Randy Moss’s any day.

I was disappointed by the loss to the Patriots, and I hope it doesn’t spoil the momentum, but it’s not going to make me shut up about Tebow. I will shut up about Tebow, however, if he’s unable to display the same quality of character in defeat as he does in victory.

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Sorry for the disturbing lack of posts here at CAI.  Ironically when our writers are off for the summer (Pete) they write less than they do when they are working – our lucky children.  Kidding, Pete.

For myself, I can only claim grad school and an about to be one year old for my limited postings.  So for your temporary amusement – until our next post arrives – I offer you the chance to visit another site I’m proud to be a part of and which has recently undergone some drastic changes.  Formerly Among the Thugs is now… Yanks Call It Soccer.  Enjoy.

The Thugs are all now cleaned and scrubbed.

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Like most fellow citizens of planet earth, I’m psyched out of my mind for the world cup.  I love soccer but rarely watch it, primarily because I just can’t get worked up for the MLS, which is undeniably weak compared to every other major professional league in the world.  I haven’t gotten around to arbitrarily picking an English team to root for like Mark and many other friends of mine.  I can’t really get excited for a game in which I have no rooting interest.  Put all of that together, and there is really just one opportunity every four years in which I get to watch the world’s best players with a strong rooting interest, and I’m talking about the world cup here.  I love the fact that I get to root for the U.S. and the underdog at the same time.  I love the fact that the team I root for actually represents a place (as opposed to the will and financial muscle of some team owner), and perhaps, an idea, or a set of values (OK, I’m stretching, but still).

I also love the format of the first round, with each team playing three others and the two best teams advancing.  This format allows for teams to at least play three games and demonstrate their skills against different types of opponents.  It allows a good team to have a bad game, and mitigates the possibility of a fluke goal determining a team’s fate.  And, most interestingly to me, it forces a team to keep playing its hardest even when it knows it can’t win a game, since goal totals play a role in determining which two teams advance.  In other words, if you’re down 3 – 0 with 10 minutes left, it’s still in your best interest to have your best players on the field, trying to make it 3 – 1 or at least prevent it becoming 4 – 0.  I also love that this format allows for ties in the first round.  I don’t know why, I just like the idea of a tie, especially since it’s been seemingly eradicated from every American sport imaginable (apparently you still can technically tie in the NFL, but even some veteran quarterbacks in the league don’t know that).

Another near-save for the goal keeper

However, one thing I hate about the world cup, and soccer in general, is what happens when a tie in not acceptable.  Once the first round is over, all other games must have a winner and loser.  That is unavoidable.  The means of determining the winner and loser, however, namely penalty kicks, is problematic.  Of course there is first a traditional overtime (which I believe is sudden death- am I right?) and, if the first overtime does not resolve the deadlock, a second.  But if all of this ends without a team scoring, the game goes to penalty kicks- 5 players from each team kicking penalty kicks, with the team who scores more winning the game.  If there’s still a tie, they do it again.

My biggest problem with this format is that it is so different from the rest of the game.  Taking a wide-open shot with no defender around is almost completely removed from the ethos of the sport that emphasizes team work, passing and speed.  The idea that this kind of shot influences the game at times (such as the case of an actual penalty in the penalty box) is acceptable, and of course there is the occasional break-away play in which a player does take this kind of shot (although it is always with a lot more drama leading up to the shot), but this should not play such a massive role in determining a 2+ hour hard-fought game with the world’s best players. (more…)

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Just a few things popping through my mind last couple of days.

  • Been seeing a lot of UAW workers striking on Cherry Ave. near my house.  Can’t help but see it as bad form to be striking while so many are without jobs and hungry for work.
  • The other day on my way home there was a major backlog on the 405 North.  When I finally reached the problem I discovered (as is not uncommon) that the issue was on the other side of the freeway where two firetrucks and paramedics were working on something… no problem on the northbound.  And I thought that maybe this phenomenon could be analogous of the difference between theory and practice.  In theory the northbound side should have been flowing as smooth as normal, but in practice the rubber-neckers had created a domino effect that slowed things to a stop.  Need to remember that whenever I (or an idealist from the other side) propose some fix for the woes of our society.
  • Also seen on the freeway… a truck covered in Oregon stickers, U of O, Ducks, etc. but with California plates.  If you love Oregon so much, why are you here?  I always hate it when people are proudly celebrating some other location, rather than the one they are in.  Either keep it to yourself, or move back.
  • Finally… forgot to update you on a Chelsea-related post.  We did win the Premier League title, AND then went on to win the FA Cup for the so called domestic double.  Thanks for all your best wishes, I know you were all rooting for them as well.

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As you may have remembered from last September, I am a supporter of Chelsea FC of London.  Well, the club has welcomed me into the fold by being title contenders all season long – and now with only 2 games remaining we must win on Sunday against Liverpool to have any chance of winning the title.  Man U is short on our heels, and any slip up from Chelsea will most surely give them the edge.  So be watching, or at least praying, for our beautiful Blues this Sunday.  It won’t be easy.

So I bid you a wonderful weekend, and a joyous uplifting song to carry you (and me) through Sunday.  Blue IS the color.

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The big hubbub this weekend in So Cal for sports fans was news of USC’s head coach, Pete Carroll, retiring from the Trojans and returning to the NFL to coach for the Seattle Seahawks.  From 2000-2009 Carroll has overseen an (until this season) utterly dominant SC football team that has won two national championships and seven Pac-10 titles.  But the oft-mentioned, and sweepingly arbitrary side note, that intrigues me most has to do with what is known as the Rooney Rule in the NFL.  The Rule requires that NFL teams must (with very few exceptions) interview a minority candidate for any head coaching vacancy before it can hire anyone.  Articles discussing Carroll’s hire often include the tidbit:

Carroll was expected to be introduced by the Seahawks as early as Monday, after the team interviewed Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier on Saturday morning.  According to the sources, Frazier met with the Seahawks in Minneapolis, satisfying the Rooney Rule…

Even though Frazier was being interviewed, I’m sure that he knew he was not seriously being considered and was only participating in a public sideshow.  Which brings me to my point in this post.  What is the point of the Rooney Rule?  It seems to me that if a team wants to hire a coach, who happens to be a minority, then they will.  And if they don’t want to, then they will find some candidate that is willing to sit down for a moment solely so the team can satisfy a rule.  What’s the benefit to the minority coach?  Head Coach interviewing experience?  A free flight and dinner in whatever city the team is located in?

Hi, I'm here for the head coaching position.

Hi, I'm here to satisfy the Rooney Rule.

Or is the idea that some team that is planning on hiring a white coach, after being forced to meet with a minority, will be blown away by their resume and accomplishments that they had heretofore ignored and suddenly hire them instead of the white coach?  Isn’t that what is being assumed by creating a rule such as this?  This is simply another version of affirmative action, and just like other forms is designed to pander rather then promote.  A strict, though some may say naive, understanding of business states that the best candidates will be hired – gender, race, orientation, etc. be damned.  An NFL team is in the business of winning games in order to make money.  If teams refuse to hire more capable minority coaches then they will lose games to teams that do, and will lose money, sponsors, and players until they change philosophy or are forced to sell the team.

As I admitted, this is not a popular view of business, and one that many may believe in more in theory than practice.  And I am one of those people.  I have seen inferior employees hired over better ones many times, with the results not always being disaster for the company.  But also usually with the better qualified candidate ending up with a good job somewhere else.  Rarely, if ever, is there only one option for work… and this applies to minority coaches as well.  But the theory of business functions the same as the theory of affirmative action… neither are perfect solutions.  However, one dispenses with silly sideshows that are meant for populist puppetry, while the other allows for the marketplace to decide the results.  Just ask the Indianapolis Colts.

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You decide… but I can’t stop watching this for some reason, and now the song is stuck in my head.  “Not a game, not a game, not a game… we’re talking ’bout practice.”

Thanks Shawn.

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Hey there sports fans.  As you may know I am a football fan (both of the em!).  And in American football my team is the Houston Texans, currently 3-3 and in 3rd place in the AFC South.  If not for near misses at Arizona and against the Jags we could be sitting pretty just behind Peyton and Indy.  Our passing game has really started to fire since RB Steve Slaton is struggling.  QB Matt Schaub has passed for a league leading 14 touchdowns, 4 of which have gone to #80, Andre Johnson.  The guy is a stud and will be an elite receiver the rest of his career… and it’s in his honor that I post this video so you can see what a stud he is.  Enjoy.

Here’s hoping for a great rest of the season.

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I’ve hinted at this in an earlier post, but I’ve never made the explicit jump into economics.  Whether a particular American likes it or not, America is primarily possesses a maket-based economy.  The consumer plays a vital role in the market-based economy.  For example, in such a way as to keep a business “ethical,” the consumer has the option of not purchasing via boycott.  This will either put the “unethical” party out of business or pressure them to change their practice.  I mention these extremely basic principles to eventually point to one of my favorite topics: Major League Baseball.

Now, where I would criticize capitalism is that it is very common that once the public is aware of “unethical” behavior, say, on a corporate level, the damage has been done.  If Walmart moves into town and is doing something unethical, it is very likely that the public will not be informed of this until the small businesses have already been obliterated – if the public finds out at all.  And even if the public found out before the “damage was done,” so to speak, they may not desire to fork over the extra cash to pay for something domestic and/or from a small business when cheap imported goods are so readily available.  The same will go for the agricultural industry.  Thanks to shoving innumerable cows into inhumane stalls that are far too small for their bodies and injecting cows with hormones while feeding them God-knows-what, the impoverished family is much closer to affording beef.  There are more humane/ethical options with regard to purchasing/eating beef (though some might thing there are no grounds for consuming meat at all), but those aren’t exactly options when the steroid beef is but a small fraction of the price.  I believe there is a solution to this problem, but I’m not going to get into that now.  Instead, I will let my mention of “steroid” two sentences ago segue into my main point regarding baseball.

After the 2000 season, Alex Rodriguez, a free agent, signed to the Texas Rangers for a record $252 million 10 year contract.  Eventually he was traded to the New York Yankees and was eventually signed to the Yanks for $275 million (2008-2018).  I did the math just now, and accounting for leap years (2008, 2012, 2016) A-Rod makes $.79 a second.  Every second, awake or asleep, playing baseball or cheating on his wife (now ex-wife), etc., the man makes $.79.  “That’s despicable!” some might cry out.  But this is where my love affair with capitalism actually takes place.

You see, the consumer may find out the salaries of these athletes before they even set foot on the field.  Whatever is unethical about the salaries of athletes is already quite visible to the consumer.  The consumer can choose to boycott baseball.  I may consider it the best sport in the world, but I’m not talking about food, shelter, or clothing.  I’m talking about recreation.  Though I would consider recreation essential to living, baseball itself is not.  Who’s to say they shouldn’t be making so much?  WE pay their paychecks! As I’ve said before, we can choose to turn off the television.  We can choose not to buy their products.  It’s not as if taxes are being distributed from the federal government to these players.  We, in our greed, are in fact jealous at A-Rod makes more in a day than the average American will make in a year (in under three hours he makes more than the average person will make in a year, globally).  In this way capitalism shows, at least in baseball, that the sickness is not in the system itself, but the people in the system – even and maybe even especially the consumer – are responsible for this sickness.

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