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Posts Tagged ‘football’

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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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 love sports.  But in my life I have typically never had teams that I followed specifically and of whom I would call myself a fan.  I have loved football (American) for as long as I can remember and just last year decided to follow the Houston Texans after a lifetime of having no team allegiance.  My reasoning for the Texans was simple… I had followed many of their players in my fantasy football league (I’m a nerd) and got used to wishing they would win, and finally decided to make it official.

After that however, I didn’t have anyone else.  Baseball – don’t watch it (if I wanted a steroidal freak-show I would go back and watch Pumping Iron).  Hockey – huh?  Basketball – love it, but again, don’t have a team I follow.  Golf – are you even allowed to root for anyone besides Tiger? (I think Nike would hunt you down and kill you).  How about soccer, or “football” as the rest of the world properly calls it?  Well, I played in AYSO when I was a youth but that was it, and besides who watches soccer in America?  You need to have special cable connections that unscramble signals from a pirated satellite in space to see a match.  And even then, Americans like sports with high scores, which is why your average baseball fan wants to see a ton of homers, not a pitchers duel.  It is near impossible to get excited about a 0-0 draw.  But I’ve found that a bunch of my hooligan friends do get excited over just such a world, and so they have dragged me kicking and screaming into the vortex of a sporting world full of passionate fans, large amounts of Russian money, gorgeous wives and girlfriends of players (WAGS), and of course drunken and violent thugs.

ameobi

Shhhh, I'm about to make a sale!

My introduction to this world was appropriately not by watching an actual football match, but in viewing a movie about violent football fans called Green Street Hooligans with my friend Jacob – who is a Newcastle United FC fan and therefore the butt of all jokes because his team was relegated from the Premiership to the Championship league, and also because his team sports jerseys reminiscent of Footlocker salesman.  In addition to the fighting I learned that there are other things fans can do such as drink lots of beer, curse, smoke, and wake up at the crack of dawn to watch a match all the while ruthlessly making fun of each other… things that I do enjoy immensely.  So I decided to join in the fun and choose a team, and thanks to the world of blogging I happened to get some advice from a Brit who rooted for Chelsea FC.

I have no idea who these players are

I have no idea who these players are

Immediately upon arbitrarily choosing Chelsea as my team I learned that I was now the most hated member of this band of friends – Chelsea being the New York Yankees of football apparently.  And while I don’t relish being hated, I do love the attention it draws, and also conveniently the fact that the team is awesome – just like the Yankees!!  So needing to fit in I have bought a jersey, since all these chaps wear their teams “kit” whenever football is being talked about, or being viewed, or being thought about, or when just going to the store for more diapers.  And so now I root for Chelsea FC, a team with a splendid and storied history, and try to remember who they are playing each week, and learn the names of at least three players (Lampard, Cole, Drogba… I think?), and know our record (6-0 beeyatches!).  It has been nothing short of fun in my brief stint as a football fan; I have an outstanding team to root for, a stellar coach (£9 million worth of stellarness), cool looking jersey’s, possession of the Community Shield, and the sweet, sweet knowledge that my team plays in the world’s best football league, The Premier League.  Only dopes follow teams in The Championship.

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I apologize for the lack of posts lately.  Grad school, work, and prepping for the arrival of baby #1 have conspired against my CAI writing time.  But rest assured that I am still here to pass along meaningful, affecting, and newsworthy items.

Such as turning your attention to a little American blog about English football (soccer to us Yanks) called Among the Thugs.  The boys writing at Among the Thugs are insanely passionate about Premier League soccer and if you find yourself interested then you need not look any farther for a site to get news, thoughts, and gossip about your favorite clubs.  So check it out.  The title of the blog is taken from a book of the same name, with a less than flattering depiction of English football hooligans… but not to worry, the boys at the blog are much nicer.

They even make their own beer for the season.  That’s commitment!  Go Chelsea!

Is this supposed to look appealing?

Is this supposed to look appealing?

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