Soccer–Football–Or Whatever–It Needs More Points and More Commercial Breaks (Stand In Line To Complain, Chumps)

The Brits kicked this game around the world when they had the “empire where the sun never sets”, but I’ve tried my best and still can’t see much in soccer, the sport others demand we call “football” and get pissed off when we won’t.

And now it’s World Cup time again, and millions of people in countries with GNPs that can ill afford more non-productive work days (How many have they already taken off for the innumerable saints’ days?) are spending days on end not going to work or attending school so that they can watch 22 guys chase a white ball back and forth across the field for 90 minutes in hopes of  catching someone–anyone–getting it into the goal.

Those that love it–not native-born here I assure you–have told me, “Oh, you don’t understand the techniques, the finesse.”  But I’ve tried.  And soccer goes into the same category with a marathon race and golf, that just are plain deadly to watch.  Except, at least, with a marathon and golf, you know in the end there’s going to be a winner.  But in soccer–yes, soccer, damn it–the game could end in a tie, or draw, as they like to call it.  I mean isn’t that what sports are all about?  Having a winner.  And a loser.  Or losers.  After all, if there’s no winner or loser, it isn’t really a sport; it’s just exercising.

But with this game, these guys can do their ball-chasing for the required 90 minutes and–time extra, and there could still be a tie.

Look what happened this past Saturday in the much touted game between the USA and England (Why is the country Great Britain, but Scotland, and maybe Wales, or even Northern Ireland, for all I know, could have a team in the World Cup?) .  The game ended in a 1-1 tie, but the Englanders went away with their tails between their legs boo-hooing because they hadn’t won and the Red, White, and Blue took to field proudly crowing,”Well, at least, we didn’t lose.”  To top it off, the English goalkeeper caught all kinds of hell for losing the game, while the American goalkeeper was lauded as the best player on the field.  But the game ended in a tie.  Go figure.

During that same 90 minutes, I went to run errands–shopped for groceries, picked up my laundry, and mailed off some bills.  Accomplished some things.  When I got back home, though, the score hadn’t changed much. (Come on guys.  Make more points, increase the size of the net or something.)

And the World Cup is just as predictable as the Miss Universe Pageant, which is just as boring and worthless in my books.  With that beauty competition, you know that every other year, Miss Venezuela is going to get the crown, and with the World Cup, it’s going to be either Germany or Brazil, unless Italy can squeeze one out.

Oh, well, maybe all the shirts and other paraphernalia sold will help those other countries’ GNPs, unless, of course, all that stuff is made in China.

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Wednesday Wanderings: Blue Fleece Pants, Christmas Road Trip, Swimming, and Bowl Games

Cold, clear day for a road trip on I-35

Taking out Annie in the morning has definitely changed since I moved to my house, especially during cold weather.  When I lived in my apartment, I’d wake up, get dressed in jeans, shirt, jacket or coat, and maybe even gloves and a ski cap.  Then I’d get the leash on Annie, and we’d go down the three flights, and finally, out to the sidewalk, and walk to the corner.  Now I pull on my fleece pants and a sweatshirt, and we slip down the stairs and out the back door.  I look at my plants while Annie finishes her “business” and back inside we go.  With the 8-foot fence, we’re protected from any wind or neighbor’s view, so it doesn’t matter that I’m still wearing my fuzzy fleece pants with the blue and white snowflakes.

So here I am still in my fleece pants happily thinking about the upcoming New Year’s Day and that I’m in my own cozy home after a Christmas road trip to Kansas.  We made the trips going and coming back each in a one day, but while the drive up to central Kansas never seems too long, the return always becomes drudgery, especially the last boring leg from Dallas to Houston.  I’m sure the reason the trip up is better because of the anticipation of the arrival and seeing family and the old home state.  This time, we had good weather driving through Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas both ways, but the snowy effects of the winter storm that went through the region were evident all the way from near Wichita into Denton, Texas, where the last remnants lay in the ditches and shaded areas.

Despite the cold wintry weather, we had a very pleasant Christmas.  It was the first Christmas that I had spent together with all my siblings since I was a kid out on the farm and the first time that we had all been together since my mom’s funeral last November.  It was an enjoyable time because it was one of the times when aside from the holiday itself, there was no stressful reason for us all to get together.

The red and gold rug looks great at the entry

I hit the jackpot when it came to presents this year.  Everyone was thinking about my new house, and the gift cards to Home Depot and Lowe’s will definitely be put to good use.  I also got sets of screwdrivers and other tools that I will use.  I’ve been saying, “When you have a house, you never seem to have enough screwdrivers.”  I guess everyone had been reading my mind.  I also got a nice rug that matches the colors of my living room–red and gold.  There was a bit of color planning, but part of it has just been evolution.

One of my current do-it-yourself projects

I had been looking for a coffee table, but a bench I had seemed to be just the thing.  It’s the second “project” that I’ve been working on in my garage.  (I realize now that I am going to enjoy having a garage more than just for parking the car.)   I picked up the bench from a what-not shop at leat ten years ago.  I used stain, both latex and acrylic paint, and now I am finishing it with coats of polyurethane so that it will take the hard use I’ll give it in front of my sofa.  Actually, I’m surprised at how nice it has turned out.  Maybe I’ve got a knack!

Having a coffee table is a definite necessity for a place to put the remote controls and the munchies when it’s time to watch the bowl games, and I will be watching them until the last one is over.  This thing with Texas Tech’s football coach is something else.  Well, just as I’m writing this, I checked ESPN and see that Mike Leach has been fired.  I couldn’t see how they could let him get away with that, but coaches have done this sort of thing for a long time and for many there are no repercussions because of how much power these guys (and women, in some sports) wield.  How is it that in many states the football coaches of public universities are the highest paid state employees?  Mack Brown of the University of Texas makes $5.1 million.  I don’t care whether football pays for itself or not; there is something wrong when an employee makes more than the bosses, in this case the president of the university or even the governor of Texas.

Nathan Adrian helped Team USA win Duel in the Pool

With all the preparations for the Christmas trip, I missed out on the swimming news (not even on ESPN information banner), but Team USA won big over a European team made up of top swimmers from Great Britain, Italy, and Germany at the Duel in the Pool in Manchester, England on December 18th and 19th.  One of the big winners in the event was Nathan Adrian, who became the first American to swim under 21 seconds in the 50-meter freestyle race and helped the U.S. team set a world record in the 400 free relay.

OK, I suppose now it’s time to get out of these blue fleece pants and hit the shower before the day gets away from me.

Britain’s Hope for the 2012 Olympics Outshines Mitcham at World Diving Championships in Rome

Fifteen-year-old Thomas Daley of Great Britain wins the 10-meter at the World Diving Championships

Fifteen-year-old Thomas Daley of Great Britain wins the 10-meter at the World Diving Championships

For all those enamored with the golden boy of the Beijing Olypmics, out diver, Matthew Mitcham, there may be a new name in town. 

The new guy hails from Great Britain and is just 15 years old.  He’s Thomas Daley, and today the young man defeated a couple of Chinese divers and Australian Mitcham to win the gold in the 10-meter platform at the World Diving Championships at the Stadio Del Nuoto in Rome.

According to KXMB News, “Daley received three perfect 10s and three 9.5s for his final dive Tuesday, barely rippling the water as he sliced through. His winning total was 539.85 points.  Then he watched his main rivals falter on their final attempts.  Qiu Bo of China had a poor entry and finished second with 532.20.

Mitchem, winner of the gold in Beijing, dropped to fourth after botching his dive.

China’s Zhou Luxin took bronze with 530.55, just ahead of Mitcham at 529.50. American David Boudia was sixth.”

Mitcham had this to say about Daley in an article in a Sydney Morning Herald article,  “I really do [support him]. He is a very talented and very well-mannered, polite and friendly young man. . . . I think he could take over the world if he wanted to. He is something I have never seen before. I respect him.”

Britains seem all agog over their new diving star and are hoping for a gold medal in diving in the 2012 Olympics, which will be held in London.

Mitcham fails to medal in the 10-meter dive.

Mitcham fails to medal in the 10-meter dive.

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See more links to Matthew Mitcham here.