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Posts Tagged ‘England’

Look Soccer, We Have to Talk….

June 23, 2010 14 comments

Look soccer, I tried.  I tried really hard to like you, and to even fall for you.  On your grandest stage of all, the World Cup, I’ve kept up to date on highlights, tried to get a feel for who’s good and who’s not, forced myself to watch “The Footy Show”, and in the end, I hate to break it to you but….I’m just not that into you. 

I’ll stand by my earlier claims that I respect the abilities of the top players in the game, and thoroughly enjoy playing the game; but as far as sitting at home at watching on TV, I’m going to have to pass. 

I feel like this point has been beaten to death over the years, but you guys gotta score more goals.  Scoring = excitement in all sports, 100% of the time.  I can’t pretend to be riveted to the action of another “nil-nil” scoreless draw.  As I’ve previously iterated, Your game features THE BIGGEST NET IN SPORTS, so someone fill that net already, especially in a tournament that allows you to pick up extra points in the standings for your team’s “Goals For”, in addition to wins, losses, and draws.  Oh yeah, by the way, points for a tie?  Isn’t this the playoffs?  There are no ties allowed in the playoffs of any sport, I thought this was unilaterally understood.  Someone win the freaking game already, you only get to compete every 4 years in this tournament, so go make your mark, don’t just be happy to be there.

And can someone please tell us, definitively, how much time is actually left in the game? 90 minutes is clearly not 90 minutes.  I think the whole injury time thing is a good idea; recouping all the time the divers have wasted, plus the legitimate stoppages.  But why does the referee have to keep this seemingly arbitrary number of game extension time so secret?  Why can’t it be displayed on the clock with the rest of the time; or even better, why can’t you just stop the clock all together for said stoppages??

It’s possible that because Canada sucks at soccer didn’t qualify for the tournament nor will they ever, I am less enthused about the whole event.  On a side note though, I heard you’ve been screwing the American team, so you’ve got that going for you; keep it up, you’ll win Canadians over yet.  After spending a year in South Korea, I’ve found myself rooting for them a bit; also for the home South Africans because of friends we have there, and for the old standby’s of Brazil, Italy, and England.  Wasn’t France supposed to be good too?  But after a while, you realize there’s like a bazillion teams (well, 32) competing, and that just seems like such an obtuse number of squads competing at once.  Can’t you just narrow down the field a bit more before calling the tournament?  I mean, you’ve had 4 years to whittle down the numbers, it’s not like you were short on time or anything…   

I feel like comparing your game to China; in that we’ve been hearing for years now that China is going to take over the world in all aspects, and we’d all better learn to speak Chinese or we’ll all be screwed and have no future.  I’ve been hearing how soccer is the most popular sport in the world (probably true, in the global sense) and how it’s eventually going to be all the rave in North America.  Well, bad news for both hopefuls – I’m getting tired of waiting, and the language I’ve been speaking and the sports I’ve been playing all my life seem just fine they way they are (If China wins the World Cup, I’ll sign up for Mandarin classes).

I’ll give you one thing though, I DO like those vuvuzelas.  Seriously, I think they’re great.  I’m not sure if they’re an African thing or not, but if they are, no one should be saying a thing about banning them.  If that’s a cultural thing, let it be.  They sing during games in Europe, let them blow horns in Africa; why is this worth so many people getting angry about, and people having to invent software to edit them out of broadcasts?  I think it adds a unique flavour to the tournament.

I resolve to continue to be a casual soccer fan.  I’ll probably watch the final, and the odd highlight package, but don’t expect much more from me.  Unless they give all the players sticks.  And they let the players bodycheck.  And they pour water on the field and freeze it.  When those things happen, let me know, and we’ll talk.  Until then…..

Glass-Housed Stone-Slingers: Return Fire for Foreign Olympic Criticism.

February 22, 2010 9 comments

So many Olympic thoughts running through my brain.  After watching it on TV EVERYday  so far, and even going to Vancouver to see a few events, I gotta say I’m really enjoying the Olympics overall.  I don’t think I’d be

from the CURLING preliminary match I went to.

 wrong to say that most Canadians are as well.  Have you ever seen spontaneous  jubilation in streets, or random outbursts of “O Canada” at curling matches before?  Unreal.  Truly something special; whether you’re viewing from afar, or are there to experience it in person.

Most people internationally would likely say the same thing as well.  Unfortunately, there are a few members of the American and British press who want to rain on everyone’s parade by labelling Vancouver 2010 as the “worst games ever”. 

Sure, the weather hasn’t been ideal; but events have continued, and medals have been awarded.  Sorry we forgot to import the weather machine that does our meteorological bidding.  Our courses are too hard?  The competitors are the best in the world at their sports, right?  Should we make

best Canadian celly so far.

them easier for everyone?  Sorry for training on our own tracks a lot; didn’t know that was such a bad thing.  The world doesn’t like our “Own The Podium” program, where we give more money and training opportunities than we historically have to our Olympic athletes in hopes of them winning a lot of medals?  Oh, sorry, should we just go back to being a mediocre sporting nation for everyone else to roll over like they used to?  What we gave our competitors is still nowhere near that of other nations, and hey, it’s not even working out THAT well for us so far, so chill.  We’re doing alright though, and no one here is going to be less proud of our athletes for any reason.   

A malfunction in the Opening Ceremonies?  Um… whoops.  We swear they were working in practice.  Some people thought the flaming icicles looked like male genitalia, or drug paraphernalia?  Well, think what you want, but be careful what indigenous people you vocalize those opinions around.  No one can get close to the flame?  Hey, they’re working on it.  I got a few good pics; I’m not complaining.  The US beating Canada in men’s hockey?  Wait, that’s Canada’s complaint.  Blame it on the goalies when things go squirrely, right?   

And the death of Georgian luger, Nodar Kumaritashvili; well that was simply a tragedy, nothing else.  That track has been ridden countless times safely, and it’s a very unfortunate and sobering example of just how dangerous that sport is.

So England and America, oh yee dwelling in glass houses and flats; how did your prior Olympic Games hostings turn out? 

London’s Olympic Games in 1908 saw England piss off the Finnish, Swedish, and USA by not displaying their flags at the Opening Ceremonies.  Finland decided not to march, and Sweden left all together.  The Americans were then asked to “dip” their flag to the Royals, which they outright refused.  Solid international relations, England.    

The USA’s Games hosting tenures haven’t been “squeaky clean” either.

Atlanta’s 1996’s Summer Games were considered over-commercialized, had a highly criticized Olympic Village and Opening Ceremonies by spectators and athletes alike, and… what else, what else…. OH YEAH, there was a BOMBING that killed 2 people and injured 111 others.   

Salt Lake City’s Winter Games of 2002 were marred by a bribery scandal (all-expense-paid ski trips, scholarships, Super Bowl trips, plastic surgery, deals on real estate, jobs for family members, and cash for IOC delegates from the Utah bid committee)  to bring the Olympics to Utah which saw several IOC members expelled, and others resign.  Allegations of foul play in figure skating judging saw scores and results reviewed and medals re-awarded.  Suspect refereeing in speed skating DQ’ed a Korean, and angered that entire country to the point that the Olympic website crashed from the overload of threatening emails sent to them over the result.  Russians threatened to go home after they felt they were unfairly accused of doping in cross-country skiing.   

Los Angeles’ Games of 1984 were boycotted by 16 countries.  In LA’s 1932 Games, President Hoover became the first head of state in Olympic history not to even show up at the event.  The 1904 Games in St. Louis became a sideshow of The World’s Fair, and lasted four and a half months. 

Now, all that to say to the critics look, we know things have been going wrong.  We’re working on it.  No one said Vancouver 2010 was going to be perfect.  And let’s be honest, everyone throwing stones at us right now has got plenty of skeletons in their own closets from when they tried to host the Olympic Games previously.  Can we at least agree that it’s a rather dubious task?   And London, you get them again in 2012, so you better be expecting an earful the second after the first thing goes wrong.  I’ll take a few unseasonably warm days in Whistler over any of those other issues any day.  There’s just so much good to be taken from these Games, maybe we can all just quit pointing fingers at our follies and just enjoy our athletes rising above the childish media behavior?      

I think US Men’s Hockey Team GM, Brian Burke, said it best with this earlier quote in response to the criticisms of Vancouver 2010:

I think that’s bullshit.  I’ve been to four Winter Olympics. This is the best one I’ve been to in terms of organization. You’re going to have glitches in an event this size. With this many people, logistical things with multiple venues, you’re going to have glitches. I don’t know why people are whining about it.  I think it’s been extraordinarily well run — again, this is my fourth one so it’s not like I’m a novice. I think they’ve done a marvellous job here. I wish people would quit bitching about it.”

Man, for a million reasons, I wish Brian Burke was Canadian.

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