Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Too short for a post

Sometimes I have ideas for a post that never really get enough momentum to become an actual post. Actually they’d be long enough for a post if I were Rick, because he believes that the essence of good writing is thrift. But I’m not so thrifty like that.

  • I have officially embraced the vuvuzelas. I know people hate them. The BBC has considered filtering out fan noise to mitigate their annoyingness. I frankly can’t imagine watching a World Cup match without them. The good news? They may be coming to the Premier League. Can’t wait.
  • As cool as the vuvuzelas are, the guys who carry full-on brass band-style trumpets into the stadium are far and away cooler (pic below--ripped off from here--not really what I'm talking about, but too funny not to include).
  • How ironic is it that Ronaldinho was included in this promotional video for Nike but not Brazil’s world cup roster?

  • In extra time, Ivory Coast were putting all kinds of pressure on Portugal’s defense. In the waning moments of the match, they were awarded a corner kick, a last chance to put a goal on the board. Time was almost up. But play was delayed so that one of Ivory Coast’s players could be treated for one of those mysterious injuries that prevents a highly-trained athlete from bearing his own weight but that’s instantly cured by the application of magic spray. Once back on his feet, they had one play before the referee was going to blow the whistle—the corner kick. So what do they do? They play it short. Whistle blows. Match over. The referee wasn’t going to give you 30 seconds to see how your short corner played out. You had one kick. Why waste it like that?
  • This weekend is the High Uintas Classic. I’m signed up for the full stage race, which means doing a TT on Sunday morning. So I’ve actually been riding a TT bike I borrowed from Daren in the vain hope that I won’t embarrass myself and finish DFL in the TT. Problem is that I can’t figure out which is more embarrassing: finishing last in the TT, or having people see me riding the bike and thinking that I’m a triathlete.
  • If you thought last year’s exclusion of Chris Horner from Astana’s Le Tour squad was a travesty, it would be a far greater injustice to exclude Janez Brajkovic from this year’s team. The Dauphine is typically a good indicator of a rider’s form for the upcoming Tour, and Brajkovic showed he is probably the only rider in the world right now whom Contador can’t ride off his wheel going up Alpe d’Huez. And Brajkovic beat Contador in the TT. Not only should he be on the Radio Shack roster, but Levi, Lance, Horner, et al should be riding for him, not the other way around.
  • Speaking of Brajkovic and Horner (who is just shy of his 39th birthday), the form these guys have found since joining Astana/Radio Shack is, as The Rev puts it, like Altoids: curiously strong.
  • I’m one of those football fans that can watch a 0-0 draw and come away thinking it was one of the more exciting matches I’ve ever seen. There’s so much more to a match than the scoring. It’s like bike racing that way—attack, counter-attack, will it stick? The buildup is where the entertainment is. Seeing it capped with an exquisite goal can be icing on the cake, but all too often the goal itself is an afterthought as the ball rolls over the line. Or the keeper makes a magnificent save that’s more impressive than the shot that forced it. But even I am fed up with this no-attacking-football-playing-for-a-draw business that has dominated the group stage.
  • For American fans of football (not to be confused with fans of American football), when the score is equal at the end of a match, it’s called a draw, not a tie. In English English, the match (not game, which implies the game as a whole rather than a specific contest between two teams) itself can be referred to as a tie, so if you’re calling the outcome a tie, it gets confusing. And this number: “0,” is rightly called “nil.” As in, “nil-nil draw,” which has sadly been all too common, per the above. (Now if only the USA could adopt the metric system once and for all we wouldn’t seem so backward to the rest of the world.)
  • If you build a tall structure, you may want to consider a lightning rod. Last year, the Angel Moroni atop a Mormon temple was damaged in a lightning strike, which is not the first time this has happened. Yesterday, Ohio’s famous “Touchdown Jesus” was struck by lightning and burned down. Apparently Zeus is fond of casting thunderbolts at his rivals, or at least at their graven images.
  • Leaving Radio Shack out of the Vuelta is the cheekiest, most satisfying move all year. You turn down the Giro? We’ll turn you down before you get a chance. We don’t care that you [claim you] were going to send an “A” team—unless you really are only going to race Le Tour and nothing else, quit acting like it’s the only race that exists.


  1. Bzzzzzz. Bzzzzz. Bzzzzz.

  2. "But even I am fed up with this no-attacking-football-playing-for-a-draw business that has dominated the group stage."

    that "has" dominated the group stage? same as it ever was. there has never been group play that was not dominated by no-attacking-football-playing-for-a-draw business.


  3. Rabid: music to my ears. How's that for Tuesday tunes?

    Dug: didn't say it was anything new. That doesn't make it less annoying.

  4. The vuvuzelas are fine for this World Cup, but I hope they don't spread. I don't mind the noise, which I can tune out, but I would prefer to hear crowd reaction, cheering, booing, groaning, chanting, singing, etc. That is football. All I hear now is buzzing. It would be a shame if that happens in the Premier League.

    As for the boring play, couldn't agree more - it stinks. I am also really surprised at the low numbers of shots on goal. Given the dancing in the air the Jubalani does, I would think we would see more shots from range. Dempsey's doesn't count.

  5. unless you are Germany playing Australia. Then it turns into a layup drill. Is Germany really that good or is Australia that bad?

  6. JZ: a couple of shots by one Thomas Rosicky in group play in 2006 seem to reinforce your suggestion that shots from range are worthwhile. Especially since this ball dances more than the last, which the goalkeepers were certain was going to be a menace, if I recall.

    Aaron: the Germans and Dutch are able to connect passes, a rare feat in International play. I think the greatest strength of the US is that American players aren't used to connecting passes anyway, so when they get to Int'l play and it's not happening, it's business as usual and they play on. Others resort to trying to control the ball themselves (Messi, Ronaldo) since passing isn't efficient. That turns out not to be such a hard thing to defend.

  7. Okay, Brazil v. North Korea was a pretty decent game - at least the second half.