Posts Tagged ‘soccer’

The Art of Fair Weather Fandom

December 12, 2012

imageI know what you’re thinking: Jeremy, how would you know? You are the most hardcore, dedicated, handsome Dodgers and 49ers fan this side of Matt Kemp!

First of all, thank you. I agree. And yes – believe it or not, Dodgers star center fielder is a diehard 49ers fan.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t know a thing or two about fair weather fandom. Take, for example, the fact that I “root” for the Seattle Sounders because my ex-girlfriend’s dad got me hammered drunk at the only game I’ve attended.

As far as I know, that’s the coolest soccer team in the country because of one very hazy experience I had.

Or let’s talk about the Indiana Pacers; Reggie Miller was my favorite NBA player growing up, so naturally, I rooted for the Pacers. It was weird, unique, different. And like a good little Jew, I loved three-pointers (It’s the SAME thing, for one more point! Why doesn’t everyone just shoot threes?).

We all know Reggie was the three-point master. And don’t mistake “fair weather” for “frontrunner.” Those are vastly different labels. I liked the Pacers, good or bad, because I thought they were cool.

I like the Sounders because the beer at their stadium does very interesting things to my body when taken in large quantities. Honestly, I have no idea if they are any good and I don’t care.

Being a “frontrunner” means you live near the Bay Area and didn’t know what a baseball looked like until 2010 when the local San Francisco Giants won their first World Series title. If you now root for them, wear their gear, and try to tell me why they are the best team around – you are a frontrunner. Once they regress, so does your fandom. And that year’s World Series champion will grace your clothing.

On the contrary, being a fair weather fan means you root for a team for whatever reason, but only pay attention when you feel like it. That’s how it goes for me with basketball. It’s a sport I mostly understand, but never really played and definitely can’t objectively analyze.

I’ve been a fair weather Warriors fan for years (very obvious example of not rooting for a first-place team), but luckily I don’t have to put my heart and soul into rooting for them. So all those tortured fans out there probably both hate and envy me.

Tonight, the Warriors beat the defending-champion Miami Heat and reigning-MVP LeBron James. I turned it on for the sheer idea of a distraction and because my alma mater’s pride and joy, Klay Thompson, now graces the Warriors’ front court.

Twenty seven points for Klay later, the Warriors were jumping up and down on the Miami home floor, celebrating a two-point victory and the continuation of a gritty, undefeated (so far) road trip.

I found myself leaping out of my seat when the final buzzer sounded – emotions usually reserved for a Vernon Davis touchdown or Clayton Kershaw anything.

And that is the art of fair weather fandom. If you can watch a team play a game and feel no personal connection to them, but still become emotionally moved by their performance, you can root for them.

Just admit that you are fair weather, and nobody will get hurt. Tonight, I admit to being a fair weather Warriors fan. For the rest of this season, I am officially declared as a supporter of the Dubs (see, I even have the lingo down!).

I mean, why not? Technically my favorite basketball team is 1-0 this year when I watch them play and as their biggest fan, I couldn’t be happier.

If you are a fair weather blogger, follow Jeremy on Twitter @Jamblinman!

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London 2012: Disgracing the Olympic Games

August 2, 2012

Much to your dismay (probably), this blog won’t be about NBC’s sub par coverage of the London Olympics, nor will it be a long, angry diatribe about prime time viewership allowing super spoilers.

Instead, I want to talk about two sports; one you probably follow closely, one you probably only played in high school gym class because you absolutely had to (and let’s be real – nobody wants to be held back for failing high school gym).

First, soccer. “Football,” as it’s known abroad. Silly foreigners! Football is for helmets and pads and skull crushing and heaps of money and shitty commissioners! But, I digress.

I know so..er..football isn’t exactly the most popular sport here in the good ol’ U.S. of A. But people are starting to come around. And every couple of years, football frenzy reaches peak performance in America, when our Women’s National Team is in the World Cup or Olympics.

While our Men’s National Team squander in eternal awfulness, the Women’s team is actually one of the best teams in the world annually. And they are one of the favorites again in this 2012 Summer Olympics. Their biggest competition will likely come from Japan (curse thy name, World Cup shoot out ninjas!) and the powerhouse Brazil team.

And those are the two teams who will be playing each other in the next round of Olympic soccer. The issue I have with them playing, is that it never should have happened. Buhhhhh whaaaa?

Japan’s coach Norio Sasaki apparently told reporters that she told her players to purposely play to a draw against a weak South African squad in its last game of pool play. Interesting strategy – not illegal, not intentionally “throwing” the game…but seriously immoral and against the integrity of both the sport and the Olympics themselves. 

You can read more about Japan intentionally playing to a 0-0 tie HERE. 

I really wish South Africa had somehow popped a last-second goal in to completely knock Japan out of the tournament. Why? Because the whole reason Sasaki wanted to tie and finish 2nd in their group was to avoid traveling – wait for it – 300 miles to play their next game tomorrow.

Really? 300 miles? That’s a four, maybe five-hour drive. A one hour flight. It’s like going from San Francisco to San Luis Obispo.

To cap it off, the strategy backfires big time. Good for you, Japan. You get to stay in Wales and play on the same field you “tied” on. Plus one for comfort and familiarity? Minus 100 for not realizing you now have to play BRAZIL in the knockout round.

For the sake of footballers and sports fans across the entire globe, I sincerely hope Brazil pounds Japan into the turf tomorrow. Because the flight back to Japan is sure a hell of a lot farther than Wales to Scotland. Sheesh.

Now, let us turn our attention to the fierce competition that revolves around a …ball?… with the funniest name in sports history. Badminton and its star player, the shuttlecock (don’t pretend you didn’t giggle)!

Four pairs of female badminton players representing China, South Korea and Indonesia were disqualified from the doubles tournament for purposely losing matches in order to get better seeds in the later rounds.

At first glance, you might think “So? It’s badminton.” Well, believe it or not, badminton is actually fairly popular outside of America. And those teams that threw the matches are insanely good at it. Good to the point of making me wonder why they felt the need to lose on purpose? 

The Chinese teams especially dominate that event, but they needed to be lazy and have their way with easier teams along the way to another inevitable gold medal? Come on.

It’s an even more cowardly move than Japan’s soccer team. At least Japan didn’t throw the match they were in – they simply played conservatively for a stupid reason and slide tackled the sport IN THE FACE while doing so.

In my opinion, purposely losing is a whole different beast. Misty May Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings had never lost an Olympic set until yesterday, but they would never take it easy in the opening rounds in order to line up with easier opponents on their way to a gold.

You would never see a baseball team lose purposely to win a Wild Card spot instead of the division so they get to play the A’s instead of the Yankees. And though NFL teams like to sit their players in week 17 when the playoffs are assured, you can bet those scrubs falling all over themselves are working their tails off to win the game still.

Sports are sacred. Everybody ultimately wants to be the best at whatever they do, and sports is one way we measure that.

Best athlete. Best team. Best scorer. Best defender.

And what higher honor than being the best at your sport in the entire world? That means out of 7,057,351,245 or so people in the world, you are number one.

Whoa.

Yet, with stakes like that, the Japanese women’s soccer team and especially the eight women disqualified from the badminton tournament have disrespected a collection of Games started by the Ancient Greeks to honor the gods. Isn’t that sort of like farting in God’s general direction?

Okay, okay that’s a little far. I apologize. But as a fan of sport, I fully endorse the badminton players’ disqualification. I wholeheartedly hope Brazil rolls Japan like sushi in tomorrow’s soccer game.

And I REALLY hope the International Olympic Committee reconsiders how “far” soccer teams have to travel in future Games, so this problem can be avoided altogether.

Maybe we should give the Expelled Eight and Japan’s soccer team a little taste of how much we respect sports in America…have you watched that link yet?…you probably should…thank you.

Told ya badminton could be cool!

The Argument for Soccer

April 24, 2012

So the NHL playoffs are all over TV. Whoop-dee-freakin-doo. You know what I think about hockey? Soccer on ice.

Yup. That’s damn right and I have no shame in saying it.

Don’t get me wrong, hockey seems like a real tough sport. Lots of skill and conditioning are required. Plus you have to be a figure skating champ.

But at least they can use their hands. Soccer, by far the least-appreciated sport in America (besides curling), is similar to hockey.

Two goals on either end, two goalkeepers and one objective: put more shots into the net than your opponent.

Oh yeah, and no hands. All you hardcore hockey fans out there…first of all, how’s the weather (Psyche! I know it’s shitty.)? Second, try resisting the natural urge to throw up your hands to block a rocketed soccer ball. Heads and chests only, please.

The main difference besides the obvious iciness in hockey is that nobody gets laid out by some meathead thug in soccer. Instead they just get mangled by cleats aimed at ankles, shins and knees. Oh, and soccer goals are WAY prettier than hockey goals.

You may be asking “what’s the point of this blog, Jamblinman?”

To that, I say stop wasting your time watching a bunch of ice dancers with sticks. Give soccer a little lovin’!

Next time you feel that urge, find the Fox Soccer Channel and just TRY to not love it.

Thanks for reading…until tomorrow, don’t go offsides and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @Jamblinman.

And I (hold it…) Will Always Love You (hold this one too…)

February 12, 2012

Believe it or not, Whitney Houston does merit a mention in a sports blog. Not simply because she was an incredible singer whose musical legacy demands I pay her respects (R.I.P. Whitney), but because she’s connected to the sport of baseball. At least for me. If you’re confused, grab a comfy seat and a blanket, sit back and let me tell you about the most embarrassing moment of my life.

If I don’t regularly make this clear, I’m a Dodgers fan. A big ol’ fat Dodgers fan. So naturally, I hate the Giants. So, naturally, when the Giants somehow lucked their way to the World Series in 2010, I was rooting for the Rangers. My friend decided she would root for the Giants, just to piss me off (it worked). In a fit of furor, I decided to bet her that the Rangers would win. I know I lost. No need to remind me.

See, the most unfortunate part, was the wager said winner picked a karaoke song for loser to sing on Taco Tuesday. She picked I Will Always Love You by Whitney. Personally, I thought I spit a killer rendition. Then I watched the video. I’m sure if you hunt deep enough into the layers of Facebook, you could find the documented proof. Please don’t. I’ll tell ya what, I’ve never hated the Giants more than when they forced me to vocally embarrass myself in front of hundreds of fellow drunk college students.

That’s my story. And I’m blushing now, thanks. Let’s move on.

So I’m breaking my promise. Again. Football time! I just can’t ignore two things in off-season football news. First, when another player makes fun of Tony Romo. Who doesn’t love that? Second, when I see a story suggesting blasphemy like this. The original link on Yahoo! Sports said “Romo a Hall of Famer?” I nearly lost my bowels when I read that.

I love to hate on Romo. I’m not shy about it. But I don’t think he’s necessarily a bad quarterback. Mistake-prone? Sure. Annoying? Definitely. Overrated? Absolutely. A bad player? Not at all. But a mother *censored* HALL OF FAMER? Give me a break. I’m more deserving of Sexiest Man Alive than Romo is of a plaque in Canton. If Romo can win a couple rings (spoiler: he won’t), he has a shot because he certainly can rack up the passing numbers.

Unfortunately for Cowboy fans, his penchant for throwing untimely interceptions and dropping holds on kicks will haunt his legacy forever.

On to the real football. What? Seriously? Dude, I’m talking about soccer. Anyways ya doofus, check out this story about the 1978 World Cup champions, Argentina. If this proves to be true (and it certainly seems like it might be), this is just a straight slap in the face to the entire sport. And shows exactly why politics and sports mix like oil and water.

If that story made you hate soccer more than you already did, then clear the kids from the room, light a few candles and put on some Barry White. Helllllllooooo Ms. Morgan!

I leave you today with the luckiest shot in the world.

I’m outta here. I’m gonna go dance with somebody (love you Whitney).

While We’re Young, Wild and Free

February 2, 2012

Well, we can officially put the “Blake Griffin is a God” talk to rest. As I pointed out yesterday, his dunk over Kendrick Perkins was significantly overrated and not even close to one of his ten personal best. Then, some doopster (dude hoopster) laid this beauty down in a college game. And suddenly, rightfully, Griffin is old news.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you finish a dunk.

I’m sure by now you’ve all seen some footage of the Egyptian stampede that took place after a soccer match yesterday. The death toll right now is at 74. I’m sure most people here don’t care because 1) it’s soccer, 2) it’s Egypt, but everyone needs to take notice. The United States essentially explodes from within when a streaker so much as tweets that he or she will storm the Phillies’ outfield.

Real fan violence takes place overseas, where soccer is king and passion falls like rain in Seattle (that’s a LOT, if you’ve never been). Take that into account next time you complain about that meany pants with the spiky face at the Raiders game yelled you suck to your family at the game. And if you go to a soccer game abroad, please be careful.

I finally have some baseball news! First, this. Because it’s the Yankees and they get too much pub to begin with, I’ll just hand you the link and tell you to read the first line and sit back in shock. And then you can think about it and realize how much sense Brian Cashman’s assertion makes. That’s all.

But even cooler, we have a Nyjer Morgan sighting! If you don’t like Nyjer, you must be either a commie or a Cardinals fan. But T-Plush is as bad ass a ballplayer as you’ll ever see. He’s the T.O. of baseball, minus the baby mama drama. So get a load of this guy taking on another sport! I love it.

Lastly, I have some punishment to dole out. Let me explain first. I have a raging bromance with Aldon Smith. He single-handedly gave me hope that the 49ers’ pass rush has a prayer in the next few years of returning to form. By the way, what’s the female version of bromance? I suggested homance and heavy flowmance, but my female friends didn’t take kindly to it. If you’re willing to risk public verbal flogging, comment below and tell me what the answer to that timeless question is.

Oh, right. Back to Aldon. He got a DUI the other day. The kid is barely old enough to drink. And as one of his fans, I wish I could just tell him this and let him walk. But he needs to be docked some serious pay by the NFL and a timeout from Coach Harbaugh. If he can make Alex Smith a respectable NFL quarterback, I’m sure he can help crank a few common sense life lessons through the younger Smith’s dense skull.

And it wouldn’t be Thursday without my P.T.Z.D.I.T.H.W.A! (Same title, but shorter. Whatever, just look.)

And On The Third Day, God Created Soccer

February 1, 2012

If you think watching Wayne Rooney or Lionel Messi weave through foot traffic and tuck a shot into the back of the net is pretty, you haven’t seen THIS. Oh my sweet Lanta. I’m tempted to just stop the blog on that glorious note. Or link every word to that video. But since I know my dedicated readers (that’s you, dummy!) would flip a female dog, I’ll continue on.

Without a doubt, that is the most epic goal I’ve seen in years. Everything came together perfectly to make that happen – planets aligning, gravity, wind chill, the length of the dude’s shorts. Everything, I tell you. Now comment below and tell me which scorpion move was better? That first one, or the original?

One thing is for sure. Blake Griffin’s dunk the other night on Kendrick Perkins was pretty filthy, but not even his best of the year. Everyone needs to calm down. I see LeBron throwing down cooler jams than that on a nightly basis. Call me when Griffin gets glorified for a real dunk. You know, like when his follow through actually allows his hand to touch the rim.

Is anyone else sick of me talking about basketball? Oh, thank God! I was beginning to go crazy. Wait. Sick? Basketball? Crazy? That can only mean one thing! The Bernie Fine scandal is back! But with a hilariously cougariffic twist. Here’s my disclaimer: I, Jamblinman, do not condone any activities in the following link; nor do I support the behavior of either party. Yet, both alleged parties were consenting adults and this is the gospel to MILF-hunters everywhere. If it bothers you, yell at me. Now, check it out. As those crazy kids today say, ROFL LOLOLZ! I’ll give you old folks a minute to figure that one out.

……

Time’s up!

Now for my last bit of business, this is something I rarely do. I will hardly ever be found verbally abusing Aaron Rodgers. He’s an incredible quarterback on a team I passionately hate, but he’s a good guy, a hard-working athlete and one of the most elite passers in the NFL. With all the mushy stuff out of the way, he needs to get a grip and take a chill pill. Just relax, Aaron! We don’t want you killing any politicians, now do we?

But yesterday, Rodgers was quoted as saying the following after the NFC’s Pro Bowl loss:

“I’ll be honest with you,” Rodgers said. “I was a little bit disappointed. I felt like some of the guys on the NFC side embarrassed themselves. […]

“I wanted to know the plays and I wanted to play well, and I wanted to give the fans a show, and make the Green Bay fans who watched and were watching for me and my teammates, I wanted to make them proud of their Pro Bowlers. I was just surprised that some of the guys either didn’t want to play or when they were in there didn’t put any effort into it.”

Umm, okay then, psycho! I understand his point of wanting to show off for the fans. But nobody wants to get hurt, especially in the least interesting all-star game in sports history. As they should, most guys were there to sleep off the aches and pains of a long season and take in the beautiful Hawaiian beaches.

I don’t know what Rodgers’ beef is with the teammates. No fans were watching anyway. I mean, give me a break. I can only think of one thing in the world that would be less interesting to watch than the freakin’ Pro Bowl. Actually, that’s kind of funny – and definitely has more views than last Sunday’s game.

As per normal, I leave you with the Weird Wednesday Web Story. Okay, so OMG BRB TTYL Ellen is on!!!


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