I have a new hobby. We’ll see how long it is before I get bored with it and move on to something else, but until then, I am going to go crazy! If you have seen my recent Facebook posts, I’ve made mention that I am going to become a Glastonbury Indoor Soccer League Superfan. But I guess that’s not the official title of the league, nor am I going to become a fan of the league itself. Just one team in particular, but more on them in a minute.

I never thought that I would have a super great time at some local recreation league soccer game, but I did. So I hatched a plan. I will become a Superfan of the wonderful soccer team High & Hard. Looks like my Wednesdays are booked for the next two months or so. In my role as Superfan, I have taken it upon myself to nickname all the players on the team, well, for two reasons: 1) I only know a few of their names, and 2) it entertains me. So, I apologize nicknamed members of High & Hard. Maybe we’ll become friendly or something, maybe sponsorship next season by yours truly (no guarantee). And if you get sick of me and my vuvuzela, please feel free to let me know and I will stop coming to the Oakwood Sports Center Wednesday nights.

For the people whose names I know, there is Kelly, Sarah, Dominique, and Greg. I met these folks at Boston’s on Sunday, though I didn’t know Dominique’s name until the game on Wednesday. As for the nicknames, there’s Sideburns, O.G. (Old Goalie; he played goalie the first half), New Kelly (other girl named Kelly on team), Jesus, Corky, and LP (Long Pants). I think that was everybody. I even nicknamed some of the other team, but those one’s won’t last the weekend most likely. So stay tuned for my adventures as Superfan for some indoor soccer league team that plays in Glastonbury. Should be fun.

Until next time…

Yay World Cup!!

The 2010 FIFA World Cup is upon us. Like the Olympics, this international event occurs every four years. Also like the Olympics, it turns casual fans of the sport(s) played into super big fans. I’ll readily admit that I could care less about soccer, or “football” as everyone else around the world calls it. I don’t follow the Premier League, or MLS, or any other professional football association. I don’t understand transfers and loans and everything else that goes on with Club-level soccer. I don’t really like David Beckham, and cannot tell the difference between Didier Drogba and Thierry Henry. All I do know, however, is that I LOVE the World Cup!

Similar to my lukewarm following of ice hockey, except when the USA meets Canada in the Winter Olympics, I have never really become a fan of soccer. I didn’t play it as a kid like some of my friends, mainly because I didn’t want to run around that much. That’s why I played Little League Baseball instead: periods of inactivity, especially playing the outfield, followed by limited running, even less if you never got on base like I did. Anyway, the World Cup is something different. Maybe it’s because it’s country against country, or the crazy qualification procedures, where the 12th ranked team in the world can fail to qualify but the 91st ranked team can. Maybe it’s the televised “draw” of the teams, leading to getting placed in the dreaded “Group of Death.”

For readers of this blog, you may remember from my list of “101 Things to Do Before I Die” that attending the World Cup was one of them. 2014 in Brazil might be a little unmanageable, but with the United States bidding to host in either 2018 or 2022, maybe I’ll get my chance relatively soon. While I was a little disheartened to see that Salt Lake city was not selected as a host city, even with a fancy “soccer-specific” stadium, it still might end up close enough to see within reason, with host cities including Denver, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Diego, and Seattle close enough to my future home that a trip would not be unreasonable. Furthermore, with family living in both Phoenix and Bakersfield, CA (though hard to say that in 8-12 years that will remain the case), a place to stay!

So I will watch the World Cup when I can. I will follow it online and root for the United States to do well, or at least better than last time. As I said before, I don’t think I know enough about international soccer to make any bold predictions, but I sure wish I could watch a bit more of the tournament. When it is all said and done a month from now, I’ll probably go back to ignoring soccer for another 4 years, but you never know. Moving back to Salt Lake City and the defending MLS Cup champion Real Salt Lake might make me a fan. We’ll see.

Are You Ready For Some Football?

NOTE: I began writing this about a month ago and never finished it. Here it is in it’s entirety.

Growing up, without a professional football team to root for, I gravitated towards college football. And being that I am from Utah, there were really only two teams in the discussion: BYU and Utah. While the University of Utah was closer, I grew up a fan of the Brigham Young University Cougars, probably for two reasons: they were my father’s alma mater and I lived in a Mormon household. For those of you who don’t know, BYU is the flagship university for the LDS Church.

Anyway, I shared this passion for Cougar football with my dad, and every once in a while we would make the trek down to Provo and try to see a football game. One such game we failed to get into was the Miami-BYU game in 1990. Nationally televised games seem to be hard to just walk up and get tickets, and my Pops was not willing to pay $45 a piece for the tickets. He offered to let me go by myself, but what 10-year old is going to go to a football game while his father sits out in the car and listens on the radio? So that is what we did. Instead of driving home, where we probably would have missed most the game, we went and got some lunch and listened to the game in the car, at least for a while, before driving home. If we missed it on TV, we would be able to watch it again on KBYU later anyways.

Even after moving across the country, I still follow BYU football. This stems from not really having a team to root for out here (UConn is not quite good enough yet) and the pure nostalgia of it all. If the annual BYU-Utah game is on national television, I try to watch, and also try to watch the BYU bowl game if I am not doing anything else. And when they succeed against national powers, I always smile a little. As a fan of college football, I am not a fan of the Bowl Championship Series. It is always rewarding to watch a so-called non-BCS school knock off a BCS school, like when Boise State beat Oklahoma a few years ago.

The reason I am writing this today is because of this excellent article by Sports Illustrated columnist Stewart Mandel about the 1984 National Championship won by BYU. It wsa kind of controversial for various reasons, all of which are outlined in the article. BYU was technically the last school from a “non-BCS” conference to win the championship, which in of itself is quite surprising.

Now that BYU has defeated Oklahoma to kick off this football season, however, there is a lot of talk about the possibility of them running the table and competing for a National Championship. While I feel it is a little early for that, a strong run by BYU, Utah, TCU, or Boise State, among others, may bring a football playoff to pass at the upper division of college football. That would be the best thing to happen for sometime. Imagine, BYU, the school that may have started major college football on the path to the BCS 25 years ago may be the team that causes it to end as well. That would be fitting.

In The News…

News stories that make you go “Huh?” for various reasons:

Stallworth Pleads Guilty: If you haven’t heard the story, Donte Stallworth (hmm…only a month older than me), a wide receiver for the Cleveland Browns, pleaded guilty to his vehicular manslaughter charge and received a sentence of 30 DAYS IN JAIL! Let’s see…hits 59-year-old Mario Reyes on March 14th while driving his Bentley after a night of drinking at a hotel bar, killing him and taking him away from his family forever, and only gets sentenced to 30 days in jail, of which he only has to serve 24 days under Florida law. He could have been sentenced to as much as 15 years had the case gone to trial, but instead he gets 24 days in jail (not prison, mind you), 1,000 hours of community service, two years of house arrest, and eight years probation after his lengthy jail stay.

Luckily, though, he’ll be able to continue to entertain us on the field as a receiver in the National Football League, unless the commissioner steps in and suspends him, which is likely to happen. Had he not been Donte Stallworth, perhaps he would have received less favorable treatment. Methinks you can find all sorts of cases with similar circumstances where a plea deal would net more than 24 days in jail. I would look, but it really isn’t worth it.

Sosa Tested Positive For Steroids: When this story broke, my first thought was: “Why is this news?” I mean, if you didn’t think Sammy Sosa was doing something to hit a bajillion home runs, you are as naive as Bud Selig. His little hops, and sprinting to right field, who cares? He was a joke when he was playing and he is still a joke as he “waits patiently to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.” Please. I don’t care if he had 6,000 home runs. He is not going to get elected to the Hall of Fame anytime soon. May be bigger problems for Sosa as if he did indeed test positive, he was lying to Congress during his testimony in 2005, and they might take a look at it.

Baseball needs to get rid of Bud Selig and move past his stewardship over the game. He, and Player’s Association head Donald Fehr, allowed steroids and other performance enhancig drugs become the rule in baseball after the 1994 strike, and it has diminished their game to the point where anybody who played during the “Steroid Era” is subject to question. Only players who have been tested in the minors since they began in professional baseball, players like Grady Sizemore, Joe Mauer, Dustin Pedroia, etc., can be viewed as “clean.”

Obama Kills a Fly: So he killed a fly. Why is this a big deal? It’s making the rounds all over the internet, and I’m sure PETA or some other animal rights group will soon be releasing a statement about it. Whatever, it’s not a big deal.

Recent Bonehead of the Day: “Woman sues Quaker Oats because she thought Crunchberries were a real berry and was eating them to get healthy.” Huh? “Reasonable” people were fooled by this? Right. This is why I hate lawyers sometimes, and the idiot cases they think they can win. So stupid…

Quick trivia: Something happened this day in the United States 15 years ago. Kind of changed the legal landscape in America. Do you know what it is? Click here to find out.

Beyond that, I got nothing. Didn’t run today, but did some time on the stationary bike and swam a quarter mile. Scale at the gym said I was 290, which would mean that I lost five pounds today. I’ll have to confirm tomorrow with the work scale; gym scale was off a bit last week when it said I weighed 285 after weighing in at 298 the day before at work.

Lots of Wikipedialinks today. Be sure to check them out.