January 1, 2007

Rose Bowl Champions

Posted in News, Sports at 10:29 pm by Calico Jack

©LAT

32-18.

That is all.

June 29, 2006

Wimbledon’s women

Posted in Sports at 2:23 pm by Calico Jack


(Maria Sharapova at this year’s Wimbledon, wearing an approved outfit.)

Faced with growing concerns about the increasingly revealing attire worn by some female players, Wimbledon is cracking down on their dress code this year. Gone are the low-cut tops and billowy dresses that display more than the tournament organizers would like. This year, the penalty for improper attire could be as strong as a default; that’s pretty severe. Also included in the category of “unsuitable” is clothing that carries sponsors’ logos larger than four inches square. But bare midriffs are acceptable…go figure.

The most important rule at Wimbledon still holds, however: woe to the person who shows up dressed in anything but white. The organizers would be pretty upset with Maria if she walked on court wearing this:

Elizabeth Swann adds: I’m glad they’re finally cracking down on the dress code. The idea of a tennis match is to watch girls play tennis and not flaunt their stuff, which may be a distraction for some. I guess white is the traditional uniform for Wimbledon, but I happen to like colorful outfits.

June 23, 2006

Odds and ends

Posted in Games, Politics, Random Oddments, Sports at 1:34 pm by Calico Jack

Apologies for the light blogging; each of us has had a busy week for one reason or another. We promise that we'll be back to normal soon; until then, here is a roundup of links from across the net that you might find interesting…or not. We make no promises.

This is the biggest website I have ever seen. Literally. At nine quadrillion pixels wide and nine quadrillion pixels tall, it is 1.844 billion miles on each side. Don't believe me? Check it out for yourself; just be prepared to spend a lot of time scrolling.

You can tell our elected officals have nothing better to do when they start attacking the video game industry. Jon Stewart shows us that common sense beats bureaucracy every time.

Do you like to play Euchre, but find yourself consistently losing? It helps to memorize the Ten Commandments of Euchre; they'll give you a solid foundation for playing well.

I don't like the World Cup, but a few minutes of this might help to change my mind.

What do you do when it's taken you six years, 4,872 demerits, four and a half years on academic probation, and two reprimands from the admiral to graduate from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy? Why, you give the President a huge bear hug, and the Secret Service a heart attack!

(Copyright AP)

June 19, 2006

World Cup madness

Posted in Sports at 6:06 pm by Calico Jack


(Some player trying to run up the side of the picture so he can kick the ball. Courtesy BBC.)

When I was little, I used to love to play soccer. Some of my earliest memories are of kicking a soccer ball with my dad on Saturday afternoons. As I got older, I played quite a few neighborhood pickup games (or should that be kickup?); but I never joined a soccer team, much to the consternation of my mother. Still, I greatly enjoyed the sport, and it was always my favorite game to play during P.E. I never considered myself anything more than decent; my dribbling and passing skills were good, but woe to those who let me try for a goal kick. Even now, years later, I'll gladly jump in to play a friendly game. Although I still enjoy soccer, I never developed a love for the sport as I did for volleyball and baseball.

However, I wouldn't blink an eye if soccer were banned from television. Permanently.

The World Cup has descended upon us, and almost every country save the U.S. is earnestly cheering on their national team. For some, the World Cup is quite literally an obsession; simply witness the rioting taking place all around the world as soccer hooligans express their joy/sorrow/anger/drunkenness by trashing everything around them. Compared to most of Europe, we Americans are extremely placid about the most popular sporting event in the world.

And I ask: Why wouldn't we be? As a televised sport, soccer is extremely boring. I often hear criticisms leveled at baseball: it's too boring, the players aren't really athletes, or the games run too long. I don't deny that baseball is immune from criticism, nor do I say that soccer shouldn't be considered a sport. But for crying out loud, baseball is much more consistently entertaining to watch than soccer will ever be. Soccer may be a "pure" sport, but who really cares? I've watched my fair share of televised soccer matches, and 80% of the time the ball stays in the midfield while the players from both teams perform their patented jog/walk back and forth, as the goalie reads a book or takes a nap or whatever it is that he does while he's waiting for the ball to get closer than a hundred feet from him. You could loop the first ten minutes of the match, and no one would be the wiser.

And while I'm on the subject of soccer itself, why would anyone ever think that it's okay to end a game with a tie? What do people think when two teams run out of time? "Oh, don't worry; we're both winners!" Competitive sports should not have ties- ever. That's simply unacceptable. Ties should be something players wear around their neck when going to parties, not sought-after conclusions to games. Part of the problem is that soccer runs on a clock, as do many sports. But unlike American football or hockey or basketball, overtime could easily run as long as the game itself. I never understood why FIFA didn't mandate shootouts for all tied games; as it stands, only some competitions require this. The World Cup isn't one of them.

The World Cup also has a really weird way of determining the standings for the team brackets. A well-written summary of the United States' chances can be found here; but good luck figuring out why the U.S. needs to be Ghana by more than four points if Italy loses or draws to the Czech Republic. On second thought, has anyone even seen a soccer game where a team scored four points? A game where both teams together scored four points? I think not.

I do feel sorry for those ardent fans of soccer who futilely try to get the rest of the United States to care about "The World's Sport." I just can't bring myself to care enough. However, if a miracle happens and the United States happens to win the World Cup, I'll be cheering as loudly as the rest of the country because that is what Americans do. We don't care about a sport until our national team wins; then we become the biggest fans ever in an attempt to make up for our previous lack of enthusiasm. Witness the Olympics.

Until the United States wins the World Cup, however, I'll be watching football- American football, that is.