Category Archives: Sports is fun!

Working to drop a car

I’ve been riding the bike a lot lately, and it’s been great. It’s not just good exercise to ride for my commute, it’s also a far better way to relax than driving to and from work. I’ve been doing it so much lately (driven to work once since early August) that I’m kicking around selling one of the cars. We’re currently a 2-adult 1-baby 2-car household. I’ve registered for ZipCar account, though I’ve yet to use it. Happily there is a Zip Car parked two blocks from my house and another less than 1/2-mile from my office.

From Portland 2011

I’m growing more and more excited about dropping the Corolla, but am concerned about my resolve through the rainy season. Even worse than the rain, or perhaps compounding it are the wind and the dark. The wind make the rain wetter and the cold colder, and the dark just makes riding more dangerous. I suppose I should just suck it up and get on my bike. Every day.

Instant Replay in Soccer

After the US’s disappointing (yet thrilling) tie against Slovenia, you can be sure that there will be a clamor for instant replay in soccer. On the surface, it seems like a great idea. Matches will end with the true winner victorious, honor will be restored to the game.

This is a terrible idea. There is a purity about soccer. 23 men on the pitch, and only a few rules on how to play the game. All you need is a ball and some friends to play.

It’s true, there are a lot of bad calls. Sometimes the referee is biased, sometimes, he’s bad, and sometimes he gets emotional. But bad calls are a part of the game. You can’t interrupt the fluidity to stick your face into a replay booth every time someone is unhappy with a call. Because the review would overturn the call too often.

In a soccer game there are 22 players on the pitch, and they are subject to the rule of one man: the referee. If the referee decides that the game should last for 112 minutes and kicking with your left foot is a foul, that’s how the game will be played. People may not be happy with it, and the ref will likely not be invited back, but that is the game that was played.

Bringing MLS to Portland

Thank you City Hall fold for helping us to bring Major League Soccer to Portland. Just so you know, we’re all really excited about it. We have a massive underground presence here. Not that you’d know it from the sad lack of soccer bars in this town. The funny thing about that is that ballers like to drink. With a bit of love, you’ll have a well-supported locale. But enough about that. thank you Sam, Randy, and Saltzman (with comparable concessions). Now just on to figuring out the millions to pay for it.

long ride!

woohoo! It’s no longer an unslayable dragon! I just finished my first ever bicycle ride from Beaverton to home on the Portland eastside. It was about 17.5 miles. Here’s a link to basically the same route, thank you bycycle.org.

Instead of staying on Tillamook, I cruised up at 60th to Sacramento and rode along the nice Alameda Ridge.

A Moist Weekend

Well, it was definitely Moist over the Memorial Day. We had a great showing of ballers and their friends and family. As seems to frequently be the case, the various Moist squads had some difficulty putting the ball into the back of the net. I don’t think it’s due to any shortage of talent on the teams, probably more because all of the teams are just mixes of dudes and ladies who haven’t necessarily played together. And it actually takes some team dynamics (beyond awesomeness) to compose a nice goal-scoring opportunity.

Moco means snot in Spanish, we discovered.

One of the hallmarks of the Moist Coalition is the hair thing. Originally it was “mustaches and mullets” but we’ve grown. We’re far more mature, and while some of us haven’t left our roots (to which I still aspire), others have skyrocketed past them.

Here are my picks for the winners of Best Face:

The ladies of moist, Real Moist, showed well this year. Overall they took 4th, and stayed in strong spirits after opening the tourney against two very strong teams. The women’s side of the tournament suffers because there is only one division, so there’s a broad range of talent you need to face. The ladies suffered because I lacked the foresight/abllity to specifically recruit a keeper for them. They did great and MB and Sara did a great job filling in.

Moist United, our hero team playing D-2, scored the most goals of the tourney (for a Moist Squad). The braggart Jay pointed out that he scored more goals than my entire team ;) I don’t hate him for that. Sadly, a bottomless supply of goals isn’t enough when your keeper and sweeper are injured, allowing a few too many goals into the wrong net. Overall, United placed 7th.

Moist ST was a solid squad. Unfortunately 500 breakaways and connected crosses don’t mean much if they all sail wide or high. They only allowed three goals throughout the tourney (regular time), but they lost on PKs at pivotal moments and ended up placing 8th.

FC Moist was the winner of the surprisingly annual Moist on Moist match, placing them into the top half of the table. As usual, this game is an exciting one, despite the lack of regulation goals. Both sides had a lot of scoring opportunities, but none were capitalized on. FC eventually won in penalty kicks, with their keeper saving two of the first five. And despite allowing 5 goals and only scoring one, FC took third in the tournament.

Virtual and real gameballs go to: Jason (FC Keeper), Greg (United keeper), Maribeth (Real keeper), and ?? from ST. We love our goalies, especially when we have trouble scoring ourselves!

Timbers 4, Toronto 1

Woohoo! Great game tonite, beautiful day. The Timbers faced MLS’s Toronto in a post-season friendly, and what fun it was.

The Moist crew showed up in force, and the Army was bitchin tonite…they were loud. The beginning of the game was distressing, as Toronto looked to be outclassing the Timbers pretty well. But the defense was solid, and Timbers snapped a sweet goal chipping the Toronto keeper to open it up.

Within a minute, it was 2-0 with an excellent looping shot far post. Toronto got on the board shortly after with a blast off a deflected shot, bounce off the crossbar. At the end of the half, the Timbers caught Toronto’s keeper way out of position and passed the ball in. The second half was exciting as well, with a single shot penetrating Toronto’s defense, for a 4-1 final. Awesome match. Bring MLS to Portland.

Galaxy down in SuperLiga, but solid(ish)

Caught the Galaxy vs Pachuca match tonite for the SuperLiga final. Painful painful first half. Got there late, just in time for an own-goal and the team to fall apart. But halftime was near. I got a dos equis and got tense with some soccer buddies. Half two was amazing. Both teams had a ton of chances. Tough to say who got the better of it, but then we were in for a surprise. In stoppage time, around the 95th minute, a cross, a header, a crossbar, a swat by the goalie, players heading the ball, and then Klein, you could see it coming, Klein throws one leg, then the other, Klein executes an absolutely awe-inspiring bicycle kick, barely slotting a defender, flacidly attempting to throw his head in the way, and the post, well out of the keeper’s reach. Beautiful. Everyone is on their feet. The mostly hispanic audience (no American English station was close to carrying this cup) and we few Galaxy supporters. I bought tequila.

We shared the excitement. The game went into overtime. Beckham returned from the locker room after his injury wearing a ridiculous suit. We all laughed. And overtime was scoreless. And we wend into kicks to decide. Vagenas, who placed the own goal in the first half, also missed his PK for the Galaxy. Rough night. Fortunately, Cannon made a save. After the Pachuca player shanked shot 5, Donovan (hero) approached. He sent it to the keeper, who received the ball handily. Doesn’t he do that most of the time on PKs? Great player, I just don’t see much in his PKs. Ever. Anyway, Xavier missed his next one by a mile (he had a terrible game as well…sometimes we need to adjust). It was a great game. Way to go Galaxy. Congrats Pachuca.

Update: Didn’t take too long for this to make it onto youtube. For Pete’s sake, watch it.

A little note to DaveKnows

Hi Dave. I’d email you but amazingly I don’t have your address. Weird. Anyway, I always forget to mention this when I see you, but I’d comment on your blog but I am not going to register. I’ve registered for enough crap and I’m not gonna put my crap into your system and wait for you to generate a password and email it to me and then click on a link to verify and then leave my f’ing comment.

Que sera. I’d live in silence about it but then I read your Timbers post. What the fuck? It was a great game. But are you saying that the 15000 of us who don’t stand with the army aren’t fans? I’m hoarse after every fucking game, wear green, stand when we’re close. I’ve gotten personal reactions from opposing players for the harassment I’ve delivered, players who eventually received cards.

Trust me. I love the army. I think y’all do great stuff. But y’all can suck eggs if you think you’re the only timbers fans in town. So take a load off and quit feeding me that crap.

Update: Wow, just reread this baby and it sounds way harsher than intended. I’ve been a bit frustrated with some of the Timbers Army BS (love the army, keep being agro…but there are other ways to appreciate the Timbers). Dave is a buddy of mine, so I was trying to flip him a bit of smack in the process. Good friends, good people. Anyway, go Timbers. And thanks for getting rid of the registration thang.

Nike+

Alright, beerdrinker got a shiny new red iPod Nano for xmas from my mom. It totally rocks. It synchs with my iCal and address book (surprise! yay me!), it plays music, it’s tiny, and it sounds good. Pretty much kicking my Zen Micro to the curb. The only thing it doesn’t have is a voice recorder…and that is a bummer.

But what I’m really stoked about is the Nike+ addon. (Disclaimer: I am a Nike employee. But I’m sincere. Nike, please don’t fire me, I’m saying good things!). I hit the store and picked up a pair of Air Max 90+ shoes (I’ve been running in Air Moto Max IV but I wanted to try something new). They are a sweet pair of kicks, stylishish and comfortable. I had to put my prescription orthotics in them to get appropriate arch support, but they are nicely cushioned and stiff enough to protect my poor banged-up toe.

I also grabbed the Nike+ insert doohickey. Setting this thing up was a piece of cake. Stick the dealie in the shoe, attach the insert thingy into the base of the nano, and a new item showed up on my iPod menu. Then I went for a run. Well, run/walk. Testing the waters a bit since the surgery. I actually felt better afterwards than before!  I was surprised that there’s only one insert.  I’m a bit perplexed as to how it measures distance and speed accurately…I’m guessing that it has an accelerometer in there, but wow.  What bitchin technology.  And no, I’m not worried about being stalked, even though that’s been getting a lor of airtime.  If you’re worried about that, you probably should just stay home.  It transmits like 60 feet, but someone would have to go through a lot of trouble to get any useful info.  And if they’re willing to go that far, you’ve got bigger problems.

There are some nifty features too. You can pick a power song, and play it at any time during the run for motivation. There are a bunch of podcast and mix tracks available just for the Nike+. Nike has some for sale through iTunes that include coaching, but I haven’t checked any out yet.

But what I’m really digging is the community website. My buddy Sean challenged me to see who can run 31 miles first in the New Year. Loser buys a half rack of beer, winner’s choice. After I run I just connect the iPod to the ‘puter and it uploads my info to the website, then I can check out our progress. I also have a personal goal set for the month of January to carry me past Sean’s initial challenge. So if you see me cruising around with painted fingernails, you’ll know I didn’t make 50 miles this month. I logged about 2.5 miles today, and Sean has none…I bet he’s sandbagging. That or just walking around Disneyland with the iPod connected.

By the way…I really don’t enjoy running. But the Nike+ thing is getting me going for now. It helps me set small attainable goals and tracks me doing it.

It’s not perfect though. My main complaint is a small one. When playing the power song, the song in the background is paused, and when the power song finishes you’re returned to where you left off. It’s not a terrible thing, but it seems like it breaks the continuity of the workout a bit, instead of dropping you back in with the playlist moved forward that amount. Oh, well. We’re doing it to sweat.

By the way, you should be sure to checkout the website. You can’t access all the features until you’ve logged your first run, but there’s some good stuff. The resolutions videos are particularly ridiculous.

Congrats Ninja

Well, GPSD had its championships this weekend, my team Top Hammer GDST (Green Dawn Soccer Team) played Ninja for the Men’s open D-1 championship.  It was an excellent game, our squad played well and hard.  An unlucky break early in the game led to an own goal to put us down 0-1, which is how the game finished, despite some very strong midfield play, and good showing for our defense and offense despite the freezing conditions.  It was something like 31 F on the thermometer, and at least 10-15 mph winds.  Holy crap it was cold.  Anyway, like any solid team we went out for beers afterwards, and even hosted a few of the opponents.

Futsal is fun!

We got a squad (Moist) in at the brand spankin new futsal joint in SE Portland for this season. In fact, our team had the honor of winning the very first league futsal game ever at the new arena. It was a bit of a blowout at 28-2. Not very nice, I think a few guys had some frustrations to unleash after our men’s team was crushed by PSU the day before. Really bad. I also earned the dubious distinction of being the first league injury. Yay me. Stupid toe.

Anyway, in case you didn’t know, futsal is a Brazilian sport played a lot like soccer. There are four field players and a goalie on each team. It is played on a field the size of a basketball court, indoors or out. The goals are smaller than indoor goals, somewhere around 5′ by 5′ or 6′ by 6′ but I’m not sure. The ball is somewhat different, being smaller and having less bounce that a soccer ball.

Futsal is a quick game with very close quarters. It is very tactical soccer. There are a lot of shots, and they travel hard and fast. Capitalizing on transitions is key as well.

Portland futsal is a pretty cool place. It used to be a tile factory or showcase or somesuch, and you can see the samples in the upstairs lounge where you can play PS2 FIFA Street, or watch any of the three fields in action. There are two full-sized futsal fields and a smaller field probably to be used for 3v3 or juniors play. They do not (yet?) sell beer, nor do they have ice, both being things that would’ve made my injury less painful.

new time zone

holy crap, two days without soccer!  In a row.  It’s not my fault, I suppose they’re giving the teams a quick breather before jumping into the quarter-finals.  Yesterday I travelled for someodd 24 hours from Hamburg back to happy Portland town.  Nice to be home, but I miss the adventure some.  Now I have to mow the lawn and go back to work and watch the games on tv with maybe 20 people instead of tens of thousands.  But the love among those 20!  Yeah.
So, tomorrow is the beginning of the quarter-finals.  I have to get up nine hours earlier now to catch the games.  But it’ll be well worth it!  Between the super-exciting matchup between Deutschland and Argentina (plenty of shots of Maradonna and Klinsman I’m sure, probably a few side-by-sides, maybe FIFA will stage a hug or a handshake) and screaming at the Italians flopping like Mike Patton’s goldfish it should be an exciting day.  I’m going to hold on to my Germany prediction.

So where’ve been the hotspots for watching the games?  I’m gravitating towards the Cheerful Tortoise, though I’m trying to talk some buddies into heading to the Red Wing.  Maybe I’ll go there for the second.

As far as photos, I’ve loaded them onto my ‘puter, but haven’t begun the arduous task of making them smaller yet.

Day 8 – Berlin with Uli

I arrive Friday late afternoon. We drink coffee at his house and ride the train to the city. My card is not working so I have no money. We drink beer on the train, many people do. Often there are little stores conveniently located to sell one a bottle of beer. Not many cans here. We walk around and have what appears to be lebanese food, similar to a doner. Which is not too different than gyros bot more cabbage and sometimes different bread.

me and Uli
The coffee and beer have made our bladders short. The day is beautiful, we piss a lot. And drink much beer as we walk around Berlin, stopping at another shop for a walking beer. We take the train to Potsdammer, piss in an empty lot…there is a ton of construction around Berlin. We walk to the Fanmille after picking up another beer, where we watch France workover Togo. We drink beer there and piss in the woods, then walk to a nearby pub with a nice garden. They close at one, and unsure what to do we wander a bit, drinking a beer, and decide to visit a party of Uli’s students, who’d graduated that day and arranged a club in which to celebrate.

Downstairs and hot, it was a happening clu, with three bars, two dance rooms, a movie/social room (similar to the Bar of the Gods) room, and a relaxed room. We drank, talked, danced, and smoked all night, riding the train (runs all night!) and crawling into bed at 6:30.

Abstract probability and the World Cup champion

I predict Germany will be the winner of the world cup this year. And here is my proof.

Word on the street is that Brazil is favored and I accept that. But is their probability better than 50% to win? I think not. Thus, we must say that a team other than Brazil should win.

Looking at the field, Germany seems to be the strongest and carry the greatest odds.

As I have already proven that Brazil will not win but will fall to a worthy opponent, and that of the teams in the match who are not Brazil Germany is strongest, we have now determined that Germany will carry the cup home the short drive from Germany to Germany.

Day 5 – playing with the Germans

Heads up, I’m just posting these as I have time and in whatever order I feel like. If you’re hoping for up-to-the-minute scores, check out FIFA’s website. Lunched with Nina’s family, had the white asparagus so popular here for the first time. It was really good and made my piss smell different that regular asparagus. Then off to Lasser’s for sone BBQ with some friends and to watch Germany play Ecuador. Both teams were going through and Germany dominated, so the game wasn’t very exciting.

me and the team

After the game I got to play some soccer with Tobi and Lasser’s club team, a semi-final match. They didn’t have enough jerseys so I was honored to sport the German national jersey, the only one out. We all enjoyed the irony, especially as it was suggested that I not talk since there would be no Americans in this league.

the clay pitch

I was astonished that the turf we were to play on was a red clay. Just touching it took skin. We went up 1-0 in the first half and held it through the game, which was played largely in the center of the field. I mostly played defense but got 5-10 minutes at forward in which I beat the keeper (too intent on pushing me out of the way to go for the ball) on a corner for a header off the crossbar. Also a nice turning cross, returned just a step ahead of me…oh, so close! Overall, I think I did pretty well for an American.

After the game we sang….fee-nahl-uh—oh-ay-oh from time to time and had some beers. It seems that German fields all have locker rooms with showers and such for both teams. We don’t even get toilets in the US at most fields.

And then back to Lasser’s to watch England v Sweden, and exciting game. Though both teams were almost certainly through (a drastic upset by Trinidad & Tobago could put them through in some outcomes), they were yet to determine who plays Germany and who gets Ecuador in the next round.

The game ended a tie with solid play from both sides, and some really nice goals. Rooney looked pissed after he was pulled, thogh they didn’t show his face when his replacement scored.

My picks

Okay…they’re late, but these are my predictions from this round on.

1/8
——
Germany v Sweden – Germany
Argentina v Mex – Argentina
Eng v Ecu – Eng
Por v Hol – Hol
Bra v Ghana – Brazil
Ita v Aus – Italy
Spa v Fra – Spain
Ukr v Switz – Switerland

1/4
———
Ger v Arg – Germany
Bra v Spa – Brazil
Switz v Ita – Switzerland
Hol v Eng – Holland

1/2
——-
Ger v Switz – Germany
Brazil v Netherlands – Brazil

3rd – Netherlands
1st – Germany

Um. I guess I have the Netherlands going too far.

Day 10 – wtf was that? (Portugal v Netherlands)

On the way to the Fan Fest downtown Hamburg I saw a woman jogging in a turquoise Ramones T-shirt. Something was about to happen.

Tobi started singing ‘yellow — yellow — yellowred’ and I joined it. Just a made-up song for the game, early in the second half. But that described it. Four red cards, all of them double yellows, and I felt mostly ridiculous. In fact, there were a couple red cards I felt would be deserved, but they didn’t get raised. In particular Sneidjur’s retaliatory tackle against Deca well into the second half. We were figuring 10 minutes of extra time would be added on at the end for all the time lost due to cards and injury, but the ref wanted to go home and limited to 6 minutes.

Rain fell in Hamburg and they moved us from the bleachers.

portugal fans

It is games like this that make it clear how important a good official is. After the game Tobi said there were three teams in that match: Portugal, Netherlands, and the official. It shouldn’t ever be that way. Poor officiating can take an otherwise aggresive but amicable game and escalate it out of control. Officials in this cup have been far too quick with their whistles and their cards. Players want to play and fans hope to see them play. Last night’s game, and US v Italy as well as US v Ghana, exemplify this. The referee made very questionable decisions that directly and indirectly affect the outcome of the game.

Poor officiating is bad for all parties involved. Both teams get frustrated and this leads to a fight or flight situation, most often ending in fight (not necessarily fisticuffs). Recently I played in a coed game. It started well, the game was fun for awhile. Then the ref started blowing his whistle for now valid reason. A lot. Probably the worst-officiated game I’ve ever played in. Players got frustrated and overly aggressive, things started getting mean on both sides. I started tracking players and hitting them. This is not my usual behavior, but when you get called for a fair trap you get confused. After the game I shook his hand and said ‘thank you for taking two teams of perfectly decent people and turning them into ass holes.’ Harsh, but I was very pissed. Believe me, I almost never say anything to the ref, and never anything like that.

Back to the World Cup. Portugal managed to hold onto their early lead of 1-0 throughout the game, both teams finished with 9 men on the field. Bizarro world.

some pub off the reiperbahn

After the game we went to the Reiperbahn (side streets) for a few nice bars. Drank beer of course, then ended up at a karaokee joint. Someone stole my beer off the table while I looked at songs. Later someone bought me a beer, so life works out. I sang I Can’t Fight This Feeling. Good times. A German I’d been talking to told be I was ‘shit. No, worse than shit,’ but I don’t think I was that bad really. Took the cab home after 3am. I opened the window and the German flag flew off. The cabbie got pissed and I went back for it. good times.

What no bier?

so, you may have noticed by now that I’m not talking about German beer that much. Well, it’s there and it’s good and there’s a lot of it. Not necessarily in me at the moment but passing through. Lots of Pilseners. Beck’s Gold has been really popular with the circles I’m running with, as well as Radlers which are some sort of lemon/beer mix. I enjoyed a nice Koenig Pilsener last night when I got back from Berlin in time to watch the extra time in the Argentina/Mexico game. Each Fan Fest seems to feature its own local favorite (or at least a different cheap…) beer.

Contrary to popular belief it is not ONLY American Budweiser served at stadiums. If you look around you can find Bitburger, which is marginally better than Bud. After all these tasty beers, Budweiser really tastes bad. Also, I’m not sure who’s actually responsible for them, but while McDonald’s hosts concessions at the stadiums, you’re not stuck with typical McDonald’s fair. You can also gobble down some sausages and pretzels (the big yummy kind).

Day 6

Today I was mistaken for a Swede for the first time. Watching them play England, I’d noticed the mullet was more popular on their side. Still sporting it.

After watching the early games (Mexico v Portugal and Angola v Iran) with Tobi, Flo and I cruised down to the Hamburg Fan Fest. Much larger than the ones at Cologne and Hannover, there was a great festival atmosphere with food offered from each of the 32 countries. I wonder if they’ll shut down after their teams are elimintated, leaving only German and Brazilian food at the final. Also they had fun games like human foosball and other games, a beach club, music, and dancing.

We met Meike and Sandra, had some beers (and ciders/snakebites from the English pub, and watched Argenta play the Netherlands to an uninspiring 0-0 tie. Both had already made it through so they allowed players to rest and not accumulate a second yellow card (a second in a round keeps you out of the next game, but after the third the count starts fresh).

Local World Cup Bloggers

Came across two bloggers tracking the World Cup as well, I’m sure there are more so as I come across them, I will update this. Bunco Parade and A Pretty Move. Jack Bog is keeping up on it too, and having a pool for the next rounds (link is on the sidebar). Update1: I like 11 devils too and I’m excited to hear what Zach’s secret mission is. And Shawn Levy’s blog.