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wimbledon, 2008 July 9, 2008

Posted by d.w. in sports.
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for posterity’s sake, i’d like to mention that sunday was one of the greatest days of my life. i got up at 7:30a to watch the wimbledon final between rafael nadal and roger federer. during the first rain delay, i went up to brian and gavin’s house. there’s was a big party, basically. i ate some waffles and then the rain delay was over. we watched a riveting 4th set. i couldn’t believe it. really. then there was a brief rain delay in the 5th set, and i played ping pong outdoors. which is nice because of how much space you have, but also kind of weird because you have to deal with the wind. i typed in “ping pong wind” into google, but it thought i said wind, not wind. like a wind up toy ping pong, pictured below.

when tennis started again, we went back inside and watched a fantastic 5th set that i was sure would spill over into the next day. but by some miracle, nadal broke federer and served out to win. there were so many incredible shots by both of those guys. i was really glad to see federer playing so well, especially considering that according to djokovic, federer was vulnerable after his french open loss.

the main point is that this was more than just the best sporting event i’ve ever been a part of. for probably the only time in my life, i wasn’t disappointed by the athletes i love. i don’t get disappointed in them. disappointment isn’t the right word. but it does make me sad when they don’t play as well as i know they can. in basketball my favorite teams always lose, and they usually lose early. same in everything. but not with this wimbledon. if i’d planned wimbledon out, it might’ve been really close to this. i was glad to see all the early upsets: blake and roddick in the 2nd round; djokovic choking in the 3rd; sharapova in one of those early rounds. and i was really excited to see nadal and federer reach the final so convincingly. nadal only lost a set en route to the final and federer didn’t even drop a set.

so wimbledon is supposedly the most sacred tennis event. i don’t buy into that, but according to people, this wimbledon victory for nadal is the best tennis result spain could hope for. and now spain is trying to do what boston couldn’t… win the championship in 3 major sports. the patriots lost to the giants in last year’s super bowl, so only ended up with 2 championships: the red sox in baseball and the celtics in basketball. basketball, baseball, and football are arguably the most popular american sport and boston is one of the favorite cities, despite a history of racism. but they only got 2 out of 3. i’m trying to think of the top sports worldwide. obviously soccer is number one, and spain just won the uefa final. i think tennis is one of the top 3. and nadal just won two straight majors for spain. maybe basketball is becoming more of a world sport. at least the nba is trying to convince me that it is every chance they get. so all spain needs to do is win basketball in the olympics. and spain will be better than boston. i’m pretty sure most people already think spain is better than boston. except maybe scorsese. that departed movie was awesome.

i found these spanish commercials last week. rafael nadal and pau gasol. the premise is that they’re going to be given these really great watches. but they have to perform some task. after they fail, the lady tells them that they can only have the watches if they give up sports. then they hang out on the beach, making margaritas and telling girls what time it is using their sweet watches.

not the best commercials. i wish nadal would only ones like that commercial from last year’s us open. which reminds me, i’ll be very interested to see how he fares in the us open. he’s on like a 26 match winning streak but has never been able to get it done on hard courts. so maybe this will be the year.

and in tennis news June 26, 2008

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the raptors want to trade t.j. ford. they’re ready to go with jose calderon as their point guard. supposedly they were going to trade ford and rasho nesterovic for jermaine o’neal. which i think would have been a mistake. but mostly because i don’t like the pacers and i do like t.j. ford. so if they’re interested in keeping me happy, indiana and toronto made the right move in stopping the negotiations. i’m not a knicks fan or anything, and i’m certainly not a mike d’antoni fan, but i think the knicks should try to get t.j. ford. he could just run all over the place. or i think the hawks should. but they just got mike bibby. or maybe the trailblazers. as guess as long as he doesn’t land on his neck again i’ll be glad that he’s still playing. even if he’s playing on a team i don’t like.

deron williams and carlos boozer are on the usa olympic team. i still think iverson should be on the team, but i’m glad they went with williams. i think boozer might be an olympic dud, but maybe i’ll be wrong. even if boozer is on the jazz, he still went to duke, so there’s plenty about him to not like so much. especially since he never responded to brian’s suggestion that he take on the nickname slambidunkxtrous.

rafael nadal played his opening match of wimbledon this morning against andreas beck. i kept thinking he was playing against john beck, but i think he wouldn’t have dropped a point against john beck. or against jon schmidt. if one of the sets was a piano competition, i still think nadal might win. i don’t know if nadal has ever played the piano, but i’m sure i’d like him as a piano player. i’m biased though. i think i would root for nadal in anything. and i know that i would root against jon schmidt in everything. like if he was up against cancer (even just skin cancer) or something, i’d root for cancer. so nadal won 6-4, 6-4, 7-6. he didn’t face a break point all day, and was (clearly) totally dominant on his serve. but his return game left a lot to be desired. he was on the defense during beck’s service throughout the morning. only 2 breaks. anyways, they went to tiebreak in the 3rd set and nadal beat beck 7-0. it’s just the first round, and it’s not nadal’s favorite surface, so i think he’ll get more return confidence. his next round matchup is against a big server, so hopefully he figures that out quick.

the williams sisters won. they both looked really good. venus was playing really well, i thought. and serena played in a trenchcoat. well, she warmed up for like 2 minutes in a trenchcoat and then took it off. i think that a williams sisters final would be awesome. i would root for venus. they’re doing a piece on lindsay davenport. how she lost to venus in the 2005 final 4-6,7-6,9-7. then some really touching music came on. you know, kind of like the where amazing happens music, but more touching. and it showed davenport’s baby and she said that tennis isn’t her top priority anymore. i wonder if her baby will be a tennis player. or a piano player. i wonder if lindsay davenport has ever met jon schmidt. somehow that guy is “semi-popular” outside of utah as well. that’s something i just don’t get. they just said her husband’s name is jonathan. makes you wonder.

so federer showed up to wimbledon with a cardigan that has and “F” on the chest. and it has 5 buttons. one for every wimbledon championship. i don’t remember how many buttons his jacket had at the french open. but i do remember how many french open championships he has. dis. anyways, i like federer. i don’t get why everyone thinks that he’s struggling so much. so he lost to djokavic in the australian open and to nadal in the french open. big deal. djokavic is playing really well and nadal is the best clay-court player ever. so coming into wimbledon everyone was talking about how this is the year because federer is on the way down. but he hasn’t lost a grass court match since like 2004 or something. i think 60 straight grass court matches. not only is federer probably the best tennis player in history, he’s for sure the best grass court player in history. so i don’t know what people are talking about. i mean, i think nadal is going to make him work for it. if they face off in the final, i’m hoping for another match like last year’s. but still, it’s federer. and he’s the one to beat. but even if you’re roger federer, you don’t have to buy into how you’re supposed to wear something classy to wimbledon. wimbledon dress-code is worse than the nba dress-code which is racist. wimbledon tries to make you remember that you’re not supposed to play tennis unless you’re rich. i guess you don’t play wimbledon unless you’re rich. or rather, as soon as you win wimbledon you’re rich. and then you can buy cardigans to wear. so despite everyone worrying about roger’s focus and his abilities, he cruised to victory in the first round. i don’t want to look up the score. he won in an hour and 19 minutes.

oh yeah, and sharapova won. her dog gave her the signal to eat a banana partway through the second set.

the future of tennis June 9, 2008

Posted by d.w. in sports.
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this morning rafael nadal and roger federer fittingly faced off in the final of the french open. (i know alliteration impresses brian, and i want him to think that i’m a decent writer.) this is the third straight year where nadal and federer played each other in the final. the year before, nadal beat federer in the semifinal. last year rafael nadal didn’t drop any sets on the way to the final before beating roger federer 3-1. then in wimbledon federer won 3-2 in one of the most incredible matches i’ve ever watched. so this year i figured would be a close one. both federer and nadal were playing the best clay court tennis of their careers. federer had only dropped 3 sets before the final and nadal had again not lost any. the match wasn’t close at all. nadal got an early lead and broke federer twice in the first set to win it 6-1. roger f. was down 2-0 in the second set and put together a good twenty minutes of tennis with some stunning winners to tie it up at 2-2. each held serve and then rafael n. went crazy, winning the next 9 games to finish the match in around 2 hours.

i figured the match would last a lot longer. i’d planned my whole morning around watching tennis and found myself with a lot of free time. luckily, there was another competition going on: robonaut vs. athlete.

robonaut is a humanoid robot designed by nasa to be able to perform extra-vehicular activities (i.e. space-walks). it has a torso shaped like a human with arms and hands and a helmet that looks like boba fett. the helmet has two eyes, so that visual relays can provide depth. the arms have a total of 14 degrees of freedom each: 2 in each wrist and 12 in each hand. this gives the robonaut a surprising amount of dexterity, which in turn enables robonaut to perform tasks that were not designed to be handled by robots. the size of the hands is roughly the same size as a suited astronauts hands, so robonaut can get to those hard-to-reach areas (much like a nice toothbrush). the torso can be placed in a number of lower “bodies” depending on the required task. the two that i’ve seen is the segway robonaut where he has a segway for legs and the centaur robonaut where he “sits” on a 4-wheeler of sorts.

athlete is a six-legged robotic lunar rover. athlete stands for All-Terrain Hex-Legged Extra-Terrestrial Explorer. the athlete is 4 meters in diameter and can stand 6 meters tall. each of the six legs has six degrees of freedom. athlete can roll along or walk, depending on the terrain, and is capable of sustaining a load of 450 kg. multiple athletes can be docked together to form what some call ultrathlete, which i can only imagine stands for Ultimate Laterally-TetheRed All-Terrain Hex-Legged Extra-Terrestrial Explorers. it can move over 10 kmh on terrain like that of the moon, 100 times faster than the mars rover, and can climb 35 degree inclines of rocks.

the competition of interest is a race up to the top of a hill in a crater in arizona, which is essentially a simulation of robot racing on the moon or on mars, which will become widely popular in the late 21st century.

the competitors arrived early. athlete on the left, robonaut in the middle, k-10 on the right with scout right behind k-10. the suited astronaut was the ref.

after a brief rain delay, k-10, robonaut and athlete are ready to go. robonaut shows off his dexterity with a little bit of a cheap move, tying athlete to an anchored stake.

with robonaut and athlete busy battling each other, k-10 heads for the hill,

and then remembers that it is not capable of climbing hills. with athlete tied to a stake, robonaut takes off up the hill.

athlete finally breaks loose and heads for the steepest part of the hill, in hopes of cutting off robonaut’s path.

athlete passes robonaut, since hill-climbing is its strong-suit. but robonaut has some more tricks up his sleeve. he hooks a tether-line to athlete and catches a ride during the last quarter of the hill.

robonaut takes advantage of its understanding of the slingshot maneuver to swing past athlete for the victory. robonaut wins and gets its picture taken with athlete.

but what robonaut didn’t know is that there was no prize. they give robonaut a box with the label “trophy” and robonaut opens it up, only to be embarrassed in front of all its friends.

looks like athlete gets the last laugh. (that was for brian again.)

they hate our freedom June 8, 2008

Posted by d.w. in sports.
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i got on tennis.com last night to check what time today’s matches started. the two matches today are nadal-djokavic and federer-monfils. so i wanted to set my alarm and wake up early to watch. nadal is the world number two and he’s the three-time french open champion who has never lost a match at the french open. in fact, he hasn’t even dropped a set in this year’s french open. on the other hand, djokavic is the world number three who won the australian open and has won more matches in the last year than anyone else. the winner of this match will be the world number two and will be playing in the french open final. i only saw half a set by monfils and i thought he was fast and looked cool, but brian said that he’s got a great game. so i obviously wanted to get up and watch. i know the matches start early in the french open, and tennis.com said that at 10:00a eastern time the tennis channel was going to start broadcasting. i woke up at 8:00a mountain time and turned on the tv. there was nothing on. so i got online to see when the games would start only to find out that the nadal-djokavic match was already over. what a joke. not only do i have to wait for 2 hours before i can watch tennis, but one of the matches i was interested in watching was already over and i had already seen the result: nadal in 3 sets. nadal is in the final and he still hasn’t lost a set.

i had two hours to kill. so i did the only sensible thing. i read about the september 11th attacks on the world trade center and the pentagon. did you know that there were large (and lethal) amounts of asbestos in lower manhattan for a few months? there’s been over 60 people associated with the cleanup effort that have died of cancer. oh yeah, and the air had been declared safe without testing it first.

so it’s finally 10:00a and tennis is on. maybe they’ll just skip the nadal-djokavic match so i can watch monfils and federer before i have to go up to school. nope. they’re going to show the nadal-djokavic match. if only i hadn’t already seen online. that’s okay. nadal is my favorite player and i don’t like djokavic, so it’ll be worth it to see him get killed.

it’s tied 1-1 and nadal has advantage. he’s already had 4 break chances this match. and he hits this incredible backhand winner to go up. so he’s up 2-1 now. game four, nadal is serving but down 15-30 and hits another backhand winner. 30-30. another winner, this time a forehand. 40-30. passing shot for the game.

now they’re talking about nadal’s foot and knee problems. apparently he’s a size 11 1/2 but wears size 10. no wonder i always think his feet look so small. djokavic comes to the net twice in a row. first time gets a volley winner. second time nadal loops it over him. 15-15. unforced error djokavic. 15-30. “You have 10-story buildings that leave more debris than these two 100-story towers, Where the f*** is everything? A serious week-long search and we’ve found 200 [bodies] in a pile of 5,000? What’s going on? Where is everyone? Why aren’t we finding more bodies? Cause it’s all vaporized — turned to dust. We’re breathing people in that dust.” Mercedes commercial. the game must’ve finished while i was reading. it doesn’t matter, i already know nadal will win the set (and the match). djokavic won. nadal’s up 3-2 and serving.

i just read this page: a critical review of morgan reynold’s “why did the trade center’s skyscrapers collapse?”

and now nadal is up 5-4 and 40-30. set point. first serve fault. second serve unforced error by djokavic. prediction: nadal will win 6-4, 6-2, 7-6. so i have to leave now. maybe i’ll tape the monfils match. and not look online. i already saw that they were tied after 2 sets. good for monfils.

jazz vs. warriors May 9, 2007

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i just barely got to the bowling alley in the basement of the union building here at oregon state university. i don’t have cable, so when i can’t convince nathan to hang out (he said he’s busy?!), i have to come here to watch basketball games. it’s pretty awesome. they have a big screen t.v. and mostly everyone who comes in is under 16. also, they play music really loud. so i don’t have to listen to marv albert. instead, i get to listen to van halen’s runnin’ with the devil. “doo doooo. dadadoo oo doo oooo.”

so utah’s up 17-7 right now and i want to talk about how i am really excited about this series. and not just because i like the jazz and love golden state. actually, that’s probably exactly why i’m excited about it. let me mention that again. i like the jazz a lot and i love golden state. i really am happy to see the jazz in the playoffs. i know that i was rooting for the rockets, but that was mostly about rooting for tracy mcgrady. i love that guy. and i wanted him to win so that people would stop getting on his case. he had the best year of his career and he played a great series against the jazz. anyways, as sad as i am, i’ll be over it soon. i mean, t-mac’s a fighter. i wasn’t so sure a couple years ago when he was depressed, but he’s back. so next year — watch out.

they just went to commercial and it was for nbastore.com. you’d think they could afford marketing. but instead they make commercials that are worse than oregon public commercials — specifically kiefer kia, mr. appliance, and the stereo store. here’s a mr. appliance commercial.

the stereo store is the worst of the three. even if kiefer kia hires some girl to sing (pretty badly) the whole commercial, it’s better than the following stereo store commercial.
boy: now will you go out with me?
girl: um, no.
boy: why not?
girl: your stereo.
boy: i need that spring thing.
girl: you need the stereo store.
then it goes to an add for their spring sale called “that spring thing” and then it cuts back.
boy: i got that spring thing.
girl: you got the stereo store.
end of commercial.

how in the world does the nbastore.com make worse commercials?

i can’t wait until they cut to the stockton and malone statues. that’s going to be sweet.

so it’s 28-27 right now. the jazz are ahead. so far al harrington and mehmet okur are going crazy. i think this series is going to be sweet. but i have to admit that even though i’m from utah and i like the jazz, i want golden state to win. not just that, i think they can totally do it. the teams match up pretty good, but i think golden state are still tough to guard. stephen jackson just made a 3. remember when he was 7-8 in game 6 against dallas? remember how anytime anybody got in an argument he had his fists cocked, ready to punch anybody in the face? i wonder if he’s going to punch derek fisher in his fat cheeks. but not until game 2, since fisher’s out. anyways, i think this series might go 7 games after all. and that’s fine by me. “some people claim that there’s a woman to blame, but i know — doodoodoodo doooo — it’s my own damn fault — doodoodoodo doooo.”

it’s the end of the first quarter and the jazz lead 37-35. this is pretty high scoring. the jazz are playing lots faster than i thought. good for them. they’re playing pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good. citi commercial — do parents ever drop their kids off at dorms and just dump everything onto the grass and leave? d.wade/c.barkley commercial — my favorite is the way charles says, “if you make this putt…” he even gambles in commercials. what a cool dude. come on stockton statue, come on… nope.

start of the second quarter. block by kiriblinko. he’s going to get a 20/20 with blocks and rebounds. does matt barnes have a medusa tattoo? maybe, but they still call travels on him. what did bolerjack start calling okur after they told him not to say money shot? i can’t remember. besides the statues, the thing i’m hoping for the most is that they say that “pound for pound, matt harpring is one of the strongest players in the nba.” i’ve heard them say that like 8 times this season. and i don’t get that many jazz games up here. one of the key things i’ve realized this playoffs is that the video game commentators on nba live are spot on. we used to always make fun of the fact that there’s only like 6 things that they say about each player. but what i’ve realized is that it’s true to life. every commentator just spits out the same few phrases. i don’t think they steal from each other. i think they have like a page on each person for each team. there’s like 15 sentences and 10 weird stats per player and coach. and there’s like 25 sentences and 20 weird stats about each team. they just look on their list and say what fits best. they probably get the sheets the night before so they can study. then it seems more natural. except for bolerjack. i bet he just hears someone else say it and steals it. they probably don’t give him access to their lists and he’s probably way sad about it.

so video games. they’re exactly like real life. watching this series is like watching greg play against brian. me and brian like to play pretty fast. i play fast and pretty small. brian plays fast and likes to have everyone between 6’4″ and 6’8″ so they can all play any position. so he’s more like golden state than i am. anyways, greg’s a half court sort of guy. so this is like the playoffs of every season we’ve played. if the warriors win, i bet all the jazz fans whine at least as much as greg does.

47-47 with 6 minutes left in the half. d.w. hits the free throw to put the jazz up one. then he gets called for a blocking foul. commercials! sonic. “why not raspberry ice M, or any other of the 48 letters?” “before you continue, may i sub-respond?” oh comcast is up to twice as fast as dsl. hmm. didn’t know that they had everything i need to keep my small business going. shot of trax. no statue still. agent zero (gilbert arenas) and t-mac drink vitamin water, just like urlacher.

cactus.jpg9 ties so far. is that supposed to be impressive? i think it is, but what’s a usual amount of ties? kirilenko is headed towards a cinco-cinco. i wish this game had been on saturday. baron davis dunked. biedrins had a stupid look on his face. get a kirilenko mohawk, biedrins. then we’ll talk. time-out. pet web-cams. i hope they make pet reality shows next. especially a cat. t-mobile fave five commercial #3. heineken. hyundai.

61-59 jazz. d.w. had 2 assists and a 3 pointer in 3 possessions. usa basketball commercial. why is brad miller on that team again? who is brad miller anyways? i keep looking in the jazz crowd for friends. but i don’t know anybody that’s supposed to be there. maybe prince is there to see booz cruise? 1 minute left in the half. matt barne s — 3 pointer. d.w. — push off. monta ellis — travel. dee brown — turnover. j.rich — layup. jazz — missed shot(s). end of half. golden state 66, utah 63. crowd is booing. baron davis went 5-5 shooting in the second quarter.
halftime show. baron davis — 17 points, d.w. — 16 points. charles barkley: “jazz are going to get layups. golden state lives and dies by the jumper.” ernie thinks kirilenko is playing great. it’s weird because i agree. it would be weirder if i agreed with kenny smith. one time i wrote a letter to kenny smith after the 2006 all-star game:

dear kenny smith,
i saw you. i saw you change your vote. you had a 9 for iguodala’s dunk. he went behind his back for crying out loud. it was one of the top 20 dunks i’ve seen and you had a 9. that’s cool. but then you looked to see what everyone else had and you changed yours to an 8. did you think nobody noticed? i know nate robinson is sweet. and who doesn’t want a little guy to win the dunk contest. but seriously, have you ever seen someone dunk like andre iguodala? you changed your vote to force a final dunk and you thought nobody noticed. well i did. and i’m calling the ranger on you. oh no, not the ranger!
sincerely, aaron d.w.

that last part i added just now. but it doesn’t matter since i never sent the letter. i’m free to modify however i want. i might as well admit that i just rewrote the whole letter right now. brian knows that we lost our letters to kenny smith and i don’t want some lame comment at the bottom. t-mobile commercial #4. smooth jazz 105.9 — the right songs at the right time. the fresh new sounds for portland’s work day. t-mobile commercial #5. still no statues.

6 minutes left in the third quarter. both teams have cooled off a bit. 77-74 golden state. coors light trains have their own lane on roads in new york city. kirilenko’s looking good still. just got fouled. chance to tie it up and pull ahead. miss. and make. 79-79. 4 minutes left. as far as i know, brian invented the term cinco-cinco. remember that. 2 minutes left in the third. 82-82. the strongest man in the world drinks coors light. but his name isn’t tarmo mitt. i wanted tarmo mitt to win pretty badly. i saw him compete in the barrel tossing event and the double-car deadlift event. he’s my strongest man. i don’t care what anyone else says. i love you, tarmo. one time, i was just walking around and i thought about tarmo mitt cobrakai300dpi.jpgfor apparently no reason. so i sent a text message to nathan that said, “tarmo mitt.” turns out, 10 minutes before i sent the message, robin was on the phone with her dad and she asked nathan what the name of that one strongest man competitor was. i’m pretty sure that i do have a very high level of intuition. the tarot card reader at that harry potter party was right. i might dress up as professor snape this halloween. unless i’m one of the cobra kai from karate kid. i want to be their halloween characters for halloween. it’s like in inland empire when that girl is watching her television on her television. or maybe i’ll be matt barnes. that guy is cool.

end of the third quarter. 89-84 warriors. urlacher/ortiz badminton vitamin water commercial. start of the 4th quarter. another fade-away by al harrington. that guy is playing great. i’m glad. he didn’t get much playing time against the mavericks because of the matchup problems. money ball hits a 3. it’s the fourth quarter. this is when it’s starts raining for him. sweet pass by baron davis. pietrus misses. i like pietrus, but it was a total clank.

owning honda motorcycles is like having wings. huh. i did not know that. the florida football players weren’t sufficiently hydrated. naturally they called it gator-ade. oh okay. from the gators of old to this year’s team to michael jordan and the nba championship. i get it. some little league commercial. i’m no expert, though. you’ll have to ask whitney about it. she’s our local pee-wee sports expert. 95-93 warriors. 8 minutes left. baron d. fouls booz cruise. chance to tie it up. make. and miss. stuff. d.w. layup and 1. miss. pietrus makes up for the clank with a 3 pointer. harpring scores. j.rich 3 pointer. 102-98 warriors with 6 minutes left. dee b with a sweet left-handed layup. b.davis with a miss and then a foul. that’s five on b.d. and d.w.

where’s the music? it was loud earlier, now there’s none. which is worse. now i have to listen to all the 15-year-olds play pool and ice hockey and dance dance revolution behind me. and there’s this weird vibrating recliner that they keep putting dollars in and screaming. mom, what’s an IMO? probably not asking about the internation mathematics olympiad.

harpring’s jump shot ties it up, 104-104. 4 minutes left. booz cruise offensive rebound and a make. j.rich hits a 3. d.w. matches. kirilenko block. stephen j fouls. here come the punches, i can feel it. hertz commercial. i wish i was dead. doesn’t even matter which one. verizon wireless. i wish i had some quietus. the future looks to be pretty cool with that stuff. lbj’s sprite commercial. 15-year-olds talking about soy milk. another 15-year-old just said, “it’s all about the bulls and the wizards.” does he know the wizards are eliminated? “it’s all about michael jordan.” does he know he’s retired? does he know that he wasn’t very good on the wizards? does he know that jordan owns the bobcats now? two free throws for booz cruise. make and miss. 109-107 jazz. booz cruise fouls matt barnes. i bet he makes them both. he’s on the verge of a cinco-cinco, except for the blocks. is it possible to out-kirilenko kirilenko? nope, one make one miss. driving floater by matt barnes — make! 110-109 warriors. d.w. layup and 1. free throw good. 112-110 jazz. the 15-year-old’s parent figure is a jazz fan. kirilenko fouls j.rich. make, make. money ball miss. where’s the statue!? booz cruise o.r. and a make. 114-112 jazz. 17 seconds left. commercial animated by those waking life guys. stephen j 3 pointer…miss. rebound harpring. fouled. 7 seconds left. make, make. 116-112 jazz. someone with a sign that says hostile environment. i think i gave him a library card. guitar shredding at the energy solutions arena. stephen j drives and misses. game over. 116-112.

kirilenko — 1 assist and 4 steals away from a cinco-cinco. 7 blocks.
matt barnes — 1 assist, 1 steal and 5 blocks away from a cinco-cinco.
kevin bacon — bff with michael jordan. that 15 year-old probably loves him.

no stockton-to-malone statue. tnt blew it.

i gotta pick a charity by this weekend February 16, 2007

Posted by d.w. in sports.
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yesterday was crazy. i started out the day by reading brian’s article (and i agree with becky that it’s the best article to date) and finished off the day watching a lot of worthless television. but the stuff i watched was nuts. first, on sportscenter they did this anniversary piece about jason mcelwain. you might remember that he was that autistic basketball team manager for a high school called greece athena in rochester, new york, who got to play for 4 minutes and hit 6 out of 10 three pointers tying a school record and inspiring autistic kids world-wide. i think they hired the makers of the testaments to edit their piece together. or else the ones who made it are big fans of the score to the testaments and decided to either rip it off or do their best (worst) impression. it had music that was both heart-warming and heart-wrenching. it had camera shots of jason with the sun behind his head. it had touching scenes of his classmates hoisting him up and congratulating him (probably the first time that they even talked to him). it had letters from parents of autistic kids who like basketball. it had phrases like “reach for the stars” and “the sky is the limit” which, if you think about it, are somewhat contradictory. it was sweet, to say the least. watch the original game footage from a year ago right here. or you can watch the espn piece called j mac – a hoop dream, heralded by the person on who uploaded it onto youtube as “the best piece on this amazing story.”

on the subject of team names, i gotta say that greece athena is a good name for a high school. even better than this one i saw in DC called school without walls high school. i knew it was called that because it said that on the wall above the entrance.

later, after i left nathan’s house (he has cable, i don’t), i was watching tv and grading homework. i was flipping around and found charles barkley on jay leno, neither of which i like even a little bit. maybe i sort of like charles barkley, but jay leno is unfunnier than john madden and bill walton combined. anyways, he was talking about how he made this “wise crack” about one of the refs the other night and how the ref then challenged him to a race. they’re going to race down a basketball court and back. (i wouldn’t be surprised if barkley puts a million dollars on the race under a secret identity. but his gambling habits don’t qualify as a gambling problem because he can afford it.) sir charles was talking about how he might be a fat-ass, but that other guy is 67. to paraphrase: “i don’t believe he’s run in 20 years, even as a ref. 67? 67? he’s 67. there’s no way possible i lose to a 67-year-old. 67?! i don’t think a 50-year-old could beat me, so no way can someone beat me who’s 67. i’m not worried at all. the loser has to donate $50,000 to the winner’s favorite charity, so the only thing i gotta worry about is how i gotta pick a charity by this weekend.” i assume he means that he’s going to pick the first charity on some list that he’s never looked at before. then he told this story about how he ran down the hallway on super bowl weekend at his hotel to practice and pulled his hamstring. “i guess the only thing that made the super bowl good was i won money.”

then i watched this golf channel for like 15 minutes. they were playing this face-off from like 1940 or something. it was pretty cool, but i still flipped to other channels in between. which is how i caught david hasselhoff on the late late show with some weird guy i’ve never seen. d. hass (as i call him) is apparently in the producers and there was like a million germans who came to see him opening night. so they were talking about germany and why he’s such a big hit there. it turns out it was a total fluke. he released his “music” album in 1989 and was touring germany. there was some song about freedom on his album and he just happened to play it in east germany the week the wall came down. brian told me he saw this dirk nowitzki interview where dirk said that he learned english by listening to hasselhoff albums. we thought he was joking for sure, and now the joke finally makes sense. d. hass isn’t even german! but apparently he ended the cold war with his music.

sharapova v. roddick January 30, 2007

Posted by d.w. in sports.
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while most people were watching the men’s and women’s finals in the australian open, i was waiting for the bigger matchup. who, between maria sharapova and andy roddick, would perform better in their respective press conferences. people keep thinking that sharapova and roddick are dating. even if they are (i really doubt it), maria should know that andy still loves mandy moore. but i admit that they have a lot in common. for instance, andy roddick lost in the semifinals of the australian open to roger federer, by which i mean that he got killed. federer won in straight sets (big surprise, every match was won in straight sets by federer who may not drop a set all year) and roddick didn’t stand a chance. similarly, maria sharapova got killed in the final of the australian open to serena williams. also in straight sets. while some people might say that it’s less embarrassing to lose to someone who’s been the world #1 player for almost 3 years (roger federer) than to someone who was unseeded and ranked #81 coming into the australian open (serena williams), the way serena played made her pretty unbeatable. i think that it would be pretty fair to compare how they handled the press conference after their huge losses. i’ll just give you the highlights. or you can read the full transcripts for roddick’s press conference or sharapova’s press conference.

andy roddick’s highlights:

andy roddickQ. What was it like for you just being there at the end of that?
ANDY RODDICK: It was frustrating. You know, it was miserable. It sucked. It was terrible. Besides that, it was fine.

Q. Can you just take us from 4‑All on. Up to 4‑4, you’re in the match. Then you got broken.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I got broken. Then I got broken three more times. Then I got broken two more times in the third set. Then it was over 26 minutes later. Is that what you saw, too?

Q. Is he getting better? Is he getting progressively better?
ANDY RODDICK: I don’t know. I mean, better than what? You’ve been around the last three years, haven’t you?
Q. Yes.
ANDY RODDICK: So it’s been about the same.

Q. How much would you have paid in order not to come too this press conference tonight?
ANDY RODDICK: That’s about the best question that’s been asked. Well, I mean, I can’t really say an amount because I would have gotten fined, what, 20 grand. Obviously, it would have to be less than that, right, if we’re thinking logically? It really wouldn’t be about the money; it would be about running away and not facing it. I would pay a lot of money if everyone would just make up stuff that I said and pretend like I was actually here. That would be fine. My dad didn’t raise me to run away from it, so here I am.

Q. What did Jimmy say? Did you talk about that before the match, if Roger gets on a roll, try to do X, Y or Z, slow it down?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, there’s a lot of strategy talk. It’s not so much like, If you’re down 6‑4, 6‑0, 2‑0. We didn’t really talk about that. Oops.

Q. How would you write it if you had to write it?
ANDY RODDICK: Probably something similar to what you guys are going to do, I’m sure.

Q. Your performance here is better than on court.
ANDY RODDICK: No shit (laughter). If there were rankings for press conferences, I wouldn’t have to worry about dropping out of the top five, I hope.

Q. After a night like this, do you sleep well?
ANDY RODDICK: It depends on how much I drink tonight.

Q. Where are you going after this?
ANDY RODDICK: No idea actually.

and sharapova’s highlights:

maria sharapovaQ. Is it possible for you to explain what went wrong for you today?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I think it started in the second game, you know, when I’m up 40‑15, you know, and I give her that game. From then on, you know, when she’s serving pretty big and pretty consistent, you know, it was tough to break her. So, uhm, you know, I think that was a key game in the first set. And, uhm, you know, I mean, she played some ‑‑ she played some good tennis. You know, we don’t really have a lot of long rallies. It was just, you know, about, you know, a good serve percentage, which I definitely did not have, you know, which I said was going to be important, and the return. I thought she just served too good today.

Q. Seems that you didn’t serve very well during the tournament, for the whole tournament. Is it a technical problem? Is it confidence? Is it physical?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don’t see why it has anything to do with confidence. I mean, it’s not ‑‑ it’s not fairly possible to serve well all the time. I think I served ‑‑ you know, I mean, I served well when I needed to in the right points. But when you, you know, against other opponents, when I was down a break, I was able to, you know, to get the break and find a way to get good serves in when I had to. And today I didn’t feel like I could get an opening, you know, to break her, even though I did have a couple of breakpoints.

Q. You said you can never underestimate her. But did you expect her to play so well today?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Of course. I mean, she’s won six matches here. I mean, there’s no reason why, you know, she’s not playing with confidence and she’s not playing well. I mean, to be in a final of a Grand Slam and to beat the ‑‑ to beat the pretty tough players, that takes a lot of good tennis. So you have to expect it.

Q. 4‑1 in the second, you looked like you pulled something out of your bag. Was that a piece of paper?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah.
Q. Can I ask what it said?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Just a reminder.
Q. Of?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Of? Of what I’m going to buy in the grocery store. I mean, I’m playing a tennis match. It’s pretty easy ‑‑ pretty easy to understand that they’re notes about the match.

Q. I want to know if you think this is a matter of experience, since you’re getting used to talking on the microphone, or also because you felt you had to give something more to the crowd since the match was so‑so?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Thanks. You’re telling me my speech was a lot better than the match (smiling). Great, great! Wow, wow! All right. Uhm, no, you know, at that point ‑‑ you know, maybe you’re trying to make it up just naturally because you feel like, you know, you owe a few words to the crowd. No, uhm, I mean, I remember when I did my first ‑‑ when I had to do my first speech after I won a 10,000 or something in front of, I don’t know, like 90 people that showed up to watch the match. I was just thinking to myself, These people do ‑‑ don’t want to hear what I have to say. I remember being so embarrassed about it.

Q. Does she still have the best first serve in women’s tennis?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, I mean, I’ve played against her when her first serve wasn’t completely on, you know, when she’s had to rely on her second serves a lot. I mean, I think it’s consistently the biggest. I think on important points, you know, she still goes for the big serve. And a little has to do with confidence, as well. You know, when you step on a line and it’s, you know, a tough situation, I think it’s pretty gutsy to come up with a big serve. But it’s definitely her biggest weapon, I feel, yeah.

Q. Andy Roddick lost completely against Federer. He was handling the loss very nice. He said, Just go back to work, work hard. What kind of a lesson is that for you today?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, of course. I mean, as much as I can be disappointed about losing a tennis match, I mean, I’ll be honest with you, I don’t like losing. I know you all know that. It’s not fun. You go back in the locker room, like, Darn it, I just lost. Someone is celebrating over there. They’re going to be opening a bottle of champagne.

i think andy roddick is for sure in the top 5 for press conferences. way better than shaq and that guy doesn’t even make any sense when he’s talking. from a scale of -5 to 5 i give roddick’s performance a 4.5 and i give a 1.5 to sharapova’s. so if they’re dating, it’s a big mistake because she’s not mandy moore enough for andy, and he’s way too funny for her to handle.

i should be rafael nadal’s tennis coach January 25, 2007

Posted by d.w. in sports.
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there’s a few obstacles though:

  • he already has a coach named toni
  • his coach is his uncle
  • he’s already been #2 in the world for like 78 weeks
  • i’m not good at tennis and i don’t know how to coach it
  • i can’t even get rid of my own tennis elbow

some of those can be easily disregarded. i don’t have to fix other people’s tennis elbow, that’s what trainers are for, and i think you can just hire those. so i guess only one of those doesn’t matter. i still don’t know anything about coaching tennis and his uncle obviously does, so i don’t want to replace him. i want to be hired as a co-coach with toni nadal. let me tell rafael and toni what i could do for them as a coach. i could coach him during a match. what’s that? it’s illegal? B.F.D. i’ve devised a way to coach from the stands. first of all, nobody can know that i’m his coach. only him and toni. everyone will think that toni’s his only coach. so i’ll show up as a spectator at the game and i’ll hang out during the other matches and hold up signs and stuff. but the signs have phone numbers on them. i’ll keep holding up phone numbers during the early matches and whenever the camera zooms in on my i’ll make the “call me” signal with my hand. i’ll even mouth “call me” to the camera. the trick is that the first 2 numbers of the telephone number will be code for nadal. everyone will think that i’m just nuts. but i’ll be coaching nadal from the stands. toni can call the shots to me via telepathy (or technology) and i’ll relay the message using our phone number system.

i came up with this in a dream. that’s a lie. i actually came up with it during the clijsters-hingis match last night. i wanted hingis to win, but she didn’t. and i saw her coach yell something and the announcers were like, “what was that about?” but if i was in the stands holding up signs with phone numbers, they’d just be like, “who is that idiot in the stands?” they wouldn’t even think that i was coaching her. i thought i would try to be hingis’ coach, nadal v. gonzalezbut then i got online this morning and read about how rafael nadal lost last night. i should’ve stayed up to watch it. then at least i could’ve tried to relay messages to nadal via telepathy (or technology) and maybe he could’ve pulled out the win. brian called it, too. he said that the chilean, fernando gonzalez, who beat james blake and now nadal, was pretty awesome. gonzalez was the 10th seed coming into the australian open and he beat nadal in 3 straight sets. when i read that, i decided that rafael and toni nadal need my help. they need secret coaching. one of the codes will be: 26 = “your capris look cool.” i’ll probably hold that one up the most.

i’m planning on staying up to watch roddick v. federer tonight. it starts at 12:30a pacific time. that’s late and i have to teach at 9:00a, but i have to start figuring out what kinds of messages need secret relaying. so it’ll be worth it. i can quit math and teaching and make millions as an undercover coach. plus i can just go to tennis matches all year long. toni and rafael will have to pay my way inside to other matches so that no one catches on. i won’t make millions, but they’ll take care of me and i’ll be able to hang out with nadal in spain in between tournaments, so who needs millions? plus, free tennis matches year-round. if you’re reading this, rafael, email me and we’ll set it up.

VCR quarterback: winner of 33 emmys January 24, 2007

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when you go to watch sportscenter (i don’t know why i ever do, but i do) the description given (if you hit the info button) is that sportscenter is a “hip, emmy-winning daily scrapbook of homers, touchdowns, and slam-dunks, the perfect clips-and-controversies fix for sports junkies.” if you don’t believe me, go to the tv-guide webpage (i don’t know why you’d want to, i didn’t want to go there even to get the link). i want to talk about their tagline. it might be better than the tagline of our sports blog (that isn’t even visible unless you’re a contributor and you click on “options”) — “this is for sports fans, but only for sports fans who hate the way professional sports are packaged” — except that brian isn’t claiming that we’re hip at all. or a scrapbook. i thought brian stole the tagline from dave zirin’s myspace page, but he didn’t. i looked and it’s not even close to anything dave zirin says. anyways, back to their tagline. i think part of it is pretty accurate. they do show more dunks, homers, and touchdowns than any other highlights. their top ten is mostly dunks during basketball season and mostly homers during baseball season. so i am glad that they’re being honest about how they “report” their sports. don’t look for deep analysis, but if you want to see the best dunk of the day, tune in. they like clips and they love controversy. i think they should have ordered that differently. they love controversy way more than clips. when something controversial is happening they forego all coverage of any sporting event to give you updates on the gossip. oh yeah, and they’re hip. obviously. just look at stuart scott and his hip glasses. remember when he’s wearing his $5,000 suit and running “routes” on their fake football field to illustrate how tony romo (i call him tony roma’s) can dissect a defense? that’s hip. seriously. i didn’t know what hip was for a long time, but it’s stuart scott. speaking of tony roma’s, i wish i could’ve seen sean salisbury break down his botched hold on that field goal. unfortunately, there was probably some controversy that kept them from showing it. like mike vick’s water bottle that didn’t have anything in it after all.

but that’s not what this article is about. this article is about how sportscenter won an emmy. not for being hip. if that were the case, it would be a redundant tagline. they won for something else.

big deal. VCR quarterback, the board game, won 33 emmys. i was trying to figure out what it won for. i thought maybe best video to accompany a board game. but i couldn’t think of 33 different ways of saying that. then i thought maybe it won 33 years in a row. but then i got on wikipedia to find out that the sports emmys have been around for 27 years. plus VCR quarterback came out in like 1986 or something, so 21 of those happened after it won all the emmys. plus i don’t think you can win the same award without re-releasing the game. so it had to have won all the awards in the same year. but there’s only 29 categories in the sports emmys. and 1 of those was just barely conceived this year. i guess that means that VCR quarterback is pretty sweet. to be able to win 33 out of 28 emmys is impressive. way more impressive that 1 out of 33. so VCR quarterback is better than sportscenter. not hipper, but more emmy-winning. which isn’t surprising. check out some pictures of this game:
winner of 33 emmyswinner of 33 emmys

wanna get away? January 19, 2007

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on the subject of fespn-ing, i’d like to talk about sportscenter. just like trying to get through an andy nesbitt article or listening to espn radio, every time i watch sportscenter i have to keep a throw-up bucket close by. last night was no exception. the good news is that i’m losing weight. the bad news is that last night i had to listen to john anderson say this (and even though i’m paraphrasing, i’ll use quotes):

nice smile, idiot“the guys who play for marty schottenheimer want him to stay, but the guys who pay for marty schottenheimer are the ones who get to make the decision. the difference between play and pay is an L. as in the L they suffered last sunday against the patriots.”

real cute, john. i wonder if he came up with that himself. and if he didn’t, i don’t know how he could read that off a teleprompter without being in one of those southwest commercials. like if i had to read that out loud on national television i would want to get away on one of their low-fares to dying. they make fun of t.o. for being depressed and maybe trying to commit suicide when they’re the ones with real reason to want to. do you think they watch tape of themselves the next day before filming the next episode? like they make notes on what worked and what didn’t and then try to make airtime adjustments? unfortunately, i don’t think they realize that nothing they say ever works. instead, they pat each other on the back for being so clever and cute. they should be giving each other “favors” for being able to read that stuff on television without hating themselves. that’s the real miracle, isn’t it. maybe even a christmas miracle?

on the subject of the chargers, i’m sad they lost. clif called it. now i have to try to pick between the colts and the patriots. i hate how much everyone loves peyton, but he makes super-funny commercials. i hate how everyone always talks about the patriots ability to “just win games no matter who they put on the field,” but tom brady is pretty attractive. so it’s hard to pick. actually it’s easy. bob sanders is back and better than ever. bob sanders is probably the best safety ever (see you later, ronnie lott) and he’s pretty cool too. i think he’ll probably intercept tom brady during his patented 4th quarter rally and take it for a touchdown. but instead, since he’s cool, he’ll probably punt it through the uprights when he gets inside the 10 yard line, which isn’t worth any points in american football. last year i had bob sanders on my team in mine and brian’s madden 2006 dynasty. i moved him to line-backer (i like to play fast on defense) and he was so awesome. i think dungy should try it.

colts 23 – patriots 21

as for the nfc game, this is a hard one too. i love drew brees but i hate that they love reggie bush so much. i like him, but rookie of the year talk? are they joking? he had one good punt return and he started playing pretty well towards the end of the season (including a great game last week), but come on. his teammate colston broke the record for rookie receiving yards in a season. so… then i like the bears a lot. they have the coolest secondary around: vasher, hester (prynne), tillman (not pat), and ricky manning, jr (sir rick). but then they have urlacher. who is pretty good, but i don’t like him as a person or as a football player. but the bears were my fantasy defense, so i feel like we’re connected. i’m going to pick the saints.

saints 21 – bears 16