Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Players demand real grass for Women's World Cup

From where I sit it looks like some of the top women footballers in the world are making a stand...

via sportslogos.net

Not against racism. Not against the horrific way women are still treated in some parts of the world. But against artificial turf. Yes, they claim it's a sexist decision. I gather that being forced to play on the same quality of field as the MLS and CFL is a step back for the women's game. Perhaps the ladies would like to see the tournament moved to the only other country to put forward a bid. Zimbabwe. Sadly, they withdrew before the vote was held, so I guess that's not an option. The players are demanding all the field turf be replaced with real grass. There's no word on how they are planning to pay for it though. Let's face it, FIFA knew what they were getting into, so they aren't likely to pay for the changes. The local and provincial governments won't pay either, it's a waste of taxpayers dollars and as mentioned FIFA has already approved the fields anyway. That leaves it down to the players themselves. If they can come up with the millions of dollars to pay for the switch, up-keep and switch back, I think we can make it work. Or they can go ahead with their lawsuit. I bet it will be just as successful as the suit to get womens ski jump in the Vancouver Olympics.

At least that's how I see it, and I sit in the cheap seats.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Eskimos fumble on record 50/50 draw

From where I sit it looks like the Eskimos managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory...

via globalnews.ca
No, I don't mean their performance on the field. In fact, the Edmonton-Calgary game ended up being quite engaging, the deluge only adding to the festivities. No, it wasn't the game that came up short on Thursday night. It was the Eskimos as an organization that failed miserably. A staggering 50/50 pot had people flocking to Commonwealth Stadium just to get a shot at the biggest total in league history. At $350,000 it was impossible not to get excited. Where's the failure? Simple, the team was so overwhelmed by ticket demand they couldn't actually make the draw during the game. They spent the last few days trumpeting about the huge pot, then can't actually deliver on the promise. Some people stood in line for over an hour. Rumour has it others never did get to buy tickets. Then to top it all off they decide not to announce the winning ticket during the game, but post it on their webpage. Pathetic. They weren't ready. No matter what story is brought forward, the Eskimos dropped the ball. It should have been made clear from the start that the prize would be awarded after the game. There should have been 2 to 3 times the normal number of 50/50 sellers. And even if there was, clearly more were needed. Finally, just to add insult to injury, the Eskimos lost.

At least that's how I see it, and I sit in the cheap seats.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Jason Whitlock resorts to racial profiling

From where I sit it looks like there's a new villain for Canadians to despise...

via awfulannouncing.com

Jason Whitlock's comments are so stupid as to be comical. I'm not insulted; I'm amused. It's hardly original to be insulting to Canadians. In fact, go for it Mr Whitlock. Be as ridiculous as you would like. But wait, maybe he's right. Perhaps Canadians just don't want to win at basketball as much as Americans and some Europeans do. Just like Americans aren't as good at baseball as players from other nations. Let's face it in 5 Olympic tournaments the US only won once and they've never finished higher than 4th at the World Baseball Classic. Of the past 10 World Series, only 4 MVPs have been American, one in the past 5 years. Clearly, there's something missing from American kids when it comes to baseball, they just don't have the drive they need to be the best. Basketball has the smallest roster of all the professional sports, 12. Yet, somehow Whitlock thinks Canadians are simply too lazy to be the top players. On the other hand is it possible Canadians aren't the best because it's not a major sport in Canada. Outside of Toronto, the NBA has a toe hold at best. It's a secondary game and with idiots like Whitlock running their mouths, there's not going to be much change.

At least that's how I see it, and I sit in the cheap seats.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Howard shows quality of US Soccer

From where I sit it looks like the US has a new folk hero...

via abcnews.go.com

The long term results of Tim Howard's performance against Belgium won't be felt for years. Just as players like Mike Modano and Brian Leetch were inspired by the Miracle on Ice, it's hard to say how many future stars will be inspired by Howard's heroics. But it's safe to say the US has announced it's presence on the international scene. Yes, the Americans have been here before. Knockout games and never advanced. On the surface this looks just like any other World Cup exit. But there's much more at work here. This game was special. 16 saves, only about 12 of them tough. Howard was the only reason the US had any sort of chance at winning. Even when the Americans were down 2-0 after the first half of extra time it never seemed like they were beaten. The pressure from the US in the second 15 minutes was sustained and substantial. It wound up being difficult not to cheer for the Americans. Not because they were a rag-tag bunch of underdogs looking for a Hollywood ending. No, this was because they were playing good football. Attractive football. Even during their moments of attack during the 90 minutes it was fun to watch the way the worked the ball and looked for openings. It wasn't about the US trying to create their own way of playing, it was an understanding of the style used by the top international teams. And best of all it was entertaining.

At least that's how I see it, and I sit in the cheap seats.

Monday, June 30, 2014

A weekend of thrills at the World Cup

From where I sit it looks like the first four knockout games have given plenty of talking points...

via thenewstribe.com

To begin with does Brazil have what it take to actually win the tournament? An upstart Chilean side gave the host team all they could handle and more. Quite frankly the Brazilians looked sloppy in defence and were not fully deserving of the win. Columbia is next and that will hardly be a walkover. The Colombians showed nicely against a shorthanded, but game Uruguay team. Costa Rica managed to make history by qualifying for the quarter-finals in a match that was a stone drag. Costa Rica tried to hold on to a 1-0 lead against a Greek squad that seemed to forget they were up a player. Even in the closing stages as the team traded chances the Greeks still didn't manage to produce a winning goal. However, the match of the weekend was the delightful Netherlands-Mexico affair. The teams traded chances and domination as the game ebbed and flowed. Most great games also have a tinge of controversy and this was no exception. Was Arjen Robben guilty of diving? Yes. Was he fouled? Yup. Therefore, it's a penalty. The Mexicans can complain all they want, but the correct call was made. Here's a simple way to avoid getting called for a penalty - don't foul inside the box. Add to that they still produced a chance to tie after the PK and it was a scintillating game. And there's still four more to go.

At least that's how I see it, and I sit in the cheap seats.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The NBA makes another great play and Odjick faces another fight

From where I sit it looks like the NBA got it right again... 

Isaiah Austin could have been a good to great NBA player. Could have. A diagnosis of a rare medical condition ended his playing days before the ink was dry. Making Austin an honorary pick was essentially pointless. It also transcended sport. Creating a spot to pay tribute to a deserving young man was almost perfect. Classy is an overused word, but I can't think of a better way to describe the gesture from Adam Silver and the NBA. Following their strong performance in the Donald Sterling affair, the NBA is now 2-for-2 on the season.

From tears of joy to tears of pain...the health battle facing Gino Odjick...

via blogs.theprovince.com
I grew up cheering for big Gino. Living in suburban Vancouver, the harsh realities of First Nations life were far away.  Odjick brought those concerns to the coast.  He talked openly about growing up and the struggles he faced.  It came as no surprise that Odjick never played a pretty game. It was always raw and emotional. He was a force on the ice. A straight ahead style that had Canuck fans (myself included) chanting "Gi-no, Gi-no" with every hit or fight. The occasional goal brought a raucous celebration from fans and player alike. More than that Odjick battled on the ice. No matter the situation, Gino could be counted on to give it everything he had. Now the battle is in his body. I've got no doubt that he will fight as long as he can. It was how he played and I would expect nothing less. 

via vancouversun.com
At least that's how I see it, and I sit in the cheap seats.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Suarez leaves his mark again and the NHL misses the mark

From where I sit it looks like Uruguay may be in deep trouble...

via independent.co.uk

Not just the challenge of a surprising squad from Columbia in the round of 16. Nor the prospects of Brazil in the next round. It's all falling at the feet, or should that be stuffed in the mouth, of Luis Suarez. Believe it or not Suarez has attempted to defend his actions saying, “These things happen on the pitch.” I'll freely admit I've never played competitive football. I'm hardly an expert on the beautiful game, but with the notable exception of Suarez, I wouldn't describe biting as 'part of the game'. Hard tackles, flying elbows, heads knocking together. I have seen all of those. For all North Americans like to ridicule footballers for flopping all over the place, some of those collisions must hurt. But Suarez seems to enjoy going above and beyond. Biting someone is one thing, but trying to pass it off as part of the game is really reaching. Add to that he's a repeat offender in multiple leagues and I don't see Suarez getting back on the pitch in this World Cup. In the meantime, he should just keep his mouth shut.

The NHL handed out their annual awards in Las Vegas...

via thestar.com

I really like that the NHL makes a big production out of awards night. When any league honours it's best there should be a proper level of showmanship involved. There certainly can't be much in the way of complaints about the winners. Crosby, Rask, Kieth, Bergeron, Roy and McKinnon. Deserving winners all. That being said there is one thing missing. Live TV coverage. Yes, it was live in the east. But for those of us in the western time zones, we were left waiting and wondering about the victors. Or, we just followed proceedings on twitter. I'm sure the NHL put on a great show. But I had some shopping to do, then put my daughter to bed. So I just followed along on twitter. For all the NHL does it right, this isn't the 1980s, nothing can be aired on tape-delay and expect people to tune in. Either show the whole thing live or don't bother. It's not something I'm going out of my way to watch, particularly when I already know the results.

At least that's how I see it, and I sit in the cheap seats.