Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Some random thoughts:
So this past month I have been trying to be as frugal and smart with my money as possible. This means, in a nutshell, NO SPLURGING ON SNEAKERS. It also means that I had to make the decision not to get Madden 2009 on release day. I have a slight problem with paying 60 dollars for a game that has very little changed compared to the previous incarnations, even though this Madden is one of the best EVER. This was tough for me because I had been anxiously awaiting the release of this years game, and I even spent the $5 to reserve it. But, I soon realized that if I was going to effectively plan for my fiscal future, I was going to have to save and spend smarter. So, while looking online for good deals, I stumbled across this site, abbreviated CAG. I had just about given up with getting Madden anytime before my birthday or thanksgiving because Gamestop didn't even have any used copies for me to use my discount on. Lo and behold, according to CAG, Toys R Us is having a huge videogame sale. How huge? How about buy one Xbox 360 game get one 50% off (No exceptions!) and a coupon available in store for 20% off of that! I ended up getting Madden 09 for around $40 and Scene It for around 30 bucks. Thats nearly 50 dollars worth of savings considering they were both originally $59.95. Crazy! Check it out before the sale ends.
Friday, August 15, 2008
3 theories that make a lot of sense to me:
1) Shark-skin suits
2) Depth of the pool (the pool in China is 3m as opposed to 2m) - more water to displace means less turbulence in the water. (fact check needed!)
3) Maximum velocity for a swimmer occurs immediately after a kickoff following a turn (obviously). However, now you are allowed to do that flutter kick (and maintain that max speed) under water for as long as you want. Before the games in Athens you were allowed only to do 2 flutter kicks and then you had to break the surface of the water and start the stroke.
Friday, August 08, 2008
Part 2 of the dual post collaboration between Page 3 and P.O.L.R Express. See the world's view HERE.
By Steven LaiHing for Page 3
Best players in the world? Check.
Best Coach? Check.
Most Athletic Players in the World? Check.
Well funded and trained staff? Check.
Gold Medal Lock? NO.
If there was one bad thing to come out of the 1992 Olympic Basketball Domination by the Superfriends (oops, I mean the Dream Team) it was that it forced the rest of the world to look at themselves realistically and work on its game, while giving the American Basketball system an overinflated image of itself. We breezed to wins in 1996 ,and even though we almost lost in 2000, hey, Vince Carter cleared a 7 footer Frenchman's head (whatever happened to Frederick Weis?) and we took the gold. Fast forward to 2008 and we have an EIGHT year medal drought. Unheard of and unacceptable. So what does the Redeem team have to do to make things right and bring home the gold?
1) Defend the Pick and Roll and close out Shooters.
Actually, defend everything, but especially the pick and roll. If we don't effectively recognize when a team is running a pick and roll we will be completely taken apart by the best teams in this tournament. The beauty of the pick and roll is that it forces a normally good defender into a moment of uncertainty, and requires active communication between defensive teammates on instantly making the switch if necessary to who ever might be open. The difference with the pick and roll here versus in the NBA is that most International big men are more like Dirk Nowitzki and less like Dwight Howard. These guys can SHOOT. And if you give them half a second, they will pull up and drain 3's and long jumpers repeatedly. That's not a good look for a team like the US. One thing that became apparent in the China game is that we have a couple defenders (Wade) who like to gamble on defense and leave the shooter open to go help stop penetration. DON'T GAMBLE. That's the entire point of the international game; have an active guard penetrate and kick out to a wide open teammate to take advantage of a collapsing defense. Same goes for our wingmen (Lebron) collapsing in to help on a big man like the monster the Greek's have at center, Sofoklis Schortsanitis (Is he Escalade?!). It is far better to take a relatively contested 2 scored on you then to allow repeated open 3's. Especially with the mockery for a 3 point line they have here in Beijing.
2) Hit Free throws.
We have been downright horrible at free throw shooting, with no game better then 75% as a team. Like it or not, we aren't going to easily blow out the best of these teams, and sooner or later, we are either going to make our freethrows or catch a Memphis loss (remember the Final Four?)
3) Hit open 3's (and run and gun whenever you get the chance!)
This one is easy to remember. MAKE YOUR 3's! Or at least hit enough of them to keep the defense honest and out of that God-Forsaken matchup zone D. The quickest way to grind our high speed run and gun offense to a halt is to turn us into the Hoosiers and make us into jump shooters. They are telling you that they don't fear your jumper! Make it rain. Hit enough of them, and they will open you up for more drives to the basket, or they will commit basketball suicide as a team and switch to man to man defense. This also means that you all need to be smart enough to get it into Redd's hands and to encourage your best shooters to keep shooting. Don't fall into the trap of settling for jumpers when you could just as easily penetrate and get a better shot. Make no mistake: we are at our best when we are able to push the tempo and get to the basket.
4) Walk the fine line between confidence and classy and "Ugly American and Cocky."
These foreign guys are cocky. And they want to beat you. They want to beat you badly, because you know what? You are the best. Basketball Giants.You have been the best for a long time. And now they have gotten better to the point that they feel they can test you. It means something magical for them to beat you, gives their country's sports program validation and confidence.They have changed the international game to accent their strengths and limit yours. They kept American Pros from playing for 50 years while they sent professionals and when they finally allowed our pros to play in '92, this happened.
So don't let these guys punk you. Players on the Spanish team were caught on camera as they were leaving for Beijing calling friends and telling them that they were going to bring home the gold, and they were going to beat the US by 30. Smile, shake hands, and then DESTROY them. Don't lose your cool when bad calls and trash talk happens, play harder.
5) Remember who you are playing for and don't take anyone for granted. (BUT WIN!!)
There is only so much preparation you can have. You know what you need to work on and you know what teams can give you problems. Now its about execution. No pressure, the entire country is watching you and hoping (expecting) you to go to these games and bring home the gold. Call it the burden of being American Sports Superstars, your country's expectations aren't just for you to win, it's for you to win convincingly. If the US people had their way, you all would win each game playing your bench for the second half by 30 and games would look like the globetrotters. Don't get sucked into the hype. Play for your country with pride, and respect whoever you are playing, be it Angola or Argentina, China or Spain. In the words of President George W. Bush before your first game against China "You all are the best in the world. Play the right way, do what you are supposed to do, and bring home the Gold to the U.S."
Thursday, August 07, 2008
SO apparently the Brett Favre saga is over. At least, this excruciating seven-month chapter of it is.
I don’t want to beat this dead horse. Everyone has their own opinions on this issue—opinions we are forced to have after the last 2 exhaustive weeks of commentators and columnists analyzing every word and plane trip in this pitiable affair.
And for the record, the LeBron-Kobe thing wasn’t an attempt to “play the race card” either. I just don’t get how a guy who has clearly said a lot worse than “Hmm…$50 million a year would be worth considering regardless of where it is” gets scripted as a martyr and covered over by the media.
Yes media, I’ve noticed. And I object.
If you want today to be the last day you read about anything related to the Brett Favre/Green Bay breakup, then read this timeline from ESPN.com… Beyond what’s been said by either side, or who is playing where, I think the simple recall of events says enough about whose faulty decision-making and double talk created this fiasco.
Jan. 20: Packers lose NFC Championship Game to the Giants in OT
Brett says: "So close! SOOOO CLOOOOSE!"
March 6: Favre conducts retirement news conference
Brett says: "[Sobbing] It's...OVER!"
April 3: Denies rumors of a comeback
(28 days later) Brett says: "NO! I told you--I'm DONE!"
April 4: Agent reportedly contacts teams to gauge trade interest
(1 day later) Brett says: "Pssst...hey agent [sorry, don't know his name ]...see what kind of $$$ I can get in Carolina...."
April 9: Says he might consider comeback if opportunity was presented
(5 days later, only SIX after denying comeback rumors) Brett says: "Wellllll........"
June 20: Favre tells Coach Mike McCarthy he may want to play again
(2 1/2 months later) Brett says: "WELLLLLLLLLLL................"
July 2: Favre says reports of return were "all rumor"
(2 weeks later) Brett says: "...Are you serious? DIDN'T I TELL YOU GUYS I'M RETIRED?!!!"
July 6: Sends text message to Packers GM Ted Thompson
(4 FRIGGIN DAYS LATER) Brett says: "[phone] Hey Ted, it's Brett... so how're we lookin for this year?!"
Ted says: "......we???"
July 8: Favre asks for release with understanding he won't be starter
Brett says: "I can't believe...I can't believe I'm being treated like this! [Urkel voice] I don't have to take this! I'm going home..."
July 11: Packers receive letter from Favre formally requesting release
(a week and two days after denying comeback) Brett says: "'Dear Mr.'....no wait...'To whom it may'...ummm...let's try......'Aight, so look here...'"
July 16: Packers file tampering charges with NFL against Vikings
Brett says: "What? Oh you don't want me to be a Packer OR a Viking? Well guess what--I wanna be a Viking then! Screw you, Green Bay fans!"
July 19: Returns to Lambeau Field to attend Packers Hall of Fame ceremony
Brett says: "There's no place like home...when home is defined as the place where people worship the ground you walk on for winning one Super Bowl and give you unlimited power and forgiveness for doing things that you were being paid very well to do."
July 25: Favre tells Packers he plans to report to training camp
Brett says: "Leave the light on for me!"
July 29: Faxes reinstatement request to NFL
Brett says: "Please? Please please please please please please pleeeeeeeease!!!...Please?"
July 30: Meets with Packers president Mark Murphy in Mississippi
July 31: Favre offered $25 million to not report to camp
(29 days after denying comeback) Brett says: "So...I'll be older than Morten Anderson when the checks stop coming in?"
Aug. 3: NFL commissioner Roger Goodell reinstates Favre
(after 5 months of deception and indecision about HIS own retirement)
Brett says: "I'M BAAAAAAAAACK!!!!"
Aug. 4: Favre reports to training camp and is added to active roster after passing physical
Brett says: "So...WHY are you handing me kick-holder gloves again??!!"
Aug. 5: Left practice facility in the afternoon ... did not practice with the team ... met with Packers officials to discuss trade options ... tells ESPN's Chris Mortensen "the best thing for this team is for us to part ways" ... considers talking to the Buccaneers about a possible trade.
Brett says: "Guys...I've done all I can. I've been consistent. I've been honest. I tell you one thing, and you KNOW I'm gonna do the other. If you wanna dog ME out, then I'M out!!"
Aug. 6: Traded to New York Jets for conditional draft pick.
Brett says: "The Jets?...Oh...[forced] yaaaaaaay..."
-And for the record... I love(d) Brett Favre...R.I.P.