The mercury was at 102 for kickoff of my soccer semifinal yesterday. A little warm. Did I mention we play on Field Turf, which is awesome, but also given its cushion by small rubber pellets (think ground-up tires) which are black and just below the surface. My boots and socks are also black. Black absorbs heat. It's a little like playing Proper Football on a hot plate. First thing I do when coming off for a sub is take my shoes off and souse my feet in water. Cue cartoon steam coming off them.
We won handily, despite giving up a goal in the third minute. We scored the next seven, at which point the refs called the game with about about 20 minutes left, presumably because it was a blowout and fucking hot, but also, possibly, so they could go back to their spot in the shed, the same place they went during a 15-minute halftime, where I've got $100 says they had multiple beers.
My team is populated by late-30 and 40-somethings but we play in an all ages league. It's possible we're in denial about aging. Yet, here we are in the Final next week. Experience rocks. Generally, the teams we play are young and fast, but we end up running them ragged because of superior ball movement. Remember kids, the ball moves faster than you can ever run. I suppose it also helps that one of our central midfielders is Cle Kooiman, who played professionally in Mexico (Cruz Azul, where he was the first American to ever captain a Mexican first division team) and MLS, and was also on the US national team in the '94 World Cup.
He was not the only "professional" on the field yesterday, however. Though our opponents (mostly) wore classic Arsenal jerseys, one of their strikers turned out in full ManU regalia, complete with number and name of Ronaldo on the back. But that's not all! He wore Ronaldo shoes and styled his socks in the same way. He had Cristiano's haircut and aped his pigeon-toed, prancing gait. His teammates called him "Cristiano" and every time he got the ball, he went right to stepovers. Except he sucked. And was dispossessed routinely. In his defense, he never threw himself to the field turf or screwed his face into that massively aggrieved cry-baby face like his hero.
Aside from the heat, the only drawback of the game was having to leave the comfort of my plush bachelor couch, remote control and NFL Sunday Ticket on the big screen. I was sweating my wagers on the day (some of which missed as poorly as the Lions tackle). I still ended up for the day, thanks to a pair of money finishes at Fantasy Sports Live
, the only contest where I was an also-ran being, naturally, a Joe Speaker Special, so named because of the lower "salary" cap in honor of my legendary frugality. Star of the day for me was Willie Parker. Bust was Braylon Edwards (and Derek Anderson, for that matter). Nothing good is ever Brown. I also cruised into Week 2 of Miami Don's
suicide pool with an astute selection of the Eagles, a victory I could chalk up by the end of the first quarter. We lost quite a few Chargers, Colts and Lions(?) fans in Week 1. What's worse, betting on the Lions or the Browns?
I suppose I should count the Niners as another team that would make a football purist ill. Six turnovers. Nice. Aside from that, they played pretty well. I TiVo'd the game and watched when I got back from soccer. It takes no time at all to watch a football game when you can fast-forward the commercials, halftime and replay challenges. JT O'Sullivan wasn't half bad. Maybe we can trade him to the Pats.
Poor Timmy Brady. Poor Tommy from Quinzee.
Biggest asshole of the sporting weekend? That ref in the Washington-BYU game. Dick. Best ref of the weekend? The guy doing ASU-Stanford who proclaimed, "If there are more instances of blowing whistles from the stands, there will be consequences." Consequences? Like black helicopters and water boarding (which is not torture, by the way. You know, if GWB were in charge of the Viet Cong, what those fuckers did to John McCain wouldn't be "torture.")
Oh...alright...I know you've been clamoring for my political take. Here it is. Change? That's a joke right? There's not going to be any change. Any real change. Special interests will still rule Washington. The tax burden will continue its decades-long shift to the working class and away from the ownership class. Our income taxes are not the problem. It's the lack of taxes we take from corporations that fuck us. And don't give me any supply side bullshit. I was weaned on that philosophy and it only works if corporations reinvest in employees and capital improvement. Alas, they rathole with record profits while laying off workers and cutting benefits and, at the same time, play games with their accounting numbers to avoid taxes. The only Trickling Down is CEOs pissing on my leg and telling me it's raining.
The politics of campaigning bear no resemblance to the process of governing. Everything you hear is a lie, from little to massive. The government is crooked. The only way we can achieve real change is to go back to a representative democracy. Which won't happen. Citizen apathy and the lawmakers and insiders always protecting the status quo. Sure, Obama is an inspiring public speaker. Fantastic. I know guys who give real good wedding toasts. I don't expect them to improve my quality of life. McCain's sloppy job of VP vetting doesn't exactly bode well for his future decision-making. I'm waiting for the old man to fall asleep in his soup.
Cynicism? Or realism? Call it what you want. The government is bad at its job. If it was a private corporation, it'd have gone under long ago. Sure, everyone will go ahead and vote their ideology and argue about who's better, but that ain't gonna pay the bills. You will have to, though. Just wait 'til you get your Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac remittance letter.
Happy Monday! Get yer asses over to FSL
for some Monday Night Goodness. The site should be especially attractive to those of you who used your first Fantasy Pick on Tawmee Brady. The season's NOT over. It's just beginning. Wagering on football is, at least, still The American Way.