Is it possible that one of the most dynamic offenses in baseball can be shut out in five out of eight games? If you asked me a week or two ago, I would've said no way. However, that shows what I know. My beloved Phillies have been shut out and even when they did win with Roy Halladay's perfect game, it was only by a score of 1-0. How did this happen? Honestly, I really have no idea, but I think that they will be able to get it together. Look at that lineup, how will they not start hitting again?
Now that I brought up Roy Halladay, do you realize that the Phillies have not had a no-hitter since 2003? Back when Kevin Millwood did it, the Phillies were totally different than they are now. That was back in the day of Rheal Cormier, David Bell, and Jim Thome. Chase Utley was still on the bench behind Placido Polanco, and Ryan Howard was still nothing more than a hot prospect. There are only four players left from that roster: Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Madson, Utley, and Polanco (although he did leave in between). Whatever happened to the days where you played your career with a team unless you were traded? I guess we benefited from the system well as we have had more success since that year than in the 100 years previous, but I still kind of wish that you could see the same people year after year don the same uniform as either love them or hate them for 15 or 20 years. Now, you can have players like Johnny Damon for example be loved as a Red Sox outfielder and then sign as a free agent with the Yankees. So, do Red Sox fans love him because of the few years he spent in Boston or condemn him as a traitor?
Well, I don't have an answer to that question. However, here is something I do have an answer for. If you are from Central Vermont, you probably read the Times Argus. If you have been reading the Times Argus for the past couple of days, you will know that they are running a vote called The Best of the Best. One of the categories concerns your favorite Vermont blog. You probably see where I'm going with this. If you could go to www.TimesArgus.com/best and follow the directions, please put down Perpetual Blogging Co. for number 150 Favorite Vermont Blog. However, you don't only get my appreciation; just for filling the form out, the Times Argus is entering everybody into a drawing for a chance to win $500! It takes about 15 to 30 inutes, so tell everyone to check me out and vote for me if they like it!
Photo by ShironekoEuro on Flickr
Monday, May 31, 2010
Sunday, May 30, 2010
I think that today would be an appropriate day to discuss track since it is somewhat on my mind right now. I had been to three or four meets before this year, but I have been to so many more now that they are very enjoyable. There's something cool about going out to a field at night and knowing that you will be there for about four hours before everything is said and done. That being said though, when you have final exams the next day it's not quite as much fun, but now I can enjoy summer vacation as well as nights without homework.
Fortunately, through this season I have developed a love of the pole vault. It may just be because my sister pole vaults and so I have watched it a lot recently. However, there is something exciting about watching people jump up on poles and catapult themselves over a bar that is usually over 10 feet for boys and 7 for girls. Yesterday, at the New England Championship Qualifying Meet, two guys broke records by going 13'7" while a girl’s record was broken at 10 feet.
Sadly, I will only see one or two more pole vault competitions this year, but it was fun while it lasted!
Photo by znarled on Flickr
Saturday, May 29, 2010
As I was watching the French Open coverage yesterday, it struck me about how good these players are. When you watch Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal totally dominate a match, it doesn't mean that their opponent is bad. In fact, it is quite the contrary. Their opponents are really good compared to what you and I might see where we go down to the Barre City tennis courts on a nice warm summer night. It just shows how amazing guys like Federer are and how much talent you really need to become a tennis pro. This doesn't only apply to tennis though. Whenever somebody is good enough to be at the elite level, even if he or she is the worst player on that circuit, he or she is still a very talented player.
Another thing I noticed about the French Open was the fact that life on clay can be a bit of an adventure. I love how there is no bounce to the court. It makes the drop shot insanely effective, but it also slows down the play. That's good because we have DirecTV, so we about have five channels of extra tennis coverage beyond ESPN2. The problem with these channels is that ESPN2 obviously has the best announcers. Nevertheless, you can still enjoy the matches but don't expect the most exhilarating coverage you have ever heard.
Photo by StuSeeger on Flickr
Friday, May 28, 2010
Hey everyone, before I write on Fiction Friday, I hope that some of you are speed writers. I just found out about this today, and luckily I already had a story written to enter. ESPN the Magazine is running a contest until June 1 requesting entries of sports fiction for potential publication in either ESPN the Magazine or Stymie, a journal of sports and literature. Here's the link to the flyer, and happy writing if you want to enter it with me! Now, on to my own writing today.
Joe Oken stood on the top step of the dugout watching his pitcher warm-up and infield take some grounders. He thought they looked pretty good, but it was hard to tell with baseball. Baseball is by far the most fickle sport. Some days you could throw a no-hitter, and some days you couldn't get anybody out. That was part of the reason he loved it, but there was more than that. How many other jobs give you an excuse to sit outside in the warm Georgia spring and watch a game being played that you were too old to play but still loved. He was 65 and recently retired from his job at the plant, but he could not retire from baseball. He had been coaching this team for 40 years at St. John's High School, he was now coaching kids of the kids he had started coaching in the 70s. That was kind of weird, he thought, but he really didn't worry too much about it. If you have something you love and the relationship is mutually beneficial, why bother leaving? He had taken the team to the state tournament 15 times and even had two state championships from the late 80s and early 90s. He would never forget that team; they could do everything well. Now, at the start of a new season, he was hoping to rekindle this magic that he hadn't felt on the field for a long time.
Photo by jdn on Flickr
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Think about all that you need to learn when you enter kindergarten. Everything is new, and everything is probably different than it was at your home. You need to learn how to do math, write basic letters and read them, and do it all within a schedule that you probably never had before; no one cares when you want to stop building with blocks and watch TV at home. In a somewhat similar way, this is similar to beginning to play any sport. There are now rules and different skills you need to learn in order to be successful. Also, like basic letterwriting or 1+1, the fundamentals are incredibly basic, but if you do not have them, you will not be able to succeed a higher level. Think about trying to do algebra without 1+1; it is the same as trying to play football without proper tackling form or hockey without any puck control. This is why youth coaching is so important; if the fundamentals are not in place at an early age, they will still need to be developed when other kids at the same age are advancing to much more technical and usually more effective skills. Youth coaches are usually parent volunteers, but they deserve so much more credit than they get; without them, our youth sports programs and consequently our higher-level programs would all fall apart.
Photo by Chase N on Flickr
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Yesterday I told you that at those websites I listed would help you learn something. So, now it's my turn to prove that these websites helped me learn something.
Of course, we all know that the fundamentals are the most important thing to nail first. Why bother with any sophisticated strategy if your team doesn't even have the skills to execute it? However, once you develop this relatively basic area, there are a few ways you can take your team and each player individually. One way to develop athletes is to specialize whereas other coaches prefer to develop more well-rounded athletes who will not excel in any area but be proficient in all of them.
Both systems have their benefits, and that's what I'm going to look at right now. Specializing is what I feel needs to be done eventually. However, if you do it at a young age, what happens if the players develop differently as they get older? Some kids might be really short until high school, but they could hit a growth spurt and all of a sudden be better suited for the post. What do you do then? This is a pitfall of early specialization. It is not bad to have tall people who have skills like a guard, but it is a problem when a guy stops growing at five foot eight and all he knows is how to play the post. So, I think you eventually need to specialize, but make sure you're absolutely sure about what position that player will be best suited for in the long run, not just right now.
Photo by Ed Yourdon on Flickr
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
There is no off-season. I never used to think about it when I was younger and watching various high school teams. However, as I went to high school and now see some athletes at UVM, I realized that playing a sport at a competitive level, even just a Vermont high school, requires off-season training. I don't mean to belittle Vermont high schools; but there are fewer kids competing for roster spots, so you have a higher percentage chance of being on the team. Since right now is the off-season for basketball players, I thought that I would compile a list of links to some of my favorite basketball websites for any players who need to improve, coaches who want them to improve, or fans like myself who just like to learn about basketball.
This one is especially good for younger teams as some of the information is pretty simple. However, there is a ton of information on it.
I love all of the play diagrams on this website. Also, the animation is a major plus. You can pay for more features, but the free version is good for me.
Another one of my favorites, but I think that whatever they lack in amount of content they make up in quality.
Slightly older website just by looking at it, but they do have some decent stuff about strength training and plyometrics.
Sort of a differently formatted website, but there are plenty of ideas here for everyone.
I hope you like these sites, but just reading them alone won't help. Get out there, play, and get ready to dominate next year!
Photo by laffy4k on Flickr
Monday, May 24, 2010
As I sat in the airport last night, I noticed a large group of people roughly my age obviously waiting for the same flight I was (there aren't many flights into Burlington after 10). While my sister and I just sat waiting to see the plane touch down quietly talking about basketball, I was really hoping I could understand what on earth they were talking about. There are about 15 people in that group, so I sort of assumed that they were waiting to meet another group, maybe a school trip or something else like that. Eventually, the plane flew in, though it was about 10 minutes late. My sister, myself, and the other group all migrated down towards the gate area. My passenger came before theirs, so as I talked to my cousin Justin, I must admit that I was a bit distracted wondering what would happen when whoever this group was waiting for came off the plane. I didn't have to wait too long because they started chanting his name and clapping. Somewhere, I bet we all want a big group of people to cheer for us when we come home. However, the whole time they were chanting, nobody was coming, so it was kind of odd. Finally, their one passenger came, they all mobbed him in a large jubilant pile. So, I'm just saying, if I ever fly home on an airplane, I want 15 people there chanting to pick me up (just kidding).
Photo by Bakar_88 on Flickr
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Is possible that anybody can slow down the Phillies' offense? Well, it happened last night. One of the best offenses in all of baseball with one hit by a pitcher who has been up and down ever since his phenomenal entry into Major League Baseball from Japan. Daisuke Matsuzaka was thought to be the greatest thing to come out of Japan since Ichiro Suzuki, and he proved it making an initial splash into his new home. However, last year he fell victim to injury and was only average when he played last year. This year has also been average, but he fell just short of the no-hitter because of a bloop single into shallow left field.
For those of you who might not remember him because you don't live in New England or you don't really care about baseball, you might remember Daisuke because of the famed or perhaps legendary Gyro ball. The fabled pitch can be seen here on a YouTube video, but many people have wondered what on earth this offering could be. These videos on YouTube that show this seemingly impossible pitch have garnered millions of hits. I guess that even he has denied the fact that he throws this pitch, the legend will live on, and everyone will want to see it one more time.
Photo by Triple Tri on Flickr
Saturday, May 22, 2010
I wish I were a talented computer programmer. If I was, I think that I could make a lot of money. The reason I make this claim is because the world is becoming largely Internet driven. The easiest way to become a presence on the Internet is to be able to create some device that nobody else has and then market it effectively. What I would like to create a social networking site specially designed for athletes. There are websites out there that are for sports fans, but I think that athletes should have one network so that college or professional coaches can find everyone who might potentially be. However, what I would like to do to differentiate my product would be to make sure that every entrant on the website would have video uploaded of certain skills. For example, for the basketball section, I would want to see a video of the player taking a jump shot, dribbling at full speed, or performing lay-up drills. Watching an in-game video is obviously beneficial and would have a place on the website. However, I feel like the videos of each player performing fundamental skills in isolated instances would allow coaches to see a direct comparison between players.
While ideally the service would be free, until I garnered enough sponsorships, I would probably need to charge simply to have enough money to buy the webspace to store all of these videos. However, this is all just in my head, so if you want to rip off my idea and create it, there's nothing I can do to stop you. However, remember me when you get famous.
Photo by websuccessdiva on Flickr
Friday, May 21, 2010
How do I choose?
Standing on the sidelines, Coach Rick Williams was caught between the proverbial rock and hard place. He had nailed down nine spots on his select travel basketball team, but that one remaining spot was giving him more trouble than the previous nine combined. On one hand, he could take Luke, a kid who was clearly not at the level of all of the other players on that team but in terms of basketball IQ and potential "player-coach" material, he was unmatched. Rick could totally see him turning into a big-time coach someday; he just knew what to say to fire up his teammates and explain what had to be done. However, as a basketball player, he could not translate all that knowledge into on court performance.
On the other side, he could take Jake. As much as Luke knew the right thing to say, Jake knew what to say to turn off his teammates. His high school coach had told Rick that the one day that Jake missed practice all year was the most relaxing and positive practice of the year. If this team was about personality, there was no way he would have a place on it. However, basketball involves talent, and boy did Jake ever have that. At a very lean six foot five and 36 inch vertical, physical talent alone could get Jake on to anything he had ever tried out for. He had never played football before his freshman year of high school, but when he walked onto the field to try out, he made varsity.
So, how do you choose? Does it really matter how "coachable" a kid is? Maybe he just needs the right type of coach. Rick wanted to think that he was the right type of coach for everyone, but he knew that wasn't true. Now the choice was his; how could he ever decide?
Photo by DRB62
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Yesterday, as many of you may know, it rained a majority of the day. Normally, rain doesn't really bother me that much because I'll just stay inside and catch up on everything that I need to stop putting off. However, last night I was threatened with the prospect of watching a three and a half hour track meet in the downpour that was happening everywhere else. Why is it that only the days that involve outdoor plans does it rain? Fortunately, once we arrived at the track, the rain subsided and it became a beautiful night. Now I'm sitting here looking out the window at the sun and the somewhat hazy blue sky realizing that tonight will be a beautiful night to do whatever. I had to be all nervous all day yesterday when really I got rewarded in the end. Today, I would not even have had that stress because it seems pretty impossible for rain today (although now that I say that, it probably will rain just to prove me wrong). So here's the moral of the story: don't necessarily worry about the rain; go to the event and maybe it's not raining where you are headed.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
What pitchers can really compare to Roy Halladay? Honestly, I don't think many can. Even though he got the loss last night, he pitched a complete game allowing two runs and throwing just over 130 pitches. Most guys are lucky to throw 100 pitches in one game much less exceed that count by more than most relief pitchers throw in one outing. His stamina harkens back to another era when bullpen pitchers were not as integral to the success of the team as they are today. Out of his 9 starts this year, 4 of them have been complete games with 2 of those being shutouts. What was also remarkable about last night's start was the fact that the Phillies committed three errors behind him and he still managed to finish the complete game even though he had to throw all those extra pitches
He only needs two more wins to have exactly double his career wins total to his career losses, but if you look back at his career stats, he wasn't always this amazing. 2002 was a breakout year for Roy as he went 19-7 with a 2.93 ERA. This year would be remarkable in and of itself, but it is even more remarkable because that was his fifth year in the major leagues and he more than doubled his previous career win total with only 18 career wins previously. From there, he never looked back with a career ERA of 3.37 which was mostly pitched in the American League where ERA is about a run higher on average. Therefore, if he had been pitching in the National League his whole career, that ERA would roughly translate down to almost 2.37 which is phenomenal.
Tough luck last night kept him from the win, but we all know that many more wins will come as Roy wears the Phillies uniform.
Image Courtesy Of: http://haskinsadoption.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/mmw_baseball_040108_article.jpg
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Simply because power soccer is played on the basketball court, I am beginning to see many similarities to the game of basketball. Something that I recognized from our first match was the importance of the back cut. On the first few corner kicks, we were allowed the inbound virtually uncontested. However, as shown in the diagram above, eventually we were covered relatively heavily. This coverage is obviously a problem because there's no direct path to any offensive player. Once the back cut is employed, player number two will be wide open in that gap who then has options to either take a shot or hit player three who would be on the weak side hopefully wide open because the goalie should be on the side of the corner kick.
We did not design a play that involved back cutting. However, we adapted when the need arose because we had to. It's pointless to try to run a play that's going to hit the ball right to the other team, so Scott would pass to the open spot and Linda or I would get there often through the means of the back cut. While it didn't necessarily occur to me at the time, I now realize that even though we were just trying to get the ball in the open space, we were doing it via back cuts. There are so many more advantages to back cutting that I could tell you through the lens of many of the coaches whose books make up a large part of my personal collection, but I will leave it at this.
The above photo was made using Basketball Playbook Version 10. I previously have reviewed it on my blog, and it is free at http://www.jes-soft.com/playbook/. Read my review for what to do when the free trial runs out!
Monday, May 17, 2010
Okay, now that my official game recap has been published, I want you to read that! So, since I only occupy about five minutes of your day, I want you to use those five minutes on this article as opposed to anything else I would write here. Sorry if you've already seen this article and will therefore not have any more blogging from me today. However, tomorrow's post is going to be awesome, so don't miss it!
This is a photo that I stole from our coach Sandy's Facebook. I will assume that he will not sue me for some type of copyright infringement :).
Sunday, May 16, 2010
I have not written my celebratory posts that deserve celebration over the past two days. For one, I finished my freshman year of college on Friday with a Calculus Two final along with one of the last Mint Cookie milkshakes with a Shot of Joe that Ben & Jerry's served for the year! On another note of celebration that most of you probably saw on Facebook, the Vermont Chargers are undefeated as we took our game to Durham, New Hampshire to face the New Hampshire Power Cats. After this 7-1 victory, I had an ice cream soda made with literal cream soda. So, as you can tell, I have had a pretty sweet weekend (no pun intended). I would write more details about the power soccer here like I promised yesterday, but I actually have a somewhat legitimate reason for not doing that today. A few weeks ago, I had e-mailed Jenny Mitchell who is the chair of the IT committee for the United States Power Soccer Association about potentially putting a link to my blog on the website because I do occasionally write about power soccer. Because I write about it occasionally, she did not feel it was appropriate to put on the links page which I totally understood. However, in the same e-mail she asked me to write up something about how our inaugural game went to put on http://www.uspsateams.org/. So, I have written and e-mailed it to her, but I want it to be published on their website first. Hopefully, instead of my traditional post tomorrow, I will let you know that this link is here, so you can read about the game in greater detail.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Again, today's blog is probably a no-brainer. In about an hour and a half, I will be entering my giant tan van to head southeast toward Durham, New Hampshire for my first official power soccer game as a member of the Vermont Chargers. I think that this will be a good experience for all of us since it is much different to play during practice than in a game. I know from watching many basketball practices over the years that the intensity is not always there like it is in a game. So, hopefully we will be able to get right into the right mindset to play aggressively as well as cleanly. By clean, I mean fair of course, but I have never doubted our team's ability in this area. The clean that we need to work on is turnover free soccer. With only three players on the court, everyone is pretty much used to attack when you are in possession of the ball. Therefore, any turnover means a fast-break on the goalie one-on-one or maybe even two on one. Of course, as they are in basketball, fast breaks are almost always goals.
On the defensive side, we need to play tough one-on-one defense since you are not allowed to double-team. The only way to make sure that you do not give up a goal is to shut down whoever happens to be in your zone or who you assigned to in man-to-man. However, to use the basketball analogy again, there needs to be help defense if someone gets beat. However, if I'm focusing on my man or woman, how will I know if one of my teammates gets beat? The answer is communication. We need to talk and make sure that we are willing to help each other. I just need to pay attention because I might get so into the game that I might not pay attention.
With these ideas in mind, wish us luck, and I'll update you all tomorrow on how we do!
Friday, May 14, 2010
Sorry I couldn't write yesterday. There's something about finals that puts all of us into overdrive. Anyway, enough with the apologies and onto Fiction Friday!
I returned back into the hole in the wall. I decided I had to go back. There is something awesome about freedom, but there's also something somewhat terrifying. How to operate without rules? Without some sort of absolute moral system, how could I ever know whether or not what I was doing was right? However, I knew that there had to be something beyond the walls of that city. In the city, we had no justification for why the laws are made. We had rules, and they were the absolute. If only we had some sort of book or manual for this type of thing. We had manuals to build things and directions to go to different parts of the city, but there was not even a book that outlines the laws. I had heard that a long time ago there were books that wrote down the laws so that people would know what they could and couldn't do. There even books that told what was right and wrong even beyond the law.
I desired this; I wanted to know there was something beyond just the words of the leaders. I wanted to know that there was something beyond the walls of our city. I had been outside the walls, and I didn't know what to do out there. How could I know what freedom was until I knew how to interpret it?
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, one of my fantasy teams is cursed with too many good outfielders. I have Adam Dunn, Garrett Jones, Chris Young, and Alex Rios but only have three outfield spots. I know you're thinking, move either Adam Dunn or Garrett Jones to first base. Well, I have Prince Fielder there. Okay then, put one of the outfielders at DH. Well, I have too many good players, so I have Ian Kinsler at DH who is batting .320 since he returned from injury and Casey McGehee at second who possesses one of the hottest bats in all of baseball right now. Then, what do I do? Play let's make a deal! My pitching staff is particularly weak at the moment. Basically, it consists of Ubaldo Jimenez and a bunch of other guys. I have David Aardsma and Joakim Soria as well, but I'm not a fan of using relief pitchers in head-to-head leagues. So, that's what I'm shooting for. I don't know if any of my fantasy league groupmates read this blog (even though they should), but I am open to making a deal right now for outfielders. Also, what do you do when you have one of the most consistent catchers in the game in Jorge Posada as well as Carlos Ruiz who is batting .350 and has the fourth most points among catchers? I hate to rely fully on Carlos Ruiz despite the fact that he is a Phillie because he has never been known for his amazing bat. Anyway, enough of my problems, but if anybody has any advice in regards to any of these dilemmas or have any dilemmas you want my two cents on, write me either an e-mail or some comments below!
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
I wrote a few days ago asking why a mid-wheel drive wheelchair would have more problems generating power on a spin shot than a rear-wheel drive chair would. However, as I thought about this I knew the answer had to be physics related as my friends Ben and Evan pointed out. So, jumping off of what they gave me, I decided to do a little research of my own through the little I remember from physics to see why my chair seemingly has a disadvantage while spinning.
So, speed is obviously a factor. However, being that this is turn speed, we need to use the equation for angular velocity which is 2π/T where T is the period in seconds. However, all this proves is how many radians per second you are turning. Therefore, we need to multiply this by the radius of rotation to get the most actual velocity. So, the entire equation turns out to be v= (2πR) ÷ T where v is the speed, R is the turn radius, and T is the time period needed to rotate. Therefore, there are two ways to increase the velocity; either you need to increase your turn radius or decrease the time it takes to make that turn. Ideally, if you could increase the radius as well as decrease the time you make the most gains.
This is not the answer that satisfies me because I spin just as quickly as the rear wheel drive chairs. Therefore, I believe that the radius has the largest effect on shot power. The distance between them my rotational axis and the front of my guard is much less than that of a rear wheel drive chair. There is no way I can fix this in my current chair, but it is nice to know that there might be some rational reason as to why I cannot hit the ball quite as hard.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Let's talk about power soccer strategy again. It seems as if an effective way to get around the defender is to use the defender him or herself to bounce the ball off of. It seems like if the ball bounces off of the back tire in such a way that most players cannot turn on it. I know that that is my weakest area. Therefore, I think that is what I have to do use a similar strategy to the one that confuses me on my opponents. Also, I think that by playing off the back tire forces the defender to either stop or go in reverse which I would assume would be weaker than going forward. Also, if they're going backwards, they will need to pay more attention to where they are driving since it is a more difficult skill. Now, you will have turned driving forward versus an opponent who will either be driving backward which would be his or her weaker direction, or he or she will have to turn and therefore you will be long gone. With one defender down, you will have a three on two fast-break out of which there are millions of possibilities to finish off the goal.
Sunday, May 9, 2010
I was watching AAU basketball today, and I came to a new revelation about referees. Most of the time, many people would say that the perfect ref would call a "perfect game." However, what is the perfect game? I doubt that very many of us would want the refs to call everything. I believe that in the rulebook, basketball is an almost noncontact sport. I may be wrong about this, so please correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that there should be very limited contact allowed in a game of basketball. Therefore, if the refs called everything that could possibly be deemed a foul, I would still be in Lake Placid right now. So, obviously we do not want the refs call everything that could possibly be deemed a foul. The direct opposite of this is the refs who will not call anything. I think most of us would agree that this is not ideal either. Therefore, there needs to be some balance of whether or not a ref is doing a good job. I realized today that the ref that is doing a good job would be equally disliked by both teams. Nobody wants to be disliked, but if both teams are booing the refs with equal intensity, it at least means the refs are being consistent. There is nothing worse than biased refs, so I was comforted today as both teams and sets of fans were upset with the refs. Obviously they were not calling the ideal balance of fouls, but at least I was happy to see that the refs were being fair, right or wrong.
Saturday, May 8, 2010
I think that I should invent a new sport. As I sit here in my hotel room in Lake Placid, I'm looking at a framed photograph on the wall of the Olympic ski jump towers that were used in 1980. How awesome would wheelchair ski jumping be? No, you don't have to call the cops; this is not some sort of odd suicide plot. I just think it would be awesome to have wheelchairs flying through the air given the fact that the landing would be something that I could do more than once. However, I do have proof that wheelchairs can fly without wings or jet engines. Don't believe me? Watch this YouTube video. I'm convinced that some type of device of this sort could be rigged to make a wheelchair fly off of a ski jump tower. Granted, this wouldn't really be ski jumping in the classic sense, but I think that obviously a way that would not be deadly would be worth compromising the original sport slightly. Also, I wonder how you could adapt this for a much heavier wheelchair such as my own. It would need to be a pretty major sail. I don't know, but it seems that people are so resourceful that somebody will develop wheelchair ski jumping for those people who in my opinion would be crazy enough to try it.
Friday, May 7, 2010
I'll actually write fiction on Friday this week since I remembered.
I made it through the tunnel into the light on the other side. I noticed that it seemed much brighter than I remembered it. I climbed over the debris that had been left as the fissure had expanded. The world was a lot larger than I ever had imagined from within the wall of Status Quo. Apparently, our city was situated on some sort of a hill that overlooked a vast plain. I was so distracted by the view that I forgot why I had ever left the city. I began to hunt for the unkempt grass for the ball. However, as I looked through one particularly tall patch of grass, something sharp pricked my finger. I lifted my hand out and noticed some tiny black creature latched on to the edge of my finger and apparently biting it. Sure, I hurt a little bit, but I was more intrigued by this little creature with wings. I had never seen one within our city before. Apparently, he finished with his job and flew away. I returned to my hunt for the ball as I knew that Tom would be waiting for me, probably very impatiently.
I eventually found the ball and hustled back to the wall. However, as I looked at that hole in the wall, I wasn't really sure if I wanted to go back through it. Returning through that wall meant returning to confinement. Out here, there was freedom; there were no walls to contain my thoughts about what the world could be. If I returned through that crack, I knew that I would be surrendering some part of myself. Once you have found the true freedom, you realize that it has become a part of you.
I wasn't really sure; would I return to the familiar world I knew and loved, or would I take my chances in a world where I did not know the rules if the rules even existed?
Thursday, May 6, 2010
I wonder what it is like to be a member of the University of Virginia lacrosse program right now. I can't help but feel bad for both programs. Obviously the girls' program lost a teammate, but the guys' team, while they didn't lose their teammate to death, effectively lost whatever he might have contributed as a teammate. I wonder what this guy was thinking. Obviously, killing someone takes a level of lapsing judgment. I don't think you can be logically thinking and kill somebody in cold blood. The military is a different context because that is their professional duty, but cold-blooded murder is a different problem. Also, I realize that University of Virginia is a very large college, but I would assume that many of the players from the girls' team could have become friends with this guy because they all shared a similar fashion. Therefore, it would be very difficult for some of these girls who were friends with this guy or some of the guys who were friends with the girl. I don't know how I would react in this situation, but I hope that everything works out well, and everybody can find some sense of reconciliation with this terrible crime.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Sometimes, you're almost good enough, but you're not quite there yet. Last night during the Phillies game, when the game was tied 1 to 1 in the bottom of the 10th, Carlos Ruiz drove a foul ball down the left-field line that went just 5 feet left of the pole. If I was out there batting, I would have probably been pretty frustrated. You know it is when you're so close yet so far. However, there is a reason that he is a professional and I'm not. No sooner had I thought about this then he launches one clearly fair into left-center field that ended the game and gave the Phillies a 2 to 1 win over the always good Cardinals. There's something to be said for keeping your composure; you need to be able to isolate the failure in order to focus on the future success. However, this is often times easier said than done. How many pitchers have you seen who throw one bad pitch that gets hammered and then proceed to throw 10 more bad pitches simply out of frustration that hammered even harder? If indeed this pitcher could have kept his composure, he could have prevented all of the damage that ensued and kept his team in the game. However, how do we keep our composure? I'm not going to pretend to be a psychiatrist here and be able to understand other human minds. However, to keep my composure I tend to step back and look at the bigger picture. By realizing that a foul ball that is 10 feet and a foul ball that goes 500 feet is still a foul ball leads to the logical conclusion that a 500 foot foul ball should be no more frustrating than a 10 foot foul ball because they both have the same result; one strike down. This is not easy to do especially in the spur of the moment, but I have found that compartmentalizing failure helps you deal with it in a much more efficient manner than dwelling on it will.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
How many of you know what you're going to do in 2018? Well, Japan knows what they won't be doing. According to the BBC, Japan has dropped its bid to host the World Cup in 2018 leaving six nations in the running for the honor of spending millions of dollars to improve their facilities. I understand why it's done, but it is kind of funny that you need to pay to have someone invade your country. If I go to a friend's house, presumably they do not they pay me to be there (unless of course they want to get rid of me). Right now, the United States remains in the running to host an event that I bet we will be expected to do well in and then all of a sudden fall apart and disappoint like they always do. Of course, I'm open to being proven wrong, but I think I need to see it to believe it. Just in case you're wondering, the six nations/groups still in the running are the USA, the UK, Russia, Australia, Belgium/Netherlands, and Spain/Portugal. Personally, as much as I would like to see the World Cup in America, but I feel like it would do better in a place where soccer is the culturally dominant sport. If I had to make my prediction, I would bet that the UK wins the bid simply because there are so many great venues as well as the culture to back it up. However, I don't even know what's going to happen tomorrow, so I might be being a bit bold in predicting 2018.
Monday, May 3, 2010
My fantasy baseball team was flying. We were beyond hot, but now after one bad week we are back in second. Isn't that the way life is? You might be flying along doing great, but then something comes and trips you up. For my team, it was pitching that halted us. I got -9 points overall from Ben Sheets and only 7.5 from Wandy Rodriguez. When you get negative points from half of your pitching staff, it is awfully hard to win. It seems as if pitching is what can win or lose the week. At least in my league, a good game from a pitcher can offset an entire week by one hitter who happens to be amazingly hot. When Ubaldo Jiménez threw that no-hitter, I got over 40 points. I don't think I've gotten that many points from any hitter in one week even though I have potential stars Prince Fielder and Evan Longoria. Think about the way that pitchers only pitch once or twice per week. Their points need to be adjusted to make up for the lack of playing time. However, I feel like pitchers account for much more than half of my fantasy team's success. In a real baseball game, I feel like pitchers account for half of the game since they cannot win without help from the offense. They could pitch a no-hitter but due to lack of offense from their team and some key errors could lose the game. Without offensive and defensive support, the pitcher has no chance of winning. That being said, without a solid performance from the pitcher the team has no chance of winning. Therefore, I think that we need to balance the role of pitcher and hitter in order to have an accurate representation of a real game of baseball.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
I am just returned home from another triumphant day of power soccer. Today was Strategy Day in the Miller Recreation Center as we prepared for our game in two weeks. It is an entirely different concept to play with the team as opposed to playing individually. For one, there is the anticipation of teammates' motions and shots. I think that what I need to remember is that there needs to be 10 feet between teammates. I have a tendency to charge in at the ball to shoot it at the goal. However, in doing so I often come within the 10 foot limit of my teammates. I am going to remember this rule hopefully. Also, I'm not sure why this is, but rear-wheel drive chairs hit the ball so much harder than my mid-wheel. I spin just as quickly, but for some reason I cannot hit the ball with the same force. Any ultra-intelligent physicists out there, please let me know if you know why this is (is it something to do with angular momentum?) Anyway, whatever the reason, I now realize that I need to rely on stealth as opposed to power to score. Well, I'll add these to my check list of ways to improve as I prepare for our match.
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Welcome to the allegorical version of Fiction Friday!
It was an average day in the city. It was not too hot or too cold. I had gotten another mediocre C on my math test. My family was not rich or poor, but we lived a happy life in the city of Middletown. We were happy because nothing ever rattled us or our city. All that terrible stuff that happened outside the city physically could not come through one of the five gates. The town elders had voted before I was even born to erect a 20 foot wall to keep us from the radical fringes of society. They loved the wall so much that they even named it. How many walls do you know that have names? (I read about one in an underground antique book store that helped defend China or someplace like that). They had a large ceremony, and the wall of Status Quo was established. Nobody went outside it, and everything outside stayed outside despite the efforts they made to enter.
This wall defined the limits of my world both physically and mentally. The world outside of it did not matter because it did not affect my daily routine. The world inside of it consisted of a bureaucracy that was legislated by people disconnected from the population in favor of legislating.
One day, my friend Tom and I were playing by the wall on Circle 74. He lobbed the ball up high; in fact, he lobbed it over Status Quo. Being a somewhat impulsive preteen, I immediately looked for a way to get outside to retrieve our ball regardless of the implications. It took me all day, but finally I found the crack in the wall across from Idea Avenue. I grabbed a hold of this crack and crawled through despite the earnest warnings of Tom. This fissure by Idea seemed to take me through black space. I had no idea where I was going. It seemed like once I entered this world, I wanted to know where I was and to have somewhere to anchor my existence. Finally, as I pondered and puzzled out where I was, I began to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I crawled toward the light not knowing what surprises awaited me beyond the wall of Status Quo.