Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Burlington Men's League

I made my first pilgrimage to the Burlington men's league tonight. I must admit, it felt kind of weird watching guys that I had watched throughout high school for different, often rival teams, on the same team tonight. I had seen most of these guys play multiple times throughout our high school years, but one year does make a difference when you're away at college. However, I also observed another thing that I had previously noticed at the Barre men's league (although this is a much different level). Men's leagues are ruled by who can hit the most three-pointers on a given night. The refs do not call much, so that makes post play more difficult since every shot is hotly contested. Also, defense is a rare thing many times, so many of the threes are uncontested. Because of this, it makes more sense to take the treys. However, three-pointers are hard to make even when you are wide open. This means that the winner is essentially going to be the one who can make more wide open threes or can actually step up and play defense to make the threes more difficult. However, none of this really matters. It was a lot of fun, and I hope I can get back up there soon!

Photo by ricardodiaz11 on Flickr

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Good Shots Needed

I was thinking about Japan as they lost earlier today. They had very few good opportunities whereas Paraguay was consistently putting pressure on goal. However, despite all the pressure that they were putting on goal, they had just as much success as Japan did. It is one thing to have opportunities, but it is another to convert. I know this from my own power soccer experience as well. When we played in New Hampshire last month, I did score a number of goals. However, I also sent several shots wide. Ideally, every shot should be a shot on goal. To improve on that, every shot on goal should be to an area away from the goalie. Of course, this is incredibly idealistic because we take shots we shouldn't take. The idea is to get quality shots, not just a high number of shots.

This is my challenge then to myself, my power soccer teammates, or any athlete in general. If you have a great shot that will very likely go in, by all means take it. However, if the shot is doubtful or a teammate has a better shot, don't be afraid of the pass. Nobody would criticize you for tallying an assist as opposed to a goal.

Photo by Miguel Vera on Flickr

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sports Ticket Pricing

I think that, watching Brazil beat Chile right now, Switzerland should have made it into this round. Anyway, enough complaining about the Swiss as much as I liked that the team for beating Spain. The other day I was looking at some ticket prices on the FIFA website and realized that for a ticket to the finals, you could be paying up to $900 per seat. I realize that this is outrageous, but that is in US dollars. I wonder how much more outrageous to people from a poor country. Very few of us have $900 lying around for no reason, and we live in one of the richest countries in the world. I would bet that most of the people who are able to afford a ticket probably didn't simply because as I have been complaining for the past few days, Americans don't care about soccer half as much as the rest of the world (or half as much as they should). I was also reading an article the other day that talked about a shortage of ticket sales. I wonder why? If people can afford the tickets, they won't go simply because they can't. I wish all sporting events would realize that trimming a little bit off of ticket prices might indeed bring in more fans who would make up the lost profit from cutting prices.
Photo by the US Army on Flickr

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sad Loss for Team USA

In four more years, the United States will care about soccer again. I'm sorry, but the only time that America cares about soccer is during the World Cup. It's kind of funny because many kids play soccer when they are young (at least around here). However, soccer seems to be one of the things that are sacrificed when busy schedules force kids to make a choice about whether to play piano or soccer. I'm not really sure why it happened this way because every other sport seems to be able to excite the American people. Compare Major League Baseball to Major League Soccer. One league is regarded as the best in the world for its sport whereas the other is only a league that steals players from Europe when they get too old or want a ton of money. We also have the best basketball and football leagues in the world right here and fans support them, but why can't soccer find a following? I don't have the answer to this question, but what I can say that the United States has the best power soccer team in the world has proven at the last World Cup in Tokyo, Japan! However, we will see if they can hold that crown in 2011; I will be cheering for them.
Photo by Dru Bloomfield - At Home in Scottsdale on Flickr

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Soccer Time!

Today at two o'clock, everybody better be watching as coverage begins for the US and Ghana Round of 16 matchup in South Africa. I think that everyone in America will be watching Landon Donovan, the hero who got Team USA into this round with a stoppage time goal just a few days ago. However, I think that today will be a slightly tougher challenge than Algeria because Ghana is the only African team left. On top of being a very talented team, it would be a disappointment to Africa to not have a team at least go to the quarterfinals. To be honest, the United States has made me nervous. I was very excited when we drew with England thinking that this would finally be the year that the United States had plenty of talent to drive deep. However, after a miraculous rally was required to draw with Slovenia and finally only being able to beat Algeria in the added time, I'm a little bit more nervous about our chances because now it is one and done. They need to win today or go home. Hopefully, even though soccer is sadly not really a big deal most of the time, I hope that today everyone will turn it on and support their team!
Photo by Shine 2010 - 2010 World Cup good news on Flickr

Friday, June 25, 2010

Minor League Fiction

Naturally, since it is Friday, it is Fiction Friday!

I never thought that I would be in this situation right now. When you drafted right out of high school, you get your hopes up. However, just because you get that contract doesn't mean you're guaranteed for a future of stardom.

In fact, I was about as far from stardom as you could possibly get. I was standing on the pitcher's mound in a tiny ball park in basically a glorified men's league. It was quite the detour from where I intended to be as a 24-year-old right-handed pitcher with an 86 mph fastball and a pretty decent 12 to 6 curveball that occasionally hit the zone. Granted, I realized that I had a long way to improve, but I always thought that I would continue to improve. That is, I thought that until one night pitching in Clearwater, Florida when I felt that pop. I had always heard about arm injuries, but I never realized how devastating an arm injury could be when you run the edge of survival anyway. This was the beginning of the end for my professional career, or so I thought. However, I knew that I couldn't leave it forever, so I began to explore and find out where me and my slow fastball would still be wanted.

Photo by gregor_y

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Phillie All-Stars

It is pretty interesting how the Phillies might actually have two All-Stars starters this year. As of yesterday, Chase Utley and Placido Polanco were leading second and third base respectively in the All-Star voting. Utley is not really a surprise since second base is a pretty shallow position, but I am a bit surprised about Polanco. We had him in Philadelphia, got rid of him to make room for Chase Utley, but now we have him back potentially playing beside Chase Utley on the All-Star team. It's kind of odd the way that things work out.

The Phillies might also have two more All-Stars as Jayson Werth and Shane Victorino or fourth and fifth respectively in the outfield vote. Again, I'm not overly surprised by either these, but who would have thought that a Rule 5 pick would turn into an All-Star or a failed prospect from the Dodgers would turn it around in Philadelphia? It's an exciting year to be watching the All-Star game hopefully, but I wonder about the regular season. At least we won last night and scored seven runs. Maybe this is the start of some offensive surge that will carry us to the World Series again.
Photo by dougtone on Flickr

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Fantasy Update

I think that it is high time for an update on my fantasy baseball teams. For one, the Ducks are surviving relatively well right now as we are riding the arm of Ubaldo Jimenez to second place in our division. I pleasantly had an excess second baseman since I had both Ian Kinsler and Casey McGehee. Therefore, I dished Kinsler for Roy Oswalt hoping for that trade that will get him out of Houston into the Land of Run Support. We have also pleasantly had an excess of outfielders, but we are surviving pretty well and are hopefully ready to move up the ladder.

My next team TCWT is holding down third out of a league of 10. The problem there however is that I was loaded with shortstops but both Jimmy Rollins and Troy Tulowitzki are both sitting on the DL. Rollins will be back soon, but until then I'll have to suffer with lower production. Other than that, this team is doing very well recently with Mark Reynolds mashing home runs and a pleasant surprise from rookie Andrew McCutchen in the outfield.

Finally, the Perpetual Blogging Co. team in a Battle of the Blogs has been dominating as far as pitching goes. When you have a pitching staff highlighted by Ubaldo Jimenez again, Roy Oswalt again, Chris Carpenter, and Mariano Rivera coming out of the bullpen, you should do pretty well. However, I have had an interesting time filling some spots with Troy Tulowitzki and Mark DeRosa on the DL. However, Justin Upton and Colby Rasmus are holding on with my offense and hopefully everyone else will carry us on.

Photo by kevindooley on Flickr

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Power Soccer Offense

So, a few days ago I was writing about power soccer defense as you might remember. Today, we will start looking into offense. A common saying at our practices goes something like this, "pass to the open space not to the player." This might seem a bit odd, but the rationale behind it makes sense. If you run a two on one fast-break, you need to make the pass where you want your teammate to be rather than where your teammate is right now. If you pass it where your teammate currently is, he or she will have to stop or maybe even turn around to go retrieve the pass. If you pass to the open space ahead of the offensive player, it's much easier to chase down a ball ahead of you in the open floor. Then, there are two concepts at work here. First, passing to an open space is obviously the beneficial move. Second, keeping the ball moving forward is what you are aiming for because as I have mentioned in previous posts, you want to keep the pressure away from your defense as much as possible given the fact that power soccer is an offensive game. So, in closing, remember to pass forward to open spaces to keep the offense rolling and the ball away from your defense.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Be Recruited

The Phillies are back to losing, but we won't talk about that right now. I also wanted to have you all check out the Vermont Chargers Power Soccer Club website because we actually now have a logo designed by Chris Brosky. There is a link on the sidebar to the website. However, that isn't really what I wanted to talk about either. Today, I wanted to talk about the website I had heard of this website because one of my friends was using it, but I never really explored too much. Last night however I was wasting time looking around the website and noticed how extensive it really was. If it is used right, it can provide it a pretty good picture of an athlete, but of course it falls because of self reporting. I could say whatever I wanted on there to attract attention. Once a coach explored deeper, the lie would become obvious. However, I would like to say that most people are honest, so making this assumption would dramatically raise the value of this website. When you have 700,000 athletes all on one website, I definitely think that it is an impressive feat, and they have done a good job of presentation.
Photo by kitykity on Flickr

Sunday, June 20, 2010


To continue from yesterday, I left the power soccer defense in a predicament with a three on two situation. Again, one of the defenders needs to step up and stall to give the player who got burned a chance to get back into the play. What should the other defender be doing? He or she should be aware of any potential forward passes that could be made. If the offensive player makes either a backward pass or a horizontal pass, it will take enough time to allow the player who got burned to find the opening on the floor and defend it. However, the forward pass will just leave that burned player farther behind and make a potential goal much easier. Again, as I said last time, power soccer is a constantly moving game. Therefore, the offense will continue to move forward unless you aggressively try to stop them. Power soccer is also a contact sport. Therefore, because any guard to guard contact is allowed, an oncoming defender can be very distracting to the offense and maybe even lead to a breakaway if there is a steal. All in all, I think that power soccer while primarily an offensive sport has the potential for lockdown defense at any time.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Take Power Soccer Defense Up a Notch

I think today is an appropriate day to return to the topic of power soccer. I was thinking about our upcoming match on July 25, and I was thinking about how we might adapt our game to bring something new. What I am thinking about it so we potentially might be able to improve our defense for a more efficient system.

As I have said many other times, this game relies on communication. However, this is easier to say than to do. However, I think that the advantage to playing defense is that you only have two dimensions to defend. The ball can go forward and backward or left and right. In regular soccer, you need to worry about up and down as well. Therefore, even though double teaming is not allowed, we have three defenders to cover the two dimensions that can be played. Therefore, that leaves us with one defender who needs to attack the ball. The two players who will be covering the two passing dimensions would be more than 10 feet away from the ball, so that one remaining defender needs to play the ball. Most people do not seem to hold the ball in power soccer; it is a very attack driven game. Therefore, the defense needs to be constantly challenging and attacking the attackers or else the offense will continue marching forward. However, if that one player from the offense continues attacking, we need to employ what is known in basketball as "help defense." If that one defender goes out to challenge the attacking player and gets burned, the rest of the defense needs to be aware and come to help. However, the difference between power soccer and basketball is that only one defender can come to help because of the rule against double teaming. Therefore, even more communication is necessary between not only the first player, but also the second and third players need to be talking to make sure that they know who should be covering the now unguarded attacker.

I could keep going on, but I will save some of that for tomorrow!

Photo by adobemac on Flickr

Friday, June 18, 2010

My Weakness

Whatever the reason, I couldn't get my mind off of that pitch. I could hit a fastball, curveball, even knuckleball (although I had never faced a Tim Wakefield caliber one), but I could not handle the crazy change up. There was something deceptive about that pitch, a thinly disguised fastball. However, I just couldn't handle it. I guess it was one of those things that no matter how many hours I spent in the batting cage or how many hitting camps I went to with how many retired professionals I just could never figure out.

I think something had to do with tension. When I stepped up to the plate, I was grabbed by a desire to swing. Something in my arm muscles or perhaps everything in my body wanted me to jump on every pitch. I guess when you are jumping on every pitch, it makes sense that a change up would be your downfall. I would step up to plate telling myself to be patient and to sit back on the inevitable pitch that I knew had to be coming. But the result was always the same, it had always been and always would be my downfall, but I tried to hide it as best I could and go on bashing fastballs.
Photo by parent5446 on Flickr

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Best Matches So Far

Again, nice to see the Phillies pull out a win while actually bringing some offense. However, there is a bigger story to write about today. How about the World Cup so far? Unfortunately, I haven't gotten to watch as much as I would like to, but it's still been quite the event so far. First off, we saw the United States and England battle to a 1-1 tie in a match that might be an indication of American improvement. Then, we saw Brazil almost get upended by North Korea in a 2-1 match that at least surprised me. North Korea has not been to the World Cup finals since 1966 whereas Brazil is always a force to be reckoned with on every level of the competition. Finally, yesterday was the biggest surprise of all as the Swiss took down Spain 1-0. Spain was the favorite entering the tournament for many people after winning Europe, but somehow they let this one slip by. It's kind of funny to look at the Group H standings right now and see that Spain is behind everyone (Chile, Switzerland, and Honduras). Whatever, I'm sure they will make a comeback and put this one little bump behind them, but congratulations to the Swiss on playing the game of the tournament so far.
Photo by ianlord on Flickr

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Izzo Stays at MSU

I am glad to say that Tom Izzo is staying at Michigan State rather than making the jump to the NBA. Personally, I think the college game is so much more intense than the NBA. I think that there is more intensity because the NCAA is sort of like the minor leagues for the NBA (I realize that there is the development league, but the NCAA also keeps track of players who are waiting to make the jump). Because everybody in the NCAA wants to make it to the NBA, they are trying to impress various coaches and general managers, the media, and the fans to support them in this venture. Once you're in the NBA, you don't need to establish your name because it has been established by being drafted and offered a contract. There are thousands of NCAA players who are all driving towards the same goal, so each one knows that he must step it up and outplay almost every other player on the circuit to advance. Also, the same goes for women's players and the WNBA; I'd much rather watch the NCAA for the same reason.

Being enrolled at a Division I university, I have known a number of athletes. I must say that I admire how they can study and be highly competitive athletes all at once. Once you're a professional, you don't need to worry about studying anything but your opponent. This ability to multitask also makes me more impressed by the college game. I know that if I were a coach, this is the level I want to be at.
Photo by Kind of Bruin on Flickr

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Big 12 Survives

Well, it is all but certain that the Big 12 will remain a conference. To be honest, I had my doubts when there were rumors flying around that Texas or Oklahoma might be moving, but now it seems like only being down Colorado and Nebraska will not hurt the conference that much. However, it is odd that now the Big 12 has 10 teams in the Big Ten has 12 teams while the Pac-10 has 11 teams. Whatever, maybe it's just like some very complex upper level math where things aren't really what they are because they have been applied using a different system.

So what does this mean for the Pac-10? USC has fallen into some problems as of late, so maybe Colorado do well in football. What does this mean for the Big 12? Well, I don't really think it matters that much because you always have Texas and Oklahoma on top anyway. What does it mean for the Big Ten? More quality competition from Nebraska, but I don't think it will totally upset the power balance. Whenever we see a major turnover like this, I always wonder about the amount of money that is involved. If it is financially beneficial, I think any team will leave the conference. Money talks.
Photo by Ed Yourdon on Flickr

Monday, June 14, 2010

World Cup Soccer vs Power Soccer

The Phillies won yesterday which is always good, but the bad news is that the US World Cup team is tied for second behind Slovenia. Somehow I doubt that Slovenia will be able to hold that top slot for very long with the United States and England right behind them, but it's kind of ironic anyway for the time. I was watching Germany versus Australia yesterday afternoon, and I began to wonder about some of the differences between soccer and power soccer. The biggest difference I noticed is that power soccer is much more dribble oriented while the World Cup match was much more focused on passing. However, I think that this difference can be accounted for by the fact that it is very difficult to lift a power soccer ball. I've only seen it lifted once or twice on YouTube and was only able to be elevated one or two inches. Therefore, power soccer players cannot make runs and try to beat the defender one-on-one while waiting for a pass to come over the top from the midfielders. Any long pass will probably get picked off by some defenseman without ever getting anywhere near its target.

Another difference I noticed was that almost every attack was based with some sort of cross to get the ball into the middle. We do cross sometimes in power soccer, but we mostly attack the middle of the field to challenge the goalie. I think this difference can accounted for because there are many fewer people on a power soccer team, so it is much easier to penetrate the middle. Since only one chair can be playing the ball at a time, why not take it to the goal?

The World Cup continues, a hopeful America can finally live up to the hype that it has brought to the past couple of Cups and put together a nice run.
Photo  by 1Happysnapper (photography) on Flickr

Sunday, June 13, 2010

New England Track Championships

Okay, since I'm not behind on anything, I think it is time to talk about track and field for one last time this season. Yesterday, we made a pilgrimage to New Britain, Connecticut not to visit the Iwo Jima Memorial, although we did see it on Route 9, but to watch my sister pole vault at the New England Championships. By my estimate, there were about 500 athletes there, but I obviously did not go and count every single one, so give me some margin for error. I always talk about how basketball players are bigger outside of Vermont, but I know that the now applies for other sports. Unfortunately, I only got to watch a few events, but it was still pretty crazy how far people were long jumping in particular because I saw some of the higher seeds actually compete in that event. Last weekend at the Division II state meet, the longest jump was 19'5". Yesterday, there were only five jumpers out of 31 who went less distance than this. It's kind of crazy. However, it was a lot of fun to see these awesome athletes compete at a huge stage where the best compete in New England. Next year, the meet will be held in Burlington, so that will be fun for all the people who had to drive a long distance today.
Photo by Selective Focus Photography on Flickr

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Shady Dealing

I forgot to write fiction yesterday; my bad. So, even though there is still much to write about today, I will backtrack to yesterday and give you a piece of fiction.

Glancing stealthily around the corner, Ben Wolfson wondered why he was even here. What on earth had possessed him to abuse the privilege to access the Commissioner's Office? He knew the answer to that one; he was being paid a lot of money. He knew that that wasn't enough reason to rig the draft, but somehow he justified this in his mind. He knew that what he was doing was a blatant abuse of his position. He was supposed to be there to make sure that the draft was fair and that every team got their appropriate level of first position chances. However, sometimes things change. For Ben, everything changed when he met Joe. Joe, who never liked his last name mentioned, came up to Ben in a bar, offering to buy him a drink and pulling up a chair. Not seeing anything wrong with this guy, Ben humored him and accepted the offer while initiating conversation. They chatted for a few minutes about the perceived common interest of basketball. Gradually, Joe drove the conversation toward the upcoming NBA draft. Feeling comfortable now, Ben talked about the important role he had in determining the eventual outcome. A slight smile came over Joe's face; he knew what he wanted this to go.

Remember, this is total fiction. Names, situation, and everything else is entirely fictional.

Photo by josh.liba on Flickr

Friday, June 11, 2010

Colorado Flips to Pac-10

The Phillies got shut out again last night, but let's forget about that for now. Instead, let's focus on the conference changes in NCAA. Now that Colorado has moved into the Pac-10, I wonder how many other teams will follow suit and bail on the Big 12. It is funny though because I always thought that the Big 12 with a pretty happy conference. However, it appears as if teams want to go to where the money is at; I would assume that the Pac-10 makes quite a bit of money for each of its members. However, the biggest draw for Colorado very well could have been playing football in the same conference as USC because you surely don't leave the Big 12 if you're worried about finding a better basketball conference. That would be like being at the pool and wanting to swim but then leaving to try to find a better place; why not enjoy the best situation that you're in right now? Undoubtedly, the Big 12 is having problems right now, but who knows what will happen as the off-season goes on. Maybe the Big 12 will even find someone to replace Colorado and be able to maintain its reputation as one of the best conferences in the NCAA.
Photo by rdesai on Flickr

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Championship Drought Ended

When I heard this morning that the Blackhawks have ended a 49 year drought between Stanley Cup victories, I had to think about that. The reason being that 49 years is a long time for an organization to wait between major victories. As a Phillies fan, I had to wait since 1980 which was before I was born until we captured the World Series two years ago in 2008. I thought 28 years was bad, but I can't imagine another 13 years. I would have been 38 which is far too old to enjoy your team's first World Series victory. However, some people like Red Sox and Cubs fans went their whole lives without seeing a World Series victory which would also be depressing. I guess that tells something about the dedication these fans have, but I am sure that these fans would gladly give up the perception of being dedicated for a championship, but at least we can praise them for something while they wait. Now, I am waiting for October or possibly early November to see another title brought to Philadelphia. Of course, we have to start scoring some runs first, but if we can straighten that out, it will happen.
Photo by Jim Epler on Flickr

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

My Interview on Blogging

I don't really need to write today because I have something else I want you to read. I was searching the Internet a few weeks ago and I discovered the blog "I'm Not A Famous Blogger." As the name implies, they were looking to conduct interviews with bloggers who are not famous. So, I did an interview with them, and I would love to have you go to their website to read that interview. So, until tomorrow, here's a link, and I'll write again tomorrow!
Photo courtesy of lowjumpingfrog on Flickr

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Michael Jordan's Legacy Etched in Stone

I am a little bit behind in reading my newspapers. However, this morning I opened up the Parade magazine from Sunday's paper and read an article about how to save the NBA. To be honest, I think that the NBA has been slipping downhill since Michael Jordan retired in 1998. I know he made a comeback after that, but he was not the legend that he was before that first retirement. During his career, the league essentially became Michael Jordan and a bunch of other players. Don't get me wrong, there are several other players of his era who were amazing as well such as David Robinson or John Stockton. However, I do not know the figures off the top of my head, but I would bet that the amount of endorsements that Michael Jordan received was several times that of any other player of that time. He was the face of several national brands, most notably Gatorade and Nike, he played on the original Dream Team which also received quite a bit of international media exposure, and he became a legend in college basketball first thereby gaining a fan base that Lebron James could never get because he never went to college. We are always looking for the next Jordan for a reason; his personality, obvious talent, and championship success all became major selling points for the NBA. Even people who didn't know basketball understood that he was the best. I don't really see that happening right now because there are so many different players who might be the best, Lebron, Kobe, Wade, or a few years ago Steve Nash. All of this talent is awesome, and I'm glad that all of these players are stars, but it also takes more of an in depth understanding of the game to know all of these players and realize who is the best. At least in the 90s, there was no question.

So, how would I save the NBA? I think mainly I would need a player who'd come in from college with a national championship, be very flashy on the court but have a good reputation off of it, and he would need to go to a bad franchise and turn them around into a champion. Lebron James came in heralded as the next Jordan, but until he can win that championship, he's not on the same level of stardom.
Photo by Esparta on Flickr

Monday, June 7, 2010

Invitation to Compete

Today, I am thinking about the benefits of competition. I think that, at some level, we all need competition. Even people who don't like to lose need to compete every now and then. There's something about competition that brings out some sort of adrenaline rush that caused all the participants to rise to the level that they don't normally need to reach to. For example, if you don't exercise your muscles, they become weaker and weaker. On a similar level, I think it is important to exercise your mind and body in this hyped up state to make sure that you don't lose that desire to win. We all like to get things easily, but every now and then it feels great to say that you got something because you hardest worked for it.

So, that is what power soccer does for me. It forces me to use parts of my mind that I don't typically have to. For example, it's very unusual that in everyday life I need to worry about pushing a ball to a teammate without having it intercepted by an opponent. In fact, I don't think that has ever happened in real life unless of course I made a Disney movie where I spontaneously burst into power soccer mode at random times throughout the day and call it something like High School Power Soccer or something like that. Of course, then that's not really real life. Anyway, back to the topic. Anybody else out there who feels like they need some competition in their lives but use a power wheelchair, we would love to have you on July 25 at the University of Vermont's Patrick Gymnasium for a power soccer clinic. Registration is at 12:45, and the clinic runs from 1 to 3 with Jerry Frick of the United States Power Soccer Association. Following the clinic, you can see myself and my teammates on the Vermont Chargers meet the New Hampshire Power Cats again at three o'clock where we hope to bring our record to 2-0! All power wheelchair users who can independently drive their chair are welcome to bring their chairs, themselves, and we provide the rest of the equipment to play. I'd love to see any of you all there!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Life Lessons from Coach John Wooden

Since the rest of the sports world is still honoring John Wooden, I guess I will too. Today, how about a bulleted list of some of his most famous quotes that I appreciate, and hopefully you'll find this somewhat relevant and applicable in your everyday life as well. You don't need to be a basketball player to appreciate John Wooden.

• Never mistake activity for achievement.
• It isn't what you do, but how you do it.
• If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?
• Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.
• Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.
• Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.
• Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.
• The main ingredient of stardom is the rest of the team.

I hope that some of these quotes make sense to you because I know that they have been important to me. Again, you don't need to be a basketball player to appreciate this advice, it is relevant on so many levels. For more John wooden quotes go to:
Photo by Ed Yourdon on Flickr

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Coaching Legend John Wooden Passes On At 99

As I am sure most of you have heard, my coaching inspiration passed away. John Wooden died at the age of 99; a nice number that just barely eclipsed his UCLA teams' record streak of 88 consecutive victories. He had the most successful run of any NCAA coach winning ten out of twelve NCAA championships as well as seven in a row between 1963 and 1975. Not only that, but he was elected to the Basketball Hall Of Fame as both a player and a coach.

However, I personally think that his talents extended beyond the basketball court. Having read many of his books, I think that it is safe to say that he was able to communicate his philosophy with basketball as well as life as well as any other coach I have ever read. Some people write great basketball strategy books, and some people write great moral books, but it is rare that one author is able to do them all. I think that he was from a different era, but he was still able to communicate lessons as well as strategies that remain relevant in today's basketball game.

UCLA was a truly unique program when John Wooden was coach, and I think that this legacy will continue to live on despite the fact that its originator has passed on.
Photo from:

Friday, June 4, 2010

Roughed Up on the Mound

Since today is Friday, as I have done customarily, I will write fiction.

Despite the fact that the sun was shining and a nice breeze was blowing in from left field, it was difficult to get comfortable on the pitcher's mound. For some reason, I couldn't find my footing along the rubber. If that wasn't enough of a problem, I also couldn't grip the seams well, and my curveball looked more like an underhanded lob because I couldn't get any snap on it.

I had struggled for the first three innings scattering five hits, four walks, and three runs around me. Having an ERA for the game of nine and a WHIP of three isn't too great, but entering the fourth inning, I started to see the hope for a change. I'm not sure what it was that all of a sudden made me feel so comfortable, but I knew I had to take advantage of it while it lasted because surely it couldn't last forever. Among my teammates, I was a notoriously fast worker not wanting to waste any daylight between pitches. However, this day by began to kick it into overdrive. No sooner had I gotten the ball back then I was already up on the mound delivering the next one. Again, when the flow comes you don't argue, you go with it. All of a sudden, I thought I might survive the game.
Photo by DJ Anto D on Flickr

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Sayonara Ken Griffey Jr.

There so many options to write about today given the fact that we almost saw our third perfect game of the season last night (something that has never been done before). However, I bet that everyone is going to write about that, so I want to talk about the end of an era. What era am I talking about? The end of the illustrious 22 year career of Ken Griffey Jr. came down yesterday. While nobody can compare to influence Michael Jordan had over the 90s, Griffey might have been his closest competition. The easiest way to tell whether or not you truly have become a superstar is receiving a role in a children's movie of course. Jordan had Space Jam, and Griffey played an integral role in the ending of Little Big League. You all remember that scene where he robs Lou Collins of a home run exhibiting his legendary defensive abilities that won him a gold glove every year of the 90s. However, Griffey's media empire entered the Super Nintendo and Game Boy world. What I remember about his Super Nintendo game was that none of the players except him had real names. They were obviously modeled after certain players, but they never had their names.

All of these things show why Griffey became a rock star, but we also have to talk about how he became a superstar. As I mentioned earlier, he won a Gold Glove every year of the 90s. The 13 time All-Star hit 630 home runs over 22 seasons and almost reached 3000 hits (2781 to be exact). In that legendary year of 1998 where Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa dominated the scenario, Griffey hit 56 home runs of his own. However, the more amazing part is that the year before was almost identical. During the late 90s, when it seemed like everybody was caught up in steroids, nobody has ever gotten Griffey; he was clean in an often dirty era.

We will miss him, but what can you do? Every era has had their superstar from Joe DiMaggio to Willie Mays to Griffey. I guess we will just have to wait for another one.
Photo by Keith Allison on Flickr

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Price Floor

You know, if all of the NBA owners got together to try to fix player salaries and determine who would play where next year, I bet that the union would be all over that case. However, when Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, and Joe Johnson want to meet to discuss plans for next year, nobody seems to have a problem with it. Maybe this is not their intent whatsoever, but they could totally play the owners by raising the price of each other. For example, say they all wanted $100,000,000. If they all agreed to remain at that price, they all would get it. Without this agreement in place, one of them could get a smaller contract and therefore eliminate the higher priced options from other teams. Again, maybe they are just meeting to talk, but it seems a bit unfair that these guys, even though they are some of the best players in the NBA, could get together and set a price floor. It may work out well for them financially, but as I learned in economics, whenever you fix the prices, you get inefficiency. In this case, this inefficiency is the added money that these guys could receive above what they are worth that could've been spent on bringing in other parts to build a championship team. Basketball is more than a one-man game.
Photo by AndyRob on Flickr

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Houston, We Have a Problem

Right now, I am desperately hoping that Roy Oswalt gets traded very soon. When a guy has had almost every start be a quality start, it has a way of getting people's attention. Mainly, he grabbed my attention; he grabbed my attention enough that I was willing to trade away Ian Kinsler for him. That may not seem like a great move because good hitting second baseman are so scarce, but I also have Casey McGehee who's been even hotter than Ian. That way as well will allow me to reenter Alex Rios into my lineup, and he had been having better production than Ian anyway over the last month.

Just because Oswalt has been pitching in Houston and has a 3-7 record, you never hear about his other awesome numbers. For example, he has struck out over a batter per inning (72 strikeouts in 71 1/3 innings), his WHIP is down at 1.079 which basically means he only allows one base runner per inning on average, and his ERA is at 2.77 which is definitely better than most. So, I need him to be put any team that would give him some runs since he has been receiving one of the lowest run supports in baseball to get me some wins and make this trade worthwhile.
Photo by Rich Anderson on Flickr