Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
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
Photo by the US Army on Flickr
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Photo by Dru Bloomfield - At Home in Scottsdale on Flickr
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Photo by Shine 2010 - 2010 World Cup good news on Flickr
Friday, June 25, 2010
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
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
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
Monday, June 21, 2010
Photo by kitykity on Flickr
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Saturday, June 19, 2010
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
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
Photo by ianlord on Flickr
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
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
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
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
Photo by Selective Focus Photography on Flickr
Saturday, June 12, 2010
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
Photo by rdesai on Flickr
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Photo by Jim Epler on Flickr
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Photo courtesy of lowjumpingfrog on Flickr
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
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
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
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: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/j/john_wooden.html.
Photo by Ed Yourdon on Flickr
Saturday, June 5, 2010
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: http://ffbsccn.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/john_wooden_pyramid.jpg
Friday, June 4, 2010
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
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
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
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