Fixing Professional Sports Leagues in the U.S.

In the U.S., we have all these leagues for our sports. NBA for basketball, NFL for football, MLB for baseball, NHL for hockey. I follow pretty much all four leagues for the most part. But over the course of this past year, you start hearing things of teams being unlucky for not making the playoffs because of schedule of strength or being in a tough division, teams choosing to bomb their season for the sake of a draft pick, or other such non-sense. However, it hasn’t been going on just this year. It’s been going on for a long, long time. Teams losing steam or motivation to do well. The same team winning year after year. Scheduling unfairness.

Because of all this, it’s given me a bit more appreciation of the way that the European football (soccer) leagues are run. Let me explain this model in a manner that people can identify with as possible. It’s one of the simplest, yet effective ways of determining a league champion and also bringing other aspects that encourage and drive teams to play to the very end. Continue reading Fixing Professional Sports Leagues in the U.S.

The Reality of Christmas

It’s been several days into the Christmas season. And what does that mean? The thing that while we love getting from others, but we also dread finding for them: Gifts. I still wonder where the concept of giving gifts during Christmas comes from, but regardless, it’s there. As I’ve been approaching this and thinking of ideas for my loved ones, it’s been rough thinking something up for each person.

While I’m usually the one that looks for gifts that will be useful and practical for someone, this year, I’ve wanted to go with something that’s more sentimental and cheap and using the rest of the money that would have been spent on gifts to donate to more charitable organizations to use more wisely. Why the change? Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve had more of a changed heart with regards to Christmas. Maybe it’s the fact that my eyes are finally open to the reality of the world around me and the needs that so many people around me need answered. Or maybe it’s the realization of the current events that have made us fearfully aware of the path we’re taking today. Let me explain. Continue reading The Reality of Christmas

Speak Out Against the Proposed Field-Use Fee Increase in Seattle

I recently received an e-mail with regards to the field-use fees in the city of Seattle. Apparently, the City Council is looking to increase the costs for the fields for the upcoming year. One of the largest soccer leagues in the area, Co-Rec Soccer, sent this note to all the managers in the league, but this seem applicable to that of other leagues in the area, like GSSL, Northwest Co-Rec Soccer League, and also groups like Underdog Sports Leagues. Here is the e-mail that was sent out: Continue reading Speak Out Against the Proposed Field-Use Fee Increase in Seattle

Explaining The Electoral Process in Less than Five Minutes

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ok_VQ8I7g6I]

For anyone that doesn’t know how the electoral process for determining the next President of the United States works, this is a great explanation that takes under five minutes and is in layman’s terms.

Two weeks until the election. Remember to vote!

Questioning the Past

I admit. I got curious and started wondering about my past a bit. Given the amount of free time that I have in between studying for GREs, soccer, being a part of and serving ministry, and work, I start thinking about it. And usually, when I think, it’s like giving a mad scientist access to a bunch of explosive and dangerous chemicals. Sometimes… things can explode. Thankfully not this time. Instead, it left me a bit more thankful of where it’s brought me today. Continue reading Questioning the Past

Fantasy Baseball

Another regular season is about to end and thus that means almost the end of fantasy baseball. For some teams, they’re still vying for the league championship, and others, the season has already finished. Playing in the past three years, I’ve started to learn a lot about tricks and strategy in order to succeed in playing. Granted, I’ve been only been playing in private leagues, it still remains competitive nonetheless. Of the ten teams, eight of them were active players that made moves and roster changes throughout the season. But in playing, these were some of the things I’ve learned: Continue reading Fantasy Baseball

The Grad School Process (Part I)

If you don’t know by now, I’ve been strongly considering and desiring to go to graduate school for a while. While work and being able to serve in the community and at Lighthouse have been alright, to further my education has been something I’ve wanting in such a competitive work environment these days. To have that edge over other potential applicants because of your academic coursework and study is always a plus, along with any other credentials. However, one of the tougher things to figure out is where to go in terms of furthering one’s education. What direction should I take in life? How should I proceed with that route? I figure I would document my process and see where it goes from now until I finally get letters back from the schools that I’ve applied for saying that I either got accepted or rejected.

But I guess the first question is “What do I want to go with the rest of my life in terms of my career?” To be honest, it’s a pretty loaded question. But ultimately, a lot of it relies on the gifts and talents that you have, but also the desire and heart that you have for what you want to do. I think the latter is the more difficult part. Finding that passion for something.

For me, that process was very long and winding. It still is. I came into my undergraduate years with the focus of becoming a doctor. Given some of the struggles that I had experienced with the medical process along with other issues, I couldn’t see myself going into that career field. However, I noticed that one of the gifts that I had was in understanding languages. My ability to comprehend and acquire language felt of ease. It wasn’t just in languages that one would speak and write in, but also computation languages as well, like C++ and PHP. I guess it was just a gift that I had. The other thing is my love for computers. While I don’t like to admit it, but I spend a lot of time on the computer, working on web design or improving my skills in that area or reading up on technological advances and new developments in the computer industry.

But how does learning languages and computers correlate to one another? Well, that’s where computational linguistics came into mind. Browsing over various programs that I was interested in, I noticed that there were programs throughout the nation in this field. What the heck is computational linguistics, you might ask? Here’s Wikipedia’s definition:

“Computational linguistics is an interdisciplinary field dealing with the statistical and/or rule-based modeling of natural language from a computational perspective.”

However, that definition is rather dense… But I found this explanation of what the field is about rather useful. This is from the University of Washington’s computational linguistics program website:

“As the role of computers increases in our daily lives, businesses and industry are seeking experts who can improve the nexus between humans and machines. Computational linguists are at the forefront of development of applications in translation, voice recognition, automated e-mail response, search engines and other pioneering technologies. Graduates of this master’s program will gain the expertise needed for employment as language software development engineers and linguistic data specialists.”

For others, this might seem like a bore. For me, this was something I really could see myself doing. Going through the linguistics program, it was always interesting to study and learn about language acquisition because of the intricacies of how one can learn language. The stages that a person learns their first language and other languages is a huge study itself that is still under a lot of study today. To apply that on a completely different scale with computers is completely different but a more fascinating sense because there is no automated brain for the computer to work with, one that doesn’t mature with each day. You have to give it commands and processes in order to acquire and understand what you’re wanting out of it.

Is this the only field that I’m interested in? Not necessarily. With each day, I learn something new about myself and where God wants me to go. And in doing so, this may change. However, I try to take those gifts that He’s given me to really apply it to the things I work with. I still have a heart for serving others and a heart to teach and helping others overcome obstacles. I’ve had thoughts of teaching and thoughts of going into the speech pathology field as well. However, I’m taking it one step at a time.

But in order to get into any of these programs, it requires one thing… Getting through the application process. However, before you can start going into that next step, to be able to understand and what you have a heart for is key because it will help you in figuring out where to go in the future. A friend at church told me this one day when I was over at his place: “Do something you would truly enjoy and be able to wake up and not dread doing each day. Something that will challenge you to want to work harder and want to learn more.” In the end though, I know that whatever career path that I take, that ultimately, God will use me in that field for His glory.

Hopefully that is something I will find over the course of this process. Just have to take it one step at a time.

Blazer Mania

The 2008-2009 season is slowly starting to near with each minute. And there’s that sense of enjoyment and excitement that comes with it, especially with this season. Why? It’s simple. Rip City is back in Portland, but more importantly, it’s throughout the northwest now. As sad as it may be that Seattle no longer has a team to call its own, they have a team in which they can root for that is on the up and coming that’s just down south on I-5.

There’s a lot of reasons to be excited for this young team though. I was reading an article written by a local blog that covers Blazers news called Blazer’s Edge about reasons to root for the Blazers, so I felt I would list my own reasons for why people should at least keep an eye on these guys.

1. Brandon Roy, Greg Oden, and Lamarcus Aldridge are the next Big Three. It’s obviously not the same kind of big three that Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and KG bring, but they bring a lot of energy and athleticism to the court. It will be great to finally see them on the court together. Oden will be doing monster dunks, Aldridge will be shooting from the perimeter and providing a defensive rebounding presense to complement Oden, and Roy will help run the offense and give everyone on the team opportunities to get on the scoreboard.

2. The rookies join the set. When I saw Bayless online during the summer league, I was mighty impressed with him. He had this composure and fearlessness that is hard to find in rookies. To attack the basket and shoot effortlessly was a sight to see. It felt as if the organization had the steal of the 2008 draft in Bayless. While he will likely make the transition to point guard, that ferocity and aggressiveness on the offensive side of the ball will definitely provide a big boost to the team.

Rudy Fernandez joining the Blazers is going to be exciting as well. For those that didn’t get the opportunity to see him play in the Gold Medal game in the Beijing Olympics, you missed out. I think the play that made him big was the dunk that he did on Dwight Howard. He provides a lot of energy to the court and will be another offensive threat on the court. Great jumpshot, winning attitude from his days in Spain, and great game overall.

3. Team-first attitude but with energy. I think this is probably one of the bigger reasons to follow the team. It’s hard to find a team that does this these days. The only team I can really think of off the top of my head is the Detroit Pistons. These guys are focused on success. They’re not greedy for the most part and they work well together. And they stand up for each other as well. Prime example of this is the last Lakers/Blazers game last season.

4. No attitudes or egos to worry about. The NBA is a lot about big names and big egos that run around the court. But it’s hard to really find one on this team. They may get attention, but not for the wrong reasons. They let their game do the talking, rather than their mouths.

5. They’re going to be a fun team to watch. I don’t think you can say that they aren’t. With the addition of Bayless and Rudy to go with all the other fearless players on this team, like Roy, Oden, and Outlaw, you’re going to see a lot of dunks and blocks this season. Last season alone provided so many games that resulted players from the team being on the highlight reel. This season won’t be a letdown, especially with Oden and his monster dunks and blocks.

But just think about it. Is there anything you can really say badly about this team? They’re a young team, and yes, with inexperience, but that’s fine. It’s what happens when the team consists of such young stars. Mistakes will happen. But they’re growing up together throughout this process and it will be great to see them mature together as a team and really learn what it takes to finally succeed and become a force in the NBA. And with a coach like Nate McMillian to keep them down to earth, they will have the elements that will help them contend for a title in the years to come.