Arsenal’s Woes

As I was working on my second step for my sociolinguistics paper about UK English, I thought I would take a break and write about something else that’s along the lines of the U.K.: Arsenal. If you’re an Arsenal fan, you probably know the ups and downs that comes with being one. This season was definitely one of the more unusual seasons though in that we actually were in it for all four competitions that we were eligible for: League Cup, FA Cup, Premier League, and UEFA Champions League. Yet in a matter of weeks, it’s pretty promising that we’ll go away without silverware yet again. So what went wrong this season? A few things come to mind: Continue reading Arsenal’s Woes

Playing Against an Old Team

So I’ve played in the city soccer recreational leagues for about four years now. And in those four years, I’ve played against two of my old teams. It’s been pretty mixed in terms of experiences.

When I first started playing in the leagues, I had joined up with one team as a keeper with a few friends. However, we eventually left to start our own team since we’d be interested in doing so for quite a while. That summer we jumped up divisions after dominating in our first season and I played that old team. I made a number of friends on that team, so despite the competitiveness and ferocity during the games, it was relatively friendly (minus the drama in one game after I kicked off a player from the team and them joining that old team). It was overall fun during that rivalry. Heck, even some of them are on the current team today. Continue reading Playing Against an Old Team

Final Thoughts on the 2010 World Cup

I managed to watch 105 out of the 120 minutes of the World Cup final live at a pub out in Bellevue on Sunday. The Spain/Netherlands game was definitely what I expected it to be. Grind-it-out, nerve-wracking final. I feel it was much better than the 2006 final, partly because (1) the team that I absolutely hate almost as much as the L*kers, Italy, won it in 2006 and (2) because it went to a penalty shootout, which I hate to see especially for a final since it’s so gut-wrenching.

But here’s just some of my  thoughts on the game itself… Continue reading Final Thoughts on the 2010 World Cup

The Suarez Play (And Other WC Thoughts)

So if you haven’t heard already, Uruguay made it into the semifinals, where they’re playing in less than 8 hours from now. However, how they got there is considered by some as “controversial”, others “unethical”, and few  as “what just happened, but absolutely genius and awesome”. I’ll explain exactly what happened, as well as other thoughts (in a different format than what I usually do).

Continue reading The Suarez Play (And Other WC Thoughts)

The Harsh Reality of the World Cup

World Cup is something I look forward to whenever it comes around. But at the same time, I hate it too. It’s by far one of the most heartbreaking events out there. I came into the tournament rooting for the French (who was one of the most underachieving teams of the finals), the U.S. (one of the most overachieving teams thus far), and the Spanish (who are just fun to watch). But more on this later… But just how hard is it to watch these games? And how hard is it to really win the World Cup?

Continue reading The Harsh Reality of the World Cup

Nike’s Write the Future Commercial

I think this commercial is both awesome… and horrible:

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idLG6jh23yE]

Awesome: The first segment with Didier Drogba and all of the Ivory Coast cheering as he’s about to score…

Horrible: … except for the fact that Cannavaro (well, more of Italy) not being scored on.

Awesome: The part with Rooney being the scapegoat one moment and then hero the next. Oh, and hugging the Queen of England and schooling Federer in table tennis.

Horrible: Kobe Bryant in a commercial about the World Cup. Obviously, Lakers in such commercials is an automatic lame.

Double horrible: Ronaldinho isn’t going to be playing in the World Cup, yet Nike publicize him as playing. Way to get the soccer newbies’ hopes up.

Awesome: Cristiano Ronaldo megging Homer Simpson… And Homer actually realizing what just happened.

Horrible: Cristiano Ronaldo in a Nike commercial.

But yeah, in the words of Aaron Cohen (guest writer on Kottke.org) on the commercial: “If this doesn’t make you feel a little tingly, you’re probably going to want to go on vacation from June 11 – July 11.” So true.

More than a Soccer Team…

I never thought I would manage a team, let alone a soccer team. Soccer never was on my heart until seven years ago, where I helped organize a team for intramurals. Sometimes, it seems like an obsession. That I have some personal motive that results in me choosing to be with the team rather than serving in ministry, hanging out with people, or something of the sort.

In running this teams, I’ve managed to experience a number of injuries. The worse of them were ones to my head. Three minor concussions and numerous hits to the head. A chronic injury to my dominant foot and my hamstring. Yet, I’ve been driven to keep continuing to play, manage and lead a team. Even at the risk of my own health, I’ve still been driven to continue doing this. But why?

Every so often, I think “Why am I doing this in the first place? What’s the point?” I could be risking further injuries. I know that any one severe hit could change me forever. I could be doing something completely different. Having to deal with the complications of managing a squad can be difficult too. Ensuring enough playing time goes around, finding a chemistry among 16 different players, and creating an strategy and tactic that fits everyone’s style of play. It seems like this overwhelming burden, doesn’t it?

Then I’ve looked back on the number of people that have come and gone on this team in the past three years. I’ve looked at all the relationships that have formed over these past years. I’ve seen people who never knew each other become best friends. I’ve seen photos of teammates going on hiking trips and out to the beach. I’ve seen strangers before joining this team to becoming bridesmaids for the bride-to-be at their weddings.

The team does have a focus on winning, teamwork, and playing a beautiful game. Every single person that’s been on this team have had that same desire and goal (minus a specific crazy Eastern European keeper). However, the team was more than just that. It’s been about creating those relationships. I’ve seen a lot of them blossom through this team. And while a lot of them might not be on the team now, I know that those bonds are still there. It’s been a joy to see all of the friendships created these past few years. That’s been what I’ve hoped and loved to see as I managed and lead these players that have come and go.

So in the end, it’s worth it. To me, anyway. Sometimes, that struggle is there. Things might not be going so well, but to create that opportunity and place for those relationships to be created and built outweighs the losses or sacrifices made in its place.

It’s not the score lines that are remembered, but rather the memories and friendships that were created.

Bye 2008… Hello 2009…

2008 was quite the year. It was eventful to say the least. But as we could see a lot of triumph and victories, we also saw a number of defeats and losses as well. As I look back on this year, there were a lot of things personally that touched me. Continue reading Bye 2008… Hello 2009…