Monthly Archives: July 2010

arriba arriba, speedy hernandez

Chicharito has already made his Manchester United debut! Just when I was wiping away my last tear and sniffle for the end of the World Cup… so it’s greatly appreciated and welcomed with open arms.

Yesterday, ManU took on the MLS All Stars. It was great to see that more than 70,000 people showed up to the game. Soccer must still be riding high. I read somewhere that was the fourth largest crowd for ANY all-star game. We’re including American faves baseball and basketball. Crazy! Anyway, the game was what it was. The Red Devils won and Chicharito scored. Yeah! Final score One Premier League team (5); the best the American league has to offer (2).

Everywhere you read, people, players, pundits are saying that Javier Hernandez will add a spark to Manchester United’s roster and help propel them to greatness this season. It could happen. Who else will do it, Rooney? Unlikely.

Here’s an excerpt from a piece that mentions how the player we know as Chicharito almost wasn’t:

El Chicharito is, however, an authentic version of the Warner Brothers cartoon character Speedy Gonzalez, ‘the fastest mouse in all of Mexico’. The 32.15 km/h at which he was clocked during South Africa 2010 – faster than any other player at the tournament – pays testament to that. It is the speed at which Javier Hernandez has hurtled from the cusp of premature retirement to prestigious stages such as the FIFA World Cup and the Theatre of Dreams. Could it be the ingredient that helps Manchester United win the race for the 2010/11 Premier League title?

Chicharito and his new squad will play the old goats TOMORROW night. Can’t wait. You can download a commemorative wallpaper post-Chivas v United. Could it be cool enough for me to replace my swimming elephant?

And onto more World Cup stars coming to the Western Hemisphere…

REAL MADRID and its all-star cast of players (Iker, Ronaldo, Kaka, Sergio Ramos, Xabi Alonso) has landed at UCLA! Yep, take that SC! Another reason we’re cooler. Here lies the training grounds before their friendly against LA GaLAxy Aug. 7. How will I ever get work done? Every time I hear a girl squeal, I jump up looking for those familiar faces.

PHOTOS: (Above) Chicharito beating Speedy Gonzalez in a footrace. Ahhh! Not even breaking a sweat. (Lower) Pretty UCLA architecture makes working out for Real Madrid a pleasure!

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My party people!

Organizing is such sweet sorrow. I’ve decided to make a Mexico Fans set in my World Cup photos. You can view these and others on my flickr World Cup section. There’s a brief sampling below…

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Another one bites the dust

Though it has been a couple weeks since the 2010 FIFA World Cup wrapped up in South Africa, yet another Mexican national team has been kicked out. Starting immediately after, the U-20 Women’s began in Germany. Mexico made it out of group stage, but fell waaaaaay short to Korea in the elimination round.

And yet, it was a valiant effort.

I’m not going to pretend I follow Las Aztecas as intimately as I do the big show; however, I did read through the grapevine that the team went further than expected. Looks like no one thought these muchachitas would make it out of group stage. We showed them, eh?

Good show, girls.

And yes, it’s plain to see that I’m still not over the fact that my World Cup is done. So if anyone else wants to fill the void with this U-20, the next game is July 29: semi-finals between Korea and Germany, and Colombia and Nigeria.

By the way, that Nigeria quarterfinal game was a stunner… they took out reigning champs U.S. in shootouts. Coming back from a 1-goal deficit to tie at the last possible minute. Since this is the U-20 Women’s, it’s hard to find decent footage after a quickie search.

Here’s what I found on the highlights. Looks a little like a student project, but whatevs…

If anyone is keeping track, this early exit makes the 2005 FIFA U-17 the only world championship for Mexico. Giovani DOS SANTOS and Carlos VELA were both on that team that beat Brazil in the final match. It is possible, boys!

PHOTO by GETTY IMAGES: Led by captain Nayeli Rangel, Mexico leaves field after quarterfinal loss to Korea Sunday.

That’s right, Loney. I’m looking at you.

The only redeeming thing about the Dodgers v Giants game on Tuesday night is that I got to take Lil Loney back home. His arm fell shortly after this shot was taken… probably couldn’t deal with the weight of his awesomeness. I get it.

After a night on the road, he’s come to park it at my UCLA office. Anyone have any crazy glue? Must look presentable, Lil Loney.

PHOTO: At Dodgers’ game, looking for replacement to fill World Cup  hole. Let’s just say in terms of saves, Broxton is no San Iker.

10 days of mourning

It’s been 10 days since confetti rained down on Iker Casillas, David Villa, Xabi Alonso and the rest of the Spanish national team. What a moment! The only downside to the entire joyous affair was that it was the final curtain call for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. I’ve been giving a standing ovation for days now, waiting on an encore. Sadly, that won’t come for another four years.

In the meantime, I’m going through the five stages, but totally out of order.

1. DEPRESSION

I immediately jumped over denial, anger and bargaining and went straight to DEPRESSION. “The World Cup is over… what’s the point of waking up early? Why bother if there’s no game on T.V.?” After tossing and turning a few times the morning after, the euphoria of seeing Spain win quickly evaporated.

2. DENIAL

Then comes DENIAL. “It’s not over!” My reaction was premature and a tad dramatic. I still have all the highlights, lowlights, analyses and constant Pulpo Paul watch. Spent a good deal of time surfing the Internet for morsels of FIFAdom and watching recorded games on T.V. Plus bonus! I have to catch up on all my recorded T.V. shows while I was away. That includes sitting through commercials waiting on the 30-second Waka Waka with highlights of the day’s games. Yes, I’m that far behind… I’m still in Group stage!

3. ANGER

I don’t really separate this stage from DEPRESSION. I get angry and depressed at the same time. Angry that I’m depressed. Sad that I’m angry during such a joyous time. F this! This little kid is the best because his simple expression captures everything I’ve ever felt at this stage.

4. ACCEPTANCE

Yes, it’s out of order, but I reach ACCEPTANCE before I’m done grieving. “It’s going to be OK. I will survive this. Brazil is in four years and I need to start planning.” But even before then, I got confederations cups, euro cups, mis pumas and the galaxy.

I guess I could also realize that other sports exist besides soccer. Not there yet, though.

5. BARGAINING

Please just let me make it to Brazil 2014.


PHOTO from AP: Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas lifts World Cup during victory parade in Madrid.

Happy birthday, Rodal!

Happy 11th birthday, Rodal! We’ve made it through half the day already.

My present to you today (provided you don’t leave me stranded on the side of the 405) is a car wash!

Yeah… good times.

FUN FACTS:

  • July 14, 1999: Rodal and I rolled off the Bozani VW in West Covina with 11 miles.
  • July 14, 2010: Rodal and I rolled off the driveway this morning with 178,864 miles.

PHOTO: Rodal in greener pastures with birthday hat and balloons.

Pull up your big girl panties

New goal, folks. PULL-UPS!!

I know what you’re thinking, “…but you’re so strong. You kick my ass in spin class and you’ve run like a thousand races, including a few marathons… how can this be?”

That’s exactly what you were thinking, right? Well, it’s true. I am pretty awesome, but for some reason never developed the ability to lift my body weight in one fluid, unassisted motion. I’ve given myself 5½ months to accomplish this.

This has been weighing on me from a very early age. My upper body strength has always been underdeveloped. I remember being in the playground and not being able to make it all the way across the monkey bars. Still, to this day, the one time I made it remains ONE OF THE BEST days of my life!! I even remember the park where it all went down. Knapp Ranch Park, baby!

If anyone out there is interested in doing this with me, we begin with…

SEATED ROWS

My boot camp instructor told me to start by lifting “… 60, 75 or even 80 pounds.”

“Ha!” I scoff. “For like one or two reps then, right?”

“No, 8 to 12. You can do that,” he shoots back and adds, “you want to get this done this year, right?”

So there you have it. Next trip to the gym, 60lbs… 8 reps… 2 sets…

Let’s see how that treats me.

PHOTOS: Lift, lower and repeat (top); gym rat concentrates with eyes wide shut as he rows a measly four plates (bottom).

Ten signs its time for a new car

10. NEEDS A PEP TALK

You find yourself giving your car a pep talk before turning it on. “Come on, Rodal. You can do this. You’re stronger than you think. It’s only one little hill and 20 miles until we’re home. That’s nothing for a beast like you.”

9. NEW ROUTINE

You’ve added a new step to your routine. Seatbelt, check. Shades, check. Ignition, roar. Hazards, yep.

8. PREEMPTIVE CALLS

After the pep talk, after the hazards, but before you start that now-treacherous 20-mile commute. You make a preemptive emergency call. “Hey, I’m on my way now. If you don’t see or hear from me after an hour, you’ll know why and whereabouts to find me.”

7. IT’S THE BIG ONE

Continuing to show its age, your car decides now, in the winter of its life, to SHAKE, RATTLE AND ROLL uncontrollably. Every stoplight, stop sign and yield, serves as a reminder to get your emergency kit in order. Hey, it could also be a public-service announcement to other passersby. Silver lining, folks!

6. FREQUENT PIT STOPS

Suffering from incontinence, you notice your car is leaking fluids and burning through gas like no one’s business. You’re filling her up more often with less miles than in her glory days. But now, your trips to the gas station also include water and oil checks. Sometimes, twice a day.

5. NEVER-ENDING LIGHT

Everyone has that moment. The time when your CHECK ENGINE light comes on and you have no idea why. After an amusing quest to figure it out, you realize you’ll just have to live with it. My light, the one that’s been on for months—nay years—just started blinking.

4. BLOWN LIGHTS

Unlike the annoying Check Engine light that never burns out, everything else goes. One right after the other. Newest victim: BACKUP LIGHTS. Both of them. An easy fix to be sure, but one that won’t be replaced anytime soon because the trunk won’t open.

3. TRUNK WON’T OPEN

Enough said.

2. 5TH GEAR? WHAT’S THAT?

Since your car won’t/can’t go much faster than 60 mph without dragging and jerking, what’s the point of shifting into fifth gear? You’re comfortable cruising in 4th, in the slow lane, with your hazards on and your windows up. Why? Because…

1. HAZARDOUS EMISSIONS

Apparently, your car is toxic. It’s best not to inhale any of that. “Better out than in,” as Shrek always says. Now, there’s no conclusive evidence yet; however, a certain passenger has complained that fumes of God only knows what aggravated her eyes. There may or may not be some eye drops involved. Oops.

*BONUS

You’re scared to write/speak ill about your car for fear of vehicular retribution.

YA NO LE BUSQUES… PORQUE LE VAS A ENCONTRAR.

PHOTO: Cartoon by Andy Davey of The Sun.

San Iker shows he’s human after all

Spain has joined the elite pantheon. With yesterday’s win over the Netherlands, Spain became the first European nation to win the World Cup outside of Europe; the first team to win the World Cup after starting with a loss; and just the eighth country that can claim WC winner status.

Villa scored five of their eight goals. Iniesta scored the tournament-winning goal after almost 120 minutes of play. But San Iker, goalie-extraordinaire, capitan Furioso, is my vote for player of the tournament.

After falling 1-0 to Switzerland in the opening match, Iker Casillas came back with a fury. He only allowed one other goal in the whole tournament and kept up Spain’s last line of defense. But, sadly, his TV reporter girlfriend was blamed for that early loss. Everyone was saying she distracted him by being on the sideline doing her job. That’s malarkey. Obviously, it didn’t. He got the bugs out and kept showing why he’s arguably the BEST GOALIE IN THE WORLD.

Check out FIFA’s highlights of this year’s Golden Glove winner.

And after the emotional roller coaster, what does he do? He shows us and his girlfriend his softer side… ahhhh.

PHOTO from AP: Sara Carbonero works on the sideline as boyfriend Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas warms up before semi with Germany.

Closet full of clothes and nothing to wear

Tomorrow’s final showdown will feature two awesome teams:  Spain — the best team coming into the tournament and co-favorites to win the whole thing — and the Netherlands — undefeated in the last six games. My predictions haven’t been as spot-on as Pulpo Paul’s. I had said, many moons ago, that Mexico would be playing in the last game. Far-fetched, I know.

My first place team is out. But that just leaves room for the second-place team. That is Mother Spain, España, La Furia Roja. And, no, this isn’t a bandwagon reaction. My top three teams have always been Mexico, Spain and the good, ol’ USA. Is it weird that I root for the conquered and the conquistador? Not to me. I’ve made my peace with it.

So here’s my dilemma. What to wear to the final match?

I still want to represent Mexico. I also want to wear that Spanish heritage on my sleeve. I don’t have a jersey from the Iberian Peninsula.

Do I wear a Mexico jersey — green or black?

Do I wear a red/yellow tshirt?

Do I wear a red Mexico tshirt with a yellow scarf?

Do I throw on the South Africa scarf as an ode to the host nation?

So many choices. So little time. I guess I won’t figure it out until I’m staring at my closet tomorrow morning. There’s nothing like an adrenaline-rushed decision. Takes all the second-guessing out of the mix.

PHOTO: Spain doing their thing in Group stage against Honduras, Ellis Park, Johannesburg.