Monthly Archives: April 2012

no No NO!!

no: Cristiano misses first PK

No: Iker misses a PK

NOOOO!!! Sergio Ramos blows a PK.

GIF courtesy of SB Nation, which sees the silver lining in Ramos’ epic fail.

And that is how you undo 120 minutes of play in blasted shootouts.

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A story of Chelsea and Goliath

Subheading: The £50 million goal heard round the world

Would you look at that! Did I call it or what? I was off by a game, but Chelsea managed to make it through to the UEFA Champions League finals by the grace of God and the skipping talents of Torres.

They’ll play the final in Munich next month against either a growingly impressive Real Madrid or a formidable Bayern Munich on their home turf.

I’m giddy with faking-a-fall, pulling-a-hamstring, rolling-on-the-field excitement! Should Real Madrid fall (ay, dios no lo quiera), I’m definitely going to root for this plucky, hard-knocks team, who’ll be playing without four key players. They have a less-than-zero chance of winning…

Then again, I’ve said that before. Like I’ve also said…

That Barcelona are at home and they rarely lose at Camp Nou,

That Barcelona lost back-to-back games, which means they’re fired up for a win. And poor Chelsea’s in the crosshairs,

That of all the teams, in all the stadiums, in all the tournaments to be down to 10 players, this is the worst possible situation for Chelsea,

That Barcelona scored twice. Game over,

That Messi looks like a 10-year-old AYSO player. Tuck in your shirt, and you’ll look less like a hobbit.

So maybe it is Chelsea’s time. Fate was certainly on their side during these last two legs. And if fate just wanted them to show up to the finals and lose, then she’s a cruel, cruel mistress.

P.S. Funny how the odds were stacked so high against Chelsea for the full 180 minutes, even though, they were only ‘technically’ down for two minutes. Food for thought.

PHOTO: Skip to my lou, my darling. Fernando Torres, in the 90+ minute of play, broke away, beat the goalie and tappa-tap-tapped the ball in for the definitive goal.

“Top” that!

What’s up with Chicharito? Have you heard?

I’ve been caught up in my own world of Champions League and La Liga play as of late. Manchester United has been out of the UEFA tournament for a few months and, well, they don’t play in the Spanish league. Obvi

…which is why I was surprised when the first news of Chicharito I heard was this mierda:
Should Chicharito still be considered the top Mexican player?

umm… Yeah!

The whole point of the article is that he hasn’t been performing as much this year as he did in his hot-out-the-gate season last year. Meanwhile, over at Real Sociedad, Carlos Vela (pictured above), on loan from Arsenal, has been spectacularly racking up goals. His latest was an overhead goal against Villareal. And if people weren’t paying attention to him before, this will surely put him on someone’s radar.

Vela has scored 11 goals this season, including five in the last five games. Chicharito has 12 goals*. *Caveat: counting all goals with team, not just league play.

I’m not betting grandma’s house on a one-goal differential. I’m just interested in figuring out what makes a “top” player. And why must there be just one? “The top Mexican player”? It really depends on what skills you value the most — goal-scoring capacity, speed, agility, acumen, confidence, sportsmanship, aerial acrobatics.

Look how high he jumps. He's only 5'8"

And how he scores with the back of his head, and still just 5'8"

On the homefront, I’ve finally upgraded my cable to a sports package that’s chock-full of soccer channels I longed for, but wasn’t subscribed to, and others I didn’t even know existed (yippee!). Armed with this, I’m going to conduct my own one-person survey, polled after watching both men’s next games. First up, Vela. Real Sociedad plays again Saturday. Then, on Monday, Manchester United goes against Manchester City. I’ll see who plays, who scores, who assists, who’s an overall playmaker.

Bias Disclosure Time: I like Chicharito. He might not do more than cheerlead from the seats and I’ll still give it to him. The point then? Oh yeah, watch good soccer. Obvi.

For the love of thigh

Well that was a disappointment. Depending on who you ask, yesterday’s first leg of the UEFA Champions League semifinal between Real Madrid and Bayern Munich didn’t go as expected.

Because I have a shirt that says so, Iker is my guy and I’m a Real Madrid fan. If you know the rules about CL play, then you know that though RM lost 2-1 to Bayern, they’re still in the hunt. If you don’t know the rules, then study up. Game 2 is next week. And the first game between Barcelona and Chelsea is today.

Let’s have some words about Cristiano Ronaldo. Did he forget something? Like playing well and scoring!! And given that Bayern was attacking like mad, a couple of goals would have been nice. (Thanks, Mesut!) Was there something wrong with Ronaldo’s mighty thighs? Did they not want to be in the spotlight??

As of late, Ronaldo’s taken to showing off his musculature after scoring a goal. (See photo above.) Maybe he had an unsightly bruise that he didn’t want to see the light of day…

And then, there’s my boy Iker who normally shows off ninja skills in front of the goal. Here’s a thought: He should show off his legs after each aerobatic save.

Like after this...

...or this WC one

Maybe not this one (17 April 2012)

Now since I’m in that small camp that likes to see Barcelona play but is fed up with the Messi-anic dude (seriously, quit being so good.. it’s obnoxious and a tad boring), I’m going to root for another thigh in today’s game. Seriously, how funny would it be if Chelsea wins with a Torres goal? ha!

PHOTOS: Ronaldo showing off his thigh, Iker saving various shots including one during the World Cup final July 2010 and watching the winning shot go by in yesterday’s game; Torres not scoring a goal.

Don’t cast away ye ‘Pearls Before Swine’

A few years ago, the resident surly newsroom codger fixture told me that he still had hope for younger generations. The impetus — My love of Pearls Before Swine. Everything’s fair game for the controversial comic and Rat is just the anti-hero character to tackle it with his unsolicited and usually awful dose of “wisdom.” Ahh, gotta love em. I saw this comic over the weekend, and couldn’t help but laugh and think of my colleague. Yes, there is hope because people like me still look for Rat and Pig in the comics to provide my fleeting moment of reflection. Family Circus never did that.

Here’s a couple of my all-time favorites that I’ve managed to dust off from MANY YEARS ago. Enjoy!

Silly runners — contracts are for fools

The year started off with a gun. I’ve been reflecting on all of my runs this year and realized that I’ve been on the starting line of a lot of races — and it’s barely the first few days of April.

According to my calculations, I’ve logged about 100 miles this calendar year. That’s on pace to meet my 2012 resolution, but a handful of miles behind where I’d like to be — that elusive 500 club.

This is the third year in a row that I’ve tried to reach that goal. I failed the first year because an ankle injury sidelined me the last two months of 2010. Then, because of that same injury, I got a late start in 2011. In an attempt to ratchet up the pace last year after I got the all-clear from my physical therapist, I recruited an accountability partner. That’s her pictured above at the bowling alley (Long live, SPARE-TA!!!!). And that’s our running contract that we’re holding — signed, dated and witnessed.

Some key language:

I, Claudia B., enter into contract with Nicole D.-M. (hereafter known as Parties) on this 13 day of April 2011 to hold each other accountable on the quixotic quest of running 500 miles in one year. I will be focused on reaching this goal before midnight on Dec. 31, 2011 or, more realistically, by Persian New Year on March 2012, if for no other reason than it gives the aforementioned Parties more time to complete the mileage...

Neither injury nor laziness can sever this contract…

I realize that this contract between Parties carries much more than bragging rights. There will be large rewards, penalties and punishments, which have yet to be determined.

Well, March came and went and neither of us ran 500 miles. According to my DailyMile account, which I began at the same time, I came up more than 100 miles short in the last year.

Injury didn’t hold me back, so it must have been laziness. But how can that be when the contract clearly states that that’s not allowed? Perhaps because it was never notarized???? Or maybe because we never settled upon a “lavish reward” for the first to finish??

I seem to be doing alright on my own in 2012. And a big reason for that are all the races. I know that without a reason to train, I’m not going to bother running. There are much more fun ways to get in a good workout.

After this weekend, I’ll have 13 more miles. Anyone else doing the Hollywood Half Marathon??

PHOTOS: Happy contract-signing faces; my one-year running reality

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My Spring Molt

So this post is about shoes.  And before we all get excited that I’m going to be talking about the latest and greatest in Spring 12 feet fashions… Let me stop you right there.  I have nothing to discuss in that category. I haven’t bought a new pair of shoes since (quick mental math), gasp, since 2011.

This post is about the hilarious way that the world has of giving you messages. In my case, it was screaming at me to give up my ol’ pair of tennis and move the eff on.

The shoes in question are the pink and grey Pumas pictured above. Essence of effortless cool.

They’re a party on top. Disaster on the bottom…

My shoes are molting!!! During the course of my workday, half my soles fell off.  I had to keep looking behind me during a three-minute walk to get lunch. Literally littering with each step. (What I grabbed, pictured to the right.)  If there were ever a sign to hang these suckers up by the shoestrings, it was that they were falling apart. I’m not blaming Puma for poor products; I don’t think they’re meant to last a generation. Who knows the actual number of years I’ve had them? Ballpark 10-12 years.

The lesson I’m left with is that I need to get rid of these so I can start making room for future shoes. Which reminds me, that will be the perfect April theme for my DeCluttering 2012 Project.

To the closet!

PHOTOS: Different views of my pink/grey Pumas. The good, the bad and the ugly.

London-bound. Let’s keep the hookers out of the hotel, eh?

The big news of the weekend — Mexico is going to London! Yeah, BABY!!!!

The top two teams of the region automatically go to the Summer Olymics. Though there’d be some bragging rights to winning CONCACAF’s Olympic qualifying tournament, the real goal was getting out of semis. And, Mexico did just that in a 3-1 victory over Canada. Tomorrow is the final.

But more than that, this was redemption for the Sub-23 Mexican team. 2011 was a red-letter year for Mexican soccer. Chicharito and friends stampeded through the CONCACAF Gold Cup and came back from behind to win the championship over the U.S. (There they are hoisting the Gold Cup trophy.)

The chavitos hosted the U-17 World Cup and had a Hollywood-esque game against Germany in the semi-finals. Complete with Olympic goals, bandaged heads and bicycle kicks. They won the whole thing and swept the awards — Gold, Silver and Bronze Balls. (There’s Julio Gomez rocking a bandage.)

And then we get to the Sub-23 team. What did they do? Well, they were sent to particpate in South America’s Copa America — where they had an epic fail, losing every single game.

But the drama started well before when eight players were suspended and sent home. Allegedly, some of the players invited prostitutes into their hotel. And those ladies of the night ended up stealing a lot of valuable electronics. Instead of keeping mum, the players report the stolen stuff. An investigation reveals the prositutes and the rule-breaking. Who would have thought differently?

How do you heal that wounded pride…? Win an Olympic bid for your country. I mean that will shut me up.

PHOTOS (from top): Mexico celebrates during Saturday, March 31 win over Canada; Andres Guardado, Gio Dos Santos and Chicharito celebrate Gold Cup win; U-17 player Julio Gomez kisses Golden Ball award.