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When life imitates CONCACAF

Art imitates life; life imitates art. Nothing new there.

But my life, yesterday, was imitating CONCACAF. Not just any old aspect of the local soccer confederation, I speak of the World Cup qualifying tournament.

Here’s the group standings going into yesterday’s games.

concacaf-standings-halfway

 

As you can plainly see, after winning one game a week ago, Mexico leapfrogged out of the trouble zone. There’s a bit of a clusterfrack going on at the top, but at least it’s at the top. Three teams all have 7 points. Panama is closing in with 6, and Honduras and Jamaica are bringing up the rear.

After the games, the board got shuffled a bit. US beat Panama and set itself as the sole leader of the conference. Honduras picked up a few points by beating Jamaica. And Mexico did what it does — it didn’t lose — to Costa Rica. They tied.

So now this is what the most current standings look like.

concacaf-WCQstandings-june11

 

And now, my life (which in this instance will be portrayed by my bowling league).

IMG_2160Competition is tight. There are 10 teams and two are tied with 12 points at the top of the leader board. Yours truly, among them (kinda like Mexico). The next three teams have 11 points. And so on …

Going into Tuesday night’s games, there was a strong sense to not mess up (kinda like Mexico).

But, when all was said and done, 14 Dollar Salad came away splitting the difference. We won two games, lost two. So, we tied (kinda like Mexico).

And because other teams were living up to their respective pressures, we fell in the standings (kinda like Mexico).

Not down and out, by any means, but definitely a little further down than anyone would like to be (kinda like … ).

 

PHOTOS: CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying standings on June 7 and June 11. My bowling standings after Week 5.

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The view from the bottom of American sports hierarchy

Yesterday, I traveled to visit a friend. I told him we could go wherever he wanted, but my one condition was that I needed to watch the Mexico/Costa Rica game.

We ended up at an “interesting” joint called Tilted Kilt, a place with dozens of televisions and two large screen projectors on both ends of the pub. A total of five t.v.s weren’t dedicated to the NBA Finals. I had to ask to get the game on one of them.

This photo completely captures the sporting hierarchy. HUGE basketball game and TINY little Gio Dos Santos. Nobody really cared that Mexico clobbered their former coach, embarrassed Costa Rica 4-1 and were the definitive winners in Group stage amassing a total 14 goals in three games.

Plus, the tv was so far away, I had to squint most of the time to see what was going on. Damn near-sightedness!! I missed half the goals too splitting my attention.Thank god for instant replays!

And then some idiots sat down at that empty table in front of the screen and changed my tiny t.v. Really?!! Dozens of televisions devoted to the playoffs and you needed that one too. Ridiculous.

We ended up getting a different tv changed back to the game. But, still… no respect.

Now that Dallas won, it might be a little easier to get pubs to give up a screen or two.

Another shot of our viewing selection:


PHOTOS: captured by my phone. Apologies for their crappy state.

NBA keeps stealing Mexico’s thunder

 

Who would you rather watch? A guy that hasn’t lived up the hype or a guy who surpassed it in the first 90 minutes of play??

I get that I live in a country where football needs a qualifying adjective for most people to understand me. I get that the NBA season is wrapping up  with two teams furiously battling it out with very little breathing room. And I get that one of those teams is the Miami Heat and all eyes are on LeBron and what he can do and what he hasn’t done in consecutive 4th quarters.

What I don’t get is a world que se empeña en atormentarme!

I am a basketball fan, to be sure. But nothing — not LeBron’s holy grail quest for a ring or Dirk’s — will trump my erratic, passionate, oblivious, fervent, zealous, TORMENTED regard for El Tri.

Apparently, the Powers That Be kept forcing me into a Sofia‘s choice: basketball playoffs or international soccer tourney.

ARGHH… I choose Gold Cup.

Every two years teams from North America and the Caribbean play for a shot at the Gold Cup. Mexico entered as a favorite and defending champion. It kicked off Sunday, June 5.

Mexico played against El Salvador in the second game that day. It started at 5 p.m. PST.

Oh, but guess what else was scheduled to start at that EXACT SAME TIME?? Game 3 — the one where Miami won by 2 points.

Fast forward a few days and Mexico is due to play its second group game. This time it’s against Cuba. What time did you say that was again? The EXACT SAME TIME as Game 5 — the one where Dallas finally pulled ahead and LeBron scored a whopping 2 points in the fourth quarter.

Not even the blaring headlines that preceded Mexico’s game were enough to turn a dedicated spotlight off the finals. Mexico played without five players  — including Memo Ochoa and Maza Rodriguez — because they tested positive for banned clenbuterol. The claim a la Contador is tainted meat. I’ll reserve judgment (sidenote: the players came to my UCLA today for further tests…fingers crossed)… but come on!!! No one that wasn’t already covering the game gave a flying F about this scandal!!

Whatever…

Mexico ended up beating up on the poor Cubans and won 5-0. For those not looking (and I assume that’s practically everyone), that’s two wins, six points, +10 goal differential and a top spot in Group A. And five goals for Chicharito. That includes a freaking hat trick in the first game!

This guy’s on fire. All eyes are on him and he has continued to impress. Is the same true of another?

Up next for Mexico is Costa Rica, the results of this tainted-beef defense, and the drama of continuing as a “heavy favorite” with a bare-bones roster. This is Must-See Stuff, people!

If you’re interested in watching, it’s really simple to remember. They play this Sunday at 5 p.m., aka the EXACT SAME TIME as the NBA’s all-or-nothing, last-chance for King James Game 6.

PHOTO: LeBron James vs. Chicharito faceoff