Friday, July 30, 2010

The eyes I watch games through (Oxymoron Project)

At the recent SSFC Concacaf Champions League match in Seattle I found myself discussing the game and various calls with the guy standing to my left. I made a comment about how a card was deserved on a Seattle player, and that I sometimes look at games through eyes other than those of simply being a fan when I am at games.

I realized that there are about ten different sets of eyes that I sometimes watch games with. These blur together into nice blends, but that the player, coach, or ref in me very often supersedes the fan.

So, here is a brief description of the ten sets of eyes I watch games through.

a fan
When the SSFC kicked off in March 2009 I was pumped and was wanting to cheer and celebrate and scream. In essence, I was not looking to analyse the game, I was there to soak it in and just be a fan.

a player
I do not think it is necessary to have been a player to watch, understand, or coach soccer. However, as someone who has been playing competitively for nearly 40 years there is a part of me that tries to picture what I would do in a given situation. I wonder if I could have finished a cross or saved a shot or if I would have made the same run as a player.

a coach
When I am coaching I am focused on the task at hand. When I start to think like a coach during a game is when I start to wonder when a sub might be made, or when a tactical shift is needed. It is more fun to have someone to talk to and compare thoughts with.

a ref
The simple truth is that most of the time most matches are reffed fairly well. It is a tough game to see everything, but that really is not the job of the soccer ref. When I see a card come out - or not - I often try to decide if the reason for the booking is as much game management as the infraction itself. I generally don't enjoy reffing, but have done it enough to know that sometimes these things matter.

a scout
When watching a team my team is going to play (or a particular player back when I had recruiting responsibilities) is a real intellectual approach to the game that is different than reporting. I have to take the information I am processing and compare it to the strengths or weaknesses of my team.

a parent
There is nothing like cheering on your child. I plug in music, stay off to a side, and look forward to chatting about the game later. As a coach, I have chosen far sidelines to stay away from parents. As a parent, I won't make another coach need to do that.

a friend
This is sort of the same as being a fan, only with less of a degree of separation.

a reporter
There are times when I have done some reporting and when that is the case I really have to detach myself from any sort of cheering and go into a real factual look at the game. It becomes a strictly intellectual exercise where I need to pay little attention to logos and names and merely look at what is happening. Fortunately, I do not need to do this too often because I really prefer to enjoy the game on some level.

a commentator
This is not the same as strictly reporting. I have had to opportunity to be a columnist for various publications and being a commentator and expressing my opinions that way allows me to use all of these eyes in different ways at the same time.

a customer
It was not until recently that I thought about things in this way. When the SSFC started the notion of the fan experience became an interesting topic. I thought about how prissy the fans are at Mariners games and how much I think my ticket money gives me some power.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

This came along so much quicker than I thought it could ...

Seattle Sounders FC 1
AD Isidro Metapan 0
July 28, 2010
XBox Pitch at Qwest Field
CONCACAF Champions League Preliminary Round Leg One

We're gonna rock down to Electric Avenue ...

I HAD to get a ticket to this game. Actually, I got the ticket as a birthday present and TicketBastard screwed up stuff on the ticket and then had to email us that the bar code would be okay even though the information on the ticket was not correct. Oh well. Sigi signed it for me though, so that was cool.

When I wrote about the Sounders playing meaningful internationals after the MLS Sounders were announced (See a February 7, 2008 entry titled simply enough Concacaf Champions League - you can type those three words in the search field.) I meant that it could happen in say ... 2013 or so. This is better, but still hardly to be expected.

A game with almost 18K in attendance needs to be put into context. This is half the total of a league match for the Sounders, but it is still higher than pretty much all but a couple teams will get this weekend, and they didn't bother to promote it much until after the Celtic game. It seems weird to think of 17K as a small crowd. We're getting spoiled.

I was skeptical about the yellow ... Electricity ... jerseys, but the uni has grown on me. And, thanks to my bro I got to wear my very own to this game.

The SSFC looked pretty good all game in regards to their possession, the youth movement in the midfield looks to be paying off, but really it is when #6 came in that things really started to roll. Pete V. did a nice job early on a few defensive plays, but Alonso is so the man.

I had not sat down front in some time, back in the USL era for the 2008 opener in fact, and this was a change. However, I think I will be back up high in the future, I am too used to really being able to see the play. Every once in a while going low to yell and sing is fun, but not often.

Where I was standing was a straight line in when Fredy hit the goal, this is from a few minutes later. No one was ready for the one he hit, let alone the ghost of Robert Green, er ... umm ... Metapan keeper Misael Alfaro. The fact the SSFC did not concede an away goal is huge and Metapan will not be using their home stadium as it was not certified. A few more goals would have been nice, but we have a strong chance of advancing.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Another reason to be mad at Clay Bennett

Kevin Durant recently signed a long term contract extension with the Zombie Sonics. He did it with little apparent fanfare, reminding Sonics fans of the quality we are missing since Clay Bennett and David Stern #*(%ed Seattle over.

Meanwhile ... LeBron James is now going to face what ARod faced in Seattle. Only worse. ARod was not a Seattleite, LeBron probably should never go back to Ohio.

There are fantastic players and there are franchise players. Franchise players are fantastic players, but not all fantastic players are franchise players. Part and parcel of being a franchise player is a competitive need to win and pull a team along by the sheer force of the competitiveness and talent of the player. There are not a lot of franchise players in sports.

Kevin Durant is a franchise player. By choosing to remain the man in a franchise that is building around him for the long term KD has shown us his character. He is The Man for the USA this summer as well.

LeBron James is apparently merely a fantastic player. The way LeBron handled his situation has been beaten to death, but it is a part of the problem. He went from being the most popular player in the NBA to the second most popular player in Miami. No one is saying he couldn't do it, just how he handled it tells the world all it needs to know. LeBron has told us himself that he is not a franchise player.

LeBron has decided you can't build a team around him and Durant has said Bring It On. OKC will win a lot by keeping KD and it hurts the Sonics fan in me in excruciating ways.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Feeling like some Simon and Garfunkel in my kitchen

Got bored enough waiting for food to come out of the oven last night that I arranged one of the rows in my spice rack Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

I can no longer hear you

I have always joked about having a No Whining Zone around me ... and with these I never have to listen to whiners again.

For the record, these are for working the trap lines and shooting.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Fireworks Seattle Style

It looked like the 4th of July would be a disaster for Seattle just a few short months ago when the sponsorship of the big fireworks display pulled out. And then a great thing happened, people and companies stepped up and saved it. Awesome. After all that hubbub it felt NECESSARY to go and support said show, even though it is an absolute pain to do so and other smaller shows were around, entertaining, and more convenient. So, after years of kicking it at the old Lynnwood High School for a local show, we went. Again, awesome.

Due to some misplaced keys we got a late start so when we got to the Eastlake area it was a no parking available zone. Fortunately, I went for the South Lake Union area, found parking just off Fairview, and we walked the ten or so blocks down to the water and found Hooters open for a bathroom and fries. I am not sure what it says about my 2010 that two of my more noteworthy evenings involve taking my mother and my kids to Hooters, but so be it.

The Bothell parade was its usual nice self, too. Nice to see the Sounders' Sound Wave involved there.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Black Belt Number 2

When I first started taking the Thai Kickboxing classes it was as a supplement to my Tae Kwon Do training. Although I still have unfinished business in Tae Kwon Do I have focused exclusively on the Thai Kickboxing now for some time in order to complete this program ... glad I did. Plus, when doing the math I can sweat off a couple pounds (water weight mostly) every class and since I have been taking classes for years that means I have sweat off a couple thousand pounds. Just sayin'.

This belt is my 2nd black belt. It makes me the 4th in the TKB program at STKD and the 2nd male. It also makes me the first male to have a black in both.

75 push ups never felt so good.

Everybody Conga!

Book List 2010 ... month six

Already at 61 before 6/1 my pace is worth trying to maintain. It appears I have committed myself to finishing some series. I expect to still pick up some random books along the way, but am also planning on completing the True Blood and Percy Jackson books as well as an Alan Dean Foster series. Essentially the next few months will see a lot more series fiction being rattled off. It has been too long since I read enough Foster as he is one of my favorite sci-fi guys of all time ...

Magic On The Storm by Devon Monk
This is the fourth urban fantasy book following the magical exploits of Allie Beckstrom in a Portland Oregon where magic has been harnessed. I am a huge believer that in order for fiction to really feel dramatic there must be genuine consequences and that sometimes the peril must lead to something more than a last second save that returns everything to a status quo. Fortunately, Devon Monk is apparently of the same belief. My copy is autographed ...

The Light-years Beneath My Feet by Alan Dean Foster
Book two of The Take Trilogy finds our accidental adventurers trying to make a living while hoping that it can also lead them home.

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
I read the first book a while back and then enjoyed the movie. Since the current reading theme is to read series fiction, I am going to crank through the rest of this series.

Loch Ness Monsters and Raining Frogs: The World's Most Puzzling Mysteries Solved by Albert Jack
I love books like this. Jack takes on all sorts of odd topics and breaks them down in an intelligent manner to show how and why these things may or may not have happened ... or at least why people might think so.

The Candle of Distant Earth by Alan Dean Foster
Did our wayward travelers find their way home? Read the books yourself to find out. Foster is worth the read.

Baghdad FC: Iraq's Football Story by Simon Freeman
This book should be titled, Uday Was #*(%ing Worse Than His Dad, but that might not have reached as broad an audience. This book made me both hopeful and despondent about the Middle East and future relations between the Arab world and the West.

Smile by Raina Telgemeier
My daughter had this book with her and had already read it a few times, so I read it to chat with her about it. Actually, it is a good book for a parent to read.

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks
Having read the survival guide book, putting this on the reading list seemed inevitable. It took a while to get the groove of the interlocking histories forming one picture, but once I did and things fell into place I really enjoyed this.

The Demigod Files (A Percy Jackson and the Olympians Guide) by Rick Riordan
I think I should have waited to read this until I finished the fourth book in the series, but I needed to return it to the library so I cranked it out.

Kick-Ass: Creating the Comic, Making the Movie
by Mark Millar, et al
Given that most adaptations come long after the initial creative process of source material Kick-Ass is unique in that the movie and comic series were essentially created parallel to each other. It is odd that I had not read the series since I do enjoy Millar's work, it is just the budgetary constraints of life that I did not. Soon, I will be listing the TPB of the series in this list when it comes in from the library. I must admit that there were a number of moments in the film where I put my hand over my mouth in an "Oh! My! God!" sort of way.

True Blood And Philosophy: We Wanna Think Bad Things With You by William Irwin, George A. Dunn, and Rebecca Housel
A few years ago, or last year maybe, I read a few books in this series on Serenity, Alias, and Battlestar Galactica. Breaking down pop culture and treating it as the important myths and fables of our day can make for either really interesting reading or really dry reading. I think as long as I stick to the topics I really like I will keep reading from this series in the future.

Club Dead by Charlaine Harris
In this 3rd of the True Blood novels we find Sookie travelling to Jackson, consorting with werewolves in addition to her vampires, and getting into a lot of trouble. After reading this I really hope they bring Bubba into the TV series. Just saying. Find a way.

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan
Also a 3rd book of a series, much like the entry above. Even though I have enjoyed these books and didn't hate the movie like so many seem to, I still have hope that they make more.

June total = 13 / YTD = 74 (goal 100)