Seven Days, Seven Sports (Events)

This is how it goes sometimes.  Starting last Friday, our crew attended or participated in:

  • Friday: US Soccer World Cup Qualifier in  St. Louis (USA 6, St. Vincent and the Grenadines 1)
  • Saturday: Illinois Football v. Ohio State in Champaign, with cousins, sister, mom, and Friends (OSU 27, Illini-3)
  • Sunday: Illinois Basketball v. North Dakota State with the boy (Illini 80-, NDSU-74; nice comeback in the 2nd half).  And also basketball practice for the boy.
  • Monday:  Iles Basketball for both kids (girls tied; boys won).
  • Tuesday: Iles Basketball for Sophie (win)
  • Wednesday: Gym Basketball for Bruce (loss)
  • Thursday: Iles Basketball practice

Seven days – and for good measure we’ll throw in a 12-18 hour stomach bug that had both kids hurting, though they each recovered in time for their events.  By yesterday, I just wanted to sit on the couch.  I enjoyed every one of these events, but I’m not a person who recharges around people.  Needed some quiet time.  Which is a good thing, because I believe we have something four of the next five days leading up to Thanksgiving…

So, yeah, we’ll get to some books, TV, and other stuff here directly.

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Looking at the footsballs

TV executives know we’re home and watching, and they oblige us…  Lots of sports programming available for consumption, and in Beemsville that meant Fighting Illini basketball the last two evenings.  Nice wins over Indiana State and Baylor to take the Las Vegas Invitational tourney.  This hoops team is Aggressive with a big ‘A’, allowing them to win even when shooting poorly.  Very fun to watch, and we’ll break them down later.

This morning we have some English Premier League.  No games really stand out this weekend, but hey, it’s on.  Then we have Illinois vs. Northwestern at 11:00.  Two 5-6 teams battling for a low-level bowl…  Battling for the Abe Lincoln LOL Hat…  Battling for state supremacy (not really, because NIU is better than either)…   It’s the Illinois Pension-Reform Bowl.  Whoever wins, the citizenry come out a little poorer…  And yes, most likely, Tim Beckman’s job hangs in the balance.  Like any true Illini fan, I’ll be rooting hard to beat Fitzee and the ‘Cats, but as an objective watcher of the program, I won’t be too sad if a loss initiates a coaching change.

This afternoon we have the second leg of MLS Eastern Conference Playoffs:  New England vs. New York in Foxborough.  The Red Bulls are down 2-1, needing some goals, and their top scorer is out with yellow cards.  Can the old warhorses, Henry and Cahill summon forth the magic again?  Tomorrow we get Seattle vs. LA from Century Link Field in the Western Conference.  The Galaxy hold the 1-0 advantage here and looked much the better team in the first leg, but Seattle are so tough at home.  LA will have to score to close this out because the Sounders are going to get some goals.  Should be a fun one:  Dempsey, Martins, and Yedlin v. Donovan, Keane, and Gonzalez.

Applause for my girl

It’s been a big week for my daughter.  She just had a birthday, and as my mom pointed out:  she’s now lived with you in your house longer than she will live with you.  This gave me and the wife pause, and then it kind of hit me:  Mom’s probably right.  Oof.  The teen-aged years will soon be upon us.

But at this point, we’re really not all that worried.  My girl has a lot on the ball.  Parent-teacher conferences are like the highlight of the month when they occur.  She has lots of friends but not just one best friend without whom she can’t function.  She does her homework on her own.  She loves to read.  She’s kind to her little brother and often more patient with him than me (and that boy will try your patience).  In sports, she plays hard and smart and listens.

Last week was her first time at band contest, a trumpet solo.  We were well-prepared.  She can play the Jurassic Park theme without missing a note, with good dynamics and intonation.  But…  after warming up in the practice area, our piano accompanist was running behind (because there are never enough piano players these days), so she had to sit in the room with the judge for about twenty minutes waiting.  The judge was great, trying to put her at ease, talking to her about dinosaurs.  She seemed OK if not completely calm.  Continue reading

Q’s for the Weekend

Beemsville is all sports all the time this weekend.  And like any good self-promoting neo-sports/entertainment provider of content, we’re exploiting the interns to come up with new-ish ways to deliver our content.  They give us…  The weekend’s Top 5 questions:

  1. Can my son’s soccer team build on last weekend’s win and their newfound abilities to the pass the ball on occasion?  If they continue to remember their positions and responsibilities and don’t wilt in the heat, we like our chances.  However, I caught a look at the size of some of the other teams and they look to have a couple of over-age players…
  2. Can my daughter’s soccer team win against better competition?  They host their home tournament here in Springfield but have moved into a higher division.  Last tournament out the girls played very well after their first game and probably should have won a trophy if not for a slow start.
  3. Will Jurgen Klinsmann and the US Soccer Team continue their improbable 12-game winning streak with a World Cup Qualifier win in Costa Rica (tonight, 9:00 CST)?   Jozy Altidore is questionable to play and the right back position, which the Ticos will look to exploit, is a potential problem.  Also, we’ve never gotten a result in Costa Rica during qualifying.  But Landon is in form, and the team has really come together this summer… Continue reading

Kids Sports Fun-o-meter

Having taken in a number of youth sports, some of which our kids participate in, some of which other family members play, we’re going to unveil our listing of team sports – from least to most fun.  The sample here is twelve and under.

Your own results may vary, based on bias, level of coaching, your sports’ organizational set up, and how bad or good your team is.  We can all appreciate how poor or indifferent coaching and a disorganized league can wreck the fun.  Ditto for being on a really bad or incompetent team.  Here goes…

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500 miles

500th post…  500?  Yes, 500. A fair amount of blogging.  Mostly twice a week, sometimes three times.  And yes, I would walk 500 miles (theme music below).  So on this, the occasion of the 500th, how about a round of Q&A to sort of capture the zeitgeist.  Or Something. Because a blog ain’t nothing more than an outlet for ideas after all…

-How cool will The Avengers be next summer?  It looks awesome from the teaser footage.  The two Marvel movies/Avengers prequels I saw this summer, Thor and Captain America, were solid but not spectacular. Expectations for The Avengers are much higher, and here’s hoping they can deliver.

-Will DC take the cue from Marvel’s big screen wins and start combining their franchise characters?  Batman and Superman – the JLA…  There are some pretty great stories there to mine, if Warner/DC only had the vision and talent to make it happen.

-Why does Hollywood subject us to so many formulaic bad, bad films?  Can’t they literally flip the script once in awhile?  I’d like to see a few less sequels and remakes (which are easy to market) and a few more well-made original concepts.  Everytime a studio greenlights another Transformers flick, another Donnie Darko-esque film fails to get made or publicized.

-What’s with all the cheesy teen neo-fantasy horror TV shows?  Watched a little of MTV’s Teen Wolf last week and must have seen adds for half-a-dozen other similarly-themed show.

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WWC: Frustration Factor

Glum at the Final

Like many Americans, I tuned in Sunday to watch the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team compete in the World Cup finale on Sunday.  Like many, I don’t profess to follow women’s soccer, but I did enjoy watching this team play.  Unlike many, however, I watch a lot of other soccer – MLS, Team USA, EPL, Champions League, etc. – and so I recognized a familiar theme unfolding Sunday as the USA seemed to dominate Japan for long stretches of the match yet couldn’t pull away.  It can be a frustrating when it occurs, and something many American sports fans have a hard time with.  Call it the Score Reflection Principle (or SRP).

We’ll define the Score Reflection Principle as the link between the final result or score and the various aspects of on-the-field performance, individual efforts, and statistics.   In sports like football, basketball, and baseball (all of which have multitudes of statistics to analyze), the SRP usually matches up fairly well.  On the gridiron, the team the controls the line of scrimmage, wins in turnover margin, and has high red-zone efficiency usually wins.  In hoops, you shoot well, limit turnovers, keep your opponent from shooting well and you win.  Many of these statistical compilations come down to winning those individual battles also.  Your center (in either sport) dominates his area.  Your guys are quicker to react and move on defense.  Your quarterback or guards are more accurate passers, etc.

But Soccer is a lot different.  Much of this comes back to the low scoring and few scoring opportunities.  Another factor is how difficult it is to control the ball individually, which makes turning the ball over much more common and less egregious (except when in your own box).  There aren’t many opportunities for stoppages and set plays, and the game ebbs and flows with the players on the field.  Thus the SRP on a soccer match can fluctuate all over the place. Continue reading