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User Journal

Journal Journal: Soccer: so boring it's exciting 1

As a typical American sports fan, I see Soccer as a sport in distant sixth place in the grand hierarchy of North American Sport.

The top two are obviously Baseball and Football (the pigskin kind), followed by Basketball and Hockey.

Then comes, surprisingly, auto racing, which has made tremendous inroads in the last ten years, in my opinion. Never mind that I despise the "sport."

Then soccer. Maybe. And largely on the strength of its grassroots presence, i.e. youth soccer.

I've never been to the UK but I don't need to go there to know exactly how fervent the soccer (hereafter referred to as football) following there is. I didn't have to see Bend It Like Beckham or watch the World Cup. I already knew, it's just a fact of life.

But here it's just a distant sixth.

In my personal view, however, it's probably a tight third, right above American football and below basketball and hockey.

I started watching English Premier League football as a way to fall asleep. I don't mean that to say soccer is boring, but it is hypnotizing. There's something relaxing and absorbing about watching 22 players weave and flow on the field, alternately finessing and attempting to destroy a ball.

There are lots of things I love about football:

- Crowds in nearly constant song and uniform reaction

- Aforementioned weave/flow/finesse/destruction

- Unbelievable skill and vision displayed by some of the true greats.

- It's like hockey, which is my favorite sport

- It's the only truly global sport, transcending national, religious, geographic and economic boundaries.

And there's a couple things I don't like about it:

- Diving. Dear Lord, it's the most frustrating thing to watch a replay of a questionable call and see exactly how obvious a dive the play was. It absolutely plagues the sport and is the reason that it will probably always remain a sixth-place sport in the US

- Scoreless draws. It's too hard to score. In some matches, goals are so few and far between that you can actually play a whole game without one. That seems like poor sports design to me. The object of the game is to put the ball into the goal, yet you can play a whole game with neither side accomplishing that goal a single time. Hardly intuitive.

- Football players yell at each other too much. I mean teammates. Sometimes a keeper will make a save and then turn and scream as his own defenders. I'm sorry, it's just stupid to try to embarass your own teammates during a game. Sometimes I imagine that I would punch my goalie in the face if he started yelling at me that way during a game. You don't see that in the NHL, that's for damn sure.

Notice that I've said I'm an EPL fan, not just a football fan. That's true. I don't follow the MLS, or Bundesliga, or Serie A, or any other of the international legion of football leagues. There are enough celebrities and talent in the EPL to keep me interested, and with the bonus that I can understand the language of the announcers.

I also enjoy watching the US National team. Why that doesn't translate into an MLS enthusiasm, I'm not sure. But I'm just not interested. I watched McBride with gusto during the World Cup. I was excited when I found out that Brian McBride was going to play football for Everton of the EPL, and thus Everton has become my adopted favorite team in the EPL. However, I've never watched a single MLS match of the Columbus Crew.

There must be some other mystique about the English league that we don't have here. Maybe it's the crowds. Maybe it's just cultural retardation.

Next year I will be taking my first sabbatical, and my wife and I will be travelling to England, which I lovingly refer to as the Motherland. I hope to see an Everton match at Goodison Park, if it hasn't been demolished by then.

In any event, I have to go now. I'm watching a repeat of last week's Arsenal versus Bolton Wanderers match.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Life with fewer wires

At this moment, I'm watching Meet the Press on TV whilst typing in the journal. It's basically my first experience with 802.11b, except perhaps at work.

It supposedly a "wireless" experience, which is true as long as I don't want to do it for more than a couple of hours. I can only free myself from 'wires' for as long as the laptop's battery lasts.

So I've been doing the "almost wireless" thing, leaving it plugged into a power source during my TV watching time.

User Journal

Journal Journal: is this thing on?

So I'm considering starting my own little blog here. I'm fully aware that probably nobody will ever read it. That's okay with me.

So what's a blog anyway? I haven't really read a whole lot of them, but I'm aware of the concept. It confuses me a bit, I must say.

Here's how I perceive blogs. A Blog is somewhere between a diary and a James Joyce novel. It's like a diary in that it's no good if you don't jot down your thoughts on a regular basis. In otherwise, provide content.

But it's not private like a diary. If it were, there wouldn't be much point in its existence, relative to an actual diary or perhaps at most a collection of private text files I keep somewhere safe. Unlike a diary I have to be pretty careful what I say here. I'm pretty sure what I say can and will be used against me in a Court of Public Opinion.

Maybe the whole stigma of "you never know who will read this" doesn't matter to some people. Well, it sure as hell matters to me. I make pains to be easy to find on the Internet, to be easily found and easily identified. So I must step carefully if I happen to espouse on my feelings on, say, the Iraq war. Or the RIAA. Or the topic of having children, or training dogs for agility competition, or hockey, or the excellent Tribes series of games. Anything that can be used against me in some way, I suppose.

Another thing: does this journal HAVE to be geeky? It's being hosted on Slashdot after all, the original Ancestral Home of the Geek. I'm a geek, but I'm kinda an in-between geek. I'm the geek from high school that was Captain of the Academic Team but somehow managed to be on good terms with the Captain of the Basketball Team. I'm the geek that would spend three hours playing Doom 2 and then three hours at the gym shooting hoops and lifting weights. Is that good? I didn't say that. It's just decidedly "fringe" geek.

Right now I'm guessing I won't find this to be worth my time. I tried the whole "hitchhiker's guide" Internet site at one point, where you can keep a blog on whatever interests you. It didn't really interest me in general. So we'll see. At least there's one rambling entry in here, right?

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