Kickball

This Sunday I had the chance to experience something that I haven’t had since grade school; kickball. For a long time I have been against the apparent resurgence of playground games for adults. For so long these games seemed designed to allow everyone to play and keep kids (or now adults) occupied. But I have to admit that getting out there and playing yesterday with the Atlanta group Kickball Rocks!!! was fun. I am not sure if I will make it out every Sunday to Candler park to join in but the option will something I consider from week to week. Thanks to Laurel for setting the whole thing up and getting us out there.

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Oklahoma City

I love watching the Women’s College World Series and I am not afraid to admit it. I find myself watching it on ESPN2 every year. I guess I first got into it while I was at Michigan and had a friend on the team. I went to a couple of games but never really followed it intensely. Two years ago while channel surfing I stumbled upon a game in a round before the finals. The fact that Michigan happened to be involved piqued my interest and the announcers notified me of the upcoming broadcasts for the championship games. Michigan won and moved on and I tuned in to see an amazing extra innings game against favorite UCLA. That year Michigan prevailed and obtained their first NCAA women’s softball championship.

Since then I run into softball while channel surfing in June and always try to stop to catch up on what’s happening, and to see how Michigan has fared. It’s not just Michigan that keeps me watching, it’s the game itself. Obviously there is some bit of novelty in catching a sport that is on TV rarely (see track and field, olympics) but if it were only that I’d tune into bowling and arena football. The size of the field and the influence of the pitcher are two of the most stark differences between the women’s game and the men’s. Every year at least one team seems to make it through to the finals on the arm of an insanely tall pitcher with braided hair and a cyclone delivery. This wunder-pitcher will usually throw every pitch of a WCWS for her team, which I assume makes the trip to OK City a little boring for other pitchers. The main pitches of interest are the change up and the riseball, and the ball reaches the plate faster than in the MLB. Nonetheless the girls still add another degree of difficulty by moving toward the mound as the pitch arrives. This is the drag bunt, where players are halfway to first by the time the ball is hit. It seems a great strategic move on the shortened field but the fielders still make the plays and get them out with regularity.

This year Tennessee had the wunder-pitcher in senior Monica Abbott, but failed to seal the deal against Arizona after winning the first game in the best of 3 series. If you happen upon it next year I recommend checking out the WCWS, it beats arena football.

Cleveland

Cleveland, being from Michigan (Detroit at that) you and I are sworn enemies. You and I get off to a bad start since you’re from Ohio (a worthless state and my nemesis state), but now I have a whole new bag of reasons to hate you. The Pistons are out of the playoffs, the Tigers trail in the AL central and dropped 5 in a row the Indians (the leaders), and nobody would pick the Lions over anyone, even the Browns. As Cleveland continues to batter Detroit sports I wanted to focus on a couple positive things about the city and the situation.

1. Thanks for B.O.N.E. Thugs n’ Harmony, Cleveland. Straight from East 99, they’ve been slangin’ that ye yo and takin’ no shorts and no losses since I was in high school, and probably even before that. They came out with a new album in May that I’m surprised I even heard about. I hope they get to perform at one of the two finals games in Cleveland.

2. Major League is a classic sports movie. Thanks go to your Cleveland Indians for being the butt of a motion picture joke that even made it to sequel status. I am thinking that your Indians are not just the centerpiece of the plot but also the entire motivation for the idea. You guys were so bad for so long that it just made sense to give you something with a happy ending. I’m surprised there weren’t movies about Boston winning the world series before it actually happened. But Boston is a completely different town; historic, proud, renowned (for good). The people of Boston wouldn’t take such sympathy from Hollywood, they’d get drunk and fire GMs until they finally won. You, however, relish the attention and still have not been to the World Series since 48. Good movie.

3. Drew Carey… Hey! thanks for nothin’. Wait should I be thanking Chicago for Harry Caray’s lovechild? The names are eerily close (if only they looked alike).

4. Rock and Roll. Every time I see a shot of that glass pyramidal Louvre rip-off on your shore (of our Great Lake) I rack my brain to imagine why the Rock and Roll hall of fame resides in Cleveland. It turns out that Cleveland had a DJ who played rock and roll (how interesting) and beat out Memphis (home of recording studios and artists who play rock and roll) in USA Today Poll and you can’t argue with that. To top it off new members to the hall are inducted every year during a ceremony… IN NEW YORK! I can already see Cleveland beating out the likes of a New York borough or LA for the hip hop hall of fame, thanks in part to BONE and their uncanny ability to win despite the absolute absence of value or quality.

So thank you Cleveland for playing some small role in things of some good, but please never forget that our hockey team is better than yours.

Messidona

Yesterday Lionel Messi scored an amazing goal for his team Barcelona. This young Argentine has been toted as the next Maradona and, as such, is a demigod in the country and famous the world over. The goal yesterday paralleled Maradona’s amazing and still infamous goal against England in the World Cup. Messi’s came in a league game but is indisputably sick… or sensational, whichever you prefer. The announcers in this clip immediately made the comparison. You see for yourself.

Maradona

Watch it over and over again. SICK!