Tag Archives: olympics

Thanks To Inexperience And Mistakes USA Crash Out Of Olympics

Maybe it was a dream on my part to think that the US squad had any chance at a medal or to even get out of the group stage at the Olympics.  Really, what was I thinking?

I should have rethought after the team barely scrapped by against a poor Japanese side, and I should have rethought after the team blew a lead in the next round on a stoppage time goal to the Netherlands.

But I guess I was too caught up in national pride.

I even set my mind to waking up at 4 a.m. to watch the team play Nigeria live. What was I thinking? Sure I did that during the World Cup in 2002, but that was a World Cup. This was the group stage of the Olympics. This is basically a U-23 tournament.

Somehow the US gave me hope that these players—the future of the country’s national team—were a special group and were capable of greatness.

I guess I was wrong.

Sure they put up a good fight. And that draw against the Dutch—no matter how heart-breaking—showed that the USA has risen to a level where they can at least compete against some of the best in the world.

I concretely believe that if it was not for the stupidity of Michael Orozco and his completely unnecessary elbow in the THIRD MINUTE that lead to a red card, the US would have at least managed a draw against Nigeria and advanced.

But it was silly errors like Stuart Holden’s foul that lead to the free-kick goal against the Dutch, Freddy Adu’s silly yellow card against the Dutch that ruled him out against Nigeria, and then the straw that broke the camel’s back was Orozco’s utter idiocy this morning.

When you are an underdog, you cannot make mistakes. And that is exactly the mistake the US made.

This team is very good, and many of these players will be on the senior national team before long, but they better learn from their mistakes.


Not a Soccer Blog…Top Eight From The News

Thanks to the absence of the venerable Nick and Austin, I have heard rumors of this blog turning into a “soccer blog.” While I have no problem with that, I thought I would appease all my eager fans with a mixed bag of non-soccer news.

Here are the top eight stories today and my not-so-humble opinion on them.

1. Brett Favre and the J-E-T-S? Who saw this one coming? I don’t think Favre will pull a Namath and win a Super Bowl, but I do think he takes a team that won just four games last season to the playoffs.

I also would like to see the Jets release Chad Pennington already so that the Bears can add him to their stable of unreliable, mediocre quarterbacks. One positive about Pennington: he is much better than Grossman and Orton.

The Patriots are safe on the top of this division for at least another year.

2. In honor of Landy I will delve into the Packers. This was a huge mistake. Plain and simple. ESPN’s Rachel Nicols asked the question that I would like to see answered: “Are the Packers better off with Aaron Rodgers than Brett Favre?”

How can they answer that with a yes? They have never seen Rodger play for a whole season, and while I am sure he will be decent, Favre is a Hall of Famer. There is no comparison. This is a win now league and the Packers just shot themselves in the foot.

3. Because we are The Looper I have to mention something having to do with golf don’t I? How ironic would it be if Sergio Garcia won the PGA Championship this weekend? The man that was expected to challenge Tiger Woods wins his first major with Tiger sidelined with an injury.

But, to tell you the truth, I hope he wins it. I think without the pressure of having to beat Tiger, Garcia will be loose and this could mark a significant turning point in his career if he is able to pull it out. He is just one shot off the lead after most of the field finished the first day and he is one of the top five most talented golfers there so why not?

4. Have you lost count of how many players Georgia has suspended this season already, because I have. They are named the preseason number 1 and immediately their players begin to act like they just won the National Championship.

Let me be the first to say that I don’t think Georgia will finish in the top 20. They obviously don’t have the maturity or leadership, their coach, Mark Richt, doesn’t have the experience to withstand the pressure and while their star running back, Knowshon Moreno, will be a front runner for the Heisman, he is not prepared to lead this team through the heart of an impossible SEC.

5. Can’t you see it now. Kids all over L.A. with dreadlock wigs and wearing number 99 Dodgers jerseys on Halloween as the Dodgers battle deep into the playoffs behind midseason acquisition, Manny Ramirez. So far Manny has hit four home runs in just six games and has energized this team that was struggling mightily to score runs.

I still can’t believe the Red Sox made the trade. I know Jason Bay is good—I have seen him 16 times a year when the Cubs play the Bucs—but he is not Manny. This is a team that is fighting for their playoff life and they traded away their best bat.

If they are able to overcome the Rays and withstand a run from the Yankees and make the playoffs it won’t matter but I don’t know if they will be able to without Manny in their lineup.

6. Sticking with baseball, how can I not mention the Cubs. Just a week and half ago people said they were going to fail as they fell into a tie with Milwaukee. But just five days later the Cubs were the proud owners of a four game sweep of the Brewers and a five game lead in the division.

Since that series the Cubs have continued to roll winning nine of their last 11 games. Meanwhile the Brewers have been winning but have also been fighting—Parra and Fielder’s little shoving match in the dugout the other night—and seem frustrated after not taking advantage of a great opportunity with Chicago in town for four games.

In no way am I writing off the Brewers but I do think they need to pull themselves together the rest of August in order to avoid a catastrophic collapse like we witnessed last season.

7. Why is there football on tonight? It is not that I am not ready for football—it reminds me that fall is coming and that is always a good thing—but it seems so early for people to be hitting each other.

Am I going to watch any of the games tonight? No. Maybe I will turn on the Bears game for five minutes to see Orton beat up by the Chief’s fourth string defense, but otherwise these games are absurd.

These EXHIBITION games are more for the coaches than anyone else and all the hoopla that comes from these games is completely ridiculous. The football writers need to wait until at least Labor Day, please.

8. I guess I will finish up with the Olympics, which begin tomorrow. I am excited to see the summer games. Great athletes competing in the largest competition in the world is always good time.

Highlights for me have to be whether the USA basketball team can actually win gold, Michael Phelps (why did he grow that disgusting ‘stache, by the way?) run for eight golds and how many people asphyxiate do to the poor air quality.

Should be a good time had by all.

So there you have it. Hope you enjoyed and hope that it inspired Nicks and Austins everywhere to come out and write once in a while.

Boycott Billy Packer! (It’s Easier Than Beijing)

It seems like the topic du jour is the upcoming Beijing Olympics — should we stay or should we go now.

I’m not going to talk about the Genocide Olympics that lie controversially on the horizon. Beijing is such a loaded and overworked talking point by now that I doubt I could lend anything refreshing to the conversation.

Tiananmen Square meets Olympic Rings

The long and the short of it looks like this: China does lots of not-so-good things (supporting the Sudanese government, oppressing the people of Tibet) and they probably should not have gotten the games in the first place.

At this point, if they shut off their factories long enough in advance we might just get to see the games through the literal and figurative haze. That would be a huge victory.

Instead of going on about China’s Olympics, I propose a much more useful, possible and positive boycott, one that is far closer to home, too:

Billy Packer, CBS’s worst, busiest and highest profile college basketball commentator.over-rated.

His reign over the airwaves of America’s most incredible sporting event needs to end, if not for our collective sake, but at least for the sake of the game.

In spite of his experience — this is his 27th year as the lead analyst for CBS — he brings nothing new to the game. He lends zero entertainment, humor or an overly sharp wit and relevant analysis to what we hear coming out of the TV set.

When Packer does lend something useful to the game-watching experience it’s always about 10 seconds too slow, at least for me. His on-air presence is simply maddening.

This isn’t loathing of the Tim McCarver caliber — McCarver could dress up as Captain Obvious for Halloween and the change would be discernable only maybe to himself. I can’t stand McCarver but on some level I feel sympathy for the guy, sounding so unintelligent on millions of TVs, without a hint of shame.

No, Packer’s case is different. To think he’s been calling Final Fours for as long as Dick Vitale has not been calling them literally pains me.

I’d consider Vitale and Packer the poles of the profession, in that regard and several more. Dicky V is college hoops on TV. Where he is smooth, smart and insightful (if slightly over-exuberant), Packer sounds blustery, aloof and over-confident (without a hint of excitement).Dick Vitale clearly loves his job, and people love him for it.

If anything, with Vitale it’s instantly recognizable how much he loves his job. With Packer, you just can’t tell.

If not for the possibility of an incredible championship game this week, I’d advocate boycotting the broadcast entirely. As I sit here the day before what could be a Kansas-Memphis Instant Classic I realize it is impossible to not watch the game, regardless of Packer’s despotic presence during the broadcast.

A fair but dissenting compromise is to simply mute the game — listen to it on the radio or something, anything else — and write your local congressman.