Do Soccer Players Have No Dignity?

As I have been watching the 2010 FIFA World Cup, I can’t help but to notice the complete disregard for the game as the best players in the world are diving all over the field trying to draw a penalty.

Like many Americans, I do not follow soccer on a regular basis. I think that soccer is one of the most boring sports to watch, playing it is a different story, but to watch a two-hour match that often ends up in a 0-0 tie never appealed to me. But with the sudden excitement of the 2010 FIFA World Cup I decided to watch a few games. I decided to sit down and watch the United States’ first game against the heavily favored England and, even though it ended in a tie, I found the game to be very interesting and rather exciting at times. Over the last week so I have kept up with the games watching some foreign countries play here and there, and although the competition is good and the games are keeping my interest, there is one thing that irks me. I know that one can’t expect to be an analyst of a certain sport after a week of watching it and there are many aspects of the game that I still don’t understand, like offsides for instance. I do though have one complaint about the sport; the players dive and cry to the referees much too often. At times it gets a bit ridiculous that grown men, the greatest players in their respective sport, can completely disregard the integrity of their beloved game by jumping to the ground and holding their face or their ankle. These are the most athletic and agile men in the world and they are diving all over the field to try to draw a foul, and to my dismay, the referees almost always rule in favor of the jerk who is making a fool of himself, FIFA, and his country. What’s even more annoying than the dive itself is when the diver doesn’t get the call and they jump up to yell at the referee, no sign of injury, literally admitting that they were faking it. I don’t understand how this is okay with soccer fans, the most loyal fans in the world.

Before I started watching, I heard that Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo was one of the greatest players in the world, the man can score at will. As I watch him I can’t help but to think of another player who is one of, if not the, greatest player in his respective sport, Sidney Crosby. The two are like brothers. Put aside that they do actually look a bit similar, they are both among the best players in the world at their sport yet for some reason that is beyond me, they both feel that they need to dive all over the field or the ice to get calls. You’re the best player in the world, you’re going to get the benefit of the doubt!!! The diving isn’t even the worst part, it’s when they don’t get the call and they go over to the referee to plea their case that the big bully knocked them down. As a hockey fan I hate Sidney Crosby, like most hockey fans that are not located in Pittsburgh. I just don’t understand how FIFA, and the NHL, let their star players do this. FIFA especially, because it’s not only Ronaldo, every player on every team dives when they make the slightest bit of contact with a player from the other team.

Personally, I just think that it is wrong and that the players should have enough dignity and integrity for the game to stop, but I guess they go by the motto “anything to win”, which is disappointing to say the least. I hope that someday, if the diving doesn’t come to an end which I highly doubt will be the case, FIFA decides to give the referees permission to give a penalty if they believe that a player is intentionally embellishing a dive to draw a foul against the opposing team, like in hockey, although it is rarely enforced. Hopefully that would put an end to this childish act that soccer players put on every game.

****Watch as Ronaldo dives while looking at the referee to see if he gets the call****

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Lee Child: 61 Hours (Review)

As some of you who may follow my blog, mom and dad, know, I love all book written by Lee Child. I think that he is the best Mystery/Thriller author of his time. (Granted I don’t know too many others). I recently read his latest novel 61 Hours which, for those of you who are familiar with Child’s novels, is another “Reacher Book”. It revolves around his main character Jack Reacher, an ex- military policeman who now finds himself wandering the country because, growing up on military bases throughout the world, that is all he knows. It is amazing how Child can write so many high-end novels revolving around one spectacular character yet he does it again and again without fail.

For all of you Lee Child/ Jack Reacher fans, 61 Hours does slightly differ from the earlier novels in the series in that there is no female lover and there is less action, but that jut means that the story is that much more suspenseful.

In this adventure, Reacher finds himself stranded in a small town in South Dakota. It doesn’t take long for Reacher to get involved in the town’s latest drama. He teams up with the local police department in an attempt to solve a case that involves a mysterious, old abandoned building, a very small and dangerous man, and a witness that is need of protection if she is going to live long enough to testify.

61 Hours is not one of Child’s best pieces of work, but it is very far from his worst. This novel will keep your interest throughout and you will find it very hard to put it down. I found it hard to go twenty minutes without picking it back up and reading a few chapters. Child does a fantastic job of taking multiple story lines that the reader may think have nothing to do with each other and somehow bring them together at the end to create a ridiculous twist in the story. This is why Child is considered one of the best thriller writers in the business and if he keeps writing more novels at this caliber it will be easy to say that he is the best thriller author of his time. I highly recommend this novel and this author to anyone who enjoys mystery/thrillers. Out of a possible 10 I would give this book an 8, and Child as an author a 9.8, just because nobody’s perfect.

And keep an eye out for Child’s next book, Worth Dying For, which will be released on October 19, 2010. It will start from the end of 61 Hours so make sure that you do NOT read these two books out-of-order.

Congratulations Class of 2010!

June 14, 2010 1 comment

This past weekend was a very emotional one for many high school seniors, including myself. It started on Friday with our Senior Prom and ended today with the last day of our high school careers. Witnessing the complete 180° switch in emotions from Friday to Monday was amazing. On Friday, everyone was excited and rowdy and anxious for prom. on Saturday, everyone was still busy partying for their last weekend of high school. The parties continued on Sunday, as my school held its annual “senior camp out”, and people were excited for the last day of school, so excited that nobody got much sleep. On Monday, we all went to school bright and early to cheer for the incoming buses and cars, another school tradition, and then the school day finally got underway, this is when the surreal felling that I was in high school for the very last time hit my classmates and me. For many, things became very emotional.

Like the past four years, the day went by quickly and, as I tried to slow things down, I barely had time to make sure that I said my good bye’s to everyone, some of whom I may never see again, and many who I have been with since early elementary school. As our final periods of high school dwindled down I found myself breaking a four year habit, I was urging the second-hand on the clock to move slower, as I realized that I did not want to leave high school just yet. Unfortunately, I am not Father Time.

After the last bell a group of seniors, including myself, met in the gym lobby to say good-bye for the last time in high school, of course we are going to see each other for graduation and over the summer, but it was the end of an era nonetheless. The ladies started the crying and some of the men followed soon after. Even I, a person who rarely wears my heart out on my sleeve, had trouble holding back tears as I found myself clenching my jaw as tight as I could to fight them.

For me, Senior year was by far my favorite year in high school. Being able to drive to and from school was a big plus and coming in fourth period was nice too. Seeing it come to an end is devastating, and even though I am excited for college next year, I will never forget the four years that shaped my adolescence. Especially the teachers and friends who helped me through it. Friends are such an important part of high school and I don’t see how anyone can get through the four years without a solid core group of friends who you can trust with anything.

I think that I speak for the entire class of 2010 when I say that the four years of great times is worth the few days of feeling sad and depressed. I know that this post doesn’t hold much value to most of the millions of people on the internet, but I want to say Congratulations, Good Luck, and Thank you to the Roy C. Ketcham High School Class of 2010!

Categories: Life Tags: ,

Finland wins Bronze, Their 4th Medal in last 5 Olympics

February 28, 2010 4 comments

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Team Slovakia was not given much of a chance to win coming into the Olympics, even though they have NHL superstars such as Marian Gaborik, Marian Hossa, and Zdeno Chara, so having a chance of winning the bronze medal, which would have been the first medal that the country had won in Olympic hockey, was very surprising to a lot of people, everyone except team Slovakia themselves who had already upset Russia, eliminated Sweden, and had given the Canadians a scare.

The Slovaks, who lost to the Americans in the semi finals, took the ice against the Finns, who lost to the Canadians in the semi finals, in the consolation game to win the bronze medal. The Finns, who won the silver in Torino and have three medals in the last four years, have a few NHL superstars of their own including Mikko and Saku Koivu, Teemu Selanne, Olli Jokinen, and goaltender Mikka Kiprusoff and they were looking for blood after being embarrassed by the Americans in the semi finals losing 6-1.

The Finns took an early 1-0 lead with a goal by Sammy Salo on the powerplay after a great hit by Mikko Koivu that prevented Slovak forward Michal Handzus from clearing the puck out of the defensive zone, Salo took the puck and blasted a slapshot passes Slovak goalie Jaroslav Halak. This score would stand for the first period but things started to open up in the second.

Marian Gaborik started the Slovak scoring in the second on a powerplay, ripping a wristshot passes Kiprusoff and knotting the game at one. Marian Hossa scored the next goal on a five – on – three powerplay collecting a loose puck in front of the net and burying it putting Slovakia up 2-1.

The turning point of the game was when Finnish forward Olli Jokinen was clipped in the side of the face with a stick, which was originally missed by the referee but not by the line judge who made the call at the next whistle. It was a four minute minor for high- sticking and it looked like the Finns were set to tie things up. That is, up until Salo decided to make a blind, behind the back pass to nobody. The puck was taken by Marian Hossa in open ice creating a two on one with teammate Pavol Demitra who accepted a beautiful saucer pass from Hossa and deflected it passed Kiprusoff making it 3-1 Slovakia.

With only a minute left in the period this score would carry over into the third but not for long as the Finns would score on the carry over four minute minor powerplay cutting the deficit to one. This is when Olli Jokinen, the player who was clipped and took exception to it, took over. He scored his first goal about a minute after the powerplay goal was scored on a wristshot that eluded the out of position Halak and a minute later he split the defense and skate din on a mini breakaway in which he slid the puck through Halak’s legs for which would eventually be the game winner.

The Slovaks made things interesting at the end of the third, as they did against Canada, but for the second straight game it proved to be too little too late as they fell to the Finns by the score of 5-3 after a lat empty net goal.

This is Finland’s fourth goal in the last five Olympics and they have silently made a reputation for themselves in international play, whereas the Slovaks, who were not expected to make it to any medal game, will have a solid team for years to come.

Going for the Gold!

February 27, 2010 Leave a comment

capt.photo_1267227837044-4-0 Team USA punched their ticket to gold medal game in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics early on Sunday, February 28. Team USA defeated Finland by the score of 6-1 in the semi-finals and will play Canada who defeated Slovakia in the later game to bid for a hockey gold medal sweep, the Canadian women’s hockey team already won the gold. With Canada’s win it set up a rematch of the USA/Canada final that took place during the 2002 games in Salt Lake City, Utah, when the Canadians defeated the Americans on their home soil for Olympic gold. It will also give the Americans a way to avenge their aforementioned female counterparts who were shutout by the Canadians in the women’s tournament 2 – 0 on Thursday.

Team USA erupted for six goals in the first thirteen minutes of the game, which forced Finnish goaltender Mikka Kiprusoff to pull himself out of the game, and was more than enough to send team USA on their way to the finals. Team USA’s offense was led by Patrick Kane who had two goals and Zach Parise who scored a goal and added an assist, this along with more great goaltending by Ryan Miller propelled the Americans into the gold medal game.

Later in the day the home town Canadians took on the surprise, I don’t know why, Slovaks. Team Canada was leading the game 3-0 behind a goal and an assist by forward Ryan Getzlaf but had to hold back a Slovakian siege on goaltender Roberto Luongo in the third period. Team Slovakia just came up short of a comeback scoring two goals in the third but the Canadians defense proved to hold up for the win.

The gold medal game will be played on Sunday, February 28 on NBC at 3:15 EST. It will be a rematch of last weeks game when the Americans defeated the Canadians 5-3 in the preliminary round. It will prove to be tough task for American goal- scorers who, last game, scored on a struggling Martin Brodeur but will now have to face Roberto Luongo who has proved that he was the right choice over the last few games.

Why is Chris Drury getting such a bad rap?

February 23, 2010 3 comments

Chris Drury celebrates after scoring a goal.

I am a big fan of the New York Rangers, I watch every game and like most Ranger fans this year I am very frustrated with the teams inconsistent play. But one thing that has always bothered me about people regarding the Rangers, which has now been brought to an international view due to the 2010 winter Olympics in Vancouver, is the little respect that Rangers captain and Team USA forward Chris Drury gets for his play. People have been criticizing Drury ever since his first year on Broadway because of his lack of offense which contradicts his reputation from when he played with the Buffalo Sabres and Colorado Avalanche. Chris Drury has always been known as a clutch player, someone who would always rise to the occasion in a big moment, and when he came to the Rangers his offense ceased. Is this completely his fault? I don’t think so, I think it is the Rangers coaching staff’s fault. Should he be considered another Broadway bust, along with fellow free agent center Scott Gomez who signed a big contract with the Rangers the same day as Drury?  I don’t think so, not at all.

Moments after the Boston Bruins defeated the Philadelphia Flyers at the third annual NHL Winter Classic held at Fenway Park on New Year’s Day, the roster for team USA in the upcoming winter Olympics were announced. After seeing Chris Drury being named to a team that seemed to be going with a youth movement angered many people who did not hold back their criticism. Chris Drury was by far the least popular choice on the team and people couldn’t believe that they chose him for veteran leadership instead of big time scorers like Mike Modano, Bill Guerin, and even Scott Gomez.

During the first few games of the Olympics Chris Drury has played great and, in my opinion, has been the most noticeable player on the ice. He even scored two goals, one against Norway and the other the game winner in team USA’s thrilling defeat against Canada. Now some people have rescinded their earlier comments about Drury and publicly apologized, Jeremy Roenick. But I couldn’t help but to notice many people who still badmouth him on blogs and in comments on blogs, many of which are frustrated Rangers fans. I read one comment that said “Does anybody want Drury now that his stock is high?” I am here to set things straight for all the Chris Drury haters in the world.

Chris Drury had his best year with the Buffalo Sabres when he scored 37 goals, a career high in the 2006 – 2007 campaign. When Drury played on the Sabres he had Maxim Afinogenov and Thomas Vanek as line mates, and if not one of them Drew Stafford, Tim Connolly, or Jochen Hecht. All of the named players are very talented and when a player, such as Drury, is centering such talent he is bound to score goals, and to his credit he did. He would just skate around the zone, become invisible to the opposing team and then suddenly show up in front of an open net with the puck on his tape, and he would bury it 100% of the time. He did it to the Rangers all the time.

Since coming to the Rangers his offense has steeply decreased there is no debating that, but who has he played with? When he first came to the team they let Scott Gomez play with the great Jaromir Jagr and when that didn’t pan out Tom Renney, Rangers coach at that time, let rookie Brandon Dubinsky play with Jagr. Drury spent his time on the second or third line in which the best player he could play with was Brendan Shanahan, who was already well up there in age and couldn’t get around the ice to set up plays as well as Jagr could. Last year Jagr and Shanahan were gone, Gomez stayed on the fist line and Drury was given line mates such as Markus Naslund, like Shanahan another past his prime sniper, or young Ryan Callahan, who is one of my favorite players but lacks offensive talent. Let’s fast forward to this year, Drury started on the line with Ales Kotalik and Chris Higgins, neither of which are still on the team due to their offensive doldrums, then he was on with Callahan and Enver Lisin, and finally Ranger’s coach John Tortarella moved him all the way down to the fourth line to play with Brian Boyle and Aaron Voros.

Why hasn’t Drury been given the opportunity to play with Ranger’s leading goal scorer Marian Gaborik? Or the very underrated and talented Erik Christensen, or even recently acquired goal scorer Olli Jokinen, even Sean Avery would be a good fit with him because he plays great on the boards and he gets the puck to the net. Chris Drury is a great goal scorer when he has great players around him, as we have seen in the Olympics, but Chris Drury is always a great player. By this I mean he’ll willingly give up his body multiple times a game, he will hit when somebody needs to be hit, he will take a hit when a hit needs to be taken, he will fight when he needs to stir his team up, he is the definition of a captain. Now Ranger fans might be spoiled by having two of the greatest goal scorers in history as their last two captains, Mark Messier and Jaromir Jagr, but not every captain is a goal scorer. There is no question that the Rangers are Chris Drury’s team, it was proven two weeks ago when he got in a fight against Matt Cooke of the Pittsburgh Penguins and the team rallied around him and squeaked out a much needed overtime win against a division rival.

Chris Drury is just as valuable to the Rangers as Marian Gaborik and Henrik Lunqvist, I know that sounds crazy and you are free to call me names and question my hockey knowledge, but if you sit there and tell me that Chris Drury is a bum, a bust, and overpaid hack, then I have to question your hockey knowledge.

2010 Olympic Hockey Bracket

February 22, 2010 1 comment

Now that the 2010 Olympic Hockey bracket is set I will give my predictions. Granted, they will will be a bit biased due to the fact that I am American but I figure it’s the 50 and 30 year anniversaries of the last two American Olympic Hockey gold medals.

Here are my Predictions