Monday, November 16, 2009
"I feel like I'm falling more in love with the game every day."
- Yael Averbuch
The older I get, I find that the sport I gave my blood, sweat, tears and time to continues to draw me in with its timeless wonder. As a youngster I really liked soccer. I spent hours playing soccer tennis with my brother, playing pickup, juggling, poring over soccer magazines, the Eurosport catalog (shameless plug) and playing soccer video games.
I had aspirations of being the next Ronaldo (the real one) and leading the U.S. to the World Cup. While this didn't happen, my enthusiasm and passion for the game did not wane like many of my peers. Far from it, as I've gotten older, my love for the sport has seemed to increase exponentially.
I've been blessed to be surrounded by a group of people who love the game just as much as I do and are willing and happy to go out and play at literally any time of the day, whether it's at 10:00 AM on a Sunday or 12:30 AM on a Tuesday.
Being around people who share my passion has only increased my desire to play constantly to the point where I feel out of sorts when a day passes without having the ball at my feet. It can be as simple as going to an open area and juggling for hours, playing one-on-one or just shooting balls at each other until one of the group messes up their touch.
Whatever we do, we love it. And it doesn't look like we'll stop loving it anytime soon.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Two words: Lil' Mama. Hah! Only something this ridiculous could bring me out of my blogger's hibernation. The sight of the lilliputian "rapper" posing beside one of the greatest of all time, Jay-Z and the pillar of pure class that is Alicia Keys elicits more than just a simple ROFL and SMH. For me, it was a "DLMJRUOSASBTILSB"??
Also known as: Did Lil' Mama Just Run Up On Stage And Stand Beside These Icons Like She Belonged??
In other news, Kanye West is still a ridiculous blowhard who can't seem to grasp the fact that the world is not indeed his oyster. And he looks ridiculous to boot.
That is all.
*Image is taken from @MicheleIsabel on Twitter*
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Kevin Durant | Dwyane Wade | Joe Johnson | Rajan Rondo
Chris Paul | Steve Nash | Derrick Rose
Kobe Bryant | Ben Gordon
There you have it. The ones that might be the biggest stretch are Kevin Durant and Lebron James at 6'9". However, there was no way I could make a list without including the freakish athletic talents of the King, as well as Kevin Durant's undeniable potential as the new Dani Alves or Maicon.
I was talking to some work colleagues about if the U.S. had all its best athletes playing soccer just as other countries do and it got me thinking. What if our NFL players played soccer? What would our best 11 be? I thought about it for a bit, and came up with the squad of 18 below:
Reply back in the comments with your own 11/18!Hines Ward
Antonio Cromartie | Troy Polamalu | Ed Reed | Champ Bailey
Reggie Bush | DeMarcus Ware | Adrian Peterson | Steve Smith
Randy Moss | Larry Fitzgerald
TJ Houshmanzadeh (GK)
LaDainian Tomlinson (CM)
Andre Johnson (LM/RM)
Antonio Gates (CB)
Mike Vick (LM/RM/FWD)
Maurice Jones-Drew (CM)
Devin Hester (LM/RM)
Calvin Johnson (FWD)
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
From my Myers-Briggs results I stumbled upon an aspect of my personality that I had an inkling of, but never really addressed or could put my finger on. I work best as a behind-the-scenes person, and I do better with bigger-picture things. I'm not one to fuss over details, and indeed-- it can get me in trouble sometimes if I'm not attentive. However, when dealing with problems I love to use creative solutions and address them head-on.
One of my professors at Davidson always told me to never create the title of my essay until I actually finished my body of work. In the essay that is my life, I think I'm slowly starting to feel out my thesis and flesh out my main argument. I've begun to realize this slowly, but I'm still developing and tightening my supporting details and anecdotes. At the risk of running this post too long, I'll end here and say:
To Be Continued...
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Just over 4 years ago the stylish Italians from the fashion capital were mowing through the Champions League, on their way to their seventh title when workmanlike Liverpool dashed their hopes to the ground with a remarkable comeback in Istanbul.
Fast forward to now: with 0 wins in 5 preseason matches, the increasingly geriatric Milanese club looks to be in dire straights. Apart from the signing of Dutch striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, and Brazilian defender Thiago Silva, the Rossoneri have done little to supplement the loss of icons Paolo Maldini and Kaká, as well as the increased fragility of Milan's aging outfield players.
Although Ronaldinho has shown flashes of his previous brilliance, he no longer has the drive or physique that propelled him to such great heights in the past. Alexandre Pato is still young, despite his frightening potential, and the old guard of Clarence Seedorf, Gennaro Gattuso and Gianluca Zambrotta are just that: Old. Despite Andrea Pirlo's undeniable quality, the argument remains whether or not his presence in the side is a liability due to the predictability he sometimes gives Milan.
The response to Milan's current predicament has been nothing short of laughable. A number of legends have lauded the current squad and predicted success for the upcoming season. The club's directors have repeatedly stated their confidence in the current squad, and despite the signing of Huntelaar they look set to continue with the resources at their disposal.
To be blunt, the future looks bleak for Milan. Lazio, Fiorentina, Genoa and Napoli have all strengthened (with possibly the exception of Fiorentina who lost an integral part of their side in Felipe Melo), and their young, exciting and hungry sides look primed to make the leap in front of Milan.
Only time will tell whether the faltering giants can maintain their proud history. Right now, however, it looks to be a time of despair.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
To begin, I'm now no longer living in Charlotte with Will Bryan and my brother or working at Topics. I moved from Topics to working as a tutor at the Mecklenburg County Police Athletic League (PAL), and I'm now back in Chapel Hill working for Eurosport as Grassroots Marketing Coordinator for the East Coast. As part of my job I travel to various soccer events as the "face" of Eurosport, and I handle promotional tournament, camp and other event support for the company in my regions.
Without getting too much into it right now, I'm loving my job, and I couldn't be in a better position right now as the soccer lover that I am.
On the style front, my sneaker collection is strong in the force (not the Air One, the midichlorian one), and my t-shirt game is on point. I've racked up a large number of Adidas boots (soccer shoes) due to being blessed with a foot perfectly made for sample sizes, and my Adidas soccer gear collection has been quadrupled thanks to our strong partnership with Adi Dassler's company.
On the video game front, there's not much to report. Due to travel I haven't had much chance to pick up my Xbox controller, so I'll have to update my loyal readership of 3 on that in a couple months.
Hopefully I'll have the wherewithal to actually sit down and write a decent post in the next couple weeks, so here's my sign off:
Thanks to everyone who's stuck around this far, and I hope you'll continue on with me on this journey.
PS. Brr! Aye! Ok! This post has been brought to you by OJ Da Joo-Man.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Thursday, July 9, 2009
No, but seriously, I'm back with a quick rundown of my life so far. (Dre, here you go).
Over the past month and a half I've been in Lancaster, California, Frisco, Texas and Barboursville, West Virginia for the USYSA (US Youth Soccer Association) Regional Championships. I spent about a week and a half at each venue (with the exception of Lancaster, where I only spent around 3 or 4 days) with my coworkers as we partnered with Adidas to run their retail tents at each event. At each event, we arrived around 4 days before the tournament start, checked into our hotels and for the next couple days slowly started to click into gear. The first couple days involved small tasks like picking up supplies like snacks, water, etc for when we're working in the tent, picking up the 26' truck to store our merchandise in and other logistical details.
In the days before the tourney starts we completely set up the Adidas retail tent by folding thousands of t-shirts, hanging shorts, jackets, jerseys and other clothing as well as setting up all the miscellaneous merchandise (balls, shinguards, boots, etc.) Once that's completely done, we put all the clothing on racks and place them and the boxes of extra clothing on the truck for safekeeping.
When the tournament starts, we typically arrive on site around 6:15 or 6:30 for an 8 AM or 8:30 first kickoff. We take all the boxes of merchandise off the truck and put them in the back of the tent for easy access when gear needs restocking. We then hang all the clothing and put the t-shirts into a t-shirt wall to be ready for open at around 7:30.
Once we open, we work throughout the day with only short breaks until around 6 or 6:30 PM when the games end and we close up shop. We then turn the heat presses (for putting the tournament logo on gear) off and put all the merchandise back on the truck for the next day.
The whole process can be grueling, but the interaction with players, parents and coworkers makes the job fun and the day goes by quicker than expected. That being said, it can get incredibly boring at times if business is slow, and it can be a madhouse when business picks up.
The sites I've visited so far have proved a mixed bag. In Lancaster, CA (in Southeastern Cali)there is absolutely NOTHING to do but watch tumbleweeds (literally), eat Mexican food and go to the movies from time to time. Frisco, Texas was much better despite the constant 100+ temperatures. The city is a vast expanse of suburbia with a large mall and plenty of excellent restaurants in the vicinity, so I much preferred it to Lancaster and Barboursville. Ahh, Barboursville. I'd never been to West Virginia, and Barboursville was everything and more I expected of quite possibly the worst state in the Union. I'd rather not go into detail about how much I disliked it, but perhaps I'll delve deeper next year when I return for the Region 1 Championships again.
Now I'm back in Chapel hill for the next week and a half before I head to Lancaster, Massachusetts for the National Championships and then to Foxboro, Mass on the 26th for the AC Milan-Inter Milan match (!!!!!!!) where I'll be able to see the game and probably meet the players.
I'll return to post more of my normal sneaker/soccer/nonsense fare in the near future, so keep your eyes peeled.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
What will I write about, you ask? Best believe it'll be up to the nonsensical and utterly random standard I've set for myself in the past. I cannot disappoint the loyal readership I've managed to gather thus far. To all 5 of you... Thank you.
So what's going on in my life? On Tuesday I began my new job as Grassroots Marketing Coordinator for Eurosport and Soccer.com. In what is basically a job tailor-made for me, I will travel about the country attending various soccer events, spreading the good word about how tight Eurosport is, and why everyone and their mother should exclusively buy their life from the company.
As tight as my new job is, that's not what I'll focus on in this post. I'm going to talk about a little incident from my previous job as a tutor. In short? I dog whispered a child.
Yes, you read that correctly.
It had been a long day of sitting around my house surfing the internet, and I was in no mood for the shenanigans of loud children when I arrived at work promptly at 3:17 PM for my 3:00 start time. The kids filed in (read: ran in screaming) at around 3:35, and my day began in earnest. After first shaking down a child for some bubble gum, I proceeded to do absolutely no work for the next 45 minutes aside from advising one munchkin that 4 + 4 was probably not 17.
I had a slight headache, and the vocal emanations from one 10-year-old began to grate on my nerves like 9-inch nails on an amplified chalkboard. He ran up to me and began yelling, and my calm insistence that he lower his tone went unheeded. In a moment of pure inspiration, I quickly reached out, tapped his shoulder with a claw-like hand and firmly uttered the patented "SST" sound of the dog whisperer. The completely befuddled little boy immediately drew up and shut his mouth, unable to process what had happened.
Full of joy, I jumped on a table and crowed with delight, proclaming myself to be THE CHILD WHISPERER (read: I quietly smiled and sat back down, texting everyone I knew about what took place). The rest of my day was happily spent playing football with the kids and generally acting as if an 11-year-old was trapped in a 22-year-old's body. My duty was done, and another child was rehabilitated, properly socialized and able to return to its owners (parents).
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Naw, but can you imagine if I was like that?
I'm slowly but surely taking over the world. I've conquered most of Davidson, North Carolina, a small part of Charlotte (read: my bedroom, the kitchen, and part of the living room), and I have moderately expansive territories in Chapel Hill. My regime is based on discipline, faith and strength. None shall stand in my way.
Yeah, I was real bored when I wrote this.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
From the beginning, I decided to go running after a few things (including an undeserved loss in FIFA) angered me. That was mistake number one. Before embarking upon my journey, I neglected to fuel my body with food, or even water. Another mistake. I also neglected to bring music with me to help pace myself and block out distractions. Guess what? Mistake. Are you counting so far? (We're up to number three.)
By deciding to run under extreme duress and emotional imbalance, I didn't have the mental discipline necessary to pace myself the way I should have. Coming off a serious hamstring injury I've been pacing myself in my recovery, and angry running... not the thing to do. To make matters worse, I decided not to eat or drink before I left, so I had nothing to fuel my running but pure frustration. The first half mile went well until I ran into the bane of my existence when running: people.
My run was going according to plan until I ran into a man and two women walking on the side of the road. One of the women called out, "KEEP ON RUNNING BABY", further inflaming my competitive instinct. I increased my speed a bit, and gradually kept the acceleration going until I felt I was out of their sight. And then I hit "the wall". Let me rephrase that. Said wall hit ME. I immediately slowed down to a walk, and wasn't able to catch my breath for another half mile. I was finally able to hit a slow jog for the final quarter mile, but my lungs and pride were dealt an irreparable blow.
Next time I'm wearing blinders when I run.
Friday, April 10, 2009
It's okay though English, because I love you. Your intricacies, the way that most of us don't really know how to use you 100% correctly, and your ever-changing personality make me appreciate you that much more. You're cool, English. We can hang out.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
For all his positives, Ibracadabra (as he is known affectionately to his supporters) seems to suffer from what I call the "Cristiano Ronaldo Effect". A consistent performer day in and day out on the "small" stages of the Serie A and Coppa Italia, Ibra seems to shrink from his responsibilities and disappear on the "big" stages of the UEFA Champions League, and the FIFA World Cup. While Cristiano Ronaldo has arguably shrugged off that underperforming reputation somewhat after scoring a goal and leading his side to a Champions League final victory, Ibrahimovic still has to prove himself under the limelight of international competition.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
sneakerhead tendencies such as triple digit footwear count, ability to
spot fake "send help" dunks from across a campus, willingness to camp
out for sneakers, etc. However, I do consider myself a sneaker
aficionado. A "sneaker h" if you will. As such, I find myself perusing
sneaker websites throughout the day and late into the night. I
frequent eBay in search of killer deals, and I pine over the newest
releases, knowing I can't afford them. Why? I love sneakers.
As a sneaker h, the news that Nike is planning to remove the fat tongue from their low top SBs
sent me scrambling to eBay looking for some affordable heat with which
to stock my closet. The notification struck a solid blow to my
sneakerheart, making me cry out in anguish. The main reason I began liking low top SBs was because of the way the oh-so-comfortable fat tongue lends itself to jean-wearing, and for the fresh colorways that poured from Nike's factories. Now I'll have to confine myself to eBay searching and my normal hi-top SBs.
As I said before, I don't consider myself a sneaker head. I feel that's an insult to the real
sneaker heads out there who've devoted their time, energy and money to
copping dope kicks and understanding the game. I respect those people, and as such, I cannot count myself in their number. Sneaker h it is.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Fake, painted carbon fiber.
@#&*!!!! I've been wearing fake Jordan's for months!!! Disheartened I looked at some more of my sneakers and noticed that my Dinosaur Jr's aren't nearly as purple as they should be. In fact, they're not purple at all... I've been hornswoggled. Bamboozled. Taken in.
Frantic, I tore through the rest of my sneaker collection to see if I was rocking with any more unauthentic kicks. I found no such evidence, but my heart was still at the bottom of my stomach as I looked at my beloved Jordan's.
Then I realized it doesn't matter. I will continue to wear them. If I get called out on them, I get called out on them. I know they're fake. My readership knows they're fake. I'm not trying to hide anything.
Except for maybe that gold Jumpman and the "carbon fiber" sole.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
In my opinion, while Diego is not a player I would be unwilling to welcome to the Bianconeri fold, he doesn't necessarily fit the job description needed. While Nedved is not an old-fashioned winger in his own right, he is not the type of player to ignore tactical instructions in order to play in his own style. While Diego has shown tactical discipline in the past, I don't feel he has the mindset to play on the wing in Ranieri's 4-4-2. If Ranieri is to be manager of Juve, I feel he should play the formation he prefers, and not be forced to incorporate an ill-fitting puzzle piece. As such, I don't feel Diego is the man for the job.
In my opinion, the solution for the impending vacancy plies his trade in Spain for Valencia. Spanish international David Silva is a player very much suited for Juventus' style of play, and he absolutely has the required talent level. Like Nedved, Silva is equally comfortable operating through the centre of attacking midfield or out on the left wing. In addition, Silva can be used as a second striker or on the right wing. With Valencia's current economic troubles, he is an increasingly viable option for La Vecchia Signora. While French international Franck Ribery would be another excellent choice, his high price tag, and the interest of financial powerhouses like Manchester United, Inter Milan and Barcelona make him more of a reach.
The race to sign Nedved's replacement is nearing it's end, and as a staunch Juve supporter, I pray that the club doesn't veer off track and sign a sure flop such as Middlesborough's Stewart Downing, Florent Malouda or another who lacks the required quality.
Friday, February 20, 2009
Conversation topics change in the blink of an eye. One minute a hapless barber is set upon by five patrons for the poor state of Duke basketball, and the next, Julius Peppers is said to be most certainly doing steroids. Sports are usually the main theme of the day, but nothing is taboo in the barbershop. Barbers must strike the delicate balance between perfecting a difficult fade haircut and winning a heated argument about the efficacy of LeBron James' fadeaway.
And did I mention it's loud? It's really, really loud. But we love it.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Yesterday I had a struggle with a 10-year-old who just didn't seem to grasp what I was telling him, no matter how I explained it. I realized that sometimes vocabulary can be a stumbling-block when attempting to simplify meanings. A kid that doesn't understand one polysyllabic word isn't necessarily going to understand it when one explains it using another polysyllabic word. It definitely didn't help that the boy wasn't really listening to my explanations. I was finally able to help him out by slowly walking him through each precept, but my frustration level was way above where it should have been. It was a great learning experience, and it's one I can definitely use going forward, but it's not something I want to have to repeat. Hopefully I can continue to hone my teaching skills while continuing to learn.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
As a sore loser, I normally take extreme offense to that statement. Tonight I had the utter misfortune to be on the wrong side of an 8-7 indoor soccer semi-final loss in overtime. Anyone who knows me relatively well knows that I don't deal favorably with losing. To put it bluntly, I have the temper of a 6-year-old whose TV privileges have been revoked for a week. I've been trying to work on it, but by nature I am a terrible loser. However, tonight I reached a turning point of sorts. We lost. I was angry. But I appreciate the journey for what it was. The essence of the quotation that headlines this post means that while it is summarily important to win in a competition, it is not necessarily the end-all be-all.
As deep (or shallow) as that obvious realization may be, the truth is that losing SUCKS. While it's some consolation that I played rather well and scored one of my best goals this year, the fact remains that I was on the losing side. But as the Russians say: c'est la vie. Wait... I meant: такова жизнь
On a completely unrelated note, I have been absolutely dominating life in FIFA 09. For something that has no value in the real world, I am doing incredibly well. If only FIFA wins translated into real-life dollars... Ah well, for the love of the game.
In other news, follow me on Twitter (AWestJuve) or rabid chinchilla/chihuahua hybrids will carry away your unborn children to raise them for their own. While you pause and wrap your brains around the utter absurdity of that statement, I'll be quietly stealing all the loose change from your sofas and car seats. That is all.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
San Francisco, CA -- Local teenager, Tim Grant, 16, confirmed with reporters today that he really enjoys music. "I'm really into quality bands who aren't commercialized, like Coldplay, U2, Fallout Boy and All-American Rejects," Grant said while bobbing his head expressively and maintaining a thoughtfully pensive look on his face. "I like rap, you know, hip-hop, because it helps me understand the plight of poor, I mean urban Black people." The teen went on to list his favorite rappers as Eminem, Bubba Sparxxx and Asher Roth. After cutting the interview short in order to listen to the newest Good Charlotte single, Grant went to pick up Bonnarroo tickets for himself and three friends whose favorite bands are Dave Matthews Band, Limp Bizkit and Creed.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
And that's the draw. I'm really really random. For some reason, in my mind, traditional blogging doesn't let me be as random as I normally am. I've set up a rigid formula for blogging that requires good grammar, punctuation and structure. Twitter is like my party-blog where I don't have to obey normal conventions and can feel free to be myself.
But that's all going to change (I hope). I'm going to continue to blog, even though blogging is "dead". However, my blogging will be more and more random, just like my Tweeting is. So get ready twitches, it's about to be on and twitter-popping.
Monday, January 19, 2009
But enough about me, let's talk about you. Nah, lets keep it focused on me. I'm cool, tryin to survive in this crazy world. I'm going to try and update a bit more over the next few days, so we'll see where that takes me. In the meantime, let this suffice.