Showing posts with label sports. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sports. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Pat Summerall Merges with The Infinite

Man.

Pat Summerall, the calm voice of commentary on CBS and Fox football, has passed.

Summerall retired a few years ago (several years ago now, I guess), and he only popped up very occasionally.  But for folks my age, he and John Madden were a sort of omnipresent twosome on in the Fall, and a fixture of Thanksgiving games.  Really, John Madden is clearly legally insane, and it was always the calm voice of Summerall that made the games make any sense or have any cohesion.

He, Costas and Al Michaels have been some of my favorite sports broadcasters over the years and I'll miss him.

Summerall and Madden

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

end of football season 2012-13 (also, Brent Musberger)

I watched the BCS Championship game between Alabama and Notre Dame, and - as you may have heard - Alabama destroyed Notre Dame, 42-14 (you can argue that last ND touchdown was someone from Alabama being nice).

I don't have feelings one way or another about either team.  It's cool to see Nick Saban earn his 3rd National title in 4 years, and I was glad Notre Dame was back as a serious contender in NCAA football.  But I think this absolute rout of The Fighting Irish will be putting some questions around Notre Dame's unique position as a team without a country/ conference, and that their schedule may be a wee bit lopsided as they milk their TV contract.

It was a fun year for football, and I wish I'd had a less hectic schedule and could have enjoyed more of it.  Even when UT is doing poorly (and we ended up with 9 wins, so as bad as it felt, it's still a decent season), it's something to do.  I still like watching Big 12 teams and a few, random other teams when I can.

Between you and me, I can't stand commentator Brent Musberger.  He certainly knows the sport, but he's still wishing it were 1975.  I like a little fake impartiality in my hosts, and Musberger chucked all that years ago.  Sometimes he's right, sometimes he's wrong.  But having had listened to his nonsense as he's called (and constantly dogged on) UT games over the years, I just sigh when I realize he and Herb are on commenting duties.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The 2012 Not-a-List Rundown

author's note:  2012 is a year I have been looking to put behind me for quite a while for any number of reasons.  Obviously the events in my personal life marked a very sad end to the year for us at our house.  Perhaps we should declare 2012 Annus Horribilis and move on.

With recent events weighing so heavily on me right now (and with this post started a long, long time ago), I'm going to stick to pop culture and the original, intended tone of the post - and this blog - and take a look back instead at...  yeah, I guess comics and whatnot.

here we go.


The 2012 Not-a-List Rundown




My Totem for Everything About my Pop Culture Hobbies in 2012

My relationship fundamentally changed with my hobbies and past-times, and superhero comics have begun to dip below the horizon to the same place Star Wars went circa 2002.  Because of travelling and the fact I was sick a lot this year, I also didn't really make it out to the movies very often.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Saw Louis CK and other Bits into the Weekend

Somehow we wound up with 6th row tickets to see Louis CK at the Moody Theater this evening.  Right on the center aisle.  Kind of crazy.  I insisted to our friends who had seats a bit further away that you could feel the comedy spraying across us from that close.

Louis's brand of comedy isn't for everyone, and certainly his show on FX isn't something I'd likely watch with my folks.  I do find his work challenging (the last bit this evening on 'Of Course' vs. 'But Maybe' isn't necessarily going to be for every audience and runs the risk of being misunderstood by some audiences).

If you know Louie (the oddly misspelled showname of Louis CK's FX program), you might like this. NSFW.  Sorry.




Sports!

I didn't get to watch, but UT's Women's Volleyball team is once again headed for the National Championship!  We've got as good a chance at winning as not, and no matter what happens, it's been a great year for the squad.

But it'd still be amazing to see a National Championship.

Unfortunately, I never get to watch the games.  They broadcast on the controversial Longhorn Network that I don't have, and I travel so much, I never buy tickets, even though they play across the street.  I mostly keep up via articles online or asking one of our Sys Admins who goes all the time.

The Weekend

We're in San Antonio as of tomorrow as this is the weekend of the wedding I'm officiating.  No Hobbit for me this weekend, I guess.

Looking forward to the wedding.  Of course seeing Julia and Bill get hitched from the best seat in the house is a treat, but Matt & Nicole will be there, as well as other pals like Jonathan and Billie.  This is going to be all right.

After the wedding, I plan to come home, finish Christmas shopping, then lay very, very still before Dug and K arrive for the holidays.  I have a feeling that when my feet hit the ground at the start of January, work is going to be nuts.  I need to plan summer vacation now or its not going to happen.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

For some reason, Formula 1 Racing Came to Austin

About two and a half-years ago, Austinites woke up to find that some deal had been reached to bring Formula 1 racing to our city.  Mostly, the news was met with puzzled stares.  This is not a motorsports kind of town, and F1 is something that takes place in Monte Carlo, not in our berg.

If you do not know (I didn't), F1 is monstrously popular everywhere but the US, and despite astronomically high tickets prices, tends to draw hundreds of thousands of people to each city.  Rich people.  Who supposedly spend money.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Coach Darrell K. Royal Merges with The Infinite

Darrell K. Royal, icon of University of Texas football, has passed at 88.


I am sad to learn that former UT football coach, Darrell Royal, has gone on to his reward, but as I said to CoWorker Kristi - "It's kind of hard to imagine living a better life than that guy".

Longhorn Football fans know that Royal brought three championships to Texas and had a 167-47-5 record at UT.  Memorial Stadium is actually now Darrell K. Royal Memorial Stadium, and has been for quite a while.

He remained active in UT Athletics and the University of Texas, and was on the field for a coin toss just a few weeks back.  He'll be missed, but in Austin, it is impossible to believe he'll be forgotten.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Longhorns get trounced: 63-21

The Red River Rivalry (or Shoot Out, depending on your generation) is a tradition more than a century old.  The UT Longhorns drive up to Dallas, the Oklahoma Sooners descend from Norman, and they face off at the Cotton Bowl in an elliptical stadium that, when full of fans, is colored half burnt orange and half red in team colors.

As important as the rivalry is (and, I hate to tell Ags, was probably the more important of the two), its also a marker that tells us how our team is really playing this year.  Every year this game seems to be a tipping point for the fortunes of the Longhorns - displaying exactly how well we might do against the conference play in the Big 12 and more or less setting bowl expectations.  OU is always a worthy opponent, and in neutral territory, they don't want to take the slow, painful bus ride home, either.  

more or less the story of the game

Flat out, OU outplayed UT in every conceivable way for about 58 of the 60 minutes of the game.  We couldn't even get the extra point after a fluke touchdown.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

UT craters at home v. West Virginia

As amazing as the Oklahoma win was over Texas Tech (I thought OU was doomed), and the unexpected win for Florida topping LSU....

UT lost to WV 48-45.  And I died a little inside.

Texas' loss to West Virginia, who managed to exploit UT's weaknesses by playing fairly solid football, was terribly frustrating.  I will say that this is the first time UT's defense has come to life this season, but it was in bits and spurts and it wasn't enough against the nigh-flawless Geno Smith.

David Ash, who has been on such an upward curve this year, fell back into old, bad habits when the pressure was on and failed to connect with his center during the turning point in the game, handed to him on a  silver platter.

Bergeron and others had a strong night (this Hills fellow was pretty terrific), and Jeffcoat really lit up, but it was a long, long night.

Sigh.

Can you tell I'm venting?

There's always next week.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

UT Football Begins

Normally I spend a lot of time after July reading up on UT football and watching and reading local sports news to get caught up in order to be ready for the season.  Not this year.  Work and other factors came into play, and I just didn't think about football too much until now, as we roll into the first week of NCAA football.

I am reminded of Keith Moon, drummer for The Who, who did not play the drums unless he was on tour or recording, and reportedly had to remember how to play every time The Who decided it was time to go back to work.  Also, he put explosives in his drums on The Smothers Brothers.  Hilarious.

Anyway, while I am not putting explosives anywhere (that you know about) I am also in need of my annual "oh, yeah.  Football." relearning of everything I usually know by week two or three of the previous year.  This year I didn't even get a chance to pick up my usual Dave Campbell's Texas Football magazine and do some reading as we head toward hot dog roasting and a lot of excuse making for our running game.

Coach Brown sacrifices a freshman to appease the football gods in hopes of a winning season

I was talking to Jake, who is a huuuuuge Oregon Ducks fan, and realized...  man, I have no idea what's going on just at UT, but anywhere.  I really need to catch up.  BTW, I have high hopes for Jake's Ducks again this year, if USC isn't too much of a problem.

And, of course, everyone in the SEC (but TAMU) looks pretty spooky once again.

All that to say, I am thrilled it's once again time for College Football, and especially UT Football.

Tonight my mighty Longhorns go up against the Cowboys of Wyoming.  It's a bit rougher than a match-up against Rice or other teams we've played in the past, but it'll also tell us where we're at a whole lot earlier this year than in past seasons.

Looking at the UT depth chart puts a smile on my face as familiar names populate the starting line-up, and we have a chance to see what all three of our quarterbacks can do this year.  Jeffcoat and Okafor are back on defense, so that's always a good thing.

I can read.  I can try to catch up!  I CAN KNOW THINGS.

This year its pretty clear my team went to go see the Chris Nolan Batman flick, as our slogan this year is "Rise".

Also, I need a video this inspirational to watch about showing up for work at the library. It would certainly make it seems like pushing papers and making presentations was a lot more important.



Anyway, Longhorns...  get your horns up!  It's going to be a great year.

Now let's get out there and eat too many hotdogs.

Friday, August 24, 2012

On Lance Armstrong and Pyrrhic Victory

Well done, anti-doping agency.  

You know, its too bad if Lance Armsotrong did dope.  It certainly left a lot of questions around his 7 Tour victories.  But here's kind of what I think:

It's a bicycle race.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Maintenance: Jamie's Mom's Health, The Olympics

Between the Olympics, travel and now Judy's health issues, we haven't been making much time for movies, comics, Superman or the usual malarkey.  When I have sat down with my computer, we've not had the usual to write on.

We'll see what the next few days and weeks look like, but, you know... priorities.

Judy Update:

Jamie's mom is improving bit by bit.  She's eaten a few bites, said a few words, stood up for a few seconds...  all pretty good for someone who had brain surgery on Thursday.  She's, of course, exhausted.  And she still has a greatly impaired ability to communicate, so we kind of guess what to do and not do for her by giving her options and seeing if she indicates a preference in any way.  She's not glassy-eyed and uncomprehending, but between the original issue, the surgery, and the meds, we're just glad she's waking up on a regular basis.

Jamie's  family has really done a great job, to the point where I'm not in my usual role of bed-side guy helping out, and have been taking over roles like laundry and house maintenance and whatnot.  All necessary, but not quite the crisis-side of this that I'm used to dealing with.  My own family and our pals have been terrific.  So, thanks to everyone.


The Olympics:

Once again the US dominated, enough so that the narrative should be getting dull.  But it's a lot of fun watching our teams win in Track & Field events, Beach Volleyball, and other sports.  Heck, I even enjoyed the inevitable victory by the US Men's Basketball team.  Not as much as hearing about the US Women's Soccer Team winning in a storybook finale.

I'll miss team May-Walsh in Beach Volleyball.  By 2008, we were over the bikinis and focusing on the sport and by 2012, it was all about the amazing feat of three-peating in an incredibly difficult sport.  And not just winning, but only losing one set in 3 Olympics.  Absolutely astounding.

Someone at NBC got the memo, I might add, and the interviews with athletes never turned accusatory, whether athletes placed or not.  And most certainly nobody was asked if they were disappointed at getting a Bronze or Silver.  Now, if the guy covering wee women's gymnastics could learn to dial it down about 11 notches, he might make the sport a lot more tolerable to watch.  Ie: It's weird that you're a grown man and unironically a total fanboy of these weird little 16 year old girls who don't go to school so they can do cartwheels all day.  I would be terrified to see your apartment.

The closing ceremonies were fine.  The usual mish-mash of good and bad ideas.  I understand that part of the theme was the passing of the torch, but don't have recent bands come on and sing standards for absolutely enormous artists.  I don't want to see a teen heart-throb covering Pink Floyd or Johnny Rocker Random cover The Who.  Especially when you have the The Who.  Or half the Who.

Special note:  I keep reading that Daltry and Townsend were there and played, but I somehow missed that as part of the telecast or else I left the room when Daltry was not the one who started with "Pinball Wizard".  Whatever.

And if you're not going to deliver Bowie, stop playing his music.  Bush league.

Anyway, we'll be watching again in 18 months when the Winter Games show up in Mother Russia.


Monday, August 6, 2012

Let the Science Begin! Olympics. Mars. Tomorrow! This Moment in History

Let's get this party started!


Man.  It wasn't enough that I got to watch Usain Bolt win the 100m again, but UT alum Sonya Richards-Ross won the Gold in the Women's 400m.


I also watched a man with prosthetic limbs race in an Olympic foot race.

But after watching the Twitter Feed for the Mars Curiosity Rover the past couple of months, Curiosity came down successfully on the surface of our sister planet, Mars.

You guys, we live in the future.

I haven't gotten teary during the Olympics.  I've done my fair share of yelling and cheering and chanting "go go go go go go go" while watching races.

But I admit I got a little choked up watching the JPL crew high-fiving after the news that Curiosity had landed and we received the first images back from the rover.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

All I've Been Doing has been Watching the Olympics

No movies.  No comics.  Basically, I've got none of my usual stuff to cover.

I've really been enjoying watching Volleyball.  Men's.  Women's.  Beach.  Otherwise.  I love the pace and the athleticism, and, of course, watching May-Treanor and Walsh-Jennings again has been a lot of fun.  The addition of Longhorn Destinee Hooker to the US Team has been just terrific.  It's great to see her get attention on such a huge stage.

I watched Little Girls' Gymnastics, and that was very sweet.  And seemingly not a headcase in the bunch.

Archery was pretty great this weekend, and this coming weekend I get to see Track & Field, the one time every four years when I watch those events, but I can't wait.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Olympics are Back! A report after Day One (2012)

So yesterday I got up and cycling was on. I rolled over to watching US Women's soccer against the villainous Colombian team, watched that whole match, then watched US Women's Volleyball against South Korea, and at some point was watching Norway play France in Women's Team Handball (it's like mini-Lacrosse with no stick. Just hands.). Then Primetime arrived and I wound up watching beach volleyball, swimming, men's gymnastics and concluded the viewing day after midnight watching women under 110 pounds lifting tremendous amounts of weight over their heads.

A few observations:

Monday, July 2, 2012

Vacation Slide Show! Chicago 2012

What would a vacation be without snapshots with which to annoy friends and family?

Well, we don't want to leave you hanging, so here's some snapshots from Jamie and Ryan Go A'Touristing in Chicago: 2012.

For our Google Album (public for now, but not forever) click here.

The lobby of the beautiful Palmer House Hotel

Jamie and I headed to Grant Park

at Buckingham Fountain.  A tourist on a Segway took this one.  Very nice man.

Monday, June 25, 2012

An Open Letter to NBC as The Olympics Draw Nigh

Dear NBC,

This evening I tuned into some pre-Olympics coverage.  Coverage of time trials as young Americans in Omaha, Nebraska who had been working their whole lives (or some short period of time between adolescence and now) to become world class athletes competed against their countrymen in very silly activities like seeing who can swim fastest for400 meters, but changing directions something like 8 times to do so (just imagine if we asked 400 meter runners to keep changing directions.  I'd watch that.)

I can almost sense the impending failure just from the official NBC logo.
As we do every four four years, I saw Andrea Kremer hopping about in a golf shirt (a sports-casting garment reserved just for the Olympics.  Why is that?), trying to interview hairless, genetic freak men with excellent musculature.  I can see why anyone for whom that's a thing would be as excited as Ms. Kremer.

I also noticed the color commentators relishing the opportunity afforded them for a few weeks every quadrennium to seem something like relevant, instead of finding themselves filling time on CNBC at 3:00 on a Saturday in February.  They seemed very interested in odd minutia about very specific individuals, talked about how the nation's hopes were pinned on this seventeen year old girl who is supposed to swim faster in a switchback fashion than other people, and then had very little nice to say about her once she was in the water and not breaking laws of space and time.

If I may:  Planning a meeting or a conference or even a party takes an incredible amount of work.  I get this.  I do stuff like that often.

You work and work and work to get to the event, you struggle through it, and then its over and all you want to do is celebrate.  The last thing you want to do is show up again on Monday and consider what maybe you could have done better.  I also get that when only do something once in a while, say, every two to four years, its hard to remember what worked and what didn't and get better at doing what you're doing.

So I am going to help you out.  You can skip the notes you misplaced after 2008.  I got you.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Jamie on UFC

On what happens if we leave the TV on Fox Sports Southwest after the basketball game:

Jamie:  See...  I don't even know why you'd watch wrestling.
Me:  That's not wrestling.
Jamie:  It's two guys rolling around on the ground holding each other.  What is it...?  Hugging?
Me:  That's Mixed Martial Arts.
Jamie:  Its two grown dudes hugging.
Me:  I don't even know if that's Mixed Martial Arts.  Its "Ultimate Fighting."  Its for guys who were good at exactly one thing in high school and it wasn't math.
Jamie:  Hugging?

and scene.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

6 Years Ago the UT Longhorns won the Rose Bowl

it seems impossible, but I don't own a copy of this cover, and I don't think I've ever seen it before

Six years ago I was living in the wilds of Chandler, Arizona.  It is safe to say now that 2005 was the roughest year I've experienced, and its got to be up there for Jamie, too.

We had moved to Arizona in 2002.  I had lived in Texas since age 4, and had been in Austin most of my life.   And while we loved Austin, I also knew that I needed to try something different.  So, when Jamie's job evaporated in 2001, we began looking outside of Texas, eventually winding up in Arizona.

For a multitude of reasons, we never felt comfortable in Chandler (where we lived) or Tempe (where we worked), and found it exceedingly difficult to find anyone with whom we could socialize.  I will always entertain the notion that I'm a deeply unpleasant person to have to deal with unless your paycheck requires you talk to me, but I think out there, we were just fish out of water in many ways.  And, of course, Jamie's health was always an issue.

By the summer of 2005, Jamie's health deteriorated considerably.  From late spring until November, we were on an hour-by-hour watch for changes.  And, unfortunately, I had fallen into horrendous eating and sleeping patterns.  

But in the Fall of 2005, the UT Longhorn football team was on fire.  Our quarterback was Vince Young, and you could just tell...  we were going to win a hell of a lot of games.  The odd part of watching such a season is that I think you kind of know early on that this could be the year, that this could really happen.  But then you watch every game wondering "is this where we blow it?"

I hadn't watched much UT football when I was actually at UT.  The team hadn't been great for a while, and while I liked some sports (particularly NBA basketball), I was also doing other things in my life than watching football on a Saturday, even when I was watching the NFL on Sundays as a way to defer the inevitable homework.

But I graduated, UT got a new coach, and I wasn't just reading about the games in the paper.  I actually tuned in.  I knew more than the name of the quarterback.  So by 2005, after the frustration of the Chris Simms era, we had this guy Vince Young step into the QB position (eventually.  We won't discuss poor 'ol Chance Mock too much).

FYI:  slighting either of these men in my presence will insure you receive an immediate and justified thrashing
In many ways, I have a hard time getting my head around the fact that 2005 was both My Very Personal Bad Year and The Year UT won the BCS Championship.  It seems like two completely different timelines.  Somehow we managed to catch almost every game that season, even though that was the fall when Jamie had to go back on dialysis and I recall watching at least one game on Pay-Per-View so I'm sure we missed a game or two.  If it were not for a memory of watching the UT/ A&M game on a TV at the hospital the Thanksgiving when Jamie spent her Turkey Day in a hospital bed (and I ate luke-warm turkey out of a plastic container), I'd never be able to reconcile the two timelines.  

By December, Jamie had begun to stabilize.  Jason came in for Christmas, and I know we talked a lot about UT football.

Living in Arizona, we were in Pac-10 territory, and it seemed that my work colleagues were, at best, humoring me once UT was in the championship.  UT was facing down USC, and the pundits and sportscasters were insisting this game was already decided (I particularly remember Chris Berman seemingly frustrated that they were bothering to even have the game, so certain was he of USC's victory).   But what you could tell was that 1.  the pundits seemed to be working from a certain narrative rather than demonstrating first hand knowledge one would have had they actually watched UT or the Big 12 that year, and 2. sports journalists have no idea what they're talking about (and people believe them.  Its hilarious).

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Texas Showdown Closes Down (UT wins!)

I did not expect UT to win the annual Thanksgiving game against Texas A&M.  Yes, the UT Longhorns were ranked, and A&M had slipped from ranking, but this year, UT's ranking fortunes have just felt like a fluke of other's misfortunes and some oddly-had luck more than the hard-earned rankings of the COlt McCoy and VY years.  While I do believe our defense has been fairly effective this season, its clear the Longhorn offense is still a mess.

In the end, it came down to a last second field goal kicked by UT's Justin Tucker, who has been near-flawless all season.  But it also came down to UT's defense uncharacteristically more or less rolling over to A&M's fairly punishing drive in the final minutes, looking for all the world like a team that was going to have the last word.  And, of course, Case McCoy demonstrating some clear thinking in the last minute that he really hadn't shown too much this season.

I hope Texas Aggies feel like it was a good game.  We were certainly consoling ourselves with this thought at the 1:25 mark in the 4th quarter when we watched the UT lead melt away.

But then Tucker made the field goal.  So, it was a good night to be a Longhorns fan.

Tucker gets tackled by jubilant Longhorns
Of COURSE the game means something.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Signal Watch Sports: Longhorns - we aren't totally horrible this year!

This Saturday I attended the UT/ Texas Tech match-up at Darrell K Royal - Memorial Stadium.

Firstly, it was Veteran's Day (observed, I guess) which meant the 82nd Airborne dropped 4 paratroopers into the sky who, to a trooper, landed pretty much dead-center of the field (I literally had no idea that you could be that accurate with a parachute).  They brought the flags AND the game ball.

I feel like such a sucker for just walking into the stadium
And then a pair of F-18's buzzed the stadium at the end of the Star Spangled Banner.  It was AMAZING (I am about 11 years old at the sight of a fighter jet in the sky).  

The point is, UT hit the field, and on the first drive by Texas Tech, I got a bit nervous.  Tech manhandled Oklahoma this year, and we've had issues with Tech in recent years.  Yes, Texas Tech lost last week's game pretty badly, but every week is a fresh start, so I really didn't know what to expect.