A Month Ago was Awesome

I have been meaning to write about the fantastic night in September when America showed they would not let a World Cup birth slip away.  It was and may always be the 2nd greatest sporting event I have ever attended (Number 1 was the OSU v UM game of 2006).

The clock was ticking slowly at work, and I was ready to get to the game.  My buddies had already started tailgating and were taunting me with texts.  The clock struck 4:45 and I was gone.  I left my bag and work at home for the night… my full devotion on US soccer.

I hadn’t been to a US National game, and I WAS PUMPED.  The team beat Mexico in Mexico city a month before and things seemed good. Until we lost to Jamaica a couple days prior to this game and our chances would be slim if we lost.  I knew I wasn’t going to shut up or sit down at any point in the game.  The only thing I wish I did differently was learn a couple of the Jamaican players names.

When I finally arrived at Crew Stadium I was impressed.  The place was rocking.  Red, white and blue flags, clothes and body paint were everywhere the eye could see.  I loved it.  High fiving people on my way to my friends and chanting when I heard them pass, this was AMAZING.

I put down a couple beers while waiting for the game to start then called John to see when he would be at the game.  He was in the parking lot and would be arriving shortly.  The excitment was growing and people were pouring into the stadium.  When I met John the first thing I wanted to do was buy a jersey.

The line was too long.  I waited for 5-10 minutes… enough time for John to get us 2 beers.Then I decided it was too long of a wait and we headed to our seats.  On our way we were handed small American flags, which I waved over and over and over again.  We barely missed the opening kick by the time we got to our seat.  I was immediately told I wasn’t sitting down, which was a given.

Looking itno the crowd was one of the most fantastic views I have every seen at a sporting event.  It looked like the whole crowd was jumping up and down.  Flags were flying in every direction.  It was loud, people were chanting, cheering and screaming to a level that almost rivaled the shoe with a fourth the people.  I had only one thing to do join them.  And cheer I did.  Oh yea, and we had front row seats.

I went through 3 small US flags because I was waving them soo much.  I tried to show off my great seats by taking a picture when there was a play developing in front of us.  I pulled out my camera, focused the picture, and then threw it in the air.  At that moment we had made a great pass and ripped a shot that hit off the woodwork.  Bad timing.  My phone flew to the ground in between us and the field.  When the ball boy handed me on my phone it was spiderwebbed… worth it.

I don’t know who 13 was for Jamaica, but I yelled at him the whole game.  Yelling at him to go home, and he would end up a loser.  Nothing too bad, just had to make sure he knew he was going to leave. THen it happened.  Mr. Gomez put one in the back of the net and I about fainted.  GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLl. There are few things in life that will make me cheer that hard.

As the game came to an end and we made our way to our cars, everyone had a smile on their face.  Sam’s Army came out strong, and helped defend our homeland.  Ah, life is good when soccer is good.

John and I spent the next hour or so chilling and talking about the amazingness that happened.  I didn’t get home until late that night, but I heard you could see us on ESPN as the game was telecasted.  I searched for a rerun but couldn’t find it.  Oh well, it’s not like I’ll ever forget that night.

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How much is too much?

How much is too much is the question I have asked myself over the last couple of days.  For those of you who do not know me extremely well, my ‘hobby world and day-to-day life’ revolves around football.  I have been a huge Buckeyes and Bills fan for forever.  I have come to the point in my Buffalo Bills fandom where I am wondering, do I put in too much into this sport and team for too little?

Now don’t get me wrong, I am fully aware that I am moaning and complaining in this post about an entirely first-world problem, but it is what’s on my mind, and I’d like to write about it.  I look at this issue from multiple views:

Physical Health. When the Bills lose, which is always, too much unhealthy eating and drinking habits follow.

Mental Health. There is a quote that says something like, “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of Insanity.”  This is me and the Buffalo Bills. Year after year, the same thing happens over and over, the Bills are terrible.  Year after year, I continue to cheer and fully support the Bills in a belief that they will improve and be successful, they never do.

Emotional Health.  I think the fact that I am writing this and wasting my time probably shows you the effect that the dumb Buffalo Bills has on my emotional health…

Productivity. I spend soooo much time looking at Buffalo Bills news, talking on the Bills forums, looking at Bills merchandise, etc. that it takes away from time where I can actually be doing things to improve my life.

I posted the following on the Buffalo Bills message boards yesterday:

“I know I’m going to get a whole bunch of people on here who are going to say, “GO, we don’t need you!”, ‘You’re not a real fan!”, “You suck donkey ****!”, etc, but I am honestly nearing the end of my rope of fandom for the Buffalo Bills. I am 26 years old and have liked the Bills since before I can remember. Unfortunately, what this means is I was 14 years old the last time the Bills were in the post season. Since then, the best record the Bills have had is 9-7 in 2004. Do you all realize how absolutely awful that is?

I am in love with the game of football. I love it on every level, High School – Pro. I feel like I am cheating myself by continuing to cheer for this Buffalo Bills franchise. Every Sunday I wake up hopeful and inspired, and by that evening I am under a dark-depressive-oppressive cloud. Why do I continue to subject myself to something that I know is not giving me any return on my investment? I’ve been through so many emotional, tear jerking losses and utter beat downs, I don’t think my physical, mental and emotional health can handle it anymore…

With this being said, I’m signing off for a while. No more buffalobills.com, no more Bills Boards, no more Bills text updates, no more Bills desktop background, I need some time to mend. I will continue to watch this team play, but I’m only going to invest 3.5 – 4 hours a week of my life on the Bills from this point forward until I see some progress. If they finish above .500 this year, perhaps I will come back. If they don’t, I might just be done.

I feel terrible for feeling this way, but there is only so much someone can take.

Goodbye.”

Again, as I re-read this, I find this to be somewhat pathetic.  Time to make some life changes so I don’t have to deal with this garbage anymore.  I still consider myself a Bills fan, but like I said, I’m going to end some of the madness.

Thank you for dealing with my therapeutic rant.

Good day.

Chaos in a Capsule (PaintBallin)

There are few things that seem more manly than the great outdoors and guns.  That is why some genius decided to put them together in a non-lethal way.  The trick was to combine small capsules that would explode when shot at a low velocity to reduce injury.  Those little capsules were later known as paintball.

I remember my first encounter with paintball when I was 9 or 10.  I was looking in the garage for a ball when I came upon a duffel bag full of little tubes with tiny marble sized balls in the tubes.  I originally thought they were marbles and opened a tube.  I poured out one or two and realized they weren’t marbles.  They were soft, so I squeezed them together and splat.  Paint sprayed on me.  I ran inside to ask my dad about the little balls.  He then described the activity of paintball.

A few years later my dad played paintball with his friends.  When he came home he had little paint patches all over his clothes.  He told me how much fun it was and he would show me his equipment.  He took me outside and lined up some cans and then taught me how to aim and shoot the paintballs. 

I used to play paintball when I was in middle school.  A couple of kids I was friends with had semi-auto and pump paint ball guns.  We always would pick teams and I was generally picked toward the top.  One thing I never understood is the reasoning behind picking me.  Everyone would say they heard I was good at paintball, but I don’t know how the rumors started.  From all the memories I have I was terrible.  I don’t remember landing a shot on anyone, but I do remember taking a bunch of them.  I do remember having fun!

A few days ago, for a work event, I went paintballing.  I knew anything I had learned when I was younger was forgotten.  Most of the people I was going with didn’t play or hadn’t played in a while either.  We all geared up and took the safety course.  Everyone seemed a little uneasy because no one could remember how much the balls hurt.  When the training was done we headed to the field.

We picked teams.  I was picked at the top again, but someone made a joke that being from Kentucky I had an advantage.  This is true, I have painted the town red before but it was normally with bourbon and not a paintball gun.  Each team took their sides and discusses strategy.  It was exciting.  you know it is going to hurt when you get shot, but you don’t know how much it will hurt. You want to go on the attack, but you don’t want to leave yourself vulnerable.  I found a good spot at the beginning of the match.  I could see the playing field and the insanity that was happening.  9 v 9 matches are intense, and there is a lot of sound going on.  While trying to shoot at someone across the map to provide cover for a teammate, I see another teammate get shot by a couple “enemies”.  Since the person I was providing cover for was safe I decided to flank the “enemies”.

I ducked down and crawled through a ditch and came up on the side of 3 enemies.  They weren’t in plain sight but they were at a spot I could hit them.  I started shooting, and took one out.  The others weren’t sure where the balls were coming from so when they moved it didn’t cover them any more.  I kept firing and took out another one.  The third finally spotted me and returned fire.  I got hit straight in the neck, and it was not pleasant.  I was about to call myself out when I felt the shot location and realized the paintball did no break and I was still in the match.  When I looked again he was gone.  I made my way toward the center of the field when our team took the flag and won the round. 

I thoroughly enjoyed my time playing paintball and hope to do it again soon.  There is a big facility about an hour north of Columbus called Splatter Park.  There is something about being outside and experiencing chaos.  The thrill of not knowing if someone is right around the corner about to light you up, or the excitement you get when you are providing cover for someone who wins the round.  The feeling of accomplishment when you hit someone you’ve been in a standoff with and the feeling of agony when you are unexpectedly hit on the side by someone you had no idea was there.  Humans are meant to feel and paintball brings out a lot of those feelings.  You may get a lot of bruises, but the fun you experience makes it worth the pain.  Honestly,  I hardly remember feeling the pain when I was shot because I had so much adrenaline during te matches.

If anyone is interested, let John or I know.  We were thinking it would be a fun experience.  They have had a couple of groupons and even at $45 it isn’t that bad for 5-6 hours of calamity.

Greg Williams is the man!

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/09000d5d82821ba1/article/williams-independentcontractor-status-fueled-rogue-mentality?module=HP11_writer_experts

Ok, ok.  So if all of this New Orleans Saints bounty program scandal was not swirling around the interwebs these days, do you think the recording of Greg Williams screaming emotionally at his defensive players the night before the Saints’ playoff game against the 49ers (albeit there is a lot of swearing, and some disturbing things said) would be made such a big deal of?  I don’t.  And I also do no think that the average person understands the mindset of a professional football player.

If you believe that speeches like this one are not eloquently spewed from the mouths of coaches in all football locker rooms (high school, college, and professional), then you just don’t get it.  Now I am not saying that every locker room has a coach that is urging the team to hurt their opponents in very specific detail, but this mindset is a necessity in the game of football.  I would bet in over 80% of football locker rooms the defensive coaches will talk about inflicting pain, busting heads, and knocking players out.  I know it was talked about in my high school locker room and I have a feeling the speeches just get more intense and angry into the College and Professional level.

Football’s main purpose is to inflict pain on the man lining up across from you.  Whether it be a pancake block, a helmet popping hit, or a James Harrison cheap shot, someone is going to get smashed…a touchdown is just a bi-product of which team does the most crushing.

I don’t agree with Greg Williams bounty system, I think it is despicable to actually plan to injure another player and get paid to do it.  I believe he should be suspended indefinitely because he lied multiple times to the commissioner about the bounties.  However, I feel that it is any football players right, duty, and joy to HURT (there is a difference here) as many people as possible when they step out onto the gridiron.

Football is leaning further and further towards a game of protection (QBs, WRs, anyone on the football field who is “defenseless” – if you are defenseless on the football field you should not be on one), rather than a game of hitting, and it makes me sad.

From the man whose brother was told by our father to be ‘Evil, Wicked, Mean, and Nasty’ on the football field, I say to you Greg Williams, cut out the cheap shit, but don’t change your style.  Hopefully one day you can coach the defense of the Buffalo Bills (once the Stache ultimately fails).

Anthony from Hoboken

http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news?slug=aw-wojnarowski_john_calipari_knicks_kentucky_040312

Has anyone else heard about this…  John Calipari has reached a new low in my book, and that is tough because he was already pretty low.  When he was the head coach of the New Jersey Nets and sucked terribly, the Nets faithful used to call in during his afternoon radio show and rip him to shreds.  (An aside, I love passionate fans that give it to their team (coaches and players) straight.)  Calipari had one of his assistants call in to the radio show everyday under the alias of ‘Anthony from Hoboken’ and give props to the coach and back him up.

How insecure of a person do you have to be to actually have a 007 plan to force somebody that you employ to use a fake identity to give you props and make you feel a little bit better about yourself.  Hey Calipari, how about you just win in the NBA to get the fans off your back? Oh wait, you can’t…because everyone gets paid in the NBA!!!!  What a schlub this guy is.  I think it is only a matter of time until we find out that Calipari was paying for Anthony Davis’ eyebrow threading, and this national championship win will be vacated.