There is, as there always is I suppose, a horrifying backlog of various sports music cultural political and artistic information, just to name a few, that if I captured them in bare hands and crushed their life blood onto these pages more frequently, perhaps it would seem less daunting to me. But I suppose that’s a mirage and a delusion since there is ALWAYS too much information at any given moment no matter what I say, do, or write.
So before I could even pen 2000 words or so about F1’s new downforce rules, wider Pirelli tyres, or go all Henry James about Force India’s brand new pink cars, the opening salvo of the 2017 F1 season has been fired, hoisting me by my own petard.
Sebastian Vettel won the Australian Gran Prix at Albert Park in Melbourne by a country kilometre.1 Hamilton and new teammate, Valterri Bottas joined Seb on the podium. It seems, based on the evidence of 1 race which I didn’t watch due to the grievous time zone differential, that Ferrari is going to be more competitive with Mercedes this season.
That much I do know, as much as it drubs me.
As always, I don’t know everything. I only know what I know. Also, since I’m usually not one for letting the facts get in the way of the truth, I’ll leave for the moment for you to determine whether this will be a disguised, or an undisguised, schematic.
Classic American Football, Opus 1
On Friday night at the Avaya Stadium in San Jose, our lads got their pitifully derailed World Cup Qualification back on track (See what I did there, Clive?) with a sound 6-0 beatdown of Honduras.
Clint Dempsey, who’s back in the team after recovering (I hope) from a heart issue last season, notched a hat-trick putting him only 3 goals behind Landon Donovan for the most goals by an American international footballer. And while it was no surprise to me, Christian Pulisic, who plays his club football for Borussia Dortmund, was my man of the match and the creative spark behind most the American goals…while also scoring one of his own.
Tim Howard, returning from injury, was back in goal and spent most of the match reading The Portrait Of A Lady by the aforementioned Henry James. Towards the end of the match, after our 6-0 lead was more than secure, Howard had to set his book, dog-eared to page 297, and do a bit of work, which he did admirably; as Honduras made a play or two to get something out the match other than the good hiding they got.
The pundits during the match, and after, were all aglow and amazed and surprised about Christian Pulisic. Me? I was not the least bit surprised. In my view, it was simply business as usual for Pulisic. My feeling is that a lot of the people raving about Pulisic don’t watch much Bundesliga football. His performance Friday night for USA! USA!! USA!!! were right up to his standard for Borussia Dortmund. Yes, he’s only 19, but so what… He’s a frequent starter for Die Schwartzgelben and there is nothing about the accolades going to his head. With Dortmund and Thomas Tuchel, he’s with the right team and the right coach. He is only going to get better. And lets be honest, where he’s at right now is pretty goddamn good. American pundit and commenters who really don’t know better are worried about some Freddy Adu syndrome. Never in a million years will that ever happen to Pulisic. He plays beyond his years, but he also know where his years are at.
Bruce Arena 2.0 also bodes well for our World Cup 2018 chances in Russia. This is his (and Team USA’s) first win in 2018 WC qualifying. All the doubts that shrouded the end of the Klinsmann Era have seem to have been lifted. Even that big lug Jozy Altidore played a vital role in holding up play and contributing in ways that didn’t show up on his personal scoreboard. Arena is more practical-minded than Klinsmann, and plays his guys in their natural postions rather than forcing them to play out of position as they often had to do in Klinsmann’s stubbornly misguided utopian attempt to replicate some haphazard re-interpretation of total football.
Arena needs to continue playing Pulisic up front. His pace and vision and tactical nou will keep Michael Bradley back where his mid-fielder talents are best utilized….leading from the back. It makes for a stronger spine for the team and will allow Arena to focus on shoring up the defense. Also, Pulisic can work with any of our strikers. His presence on the pitch will make all of them better and more effective.
Another Always The Bridesmaid Story…
Can you name the current leader in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series without looking it up, on Jayski, or some other website, or in one of the broadsheets printed on real paper using actual ink?
I didn’t think so.
In the wee small hours leading up to the start of the Auto Club 400 at Fontana CA, that would be Kyle Larson.
Yes, Kyle Freakin’ Larson. The only Japanese-American in NASCAR…and not that his ethnic heritage has any more meaning in the grand scheme of things than say, the fact that Danica Patrick is a real live girl, but it’s another fact that has most likely eluded y’all as well.
Current NASCAR points leader is Kyle Larson who pilots the #42 Target Chevrolet for Chip Ganassi has finished 2nd in all three Monster Energy Cup races so far this season. He tees off on first and will lead the charge and will be fixin’ to go wire to wire.
By the time I finish compiling all this random information, we will know if he will finally march down the aisle with all matrimonial pomp and circumstance that NASCAR can provide.
But as I said about facts….I might miss a fact or two. And also missed watching 2/3 and change of this race. But the truth is always what it is.
Kyle Larsen had a hell of a car. And though he shared leading the majority of the laps with Martin Truex Jr. Do feel free to pull two 3-digit prime numbers out of yer arse if you are even less obsessed with the facts than I am. Truex finished 4th as since he didn’t pit for tires when the caution flag went flying with 10 laps to go.
Kyle Larson did. His crew chief’s ballsy move paid off. Kyle Larson won the race going away.
So finally this season, after finishing 2nd in every race so far, Kyle Larson is the blushing bride.
There Will Always Be An England
A 2-0 win again Lithuania is not much of a win, but according to the scoreboard doing is honest philosophy and the result is a pleasant little fact. England are atop of their qualifying group, Group F which is probably the Relax-Your- Way-To-Success group in UEFA World Cup 2018 qualifying. Scotland, Slovenia, & Slovakia are not exactly powerhouse of European football. Lithuania and Malta are there to fill the field, take their spankings, and then go home.
Nobby Stiles would find it all sort of funny. The fuss about a win against Lithuania.
If he were still on this mortal coil, he would also be amused that England is still dwelling the glory of the 1966 World Cup that Nobby had a big part getting England the landmark win, but he wouldn’t find it funny.
England’s new gaffer, Gareth Southgate is finally trying to do something about England constantly dwelling in the glories of 1966. He’s been trying smash that hubris and self-importance and sense of privilege and entitlement away. I feel his efforts are gradually starting to work.
Kicking Wayne Rooney to curb along with other hopes and dreams of England to is a good start. He is trying to rebuild with players who actually like playing together. He’s giving caps to lesser lights in the Prem who show more spirit and passion that England players of the recent past.
He gave Burnley defensive back Michael Keane his first cap. And Keane was a stalwart all through the game. He’s not the first name that comes to mind when you ask someone to name a star Premier League defender. But Keane is the sort of player England needs more of. He’s exactly the sort of player I’ve been wanting England to call up. He plays for Burnley for fuck sake!
Other young guns are in the squad like Dele Alli and Jamie Vardy. Famous, yes, but Southgate seems to be the guy to keep them in line. Maybe. We’ll see. The team selection seems to be trending away from the innate sense of entitlement that used to rule the day. Rooney was dropped as captain and not named to the squad—he might as well just retire from international football with immediate effect.
As for the old guard, Gareth Southgate recalled 134 year old Jermain Defoe to the squad2 and gave him the start. No sense of self-important there with Defoe. He plays for facking Sunderland for fuck sake which is going Down Down Down in the words of that famous Trevor Burton song as sung by Dave Edmunds. Needless to say, it was Defoe who opened England’s account against Lithuania by depositing the football into the back of the net on the 21st minute.
Are England slowly getting back on track? Time will tell. Cash is just as good as money. Remember all ye denizens of The Firehouse in Mount Horeb WI; Rachel & Ray’s in Blanchardville WI; and Fat Boy Slim’s in Mineral Point WI; it was only Lithuania.
No Brexit references today. I’ll leave that one for the experts.
But I will offer, and insist upon a moment of silence for those killed and injured in the terrorist attack on Parliament.
Inappropriate Wastes Of Time
Ah yes, the Young Jack Wilshire. He began his career with so much promise. He was to be the lad who would save England from what has become, now, 51 years of mediocrity. He was to bring England back to its rightful glory…the glory years of Nobby Stiles, Bobby Charlton, Bobby Moore, & Geoff Hurst. Jack Wilshire was bound for the glory of that hallowed company.
He made his premier league debut at age 16 for Arsenal and was named the PFA Young Player of the year. Praised by Arsene Wenger for having an Spanish playing style with an English heart…Wilshire was poised to be a fixture and a legend of English football for years to come. He made his first team debut with the Three Lions in 2010.
But injuries and a tempestuous attitude and other off-field issues like burning heaters and a general insouciance have pretty much derailed his career. Instead of playing for Arsenal, who could sorely use a man of his talents, he’s been off on loan since he was in his pomp…first to Bolton, and now at Bournemouth where in their last match before the international break, a 2-0 win over Swansea, he was subbed on at the 75th minute for Ryan Fraser.
What might have been had he not been injured and had kept his tempestuous side in check we’ll never know. But one player in the last 10-15 years of who HAS practically screamed THIS IS AN ENGLISHMAN is Scott Parker. His picture should be in every dictionary/encyclopaedia in the world under an definition or article relating to Englishman. He was always decent hardworking player for club and country. Solid but never spectacular. He is currently playing for Fulham down the Championship.
Oh yes, I was going to also waste a little time on France v Spain.
They had a little friendly during the International Break® where FIFA was experimenting with Video Replay. Anyone in the world who is not a fan of Jon Moss, Anthony Taylor, and Lee Probert ((which would be just about everyone in the world)) has been screaming for video replay in the Premier League since at least the days of Nobby Stiles.
A goal by Antoine Griezmann was chalked off when the video assistant correct spotted an offsides that the refs on the filed missed. And Spain second goal by David Silva was rules good when Silva was originally flagged for offside.
If France’s coach Didier Deschamps had no problem with Video Replay, the I don’t see why anyone in the Premier League would, expect perhaps for that perpetual whiner Joe Morino (sic).
There. Despite declarations to the contrary, most wastes of time are almost never inappropriate. And, as always, I could jog on for yet another 2100 words spewing out more random information and other cultural curiosities. I could go on and on just like some facking Henry James novel or something. I’m quite sure I’m missing a tick as the Premier League, the Bundesliga and the Championship get fired back up after the International Break®. Hoffenheim and Hertha Berlin just teed off 4 minutes ago, and in another 10 minutes, Derby County and Queens Park Rangers will have at it at Pride Park down in the Championship. And tomorrow at 9AM Crystal Palace trots up to West London to get their spanking from Chelsea at The Bridge.
So you can imagine how much MORE time wasting and random information I could indulge in here.
Instead, I’m going to down tools and stroll over to the fridge for a cold beer.
And if you don’t know what day tomorrow is, then I’d suggest you better make sure your shoes are tied, especially if you’re wearing sandals.