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The International Break Of The Century (So Far)

All Of Europe Awaits The Results Of Tonight’s Federated Auto Parts 400 from Richmond International Raceway


While I’m quite sure the lads from England were awestruck when their bus/limousine carried them through The Gates of Chisnau enroute to their 5-0 trompage of Moldova yesterday (as this is written), the real thought at the back of their minds, and the minds of the rest of Europe was surely focused on WHO will QUALIFY for The Chase for The Sprint Cup Championship tonight at Richmond. Who will rise from the muck and “pull a Jeremy Mayfield” but in a good way. Who will be dragged down into the vale of semi-mediocrity and tears (I’m looking at YOU, Jeff Gordon….will that be YOU??) for the remaining 10 races of the season? That is the turmoil that will fill the void of the International Break this season. That is the drama that will resonate long after Iceland’s shocking 2-1 upset of Norway, and Bulgaria’s 2-2 draw with Italy are long forgotten. WHO will make the The Chase?!! The Whole World holds it’s breath!!




Danica wrecked by rookie Brad Sweet on Lap 144 @ Richmond last night;  Jamaica 2   USA 1

I mean really now. This is beginning to get tiresome. Noisy. Obnoxious. As the Japanese would say: Urusei!!  ((And yes, I suppose, Yappari, as well)). I don’t even want to imagine what Danica was saying on her radio last night. In fact, I don’t have to imagine. I already know, and so do you. “Tosser!! Wanker!! Bleedin’ Gob!” Words to that effect. And that was just her comments on Team USA’s shocking loss to Jamaica. You DON’T want to know what she was saying about Brad Sweet.

As for Team USA, this is also getting Tiresome and Tedious. There are no focking excuses really. None. I don’t give a toss if Landon Donovan and Michael Bradley are out injured. The lads need to rise above all that if they expect MAKE, let alone have an IMPACT on, The World CUP 2014 in Brazil. Clint Dempsey got the show on the road with a goal at the 1 minute mark. But it was all downhill from there. The other 89 minutes were a bad joke…and unlike Danica’s Friday, Team USA brought it on themselves. Savannah State just might have scored on ’em. Jurgen Klinsmann has some work to do with this lot before the rematch in Columbus.



New York Ginats 17     Dallas Cowboys 24;   Liechtenstein 1     Bosnia-Herzegovina 8

The concept of an International Break is about as alien to the American sports fan as any concept you can imagine. Yes, more alien than the concept of a False 9. More alien than the concept of paid vacations. The only break the American sports fan grasps is the break between the end of the Super Bowl and the start of the NFL regular season. Everything else might just as well be written in the Cyrillic alphabet and spoken about in some whiny French dialect.

So while Europe revels and roils in the International Break, the NFL began it’s regular season last Wednesday night with a surprising defeat of the defending Super Bowl Champs by their arch-rivals the Dallas Cowboys ((America’s team in theory, but probably not in fact—that would be, for those of you keeping score , or able and willing to keep score, in Vaduz, Liechtenstein after the Zmajevi from Bosnia-Hezegovina paddled your arses clean 1-8, the Green Bay Packers, who start their season tomorrow against San Francisco at 3:15 CDT at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin)). Tony Romo looked very good. The Ginats defense not so much. The question remains though….which of those two teams will be there at the end. The jury is out on that. Romo looked good now and Manning didn’t, but it might be the other way around by season’s end.

Meanwhile, Tony Romo threw for three touchdowns, and Edin Džeko scored a hat-trick against Liechtenstein. I’m not quite sure what to make of that, do you?

Here’s a stupid haiku about it:

Tony Romo throws.
They both break the plane three times.
Edin Džeko scores.


Make of it what you will.



The Sadness Of Christiano Ronaldo

One of the biggest stories this past week was the reports out of the Bernabeu that Christiano Ronaldo was sad. He scored a brace in Real’s 3-0 win over Grenada, but he didn’t celebrate his goals. And while it’s very easy to laugh this off self-absorbed focktardery from a handsome and highly-paid footballer with a reputation for being a prima-donna, in light of the recent suicides of Junior Seau, Rick Rypien, and Gary Speed, it opens the door on a serious problem that needs to addressed. Depression is a serious problem among athletes, but it the nature of athletes that makes it difficult to address….being depressed or sad is viewed a not being macho or manly. So problems that should be addressed get shoved aside with ofttimes fatal results.

So as tempting as it is to make sport of Ronaldo, as I have and others have done over the years because, yes, he IS a preening and self-absorbed prima-donna, it might do us all good to pay more attention when superstars express these kind of feelings and show a sensitivity that breaches the notions of jock/athlete masculinity. Athletes are supposed to play hurt, shake off injury, rub a little dirt in it and get on with the game. For most knocks and dings in sport that concept works, but….there is a danger inherent in that sort of thinking that is becoming more ugly and evident everyday, both on the field of play, and off it, when the player has retired. The brain studies of my high-school classmate Dr. Anne Mc Kee have opened the floodgates of awareness about the physical side of the game, but the tougher task is dealing with the mental aspects of sport. Getting athletes to admit that they are having problems, and getting the public to accept the fact that athletes, especially high-paid and successful ones, can have and suffer from feelings of sadness and depression is a huge task.

Even if Ronaldo’s feeling of sadness seem childish and a bit silly, I think we need to pay closer heed to these sorts of things. As it seems right now, Ronaldo’s sadness stems from a dispute with teammates….an internal shift in friendships and a sense of appreciation….and his perceptions thereof. We can’t discount that even the manliest (and yes, sissiest) of athletes needs to feel a sense of acceptance, appreciation and love from his fellow teammates. Sure it might just be a simple insecurity or a false perception. But in the newly emerging light of brain research and the psychological research, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Maybe he just needs a hug, or maybe he just needs a bitch-slap, or maybe it’s an early warning sign of something far more serious that can be nipped the bud, but why deny Christiano Ronaldo what every other human needs, just because he’s one the best and wealthiest and sissiest football players in the world?



Matt Kenseth will pilot the EVA 20 in 2013

It’s official, after month(s) of speculation. Matt Kenseth is going to Joe Gibbs Racing and will pilot the #20 Home Depot Toyota starting 2012. JGR was always the odds-on favourite for the move, although some pundits such as myself speculated about him going to Richard Petty Motorsports. But the deal has been announced, and Matt will be the teamleader at JGR. Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin will have some adult supervision for a change. And while I’m not too keen on the colour orange and the #20, which btw is NOT a prime number, I will wear a #20 Home Depot Matt Kenseth hat next season. And I’m also not keen on Toyota, either. But, for the sake of rooting for a Wisconsin boy, I’m willing to look the other way.

No more Roushketeers for me. I’m gonna miss that. But at least we have one last hurrah this season as Matt and The Biff are in the Chase and contending for the Championship. Here’s to Matt winning it all and going out in a blaze of glory.



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