Hodgepodge of Potpurri
Wow, it's been awhile since my last writing sample! Life got a touch crazy with travel and whatnot.
Let me just go over a few things that have happened in the few weeks since I last posted.
That World Cup thing happened! I would like to say that this World Cup was absolutely, brilliantly entertaining. There are a few different things about the tournament that stood out: the improvement of U.S. Soccer; the dominance of Germany; and the beauty and drama of the games in general.
I was honestly very impressed with how well the U.S. team performed in Brazil. There were a couple of negative spots, like Michael Bradley forgetting what team he played for, the final play of the Portugal game, and the two goals given up to Belgium in added time that ended up taking the U.S. out of the tournament. That being said, there were the great moments too: Dempsey's goal in the first minute and Brooks's winner off of Zusi's perfect corner against Ghana; Jones's amazing shot from distance and the team's overall play against Portugal; and the team's near victory on Wondolowski's near finisher against Belgium to move on. Now, being knocked out in the round of sixteen isn't the best finish that *begin English accent* our nation's best footballers *end English accent* have ever secured. However, the quality of play from our team and the quality of the opponents that they faced indicates that our country has never been closer to becoming a dangerous soccer team on the world stage. Think about it: the team's first loss in the tournament was 1-0 to the eventual champion (who happened to destroy Brazil in their home country on the way). Not too shabby.
Speaking of Germany, weren't they awesome or what? Their passes were on point, their ideas creative, their plays were quick in being created and their players were even quicker in executing them. Their team was so much fun to watch: whether it was Mueller scoring from distance, Schweinsteiger connecting the dots in the midfield or Schuelle making deep runs to the goal, there was always some fantastic play that was about to be made. Such a treat to watch them. PS: I would be willing to bet my car that there will be a large amount of children named Mario born nine months from now in Germany.
Finally, how good was that tournament in general? So many great passes, goals, saves, tackles and runs. I am not usually a fan of soccer all that much, and I couldn't help myself; I was excited for every match and every play. I never thought that that would happen. It got to the point that I even forgot that baseball has been going on. Now, I love baseball; that shows how powerful the allure of the World Cup is. This time though, I'm actually interested in following the sport outside of that one special month. I actually found myself wanting to watch MLS games on TV, when I've never cared before. How awesome!
What else has happened in sports. Hmmm, oh yeah; that one basketball player went back to his old team! True enough, LeBron James is again a Cleveland Cavalier. When I first heard about it, I wanted to believe him when he wrote that he wanted to go back in order to build something in Cleveland and that he was there for the long haul. However, it seems as though his contract is only for 3 years and there have been reports that he's trying to force Cavs management to trade for Kevin Love. This seems to me that he's just as fickle as he's ever been and the length of the contract is a hedge of his bet in case that the Cavs aren't on an upward trajectory in a couple of years. If they aren't as close as he'd like at the end of those years, how much would you like to bet that he's gone again? And the crazy thing is, he's kind of an author of his own failure (at least in Cleveland). He wants to have control over player decisions like he did last time, when it worked SO well. The guy is not a great judge of talent, if the reports that he wants Love on his team are true. Love is a guy who has great stats but can't play a lick of defense and has never shown a shred of mental toughness on the NBA level. For all of his points and rebounds, you'd think that he'd have a greater impact on his team, but he doesn't seem to have any impact in the win-loss record. However, even more importantly, the only time that James has had championship-level success in the NBA was when he played for a team that knew what they were doing in crafting a roster and had the force of personality to put their machinations through over James's objections. So now he thinks that he knows better than fellow basketball lifers who have had more than twice his years of experience in talent evaluation? He's going to shoot himself in there foot.
Now for a more personal (and happy) note to end this post on. During my time in this AmeriCorps program, I have read for pleasure far more often than at any point since I was a very small child. Since March, I've read three novels ("A Dance With Dragons"...again, "The King of Torts", and "The Riddle of the Sands") and I'm nearly finished with "The Great American Detective" which is a compilation of detective short stories ranging in time period from the 1890s to the 1970s. Reading so much for pleasure has led to my mind feeling more active and thusly more lithe. Not only have I really enjoyed my time reading, but I feel more mentally engaged and healthy. Not to mention that the the books that I've been reading have been frickin' awesome (especially this last one; I'll be giving a more thorough review of it next entry).
That's all for now; I'm going to try to be more regular with my posts from here on out, which will force me to be creative and thus keep me mentally exercising. Giving your brain a workout once in a while never hurt anyone, after all!