Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

Mesut Özil, His Critics, and Smart Sports Writing

30 August 2014
My favorite footballer Mesut Özil. Image from Wikipedia

My favorite footballer Mesut Özil. Image from Wikipedia

Long time readers of this blog may recall that I enjoy watching soccer, and, in particular, I am a big fan of a Turkish-German international soccer superstar named Mesut Özil. Özil had a standout tournament at the 2010 World Cup. He then played for Real Madrid, before transferring to Arsenal last season. This Summer he was a starter for the 2014 World Cup winner Germany soccer team.

Truth be told, he hasn’t had a great great year. He was on a new somewhat-less-all-star team in a different league, was injured and out a month or so just after the start of 2014. Arsenal paid a lot to sign him, so some Arsenal fans are disappointed he hasn’t scored dozens of goals yet.

I really enjoyed this article at the Guardian this week. The title is Will the real Mesut Özil please stand up? Very possibly at Arsenal this season. it was written by Barney Ronay. U.S. sports writing (not that I would really know) just doesn’t use big words like tessellate. Here’s a selection:

Certainly at times last season Özil resembled not so much a high-end creative midfielder as some beautifully frail alien prince being ferried around from pitch to pitch by 10 dedicated human helpers yoked into fawning submission by his regal Martian glaze. In many ways his signing still looks like an act of mild debauchery for this lopsided Arsenal team, with its amusingly insistent excess of attacking midfield talent.

There is an argument that Özil simply isn’t the right player to build a team around, that he is only ever going to be a high-end component part, a needy little genius whose moments of fine-point inspiration arrive as a kind of repartee with those already at his level. Runs must be made, spaces found, angles devised, into which Özil’s own brilliantly gymnastic range of movement and passing will elegantly tessellate. Some might even say Özil has simply been lucky, that he is a kind of placebo footballer whose presence provides a garnish on trophies that would have arrived in any case, like the world’s greatest triangle player waiting in the wings to apply the perfect final tinkle with a single flex of a princely hand.



Jeremy Lin – What a Story!

14 February 2012

Jeremy Lin

So… I have to, up front, confess that I don’t really follow basketball. For most of my life, my refrain has been that I’d rather play sports than watch them.

In high school and college, I swam and played water polo… and, of course, I ride a bicycle all the time. A bit of a knee injury almost two years ago now has made just a bit less active. I still play some ultimate frisbee, but I’ve been becoming more of a spectator, following soccer a bit (a bit more than I’d like to admit.)

About a week ago, I started seeing some facebook stories about Jeremy Lin. As the week went on more and more folks were posting about him. It was coming from all quarters – folks I went to high school with, my brother-in-law, African-american friends, political friends, Asian friends, and others. I gave in to the hype and decided to watch some videos on youtube… and I am really impressed.   (more…)

Thoughts on the end of 2010 World Cup Soccer

12 July 2010

Watching Korea lose to Uruguay – on Wilshire at Serrano. I was among 10,000 fans, mostly outside this picture to the right. The screen you see was the secondary public screen. I stayed across the street from the largest part of the crowd so I could easily sit and rest my knee.

I confess that I have been really enjoying spending way more time than I should watching World Cup futbol – aka soccer.

I don’t actually watch sports all that much. I don’t have a TV in my home. I generally don’t follow the big U.S. sports, other than very occasionally watching them when I am out or with friends.

I like to think that I play sports more than I watch them – I play pick-up Ultimate Frisbee nearly every Sunday. Or at least did so for the last five years, but haven’t for two months, since a knee injury in May; I’ve been icing and resting and my knee is nearly entirely recovered. I swim and I bike.

And, certainly lately, I do watch soccer. (more…)