Tag Archives: sports

Adidas goes all out with neon.

My running shoes are nearing the end of their useful life and so last week I wandered into an Adidas store to browse the selection. To my dismay,  athletic shoes, at least those made by Adidas,  have undergone a drastic style makeover from just a year ago. Whereas previously, the tacky neon styles were reserved mostly for kids and a few pseudo-artsy types, now almost every athletic shoe had neon stripes. Some styles had neon stripes and shoelaces. Some, just the shoelaces. For many, the entire shoe was spray-painted neon.

For adults like me who have no need or desire to dress like a child or appear cool, we are simply SOL. Adidas no longer cares to make shoes for grown-ups. It wants to dress everyone like a child. To try to  examine this phenomenon from an isolated viewpoint would be an exercise in frustration. It doesn’t make any sense. Why would Adidas try to alienate a large segment of their consumer base? Yet if we step back and look at their broader cultural trends of the last ten to twenty years, this marketing decision makes all the sense in the world.

The vast program of social engineering being orchestrated by the CIA, Tavistock Institute, Hollywood, and of course advertising agencies, has been trying to infantilize the population, especially adult males. It’s sad to say, but the average adult male today has the  emotional and intellectual maturity of 13-year-old. And that’s exactly the way they want it. Dressed in children’s clothing, playing video games all day and speaking with a pre-teen’s vocabulary, adults are now ‘adult’ in name only. They may have the physical bodies of 30-. 40-, 50-, or 60- year olds, but they are content to exist in the inner (and outer) world of a teenager.

It’s beyond me how any self-respecting adult could walk around in these fluorescent shoes. Do they want to dress exactly like their children? The old saying “Who wears the pants in the house?” had a meaning behind it. The adult male figure in the household wore pants while the children wore shorter trousers and this was symbolic. Now of course those symbolic markers have been obliterated. Neon shoes are only one example of this trend and we could add dozens more. Professional sports team jerseys, bling, ill-fitting pants, and just about anything related to hip-hop fashion fall into this category.

In the meantime, I will continue my search for shoes that don’t glow in the dark and look like they were fished out of a nuclear waste dump.

 

Five more disgusting facts about Fifa

The more I learn about FIFA and the world cup, the more sickened I feel about the whole charade. Almost every day I learn something new about this repulsive organization. For example,

1) FIFA is registered as a non-profit. Huh? A non-profit with a billion bucks in its bank account. Not bad.

http://sports.yahoo.com/news/brazil-s-thrilling-opening-match-win-takes-backseat-to-politics–fifa-s-steadfast-corruption-235458789-soccer.html

2) World cup stadiums were built on Indian land.

http://www.zengardner.com/ghosts-world-cup/

 

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3) FIFA strong-armed the Brazilian government to lift its ban on alcohol sales in football stadiums to please its corporate sponsor Budweiser. Money trumps public health and public safety. Need we say this again? Governments don’t rule the world, corporations do.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-18348012

4) The 2022 world cup will be held in Qatar, where it is not uncommon for the mercury to reach 125 degrees . Now, that’s some pleasant weather for a football match! But the weather is the least of the problems when talking about Qatar.  Workers building the infrastructure for the tournament are wantonly abused and are dying regularly, and most are kept in the country as virtual slaves. Already, 1,000 migrant workers have died. 

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5) Most of the stadiums built in Brazil for the world cup will be ‘white elephants’ after the tournament has ended. They will be used sparingly, if at all, in the future and will simply rot away.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jun/10/world-cup-protesters-fifa-demand-reform

And can someone please tell me why the world cup requires twelve cities in which to host the games? I mean, even the olympics, which I thought was the world’s largest international sporting event, only requires one city. Call me crazy, but I have an idea. Can’t we just do the whole thing in one city?  Most major cities in the USA, for example, have a major league stadium, plus a handful of smaller stadiums at local universities. With proper staggering of the game times, this could easily be done. The host cities in Brazil are so far apart that hours long plane trips are required to get from one to the other. This is absurd!

John Oliver tells it like it is:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlJEt2KU33I

Protestors, not fans, greet the Brazilian national team in Rio

World Cup Count Down Photo GalleryThe people of Brazil are doing what the people of England (2012), South Africa (2010,) China (2008), Greece (2004), and Australia (2000) should have done when their countries held mega sports events.  Protest!  Good for the Brazilians!

The latest news coming from Brazil: protestors of world cup spending  have met the Brazilian national team not with adulation and worship, but with anger. The team couldn’t even make it from the airport to their training facility in Rio without encountering a rowdy group of protestors who plastered the bus with anti-world cup stickers. When the team left the hotel in Rio, they again had to run a gauntlet of protests.

_75113003_75112998I imagine that the government of Dilma Rousseff is praying that once the tournament actually begins, the Brazilian people will gather ’round the television with family and friends and concentrate their energies on rooting for the home squad instead of plotting mayhem and mischief. And indeed that may happen. Football is a religion in Brazil and the fact that these protests are occurring in what is maybe the most football-mad country in the world shows us how deep the discontent goes.

This is a very important story to follow. The protests in Brazil over the world cup and olympics, resulting from extravagant spending, corruption,  hubris and incompetence, will shine a bright spotlight on these wasteful and meaningless mega sporting events, which serve only to line the pockets of a few stars and advertisers while predictably distracting the population from the systemic problems facing their economies.

http://sports.yahoo.com/news/protests-brazil-stars-arrive-world-cup-camp-211414433–sow.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2639318/PICTURED-Brazil-countdown-World-Cup-start.html

More drama as Brazil prepares for the World Cup

The news coming out of Brazil regarding preparations for the world cup and the olympics isn’t good. As I discussed in a previous post. hosting the olympics and other mega sports events typically does not turn out well for the host city and country. In fact, the results are often crippling financial losses and a host of other issues.

The Brazilian police and military have moved into the favelas around Rio de Janeiro in yet another effort to ‘pacify’ them, this time to try to secure the city before the start of the world cup in June. I bet that’s a reassuring picture to send the world and especially the thousands of tourists and spectators who will soon be pouring into the city. Imagine if you have a hotel room booked near Copacabana in June, and you read that  the military is in bloody confrontations in Rio, using armored personnel carriers among other tools. Feeling safe?

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The PR nightmare that the Brazilian government is suffering, and which is sure to become much worse in the months ahead, is happening alongside huge logistical problems in the preparations for the cup and the olympics. The situation has become so critical that recently the IOC sent down a special task force to help get things moving. It is appearing less and less likely that the country will have everything built, manned, and functional in time.

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Reading these stories which are coming out almost weekly now fills me with dread and a sense of anguish for Brazilians. I have visited that lovely country twice and to watch this unfolding predictable drama and know which way it’s headed is sobering. The Brazilian people will absorb all of the costs and very little, if any, of the benefits of these spectacles. All of the sophisticated police state apparatus being constructed will stay in place after the olympics end. Any talk of the new surveillance systems being ‘temporary’ is pure rubbish.

When the final bill is tallied up in a couple more years, the government ministers will tell the people, with long, sorrowful faces, that “We made a mistake. But we must not dwell on past mistakes. Let us move forward. But in order to do so, we must pay back the loans to the banks and be responsible. So, we regret to inform you that taxes are being raised, pensions are being frozen and bank accounts are being raided.”

Remember, Brazil is no longer a small player on the world stage. She has an enormous economy (7th largest by GDP) and is a founding member of the BRICS organization. A serious crisis in Brazil will have global implications.

 

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-04-11/sports/chi-ioc-belatedly-coming-to-grips-with-rio-olympics-mess-20140411_1_rio-olympics-international-olympic-committee-summer-games

http://edition.cnn.com/2014/04/29/sport/brazil-rio-olympics/index.html?iref=allsearch

http://edition.cnn.com/2014/04/24/sport/football/brazil-world-cup-favela-slums/

The decline and fall of the NFL. An analysis

It was reported last week that thousands of tickets for the playoff games were unsold, particularly in the cold weather cities. Nobody should have been surprised by this news. The National Football League, a multi-billion dollar business with a long and storied history, is in terminal decline. The reasons  are varied.

Empty stadium and second half has not even begun.

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What follows is not an in-depth analysis, business or otherwise,  of the  why the NFL has failed so miserably, but merely one former fan’s analysis of what’s wrong with this league.

The game itself has some inherent flaws which could theoretically  be fixed by a radical re-working of the rules, but given how deeply conservative and inflexible the NFL’s ruling elite is, this is highly unlikely, to say the least.

Let’s start with what is known as ‘the kicking game.’  The extra point is the most irrelevant, uninteresting, and dumb play in all of sports. By comparison, basketball’s free throw appears exciting. Why has this play survived so many decades of football? It is successful 99.99%  of the time, so the suspense is negligible. If the offense scores a touchdown, give them the 6 points and then kick to the  other team. The extra point only serves to slow down the game.

The field goal has assumed far too much significance  in today’s game. With the talented kickers we now have  who can routinely and reliably kick 50 and even 60 -yard field goals, games today are often decided by these so-called players, most of whom are imported from Europe and Latin America and who look ridiculous in their football garb. When they must attempt a tackle , they often get their teeth knocked out. If a team can march its offense to the opposing team’s 40 yard line only, and then trot out their field goal kicker, it is non-sensical  that they can earn half the points that a touchdown is worth. For those who are adamant about keeping the field goal, make it worth 2 points only, or 1/3 the amount of a touchdown.

The punt is football’s synonym for cowardice. Most Americans are not aware of the high school coach who NEVER punted. His teams won state championships. You can read his story online, or watch a great documentary about him, and the absurdity of punting in general, on youtube.  Football gives you four downs in which to gain 10 yards. If you get 9 and half of those yards on the first three downs, why would you VOLUNTARILY give the ball to the opposing team instead of going for the half yard? You will not find a bigger group of cowards than NFL head coaches.

However, don’t blame the coaches. Blame the fans and the announcers. Notice how on the rare occasions when coaches do ‘go for it’ on 4th down,  everyone goes crazy and says what a ‘gambler’ he is. Then, if the attempt fails, the coach is lambasted mercilessly by the media and fans for being ‘reckless.’  Instead of applauding him, which we should do, we tell him to stick with being conservative and boring.

Yes, the game is boring.

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Besides, the punt rarely gives the punting team any benefit at all. You simply move the ball, at best, 40 yards down the field and then give it to Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers who say ‘thank you very much’ and take the ball down the field and score on you. They  care not whether you give them the ball on the 20 yard line or the 50 yard line. And if the punter flubs it, you might only move it 10 or 20 yards. Or the opposing team can run it back for a touchdown. Any way you slice it, punting the ball is a bad proposition.

Football is a violent game and that is a large part of its appeal. Humans have evolved little, if any, from the days of the Roman gladiators and we like to see over-sized brutes crashing into each other and shattering bones. The business owners of the NFL recognize this, but they have a problem: injuries. Until we have perfected bionic humans, injuries will remains an unwanted and unavoidable part of the game. The class action lawsuit  brought by former players against the league for undiagnosed concussions sent a   palpable tremor of fear thru management. Hence, the new ‘concussion protocol’ that you are hearing so much about these days is a direct result of this.

But why are there so many concussions? The answer to that is simple: the helmet. Players have always used the modern helmet as a weapon, a battering ram to be used as a blunt force instrument of destruction. From Jack Tatum on defense to Earl Campbell on offense, the helmet was recognized by players as a piece of equipment to be used for violence, not protection. The league’s talking heads have always maintained that the helmet is a piece of ‘protective’ equipment. This is pure nonsense. The helmet does not protect anything. To repeat: it has always been and is now an offensive weapon. But the league will do nothing to change it because the helmet is where the team’s logo is most prominently marketed.

The other injuries associated with football  include torn ACLs, MCLs  and PCLs, broken tibias, broken fibulas, broken femurs, broken ribs, bruised ribs, torn achilles tendons, fractured fingers, fractured wrists, fractured collarbones, turf toe, broken backs, bruised backs, fractured jaws, busted teeth, broken hips, broken noses , broken radius bones , broken ulnas and so on.

When I was growing up, most NFL stadiums were not that much different than high school and college stadiums. They were just a bit larger. I feel lucky that I was able to view NFL games in the last great old school NFL stadium: RFK in Washington DC. Dirty, run-down, rickety, loud, boisterous, and fun, RFK was everything a good stadium should be. Contrast that with today’s antiseptic, hyper-modern, ballyhooed, billion dollar monstrosities which are usually paid for by the gullible and deceived public, who are suckered into paying most of the cost for the greedy owners. To add insult to injury, after paying for these stadiums thru ‘bonds’ and increased taxes, fans then have to pay higher ticket prices, not to mention higher parking and higher concession prices as well. I have never been to a game in one of these newfangled stadiums, and I never plan to.  What is up with fans these days, anyway? Why do they put up with this? Owners have installed these absolutely gigantic screens in all the stadiums, so that fans can watch the giant screen  DURING the game. The players actually watch themselves on the  screens while they are playing. Unbelievable. If you want to watch the game on television , stay home. But I guess I’m just old-fashioned.

As an English teacher, I take great offense at the way in which football  announcers, who are now all ex-jocks, butcher the English language. They are contributing directly and overtly to the dumbing down of the populace. Indeed, this is not only allowed, but also  encouraged. Conditionals and past perfect are  strictly forbidden. The announcers’ booth and studio have  room for the simple present tense only. Anything else is just too bothersome for these jocks, apparently. Don’t believe this? Listen closely to the announcers the next time you watch an NFL game. Notice how they will never say, “If he had made that field goal, the  team would have won the game.” No, no , no. That’s far too many words, you see. What the announcer will say is, “If he makes the field goal, the team wins.” He will say this even if he is talking about a game from 20 years ago. Welcome to the idiocracy.

How advertisers have managed to worm their way into every conceivable nook and cranny of the telecast is a thing to behold. “After the GMC timeout, the FedEX player of the game will review the Microsoft play of the game with our sideline reporter. Afterwards, we will discuss the UPS replay of the McDonald’s punt…” How the reporters can say all this stuff with a straight face is beyond me.  Actually I know it’s written into their contracts. If they merely refer to  ‘the stadium’ , they will be severely reprimanded. They must always say the complete name of the corporate bought stadium, i.e. ‘FedEx Field.’  Who’s your momma?

Is the NFL fixed? Some people believe so. It can’t be proven, but where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and there is plenty of smoke around. The easiest way to fix a game is to bribe or threaten the referees and every fan knows how capricious referee calls are in the NFL. Take offensive holding, for example. Honest referees have admitted that they could call this penalty on every play of the game. All lineman do it. But they only call it occasionally. Which means that choosing when to call it is purely at their own discretion and can immensely affect the outcome of a game.

I don’t see any way the NFL can be fixed in its present form. I think it will continue to limp along and enough diehard fans will continue to support it thru ticket and paraphernalia sales to keep it going for at least another decade. Personally, I wouldn’t give a penny of my hard-earned money to an NFL owner. They don’t deserve it. They have done nothing to enhance the game and have done everything to degrade it.

Down and out for the count

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