Posts tagged: Sports

Just a Perfect Day

By , August 3, 2004

Currently Playing: Lou Reed – Perfect Day

Sunny day + Long Walk + Canopy of trees overhead = visible beams of sunshine

Neapolitan slice at Arinell’s Pizza

Working the N.Y. Times Crossword while eating (sipping?) an affogato at Gelateria Naia.

Paying the extra $1.50 for the cash-strapped couple in front of you in line at Gelateria.

Comic store!

Browsing the used record bins at Amoeba Records.

Playing the saxophone over the din of the Port of Oakland

Pickup game of basketball at the Berkeley RSF.

Dinner and a movie with Fizzy.

Today’s Question: So, like what’s YOUR perfect day?

Interesting tidbit– I met a fellow who was contemplating opening a gelato shop on Fourth St. in Berkeley. He told me the tale of why Mondo Gelato is now called Gelateria Naia. So Mondo Gelato had three shops– Beijing, Vancouver, and Berkeley. The management of the Berkeley store, in true Berkeley fashion, staged a coup and broke free from the parent company. They basically took over the store, closed it, and re-opened under the new name. They had to vary the recipe for each gelato, but otherwise kept things the same. And now it is Gelateria Naia. That is neat and disturbing, all at once.

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Basketball and Poetry

By , March 18, 2004

Don’t ask me how, but I correctly identified the winners of the first 14 games in the big basketball tournament. Naturally, Arizona and Dayton had to go and blow my perfect streak, but I’ll take 14 out of 16 anytime, especially when you consider how I chose my winners. Such a streak can’t last, and tomorrow I most certainly will be bludgeoned.

In news diametrically opposite basketball matches, I have been asked to give a lecture concerning rap music and its relationship with poetry at an upcoming poetry conference in Sonoma County. I’m the clear black sheep of the panel, which includes the likes of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Carolyn Kizer, but I’ll give it the old college try. At the very least, I’ll be the only one comparing and contrasting the rhymes of Percy Bysshe Shelley with those from Doug E. Fresh and his Get Fresh Crew. Word.

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March Madness

By , March 17, 2004

I have an entry in the ESPN Tournament Challenge. Each and every one of you should go there, create a free account, and fill out a bracket. There is no fee to enter, but the winner gets $10,000.00. Seems like a good deal to me. Of course, if you are like me you don’t actually follow the sport, and will be selecting winners based on such factors as the university’s educational reputation (I choose the “smarter” schools to lose based on my assumption that dumb people make for better athletes), the relative cuteness of the school’s mascot, or the color scheme of the uniforms.

By my reckoning Kentucky and Stanford are out early, Xavier, Manhattan, Pacific, Nevada, and Duke will win games. So will St. Joseph’s because, well, gosh– they have god on their side!

Oh, also– once you fill out your bracket, search the groups for the word Peasprout. I think I am the only group with that word in the title, but just in case, join the group called “Peasprout’s Pals.”

Hurry, by the start of the tournament on Thursday morning, the contest is locked. If we want a chance at that ten grand we need to act quickly.

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10 Random Facts About Me

By , February 23, 2004

1. I wear a size 13 shoe, which puts me on the cusp of available sizes. Some shoe-makers stop at 12, some stop at 13, so finding shoes is a crap shoot for me.

2. I never lock my car, and only roll the windows up if I think it will rain.

3. People who attempt to guess my ethnic mix are often perplexed. Am I white? Am I… something else? Turns out I’m 50% Sicilian, 25% Mexican, 12.5% Cheyenne Indian, and 12.5% Swedish. Now you know.

4. I think Coke is lots better then Pepsi. So is RC. Pepsi is too sweet.

5. I’ve never lost a game of one-on-one basketball

6. As a kid, I taught myself sleight of hand involving cards; prestidigitation, as it were. To this day I can still do some pretty neat card tricks, but I know that’s kind of dorky, so I tend to keep it to myself.

7. I collect vintage board games.

8. I consider myself responsible for Taco Bell returning the Enchirito™ to their menu.

9. My favorite animal is the monkey.

10. My favorite director is Preston Sturges. I’ve watched all his movies many times each, and can practically recite them as I watch, and yet I never tire of them.

Today’s Question: What 10 things do I want to know about you?

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The Hated Rival

By , November 21, 2003

This Saturday, the annual “Big Game” between my alma mater, California (a.k.a. U.C. Berkeley), and Stanfurd takes place. For more than 100 years the two schools have been fierce rivals, and besting one another on the football pitch has been the prime indicator of whether the season was a success or a flop. News of this pending football match set my mind to thinking about all the fun a rivalry provides.

Now, at first glance, perhaps that concept seems silly. After all, who wants someone competing for the same resources as you? Wouldn’t a rival-free existence be preferable? I pondered this, and came to the conclusion that while life may be easier when you have access to everything you want, and needn’t fight for it, easier doesn’t always equate to better.

Currently Playing: Joe Starkey – The 1982 Big Game Finale

The sound you hear right now (if you’ve clicked the link, your speakers are turned on, and you aren’t on some archaic dial-up connection) is the voice of Joe Starkey at his insane best, calling “The Play” that finished the 1982 Big Game. It picks up with John Elway orchestrating a last-minute drive to give Stanford what looks to be a sure victory, after which point mayhem ensues. I guarantee you will not regret taking a moment out of your day to listen to this soundbite.

Such a thrilling finish to a sporting event can excite nearly anyone, but a casual bystander probably won’t experience the same level of unbridled euphoria at hearing “The Play” as will a Cal student, alum, or diehard fan. The rivalry even allows the moment to transcend the medium– I’m by no means an enthusiastic sports fan, but I get chills listening to this clip, predicated almost entirely by my scholastic connection to the victorious team, and disdain for the defeated rival. Therein lies the magic. A rivalry gives one the chance to experience the great high of overcoming obstacles and achieving a victory over a despised foe. And conversely, unless you’re a ‘furd, you can’t feel the true level of despair and heartache that the loss brought with it. (Happily, they can, and I hope a few ‘furds are reading now, just so you can relive that moment of exquisite pain when that god-awful band of yours cost you The Axe.)

As an aside, besides the obvious best moment when Joe Starkey yells “oh, the band is out on the field!” my favorite part of the attached audio clip is the roar of the Memorial Stadium crowd a split-second before Starkey loses it for a second time. He didn’t even need to say “the Bears have won,” for the reaction of the Berkeley crowd said all.

I feel sorry for the students at Universities that don’t have an arch-rival. Even though it’s awful when your team loses a rivalry match, it’s all worth it on the days when they win. Moreover, there is unparalleled fun in preparing for an upcoming game, with hope alive in the air, and a palpable sense of anticipation amplifying every moment in the days leading up to the match, just as there is in reliving the glory of victories past.

The advantage of having a rival extends beyond the world of sports. In nearly every aspect of life it can be exciting and beneficial to have a one. The competitor pushes you to better yourself, lest you fall behind them. They become a benchmark, a standard to meet and exceed, and you become the same to your rival. The end result is two entities constantly striving to outperform one another, with both becoming better in the process.

Today’s Question: Do you have your own personal rival?

Go Bears!

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Manhattan (The Island This Time)

By , October 14, 2003

I’ll try to post a blog that provides greater details concerning our time in New York, but suffice to say that Sue and I are enjoying ourselves here. We’ve been walking all over the island of Manhattan, catching up with friends, and generally having fun. This morning we walked up the block from our hotel in search of a diner for lunch; lo and behold, what did we see? This:

Tom's Diner

Tom’s Restaurant was famously used for the exterior shots of the diner Seinfeld and his gang frequented, but it was previously famous as the diner Suzanne Vega sang about in the early ’90s hit “Tom’s Diner.” It became famous, twice! The food there is unremarkable, which is about par for the course for any diner, really.

Last night we walked about Times Square. This one-time hotbed for sin and debauchery has become pretty doggone wholesome. One can even watch a sporting event on the massive video screen. I daresay those are the Rams engaged in a heated match against, ummm, the Pirates? I don’t really know; one team was for sure called the Rams.

Times Square TV

I love the look of the Times Square Police Department’s sign.

Time's Square Police Station

That’s all I have for you at this time. I’ll return in a few days to share more pictures and stories of our trip to New York. In the meantime, help me fill in the blank above and choose an opponent for the Los Angeles, excuse me, St. Louis Rams. Today’s Question: What is your favorite football team?

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A Most Thrilling Victory

By , September 28, 2003

I’ve been informed that my alma mater, the Golden Bears of U.C. Berkeley, have trounced the Trojans of U.S.C. on the football pitch. As said Trojans were reportedly the nation’s third best football squad, and my Golden Bears considered a far inferior team, the victory was unexpected. Well done. Go team, go!

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Not a Sports Fan, Then?

By , May 18, 2003

People love their sports, seemingly more so now than ever. Lately, we have countless television and radio stations devoted entirely to the topic. Magazine stands have entire shelves populated by nothing but sporting magazines. Book shops have sports sections. I don’t remember this always being the case, though I can’t hazard a guess as to why there has been an explosion in the popularity of sports.

I possess only a vague awareness of the sporting world. I can name a handful of teams for which I ostensibly root, though primarily because my father once pulled for them. I know that football success on the part of Rams and Raiders was lauded. The Detroit teams, especially the Redwings and Tigers, were beloved, and the basketball teams of choice were the Lakers and Warriors. Of course, my interest extends no farther than checking the standings of the teams once or twice per month, and smiling if any of the above teams rules its respective league. And while I don’t have the patience to sit through an actual match, I’m happy to look up the score of a particularly important game after it has been played. I have tried, but I just can’t bring myself to care about sports, so it all washes over me like some sort of soapy liquid. But then something else rinses me off, because I don’t feel soapy.

Most of the teams listed above seem to be successful. I’ve come to the conclusion that those are the worst teams to support, for success at any level other than an outright championship is downright disappointing. The Raiders made it all the way to the title game, but lost. How maddening! Second best feels far worse than last place. You get your hopes up, only to have them dashed at the last moment. At least I know the Detroit Tigers aren’t going to let me down. They’ll again be among the worst teams in baseball this year, possibly THE worst. Nothing in sports beats consistent and predictable mediocrity, at least in my estimation.

Today’s Question: How fond of sports are you, and do you root for any teams in particular?

If you do root for a team, does it bother you at all that your team’s roster changes drastically from year to year? At some point, professional sports switched from being athletics to being business. Massive paychecks and free agency became the norm, and it gradually became impossible for a team to retain its players for more than a few years at a time. The negative result of this is that your favorite player on your favorite team will almost certainly be starring for another team next year. I wonder, if you compared the roster of a team today to its roster of five years ago, how many players would be on both lists? Very few, I imagine. It’s impossible to be fans of the players anymore, only the corporate entity that is the team. Which means at the end of the day, you’re cheering for a helmet, logo, or color scheme, and not any specific group of athletes. Count me out, thanks.

On a lighter note, another silly thing I found online:

What Kind of Dog are You?

Click that line of text to find out what kind you are. It turns urns out I’m…

…A Golden Retriever!

No bones about it, you’re a popular, fun-loving Golden Retriever. Adored by all and too cool for school, you’re extroverted and enthusiastic. Your magnetic personality makes you the life of any bash. Since you’re a true people-dog, you genuinely love all kinds of social gatherings. Going to parties, dinners, and other shindigs is the best way to add faces to your constantly growing circle of friends. But besides being on the social A-list, you’re a confident, well-rounded pup who’s definitely something to bark about. Pretty accomplished at anything you set your mind to, your sunny nature and winning ways make you one of everyone’s favorite dogs. Woof!

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