Best of the Best: Sports

Monday, 31 March, 2008

Here are the Top Ten events in sports:

1. The World Cup:

– What’s better? Nothing. It’s the “Beautiful Game” for goodness sake. More people watch the draw for The World Cup than almost anything else. Imagine how many people watch the actual games. The greats of football, or soccer depending on where you are, bring out their best in this event, and truly make this a really enjoyable competition. It’s definitely the most spectacular event of any kind in the world.

2. The Stanley Cup Playoffs:

– The Stanley Cup Playoffs is the most intense and dramatic thing in sports. The play is usually awesome, and the refs don’t call ticky-tack fake penalties. That makes it better, and all the more worth watching. Especially when watching one of the greats, the Stanley Cup is a grueling contest of grit, skill, and drama. It’s the hardest thing in sports to win.

3. NCAA Basketball Tournament:

– Almost nothing beats “March Madness.” The players on the teams in the tournament seem to actually have something to play for besides the name on the back of their jerseys. The pride, passion, and drama of every game, and not to mention the upsets, makes tuning in during school worth it. So what if I miss my final exam, right? Hahaha.

4. The Masters:

– It’s “a tradition unlike any other,” don’t you know. This is the classic golf tournament on a great course designed by the classic of all golfers, Bobby Jones. Augusta National (as well as St. Andrews, of course) is the Wrigley Field, and Yankee Stadium of golf. This is one of only a handful of things I’ll get out of doing anything to watch. “No, I CAN’T go to Italy. The Masters is on.”

5. The World Series:

– Baseball’s a grand spectacle when it gets to the World Series, especially when a real baseball city like St. Louis, Chicago (best sports city in America, period), or Boston is represented. Some of the most famous moments in sports happen on the diamond in the World Series. Don Larsen’s perfect game, the “Shot Heard ’Round the World,” plus many others.

6. The Super Bowl:

– You used to get more bang for your buck with the Super Bowl. One watched for both the game and the commercials. At least they still have a game.

7. Wimbledon:

– Wimbledon is the best tennis tournament of the year because you get to see tennis more like the way it’s meant to be played. You get a combination of the baseline play along with net play. Some of the greatest athletes ever haven taken the greatest stage in tennis.

8. The Tour de France:

– Wait. You don’t even know what sport The Tour is? Tisk tisk! You’re missing out. Not only do you see great cycling, you see the fantastic French countryside. The Tour is the hardest thing in sports to win besides the Stanley Cup. Did I mention it’s cycling?

9. Summer and Winter Olympics:

– The Olympics aren’t half what they used to be, but still make the list due to the greatness of the athletes who aren’t on anything.

10. BCS National Championship:

– College football’s title game barely makes the list.

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My New Ten Favorite Music Groups

Monday, 24 March, 2008

I don’t know what I was thinking last time, but this is an accurate list.

1.    R.E.M.
2.    The Who
3.    The Stone Roses
4.    The Clash
5.    Coldplay
6.    Editors
7.    U2
8.    Kasabian
9.    Genesis
10.  Queen

How the heck do I forget The Who and The Clash?! They’re two of my all-time favorites, and somehow, I forget to include them. I must’ve had a brain lapse or something.

Thanks to the Champions League draw occurring in Europe, I’m able to find out the draw at 8 AM this morning. Four English sides, one Spanish side, one German side, one Turkish side, and one Italian side awaited their fate. There were a few potential interesting matchups we could see from this draw.

Here is the draw for the Quarterfinals and Semifinals:

– Quarterfinals:

– Arsenal v. Liverpool:

* This is the all-England tie in the Final 8. These two teams had the most difficult challenges in the previous round. Arsenal had to defeat the defending champions, AC Milan. Liverpool had to go against Inter Milan, a tough task. Both Arsenal and Liverpool have proved they’re worthy of winning this competition with their performances to date. Both have been stellar, and this could be the best matchup of this round.

– Roma v. MANCHESTER UNITED:

* This is a rematch from last year. Roma were embarrassed in the second leg, when Man. U. put up a 7 spot on them. Roma would love to get revenge. Manchester United look so solid, revenge is going to be very hard for Roma. Christiano Ronaldo, the best player in the world, has played like the best player in the world by carrying Man. U. to this point. These two sides have different styles. Roma plays the Italian defense-first style, while Man. U. likes a little bit more offensive approach. I’m looking forward to the two games with these two teams.

– Schalke v. Barcelona:

* Schalke is a sleeper team who have played great in Europe, and have also done well in the German Bundesliga as of late. If any kind of surprising result were to come about in the Final 8, this is where I’m looking. Barcelona’s Messi, the dynamic playmaker, is questionable for this round’s games. That’s gonna be a huge loss if Barca were to not have him. Keep a close eye on this tie.

– Fenerbahce v. Chelsea:

* If Chelsea lose this tie, they should kick themselves. Fenerbahce is a good club, but Chelsea is one of the premier clubs, with the stars to win this competition several times. Plus, they’re on very good form. Their potential matchup with Liverpool in the next round should give them a little motivation to seek revenge from their loss to the Reds last year.

– Semifinals:

– Arsenal/Liverpool v. Fenerbahce/Chelsea

– Roma/MANCHESTER UNITED v. Schalke/Barcelona

+ I’ll have comment on the semifinal matchups after the Final 8 round is over. This should be a couple of great weeks.

The Champions League Final Eight is set:

– MANCHESTER UNITED (Eng.)
– Fenerbahce (Tur.)
– Shalke (Ger.)
– Roma (Ita.)
– Liverpool (Eng.)
– Chelsea (Eng.)
– Barcelona (Sp.)
– Arsenal (Eng.)

Here are the matchups that we would all like to see when the draw for this round comes out:

– Arsenal v. Barcelona:

* Who wouldn’t want to see two of the brightest young stars, Francesc Fabregas and Lionel Messi, go against each other, provided Messi is healthy? It’s still a matchup of two similar sides. Both teams are on a tear in European competition, as Arsenal dispatched AC Milan, the champions of this competition last year.

– Shalke v. Fenerbahce:

* One of these teams has to survive the English invasion in the Final Eight. These are two teams you don’t hear a lot about, and have been very good to get this far. Both faced tough tests in the last round to get here.

– MANCHESTER UNITED v. Roma:

* I think this matchup will be better this time around. Roma got destroyed 7-1 in the second leg of this encounter last year. Roma have gotten more from their supporting cast around Francesco Totti, the best Italian player in the world. Vucinic has been the best of those supporting players, producing most every game. It would be interesting to watch.

– Liverpool v. Chelsea:

* This would be the second rematch from last year. The two teams went to penalty kicks in the second leg to decide it. There is an intensity to this matchup that brings out the best in both teams when they’re up against each other.
These teams just rolled through the last round. Let’s hope these two meet, since both have played very well, so we can see two great games between these teams.

My Ten Favorite Music Groups

Tuesday, 11 March, 2008

1.    R.E.M.
2.    The Stone Roses
3.    Coldplay
4.    Kasabian
5.    Editors
6.    U2
7.    Arctic Monkeys
8.    Genesis
9.    Keane
10.  311

I don’t see the Democratic presidential nomination being decided before the Democratic Convention in Denver. The Democrats who are voting in the primaries and caucuses seem to be split enough as to not allow either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama to get the required number of delegates to win the nomination. I don’t see either of them dropping out before that happens.

Clinton and Obama are both determined to get the nomination to run for president against John McCain. While McCain is sitting pretty in how he can divert his attention to attracting Independents to his side, and appeasing his conservative base without dealing with more primaries, the two Dems keep on fighting like Ali and Foreman, not holding back a lot on the criticisms of the other’s positions and ideas. It’s been “shame on you,” “no, shame on you” for the last two weeks. The GOP is loving that because they don’t have to worry about that kind of conflict within their party’s candidates anymore.

I don’t see how either nominee is going to get the magic number of delegates. Clinton has gotten a bit of momentum after Obama had been steamrolling through primaries with ease. Many states have almost evenly divided their delegates between the two candidates. The Dems need to focus on this issue because many people would surely only vote for one of them in the November election. The one thing the Democrats can count on is that their primaries and caucuses have had extraordinary turnout, much more than for the Republicans. Their message of change will also carry them after their infighting is called off.

Will the Sabres Make the Playoffs?

Friday, 7 March, 2008

I hope my Sabres can pull off some wins here and sneak into the playoffs. They are in a precarious position right now. It’s tough when you go from number one last year to possibly not making the playoffs this year. They’ve been scoring lately, they just haven’t been winning enough.

The Sabres are in 9th place, one point ahead of Washington, and three points behind Philadelphia. Philadelphia has done well as of late, beating Tampa Bay last night. Jeff Carter and Daniel Briere have carried the team after that terrible cold streak. Washington’s trade deadline aquisitions have contributed, and Ovechkin is showing why he’s the man. The Sabres need to catch one team, and hold the other one off at the moment.

What the Sabres need to do is get better everywhere. Control the puck more, play better defense, and get more scoring from everyone besides Roy, Pominville, and Vanek all the time. They’ve started to get some scoring depth, but it can still be more.

There’s still a relatively good chance the Sabres can get in the playoffs. As long as Philadelphia doesn’t go bonkers and win twelve of their last fourteen or something, we can make a run to get the 8th spot. Play better, win more, and we can do it.