Sunday, August 24, 2008


I'm heading back to school tomorrow and the last few weeks have been pretty hectic for me. So I want to apologize to my ten regular readers out there for being a slacker and not updating regularly. I had a great weekend celebrating my friends wedding, then was sick and wrote my last post with a clogged head and a fever, so I'm not sure it makes much sense, and then had another wedding.

But with college football starting soon, NFL starting soon, and the baseball playoff race starting to heat up I'll have lots to write about in the coming weeks. And by baseball playoff race I mean the Orioles Drive for 5. It would be a huge team victory to finish at .500. They haven't been doing that well over the last few games but they have been swinging their bats so we're bound to win a few more. While winning 24 out of the next 34 games seems tough it is possible. I still have hope. And regardless, they have far exceeded my expectations this season already. So I'm happy either way.

As far as college football goes, the ACC is not known for its great football. But it seems to keep getting better. There are even a few analysts who believe Maryland could be the dark horse of the ACC this year. I would love to see that happen. But I'm not ready to get my hopes up quite yet. I'll wait a few games to see what the Fridge has in store for me before I get all bright eyed and optimistic. Whatever happens, it'll be nice to see the ACC actually having some real contenders this year. Let's see what Clemson, Georgia Tech and the rest have this year.

As for the Ravens, I haven't been paying nearly enough attention. People keep getting married during their pre-season games. So I haven't been watching them. Right now I think Troy Smith should be the starter. From what I've read, Flacco is nowhere ready to start and we shouldn't rush him. Boller is Boller. He's not really going to do much for us but he could help us to not lose games. But Smith has shown a lot of potential and growth. And while he can be wildly inconsistent he deserves a chance. Plus Boller has a hurt shoulder, so I think we should wait on him. Smith showed tremendous poise in his few outings last year. And given the chance he can step up and move the ball down the field. He is our best option for starter.

I will be starting school again tomorrow, so I should be able to post more often as I try to avoid doing actual law work. So keep checking back for updates. I'll be trying to post at least 3 times a week. And with all the sporting events to write about I think it will be totally doable. Thanks all for your patience as I've slacked off recently.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Weekend Recap

So a lot happened this weekend in sports. Even though I have been obsessed with the Olympics, I took most of the weekend off from watching them. One of my best friends got married to the man of her dreams. I was lucky enough to be part of the wedding party. The wedding was perfect and I just want to give a quick congratulations again to Austin and Jayni. You are two of the best people I know and I wish you a lifetime of happiness and wonderful memories.

The big news in swimming and Olympics is Michael Phelps. He succeeded in his bid to win 8 gold medals. There is now a long ongoing argument as to whether he is the best Olympian ever. I don't really feel the need to weigh in on this argument. It seems to me similar to the argument over greatest quarterback ever. It can be argued forever with no clear winner. Not to downplay what he did, because he was amazing, but there have been other amazing Olympians throughout history.

Another amazing feat took place this weekend. Usain Bolt of Jamaica is now the fastest man on land. Not only did he annihilate the world record in the 100 meter dash, he slowed up in the last 20 meters to gloat. In my opinion he did it so he could just break his record again next time he runs. I mean you have to be really fast to slow down at the end of the dash and still blow away the competition.

Right now the Americans are leading in the medal count and a lot of that is because of the US swim team. Peirsol, Lochte, Coughlin and Soni also deserve a credit. They all won individual golds. Phelps is not the only person on the team. All of them except Coughlin, set world records while winning their medals. All of these athletes have had amazing performances and deserve recognition in their own right. This Olympics should not only be about one man.

An American woman, Nastia Liukin, won the all around gold in women's gymnastics. It's nice to know that we can beat the Chinese occasionally. She also has managed to steal the spotlight from Shawn Johnson, who came into these games as the America's Sweetheart heir apparent. But the little pixie hasn't quite managed that so far. Instead, the long legged blonde has usurped the crown.

There have been many other amazing performances this weekend. But I'm coming down with a cold so I'll try to talk about them eventually. But for right now, I'm headed back to bed. Congratulations to all the athletes competing and representing the United States.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Leave it to the French to Add Drama

I was tired last night. So tired I was no longer enthusiastic about watching the Olympics. I even said, "I just want this relay to be over so I can go to sleep." That was before the race. After the 4x100 free style relay I was literally jumping up and down yelling. If you didn't watch the race, then you missed out. I'm still pretty pumped about it.

First, let me set the scene. The American B team relay set a new world record in the semi-final heat. The French however, also had their B team swim. Both teams wanted to let their best swimmers rest up for the final. The world record holding Frenchman, Alain Bernard, added to the intrigue by talking trash before hand. When asked what he thought about the American team, he commented, "The Americans? We are going to smash them. That's what we came here to do." I mean its ok to be cocky, but you better be ready to back up strong words like that. Especially when the US B team broke the world relay record. Even the announcers seemed convinced that there was no team that could possibly compete with the French. They were just too good.

So here's a quick recap. Phelps led off for the US and broke the American record and was just one hundredth of a second from the world record without having the best split in the pool, that honor went to Australia, who set the new 100 free world record. (The world record can only be set on the first leg of the race or in an individual event.) Then, the Weber-Gale swam a great second split keeping pace. Cullins then had the slowest split on the American team, a tenth of a second slower than Phelps. But that was enough for the French to take a commanding lead. By the time the anchors hit the water, Bernard had a good lead on Lezak, and coming off the turn into the final 50 meters Bernard had almost a full body length on Lezak. Lezak, a seasoned 32 year old athlete, said the momentarily gave up hope. But then he dismissed those thoughts and dug deep. Really deep. He started to muscle back. And all of a sudden the announcers that had written him off, saying he was swimming for silver, started to change their minds. Lezak gained and gained and at the end Lezak and Bernard were separated by just a finger tip. Lezak finished 8 hundredths of a second ahead with the fastest split in relay history, 46.06 seconds.

And the crowd went wild, his teammates went wild, my brother and I went wild, everyone I talked to today said they went wild. We're talking about a swimming relay race at 11:30 at night. And yet, most of the people I know were watching it and cheering. The American underdog team broke the world record by over 4 seconds. In fact, the top 4 teams all broke the world record set only the night before. Imagine breaking a world record and not even medaling. This is what makes the Olympics special, the vast majority of the time, no one cares about swimming. But last night, it brought us together. So many people were glued to the TV routing on a few swimmers most people had never heard of before. We watched an impossible comeback and we cheered. We were united. This race was truly what the Olympics are about.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Olympic Obsession

So, I'm not quite at the level of that girl in the AT&T commercial; but, I have realized that I'm pretty obsessed with the Olympics and Michael Phelps. Last night while walking to meet some friends out at the bar, I walked by a different bar and saw all eyes turned to the race on TV. Assuming that, it must be the 400 Individual Medley, Michael Phelps first final. Come on, there's no other reason that a bar full of guys is watching swimming. Oh, I love the Olympics. I dart into the bar, ask about the race, and my suspicions were correct. Someone asks the order of strokes. And I'm off on a tangent and commentary about the race, Phelps and swimming in general. Someone comments that I need to come and be their swimming announcer for the Olympics. Then the race is over, Phelps has dominated by finishing two and a half seconds in front of the silver medalist, and I'm out the door on my way to meet up with my friends somewhere else.

And then I realize, I'm a little obsessed. I just spent a few minutes explaining to strangers that Phelps has a longer wingspan than his height. That he's racing against one of his close friends and great swimmer in the 400 IM, that he has freakish ankles that help him kick better, and that his turn are where he gains his real advantage. And I did not for one second feel awkward or weird about it.

When I get to the next bar, my eyes are glued to the TV. I probably should have stayed home and just watched the Olympics since I'm that anti-social. With Mixed Martial Arts on the other TV, I am surprised when I'm not the only person watching swimming. Did I mention, I love the Olympics. When else is it possible to not only watch swimming on TV, but watch it at the bar. I am in heaven. My biggest problem is the lack of underwater camera use. I think the underwater camera should be used for more than just highlights at the end of the race.

Also, there's other random sports on in between swimming. When does anyone ever watch mens gymnastics? But all of a sudden its on and I'm watching. And I realize something else. While I'm sure that it takes a lot of strength and agility, but it just doesn't look that hard. And its kind of boring. Wow, you can hold onto some rings, I can see why no one really watches this sport. I'm sure its hard and all, but I'm sorry, its just not exciting and doesn't really look that cool. And somehow, I still watched it last night at the bar. That's what the Olympics is all about, getting excited about random competition between countries. And with the burgeoning US-China rivalry, this storyline is worth watching no matter the event.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Its Time to Start Getting Excited

The end of summer is generally a time of anticipation for sports fans. NFL training camps start up. College football is almost here and the preseason rankings and speculation come out. And the playoff race in baseball is heating up. But this year we sports fans have an extra treat. In just a few day the Olympics are going to begin.

Eight is a lucky number in China, so the Opening Ceremony will take place on 8/8/08 at 8:08 pm. Hmmm.....the number 8 is also significant to Americans this Olypmics. Or at least one American swimmer who is vying to win 8 gold medals in one games for the first time in history. Michael Phelps, in case you haven't heard, is the swimming prodigy for Maryland, who actually has a shot at doing this. He has freakishly long arms, with huge hands and feet. He's broken what seems like every possible world record and he just keeps getting better. And man, is he fun to watch swim. I'd check it out if I were you. In a concession to the Americans, the major swim races will be held in the morning so they can be broadcast live in prime time in the US. So you won't have to hear the announcer disclaim that this event is on a 12 hour time delay, which is sure to happen during pretty much every other telecast.

I love to watch swimming but the Summer Games are really just all around great. Track and field, gymnastics, I even find myself watching pieces of cycling during the Olympics. Most of the time I'll just flip through those other random sports, but something about competing on the world stage against not just other athletes but other countries is enthralling to me.

So while training camp is going on (and I plan on going soon) and people are talking about whether or not the recent arrests will effect UGA's chances as the number one ranked school for preseason college football, I will probably find myself watching Judo, or synchronized swimming. Not that I won't be keeping up with everything else going on. It'll just be on the back burner. I'll still know that the Ravens are injury plagued already, but still are only saying good things about Harbaurgh. Or that Maryland managed to get 4 points in the USA Today poll. But the Olympics only happen every 4 years. So right now I'll stick to watching the rhythmic gymnastics and the medal count. And hoping and dreaming that a 8 gold medals really is possible. It's going to be fun.