18 December 2010
24 June 2010
I love sports. But to be honest, there are only a handful of sporting "moments" in my lifetime that I will never forget - most of which have come from my beloved Kentucky Wildcats basketball team (Tony Delk's 4-point play in the 1996 championship game, and Cameron Mills's 3-pointer against Duke in the 1998 regional final are two biggies).
However, I added a moment to my list yesterday.
I understand if you don't enjoy soccer (or, football, to the rest of the world). As a teenager I despised the sport. Why? I can't really remember. Thankfully though, through the guidance of some dear friends in my early 20's - namely DJ Bass, Brian Phillips & Jamie Luttrell - I grew to love the "beautiful game". For the past 5-6 years I have counted soccer second only to basketball.
Whether or not you follow the game, you've gotta love how yesterday's World Cup match between the United States and Algeria played out. It was a do or die match. Win, continue competing in the biggest sporting event in the world. Lose (or draw), go home.
Not only that, but there are multiple story lines that built into the drama of this match: USA's lack of success in the World Cup; the seeming irrelevance of the sport in America; Landon Donovan's journey; Bob Bradley's journey; the stolen goal against Slovenia; etc. Any one of those story lines would have given this game weight worth watching.
But in the end, it was all about the goal.
After 91 minutes of excruciating missed opportunity after missed opportunity after another stolen goal from the ref, the story-book ending actually happened. And this is how it played out:
The goal certainly didn't win the World Cup - the US is likely a long way from even coming close to that sort of accomplishment - but with everything riding on this match, it felt pretty darn close.
I don't think I'll ever forget the scene that erupted in Eric & Julia Pickerill's apartment when the ball went into the net (and after a few moments of making sure the refs didn't call this one back, too). Shouting, jumping, high-fiving, hugging jubilation.
When I asked Grayson later if he remembered watching the goal and what he thought about it, he said, "you scared me." But then after a moment, he raised both hands in the air and said, "GOAL!"
12 June 2010
The first two commercials speak for themselves, how could you not love Oranje?:
This next one shows the history of the "Pletterpet", a Dutch noise-making hat. All the grocery stores here are loaded with these things:
And a Dutch fan gets revenge on some German bullies, with the use of his new-fangled shirt that he got from the energy company NUON:
This last video isn't a commercial, but I had to include it; it's just a fan showing off his shirt that was featured in the previous video. Quite odd...and yet mesmerizing.
Don't forget to watch England v USA today!
10 June 2010
Tomorrow begins the biggest sports event of the year: World Cup 2010. I can't wait. In anticipation, here are a few links to get you ready:
- Tim Howard, one of my favorite players and no.1 keeper for the US, is featured on Fifa.com
- Five questions about the US team that will be answered in the coming weeks
- Dutch midfielder Rafael Van der Vaart thinks that Holland has as good a chance as anyone to win the cup
- "The Evolution of the World Cup Ball" - pictures of the official voetballen (aka soccer balls) for each of the 19 WC's
And of course - though not World Cup related - the Dutch election results. Due to the political system here in the Netherlands, a coalition of parties must be created in order to form a government. The goal is to form a coalition that achieves of a majority of seats in the "Tweede Kamer" (i.e. House of Representatives). But that process can potentially take weeks to finalize, as the parties involved have to position and re-position themselves in order to make it work. That is, by the way, why the government collapsed in February: two of the three parties in the coalition decided that they could no longer work together. So, the coalition folded and the Prime Minister handed in his resignation to the Queen...which spurred on this whole election thing to begin with.
Hup Holland, Hup!
09 June 2010
Also, take some time to read the blog "Clogs and Tulips: An American in Holland", which has two great posts about the elections called Dutch Elections 2010 and Dutch Government for Dummies. Good stuff!