Sports postsSunday January 19, 2014
A Pre-Game Anecdote
I was walking in downtown Seattle yesterday on my way to Nordstrom to buy a dress shirt when I saw a hubub in front of the Grand Hyatt on 7th, between Pike and Pine. There were several chartered buses in front of the hotel and people, in groups, were rushing forward and then standing with smart phones held aloft for pictures and/or vidoes. “What's going on?” I asked the guy next to me. He nodded his head contempuously in the direction of the commotion. “Fucking Niners,” he said.
The 7 Millionth Man
I'm not a huge football fan but it's tough to live in Seattle and not know that the Seahawks are in the playoffs today against the New Orlean Saints at CenturyLink Field, 1:35 start. In honor, a recently digitized slide photo from my childhood. That's my older brother Chris on the left, me on the right, little sister Karen with the ball. I think this was the toughest I've ever looked.
What the Olympics Needs
A ninth lane, where someone like me swims.
Seriously. Here, for example, are the results from the Men's 50m Freestyle on Friday:
|7||02||BOVELL George Richard||21.82||+0.48||+|
First place was 21.34. Eighth place was 21.98. Not even a second's difference. A sixth of a second. Boom.
There's no perspective to that. We may sense, a bit, how fast they're going, but we don't see it because they're all racing against the other seven fastest swimmers in the world.
People at home, slumping on their couches, look at Eamon Sulivan and think he's the worst when he's the 8th best in the world. And he'd be the best, the fastest in the world, but for .65 of a second.
With me in lane 9, probably doing the sidestroke, suggesting, as George Orwell once wrote of an outdated missile, “nothing so much as a man riding along on a bicycle and whistling,” you'd see how fast all of these athletes really are. You'd get results like this:
|7||02||BOVELL George Richard||21.82||+0.48||+|
We'll all have a greater appreciation for Eamon Sullivan in lane 1.
LinkedIn to the Heavyweight Champ
Perks of the job.
In 2005, I wrote a profile of entertainment attorney Henry Holmes, whose clients included Michelle Rodriguez, Robert Evans, and, in particular, George Foreman. In 1994, Holmes helped clear the way for Foreman's title bout, at the age of 45, with Michael Moore, which Foreman won, as well as “The George Foreman Grill,” for which Holmes convinced his client to forgo an upfront salary for a joint venture that ultimately made Foreman upwards of $100 million. I interviewed Foreman for the piece, by phone, with maybe a follow-up by email. Apparently his email system never deleted me. A few days ago, this arrived in my in box:
I accepted, of course. I have a job at the moment but nothing's forever; and if you're going to have someone in your corner, why not the heavyweight champion of the world?
Seattle Sounders Win Best-of-Two Series, 1-1, against the Panamanians of San Francisco
My friend Parker told me yesterday afternoon that he had an extra ticket to the Seattle Sounders soccer game that evening and would I like to go? I did a quick mental check: Nothing planned. I looked outside: sunny and in the 70s. I thought about the sport: knew nothing. Why not?
Here's how much I don't know about soccer. I assumed it was still the regular season. But apparently the regular season is over and the Sounders won the championship. Or something. So what was this game? In this game, the Sounders, the best team in the MLS this season, played the best team from another league, a Panamanian team called San Francisco, whose colors, red and blue, happened to be the colors of the old Barcelonan futbol jersey (Rivaldo: 10) that I wore to the game. Oops. Almost everyone else in the stands was in Sounders/Xbox highlighter neon-green. Pity.
So: soccer. Two halves, 45 minutes each. But they count up. That was a surprise. In the second half they don't start over, either, but continue to 90. When that's over they sometimes (all the time?) add extra minutes for time lost due to injuries, set-ups, yadda yadda. I don't know who calculates the extra minutes. I don't know where those extra minutes are displayed in the stadium. But someone, somewhere, counts down. Or up.
No scoring for a while (this is soccer), but then the Sounders, who controlled the ball for most of the game and had many more shots on goal than Panama (San Francisco), head-butted one in for a 1-0 lead. And that's how it stayed until the 90 minutes were up. We won! Yayyyy! Sorry, what was that? Right, extra time. Then that ended, too. We won! Yayyyy! Sorry, what was that?
It still wasn't over. Apparently they'd already played one game in Panama, which ended 1-0 for Panama/SF, so now the series was tied 1-1, and the score was tied 1-1. They needed to break the tie to end the series.
“They play a best-of-two series?” I asked.
“Apparently,” Parker said.
“Huh,” I said.
So we settled back in. By which I mean we continued to stand, since everyone in our section stood throughout the game.
Thankfully the Sounders scored about halfway into the 15-minute overtime period to make it 2-0, Sounders, or 2-1 in the series. We won! Yayyyyy!
But they kept playing.
“They must finish out the 15-minute set,” Parker said.
“Right,” I said.
And they did. And we won. But they kept playing.
“Two 15-minute overtime sets,” Parker said to me.
“Right,” I said.
The Sounders were playing a more cautious game now, which led to more shots-on-goal for the Panamanians of San Francisco, but nothing got in. And the clock counted up to 30. Which was 120. And that was that, right? We won, yay? No, they kept playing.
“The time-add thing,” Parker said.
“Where are they counting up?” I asked. “I don't see it anywhere.” The clock in the stadium was frozen on 30. Which was 120.
“They do it on TV anyway,” Parker said, looking around.
So the game continued. Until it didn't. The ball was in the Sounders corner, controlled by the Sounders, and a Panama/SF striker made an effort for the ball, and then everyone relaxed and walked off the field. And the remaining fans cheered.
“That's it?” I said to Parker.
“That's it,” he said.
“We won?” I said.
“We won,” he said.
“1-0 in regular time? And 2-0 in overtime? And the best-of-two series 1-1?”
“Yep,” Parker said.
No wonder soccer is the most popular sport in the world.
Twitter: @ErikLundegaardTweets by @ErikLundegaard