Sunday, September 30, 2007

A Loss and A Victory

Two weekends ago my little girls were badly defeated 5-1. This was an "easy" game and we should have won. Sure it was an early game and it was raining (almost pouring in the second half), but this was the same for the other team. This loss hurt a lot more than our pre-season loss of 4-0. The girls had come out like a whole new team and we had a win and a tie in two very exciting games at the beginning of the season. The girls had shown that they could play hard and aggressively, and they were starting to come together as a team. Thus, to lose so badly in the third game of the season to a team we should have beat (at least according to standings), I felt a little let down and helpless. The girls didn't lose because they didn't have the skill to match the other team, they just didn't have the desire to play nor the fire to win. At half time all I told them was that if they wanted to play hard and win, they could still come back from a 3-0 deficit and win the game. They played a better second half but it wasn't enough.

This weekend we won 3-0. It was a great game to watch. The first quarter was spent on our defensive half, but after a while the girls stepped it up and the goals started to come. This was definitely an exciting game to watch and to coach. I was happy with a 2-0 lead so I started moving the girls around to different positions. We have 14 players on the team and if I want to have no one sit out more than 1 quarter, only 2 players get to play the whole game. And as much as I would want to play my super strong players (especially the defensive ones) the full game, every game, I need to rotate which 2 players play the full game.

Go team!

Friday, September 28, 2007

They Are Still Your Teammates

The US Women's Soccer Team has a semifinal match against Brazil on Thursday for the Women's World Cup (in China). They lost, 4-0. Days before the game, the coach decided to bench his starting goalie, Hope Solo, who had played almost every minute in every game up until that point. Solo had never played a match against Brazil and the coach decided to go with Brianna Scurry, a veteran of the National Team who has many matches against Brazil. Critics thought it was a bold move, but that if it worked, he would be considered a genius. Well, it didn't work. And now Solo has come out publicly against her coach and her teammates. Here's what she had to say:

"It was the wrong decision, and I think anybody that knows anything about the game knows that. There's no doubt in my mind I would have made those saves. ... You have to live in the present. And you can't live by big names. You can't live in the past."

Shut the f* up. You are on the National Soccer Team, which is an honor, not a right. Sure, you can question your coach's decision, but do so privately. Don't go around telling the world that your coach made a wrong crucial decision and that you could have made the saves your teammate didn't. You don't know that for a fact.

I say kick Solo off the team. There are plenty of other goalies out there with equal skill and more respect for the team and the sport.

Update: Turns out the Brazilians didn't even care about the goalie change. What got them fired up and motivated to cream the US was comments earlier in the week by US Coach Ryan. In response to a friendly June game between the US and Brazil, Ryan said:

"Brazil’s primary tactic was fouling us to break our rhythm. We had more of the ball, and their response to that was just to foul. Brazil has tried to break our rhythm by chopping our players down. The last time we played Brazil, they didn’t even try to play football — they just kicked us from behind."

Ryan also requested a referee who would call those kinds of fouls for Thursday's semifinal match. Read more here.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Don't Wear It Out

The quote on the inside of my Sun-Maid Raisins box:

"Your name is your parents' gift to you. Live up to it."

I like my name. I am thankful for the name my parents gave me. Especially since they were considering Roxanna as a name for me. I would probably have a very different career, working nights, had I been named Roxanna.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Say That Again

Stuff like this just cracks me up. I'm sure a lot of you have heard about the San Diego Padres' Milton Bradley who tore a ligament in his knee while his coach tried to restrain him from attacking an umpire. Bradley is a good player and now the Padres' chances of making the playoffs are a little slimmer and Bradley's career will certainly suffer due to the recovery time needed. The umpire involved in the incident has also been suspended. Bradley and his coach have claimed that the umpire used profane language to try to bait Bradley, who is known for his bad temper. Bradley's comments on the incident:

"the most unprofessional and most ridiculous thing I've ever seen."

Uh, Bradley, did you include your childish reaction to the umpire's remarks and the need to have to restrain you in your list of unprofessional and ridiculous things you've seen? Really, now. Let me guess, did the umpire say something mean about your mom?

What is it with guys and their inability to ignore mom jokes/comments? You know the old saying...sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me...? Well, there is a lot of truth to that. Words are just words. I'm not saying that verbal abuse should be excused because it is not physical abuse, especially involving children. But in this case, two adults need to act like adults and not go berserk over comments. Grow up!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

What Can You Do?

Here’s a short article on some non-obvious things we can do to reduce our contribution to global warming. Some of the things that I will do or are already doing:

I will figure out how to log in to my work network so I can check on my simulations from home in the evenings, instead of driving all the way back to work (it’s only 3 miles round trip, but every bit counts). I also have a laptop that I shut down so it doesn’t stay on all night.

I will try to ride my bike to work at least three times a week.

We have all of the chargers for our cell phones, palm pilot, etc., on a power strip so that we can turn off the power strip when nothing is charging. It was recently reported that cell phone chargers and the like consume electricity even when they are not charging a phone.

I try to wash and reuse the thick freezer Ziploc bags instead of throwing them out (if I can).

We tend to keep our home pretty cold and try to get through the winter without using the heater (we learned this from our parents). This can be a challenge because our apartment is super drafty (in the late morning it can be warmer outside than inside) and none of the sliding glass doors (which we have 4 of in our townhouse) close properly. We survive by wearing warm sweaters, hats, and using blankets (when we watch tv, etc.). If we get too cold, then we use a space heater so that only the area we are in gets warmed.

In the summer we close all the blinds so that the sun stays out and the house stays cooler. It really works.

We always let our dishes air dry in the dishwasher.

Other ideas that are a bigger challenge:

I need to change my exercise routine so that I run 1.5 miles to the gym, lift weights, and then run 1.5 miles back home, instead of driving to the gym, running 3-4 miles on the treadmill, lifting weights, and driving home.

I need to take shorter showers.

We need to be better about planning our grocery shopping so we don’t end up driving to the grocery store 3-4 times a week.

We have a great farmers market in our city (about 1.5 miles away). We should shop there more often and ride our bikes to the market.

I will try to eat less meat (and by default so will my husband). We already eat only meat that is humanely raised but we can better and eat less meat. We have a lot of great vegetarian recipes that we should make more often.

Slate has a great series of weekly articles on ideas to be more green and reduce CO2 emissions.

So what can you do?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Still Undefeated

Another great game for the Blizzards. We tied this weekend 1-1. We scored early in the game and had the lead most of the game, but they ended up sticking half the team on offense and eventually scored. And this is a team that beat the team (5-1) that beat us (4-0) in the preseason and beat another team 3-0. So they were frustrated and upset that they didn’t beat us. At least the coach was. I think the girls forget about the score as they are walking off the field. One of my players got a yellow card by unintentionally tripping another player. The opposing coach started yelling that it should have been a red card because it was intentional (again, he was frustrated and upset), and after the game my player was quite upset and crying. I reassured her that it was all part of the game and that the coach should not have said what he did and that he was just upset. But I was reminded of the first time I got a yellow card. I too cried. And I have also cried the two times I have gotten red cards, even as an adult. When your body is full of adrenaline and you are tired and probably confused or frustrated, it’s pretty easy to let the tears flow. I think the first time I got a yellow card (can’t even remember why) I was mostly confused and upset that I had been reprimanded (I was always a good girl). The times I got red cards I was extremely frustrated.

This weekend we watched the Patriots man-handle the Chargers. The Patriots scored in the first drive of the game and I immediately felt bad for the Chargers. But then I realized that these guys get paid a lot more than I do to play some mediocre football. I didn’t feel so bad after that.

I have been watching a lot of American football lately and I even have been reading up on the pre- and post-game analyses on the internets. Remember that I hate football in general. This is mostly due to the fact that so much money goes into college football versus other college sports. I also got turned off from football from having been given a parking ticket while at UT for refusing to give up my parking spot to an alumni going to the football game. I actually ended up getting two tickets: one for being illegally parked and one for refusing to do what the peace officer asked me to do.

That’s all I got for now. Watching Lord of the Rings, part III.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Great Football Weekend

My little girls had their first season game this weekend and won!! The score was 1-0. Last week at practice we worked on aggressivity drills and wall passes, and it showed in the game. The goal was off a nice pass back to a forward in the center of the box and a shot to the far post of the goal. It kind of reminded me of Dempsey’s goal in the Brazil-US game. A 12 year old version. We had practice last night and the girls had a lot of energy. We ran the box for about 12 minutes but that only calmed them down for about 10 minutes. Then it was back to gossiping, screaming, and getting distracted. The box is a great running drill I learned about through my brother’s club soccer teams. It’s basically a square 20 yards on each side, and we run around the box in a single file line at a moderately slow pace. When I call out a number like 1, 2, 3, or 4, that’s how many sides of the box we have to sprint. I led the running and after about 12 minutes, I myself was winded. But once the girls recovered from the drill, it was back to screaming and acting like little girls. It definitely gives new meaning to the “screaming like a little girl” phrase.

The second great soccer match I saw this weekend was the US vs. Brazil friendly game played in Chicago. I only caught the last 20 minutes of the game since I didn’t even know it was on. Thanks to G for calling me to let me know the game was on. What I saw of the game was great soccer – fast paced and very intense. I saw a US goal to tie the score 2-2. Brazil ended up scoring 2 more goals: Ronaldinho scored a nice goal on a questionable foul called just outside the penalty box and a silly defensive mistake was called as a penalty which ended as another goal. The final score was 4-2 in Brazil’s favor (of course). Here’s a video with goal highlights from the game. I also found this video of goal highlights of a US vs. Brazil U20 match. This match is also good with lots of great shots and fancy Brazilian footwork.

The final football game I saw was American football. The husband and I went to a local bar to check out the New England game since it wasn’t televised here (but it was in Los Angeles – go figure!). The bar had lots of TV’s and there were a bunch of different games on. And even though it was only 10 am, there were lots of people drinking. The game on the biggest screen of all was Pittsburgh vs. Cleveland. And the Pittsburgh fans were soooo annoying. We wanted Pittsburgh to lose just because of the fans. They were all decked out in their Pittsburgh jerseys and had even brought their terrible towels and bobble head collection. Everyone at the bar seemed to want the Patriots to loose, and we figured that was because everyone was jealous of how good the Patriots are and how bad their own teams suck. One thing that cracked me up was how the Pittsburgh fans reacted to replays of touchdowns. When Pittsburgh would score, the fans would go crazy. When the touchdown was replayed, they would go just as crazy .

On a sad note, that sucks about Kevin Everett’s injury. I hope he has a full recovery and a speedy one.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Pre-Season Loss

So we lost our first, and only, practice game, 4-0. The game was actually a lot better than the score reflects. The first goal was an own-goal. At the half it was 1-0. In the second half, our strong goal keeper wanted to play the field, so we had another girl play goalie who has no experience in the position but we’ve been kind of training her to be goalie. So there you have it. Those are my excuses. Anyway, at practice this week, when I told the girls I wanted to talk about the game, one of them yelled out: “That was fun!” I was very surprised by this comment, since I’ve never had a fun soccer game in which we lost 4-0. But as my husband had pointed out earlier, the only thing that the girls really care about (and probably their parents too) is having fun and socializing. Well, I still think that if we end up losing all the games, no matter how fun they are, some people might not be happy. Including me.

We have our first official game this weekend. I am still excited!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Workout Playlist

Whatta Man - Salt N Pepa

Ay Ay Ay

Can't Touch This - MC Hammer

Disco Inferno - The Trammps

Donde Estan - Sentidos Opuestos

Gasolina - Daddy Yankee

I'm Too Sexy - Right Said Fred

I Will Survive - Gloria Gaynor

Ice Ice Baby - Vanilla Ice

It Wasn't Me - Shaggy

Lady Marmalade - Nanette Workman

Mesa Que Mas Aplauda - Grupo Climax

Play that Funky Music - Wild Cherry

Respect - Aretha Franklin

Shook Me All Night Long - AD/DC

Stayin' Alive - N-Trance

Suerte (Whenever, Wherever) - Shakira

Summer Nights - Grease

Thong Song - Sisqo

Un Dos Tres

We Like to Party - Vengaboys

Whatta Man - Salt N Pepa

Whenever, Wherever - Shakira

YMCA - Village People

Note to Self and Bosses

Don't schedule any big deadlines on the days immediately following a holiday. Otherwise, I either end up traveling during my holiday (like I did last year) or I work all holiday weekend (like I did this year).