Archive for the ‘sports’ Tag

Single-image Sunday: The Super Bowl!   7 comments

It’s Super Sunday!  That day when nearly everyone in America gets together with friends or goes to sport pubs and watches the last two football teams standing duke it out for the championship.  It’s also the day when everybody overeats and quite a few drink too much.  This year it’s the Denver Broncos vs. the Carolina Panthers.  The storyline is that Peyton Manning, the veteran quarterback who owns most important records for that most important position, is likely retiring after this game.  And even if he decides to stay one more year, this is almost certainly his only chance to go out on top.

Peyton has been one of the best QBs to ever play the game, but his skills have diminished somewhat because of age and a devastating injury to his neck 5 years ago.  He still has what it takes from the neck up, but arm strength is not what it used to be.  His counterpart on the other side is the complete opposite of Manning in every respect.  Carolina’s Cam Newton is young, just coming into his own.  He is the odds-on favorite for most valuable player this year.  He runs and passes with devastating effectiveness (most QBs do not run much).

Newton is 6 feet 5 inches and 260 pounds, an unusual size for a QB and a nightmare to bring down.  He’s capable of running over a linebacker on one play and then throwing the ball on a rope into the end zone on the next.  His personality couldn’t be more different than Peyton’s, with his old-school business-like manner on the field.  Cam dances and plays to the crowd, and obviously loves the camera.  He’s gregarious and demonstrative, and this rubs some fans the wrong way.

Newton is also black, and while there have been plenty of black QBs in the NFL for years, it still seems to be an issue for some.  I think his dancing and other antics are absolutely no big deal.  It’s not my style, but I’m not him and you can’t argue with the way he plays.  As long as he doesn’t taunt the opposite team (and he doesn’t), I really don’t care how much he dances.  Others are really bothered by his style and personality, and some commenters point to race as the reason for this.  I don’t believe that either.  Other than the relative few but typically noisy outright racists, I think most of the criticism of Newton arises from an age/personality conflict.  Peyton, by the way, is white.

A bronco throws a panter, I mean a buckaroo! Small-town rodeo, eastern Oregon.

A bronco throws a panter, I mean a buckaroo! Small-town rodeo, eastern Oregon.

My team is out of it, but I’m definitely rooting for a team.  Can you guess from the photo which team?  I’m like many fans outside Carolina in that I want to see Peyton go out with a Super Bowl ring.  Also, the Panthers are favored and I normally go for the underdog.  Finally, the Broncos are a western team, and I’m a western boy.  In order to win, most agree the Broncos will need to run the ball well, play stellar defense, and not turn the ball over.  Peyton will also need to have a near-perfect day.  Carolina has a strong balanced team and can run the ball well.  Denver’s defense has been the league’s best for most of the year.  It will probably need to force two or more turnovers in order to win.

Okay, let the game begin!  Go Broncos!

 

 

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Winter Olympics (Share your World)   14 comments

My backyard is a long way from the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

My backyard is a long way from the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

That Cee comes up with some great ideas for challenges.  This is a “Share your World” challenge, where you answer a few simple questions – this week on the Winter Olympics.  I really love the Olympics, I’m not ashamed to admit.  For some reason I’m not watching these games.  Maybe I’ll start.  Since I’m marginally better at winter sports than summer, the winter games have always been a favorite.  I really hope you’ll answer some too, either in the comments below or by going to Cee’s page and doing one yourself.  Now on to the questions:

      • Have you watched or plan to watch any of the 2014 Winter Olympics?  Think I’ve already answered this one.  I’ll probably catch a little, at least some skiing and maybe a hockey game.
      • What is your favorite winter Olympic event? Would you ever want to be an expert in that sport?  The Downhill, without a doubt.  I’ve gone pretty fast on skis but no way would I ever be able to go that fast.  About as likely as hitting a major leaguer’s slider or blocking Terrel Suggs (NFL linebacker).  I’d love to be an expert in the downhill skiing, at least down to the giant slalom.
Oneonta Gorge in Oregon's Columbia Gorge Scenic Area  is not an easy place to access in winter.

Oneonta Gorge in Oregon’s Columbia Gorge Scenic Area is not an easy place to access in winter.

      • Have you ever met an Olympic Athlete?  Actually two.  I ran into a U.S. mogul skier once, in Hawaii, hiking at night to the active lava entering the ocean (of all things).  Think she said she won a silver or bronze, but I don’t really remember much (besides the lava and her blonde hair).  For a time I knew a multiple gold medalist (summer games) named Mariel Zagunis.  She’s still one of the world’s best women at fencing sabre, and has golds from two successive games.  I was one of her high school science teachers.  I remember giving her homework to do while she was off to Europe or somewhere for fencing tournaments.  She always seemed very calm and focused, but otherwise not super-athletic.  I think that’s what it really takes.
Ice-clad wall along Oneonta Gorge.

Ice-clad wall along Oneonta Gorge.

      • Do you have a favorite athlete? Name sport.  Currently, I’ll say Haloti Ngata of the Ravens (American football).  He’s just so huge (6’4″ 350 lbs) but very athletic and dominant.  He plays for my hometown’s team, went to my alma mater (U of Oregon) and best of all, he’s Samoan.  I imagine him on a palm-fringed beach, cooking up and eating whole chicken after whole chicken, and laughing.  Historically there are several more, but I don’t idolize athletes, at least since I was a young boy.
Snow on moss on lichen on basalt, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon.

Snow on moss on lichen on basalt: Columbia River Gorge, Oregon.

Horsetail Falls in the Columbia River Gorge begins to break free of the icy grip of a cold snap.

Horsetail Falls in the Columbia River Gorge begins to break free from a cold snap.

      • What is your favorite exercise or sport? Is there a reason why?  Probably cross-country skiing.  I love all types, from track skating to back-country telemarking.  To go on long tours where you must use all types of skiing technique, plus call upon your navigation and winter travel skills, ability to evaluate avalanche dangers, and your determination, it seems to bring everything together.  The fact that it exercises your whole body, you can do it when the weather is good, bad or in between, the zen state it can put you in, its rhythm and grace, the downhill fun; all that makes it almost the perfect outdoor sport.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to check out Cees challenge and to add your two cents on any one or all of the questions below.

Oneonta Creek is thawing rapidly in this shot at dusk looking downstream from atop the log jam.

Oneonta Creek is thawing rapidly in this shot at dusk looking downstream from atop the log jam.

Winter sunset near Mount Hood in Oregon.

Winter sunset near Mount Hood in Oregon.

 

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