Tag Archives: United States


I’ve become a big fan of soccer these past few years – both the domestic and international versions.

I’ll find myself watching matches at various times of the day, courtesy of the wonders of technology (see: ESPN 3, now known as Watch ESPN.)

There’s just something really enjoyable about a good soccer match. The viewing experience (for those of you who are unfamiliar with soccer) is very ‘user-friendly’ and it’s pretty easy to get hooked.

Primary benefit as a viewer: No timeouts and no commercial breaks during play.

That’s huge. You know that feeling you get when you watch a basketball game and the last two minutes or so are coming up? That thing that makes you cringe? Knowing that you’re about to be barraged by countless breaks in both the action and the programming…you know what I’m talking about. You don’t experience that in soccer. They just play. Amazing concept isn’t it?

I love just sitting down and watching the match unfold, knowing that a little bit of stoppage time is all that will be added to the end. Sure, the prospect of a match ending in a draw is not exactly all that appetizing as an American sports fan but I can live with that. Besides, the matches that really count are always played until a victory has been declared in the end.

My first interest in soccer came back in the 1980’s, watching Diego Maradona and Argentina dominate the rest of the world. However the Dutch team has always been my favorite international squad and I watch them whenever I can.

I’ve taken to watching club matches lately. La Liga, Premier League, etc. I love how the fans get into these matches and throw their support behind their clubs. Neat stuff.

I’ve also become more interested in Major League Soccer within the past year or two as well. Much of that is due to David Beckham’s presence in the league, which could actually be coming to an end tonight. Beckham and LA Galaxy will take on Houston Dynamo in the MLS Cup, starting at 8:00 p.m. CST.

His contract expires after the match. I hope he’ll re-sign but certainly wouldn’t blame the guy if he decides to head back overseas. It’s safe to say his time spent in the league has had a positive impact though. I really enjoy watching him play. What a talent.

Anyway, I am realizing as I type more in this entry that this has become a rambling mess of words here. I don’t know what my original point was. Oh yeah, soccer is cool. That’s right.

So there you go. I have the MLS Cup cued up on my browser and it’s time to settle in for the big match tonight. Should be fun to watch.

UPDATE: What a finish! Beckham to Keane to Donovan for the winner. Way to go LA!

Eyeing Irene

It’s that time again for people who live along the east coast of the United States…and for some former residents like myself. A hurricane is churning and making its way toward the Eastern Seaboard. Time to hurry up and wait.

This storm goes by the name Irene and she is seemingly determined to at least brush up against the US coast, if not make a more direct entrance, this weekend.

I know what this means for the folks who are in her path. A lot of waiting, a lot of watching, and a lot of wondering. I lived it for six summers and it can be pretty stressful, waiting for something that could (or in many cases could not) tear up your community.

It can be a bit of a helpless feeling, watching that forecast cone.

On one hand it is wonderful to have the ability to know where the storm is heading. Weather experts do a great job of relaying data and we are constantly updated with ‘the latest’ on where these storms are heading.

It’s a blessing to be able to have such detailed information in advance before a natural disaster arrives. Folks who have been impacted by earthquakes or tornadoes would certainly be inclined to agree with me on that.

On the other hand this can begin to wear on you. Waiting for a hurricane to arrive or pass by is not fun. When you have numerous hurricane threats in a given year and you go through this routine several times, it will test even the most positive person’s cheeriness. It’s not easy being in the path of these storms.

When your job is to report on the news and weather it becomes even more intertwined with your psyche, as you spend every waking moment of the day covering every angle of the possibly impending doom. It’s just part of the deal. People expect to know what’s going on and as a news person, you want to give them as much information as possible. It’s what you’re there to do.

It was what I did when I lived in Myrtle Beach. I can recall one summer where it seemed as though a new storm was forming every week. I was on the anchor desk at the time. At one point even the guy who was the meteorologist on the show said, ‘This is nuts’ to me that year.

Of course, reporting in a hurricane was probably the highlight of my broadcasting career. Quite a rush to say the least. So for some, including me while standing in the middle of Hurricane Charley on that August afternoon in 2004, the storms aren’t all bad.

No matter where life takes me, I’ll always be glued to the news reports when a hurricane is heading toward the US. It’s a part of me and always will be. I know of a few others who do the same despite not living on the east coast anymore. I expect the text messages to start flying here in the next day or two.

Meanwhile I’m thinking of my colleagues and friends in the news business who are gearing up for Irene this week. Stay safe out there, wherever you are.

I’m also thinking of everyone who lives along the coast and those who are there visiting right now. Unsolicited advice? Be smart. If you are in an area where the officials tell you to leave – do it. They’re not saying that just for kicks.

If it turns out to not be as bad as everyone thought, well, be thankful for that upon returning home  instead of feeling frustrated that you had to leave. Better safe than sorry. Don’t get stuck in a storm that could threaten your very existence out of stubbornness.

Godspeed everyone. Oh and Irene, I have two words for you: Turn right.

USA (Unbelievable Soccer Awesomeness)

What a show.

This match had it all. Good and bad. In the end, Team USA performed a last-minute (literally) miracle that no doubt had countless people catching some serious air in their living rooms, in bars, and anywhere that had a television set nearby.

Still can’t believe Team USA pulled this one out. I mean, the script was already written. The final act was wrapping up. It was over. The US was done.

Or were they?

I’ll admit, I had no reason to believe that the ball lifted by Megan Rapinoe’s cross into the box would find a temporary landing spot on just the right part of Abby Wambach’s head and then would sneak inside the post for an equalizing goal with literally seconds to spare in – not just overtime, not just the second overtime session, but literally in extra time of that second overtime session…oh, just about at the end of that extra time too. Wha?? No way.

The odds of the US tying the match at that point were about as good as the odds of me becoming six feet tall someday. It just wasn’t gonna happen. But it did.

I was watching the match with my sons. (ESPN 3 is one of my ‘favorite things.’) They’re both into soccer and have started playing. When that thing went in, they both went crazy. Yelling and screaming and just loving the moment to the max. It was awesome.

The fact that Team USA benefited from a goalie infraction on the first penalty kick minutes later pretty much assured me all of the things that had gone against them in the match (questionable red card, more questionable penalty kick infraction earlier, shameful time-wasting by Brazil’s Erika late in the game) were officially in the books and in the past and were not going to stop them from at least having a chance at winning.

When the last PK went in, you just had to smile. What an effort. What a testament to never giving up, not letting adversity defeat you, and fighting until the end. Watching all of that served as a great lesson for my kids. Here they are right before that last kick.

Meanwhile this match provided a lot of thrills and a lot of smiles in the end for Team USA fans. Truly amazing stuff.

Way to go, ladies. Good luck in the semifinals.

The Most and Least Active Cities in America

Ahh yes. Nothing like a study and corresponding list of results to give me a reason to post a blog. This one comes from Men’s Health. It’s the ‘Most and Least Active Cities in America’ list.

I know you want to see where your city ended up, so go ahead and take a look:

Here’s the criteria used in finding the results:

We looked at where and how often people exercise (Experian Marketing Services); the percentage of households that watch more than 15 hours of cable a week and buy more than 11 video games a year (Mediamark Research); and the rate of deaths from deep-vein thrombosis, a condition linked to a lot of sitting (CDC). And since some people define “exercise” loosely, we gave credit for any physical activity in the past month (CDC).

How did your city do? Did you score high marks? Are you near the bottom? I’m not one to take too much stock in polls and surveys so I’m not here to say these results are the hard truth by any means. Doesn’t mean it won’t make for some good water cooler conversation though.

This list brings up an important topic: Exercise. Last I checked, this is pretty vital to your health.

Are you exercising or getting physical activity on a regular basis? You don’t need me to tell you to do this. Just ask any doctor or health professional. They’ll be happy to tell you…for a small fee of course 🙂

For the record, I am no model of health. I eat food that no one has any business eating, I should work out more, etc. Just writing this as an informative piece and hopefully it will motivate you (and me) to keep moving and getting that exercise our bodies need.

Hope you have a happy and healthy day.

Oh, I almost forgot. While I’m on the topic of exercise…I came across a report a few months ago that talks about the negatives of sitting at a desk all day. Check out the article – it’s a pretty good read. It includes audio and video segments as well. Worth a look.