Jim

Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

If your only experience of the Olympics is through NBC …

In Culture, Sports, The news biz on August 16, 2008 at 8:07 pm

… you’d think they consisted of swimming, synchronized diving, women’s (pfft, as if these 12-year-olds masquerading as 16-year-olds could be called “women”) gymnastics and volleyball. 

If your experience of the Olympics is through ESPN reports, you’d think it consisted of the U.S. men’s basketball “redeem” team. 

Maybe it’s just rotten luck, but I have yet to tune in and catch so much as track and field, let alone the exotica of pentathlon, sailing, handball, archery, judo, Greco-Roman wrestling or table tennis. I presume I’m in the minority, but for me that’s a big part of the fun of the Olympics: people who are fantastic at stuff I don’t usually see. I’ve seen LeBron James before, I don’t need to see more of him during his off-season. 

I understand the excitement over Michael Phelps, but does that mean we have to watch every qualifying race in the pool, including the ones he’s not in? Or could NBC not afford to set up cameras for pole vaulting?

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Fake fireworks in China?

In Culture, Politics, Sports, The news biz, Unfettered stupidity on August 13, 2008 at 5:45 pm

So now it’s being reported that some of the exceptional Olympic opening ceremonies, which really were impressive, were faked. When I watch the Olympics, I realize some of the stuff I see isn’t going to be live — NBC, et al., show the popular stuff during prime time, regardless of when it really took place halfway ’round the world. I understand about the scheduling. 

But I don’t expect computer-generated fireworks. WTF, NBC? You don’t have your own cameras? You just blandly let the Chinese pop a tape in the machine? Those overhead shots really brought to us by the Politburo, not Goodyear, as advertised? It’ll be interesting to see how this happened; haven’t seen the reporting on that. 

Now, the little girl lip-synching, I can understand. The networks have no control over that. But it does seem like they’d have control over their video feeds. Makes you wonder about some of the other cool visuals. Were those thousands of tai chi practitioners really in sync that closely? Or did they use the same CGI software that movie directors use to create huge battle scenes? 

What’s next: CGI balloons at the Democratic convention, inserted by special agreement with the networks? Will we be able to see unretouched coverage on C-SPAN?

Update: Better reporting here from Bloomberg.

“You’re looking at a cinematic device employed by Zhang Yimou here. This is actually almost animation. A footstep a second, 29 in all, to signify the 29 Olympiads,” (Matt) Lauer said, according to a transcript ….

(Bob) Costas replied: “We said earlier that aspects of this opening ceremony are almost like cinema in real time. Well this is quite literally cinematic.”

I missed that part of the broadcast. Did Lauer and Costas admit that some of the broadcast was faked?

Hammertime

In Fayetteville, N.C., Sports on June 15, 2008 at 7:41 pm

I have never in my life witnessed such a beatdown. In rec-league softball, they have a mercy rule to prevent such things. We got to the Swamp Dogs game against the Wilmington Sharks in the third inning and things were pretty well in hand already. But the Sharks just could not field a decent pitcher. We didn’t witness a single home run (evidently there was one in the first inning), just a long string of walks and singles and errors and wild pitches. Sharks infielders had to take the mound to finish off the game, and, unsurprisingly, they didn’t fare well, either. It added up to 32 freakin’ runs. 

‘Police are investigating whether alchohol was involved’

In Sports, Unfettered stupidity on December 24, 2007 at 7:17 pm

I’ve had a drink or two too many before, but not quite to this level. Damn, what a way to go.

As stunned bystanders watched, a Patriots fan on his way into Gillette Stadium for Sunday’s game leapt off an overpass and fell 17 feet onto the pavement below. “He thought he was going to land in a snow bank,” said one witness to the incident.

UNC football players allegedly sexually assaulted by women

In Cops and crime, N.C., Sports on December 21, 2007 at 1:51 am

Normally, you expect the jocks to do the sexual assaulting. Hey, they do things a little bit differently up in Chapel Hill.

Three UNC football players were the victims in a kidnapping, robbery and sexual assault incident involving two women, the university confirmed Thursday afternoon. “This is a very unusual case,” attorney Glenn Gerding said. “Almost unbelievable, at first blush.”

Judge hands Vick longer sentence than prosecutors asked for. Long enough? Too long?

In Cops and crime, Sports on December 10, 2007 at 8:19 pm

Fair disclosure: I like most dogs more than I like most people, so it’s hard for me to have sympathy for someone who abuses and fights pitties, which are capable of being very gentle and loving animals. On the other hand, some people have been thrown in prison longer for less. Here’s an SI.com q&a on the sentencing:

On Monday, Judge Henry E. Hudsonsentenced Michael Vick to 23 months in prison — exceeding the 12-18 months that prosecutors recommended. SI.com caught up with legal expert Michael McCann to answer some important questions about the ruling.

Michael Vick

Redskins safety’s killing brings back memory of former FSU player

In Fayetteville, N.C., Sports on December 2, 2007 at 10:30 pm

Player’s killing not headline news in 1976 

JERRY MAGEE

UNION-TRIBUNE

December 2, 2007

In 1974, Blenda Gay served the Chargers as a defensive end, playing in only two games but scoring a touchdown in one on a fumble recovery. Two years later, he was dead, his wife having slit his throat while he was sleeping. His death was not a matter of interest comparable to the murder of Sean Taylor of the Washington Redskins in his Miami-area home or the killing of Darrent Williams of the Denver Broncos on Jan. 1 in a drive-by shooting.

Google News dredged up this interesting item.

This may be as much sports reporting as you’ll ever see from me

In Fayetteville, N.C., Sports on November 19, 2007 at 9:16 pm

Congrats to the Rogue Rollergirls who won 104 – 68 over Columbia, S.C., on Sunday. At least, that’s what rollergirl Evergrace says.

***

I don’t claim to be much of a sports reporter.

When I was a cub in Raeford, I was the only newsroom peon on the little weekly there, the News-Journal — or, as it was fondly known, the Hoke Joke. I had the great fortune to drop in just when the high school baseball team was starting its run to the state championship. After my first visit to watch the team training (they were ranked nationally by USA Today in the preseason, as I recall), I vaulted a 4-foot fence between me and my car. My left foot made it over fine, but my right foot caught on the fence. My left foot hit the ground, dug in real good and I pivoted over it and plopped to the turf. I knew something was wrong when I looked down and saw my left foot bending around to look back at me.

It took a raised voice and some piquant French to get the attention of some kids who were watching practice from the bleachers. The coach had one of the team members drive me to the urgent care in the coach’s hatchback. Emergency surgery and some time on crutches put my foot back where it belonged. I was known as Broke Foot from then on to the baseball team.

Apart from that, I enjoyed going to the games and trying to figure out how to write gamers and getting quotes from the kids and such. I had no idea what I was doing and certainly was at no risk of being elevated to the bigs as a sports reporter.

***

So I really apprecate Evergrace letting me know the score. I hope more folks will do that, and I’ll cheerfully pass it on. There’s an awful lot of rec league, pool tournaments, roller derby, karate and middle school basketball going on out there, and we can’t even pretend to be able to send reporters out to cover all that. Maybe someone out there, for fun, will want to try his or her hand at a little sports reporting — on their kids’ team, on their bowling league, whatever.

Footbawl

In Sports on September 7, 2007 at 5:07 am

A humiliation at the hands of the champs

Watched some of the second half of the NFL season-opener, tonight, and I didn’t mind the outcome one bit. And I’m not a Colts fan.

Last season, I picked up a little bit of an attitude problem about the Saints. I’m an N.C. State Wolfpack fan (class of ’88). Having Mario Williams picked up by the Texans as the No. 1 draft choice was about the only bright spot in the football season. Of course, the TV geniuses all pronounced Mario a bust and whined that Reggie Bush, the No. 2 pick, should have gone ahead of Mario. And ESPN couldn’t stop polishing Reggie Bush’s knob.

Not to mention, the Saints had just picked up Drew Brees, who’d decided to become a good quarterback in San Diego just in time to keep Wolfpack alum Philip Rivers from playing. And then Brees out-statisticked Rivers last year, which is irritating.

So it was fun to watch Reggie and Drew pretty much eat it the whole second half.

Sometimes you have to stretch a little to give a damn about a football game. But I’m willing to go the extra mile. I do this for you, the dedicated ‘Lamentations’ blog viewer.

The healing power of football

In Sports on August 31, 2007 at 6:48 pm

Since when did football become a balm for damaged communities? First, we had the hand-wringing over when it would be OK to resume football after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Then Katrina ruined thousands of lives, and the Saints returning to New Orleans a year later was puffed up into a healing ceremony by the TV sports druids. (New Orleans is still a festering, necrotic ulcer — football don’t rebuild no houses. Neither do the guv’mint or the insurance companies, evidently.)

Now it’s Virginia Tech’s turn.

After the tragic shooting on campus April 16 that left 33 people dead, many students and members of the Blacksburg community looked toward the Hokies’ first game as another milestone in helping the school return to a sense of normalcy.

“I do believe that this school will come back tighter, stronger, more together, more caring, more respectful of each other than ever before,” Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said. “And there’s probably not a greater place to show it than in a stadium where, if you’re there – the alumni, the students, the fans, whatever – you’re all going in the same direction.

“People just want something to rally around.”

Don’t get me wrong. I have great sympathy for the grieving people of the Gulf Coast and Blacksburg, Va. And I love me some football. (I’ve had NFL preseason games on in the background quite a bit and am stoked that college ball’s started.) But football is entertainment. It doesn’t solve our problems. It doesn’t pay our bills. It doesn’t mend a broken heart.

Sports are a welcome diversion and, sure, there’s an emotional component and a sense of community among fans of a particular team. And that’s plenty. Why make them out to have more power than they do?