Archive for the ‘sports’ category

Water Polo?

June 3, 2021

swim startI made the East Haven High School swimming team in my junior year.  I was on the short side, a little scrawny and my coach said I had a Red Cross freestyle (NOT a compliment).  Our school didn’t have a pool so we bused to the local YMCA for practices.  I worked hard and swam in a variety of events, including the 100 fly, the 200 individual medley and the relays.   I wasn’t the fastest guy in any event but I was versatile and worked hard to improve.  The summer after my junior year I worked as a lifeguard at a local lake, swimming laps during all my time off duty.  I also hit a growth spurt and returned 6 inches taller with … hello … muscles.   When my coach saw me, he said, What happened to you?  He was even more pleased when he saw my times. (more…)

Soccer and Me

June 1, 2021

aaronamyHere they call it Soccer.   In most of the world it is Football or Futbal.  Here it is a relatively minor sport.  In most of the world it is THE sport.  At 36 years old, I knew nothing of the sport except that the athletic fields around our home in Yorba Linda, CA, were filled every Saturday with boys and girls chasing a ball around and parents cheering like it was the Oympics.  Soccer was THE sport for kids and my son wanted to play.   He joined a team coached by the Mom of one of his friends (who played the game) and I agreed to be the assistant coach.  Thus began my my roughly 15 years association with youth soccer.   I would coach my son, Aaron’s team, up until high school and my daughter, Amy’s team until she retired from the game in 6th grade.   I served on the league board and as the President of the high school booster club.  As a coach, I was known to stress sportsmanship over winning, but my teams won a lot, too.  I think I probably took it too seriously and I know I stayed at the fair too long with my son, coaching after he was ready for me to step aside.  That didn’t end well and left me with a bad taste for the game.  A few years later, I took on a girls team without a child of mine on it for two years which rehabilitated my love of Futbol. (more…)


January 29, 2020


After I posted Kobe and Me, about the sorrow I felt at the passing of Kobe Bryant, I found an article titled The worst way to handle the Kobe Bryant rape case by Molly Roberts in the Washington Post. It wondered why the entirety of the Kobe Bryant legacy wasn’t being discussed, in particular the rape accusations that occurred in Colorado in 2003. I followed a link to an old description of the accuser’s … and Bryant’s … statements at the time and came away feeling uneasy with what I’d written. I don’t want to drag out the details here while many of us are mourning him, but the accusers statements AND Kobe’s were extremely disturbing, as was the physical evidence. The accuser eventually decided not to testify (likely because of the attack tactics of Kobe’s defense team), and the case was dropped. Kobe issued what can only be described as a half apology, admitting to the event and stating that he understood she didn’t see it as consensual. He also paid an estimated $2,5 million to the accuser to settle the civil case.

My assertion that the incident took the glow off one of my favorite athletes was inappropriately dismissive. Even reading the details today (which you can find here) , I was disgusted. I wondered: Can a man who is accused of rape with a preponderance of evidence pointing to guilt be, as Alicia Keys called him at the Grammys, a hero?


Kobe and Me

January 27, 2020

kobe too

Somewhere in the midst of the morning Sunday, we received a text from my son-in-law that Kobe Bryant had been killed in a helicopter crash near LA. I checked several of the news sites on my tablet … and it was true. As a life long Laker fan, particularly during the Kobe years, I was shocked. I turned on NBA TV, which was not showing. scheduled games, instead featuring the passing of Kobe Bryant, and as it turned out, his 13 year old daughter, Gianna, who was travelling with him. As the tributes from other players and celebrities rolled in, I found myself crying. As a person who prides himself in not getting caught up in celebrity worship, that was a surprise. I’d seen athletes come and go but I’d never mourned one as if I knew him.


Bud Runs a Marathon

September 24, 2019

brittanyOver the weekend, while our house was being shown to prospective buyers, my wife Muri and I decided to go to the movies.  We chose Brittany Runs a Marathon, the indie film from Amazon Studios directed by Paul Downs Colaizzo, and starring Jillian Bell as Brittany.   Brittany is a 29 year-old Cornell graduate whose once promising life has faded into a montage of mindless partying, low paying jobs, and falling self-worth.   After being told by her doctor that she needs to lose weight she reluctantly decides to try running.  As played by Bell, Brittany is a funny, resilient but wounded girl whose self-deprecation masks deeper self-loathing, and whose self-sabotage veers precariously toward self-harm.  Toward the end of the film, Brittany is near mile twenty-two of the marathon, too tired to continue.  Friends convince her to keep going and the camera follows her painful steps toward the finish line.  Surprisingly, I found myself emotionally invested in her progress, crying like I rarely cry at movies.  What was that about? (more…)

The Big Game

February 1, 2015

big  gameYep.  It’s that day.  And like 67% of American men**, I will be watching what is often referred to as The Big Game.  Because The Big Game’s real name is trademarked, doncha know?  And like 44% of American women, my wife, Muri, will be watching.  We will not be watching at a Super Bowl (er … Big Game) Party like 20 million other Americans, unless you count the two of us sitting in the family room with an assortment ofwpid-2015-02-01-13.57.02.jpg.jpeg appetizers and the two cats (Mr. P and Elvis) as a party.   Elvis will probably watch, sitting on his favorite spot on the coffee table but it’s darn near certain that Mr. P will nap.  On my lap.  Until there is an exciting play and my body English sends him scurrying upstairs.  Las Vegas has the odds that Muri will take a nap at 3 to 1, while the possibility of an Older Eyes nap are running about even.  This is the kind of game I like … I have a favorite but the preference isn’t so strong that I’ll be miserable if they lose.   The Seahawks are an exciting team and I like both their coach and quarterback.  But they knocked the team I really wanted to see in The Big Game, the Packers, out of the playoffs.  I also get tired of the Marshawn Lynch’s I-won’t-talk Beast Mode schtick, Richard Sherman’s big mouth and The Legion of Boom crap.  So I’ll root for the ball-deflating Patriots.  Once a New Englander, always a New Englander. (more…)


January 22, 2015

deflatedI am a football fan.  I am often a reluctant football fan for a variety of reasons.  As much as I enjoy the games, I dislike the degree of importance we give them and the way we idolize athletes because they can throw or catch a ball … or knock another man to the ground.  While I don’t idolize the players, I do enjoy watching the sometimes amazing athletic feats the games bring into our family room.   But I have to say I’d enjoy them a lot more if I didn’t have to listen to the constant chatter of announcers explaining every play as if it were rocket science.   That’s probably because I don’t have something they call football intelligence.  Then there’s sports-talk, twenty-four hours a day, the place I go for information on the teams I follow and the games I’ve missed.  Unfortunately, the media, aiming for a younger demographic than Older Eyes favors smack-talking announcers and ex-jocks who’d rather create artificial sports controversies and offer sophomoric social commentary than actual report on sports. (more…)


June 28, 2014

futballWhen I was 30 years old (shortly after the extinction of the dinosaurs), I knew nothing about soccer.   Oh, I probably knew vaguely how it was played and I’m sure I’d noticed kid’s teams playing on the school fields on weekends, kicking and squealing in their colorful uniforms.  I probably knew of the World Cup but I can assure you, I had never watched a soccer game, on TV or in person.  When I was 35, we decided to enroll our son, Aaron, in the local youth soccer league.  I think that happened because his friend’s Mom was going to coach a team and wanted to know if Aaron would play.  She also asked if I would help her coach.  She actually played soccer, so I said, Yes, figuring I could learn as I go.   There wasn’t much to learn that year … Instructional League wasn’t known as beehive ball for nothing.  If you could teach one or two kids the idea of passing instead of ball-chasing, you’d had a good year.   Aaron took to the game like a natural, not so much because of superior coaching but because he emulated Steve, another player on his team who had older brothers and was very good.  Aaron was hooked.  So was his Dad.  Him on playing, me on coaching … and later, the game itself. (more…)

That Smell

May 1, 2014

basketballI suspect that anyone who keeps an eye on the news, even an occasional eye, knows what happened in the NBA this week. In a recording of a conversation with his girlfriend, the owner of the L.A. Clippers, Donald Sterling, made clearly racist statements that ignited a firestorm in the media. Current and former players immediately called his attitudes unacceptable and demanded his removal as an owner. The Clippers … and other teams as well … engaged in silent protests before their playoff games and sportscasters, particularly the TNT team of Shaquille O’Neil, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley, called for his immediately removal as owner. Doc Rivers, the Clipper’s African-American coach, strongly hinted that he would not return as coach if Sterling remained as owner.  There were rumblings of player boycotts of the playoffs. On Tuesday, the new commissioner, Adam Silver, moved decisively, suspending Sterling for life, fining him $2.5M, and moving to have him removed as owner. The sports world celebrated the demise of a bigot and the leadership of Adam Silver in saving the league, Charles Barkley describing it as a Great Day . (more…)

Only One, Really

April 8, 2014

TSTToday, I found an article in GQ Magazine Online about Valeria Lukanyova, a woman who has become a human Barbie doll through plastic surgery and extreme dieting (Follow the link with extreme caution … she is very creepy).  It seemed a natural for a curmudgeonly post but I’ve been sitting here for an hour and a half trying to nurse Two Thoughts on Tuesday out of it without success.  The problem is, of course, that I have Only One, ReallyMy UConn Huskies won the Men’s Basketball National Championship, beating Kentucky 60-54.   The odds for UConn finishing as the champion were 100-1 … if only I’d bet a few bucks.  The game has been over for hours and I’m still thinking about how close it got toward the end and how the announcers kept talking about Kentucky’s last minute come-from-behind victories.  Why is it that announcers always seem to be rooting for the other team?  Why do I get too excited to watch sitting down? (more…)