Roller Derby

Sunday, 22 July 2012, 16:36 | Category : Other
Tags :

Whip It, Roller Derby, Ellen Page

A while ago, my wife and I caught the second half of the movie Whip It, which is about roller derby. We were so intrigued by this sport and the world that surrounds it. We thought it would be fun to go watch it in person. So when we found out it would be in town, we knew we had to go check it out.

The third Wilson brother gives a quick and dirty explanation of the game in this clip. For more rules, go to Wikipedia, where else?

We showed up in time for the first game, which was the JV team. The local team lost 300 something to 38. But this gave us a chance to watch and figure out some of the strategy and rules. So by the time the second game rolled around, we were pretty much experts.

The second game was significantly better, and the players were much more skilled. While I didn’t really ever see the girls “whip it”, they sure could maneuver with much more agility and finesse. There were also some bigger hits (although I was disappointed with the amount of limitations on the physicality as a whole). If I attend in the future, I will show up for the main event. The game was actually extremely exciting.

The game started with the Treasure Valley Roller Girls, the local team, getting off to a huge lead. It was no surprise since we found out they were 22nd in the west (which actually means nothing considering we have no idea how teams there are in total. going into the second half, it looked like the visitors didn’t stand a chance.

Since it looked to be another blow out and the middle-aged overweight zumba dancers half-time show wasn’t holding my attention, we were planning on leaving early. But boy were we glad we stuck around.

TVR unfortunately also got it in their heads that this was going to be a blow out and the visiting team wouldn’t let up. Little by little, they kept chipping away at the lead. They finally closed the lead from over 80 down to 10. Just then TVR came up with some well needed points to stop the bleeding, but it wasn’t enough. Finally it came down to the final jam. TVR seemed to be in a good position to seal the deal when their jammer got sent to the penalty box with a major. The visitors took advantage of this, but their jammer appeared to have ended the jam just one point shy of tying the home team. After minutes of deliberation, the referees determined that the score was in fact tied. So the game went to OT.

The TVR jammer had to start OT by finishing out her major, which gave the visitors a good start. Fortunately the TVR’s blockers were ruthless, keeping the damage very minimal. Once out of the box, the TVR jammer rocked it and managed to cut the lead down, nearly catching up. But in the end, she just couldn’t make up the difference. The 22nd roller derby team in the west, fell in overtime by two points.

Even though TVR lost, it was a great game. Not only was it entertaining, but very informational as well. If you have the chance to go watch roller derby, I would say it’s worth attending at least once.

GOP Playoffs

Tuesday, 3 January 2012, 20:26 | Category : Other
Tags :

Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, battle, GOP presidential primaries, Iowa Caucus, battle, Ron Paul, Barrack Obama

It may not look all that athletic, but campaigning has more in common with sports than you think.

Whether you’re a Republican, Democrat, independent, or a member of some other party, you’ve got to be intrigued by the field of GOP presidential candidates.  If you happen to be completely indifferent to politics altogether, you may find that it’s not so different from sports after all.  And as Karl puts it, it’s the only competition that actually matters.

Since last spring, six (of nine) different candidates have surged in the polls at different times.  Newt Gingrich thought he was getting hot at the right time, but it turns out he was about two weeks too early.

Now Rick Santorum, of all people, is peaking at the right time as the post season begins in Iowa tonight.  (Who knew being 8th out of nine would pay off?)  But much like many Cinderella stories in March Madness, the little guy just may not have enough to sustain a deep run.

Ron Paul has a strong backing from very passionate, mobilized supporters.  I compare him to the Portland Trailblazers.  Maybe nobody really believes he’ll be the last man standing, but at the same time, nobody wants to face him in the first round.  With his passionate fan base, he just may pick up the momentum he needs to cause some real havoc.

Romney, on the other hand, is more like the Oklahoma City Thunder.  Just like Romney, they both made good runs last year but just didn’t have enough to do what it takes to make it to the finals.  He is now more experienced but for some reason is not the powerhouse he and his supporters feel he should be.  He has been slow and steady, and whether he wins the nomination or not, just about everybody expects him to be in the mix.  Maybe Mitt and the Thunder aren’t as “sexy” as some of their competition (unless hair’s your thing), but they know they’re the favorites this time around.

Sports and politics are both about perception.  While Obama seemed untouchable when he entered office, he no longer looks as invincible as a champion that everyone expects to repeat, a la Green Bay Packers.  He now looks more like the Dallas Mavericks, older and weaker (although he’s probably in better shape both metaphorically and literally).  But the Mavericks surprised us all last year when they peaked at the right time (maybe there is a chance for you, Santorum!), so don’t count them or Obama out just yet.

Obama is not in the GOP “bracket”, but he knows he’ll be up against the winner.  His administration makes attacks on Romney like they’re already looking ahead to the rivalry game at the end of the season.

As of right now it is a three man race tonight with Paul falling a little behind.  Will the winner of tonight’s competition have the momentum to win it all?  Can one of the little guys pull a Butler?

Quidditch All-Stars: Seeker

Monday, 31 October 2011, 10:28 | Category : Other
Tags :

Harry Potter, Draco Malfoy, Seeker, Quidditch, Snitch, Griffindor, Slytherine, Hogwarts, House Cup

Which athletes whould make the best seekers?

Seeing as how it’s Halloween, we’re getting as close to a Halloween themed post as I know how: Quidditch.

After three previous posts, we’re down to naming players to the final and most prestigious position in Quidditch: the Seeker.  (Check out our other posts on Keepers, Chasers, and Beaters.)  Harry Potter and pretty much every major character play the position.  This could be because the Seeker is such an important position because the outcome of the game almost always depends solely on which team’s Seeker catches the Snitch, earning Quidditch the title of Dumbest Sport Ever in some circles.

In the article from the link above, the author argues the sport is the “dumbest ever” because the Seeker is more important than any position from any other sport ever.  “More than starting pitching in baseball, quarterback play in football, and whatever it is that helps you win at hockey.”  The author makes a valid point.  150 point for one position when the most anyone else can earn is ten points at a time is pretty steep.  However, much like in soccer, point differential matters.  Losing by a smaller margin can help teams in the standings against teams losing by larger margins.

Another point the author and many others argue is that whichever team catches the Snitch always wins.  But that just isn’t necessarily true.  In book 4 at the Quidditch World Cup, Victor Krum catches the snitch for Bulgaria despite being down by more than 150 points to Ireland just to stop the beat down and end the game with some pride.

While I think the idea of the Seeker catching the Snitch to end the game is interesting, I think it should be worth about half as many points.  This would make it much easier for teams to rack up points to deter the opposing Seeker from catching the Snitch if they are down by too many points.  The IQA actually made the rule change.  I can’t find how many points they award teams for catching the Snitch, but it’s less than 150.

Seekers: “are generally the smallest and lightest players on a team, and there is a certain glamour attached to playing as a Seeker.”

A few months ago, Jimmy mentioned in a post how he pulls for the little guys (probably because he’s one of them) and gave the example of David Eckstein.  Not only is he small (5’6″), but he has experience catching small (although not as small as a Snitch) balls.

Snitch, Quidditch, IQA

You try catching a guy in golden spandex, it's not as easy as it looks.

The other Seeker spot goes to Chris Osgood.  Since he’s a goalie some may think he’s better suited for playing Keeper, but a hockey net is a much smaller than three hoops.  He’s only 5’10″, which isn’t that short, but he’s proven to have really quick hands.

And since I don’t know magic, we’ll need someone really fast to dress up in yellow spandex with a flag that the seekers catch just like in the IQA.  Who would make a better Snitch than Usain Bolt?  Even his name sounds fast.

So the final rosters look like this:

Chudley Cannons Montrose Magpies
Keeper Hope Solo Dwight Howard
Chaser Payton Manning Tom Brady
Chaser Steve Nash Deron Williams
Chaser Justin Verlander Roy Halladay
Beater Albert Pujols Adrian Gonzalez
Beater Zdeno Chara Rafael Nadal
Seeker David Eckstein Chris Osgood
Snitch                     Usain Bolt

What do you think?


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