A Day Late, But Not a Dollar Short

So, game reviews take longer than expected.  I guess that’s why I’m a sports writer and not a game reviewer, eh?  Speaking of ‘eh’, what a game by the US last night! Watching Olympic hockey is what has me not beating myself up about this post being late.

Hockey Notes

People are already talking about the rematch in the Gold Medal game.  Wait? First off, Canada could very well lose to Russia in the quarterfinals.  If Malkin and Ovechkin are on, all it’s going to take is some solid goalkeeping and Russia will be unstoppable.  Football keepers can play for years – see van der Sar or Friedel (among many others) but I wonder if Brodeur is past his prime.  I’ve not been keeping up with The Devils, but one has to think the Olympics is a step up from the NHL season and maybe he’s a little off.  I’m not saying things were Brodeur’s fault – far from it, the Canadians gave up massive amounts of turnovers – but maybe he’s no longer unstoppable.

Random News and Notes

I’ve also been working on getting my gym membership set back up after my move, working on getting more sportazine writers and spending a fair amount of time talking X’s and O’s with my roommate.  Not altogether a lazy week!  On the sportazine front, it looks like we are going to have an NFL blogger starting a monthly post in March.  So excited!

I passed out of casual observer phase to true fan this past week by picking up my first Manchester United gear.  I suppose the walk from my office to the building where the dock is was the liminal journey.  Fittingly, the hallway is called ‘The Chunnel‘.

Ideas for columns? Let me know! Right now, it’s looking like the next one will be some form of coaching/playing tips for indoor soccer, probably with some notes on the differences between the two sports, with some coverage also of beach soccer, Homeless World Cup and futsal.  As always, open to suggestions!

Why FIFA 2010 Review?

I was supposed to write a review of FIFA 2010 this week…apparently I spent too much time playing and not enough time writing. 😉  One of the sections I did finish was why I thought it was a good idea, so I’ll go ahead and post that.  When I finish the review, I’ll either rehash the reasoning or link back to it.

One might ask what a game review *really* has to do with sports, since you sit on a couch and aren’t following real athletes.  There are plenty of studies that suggest that gaming can teach and/or hone skills.  There is a reason the US Military funds video gaming.  When I coached for Triangle FC, I suggested the boys play FIFA so that they could learn terminology (through ball, pitch, etc), to build interest in the sport and to better think the game (when is a good time to play a through ball, etc).  My roommate likes to talk about being a couple passes ahead in the game.  That’s exactly what playing a game can help you do.  As to the players, had I subscribed to Fox Soccer Channel or GolTV at the time, and realized the coverage of the sport on TV, I probably would have suggested they watch the pros, but things have come a ways since then with ESPN now covering EPL games in HD.  Of course, at the time, Fox Soccer Channel wasn’t named that, but that’s another post.  Also likely another post – active vs. passive learning. That’s what’s going on in watching versus playing.

There are two points I want to make clear:

  1. For coaches, you’ve got to meet players on their level. Especially for older coaches, video games may seem like the most unathletic thing imaginable, but kids love video games.  If you’re teaching kids that the way to become a better football player (or any sport) is to run a ridiculous amount of wind sprints, you’re doing it wrong.  Just think of a video game as an extension of the ‘game tape’.
  2. For players, study the game. Even if your coach thinks winning a state championship is solely based on hustle and outrunning the opposing team (I’ve had coaches where ‘hustle’ was something akin to ‘the’), don’t be fooled.  Watch the game.  Study opposing players if you get a chance.  Do all of this without being a jackass to your coach, even if s/he is an idiot.  No amount of one-upsmanship is going to keep you from riding the pine or being sent back home to play video games.

And, just to be clear to both sides, you need to run wind sprints too.

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I played four varsity sports in high school (gridiron, track, football and basketball). I went to states with a relay team in North Carolina and made the state semi-finals in football (soccer). I also coached travel football for TFC (http://www.trianglefc.org/) and worked for Eurosport/soccer.com. I graduated from the University of New Hampshire School of Law, where I study intellectual property and sports law.

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