My retirement from the soccer culture wars

The unexamined life is not worth living, Socrates is alleged to have said in Plato’s telling of the story. Shortly thereafter, Socrates said his last words: “I drank what?” If you prefer more modern fare, picture Jules at the diner near the end of Pulp Fiction. “I had what alcoholics refer to as a moment of clarity.” I had a couple of moments like that yesterday. It all started innocently enough — a well-intentioned but ill-advised campaign from a few soccer media types (not including me) to tweet roughly the same thing about the MLS playoffs fed the conspiracy theories in certain quarters … Continue reading My retirement from the soccer culture wars

Just when you thought the Olympics were dead (bowling edition)

If only the IOC had as many suitable hosts for the Winter Olympics as it had sports who want to get on the Summer Olympic program … The sport of bowling, long an Olympic aspirant, is taking aim at the Olympics, with a new scoring system that more closely resembles match play golf. (Which, ironically, is not the format golf will use in its Olympic rollout in 2016.) Here’s how it works: In the Tour finals, held at the South Point Bowling Plaza in Las Vegas on Sunday, matches will effectively become a frame-by-frame showdown, with each bowler initially rolling a single … Continue reading Just when you thought the Olympics were dead (bowling edition)

The annual request to change the MLS playoff format

This is how the MLS playoffs should be. Home teams listed first. ROUND 1 East #1 D.C. United – #2 New England #3 Columbus – #4 New York, loser eliminated West #1 Seattle – #2 Los Angeles #3 Salt Lake – #4 Dallas, loser eliminated ROUND 2 East D.C. United-New England loser vs. Columbus-New York winner West Seattle-Los Angeles loser vs. Salt Lake-Dallas winner SEMIFINALS East D.C. United-New England winner vs. Round 2 winner West Seattle-Los Angeles winner vs. Round 2 winner FINAL East winner vs. West winner (or vice versa) — It’s called the Page playoff system (or a slight variant thereof). Every … Continue reading The annual request to change the MLS playoff format

USWNT vs. Mexico: Key moments and random thoughts

The USA advanced to the Women’s World Cup with a lopsided victory over a Mexican team that left a couple of solid attackers on the bench and never threatened to come back from an early U.S. goal. Costa Rica advanced in penalty kicks in the first qualifying semifinal, with Dinnia Diaz saving all three Trinidad and Tobago kicks she faced while the Tica kickers calmly converted their attempts. Costa Rica and the USA will play in the final for bragging rights but little else — even calling it the CONCACAF championship seems dubious when Canada (automatically qualified for the World Cup … Continue reading USWNT vs. Mexico: Key moments and random thoughts

War on Nonrevenue Sports returns: USOC gearing up

USOC CEO Scott Blackmun isn’t going to give up on Olympic sports in colleges without a fight. He sees the threat of budget cuts and reallocations as athletics departments start paying more for its football and basketball players. There are so many things that we can do. What we need to do is get together and decide what is our top priority, what are our top three priorities. We have identified a donor who’s willing to support us, subject to us collectively — and by that I mean the athletic directors and the USOC — finding a program that we … Continue reading War on Nonrevenue Sports returns: USOC gearing up

How will the USWNT line up?

All the tactical talk of the U.S. women’s soccer team may boil down to one question: How’s Lauren Holiday’s defense? Everything else is working. Tobin Heath is a creative monster on the left. Megan Rapinoe has the playmaking skills and the engine to run all over the field and distribute. Right wing may not be the best place for Christen Press, but it’s good enough. Carli Lloyd’s role hasn’t changed all that much. The central midfield triangle, well-profiled this week by ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle, has plenty of attacking power. First things first — let’s clarify that the difference between a … Continue reading How will the USWNT line up?

Dispatches from the U.S. soccer culture wars

From Tarkus to Fury, the artistically inclined people among us have sketched out portraits of conflict that just keeps going and going, eventually devouring the war-weary veteran and the new enlistee alike. (At least, I think that’s what Tarkus is about. I get lost somewhere in the middle of Keith Emerson’s fourth keyboard solo.) And so it goes with what Charles Boehm has succinctly labeled the Soccer Culture War. I expect the "soccer culture war" to keep rumbling on for a bit longer today in the wake of @tsnmike's latest: https://t.co/UL1k7flSKR — Charles Boehm (@cboehm) October 21, 2014 Some people are willing, even … Continue reading Dispatches from the U.S. soccer culture wars