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Going Beast Mode

January 27th, 2015 · No Comments · Football, Journalism, NFL, Sports Journalism

Taking a page out of Marshawn Lynch’s playbook …

So, what are your thoughts on guys who refuse to talk at the Super Bowl?

Read what I wrote last year.

What?

Read what I wrote last year.

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No Fun, Sometimes No Games

January 26th, 2015 · No Comments · Football, soccer, World Cup

We work in a region of the world where, in several countries, the basics in life are anything but a certainty.

For example … the domestic soccer league. Is it playing, in Syria? Is it safe to attend, in Iraq? Could riots break out, in Egypt?

Americans have complaints about their lives, but compared to several countries in this part of the world, it’s all cool. The NFL, NBA, MLB, all play games as scheduled, and the idea you run a risk of being killed by attending is silly.

Not so, in several countries in this part of the world, certainly including Iraq, which today played South Korea in the semifinals of the Asian Cup, in Australia.

We did a story about Iraqi football in the Monday editions of The National, and how it struggles on, and how rooting for the Iraq national team can get a guy killed, in the era of the Islamic State.

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Boring James Milner

January 25th, 2015 · No Comments · English Premier League, Football, soccer

I realized the other day that the box our vacuum cleaner came in … has lasted longer than the vacuum it held.

The vacuum pretty much fell to pieces, after five years, and I threw it out.

A day later, I noted that the box is still being used as a storage place for shoes. The box is standing on one end, in a closet, and a pair of shoes pretty much fits the width of it. Then I stack the shoes, pair on pair.

Which brings me to Boring James Milner. Basically, the above is something that would be written by Boring James.

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End of the Line for Kobe Bryant?

January 24th, 2015 · No Comments · Basketball, Kobe, Lakers, NBA

Knee surgeries. A snapped Achilles tendon. A broken leg. Kobe Bryant fought back from those to return to the Lakers.

But now a torn rotator cuff? In his right shoulder? In his shooting arm?

At age 36?

We may have just seen the last NBA game Kobe Bryant will play, which is sad … but also a relief.

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The UAE’s Biggest Victory

January 23rd, 2015 · No Comments · Abu Dhabi, Football, soccer, The National, UAE, World Cup

If this is sports, and we are talking about the UAE’s biggest victory, we can be talking only about soccer.

And this was a big victory, indeed.

UAE a 5-4 winner in a quarterfinal shootout over defending continental champion Japan in the 2015 Asian Cup in Australia.

If you are a team in Asia, the Asian Cup is the second-biggest tournament you can play in, behind only the World Cup.

And the UAE is in the final four.

I already have filed copy for The National in which I describe this as the most significant victory in the country’s history, while focusing on the three substitutes who came through in the shootout.

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U.S. Soccer’s Biggest Award: Bruce Arena Deserves It

January 22nd, 2015 · No Comments · Football, France, Landon Donovan, soccer, World Cup

The U.S. Soccer Federation today announced Bruce Arena, the LA Galaxy coach and former U.S. national team coach, as winner of the annual Werner Fricker Award — given to “an individual who has worked tirelessly on furthering the interest of the sport of soccer without regard to personal recognition or advancement”.

I am not quite sure about the “without regard to personal recognition or advancement” part of that, but it seems quite clear Arena has been a major figure in the growth of soccer in the U.S. during his career.

As U.S. national team coach, he won more games (71) than anyone and was the only man in modern soccer history to take the U.S. to the quarter-finals of the World Cup, in 2002. And he has won more Major League Soccer titles (5) than anyone.

He deserves this award. He clearly was a major influence in the advance of the game, during his four decades as a head coach, including his 18 seasons at the University of Virginia.

His career has been interesting on several fronts.

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‘Wolowitz’ and a Painful Rom-Com

January 21st, 2015 · No Comments · Abu Dhabi, Paris, Travel

You’re heard the expression “cover-your-eyes awful” or something near to that?

I understood the concept.

I had never lived it.

Until tonight … while watching the movie starring (and written by and directed by) Simon HelbergWolowitz, of TV’s successful Big Bang Theory.

About halfway through We’ll Never Have Paris, I literally was covering my eyes — from embarrassment for everyone on screen, and especially Helberg … and everyone sitting in that Abu Dhabi theater, Arabs, westerners and Filipinos … and Hollywood for allowing this movie to be made … and for the human race, which produced people capable of producing such a wretched flick and others dim enough to pay to see it.

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Iran Soccer and the Selfies-with-Women Ban

January 20th, 2015 · No Comments · Football, soccer, UAE

I love the Asian Cup. Such a big continent. So many cultures. So many stories.

Like this one: About how Iranian soccer players have been told not to allow female fans to take “selfies” with them in Australia — or face the consequences.

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And Then it Rained

January 19th, 2015 · 1 Comment · Abu Dhabi, Dubai, The National, UAE

Rain here produces a reaction rather like snow does in Southern California.

“Oh, cool! Come over and look at this! Wow! … Hey, wait. … This is not comfortable to be walking around in. I don’t have the right clothes. And it might even be dangerous to drive in …”

It rained real rain today in the UAE. And snowed a bit in the mountains of the northern emirates.

And it was really amusing, for about 10 minutes.

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Praying for Rain

January 18th, 2015 · No Comments · Uncategorized

The things you learn by living in a place. Eventually.

Until today, I had not noticed that “praying for rain” is a Muslim thing. But why wouldn’t it be?

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