Tag Archives: football

Fantasy Football

The NFL season is four weeks in and that means fantasy football is in full swing. Fantasy football is a game where you and your friends form a league and each person has their own team. It starts with a draft: each person picks real NFL players to fill out their own roster. Each week you play head to head against another friend, accumulating wins, losses, and points. There are surprise victories and stunning upsets. And a whole lot of shit talking. It’s not fantasy football without shit talking.

There is some skill involved, but it’s mostly luck. For example I currently have fifty points more than my league leader, but I’m in third place because I lost two close games and he is undefeated. I have more than a hundred points more the person in second, but she has won one more game than me so she’s better. Points are nice. Wins are what really matter though. As the great Vin Diesel says, “It doesn’t matter if you win by an inch or a mile. Winning is winning.” If you win you are obligated to let your opponent know that you beat them with an insulting GIF and a taunting message in the group chat. It’s the only way to play.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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The Best That Never Was (documentary)

Marcus Dupree had it all in the early ‘80s. He was one of the best young football players in the country with the skills and flair needed to become a superstar. The Best That Never Was tells the true story of how he could have been a household name until he squandered it away. Director Jonathan Hock’s ESPN 30 for 30 documentary explores Dupree’s incredible football career through a mixture of interviews and film footage. You see how he grew up and developed a talent for football, how he harnessed that power and became a high school phenom, how the colleges came calling, how the cockroaches came out and exploited him, and how injuries and immaturity caused his career to tailspin until he ended up as forty-six year-old truck driver watching highlight reels of his glory days with a tear in his eye.

It’s a cautionary tale about the dangers of professional sports and how the lure of fame and money can destroy talent. It’s riveting. Dupree ultimately finds some redemption, but he knows that he made a lot of mistakes in his life. He has a lot of regrets, understandably so. There are a lot of good entries in the 30 for 30 series and this is one of the better ones. I highly recommend it. Watch it below if you have a couple of hours to kill.

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Filed under Entertainment, People I Feel Sorry For

Sitting On The Cooler

I spent last Sunday watching football at my friend’s house. It was a playoff game, and we had about twenty people crammed into a living room. Every single seat available was taken. Every spot on the couch was occupied, every folding chair was claimed, and a few people had to stand or sprawl out on the floor. One of our friends arrived too late to grab a seat, so he improvised by grabbing the cooler and using it as a seat. He thought it was a good idea, but he very quickly realized that he made a mistake. He would have to stand up every time somebody wanted another beer. And people tend to drink a lot of beer while watching football. He had to get up every couple of minutes whenever somebody was thirsty. He eventually got so annoyed that he ended up sitting on the floor next to the cooler. The cooler seat is the last place you want to sit at party or get-together. You won’t be able to sit comfortably for an extended period of time and that’s the hallmark of any good seat. Avoid sitting on the cooler. It seems like a good idea, but it’s you’ll end up regretting it every time.

Critically Rated at 6/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Filed under Random Rants

Major League Soccer

I went to my first Major League Soccer game last week. I also went to my last Major League Soccer game last week. I saw the San Jose Earthquakes take on Real Salt Lake at the Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara. Buck Shaw Stadium is a small college stadium. Any major league team that doesn’t have it’s own stadium feels like a minor league team. And that’s what MLS is. The players might be professional, but they aren’t good enough to play in the Premier League and that makes them minor leaguers in my opinion. It’s ok to like soccer. But if you like soccer than you should watch the Premier League because it has the best players and the best teams. MLS is like watching benchwarmers play each other. They know how the game works, they are decent athletes, but none of them have the skills or talent to be a starter in a real league. Imagine a bunch of mediocre teams with mediocre players playing mediocre soccer and paying for the experience. That’s Major League Soccer.

A Major League Soccer game is a pretty underwhelming experience and it’s pretty obvious from the get-go. For starters the venders were selling RC Cola. Not Coke, not even Pepsi… motherfucking RC Cola. Classy stuff, guys. More than half the people in the stands are only there because they got free tickets or were forced to go. The rest are actual fans of Major League Soccer. And that worries me because it takes a lot of time and energy to follow a sports team. If you live the in Bay Area and prefer the Earthquakes over the Giants, the 49ers, the A’s, the Raiders, the Warriors, or the Sharks than you have failed at life. Somewhere down the road you made a huge mistake and there’s no chance of redemption. Major League Soccer is a joke and proof that Americans will never take the sport seriously. Unless we somehow win the World Cup, then it’s bandwagon time.

Critically Rated at 5/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Super Bowl Sunday

It’s Super Bowl Sunday, America’s favorite pseudo-holiday. Football is the religion of choice for a lot of people. Super Bowl Sunday is like Christmas, New Year’s and Flag Day all rolled into one. The Baltimore Ravens face off against the San Francisco 49ers in New Orleans. Oh, and in case you haven’t heard, the two head coaches are brothers so everyone is talking about the Harbaugh Bowl (or Harbowl if you like puns). Some people are talking about Ray Lewis playing his last game. Everyone else is Kaepernicking.

The weird thing about the Super Bowl is that nobody is allowed to say it. It’s always “The Big Game” or some variant. It’s dumb; everyone knows that “The Big Game” is the Super Bowl. I don’t know why the NFL is so opposed to free advertising. I know that the NFL is a business, but they are stingy as fuck. They would charge you for the ice in your soda if they were a restaurant.

The Super Bowl boosts the economy in a lot of ways. Beer and alcohol sales skyrocket. Chips, dip, salsa, wings, cheese plates, and pork rinds fly off the shelves. Big screen TVs and surround sound systems get sold out. And I’m pretty sure that adult diaper sales also increase because you can’t go to the bathroom. You can’t miss the game and you can’t miss the commercials and all that beer has to go somewhere.

Enjoy the game, enjoy the day, and enjoy the people you’re spending it with. Get drunk, eat food, make bets, and have fun. And no matter the outcome, respect your city. It’s a game, not a reason to go riot.

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Watching the Game at the Bar

All across America and around the world people pack themselves into bars and pubs to watch their teams compete. Watching the game at the bar is more social, but it’s also more expensive than watching at home. It’s cool that you get to cheer and celebrate with other fans and you can discuss strategy and how bad the officials are. But you have to buy beer and food and you have to tip and that adds up. You have to deal with shit talkers and fair-weather fans who don’t know when to cheer. And there’s always a line for the bathroom. Watching the game at the bar is a ritual for some people and they like it. Some people don’t have any other place to watch it other than the bar so they have to suck it up and deal with it. No matter which camp you’re in, at least everyone in the bar can agree that watching sports and alcohol go hand in hand.

Critically Rated at 10/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Playing Catch

People like having fun and playing games are fun. One of simplest games you can play with another person is catch. All you have to do is throw an object to your partner and hope that they catch it. And then they throw the object back to you and you try to catch it. And then you throw it back to them, and on and on it goes. You can play catch with a baseball, a football, a tennis ball, a rolled-up sock, a Frisbee, a lemon, an egg… you have a lot of options. You can spice it up by keeping count of how many successful consecutive catches you make and then trying to break your record, or you can move around and try throwing to a moving target.

Playing catch is free and easy, but if you don’t have any friends you can throw a tennis ball against a brick wall or take up juggling.

Critically Rated at 13/17

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Pelada (documentary)

There’s no denying that football/soccer is a global game. They play it almost every country on the map. There are numerous professional leagues and a little event called the World Cup where the best players in the world have their chance to represent their countries and compete for national pride. There are billions of fans and millions of players… and most of those players didn’t have what it takes to play professionally. The passion for the game doesn’t just go away and so they play any way that they can. Pelada is a documentary about pickup soccer games around the world.

The documentary follows Luke and Gwendolyn, two former college stars who didn’t quite make it professionally. Their whole life, their identity was soccer/football. And when you realize you can’t achieve your dreams you have to redefine yourself somehow. They embarked on a six month long trip across 25 countries, finding games and joining in. Football/soccer is a unifier and they meet people with interesting stories and finding out what the game means to them, how it defines them.

They meet a young Brazilian called Ronaldinha, nicknamed after her idol Ronaldinho because she has his talent. They meet a bunch of old timers who meet once a week to play games. Very old, decrepit, and slow-paced games, but games nonetheless. They go into the San Pedro Prison in Bolivia and play some intense 5 on 5 games with the inmates. The inmates are crazy good at soccer/football because that’s all they have to look forward to.

In Kenya, they go to a small village dirt lot known as Austin’s Field, named for a guy who lost his family and found solace in soccer. He is always at the field, maintaining it and organizing games for the children. On Saturdays he arranges a tournament and teams compete for a meager cash prize. The whole village comes out to watch and the sideline becomes a wall of bodies. Football is their escape from the drudgery of life.

They go to China and meet a group of players with a whole different style of soccer. They like to freestyle, putting more emphasis of tricks involving juggling and fancy footwork. It’s like breakdancing with a soccer ball. They also play small 2v2 games, usually in public parks with lots of passersby. Their goal is to spread awareness of street soccer and freestyling. I noticed that in most countries, the players were all really passionate and would get angry and get frustrated. The Chinese players were also passionate, but the only emotion they showed was pure joy. They found happiness in the game that sets them free. Most players they showed around the world were poor and soccer was their escape. In China, the main player AK gave up his high paying and stressful job to kick a ball in the street. Soccer is his sanctuary.

Luke and Gwendolyn also go to Jerusalem, home of three major religions and a shit ton of tension. And they play soccer with each other. They are never on the same team, they play against each other. But they are playing on the same field and that is worth something. They openly say that they hate each other, but if they still kick a ball around instead of fighting with fists or bullets.

They go to Tehran, Iran where women are second-class citizens and the government forbids women from playing with men. Luke and Gwendolyn jump into a pickup game and someone reported them to the government. Gwendolyn finds a few women who play. They have a quick game, playing in hijabs and looking uncomfortable. Luckily the government doesn’t confiscate their video and this documentary is the result.

Soccer/football is the world’s sport for a reason. This movie takes you all over and shows you why. I just wish that Luke and Gwendolyn wouldn’t spend all their time bitching about how they didn’t make it. They try to make the movie about themselves, when it should be about soccer. If you say your movie is about pickup soccer games around the world, keep it about pickup soccer games. No one wants to see a glorified home movie about 2 white Americans travelling the world.

This is a good documentary overall, especially when it’s about soccer games and not a couple with failed dreams. It’s worth seeing and I watched it for free on Hulu, so if you have an hour and half to kill, this is a decent way to spend it.

Critically Rated at 13/17

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