Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Becoming a Fan

I've been a soccer fan for a few years now and have followed Chelsea for that same amount of time. I have always considered myself one of the Chelsea faithful but have not been so convinced of that fact until today.

Growing up around sports I find it is easy to follow your team when the going is good and the wins are easy. Living in L.A. I may have become a Dodgers and Lakers fan regardless of winning percentage. But the fact that my developmental years were spent watching around the back passes from Magic to Worthy and shutout innings being thrown by Orel Hershiser made it easier to fall in love with those teams.

Yet you never feel quite complete as a fan until your team loses a big game. You never truly understand what the rooting did to you emotionally and physically. You back a team through the thick and stick with them through the thin because that is your conviction and that is who you choose to trust. When the people you trust break your heart you know you are invested for life.

I remember 1989 and the Piston's sweep of the Lakers in the finals. Being nine at the time I don't mind telling you I cried that night. I remember the ineptitude of the early ninety Dodgers teams. They had me holding onto the dream that we could repeat the miracle of '88.

At almost thirty years old, I had the same experience yet again. Nil-nil going into today's second leg semi-final, Chelsea lost in injury time to Barcelona. They finished ninety minutes as the assured finalists in this years Champions League final match. They came within a minute and a half of completing something worthwhile to a lackluster season. As does happen so often in sport. The unexpected happenened.

Barcelona scored with little time left in injury time allowing them to go ahead in the tie breaker scenario. When Iniesta connected with the ball my heartbroke. In so many of these events in my life. I know when the inevitable is about to happen. As the ball swept passed Cech's outstretched arm I buried my head in my hands in disgust.

I can take refuge in the fact that I am part of a faithful of Chelsea fan that felt the same way today. I can take soalce in the fact that we will have no alternative but wait until next season to root again. I can take pride in the fact that there is nothing more I can do about the pain. I am a Chelsea fan after all.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Weekend Tacos

A Saturday so filled with amazing sport is usually saved for late March. Though in May, tomorrow should give us ample opportunity to sit on the couch and not move for three or ten hours. So here are the top three tacos to watch Saturday, complete with which method of drink you should be pounding.

135th Kentucky Derby
The main race should be around 3PST. So my morning may consist of looking for ingredients for my mint julep and a very large hat. This may be a tight one as there are no clear cut favorites this time around. The early favorite is 'I want Revenge' who is now going off at 3-1. The most interesting horse is the colt 'Pioneer of the Nile.' He has the strength and longevity to finish but has only been a turf or synthetic surface horse until now. If he transitions to dirt well he may be near the top at the turn.

What to drink
Mint Julep There is something sophisticated yet down home about a mint julep. In fact its the only cocktail that you can sip while wearning boxers and no shirt and still be snooty about it.

The Game Seven to end all Game Sevens
Ever since Game six between the Boston Celtics and the Chicago Bulls occurred every sports pundit has touted this series as the greatest thing to happen since late night spaghetti bowls before bed. It has been a great series. But the fact remains that the winner will still lose to Cleveland eventually. However, because almost every game this series has been a close, hard hitting, controversy inducing match up, I will not miss seven. Well at least not the fourth quarter.

What to Drink
Because of the location, you have to go Sam Adams. By now you should have a euphoric feeling of malaise. It's ok tomorrow is Sunday and you have nothing to do.

Pacquiao v. Hatton
Last time I saw Pacquiao fighting he was beating up a poor old Mexican lady. No one seemed to care either. They just allowed the Phillipino pugilist to land blow after blow on the defenseless Oscar Dela Hoya. It was a scary sight but I couldn't divert my eyes. PacMan's complete beat down on Dela Hoya illustrated his veracity at pretty much any weight class. I would be ready to bet the farm on his ability to dismantle Hatton if it weren't for Floyd Mayweather Sr. and his dedication to defense. Hatton has always been a puncher that would come at you and worry about the repercussions later. Having a stiff chin and deft swing allows that. However, this fight is different. Pacquaio can fly around the ring and will most assuredly get his punches in. If Hatton learned to dodge this late in his career this may just be better than the beating of an old Mexican I saw last year.

What to Drink
San Miguel or Guinness - Then take a nap.