Monday, September 13, 2010


The US national basketball team won the FIBA world championship last night, proving yet again that black people are way better at basketball than anyone else. Particularly Kevin Durant. The guy is a complete freak. And he's not a freak the way LeBron is a freak. LeBron uses once-in-a-generation athleticism and strength to overpower and overwhelm his opponents. Kevin Durant is something else entirely. Kevin Durant is skill personified. He's more like Larry Bird than LeBron James, and I know that sounds ridiculous but think about it. Larry Bird was one of the whitest guys to ever play professional basketball (Chris Mullin was #1 of course) and I mean that in the best way possible. Larry Bird made his physical shortcomings absolutely irrelevant. It didn't matter that at 6'9" he could barely dunk the ball. It didn't matter that he was about as quick as the Tin Man. It didn't even matter that for years he sported the worst mustache Western society had seen in a century.

Bird's intelligence, court vision, skill and hand-eye coordination were off the charts. Sure, he was extremely talented but he never relied entirely on his natural abilities. He was a student and scholar of the game. His fundamentals were airtight. He saw everything before anyone else. Every night he played he was the smartest and savviest player on the floor. He had ice water in his veins. He was comparable and intimidated by absolutely nobody. He smiled while he torched you. He was the one player of whom the also-incomparable Magic Johnson said "Of all the people I play against, the only one I truly fear is Larry Bird." He had supreme self-confidence and could take over a game from the tip-off but loved nothing more than making his teammates better. And he had the sweetest jump shot the NBA had ever seen before, or since. Kevin Durant is becoming that kind of player, and he already has a jump shot that would have placated Mark Whalberg during his racist phase. Kevin Durant is not big, nor is he particularly strong, but he doesn't need to be. He finds the space, the gaps and if he can't, he'll rise up in your face and shoot the purest shot you'll ever have the privilege of not blocking. His teammates love him. His fans love him. If his passing, handling and defense catch up with his scoring ability, he'll likely be the best player in the NBA and he'll be that player for years and years.

I don't want to say KD carried Team USA during this past tournament, but he was the primary scorer almost every night and, most amazingly, I don't think he had a single off night. In nine straight games. He went off for 38 points at 56% shooting against the Lithuania Jean Claude Van Dammes. And he did that all with teammates he hasn't played with before extensively and with FIBA rules instead of NBA rules (and believe me, subtle rule changes can really mess with your game). He was more than impressive. And yes, he was also playing with the "B" team, since the team consisted of very few of the NBA's very top players at each position so that gave him more room to perform, but it doesn't matter. He showed signs of being the force to reckon with for the next ten plus years. He's talented, humble and a team player. I really wish he didn't have to play in Oklahoma City.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

This is the MWTOTY.

I love this time of year. The weather cools off, the leaves change and everyone starts getting ready to hibernate for the winter. The real reason this is the best time of year is because of sports. The rest of it isn't so great. I'm not huge into skiing and I don't sled because I'm not twelve years old. I no longer feel obligated to spend time outdoors if I don't want to, and that's because just about everyone can get behind cold-weather excuses for apathy and laziness. Don't feel like going hiking? Who would? It's freaking miserable outside. Nobody wants to walk around in snowy weather. Stepping in a slushy puddle would make Nelson Mandela kick Lou Ferrigno in the balls. Don't want to go to a movie? Neither does anyone else, just get Netflix and wait out the chill. But I can't stand those people who brag about all the winter stuff they do and make you feel like a worthless turd because you spent the last seven days pretending to hate watching Fear Factor reruns. "Oh yes last week I skiied, then I snowboarded for thirty hours straight. The powder was un-be-liev-a-ble. Two days ago I went snowmobiling. O M G it was so beautiful, so amazing. So what have you done lately?" Hey screw you. Screw you right in the pants.

You're not obligated to do anything outside of work and the holidays once it starts getting cold. This means I get a roughly 4 month break from my mother asking me why I don't have a girlfriend. It's too cold for a girlfriend, Mom.

Anyway, back to the sports part. We have college football, the NBA, the NFL and even the MLS, and for a few magical weeks in November, they all four overlap. (But not baseball. Baseball can suck hobo toes.) College football is the crown jewel. It's like a rare and beautiful animal. A mammal, of course, warm-blooded but full of cold rage and cheerleaders. College football is perhaps only tainted by the aristocracy of the BCS, but the magic is still ineffable and permeates the institution from the stadiums to the TV broadcasts and floats down upon the fans like a pre-warmed blanket that smells of Jessica Biel's neck and forearms. If college football were a woman I would have long ago taken wise Beyoncé's advice and put a ring on it. What it is, girl.

Ah, the spectacle, the intrigue. Will Boise State crash the NC game? When will BYU's QB situation be settled? When will Frank Beamer cut off his goiter and raise it as his son? Will Mark Mangino be fat? Yes, yes he will.
He was actually fired after last season, but I suspect his fat will remain employed. On his body.
The NFL is interesting and I follow a few teams with players I like, but doesn't capture me like college football. No, the next best thing is the NBA, which I follow pretty obsessively. It has its flaws, but it's a wonder of skill, talent and athleticism that is not duplicated in any other sport or league in the world. Then, of course, there's the MLS. The MLS is like women's basketball, only way way better and with men playing soccer. People like to dump on it because it's a second rate league and doesn't compare to the EPL or Superliga or whatever. That is so stupid. We have smaller fan base, far less history and tradition, more popular sports to compete with and salary caps. It's like your buddy shared a band with you that he has loved for years, you start to like them and then his other friends get mad at you because you're just discovering this band. And then they all pee on you. It doesn't make sense.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Praying for the wave to come now. (Australia pt. 3)

Thursday dawned warm and sunny. The previous days had been sunny but a little cooler. Now, one of my many flaws is that I occasionally lock my siblings out on the porch when they annoy me. Another one of my flaws is that I don't plan ahead well, and I'll often forget important things that I need. Crucial things. And I don't mean important like I forgot and left my bagel in the freezer. I mean important like survival, like the time earlier this year I forgot to bring the food with me on a camping/fishing trip and my brother, brother-in-law and I were forced to eat the fish we caught there. We were lucky my brother caught the two fish he did or we probably would have eaten each other or bugs.

So one thing you think of when you go to Australia, particularly Sydney, is the beach. Specifically Bondi beach. Even if you don't know the name of it, you've seen it. Every postcard of Sydney is either the Opera House with the Harbour Bridge, or Bondi beach.

Well, Thursday was beach and cliff walk day. The plan was to head a bit east of Sydney (which is located in a large inlet so the water is north of downtown) and walk, starting a bit south of Bronte beach and heading all the way up north to the inlet of the inlet, as it were. There's a bunch of stuff to see along the way. You'd think that, headed to the beaches on the very day the weather turns unbelievably nice, one of us would have thought to bring a swimming suit. But nope. We didn't. Already I'd been hauling my backpack around everywhere. I had to. We had stuff we needed in it. And Sean had brought his own bag along every day except the first. So it's not like we didn't have where to put extra stuff. It was really kind of tragic. A once in a lifetime opportunity to swim at one of the most beautiful, famous beaches in the world and we couldn't be intelligent enough to bring something to swim in. I blame myself. And Sean.

The day ultimately involved just a lot of walking. We started at Waverley Cemetery and went north. I don't really have any photos of this day, but Sean does and I'll post them here soon. You can follow our route from that link: Waverley Cemetery, Bronte, Bondi, up through all the reserves and parks to the lighthouses, then to Signal Hill, The Gap, cut to Camp Cove, up to Lady Bay, around the lighthouse at the tip and then took a ferry from Watson's Bay back to Circular Quay. The walk took virtually all day:

At Waverley Cemetery, I upset the dead by chasing lizards around the graves. At Bondi, we saw a couple topless women just chilling out by the beach. We tried to get a closer look but.. wait, nevermind. We ate lunch at a little place a ways inland from Bondi and instead of going back to the beach and then north, went sort of northeast expecting to hit the coast again without realizing the cliffs rise up rapidly just past Bondi and there are neighborhoods and houses built right up against the cliffs. We wandered around, lost, for around an hour and somehow, by sheer luck, we took a guess at a side street and ended up exactly where we were trying to get to (if you're looking at the map, check the corner of Raleigh Street and Lola Road). That place was an open area along the cliffs that we could walk. There Sean stepped on dog poop while warning me not to step on dog poop ("Adam, watch out f--DAMMIT") and spent about 10 minutes then and intermittent periods throughout much of the rest of the day trying to clean it off his shoe. Every time I turned around he was pawing at the ground like a bull. With OCD. At The Gap Park, Sean took a photo of a spider. At Lady Bay Beach (and, I admit, at my urging) he tried to take a photo of some nude men. Yeah, it was a tiny nude beach, called Lady Bay Beach, and the only people on it were like three middle aged dudes. Nice, right? At the lighthouse north of that, Sean chased a bird around and almost fell off a cliff. Those last two events didn't happen in sequence, but it's funnier that way.

After that we went to this bar that we had heard was having all you can eat pizzas for like $21. We came to discover, however, that the pizzas were of sufficient size that three of them ($7 each) was more than we wanted to eat anyway, so we just bought two. The bartender looked like a younger, prettier Drew Barrymore. I may or may not have mentioned it to her.