Monthly Archives: September 2010

Off Topic: Today’s Verse 43

it’s of dollars
it’s of sense
it’s of fists
and fits
of starts and vintage knits
cackling denaturing
of protein

it’s of hash marks
it’s of losses
it’s of harrisburg lilies
glued to hampshire car parks

leave off the lotion
don’t scent the plastic nearest to my palette
nearest to a hollow compromises
laced with red icons

close the puffy shoulder
close the light
close the board game evenings

dinner costs extra.

– yiqi 28 sept 10 8 AM

Today’s verse partially brought to you by the oddness of this French music video.

NFL 2010: the Falcons wrangle win from Saints

Seafood gumbo and sweet peaches rumbled in the Nawlins with Fox behind the camera.  The first quarter began with the Falcons on offense.  Two minutes in and there’s already a challenge on an incomplete pass call.  Mike Smith didn’t win the challenge.  Saints wide receiver Lance Moore demonstrated field-slicing swiftness by returning the ball seventy-two yards from a Michael Koenen punt.  A few plays later, Saints quarterback Drew Brees and tight end Jeremy Shockey connected for a touchdown catch in the end zone.  New Orleans 7 and Atlanta 0.  The Falcons responded with a steady momentum on offense courtesy of tight end Tony Gonzalez.  Nine plays into the Falcon’s second go and quarterback Matt Ryan threw a TD pass to Gonzalez.  New Orleans 7 and Atlanta 7.

The Falcons defense displayed their shining colors when cornerback Brent Grimes intercepted a throw meant for Saints wide receiver Devery Henderson.  Drew Brees “righted” that passing “wrong” when Lance Moore made a TD when the Saints got the ball back.  New Orleans 14 and Atlanta 7.

The second quarter started off with Drew Brees and posse performing solidly on offense…until four minutes in when Brees managed to wiggle out of a sack but was off-balance when he chucked the ball in the direction of another Saint.  Golden fleece carpet ride! Falcons safety Thomas DeCoud was there to make that catch (he then jogged along the sidelines a handful of yards, arms outspread and the ball in one hand).  Tony Gonzalez proved his abilities again when he out-maneuvered the Saints defensive player trailing him to become an open receiver for Matt Ryan and then later when he held onto the ball in the red zone.  It took a number of attempts, but the Falcons eventually got into the end zone via running back Michael Turner.  New Orleans 14 and Atlanta 14.

Halfway through the third quarter the ball got loose from one of the Saints players and one of the Falcons recovered it from under a pile of bodies.  Oh, but what a change of luck in the bottom of the third as Falcons running back Jason Snelling lost the ball as he was brought down to the ground and a Saints player scooped it up.  The Falcons have challenged the ruling of recovered fumble and won the challenge.  Snelling’s left elbow hit the turf before he lost the ball.  The Saints defense kept the running game from going anywhere.  The Falcons would go for a twenty-three yard field goal.  Atlanta 17 and New Orleans 14.

The Saints got luckier when an incidental ball-touch on Falcons DeCoud’s left foot resulted in a ricochet that enabled New Orleans to stay on offense.  How would the Falcons defense respond?  Not too well since Lance Moore eventually ran the ball into the end zone.  He then proceeded to do a celebratory dance involving foot kicks and arm waves a la clogging meets breakdancing.  New Orleans 21 and Atlanta 17.

The Falcons fought to close the score gap in the fourth quarter when they were on offense again.  Wide receiver Roddy White put his team on top of the board with a TD catch.  Atlanta 24 and New Orleans 21.  The score remained the same through to the two-minute warning.  The Saints were on offense with under a minute left to on the clock.  Would they go for a field goal to tie the game? Would they try to go for the end zone? Saints kicker Garrett Hartley ended up tying the game with a thirty-two yard field goal.

Atlanta won the coin toss in overtime.  The first three plays didn’t help the Falcons on offense.  Would their defense fare better?  Not much better.  Thanks to a complete pass to Lance Moore, the Saints got down the field far enough so that even if they don’t get into the end zone, they’d still have a FG try.  And field goal they went.  Garrett Hartley missed the twenty-nine yard field goal!  It went wide left.  Would the Falcons make their fans proud?  Specifically, would kicker Matt Bryant put the forty-six yard FG through the uprights?  YES!!! SWEET GRANNY SMITH APPLES!!!! Atlanta 27 and New Orleans 24.  Final score.

Observations & Miscellania:

1.  Brian Billick and Thom Brennaman provided commentary.

2.  The Saints wore white jerseys, the Falcons red.

3.  After Matt Bryant put the extra point on the board following the Falcons’ first TD in the first quarter, Matt Ryan (sans helmet) got a medium close-up screaming “lets go” and “yeah!”.  It was in slow-motion.  He might have fist-pumped the left side of his chest.

4.  Thomas Decoud’s intercepting of Drew Brees resulted in a Falcons TD.  Atlanta had the ball for eleven game-play minutes.

5.  Awww, a few nuns attended the game in support of the Saints.

6.  The Falcons spent their last OT time-out with four minutes left.  Matt Ryan got into the faces of his offense teammates.  He probably demanded that his guys ‘finish this thing.’

6.  Did the Saints use a time-out after running back Pierre Thomas couldn’t get off the field after catching a pass in the bottom of the fourth?

Click here for Falcons roster and here for the Saints.

Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.

Quit Blaming the Coach

Have you ever been a scapegoat?  The default or the “chosen” receptacle of error and blame whenever outcomes do not meet expectations?  Whenever an authoritative entity gets wind of something foul afoot, whose name is at the top of the Have A Word With list?  If it ever has been you in this situation in an interpersonal, professional, or legal context, do you accept it as an occupational hazard?  Or, do you find something philosophically incorrect with always being the one that has to justify, deflect, or just deal with it?

VGLJiconE

This entry was inspired by a conversation I had with a friend yesterday:

Friend: There are rumblings that Mark Richt is on the hot seat.
Me: Coach is the first to be on the hot seat, never the parents…unless it’s high school.  Coach is in the hot seat for not being able to “control” his players off the field…which is kind of dumb, but understandable.

Friend: Mark Richt was a saint to UGA fans for the longest time. this is his 10th season.
Me: and when players’ performance go towards the mean.

Friend: Well… the coach should recruit student-athletes, the coach is responsible for which kids he brings into his program.
Me: Right.
Friend: The coaches need to run a clean program.

Me: He at least needs to be accountable for signing off on who makes the cut.  That is on his head, but it’s not his fault if one player loses his mojo or one player keeps getting drunk & driving.  It’s his obligation to worry & to reprimand,  etc, but the player still makes his own choices.  Every player that screws up once off the field would have to be shadowed and the moment there could be trouble, someone from the athletic dept who’s “on call” would scamper in and “hey! let me take you home, okay?”  or “hey! she’s not worth it… she can’t stand straight and is about to throw up…you don’t want that.”

It’s no good for a player to feel like he’s not trusted.  To have made it to the final roster, as a starter or a backup, the coaching staff had to have seen potential for growth or talent and possessed solid morals and common courtesy.  New players  may not realize that anything they do and say will reflect on their team, their coaches, and their school too.  So if they don’t understand that or the concept of saving and losing face, they’re just going to give undue headaches to their coaching staff.  What a coach does or says doesn’t always reflect on his players, which is somewhat of a double-standard.  I’m not even sure an owner or athletic director’s bad decision-making skills unrelated to game-play would be inherited by his subordinates.  It would just be a damn shame and a betrayal.

MiaKLJiconA

To elaborate on that conversation, the higher you are on the power hierarchy, your mistakes are less likely to be shouldered by your colleagues or those you lead.  Your inability to succeed or make the right choice are your own.  On the other hand, the lower you are on the power hierarchy, the more likely your achievements, failures, and ill-advised behavior will be extended to those persons that teach, guide, or manage you.  Exceptions notwithstanding, this set-up is psychologically lopsided.

Victories in sports are collective endeavors.  It may be one guy that makes the game-winning play, but for him to have arrived at that moment to make that play, his teammates made significant contributions.  Losses aren’t necessarily a collective effort.  Sometimes it is one guy (cough, cough, kickers), especially in cases where the win was so-close-and-yet-so-far.  If you’re unwilling to fault the entire team or the coach because one player tripped or dropped the ball or didn’t get enough height on the kick, why should responsibility for lackluster performance diffuse to the coach in other scenarios?

Because, you have to spotlight someone.  It’s counter-intuitive that mediocrity could be as collective as excellence, right?  Je ne pense pas.

Mark Richt isn’t alone, though.  Butch Jones, Butch Davis, Brian Kelly, Frank Beamer, and Steve Sarkisian are also on a hot seat of some sort.

Going straight to the coach is a valid response when a team isn’t playing to its potential.  When it comes to off-field activities and displays of idiotic judgment, none of the athletic department should be dragged in unless necessary.

Would a coach ever say to his team, these words:
Over the next three or four years (depending on whether or not you choose to turn pro before getting your degree), your grades and what you do out there on that field will be at the top of your priorities.  If you have family problems or emergencies, we can work something out so that you don’t have to piss off your parents too many times.  Other friends, and girlfriends, however, will have to be put on the back-burner.   I am here to help make you the best football player you can be, so that we can all give glory to our school, to make something amazing together.  I’ll be your father, your mother, your spiritual adviser, your teacher, your brother, your uncle, and your therapist, but I will not be your doctor, your buddy, or your get-out-of-jail-free pass.  If something is troubling you and you have nobody else to talk to or turn to, come to me before you make a decision you could regret for not just the rest of your life, but also the rest of mine.

Pix creds: google image search

NFL 2010: Falcons grate the cheese out of the Cardinals

The Atlanta Falcons’ 2010 season debut at the Pittsburgh Steelers did not turn out as victoriously as they or their fans had hoped.  Would their home opener against the Arizona Cardinals today be a repeat or a reversal?  Televised by Fox, and narrated by Brian Billick and Thom Brennaman, the first quarter started with the Falcons on offense.  Whatever quarterback Matt Ryan might have done differently before he went to sleep last night and after he woke up this morning paid off as the Falcons gave a solid first drive, featuring Michael Turner and Jason Snelling rushing yards, that resulted in a touchdown (courtesy of wide receiver Roddy White).  Atlanta 7 and Arizona 0.

Cardinals running back LaRod Stephens-Howling received the kick for his team’s first possession.  He ran the ball back all the way into the end zone, but it was nullified because of a holding penalty on one of his teammates.  Derek Anderson quarterbacked for Arizona.  The Cardinals suffered from penalty upon penalty and didn’t get much done offensively.  The bottom of the second quarter saw Falcons Christopher Owens intercepted Derek Anderson, whose team incurred an illegal formation penalty that gave the Falcons a first down.

The Cardinals got another defensive penalty in the top of the second quarter as someone (either Joey Porter or Robinson) who tugged on Matt Ryan’s face mask.  After the referee announced the penalty, a camera cut to a medium close-up of the Cardinals sidelines.  One of the coaches, probably the defensive coordinator Bill Davis, was looking in the direction of head coach Ken Whisenhunt .  He mouthed “damnit” or something that expressed disappointment.  His body language then went very huff-and-puff-and-grrrr.   Matt Bryant put a thirty-four-yard field goal through the uprights.  Not long after the Cardinals went on offense again, wide receiver Tim Hightower made an eighty-yard TD run.  Atlanta 10 and Arizona 7.  Moments after the commentators praised running back Jason Snelling’s abilities and playing time last season, he caught Matt Ryan impending-blitz pass and ran the ball into the end zone.  Although the Falcons had compiled a couple penalties of their own by the bottom of the second quarter, a slew of Cardinals defensive flags facilitated the Falcons performance on offense.  Jason Snelling got a second TD before halftime.  Atlanta 24 and Arizona 7.  Cardinals Jay Feely attempted a fifty-four-yard FG in the final minute of the first half.  It was no good.  Matt Ryan was going to run the ball into field goal range when the Falcons were on offense before the half, and during the ball popped out of his hand as he was being tackled.  The Cardinals recovered the fumbled ball.

The Cardinals took to the field first in the third quarter.  The second play (I believe) led to Falcons safety William Moore intercepting Derek Anderson (the ball had bounced off a player’s hands and Moore caught it).  Two plays later, with the Falcons on offense, wide receiver Brian Finneran made a TD catch in the end zone.  Atlanta 31 and Arizona 7.  Matt Bryant increased his team’s lead with a thirty-five-yard FG in the bottom of the third.  Atlanta 34 and Arizona 7.

The fourth quarter was ripe with both teams receiving penalties for various reasons.  And then Jason Snelling crossed the bottom left corner of the end zone.  Atlanta 41 and Arizona 7.  Matt Ryan was still quarterbacking through the fourth quarter, but Derek Anderson trotted off to the sidelines with three minutes left on the clock.  Max Hall stepped on as QB…and threw an interception shortly thereafter.  Falcons cornerback Dominique Franks got his hands on the ball.  He ran the ball back but was pushed out of bounds a dozen or so yards before reaching the goal line.  Atlanta 41 and Arizona 7.  Final score.

Yay Jason Snelling!

By the way, GaTech beat UNC yesterday 30 to 24UGA didn’t fare as well against ArkansasArmy, TCU, Ohio State, and Alabama pulverized their respective opponents.

Observations & Miscellania:

1.  Brian Billick’s shoulders slope down.

2.  The stadium was aglow with rouge…from both Falcons and Cardinals fans.

3.  Whatever Michael Turner did differently this week compared to last week in preparation for the game also appeared to be successful as his performance elicited more confidence and conviction.  I know what I am doing.

4.  Jason Snelling’s second TD in the first half was via jumping over/into a bunch of bodies and breaking the plane with extended hands around the ball.

5.  I wrote about basketball a year ago and how I began watching basketball game-play so that it wouldn’t bore me to near-tears.  Specifically, “If, however, I focus on the players without the ball, then it’s about when/if they’ll get the ball and how they are reacting, which is much more interesting to me.”  I’ve been watching a few plays of football in such a manner and it creates a more disorienting viewer experience.  I’m not even sure the suspense is greater.

6.  Um, Ken Whisenhunt and Derek Anderson, did you know that with under thirty seconds left on the clock and the game was effectively over…one of the cameras cut to a close-up of both of you touching your nose?  And Derek, you were full on face to camera–did you stick a finger up in a nostril?  Coach Whisenhunt, the camera may have gotten your left side, and slightly from the back, but still…I saw that nose-pinching, downward stroking.  Qu’est-ce vous faitesQue’est-ce que vous pensiez?

Click here for the Falcons roster and here for the Cardinals roster.

Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.