Happy hump day my droogs, here is what’s been on my mind while I’ve been waiting.
Three goals between the 78th and 82nd minute helped Columbus Crew SC storm back to knock off the Philadelphia Union over the weekend. The barrage of goals from Ethan Finlay, Justin Meram and Jairo Arrieta erased a two goal defecit, ended the playoff hopes for Philadelphia, and all but locked up a spot in the dance for Crew SC.
Columbus now sit a full six points ahead of Michael Bradley’s Toronto FC for the Eastern Conference’s last playoff spot with just two matches to play. Crew SC will clinch a playoff spot with a win or draw over New York or a Toronto FC loss or draw in their Canadian derby with Montreal this weekend.
Mr. Momentum is roaring these days for Columbus who are 6-2-1 in their last nine matches, including five straight wins at Columbus Crew Stadium. Not only is Ohio’s soccer team playing their best soccer of the season, but they’re riding the wave of good vibes from their recent brand overhaul, transforming from the hard hat wearing Columbus Crew to Columbus Crew Soccer Club. Not to mention, the much needed signing of a striker for 2015 in the form of MLS and English football veteran Kei Kamara. Kamara began his career in Columbus but became a household name during his time with Sporting Kansas City, scoring 30 goals from 2010-2012.
With a playoff spot all but locked up, Crew SC still have a shot at catching the New England Revolution or Sporting KC in the standings and avoiding a trip to the Eastern Conference play-in round between the conference’s fourth and fifth seeded teams. Columbus is three points back of both DC and the Revs and remain just one point behind New York Red Bulls in the standings.
Crew SC are continuing to head in an exciting direction under investor-operator Anthony Precourt and head coach/sporting director Gregg Berhalter, but the future is now as playoff soccer is on its way back to Columbus
The Baylor student section stormed the field after their caffeinated 61-58 win over ninth ranked TCU last Saturday. It was a measuring stick win for the Bears, who are on the path to the playoffs, but nonetheless a game they were favored in. Many began questioning the Baylor students’ decision to rush the field, wondering if that’s something you do in a game at home you should win.
— Baylor Football (@BUFootball) October 12, 2014
For someone to tell those kids that the moment Chris Callahan’s kick split the uprights, capping off a 21-point comeback, that their win wasn’t worthy of rushing the field is audacious. Unless you’re there and in that situation you can’t fully realize the magnitude of an experience like that as a fan. Yes, some field stormings are better than others, but that doesn’t mean any of them “aren’t worth it”. If a fan base such as Kentucky wants to celebrate after beating a South Carolina team whose own coach called them “Pathetic” or a Rutgers who edged out a punch drunk Michigan wants to storm the field then more power to them. They just can’t have any salt when we all point and poke fun.
I’ve been a part of two crowd-onto-the-playing surface incidents and while different, both were frankly just two much fun to be against the whole thing. The first was my freshman year of high school when my Hudson Explorers beat rival Stow to win the district basketball title at Copley High School. There’s nothing you hate more as a 14-year old than your rival town and there’s nothing you enjoy more than making memories with your friends. Throw them together and it’s the recipe for an epic evening.
My second was the 2009 Ohio State vs. Iowa game in which the Buckeyes clinched the Big Ten title. I was on my annual trip from Oxford to Columbus to take in a game, visit some buddies, and make decisions that a 19 year old would make. Iowa was pretty garbage that year, and Big Ten titles were as common as a Kardashian headline, yet once that field-storming-feeling comes over a crowd there is no stopping them. The experience was terrifyingly fun. I recall my group continually telling each other “just don’t fall” as we took our part in the stampede to the field. A pretty satisfying feeling, getting to chill on a field you grew up immortalizing.
Last week I had a friend ask me if I was interested in seeing Gone Girl later that night. My immediate thoughts from the moment I read his text were:
1. Ben Affleck. Sick. That dude’s in great movies these days. Forever grateful he saved us from that asteroid.
2. David Fincher – Social Network, Fight Club, Se7en. I’m in.
3. What’s Rotten Tomatoes think?
I have this awful habit of spending no more than ten seconds thinking about a movie before I whip out my Flixter app and see if what percentage Rotten Tomatoes has for the movie. For those unfamiliar with the site, Rotten Tomatoes pulls in a conglomerate of critic reviews and measures the percentage of reviews that were good vs. bad. 60% or higher and the movie is considered fresh, with a nice ripe, red tomato next to the title, or rotten, with a splattered green tomato next to the title.
From the moment I saw Rotten Tomatoes had Gone Girl at an 88% I immediately validated it as a movie I’d go see. It all started as teenager, a time of your life when your choice of movies and music defines who you are. Some time in middle school, my one buddy began telling us movies we wanted to see were “rotten” and that he’d never see a movie below 60%. 14-year old movie snob has to rank right up there with wet socks as the most annoying things in the universe, but if you can’t beat em—join em.
I began swearing by the Tomatometer, rejecting movies like Jumper and opening myself up to Kubrick’s. Rotten Tomatoes was undoubtedly a healthy guide for a foray into film, but I found a problem when I started looking up classic flicks I loved?
Heavyweights – 29%
D2 – 21%
Not Another Teen Movie -28%
I quickly learned that Rotten Tomatoes has it’s flaws. The low-brow, stupendously dumb comedies like your Saving Silverman’s or Big Daddy’s have no chance. Not to mention your oozing full of cheese blockbusters like Armageddon and Battleship — rarely fresh. Luckily for these flicks, there are user ratings to go along side the critic’s, giving some boost to the non RT friendly films. I’ve eased off my dependence of the Tomatometer in recent years, but to this day if you hear me say “I heard that was good”, it’s code for “It was fresh on Rotten Tomaotes.”
Here’s what else has kept be busy while I’ve been waiting.
Landon Donovan – Roger Bennett, one half of the Men In Blazers, wrote a piece for NBCSports.com hailing Landon Donovan as the “Vincent Van Gogh of American soccer”. Donovan retired from USMNT action after suiting up one last time in a friendly vs. Ecuador which served as a testimonial for the USA legend. I am one of the many millions of US Soccer supporters that would not be the fan of the USMNT, MLS, or the game of soccer if it weren’t for Landon Donovan.
I remember being a 12-year old kid, waking up in the middle of the night to watch the USA in South Korea. Before I woke up for a rough day of par-3 golf, Skittles, and Gatorade I spent two hours in my basement watching a swagger filled 20-year old create havoc along the flanks on the way to the United States’ trip to the quarterfinals.
Chills still run down my arm whenever I hear Ian Darke’s voice yell out “Go! Go! USA!”, the line made famous following Donovan’s buzzer beating goal against Algeria at the 2010 World Cup, saving the Yanks from elimination and winning us the group.
I’m a newer fan to the beautiful game, and as I’ve been part of the growth of soccer in America the one thing that has been constant for me is Landon Donovan. I’m a fan, not only for what he did to help grow soccer in the United States, but also for his willingness to say things that may not be popular, and to make decisions on what’s best for his life, not simply best for his soccer.
Godspeed LD. #LegenD
Saturday Night Live – SNL tied its lowest rating last Saturday with former SNL cast member Bill Hader on host duty. Much is being made of the slumping ratings, but to me that’s more of a reflection of the times than the content. SNL is built for the internet, giving viewers a chance to digest one sketch at a time in five minute clips. Few people have a habit of appointment TV watching these days, especially if that appointment is 11:30 PM on a Saturday night. Rarely will SNL have you laughing at every sketch, but there’s been gems in each of the season’s three episodes. The highlight thus far for me are the digital shorts from Kyle Mooney and Beck Bennett. The sketch “Bad Boys” is a verrrrrry dry parody of 80’s and 90’s sitcoms while “Inside SoCal” is a local access parody of the brah’s of Southern California.
Bob Ryan – Bryan Curtis wrote an outstanding piece for Grantland on famed Boston Globe writer Bob Ryan. Ryan started at the Boston Globe as the Celtics’ beat reporter the same day Peter Gammons started on the Red Sox beat. Ryan began writing for a Celtics team that at the time was an afterthought in Boston, but thanks to Ryan’s voice and the arrival of a kid from Frenchlick, Indiana, the Celtics became the talk of the town.
Serbia and Albania – Tuesday’s Euro 2016 qualifier between Serbia and Albania was postponed just before half time as all hell broke loose in the stadium between players and fans. The uproar was caused by a drone flying over the stadium carrying a flag depicting “greater Albania”. Greater Albania “refers to the idea of an extended area in which all ethnic Albanians reside — one which would include Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008.