Cristiano Ronaldo, LA Clippers, and Jamal Khashoggi

Cristiano Ronaldo has been accused of sexual assault, and while I do not like speculation do me a favor and indulge in my speculation for a little bit. This will once again be a case of he said she said, however if he is guilty it would not surprise me in the slightest.

He mentioned in the press conference that he “had everything,” and in a sense he does. This attitude could lead him to do exactly what he is being accused of, as he could feel that something that is not is he needs to take. While there is no doubt he faced a hard road to become one of the greats, now he is an incredible athlete who has been and is continually told that he is incredible. He is an incredible looking male, who is one of the greatest athletes ever. After a while, when people tell you that everything is yours, you start to believe it, for good or for ill. To me, he probably felt as though this is a woman he could take, because he was Cristiano Ronaldo. Again, innocence until proven guilty is crucial, and so at this time it is hard to say. However, it would not shock me if this is true.

In lighter news the LA Clippers are 2-2, which is a decent start for a very decent team. While many of you may be wondering whether or not Clippers fans even exist, I can tell you with confidence they do and I am a part of a small minority. My beloved Clippers traded away most of their best players, for assets. This team is full of assets, and it is going to be fascinating to see how not only they will perform but if they can attract a legitimate superstar.

The ceiling in my eyes for the Clippers is a 6th or 7th seed in the playoffs. Will they actually win anything? Probably not, but the team is still an exciting prospect nonetheless. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander looks to be a sensational rookie, with length, handles, and defense to match. I am hopeful for my Clippers but also willing to moderate my expectations in the hopes of a team that is incredibly successful in the future.

Also, I am shocked at the Jamal Khashoggi killings, and at the responses from both Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Both seem desperate to remind others of their importance, however both come off as hypocrites. President Erdogan wants to remind everyone that he is a pivotal ally who is against this kind of press brutality, but he has cracked down on his own people and officials for years, and is in charge of a country that has attempted to bully others into denying the Armenian Genocide. Meanwhile, the Crown Prince has tried to shape himself as a reformer, yet he cannot seem to stop himself from resorting to brutal tactics in order to take power.

This is a sad saga, and one that I hope gets resolved. But it is on all of us too hold both of these regimes accountable, and to make sure that justice in this case is served. Journalists and the press keep our leaders accountable, and it is our responsibility to make sure both countries understand this.

Tottenham and Caitlin Flanagan

My beloved Spurs seem to be in some weird holding pattern, as they fell short to Inter Milan who came roaring back in the last ten minutes. Suddenly, the momentum we had earlier in the season has diminished, and Mauricio Pochettino losing his cool certainly does not help things. This could be a challenge, as the criticism will begin to come if the losing continues. With the new stadium still on hold, and now the winning spell drying up, the criticism will come. How Spurs will respond remains a question, and my hope is the ship can be righted. It is a long season, but this does not look good.

She’s telling the truth, I said to myself, in a way that was neither outraged nor political, just matter-of-fact. The event she described is completely believable, but the psychologists’ notes sealed the deal. Maybe some new piece of evidence will come to light to change my mind, but with the facts on the ground as we now have them, I believe her.

This is from a wonderful article by Atlantic staff writer Caitlin Flanagan, who has written beautifully on the #MeToo as well as numerous other pieces of political commentary. This one is particularly striking, detailing the change in how sexual encounters was thought of and her conclusion that this could have happened. I have been ambiguous about my feelings toward the confirmation, as Kavanaugh is and still seems like the Conservative Justice other presidents would have appointed. However, that will all come into question if this is true, and now the nomination has the potential to become the supernova everything in our political sphere has been building towards. Folks, this is going to be a bumpy ride.

Liverpool Tottenham Reaction and School Motivation

Tottenham lost to a better team in Liverpool 2-1 at home, they got dominated in the middle of the field and even with a Liverpool offense not exactly on the top of their game, Spurs got beat all over the field. Two straight loses after three straight wins is a tough reality check, but many members of the team looked sluggish and still seem to be recovering from the World Cup. The new stadium still not ready only adds insult to injury. However, I predicted this Liverpool side would win the Premier League, and there is no questions that this a very good team. Defensively, Liverpool are tough and they dominated a very good Tottenham midfield. Unfortunately, it game at the behest of my beloved Spurs.

I also had some thoughts regarding school and my motivation toward it, as I seem to have forgotten what it feels like to be staring work in the face without the energy or motivation to complete it. It is interesting how things that are “assignments” suddenly become tasks where reading for fun seems constantly engaging.

How do we fight this? Well try to treat certain assignments like you would if it were for fun, and focus on finding whatever is interesting about a specific subject. I throughly believe every subject has the capability of being interesting to everyone regardless of what your strengths and weaknesses are, so find it. Do not give up and if you are going insane, change it up. A different colored highlighter, maybe different music or no music at all. Keeping yourself motivated is one of the hardest challenges, but it is certainly surmountable. I hope that helps, and even despite the loss, Come On You Spurs!

Son escapes military duty and Michigan’s first loss

The beloved Tottenham Hotspur player Son Heung-Min escaped mandatory military service after he helped his home country of South Korea beat Japan in the final of the Asia Games in Indonesia yesterday. It is a great for Son, as he is a hardworking joyful player who now gets to live out his career without having to worry about 22 months away from the game. Regardless, the rule for mandatory military service seems slightly ridiculous out of context.

If I ran a country, I would make sure mandatory military service is not a thing to begin with. Why? People should be able to choose their career paths, regardless of some of the practicalities that mandatory service may serve. Countries like Israel and South Korea may indeed need mandatory service but again you have the right to choose what work you want to pursue, and to me mandatory service gets in the way of that. However, if you are going to have the rule, it is strange that you would make exceptions for Football players after they win a tournament. What did they do for their country that someone else did not? Why are athletes allowed to get special treatment if they do well? Is representing your country only about the result? To me, it is brutal for all the players involved that their futures hung in the balance over winning a football game. While I do not know what I would say in its entirety, however I can say that this pressure was unnecessary and unfair to someone like Son and the rest of the South Korean national team.

Yesterday also featured Michigan’s very first football game of the season, which they lost by a final score of 24-17 to Notre Dame. It was great to see both teams back on the field, as it is one of the greatest rivalries in all of sports. It is also good to know that Michigan is not hiding from difficult opponents, when we push our players it makes our program better as a result. However, Notre Dame were simply the better team, and we deserved to lose by more than we did.

Jim Harbaugh came into Michigan and seemed to be able to do no wrong. Now, the questions will begin.  I personally do not think it is fair to put him on the hot seat yet, as this is the first game of the season and we have a long way to go before we truly know what kind of football team we have. It is still reasonable that Michigan wins nine games which for any school would be a fine season. However (uses James Earl Jones voice), This is Michigan, and Michigan will not be happy with good enough. He has turned our program around since the Brady Hoke and Rich Rod days, however his novelty to make any team incredible is beginning to fade. Questions remain and by the end of the season, I hope for Michigan and Jim Harbaugh’s sake that the team plays better than it did last night.

 

UCL Draw Reaction

The UEFA Champions League Draw happened today and once again my beloved Tottenham are in the group of death. Group B consists of Barcelona, Tottenham, Inter Milan, and PSV Eindhoven. No game will be easy which should make this group incredibly exciting. Tottenham should be able to find there way into the round of 16, but do not be surprised if Inter or PSV steal a game.

Liverpool also has an incredibly tough group, with PSG and Napoli both in their sights. While I could see them winning the group, they certainly got a tough group as well, with both of those teams being stock full of talent and ready to win a title. PSG and Liverpool playing each other will be incredible to watch, both teams featuring high powered offenses this game should be a back and forth thriller. I like Liverpool to win the group, but PSG certainly have the talent to do so as well.

One group I am particularly excited about is Group F with Juventus and Manchester United. Cristiano Ronaldo will be coming home to play United and Paul Pogba will be coming home to Juventus. It is set to be a terrific game, and one full of electricity. The Ronaldo effect is real, and it is certain to make this draft incredibly interesting. Juventus have been in the champions league before, and should win this group especially with Man United’s recent struggles.

My pick to win the UEFA Champions League is Manchester City, which seems more plausible today after their group draw. With the likes of Shakhtar Donetsk and Lyon, it will be tough but City should breeze through their group. They have a team stock full of some of the most talented players in Europe, including the addition of Riyad Mahrez. Man City is the best team from the top down, and should be able to win in May.

COME ON YOU SPURS!

I apologize if you are a Manchester United fan or if you are a grammar snob, but HOLY CRAP WE DESTROYED MAN UNITED AHHHHHH! That game was incredible and Lucas Moura was terrific. Incredible performance from him which included two goals, one of which ended Chris Smalling’s life.  Incredible day and game. If you want to relive every moment the extended highlights are here. I hope you all had a great Monday!

How LAFC won me over

I have followed soccer for a few years now, and despite being from LA, I failed to really get into the LA Galaxy. However, after my third LAFC game I am officially a fan of the club.

The stadium is absolutely gorgeous, in the middle of Expo Park, you can see the sun setting as you walk in. Meanwhile, the fans are electric, while the supporter section is full and rocking. In any club’s first year, getting a supporter’s section to even show up is an accomplishment in itself. Not only are fans there, but they are absolutely rocking.

The players this team has are young and exciting, most notably former Real Sociedad player Carlos Vela. Every time he touches the ball he seems to make music, flicking the ball onward, nutmegging players, and grinning after each effort. This along with new signing Christian Ramirez, speed racer Latif Blessing, and captain Laurent Ciman have created a culture in their first year that is one of the best the MLS has to offer.

If you live in the area and have not been to an LAFC game, I encourage you to go, they are not super expensive and is insanely fun. I think this team is great for LA’s soccer culture, as it gives us a soccer rivalry to be proud of and grows the game in our city and our country.

 

Fixes for the NBA and Monday Motivation

Here are a few ideas on how to fix the NBA:

  1. Reduce season to 58 games in which every team plays each team twice. Tie breakers would be decided first by head to head, then by point differential throughout the season, if neither break the tie they would play an extra game. This would reduce injuries and increase the importance of each regular season game, rather than the season dragging on for too long.
  2. Make the playoff an eight team playoff in which the top teams regardless of conference or region make it. Eight teams would create more pressure on regular season games and force teams toward the top to play until the very end of the season and not rest or stop playing once they have clinched a playoff spot. This would also reduce the length of the playoffs, which can go on for months. This leads to more injuries and less novelty toward each playoff game.
  3. The bottom four teams should be relegated to the D-League or a lower tier counterpart and those teams would be replaced by four newly promoted teams. This would prevent tanking and force teams to be as competitive as possible each season.
  4. Get rid of the NBA Draft and allow players to sign for whichever team they like so long as it fits within the salary cap. Preventing players from playing for there desired franchise is absurd and would be deemed unfair in any market outside of professional sports. That being said, I enjoy trades and they can make for fascinating drama. It also gives teams consequences and it is much simpler than the current transfer system throughout soccer. I would keep the rest but give players more leverage in picking which teams they can play for. While I also am not a fan of the salary cap, it helps even the playing field if properly used. However, in time I would like to see it go and allow teams to offer as much as they can in order to woo players.

Those are just some ideas although I am sure there needs to be much more than that to prevent injuries and keep the entire season engaging.

For your Monday Motivation, this stop and assist by Wayne Rooney to win the game for DC United is incredible. If this doesn’t fire you up, I don’t know what will. Happy Monday!

What to make of Tottenham’s Transfer Window

My favorite sports team, Tottenham Hostpur, became the first club since the transfer window was introduced to make no signings in the summer transfer window. This despite three players in Toby Alderweireld, Mousa Dembélé, and Danny Rose all expressing desires to leave.

I will always be slightly biased towards Tottenham, so to me it makes some sense. We are in the midst of unveiling a new stadium, and our continuity is easily our strongest asset. Our transfer window business has been excellent in recent memory, and so it is hard to think of someone who could take us to the next level. However, I share the disappointment that many fans feel, as we are so close to taking that next step. While I can understand that there is good reason for our inability to afford a world class talent, there is no reason we could not afford a good central midfielder or winger.

This will be a trying season for Spurs, as this may be the last season much of our talent will be in North London. If Spurs go another season without winning a trophy, stars like Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane could walk out the door. I stand by my prediction that Spurs will finish in the top four, but it is hard to imagine a trophy coming home to White Hart Lane.

There is still plenty of reason to be excited. The new stadium will be incredible and I cannot wait for the season to start. However, I am worried that we are reaching a breaking point. I hope things will work out but this season could be one of the most challenging in Premier League history. Regardless of any anger I may have, I am a Tottenham fan until I die and I sincerely hope that we can begin to take the next step. As always Come on You Spurs!