All Balls Don’t Bounce

Completely Random Sports Non Sequiturs From A Completely Random Hip Hop Head

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Not My Day…Kinda

Posted by hiphopmama on August 29, 2009

As good as the early weeks of the season have been to me, today was not my day. All the well-intentioned advice keeps telling me to fastidiously separate my subject matter, but fuck it – I watch multiple leagues, so I’m going to write about all of them at once. If you only keep up with one and are offended by my mixing, a thousand apologies. But this is how the day played out for me.

Act I

Manchester United 2-1 Arsenal
0-1 Arshavin, 40′
1-1 Rooney (pen), 59′
2-1 Diaby (0g), 64′

Inter 4-0 AC Milan
1-0 Thiago Motta, 29′
2-0 Milito (pen), 36′
3-0 Maicon, 45′
4-0 Stankovic, 67′

First off, fuck your bitch and the click you claim. Wait, that’s Tupac, but it could just as well have been my intro to Manchester United and their showdown with my Gunners, as much as I hate those Red Devil bastards and their gum-smacking manager. Things started out promisingly enough, with an AMAZING strike from Arshavin on 40 minutes putting Arsenal ahead. It really was unbelievable, a good 20+ yards out, and he lasered it into the upper corner of the net while a hapless Ben Foster barely got a hand to it. As sublime as that strike was, the second half went completely in the other direction very quickly. Arsenal had a chance right out the gate to go up two goals when Arshavin slipped past his defender on the left-hand side, sent in a low cross with some pace, and then watched in agony as Ben Foster stuck out a leg to keep out Robin Van Persie’s point blank effort. Not long after that, ManU turned the tables and finally made good on their pressure when Almunia dove in front of Rooney and the Shrek look-alike went down. I know, I know, it was a penalty. The keeper didn’t get so much as a fingernail on the ball, and he made more contact with Rooney than Boruc did with Eduardo. ManU weren’t foolish enough to send Michael Carrick to the spot a second time, and Rooney converted the penalty easily. From there, you sensed it was going to be a matter of holding on for Arsenal, and they just couldn’t do it. Giggs, who had set up the penalty with a nice pass, put a decent free kick into the box, and Diaby inexplicably headed it into his own goal to gift United the lead and the win. I’m still not sure what he was doing – he didn’t get enough on it to be trying to put it over the bar, so I can only assume he either, a) was stupidly trying to head it back to Almunia, or b) had absolutely no idea where he was on the pitch. The second of those seems more likely, but the reason doesn’t matter because the outcome was determined. Arsenal put in some last-ditch efforts to even the scoreline, and they came as close as they possibly could without actually scoring. At the dead end of stoppage time, Van Persie actually put the ball in the back of the net, but the goal was ruled out for offside, disappointingly the correct call. There was at least a little comic relief at the end when Arsene Wenger got sent off and then got into an entertaining back-and-forth over how far was far enough away from the action. Not satisfied with his initial departure, the ref ordered him into the stands. From there, he was instructed to put some more distance between himself and his bench, so he walked out to the front of the stands amidst the screaming United fans and smiled and shrugged his shoulders, asking, “Where do you want me to go?” It would have been hilarious had the game scenario not been so painful at the moment.

I couldn’t bear to watch any of the postgame wrap-up or listen to any of the talking heads give their two cents, so I immediately muted it and went looking for something else on my DVR to watch. It’s early, I told myself, and I have plenty of football available to watch to lift my spirits. The Milan derby was today too, right? Against all logic, I still thought AC Milan could pull off a surprise result, and I was bolstered in this belief by the teams’ week one performances. Inter draws 1-1 with Bari, Milan joga’s bonito over Siena to the tune of 2-1, and Ronaldinho was sure to be resurgent again in the pairing with Pato. Right? RIGHT?? Wrong. This one was a drubbing. I’m not sure there’s any point in going through the goals. Suffice it to say that, after a brief flourish of possession and attack in the opening minutes, AC Milan absolutely folded and Inter administered an embarrassing 4-0 defeat. Gattuso was sent off in the 40th minute, which didn’t help matters, but that was only after Inter had scored twice, including one off a penalty Rino himself conceded. After that, two great strikes by Maicon and Stankovic put the game on ice, if it wasn’t already, and left me hanging my head.

I then tried to move on to Real Madrid’s opener, but FUCKING GOLTV screwed up their guide listings AGAIN, causing me to miss the opening 40 minutes of their game against Deportivo La Coruña. Strike three.

At this point, all my hopes rested with Chelsea, who became my number two team in England when I realized a few years ago Manchester United losing was more important than anything else and Chelsea were the only ones with a hope of catching them. They’ve had a great start to the season, and I didn’t foresee them letting me down against Burnley. But then laundry, and cooking, and sweeping, and mopping got in the way and prevented me from getting in a decent result during the sunlit hours of the day.

Act II

Chelsea 3-0 Burnley
1-0 Anelka, 45′
2-0 Ballack, 47′
3-0 Cole, 52′

Real Madrid 3-2 Deportivo La Coruña
1-0 Raul, 26′
1-1 Riki, 30′
2-1 Ronaldo (pen), 35′
2-2 Valeron, 46′
3-2 Lass Diarra, 60′

Finally, with the family returned home, the daughter and husband in bed, and a kitchenful of dishes to do, I flipped on the TV and cued up Chelsea. It took them the better part of the first half to really find their groove (that sounds familiar, doesn’t it?), but once they did, they didn’t disappoint. Right at the end of the first half, Drogba broke out down the right and fired low across the face of the goal, setting the table perfectly for Anelka to tap it home from inches out. The second half continued in the same vein, with Ballack scoring on a diving header off a Lampard cross two minutes out of the break. The third goal was the real peach, though, and came off still more lovely passing in the set-up. Ashley Cole, who played wonderfully all game, played a little one-two with Lampard around the left corner of the box. Lampard’s lofted ball found Cole impeccably, and the left back volleyed home a stinger into the top of the net to cap the scoring.

With at least one victory under my belt, I scavenged through all the mislabeled GolTV programming I had recorded to find the Real Madrid replay and sat down to watch my most anticipated match of the new season. Despite all my best intentions, the Blancos have my undying devotion, and even my detesting (to put it mildly) of Cristiano Ronaldo couldn’t put the damper on my support. An unrequited love for Raul, Casillas, and Kaka helps in that regard, though, so I was more than ready to get the La Liga season underway.

The first goal showed all the promise of what this Real Madrid might achieve, combining the old guard with the new. Kaka delivered a gorgeous ball, nutmegging TWO defenders to find a streaking Benzema (who may or may not have been offside). The keeper appeared to get a fingertip to his strike to deflect it onto the post, and the rebound fell to Raul to poke it home. It wouldn’t have been so easy had the Depor defense not stopped playing looking for the offside flag, but no matter, Real had a 1-0 lead, and it was beautifully engineered by one of the summer’s big signings. Within five minutes, though, Deportivo equalized over some iffy defending off a set piece and header by Riki. Everything just looked a little loosey-goosey back there, which is to be expected, I suppose, with all the new players in there figuring out the system. After just five more minutes, Madrid reclaimed the lead when Aranzubia brought Raul down in the box and Ronaldo coolly converted the penalty. My hatred dissipated just a tad, momentarily at least, upon witnessing his celebration, which seemed entirely earnest in the emotion he showed at scoring his first official goal for the Merengues. Despite all his pomp and hair gel, he does seem to have a legitimate love for the club and appears to want nothing more than to succeed there, which is enough to make him palatable to me. Barely.

Deportivo wasted no time coming out of halftime, equalizing a second time on a nice strike by Juan Carlos Valeron from just outside the box. Once again, some lax defending left him in too much space and he snapped it past an onlooking Casillas after receiving a nice pass from Guardado. Last season’s stand-out Lassana Diarra finally settled matters in the 60th with a surprisingly crisp hit from the top of the box. He dribbled a bit, created some space for himself, and then fired it past Aranzubia for the third time. It came a bit out of nowhere, with all the millions of Euros standing around watching him, but it secured the three points nonetheless.


So in the end, I finished 2-2 on the day, although that last win was a little uncertain. Still, I’ll take it, especially after how horribly it all started for me, going from awful to horrendous in the Arsenal and AC Milan losses. A big thank you to Chelsea and Real Madrid for helping me finish the 24 on a good note. We’ll see how I fare on Sunday.

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DirecTV Hates Me

Posted by hiphopmama on April 25, 2009

dtvWord of warning: This post contains nothing informative whatsoever, except incidentally. It is simply a rant, no more no less. Proceed accordingly.

So DirecTV fucked up another Saturday of soccer-watching for me. They keep hitting us up with these specials that allow us to get every channel under the sun for a few months, in the hopes that we’ll screw up and forget to cancel it when the deal runs out. We never do, so they make no money off us for it, but whenever we call to cancel their little “premium” package, they ALSO delete all our other extras, including Setanta, the sports package, and our DVR service. Therefore, this morning, in the middle of the first match of the day (in this case, West Ham-Chelsea), my husband makes the call and they flip the switch and my recordings all mysteriously cut off because I’m no longer “authorized” to view their “content.” Bleh. By the time I notice it, it’s a couple hours later, all my recordings have been effectively ruined, and I have to sit on the phone for 45 minutes to try to clear up the problem, itching to be watching Tottenham with a two-goal lead over ManU at Old Trafford. Oh the humanity.

Then, of course, they’re not re-airing any of the games I missed because of the snafu, meaning I won’t get to see the rest of a thrilling encounter between London rivals (sarcasm here) or the better half of the Tottenham game. I can, however, see Man City-Everton multiple times between now and midnight, which doens’t help me much since I don’t give two shits about that game, but I’m assed out when it comes to Chelsea and ManU. Double bleh.

All of which illustrates my complete and utter dependence on soccer (and sports in general – woe betide anyone who ever fucks with my Lakers coverage), as it essentially ruined my morning. You mean to say I’ll miss out on approximately 90 minutes of soccer spanning two games? And you won’t be rebroadcasting it?? How do you expect me to live like that? It’s not like I don’t have anything else to do – this weekend I actually do have plans – but I can’t stomach the idea of missing the big games, even if they would only occupy the fringes of my time. Does that make me more or less of a loser? The debate rages on….

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Em’s Bits and Bites

Posted by hiphopmama on April 22, 2009

Too lazy to write a real post (or form a full sentence, apparently), so I’m going with bullet points. Feel free to appreciate my intellect at an appropriately discounted rate.

  • Surprise, surprise: Derrick Rose was named Rookie of the Year for the 2008/09 season. Not that anyone didn’t see this coming, but the official word is always nice. He was a shoe-in, to be honest, mostly because of the composure he showed at the toughest position in basketball – point guard. OJ Mayo had a great year as a pure scorer at the two-guard spot, but that doesn’t come close to measuring up to the load Rose had to shoulder in running his team’s offense and managing the flow of the game. Plus he just looks so cool out there doing what he does. He’s got the less pompous version of Phil Jackson’s expressionless face. Through the good, bad, and ugly, Rose is unfazed, at least outwardly, which must give the team that follows his lead an assured sense of confidence in tight situations. Case in point games one and two of the Boston series. To quote my loquacious husband on that one: Die Celtics die.
  • In another far from shocking decision, the Mavs’ Jason Terry was named Sixth Man of the Year. As usual with this award, it was handed out to a player who could just as easily be classified as a starter, but Cro-Magnon Man (AKA Mark Cuban) isn’t complaining. Terry is a great firebrand off the bench – when he actually starts the game there – and had a good season, averaging 19.6 points. Another almost-starter who could have been in consideration is the Lakers’ own Lamar Odom, but he started more than the eleven games Terry did due to Bynum’s injury. 
  • Lil Wayne is picking the Lakers to win it all this year. On his blog for ESPN, he also divulged that he’ll be rooting for the purple and gold in their quest for the title, and that “‘Bron Bron” has already been informed of his allegiances. Aww, how nice. ‘Bron Bron must appreciate his honesty. 
  • WTF is wrong with everyone but Manchester United in the Premier League? Does no one else really want to challenge for this thing? Fair enough, Liverpool and Chelsea were taking on class opposition in Arsenal and Everton, but all either could manage was a draw. Chelsea are much guiltier of letting one go in their 0-0 draw at home against Everton, where they really should have found a way to break the deadlock and stay on the pace. Liverpool at least gave a valiant effort against an inspired Arsenal side in a thrilling 4-4 draw at Anfield, but with Manyoo’s win against Portsmouth, United are now three points clear with that dreaded game in hand. They will need to fumble it away in order for Liverpool to catch them now. Boo.
  • Why didn’t GolTV show the Barcelona-Sevilla match today?? I had reminders everywhere to make sure I set it up to record, but the damn thing wasn’t even on. I need a Setanta channel for La Liga and Serie A. Can someone make this happen for me? Pretty please? I don’t waste enough time watching sports yet.
  • There is some great hip hop coming out right now. Aceyalone’s “The Lonely Ones,” The Grouch & Eligh’s “Say G&E!”, Cunninlynguists’ “Strange Journey Volume One,” Mr. Lif’s “I Heard It Today”… If you take it back a little further, you get Brother Ali’s “The Truth Is Here,” k’naan’s “Troubadour,” Drake’s “So Far Gone”… And we’re still waiting on new Busta Rhymes, Freeway, and (gulp) Eminem. I’m not expecting anything from that last one, but one or two good songs would be appreciated. Thank god we’re out of the first quarter of the year, when almost all hip hop life ceases. I can’t live without new music. Fuck MIMS – music is MY savior.

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Hala Madrid!

Posted by hiphopmama on March 2, 2009

Lots of busy-ness going on in my world, revolving around the potential purchase of a house, so I’m falling behind on my game watching and blog writing. I am aware of all the goings on, from the Lakers’ second consecutive loss to Real Madrid’s closing in on Barcelona, but I haven’t been able to watch all the happenings or write them up yet. GolTV isn’t helping either, as they keep screwing up their scheduled broadcasts of the Real Madrid-Espanyol game so I can’t watch it. During the live broadcast, it randomly switched to a different show just before halftime. Then at the next replay I could find, they showed the Sevilla game instead. So now I’m waiting another 24 hours to catch the NEXT replay which I’m praying they actually play in its entirety. Is it too much to hope?

So bear with me as I get back around to my regularly scheduled writing program and keep your fingers crossed for my housing situation. If GolTV cooperates, I’ll get up the Primera Liga and NBA stuff by tonight, tomorrow at the latest.

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Quote of the Day

Posted by hiphopmama on January 6, 2009

Ahmad Rashad, on Pau Gasol’s ball-handling frenzy on the fast break (video here):

“He put a little paella on it!”

I’m generally not a fan of Ahmad – or Payton or Webber, for that matter – but I always enjoy their little roundtable on NBATV. They usually have a line or two that makes me laugh. They’re no EJ, KJ, and Barkley, but none of them has used the blowjob excuse with a cop before, either. That counts for something, right?

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Two In A Row, The Bad Kind

Posted by hiphopmama on December 20, 2008

Lakers Magic

LA Lakers 103, Orlando 106


I’m not sad to say I couldn’t watch this one because my husband was attending some function with my mom and I was flying solo with my daughter. Given the way the Lakers have been playing, you can’t say this was really much of a surprise. Their record of late is more reflective of their level of play than the first 20 games were. Plus Orlando has been playing some good basketball, and they now have essentially the same record as us. How about them apples? Whatever the case, Kobe’s 41 points didn’t help us get the job done even though we had a solid halftime lead. Another blown lead? On three pointers, no less? Wow, that doesn’t sound familiar at all… And Christmas day just keeps getting closer.

Because I couldn’t find the highlights, I will instead regale you with this lovely skit from In Living Color featuring the one and only Tupac Shakur. Does anyone care besides me? Probably not, but it’s better than thinking about the Lakers right now. Although I guess you could say both are good for a laugh right about now. 

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I <3 Stu Lantz

Posted by hiphopmama on December 7, 2008

stu lantz

I’m not a fan of sports announcers. It’s a thankless job, I know, because you’re only really noticed when you’re bad, but I still detest the majority of them. Bill Walton tops my shit list for sheer ridiculousness. A friend and I once listened to him gush all game about David Robinson, and we joked that he was going to call him the most perfect human being in history. Shortly thereafter, Bill went on to declare, “When Michaelangelo sat back and pondered the perfect man to sculpt, that man was David Robinson.” Or something like that – you get the gist. Jeff Van Gundy is an irritating little twat as well, although it’s his demeanor more than what he says that gets under my skin. And don’t even get me started on NFL announcers.

So when I find one that I like, it’s quite an endorsement and probably means they are exceptional at what they do. That said, Stu Lantz is, far and away, the best sports announcer that I have ever listened to. He is the color commentator for Lakers home broadcasts and worked for years with Chick Hearn (the other GOAT). My favorite all-time duo was Stu and Paul Sunderland – because I only got to hear Chick later in life when he was past his prime and calling out names like Worthy and Jabbar – but unfortunately he wasn’t picked back up after filling in for Chick during his medical absence. Regardless, Stu is like a family member to me. Not only is he an incredibly congenial figure, but he provides the most informative commentary you will hear. I always feel like I have attended a basketball seminar after listening to him call a game, especially when it comes to learning about how the big guys play. He is always imparting bits of wisdom from the big man camps he has been involved with over the years, and when I am not able to hear him call a Lakers game I often know exactly what he would be saying at a given moment. I’m obviously biased myself, but I also feel like he is one of the least partial home announcers out there too. He is quick to disagree with referee calls he views as wrong, whether or not they favor the Lakers, and he has plenty of positives and negatives to spread around for both teams. Listening to all the other home commentators through the NBA League Pass only furthers my belief in Stu’s excellence. Suffice it to say that a Lakers game feels incomplete without his words of wisdom.

Because I now live in a part of the state that residents somehow believe to be “northern” California, I don’t get to watch Lakers games and thus chose to subscribe to the aforementioned League Pass package. Because they usually broadcast the home team’s feed, I have grown to hate road games because it means I won’t get to hear Stu give his estimable opinion on our play. I’ve been very fortunate that the Lakers played 10 of their first 15 games at Staples, which unfortunately means that I have a disproportionate number of games to go without him, not to mention the nationally broadcast games that result in a blackout of the home coverage. Damn TNT and ESPN. I don’t know how I’m going to survive the playoffs.


my fave duo

my fave duo

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Best Hair Defense in Hair Defense HISTORY!

Posted by hiphopmama on November 18, 2008


1 strand

Welcome to Perfectville! Population: 1 strand

LOL at Mercury Morris on a hair restoration commercial. “I even went undefeated against hair loss! Take THAT, Tom Brady! These younger guys may live 20, 30 years longer, but they can’t maintain every last hair in the clutch. I pop a bottle of Cristal every time one of them loses a strand!” Classic.

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Arsenal 2 – 1 Manchester Utd

Posted by hiphopmama on November 9, 2008


Why? Why can’t we get games like this one in the U.S.? Instead we get the likes of Sunderland-Portsmouth and Man City-Tottenham. I’m sure it comes down to broadcast rights divided up and owned by the various stations, but I would absolutely love to see the Fox Soccer line-up be more like that of GolTV, where the top teams are shown just about every week, with the matches shown changing week by week depending on who’s in that elite group. You can pretty much count on seeing Barça, Real Madrid, Valencia, and Villarreal every week, with Sevilla thrown in there most weeks as well. GolTV has its own drawbacks in terms of coverage – like their propensity to update their information in TV listings at the last minute; Comcast, DirecTV, it’s all the same – but they consistently show the best games week in and week out.

Ranting aside, this was a great game – you know, I’m told. Arsenal knew they needed an outright win, and they played for it, making it an open game with lots of end to end action. Nasri was the hero of the night, scoring both Arsenal goals from distance and helping elevate a squad that was badly in need of some – any – glimmer of hope. The first ricocheted off Gary Neville and past Van der Sar in the 22nd minute. His next came in the 47th off a nice combination of passing just outside the area, and he took a tremendous shot that outright beat the Man U keeper. 

United got one back in the 90th minute when Rafael Da Silva corralled an airborn ball with his chest, then volleyed with his left foot into the far corner and past Fabianski, who had come on for Almunia after the Arsenal starter took a kick to the head. When six minutes of extra time flashed, the nervousness was palpable, but Arsenal held on better than they had against Tottenham and secured the win to stay within six points of leaders Chelsea and Liverpool.

To say this was a much-needed win is an understatement. Wenger had been valiantly defending his boys, but it was starting to look more and more like a lost cause with all the losses to mediocre teams and flagging effort from players. It wasn’t just that they were losing but how they were doing it that caused concern, relinquishing a two goal lead in the last few minutes against Spurs and slogging through against teams like Stoke and Hull City. The 0-0 draw against Fenerbahce midweek did little to alleviate fears that the downward slide would continue. Now, after beating United, they are off to a good start in a month that boasts challenges in the form of Aston Villa, Man City, and Chelsea. This win means that they are in third place in front of Manchester Utd and within striking distance of the top spots. Hopefully this young team can use this to build confidence and momentum going into the rest of November.

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How Sports Blogging Is Killing My Love Of Sports

Posted by hiphopmama on October 8, 2008

That title might be a little exaggerated, but you get the point. I’ve had a great time reading and writing incessantly about my favorite sports since starting this blog, but lately I’ve watched simultaneously more and less than I ever have before. In one sense, I’ve seen bits and pieces of more soccer matches than at any time in the past. In another, I have only watched one or two matches all the way through with any real focus on the play. Soccer is a great thing to have on in the background while conducting my parenting business during the day – there’s nothing objectionable in the content, and I can tune in and out without missing essential parts of the action, thanks to my trusty DVR. (As a contrast, football doesn’t lend itself so easily to this kind of viewing. Each play can be critical, and when you miss one you’ve missed a much more significant portion of the game.) Because I can easily watch soccer during the day with my daughter, I can potentially get through a lot of matches. However, I can’t devote much attention to any of them, and I end up rewinding the goals and missing most of the rest of the action just so that I can write them up and move on to another match. The result is that I rarely get to enjoy a complete game and it’s often midweek before I can finally watch some of my favorite teams. (Case in point, as I write this I’m watching AC Milan’s match against Cagliari – nobody ruin the outcome for me!) 

So, in the spirit of true fandom, I’m changing my focus here. I’ve given up on covering any and every game under the sun, or even those in my three selected leagues. I can’t keep up with it and it’s bogus anyway, since I can’t possibly watch all those games. Instead, I’m just writing up whatever I happen to see, and completeness be damned. I figure anyone who wants the full scoop on any of these leagues will head to a much better website anyway. That said, I want to follow my own Big Eleven teams in the Big Three leagues in Europe, which are as follows:


  • Arsenal
  • Chelsea
  • Man Utd
  • Liverpool

Primera Liga:

  • Real Madrid
  • Barcelona
  • Valencia

Serie A:

  • AC Milan
  • Inter 
  • Juventus
  • Roma

Not a very surprising list, I admit, but I can cover the major stories in each of those leagues by following those teams, and if anything else interesting enough happens, maybe I’ll deign to speak on it. It’s a completely elitist, American approach, but that should come as no surprise, seeing as my soccer viewing is subject to the whims of the national soccer broadcasts chosen for me. My apologies to all the second tier teams and their fans, who I’m sure deserve lots more love and respect, but it just ain’t in the cards. I pulled for Sevilla with all my might a couple years ago, but it was harder to keep up with them because the coverage just wasn’t there and it’s no different now. I’m a big market girl in a big market world, and I’m going to fall in line.

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