Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

How has it taken me this long to write a post about soccer?
Come to think of it, how has it taken me this long to go to a live soccer match in Belgium?

This Saturday, cold and drizzly though it was, was my first taste of European soccer on foreign soil. Oh, I’ve seen some big international teams play in the US (AC Milan v. Inter Milan at Foxborough, comes to mind), but I’ve never actually gotten to experience the energy of a European crowd supporting its favorite team. It also didn’t hurt that the home team won 4-1. Or that they have a guy called “El Toro” on the team.

Our team in town, called Oud-Heverlee Leuven (or OHL, for short), plays in the second division (a rough equivalent to our minor leagues, but with some twists), but the quality of play is really very good. Here are the highlights from the game. I thought about recording my own commentary to put over the video, since there isn’t any, but I’m afraid that watching sports with virtual, super-exuberant Trevor would be even more annoying than watching sports with actual, super-exuberant Trevor.

We’re cheering for the team in white.
The really good stuff comes at
1:26 (Goal Heist, the enemy)
1:52 (Goal OHL)
3:00 (Close call for OHL)
3:22 (AMAZING save by the OHL goalie, in which I think you can hear me exlaim)
3:55 (Goal OHL, and a great example of why you never give up on a ball going out of bounds)
5:27 (EXRUTIATINGLY close goal by OHL)
6:28 (El Toro scores a goal for OHL)

My friends Chris, Abby, and I showed up early for the game, for which we were rewarded with ridiculously cheap beer and fries (plus a free Valentine’s Day gift!). Seriously, these Belgians know how to do it right— € 1.70 for a smallish beer, and less than € 3 for fries for two. € 3 for a foot-long bratwurst with onions? Well, that one I’m saving till next time.
The game itself was amazing too, mainly because OHL went down 1-0 just 15 minutes into the game, only tie it up a minute later. That’d be like giving up the opening touchdown only to score on the ensuing kickoff return. Electrifying.

(No, seriously, click that link, and listen to the ridiculous commentary that comes from the color commentator. Do it. Do it now).


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Super Bowl Sunday was … well, I had a great time, and I guess that’s all that matters.  The game itself isn’t as important, so long as you get to enjoy all four quarters in the company of friends, right?

The original plan for the night had been to visit one of the local bars which was carrying the game—a surprising fact in itself, since the game didn’t even start till 12:30 a.m. local time.  But eventually we decided against the bar idea in favor of a more subdued, smoke-free apartment style atmosphere.  For me, there were really three deciding factors

  1. As alluded to above, you can still smoke in bars here, and smoke the Europeans do.  You can’t hope to go into a bar for 15 minutes without smelling like an ashtray.
  2. More importantly, I hate both the teams that played, and I wasn’t enthused about the prospect of spending a night with their fans, fair-weather or otherwise.
  3. You can’t play the cork game (explanation to follow) in a bar.

Our plans of spending the night in with friends, away from the rabble of green, yellow, and black supporters, hinged on finding some sort of Internet service which might allow us to actually, you know, see the game.  That particular aspect of the plan hit a snag last week though, when a certain federal agency decided to pull a bunch of websites off the Internet (who knew they could do that? can they do that?  apparently they can do that.).

Thankfully, many people who use the interwebs are quite clever.  Who could be blamed if, say, a feed of the game somehow, for whatever reason, appeared on the screen of a computer which happened to be nearby?  I’m sure that I don’t even know how something like that might happen, let alone how to stop it.

I won’t spend time talking about the game—it’s Thursday already, and this isn’t the place you go to for that sort of thing anyway.

And besides, the football game wasn’t the highlight of the night.  No, that was reserved for another game, one that took place during halftime.

No, it wasn’t the Puppy Bowl.  And no, it wasn’t a drinking game involving the number of times Fergie missed a note or will.i.am said the words “Get UP!”

It was the Cork Game.

The game itself is pretty simple.  Two pasta sauce jars are set out at varying levels of height and distance from the throwers, who attempt to throw corks into them.  There’s scoring involved, but I’ll leave the explanation of the details to mrscimo, who invented the game with her husband.  You know.  Cause sometimes Belgium (like any country) gets boring, and you’ve got a bunch of corks sitting around.

(Uprights not pictured)

We even went so far as to add some variant, Super Bowl related rulesets to the game.  In one version, after scoring a point by hitting a pasta jar on the rim or sinking a cork, the player has to flick a cork through two uprights constructed from beer cans.  Now that’s good, wholesome, American fun.

So while I wasn’t pleased with either the Super Bowl itself—it was highly unlikely that a situation would arise in which both teams could lose—the Cork Game Super Bowl I was a massive success.  Add to that a price tag of just 45 cents per can used in the construction of those special uprights and the fact that before construction could begin the cans themselves had to be emptied, and you’ve got yourself for a recipe for a nice little evening.


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Go Twins!

I may be in Belgium, but that doesn’t mean I can’t support my team.  Be warned, ranting will commence shortly.

It is about time for us to knock the freaking Yankees off their high horse.  So we’re one game down–big whoop.  You know what we got?  We got some Pavano waiting for ya in game two!

The Yanks are the biggest bunch of overpaid, over-hyped, under-hustling bunch of wieners in the league, and it’s about time the Twins let them know it.  And while they’re at it, they should also inform anyone wearing a Yankees jersey within 100 miles of Target Field that, no, in fact, you’re not cool.  You’re probably not even from New York.  And if you were from New York, and you were cool, you’d like the Mets.

Me?  I’ll be rooting for the team that manufactures runs, plays great defense, and brings up players from within its own ranks.  If anyone wants to keep cheering for the team that simply buys up the fruits of others’ labor, I guess that’s fine.  But I’d rather watch a team that does some good for the game of baseball.

Go Twins!

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