Monday, July 20, 2009

Shaq TV

The Big Diesel: Coming to a television near you!
This post was written by Vanguard sports writer J. Logue.

Glancing thru the website, as I so often do, I came across a very interesting article about the Big Aristotle’s new reality show which begins filming this week.

I know what you’re thinking: An athlete doing a reality show? Seriously? Again? I can promise you I felt the same way, but then I read further into the article and saw what looks like a chance for some good moments in sports history (dare I say) form in front of my eyes.

The basic setup of the show starts with the Big Cactus challenging a current sports star (a la Michael Phelps) to an event that pertains to their sport. Once the rules are decided on, the Diesel will train for a week culminating in the “Main Event.”

I started laughing almost as soon as I finished reading.

Can you imagine the Big Shaqtus and all of his seven-foot-two frame lumbering down the first base line going for the head first slide. Better yet, how much fabric does it take to make a LZR swimsuit for a person once called the Big Galactus?

Of course there will be a part were Shaq Fu and the competing athlete will do some charity work, but that’s expected.

For the first show, the challenger will be Ben Roethlisberger, accepting a challenge yet to be determined. Considering Big Ben’s talents I definitely can envision the Big Agave hurling dead ducks down the field to Superbowl MVP Santonio Holmes. Could we possibly even see a foot race between these two?

Either one would be priceless as well as a great chance to see the other side—a non-serious side—of two well known athletes. I mean does Roethlisberger talk trash to the Real Deal or vice versa? Who wouldn’t love that?

While some might fail to see the genius of the Big Banana’s show, I can promise you one thing. This will be something that everyone will be talking about after the first episode.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Rest in peace, Steve

This post was written by Vanguard sports writer J. Logue.

“Steve McNair was a hero…Hero’s are not supposed to die,” Vince Young said.

A fittingly powerful statement that more than nailed the man it described. This was a man that could throw a ball out of the stadium falling backwards. A man that would play through back injuries, knee injuries and any other assortment of medical issues typical of the game that he played in. A warrior respected by his peers, McNair appeared to have everything. Sometimes appearances are misleading, I guess.

Capable of avoiding 300-plus pound men screaming at him at unnatural speeds, McNair was unable to see the issues that were developing in his own game of life. A modern day Achilles of the Iliad variety, a fearless warrior that could defeat armies on Sundays, brought down by a single arrow. The only difference was that his arrow was the dashed hopes of a 20 year-old girl.

Why? It’s a question everyone will ask. By all accounts, Sahel Kazemi was a well adjusted immigrant from Iran. While she had seen tragedy (her mothers death), she maintained a normal life by any standard. The most unnerving part is that most people/experts will admit that no one can ever truly know why she did exactly what she did.

What I do know is emotions can be one hell of a drug. They can lead people to do things that are rarely rational. Running to Vegas to get married or drinking your sorrows away are common examples of its capabilities. What happened to McNair is unfortunately another example
I guess we will never know. Instead I will take this as a lasting lesson to the ugly side of life.

Rest in peace, Steve.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

A soccer boom?

This post was written by Vanguard sports writer Clayton Hemlock.

Is there a soccer boom going on here in the Northwest? The recent success of the U.S. National Team at the Confederations Cup and the amazing showing at the Timbers/Sounders game has me in awe of the fan base here in Portland and around the Northwest. The Sounders have been producing 30,000 fans a game up in Seattle and brought down a huge fan base to sell out PGE Park that any sports fan would be in awe of.

The U.S. appeared to be done sauce in their opening round games and turned it around in a quick flash of brilliance and a little luck. I remember that game against Egypt and thought to myself, "God we have absolutely no chance of going on." However, being an avid soccer fan I had to watch the game. I couldn’t believe my eyes as we some how managed to erase a 6 goal differential. Our 3-0 win over Egypt and the help of Brazil dominating the Italians 3-0 made our dream of come true. Unbelievable!! They pulled off a miracle.

Then the Spain game occurred and at first I was thinking, "Yeah, they’re going to lose." However, I believed they could win. After the shenanigans that occurred in the first game, I believed anything was possible. Then, when Jozy Altidore scored in the 27th I had a feeling that we could do it again. Finally when Dempsey scored in the 74th minute, I knew we had it. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The European Champions and world record holders for the most consecutive games in a row with a win, and without a loss was going to go down against a stubborn American side. This team showed a lot of pride.

The final against Brazil was insane! I was at the Cheerful Tortoise and I couldn’t believe how many people were watching the game in this little bar. I couldn’t even sit down. There had to be at least 50 people in the bar representing both the U.S. and Brazil. When we were up 2-0 at halftime I thought we had it. However, I was still very nervous because this is Brazil! Then Luis Fabiano scored twice and I began to tremble. I thought, alright if we play smart defense we can survive into overtime and regroup at the break. My thoughts were crushed and my heart was shattered when Lucio scored on a corner kick header. That goal shattered the hearts of so many people including my own. I was still very proud of my team and happy they made it this far. It is definitely something to look forward to in the upcoming year. GO USA!

As for the Sounders/Timbers game at PGE Park, that shit was absolutely crazy! I was at the game, and I’ve never heard so many people say, “I’ve never in my life seen this stadium so packed. This wasn’t even a regular season game or the playoffs. This was like the 3rd round of the U.S. Open Cup. It wasn’t really a big deal in terms of the bigger picture of things. However, I knew why this game was so huge! These teams hate each other and have been rivals for decades. Growing up being a Sounders fan I knew this game would be huge. However, I did not expect anything like this. The Bullpen bar was full of Sounders fans and Timbers fan alike. The streets were covered with forest green and neon green. Flags were being waved all over the place, and smoke bombs were going off. Then, there was the chanting as people walked to the gates. Keep in mind this was all before the game even started!

Had you been there, you would have had goose bumps. Hundreds of fans were disappointed due to the fact they were not getting tickets and scalpers were selling tickets five times as much you could get them normally. Fifteen minutes before the game the stadium was completely full, and then… The Chants began! The Timbers Army was singing their chants in sync and the NES and Emerald City Supporters were doing the same. It was a sweet little battle that was going on and the fan base was about the same on both sides. Then smoke bombs began going off, and a few made it on the field. This was boggling my mind at how loud this place was and the game hadn’t even started yet. Just under 17,000 people squeezed inside PGE Park to watch this game. The sidewalks were full as well, and I even saw one person climbing a tree to get a better glimpse of the game.

Finally the game started and the Sounders scored less than a minute into the match. The stadium went crazy due to the high number of Sounder’s fans in the stadium. Then the chants of “Sounders ‘til I die” and others were sung. Then the Sounders scored again! This looked like it was going to be a blowout. However just before half time the Timbers scored. The Timbers finally had something to cheer about and everyone went wild. Halftime came and went, and the game leveled off, but the cheering and the chants never stopped. There even was a little brawl in the beer garden where one guy got knocked out and had to be dragged off in a stretcher. However, security was tight and it ended right away.

The game ended 2-1 with the Sounders on top. Both die hard supporters on both sides began chanting their chants. Flares were going off all over the place, and smoke bombs were everywhere. The streets were over run by the thousands of people, and flags were being waved along in the air. This was a game that you can’t miss. Next time these two play again you have to get tickets as this was one of the most amazing things I’ve seen. I’ve been to a lot of soccer games, and I have never seen it as intense as this because both sides have their own chants. The two have very strong fan bases, and it was an unbelievable sight to see. I felt like I was at an EPL game. I predict that once the Timbers enter the MLS we will see a heated rivalry that people in the northwest will love!

A soccer boom has just hit the Northwest, and the next step is 2011 when the Timbers enter the MLS. GO SOUNDERS!