SportsNet - July 2012
I have been attending all the Texans training camp days over the weekend and I went headstrong with players that I know are going to be great and want to be there to watch them start to make that leap. The first day I just wanted to watch Kareem Jackson and Brandon Harris who are my two favorite Texan's defensive backs, I do however respect that Jonathan Joseph is the best on the squad. As I watched Harris and Jackson I thought to myself that the tandem of those two corners should be fun to watch. Harris will now fill in the sub role of the departed now Bengal corner Jason Allen.
With Allen's departure Alan Ball was brought in. I am far from sold on Ball. Watching him in camp, Roc Carmichael seemed to outperform Ball. Which part of 2011 Cowboys secondary makes you think of any great corners? I just seem to remember the guys over there in Dallas that play in a 'billion dollar play pen' seem to get scorched and blow games. So I am not a Ball fan and really hope the Harris will be given a legitimate shot to be ahead of Ball on the depth chart and not be tied to some salary guilt trip feeling like you have to play Ball because you are paying him more
Michael Phelps is very similar to Christopher Nolan's Batman. While Nolan's Bruce Wayne took a break from wearing the cape and cowl, Phelps dramatically decreased his training regiment and event program in comparison to his cult-like preparation for the Beijing Olympics.
If the 2000 Olympic was Phelps' League of Shadows era as a wide-eyed 14-year-old Olympian, the 2004 Olympic Games in which he won six golds and a pair of bronzes was the second half of Batman Begins.
Ultimately, the Beijing Olympics was Phelps' Dark Knight moment. Those 17 days in the pool were a flawless masterpiece for Phelps that could only be equalled, never surpassed and that launched Phelps into legend status.
Finally, Dark Knight Rises, which opened in theatres a week before the Opening Ceremonies is Nolan's conclusion.
Phelps has also chosen to leave the Olympic stage on top after the London Games.
"I knew that I wanted to swim for another four years after 2008. I don't have that feeling now," he said. "Sure, I am excited I'm at the Olympics and representing my country. I don't see myself going on. I just don't want to.
This phrase resonates with every England fan. It's not a new thing that the FA hasn't gone with the people's choice. They always seem to choose the safe option so that they're not at fault if the risk doesn't pay off. Throughout history England managers have failed to bring silverware back to England. Minus the success of Sir Alf Ramsey, England have failed to bring anything back. But perhaps this is the fault of the FA for not choosing the people's choice.
Take this summer's debacle. Roy Hodgson was appointed England manager ahead of everyone's favourite Harry "illiterate" Redknapp. The whole country was in shock as Roy Hodgson was paraded at the England press conference. "We had no contact with Harry and Roy was our number one choice" they said. How ignorant of the FA to dismiss the views of pundits, fans and bookies of England. They'd much rather see their jobs safe than England fail at a major tournament.
It's fair to say I'm a bit of an Olympic sceptic. It's hard for me to believe in the Olympic spirit when it can only be mixed with Coca-Cola TM, and no other competing product. The associated nationalism strikes me as the last safe haven of the jingoistic. Often one of the reasons given for people enjoying the Olympics is that they get to watch sports they don't see any other time of the year and support their home nations athletes in the event. They didn't much care for Archery, or Sailing before the event, and they won't after, but by golly, drape a flag over it and people will whoop and holler and try and bask in the reflective glory of an achievement that had literally nothing to do with them.
The current Olympics couldn't be further away from the Olympic ideal; of amateurs competing at fairly rudimentary exercises and events in genuine tests of sporting merit. These days it's more akin to a global branding and marketing exercise; for a City to open its doors to the world; for countries to measure their worth against one another, and most importantly, for companies to position themselves as brand leaders by association with the event.
Mixed Martial Arts would make a great Olympic sport. Its unique mixture of required skills would bring a new crop of athletes to the Olympics, while also encouraging multi-sport crossovers within Olympic teams. MMA could make the cut in the future. It would take some work, a whole lot of time and changes, and probably more patience than the average fan possesses, but it could be done. Should some entity in the MMA world attempt to move the sport in that direction?
In the Ancient Olympics, MMA was known as Pankration, meaning "all powers." Of course, in the Ancient Greek tradition, competitors were naked and oiled, and rules were extremely liberal. Today's Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts have gone a long way to make the sport palatable to modern audiences. However, MMA will not be admitted in the Olympics under existing rules.
The Olympic goal presents a great opportunity to review the sport's current rules and develop a separate set of amateur rules. Look to boxing for an example. Olympic and Amateur bouts make use of protective headgear and shorter fights.