Thursday, August 21, 2008

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

World's Fastest Man

Sounds like a new Nike line of sneakers doesn't it? But its his name, and he just swept the Olympic Mens Track competition.

Usain Bolt of Jamaica has run faster than any human being who's been timed running. Ever. So we should expect to see him soon racing a cheetah in a commercial, or something like that.

I wonder what a track star does after the Olympics. I also wonder if Usain has ever caught a football pass. I'm sure Al Davis is drooling just thinking about having the fastest man in the world as a Raider. I am. We already have one of the strongest arms in JaMarcus Russell. Wow, what a dream I just had. Bolt Deep!

So come on over and visit the Black Hole when you're through in Beijing Usain. We'll sign you to the silver and black and make you a huge Star! And all we'll ask of you is that you run like a cheetah and catch the damn ball. The world can be yours. Just stay away from Las Vegas.

Track Stars and the NFL

It only lasted three years. Nehemiah was fast, but he had trouble catching the ball. (Catching a speeding football is harder than it looks.) Also, his body had difficulty adjusting to getting walloped by cornerbacks and safeties.

Plus, as football coaches were learning, there's a difference between "track speed" and "football speed." The former is running in a straight line, and though sprints are very short, there's a strategy for the beginning, middle and end of the race. In football, however, the focus is on proper route-running and breakaway speed -- the ability to quickly accelerate now. Nehemiah didn't have it. His replacement, a man drafted in the spring of 1985 from a small college in Mississippi who wasn't particularly fast on the track, did have "football speed." His name was Jerry Rice, and most think he's the greatest wide receiver ever.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Trouble of the World - Mahalia Jackson

In Memory of A Friend: Whitney Henderson
Miss You Whit. Rest Well!

Rabid Vampire Bats

See the map above? See that red circle with a birdlike shadow inside? (it was red in the newspaper) Well that ain't no prayer dove and its definitely not the Gotham City batman beam. You should know that the color red in symbols usually means a warning. So if your as smart as a fifth-grader you should be able to put the characteristics of this symbol together to come of with its meaning; Warning Bats.

That's right, bats with sharp, long incisor teeth that prowl the South American countryside in search of fresh blood. Sounds like a cheesy horror novel or movie, but this is real. Its happening in the continent just south of these United States and could just be a matter of time before they venture north for fresh pickings. Wait, didn't the killer bees take the same route? Another story.

Thanks to the weekly newspaper column, Earthweek: A diary of the planet by Steve Newman, you can read about such natural phenomena as Vampire bat deaths. The scary part isn't the view of these flying mammals swooping down and sinking their incisors into unsuspecting sleeping victims. Oh no, the scary part is when the victim experiences the symptoms of rabies (fever, paralysis and extreme fear of water) and their convulsing bodies become rigid just before death.

Dozens of tribespeople in Venezuela's Orinoco River delta have died over the past year and sixteen of them, mostly children, have been afflicted over the past month by rabid vampire bat bites. Rabies is curable if treated in time but in some of these small villages, who knew that waking up with puncture wounds on the body could mean a one-way ticket to "The Upper Room."

I really need to thank Earthweek for their almost biblical revelations of life on this planet in the 21st century. Personally, I don't think Moses could've come up with such catastrophic earthly occurrences as these. For instance, I've never heard of "Bovine terror," have you? The thought of 150 ornery cows invading villages in search of food just isn't in my bank of reality. But its happening in a small village in southern Spain as I speak. Talk about mad cow disease, this hungry marauding pack of cows are foraging what they want, when they want it and wherever they find it. The villagers seem helpless in driving the beasts away. Gee, sounds like the Oakland Raiders defense of glory days past.

So if you find yourself surfing the web for some revelatory information about this big world of ours, look no further than Earthweek: A diary of the planet. Its information like this found at Earthweek that make my problems here in the United States seem puny.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Raiders Look Sharp in Loss

Maybe its too soon after the game for me to be writing about it. The Raiders fumbled away a sure win and it brings back that empty gut feeling of past seasons. However, I shouldn't be so tough on myself and my team. They showed they can be physical and dominate away from home. Our running backs were making titans defenders pay when tackling them. We dominated the time of possession and had some young guys step up.

Actually, if it weren't for the two fumbles the game would've been mostly all Raiders. Our defense was good and our passing game gave hints of success. That JaMarcus pass to Zack Miller for the first touchdown was a threaded bullet that oozed pass defenders by a hair. JaMarcus is the Real Deal.

Special team penalties were up this week. This problem should be correctable. Our defense stopped the Titans most of the night. RELIABLE is the word I felt best described our starting defense. A good word in sports.

The pain from the loss is still kicking at my gut, so I must continue to remind myself of the overall good play of the Raiders tonight. It is still exhibition season and they've proven that they can go on the road and compete with dominating efficiency. That'll bring back a swagger to the team. Can't wait for the Arizona Cardinal game next week at the Coliseum.

The Oakland Raiders will be competitive this season. Its an improved team with a strong will to win.

Raiders 16
Titans 17

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Why I Can't Watch Gymnastics

This story is NOT for the weak hearted. Actually, its not for the mild hearted either. While attempting to lift 248kilograms, using a lifting technique called the "Snatch,"Hungarian Olympian Janos Baranyai suffered a dislocated elbow, and that's putting it mildly.

Injuries occur in sports competition and athletes know it. But they can never prepare for the agony and pain of such injuries. The agony of defeat is probably as painful as physical injury to the body. Then again, one look at the dislocated elbow of Janos makes that old theory sound like hogwash. Warning, some of the pics at this link are horrific, but not bloody. Click Here

I once heard Oakland Raiders wide-receiver Tim Brown describe a medical procedure involving a torn leg ligament. After informing the radio listeners of how the inner thigh ligament tore away from the femur bone, he described how the surgeon cut down to the bone then stapled the ligament back onto the bone before closing the incision with more staples. Doctor Brown then calmly assessed that the stapled ligament would take blank amount of weeks to adhere back to the bone sufficiently.

I mention this snippet from "Mornings with Doctor Tim Brown" because It was one of the few times I recall wincing at someone's description of an injury and the surgical procedure to fix it.

We've all seen horrific injuries in sports; Joe Theisman's leg break, A boxer's swollen eyelid, a basketball player's knee cap turned sideways after a collision. But seeing this Gymnast's elbow popping out and witnessing the expression of agony on his face might just top all others. The fact that it happened on a world-wide stage makes it a memorable moment in sports. I personally can't watch young girls vaulting, uneven bars or rings. I feel every miss of theres too painfully. I think the last one I watched was Nadia Comaneci, 1976. She nailed them all.

My heart and prayers go out to Janos Baranyai. May his competitive psyche mend along with his physical rehabilitation so that he may compete in future Olympic games.

In the meantime, may the 2008 Summer Olympics resume safely and may the Americans Win it All!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Raider Nation Celebration 2008


The Raiders Organization definitely has mastered the Fan Appreciation Day activities. It was a bright, warm day for Oakland Raiders fans to come out and relish in the glory of being a part of the Raider Nation.

The best part is watching the kids faces light up with joy as they take in all the Raiders festivities available to them. It may be the one time in a kid's young life that he or she will find themselves in total agreement with their parents. The Raider Nation crosses generational, ethnic and social lines with a creed of malice toward none and equality and acceptance for all.

To see a father with a proud smile while raising his JaMarcus Russell jersey wearing little girl (eyepatch donned over one eye) onto his shoulder is a sight to behold. Yes, the Raiders Kids bring out that childish glee in all of us Raiders fans. Many adult fans have been passed the torch by their parent(s) and therefore its a no-brainer to indoctrinate their kids into the Raider Nation. I swear I saw yesterday a newborn infant with a Children's Hospital I.D. bracelet still around its tiny wrist. The infant was wearing a Raiders bib and already had that chucky scowl, I swear!

If America wants to end the divide that separates its citizens they should consider taking a page from the fans of the Oakland Raiders.

One Nation, One Goal and All Inclusive

I'm Proud to be a member of the Raider Nation!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Raiders Run Over Red&Gold 49ERS

Oakland Raiders
248 yds Rushing
2 Fumble Recoveries
2 Interceptions
1-53yd Punt Return For TD

2 FG's

Final Score
Raiders 18
49ers 6

The San Francisco Chronicle called the game "Sloppy Play" and commented that both teams should keep this opening preseason skirmish in proper perspective. Obviously, the SF media is in denial about the domination of the Oakland Raiders over their pampered media darling 49ers. But that's okay, we of the Silver and Black world didn't expect the crowning of the Battle of the Bay Champion Oakland Raiders to get print copy in San Francisco, its too soon and much too painful for them. Our crowning was actually done on the field last night in front of a hungry bay area football fan base of Raiders fans peppered with some brave 49er souls wearing their Red and Gold. Or as I heard it said after the game, Gold and Pink!

The three outstanding performances as a team were the Running Game, Defense and Special Teams. How is that for a three-headed monster. Speaking of which, it was the running game that electrified the Raiders fans and gives promise to a much improved team. Seems we have the blocking schemes to open up running lanes for all five of our featured backs. Johnnie Lee Higgins punt return for a touchdown highlighted the solid special teams play. With kicker Janokowski out, the fill in free agent Aaron Elling did a heck of a job kicking. Shane Lechler is still doing his Ray Guy impersonation and looks to be ready for the season.

I will try to keep in perspective this game as being an opening exhibition game, but I can't deny to myself what my eyes witnessed last night at McAfee Coliseum; the Oakland Raiders football organization fielded a disciplined team with a game plan that dominated their cross bay rival San Francisco 49ers.

Battle Of The Bay 08

Oakland Raiders


Thursday, August 07, 2008

Summer of #4

For those of us old enough to remember the movie "Summer of '42" the Brett Favre/Green Bay Packers fiasco isn't much off the mark.

In the movie a 15-year old boy (Hermie) falls in love for the first time. His love interest is a 22-year old housewife who's soldier husband is off fighting in WWII. So you have a lonely woman and a horny young boy on an island with a summer full of time and dreams. There's also the tearjerker theme song that pulls at your heartstrings and begs you to shed a tear for Hermie.

Well in this summer of '08 love story the soldier (Brett Favre) has come home to find his wife (Greenbay Packers) has moved on with life and is committed to the young man (Aaron Rodgers) a quarterback who's been courting the older woman and given the green light.

In the movie, "Summer of '42," the husband, after a short visit home, is killed in the war and the young boy learns about love and loss of love all in one summer. When the summer is over the girl leaves and the boy is left to ponder what he had, how it was lost and will he ever have it again, Love.

Today our story has a bit of a twist. The focus isn't on the young man who finally gets his chance to love, but on the old war worn soldier who's return was met with contempt. As with all good soldiers, duty and honor are what makes him a respectful man. When that respect is no longer felt, its time to move on to your next battleground. As the soldier walks off into the sunset you can hear the theme song playing in the background.

For the old soldier Brett Favre, that battleground will be in the Meadowlands where he'll wear the green and white of the New York Jets. Many are asking if Brett will ever get over the dishonor the Green Bay Packers have shown him this summer. Ask any man who's had his true love taken away from him, I don't think you ever get over it. As with the young man Hermie in "Summer of '42", only time will heal that wound.

But this summer's biggest NFL story has something that the hit movie never had, a sequel in the form of a football season. We football fans now have some drama to watch for this season. The emergence or downfall of a young Aaron Rodgers as he tries to fill the shoes of a legendary quarterback, and the emergence or downfall of a legendary quarterback as he tries soldiering his new team to respectability.

Whatever the outcome for these two quarterbacks come end of season, we fans have sure been given a "Summer of 08" that'll stay in our memories for tears.......I mean years to come.

correction: the movie "Summer of '42" did have a sequel, "Class of '44." It wasn't as good as the first one. It never is.