Saturday, March 23, 2013

March Madness Is HERE!

Its here and its Hot!  March Madness has busted down the doors of spring and awakened us fans to the zany world of college basektball once again.  Already the tears of heartbreak are rolling down one's cheeks while the victor is crying joyfully as he's mobbed by grateful teammates and loyal fans who made the trip.

Its the Madness of March, and for those who are spending every moment checking in on NCAA scores and highlights I say seize the day and enjoy.  If you're a betting man and plunked down some bread on a longshot, goooood Luuuuuck!

As for me, I'm gonna take a step back this season and watch from afar.  With so much going on in many of our lives these days, March Madness can either be a distracting blessing or a time consuming curse.  I'll try catching up around the days of the elite-eight.  Until then my fanatical friends, may your basketball feast this march be fun and filling.  Eat hardy!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Broncos Sign Mighty Mouse

That's right Raider Nation.  Get ready for that little monster that makes even the good NFL defenses look dazed and confused.  Wide Receiver Wes Welker has bolted from the New England Patriots and signed on for a two year tour with the Denver Broncos. 

Normally, I wouldn't blink an eye at this type of off season move, but now that the Broncos have proven their 2012 signing of Quarterback Peyton "Clark Kent" Manning was a gift from the football heavens, I shudder to think what it means to give superman a sidekick the likes of Welker.

As much as I dislike the New England Patriots, I've always given Welker due credit for his toughness and durability.  He's saved both bilichek and bradys' hides many of times dating back to 2007 when he joined the pats.  Now he's joining another football team we Raiders Fans dispise; a team that won our division last season and is giving football analysts reason to believe they have a shot at the whole damn caboodle come this season.  And that was before Mighty Mouse signed on.

Yeah, Raider Nation, things aren't always as bad as they seem. Life as a silver and black fan has to start showing some sparkle and promise down the road somewhere.  With the release of Michael Huff and Darius Heyward-Bey this week, maybe we'll see some super heroes sign on and give us that golden edge.  Maybe we'll acquire a few faces that'll make general manager Reggie McKenzie look like a wizard. 

Time is our friend, and time will tell us the truth come September 2013.  But do keep this in mind, Manning and Welker are spending Time together, exchanging super power pills and game-planning for this coming season's opponents. With two games scheduled against the Oakland Raiders, you can bet that some silver and black will drip into their conversation.  We'd better be ready, because they'll be. They're not your Tim Tebowing broncos no more.

The anticipation to battle the Broncos just went up a notch.  Bring'em!

Monday, March 11, 2013

B-Hop Showing Flashes of Joe Louis?

He's a 48 year old Boxer who I believe is improving with age.  My boy, new IBF Middleweight Champion Bernard Hopkins, is giving cable channel boxing clinics on a grand scale.  He took the belt from 31 year-old Tavoris Cloud this weekend in commanding style. In Brooklyn!

Hopkins looked as if he just couldn't be hurt by Cloud, while delivering some hurtful punches that opened three cuts over the opponent's eyes.  Cloud mistakenly protested to the referree that Hopkins elbow caused one of the cuts.  Replay don't lie, it was a B-Hop punch that clouded Cloud's judgment of what actually transpired.  The fight ended with Hopkins calling out Oakland native Andre Ward, even before the decision was announced. Ward was sitting at ringside as a guest announcer, I think. 

On a night when B-Hop would become the oldest man in history to win a major world boxing title, it looked as if he's just peaking and has a lot more fight in him.  Maybe the best is yet to come from Hopkins, who knew.  This weekend he wasn't dirty or controversial as many fans know him to be. Instead, he was clever, calculating and consistent as he landed  punches on the face of Cloud from every imagineable angle while slipping and sliding like a snake. Most who saw it are still wondering how the heck Hopkins did what he did.  And the more unbelievable thing about it is he seemed to do it with class!

For me, seasoned announcer Jim Lampley gave the best highlight quote of the night when he repeated word for word the boxing instructions B-Hop's expressive trainer, Naazim Richardson, gave him in a late round of the fight.

 "I need that short Joe Louis then wipe his nose with the hook. Tip your hat, pop the chain, short Joe Louis, then wipe his nose with the hook. It's that simple." Phone Post

Congratulations Champ!

How Hopkins Dismantled Cloud

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Tomaso Albinoni's Raiders Tribute

Boy do I miss my Raiders and NFL football.  Seems everything in today's activities brought memories of Raiders Football to mind, both the good and the bad.  

My ache for football sent me searching for Raiders gameday footage, leading me to a video recording of Raiders versus Jets 2012 in Oaktown.  What a game! It was the Mark Sanchez black  eye game. 

No, better than that; it was the Darren McFadden show that saw a silver & black come from behind victory, and of course I was there.  

The Raiders overcame a number of mistakes on that sunny Sunday in the Bay. D-Mac slicing and dicing his way to the endzone and wide receiver Denarius Moore looking just as impressive sluicing through the Jets secondary for a diving backstroke style touchdown.

2011 was a year of promise for the Oakland Raiders. It was then that coach Hugh Jackson had the team at the brink of breaking into the playoffs for the first time in nine years. Then injuries mounted up and you know the rest of the story.

After watching that great Raiders highlight game from 2011, I was immediately reminded of the disappointing 2012 season (4-12).  It is the true price one must pay to be a real sports fan, loyal to one team per sport.  The agony of defeat seems all too familiar for many of us. But then there's those thrilling days of victory that lift us up high and make every agonizing loss a forgotten moment in a cave of darkness.  Winning, and/or memories of winning cures the pain and allows us to start over dreaming of a return to greatness., if only for a day.  Thank my lucky stars for the victory day, because you really don't wanna hear what a losing day looks,sounds and feels like, do you?

A losing day in football feels like a bad medical condition that can only get worse. Its being found guilty of having a defect in your team and the hope is that your coach can correct it before the next game.  Often I've felt watching a Raiders game of late compares somewhat, though not nearly as life threatening, with the feelings  a condemned man walking to the gas chamber, electric chair or lethal injection table must feel; where all efforts for a reprieve have been exhausted yet as you take those last steps there's slim hope for a stay, very slim.  Which brings me to the late great baroque composer Tomaso Giovanni Albinoni (8 June 1671 – 17 January 1751) of  Italy.  

Albinoni frequently used his basses for harmony. In Albinoni's famous "Adagio in G Minor" for strings, violin and organ, which I was coincidently subjected to while moping through thoughts of the Raiders losing 2012 season, the constant, agonizing pluck of a bass string marches the listener toward the emotional drama that must play out in the end.  It is a musical piece that only one who has been through trials, appeals and pleadings, with little effect on the outcome, could ever know.  Albinoni with his violin strings and organ keys knew so well the pain of a Raiders fan.