Wednesday, June 25, 2014

"In Fairness ... I Like To Bite Into An Italian Sub Too."

So the one guy bit the other guy at the World Cup and then tried to pretend he didn't?

And then the other guy kept trying to show his shoulder to the ref to show him the bite marks?

TigerBlog is clearly all in on the World Cup. Hey, Costa Rica won its group and will play Greece Sunday for a spot in the quarterfinals.

It's been a really great run for CONCACAF in the group stages. Costa Rica and Mexico both have advanced, and the U.S. probably will. Honduras probably won't, but that's still two definites and possibly a third of the four teams.

Contrast that with Europe.

Italy and England were in a group with Uruguay and Costa Rica, and the English and Italians are probably on the plane home right now. Spain is already home. Portugal will probably be joining them.

It would be hard to find any World Cup pre-tournament predictions that didn't have a few of them in the knockout round, if not all of them. And had at least one of them getting to the semifinals.

The European team that's looking good is the Netherlands, which went 3-0-0 in its group and outscored its opponents 10-3. Oh, and Belgium, who as everyone knows Princeton men's soccer coach Jim Barlow said to watch out for before the tournament started. 

The U.S. has its quick turnaround from Sunday's agonizing 2-2 tie with Portugal, in which the U.S. was seconds away from clinching a spot in the knockout round. Now the Americans have to take on Germany, the second-ranked team in the world, tomorrow at noon.

In reality, it would take a lot for one of these teams not to qualify. A tie and they both advance. A win by one and the tiebreakers still favor the one that loses, unless the loser gives up a ton of goals in the process.

For everything that TB loves about the World Cup, there are three things that continue to torture him.

First, there are the timekeeping rules. They are a nightmare. Why can't the clock simply stop on the ref's signal, like it does in every other sport? If that had been the case, maybe Portugal never would have scored the tying goal.

Second, there is the officiating in general. Either it's too much to ask for one ref to see everything (and for the assistant to see offsides) or maybe there are just more bad calls in soccer than any other sport. TB just doesn't want to see something like the World Cup decided by a terrible call.

And lastly, there is the silliness of some of the players. They take way too many dives, often giving up on the ball in the process. They act like they have suffered life-threatening injuries at the slightest touch. It's ridiculous. And it ruins the game far too many times.

And in the case of Luis Suarez, sometimes they bite. Now that's really, really ridiculous. Suarez should be on his way home too. There's no way that can be tolerated.

On the other hand, it led to some great Tweets. The best that TB saw said "In fairness to Suarez, I like to bite into an Italian sub too."

Anyway, what does any of this have to do with Princeton sports? Nothing.

But give TigerBlog a break.

The biggest thing in the world right now is the World Cup. Around here, it's pretty quiet.

People often ask Tigerblog if he works in the summer, or if positions in the athletic department are 10 months, like the school year. The answer is yes, he works all summer.

It's just that there are no events. In fact, the last athletic event of the 2013-14 academic year was the NCAA track and field championships, which ended June 14. The first athletic events of the next academic year are, TB believes, Sept. 5.

That makes it an 83-day gap from the end of one year to the next. Today would be Day 11 of 83, or 13.3% of the way there.

In other words, there's a long way to go. The mid-way point would be Day 42, which would be July 28, and that's still a long way off.

Right now is filled with stories about schedules for next year, athletes and coaches (current or alums) who are receiving some special honors and the kind of stuff that fills a webpage in the summer.

TB believes that it's important to keep coming up with as much new content in the summer as possible. It keeps people coming back. If the same picture greets you when you get there, then you figure there's nothing new to see here and go off to some other site.

In fact, the news never really stops flowing all summer. It always amazes TB.

For that matter, there's always something for TigerBlog to write about all summer as well.

Some days it's a little more Princeton-centric than others.

Today wasn't one of them, but hey, what do you expect on Day 11?

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