A TEXT POST

yet another end

A couple months ago, I thought I’d give this a try: a dedicated soccer opinion blog/tumblr, with an accompanying Twitter handle. I started it at the same time that I finally acknowledged I would leave writing Aztex stuff to other folks, and I renamed the old @Aztexan handle to the unwieldy @AbsoluteCr4ck3r, (the normal spelling account was already taken). I said at the time that it would be “a quick & easy place to spout off about soccer stuff”, and that I was “not sure if I’ll stick with it.”

Meanwhile, my dad passed away a little over a week ago. He was 87, and had been in a full-time assisted living home for about five years, after a mysterious but debilitating brain injury he suffered during “routine” surgery. Reflecting and reevaluating in recent days helped me realize that there are other things I’d like to spend my time on than some vague idea of aspiring to be a wiseacre amateur soccer pundit.

I also realized how silly it is to have an online soccer persona separate from my regular self. So in (yet another) online shuffle, I’m going to repost the couple of things I wrote here that I feel are worth half a damn over on my “personal” ~cgrayson blog, and stop posting here. Similarly, Absolute Cracker tweets will stop; try not to be too sad. Anything worth saying (relative to, you know, the worth of anything on Twitter) — soccer or non-soccer — will be as @cgrayson. See you there. Or not. ;-)

A TEXT POST

But, uh, look: he’s an old man, I mean let’s be honest. And he’s gonna have to run around, and he’s gonna have to work. So If that’s something he doesn’t wanna do, then MLS is not the place for him. But regardless where he goes, I am confident that he will help the team on the field, and he will make a lot of money.

— Alexi Lalas on ESPN Dallas’ Soccer Today, good-naturedly hassling Michael Ballack about coming to MLS

A TEXT POST

From Grant Wahl’s story on Mario Gómez:

But Gómez wants to be clear about one thing: When Schweinsteiger told the press afterward that he’d never seen Gómez make a move like that before, that just wasn’t true. “I told him he was lying,” cracks Gómez. “When we go to the disco he’s seen these moves lots of times, just not with a ball.”

A VIDEO

I’m sure this video, Monty Python’s philosopher/soccer contest, is making the rounds ahead of today’s Germany-Greece quarterfinal. Let me help it!

A PHOTO

UEFA president Michel Platini (right; some other high muckety-muck, presumably, left) at the Portugal-Czech Republic Euro 2012 quarterfinal. I don’t expect these guys to be jumping up & down or facepainting, and okay, this wasn’t the marquee matchup, but jeez. Nobody who can even dream of being this bored and unengaged at a Euro quarterfinal, has any business helping to run world football.

A PHOTO

soccer book bookmark (Taken with Instagram)

A PHOTO

He is Zlatan. He is in The Matrix.

Reblogged from KICKTV
A QUOTE

When the soccer fan dies, he goes to Italy, where he finds the best players in the world, matches shown in full on public TV and numerous daily sports newspapers. Nice weather, too.

A VIDEO

Most of the shots of the blue & yellow crowd at the Ukraine-Sweden game were totally baffling. Were they Ukraine fans? Sweden fans? I COULD NOT TELL. But this cute little Ukraine fan (and of course all the people cheering immediately after a goal) was the exception. Lots of people are loving his reaction — pure, unadulterated celebration — but the almost better part to me is the look right before, wide-eyed & expectant… This. This is what it’s all about.

A VIDEO

Cool little behind-the-scenes look at ESPN’s set construction for their Euro 2012 coverage.

A TEXT POST

Quid Pro Fadó

I’m not 100% sure why I got an email from Fado Irish Pub here in Austin, inviting me to a pre-Euros “footie blogger” event, presumably for my old Aztexan blog. But in any case I went, and was given free stuff in a transparent attempt to get me to plug their establishment online.

So here I go!

Honestly, Fado isn’t usually my first choice of soccer pub lately. Between having to deal with downtown parking (a serious phobia of mine) and eats & drinks not exactly being the cheapest, I just wound up picking other establishments. And I’m not the only one — American Outlaws Austin recently changed to Cuatro’s as their home pub.

Great pitch they bought from me so far, eh?

But here’s the thing. Those couple of Guinnesses and appetizers, that little bag of swag (a small Guinness glass, some coupons, a spiffy Germany tee from Who Are Ya Designs, a (nasty) British candy bar, a bag of (nasty) Irish bacon-flavored potato chips (sorry, crisps), and a couple of coupons), well, all that stuff worked. They lured me back to Fado, and they made me think about what’s good there.

Here’s what’s good there.

First, they’re no longer the only game in town (which is fantastic in that it represents continued growth & demand from soccer fans), but they did used to be the only game in town. Back in the day (as they say), I drove down to Fado plenty of times to catch Liverpool games that kicked off at 7:00 AM local time on a Sunday (parking was easy that time of day, at least). Who else was open at that time, willing to serve those fans? Nobody else that I knew of.

Second, they’re no longer the only game in town (yes, I repeated that on purpose). Part of the reason they reached out to us is that they realize there’s some competition for soccer fan dollars. The very nice woman who spoke to us mentioned both Cuatro’s and Black Sheep Lodge, and was very interested to learn that Lion & Rose is also an Official U.S. Soccer Bar. She also said there would be specials during the Euros that would help relieve some strain on the wallet. But the point is: they do value soccer fans, and they do realize that they can’t take us for granted. Props to them for that.

Lastly, they are right downtown. (That’s the Holy Grail for new soccer-specific stadiums, so it must be worth something for a bar, right?) It is kind of a two-edged sword. On the bad side, the live music they have some nights for their “normal” downtown & walk-up customers occasionally interferes with soccer watching. But on the good side, there’s exposure of the sport to those same “normal” downtown & walk-up customers at other times. It’s a balance.

The bottom line is, the more soccer-friendly pubs in town, the better. So, yay for Fado! (And yay for all of their competitors, too!)

P.S. One aspect of this Euros-pushing gambit that bugged me a little was the total lack of anything to do with Austin’s new Aztex PDL team. On a certain level, the whole Euro 2012 marketing push is pretty much the definition of Eurosnobbery. But now I’m happy to see that’s been corrected, with an event featuring Aztex players and season ticket prizes.

A VIDEO

Not a fan of that odd collar thing, myself.

theworldsgame:

dreamstossedandblown-ynwa:

The lads. In the new away kit.

Not sure what to think about the Liverpool away kit for next season. You?

Reblogged from The World's Game
A PHOTO

Yes, my wife made a layered fruit smoothie; yes, she called it a pink & tan; yes, she served it in a Guinness glass to make sure I got the joke (and yes, it was delicious).

A PHOTO

A cameo by “Swiss manager Roy Hodgson” in Soccer Against the Enemy.