Epilogue: My World Cup Experience

August 9, 2010

On July 12, 2010, I wrote an blog entry about how I can’t stand the World Cup.  Besides for the one negative (VERY negative) comment someone wrote in response to it, people have pretty much agreed with me.  Including the guy who wrote this article.

I’m going to give you a second to read it.

Okay.  Did you read it?  Let’s discuss the similarities.

First, I am not joining the Denver Post (although based on this blog entry, it may be a better option than law school).  Yes, the article was written by a Mike Rosen, and yes, it was written three days after my blog post, but it isn’t me.  I swear.  Although, I should be able to sue this guy.  He took my idea, my name, and I’m sure he took my incomparable good looks (true story: all Mike Rosen’s are really, really good looking).

Second, he points out the same exact reasons why I disliked the World Cup, although he did it in a way more readable way.  I’d like to think my blogs are well written.  However, let’s be honest here, my blog just consists of a 23 year old’s rants about things that annoy him, and most of the time it is poorly written (although they were so poorly written that I was asked to write a column for my law school’s newspaper.  Look out for that).

That’s all I have to say about this.

My World Cup Experience

July 12, 2010

Well hello there fellow reader(s). I know, I know. It’s been awhile (am I the only one who hears that Staind song in his head with the lead singer who sounds like he’s taking a dump and singing at the same time?), but I’ve been paralyzed by Lebron James mania. I don’t think so many people have been glued to the television since post 9/11. Although I’m not comparing the two, in both situations we both waited on hands and knees to hear about some idiots’ actions (Osama bin Laden and Lebron James, who also happen to have matching beards). Oh, and in both, New York got screwed. But I’m done talking about Lebron-mania… I don’t want to black out because of the rage I feel inside anymore.

I’m here to talk about an equally ridiculous sport: soccer, er, futball, or whatever you call it. Either way, it blows. I know what you’re thinking: “Mike, you’re a sports lover. You are supposed to be a lover of all sports!” Well, friend, I love sports, but soccer is just not something I can handle. Here’s why.

First, I strongly dislike (I made a New Years resolution not to hate things) that nobody scores. If FIFA wanted Americans to get into soccer, they would shorten the field in half, and install mines secretly in the field. This game needs to score more goals. There is nothing that is less interesting to me than a zero-zero tie for 90 minutes of regulation, and 30 minutes of extra time like there was in the finals of the 2010 World Cup. However, if there was a short field and explosions, I would be so into it.

Second, I strongly dislike American fans. Seriously, what kind of fans are we that we only care about soccer once every four years? The answer is that we are terrible fans. And if you’re wondering, yes, I am guilty of it. Every four years, I try to get into soccer. I read up on the players, get really excited, and then actually sit and watch the games. Once I actually sit and watch the games, I think about things I could be doing that are way more interesting and fun (i.e. getting punched in the back of the head). Oh, and I hate seeing Americans root for other countries even more. If you watch the Sopranos, eat Italian food, have an Italian grandmother and go to Seaside every weekend to hang out with Mike “The Situation,” you have no right to root for Italy. Root for your country: America, the beautiful. Let me add, I have major respect for other countries’ fans. They follow their team all year and every year. Americans, however, only follow the relevant stories. I bet if Brett Favre was a midfielder for the US team, people would care all the time.

Third, I strongly dislike the players. I can’t think of any other sport that has players crying over every play (however, the NBA is getting close). Seriously, if the referee went to take a crap, the players would complain that the referee didn’t wipe long enough. Also, if I see one more guy miss a wide open net and then put his jersey over his head, while doing the Jon Scheyer/Adam Morrison cry face, I might explode.

Fourth, I strongly dislike the vuvuzelas. Who in South Africa thought this was a good idea? I’m pretty sure vuvuzelas were the reason for the Apartheid, so how can they risk another civil war by bringing these god-forsaken pieces of plastic back?

To conclude, I’m glad this World Cup is over. I strongly dislike this sport. However, they are a couple hidden mines, Charles Barkley color commentaries and Brett Favres away from being somewhat interesting. Maybe in 2014.

The Tara Lipinski Theory

February 18, 2010

With the due date of the biggest paper I have ever written in my educational career just under 48 hours away, and the Winter Olympics in full force, I was reminded of a theory I created back in the late 90s: the Tara Lipinski Theory.

Back in the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, a 15-year-old Tara Lipinski won the gold medal in women’s figure skating. As suprising as this was, it was more surprising that she defeated the overwhelming favorite Michelle Kwan. Many have theorized why this happened (including that Lipinski had more energy and that her program was more technically difficult), but most agree it was because Kwan skated towards the beginning of the group and Lipinski skated at the end. It has been understood that judges save room for better scores to occur as the night goes on, so although Kwan didn’t fall once and had a perfect run, because Lipinski was equally as perfect, and was one of the last skaters she edged out Kwan.

Throughout my life, I have seen this theory apply to all types of situations. For instance, say you partake in speed dating (admittedly, the only time I’ve ever actually seen this done is in the 40 Year Old Virgin, and that scene provides the best Paul Rudd scene in the movie). Obviously, you are not going to settle on the first awesome girl you meet. You are going to keep that first awesome girl in the back of your mind and go talk to the rest of the girls at this event, looking for someone even better and “saving room” for improvement. Towards the end you meet another equally awesome girl, and the odds are, because she is fresh in your mind and right in front of you, you will ask her to get coffee or take a ride in your Neo Geo, instead of asking the first girl. This situation can apply to anytime when you are picking something out (think about Halloween costumes–you look at a ton of equally awesome ones and then settle on the last awesome one because, quite frankly, nothing really stands out above the rest and settling on the first costume you see is just not fun).

This probably also applies to teachers grading papers, which is why this theory is so relevant right now. Most likely, a teacher will not give an A to the first paper he or she reads. This is because, if he or she does give an A to the first paper, this teacher has created a questionable standard and leaves no saves no room for improvement. If the paper is far superior to the rest of the papers, this will be the only A, which in undergrad or high school is ridiculously unfair, and in law school pretty much assures the rest of the class of Bs. It could also set the bar a little too low. This paper might be great, but there might be an even greater paper that is the, say, fourth paper read. Then what do you give this paper? An A+? And what about if that one is beat? An A++? Thus, room for improvement is probably given, and the first paper gets the short end of the stick. So, you better pray your paper is in the middle of the pack.

My Weekend

February 9, 2009

This weekend was quite an experience where I had a lot of emotional ups and downs.  So, I present to you two posts in one.  It’s like that time Limp Bizkit released two videos at once (I think it was “Rollin” and something else that nobody cared about…  but hopefully you care about both of these posts).  No?  Okay, maybe not.  Anyway, I’ll start with the good first.

Last night (Saturday) was one of my closest friend’s birthdays.  As expected, there was a party and it was huge.  Legendary, if you will.  At one point in the party, the song “Shipping Up to Boston” by Dropkick Murphys came on–a tradition my crew has had for about the past six months.  As we were all jumping around and going crazy, I had a moment of drunk sincerity, and realized how lucky I truly was.  I realized right then and there that four years ago, I could not have imagined having a tight knit group of friends like this.  After this moment of sincerity, I told myself to stop being a pussy and chug a beer.  But in all seriousness, this group was truly incredible.  We are truly a close group and a bunch of people that I could trust.  Sitting today and reflecting on this, I know that in the past I haven’t had the greatest friends and I have, historically, not been the greatest friend, but with this group, I feel like they have brought the best out in me.  It’s something unique that I wish everyone could experience.  It’s a shame that in May, many of us will go our separate ways–to New York, California, Miami, Baltimore, D.C., Chicago, etc., etc.  In fact, many of us probably won’t ever talk to each other after graduation.  I am very aware of this, and how hard it will be to stay in close contact with everyone in my group.  I will try my hardest to stay in contact with everyone, but I know this is only a pipe dream.  However, I take consolation in the fact that for the past two years, I have had memories to last a lifetime and I will always take that with me and cherish them.

Onto my second post… On Friday, I woke up to a very cryptic e-mail from the College Park Scholars, a living and learning program that I have been in since my acceptance into the University of Maryland.  In fact, it had been one of the factors that made my decision of which college to go to easy (that and the high quality basketball program… but we all know how that ended).  I became nervous over the e-mail because it was, quite frankly, very unsettling: an e-mail telling us we had a meeting at 2 o’clock and that we should make it our business to be there.  I had a terrible feeling I knew what it was, but I immediately called one of my friends and she called one of her friends to find out.  Unfortunately, my gut feeling was right: my Scholars advisor, Ken Joseph, unexpectedly passed away of a heart attack.

When I found out I was devastated.  I will try to put in words why (it probably won’t be very good but I have a lot of thoughts on this).  Ken was such a huge influence on my early years of college.  During orientation, he took our pictures and memorized our names, which was quite a surprise when moving in, when he said, “Hey Mike!” (my response to this was, “Who the hell is this guy?”).  Well, “this guy” was and will continue to be a great influence on me.  When I say Ken was one of the most kind hearted and enthusiastic people I have ever met, I am not exxagerating. 

When Ken saw I wasn’t exactly getting into the material in Scholars he and the student representative for my program Media, Self and Society, got me interested and involved in the program by getting me involved in something I liked: sports.  He had me be captain of the Media charity softball team.  I immediately became more enthusiastic about Scholars and grew a personal relationship with Ken.  I remember in the championship game (which we unfortunately lost on the last out), Ken pulled us all in and said (I will never forget this), “I know this game is for charity, but I want to win this FUCKIN’ GAME!”  It made us all laugh and get pumped.  He then pulled me aside and said, “Do whatever it takes to win.”  I was shocked that this guy was competitive enough to want to win a charity tournament so badly.  He was as competitive as I was! 

Although we didn’t win that championship game, our relationship grew from there.  Ken wrote me one of the nicest recommendations I have ever read.  I showed it to my parents and I remember my mother jokingly say that this letter finally made her proud of me.  It was a shining recommendation.   When I reflect on all Ken did for all of us, and more specifically me, I just regret that I took this relationship for granted.  I meant to stop in to his office this week, first to buy a Media sweatshirt since I will always support the Media program, and second to thank him for the recommendation and just for everything.  Unfortunately, I never got the chance.

When really reflecting on this unfortunate situation, it really has dawned on me that life could change in a second.  The quote by a wise man, “A little death makes life more meaningful,” really hits home for me.  Reflecting on the past 72 hours, I have seen some of the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.  Because of Ken’s untimely death, I reflected a lot on his life and how he affected mine.  I realized that things can change instantly and that I shouldn’t take people for granted.  I am extremely lucky that I have a healthy and happy family.  In addition, I also have the greatest of friends.  And for all of this, I am thankful for them and thankful for the impact and continuing impact Ken had and will have on my life.

The Problem With The Terps

January 29, 2009

For the past four years, my own school’s prestigious basketball program has toiled in mediocrity (and missed the tournament the year before I arrived here, too).  Mind you, this was a team that, when I was a freshman, was three years removed from a national championship and one year removed from a conference championship.  However, as my years here have gone on, the team has gotten worse and worse, and the situation has finally reached a boiling point with fans, players, coaches and the athletic department.  I usually do not like to comment on big things like sports or politics (even though they are my passion) because there are way too many critics and professionals who could do it a lot better than I can (and are paid accordingly), but the situation at the University of Maryland needs to be commented on by a fan.

As a freshman, I was pretty excited to come to a school like the University of Maryland that was rich in tradition and lively fans.  That year we reached a ranking of number twelve before our best player became academically ineligible and we were left on the outside looking in for the NCAA tournament.  I thought that year was a fluke and bad luck just hit the team.  Despite our bad luck, us fans continued to pack the Comcast Center and cheered with pride.

This pride and packed houses continued for the next two years, where we made the tournament my sophomore year and collapsed and did not make the tournament my junior year.  My junior year was when things truly started to go downhill.  At the end of the year, the Terrapins completely collapsed and lost very winnable conference games.  In addition, they were in position before the stretch run to make the tournament despite losses to American and Ohio.  By the end of the year, the fans had lost interest and the team was not playing to the kind of crowds they used to.  I hoped that this would not carry over to the next year.

Over the offseason this past spring, there was some very turbulent times.  We lost our top two recruits (and now there is finger pointing over this).  We were ranked anywhere from eighth to twelth in the ACC preseason rankings.  People were calling our coach, Gary Williams, over the hill and out of the loop.  Well, the Terps answered the challenge early on, however they were playing to an empty house.  Now, despite the start, the team is not playing well and the fans that were so loyal a couple years ago are no longer around.

This disappearance of loyal fans includes myself.  I am sick of mediocre basketball.  As Stephen A. Smith commented in an article a couple days ago, it is our job as fans to keep the team in check and to make sure they are playing their hardest.  And in my opinion, the Terps look flat and not polished and giving a half-assed effort.  How can they expect fans to want to watch this kind of basketball?  In addition, nobody on this team is likable.  The Terps do not have a marketable star or anyone the student section can relate to.

Many are calling for Coach Williams’ head, but in my opinion the Athletic Department should give him one more year to prove himself–one more year of fantastic Gary Williams circa 1998-2004 basketball.  This will give him one last chance to prove he can recruit (which he has failed to do for a couple years now.  Here’s a suggestion, Coach: we are in a great area for recruiting.  Go to these blue chip basketball players and say, “You have a chance to be the reason why the Maryland basketball program is saved.”  Simple as that.  Sure, you will probably lose half of the recruits to Duke, North Carolina, Michigan State, etc., but I’m sure there are recruits out there who would love the added ego boost with saving a program on their resume.

As for the fans, I think you should stay loyal, but I don’t blame you if you stay away from the stadium until the team gets better.  Terps fans were used to a certain quality of play.  And now, it’s gone.  So I don’t blame you. 

For me personally, it’s hard to take three hours of my day to go to a game where I know I am going to watch a subpar basketball team play subpar basketball.  Tuesday’s game against Boston College was a perfect example.  We completely fell apart in a perfect sample of subpar basketball.  I got angry, and taking Stephen A. Smith’s advice, I yelled at the players, and was actually warned by staff to be quiet.  I was annoyed and disappointed.  I didn’t want to see this team play anymore.  It didn’t help that a day after this horrific showing, the backlash against Coach Williams became national news and became quite controversial.  All of this really betrayed me as a fan.  I guess it makes it easier to leave College Park in May, but as a I diehard sports fan who lives and dies with his teams, this just hurts.


December 14, 2008

With my second to last undergraduate finals week approaching in eleven hours (yeah, I know I should be studying), I began to think about the whole idea of what finals week is a couple of hours ago.  Finals week is the most unique time of a person’s year and maybe even our lives.  It is a week when time stands still and nothing else matters except for studying, eating and sleeping (and most of us do a lot of the first two and not a lot of the third).

Let me give you an example.  The weekend is just about over.  However, yesterday, it occurred to me that it was a Saturday at around 7:30pm while at the gym.  It just didn’t feel like a weekend and quite frankly, it didn’t matter.  What mattered is that I woke up at 9:30 and studied until my brain was dead.  It didn’t matter if people were hanging out or going out to the bars or whatever.  What mattered was studying. 

Also, most of us completely shut ourselves out from the outside world, with me being included in this category.  I have been at this chair that I am writing this blog at for probably around twelve hours already today and probably for another seventy hours in the next week.  I completely forgot that football was on today (but now, since I realized, I have the Giants on in the background), I didn’t talk on the phone, I didn’t text message, I had one AIM conversation, and I left my room a total of five times:  twice for lunch and dinner, three times to take a bathroom break.

So this is finals.  Nothing else matters.  For other people who think like I do, I think it is a testament to our mental toughness.  I know for me, I have always taken everything like it is sports.  Before a game, I would get myself into a zone and nothing else mattered except for the goal at hand.  This is this same for finals.  Whatever problems are in my life (which are little, thank the Lord) or whatever is bothering me, I leave it at the door.  It is game time.  I care about nothing except for the material and silence (to allow me to study the material).  I don’t celebrate until I have completed my finals and goals (and for the most part, the celebrations are small because I have a larger view of life and my short term goals only help me complete my long term goals).  So, there you go.  Even though I left competitive sports almost four years ago, I still am in the zone and want to win.  But, I will talk a little less trash.

The Opening and Closing of Chapters in My Life

November 23, 2008

Wow, I haven’t written a post in a long time, so I figure I owe one to my loyal readers (that “s” at the end might be a bit of stretch) out there.  So here are my thoughts on the past month.

Mazel tov America.  We did it.  We elected Barack Obama.  Now, I planned on writing a post blaming college aged kids if Senator McCain won.  I planned on saying how the youth are so outspoken and always complaining about this and that and jumping on the “I Hate George W. Bush Bandwagon” and then never showing up to vote.  But you proved me wrong.  The 18-25 demographic showed up in record numbers.  It was insane that President-elect Obama won in almost every demographic, including outstanding showings among Christians and Protestants (which have both leaned Republican since the Reagan years), the Jews (almost 80%) and even the elderly.  It is important to mention that Senator McCain’s concession speech was incredible and inspiring.  If he would have spoken like that all campaign long (and the economy didn’t fall apart and Bush’s approval ratings weren’t in the crapper) he would have had a fighting chance.  The Senator McCain I know (and have met numerous times) has a great sense of humor and is incredibly insightful and we didn’t see that on the campaign.  In addition, it will also be interesting to see how the Republicans recover and what Governor Palin (or should I say “Rock Star” Palin) will do.

What else, what else.  Oh!  So it’s pretty rad that Blink-182 is talking again, huh?

Anyway, moving on…  So I started my edits and rewrites of a script I am writing.  I wrote it over the summer and decided not to look at it for a couple months to see if I still liked it after the wait.  Well, I looked at it and still liked it.  It needs work though.  It’s just good to be writing again, especially since the script is very personal, but also incredibly hysterical.  Obviously, this is the first time I am posting on it (and only a handful of friends know about it), but I take pieces of my blog and real life experiences and put it into this piece of work that I am so passionate about.  It’s a pretty cool and funny script and I will continue to work on it throughout the winter (it’s a slow process).  It’s kind of hard to write the script and then come back to the blog.  It’s two completely different kinds of writing pieces.  I will try though.

So I went to visit a prestigious law school in Washington (whose school has a weird mascot) and two things went through my head: 1.  “Well I guess this is growing up.”  2.  These people are strange.  So my first thought was the idea that I was growing up.  It seemed like a far off thought until I actually stepped onto campus and saw myself there.  It was a very strange feeling.  I mean, I’m looking forward to the future but also enjoying the present (I will get back to this in a little).  The second thought I had is that the people at this school were strange.  There were two types of people:  the pretentious people that wore sweater vests and nice clothing and the people who wore sweat pants and a hoody to class.  I started to think about which one I would be.  The pretentious one is interesting.  In all fairness, they deserve to be pretentious;  this was a hard school to get into and they are clearly better than most.  But also, they kind of seemed like douches.  But cool and smart douches.  The sweatshirt people were laid back, but also a little too informal for a place like this law school.  I don’t know what I would be.  Both sides are attractive.  Hopefully, I could find a healthy medium.

My last tidbit is that I went to my last home college football game as a student, and although my team got whipped, I stayed until the end in the freezing cold.  I just sat there as my team was down by over 30 and thought about the good and bad times.  I was incredibly emotional and although my team let me down last night, they were one of the few constant things in my college career.  I could always count on them to be there for me every Saturday.  It was an emotional experience, but like some band said, “Well I guess this is growing up” (although before this they said, “Take your pants off.”).  I’m sad this chapter of my life has come to a close but I will always cherish the times I had in that stadium living and dying with every touchdown and interception thrown.