Wow, it just occured to me that it’s been a month since I updated, so here goes…
Shortly after I got back from my little vacation, my father went on one, so I was away from my PC and the internet while I housesat, which means a lot of television watched and when television sucks, video games played (which this year, meant beating the original Phoenix Wright on Nintendo DS to justify buying and playing the sequel.) I planned to write an entry overviewing what I watched, but I ended up rushing headlong into helping with Bygfoot updates and haven’t really found a moment to write until now.
Bygfoot is a soccer management simulation, in the vein of the classic Football Manager (which is still published, the rights to the real Football Manager now belong to Sega.) I’ve been working on implementing the off-season changes made in US Soccer (new team in MLS, lots of moves in USL, and so on) as well as the off-season changes in Japan’s J-League, and better implementation for Mexico and Argentina. Before the work is added to the unstable version of the official program, my work is put here for easy access: http://chunter.homeip.net/bygfoot
So, in no particular order…
FORZA MOTORSPORT SHOWDOWN
A reality TV show on the Speed channel attempting to recreate the X-Box game. While it’s a bit too much reality (read: editing) and not enough actual racing content for my taste, it’s still neat to watch, and is more interesting than Pinks. In fact, between Forza and Pinks, I’ve been able to compile some very basic rules of auto racing that all should learn and adhere to, if you should dare to do this sort of thing.
1. Bring a car. (You’d be surprised how many people mess this up.)
2. Bring a car that has a motor that actually starts and idles on its own power. (Again, you’d be surprised how many people mess this up.)
3. Bring a car that can properly engage its clutch in all the gears in its gearbox.
4. Make sure your car’s fuel cell (as appropriate to its motor) contains the appropriate amount of fuel.
5. Choose wheels larger than the brake disc and caliper set it must surround.
I’ll add to the list periodically as I think of more.
USA VS MEXICO or BOB BRADLEY FOR HEAD COACH
USA put on a hell of an off-season exhibition against a mid-season Mexico side, and while details of that match are now old news and better documented elsewhere, suffice to say I am very impressed at the emphatic nature with which many on USA’s side that night performed. US Soccer gets the Golden Balls (yes that’s plural) award for several reasons:
1. Placing the match at the same time as Duke vs North Carolina me’s basketball.
2. US Soccer president Sunil Gulatti going on TV to be interviewed regarding USA Men’s technically vacant head coach position and
3. Every commentator on the telecast after Sunil’s interview, including the interviewer himself, hosing Sunil’s word as to why Bob Bradley is the “interim” head coach of USA Men and not the official one, after whatever may have prevented German star Jurgen Klinnsman from accepting the job instead.
While the TV guys all openly wanted Bob Bradley to have the job, I’d rather see Peter Novak at the helm, instead of as an assistant holding a clipboard. They’re doing just fine, though.
My two cents on the issue is that Bob Bradley’s official capacity is as head coach of the U-23/Olimpic games team, and having him do two jobs like that is what large companies do when they want to cut costs. This is not to say that I think US Soccer is having financial trouble, the very fact that US Soccer could talk to Klinnsman is evidence that US Soccer can afford another coaching staff, but that’s part of what is bothersome. We know US Soccer can afford an official men’s coach, so what’s with the colossal waste of time?
US SOCCER’S PUCK ENVY
David Beckham’s contract signing is also old news and better documented in several thousand other places. Dare I say, the contract he signed to play on Los Angeles when his term with Real Madrid runs out has earned him a spot back on the European team, and in fact, may have even bought them a chance to win the UEFA Champion’s League, though there’s still plenty of time for that big story to get trod upon.
What all that have commented have gotten right is that MLS seek to expand their market footprint beyond the people in the US that will watch soccer regularly, regardless of where that soccer comes from. The problem is that I think many of the larger or older media seem to think the only way for MLS to grow would be to take fans away from other sports, but I don’t see it that way.
The NHL has gotten similarly poor media treatment for decades, and indeed, hockey has its ‘hardcore’ fans that follow hockey and not much else, when it comes to professional sports. While the NHL is far from stable and perfect, it’s been around a long time and hasn’t met the demise that others have predicted for it, and I believe that professional soccer can be the same way.
The influx of foreign investment in soccer in the United States (there are teams sponsored by clubs in England and Spain, and there are investors in MLS from The Netherlands, Japan, Germany, and perhaps others I’m sure I’m forgetting) shows us that not only is it considered to be a valuable investment, but that the yield sought by these investors may not even specifically be money- I’m sure Arsenal and Crystal Palace want to use MLS as a way to develop and scout players for their respective clubs, and let’s not forget Club Deportivo Guadelajara (Chivas) for starting the trend.
So, enough with the anxiety already. NHL people let the quality of the sport they like speak for itself, and don’t lose sleep when friends decide it isn’t for them. Why should soccer in the US be any different?
A1 GRAN PRIX WORLD CUP OF AUTO RACING
Where can I start with this?… The objective of the A1GP series is to have an equivalent to soccer’s world cup, except where open-wheeled Formulae-styled cars are raced. There are very strict design controls to ensure that the vehicles are as identical as possible, with an electronic restriction that can be lifted in the interest of overtaking, that is, the driver gets a button to push on the steering wheel for a temporary boost of engine power that can only be used a limited number of times. Champ Car World Series has a similar format in its “push to pass” rule. In fact, Champ Car has the same strict designs, if A1GP was raced on streets with temporary concrete barriers and had a season in the summer, it would be the same thing.
A1 is raced in fall to winter, however, in the interest of someday having teams containing the world’s greatest talent (read: Michael Schumacher in the Germany car, etc) in a showcase not unlike a certain quadrennial international football tournament. This is not a bad idea, however, to really be a spectacle, maybe it shouldn’t be run every year. As it is now, the teams are mostly developing drivers and engineers.
FIFA has World Cups more than every four years, but the one for which the whole world tries to stop turning in order to watch happens quadrennially, on other years there is the Youth World Cup, and the Women’s World Cup, and so on. Why not try something similar with A1’s format?
I can also do without the emphasis on country when televised; I don’t just want to hear that USA is trying to hold off France, I want to hear the drivers’ names, because someday I will know them from other brands of motorsport, whether A1GP ever becomes as important as proposed or not.
Frankly, there are so many attempts at a World Championship of all forms of auto racing, that makes me pessimistic about pretty much all of them. Racing is racing, that’s all you can say.
A1’s similarity to Champ Car had me wondering, however. What aspects of Champ Car would need to be changed (if any) for it to become an official kind of Formula 3? Champ Car as a Formula 3 would open some doors for its drivers, as well as allow for a certain amount of development and expansion of the series as a whole.
I’m sorry for not writing more often. I’ve actually wanted to get quite a lot more done besides editing XML and watching television, though all-in-all, I suppose I’ve done quite a bit if I can spread the work out a little more evenly, perhaps…
Naturally, I hope everyone’s made it through February okay. While the weather has been ordinary for the time of year where I’m writing this, it’s been pretty dreadful through most of the US and probably the rest of the world. I suppose I’m fairly lucky about that.
See you next time.