Sports Stories, Uncategorized 0 comments on TokSoccer first game match report

TokSoccer first game match report

On a windy night in Southern San Francisco, the lads of TokSoccer stepped onto the pitch for their first match of the 2012 Summer/Fall season. Not a lot of experience, but a lot of enthusiasm accompanied the 6 brave souls. Fortunately, team captain Melih Onvural was able to recruit a goalie from another team to anchor the net, and the Boxers took to the field in their trusty 3-1-2 formation.

The first half can summarily be summarized as… Manas scored the team’s first goal off a beautiful pass from one Brewster!

At halftime, team captain Melih Onvural lauded the hard work of player of the match John Tsai who had a strong head about him in pressure situations, and coolly handled the center back position even without 2 of his lungs functioning. The team objective for the 2nd half was to focus on communication and passing, and to win the 2nd half, if not the match itself.

What a difference a pep talk makes! The first 5 minutes of the second half, the Boxers communicated, moved the ball exceptionally well, and, led by center midfielder Manas “I’ll never wear a feather boa again” Pradhan were able to make some fantastic advances on goal. Alas, in the words of one Meatloaf, 2 out of 3 ain’t bad, and while the communication and passing were truly top notch, the Boxers were unable to win either the 2nd half or the match.

Massive accolades go to Praveen Thangavelu who showed great composure and soccer savvy in his first foray onto the pitch. Man of the match goes to John Tsai. In the words of every teeball coach in America, the final score doesn’t matter as this team showed that in a matter of weeks it will be competing for a playoff position in the first class Recreational 7v7 Wednesday night soccer league.

In the event anyone reading this email finds themselves seeking the camaraderie, fitness, or abject exhaustion of the Boxers as they left the field tonight, the team is still hoping to grow by 2 or 3 more players before next week’s match.

just thinking out loud, Sports Stories, Uncategorized 0 comments on Avenue of the Giants – Results

Avenue of the Giants – Results

Last weekend, we headed up to Humboldt County to run the Avenue of the Giants half-marathon. It was quite a crew – my dad came from Istanbul, my buddy James came from Raleigh, Matt came up from San Jose, and then Micky, Amelia, and I filled out the group.

We found a place in Ferndale, and setup base camp. There was no wireless, which made for a desperate attempt to steal from the neighbors, which went exactly no where. That did mean though that we spent a lot more time just hanging out, playing guitar, and chasing Amelia around the house. There was a cute little grocery store in town where we got our food for the weekend, and spent the day before the race checking out the North Coast.

Massively windy. Massively beautiful. Don’t know that a coastline like California’s can be rivaled. There’s something to the cliffs and the sheer coldness of the water that makes for this beautiful yet distant combo. Unrivaled in what I’ve seen.

On to the race!

The race sucked. I just didn’t train enough. I got to 7 miles and some steps at a perfect pace. I was really happy with what I was doing, and then I just couldn’t keep going. I hit neither my time (2:28:56) nor my objective to not walk (about half-a-mile over the course of the race). There was an epic hill at about 1.8 miles to go, and it just knocked me flat.


I ran the last half-mile as hard as I could, and Amelia and Micky were both at the finish line to cheer me on. It was quite awesome. That was by far the best part of the whole thing.

Lessons learned for next time:

  1. Do a training run more than 7 miles
  2. Set realistic goals, and accomplish them
  3. Bring Micky along for the whole ride

Don’t know when it will be, but looking forward to the next one.

Sports Stories, Uncategorized 0 comments on Gosh I miss college basketball

Gosh I miss college basketball

Between NC State beating Georgia Tech tonight (which we desperately needed to keep NCAA hopes alive), and the quality of the last 4 minutes of the Duke/UNC game, I’m reminded how much I miss college basketball.

I genuinely believe that it is the purest form of the game. The level of athleticism in the ACC is amazing. The quality of the coaching is spectacular. Each game means something, and that’s what keeps me on the edge of my seat. Being a spectator for my whole life, and a photographer on the sidelines during college, has taught me that it’s a game where the buzzer is the only barrier between a team and the opportunity to snatch victory on any given night. That is truly a beautiful thing.

The thing is I’ve lost sports a lot since moving out to California. I used to spend hours at the Rudino’s in Waverly Place just watching sports. I’d be there with my dad, or with my buddy John Gottshall. It was awesome. The thing is that Micky isn’t really into sports, and not having cable makes it hard to keep up.

In losing sports, I’ve gained a ridiculous amount of time for other things – building my own projects, writing this blog, learning to play guitar. I love those things. I’m also much more likely to do a sport whether it be running, golf, or soccer now that I’m not constantly planning my day around watching sports.

That said, it’s weeks like this one where I say to myself thank goodness for ESPN3, and an Austin Rivers 3-pointer.

Sports Stories, Uncategorized 2 comments on My sexy assist

My sexy assist

I had a really pretty assist today.

We have an 8-on-8 league, and last week our game was quite embarrassing. We didn’t show up to play mentally at all, and ended up losing 2-7, and I broke my nose in the process. There were a million and one excuses, but it really came down to the fact that we sucked. I broke my nose on a header that I won against a guy who was a bit taller than me, and was going full bore into my face. It hurt like hell, and it bled about as bad.

One week later, and we come to tonight. The team we played against was a lot better, but they were down a man, and that really helped us out. The field opened up, we had these really fantastic moments of brilliant passing. It was raining a bit, but it didn’t really affect the game I would argue. It was a night that reminds you why you play the game. On to my assist…

We were tied 2-2, and I got a throw-in from Michael Hack. I was at the right edge of the 18-yard box about mid-way up (so approximately at the penalty spot). I thigh trapped it, and heard “Just turn and shoot” out of the background. So, before letting the ball hit the ground, I pivoted, and shot far side upper 90. The goalie probably had a pretty good chance to get a hand on my shot, but a teammate knocked the ball in off of his head just high enough that the goalie had no chance.

It was sexy…

Sports Stories, Uncategorized 2 comments on Step on the field to play the game

Step on the field to play the game

I played a game with my indoor team “Where’s the Beer?” last night. I think we lost 19-1 or something along those lines. It wasn’t pretty. I’ve learned that the most important element in the match is coming out of the match with a degree of pride for the way that you’ve played. You can’t come out of a 19-1 loss and have pride in anything, and so I decided to put some time into what went wrong.

The league that I play in is a competitive co-ed league. I’m gonna go ahead and say that the key component to success in a co-ed league is the quality of the girls on the team. Generally the guys on each team tend to cancel each other out, and so the determining factor ends up being the ladies. So it would be really easy using this theorem to say that clearly our girls just let us down. It was 19-1 after all.

But, in this case, which seems to be the exception which proves the rule, the theorem is wrong.

I love the game of soccer. I love competition. I love how anonymous individuals can together form a group, call it a team, and work together towards a common goal. Soccer is about passion. You don’t have to be the best, but you have to love the game. You have to love the challenge of being one on one versus a defender and attacking the goal. You have to have the patience of a saint in allowing a possession to develop. You have to be selfless enough to make a run off the ball knowing that you’re expending energy with no chance of getting the ball, but hoping that a teammate recognizes the space and makes the appropriate run.

We failed to do that because our individuals didn’t understand the mechanics that make the game beautiful. They weren’t selfless; they weren’t patient; they weren’t passionate. People didn’t run, and then they didn’t sub. People didn’t play defense, and then looked surprised when they didn’t get a pass. The philosophy of the game was that we have more players than they do which means we should be able to outrun them. That isn’t soccer.

Next game we need to start with the basics. Start with defense first. Don’t move up the field unless there’s a reason to. Going up the field because the ball is there isn’t a reason. Understand your responsibility on the field. Know that everyone plays defense, and that playing defense first and holding the game close is more important than making a run, and losing shape or focus. Let’s start there. We’re going to lose the next game, I can almost guarantee it. But from there, we can start to learn how to not lose, and by the end of the season we should learn to win.

The end goal… step on the field to play the game.