Archive for February 2010

Speed Skating Controversy

February 26, 2010

I’m going to open this one by saying that when I back up Ohno, I think of him as an athlete. And athletes are allowed to act like assholes when talking about their sport especially if they’ve had the longevity and success (and by any standards, he’s been successful, if not on the Olympic stage, then the World one) that he’s had. He still rubs people from other countries the wrong way, but at the very least, he likes what he does and continues because it makes him happy. I can’t really hate the guy because he loves his sport.

I’m also not above admitting that I hopped on the bandwagon. I know almost next to nothing of speed skating, unlike say Track and Field and Soccer. I don’t support the Korean team during these sports because of the societal mentality that South Koreans have. I guess it’s out of spite. The unforgiving attitude that South Koreans hold onto their athletes is, at least to me, unacceptable. They shouldn’t have the support of their country rescinded just because they don’t perform to expectations. And what makes the South Korean Short Track Team worse is that they embrace this mentality and expect to win because as a country, they’re the best in the sport. Not completely unjustified, but still a little over the top. I understand that this way of thinking will never die out, or at least persevere for a long time after I’m gone. It just makes me uncomfortable to cheer for a team that, in my mind, acts a little conceited. (Reminds me of how my track coach expected to win All-Cities just because we had a 20 year streak. He’s going to be disappointed this year..)

Now, given all that, Korea should have gotten the Women’s 3000m Gold Medal. That slip-up was not her fault. Even commentators from America, the paradoxically patriotic impartial people they are, said that Korea should have won that race. It may have been a grudge against Korea or a negative bias because they have such a good record, but that Gold should’ve been theirs. The sport of speed skating is more subjective than figure skating with more of an impact on the performance of the athletes. It was an unfair call and it definitely wasn’t warrant for disqualification.

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Random Tidbit of My Life

February 24, 2010

Soo… I found out that Kim Yu-Na is almost exactly one month (35 days) younger than me and J.R. Celski is older than me by exactly 2 weeks. And I couldn’t help but think, “Damn. What have I done with my life?”

Not intended to be melancholic, but it’s where my mind tends to wander. I’m now officially at that age where a lot of world-class athletes are entering the world stage. And it’s kind of saddening that I’m envious of being them.

Anyway, almost at the closing point of the Olympics and there are only a few more events I’m looking out for. First is Ladies’ Figure Skating with the ever so lovely Kim Yu-Na. The other is the 5k relay. Kim Yu-Na is really something else. She’s currently sitting in first place after the short program and let’s hope that she does just as well Thursday. Just hope that Koreans don’t fall victim to their ever-consuming pride that they have.

…I think I’m gonna dream of being an Olympian tonight.

Gotta Love Curling

February 19, 2010

Last night my housemates and I were being decidedly goofy. Just having a good time and hanging out watching the Olympics. When the prime time broadcast ended someone jokingly mentioned that there was curling on an affiliated channel. We flipped to it in jest. We then proceeded to stay up until 3:00AM watching women curling.

I don’t know how many people know what curling is beyond sweeping ice but it’s pretty interesting. It’s a mind game, and it requires a lot of thought and strategy. It’s also kind of funny to say that you know the basic rules of curling. But it’s not a hard sport to pick up. On the contrary, we had a vague idea of what was happening while watching and picked up on some curling terms, as well as scoring and basic strategy. It was a pretty fun sport to watch.

But curling on it’s own is not so interesting that we’d stay on it for a good two hours. We prefer womens’ curling. Which at first glace, is weird. They’re not in skimpy uniforms. All they’re really doing is sweeping and gracefully tossing rocks. Not a lot happens in curling. But there are a surprising amount of beautiful ladies who curl. Tonight’s only the second night we’ve actually sat down and watched curling and we already have favorites. There’s a 19 year old skip from Great Britian named Eve Muirhead who is quite pretty. And there are two from the German team (Melanie Robillard and Stella Heiss) that aren’t hard on the eyes either. And even though a majority of the players are a little older in age, some of them don’t look to bad either, one prime example being Cheryl Bernard of Canada.

Personally, I don’t think that’s offensive at all. Shallow maybe, but appreciating the game that is curling is not a bad thing. And the fact that the players themselves are pretty doesn’t hurt either. So yeah, I’m a fan of women’s curling. Don’t judge until you’ve watched an end or two.

The Ohno Hate

February 15, 2010

On the first day of competition at the 2010 Vancouver Games, Apolo Ohno won the silver in the 1500m Short Track event. And Koreans all around the world are furious. Except me. I think Ohno deserved that Silver. I mean seriously Koreans, what the hell’s your problem?

When Ohno won his first gold medal, the first place finisher got disqualified for cross tracking and Ohno defaulted into Gold. And that apparently set off Koreans in a big way. In the most recent Olympics, Ohno blocked a Korean skater in his semi final round and the Korean asked for the disqualification. Didn’t get it. And in the finals 2nd and 3rd place were taken out and allowed Ohno to finish second. And shit’s hitting the fan. The Korea Times and the Washington Post are critical of his Silver finish for whatever reason, giving their examples. And a friend of mine expressed her outrage over the results in her own way.

So… what, just because he did some supposed foul play, the Korean can’t be civil? Koreans are known for their own foul play anyway. They team skate in an individual sport, and since it’s hard to prove, you can’t really call them on it. And Ohno may have hoped for a DQ but he didn’t grab that leash like the Korean did in the semi final. He kept skating. You’re allowed to hope for a DQ in a sport that hangs on that kind of thing. And the reason why Ohno won gold and didn’t get called in the semi final? You’re allowed to block when you’re in the lead. You can’t reach out when you’re behind and try to catapult your way up the line. Ohno didn’t even want the title of most decorated Winter Olympian. He came back because he loved his sport. Not saying it didn’t hold its own appeal, but he didn’t do it just for the glory.

Koreans are a vindictive bunch. The World Cup, Ohno, just whatever they can get their hands on. They expect to be handed the medals because they’re consistently the best and when they don’t, they run to officials like bratty kids. They’re smug with victory and angry at being put in their place. They need to learn that losing is part of playing the game. So deal with it.

Open the 21st Winter Olympiad

February 13, 2010

Today (yesterday) marks the beginning of the 21st Winter Olympiad, hosted by the British Columbian city of Vancouver. And it’s already been a heart wrenching games, and they’re not even a day old. The heaviest on my mind at least, is the death of Nodar Kumaritashvili, a luge rider from the country of Georgia. I didn’t really give it much thought until I watched the Opening Ceremonies. And I have just watched the video of his crash. That’s the first time I have seen someone suffer a fatal injury that wasn’t in a TV show or drama. And I’m actually pretty anxious about it. He was only 21 years old – a couple years older than me. And that’s disconcerting.

I’ve always been a fan of the Summer Olympics. They’re the ones that have all the action, and more sports that I follow or enjoy watching. I never really got on board supporting the Winter Games as much as their Summer counterparts. But these Games definitely have a different feel to them. They seem more honest. More committed to excellence. And now, more somber. It’s a jarring reminder that these Winter sports have a greater inherent risk factor. The fact that these athletes still compete in acknowledgement of that fact makes it all the more astounding. If nothing else, I respect the people who put themselves at risk during these Games. And I hope all of them live to tell their grandkids about their Olympic experience.

Anime Dubbing

February 7, 2010

I am a fan of old school anime dubbing. By “old school” I mean late 80’s/90’s English dubs of anime. I was introduced to anime around 8th grade, when Toonami was still around. I mean, like any kid growing up during the 90’s, I also got Pokemon and Digimon, some Sailor Moon, not gonna lie. But those seem childish to what was being broadcasted by Cartoon Network. Hell, Toonami was just another reason to go to Tahoe because I didn’t have cable at home. I loved the weekends because during the weekends, Toonami would run later than usual, followed immediately by Adult Swim anime. That’s how I got all my original “real” stuff. Dragonball Z, Full Metal Alchemist, InuYasha, Rurouni Kenshin, YuYu Hakusho, a bit of Cyborg 009, Samurai Champloo, Gundam. I got exposure to all of those when Toonami was first starting out in the late 90’s.

And you know those animes I mentioned above? I can’t watch the originals of those. They have to be watched dubbed. Because I believe that they were a lot better than their Japanese counterparts. Not just that they were better than the originals, but the quality of the dialogue and dubbing was great, and it made sense to American audiences. Either way, the reason I can’t stand to watch the Japanese audio to them is the same reason I do a lot of the weird things I do: because it’s nostalgic. It makes me feel better when I watch them dubbed. And sometimes, that’s all that you need, something from your past that you know is crappy, corny, and no good, but it’s still the best shit you’ve ever watched. That’s what those anime dubs are for me.

Dad Says Math First

February 4, 2010

I cracked a smile when I first read this webcomic. Because it reminded me of my dad. My dad, for as long as I can remember has pushed me to learn as much mathematics as I could. I remember my freshman year trying to go from Algebra I to Accelerated Math 1H mostly because I wanted to do my dad proud. I ended up doing it too, but not staying in the track for too long. He was an Applied Math and Stat major, so I like to think it means quite a bit to him, when I used to to do well in math. Past tense because not exactly my strongest subject anymore.

My roommate and I actually started talking about our dads on the way back from class today. I shared this particularly rough patch right before I graduated high school where my dad and I didn’t talk for literally weeks, I’m pretty sure it approached a month. I’m not going to go into the nitty gritty now, mostly because I was all in the wrong, but it made me appreciate my dad a little bit more. I don’t and can’t really blame him for snapping right before I graduated. Raising me and my brother, or for that matter, boys in general had to be a really trying experience. And that effort to always stay patient, even when he was dead tired, must have taken a Herculean effort. And still, if you were to ask me who I aspire to, my dad is definitely tied for the number one spot, if not the sole title holder.

I know it’s gonna be weird, but I think of what it would be like to be a dad from time to time. I used to focus more on what wisdom I would teach him. Whenever the topic of punishment came up, I’d say I’d be a better father than my dad and when I got older, told people I’d do the exact same thing my dad did. I would say I’d send them to Korean School, make the play an instrument, play soccer, things that I wish I pursued to the fullest when I was younger. Lately I’ve been thinking about disciplining your kids. How angry you’d have to get to start yelling. How weird it would be to yell at someone who loves and looks up to you. How hard it is to make that yelling into a lifelong lesson. To me it’s one of the greatest paradoxes of parenting: get angry because you love them.

I guess this is my little way of thanking my dad. For always maintaing that discipline and strong hand. And for telling the corniest of jokes. And for giving me interests that I would’ve otherwise not have loved. For being the father that he was. And hopefully, if I ever become a father, I hope to be just like him. I mean, I think I turned out pretty well.