Tag Archives: sports

Biking with a small toddler: Burley Single buggy

As you may know, I drive very seldom but bike regularly except for the depths of winter. During some of my cycling trips I noticed some families with small children would have them in buggies attached to their bicycles. We now have one and it has proven very useful during the summer.

The buggy is big enough for our son to sit with enough space for some of his toys while also having a compartment in the back for fitting even a couple of bags for the road. Furthermore, it can easily get detached from the bike and turned into a more or less normal stroller.

While the buggy is not perfect (the seat is not great for when the toddler falls asleep, the stroller is difficult to lift to the bus, the brake is difficult to put) it has given us a freedom with the bikes we didn’t have before. Now we can bike to the summer house and take our clothes for the weekend with us. The buggy is also very safe and well tested, so it feels much more secure for our son than riding in a bike seat.

Historic Olympics for Mexico in London 2012

Mexico beat Brazil in the Olympic football final and most of the international coverage of the game focused on the Brazilians losing rather than on Mexico winning (local Finnish examples here and here).

If it had been the US, you would be expecting movie studios in Hollywood to be scrambling for the rights to film the lives of match hero Oribe Peralta or his teammate Carlos Salcido. The former was a bench-warmer with his team in the Mexican league two years ago, the latter was so poor in his youth he worked illegally in the US after his mother died, and was discovered already in his twenties. Now a veteran, he has played in the Netherlands and England.

Dos libros de futbol (Dios es Redondo & La Tenés Adentro)

Acabo de terminar dos libros de futbol que me encantaron por razones totalmente diferentes.

Dios es Redondo de Juan Villoro es una colección exquisita de ensayos de futbol escritos por un autor bastante reconocido con una pasión por el deporte y un humor exquisitos.  Un libro recomendadísimo para todos los que adoran el balompié con el corazón pero lo examinan con el cerebro.  Algunas citas como muestra:

El juego sucede dos veces, en la cancha y en la mente del público.

Elegir un equipo es una forma de elegir cómo transcurren los domingos.

Es posible que el futbol represente la última frontera legítima de la intransigencia emocional; rebasarla significa traicionar la infancia, negar al niño que entendió que los héroes se visten de blanco o de azulgrana.

En sus peores momentos, el fan del futbol es un idiota con la boca abierta ante un sándwich y la cabeza llena de datos inservibles.

El sentido de la tragedia inventa insólitos recursos; sin embargo, a veces el futbol se parece a la canción ranchera y lo bueno consiste, precisamente, en salir ultrajado: “¡Qué manera de perder!”.

Un mexicano adicto al futbol es, entre otras cosas, un masoquista que colecciona agravios, jueves de dolor para los que no hay domingos de resurrección”.

La pelota reclama afecto. Si es pateada con pasión, el tiro acabará en las redes. Si es pateada con angustia o despecho, acabará junto a un vendedor de cervezas.

La tenés adentro de Juan Carlos Pasman contiene la crónica de la “era Maradona” al frente de la selección argentina desde el punto de vista de uno de sus mayores críticos en el periodismo deportivo rioplatense.  El libro está muy mal editado y se nota que fue escrito a las carreras, pero pasando esos detalles por alto es interesantísimo.  Para los que quieran saber más de cómo se manejan los intereses alrededor de la selección albiceleste es un libro imperdible.  Quisiera saber cuándo habría un libro así sobre la selección mexicana en sus etapas La Volpe o Aguirre, pero para como se maneja el oligopolio televisivo probablemente nunca sucederá.

Balance of the summer for Mexican football

The summer is over, and so are the different national team tournaments.  The overall balance I would say is overwhelmingly positive, but there are definitely some things that should be improved, specially with regards to planning.

In June, the A squad beat every team in its path towards the continental trophy quite decisively and took the Gold Cup, qualifying to the Confederations Cup in 2013.

Also in June, the national team played the Women’s World Cup, qualifying for the first time in more than ten years and winning it’s first couple of points, but bowed out after the group stage.

In July, a horribly patched up C or D team (8 U20 players, 11 U22 players and 5 senior players not part of the original Gold Cup squad) played the Copa América as guests and finished dead last. Ouch.

Also in July, the U17 Tri hosted and won the WC for their category.  Beating Germany in the semis with an overhead kick by an injured player and playing the final in front of 100,000 delirious fans at Azteca Stadium was surely unforgettable for everyone.

Finally, the U20s reached a honourable 3rd place in the WC for their age group in Colombia, knocking out the hosts and beating les Bleus for bronze.

The cherry in the cake for me was Chivas beating Barcelona in a friendly (and currently leading the standings in the Mexican league after 6 games). 🙂

As said, overall the balance is positive with 2 golds and 1 bronze out of 5 tournaments.  However in the case of the Copa América a lot could have been done to either negotiate participation with the A team or not attending at all (even after removing players for a scandal just before the tournament).  If the players and the teams are improving so should the federation.

They shall call him… Little Pea

He arrived unheralded and unknown in one of the best football teams in Europe from the biggest team in Mexico, where he rose from obscurity to become one of the biggest stars in the league and the national team having scored 21 goals in 28 matches.

After a summer where he scored against fancied teams such as France, Argentina or Spain, everybody (including himself) were very sceptical about his impact with his new club.  They shouldn’t have bothered.  His hunger and instinct in front of goal have been impressive, and he’s got a catalogue of impressive, resourceful and plain weird goals to his name: with his face, his hip, the back of his head, his heels, between two defenders, running into space, Panenka-style penalties, etc.

The bit that really impresses me about him is his attitude towards life.  You see him playing every game with his heart out both for club and country, he’s always courteous with the fans and seems to have a pretty solid family life.  Youth needs more examples like that.

 

Finland World Ice Hockey Champions

The Finnish national passion is ice hockey, where unfortunately the team hasn’t been as successful as their fan involvement would warrant. The only world championship until last week’s victory was won in 1995, and the party then has become legendary.

I was finally able to experience that this week.  People started to believe in the team after the victory over Russia in the semis, where Mikael Granlund’s lacrosse-style goal has become the centerpiece of many a highlight reel.  Then, the final itself was a thriller: Sweden led the scoreboard until Finland tied at the end of the second period, showing a strength of mind that many of their predecessors lacked (the ignominious 5-6 of 2003 comes to mind) and then went on a roll to win the championship.

The celebrations in Helsinki were wild and kicked off on Sunday night.  The reception of the champions was organised in the Market Square the day after, and over 100,000 people attended (the whole country has 5.3 million people, so one could say almost 2% of Finland was there to celebrate).

The only black spots were the obvious inebriation of many in the team and the not-very-child-friendly music selection for what was a very public party, but in the end it was a shot of self-esteem and unity Finland really needed.

P.S. I think they should use Antero Mertaranta for the listening portion of the Yleiskielentutkinto (the official Finnish language exam).  That’d make it hard enough! 😀