Wednesday, August 29, 2012

This Must Be Shared

Really this is mostly for my father, but everyone else should appreciate it. Ladies and gentleman, I give you, in animated short form, the Doc Ellis LSD no-hitter.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

He Hate Me

These posts don't even really have themes anymore, so here is how things have been going lately.  Somehow I have logged 150 hours this month (with 3 full days of play left, no less) despite taking a long trip for the wedding and seemingly not really trying that hard.  This is...comforting.  My target number is always 150 hours (that makes 1800 for the year go tech) and I've hit it every month but February, which seems just reasonable, you know, what with the only 29 days and all.  I feel like maybe I'm actually playing too much, but I guess if it's not really wearing on me I should continue.  But it could be wearing on me and I might not know it...last night while describing a player to Danielle I said "it's like, why don't you just die" and she got pretty upset.  And she's definitely right;  I should never say that about anyone, even a high stakes reg who thinks it's her job to make me uncomfortable and call me a pussy really for no reason whatsoever.  Like, I'm sorry the games aren't as soft as they used to be and you can't make $500k a year just playing ABC white chip poker.  I know I'm part of the problem, but seriously just chill out.  Live and let live, you know?  At least that's the way I used to talk.  I used to give Danielle serious crap for ever judging anyone, for calling people stupid, for not giving people a chance.  And here I am saying somebody should literally just die.  That's not very like me, you know?  Poker changes you, and not really for the better.  Along these same lines the fish that I got barred from the Bike for running off apparently went on stone cold rage tilt yesterday, cursing and screaming and, from what I gather, saying he was going to shoot me.  Yes, you got that right.  Shoot me.  I wasn't even in the building (I was blowing my brains out in the Commerce 1/2 my word if I could just not lose in that game I'd have all the money), and my phone almost jumped out of my pants as soon as it happened.  Obviously I'm not really worried this is just the mad ramblings of a senile old man, but it would be funny as shit to actually go to the police and attempt to get a restraining order.  But that's effort and trouble I don't need.  I need to live and let live, you know?  I was at the Bike today...I saw him.  He probably saw me.  I didn't get shot.  Winning.

Poker itself is going great, other than the aforementioned 1/2 brain blow-age.  And  now that I look at it it hasn't even been that bad, really.  I've lost like 8 racks the last two times I've played, which is a totally reasonable outcome when you're Jesus seating the whale.  Like, the game just gets so huge so fast in that position, you're in every pot, and if things don't work out there isn't a whole lot you can really do.  He keeps the game pretty darn honest, so if you can't produce winners you can't, you  But having three (those two, and one other) crippling losses (for more than 100 40/80 bets) just makes it hard to gain much ground, no matter how many hours you grind in god mode in the smaller games.  I have played a fair bit at the bike, actually, booking I think 50 or so hours, which has been a nice change of pace.  My rule of thumb is that if I can't get into a good commerce 60 (and the 1/2 isn't running) just head to the bike and play til it breaks (ish).  Today that had me coming home at 4:30, which isn't ideal, but I still played over 6 hours which is basically fine.

Weight loss...fair to middling.  I'm putting down numbers in the 166 range now, which is 6 pounds below where I started, but we're like 9 weeks in.  I don't think I'll be able to make it all the way to 156 without a serious push, and I might just not have such a thing in me.  But I'll keep going as best I can, since losing 10 pounds would still be swell.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Jesse Plays Good (ish)

Commerce 40 and the CO opens. I've played with him a good bit, he is a standard self taught laggy Asian guy. He doesn't know it, but his game is super unbalanced and based entirely on exploitation. It's just how he plays. I 3 bet 77 in the SB and we go headsup to the flop


All things considered that's pretty good. I bet and he goes to call, then obviously audibles at the last second and slings in 8 chips, 4 from each hand. That's weird. I call since any other option would be insane.

T84-3 completing the rainbow

I check and call. Here is the fun part


Have you ever heard the expression "you check you win"? That's exactly where we are now. If he checks he has an 8 or a ten and he wins. But he doesn't check, he bets in rhythm, and I quickly descend to the tank to check my logic. What can't he have?

Big pairs, JJ-KK. He'd maybe cap pre, probably wait til the turn, and never Vbet the river.

One flopped pair. He'd check back now. I'm supposed to have an ace.

A flopped two pair plus. He'd wait til the turn to raise me up.

So what's he got? AT, but that's even unlikely, A8, A4, or a draw. That's it. So I come up for air, call with the walking sticks, and he snap mucks. He immediately takes an out button (we were 4-5 handed) then buys the button for hand two

I open ATo and he defends, HU.


He calls


I check back. Why? To exploit him. I want 2 bets going in with AT, not 3, so I'll raise his river bet. The board pairs the 4 and I do just that. He shakes his head and calls and I win. He looks very, very confused.

Follow Up

My game is 7 handed and Dien just approved a second dinner break. That's correct....we have 7 stacks in the game and two of them have 45 (and now 41) minutes they can lobby.

Three hands later, after the game came to a screeching halt, I asked him if that was really policy. He replied "doesn't matter bro". I wanted to punch him.


This is the text of an email I sent to Danielle just now. I was phoneless (or more accurately charger-less) this AM, which caused me to fuck up the day pretty horrifically.

Drove to bike arrived at 9:55. As I plugged in my phone a text from Kim stamped 9:50 (I'd have made it easily) buzzed "where you at dumbass 60 starting super good". Bike Game started 5 handed at 10:30 because Kevin took everyone golfing. I knew about the event but thought it was tomorrow.

Then Annie the host quit our 40 game to leave it 7 handed because she was up $2000. So I spite quit and drove to commerce.

3rd 40 was starting I locked a seat but Dien kicked me out because "I have a long board". I played 5 hands (no joke) of 20 before a player requested a setup in a 6 handed game. Meanwhile the 3rd 40 started 7 handed. Of course the 20 immediately broke and I took the seat I should have had in the 40, which is now 5 handed and about to break.

Grrrrrrr indeed. Thanks for listening hope your day is better.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Little Updates

The Crisis of Confidence seems to be over.  I did exactly what a few people suggested, which was to take a "vacation".  Danielle and I spent 5 days on the east coast, mostly attending a wedding.  Thursday we walked around Boston for literally 11 hours straight, doing, for those of you familiar:

Depart Kendall Square.  Meander through MIT, including Killian and the Green Building.  See research on display from Danielle's UROP in like 2003.  See the Chapel and La Verde's.  Cross the bridge.  Walk down Comm Ave over towards Sigma Kappa House.  Public Gardens.  Walk around Fens.  Check in on the house, browse composites and pledge class table.  Woody's.  Reflecting pool.  Mary Baker Eddy museum and maparium, and secret shoe store.  Walk down Comm Ave to Boston Commons, then all the way to Mike's pastries for one cannolli.  Watch break dancing street performers, meander to Charles, watch sunset, then pour house for dinner, then back down Mass ave and down the infinite back to Kendall square.  Awesome day.

Then Friday it was off to Mystic, Connecticut for a day of best man duties, followed by the wedding Saturday (I knocked the toast out of the park) then a brunch Sunday, then a 12 hour travel ordeal involving Danielle doing everything possible to get us to miss our flight but somehow some way still not succeeding.  We were roughly one hour from the front of the security line 22 minutes before our flight was scheduled to depart, cut on our own, and got to the gate at 2 minutes before take off, only to find the plane was delayed by 30 minutes.

In short, I guess I'm back in the saddle.  The bike has re-hired five 40/80 props and should have 1.5 games every day, which is great.  I've lost 5.6 pounds in 7 weeks, which means I need to pick up the pace, but in general things are just..good.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Crisis Of Confidence

It's been kind of weird, but lately I just haven't felt like, you know, "dealing" with the whole poker thing.  I took an entire day off last week, while Danielle was at girl scout camp no less.  Then I bailed out Sunday to hang out with Dos Equis and Sailboats (and pummel them at brick and mortar carcasonne).  I took half of Tuesday off, too, even passing on getting into a 1/2 game built around a monster of the midway because I just didn't...feel up to it.  I mean, don't get me wrong, I've played 85 hours in 16 days, which is just fine, but I've been having some trouble grinding it out at least the last week or so.  It could have to do with taking some big losses in the 1/2 (well, sort of...I turned $12K into $4k, then lost 7 the next time I played, so that's a 6 or 7 rack downer in like 9 hours or something stupid), but I'm not so sure.  I've just sorta been losing focus.  I have some time off planned the next few weeks (the weddings are coming the weddings are coming!) so hopefully that will help me recharge (and not further demotivate me).

Objectively things are great.  Even with those big 1/2 losses I keep piling up the money.  I've only had one losing month this year, way back in February, and basically I've been able to do no wrong whatsoever since the day I quit the Bike prop job.  But I'm a little on edge, a little worried, a little uncomfortable, and I'm not really sure why.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Swimming Story 2.0

The last swimming story started out as just a response to a post on 2p2 that, once I engaged my full rambling abilities, turned into enough to put up on here.  This next one, however, I'm starting specifically to put here.  It's a way better story, and is definitely one of my fondest sports memories.

I swam for the Washington County YMCA from age 10 to 17, meaning specifically as a 5th grader clean though to the end of high school.  For my first five years, my age group was just utterly and fantastically dominant.  We never lost a meet;  we seldom even lost a race.  And twice, when I was 11 and then again when I was 13, we actually won the overall team state championship.  We had a kid who eventually made a trials cut and swam for Bolles. We had kids who went on to swim for solid college programs and score points at nationals.  We had kids whose careers never amounted to much but were dominant at a young age.  We just had an unimaginable amount of talent.  At district championships (half the state) when I was 14, the four swimmers in my age group won 5 of the 7 individual events (it would have been 6 but Brian got questionably DQ'ed in the 100 fly) and the the medley relay.   In a dual meet vs the other 20 or so teams, we probably could have won.

While all this was happening a new coach had just taken over, and the team as a whole was also rocketing up the Western PA YMCA ladder.  It worked just like European soccer;  there were three divisions, and the champs and last place finishers got relegated and promoted at the end of the year.  When I started out we were a middle of the road D2 team.  By the middle of my tenure we were competing for the D1 title (and I believe we actually won it one year).  My career also was going gangbusters, with me starting out as a 10 year old with a bit of talent, then morphing into a 12 year old monster, popping a top ten national time in the 50 breast stroke.  When I was 14 I was still very, very good, but I had also stopped growing.  I finished my career 6 years later as a sophomore at MIT, and still had standing personal best times from Age Group Championships in 1996.  In short, I never got any faster, and made do with the talent I had to drag out my career as long as possible.  The same fate basically befell my YMCA team as a whole.  Some talented kids just quit swimming.  Others moved on to bigger and better teams.  Others focused on their high school teams.  We just ran out of steam.

Our story takes place when I was a 15 year old high school sophomore, swimming in the "senior boys" division, in the first year that we were really on the decline but before we really knew it.  To start, I'll give you a little background on how a YMCA swim meet worked.  There were 10 age divisions (5 boys, 5 girls) ranging from "8 and under" up to "15-18".  The final score of the overall meet would always add to 10, with one point going to the winner of the individual meet that occurred within each age group.  This is kind of a weird scoring system, but it ensured that teams had to stay "complete" and be competitive in as many age groups as possible.  In previous years, like when I was 13, my "junior boys" age group may have actually goose egged opponents, scoring every available point across the 7 individual events and 2 relays.  That didn't matter;  we got 1 point.

Our opponent this weekend was Indiana County, a perennial power house who at the time hadn't lost a meet in something like 5 years.  If I'm not mistaken we actually had won the championship the year before, swimming them to a 5-5 draw but claiming the total points scored tie break, but I could be wrong there.  One way or another this meet was a big effin' deal, as big a deal as regular season meets ever got really, and the senior boys were really amped up for it.  There was just one problem....there were only four of us.  That's right;  four.  But Jesse, in your last post you said your high school team had seven dudes, and that wasn't enough to mathematically win a meet vs ten able bodied humans.  How on Earth can a team of four compete?  Well, dear reader, the difference lies in the chosen scoring system.  High school meets were scored 6 4 3 2 1 0 for the six kids who swam the race, and the (three) relays went something like 8 4 2 if I am not mistaken.  That system meant, basically, that if you didn't have a little depth you didn't stand a chance.  YMCA meets, however, were scored very differently, mainly because even large teams would occasionally have age groups that just didn't have that many kids.  In the senior boys age group there were eight individual events and just two relays.  Each swimmer could swim four times, with a maximum of three individual events.  The scoring system for relays was a very harsh seven for first, zero for second, and individual events went 5 3 1 (0 0 0).  You can see what happens here very quickly;  in a high school meet your team could "lose" an event, even if it won, since second third and fourth were worth so much.  In a YMCA event if your guy finished first, you scored the most points in the event, plain and simple.

The Indiana senior boys were a force to be reckoned with.  They had talent up and down the ranks, and to boot they were likely to "age up" a couple of 14 year old studs (you were allowed to do this) because we had nobody beneath us to keep them honest whatsoever.  They could win the 13-14 year old division without their best few kids, so why not move those guys up and crush us.  Remember, in the previous five seasons I had grown accustomed to winning every single meet, usually by scores resembling 50-10.  My age group had never lost a regular season meet, and I didn't intend to start now.

On the bus on the way to the meet, however, it became pretty clear that we simply didn't have enough fire power.  If they aged up Ryan Grindle and Kellen Novels, as we suspected they would, there was almost no way we could win the meet straight up.  Kellen was a hoss in the 100 breast stroke;  he was probably going to beat me in that event.  Ryan was a pretty solid backstroker, and even at 14 years old we were gonna have trouble beating him (backstroke was our "hole").  More importantly if he came up and won that event, it would free their level nine boss to crush us in other events.  Because what it really came down to was this simple fact;  Jimmy Mann was the best swimmer at the pool that day.  He was capable of winning at least five of the eight individual events, and there wasn't a damn thing we could do about it.  I don't remember who else they were working with, but they had at least seven or eight kids and it was just flat out grim.  Pouring over results from previous meets it was obvious that if we went strength against strength we just couldn't win.  We tried moving our events around a little bit, but we couldn't find any line up that gave us even a remote shot of winning.  Jimmy was just going to score too many points.  Hell, when it came right down to it we thought there was a (small) chance we'd lose the opening medley relay.  If that happened we were just absolutely toast, because we'd have burned through 25% of our swims for zero points and could never hope to get out of the hole.....

Then Tim came up with it.  He was our head coach's son, and he eventually went on to swim for four years at the freaking Naval Academy and become a fighter pilot, so it's not entirely surprising he figured this out but for a 16 year old kid it was truly a stroke of genius.  Remember everything I just said, about how if we lost that relay we'd have no chance?  We weren't the only ones who knew that.  If we entered that relay and lost, the other team, and specifically the other team's head coach, a guy named Eric Neil if I remember correctly, was going to know we'd lost the age group.  At that point, it's possible that he'd shuffle his lineup, do some silly things, etc.  Of course, it'll all be too late, since as I said we'd be crushed.  Remember the scoring system and the total number of events.  With only four guys it was impossible for us to field both relays.  We'd need to leave one uncontested, hope to win the other for a split, then win the individual events.  It was the best we could hope for.   So what we were going to do?

Swim the relay "exhibition", that's what.  The way the scoring system worked back then was that you turned in a card, with your name, lane number, and the event number on it before your race.  After the race the times (and finishing order) went on those cards, which were collected and taken to the scorer's table, which kept a running tally of the score in all 10 age groups throughout the entire meet.  The catch was that at any time any swimmer could swim a race "exhibition", simply by writing that word on his card in one very clear place.  The idea was to allow kids to swim more events in crowded age groups.  Sometimes extra heats got added to do this, other times a girl would swim exhibition in an empty lane in a boys heat or vice versa.  The point is that a system was in place for allowing this to happen, and we were going to walk up to the blocks with two cards, one "official" and one "exhibition".  If the studs we expected to age up from the junior division were actually there, Tim would turn in the exhibition card.  If their regulars showed up and we thought we could actually win, we would go for the kill right there and simply hope for the best the rest of the meet.  And to top it all off, we told no one of this plan other than the head coach (who loved it).  So when Kellen and Ryan showed up and Tim turned in the exhibition card, none of us acted any differently about the thing.  We all gave it our best, trying to win the race, and you know what, as it turns out we somehow actually could have (which is odd, now that I think about it.  Ryan should have beaten our backstroker (confusingly also named Jim), Kellen definitely should have beaten me...I guess Brian just smoked whoever they had swimming the butterfly) until...the master stroke.

Tim threw the race.  With Ryan aged up to swim the back  (and Kellen did come with him and did smote me), Jimmy Mann swam the freestyle leg vs Tim (remember, he's our head coach's son) and Tim just  At the time he was capable of 49s in his sleep, and he backed off the gas enough to swim a 51 something or other, a world of difference in a race of that length.  Our parents thought we'd lost.  Our assistant coaches thought we'd lost.  The air was let out of our entire side of the bleachers, and we did not let on.  And most importantly, Eric Neil knew he'd won.  You see, he and my coach had a little bit of bad blood from the previous few years.  I'm not really sure what it was all about, and remembering it now it seems sort of silly, but I do know that Eric had a bit of a hard on for Steve (our coach) and really wanted to beat him (now I'm thinking us winning the championship the year before could be accurate).  So what did he do?  He took the bait...hook.  Line.  And sinker.  His senior boys were up 7-0 AND had just beaten us in the medley relay;  he couldn't lose. It was time to go for the jugular.  He junked his lineup and moved Jimmy Mann, the level nine boss who should have won three events without breaking a sweat, into the only two events he could realistically lose;  the 50 and 100 freestyles, where he'd go head to head with Tim.

I don't actually remember a lot of details from the meet.  Obviously we all had to swim three individuals each, which was a little tough for everybody, but we were used to it.  I swam the 200 IM (which I probably won, since Jimmy Mann had cleared out), and I suppose the 200 freestyle?  I'm not even sure.  And obviously I swam the 100 breast, which was always the last event, right before the 400 freestyle relay.  Brian swam the 100 fly, but I don't know what else.  He turned into the best swimmer of all of us in college, but at the time hadn't really become a stud yet so that's confusing me a little here.  Somebody had to cover the 500;  I bet it was Tim.  Our fourth guy, Jim Hitchcock, a generalist if there ever was one, was poorly wasted;  he just wasn't fast enough at any specific event to win it, and probably ended up with like three third places in the 100 back, 100 fly, and 200 free or some other such nonsense.  But remember, there were only 72 points available, and (assuming we won the 400 free relay at the end) we only had to get half.   And guess what?  Tim beat Jimmy like a rented mule in both sprint freestyle events.  It wasn't Jimmy's fault, really.  He was out-classed.  Tim was a specialist, and these were literally the only two events (strokes AND distances) that he could have beaten the kid in. But beat him he did.

Some time late in the meet (when probably only two individual races were left) one of the senior boys from Indiana meandered over to the scorer's table just to confirm that everything was in hand.  This was common practice, the score wasn't a secret or anything.  The coaches could always check the score of any age group at any time.  We were doing well enough, but since we couldn't field a relay at the end of the meet all they had to do was stay within seven points of us (and remember they started off up 7-0!) and they were golden.  But when looking at the score sheet he saw something that the middle aged women running the table had neglected to share with anyone else.  It shouldn't have been important.  Why would it be?  This boy, however, immediately realized what had happened, and he quite literally screamed, across the pool for everyone to hear

"Eric!  ERIC!!!!  Their relay was EXHIBITION!!!!"

You're not supposed to run on a pool deck.  Everybody knows this.  Men who have coached age group swimmers for over a decade, in particular, tend to be aware of this simple yet important rule and the consequences of breaking it.  For  brief moment, however, Eric Neil simply did not care.  I cannot recall seeing a grown man, a coach of children, look more flustered than he did that day.  And I've seen coaches ejected from little league games.  He was beside himself, and of course it's pretty clear why.  First of all, he had to contend with (and dismiss) the possibility that we had actually cheated, inserting the word "exhibition" on our card after we had lost the race.  That, however, was patently ridiculous.  Then it probably sank in.  Tim losing the race in such stunning fashion, then pummeling Jimmy by swimming two seconds faster in the individual event of the same stroke and all made sense.  He'd been had, and it was too late.  His level 9 boss, the great Jimmy Mann, had already used all four of his swims, and what had he gotten for them?  A win in an UNCONTESTED relay, a pair of second places, and a win in some other event (probably the 100 fly).  They were going to field a team in the 400 freestyle relay, but it stood no chance of beating us.  Tim was literally three+ seconds faster than anybody not named Jimmy on their team, and whoever that guy was he was probably out of swims too, having been TOTALLY wasted taking a pair of thirds in the sprint freestyle events!  Even with the nearly painful to watch 56 I was going to swim, we couldn't lose.  We had gotten away with it, and had all we could have hoped for, a chance to win.

Except for one minor detail.  I wish, oh how I wish, that this story had a happy fairy tale ending.  I wish I could tell you that I stepped up on the blocks in the 100 breast, at the same pool where I'd beaten Kellen three years earlier in the first memorable swimming event of my career, the first one where everybody realized "holy crap this kid is fast" after screaming their lungs out, and taken care of business.  By now everybody knew.  Word of our deception had gotten out and spread through the stands like wildfire.  This was the race of the meet, and it was going to be contested between me and a kid I used to own but at the moment had me outmatched.  The situation was pretty simple.  I was our only swimmer in the event, and they had two or three guys, doesn't matter.  We were behind by eight points, but we were going to make up seven of those in the relay.  That means if I won the race and scored five points to their four (for second and third) we could force a 43-43 tie in the age group.  It was me in the middle of the pool, with Kellen on one side and some other kid (I wish I could remember his name..he was a senior in high school I know that) on the other.  But it wasn't meant to be.  Kellen crushed me, winning the race by two seconds, 1:03 to 1:05.  And it was never close, as I was actually probably gaining on him at the end but ran out of water.  My time was a fantastic mid-season result for me, but I was simply out-classed. We won the 400 freestyle relay with great ease, but it was too little too late.  What had to be one of the greatest strategic maneuvers in the history of a sport almost completely devoid of them went for naught.  We rode the bus home beaten but curiously satisfied.  It's not often in a sporting event that you're sure you did ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING you could have possible done to win.  That night we were sure we had.

Next time maybe I'll tell you about baking soda loading :)

Gratuitous Swimming Story

So my high school swim team was pretty much the worst athletics team any of you have ever seen.   One year we had 7 dudes, which was a small enough number for the way we scored the meet, iirc, that if the other team had 10 kids who never got disqualified (simply finished all 40 of their legal swims) we mathematically could not win.  The other three years we had...more.  I came up through the YMCA swimming scene, so when I got there at 14 years old I already knew what was going on.  My marginal level of talent (1:03 in the 100 breast, 2:06 in the 200 im, both short course yards and still very very far from earning even a D2 scholarship) basically made me the best swimmer on the team by a large margin, and in the years that we could actually win meets it created an odd dynamic.  At least one of the following probabilities was always zero:

p(jesse loses a race)
p(our team wins)

And it was really that simply.  If there was any chance whatsoever of me losing either of my individual swims, there was zero chance we could win the meet.  So I was in this odd situation where if the meet was close, my performance didn't matter at all, whereas I'd occasionally have someone to race against when we were gonna lose 150-35.  What also would happen is that if we did have a chance to win the meet, it meant the other team was so bad that I would often swim silly events instead of my best (the breast stroke) to give us a better shot, as we tended to have someone else who could finish that event competitively, where as the 500 free, 200 free, and 100 fly we routinely struggled to have people finish legally.

So any way one of these weird meets happened where we actually were in contention, and it became clear midway through that the other team just didn't have a breast-stroker and we needed to switch me over to the 500 freestyle and see if our "b" guy could handle the other event.  We had gleaned this information from "scouting" (which was me talking to my YMCA friend on the other team, and him saying "yeah our breast-stroker goes like 1:20 lol have fun with that") and watching the 200 free (where they had a kid who went like 2:15...for reference I could swim that event in like 2:00, but he won handily over my teammates).  Remember also that I'm 15 years old;  nothing goes smoothly when you're 15 years old.  The decision is made that we're pulling the switcheroo, but I don't really remember how.  It had to be brought up by me, since there is just no chance any other human, my coach included, would have ever even thought of it, which makes this next part seem very strange indeed.  I just remember deciding that I was going to screw with this kid, mercilessly.  Curiously what I did could actually have been viewed as very helpful to him, as he likely swam the best time of his life, but I assure you I was just being a vindictive 15 year old jerk.  My best time in the 500 free was, I think, 5:19, and I should have beaten this guy by close to a minute.  Instead, I kept him on my hip for literally the first 450 yards, then swam the final 50 at a dead sprint to win by over 10 yards, finishing in a time north of 6 minutes.

So that was kind of fun.  My coach wasn't too happy about my stunt, but whatever, I was 15 and I enjoyed myself.  Then came the 100 breast stroke and sure enough our B guy was able to win the event all by himself.  The high school scoring system was so odd (6 4 3 2 1 0) that it barely made any difference at all, but we had successfully snaked a few extra points and were now in a position where if we won the 400 free relay (scored differently and worth many points, i don't remember) we'd actually win the meet.  There was one other guy on my team who was also good, and he specialized in back stroke (58), fly (59), and short distance freestyle(54/24).  His best time was actually slightly better than mine in the 100 free, but as I said earlier he routinely lead off and let me anchor to give me 3 more minutes of rest.  There was a fly in the ointment this year, however, in that one of the two other kids we had was completely incapable of doing a relay start.  It was as if he just chose when to start his dive completely randomly, and there was a 25% chance he'd false start, and another 50% chance he'd be over 1 second slow.  He could do a regular start, though, so we always had to put him first.  Like I said...we weren't...good.

That's how it came to pass that I was swimming in the three hole that day, usually reserved for the slowest swimmer on the squad.  The first two guys swam, and as predicted our dude lost by a little bit.  The second two guys dove in, and once again our swimmer was losing ground.  By the time they were coming back down the pool we were stuck something like 7-8 yards, and for the only time I can remember in 60 or so high school meets in 4 years it was important that I swim fast because doing so could actually change the result of the meet.  And I simply destroyed that poor child.  I split the best time of my life, I think a 54.low, and he probably didn't break 1:10.  I caught him early in the second 25 and by the time Matt, our anchor, dove in, the race was completely over.  He probably beat their anchor by 5 or 10 seconds himself, but what everyone remembered was Jesse jerking around in the 500 free, then singlehandedly winning the relay and the meet.  It was pretty fun.

I'm actually probably going to tell another story soon...I enjoyed typing that out.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Olympics Rambling

Danielle and I have been making our absolute best effort to watch as much of the Olympics as possible, and I gotta be's not easy.  The NBC nightly coverage just isn't that good, and is so repetitive it's painful.  Swimming.  Gymnastics. Swimming.  Gymnastics.  Diving (is there a stupider sport than synchronized diving?  I think not.  Let's take a sport that is already painfully boring and subjective, then have people do it, wait for it...TWO AT A TIME!).  Swimming.  Gymnastics.  Now I personally am super partial to swimming, so I don't mind that part of it, but when Phelps and Lochte get replaced by pole vaulting and the triple jump....yikes.  And to top that off, the events happened literally like 12 hours in the past, and they still refuse to put the good shit on until like 11:30pm, local time.  And then during the day it's just a solid like 9 hour block of coverage, so you can't just press record on your DVR because you'll fill the thing up (unless Danielle is willing to lose some of those Undercover Boss episodes, a show I honestly don't think she's watched in over two years) and have to do a manual recording to try to get something interesting, but you never really do.  All that said, here are some of my observations on various sports

Down Hill Kayaking

Those guys are just badasses, and also kudos to the Queen for getting a completely fake river built in the middle of England just so we can watch people paddle down it for a few hours.  What boat are they in?  Did he touch the gate?  Who cares.  It's just cool.

That Weird Game From Middle School Gym Class

Team handball is perhaps the first sport I have ever watched where I truly thought watching the women play was more entertaining than watching the men.  In the male version of the game the goalie simply has zero chance whatsoever.  These guys are throwing a ball like 70mph from, what, 15 feet away?  And you expect the goalie to do, what exactly?  Put his arms up and hope the ball hits him in the crotch?  Good, cause that's about all he does.  And what's with all the lines and stuff?  Can the defenders not go inside the last one?  Is it a three point line?  Two point line?  Am I allowed to tackle the dude?  How many steps can I take?  I really needed Bob Costas to do a power point presentation on this one, but had I gotten that I feel like I could have become a fan.

Horseless Polo

I'll always love water polo, but here is what needs to happen for the game to just absolutely take off.  TV's need to get a little better, but once they do, we need the underwater camera seamlessly melded with the usual coverage.  Bottom half or your screen...underwater.  Top half, the rest of the game.  Think about it.  THINK about it.  Also today at one point the USA women were losing to China, midway through the second quarter.  That to me is more compelling evidence of doping than any possible time that girl could have put up in the 400 IM.

Human Tossing

For the life of me I could not figure out what was required to score a point in Judo.  They said you had  to either throw your opponent, choke him, or get him in an arm bar.  But I watched a full regulation match with lots of that sort of stuff seeming to happen, but nobody ever scored a point.  Also, the guys clothes were falling off the whole time, yet were still be grabbed by their opponents, which makes me sorta wonder why..well, I dunno.  It was just dumb.

Ride Through the Field Horses

I think this one is actually called cross country.  I flat out don't get it;  isn't the quality of your horse pretty important here?

I Am Not Lefthanded

All the fencers actually ARE left handed!  Literally I watched three matches, and four of the six dudes were left handed.  I mean, it's not hard to figure out why they'd have such a huge advantage, but still.  As for the sport itself, it took the worst elements of That Weird Game From Middle School Gym Class and Human Tossing;  not only did I not know the rules, but also I had no clue when a point had been scored.

So I'll continue to watch the games, but honestly I feel like NBC could do a better job showing me some cool stuff.  I suppose what I want is more of a "pick your own" experience, where if I want to watch an entire woman's beach volleyball game (because the contestants are showing great professionalism), there is a special channel for that.  Sort of like a Sunday Ticket type thing, I guess, where they just go nuts and have 20 channels showing everything.  Until then, I'll leave you with a bold but probably true claim regarding Ryan Lochte.  He is the best swimmer, male or female, of all time to fail to secure a spot on his country's 400 meter medley relay team.  I mean really, how on Earth does that guy not get in?  No wonder we always win.