Showing 11 - 18 of 18 posts found matching keyword: photomosaic

I finally returned to Miami on Sunday, and despite my previous declaration to the contrary, I forgot to bring a snorkel. Miami, however, remembered to bring the rain, at least through the first quarter. The rain stopped just in time for the Eagles to score 21 points in the second quarter, allowing the sun to come out and bake those of us stupid enough to sit through the rest of the game.

This was my second visit to Sun Life Stadium (formerly Landshark Stadium, formerly Dolphin Stadium, formerly Dolphins Stadium, formerly Pro Player Stadium, formerly Pro Player Park, formerly Joe Robbie Stadium), home of the Miami Dolphins. I can now say for certain, that it is far more disappointing to watch the Dolphins lose in their home stadium than it is to watch them lose on television. The Dolphins played as poorly as they have all year, and their loss to the Philadelphia Eagles ensured another losing season and the dismissal of Head Coach Tony Sparano. Good riddance.

Just like the real stadium, this picture is gets emptier the longer you look at it

It didn't help the experience that I was surrounded by idiots and assholes. Behind me sat some pre-teen children who cheered for the Eagles despite no awareness of when it was appropriate to start screaming. (I know they were true Philadelphia fans when they began discussing how they would kill the Dolphin's mascot given the chance.) The group in front of me spent all game screaming trash-talk, mainly at women. (Between taunts, they discussed the best strip clubs in the various NFL cities they had visited.) The douche to my right, an *ahem* Atlanta Falcons fan, tried to convince everyone around him that he was a true Falcons fan because he owned an officially branded pair of Falcons socks. (However, he spent more time discussing the NBA and the necessity of "respect" than the game.) And the fellow to Trey's left spent the entire game texting, never looking at the field. (Although he did frequently ask Trey to update him about what had just happened.)

As we began the 9-hour drive back home immediately after the game, Trey made me promise that the next time we take one of these cross-country trips to a game, we have to spend at least as much time in the city as it takes us to get there. That means that I have about 4 years to come up with something to do for 2 days in Philadelphia. At the very least, I know that I'll need to buy some Eagles' gear; after 12 hours in Philly, I suspect anyone wearing any other teams' colors might get shot.

It wasn't until Trey and I stopped at a rest station just south of Jacksonville that I actually interacted with someone who didn't irritate me. There I met a season ticket holder who has been traveling the 5 hours between Jacksonville and Miami since 1971. He dryly mentioned that he's seen a lot of bad football lately, a reference to the fact the day's loss ensured a third consecutive losing season for the franchise for the first time since 1969. Despite that, he said that he looks forward to future wins, and I guess that's what being a fan really means. I couldn't tell if he was wearing Dolphins' socks.

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I welcomed football season with a trip to Eastman, Georgia, to watch the football team of the school at which my brother teaches. They weren't very good, and I say that generously.

Laney 26, Dodge County 13.

The Dodge County High School Indians lost to the Lucy C. Laney High School Wildcats, 26-13. I had a very enjoyable time, despite the behavior of the children in attendance who insisted on running up and down the metal bleachers in their flip flops. It was surprisingly loud for a high school football game. Fans attending a UGA game would have been proud of the support shown by the home team.

Quite by accident on the way out of town after the game, I discovered a memorial to Mr. Angel, the first recognized Bulldog mascot of the University of Georgia. The monument was dated 2008, and a bit of research after the fact revealed that it was built only after the dog was snubbed by an official UGA mascot list snubbed the poor fellow in 2006. It's a pretty cool monument for a dog with such a silly name.

All of Georgia's mascots should be called Mr. Angel.

The next day, the Bulldog's current mascot, Russ, wisely chose to hide in his doghouse and not to show his face in Georgia's latest loss. The University of South Carolina came to town and quite simply outplayed UGA on the way to a 45-42 victory. At least the Georgia coaches aren't directly to blame for the loss. Bobo's play-calling was generally far better than usual, and the team appeared ready to play, if unable to find an answer for the superior talent of USC's Marcus Lattimore.

Walking into the game, Trey and I had a conversation with a pair of South Carolina fans who claimed to be attending their first game in Athens. They were extremely concerned about potential maltreatment by the UGA fans, who they claim have an especially bad reputation in South Carolina and throughout the SEC. I've always felt that UGA fans are unusually gracious when compared to those found in some other stadiums. But later during the game, two drunk, obnoxious Georgia fans managed to offend nearly a dozen other UGA fans sitting nearby. If we can't stand our own fans, I can't imagine that we are engendering much love outside our home field.

As you can see in the Flash file above showcasing nightfall in Athens, the field markings and stadium scoreboard have been redesigned for 2011. It's not an improvement, but it's better than the uniforms worn last week. If nothing else, the Georgia "G" needs to be returned to the goal line where it belongs. Georgia needs all the help they can get finding it.

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That Ryan Mallett kid is pretty good. He's certainly worth a Heisman if anybody is.

Georgia played very, very poorly most of the game, and it was a surprise to everyone in the crowd that we managed a shot at the win late in the game. Of course, we failed to move the ball or score points on our last drive. Mallett had no such problems, and the better team won, 31-24.

UGA 24, Arkansas 31

The above pic was taken at kickoff, and you can see all those empty seats that mostly filled up by the end of the first quarter. They were empty again by the early 4th quarter, but that is partially due to the unseasonable heat: one young woman near us passed out and had to be taken away by paramedics.

I think for the most part, the fans who did show up and stuck around considered the game to far exceed our expectations. (We weren't happy with the loss, but what are you going to do with a young defense versus Heisman-candidate Ryan Mallett?) The environment was rife with anticipation bordering on dread from a crowd that seemed resigned to a loss from teh start. While we did indeed lose, I think the Dawgs showed us more resiliency and talent than we were expecting, allaying our worst fears about a completely uncompetitive season of SEC play.

Note to self: it took the Bulldogs nearly 3 quarters to figure out what to do in this game, and the offensive play-calling seemed to place an unnecessary burden on redshirt freshman QB Aaron Murray. The routes seemed poorly planned, and Murry, who was gun shy for most of the game, was only given deep and spread passing routes, forcing him to make some very dangerous throws if he didn't want to keep taking sacks. This play-calling was inexcusable for such an inexperienced quarterback who was clearly terrified of throwing an intercepted pass. Where were the slants, the quick outs, the safety valves? Murry loves to run (and he's good at it), so where were the bootlegs? Once again, I say that Mike Bobo must be relieved as UGA Offensive Coordinator. And as much as I hate to say it, if Coach Richt can not or will not remove Bobo, maybe Richt needs to go, too.

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Apparently, GSU fans are all Weyland-Yutani androids.

The only bleeding done last night at the inaugural Georgia State University football game was by Shorter in a very lopsided 41-7 affair. What college, no matter how small, gets beaten by a commuter school team playing it's first game ever? I've seen high school football teams play better ball than the Shorter Hawks. In the past week!

The first play from scrimmage in GSU history was negated by a penalty, but the Panthers manged to end the drive with the first touchdown in school -- thanks largely to some major penalties committed by Shorter (including illegal participation and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties). Sure Shorter may be able to gripe about Georgia State running up the score a little bit, including scoring a touchdown with 8 seconds remaining in the game. But I'm not sure that you can hold that against the young GSU squad wanting to make a big splash in their first game.

Thirty-thousand people, and none of them know what to do during a TV timeout.

This was the first trip to the Georgia Dome for my mother, a GSU alumnus. Judging by how clearly inexperienced the crowd of 30,327 was, I'd say that there were a lot of first-timers present. No one seemed to know when to cheer (the rowdy crowd caused the GSU Panthers at least 1 false start penalty) or boo (the crowd was especially unruly after Shorter's only touchdown and appeared to be booing the GSU defense). One student sitting behind me nearly went hoarse trying to explain to his neighbors the finer points of football, such as the theory behind Shorter's option offense, what exactly a fair catch was, and how teams change sides between quarters.

However, if the crowd was clueless, they were geniuses compared to the operations crew. I know that GSU has never had a football team before. And no doubt they were intimidated by the Georgia Dome facilities. But the entire affair seemed to be run by someone whose experience with college football was from a pop-up book he checked out of the library.

The school had a marching band that included electric guitar players, but only played songs that were popular prior to the birth of any of its musicians. There were fireworks for player introductions, but only two cones of intermittent sparklers being watched by two students with fire hydrants. They prepared some nifty videos and graphics to play on the "Panter-Vision" during key situations, but had no concept of timing and didn't even remember to warn us to drink responsibly until a quarter after the taps had closed. Key advertising partners had been selected for between-quarters entertainment and highlight replays, but no one seemed to think that it was a bad idea to allow a seafood restaurant to sponsor the "Six Feet Under Fan Cam." And the PA system was much, much too loud.

Gimme a G-S-U!

The highlight of the evening was a second-quarter video of a player who tried leading the crowd in a cheer. After the first pass at the cheer resulting in only half-hearted and murmured participation, in typical cheer-leading fashion, our video-taped ringleader encouraged the crowd to try again:

VIDEO-TAPED PLAYER: I can't hear you! 'G-S'...

CROWD (loudly): 'U'!

VIDEO: 'G-S'...

CROWD (louder): 'U'!

VIDEO: 'G-A'...

CROWD (screaming): 'U'!

In the moment of near total confused silence that followed, I looked at my mother and asked, "what the hell is a 'gau'?" My bemused mother replied, "I think they were supposed to say, 'state'." No one tried to lead the crowd in any cheers for the rest of the game.

Seriously, don't come on the field. All 13 of you. Stop, or we'll call your mothers to come pick you up.

Despite the many, many snafus, I think in the end a good time was had by all. Except maybe Shorter.

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The Atlanta Falcons played like dogs this Sunday, so it was fitting that Michael Vick returned to town to put them out of their misery.

First quarter: Philadelphia 10, Atlanta 0

Michael Vick had predicted that he would receive a standing ovation on his first return home to the Georgia Dome following his eviction due to federal conviction as a canine killer. He pretty much got what he expected. Never have I attended a sporting event that was quite so much a love letter to a single person, an event where a player was indeed bigger than the game, but that was what happened. Very few, it seemed, came for the game. (This was a good thing, as there wasn't one played, at least not by the Falcons.) Everyone was there for number 7. And to his credit as an athlete and entertainer, he gave us what we came to see. Most Falcons fans had justifiably fled by late in the third quarter, leaving only Eagles and Vick fans, whose chants of "Put in Vick" were answered as Vick drove the Eagles down the field for another touchdown. Then everyone went home.

Fourth quarter: Philadelphia 34, Atlanta 0

I'd be lying if I said that I didn't take some vengeful enjoyment in watching the prodigal Vick return to Atlanta with the Eagles and pull the wings off the injured Falcons, 34-7. (Atlanta's lone touchdown couldn't have been less relevant, scored as time expired in the game against a third-string Eagles defense.) I figure the Falcons deserved the punishment it after the ingracious way that they treated the Dolphins in the season opener. So I ask, Falcons, how did you like them apples, because I thought they tasted pretty sweet.

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Sometimes you forget just how many people there are in Sanford Stadium until everyone is staring at the field in shocked silence. Today it was not great to be a Georgia Bulldog.

LSU 20, UGA 13

Bulldogs lose to the 4th ranked LSU Tigers 20-13. It was an exasperating game, as the Dawgs suffered through the worst offensive play calling so far in a season full of terrible play calling. When the clock needed to be killed, we called passes. When yards were needed, we called runs. Pass plays always came from the same singleback or no-back formations, telegraphing our intentions to the defense. And, for reasons I still don't understand, we continually faked an end around, a play that we almost never execute, making the misdirection entirely unnecessary. (We did run a reverse that was so obvious, we should have just handed the ball to the defense to save wear and tear on the players.)

The game went late into the 3rd quarter UGA 0, LSU 6, before the Dawgs had their only two successful offensive drives of the game. LSU scored the go-ahead touchdown with 54 seconds remaining in the game. In response, Georgia quarterback Joe Cox fumbled the first snap from scrimmage, bobbled the second, and threw a game-ending interception on the third. Thank goodness he's a senior.

Before this game, the question was whether Cox or Offensive Coordinator Mike Bobo needed to be sacked. After this game, it would appear that the answer is that they both need to go. It was an embarrassing disgrace for all.

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This post is a little late, but I've had a busy weekend. Saturday night I attended the first University of Georgia football home game vs South Carolina. I was excited because I love night games, and the game had a 7PM kickoff. If I had known before hand that the game was going to take over 4 hours to play, I'm sure that would have dampened my enthusiasm somewhat.

UGA 41, South Carolina 37

Two things slow down a football game: scoring and penalties. And this game had both in spades. Thirty one points were scored in the first quarter alone. There were 24 penalties called in the game, 11 for us and 13 for them, for a total of 206 yards. Six of those penalties resulted directly in first downs. But we won, so I'd be a fool to complain. Besides, the game had just about everything else you could ask for: special teams touchdowns, long runs, long passes, blocked kicks, goal line stands, shouting matches between the coaches, last second drama. It was a good game.

I would not call Sunday's match up between the Miami Dolphins and the Atlanta Falcons a "good game." The Dolphins flat out stunk. Sure, this was the first game of the season for both teams. The Georgia Dome, even when not full to capacity, can be a pretty hostile environment to opposing teams ("loud" is an understatement). But that's no excuse for four (4!) Dolphins turnovers and an anemic... well, everything. Just two years ago I watched an entire season in which the Dolphins won only 1 football game, and even then they couldn't even aspire to this level of ineptitude. I have a name for this level of failure: Pennington.

Miami 7, Atlanta 19

If you've been paying attention, you'll know that I've railed against Chad Pennington before. (On August 11, 2008, and January 4, 2009, to be exact.) While I have grown to admire his never-say-retire-while-they're-still-throwing-money-at-me attitude, his weak arm and failing body have hurt us in the past just as they cost the Dolphins any chance at winning today.

Watching the team warm ups, I noticed that Pennington's longest warm-up pass was exactly 15 yards. Pennington's longest pass of the day was almost exactly 20 yards in the air. My brother was quick to point out that on that pass, Pennington took three big steps forward before heaving the pass, and the ball still wobbled like a lame duck. The Falcons must also have been paying attention, as they didn't bother to cover any Dolphins deep, knowing that the ball would never go that far. As if that wasn't bad enough, every time Pennington dropped back to pass, the Dolphins receivers themselves generally aborted their routes to ensure that Pennington's passes could still reach them despite the fact that this prevented almost any chance of catching the ball past (or in most cases near) the first down marker. Thanks, Chad.

On the upside, on rookie Pat White's first play in a regular season NFL game, he heaved the ball an impressive 40 yards, overthrowing the fastest Dolphin receiver deep down the field. My brother went berserk, amazed that Pennington could launch the ball so far. He was heartbroken when I explained that Pennington had been replaced for that down with another quarterback. Though come to think of it, he may have just been upset that the coaches immediately put Pennington back in and never let White throw again during the game. In any case, at least it's good to know that there's someone on the team who can throw the ball, even if the coaches are determined to keep him off the field.

Tickets, anyone?

I should mention that these football games were the second and third sporting events that I attended this week. I also watched the Gwinnett Braves (AAA affiliate of the MLB Atlanta Braves) lose a playoff game 0-3 on Wednesday night. The Braves would go on to lose the series, and after watching them play in person, I'm not surprised.

The picture below gives a pretty accurate indication of the turnout for the game against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barr (Pennsylvania) Yankees (AAA affiliate of the MLB New York Yankees). There were just enough people in attendance that team mascot Chopper the Groundhog was able to annoy everyone in attendance personally, one at a time.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barr Yankees 3, Gwinnett Braves 0

Why a team named the Braves would have a groundhog for a mascot is explained only once you realize that the main thing that Gwinnett County has of any name recognition is a number of large shopping malls, and they make lousy mascots. General Beauregard Lee, the groundhog at Gwinnett's Yellow River Game Ranch is the state of Georgia's "Official" predictor of spring arrival. We don't care for Pennsylvania's Punxsutawney Phil in these parts, especially if we're going to get beaten by Phil's state baseball clubs.

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I just returned from Philadelphia, where my brother and I watched the Philadelphia Eagles defeat the Miami Dolphins. Despite the scattered rain, bitter cold, and Dolphins' tenth loss of the season (0 for 10: we're still prefect!), I had a great time.

Philadelphia in November is Cold.

Philadelphia fans have a reputation as real assholes. And I can now tell you first hand that everything that you hear about them is all true. Though most of the fans were good natured before and during the game (a father pointed me out to his toddler as "the enemy," the security guard frisking me upon entering harassed me for wearing Dolphins' gear to the game, and the attendant who announced the discontinuation of alcohol service at halftime urged the crowd to yell at me instead of her), by the fourth quarter, with the Eagles' firmly in control of the game, the fans had worked up enough courage to devolve into a surly bunch of jerks. One fellow continued to taunt me until the final second ticked off the clock for supporting a "bunch of losers," and another that I encountered in line for the bathroom told me that "the Dolphins' fucking suck" and he hoped that I personally would die a slow and painful death.

My brother repeatedly pointed out that insulting me for being a Dolphins' fan during this winless season was the equivalent of abusing a helpless puppy. Well, now I know how Philadelphians treat puppies: they must be Michael Vick fans.

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To be continued...

 

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