Archive for December, 2008

Dear Nintendo…

December 31, 2008

Satoru Iwata
President and CEO
Nintendo Company Ltd.
Kyoto, Japan

Dear Mr. Iwata,

Let me start by saying how much I admire your company. The Nintendo Entertainment System and Super Nintendo provided me with hundreds of hours of pure joy as a child. I still play Tecmo Super Bowl 3 regularly on my laptop through the magic of emulation.

I did buy the game all those years ago, so it’s legal.

But the prupose of this letter is a simple one.

WHY IN THE BLUE HELL WON’T YOU MAKE ENOUGH WII FITS FOR US TO BUY?

What is it? Do you not like money? Or did you give them all to these rinky-dink companies on eBay for them to sell at a 40 percent mark-up?

I didn’t have a Wii last year, so I chuckled from afar as I watched people scramble around trying to find one at Christmas. Apparently, you didn’t make enough of those, either.

I don’t think I’m making an unreasonable request here. Just make a few extra Wii Fits and get them over here.

Or are you too busy running the Mariners into the ground?

Seriously, I tried on a new pair of pants this morning with little success. It’s clear to me that I need a little plastic board to tell me how fat I am and motivate me to make a postive life change. Or maybe I’ve walked into enough stores looking for the 2009 version of the holy grail of video gaming that it’s become a vendetta now.

At any rate, put the saki down and ship out some Wii Fits.

Sincerely,

Randy Capps

P.S. Thanks for the Final Fantasy and Zelda games. Good times.

Indoor soccer tournament

December 30, 2008

Got this notice today from Mr. Harold Smith…

Shots For Schultz

“Shots for Schultz” is an indoor soccer tournament being held for our dear friend, Nick Schultz, who was diagnosed with T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia on March 11, 2008. His treatment will last three years, but his insurance will end in a matter of months.

The tournament will be Saturday, Jan. 24 and Sunday, Jan. 25 at White Oak High School Gym in Jacksonville. The tournament will be 5-on-5 games with teams comprised of no more than 7 people. Players must be 18 years or older. The entry fee is $150 per team and all money raised will be deposited in an account for Nick. A grand prize of $500 will be rewarded to the 1st place team and $250 to the 2nd place team.

Tickets are on sale for $5 and will be sold at Carriage House Furniture (910-346-4334), Fanci Friends (910-347-3212) and Designer Tan (910-346-8236). T-shirts will be available at Designer Tan and Fanci Friends for $12.

For more information about registering a team and/or donating money or prizes, please contact Autumn Kirkendall at autumn.kirkendall@yahoo.com (910-354-5872) or Stephanie Wood at engineer@ec.rr.com (910-330-0893). Make all checks payable to “Shots for Schultz”. Donations and team fees can be paid by mail to:

“Shots for Schultz”
c/o Stephanie Wood
325 Creedmoor Road
Jacksonville, N.C. 28546

On the web: Facebook and Myspace page

“To know that my circumstance may have provided someone a second chance at life makes it all worth it.” –Nick Schultz

Getting ready for the holidays

December 23, 2008

Christmas is almost here and things are pretty quiet on the local soccer scene.

So let’s look back at the year that was.

Best goal –I’m thinking that the third goal for Terry Sanford against Wilmington Ashley in the second round of the state playoffs is my choice. I’ve seen better individual pieces of skill – Daniel Dahnke’s nuclear blast in Fayetteville Christian’s regular-season win over Fayetteville Academy, for one – but the team play for this one made it stand out for me.

Here’s what I wrote about it:

Rocket Court picked up his third assist of the night with a cross in the 79th minute.

It was an impressive pass, but it paled in comparison to the wicked volley struck by (Kemji) Nwuoso from the penalty spot that sent the match to extra time.

I try not to editorialize when writing game stories, so let me give you the fan version:

Wow. A brilliant cross led to a smashing finish to tie the match in the dying moments. A big goal at a key time. Quality.

Yeah, something like that.

Best match –The state semifinal match between Fayetteville Christian and Fayetteville Academy is the one I’ll remember, though the Terry Sanford/Ashley match was also very good.

I blogged live from the event, including a sprint to a nearby picnic shelter to do the last few minutes as my battery gave up the ghost.

Either team could have won, and either would have dispatched Caldwell Academy the next day for the title. As you know, it was the Eagles that notched the 1-0 win in extra time on a Jack Ward tally.

I’ll close by saying that I’m glad the powers that be here at the Observer allow me to do this. And I’m looking forward to covering the girls’ matches in the coming months.

Don’t worry, there’ll still be soccer chatter here between now and then. After all, there are three Prem matches live on Boxing Day (Friday, Dec. 26).

Happy Holidays everyone!

Champions League Draw

December 19, 2008

The draw is set for the knockout stages of the Champions League, and the result is some mouth-watering games that get under way in late February.

Arsenal vs. AS Roma – Two teams that are underachieving a bit in their domestic campaigns begin the knockout stage drawn together. As if it needs it, but Roma has a special reason to reach the final.

It’s in Rome, of course. 

Atletico Madrid vs. FC Porto – Don’t be surprised if Atletico makes some noise. Sergio Aguero leads a potent side that is currently unbeaten in 14 straight matches in all competition. In addition, the Vicente Calderon is an imposing home ground.

Unless Liverpool is in town…

Chelsea vs. Juventus – The Blues face their former gaffer Claudio Ranieri in a match-up of new money against “The Old Lady.” Both sides sit second in their domestic tables, and both will be geared up for European glory.

Inter Milan vs. Manchester United – I bet Sir Alex Ferguson thought he was through dealing with “The Special One” when Jose Mourinho had his nasty divorce with Chelsea. This time, Mourinho and the runaway leaders in Serie A will be looking to knock the defending champions out of the competition.

Remember, Mourinho wasn’t hired to win a Scudetto (Serie A trophy). He was hired to win the Champions League.

Lyon vs. Barcelona –I kind of feel sorry for the French champions as no team on Earth is any hotter than Barca. The Spanish giants are eight points clear atop the La Liga table with a staggering +37 goal difference in 15 matches.

Real Madrid vs. Liverpool – While its hated rival rolls, Real Madrid has been hit hard by injuries in the opening stages of the season. With “Magic Juande” now in charge, the Blancos will need some of his cup-winning wizardry to slow down Liverpool.

Sporting Lisbon vs. Bayern Munich – “FC Hollywood” is second in the Bundesliga on goal difference while Sporting is sitting fifth in its domestic competition. It’s also possible that U.S. international Landon Donovan might see the pitch for Bayern, since he’ll be on loan there starting next month.

Villarreal vs. Panathinaikos – Probably the least glamorous match-up, but one that could produce a compelling home-and-home series. It’s also possible that another American international, 18-year-old Jozy Altidore, might get added to the Yellow Submarine’s team sheet for the knockout stages.

And, not to brag, but I did correctly predict 15 of the 16 teams to advance to the knockout phase in the contest on World Soccer Daily’s Web site. My only miss was pegging Zenit St. Petersburg over Juve.

Hey, nobody’s perfect…

Around the horn

December 18, 2008

No, I’m not talking about the show on the four letter, but it is more watchable than a lot of other programming options they have.

ESPN gets on my nerves. But that’s a rant for another day.

Today, let’s talk athletes.

1. Hey, Rafael Furcal! You’re a punk. You agreed in principal to a deal with the Braves, then had your agent run to the Dodgers to get them to match it so you can sign there. Chase the money if you want. But man up, stand behind a podium and be honest about it.

Your next trip to Turner Field should be fun. Just be glad you don’t play left field.

2. Hey, Terrell Owens!

Shut up.

You are a cancer. You wrecked the 49’ers. You tried to wreck the Eagles. And not that it’s causing me a lot of concern as a Redskins’ fan, but you’re trying to wreck the Cowboys.

The media isn’t painting you as a villain, as you claimed in a recent interview with “Screamin'” A. Smith. We’re just holding up the mirror for you.

You are a tremendously talented wide receiver. You’ll probably end up in the Hall of Fame.

But you’re still a tool.

My favorite T.O. moment:

3. Hey Mark Teixiera! Pick a team already. Right now, you’re holding up the rest of the free agent cycle because you and your wonder agent, Scott Boras, can’t decide which $20-plus million per season deal to take.

As an Oriole fan, I’d love to see you playing first and hitting in the middle of the order for the next eight years. But even if you pick the Angels, Red Sox (as ESPN is breathlessly hoping you will) or even the, gulp, Nationals, I’ll forgive you.

Because at least then you’ll stop holding everyone else in baseball hostage.

4. Hey, Stephon Marbury! Nice jacket.

“Starbury” bought a ticket to watch the Knicks lose to the Lakers in L.A. this week. He’s making $21 million this season and, at the moment, he’s being paid to wear a black leather jacket and play on his Blackberry while the new-look Knicks toil along without him.

Dude, you’re embarassing yourself. Take the buyout and go play somewhere.

5. Hey, Joe Paterno!

I’m sorry.

I’ve said that you’re too old. I’ve said that the game’s passed you by. I owe you an apology.

I hope you coach until you’re 100.

Maybe by then, T.O. will have finally found a team he likes playing for.

The love of the game

December 18, 2008

My wife rolled her eyes when I told her that two FIFA Club World Cup matches were scheduled for the wee hours of the morning today.

But me? I’m dedicated.

Or maybe depraved. It’s hard to tell.

But I duly set the DVR (world’s greatest invention) and watched Al Ahly (Egypt) fall to Adelaide United (Australia) and Manchester United outgun Gamba Osaka (Japan) this morning before arriving at headquarters here in Fayetteville.

I like the idea of a club world cup, but I think the format needs some tweaking. For starters, we need more than one European-based team. Why not toss in the UEFA Cup winner? Another South American squad wouldn’t hurt either. That way, we get a little name recognition for an event that can brighten and otherwise dull part of the year.

Just a thought.

Before I run, here are some highlights from the Red Devils’ 5-3 victory.

Dish Network and Gol TV still fighting

December 16, 2008

I’ve written a ton on this topic already.

For the latest, check out my newspaper blog:

The Offside Trap

Hey, it’s a weak economy and I need the traffic…

Dish Network and Gol TV

December 16, 2008

I can’t tell you how much I’m missing not having La Liga matches (and to a lesser extent, Bundesliga matches) on my Dish Network. As I have written extensively in my personal blog (here, here and here) Dish Network and Gol TV have been sniping about usage fees for the better part of six months now, culminating with Dish showing Gol TV the red card back in August.

I was wondering why they haven’t gotten it resolved by now.

It seems I’ve found the answer. Apparently, they’re duking it out in court.

For crying out loud, just give me back my soccer.

Maybe you saw it…

December 16, 2008

or maybe you didn’t, but there was one hell of a high school football game in Chapel Hill on Sunday between Jack Britt and Richmond County for the 4-AA title.

One of the benefits of writing football stories for The Sandspur is the fact that, in cases like these, I can write 35 FREAKING INCHES of copy and still leave stuff out.

It was an amazing game to cap an amazing season of high school football here in Cumberland County.

Like I said, it’s absurdly long, but check out my story below…

(more…)

Goal of the week

December 16, 2008

I’m really partial to Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The man doesn’t just score. He scores with panache.

The latest, a missile from Sunday’s 4-2 win over Cheivo…