Is it even an upset anymore?

Because of coronavirus and/or the fact that I’m a dad with little time to indulge in sports as much as I used to/like to, a lot of sports news tends to go over my head these days.  I still think that it’s a bad idea for any sport to be happening in a country that can’t get their shit together to prevent the spread of coronavirus, but here we are, and pretty much every sport is going on business as usual, with that phrase being used as succinctly as possible, because they’re not really so much sports as much as they are businesses with the expectation to make a bunch of rich people even richer.

Anyway, the point of this post is the fact that Duke went to Blacksburg almost two weeks ago and lost, again.  For those keeping count, this is the fourth time out of Duke’s last five trips to Blacksburg that they’ve lost to Virginia Tech, and at this point, we really need to ask, is it even an upset anymore?  I mean I know I haven’t been paying much attention to sports in general as it is, but I still try to keep an ear to the ground, to at least interesting happenings, upsets or general news in the world of sports.

Duke is currently sitting at 5-5 with a 3-3 conference record, which makes them plain mediocre overall, and it doesn’t really make any news until Coach K blows up at a student reporter and that’s where I even learned that Duke had lost three in a row, which for as much as I dislike the program, is pretty unprecedented.  It’s what prompted me to check to see how they fared against Virginia Tech, since I knew they were on the schedule, and I was a little surprised to see that not only was it not a part of the three consecutive losses, but it was nearly two weeks ago and I didn’t hear a peep about it.

So the takeaways of this post are the obvious fact that Duke sucks; but actually sucks this year, in the sense that they’re nowhere near the top of the ACC as they typically are.  And the fact that for whatever reason, they have a real hard time of winning in Blacksburg and beating Virginia Tech; in basketball, their B-sport, although there are probably tons of jokes about that notion over the last few years, but I think the point is made.

Granted, this is akin to the jinx that the next time Duke rolls into Blacksburg, they’ll probably have 3-4 of the top-10 recruits in the nation ready to do their one-and-done seasons, and because I’ve gotten smarmy enough to make a post like this, they’ll probably blow the Hokies out by like 24 points.  Whatever though, it’s a fine time to be a Hokie as far as Duke basketball is concerned right now.

Advent Beer #5: Kirta by Graminger Weissbräu

Over the last four days, I’ve had leisurely time alone to sit down and get in my own head and then write whatever comes to mind when drinking these beers.  Tonight however, I’m playing games online with some friends.  We’re playing Mysterium.  This is a table top game that we’ve played numerous times back in the days when we as human beings conglomerated for evenings of camaraderie, junk food and conversation, while playing board games.

That being said, because I have a self-imposed daily deadline to review these beers before the day is over, I’m multi-tasking and writing while we’re playing games, and I just finished watching Clemson slaughter Virginia Tech, which was the expected result, in spite of the fact that the A-squads for both teams played a fairly competitive game until the end of the third quarter, until the wheels fell off, and the game blew up to the score I figured the game was going to result in. 

The best part was that a commercial for the eventual ACC championship game between Clemson and Notre Dame aired while there were still five minutes left in the game.  I mean, what if something like that Texas high school game where one team wiped out a 20+ point deficit in two and a half minutes happened, and Virginia Tech would upend and upset Clemson??

Anyway, as for the beer itself: I thought it was called Graminger Kirta, but apparently Graminger is the name of the brewery, and the name is just Kirta.  Either way, the design features a devil holding up a glass while holding onto a pretzel, which is alright by me, and the type of can that I would snap-judge and go ahead and pick, because, I see that this is most likely a dunkel beer, one that I’d hoped I’d run into eventually, because as I’ve stated in the last few days I discovered that I really liked dunkels whilst visiting Germany in the past.

The snobs at BeerAdvocate classify this as yet something else I’d never heard of again, this one being a dunkelweizen which I didn’t even know was a thing but whatever, I don’t know if all dunkels are dunkelweizens or if they’re two different things, all I know is that Kirta was a pretty good beer, and I think one I’d be comfortable in calling the second best beer that I’ve come across after five days.

I’m not sure how much accuracy there is to this theory, but I feel like dunkels are good cold weather beers, and that could very likely be the case because it was the middle of winter when I visited Munich in the past, but they’re just rich, hearty beers, with a lot of spicy flavors that I enjoy a lot.  Ironically, it’s this description that also means that I don’t feel like I could drink a lot of, because like other dunkels, Kirta feels heavy and I feel like I could probably drink two of these tallboys max, before I’d feel the need to move onto to something else or just stop drinking outright.

Either way, Kirta gets high marks in my books, and as of right now, I’m rating it #2 of the five beers that I’ve tried.  Hopefully there are more dunkels that show up over the next 19 days, and I’m still enjoying reviewing all these new-to-me beers that I apparently know jack shit about.

The reflection post, circa 2019

photo courtesy Matt Altmix

If I had to make an observation about what it’s like getting older, I think I would have to say something along the lines of increasingly feeling like there isn’t enough time, like ever, for like, anything and everything.  Maybe it’s exclusive to me, or perhaps it affects millions of others, but I feel that I spent an inordinate amount of time feeling anxious about how I don’t feel like there’s time for anything, or at least, there isn’t an adequate amount of time that I’d like in order to do particular things, and therefore I simply don’t do them.

Like video games, or starting a new television series; typically, I prefer to have like a nice, 2-3 hour block of time in which I can dive in and be properly acquainted with something new, learn the controls, characters, look for critical information that might re-emerge later when stories unfold.  I’m not the type of person who’s ever satisfied with a short introductory period or just a singular pilot episode; subsequently, if I don’t get such conditions, there’s a higher chance that I simply don’t even begin, because there’s always something else I could be doing instead that’s probably actually more productive, or at least essential to my general pace of living, and then suddenly it’s the next day, and I’ve got to go to work, where there’s seldom adequate time for my team to get their tasks done because we’re constantly behind schedule, and are reliant on the partnership of other teams in order to get our jobs done, but they’re lazy and constantly coasting their ways to the next weekend, and then the weekend comes and then it’s almost over, and it’s back to work on Monday where we have yet another planning meeting on how we’re going to catch up, but then the people we rely on are already beginning their downhill coasting towards the weekend on Tuesday afternoon, and this cycle of constantly feeling like there’s no time continues to cycle and repeat.

All this being said, if I had to look back at 2019 as a whole, I would have to say that I think it went by pretty quickly.  Often times, I’ve given thought to how fast things have flown by, and amazed at the idea that when I was a kid, I’d often thought that time couldn’t move slow enough, and how I had all the time in the world to beat and master every single Nintendo game that came across my path.  About how when I was a teenager, I was able to balance time between numerous friend groups, family and responsibilities; like this one time back in 2001 where I somehow remember balancing my newspaper job, going to Baltimore to meet up with some friends who were arriving from out of town for Otakon, driving back to Virginia to meet up with some other friends that night so we could grill out, going to work the next morning, stopping on Columbia on my way back up to Baltimore to visit a cousin, then going to Baltimore for Otakon, taking 200 pictures, coming back home, whipping up a photo gallery and recap of the con for my website, while going back to work. 

Like, I couldn’t even fathom doing that many activities in the span of a week at the age of 37 now.

However, in spite of the perpetual feeling that the clock is spinning faster, this doesn’t mean that my quality of life is necessarily worsening.  In fact, I can say with tremendous clarity that 2019 was a pretty incredible year.  Without question, some of the most grandiose and life-changing events occurred within 2019 and have laid down the foundation for the rest of said life.  Most notably highlighted by the event of having gotten married to my beautiful wife, and having an incredible wedding celebration surrounded by friends and family who all poured into Georgia to celebrate with us.  But then the honeymoon didn’t last that long, or maybe I could say the magic of a Disney cruise was a little too OP in our case, because shortly afterwards did we discover that mythical wife was pregnant, putting us on the fast track to parenthood, and the jarring realization that I was going to become a dad.

Continue reading “The reflection post, circa 2019”

It had to happen eventually

Back when Extreme Championship Wrestling was still a thing, Tommy Dreamer had a feud with Raven that went on for a few years, where no matter what happened in the storylines, whenever they actually had a match against each other, Tommy Dreamer always lost.  It didn’t matter if Dreamer was in control of the entire match, or Raven would squash him, in the end, Dreamer did the job. 

It wasn’t until Raven had been poached by WCW because Paul Heyman couldn’t afford to keep any of the rising stars that he had cultivated, did Tommy Dreamer actually get his long-awaited win over Raven.  And even that was mostly because it was a convenient way to write him out of the storylines because he was leaving, but the point remains it took Tommy Dreamer over two years of jobbing before he finally got a win over his long-hated rival.

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, the University of Virginia finally defeated Virginia Tech in football.  They won the Commonwealth Cup for the first time since 2003.  As I was watching the score (I don’t watch games, because teams I favor tend to always lose when I do), and it was knotted at 30-30 in the fourth quarter, I couldn’t help but have this sinking feeling that maybe this was the year where the streak had to end.  But who really knew, because over the last few years, there had been quite a few nail biters where the good guys prevailed, including an improbable OT win just a year ago.

But then I saw that UVA went up 33-30, and when it came down to the final drive, it was either going to be a soul-sucking TD win for Tech, or probably a turnover when UVA would inevitably make Hendon Hooker actually have to throw the ball if they wanted to win.  When I saw that suddenly UVA was then up 39-30, I knew what had happened without having to dig.

Anyway, for quite a while, I’ve had this analogy in mind for the day when UVA actually beat Tech.  I think it really came to mind back in like 2014, when the two teams were 5-6, and they were playing not just for the Commonwealth Cup, but for bowl eligibility, and the game was a real nail biter that came down to the closing seconds and a defensive stand by the Hokies in order to win it.  But that was the first time I finally felt like the general invincibility of Virginia Tech over UVA was no longer a given, and I couldn’t help but feel that the proverbial doomsday clock of the Hokies’ dominance was really starting to tick.

Continue reading “It had to happen eventually”

Not sure how this keeps happening, but I’ll take it

Of all the strange anomalies to ever occur in sports, I think at this point, it should be worth mentioning Duke’s struggles against Virginia Tech: in basketball.  For the third-straight time while Duke was a top-5 ranked team in the nation, they’ve gone into Blacksburg and left losers

In 2011, they were #1 in the nation and lost to the unranked Hokies.  In 2018, they were ranked #5 in the nation, only to get upset again by an unranked Hokies squad.  And then came last night, where the #3 Duke Blue Devils, clearly starving for talent because they only had R.J. Barrett and Cam Reddish but no Zion Williamson, were clearly depleted beyond survival, and did the job to #20 Virginia Tech.

Full disclosure: I didn’t even watch the game.  I knew it was on, I like college hoops well enough, but Duke is Duke, and Tech is still Tech, even if college basketball is very much their secondary sport.  I figured it would be just another L, which would likely bounce Tech out of the top-25.  Lo and behold, I glance at my news feed in the evening, only to see headlines about how #20 Virginia Tech upsets #3 Duke in Blacksburg, again, and suddenly I’m laughing aloud in my recliner.

Not only will Virginia Tech not be bounced from the top-25, a win against Duke will likely shoot them up a few positions, while Duke will undoubtedly drop, again, hopefully out of the top-5.  This reiterates the sad notion of just how much Duke has put all their eggs into the Zion basket, and despite the fact that they still have two of the top recruits in the nation playing their asses off, it’s like the rest of the entire program has thrown in the towel because Zion’s not there. 

Continue reading “Not sure how this keeps happening, but I’ll take it”

Positive way to start the season

There’s not really much more to say about this game than this perfect image brought to us by ESPN. 

Usually when commentators always talk about how great of a defensive coordinator Bud Foster is, are games in which Tech ends up giving up like 28 points and losing. But in this game, it was like the entire Hokie defense had the power pill from Pit Fighter the way they absolutely manhandled the FSU line and repeatedly dropped them for losses.  Seriously, FSU probably should have had around 17-21 points based on how many times they had been in scoring position but then either fumbled or simply weren’t smart enough to bother challenging the one sure touchdown they had.

Whatever though, I’m very pleased with the result of this game.  As is often the norm, Tech tends to beat the teams they need to, but then lose to anyone ranked higher than they are.  Sure, it was a #20 vs. #19, but Tech was the lower rank, and I’d have bet money that they would’ve lost. 

In spite of the win, the offense was still very suspect; full of some boneheaded penalties or bad snapping, and if FSU should’ve had 17-21 points, Tech really should have had closer to 40.  Killed drives, penalties and a 4th and goal failure all resulted in points left on the board that won’t cut it against teams like Notre Dame and Miami later this season.

Regardless, it’s great to have the college football season back.  Although my hopes for Tech weren’t particularly high prior to the season, a big win against FSU and Miami already shitting the bed renews some reckless hope that maybe this’ll be a fun year overall.

Watch, with me admitting to that, Tech will lose five games and be right on track for another year of like, the Independence or Military toilet bowl games.  But at least we got this shit started on a good note.

BIG DICK SWINGING SPORTS POST

It’s busy season at work.  Life itself has been pretty busy too.  Ironically, as busy life has been transpiring, things have been happening all around that have made me feel like writing, but I simply haven’t really had any time to sit down and do any writing.  There’s no downtime at work for me to slop together some words, and by the time I get home, I’m usually burnt out and not wanting to look at any screen other than my phone for my routine-like playing of Fire Emblem: Heroes.

Typically, whenever things seem brog-worthy, I jot down a quick blurb or note in a Google document for me to revisit whenever I have more time to write about them.  However, due to the busy, I simply haven’t had the time to revisit anything, but the list continued to grow and grow, leaving me feeling anxious about the passage of time to brogging dynamic that I’ve been feeling has been slipping out of my grasp lately.

So now that for the first time, I’ve found that I have a moment to do some writing, I thought I’d save myself as well as my 0 readers the trouble of doing a little consolidation, so that I don’t feel like I should be dumping 1,000 words per topic, but instead go for some quick hits that I’ll do my best to get the point across while covering all of the topics that have piqued my interest over the last week and change. 

This makes even more sense, considering that this particular conglomeration of topics all conveniently happen to be sports related, and since pretty much nobody I know except for me actually cares about sports, it’s a win-win for me, that I get to do some writing, and for the zero who will inevitably glaze over this when it’s eventually published for realsies.

And so we start off with the most notable of events, with the boys in Blacksburg, Virginia Tech taking down yet another ranked ACC powerhouse in men’s basketball, defeating the unholy and reviled #5 Duke.

For those keeping track, this marks the fourth ranked ACC opponent that Tech has defeated this year, with wins against (at the times) #10 North Carolina, #15 Clemson, #2 Virginia.  Now as much as I would much, much, much rather see a football season in which the Hokes took down Clemson, UVA, UNC and Duke, I’m genuinely pleased with the basketball program which has pretty much guaranteed a spot in the NCAA Tournament; where they will get likely get bounced in the first round, but making it to the dance is always important.

Continue reading “BIG DICK SWINGING SPORTS POST”