Category Archives: Sports

Tuesday notes

- Now that I have started to use my rehab equipment things are a good deal more painful than yesterday, but the meds are helping to take some of the edge off.  The fun part will be sitting in bed for 4 hours every day, for the next 2 weeks, while my leg gets lifted up and down over and over again. 

One of the biggest challenges that I have found out about, post surgery, has to be the fact that I can’t carry anything while using my crutches.  Making a meal becomes a much more complicated task once you realize that you can’t easily carry food from a microwave to the table.

Oh, well.  I guess it is all part of the process to getting back to”normal” though.

- Out of the Park Baseball 15 released yesterday and Dan and I should be posting some thoughts on the game over the next few days. Also, we are efforting an interview with them to talk about this version of the game and all of the new features contained in it.  I hope to be able to bring that to you by the end of the week as well.

- Dan mentioned Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball for the 3DS over the weekend and I highly recommend all 3DS owners give it a look.  I have already bought 3 of the mini games and have enjoyed playing each of them quite a bit.  I highly suggest looking for some of the online guides into the haggling process in the game so that you don’t have to pay full price for any of the mini games though.  If you play it right, you can pay $16 instead of $40 for the whole collection of games by the time you finish it.  Plus, you get to enjoy more of the games story that way.

- OK.  Back to bed for me.  Have a good day.

Surgery

So, after months of pain and issues, I will be having surgery on my right hip next Monday.

Although no one seems to be able to determine what exactly caused the issues that I have been dealing with for the past 5 or 6 months, the conclusion is that the head of the right femur is causing an impingement, along with cartilage damage inside of the hip socket.  On Monday, I’ll be going in to have the cartilage damage repaired and then a resurfacing done on  my right femur in an attempt to remove the impingement issues.

While it is disappointing that I have to go the surgical route for resolving the issues, I’m ready at this point to start the process of being able to move, run, and play sports without pain again.  Running has become a near impossibility for me over the last few months as I deal with pain for 3 to 4 days after a run of any distance.  Hockey has been uncomfortable at best and painful at worst since the time of the injury as well.

From what the doctor thinks, a person, such as myself, who started running longer distances at a later age in life (hard to believe that 35 -39 is a later age, but I digress) is more at risk for issues such as these.  When combined with being a goalie when playing hockey, he thought that I’m probably putting more stress on my hip than your average person would.

So, to sum up, I’m basically getting old.

One of the best things about the upcoming surgery has to be the reactions that I hear from people when I tell them that I’m having hip surgery at 39.  Almost without fail the first words that are uttered are, “But you’re too young for hip surgery.”  I guess that’s true, but I think that I’m beating up my body, through the activities that I have chosen, a bit more than most people in my age bracket.

The rehab for the surgery is going to be rather unfortunate, as they are telling me that it will be 4 to 6 months before I can get back to playing hockey or running again.  Most of the activities that I will be focusing on over the next few months will be related to biking or swimming, as they are activities without a great impact on my hip.  This seems like a good trade for me, as I’ve been looking to get better at swimming for the last few years and this should give me a good chance to spend a considerable amount of my summer working on just that.

The silver lining that I take from this surgery (and my shoulder repair from a few years back) is that I hope to have quite a few good years of activity ahead of me.

Giving up hockey and running for half of a year is terrible, but my hope is that when I get back to them, the things that I have worked on for the rest of the year will keep me in good enough shape so that I won’t be a total turd when I start them again.  (Pretty sure that I’ll be a turd, just not a total one and that’s enough for me.)

Palace!!!!!!

Beating Everton on the road and collecting their 4th win in the last 4 games was an awesome thing to see on a Wednesday!

Seeing Jerome score his first goal in forever was awesome as well.

Can’t wait to see how the last 4 games play out now.  Liverpool and Man City can’t be thinking of getting an easy 3 when they come to Selhurst Park in a few weeks.

Go Eagles!

Monday notes

- Sports On Earth does a much better job of summing up what is going on with the Brewers right now than I ever could, as they detail what has been happening with the team during their 10-2 start (including winning their last 9 in a row.)

It’s hard to think about big series in April, but with 3 against Pittsburgh (already completed,) 3 against St. Louis, then another 4 at Pittsburgh, there is a lot of interesting games in the NL Central early.

Also, while it’s impossible for the Brewers can keep playing like they have, it’s been sure been fun to see how many interesting ways they can win games of late.

- Dan was giving me grief for not mentioning the Brewers lately, but I have been paying as much attention, if not more so, to Crystal Palace’s play over the last few weeks.  Getting 9 points over the last three weeks has pushed them from 17th place (and in serious danger of relegation) to 12th place and 7 points clear of 18th (with 1 game in hand) with 5 games to play.

While I still have so much to learn about the Premier League, and soccer in general, I just love the passion that the Palace fans show at every game, whether at home or on the road.  I’m glad that I picked the Eagles to support as this season has been a hell of a lot of fun to watch.

- The other thing that I’ve been watching was the end of yet another Islanders season.  That organization frustrates me to no end.  Maybe next year they’ll sell the team and fire Snow… maybe…

- FIFA World Cup 14 is due to release tomorrow for the PS3 and Xbox 360 and while I loved the previous game, I really couldn’t get into the game based on the demo.  The PS4 and Xbox One versions of FIFA play incredibly well and are very fluid, but the older version of the game engine just doesn’t seem to hold up very well after having experienced the new versions of the FIFA game engine.

- Konami has released their own World Challenge DLC for Pro Evolution Soccer 2014 and while it doesn’t have the full presentation that the EA Sports game costs, you could get Pro Evolution and the DLC for just over half the price ($29.99 for the game at Amazon – $4.99 for the DLC) of picking up FIFA World Cup 2014.

Something to think about.

 

Wednesday notes

- Hopefully you’re all able to get your brackets in.  I have mine completed, not that it will be any good (I’m pretty bad at them traditionally,) but it is done in time.

- Picked up a copy of Animal Crossing: New Leaf and you should have seen how excited my daughter was to be able to visit the village I made in my game.  It really is the simple things that amaze them sometimes.  Of course, as soon as I got the game, I had plans for the next two evenings so she couldn’t come and visit my village again.  It’s tough being a parent (and having a life outside of home.)

- I have to admit that I’m a bit curious and jealous of the tech writers that are getting a chance to try out Project Morpheus and Oculus Rift at GDC, but the good thing is that it is going to be a few years before the headsets come out for the Playstation and PC.  Still, the tech looks cool and they could make for some interesting gaming experiences.

- Lastly, I’m very excited to start playing inFamous: Second Son over the weekend.  The first two games were two of my favorites in the previous generation and I look forward to being an truly evil bastard who will be destroying large parts of Seattle very soon.

Thursday notes

- Long time, no see.  Work=crazy.  Moving on.

- Front Office Football 7 now has a Steam Greenlight page.  Do Jim a favor and give it a thumbs up to get it onto Steam.  Steam really needs more of these types of sports games on it and Jim’s game is one of the best.

- Yesterday my copy of Titanfall showed up via Gamefly and all I was able to do was to install it. (I had hockey last night and I’m trying to do as much of that as I can before my surgery.)  I’ll give the Xbox One version a go before deciding whether or not I want the game or not (for either consoles or PC.)  I’ve read some reviews that state it is a First Person Shooter for people who don’t usually play those sorts of games.  I guess I’ll find out if it works for me….

The Xbox One has been a huge buyers remorse device for me since I purchased it, so I’m really looking for something that makes me use it more because I haven’t found much to do with it to this point other than letting my kids watch Amazon Instant Video in the living room while yelling “XBOX SELECT” at it.

- When a feature is removed from Madden, it’s a good guess that it’s because the NFL wanted it out.

- So, plenty of details are out there now about the new RBI Baseball and there is good and bad there.

Good:

Simplistic Gameplay

Season Mode

No Pay to Win

Unlockable Jerseys via Season Mode

Bad:

Few Gameplay modes

First console game from MLB AM

To this point, the Good outweighs the bad, but we’ll have to wait and see if it the game turns out to be a fun and entertaining sports product.

- Lastly, I think I’m going to be buying a second copy of Animal Crossing: New Leaf in the next week or so.  My daughter ended up taking my copy when I gave her my old 3DS at Christmas and she has become completely addicted to the game.  I’m still a bit sad that I had to erase my village to let her take over as mayor in her own game, so I guess her enthusiasm for the game has got me interested in playing it again as well.  Gotta love the kids.

Thursday notes

- As a small percentage of sports fans would know, yesterday was the NHL trading deadline and the Islanders moved Thomas Vanek to Montreal for a 2nd round pick and a prospect who is playing in the Swedish junior leagues.   The bummer in this was the fact that they had acquired Vanek for Matt Moulson (a fan favorite player) along with a 1st and 2nd round pick for an upcoming draft (they can defer this years 1st to next year from what I’ve read,) so they essentially lost a high draft pick (they are in the bottom five in league standings at the moment) to rent Vanek for a lost season and only gained a player who may never make it to the NHL.

It’s been a frustrating season as an Islanders fan, and who am I kidding… it’s been pretty disappointing to be an Islanders fan for the last 20 some years (1993 was the last time they were in the finals for their conference and 1984 was the last time they were in the Stanley Cup finals.)

It’s really hard to see what they’re trying to accomplish, as they have done almost nothing to try and acquire the goaltending help that they need, along with a large need now for a forward to replace the scoring that Moulson/Vanek were providing.  Sigh… it’s tough being an Islanders fans some days and lately there are a lot of these kinds of days.

- Last week, I was really struggling to find a game to play to fill the gaps until some of the bigger titles for this month came out (South Park: The Stick of Truth, Titanfall, and inFamous: Second Son.)  After a few failed attempts at finding a game that would really grab my attention, I took a look at my Wii library and grabbed Super Mario Galaxy 2, which had been sitting unopened since 2010.  It’s moments like that where I realize that I have a serious problem with buying too many games (which I am really trying to address via Gamefly, rather than buying games new.)  Even though I knew that the game would be terrific and that I would love to play it, I consistently allow myself to get distracted by things varying from other games to random woodland creatures running around outside of my home.

I can safely say that my time with the game has been terrific though.  Waiting a few years to play it doesn’t make it any less great, and it has been tremendous fun to play through.  Also it has the nice bonus of being a game that I don’t mind my daughters walking in on watching me play.

Surgery, running, the past, and the future

A few weeks ago, my orthopedist let me know that I was looking at surgery to deal with the pains that started in my hip last October.   The pains were caused by an impingement in my right hip, due to the shape and growth of the head of the femur, along with some tearing of the labrum in the hip socket.  That diagnosis led to him suggesting a surgery that has an 80 to 85 percent chance of success. If the surgery does not succeed, it could lead to looking at a hip replacement.

While I wasn’t shocked that this was the course of action that we were going to have to take, it was still a sobering reminder of the fact that I am approaching a time in my life where participating in sports, or even simple exercising, could start to have large scale repercussions on my life and well being.

When I decided to take up running a few years ago, it wasn’t the first time in my life that I wanted to compete in long distance running.  That began when I was 8 years old.

My parents divorced when I was 5 years old and over the next few years, my mother worked incredibly hard, taking on multiple jobs in order to support herself, my two sisters and myself.  Eventually we left the town that I grew up in and we moved to a low cost (or poor, if you prefer) neighborhood in Madison, WI.

As a young boy who was confused about why his father wasn’t around and who didn’t fully understand why his Mom had to work so hard to pay to make ends meet, I gravitated to a man who paid a great deal of attention to me, my 3rd grade teacher.  That teacher ended up abusing me and he indirectly led me to my interest in and propensity toward running.

When we moved after that school year, we ended up moving into a duplex in the small town of Deerfield, WI.  The view from my bedroom in that duplex is one that I’ve never forgotten and through the magic of Google Maps, I can give you an approximate representation of what I still see when I close my eyes.

Track-sm

Every day that I woke, I could look out my window and see the track, across the street, that encircled the Deerfield High School football field, and when the weather was right, I would go out onto that track and run.

Running became an outlet for me as I tried to escape some of the issues that I was dealing with in my childhood.  Having no knowledge of what therapy was and not knowing how to deal with what had happened to me, it made sense to run whenever I needed to get away from whatever problems were in my mind.

By the summer of 1984, and in the midst of the Olympic fever that was covering the United States, I was running lap after lap, nearly every day, and I felt that there was no doubt that I would be competing in long distance events for Team USA by the 1992 or 1996 Olympics.

Eventually though, running stopped being something I would only do for fun or exercise, but became something I did when I was scared or frightened as well.  On multiple occasions, I ran from school when I made a mistake or things became too difficult to handle.  Running wasn’t just an escape, it became the means to escape from my problems.  I started to link the fear in my mind with the joy of the run and eventually, fear won out, and I stopped running.

A few years ago, I started to run again and I realized what a mistake it had been to give up this event that gave me such freedom and allowed my mind to operate with so much clarity.  Ideas and problems that had been so hard to work out while I was sitting at home became easy to solve while I was in the midst of a long run.

The runs got longer and longer until I finally tackled my first half-marathon.  I smiled as I crossed the finish line and saw my daughters and wife waiting there for me, proud that I had been able to accomplish such a challenging physical task.  From that first half-marathon, I expanded out to three of them the following year, and with each race I became more and more comfortable and felt myself becoming more in tune with the runner inside of me.

Then a few days after my last half-marathon, the pains in my hip began and I started to feel pain on my right side with every stride.  I pleaded with my body, through the means of rest, ice, and heat, that I would listen to, and take care of, it.  I would let my body recover so that I could just keep on running.  Eventually though, it became clear that rest and treatment alone weren’t going to solve the pains that had set in.

Depending on the events of my surgery, my running days may be coming to an end, as the doctor told me that some people who take up long distance running again at older ages sometimes do damage to their body that cannot be easily repaired at that stage in their life and he said that some people have to give up running when injuries such as these come up.  Many of my friends, who do not run, have parroted that sentiment and have said that I should just give up running and focus on other sports and find different means of exercise without really understanding how important running has become for me.

As I look back on my past and the running that I’ve done, both mentally and physically, I have to hope that luck is on my side, because I know now that I’ve stopped running from things and that I need to keep running, not because I am escaping from something, but because it is taking me to where I want to go.

Pro Evolution 2014 Data Pack 3 is out

Thanks to Paul2478, I see that Data Pack 3 is out for Pro Evolution 2014 is now out for the PS3.  I’m actually grabbing it at 1:15 in the morning, since I just got home from playing hockey late on Wednesday night.

Paul will also be updating his option files in the next day or so as well so that you can get all of his kit and player changes once he uploads the files.

After a few months of time comparing FIFA and Pro Evolution, it’s quite easy to say that I prefer the gameplay of Pro Evo over FIFA.  Both are fine games, but Pro Evolution has got to be my pick for the better soccer game to play right now.

MLB 14: The Show Quick Counts and Player Lock

Sony has announced some of the details today about the new Quick Counts and Player Lock features that have been implemented in MLB 14: The Show.

I have to say that I’m torn about such a feature.  While it’s great that they will have a way that might actually allow people to play through an MLB season without having to sim a great deal of games, I would be curious to know how much statistical analysis has been done to know how accurately they could put forth those kinds of counts in the game play.  If it’s being completely at random, without any knowledge of the strengths (or weaknesses) of the hitters or pitchers, then it really becomes just a time saver and nothing else.  If, on the other hand, they would be backing it up with historical count information for each player, then it could be pretty interesting.  (Of course, this says nothing about how it would be handled for new players that enter the game.)

It’s safe to say that I’m thinking about this a bit too much.  Probably just way too geeked up for baseball season to start.

Tuesday notes

- Sorry for the delay in posting.  Lots of things going on, that will be covered soon enough.

- It was disappointing to see the US hockey team come up short (for both the women and the men) but the Olympics certainly did not fail to provide a great product as far as the hockey was concerned, except for those of us who are Islanders fans and have to deal with the remainder of the season without Tavares on the ice.

Still, I would love to see Hockey move from the Winter Olympics to the Summer Olympics just so that the schedules would work.  The 3 week disruption from NHL just isn’t much fun for hockey fans (or some of the players for that matter.)

- Not that I will be using it beyond the 1 week trial, but the WWE Network is a pretty brilliant design for a web based product.  For $9.99 a month, you get access to all of the WWE archive plus getting all of their PPV events that happen while you are a member.

As for me, I watched parts of Wrestlemania 3 and 29 last night and pretty much got my fill of all of wrestling action that I would see myself needing for the near future.

That sounded better in my head than it did when I wrote it.

- In the world of gaming, it seems like Beta time of year as I’m playing the Final Fantasy XIV beta on the PS4 and will be starting to mess around with the Elder Scrolls Online beta at the end of the week.

Why all the RPG’s?  Got me, just seems like the opportunity to mess around with them all hit me at the same time.

I do have the Golf Club beta coming up soon as well and can’t wait to dig into that game and its course creator when I have a chance.

- Lastly, I was able to purchase tickets for opening day for the Brewers earlier today and will be attending the game with 7 other people.  Should be an interesting day for a sober guy in Wisconsin…

Tuesday notes

- Typically with a basketball arena, you don’t want these sorts of things happening

Gotta figure that the person in that seat is a bit unhappy with things right now (and feeling pretty damn lucky right now.)

- Finished up Tomb Raider last Friday night and was entertained throughout.  $60 entertained?  Ehhhh…. I’d have to say no.  Considering you have been able to pick up the game on the PC for $5 over the last few months, I would have to say that the graphical additions to the game wouldn’t have been worth the price difference for me.  Thankfully, I rented it and didn’t have to deal with the post-purchase guilt.

- Tomorrow morning is my meeting with the orthopedist at which point I will be finding out what they want to do to address the labrum tear, arthritis, and bone spurs, on my right hip.  At this point I’m hoping for a surgical plan just so I can get the damn pain resolved and start  training for the marathon that I want to run at the end of the year.  The person in charge of my hockey group has different plans and he just wants me to play through pain for the rest of my life (he just doesn’t want to find a sub for 6 or 8 weeks.)

Either way, we should have a plan tomorrow.

 

Thursday notes

- As a person who doesn’t really mind winter (other than my wife talking about moving us to Minnesota at some point in the future… it’s much colder up there,) it has been nice to have a bit of a warm up (32 degrees today!) over the last few days.

Also, I think that a law just passed so that it’s homicide is justified in cases where someone says, “See?  Global warming is total crap.  It’s so cold and snowy here.”  Sigh…

- NBA2K14, for the PC, is down to $14.99 at Amazon right now.  There seems to be such an awesome modding community for that version of the game with things ranging from college basketball mods to Space Jam mods.  Almost worth picking it up just to be able to see all of the stuff that people are doing with it.

- Pitchers and catchers report in 2 days for the Brewers.

- One of the things that I love about following the Premier League now is the time difference.  Getting to watch games first thing in the morning and then be able to have the rest of my day free has been awesome.

That also works out well for the Winter Olympics this time around as I was able to get up at 6:30 this morning and catch the first period of the USA/Slovakia hockey game before even getting into the shower to go to work.

Based on one day of watching hockey, here are my thoughts.

NBCSN’s coverage?  Great.  No commercials during the period that I saw and they had their best NHL announcers there.

Streaming?  It sucked.  Same coverage, but every time there was a stoppage in play there were 10 to 15 second commercials.  Half of the time, you were  missing part of the game action because the commercials took longer than the set up to drop the puck.

I guess it’s time for me to try and get a Slingbox set up again at my house just to avoid all of that crap.

Wednesday notes

- The pond hockey tournament in Eagle River was terrific last weekend even though there we were skating in wind chill temperatures as low as -20 below zero.  I did grab some video from a home-made camera mount on my chest protector, so I’ll see if I can grab that in the next few days and get some of the “highlights” posted.  The weekend went far too quickly and I’m already looking forward to the tournament next year.

- Not that I got a chance to see much of him when I was growing up, but Pete Maravich was one of my favorite basketball players when I was a kid.   Watching the videos of some of his highlights on Youtube show you some of the amazing things that he was doing almost 40 years ago, and it is very easy to picture a player like himself being in today’s game without any issues.  If you get a chance, take a look at the story that was written over at Sports on Earth about the relationship that Pete’s two boys had with the game after he passed away.

- Last week, Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition for the PS4 showed up from Gamefly and it is one of the most fun games that I’ve played in recent memory.  It pulls very heavily from the Uncharted and Assassin’s Creed style games, but doesn’t have all of the machismo that those games provide.   While there are some disconnects in the story as Lara transitions from a simple researcher to a stone cold killer, the cut scenes at least give you the feeling that violence isn’t the action that she wants to take but that it is put upon her out of necessity.  I can highly recommend that people rent the game, at the very least, as it is a beautiful game to watch as well as play.

- Anyone else as geeked up as I am to watch men’s Olympic hockey start up?  Canada, Russia, and the US all take the ice tomorrow.

- Lastly, I’m really excited to see Crystal Palace play against Everton today as the new additions to the squad really made a big difference in their offensive play style during last Saturday’s game against West Brom.  It’s asking a lot, but if they can steal 3 points on the road today, they can push themselves up to 10th in the league table and the chances of getting relegated become greatly diminished.

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