Jun 21, 2014

Quotes: She rules.

Mar 16, 2014

She's just like us. (Not really.)



You know, I do this, too. I watch sports alone in the comfort of my fancy living room, with just my Rolex to keep me company.

Feb 23, 2014

UPDATED: Redemption



Will Leitch on Mao Asada:
One of the favorites coming into the Games, Asada had a disastrous short program yesterday and is all the way down at 16th place, essentially eliminating any chance at a medal. She had little reason other than pride to keep going.
And then there is a moment that it clicks.
Asada is the one person in this whole field who does the triple axel -- the most difficult move in the sport; only five women have ever done it international competition, including Asada -- and when she takes off and nails it 10 seconds in, suddenly, this unseasoned observer no longer finds anything funny or unusual about this sport: It is simply beautiful. For the next four minutes, Asada glides about a foot above the ice, flying around the arena, rising into the rafters, lifting out of the arena and into the sky. You will not convince me this did not happen.
The best part about watching an event like this in person is that you do not have the artificial viewpoint of the closeup. You are watching, from beginning to end, a choreographed routine, something that has been fussed over and altered and honed to perfection by people who have devoted their lives to this work. It is, more than anything, a story. When it clicks -- and if you are here, it will click for you -- figure skating seems to represent the most logical, natural movements a body can make. You stop counting falls and making snide observations about the atmosphere. You stop doing much of anything but watch.
Asada's routine, which earned the third-highest free skate score of the day (behind only the gold and silver Medalists), made everything fall into place. This is why they're all cheering. I stood at attention and found myself profoundly grateful to be there.
Her choice of Sergei Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto 2 is an inspired one given her recent struggles. (Rachmaninoff is said to have composed this piece during a period of severe depression and writer's block.)
Mao Asada's long program, which I saw at around 12:30 AM, was beautiful, gutsy and emotional.  The biggest injustice of Sochi 2014 was not Adelina Sotnikova beating (Queen) Kim Yuna to win the Olympic gold in women's figure skating. It was the judges not giving Empress Mao the highest score of the night for her free skate. It was, in my humble and amateur figure skating expert opinion, the best performance of the competition. It was simply phenomenal. 
Mao's Olympic 2014 experience teaches us a lot of life lessons. We all have tough times. It's about coming through that. A few mistakes does not tarnish an impressive body of work. The triple axel, as many say, is both her strength and weakness. She was stubborn and lived and died with it. While it ruined her short program, landing the triple axel in her long program made her a legend. Mao may not have won a medal and defeated her long-time rival, Yuna, but she came out as a winner in her own right.  

I'll end this article with the following quote from Joe Posnanski:
In many ways this was my favorite moment of the Olympics. If I could bring back one thing from Sochi for our girls it is this lesson. Always try, even when it seems pointless. You never know when you might do something beautiful.

UPDATE
Mao just skated to Smile and What A Wonderful World in the Gala. Her music choices are just the best, you guys. 

Jan 19, 2014

Like a boss.

Ana Ivanovic def. Serena Williams, 4-6 6-3 6-3, in the 4th Round of the Australian Open.

You know what's even more impressive? Ana looking like this after playing under the Melbourne sun for 2 hours and just wearing a plain grey shirt with no trace of makeup on. *standing ovation*


Sep 11, 2013

11 Signs That You Are A Hopelessly Romantic Sports Fan

You really can't choose who you love. And when you find "the one", you don't just scram when the going gets tough (or the tough get's going). Having a favorite team or athlete is like falling in love. You just ride the whole gamut of emotions with them. As a tennis fan, I can go from really happy to really frustrated to overflowing with joy to being in the depths of depression in a matter of seconds. 

So this list is for people like me (I know that I'm not the only one) who feverishly support teams and/or athletes that are: (a) going through tough times, (b) headcases, (c) allergic to winning and (d) all of the above. Here's to us crazy ones!

1) You are very rational when it comes to evaluating the competition.
via Tumblr
2) You use your superhuman jinxing abilities to help your fave.

3) But you always end up jinxing them instead.
via img.pandawhale.com
4) This is what you look like before a match.
via Tumblr
5) This is you during a match.
via tribulationsduneformatricedemcdo
via Tumblr
6) This is you after a really good win.
via realitytvgifs
via Tumblr
7) This is you after a very bad loss.

via BuzzFeed
8) This is you the day after a very bad loss.
via BuzzFeed
via Simply Gosling
9) You can relate to this quote from The Matrix Reloaded: "Hope. It is the quintessential human delusion, simultaneously the source of your greatest strength, and your greatest weakness." 
via hallowedtodeath
10) But you still have nothing but love for your fave.
via heygifcom
11) And you will continue to believe in them no matter what.
via glamour.com

via Tumblr

Aug 23, 2013

The "Must" List: Fact Is Stranger Than Fiction

*Yep. She's finally on Twitter. You can now follow and unfollow her, Hitler

*Buzzfeed did a superb piece on the person behind the biggest security leak in US history, Private Bradley Manning, who now prefers to be called Chelsea Manning. The article paints an intriguing portrait of a conflicted person who only believed in doing what is best for his country.

*Fantastic piece from the New York Times on tennis rebel, Li Na, and her fight against the super controlling Big Brother that is the Chinese government. 

*While I was really pulling for Ryan Gosling to be the next Batman, Ben Affleck, contrary to what many are saying online, is actually NOT a bad choice. Affleck is now rivalling Leonardo DiCaprio, George Clooney, Brad Pitt and his buddy, Matt Damon, when it comes to having the most enviable roles in Hollywood. Affleck is also set to star in the movie adaptation of Gillian Flynn's bestselling novel, Gone Girl.

*Katie Nolan is your new sports BFF. She's witty and knows how to poke fun at herself and other people. I am now looking forward to her No Filter episodes on Fox Sports and Pardon the Contradiction. Really, look her up.

*Michael Beschloss is a must follow on Twitter for history buffs.

*These are nice problems to have: 17 Problems Only Book Lovers Will Understand. Another problem that many people would also love to have is to be too attractive to hold public office.

*Another long read recommendation: The Rock 'n' Roll Casualty Who Became a War Hero. The following parts really resonated with me:
As we walked past all the oblivious college students, their whole lives ahead of them, I thought about how astonishingly few people do what Everman did. What happened to him was so brutal, seeing success pass him by — twice. But he didn’t let that misfortune define him. Of all the guys I knew through my years in rock, a precious few made it huge. Good for them. Most never came close. Some never managed to get past the failure of the dream, but it seems pretty clear that Everman did. When I told his former bandmates what he’d been up to, they all seemed genuinely thrilled with what he did with his life — and surely a little relieved.
As we made our way along what Columbia calls College Walk, I asked Everman what it was like to be a student after all he had been through. Everman smiled dryly. “It’s anonymous. Just the way I like it.” I suggested that his unique résumé might make him just about the coolest college professor of all time. “No way, man,” he said, shaking his head. “I don’t have the patience. I’ll probably just be a bartender somewhere.”

Aug 8, 2013

The "Must" List: Horror Roll

Forehand Policy's usual round-up of a few must read/see/view things that you guys (as in the five people who read my blog) might find interesting.


*I seriously cannot stop watching this video. Nice to know that the Manning family has a great sense of humor.


*Horror roll: embattled New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner (also known by his sexting name, Carlos Danger) doesn't know how to quit; NY Yankees' star Alex Rodriguez, accused of using performance enhancing drugs, is the guy at the party no one wants; the Napoles family, through their counsel, Atty. Lorna Kapunan, threatens Rappler with a poorly written demand letter and Bikram yoga founder is accused of rape, sexual harassment and racism.


*Tennis players dominate Forbes list of the highest paid female athletes. The WTA is indeed the leading women's sporting organization in the world.


*Want to encourage more people to read? A little creativity can go a long way.


*Forehand Policy's resident mascot, Ryan Gosling, is in the shortlist to play Batman in Man of Steel 2


*Roger Federer, who is celebrating his birthday today, could be ranked as low as #7 by the time the US Open starts later this month. 


*Probably the greatest power couple of all time.


*Cristiano Ronaldo has been on a charm offensive lately. I honestly have no snark on this. Keep it up, dude.


*Andy Murray and Jennifer Lawrence continue to be adorable.


*Filipino marketing executive Jonathan Yabut is Apprentice Asia's first winner. Highly successful Malaysian businessman Tony Fernandes definitely hired the right person for the job. 


*Diplomacy 101

*Political trolling 101 

Jul 8, 2013

Wimbleweird


Wimbleweird. Wimblegeddon. Wimble-done. These were just some of the puns that were  used by die hard and casual tennis fans alike to describe the recently concluded Wimbledon Championships. Who could blame them, really, after the tournament lost former champion Rafael Nadal in the first day (!) of the tournament? Who would have thought that Nadal would go out in straight sets to 135th-ranked Steve Darcis? Who also would have thought that Roger Federer would follow him out of Wimbledon by the third day of the tournament, losing to 116th-ranked Sergiy Stakhovsky? The leading women were also not exempt themselves as Victoria Azarenka (retiring due to a knee injury sustained while in the competition), Maria Sharapova (losing to young ace Michelle Larcher De Brito), Ana Ivanovic (bowing out to former Junior Wimbledon champ Eugenie Bouchard), Caroline Wozniacki and Jelena Jankovic were all out of the competition by the time Federer and his orange-soled shoes said their goodbye. 

By the second week, things seemed back to normal. Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray (Britain's Great Hope), David Ferrer and Juan Martin del Potro were still in. So were Serena Williams (the heavy favorite to win), Petra Kvitova, Agnieszka Radwanska and Li Na

As the top seeds, Djokovic and Serena were now the overwhelming favorites to win. Djokovic stuck to the script and defeated a resurgent del Potro in an epic semifinal to forge a date with Murray, who many is expecting to finally extinguish the ghost of Fred Perry after 77 years. Murray's campaign last year, while so close, still ended in tears and heartbreak.  

Serena, on the other hand, bowed to the grass loving German Sabine Lisicki. Unfortunately for Serena, Lisicki's main specialty since 2009 has been to upset the current Roland Garros champion at Wimbledon.  When the dust finally settled on the women's side, Lisicki and quirky Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli (she of the comedic serve and hilarious practice swings in between points) were the only ones left. Thus, the Ladies Final featured two players that have never won a Grand Slam trophy before. In the end, it was second time Wimbledon finalist Bartoli who hoisted the trophy after Lisicki was rattled by a severe case of stage fright.

On the men's side, destiny seemed to be smiling on Murray's side. He almost never made it to the finals after being pushed to the brink by Fernando Verdasco (he of the perfectly gelled hair that never moves) in the quarterfinals and Polish up-and-comer Jerzy Janowicz in the semis. 

The whole Murray-Djokovic final was, sorry for the word, dreadful in the sense that there were lots of looooong rallies and not a lot of taking chances and hitting winners from both sides. Djokovic seemed not himself as he was missing a lot on his favored backhand down the line shots. I guess losing last year's final endeared Murray to a lot of hometown fans since one can feel how immensely invested they were in every Murray point. (In the past, Britons seemed to cheer for Murray out of duty because they had no other British guy to cheer for.) Fans were totally behind him, even cheering belatedly (and mistakenly) for points that did not go their countryman's way. You can also feel how Murray was soaking all the love and adoration in as he seemed very positive and happy to be out there. Murray finally defeats Djokovic after a dramatic final game (which, if Djokovic had won, could've led to a momentum shift) to become the first British man to win Wimbledon in 77 years. Tears of joy and goosebumps everywhere! 

In the end, this year's Wimbledon was a tournament for dreamers and believers. A tournament that will be remembered for the crazy ones who believed that they could defeat the Rafas, Rogers, Serenas and Marias of the world. It showed that everyone, no matter what their rank is or no matter the amount of struggle that they had to endure in the past, has an equal chance at Grand Slam glory. So, yeah, I think this video somewhat sums up this year's Wimbledon perfectly:



Jun 23, 2013

The "Must" List: Girls On Fire Edition

Forehand Policy's usual round-up of a few must read/see/view things that you guys (as in the five people who read my blog) might find interesting.


*I've watched this video about 789594 times already and it still makes me cry every time. Lea Salonga's performance of "Still Hurting" is haunting, heartbreaking and beautiful all at the same time.

*Oh yeah. Hillary Clinton is finally on Twitter. Her profile is genius:
"Wife, mom, lawyer, women & kids advocate, FLOAR, FLOTUS, US Senator, SecState, author, dog owner, hair icon, pantsuit aficionado, glass ceiling cracker, TBD..." Obviously, this would not be possible without the guys from Texts from Hillary, who also got a shout out from Madam herself. 

*You want a tennis cat fight? We'll give you a tennis cat fight. Our pre-Wimbledon off-court main event is Serena Williams vs. Maria Sharapova and Round 1 has just started. The sad thing is this would probably end in another Pova shellacking should they meet for the Wimbledon final in two weeks time. (Pova hasn't beaten Serena in 9 years.)

*On a lighter note, let's check out what our favorite female tennis players wore at the WTA's pre-Wimbledon party. Fortunately, Ana Ivanovic, a perennial fashion hit and miss, dressed according to her beauty and wasn't a victim of a fashion fail. 

*Good girl gone bad? Read this intriguing story of why a seemingly straight and honest agent betrayed the US Homeland Security for a notorious Mexican drug cartel. After Homeland and The Americans, this is another theme worth exploring on tv. 

*I think any sports fan can relate to Patricia Lee's piece from Grantland's NBA Shootaround:
With the clock winding down and the Heat amassing what seemed like an insurmountable lead, I found myself negotiating with the basketball gods, or the devil, whichever would work. I promise I won’t curse at Tony Parker again if you just let the Spurs take this one. I promise I won’t make fun of Manu’s bald spot again if you just gift him with another 3. I promise I’ll stop questioning Pop’s coaching decisions and clock management if you just make this last possession count. I promise, I promise …
In the end, it was no use, of course.
There’s no way to avoid destiny, no way to make Danny Green score, no way to help Tim Duncan make that hook shot that he must’ve made a billion times. There’s no way to stop a hot-handed Shane Battier, no way to combat a ready King James, no way to turn the tide just because you feel like the team you’re rooting for deserves to lift the trophy.
...
It’s a strange feeling when the player you love most from your alma mater is playing against the player you’ve watched and loved your whole life. When one makes a 3, the other gets a dagger to the heart. When one misses a hook shot, the other is one step closer to the ultimate goal. It’s not winning or losing, not happiness or sadness. It’s a mélange of all of these things. It makes for an easily combustible bubble of emotion, one that is difficult to comprehend, to marry, one difficult to come to terms with. But I should’ve known that going into the series.
Chill, bro, it’s just sports. You’ll live. They’re not even your team, right?
But do you know what this feels like? To see one of your idols succeed at the expense of another? To see a team that deserved it so much lose to another that deserved it just as much? To see both teams go from miles ahead to inches ahead to, ultimately, just enough to cross the finish line? Somebody has to lose. And, somehow, that is why we all win.

May 13, 2013

The "Must" List: Only God Forgives


*Dear Ryan Gosling: Why are you so adorable?

*I've been addicted to @Longform for quite some time now. Let's just say that it's the main reason why I am not getting a lot of sleep these days. If you're on Twitter and you absolutely love reading longform non-fiction stuff, Longform is a must follow. Some of my favorites: Love and Madness in the Jungle, The Mind of a Con Man, Al Gore's Golden Years and A Murder Foretold (this should at least be made into a movie), among others.

*Chechnya =/= Czech Republic. What is happening, people?! *shakes head*

*Thanks for this, Paulo Coelho.

*Who needs the Avengers when you have Uncle Ruslan and Charles Ramsey?

*The next great Hollywood sports movie should come this list. Most compelling story in the list would've be that of Baron Gottfried von Cramm's. Nazis. Homosexuality. Tennis. Rebellion. What more can you ask?

*Buzzfeed + Foreign Policy = MFEO.

*CNN calls itself "The World Leader in News". After this and this, I am not so sure anymore.

*And we end this post with another golden quote from tennis star and self-help guru, Ana Ivanovic:

Apr 10, 2013

Quotes: Respect.

I don't think I need to be in the NBI/FBI/CIA/Mossad or get a law degree to sniff out fake social media accounts. Come on.