Tonawanda News


June 18, 2014

World Cup a reminder of sporting purity

Tonawanda News — I've said here many times I'm a sports guy but one thing I really don't know very much about soccer. I've never played it. I understand the fundamental concept but strategy is lost on me.

Usually when watching soccer I'm something like your buddy's clueless girlfriend at a Sabres game who asks "why did they all just stop playing?" when the whistle blows. Like most people I don't have much use for things I don't understand or don't particularly care to understand and so soccer has always been, well, useless to me. 

That said, a Saturday afternoon last week spent loafing on the couch found me captivated by the World Cup. It doesn't take a soccer prodigy to see the incredible athleticism on display. The sheer endurance the best players possess by essentially running up and down a huge field without respite for 90 minutes is mind-boggling.

The agility and dexterity the best players in the world show maneuvering the ball would drop even the biggest cynic's jaw. The uncanny ability to kick that thing on a rope to a precise spot or curve it around an oncoming defender or goalkeeper seems to defy physics.

For those reasons alone, the 2-1 upset victory the U.S. posted Monday over Ghana was thrilling despite my general lack of understanding of the sport.

Lots of fellow soccer neophytes took to Twitter and Facebook during the game (a soccer-loving friend corrected me — it's called a "match") comparing soccer to hockey. I can see slightly how that makes sense. They're both games that flow largely uninterrupted. The action is continuous; the goal is scoring a goal. But when I watch a hockey game I can understand what each team is trying to do, how well they're doing it and how likely it is they'll succeed. 

Text Only
  • Tucker, Barbara.jpg TUCKER: Oh, the joys of Sound Off Never thought the words "Thank goodness for Sound Off" would ever be printed here.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • adamczyk, ed.jpg ADAMCZYK: And now for something completely different... Last weekend I attended a local movie theater (a plushy, posh experience; they design these places now to get you out of your living room and away from your home electronics) to watch the sun set on the British Empire.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • OUR VIEW: Arson suspect never deserved bail Two of the 11 fires reported on Fifth Avenue could have been prevented with some jurisprudence in evaluating whether the suspect, Michelle Johnston, deserved to be offered bail. Given the obvious nature of a repeat offender who was charged with nine felony arson counts, bail never should have been offered in this case.

    July 25, 2014

  • wallace, amy.jpg WALLACE: Too much information? Is there such a thing as TMI or too much information anymore? Some might say yes.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On reading and the lack thereof It was surprising to me a few weeks ago when a friend asked a group of us to estimate how many books we have each read over the last five years. The English teacher said 200 and he far and away led the pack. I was probably the median and my number was 20-25.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • confer, bob.jpg CONFER: A Con-Con would be a con game

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: Conflict in Ukraine now a concern of global proportions It seems increasingly clear Ukrainian separatists, with the help from the Russian military, are responsible for the tragedy. They, of course, have denied it. They've also denied access to the crash site to international investigators seeking to recover the dead and determine what happened. That's not something the innocent party does.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADAMCZYK: Personal development, rendered in steel Accepting the premise that everyone needs to fill the same amount of time every day (24 hours, every day), some people use theirs rebuilding things, tangible things, and thus fulfill a few intangible goals.

    July 18, 2014

  • WALLACE: Festival season is underway Summer is the season of fairs and festivals. From Canal Fest in the Tonawandas to the Allentown Art Festival and Italian Heritage Festival in Buffalo to the Erie County Fair in Hamburg, the Western New York area has no shortage of things to do with the family over the summer.

    July 17, 2014

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: King George's abdication leaves many questions I've covered Niagara County politics for 10 years and it's been a fascinating -- and often infuriating -- experience. With the news the man known with equal parts respect and cynicism as "King George" is walking away it's about to get more interesting.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo