Chinese GP 2018

Quick turnaround this week so don’t forget to put in your predictions!

Let’s review the Bahrain GP.

Bahrain GP

Results Roundup:

Position Team Points

1

Doyagao

166

2

Team Shoey

161

3

Too Many Hamilton Hats

146

4

Chase Careys Mustache Racing Team

144

5

Anderson13yu73467bnefyhjyhjdf

135

6

think of something clever later

115

7

Green eggs and Hamilton

114

8

A Little Bit Lauda Now

108

9

Daigle

80

10

TEAM RAUSCH KICKS ALLISON

54

The FINGER AGAIN! What a compelling race! I mean besides the huge gap between the front of the pack and everyone else. And a big bounceback from ESPN regarding coverage. Well done to them!

Congrats to Brian picking up his first win of the season. I’m guessing given the position of the teams involved at the top (Specifically Anderson and Shawna) there is a bit of Mercedes favouritism hanging about. To be a bit transparent in my wagering, I was looking at value in a certain Red Bull driver that reallllly did not pay off this weekend. (Casts a sideways glance at Team Shoey up-there.) Drop off for last week’s podium scorers see all three finish in the lower half.

Last week I made a long-shot prediction seeing points for Brendon Hartley but it was Gasly’s Toro Rosso who surprised the field with a 4th place finish. If Toro Rosso see a couple more races like that (Hartley had a weird formation lap thing with Perez otherwise, not the worst weekend either), that middle pack : Haas, Renault, McLaren, Force India, Toro Rosso battle will be extra fun. Will any of those teams make a podium this year? (I hadn’t really been paying attention but the only team outside of Mercedes, Ferrari, and Red Bull to score a podium last year (and only one at that) was Williams’ Lance Stroll, who look well off the pace early in this season.)

Ferrari fortunate the tyre gamble pays off. I don’t like to credit Seb too often but it was an extraordinary performance to keep pace and maintain the tyres. Some reporters said that the Pirelli reps were just shaking their heads the whole time watching it. The more reasonable Mercedes switch to mediums should have been enough to secure a win but they did an excellent job to seal points. Very poor for Kimi and really unfortunate for the mechanic (who does appear to be in good spirits and on the mend). I suppose whomever is giving the green light to Kimi is also under some amount of pressure as pit stop times have decreased in recent years (post refueling) where four seconds was the norm and now burned down to a bit over two on average.* Interesting that the pits have had a strong influence on results for both the races this year.

Excellent race overall, let’s look at how it affects the standings.

*There is a great article on f1.com from a couple of seasons ago talking about declining pit times and it mentions the diminishing returns where in a couple of tenths of a second can be achieved with upgraded technology, the associated costs have hit a point where it would be prohibitive and the money better spent on the aero design of something similar which would be able to reduce the lap times by the same amount per lap.

Kim-ster Award : (Race Winner)

Wooden Spoon: (Lowest Score)

Wooden Paddle: (Special Distinction)

 

Current Overall Standings

Position Team Total Points Change

1

Doyagao

296

+5

2

Team Shoey

284

+5

3

Anderson13yu73467bnefyhjyhjdf

274

+1

4

think of something clever later

264

-3

5

Chase Careys Mustache Racing Team

254

+4

6

A Little Bit Lauda Now

252

-4

7

Too Many Hamilton Hats

251

+3

8

Green eggs and Hamilton

250

-3

9

Daigle

220

-6

10

TEAM RAUSCH KICKS ALLISON

170

-2

 Up next: Chinese GP!

Let’s see if Mercedes can find a win in what has traditionally been a strong race for them and break up Seb’s early streak before Ferrari continues to snowball. I want to see the Red Bulls bounce back and if any teams make a surprise run like the Toro Rosso in the markedly cooler environment.

What the track looks like:

Nessie!

Track conditions:

Probable rain on Friday, possible rain on Saturday, likely clear on Sunday. But China is always a little variable so the teams will need to come prepared to battle a variety of conditions in the relatively cooler air.

Tyre/Pit strategy:


(Credit formula1.com)


(Credit RaceFans.net)

There will be a gap between the softs and ultra softs this weekend and the wet tyres waiting in the wings. Mercedes going a bit more conservative than most teams, taking an extra pair of softs and curiously, Hamilton only taking one set of Mediums. Ferrari and Red Bull taking more Ultra softs. I’m sure everyone will be watching very closely to see how the Ultras hold up and what that means for a likely two stop strategy.

Odds:


(courtest labrokes.com.au)

Hamilton favoured in the bounceback race (he scored a hat-trick here last year) with Vettel close behind. Bottas and Red Bulls split the Ferrari drivers and interesting to see Alonso above the Haas. I think it underates Kimi a bit and expectations that a motivated Verstappen to make a charge to the podium. Let’s see if Toro Rosso can build on last week’s result.

Don’t forget to set your predictions!

2017 Results:

Pole: Lewis Hamilton

Fastest Lap: Lewis Hamilton

1st: Lewis Hamilton
2nd: Sebastian Vettel

3rd: Max Verstappen

2017 Fake Racing Results:

1st: Weekends Without Bernie (Andrew)

2nd: Doyagao (Brian)

3rd: Team Shoey (Heather)

Wooden Spoon: TEAM RAUSCH KICKS ALLISON (Anthony)
*note: these are the correct 2017 results, I used the wrong data for Bahrain last update

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Race Report: Jabulani Challenge 2018

Race report: Jabulani Challenge
7 April 2018
Distance: 22km
Location: Ku-Ring-Gai National Park
Type: Trail Run

Jabulani

 

First race of the 2018 calendar done over the weekend. Serious rookie mistake forgetting the trail shoes at home and only discovering the fact once I got to the race. Which meant the shoes for the race were my zero drop Innov8 gym shoes I had thrown on. The Jabulani Challenge is run 45km (27.9 miles), 22km (13.7 miles), and 12km (7.5) start/finish in Bobbin Head park which is sort of down in this little valley. This time of year in Sydney is autumn, morning weather starting at 19C (66F) the temperature on Saturday climbed rapidly to the high nearly 30C (86F). The cooler morning produces a really pretty bit of fog over the start but burns off quickly as you climb up out of the park.

Start is a bit unique, the races are started an hour apart, (from longest to shortest distance), and the race is self-seeded in that there are some general guideposts in the start corral but you sort of just file in. The start itself is two runners released at a time, every five seconds to try and break up the crowding as after the first kilometer or so, the park funnels into a single track trail that is what I would consider medium level.* Unfortunately this is where the race suffers the most. Due to the nature of the single track and the relatively close spacing of the starts, the middle/back runners get caught in a long single-file line moving, at best, a brisk walk which grinds to a standstill at certain tricky climbing bits. Not only does this really kill the early race adrenaline but also puts a damper on times (chip timed race not gun).

At the end of that single track portion, the trail opens up to a pretty steep hill and the first aid station (6km) which leads to the wide open middle sector which is partially paved, mostly mixed gravel fire trail (the absolute worst for minimalist shoes). There are a few short steep climbs to get out of the valley and then a flatter 3 km or so moving around before the final aid station (16km) which signals the descent portion back to the finish line. The descent is back to mainly single track trail down to the water and following that back around to the park.

I must have stubbed my toe a dozen times on random exposed roots or particularly well hidden rocks along the way and am still a bit sore on the soles due to the repeated stone/branch/uneven surface impact over the distance. Overall, not a bad race. I finished about ten minutes slower than last year but despite the shoe circumstance and the slower first sector (where the group was more delayed than last year), I felt pretty good throughout the race. Good enough that I even went to a Saturday fencing session which turned out to be a bad idea in practice.

*I’m not really an expert trail runner so I would consider a paved trail easy and an uneven trail with technical bouldering (no special equipment needed) hard. There were some obstacles along this course but very little technical climbing up or down was necessary.

::
The embedded video below is created via the Relive app (link) which is linked to my Garmin account but can also tie into Strava, Endomondo, Polar, and Mapmyride. I’m not sponsored but I really do like this app and if you track your activities, this is a really neat way to capture a snapshot of your adventures.

Relive ‘Jabulani Challenge 2018’

 

Bahrain GP 2018

Going to start with a tangent and just celebrate Liverpool’s triumph in the Champions League quarterfinal first-leg! 3-0! Hoping that they can hold on and make it through to the final though based on results it would look like they would see one of Bayern (eww), Barca (double eww), or Real Madrid (proper gross). (This goal is simply spectacular though). In any case, let’s get back into Fake F1!

Let’s review the Australian GP.

Australian GP

Results Roundup:

Position Team Points

1

think of something clever later

149

2

A Little Bit Lauda Now

144

3

Daigle

140

4

Anderson13yu73467bnefyhjyhjdf

139

5

Green eggs and Hamilton

136

6

Doyagao

130

7

Team Shoey

123

8

TEAM RAUSCH KICKS ALLISON

116

9

Chase Careys Mustache Racing Team

110

10

Too Many Hamilton Hats

105

So much for the third DRS zone increasing passing in the race (there were only five overtakes after the first lap). The halo in the picture was a bit, distracting, though I’m not sure how best to fix the angle for that. We got to see the first Seb finger (ugh) of the year and hopefully proves there will be a tight race at the top this year. Meanwhile down the grid, I can’t be more pleased that McLaren is back in the points! WOOOOO! To be honest, Haas looked great all weekend just spectacularly unlucky. Force India will have a proper challenge for the 4 spot in the constructors, this is a good start!

*Conspiracy theories I’ve seen have the fix in for Ferrari to win both the Driver and Constructor championships this season to help Liberty secure their involvement for another couple of cycles. But that is from some sore Mercedes fans who cite the Bottas crash in qualifying and the Hamilton ‘technical’ glitch as early proof.

Speaking of good starts, a big congrats to ‘think of something clever later’ for picking up the first win of the season! I’m pleased everyone has points on the board for the first race. Scores not too badly distributed either, just 44 points separate top and bottom. I’ll be trying to keep up the Fake F1 Statsheet again this year (it really fell off towards the end of the season last year), it needs a bit of tweaking still, I’ll get around to it, eventually.

Big props to Daigle for scoring a podium on the first weekend in the league! Significantly fewer props to Anderson for making an exceptionally difficult team name this year to really make my updates messy.
I’m assuming that the second half of the team name means : 13 yellow ulcers 73,467 blanket ninjas enjoy fighting yams hiding jellyfish yonder high jumbo dunes far-away
What that has to do with Fake F1, I have no idea but there you have it.

Kim-ster Award : (Race Winner)

Wooden Spoon: (Lowest Score)

Wooden Paddle: (Special Distinction for Terrible Race Coverage)

 

Special thanks to Andrew for putting together the paintshop awards for the week. Looking forward to keeping it up for the future updates!

Current Overall Standings

Position Team Total Points Change

1

think of something clever later

149

2

A Little Bit Lauda Now

144

3

Daigle

140

4

Anderson13yu73467bnefyhjyhjdf

139

5

Green eggs and Hamilton

136

6

Doyagao

130

7

Team Shoey

123

8

TEAM RAUSCH KICKS ALLISON

116

9

Chase Careys Mustache Racing Team

110

10

Too Many Hamilton Hats

105

 Up next: Bahrain GP!

I’m excited for night racing! At the front, Hamilton will be eager to score an early win while Ferrari will want to start to snowball. Kimi looked strong so don’t sleep on him having an look in at the championship himself. They’ve also extended DRS zone Looking forward to seeing if McLaren can stay in the points if both the Haas don’t shoot themselves in the foot.

What the track looks like:

Woody Woodpecker!

Track conditions:

No big surprises it is going to be hot! It’ll be a curious balance as teams try and ensure the setups are good moving from the wet Melbourne air to the desert. There’s also a factor that only one of the practices will be held in the evening closest to mimic the qualifying/race temperatures.

Tyre/Pit strategy:


(Credit formula1.com)


(Credit Pirelli)

Bahrain is notoriously difficult on the brakes and given the track condition and teams selecting a majority supersofts, I would imagine most teams will run a two stop strategy (Supers to Supers to Softs) and perhaps we’ll see someone try and run a cheeky one stop (Softs to Mediums).

Odds:


(courtest labrokes.com.au)

Hamilton heavily favoured (maybe more liberal use of Party Mode?). Again, Kimi looks great value here and surprised to see Bottas favoured over the Red Bulls. Valtteri did win the pole last season and finished on the podium though. Haas over Alonso (makes sense) with the Renaults splitting the McLarens. I’ll be looking to see if Brendon Man-after-my-Hart-ley can finish near the points.

Don’t forget to set your predictions!

2017 Results:

Pole: Valtteri Bottas

Fastest Lap: Lewis Hamilton

1st: Sebastian Vettel

2nd: Lewis Hamilton

3rd: Valtteri Bottas

2017 Fake Racing Results:

1st: Weekends Without Bernie (Andrew)

2nd: Doyagao (Brian)

3rd: Team Shoey (Heather)

Wooden Spoon: TEAM RAUSCH KICKS ALLISON (Anthony)

NOTY 2018

Name of the Year 

One of my guilty pleasures every March is taking a look through the excellent Name of the Year bracket. If you’re not all bracket-ed out this year, it is worth a look and certainly going to give you a bit of a laugh. Voting for round 1 started this week if you want to jump in on the fun, hit the link above! The following is my filled out bracket and then some unnecessary analysis:

noty 2018-TP

Bulltron Regional

Starting off really strong here with the 1 seed, Salami Blessing. There has historically been strong support for the ‘food’ names in the NOTY bracket and I expect Blessing to make it easily into the Sweet 16. That’s where the run is stopped by a underdog (but fan favourite), the 12 seed, Miracle Crimes who has a (tremendous backstory) who will beat a real gem in 4 seed, Early Charlemagne.

In the bottom half of the region, I’m not as impressed with the 2, Jimbob Ghostkeeper   as I am with the brilliantly balanced 6 seed, Tuna Altuna. I may be making a huge mistake but I can’t help but to back the 3 seed, Mosthigh Thankgod, who is the spiritual (pun intended) successor to former NBA star and 1996 NOTY nominee, God Shammgod. I’ve got Mosthigh edging out Miracle Crimes in the regional final here.

Dragonwagon Regional

Probably the weakest region in my opinion which should make it a relatively easy escape for the 1 seed, La Royce Lobster-Gaines (shoutout Missouri teachers). Benefit here, in being both pleasant to say and has your general ‘great name’ tropes: ‘La’ + ‘food’ + ‘hyphens’. Really the only things missing is a professional title (like Dr. or Professor) or more importantly, a reference to a funny body part/function*. I like Delicious Peters at the 9 seed but unfortunately Delicious won’t stay too long.

Lola Honeybone (5) v Chardonnay Beaver (4) is a hilarious matchup* but the upset I’m picking is in the lower half of the bracket where I’ve got Crystal Patriarche (6) taking out Quindarious Gooch (3) and the weakest of the 2 seeds, Ceejhay French-Love. Still, hard to imagine Lobster-Gaines not able to claw (I APOLOGIZE FOR NOTHING!) out of this region.

Fruithandler Memorial Region

This one was a bit harder to pick as I think there are a couple of selections that I could make a case for. First, the 1 seed, Makenlove Petit-Fard has excellent balance all the way through the name and should easily get into the Sweet 16. There will be a clash at that spot, I predict, with the severely underseeded at 12, Dr. Megha Panda. That will be a tough one for the voters, no clear-cut, black and white (NO APOLOGIES FOR PUNS) winner but I’ll back the good doctor to move on to the regional final.

Bottom side of the region, you can’t sleep on (wait for it) the upset for the 10 seed, Devoid Couch over the excellent Sir’Zion Dance (7).  Blossom Albuquerque (3) has an unlucky draw with the names in this region and I have them losing to eventual regional champ, the 2 seed, Rev. Dongo Pewee.* There is a very good chance that the winner in the top half (Petit-Fard or Dr. Panda) will take the region but I’ll go with my gut and roll the dice with the immaturity of the voters.

Chrotchtangle Region

More doctors in the this region! My bracket heavily relies on the 1 seed, Dr. Narwhals Mating to overcome any upset bid from the fantastic Clinton Bacon (16) which is a clean, simply strong name. I think in years past, Clinton Bacon could have had a decent run into the last 8 but this region is just too stacked. My surprise pick in this region is the 12 seed Genuine Potts, which, admittedly is not the strongest name, but it has gusto! A very real chance my predictions fall apart when Rev. Hobbit Forrest (5) rolls in that opening matchup but there’s always a surprise upset somewhere in that range. Special shout out to the 4 seeded Beau Titsworth, which (as with many names on the bracket) just speaks to mean parents right? Or, I suppose in the happier scenario, just someone changing their name for the giggles. If that was the case, hats off.

In the bottom half of the region, I forsee the rise of the 3 seed, Dr. Taekwondo Byrd who kicks (hehe) things off by knocking off the Bucky Worboys (14) and then dropping Cinderella hopeful Hallelujah Lulie (11). I’m a big, big fan of the 7 seed Lukas Chalupa who will likely face the 2 seeded Shaka Licorish in a food fight (okay I apologize for that one) in the second round. Dr. Byrd flies (I promise I’ll stop soon) into the regional final where I’m predicting Dr. Narwhals Mating to secure the victory.

Final Four

Mosthigh Thankgod (3) v Rev. Dongo Pewee (2)
I’m liking this matchup less and less the more I think about it. But too late! I’m going ahead with it and predicting Rev. Dongo Pewee to make the final.

La Royce Lobster-Gaines (1) v Dr. Narwhals Mating (1)
1 Seeds battle! It could really go either way in the creatures of the sea battle. I’m going with Narwhals Mating here because that just seems more powerful in this case. (I’m also sort of regretting making this pick now that I’m studying it again, but there is a rule to bad paint-shop photos and rule #1 is after it is saved, no going back to edit.)

Final

Dr. Narwhals Mating (1) over Rev. Dongo Pewee (2)

Image result for dr narwhal
(credit TheOstrichFarm – DeviantArt)

 

Hope you enjoyed this Friday distraction! I won’t keep up with round by round updates on the blog but I’ll post once the tournament get closer to the finals. Let me know if you’ve got your own picks!

::

*everyone on the internet is secretly 12, immaturity rules the NOTY

Fake F1: Australian GP 2018

Normally reserved for the email boxes for participants in the “F1 in the ALPS” fantasy Formula 1 league, I deliver these updates/previews throughout the season (with varying reliability). Moving forward, I thought this would be a nice thing to add to the site as I ease my way back into writing. Enjoy!

::::

Weeeeeeeeeelcome back to a brand new season of Fake Racing! I’m so excited to share some truly amateur analysis, wild speculation, and awful track reimagining paintshop with you again this season. Lots of things to get through, buckle up for a hot new F1 season, let’s get into it!

First things first. Get your teams set up and your picks in! I’m writing to you from the future and FP1 is less than 12 hours away and qualifying will begin Friday night/Saturday midnight (17:00 Australian Saturday).

New Logo!

Just the fourth after the previous logo served 23 great seasons. I personally enjoyed the ‘negative space’ “1” in the previous design but the new one doesn’t irritate me as much as I’ve seen expressed in corners of the fandom. Descriptions say that the new logo is meant to represent two cars (the ‘F’ portion) racing for the finish line (the “1”) portion. If I was a manufacturer or something, I think I might be a bit more cheesed but they got the word out on the last day of racing last season so hopefully resources weren’t too heavily invested at that point. Rebranding though, it always brings out some of the worst business-bro language, get a load of this from F1 commercial chief, Sean Bratches:

“We are trying to reposition F1 from a purely motorsport company to a media and entertainment brand with the heart and soul of a race car driver in the middle of it.”

Oof. Classic marketing word salad. (I’m guilty of this as well. Check out other posts here, where I’ll also be posting these updates throughout the season.)

Halo!

Boy there has been a lot of words written about the Halo (check out this piece in the Guardian). Obvious thing out first: It is a safety device. I don’t think that any sane fan of Formula 1 is saying, “Yes, I want to watch and support a sport where there is the greater possibility of death.”

Let’s draw a parallel to another sport, say, boxing. If there were a way to reduce the brain injury in that sport, wouldn’t it have a broader appeal?*

*Okay boxing maybe not the best example. The decline in popularity over the years probably has more to do with the widespread, systematic cheating and numerous federations of promoters ducking each other’s fighters. It would take a truly transcendent fighter (Anthony Joshua? Gennady Golovkin?) to try and boxing back and not spectacles like Mayweather v. MacGregor and even still, there is a huge amount of controversy around those fighters.

Do I like the look of the car now?
Not really, no. I was kind of a fan of the Red Bull aeroscreen/shield situation but the curved glass apparently distorted vision and generated some strange aero situations for the driver helmets and given the timing, the halo was selected. I’m genuinely surprised that it appears by most reports not to have much of an impact on driver visibility.

Is open wheel going away?

I mean, probably as the sport evolves? I don’t think so though.

Does the introduction diminish the daredevil image of the sport?

Maybe to the hardcore fans. What these drivers do is pretty superhuman and the sport will be inherently risky. Trying to navigate at 200+ MPH inches away from another multimillion dollar car** doing the exact same thing is insane.

**Okay how about this about an analogy for F1? Soap box derby for the super rich.

France! Germany!

More racing! The schedule is set in such a way that the run up to the August break is going to be one hell of a slog. 5 races in 6 weeks! It will be a proper test of the reliability of the engines as new regulations on the # of non-penalized engines (also other parts) has dropped.

Tyres!

One of the parts I personally enjoy about F1, but wasn’t quite as prominent last season was diverse pit strategies. Pirelli has introduced a couple new levels of compound (7 total!) to offer a bit more diversity but the entire range has been improved for speed. Some early estimates I saw were saying a second per lap improvement this year. The promise of more pit stops and divergent tyre strategies is such a fun extra wrinkle. I DEMAND MORE UNDERCUTS!

Up First: Australian GP

Starting off the season Down Under at the self-proclaimed sporting capital of Australia, Melbourne! Everything is kicking off down here, the AFL (Aussie Rules) is just about ready to start, Rugby Union and Rugby League are in the first couple of rounds, A-League (soccer) Finals (playoffs) just around the corner. And I really love the promise at the beginning of a new season. I’m not a huge baseball fan but there is really something quite special about spring training and reading a bunch of articles about teams evaluating players and trying to project what the long season may have ahead. Really pumped to see the cars get out there in FP1 tomorow! SO EXCITED!

What the track looks like:

Clearly a nice Aussie bloke trying to soak up any last sunshine before Aussie winter.***

***If you have any ideas for what the track looks like for future races, let me know! You may see your ideas badly recreated by yours truly. Next race : Bahrain

Track conditions:

Typical Melbourne moving towards winter: warm, then cool, some rain, some not. Looks like Friday will be clear and warm but a rainy qualifying and maybe a slightly mixed bag for race day. It will be great to see a bit of everything for some early information on how the cars will perform over a variety of conditions (if the snowy Barcelona pre-season testing wasn’t quite extreme enough).

Tyre/Pit strategy:

There’s usually a nice little grid graphic that F1 puts out but it looks like they haven’t released that feature of have canned it for this season. In any case, Pirelli have picked Soft/Supersoft/Ultrasoft tyres similar to last year. The top ten finishers last year were all one stop but with an extra DRS zone (Melbourne will be the first track to feature three zones) to encourage more passing, I’m thinking we’ll see most teams try and run a two stop.

Odds:

Hamilton and Mercedes the early favourites with Vettel and Mad Max nipping in right behind. Curious that Raikkonen is rated that much further back but I’m pleased that Alonso and Vandoorne rated so highly (go McLaren!).

While we’re here:

Outright Driver’s Championship odds. I think the Red Bulls are good value here, I think they’ll have a great season.

Aaaand the Constructor Odds tend to agree.

Don’t forget to set your predictions! I’m in favor of the new flex question category to replace the ‘first to retire’ prediction. Best of luck in the new format, please direct all gripes/complaints to the Fake Racing Commissioner. Questions/suggestions about the Fake Racing Preview/Update, hit me up.

2017 Results:

Pole: Lewis Hamilton

Fastest Lap: Kimi Raikkonen

1st: Sebastian Vettel

2nd: Lewis Hamilton

3rd: Valtteri Bottas

2017 Fake Racing Results:

1st: Doyagao (Brian)

2nd: Weekends Without Bernie (Andrew)

3rd: Seb’s Finger (Thang)

Wooden Spoon: Team Shoey (Heather)

Adidas Energy Boost

 

If you want to try to get into Adidas Insiders, click this link : AdidasInsiders

A couple of pictures of the shoes:

energyside energytop energybottom energyback

 

Let me know if you have any questions about the shoes, anything about how I’m testing (or have been asked to test them). Also follow adidas for updates:

Twitter

@adidasrunning
@adidas_US

Want to look more at the shoe? Pre-order from Adidas!

Adidas Boost Pre-order!

Occasionally Footy Pt. I

We have a very special tradition every four years in which we come together collectively and elect our leaders in the US.* Billions of dollars were spent which is kind of nice to think about the people who were actually being paid. Some jobs, albeit temporary, were created and I’m sure thousands of articles and tens of books are being prepared to analyze all the numbers that are released. Which I think is cool, we have a unprecedented ability to take the numbers and the technology available and really analyze trends in voting patterns and tying that to social movements while keeping a gauge on the feelings of the voters who were expressing themselves on social media outlets. I mean think of all the ways you could use that information, not only in a political way but to influence areas with specific advertising or finding out ways to exploit consumer behavioooooooooring! I, not unlike millions of other Amurikins, were quite happy to see the end of the election cycle to finally see the ceasing of the seemingly endless advertisements, mailers, and especially the awkward conversations that were taking place. Pitting friend against friend and splitting families apart! And I’m sure everyone has that one friend who takes it a little too far, gets a little too preachy on one end or another, someone who definitely “drank the Kool Aid“. If you can’t really name that friend then I’m sorry, you are probably that person. And you are terrible.

*Voter turnout numbers appear to be hovering around 120 Million, nearly a 10% drop off since the elections in 2008 and representing something close to 40% of the population. Now the population figures show children and elderly, both who are ineligible to vote** but some places are reporting of “eligible” voters the figures are around 60%. So yeah. That still kind of sucks.

**Just jokes!

All kidding aside, I think that there is definite room to change the election process. There is an inherent simplicity and beauty in the popular vote. It is taking the vote of all the citizens (who choose to vote) and tally who is the winner. Unfortunately this is not how presidents are elected. There is this kind of weird thing called the electoral college (perfect explanation here). So what we have is kind of deviated democratic process. Don’t like it, but that segments nicely to the really important part of this post: Soccer.

::

So this season hasn’t been the best as far as my personal soccer fandom. On the one hand I’ve had the opportunity to attend several games at Livestrong Sporting Park* which is just an awesome, awesome experience. If you ever have the opportunity, I would highly recommend a match. The atmosphere is always buzzing and there really is not a bad seat in the whole stadium. The Legends area is growing pretty nicely thus far especially with the addition of the Hollywood Casino this year. On the complete other end, top seeded Sporting KC crashed out of the playoffs earlier this week, unfortunately not able to make up a two goal deficit from the first leg in Houston.

*There is a real discussion about what is to become of Livestrong as both a brand and a major sponsor of a professional sports stadium but that will have to be left for another day.

Two legged playoff matches are a fairly regular fixture for league championships around the world, though the structure is a bit different in the MLS. Most leagues run concurrent competitions which means teams seem like they are constantly playing (especially the better teams) which draws lots and lots of revenue. Plus that means that soccer can be shown pretty much everyday. They are not hampered like the NFL which is limited (legally) to Thursday/Sunday/Monday. For example, in England this week, Premier League matches were played Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. UEFA Champions League played Tuesday and Wednesday. Europa League was Thursday. Friday begins some of the other Leagues in France and Germany and it rolls onward into Saturday’s Premier League. So a team will be competing to win its domestic league (think like our regular season) while simultaneously vying for a league cup (playoff format) or for some of the better teams, international glory as well.

The MLS is structured similarly to the other major professional leagues in the US in that it runs a “regular season” which determines the seeding for the playoff format. The two-legged format plays one team hosting and then switching in a second game. Spreads the game out and kind of gives the opportunity for both teams score some revenue from home tickets and television. Oh and something, something competitive balance.**

For Sporting KC, another disappointing early exit at the hands of Houston after a pretty great regular season. I am glad that KC does have a good sports team to follow though. With the (in order of embarrassment) Chiefs, Command, Royals, T-Bones all flailing around the last several years it is nice to have something to be proud of in Sporting KC, despite the frankly ridiculous name.***

**A good example is baseball and basketball (MLB and NBA respectively) who have 5 or 7 game series. This format not only ensures the aforementioned revenue streams but also gives the theoretically better team to prove itself over multiple matches. So its not just a one-off. It is important to note that probably the best and most dramatic tournament is NCAA’s March Madness Tournament which is a single elimination tournament. The combination of “amateur” players and the tendency for a single game to swing dramatically one direction or another fuels what might be a perfect tournament.

***The CHL team Missouri Mavericks were in the playoffs the last couple of years and actually went to game 7 of the semifinals last season. I like watching hockey but hockey strategy eludes me. It is one of those things where actually playing the game helps to clarify rules and makes it easier to understand strategies. About as far as I got in strategy for hockey was to hit everyone and shoot a lot. Thank you Wayne Gretzky 3D Hockey

Furthermore, my favourite soccer team, Liverpool FC is having a terrible season as well. They are sitting 12th of 20 currently. Quite a long drop for a team that has the second most Premier League titles (18) and had consistently been top 4 for the better part of 20 years. They are currently under new management as club legend Kenny Daglish stepped down at the end of the season after failing to inspire the squad to much success. The US owners, a bit reluctant to splash the cash, were not able to give new manager Brendan Rodgers a second striker outside of the polarizing and often brilliant   Luis Suarez. There is a winter trading window where hopefully this can be remedied. The season though looks to be in shambles a bit. My expectation is if everyone stays healthy, Liverpool climbs back into a Europa spot and maybe if all plays nicely wins the Europa this year but its hard to imagine. YNWA!

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