Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome back into the Happy Hour. It is Spring Break time here in Gainesville, which means that this town is completely dead. With all the undergraduates off at various party destinations, the only people left in town are the awkward international student that used to live down the hall from you, and of course, graduate students. Instead of spending the last week on a beach mingling with beautiful women drinking a laundry list of cocktails that come with little umbrellas, I have been stuck in my office researching solvent effects on photoluminescence signals and micelle formation on surfaces. I did meet the most attractive bartender in town however at one of the town’s dingiest establishments (like you’d expect any less!)—but that’s a story for another time. In addition, I had visions of becoming a twitter juggernaut with the following power tweet.
Unfortunately, neither Prince James nor Charlie Sheen responded. Apparently, they do not appreciate my comic genius. Needless to say, I have not been in the greatest of moods. The only thing that was able to keep me at my office all week was checking in on the Champions and Europa League Gamecasts.
With regards to the Champions league, the Arsenal Barcelona match was a complete bore-fest. Yes I know the Red Card on RVP was very harsh, but everyone on the planet knew what Barca was not going to lose at home, especially when it appeared Arsenal just wanted to play defense for 90 minutes. It’s also important to point out that RVP does not get sent off if he does not slap Danny Alves in the face in the first half. If he hadn’t acted like a jackleg, that would have been his first yellow. And sure, maybe Abidal deserved to go off for “violent conduct”, but I’m not fully convinced by any stretch of the imagination that ten man Barca can’t handle Arsenal. Harsh? Maybe—but possession was 76-24. Editor-In-Chief Neil W. Blackmon played on some great high school teams, and well, they didn’t ever have a three to one possession edge.
While Arsenal was sent packing, I was very pleased to see that the Spurs made it to the Champions League quarterfinals by taking out my arch nemesis Robinho and his clown shoes friends at AC Milan. Spurs weren’t overwhelming, but they held their lead and to be honest it was comfortable the final twenty minutes. They may not be the sexy pick, but they may have the pedigree to shock the world and make it to the final. I know longtime TYAC reader Amy Sanders is excited.
Now, as most of you already know the groups for this summer’s Gold Cup were drawn earlier in the week. The USMNT got a very favorable draw and will take on the likes of Canada, Guadeloupe, and Panama. In trying to come up with a topic for this week, I thought it would be a great idea to maliciously poke fun at our rival nations. However, in order to make a poignant joke, you really need to do your research. I consider myself a smart guy but I focus on science, not history, so needless to say I learned some really interesting facts about these three CONCACAF nations. Therefore, I want to present you with a little piece I like to call “Get to better know (and make fun of) your opponents.” Hopefully you enjoy.
Essentially, Guadeloupe is France-the island version!! I have never been there, but I imagine all the really annoying things about French people are a little more tolerable on an island setting. The island nation that is part of the French Republic is about 630 square miles in size (roughly one and a half times the size of another island you and I call New York City, for frame of reference) with a population of 400,000. Before doing any research on the island, I had no idea that they use the Euro as their currency. Even more interesting is their history of athletes. Several very prominent French stars including Thierry Henry, Luis Saha and William Gallas are all of Guadeloupen descent. Each of these players play for France as the Guadeloupe national team is not currently sanctioned by FIFA and thus cannot appear in any FIFA run tournaments including the World Cup and the Confederations Cup. However, to get around this rule, anyone born in Guadeloupe is eligible to play for the French National Team. This got me thinking, just what the hell would happen if Guadeloupe managed to win the Gold Cup this year. Sure it’s not really remotely possible, but just exactly what would FIFA do with the Confederations Cup berth? I suppose they would let Guadeloupe into FIFA as its own federation, and they would get a FIFA ranking, but I do not get paid enough to answer these questions, so I will leave it at that. One thing is certain: it would be nice if they had a FIFA ranking. Playing in a group with them doesn’t help our FIFA standing, regardless of the talent that exists on the soccer-mad island.
It might be time for a history lesson for some of you. No I am not referring to the kick ass Van Halen hit, although it is hard for me to not think of the
jam when talking about the country. I am sure all you Americans reading out there are familiar with the Panama Canal. As an engineer I can appreciate the massive amount of planning and work done to connect the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans for easier shipping routes. The French started construction in 1880. However, in true French fashion, they waved the white flag of surrender and abandoned the project in 1893. The French tradition of surrender continued through both World Wars. That reminds me I have been trying to sell this French rifle for a while now, never been fired and only dropped twice. Hit me up on twitter if you’re interested. Anyway, the US undertook the project in 1904 and finished the Panama Canal in
1914, two years ahead of schedule. If you include the French attempt, about 27,500 people died trying to build this thing.
Enough beating up on the French (for now) and move on to the Panamanian soccer squad currently ranked 60 in the world by FIFA. Panama has never qualified for a World Cup, and their best finish in any international tournament was back in 2005 when they lost to the USMNT in the Gold Cup Final. After a 0-0 draw, the US defeated Panama 3-1 on penalties. While it appears that soccer is not their favorite sport, they do truly love their baseball. I have to give a huge shout out to my main man, Yankees closer Mariano Rivera who was born and raised in Panama.
Oh Canada, what can be said about the nation to the great white North? First of all, the country is huge, but most of it is completely uninhabitable which is why the majority of Canadians live as far south as possible. Every year it seems like more and more of them are turning up in South Florida. This matchup is going to be huge for the Gainesville based writers on TYAC, especially Jon “Lighting Cup” Levy. For those of you that don’t know, “Lighting Cup” is dating a Canadian. Don’t get me wrong, she is a lovely lady, but for Jon, watching Sidney Crosby score the winning goal against the US during the Olympics to win the Gold Medal was just demoralizing. A 4-0 crushing of the Canadians won’t erase that moment, but it certainly will help. Before I really get into busting on Canada, first I need to go over some information on the soccer squad. Currently, they are ranked 80 in the world by FIFA and have only qualified for one World Cup back in 1986. In terms of CONCACAF and other FIFA International Tournament play, they earned the right to compete in the 2001 Confederations Cup by winning the 2000 Gold Cup with a win over Columbia. While it appears that Teal Bunbury has made his choice to play for the USMNT, there has been no word yet if 85 year old goalkeeper and Edson Buddle chew toy Pat Onstad will use his Rascal motorized scooter in goal during the Gold Cup.
Enough with the pleasantries: it’s time to let loose. First of all, I don’t think there is a more annoying person in the world than a French Canadian. Seriously, everyone hates French Canadians, even other Canadians. So what if you speak French, you live in Quebec, jackleg! That makes you Canadian, not French— if you don’t like it then get on with it and move to Paris or Nice, for heaven’s sake!
Sure Canada has given the world some beautiful women like Elisha Cuthbert but all is not forgiven because Canada also has given us blight upon society Justin Bieber. Honestly, someone needs to get rid of this kid, I am tired of hearing grown women talk about how cute he is: it disgusts me. I would never suggest that he go to a local intrastate and play in traffic, but you get what I’m saying. On a side note, you all need to be following Mos Def on twitter because he frequently drops gems like this one: “I heard Justin Bieber has a 10 inch dick, but it’s in his ass and belongs to Usher…”
A good cheer for late in the game at Ford Field then would be:
Dear Canada, It is time for you to take your Universal Health Care, funny accents and leave.
It’s Friday so I can’t leave you without:
PUCK’S FREE ADVICE:
This weekend is the NCAA tournament selection show. I am not telling you to watch it, but you need to fill out a bracket. Don’t be that guy or gal that tries to pretend they don’t care. You know the type; they only watch the NBA because “they only like the game being played at the highest level.” They are just wrong; the NCAA Basketball Tournament captures the attention of a nation every year. Fill out a bracket and get involved. Who knows, you might end up like that secretary that wins every so often just because she picked the best mascot in each game. In fact, it’s settled: I’m rolling with a mascot-superiority bracket in at least one entry. The Belmont Bruins are in—I know that is like a super wizard of some sort—and I’m pretty sure Voldemort would advance far…hmm…
Time to get prepped up for the Big East Tournament Semi-Finals tonight. Go ‘Cuse.
Sorry for partying.
Puck is the Pop Culture Guy For The Yanks Are Coming. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow him on Twitter at @PuckLovesPBR.