Monthly Archives: August 2013

Prague’s Super Stage

First, congratulations to Franck Ribéry on winning the UEFA Best Player award!

This is a tremendous honor and is further proof of Bayern Munich’s rise and Spain’s relative descent from the pinnacle of football/soccer regarding La Liga’s past dominance on the world stage. A couple guys named Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo were the other two finalists. They each possess just a little bit of talent. But, let there be no hesitation that Barcelona and Real Madrid are still world-class clubs, it’s just that they aren’t the kings of soccer/football right now (I’m just going to write “soccer” from now on). Recall the all-German 2013 Champions League Final…

Last year was epic for Bayern Munich, both individually (Franck Ribéry recognized as Europe’s best player and Arjen Robben’s championship redemption) and collectively (records of all kinds were shattered). What could be better? How about a sequel to their epic performance…

However, before a super season can be achieved, a strong foundation must be set for a new, open style and a Super Cup should be hoisted into the air in the beautiful capital city of the Czech Republic.

Bayern Munich (winners of the Champions League) and Chelsea (winners of the Europa League) battle tonight in culturally-rich Prague for the 2013 UEFA Super Cup. There are several fascinating dynamics in this intriguing match, including:

  • Pep Guardiola v. José Mourinho
  • Re-Match of the 2012 Champions League Final (Chelsea won in penalties…in Munich)
  • Arjen Robben seeking a stellar performance against his former coach and team from year’s past
  • Chelsea trying to re-emerge as a global player
  • Bayern Munich trying to reestablish itself as the best club in the world
  • The Bundesliga v. The Barclays Premier League

A midweek league draw at SC Freiburg has given the Bavarians extra incentive to regroup to prove it was just a minor stumble. Honestly, it’s been virtually the only one thus far for Guardiola’s men in their transition of play under Pep and many of their starters rested. Yes, it is only late August, but this Super Cup is important. Not only does it have individual and team implications as mentioned above, but a solid victory with some flash for Bayern Munich will add a sturdy block to its evolving foundation for continued glory. Plus, confidence is always a happy consequence of winning a big game against a quality opponent.

For Chelsea, this is an opportunity to continue positive momentum in their 2013/2014 campaign (7 points in 3 games) and to assert global respect against the best club in the world. José Mourinho also wants to challenge Pep Guardiola, which is going to be an outstanding intellectual battle observe. And perhaps in the back of Chelsea’s mind is the thought of extending the pleasures from the 2012 Champions League Final.

Kickoff is at 2:45 EST and can be seen on FOX Sports 2, FOX Deportes and FOXSoccer2Go.

Guardiola and Mourinho likely envision this match as a chess game, carefully orchestrating their players precisely into the right spots. However, it’s probably very likely we’ll see a few from Munich’s side be anxious to jump (or double or triple jump) the guys in blue when there’s a chance.

Despite pre-game interviews, the opportunity for redemption is always in the front of a player and team’s mind…just look at Bayern Munich generally and Arjen Robben specifically.

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Was He Wearing Sidewinder Cleats?

Let’s relive a classic from 2012.

B-e-a-utiful!

And You Thought Kinkos Was Good

The possibilities and questions are endless at this point.

3-D printing is progressing at such fast rate that it may become just another part of our daily lives within a decade. A heavy proposition for sure. What does it mean? It’s a perplexing dilemma. On the one hand, when LEGO forgets to put a single piece into a box set of Black Beard’s pirate ship from “Pirates of the Caribbean,” it would have been much more efficient to have had a machine at home that could have printed the missing gray piece in a matter of minutes for my nephew as opposed to calling the LEGO Store and getting it shipped from Denmark.

True story.

On the other hand, purchasing a machine that prints 3-D objects will undoubtedly reduce commerce in stores (offline and online), consequently hurting businesses that are run by our neighbors, friends and people who are just trying to make a good living. Society will become much more introverted, which is a dynamic that has positives like convenience, but is (currently) outweighed by negatives, such as the decreasing inclination to go outside to a video rental store.

What will be the landmark case be surrounding patents? How will businesses adjust to this evolution of people being able to make and/or copy-and-paste a wide-array of things themselves that are normally sold in stores? What will the quality of the printed objects be? What positive effects on society will it have? What negative effects on society will it have?

3-D printing is evolving into pivotal issues of need versus want and quality versus convenience (just two examples).

At least we don’t need special glasses to see all this coming at us…

America’s Odyssey for Sage Leadership

Rising star. Celebrity. Momentum. Trajectory.

These words have entered into our society’s vernacular as modern day prerequisites for achieving powerful positions. Specifically, political leaders on both sides of the aisle have followed this dynamic in pursuing what is presumed to be their “yellow brick road” to success and stature.

The question is where is that wicked witch hiding, ready to spoil the sunny ceremony?

There is no doubt there are some young, intelligent mayors, governors and congressional leaders around the country and in D.C. who have the potential to get elected to higher office in the coming years. However, will the results of an electoral victory paint a masterpiece in the making or reveal more of an illusion?

Regarding policy, there are a few exciting representatives and senators (it was very strange to write that, by the way). In this sense, “exciting” equates to big ideas and energy that a select few congressmen and congresswomen are bringing to the multitude of policy debates in our nation’s capital, as well as in state legislatures around the country.

And yet, there is an important distinction between discussing big ideas with widespread media attention and implementing and achieving success from big ideas. It’s the “talk the talk” versus the “walk the walk” paradigm.

The American people have heard all the talk (the mute button has overused it purpose), but now it’s time for some walking. It’s time not only in terms of leadership, but also electorally defeating specific political leaders and watching them walk away.

“[He or she] is a rising star within the ______ Party!”

Do you want to know what a rising star is? A rising star is a star that hasn’t yet made it to the “big show” in the gorgeous night sky of infinite grandeur. It has yet to reach its permanent place and is not prepared to steadily guide anyone lost who looks up to it for direction. Polaris, or the North Star, is always situated in its place, visible for anyone to see and rely upon. This glistening wonder in the darkest of nights is always ready to serve whenever needed.

“[He or she] has become an absolute celebrity in the ______ Party!”

Whether the problems revolve around debt, jobs, tax code overhaul, foreign policy (U.S.) or laying down a solid foundation for a broken city dragged down by poverty and crime (Newark, N.J.) or shutting down the government to defund Obamacare without the Senate majority and White House (a few GOP Senators) or reviving an entire state that has nearly incomparable sources of cash flow and natural beauty that have been spent/taken for granted (California), the country is yearning for experienced leadership and vision.

In other words, people are searching for trust. People, I will venture to say, want someone who is a master of politics, but who thinks and operates above that “messy swamp.”

People want a distinguished sheriff, not a hot shot cowboy.

In these upcoming elections, we need to ask the candidates (repeatedly) what concrete successes their policies have produced? What did they say were their ideas, how did they implement what they said they would and what were the outcomes? How do the outcomes apply to solving our current dilemmas?

We’ve seen plenty of flash, we’ve had plenty of celebrities and we’ve strained our necks from looking up at rising stars. Admittedly, I’m a fan of some of these rising stars. However, most all of them are still rising and have not yet earned a spot in the night sky of stars composed of firm power, imagination and certainty.

Trust > Trajectory.

We’ve endured a president who was a rising star and celebrity. How many of you trust him or the federal government he’s leading not to violate your privacy or to provide valid ideas to improve our lagging economy to create quality jobs or to project strength through his foreign policy?

Trust > Trajectory.

P.S. It’s usually rising stars who are too preoccupied with their own personal ambitions to answer a 3 a.m. phone call…or a phone call with dire warnings in the middle of the afternoon months before a heart-wrenching catastrophe.

Personal responsibility sure is a lost art from those who have been given the all-powerful paint brushes of America’s ever-changing masterpiece…or tragedy, depending on the artists.