Blog Archives

‘The Rise of Skywalker’ Is Here

The highly-anticipated first teaser trailer for ‘Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker’ has arrived after just being shown to fans at the Star Wars Celebration in Chicago.

Watch. Now! 

To say ‘Episode IX’ looks amazing with J.J. Abrams returning to the director’s chair is an understatement. The tone is certainly reminiscent of ‘The Force Awakens,’ which of course was directed by Mr. Abrams. That will please many ‘Star Wars’ fans. And opening in the desert with heavy breathing by one of its stars for both initial teasers for ‘The Force Awakens’ and ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ was a nice touch of continuity by the director.

At this point, it’s time to just rewatch a few (dozen) times in excitement as December inches ever closer.

However, just one quick analytical note:

I really thought this new trilogy was spelling out the overarching theme and meaning through its titles. Such as ‘The Force Awakens the Last Jedi…’ Grammatically, ‘The Force Awakens the Last Jedi the Rise of Skywalker’ doesn’t make sense. Bummer.

Awakens-Last-Rise? The overarching themes of the three films in the sequence are remarkably similar to Christopher Nolan’s ‘The Dark Knight’ trilogy but less dark.

Interesting.

For now, Luke Skywalker is back as a narrator/guiding voice (we’ll see if that’s his final form) as well as Lando Calrissian.

The past meets the future in ‘Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker.’

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Happy Monday!

Breaking News: Zinedine Zidane is pulling a Jupp Heynckes and coming out of retirement (of sorts) to return to European powerhouse Real Madrid where he won multiple Champions League titles with during the past few years.

Following the embarrassing Champions League series loss against Ajax just last week–highlighted by the 4-1 loss at Santiago Bernabéu Stadium by the team from Amsterdam–coupled with less-than-stellar performances in La Liga this season, Real Madrid has been in veritable crisis mode. It’s the reality of incredibly high expectations for a club that’s been the king of the Champions League with Mr. Zidane as their manager.

And now Real Madrid’s real leader has returned. Of course, winning the Champions League is not an option in 2019. Catching Barcelona, a team that’s 12-points ahead of Real Madrid, for the La Liga title also seems unlikely in 2019. So what’s left?

Mr. Zidane must right the ship immediately by basically winning out the remainder of the 2018/2019 schedule with style and renewed energy while searching for his new Cristiano Ronaldo. Real Madrid will be looking to throw insane amounts of money for its next world-class x-factor. And finding this player where “x marks the spot” will be Mr. Zidane’s greatest challenge.

Oddly enough for Real Madrid, that spot marked by x (well, actually three x’s) may very well be located in Amsterdam. Just ask Barcelona.

Have a Better Week Than Last Week. 

P.S. I  have to say that I called Ajax upsetting Real Madrid in their Champions League series. However, I definitely did not foresee the blowout win that transpired. That was shocking. Who saw that coming? In Madrid no less! Now hopefully Bayern Munich can pull off a similar upset against Liverpool this Wednesday at the Allianz Arena. 

Happy Monday!

Breaking Sports News: 

On the college sports beat–specifically Ohio State–the painfully ineffective Defensive Coordinator Greg Schiano is out in Columbus.

Finally.

Mr. Schiano’s replacement appears to be the Defensive Line coach from that team up north, Greg Mattison. Mr. Mattison will be Co-Defensive Coordinator with Jeff Hafley, who was the Defensive Backs coach with the San Francisco 49ers.

Interesting.

Ohio State’s current Defensive Line coach extraordinaire, Larry Johnson, will remain as such whilst simultaneously being promoted to Associate Head Coach alongside Ryan Day.

Awesome.

And Ohio State’s record-breaking quarterback, Dwayne Haskins, has declared for the 2019 NFL draft.

His storybook journey from a 10-year-old kid from Maryland at an Ohio State camp (wearing a #7 Buckeyes jersey, BTW) declaring he was going to play quarterback at Ohio State to be a great Buckeyes quarterback and Heisman finalist who helped his team win the 2019 Rose Bowl (while wearing #7, BTW) is complete. The NFL will be his next chapter.

Good luck.

And Go Bucks!

Have a Better Week Than Last Week. 

#SavingTheCrew and U.S. Soccer

After a year of hell, the state of soccer in Columbus–and the United States–is back on track.

This time, when Crew fans chant that #HellIsReal, it’s a good thing.

We’re ready, FC Cincinnati.

Beginning this morning, reports were pouring in essentially stating the Columbus Crew–the original Black & Gold in MLS–will be #saved.

Actually, my mom tipped me off this morning via text while I was working on an unsuspecting Friday.

A mom who loves soccer and lives in Columbus? The best damn mom in the land! 

In a joint statement, the Columbus Partnership, Jimmy Haslam, and Dr. Pete Edwards, the Crews’ team doctor, stated: “While there are many details to be worked out, our alliance is working diligently and collaboratively with [MLS] to keep the Crew in its community. We are very excited about the quiet but deliberate progress that has been made to date and will keep the community updated as this process moves forward.”

-Jeff Carlisle, ESPN U.S. soccer correspondent

A rumored downtown stadium is also in the mix.

Major props to Ohio Attorney Mike DeWine and Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein for their legal work to #SaveTheCrew. And the major part–well, all of it–for this legal effort by Mr. DeWine and Mr. Klein is the Modell Law, which basically created a window for local investors to make a reasonable offer to keep the Crew in Columbus.

Quite poetic and perfect that the owner of the Cleveland Browns will be keeping the Crew in its hometown, isn’t it?

My favorite reaction today from a Cleveland Browns perspective is that Jimmy Haslam was thinking, “If I can’t find a good kicker, then I’ll just buy a professional soccer team.”

That was well played.

Deep down in my heart, I knew the Columbus Crew would somehow stay in Columbus. What did Joe Dirt say? “You can’t have no in your heart.” And now Columbus is reenergized to reclaim its rightful place as THE soccer capital of the United States, both on the pitch and in the stands (plus on Twitter).

After failing to qualify for the thrilling 2018 World Cup, the USMNT experienced an identity crisis, among other things. With the Crew staying in Columbus–the soccer capital of the United States–American soccer and the under-construction national team has a burgeoning identity rooted in the inspiring passion and relentless dedication of its fans.

Incredible.

The next step is revealing a sophisticated, creative and surprising tactical identity. That is still in the TBD-phase as the pursuit for a new head coach continues.

With the spotlight shining brightly on Columbus, the national media will now be forced to take note that goalkeeper Zack Steffen, defensive midfielder (and frequent USMNT captain) Wil Trapp and forward Gyasi Zardes make up the spine of the new USMNT. They come courtesy of the Columbus Crew. Just to be clear. And let’s also not forget that if an American is chosen as the next USMNT head coach, it will be the detail-minded Columbus Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter.

It’s not surprising that when U.S. soccer started to plot against the Columbus Crew behind closed doors that its national team suffered similarly along a parallel path. It worked in opposite fashion in the early part of this century with Dos-a-Cero when U.S. soccer and MLS celebrated the country’s first soccer-specific stadium and all the talent that Crew Stadium was home to.

Time for the pendulum to swing back in the right direction and for the new Crew front office to be inspired by Lamar Hunt’s winning legacy. Lamar Hunt can rest a little easier in Heaven tonight.

The Crew is being saved. Imagine what could happen to the USMNT if they begin embracing Columbus again with everything–and everyone–its capital city has to offer.

P.S. For good measure: 

C-R-E-W, f*$! you, Precourt, we SAVED THE CREW!