Blog Archives

The Different Goals in the World Cup

Championships give Cristiano Ronaldo the edge over Lionel Messi as the greatest of all time

(Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images)

What makes a World Cup legacy?

When Spain won the 2010 World Cup whilst executing a transplant version of the famed total football tactics of the Dutch against the Dutch in the final–a surreal case of the body snatchers indeed–coupled with the parallel success of Barcelona at the club level, it became clear that Spain was the soccer capital of the world.

This impressive achievement was stylistic and generational.

Thus far in the 2018 World Cup, Cristiano Ronaldo has scored four goals in two games, which includes the game-winning goal in Portugal’s 1-nil win today against Morocco, while Lionel Messi hasn’t registered a goal or assist after 90 minutes against Iceland in the group stage. Both Ronaldo and Messi, for instance, are world-class soccer players and generational icons. The point is whether Ronaldo is genuinely tipping the scale in his favor in real-time in his rivalry with Messi for best player in the world because he’s scored/scoring more goals than his Argentine counterpart on soccer’s biggest stage?

If the 2018 World Cup ends up tipping the scales in this heated debate–this premise being a whole other debate–will goals or style of play weigh heavier in defining the (proposed) best player of his generation?

Either way, Messi will have his shot(s) tomorrow to add some goals to his tournament résumé and for his country, as well as some weight to his side of the scale.


uNequivoCAl stAbility

Was Alabama “unequivocally” better than Ohio State in determining that all-powerful fourth and final spot in this year’s college football playoff?

The only thing that’s “unequivocal” in college football right now is the instability of, well, college football.

Put simply, there were legitimate reasons for and against Ohio State’s case to be the fourth seed in the forthcoming college football playoff next month. This coming from a lifetime Buckeyes fan. To spare you a lengthy relitigation of that fierce debate (a 51-49 decision either way), I’m going to give the megaphone to former Colorado Buffalo quarterback and Fox College Football analyst Joel Klatt. His reaction to the controversial criteria of the playoff selection committee and the playoff’s future, heard and seen yesterday on The Herd radio/TV hybrid program, was insightful and necessary.

Simplicity is one of the fastest routes to unequivocal stability and, equally important, trust. Will the influential power players of the NCAA apply Mr. Klatt’s thoughtful suggestions in the near future concerning college football’s playoff qualifications?

Perhaps, except the NCAA thrives on complicating things and Mr. Klatt’s easier and more rational format could mess all that up.

Fiorina’s Second Debate Win

“In a victory for the former HP CEO, the cable network announced Tuesday that it is amending its rules for qualifying for the Sept. 16 debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library to include all candidates who are polling on average in the top 10 in surveys conducted after the Aug. 6 Fox News debate.”
–Zeke J. Miller (TIME)

This recent development is the sensible response by CNN. Plus, the second Republican debate on September 16th could prove to be the pivotal debate for Carly Fiorina. Why? Her fantastic performance at the “Happy Hour” debate was her first positive introduction to the country and Republican electorate, but now she has high expectations. Mrs. Fiorina has been given the opportunity to articulate her conservative message and vision at the wondrous Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

If Carly Fiorina, in front of Nancy Reagan, can channel the charming wit and grand inspiration of the man for whom the library was built, her ascent in the polls will continue and sustain during the coming months.

To stand out in the house of Reagan, she must not fall victim to or engage in shouted interruptions by desperate poll climbers, but instead rise to inspirational storytelling that illustrates how the United States of America can successfully deal with its dangerous foreign policy threats and how it will rebuild its economic foundation (opportunistic tax reform, spending reductions by focusing on the priorities of the times, structural entitlement reform, a specific plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, legal and illegal immigration, etc.) that will lead to an optimistic (yet attainable) future.

This is her chance at a very rare second first-look. There will be a particularly bright spotlight on Carly Fiorina in how she will deal with the widespread anxiety and turmoil at home and abroad.

What would Ronald Reagan do?

“Peace through strength.”

That seems like a savvy approach for the debate’s venue and for the American people tuning in.

Goliath v. Goliath

“I won’t insult your intelligence by suggesting that you really believe what you just said.
—William F. Buckley, Jr.

The sentiment above may perfectly encapsulate the politest inner (and entertainingly outer) intellectual assessment of Buckley to ideological enemy Gore Vidal and vice versa.

Fortunately, for political and philosophical enthusiasts, the 20th century’s intellectual brainpower of the citizenry for conservatives and liberals made sure to apply their thoughts and opinions in the form of never-before-seen jabs and rhetorical roundhouse kicks on national television. Even more fortunate is that a documentary of their epic battle on the desperate ABC network for the 1968 presidential election at the Democratic and Republican Conventions was made.

(Best of Enemies is one title both sides can, surprisingly, agree on)

Debate has rarely seen such high-minded, reserved intellect juxtaposed with simmering, raw emotion.

Buckley and Vidal are undeniably confident and charming, especially to the delight of each person’s admirers. But even members of the opposition have to salute their rivals’ clear linguistic prowess and quick wit, despite overwhelming differences in their views of the world.

With the evolution of cable news and constantly improving technology to record and disperse communication, this sort of televised political fireworks was bound to happen. The difference with William F. Buckley, Jr. vs. Gore Vidal is that it was lightning in a bottle between two giants in political commentary and American society more broadly. Moments like this are rare and profoundly cherished. Duplicating this magic is virtually impossible.

Just ask movie studios.

Another difference from the era gone by as documented in Best of Enemies was the selectivity of the highest intellect on politics, life and the social order for a prime-time 1 v 1 battle. Conversely, today’s public dissensions simulate the worst instincts of reality television, comprising of endless small ball soundbites and unrestrained, obnoxious insults interrupted with occasional insight and guidance by writers and thinkers of substance and perspective.

There are intellectual leaders and commentators of conservatism and liberalism in today’s journalism ranks, but they aren’t given the same elevated and exclusive platform as Buckley and Vidal. They’re here, just waiting to sit directly across their enemy to battle on the front lines of their cause for the future of the nation’s civilization on television’s biggest stage.

Ultimately, was this epic match-up between two men with seismic intelligence, who genuinely despised one another as displayed by their heated temperaments, good for public discourse and debate on television? For their respective movements?

Either way, “I won’t insult your intelligence by suggesting that you really believe what you just said.”