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June 27, 2010
"A lot of kisses a little uncomfortable."
- USA forward Landon Donovan, describing what is was like under the pile of celebration after he scored the game-winning goal against Algeria that sent the USA through to the Round of 16 in the World Cup last week.
"Unofficial National Carrier of the 'You-Know-What'"
- Advertising copy for budget South African airline, Kulula, which was not an official advertising partner of FIFA for the World Cup.
"I was tired."
- American professional tennis player John Isner after winning his marathon Wimbledon match against France's Nicolas Mahut in the longest professional tennis match in tennis history.
"I think people in the U.S. are way too conservative. I don't think it would matter one way or another. It's totally not a big deal."
- Surfer dude Ryan Matthews, who - perhaps not surprisingly - is all for a topless beach in Asbury Park, New Jersey.
The Lounge was desperately searching for the appropriate hackneyed expression so common in sports journalism that would adequately describe the USA's loss to Ghana this weekend, thus eliminating the Americans from the 2010 FIFA World Cup after they had successfully reached the Round of 16, and could not come up with the perfect blend of a lack of imagination and incompetence that would have seemed to best mirror the USA team's overall performance in the match. Unable to come up with anything, we submitted it to the Lounge clientele for perusal and they, too, were unable to form a consensus, so we are left with their most recommended response - that sucked.
On the other hand, with the USA's stirring victory over Algeria just to reach the Round of 16, Malian referee Koman Coulibaly whose astronomical blunder in the Americans' match against Slovenia nearly cost the USA a chance at advancing, probably sent a dozen roses, some chocolates, a teddy bear and a giant thank-you note to Landon Donovan for scoring that goal against Algeria and making Americans forget - mostly - about his egregiously horrific call. He is not completely off the hook but he has been relegated to the trivia second division. At least the USA did not finish second and have to face Germany.
Although the 2010 World Cup has to be considered at least a moderate success - reaching the Round of 16 was the pre-Cup expectation for this team - there is nothing but wild success for ESPN and their coverage of the event. Compare ESPN's World Cup coverage to NBC's lame-ass Olympics coverage and what do you get? Record viewership numerals. ESPN's decision to televise every single match live and in living color has given them broken records for every time the USA has played and records for matches involving non-USA teams as well. In fact, ESPN reports as of last week - before the USA even played Algeria or Ghana - that 99 million consumed World Cup content in the tournament's first 10 days - and 73 million of those consumers were reportedly very unhappy with Ricardo Clark before the match with Ghana.
In fact, American interest in the USA team's fortunes even affected non-ESPN television entities. Univision was minding their own business, televising their "gooooaaalll" broadcasts when a surge in traffic due to the American comeback in the USA-Slovenia match, which caused their live online stream to crash.
The oddsmakers are not surprised that Germany is in the quarterfinals and likely soon to be followed by Argentina, but what are the odds that Ghana and Uruguay would be fighting in the quarterfinals for the right to go to the semifinals? Somewhere in the range of 100-1 is what we are thinking, but then again, we do not think very well, as exhibited in the updated CougZone World Cup Standings.
Meanwhile, with the USA's loss to Ghana, the Lounge's crack research department decided flowers were the best conveyor of condolences to the team and, ironically enough, the nation's capital - Washington D.C. - is the place where most Americans purchase flowers online.
"Who is it going to be?" asks an impatient Mr. Buenos Aires of the CougZone Athlete and Coach of the Year winners, while anxiously awaiting Argentina's advancement to the World Cup quarterfinals.
Well, the results are in but you will have to wait just like everybody else, Mr. Antsy Pants as the winners are revealed this week. All the finalists for each category were deserving though. In the Coach of the Year balloting, the three finalists were, in alphabetical order, Jane LaRiviere [rowing], Donnie Marbut [baseball], and Andrew Palileo [volleyball]. All three took their programs to the NCAA tournament in the 2009-10 season - Palileo for the first time in his two years on the job, Marbut for the second time in six years at the helm and LaRiviere for the fifth time in eight years. For athletes, again alphabetically, the finalists were Jeshua Anderson [track & field], Kiersten Dallstream [soccer] and Klay Thompson [men's hoop]. Again, all three were deserving as Anderson three-peated as Pac-10 champion in the men's 400-meter hurdles, Dallstream finished as the third-highest scorer in Wazzu history and was a Pac-10 medal winner while Thompson was the leading scorer on the men's hoop team.
"Why can't the USA get past the Round of 16? We have the best looking uni's don't we?" says Monty Carlo of the USA's travails at the World Cup.
Well, the Lounge does not know about that, Monty, we would lean toward Paraguay's stripe action as perhaps the most visually appealing or noticeable and the USA did get past the Round of 16 one time - except that was because there were only 13 teams competing - in 1930, when the USA finished third. The problem nowadays is a familiar story to Cougar fans and well-wishers following their American football team - injuries and talent. USA suffered injuries that took out one of their best offensive weapons in Charlie Davies. Davies was replaced on the field with the speedy Robbie Findley but Findley was all speed and no consistent, proven goal-scoring ability, Davies was both - it was not a fair trade. Additionally, defender Oguchi Onyewu was not fully recovered from his knee injury, was not at 100% for the tournament and, in fact, was unable to play the last match against Ghana. Clark is not - as of this time - talented enough to play at the World Cup level and Carlos Bocanegra is showing his age while Jozy Altidore needs to improve his fitness to complement his powerful game. With a healthy, more talented and more experienced squad, the USA just might be able to make it to the semifinals in 2014.
Since Clark heavily contributed to costing the USA a goal in their Round of 16 match against Ghana and the Americans may need some more defenders in 2014, it seems to the Lounge that the obvious solution is to have a robot make them - and that robot is Makerbot. Unfortunately, technology at this time has limited Makerbot's abilities to only creating a 4x4x6 plastic defender - but the Lounge strongly feels that, with good old American know-how, the technology can be tweaked to produce a real live human defender by 2014.
Meanwhile, the Lounge Scientists are ecstatic - and chemistry students are unhappy - because another element has been detected to add to the periodic table - Element 114. The element was created when a calcium-plutonium nucleus temporarily fused and produced an atom with 114 protons. In lab experiments, most of these atoms decayed within tenths of a second, but that was long enough to determine its existence and the theory that it may be a metal with similar properties to lead. With confirmation of its existence, the new element now only has to await official review and recognition before it can join its brothers and sisters in the periodic table party.
"Whatever conclusion we've made will hit the press very quickly" says Lounge Scientist #114, Paul Karol, a scientist at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, who, reportedly, theorized that Ricardo Clark may have had some Element 114 in his shorts in the Ghana match.
Two more weeks and no more vuvuzelas - some people may be happy about that - but sadly, Alexi Lalas may still be commentating beyond that.
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