Category Archives: Sports

Start Your Engines

On June 18th, start your politically incorrect internal combustion engines for the 2010  Rental Car Rally (RCR), a 36-hour competitive road trip from Los Angeles to Tombstone, AZ.

RCR is a single leg competitive road trip in which teams of costumed players compete for cash and prizes. There is no set route, but each team must hit pre-defined checkpoints, the locations of which will be revealed in the rally booklet provided at the starting line. Each team must furnish photographic evidence of each checkpoint. Teams are scored by a combination of odometer reading, team style and hijinks (details on the RCR web site).

The event is organized by Supreme Commander, the co-founder of a huge, ludicrous water gun tournament, StreetWars, which I personally participated in a few years ago, and The Pants, who throws big video game parties.

The race begins Friday, June 18 and ends Sunday, June 20. A “Basic Team Ticket” will cost you $179 and includes entrance to the rally, admission to the rally pre-party, with drink specials and a briefcase stocked with mischief-making swag (which you can use to mess with the other teams). Each ticket covers one vehicle and unlimited teammates.

To register for the race or for more information, visit the RCR web site at rentalcarrally.com.

Continue reading Start Your Engines

Two Weeks In June: Your Group Stage World Cup Soccer Schedule In All Its Chalky Analog Goodness

This past Memorial Day morning I did my annual bike ride across town to Los Angeles National Cemetery, followed by a visit to LACMA (admission of which was free thanks to Target, who apparently foots the bill at the museum when holidays fall on Mondays — make a note of that). After checking out some of the art there the next destination was The Village Idiot, my next-door neighbor Dean Malouf’s restaurant on Melrose where we found excellent food and drink and this huge and awesome chalk-filled masterpiece detailing all the Group Stage matches in South Africa that will be broadcast* there between June 11 – 25  (pictured at right; click to ginormify), which Dean told me took about four hours to complete.

While I’m not much of a soccer fan, chances are good that I’ll wake up my inner hooligan by rolling over to a couple of these 7 a.m. weekday matches, probably South Africa v. Mexico, Spain v. Switzerland, and USA v. Algeria.

* While originally they were considering being open for the 4:30 a.m. matches, common sense prevailed and they’ve decided such sleep deprivation was just crazy.

“Cheap” win or legitimate win, you chime in.

Man oh man, for a couple of local teams the CIF championship has turned into a national debate on sportsmanship.  The short version is that a pole vaulter from South Pas had just “won” the  Rio Hondo championship at the meet they hosted.  Not so fast says coach Knowles from Monrovia, your gal was wearing jewelry which is against the rules and she should be disqualified.  The refs agreed and voila Monrovia won the Rio Hondo championship.  Full story here.

The offending jewelry?  A hand knotted twine “friendship bracelet”.

Controversy ensued, South Pas has its collective panties in a knot, even swearing in the comments (recall South Pas is a “no cuss zone”).  Even national media has come out on this one.   (I fall into the camp its just kids sports and it shouldn’t have been a disqualification but even that upset some).

What say you on the topic?

There Was A Flash-Flood Of Marathon People Through Silver Lake This Morning

Here’s what it looked like in timelapse from the roof of our house (while my wife Susan and I stood out on Sunset having a lot of fun cheering everyone on and calling participants by the names on their bibs as they passed… but that’s another video):

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyygTAL9Da0[/youtube]

If the YouTube version is slow to load a slightly better-resolution of the clip’s available as a Quicktime file, here.

Calling All Warriors

At least three of my friends, possibly more now, have entered this year’s Warrior Dash and I plan to be there to cheer them on, April 11 in Lake Elsinore, CA.

About an hour’s drive from Los Angeles, the event will take place over two days, April 10 and 11. Warriors will dash, leap and climb over 12 hellish obstacles stretched out over three miles. They will jump over flames, wade through a bog, scramble under barbed wire and more.

Those who participate in the Dash will receive an official fuzzy, horned Warrior helmet, free beer and many other spoils. If you think you have what it takes to be a Warrior, there is still time to enter, just visit their web site at warriordash.com. The cost to participate is $75. After March 15 it will cost you $85, until April 5 when registration officially closes.

2010 Warrior Dash
April 10 & 11
Jungle Island Paintball Park
14881 Temescal Canyon Rd.
Lake Elsinore, CA
(951)445-0585
warriordash.com

How the Internet is Spoiling My Olympics

I suppose it was inevitable.  This past year, social networking shot through the roof, with everyone and her grandmother (literally) on Facebook.  That is in addition to the explosive popularity of Twitter, as well as websites pumping out up-to-the-minute news 24/7.  At the same time, the old media NBC television network decided to tape delay its Winter Olympics broadcast on the West Coast, apparently three hours behind the East Coast, even though the events are taking place in our time zone.  And finally, as do many others I’m sure, I multitask when watching television, laptop in front of me, news headlines and social networks (and Vancouver Metblogs) never more than a click away.  All of these phenomena have come crashing together this month like a perfect storm, threatening to spoil my Olympics.

The problem is, I keep learning the results from these Internet sources hours before seeing them for myself.  I learned of Hannah Kearney’s mogul skiing gold medal, Apolo Ohno’s record-tying silver medal in speed skating, and the generous figure skating judges doling out high scores to skaters who fell during their short program, all before seeing it on tv.  I tried appealing to my Twitter peeps who aren’t located on the West Coast not to post Olympics results, but they seem to need to do so, as if their reactions won’t count unless shared electronically and immediately.

I’m sure some of you are more computer-advanced than I, and can tell us how to get a great webcast of the Games on our computer in real time, even on our big-screen hdtv.  If so, I would love to hear the solutions.  I investigated this briefly, and did not find a satisfactory solution — for example, the online ads I saw were even more annoying than those on NBC.

I’m afraid the only solution I have found to watch the Winter Games unspoiled by spoilers is the most radical solution of staying off the Internet altogether.

Feeling Like a Tourist Less Than Four Miles From My Apartment… At the BCS Title Game

Thursday night, the 2009-2010 College Football Season culminated in the National Championship BCS Title Game, held right here at the Rose Bowl. Though I don’t have connections to either Alabama’s Crimson Tide or the Texas Longhorns (besides my unreasonable dislike towards the Longhorns), I decided to drop a sizable chunk of change and attend the game. I didn’t have to travel; they brought the game to me, so why not?

Photo by me! I even upgraded from my usual cell phone camera for this special occasion.
Photo by me! I even upgraded from my usual cell phone camera for this special occasion.

Thing is, much like the Rose Parade last week, I’ve never gone to the Rose Bowl as just a spectator, either, so it was a completely new experience for me. I went crazy taking pictures inside and outside the stadium and reveling in the gorgeous weather and how easy it was to simply walk there from Old Town Pasadena. But as I took in the tailgating scene and then settled into my seat for the game, I realized… I was, like, the only person who actually lives here.

That’s a slight exaggeration, of course (I’m pretty sure I did see Jason Schwartzman. He’s an actor, he does live here, right?). I’m sure there’s Alabama fans in LA, and there are tons of Texas alumni in this town. But damned if I wasn’t surrounded by a bunch of tourists the entire night. The people I sat near were dudes who flew in from Austin, people who possessed awesome/ridiculous Southern accents, or were the brothers (one a Crimson Tide fan, one a Longhorns fan) who drove up from San Diego.

Continue reading Feeling Like a Tourist Less Than Four Miles From My Apartment… At the BCS Title Game

Live From Clippers HQ Where Nothing Out Of The Ordinary Whatsoever Is Taking Place After Their Win Over The Lakers Yesterday

Almost immediately after the final buzzer put a blaring exclamation point on the Los Angeles Clippers 102-91 win over same-stadium rivals the World Champion Los Angeles Lakers last night at Staples Center, rumors began to spread hot like wildfire across the twitoblogiverseosphere of a celebratory victory parade to take place along a 40-yard stretch of blockaded Centinela Avenue outside Clippers Playa Vista headquarters this morning.

clippers

Ladies and gentlemen, as of 8:30 a.m. as evidenced by the picture snapped while biking past the place, rumors of any post-win par-tay are false and it’s nothing but business as usual.

Official City Disclaimer: Any similarity to Centinela Avenue being shut down is entirely a result of the photographer’s timing coupled to the hour of day as well as a general lack of traffic due to ongoing economic factors, and not the result of any barricading that may or may not have occurred at taxpayer expense. Thank you.

Can ESPNLosAngeles.com Draw As Many Readers Away From LA Sports Outlets As It Has Writers?*

ESPN’s new online hub for local sports, ESPNLosAngeles.com, officially launched today, providing a new source for LA Sports news, as well as a new home for several LA Sports writers, including the LA Times’ (former) Lakers bloggers.

ESPNLosAngeles.comMeant as a hub for local online sports coverage one could set as their homepage, the site features SoCal-specific “SportsCenter” segments, local breaking news, and direct links to pages for all the major pro teams, including the Galaxy, Chivas USA, the LA Sparks, as well as the Angels and Ducks. There’s also a “Headlines” tab you can click to view nationwide sports headlines, in case you care about what happens outside of our little bubble. ESPN launched similar local sites for Dallas, Boston and Chicago earlier this year, and the sports network opened a new broadcast studio (along with an ESPN Zone sports bar) Downtown at LA Live this past spring.

But the best part of the site is the local team blogs and columnists, providing quick-access to news and columns about your favorite teams that is also easy to subscribe to by e-mail or RSS feed to keep up on everything. The other ESPN city sites have Twitter accounts you can follow as well, but as of this writing, @ESPNLosAngeles exists but hasn’t tweeted a thing. The @ESPNLosAngeles Twitter account is also up and running, providing links to stories on the site. So far there’s a USC blog (but no UCLA blog yet), a Clippers blog (sort of – it links to the outside ClipperBlog.com, part of an ESPN affiliate network), and of course, that Lakers Blog, which is basically a direct transplant from the LA Times’ Lakers Blog. Brian and Andy Kamenetzky, who just yesterday afternoon announced their departure from LATimes.com, pick up at ESPN right where they left off, except now the blog is called “Land O’ Lakers”. The Lakers Blog was regularly one of the most-visited on the site, sometimes getting over a million page views per month. No announcement has been made yet as to who or what will replace the brothers at LATimes.com. It seems that, at least for now, a few different staff writers are taking turns contributing posts to the Lakers Blog to keep it going.

Continue reading Can ESPNLosAngeles.com Draw As Many Readers Away From LA Sports Outlets As It Has Writers?*

SoCal’s Big Bowls Not Only In January – How About This Weekend?

It’s good to know California’s high school athletes are being properly prepared for college. At least, they’ll be prepared for college football’s broken, convoluted system of determining a league champion, the Bowl Championship Series (more commonly known as the BCS).

Crenshaw's Hayes Pullard avoids Narbonne coverage in the Los Angeles City Sectional Championship game, Dec. 12, 2009

Crenshaw’s Hayes Pullard avoids Narbonne coverage in the Los Angeles City Sectional Championship game, Dec. 12, 2009. Photo by Robert Helfman

Many of our state’s most promising young athletes will converge on the Home Depot Center in Carson this Friday and Saturday for the California State Football Championship games (proudly representing Los Angeles will be undefeated Crenshaw – Go Cougars!).

But for 80 years, California didn’t even crown a state champion in high school football. It wasn’t until 2006 that the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF), the state’s high school sports governing body, created a small “bowl” system in which some of the best teams play each other for championships in four divisions (determined by school enrollment). And this year is the second the top two teams from all divisions will play each other in an “Open Division” bowl to determine who’s the greatest in the Golden State.

However, with such a limited numbers of bowls, not even all Section champions get to play in these big games. Unlike other large states like Texas or Florida, or, well, any other state in the union besides New Jersey, there is no state playoff in California. And, just like in big-time college football, not everybody’s too happy with that.

Did I mention that the bowls only match up a team from the Northern half of the state with one from the South? Even if the two best teams were both from SoCal, they couldn’t play each other for the title. This just adds to the controversy, as Ben Bolch pointed out in the LA Times Tuesday:

Yet, none of those teams will play one another under the format that matches section champions from Southern California and Northern California. A proposal to add a regional playoff round was shot down last year by the California Interscholastic Federation’s state federated council.

“Because of the way we’re structured, the size of our state, you can’t have a true champion unless you legitimately start playing everybody off, and we’re just too large to do that,” Marie Ishida, CIF executive director, said Monday at the Home Depot Center in Carson. “This is our next-best thing, and so far it’s worked for us.”

Continue reading SoCal’s Big Bowls Not Only In January – How About This Weekend?

Cross-Town Rivals Face Off Tomorrow

"Burn Joe, Burn!"
"Burn Joe, Burn!"

The Bruins of UCLA and the Trojans of USC will be competing on the football field tomorrow night. The Los Angeles Universities have a long-standing rivalry that is important to a lot of the city’s residents. Personally, I’m not really interested in the sport or who wins. Maybe I should be since the company I work for is highly affiliated with USC. In spite of not being a fan, I somehow ended up at The Trojans’ big pep rally, called Conquest, last weekend. (I was solely there to see the closing band, OK Go).

The event, held on the USC campus, was a big deal complete with a ferris wheel, food trucks, Jamie Kennedy introducing a variety of the school’s sports teams and coaches, and a very impressive fireworks display. Most of the “Yay Team!” (or “Fight On!” as they say at USC) stuff was lost on me, but I did thoroughly enjoy The Trojan Marching Band, otherwise known as The Spirit of Troy. They are excellent and their rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk” was a huge treat.

The Spirt of Troy
The Spirt of Troy

It appeared that the highlight of the night for the students and alumni was the burning of Joe Bruin, UCLA’s mascot bear. There were chants of “Burn, Joe, burn!” It can only make me wonder what they light on fire at UCLA. Hopefully, it’s not what we all think of when we hear USC’s mascot because the smell of burning rubber is rather unpleasant.

There have been shenanigans this week with UCLA’s Bruin statue getting painted with Trojan cardinal and gold. So much for sportsmanship.

Are you into the big game and if so, who are you rooting for? I really hope your team wins.

‘Camera Assassins’ Scavenger Hunt Saturday!

wiseguysJust wanted to let you know about an awesome scavenger hunt game on the west side tomorrow afternoon, hosted by Wise Guys Events. It’s designed for teams of two and combines elements of a photo scavenger hunt and the spy game, Assassin. It’s super cheap for a few hours of fun and will be over in plenty of time for you to head to your evening plans.

Here’s some information I ripped from the event’s Facebook page:

Camera Assassins is the newest Wise Guys Events game! Play in teams of 2: that’s right, teams of 2! Get your future Amazing Race partner in on the action. It’s part photo scavenger hunt, part Assassin. You and your partner are racing to complete as many of the photo challenges as you can. The catch is, you can’t do them without the help of the other teams, and one of the other players is aiming to kill you. Unless your partner is.

Camera Assassins, the amazing game of double exposure! RSVP on their Facebook event page to play.

The cost is $20 per team, to be collected on game day.

Saturday, November 21, 2009
1:00p – 4:00p
Westwood Park – Meet at the Picnic Benches
1300 Veteran Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90024

Win Tix: Dolls Season Winding Down, Excitement Ratcheting Up!

Tough Cookies battle The Swarm on Saturday night. Photo by Stalkerazzi f/8.
Tough Cookies battle The Swarm on Saturday night. Photo by Stalkerazzi f/8.

The L.A. Derby Dolls 2009 season is drawing to a close. With only one regular season bout left (then the Championship in December,) now is the time to get to the Doll Factory for the most exciting fast-paced, full-contact sport in Los Angeles. LA MetBlogs has your tickets, so read on to find out how to get them.

The bouts have continued to get more and more exciting throughout the season. This Saturday, November 14, the action will reach a fever pitch as the Tough Cookies (2008 Champions) take on The Swarm. Both teams are undefeated this season, and will battle for the top spot in the standings.

Come with me past the jump to win your tickets to this epic bout. As a special bonus, I’ve also got your tickets to Sunday’s Baby Doll Brawl… Continue reading Win Tix: Dolls Season Winding Down, Excitement Ratcheting Up!

New Skate Park Opens on Venice Beach This Saturday

IMG_1524For some reason, publicity on this is skimpy, but The Argonaut, the Venice Surf and Skate Association, and City Council Member Bill Rosendahl’s website are reporting that Venice Beach’s long-awaited skate park will have its grand opening this Saturday, October 3.  The park was built by skate park masters Wormhoudt Inc.

Skater boyz and girlz have lobbied for and have reportedly been waiting for at least 10 years for this park, and it promises to be an exciting addition to the neighborhood.  Given that Venice and the nearby area is often considered the birthplace and mecca of skateboarding, it’s about time they got it.