Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Epic NBA and NHL Awaits.

We are getting into a golden weekend of sports as the week has progressed, Las Vegas is in the Stanley Cup and the Cavs and Warriors are looking or a rematch for the fourth straight year in a row.

Will it happen? My gut says that it won't. Both NBA Conference Finals are now down to a Best of 3. I will be missing most of the action this weekend but family stuff have to be taken care of first.

Oh ya,  almost forgot to mention that the Capitals and Lightning will play a decisive Game 7 tonight that will likely decide who wins the Stanley Cup. I mean, I ave no interest seeing an expansion team hoisting the Stanley Cup in their very first year.

I hope Boston wins tonight. I could use some new blood in the NBA Finals. At the end of the day, its almost a crap shoot. I am hesitant to pick them however because of their lack of experience.

Enjoy the the next few days sports fans, it should be very memorable.

Friday, May 18, 2018

May 18th, 2018

Why is it so hard for people to include people that need to feel loved? I have friends but sometimes I don't see them as much as I want.

I take my mind off that kind of stuff from watching sports. I have tried to get into every league and from now on, I'm going to write whatever comes to mind that day. It doesn't have to be in a blog format. It will be may personal spin on things of the day, mostly the sports day.

For instance, today is a pretty slow sports day, no NBA tonight. NHL and I don't really have a preference of who wins.

Hoping the Oregon Ducks beat Drake today in the Softball regionals. That game is at 3pm.

The FA Cup final goes tomorrow, Chelsea and Man United. Both teams will be playing in European tournaments next year so nothing is on the line in that regard.

I'm a bit irritated with the way my life is going right now. I'm having a cross the country trip withdraw right now. I need to plan a trip but working on Finances. I need to make sure those are always going up with all the other things I got going in life now.

Thanks for the read, love you guys!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Suns Need to get This Pick Right

I have never witnessed my favorite team picking #1 overall in a sporting league draft,. The Mets picked 1st last in 1994, I was barley 1 year old at the time.

This is not something someone should ever wish for, but when the potential is there fans will pull out every lucky charm. I wasn't even watching on TV. I was planning on it but never got to the local pub until 5:25 and well being in Canada, the TV's were all set to the hockey game anyway.

For this particular draft, I almost wish they had scored the 3rd or 4th pick. Would have made the next six weeks interesting.

Here's the thing, Michael Porter Jr. was Mock draft #1 at the start of the year. Due to his injury, he has slipped to between #4 and #6. Another thing to keep an eye on is who the Kings will take at #2. They have their PG in Fox, so will they choose Doncic or Bagley.

The third pick will be whoever is not taken at #2 but the pick at #4 is where things will start to get interesting. Between Jackson, Bamba, Porter, Carter and Young it seems to be a close race. To me, Bamba and Young seem like boom or bust picks. Young at times seems like the second coming of Stephan Curry and Bamba gifted in his own way but in a point guard league, I would be hesitant to pick him in the Top 5.

I can't see the Suns taking anyone but Ayton. It will be fine, it will complete our starting lineup with Booker, Warren, Jackson and Bender also being Suns draft picks in previous years.

That being said, the Suns need to put themselves to win and make the playoffs not next year but the year after that. Since 2015 there has been too much drafting and not enough marquee trades that held them back. Their defense was absolutely horrible last year and this slow rebuild has been painful to watch.

Picking Ayton will be awesome but I have a crazy feeling that someone else in the Top 6 will be win a Championship ring before Ayton.

My hope lies with how well the 76ers did this year which gives me hope for the Suns.

The West is strong though and the Suns are in the toughest division.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Cardiff City Will Add to my Interest of the EPL

Cardiff City clinched promotion to the England Premier League yesterday with a 0-0 draw at home on the last day of the season. For me, as a Canadian this is something special. Junior Hoilett who was a Canadian National team holdout for years has now committed to Canada and now will be playing in the best league in football next year. 

This is meaningful because during the season, Junior Hoilett was the top scorer for all competitions with 11. If Hoilett can have a major season next year, it puts Cardiff City and Canada in a good position. 

For one, this year, will likely be the first time in awhile that all previously promoted teams will stay up. This isn't a fluke in my opinion, with the TV deal increasing revenue for Premier League clubs, the teams are needing to spend money to stay up and they are doing it. 

Secondly, take a look at Burnley this year. They are ending a 57 year European Cup drought next year when they compete in the Europa League. Greatest story in English football this year in my opinion. That's amazing! 

Burnley isn't spending much but it goes to show that small clubs are having success. In 2013-14, Cardiff was not only relegated but they finished bottom. For some reason, I feel this time around could be different. 

 Teams that have recently struggled significantly have eitherP flirted with disaster too many times like Sunderland or have just lost complete focus on goals like Aston Villa that also were close to relegation the previous years before they went down. 

Bornemoth, Watford and Crystal Palace are all small clubs that were big favourites to go down in last place in their first year and not only didn't but are still up years later. In fact, I'm surprised Brighton & Hove Albion have had a successful season this year. 

I hope they do well. I will be pulling for them, Swansea might not be there next year but Cardiff will and hopefully this time it's longer than a cup of coffee this time.   

Thursday, April 12, 2018

I'm Still Gutted for Humboldt

The tragedy that struck the hockey world Friday night is utterly sickening. 29 people, living the dream one way or another and in a instant, life is either over or derailed.

This hits home quite a bit. I spent parts of six years on a high school football team. Bus trips were almost better than the games itself. Going away to University in Kamloops was hard but I was able to discover new passions.

In my first year at TRU, I had Peter Soberlak as a Sports Physiology professor.  For those of you are unaware, Soberlak was a 1st round selection by the Edmonton Oilers in 1987. He also played for the Swift Current Broncos on the team that had a bus crash in 1986. Four players perished in that tragedy but this one is much worse.

I mention this because I became a huge Junior Hockey fan. I went to 9 Kamloops Blazers games that year. I figured out what I had been missing in my life. I almost wish I had supported my home town junior hockey team back when I was younger. However, we only had a junior B team, a league lower than the BCHL and two leagues below the WHL.

In Canada, between the three leagues, most cities have a team. The smaller the community the more the team brings people together. It's what people do on a Friday night between September to April. It's the equivalent to High School Football in Texas.

Humboldt has a population of just over 5,000 people. In comparison, typical arenas at this level would be between 1-2 thousand people and therefore, during any hockey sellout crowds would have between 20-40% of the cities population at the game.

The League has yet to announce what will happen to the League Final. I just feel so fortunate to go to my day job today. No one is safe, anyone can die tomorrow. Friday night was a good reminder that the life we have should be enjoyed every second of the day. 

Today was Jersey Day across Canada, the overwhelming support has been amazing, Ten Million has
been raised by the Go Fund Me Page that is unprecedented. Today someone told me about the story behind the hockey stick on the porch thing that has been going on the last week and it was awesome!

Something good will come up from this accident. Life has a way of turning the worst possible thing into a positive. That doesn't mean the healing process will be easy. Nothing in life is easy that means something to us.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Roma vs Barca 5 Talking Points

By Elliot 

In the second leg of the Champions League quarter-finals between Barcelona and Roma we were treated to champions league history. Roma trailed the mighty Barcelona 4-1 in the first leg as the Romans would need a three-goal victory To go through on the away-goal rule. Barcelona didn’t show Roma the respect they deserved and they punish them for it Roma was the better team throughout the match as they dominated Roma was the better team throughout the match as they dominated from the first to the last minute. Dzeko gave Roma an early lead in the fifth minute before this historic comeback found life with a second-half de Rossi penalty before Kostas Manolas became a Roma hero as he headed home a winner with 10 minutes to go. As Barcelona get a taste of their own medicine seeing Roma pull off one of the greatest comebacks in champions league history.
Five Talking Points
Roma’s historical comeback

For the first time in my lifetime Roma has secured a place in the Champions League semi-finals. This is something I didn’t think was actually possible Roma coming into the second leg was down 4-1 on aggregate to Barcelona one of Europe’s best teams. Roma needed to win by a three-goal margin to get through to the semis. Barcelona came back from a 4-0 deficit to make the quarterfinals last year but Roma isn’t anywhere near the quality of Barcelona. This is a Barcelona team that walked La Liga this season and have been European Champions on multiple occasions. No one on earth gave Roma a chance after the first leg. However the 11 on the pitch and Roma manager Eusebio di Francesco believed. Despite spending half as much money being the less talented team with the world’s best player lining up on the other side. Roma were able to do the impossible last night pulling off arguably the greatest comeback in champions league history. As the Romans fought through adversity and believed they could do it none of those players doubted they had the desire and the hunger to pull off the impossible. They now find themselves Champion’s League semifinal for the first time since the Champions League the only European semi-final they’ve been to is the 1983 European Cup. No one believed in them throughout this entire tournament so far they were underestimated every turn and that just intensified the hunger they had. No one saw this coming including myself it was one of the greatest nights Roma have ever had in their history and this will live long in the memory of the fans and players who support this great Club. The champions league is about drama and last night Roma gave the football World 90 minutes of Madness. When Kostas Manolas scored the winning goal the entire world erupted.
Barcelona’s defensive issues
Roma was in Barcelona’s danger area on a consistent basis they just kept coming and coming. Barcelona’s defense was as bad as I’ve ever seen them they were absolutely abysmal. They made mistake after mistake after mistake every time Roma cross the ball into the box and it looks like they were going to score because the Barcelona defense was not applying any pressure to anyone they allow Roma to do exactly what they wanted. They had a really tough time dealing with the power and physicality of Edin Dzeko he was unplayable against Barcelona there what’s so much frustration that it led to a violent tackle on the Roma Striker that eventually ended in a goal. Barcelona couldn’t stop anything Roma did their defense lacked desire and didn’t show respect Barcelona were bad all around but their defense was especially bad it could have been five or six goal that’s how bad they were. 
Daniele De Rossi and Kostas Manolas
Both De Rossi and Kostas Manolas had a less than stellar first leg at the Camp Nou. Both players played poorly and the opening game of this quarter finals with a both of them unfortunately scoring own goals as a seemingly dug themselves in a massive hole. As the scoreline in the first leg did not reflect the game. Daniele De Rossi looked for Redemption in this game and they got it. Kostas Manolas was superb and Danielle de Rossi was at his very best for 90 minutes we saw the Roma captain go vintage one of his best performances in the Roma shirt in his 15 years of service. Both of these players highlighted the victory the own goals they scored in the first leg was soon forgotten as they made amends for both of them. De Rossi scored  crucial penalty in the second half to give Roma a 2-0 lead the most important penalty of his entire career this goal gave them hope to pull off the upset. Then with less than 10 minutes ago Kostas Manolas also made amends for his own goal. As his header insured Roma the come-from-behind victory as the upset was complete. Both of these players played a large role in turning this around from frustration to Champions League Magic.
Messi’s second bad day against Roma
Messi is the second greatest footballer in history according to my estimation. This Magician of a footballer doesn’t have many bad days one of them happened to be in the first leg then it coming off a great performance in the league it was expected that he would give Barcelona the goal to put this thing away for good however it was not to be desired Leo Messi struggled yet again against this Roma defense. Furthermore Roma only had three defenders in their lineup last night and Messi didn’t have one genuine chance where it look like he could have scored. This may be harsh but there were times it seems like Messi lacked desire or thought the game was already won. On several occasions I saw him walking around it really didn’t look like he wanted it that bad. Coming into this game Messi has not scored in the quarterfinals of the Champions League in many years in fact the last time he  scored at this stage the only had one Ballon d’Or to this date he has five. This shows how much he has struggled at the quarter final stage. We should have seen a dominant Hungry Leo Messi but we didn’t. even at times when it looks like he could do something he was immediately stopped by the Roma defense this might be harsh but I think it’s fair to say that Leo Messi in the Champions League is somewhat of a disappointing player to not score a single quarter final goal in so many years is inexcusable for the world’s best player. He came up short against this Roma defense twice and he went down swinging on both occasions I don’t know if they had his number or he didn’t want it enough either way it resulted and another disappointing loss in the quarterfinals for Barcelona since they won their last Champions League they have been eliminated at this stage every year.
Eusebio Di Francesco’s Formation Changes
In this tactical battle between Eusebio Di Francesco and Ernesto Valverde The Roma manager came out on top again. These two teams faced off in the Europa League a few years ago in a match between valverde’s Atletico Bilbao And Di Francesco’s Sassuolo. with Di Francesco getting the advantage there in a 3-0 victory. It would be a repeat of that Di Francesco Made a formation change. The Roma manager went to 3 at the back as Roma operated out of the 3-5-2 formation. He absolutely got it right an Incredibly attacking Midfield was a large part of their success in this game. Not to mention the three of the back completely neutralized Leo Messi and Luis Suarez. Alisson Didn’t have to make that many saves in this match and it was because of Roma’s lineup. Even the controversial move up front with Schick and Dzeko worked wonders he knew what he was doing. In addition to all that the substitutions he made were spot-on both changes in some respect change the game. He brought in El Shaarawy and Under in the second half both players made immediate impacts El Shaarawy nearly scored less than two minutes after coming on. Under made a great impact as well he assisted the winning goal and pressurized Barcelona on several occasions. Say what you want about this game Di Francesco out coached Valverde and it wasn’t even close.

Monday, April 9, 2018

History Paper About September 11th

The Motives of Osama Bin Laden for the September 11 Attack
The 9/11 attack on September 11, 2001 remains the worst terrorist act on American soil ever – both in terms of casualties and impact on the American people. There are countless theories as to what Osama bin Laden’s motives were. Osama bin Laden’s motives for the 9/11 attack on the United States were triggered by multiple factors. Some of the factors included the clash within Islam, the decline of the Middle East after World War One, and the radicalization of Muslims caused by the Afghan jihad. I believe that Osama bin Laden was trying to seek revenge over the West for its treatment of Muslims and policies in the Muslim World.
Background of Muslims in the Middle East
The religion of Islam has over one billion followers. Islam itself does not present a united face and is practiced in a variety of ways.  The question is which Islam do they represent?
David Plotz, (2001) in his article “What does Osama bin Laden Want?” describes the growth of the extremist in the Muslim world over the last 30 years.  He states that the extremists believe that their Muslim World is being destroyed by a variety of factors such as infidels within the Muslim World and outside, such as countries like the United States.  He states that even governments of some Muslim countries such as Egypt and Jordan are not remaining true to the strict Islamic principles and that Jihad is necessary to drive out the infidels. Plotz also states that Bin Laden wants to re-establish The Caliphate which would mean one government for all Muslim countries.
Three events in the Middle East in 1979 served as a turning point for Muslims, as Muslims began to question the position of their faith. The three events are - the overthrow of the Shah of Iran in January, the Egypt-Israel Peace deal in April and in December the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
The Overthrow of the Shah of Iran
In 1979, Iran was ruled by a monarchy and the leader was the Shah of Iran. The Shah had friendly relations with the United States and supported promoting growth of the economy, women’s rights and the education of women.  However, his government was also very strict and had become a police state.  The United States maintained their interest in the government of Iran because it had hoped to stop the spread of Communism from the Soviet Union.  Many Shia clerics did not agree with the Shah’s government.  Protests gradually gave way to revolution and eventually the Ayatollah Khomeini, an exiled religious leader living in France, was brought to power.  (Szczepanski, 2017) This example demonstrated a change in one Muslim country that was trying to cut ties with the US and at the same time brought a Muslim government to power that would be truer to Islamic faith.
Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan
In 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan to help the Communist government defeat guerrilla Muslim troops. Communist governments controlled Afghanistan and the former Soviet Union in the late 1970s. The Soviet Union supported and encouraged the practice of communism in other governments, and lent a helping hand to nearby Afghanistan to quell anti-Communist actions.
In 1989, the Soviets left Afghanistan and the Taliban was able to take control. Taliban is the plural of “talib” and it means “religious student”. (Bergen, 2002) The Taliban did make the country safer and restored order, despite the harsh treatment of women.
Egypt and Israel Peace Deal
The relations between Israel and Egypt had been very tense since Israel’s establishment in 1948. The Americans helped to bring about a Peace deal between the two countries, ending 30 years of hostilities between Egypt and Israel. Unfortunately, the peace deal wasn’t popular with Muslim extremists. Egypt was suspended from the Arab League and in 1981 Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was assassinated by Muslim extremists.  This demonstrates the Muslim extremists’ dislike for both American and Jews in the Middle East.
The life of Osama bin Laden
Early Life

    Bin Laden’s father was very wealthy. The family was one of the wealthiest in Saudi Arabia, as he made millions through construction. The family originated in Yemen but moved to Saudi Arabia approximately 1930.  The company was able to diversify by buying land and many other businesses. (Taylor, 2013)
    Osama bin Laden was born in 1957. He was the seventeenth son of Mohammed bin Laden. Osama’s father was very religious. His father encouraged “piety and respect for family business” (Bergen, 2001).  Osama bin Laden first married at the age of 17.  At University, he studied economics.  He showed an early interest in religion. 

Influences of Osama bin Laden
At University in Jeddah, he became associated with the Muslim Brotherhood. He came under the spell of two prominent teachers of Islamic Studies. One was Abdullah Azzam and the other was Mohammed Qutb. Azzam created the first internet Jihadist network.  Qutb was an interpreter of the Jihadist Network movement. Azzam stated that the Muslim people needed to free themselves from ignorance. It was in the Islamic order to make jihad against enemies of Islam (Bergen, 2001).
The Formation of Al-Qaeda
In 1989, Osama bin Laden founded Al-Qaeda, which means “the base” in Arabic. Bin Laden applied business principles to his organization. His top aides were all well-educated; they included a physician, an entrepreneur, an accountant, a psychologist and an electrical engineer. He had many different committees, such as a finance committee and a media committee but Osama bin Laden was the director or chairman of all facets of the organization.
Helped in large part by the internet, it was easy to recruit people for his holy war. The internet also allowed bin Laden’s message to be widespread. There were websites where militants could swap tips for information on how to get jihad training. (Bergen, 2001) Having now formulated his plan, it soon became time to put his plans into action.

The 9/11 Attack
    On the morning of September 11, 2001, nineteen men from a variety of Arab countries had a mission to overtake four US flights and fly the planes into four American landmarks. These landmarks were the North and South tower of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and a fourth unknown target that could possibly have been the White House. The fourth plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania, likely due to the passengers onboard overtaking the terrorists. The earth shattering mission resulted in approximately three thousand fatalities.
Major Events in the Muslim World after the 9/11 Attack
US Invasion of Afghanistan
The backlash from the unthinkable attacks came fast as US President Bush declared war on Afghanistan. At this time it was believed that Osama bin Laden was hiding in Afghanistan. Bush demanded that the Taliban hand over Osama bin Laden. On October 7, 2001, the Taliban refused to hand bin Laden over. In response, the US and UK military forces, supported by NATO, began a massive bombing attack on major Afghan cities. By mid-November, the capital of Afghanistan had fallen and it was presumed that bin Laden had escaped to Pakistan in December of 2001. (Habeck, 2005)
US Invasion Iraq
Later, the US turned its focus to Iraq. In March of 2003, the Americans invaded Iraq and the Iraq War began. The Americans believed that the Iraqis had weapons of mass destruction that the UN had not permitted. The capital city of Baghdad fell by April and later that year the president Saddam Hussein was captured and eventually killed by the Americans.
The Motives of Osama bin Laden
Decline of the Middle East
Many scholars would argue that the Muslim World is in a crisis. After the First World War, the Ottoman Empire was disbanded by the Sykes-Picot agreement. The Ottoman Empire had united the Muslim world for centuries. This lead to the Muslims feeling degraded. Just as the Treaty of Versailles had divided and humiliated Germany after World War I, Osama bin Laden felt that the Sykes-Picot agreement in 1916 had the same effect on the Muslim world. For this reason, Osama bin Laden stated that what America experienced on September 11, 2001 was a fraction of what the Muslims had been feeling for 80 years. (Bergen, 2006)
US Foreign Policy in the Middle East
According to Plotz (2001) bin Laden “is furious about American support for Israel”. To begin with, the establishment of the Jewish state of Israel in 1948 was problematic for Arabs and Muslims in the Middle East. The American support for Israel was unbearable to militants such as Osama bin Laden. Osama bin Laden had a hatred for the Jewish people and now they were being supported by the Americans.
    In 1990, the UN imposed sanctions on Iraq for violations against the United Nations.  By May of 1996 there was an estimated 500,000 children who had died as a result of the sanctions imposed on Iraq (Bergen, 2001; Crossette, 1995) Bin Laden was angry by the large numbers of innocent Muslim children who died from malnutrition.   
    According to the book Holy War, Inc. by Peter Bergen, Bergen delivered an intriguing interview of Osama bin Laden that stated bin Laden had said, “Our main problem is the US government”. This articulates the idea that bin Laden believed that the American government should not have a presence in any Muslim country. (Bergen, 2001)

A Clash within Islam   
Despite Muslim countries sharing a common religion, this did not mean their political views were all in harmony.  For instance, bin Laden, who was from Saudi Arabia, did not agree with the government of Saudi Arabia. A source close to bin Laden described bin Laden saying he was “violently opposed to the presence of US troops in Saudi Arabia”. (Bergen, 2001) Bin Laden believed that being loyal to the US regime meant that Saudi Arabia had committed an act against Islam. (Bergen, 2001). This demonstrated a clash between different groups of Muslims. Another example would have been when bin Laden pointed out that Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait for its oil. Bin Laden was critical of Suddam Hussein and remarked in his interview that Hussein was not a true Muslim leader (Bergen, 2001)
Radicalization of Muslims
In “The Religious Sources of Terrorism” the author Schmuel Bar argued that the modern Muslim societies have “strayed from the straight” and the solution was to return to the original mores of Islam. He further stated that The West was not to blame but had served as a trigger for the Islamic awakening.  (Bar, 2004) In this context, jihad was against apostate infidels within the Middle East.  The invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviets in 1979 was “a watershed event” that revived the concept of jihad as a personal duty to evict infidels in a Muslim country.  Bar argues that this duty is like a sixth pillar of Islam and that those that ignore it “will inherit hell”.
Osama bin Laden’s brand of Islam
     Doran noted in “Someone Else’s Civil War” that terrorism was used to create fear. In the case of Osama bin Laden it was designed to provoke a reaction from the Americans as a result of the fear created by the 9/11 Attack.  He wanted to get a reaction from the Americans and that the American military reaction would bring about harm brought to innocent Muslim civilians.  He wanted to unify the Umma (the universal Muslim community) with the message that Americans were willing to begin a military campaign against Muslims.
    Bin Laden’s goal, according to Doran, was to further the Islamic revolution within the Muslim World, especially in Saudi Arabia. He did not intend to defeat America, but to “help his brand of extremist Islam survive and flourish” (Doran, 2002) among the believers.
    Further, Doran discussed the purpose of the Al Qaeda organization, which was to return Islam to the generation of Mohammed.  He stated that bin Laden believed that “Muslims have deviated from God’s plan and he proposes to return  Muslims to the proper state consistent with Mohammed”.  The Islamic beliefs from this era placed great emphasis on jihad.
The results of what took place in the Muslim World before 2001 helped shape animosity between the Muslim World and the West. This created a vigorous tension that imploded on September 11 when Osama bin Laden, with the help of his Al Qaeda organization, put together an unforeseen attack that has created a harsh reality between the two groups. While no singular motive may exist, the motives may have come from a variety of factors. In my opinion, the most credible explanations for Osama Bin Laden’s attack on 9/11, came from the decline of the Middle East over the last eighty years, US Foreign Policy in the Middle East, a clash within Islam and the radicalization of Muslims.