My year in review, adios 2011

30 12 2011

Another great year in “mi vida deportiva,” but not just in my life of sports, but life in general. I’ll skip the worst of the year and focus on the best moments. Because I can.

Year 2 in Arizona is coming to a close, but it began with the BCS national championship game here in Glendale, and I was fortunate enough to cover it. Even though my beloved Oregon Ducks lost, I was pretty proud of their effort and I can say that I was there. 

Later in January 2011 I took my first trip to the new Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Ore., new home for Oregon basketball. Awesome place. I’ll always cherish old McArthur Court though.

In February my wife bought me an I-phone for Valentine’s Day. She keeps wanting me to say that the device has made my life better and easier, so I’ll say it: she’s right. It’s not perfect but it’s pretty sweet.

February and March were spent covering Major League Soccer training and baseball spring training. I was very busy, needless to say.

After celebrating the end of spring training with dinner at Morton’s — ooh, swanky! — baseball season began. I went home to Portland in April for my birthday and attended the inaugural Portland Timbers match at Jeld-Wen Field. It poured rain all night, but I was under the overhang and stayed dry and the Timbers thrilled the sellout crowd with the win.

Later in April I went to the two Phoenix Coyotes NHL playoff games against Detroit. The Coyotes got dominated but the atmosphere in Arena was fun. It’s cool to have an NHL team right in my own back yard.

At the end of the month I took my wife to see my favorite rap artist ever, DJ Quik. And we met Mr. Blake in person! Great night.

Then, it was off to see the world. Read the rest of this entry »


On the outside looking in at Craven Cottage

31 05 2011

It’s been three weeks since the night I went to Craven Cottage, a little soccer stadium that is home to Fulham Football Club, an English Premier League team.

The plan was to see Fulham play Liverpool. I talked to a few people in the days leading up the match and got the sense that tickets weren’t hard to come by; just walk up and buy them.

It had worked in Italy when I went to a Serie A match. I hoped for the best. After all, it had already been a good day touring central London, including a stop in Trafalgar Square to pose with the London Olympics countdown clock and a very fine lunch at the famous Harrod’s department store.

I had strolled to and past 10 Downing Street and gone back to Westminster Abbey, now it was time to see what I really wanted to see, soccer.

We took the subway and when we arrived at the right station for Craven Cottage, the tickets hawkers were already there. I decided to avoid them and head to the stadium. We were there fairly early. PLEASE READ ON…

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Postcard from London: The Changing of the Guard

24 05 2011

I admit I didn’t envision so many people coming out to see this, but there was a big crowd in front of Buckingham Palace on May 8 when we went to see the famous Changing of the Guard.

It was interesting to be in the very place where the crowds looked toward the palace balcony to see William and Kate after the royal wedding. Same fountain, same palace, same streets.

Buckingham Palace

The big fountain outside the palace, I know it has a name but I didn't catch it.

More photos after the jump…

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Postcard from London: Quick bus tour

21 05 2011

The day (May 8 ) began with a bus tour of some of the major sites. We didn’t stop more than twice, but the first stop was at Royal Albert Hall and the Kensington Gardens.

The Royal Albert Hall probably looks as good on the inside as it does from outside. It hosts events even today.

Across the street from the hall is Kensington Gardens, where there are memorials to the late Princess Diana everywhere. There is also a huge monument dedicated to Prince Albert. It looks nice but probably a little too much to honor one person of not even kingly status.

That’s Notting Hill. Cruised through it, no Hugh Grant or Julia Roberts though.

We passed places we would return to later like 10 Downing Street and Trafalgar Square, so I’ll show those photos another time. Before the Changing of the Guard, we stopped at Westminster Abbey for some exterior shots.

Stephanie was thrilled to be here so we knew we’d have to come back. After all, the Royal Couple were wed here.

Wearing my Oregon Duck colors abroad!

Postcard from London: Picadilly Circus

19 05 2011

So we were told that this Times Square-like neon-lit section of London got its name, perhaps, because the “gentlemen” of town, when they grew tired of what they were doing at the various mens-only clubs closer to Parliament and Buckingham Palace, would head down to this area to pick a dilly. “Dilly,” being another word for a prostitute.

Whether that is true hardly matters. Picadilly Circus was alive with young people on Saturday night, May 6, when we headed over there to get some dinner the same day we’d arrived from the U.S.

It was late, but we were wide awake with the time difference. We were looking for another place in our guide book but couldn’t find it, and just kept wandering around. Down one bustling street/alley, we found an Asian noodle house called Wok To Walk and damn, those noodles were yummy.

After the great meal — maybe the best we had in Europe — we headed back toward the train station, but it was too late to catch a subway back to our hotel and we found a souvenir shop that was still open. I know I bought at least half of the stuff I brought back with me at this place, where the employees from India were only too glad to chat us up about the U.S. We passed a statue of Eros while walking along.

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Postcard from London I

17 05 2011

I took some time away from this online journal, as it’s turning out to be, to take a trip to London and Paris with my wife.

London was just fantastic and it’s a place I’d like to return to some day. The first few days of the trip were spent in England. I take you back to May 6, Day One of the journey.

After a long flight from Atlanta we landed in London and about a half hour after getting to our hotel, we were on our way to sightsee. First stop, the Eye of London. The big Ferris wheel/alien pod from “War of the Worlds” along the Thames River.

I mastered the "Tube" subway system right away. No joke.

Big Ben and House of Parliament from London Eye pod

Turistas. Notice my shirt, I got a few looks from locals. Chelsea is the No. 1 team in London as far as I could tell.

Buckingham Palace

The afternoon was spent with great views of the city. We were super tired, but there was still more in store for us that day. I’ll show you in the next post.

Pac-12 empire, and a look back at where I was a year ago

4 05 2011

This morning I got up early to attend the news conference organized by the Pac-12 (formerly known as the Pac-10, so if you have anything that says Pac-10 on it, it might someday be a collector’s item). Here’s the story I wrote on today’s announcement.

So NCAA stuff in the a.m., baseball in the P.M. Got the Diamondbacks tonight vs. Colorado.

Last year on this day, my wife and I were celebrating being in Venice, Italy, walking under archways to stay out of the downpour, watching glass blowers do their thing and taking a boat ride to Baveno, a picturesque little town among the waterways leading to the Adriatic Sea. I look back with fondness on the fact that I have seen other parts of the world, and on Friday, it’s off to see more of the planet with a trip to London and Paris.

So does anyone have any recommendations as to what to eat/see in London and/or Paris? Taking suggestions.