Friday, June 30, 2006

Rope A Dope

Ivan Basso and Jan Ullrich are O-U-T, out of the Tour de France this year, having got caught up in the durg use and blood doping affair that started after the Tour de Spain. The French newspaper L'Equipe is announcing that another 15 - 20 riders may be banned from riding also.

So Jan's last best chance, having been second five times behind Lance, has just come and gone. I actually feel pretty sorry for him, since I personally believe they are all taking drugs of some sort at that level. It's probable that Lance was also doping ... however you need proof, and the hounding that Dick Pound, the head of the anti-doping agency has subjected Lance to has been without basis and unwarranted.

So, the two favorites are out. The tour is wide open. The riders will be wondering who will be forced out of the ride next - it's actually pretty enthralling. Middle aged men around the world will be wondering what effects EPO could have in the bedroom.

Personally, I'd like to see all the performance enhancing drugs legalized. Every one of them. And tested for, and controlled. That way we can have two races, the one with the guys loaded to the eyeballs who will die at age 35 with blood so thick it can't be pumped around by their hearts, and then the clean guys who will be able to hold their grandkids. Let the public decide which race to watch. Same with the olympics, football, baseball, tiddly winks, whatever.

I promise to never take drugs to improve my commute time when riding to work.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

World Cup Weenies

It's that special time again, where once every four years the best football teams in the world meet up to kick a ball backwards and forwards into a net - which is odd because on the whole the ball doesn't really care where it goes. Anyway, we still do it, and it can be thrilling to watch - the nationalism, the sense of occasion, the picking of the underdog team to root for, the fact that I saw a big England flag with my home town written all across it. All these things make it one of the best sporting events on the planet.

(BTW, and just to contrast, it's not a "world series" if only one country plays ... just so you know)

There are a couple of football fans in the office, and it's been the subject of conversation for a couple of weeks now. One topic has been the sheer number of yellow and red cards awarded, a lot of which have not been deserved. Which got us onto the subject of cards in general, and sportsmanship in the world cup. We noticed there's still a lot of diving going on, falling over without any need for it to try to get the foul or penalty. The consensus was these guys just need to grow some stones and act like men, not small whiny girls.

And we came up with the solution ! Instead of just having yellow and red cards, we want to introduce the pink card. There wouldn't be any penalty to it, but if the ref saw you took a dive and you were just faking, you'd be shown the pink card. Everyone around the world would know you were just a bit of a girl. And if you got two pink cards in the tournament, you'd have to wear pink shorts in the next match.

A lot of these offenses seem to be committed by the latin american teams, a typically macho culture. Imagine going back home and having to explain why you got two pink cards in the world cup. Emigration to an non-football playing country (yes US, I'm looking at you) would be the only option.