Never Tell Me the Odds

lEICESTER cITYLeicester City of the English soccer Premier League clinched the Championship this week after having 5000-1 odds of winning at the beginning of the season. In the Premier League’s 24 year history since they reorganized, 4 teams have won 21 of the 24 titles. In general, the top of the League is so powerful compared to the rest of the League, the top 4-5 teams are the only teams that have a real chance to win the League. But against all odds Leicester City, a team that is only in it’s second year in Premier League and were at risk of being relegated last year, fought all year long to become the first non top tier club to win the league since Blackburn Rovers in 1995.

5000-1 odds seem insurmountable. In sports terms, that is the oddsmakers basically saying there is no chance this is going to happen. To put in perspective these odds, the odds of the 1980 US miracle on ice against Russia was only 1000-1! And who can blame them giving these odds? With several teams in the league that have way more money, world-class talent, and deeper youth academies, history showed it was a long shot that Leicester should even be able to compete against those other teams, much less win. But they believed in themselves, played hard every day, committed to constantly improve and ended up defying the odds to go on and win the Premier League!

afc3eed9f20dd5acd8c7b250e8dc904fIf there something you should take away from this, I think it is what Han Solo replied to C3PO when he was told the odds of successfully navigating that asteroid field. “NEVER TELL ME THE ODDS”

The odds don’t matter. The odds of so many great things in our lives happening are always going to be high. But that doesn’t mean they are unattainable and even if we can’t achieve them doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. The only way you can find out what we are capable of is if we go after our dreams and try to defy the odds, no matter how big they may seem.

Fantasy Football

Fantasy-Football-Wizard

With the beginning of the NFL season coming tomorrow, for a lot of people, that also means the beginning of the Fantasy Football season. Now, I fancy myself a bit of a Fantasy Football Guru. Been playing for years and never went to more than than a year or two without winning a championship. Last year I played in three leagues, I won the championship in two and runner up in the third, only losing the championship game by less than 10 points.

I am in only two leagues this year. One in a 10-team league I am running, and the other in a 12-team league. These are also the two leagues I won last year, so of course I returned to defend my titles. I am also a pro on draft day and it’s honestly one of my favorite things about playing. I love preparing and this year I had a draft board 204 players deep.

My drafted squads this year:

Scum and Villainy
QB- Collin Kaepernick
RB- LeSean McCoy
RB- LeVon Bell
WR- Brandon Marshall
WR- Pierre Garcon
TE- Dennis Pitta
FLEX- Michael Floyd
D/ST- Seahawks
K- Mason Crosby

Bench- Danny Woodhead
Bench- Sammy Watkins
Bench- Phillip Rivers
Bench- Hakeem Nicks
Bench- Heath Miller
Bench- Markus Wheaton
Bench- Carlos Hyde

Insta Graham
QB- Cam Newton
RB- Jamaal Charles
RB- CJ Spiller
WR- Julio Jones
WR- Michael Floyd
TE- Julius Thomas
FLEX- Marques Colston
D/ST- 49ers
K- Robbie Gould

Bench- Danny Woodhead
Bench- Andy Dalton
Bench- Ladarius Green
Bench- Mike Evans
Bench- Markus Wheaton
Bench- Mike Tolbert
Bench- Dexter McCluston

How do you feel about your team this year? Have any draft day coups that you are proud of this year?

Nolan’s 5000 Strikeout

So on this day in 1989, Nolan Ryan in his first year as a Texas Ranger strikes out Ricky Henderson to get the legendary 5,000 strikeout. I mention this because I was at that game. Sitting somewhere on the second deck of that old, crappy Arlington Stadium with my parents, but it didn’t matter- we were witnessing history. I will never forget it.

EDIT: for some reason this never published.

World Cup XI

About 3 years ago, I posted a list of players for my dream soccer team. Of course it’s horribly out of date as most of the players are in their mid-30s now. So, instead of a “dream team,” I’ll post my World Cup XI here the day before the final.

FW – James Rodriguez (Colombia)
FW – Thomas Muller (Germany)
MF – Paul Pogba (France)
MF – Arjen Robben (Netherlands)
MF – Xherdan Shaqiri (Swizerland)
MF – Javier Mascherano (Argentina)
DF – Thiago Silva (Brazil)
DF – Phillip Lamb (Germany)
DF – Jan Vertonghen (Belgium)
DF – Matt Hummels (Germany)
GK – Tim Howard (USA)

Honorable Mention
GK – Kaylor Navas (Costa Rica)
FW – Karim Benzema (France)
MD – Kyle Beckerman (USA)
DF – Mario Yepes (Colombia)

The Beautiful Game!

719px-WC-2014-Brasil.svg

We are a week into the 2014 World Cup, and it hasn’t disappointed! Yes I know I’m an American and the stereotype is Americans don’t like soccer, but I’m not your typical American, I love soccer. And not just the US team, the entire tournament is exciting and fun to watch. Number 34 on my bucket list is attending a soccer match in Europe (where the big money stars and clubs are).

I love the World Cup so much that, even though I don’t have cable or easy access to ESPN, I watch Cup games on Univision! I would rather watch an entire broadcast in Spanish than miss a Cup game because I don’t have ESPN! But not having ESPN won’t stop me!!

Go Team USA!

Prediction: Brazil

Ryan-Ventura throwdown

One of my favorite sports memories happened on this day 10 years ago. It was when Robin Ventura charged the mound after being beaned by Nolan Ryan. It was 1993 and Nolan was going to be retiring at the end of the season. In a game against the Chicago White Sox, Nolan beaned Ventura. For some reason, Ventura charged the mound. The ensuing “fight” was one of baseball legend. Ventura ran straight into a Nolan Ryan headlock and 5 punches to the top of the head, due to the benches clearing that was all we could see of the direct altercation between the two.

Every time I see that picture I smile, and word on the street is that is the most common photograph that Nolan autographs.