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Intelligent investment

I'm currently holding Peter Bean's "The Eyes of Texas" 2010 preseason mag in my hands and...okay it's not literally in my hands or I wouldn't be typing, but I have it and it's excellent.

Within it's pages you can find articles by barkers Paul Wadlington (sounds like someone from the House of Lords), Ian Boyd and Keith Heugatter along with our friend Adam Jones of Jonestopten.

Amongst my favorite pieces are Cory Davie's awesome description of typical two-a-days routine, Lord Wadlington on the Muschamp defensive era, Mark Ritchie on Gilbert's excellence in action in 09, and an article by Billy Becker on the Applewhite offense of 98 and what a return to that style means (basically it means effective running and play-action passing). I'll let you figure out which barkers are which, one of them made it easy.

I haven't even started the History and Tradition section that has yielded some excellent pieces in previous editions and this year features an article on Colt (the Heugatter contribution) as well as a summary of the quarterbacking excellence sustained in the Mack era. All that to say it's a worthy place to spend your preseason mag monies. Frankly I found that if you read sites like this on a regular basis you won't learn anything from other preseason mags except for details about other teams. Like myself saying, "oh crap, that Dalton guy is back at TCU," after seeing the cover of the Dave Campbell mag.

Or similarly,I remember spending much time in thought last year pondering whether or not Von Miller could really be anywhere near as good as the Aggies seemed to think or if he just stood out amongst the debris while reading preseason Aggy pieces. Suffice to say I underestimated his quality.

At any rate, I believe you can find this book in your local HEB, Walmart, or through the interwebs starting in July.

World Cup:

My pal Ryan and I were discussing the disappointing Ghana contest when he made a salient point about the ludicrous flopping and time-wasting by the Ghannaiannniaan side in the extra periods,

"I don't blame them, I'm sure we would have done the same, but if you are going to allow the players to play like it's a golden goal system then you might as well have a golden goal system."

Good point. Who wants to watch international athletes represent the various colors and forms human excrement can take for 25 minutes if one side scores early in the overtime? Either that or FIFA needs to find a way to aggressively curtail time-wasting behavior because we were not treated to world-class soccer in the closing periods of play on saturday and those who might have leaned towards soccer appreciation in this country were turned off again by shoddy officiating in US contests as well as the shameful performance put on by Ghana's players.

Naturally no one here wants to see the US frequently take a back seat in any kind of international competition, our national pride/arrogance won't allow for it, and the typical excuse is that we dedicate our Nation's athletic resources to other sports that we enjoy more.

Repeatedly I hear people long for the presence of NBA and NFL stars on the football field. In fact I heard one radio caller claim that our team needed speedsters such as are found in those leagues after he grew frustrated watching Ghannaiinaan players outrun the US team.

I would like to begin by pointing out that the US had one of the fastest teams in the tournament, so that particular frustration is merely uninformed venting. But clearly the US is not allocating the amount of resources necessary to produce Brazilian caliber futbol. Here is my own wishful suggestion:

Most of us don't actually want to give up the high quality of football and basketball play in this nation. We particularly enjoy those sports and that won't change anytime soon. If you take a look at the ideal footballer though what you get is a 5'8"-6', 180 pound guy who can run fast and run all day while possessing a high degree of coordination. Do we really need to cut into football and basketball to find these guys?

This nation's majority population is still your run of the mill Anglo-Saxon/European-descended middle class American. These are the guys that are dominating for Germany or England. Where are they here? To what competitions are their tremendous resources heading?

Anyone here play little league baseball?

Remember? We have 3 MINOR leagues full of young athletes trying to make it into one high paying big league. There are your potential soccer resources, playing select ball in front of crazed parents at age 12, buying bats and gloves for hundreds of dollars, staring in from left field with chewing tobacco tucked under the lip.

Personally I could live with a decline in the National pastime (that still somehow fails to win the international competition invented by its premier league in the WBC) in favor of improved soccer production from the American middle class. Naturally this can only occur when the return on the investment makes that a productive field. The more Americans that make money playing in Europe, the more American resources will be allocated to the national shame.

Honestly I find the team play of soccer more akin to what I love in football and basketball than the individual matchups in baseball, granted the flopping could decrease, and I'm willing to bet their are plenty of average sized, athletic Americans who could excel at the sport if it were culturally encouraged.