For those stateside I hope your Memorial Day weekend was, at the very least, relaxing and created some great memories. In the soccer world a few hikes came to a close. On Saturday the Hull City Tigers once again checked into the Premier League thanks to a 1-0 defeat of Sheffield Wednesday. On that same day Real Madrid broke the hearts of Atletico Madrid fans, taking the UEFA Champions League Final in a shootout. In an apparent effort to soothe the pain of the loss Cristiano Ronaldo took off his shirt as part of his post-game celebration. I am, as of yet, unable to determine how effective it was.
Personally this weekend was all about graduating high schoolers. One event I could not attend (a friend's daughter), and one I could (my nephew). My wife gave me the responsibility of purchasing the graduation card for the latter, an act which I find reprehensible. While the convenience of access solves the problem of a last minute need, dropping the coin for a quality card has no appeal. A quality card can express ones own sentiment, and at times in a more eloquent way. Yet it is my opinion cards are better when personalized. My goal, therefore, was to create a graduation card. Not being the craftiest of person I searched all corners of my home, and yard, for aesthetic elements. What I eventually created looked elementary, at best. In fact the girlfriend of another nephew, who is an elementary school teacher, jokingly commented that it looked like an "A" project one of her students might have done.
The effort did achieve the desired results. It was appreciated by the parents of the child, and maybe more importantly by my wife. My nephew, a 17 year old boy, moved quickly to the gift of money.
Inside the card was a picture of my nephew from a past Christmas vacation to West Virginia. He had made a giant snowball, and for whatever reason was in the process of licking it. Or pretending to for photos sake. Searching for the best picture allowed me to wade through years of memories captured. So many hikes. Coupled with Memorial Day it filled me with a sense of gratitude. I am very thankful for the life afforded to me by those who place themselves in harm's way. I am very thankful for the family I was born with, and the one I married into. Important are the holidays, and events, which remind me to be grateful. We are all pilgrims walking our own trail. At times we get lost in effort, ignoring the scenery.
OK, let's kick the ball.
Hodgson brought in 14 midfielders, so the competition was great. As of this writing nothing is official.
Is there ever a bad time to chat about who should stay, and who should go? I like Don Hutchison's opinion that the second tier is "tailor-made" for Mitro, and that he'll get us "15-20 goals".
At 29 years of age I would personally be shocked if the Fulham striker does not find a club in the top league. We'll see what Rafa can do.
Coming Home Newcastle's first in a series of post-season positional evaluations. We are strong in the net.
Maybe you heard about the match, but didn't read about it. Sheffield Wednesday was trying to pull themselves up from a 16 year BPL exile. For we Newcastle fans relegation is a sting, but 16 years is a long fight. All things in context.
Every three years UEFA can make changes how it operates. During this window Europe's top clubs are looking to modify the format to create more revenue.
This piece is a few days old, but I found it a fascinating read.
Something new. Maybe at the beginning of every week you get a video. Maybe I start things off with Pearl Jam and Sting live. Maybe this video has meaning. Maybe I just like it. Draw your own conclusions.