Sunday, May 31, 2009

Ball Don't Lie (in Any Sport)

This week provided a perfect medley of showdowns in several sports/countries. It all started this Wednesday with the Champions League Final between Barcelona and Manchester United. The multi-mediatized battle between the two superstars (Messi and Ronaldo) was way below the expectations, while the game itself was pretty good. In the end, Barca got the win, but mostly because Man U was unable to react after receiving the first goal. Then came the NBA Western conference finals, where the Lakers got a grip on the Nuggets in game 6 and made their second consecutive appearance in the Finals in the last two years. Although I like the fight that Denver put, that was pretty sweet and probably Kobe will break the Shaq curse this year. If not, I am not sure he ever will. Then, the cherry on the top: Eastern conference finals where the underdogs prevailed (Orlando sent the Cavaliers and LeBron James fishing the rest of the summer). Here it wasn't without emotions: the Magic seem like a fragile team that could blow out that 3-1 they had in the series. However, they came through and Stern's dream of a final Kobe-LeBron is now shattered.
Last but now least, today's day match decided the Romanian champions, Unirea Urziceni, a team from a "city" of 16,000 people, mocked by everyone in this championship. They have become champions with one day match before the end of the season and will go directly in the groups of Champions League. Life is trully funny when it acts like this!:)
:) In the end it is all good: In all these cases, the team that put the best effort won. No BS and no interference. That's how I like my sports!!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Stormy Saturday in Albany

When I left my house this afternoon heading towards Albany the sun was shining, despite the rather strong winds outside. However, things got ugly when I got there and most of the people at the Tulip Festival were already bailing out. By the time I swam upstream the rivers of people heading for downtown, the first drops started already. In the next half an hour the skies were pouring and I started to question my plan. Found a tent for cover but the Police kicked everybody out so I migrated to another one. Thankfully, after only 15 minutes the rain almost stopped and I took my camera and started shooting some nice rain drops on the tulips. It was nice that the rain cleared the park of all the people and I could take some clear and nice shots. Moreover, after 15 more minutes the storm passed and the sun came back to life. The result: some wonderful shots of extravagant tulips.
Afterwards, I headed to the Palace Theatre where the Albany Symphony Orchestra was giving their final concert of the season. From the program: Daron Hagen’s Choral Symphony No. 4: River Music, an excellent piece that, as he putted it, could be easily imagined while taking the Amtrak from New York City to Albany. With an excellent performance of David Alan Miller the director of the Albany Symphony Orchestra complemented with the voices of Albany Pro Musica, I was really surprised by the melodicity of the three components of this concerto, as most of the audience. Very good! After an intermission spiced with wine, the second part flew by. Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 started langsam, schleppend and then became feierlich und gemessen so that the storming end left the audience again in a standing ovation. All in all, a very good performance and a concert that was way better than it looked on paper.

Friday, May 01, 2009

One to remember – Celtics vs. Bulls Game 6

Throughout this first round NBA playoff games, no other series was more exciting than the Bulls versus Celtics one. With things tied (3-3) after 6 games and 7 over time periods, flagrant faults, blooded towels and fierce battles underneath the rim, the Heroes (7th seeded Bulls) are keeping their hopes alive in, what will probably be, a spectacular game 7. Not to be mistaken, I didn’t like the flimsy way the Bulls have played throughout these series, settling for Gordon’s (mostly missed) last seconds outside shots. That was bad and allowed Celtics to grab at least one game (5) in this series. However, TNT likes drama more than I do.  what’s good for the people will have to suffice. I cheer for the young Bulls for two reasons: 1. they are the underdogs, which makes it exciting if they win; and 2. Boston has had quite a few dirty plays in which they reminded me of the Spurs and why I never liked them. So, whatever the final result will be (I am pessimistic regarding Chicago’s chances to pull it off considering their past “performances” unless Boston screws up big time) this series has definitely been entertaining. Bring it on, Superman!