And there's no excuse: You don't have to know a direct kick from a corner kick to decide whether you like France better than, say, North Korea. Sign up right here—we're trying to get to 40 today!
Last night's screening of Pelada was a smashing success. At least 150 people swarmed into The Pinhook to catch a glimpse of the recently completed documentary, two of whose producers are former standout soccer players for the Duke women's team. Two members of the Carolina RailHawks, Joseph Kabwe and Sean O'Connor, were on hand, as well.
The next event is Wednesday, June 9, at the Galaxy Cinema, where we'll be showing Winning Isn't Everything and Victory. Co-sponsors Eurosport and the Carolina RailHawks will be present, and filmmaker Hap Kindem and UNC women's assistant coach Bill Palladino will answer questions about the former film, which takes a look at the extraordinary success of the UNC women's soccer team under coach Anson Dorrance.
Click on the .pdf link(Indy_Kicks___Flicks.pdf) for the full poster with events and times.
*Tonight at The Pinhook in Durham, the kickoff event begins at 8 p.m. We'll be showing PELADA, the fine new documentary from the quartet of ex-soccer players-turned-filmmakers Gwendolyn Oxenham, Luke Boughen, Rebekah Fergusson and Ryan White. Pelada is Brazilian slang for "pickup soccer game" and these filmmakers traveled the world looking for games to join. It's quite an extraordinary experience and one that's a perfect match for the world's greatest—and only truly global—sporting contest. The screening is free, and Rebekah Fergusson will be in attendance, along with members of the RailHawks (who snatched a sensational draw from the jaws of defeat last night, by the way).
Also: Our little corner of ESPN is open for business: You are invited—no, you are challenged—to join the Indy Kicks & Flicks (&Picks) bracket predictor game. We have prizes, too, courtesy of Eurosport and its contribution of gift certificates.
[Indy employees and freelancers may play, but may not claim prizes.)
The schedule includes such classics as Bend it Like Beckham and Victory, and the venues include the Galaxy Cinema in Cary, the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, the Lumina Theatre in Chapel Hill and The Pinhook bar in Durham. Additionally, area art house movie theaters will show a new film starring 1990s soccer star Eric Cantona, while two documentaries will also be screened.
The Carolina RailHawks are joining the Indy in this enterprise, and head coach Martin Rennie is expected to make an appearance before a screening of Looking for Eric, a new film that opens in local art houses June 11. This critically acclaimed Ken Loach comedy features French superstar Eric Cantona, who played for Manchester United in the 1990s, as a sort of imaginary friend/life coach to a middle-aged postal worker in Manchester.
As it happens, Rennie counts himself among the fans of the famously quirky—and gifted—player. “Eric Cantona is one of my all-time favorite players,” Rennie tells us. “I look forward to discussing the movie and Cantona with like-minded soccer fans.”
For the growing numbers of soccer fans in this country, the countdown to the game on June 12 between the U.S. and England began months ago. Meanwhile, more casual fans are now picking up on the buzz. For the latter, the FIFA World Cup can be a phenomenon not unlike the Olympics, which quadrennially turns us into fans of such sports as curling and gymnastics. But with a lineup of films throughout the Triangle in early June, from documentaries and classics to new and recent feature films, the Independent hopes to spread understanding and appreciation for the world's most popular game, and create an opportunity for existing and new fans alike to join in the fun.
We'll have more information in the next couple of weeks, but the following events are scheduled and nailed down. We look forward to seeing you.
Below is our official announcement, and here is the RailHawks announcement.
UPDATE 11:44 am: Chicago was "stunningly eliminated" in the first round of voting, as was Tokyo.
UPDATE 2 1:08 pm: It's Rio.
This morning we step away from the hurly-burly of Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and Cary sports to consider the big question of the day: Which overreaching metropolis will earn the right to build billions of dollars of new infrastructure, displace neighborhoods, clean up its slums and become a two-week platform for the Olympic spirit and a future superhuman like Michael Phelps or Usain Bolt?
Yes, the 2016 Summer Olympics are up for grabs.
In the running are four cities: Madrid, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro and Chicago. Today the heads of four states and cities are pleading their cases in Copenhagen. The announcement will occur today at about 12:30 p.m., Eastern time.
Here's The New York Times' review of the contenders.
Maybe it's just us, but we're drawn to the arguments that the Olympics are a collossal waste of resources that could be deployed more productively. Yes, the Beijing Olympics were fun, as were the 1992 Barcelona Games. On the other hand, you've got some notable failures, too: Berlin in 1936, Munich in 1972, Moscow in 1980, Atlanta in 1996. The 1976 Games in Montreal, chiefly remembered for Nadia Comaneci, was a financial disaster that took that city decades to recover from. (Olympic Stadium, fondly known as the Big Owe, was only paid off in 2006.)
Anyway, here's Dave Zirin's discussion in The Nation of the considerable opposition in Chicago to that city's bid—a bid that has powerful supporters in President Obama and Oprah (who has more pull?). The video embedded above was produced by
Chris Gaffney, a Triangle Offense contributor, is living and teaching in Rio de Janeiro. Here's his take on Rio's bid, posted on his blog. He writes: "Rio's primary arguments for hosting the games are emotional (see video below), based in a woefully idealized vision of a very small segment of the city."
Noted without comment ...
UPDATE: Here's someone else's commentary, published on Huffington Post. Turns out that TARP money is being showered widely over the sports biz. Some think it's not such a bad thing. And, I didn't know Bank of America sponsored Liverpool (but not on the jersey). That gives last weekend's game, a 4:1 thrashing of the Mancunians by the Merseysiders, a whole new dimension: Bank of America>AIG.
Well, as correspondent Adam Sobsey just emailed me, this second Friday of March should be a state-wide holiday.
There was some basketball yesterday: NC State is done for the season, while Clemson's NCAA seeding probably took a big hit with that loss to Georgia Tech, while Virginia Tech polished off Miami's NCAA hopes before scaring the bejesus out of UNC earlier this afternoon.
Ex-Indyite Besha Rodell is at courtside for Creative Loafing Atlanta—we hope to have new posts from her today. Besha? Let us know in the comments.
What's your take on the empty seats at the Georgia Dome? The future of N.C. State? Will Ty Lawson play tomorrow? Should he play tomorrow?
And finally, one of our readers Twittered (Tweeted?) the following:
RT @mtdotnet wonders when the ACC champions stopped being decided by winning the ACC championship (I'm looking at you, @indyweek).
But then, ours is a culture in which CBS was assessed a $550,000 fine by the Federal Communications Commission for unwittingly broadcasting an image of Janet Jackson's nipple. (The fine was tossed out by a federal court last year.)
A high-profile game sure brings out the politicians. Super Bowl winners often get face time with presidents (or voice time with them), for example. Sometimes politicians even want to be seen with athletes who've just disgraced themselves in front of the entire planet: In 2006, after Zinedine Zidane notoriously headbutted Marco Materazzi in the World Cup final, French politicians eager to be seen with a French Arab hero rushed to Zidane's side.
Still, it doesn't always benefit the politician to be at the ballgame, of course. Especially when the team is the Philadelphia Flyers. Just ask Sarah Palin.
The stakes are a little lower down here on Tobacco Road, to put it very mildly: According to a press release issued today from the Chapel Hill mayor’s office, Kevin Foy and his counterpart in Durham, Mayor Bill Bell, will stimulate one or the other's municipal economy after the outcome of Wednesday night's battle royale in Cameron Indoor Stadium between the sixth-ranked Blue Devils of Duke and the third-ranked Tar Heels of UNC.
If Duke loses, Chapel Hill Mayor Kevin Foy will receive tickets to a show at the Durham Performing Arts Center, the newly opened largest performing arts theater in the Carolinas. If UNC loses, Durham Mayor Bill Bell is invited to a night on Franklin Street and Asian cuisine at the Lantern Restaurant, which the News and Observer ranked as the 2008 #1 restaurant in the Triangle.
If every loser won such sweet deals, we should all be losers, right? Ahh, not really. Far more difficult than accepting defeat is the second part of the wager - if UNC wins, Chapel Hill Mayor Kevin Foy will supply Durham Mayor Bill Bell with a Carolina blue sweatshirt which he will wear at the next Durham City Council meeting. If Duke wins, Durham Mayor Bill Bell will supply Chapel Hill Mayor Kevin Foy with a Duke blue sweatshirt which he will wear at the next Chapel Hill Town Council Meeting.
Mayor Bell wasn't reached for comment.
Perhaps Mayors Bell and Foy, and you, dear reader, will consider join our crack Triangle Offense contributors Wednesday night as they live-blog the game, which starts at 9 p.m.
... and we're not even talking about the USA-Mexico friendly qualifier set for Wed. Feb. 11 (which conveniently starts and finishes before the Other Big Game that night).
Nope, today is opening day for the Carolina RailHawks preseason training camp. As I type, the team has been going at it on a gorgeous, precociously verdant morning at the WakeMed soccer complex.
We're told that in addition to the players that have popped up on this blog in recent weeks, such "recent college graduates like UNC’s Michael Callahan, Garry Lewis and Brian Shriver, and NC State’s El Hadj Cisse’" will also be evaluated.
Check back in this space later in the week for a report. Correspondent Chris Gaffney and I hope to get over to Cary to watch a session.